Monday, 28 December 2015

2016: Focus On What Makes You Happy

I like lists. It's no secret among friends that I've been obsessed with making lists for as long as I can remember.
Coupled with my penchant for keeping a daily diary for the last eighteen years (no, seriously) it's fair to say the old fashioned art of using a pen and paper is not lost on me.

Imagine my JOY, when a few months ago I caught wind of The Happiness Planner. A unique brand of stationery that promotes positive thinking in the user, it enables a person to cultivate a way of life based around being grateful for what they have presently and focusing on becoming more excited and productive for the future. And let's face it - it's pretty.


The Happiness Planner 2016 day per page journal acts like a daily workshop in getting the
most out of your life. On each page there is a to do list (high five) along with sections for notes, good things that happened that day, things you are excited about, what your main focus of the day is, what meals you had and what (if any) exercises you did. The Happiness Planner can work by way of forward planning and daily reflection. I imagine it is a book you might wish to get out first thing in the morning and last thing at night to fill out each section.

Granted it sounds like a lot of work. But take it from someone who has formed a lifelong habit of writing in a daily diary that all it requires is a little training and discipline, and before you know it this type of ritual becomes second nature. In the case of The Happiness Planner, I would say it is definitely worth it, and for three main reasons:



1. The Happiness Planner is more than a diary of what you did each day. It also has more in the first ten pages than a map of the London underground and a chart of weight conversions. In fact it doesn't have those things - no love lost there - and what you gain in lieu of those things is by far more valuable.
The front pages contain a wealth of inspirational quotes and insightful charts and questions to really engage your attention and help organise your thoughts and plans. Questions such as 'What Makes You Happy?' and 'What Are You Grateful For In Life?' help to focus and streamline your thoughts and breakdown the mess of noise that can often make our brains feel cluttered and untidy. The useful part is that for each page an example is given to help you know how to go about answering the questions in a structured way so that you can get the most out of the exercise of writing it all down.



2. Inside the presentation box are a collection of A4 (folded) sheets of paper that offer a separate space to make plans for the future. The sheets included are all shown above; 'My Goals', 'My Bucketlist', 'My New Years Resolutions' and 'Change a Habit in 30 Days'. The affect of having these separate sheets is that everything becomes highly visual. For example, instead of writing a list down in the back of a notepad somewhere of the things you wish to do by the time you turn thirty (forty, fifty, sixty etc) you have a beautiful way of displaying visually what you want to achieve alongside tick boxes for when the item has been started and completed. Essentially, this planner is not for the faint hearted. It is for obsessive, meticulous and quite frankly slightly neurotic people who simply can't make do with an old notepad somewhere. In the stationery department, that's me all over. And once again I re-iterate - how pretty?!


3. The 'prep work' prior to the daily sections really help set the pace for completion of the diary and getting into the right frame of mind for the year ahead. Once that has been completed the daily sections are short, sweet and to the point. Again, they have been broken down to be aesthetically pleasing and don't leave a lot of blank space for endless rambling about the ins and outs of what happened that day (something I admit to being guilty of).

So guys there you have it. The 2016 Happiness Planner. I'm off to get started on mine ahead of the new year this Friday. If you want in on the action I suggest you get ordering now in time for January 1st.

Happy New Year all. Happy being the operative word :)

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Herons Park Wedding Venue Launch

It's been a while since I've talked weddings! I've been a little slow on the blog this year due to having my first baby (and the preceding nine months of tiredness, morning sickness and general exhaustion) however I was pretty excited when the park where my dad has worked for a good few years now posted this flyer on Facebook earlier in the month;


Naturally my Dad knew nothing about it ***facepalm*** so I got myself on the guest list and headed down there on Sunday out of sheer curiosity (and also because it was a good opportunity to introduce baby Leonardo to the extended family who own and run the park).

I've long had a soft spot for this venue since working next door at the International Race Track as a teenager (think Penelope Pitt-Stop - if only I could type the crying with laughter emoji) and attending numerous events over the years such as fireworks nights and family parties. However, my mind was BLOWN when I entered the newly refurbished and newly established wedding venue. Hats off to the brainchild of Co-ordinator Hannah King, who alongside fiancé Liam have transformed Herons Park into a luxury and bespoke wedding location set right in the heart of the Romney Marsh.


Herons Park are offering full and exclusive use of the entire building and the grassed drinks reception area which looks out over the beautiful lake. The wedding breakfast room itself will seat one hundred and ten guests, however for those looking to host a larger wedding there is the option to hire a marquee or tipi which can also be situated adjacent to the main building.



The real beauty of the venue is that it offers the promise of a unique and personal event. Wedding vows can be tailor made or even written by the bride and groom and the ceremony can be performed outside by the lake or inside as a wet weather back up option. With the vast space surrounding the building wedding goers have the option to camp out and make a weekend of it and really indulge in the rustic nature of the setting.



Due to the size of the newly renovated building there is also a children's room complete with a pool table, flat screen TV, football table and air hockey so that children can feel welcomed and an important part of your day. It is this kind of attention to detail that sets Herons Park apart from other venues, alongside the flexibility of Co-ordinator Hannah who will herself marry here next spring ahead of the first official booking.
Clearly not ones to shy away from hard work, the Kings have decided to open up the venue for weddings year round, meaning as per the launch day decorations that if a winter wedding is right up your street here may be the perfect place to do it.


The venue flows freely from area to area and everything down to the ladies room falls nothing short of immaculate. It is clean, fluid and crisp; even the staff uniforms add to the professional and elegant feel of the entire project.


Overall my impression was that this was a carefully thought out and brilliantly executed plan to bring something to the Marsh that is unique and yet somehow obvious; now this stunning wedding venue is here it almost begs the question why wasn't it here all along?

Recommended Suppliers & Pictured:

Mollydollys Bridal Wear
1st Setting Events Crockery & Cutlery Hire
Flair for Chairs Venue Dressing & Decoration
Debs Sweet Delights Confectionary & Decoration
Just Two Harp Duo
Beachcomber Cakes Wedding and Celebration Cakes

Contact Hannah King for availability & Pricing here.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Spend or Save?

Ok so I'm not suggesting that buying beauty products in any capacity is going to save you money. But I am of the impression based on my own market research that when it comes to the everyday essentials (like everything in your make up bag and bathroom cabinet) there is normally the option to go pro or go high street. 

As a loyal consumer of my go-to beauty brand Clarins, for years I've been parting with my hard earned cash on their Instant Eye Make-Up Remover which has the noticeable "oil layer" which sits atop the solution and when mixed together creates the perfect combination to remove even water proof eye make up in seconds. The remover works by dissolving the makeup when held against the closed eye on a cotton pad for a few seconds before sweeping the pad outwards to leave you looking pretty fresh and make up less in record time without the need for excessive rubbing around the delicate skin of the eye. 

Clarins Instant Eye Make-Up Remover, £19

I was pleasantly surprised to discover a few months back that Nivea, an affordable and perfectly decent alternative for the bathroom cabinet in 99% of cases has brought out their version of this "bi-phase", multi-layered eye make up remover- Nivea Daily Essentials Eye Make-up Remover, which works in exactly the same way.

Nivea Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover, £3.49

For a fraction of the price of my old faithful Clarins product and with a baby on the way, I decided now was the time for action and purchased a bottle to try.

My honest opinion is that the Clarins product is better. It works faster- I dont have to hold the pad against my eye for as long and I think the product feels glossier and not as scratchy as the Nivea, but all said and done, given that eye make-up is now a luxury since baby has arrived and the purse strings are tighter, for the occasional time I do actually need to use this product I would say I'm more than happy to stick with the Nivea for now. 


Sunday, 21 June 2015

This next


A few years ago I wrote about the end of year presentation from the students of Sussex Coast College at Hastings (Formerly Hastings College of Arts & Technology),see here.
Friday night I found myself back here celebrating the work of the students of 2015, in a showcase of creative flare and individuality; potentially highlighting some future moguls of the fashion, design and media industry.

picture above; work accredited to Fern Beall and Brogan Blanch

Besides the aesthetics being both vibrant and refined, it was the concepts behind the work which as usual, made the resounding impact on my psyche.
What of the person, I wonder, at such a young age, who can create such detailed inception and display it openly to public scrutiny with no reward other than credibility. Hence, I am offering some here. Much as I would love to comment on each individual student's hard work, for the purpose of an easy read and my own sanity, I have chosen to showcase only my absolute favourite designs and ideas here today.


We had fun with this one. Brogan Blanch created this jigsaw puzzle to depict the close relationship she shares with her sister, who has autism. One of the symbols of the Autism Society is a jigsaw puzzle piece. Brogan's concept behind this idea is to share some of the difficulties people with autism may face on a daily basis. I can tell you now - this puzzle was no easy task. It took four grown adults over half a hour just to put one half together.


I really liked this idea. Rose Smith created images of her self portrait to place herself in the shoes of a persona from another culture in society, historically or otherwise. Techniques used included A2 screen printing for the Russian cosmonaut poster, A4 digital collage for the celebrity police photo inspiration and three colour screen print for the gangster t-shirt. What is clever here is that Rose has used techniques commonly used to reflect the context of the self portraits.


What a cool little brand idea this was. Faith Bromley is going off to the University of Portsmouth to study a BA in Fashion, and she has channelled the atmosphere and vibe of Brighton to create her ColourMash concept. Follow Faith's progression of her lifestyle products here; colour-mash-my-major@tumblr.com.


This idea by Ellie Harley was to showcase vintage dresses previously left unloved and forgotten by the women who harboured them in the back of their dusty closets. The dresses all have memories of a time when they were worn and enjoyed, and here they are displayed to be admired and seen again.


Lauren Stirrup used Vincent Van Gough as her inspiration for her conceptual piece using printed fabrics that she has developed.


The beautiful garment and imagery above comes from Beatrice De Grandi Seabright, who wanted to explore and embody the life and vitality of Spanish Catholicism. Beatrice took inspiration from 'various designers, her own history and classic history to create this rich and traditional dress'.

And finally...


Clearly my favourite piece from the whole show, Fern Beall was a Vincent Lines Memorial Trust Award nominee for creative excellence for her work on this project. Understandably so, as the centrepiece for the entire show it drew in crowds and was probably one of the most photographed piece all evening. Fern's concept was to incorporate colour and light from nothing with empty space. Using acrylic boxes each individually painted and carefully constructed, they have been arranged in a way that reverberates the artist Yayoi Kusama and her 'Infinity Mirrored Room'.

Of her work, Fern says; 'Kusama's 'Infinity Mirrored Room' inspired me to create a space that completely transforms the viewers thoughts and feelings from those they had before being surrounded by the mass of colour I've created while the light floods through it.'

Fern studied the Extended Diploma Art & Design under her tutor Martin Symons, and is going on to study a Foundation Diploma Art & Design - Fine Art. Martin says of Fern; 'She showed a lot of dedication to create a wonderful final piece for the show'.

I would like to personally thank the exhibitors for allowing me the chance to browse the product of their imaginations, and wish every one of them all the success and rewards for the hard work written into their futures.