A Crafty Afternoon With Paperchase!

SPRING '16 PREVIEW AND SOME CHRISTMAS CRAFT AND STYLING

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE stationery?! Hmmm, Yes I think I might have! So imagine my excitement when an email popped into my inbox inviting me to a bloggers event run by Paperchase, with the chance to craft some Christmas treats AND have a sneak peek at the upcoming Spring Summer 2016 ranges. Yep, sign me up, I'm in!

Paperchase SS16 Preview Wedding Pinwheels

The afternoon took place at the Paperchase Flagship Store on Tottenham Court Road. If you've never visited this particular branch, and have a passion for the Paperchase brand, then you really should make a note to swing by. It's huge, covering three floors full of stationery, gifty goodness. You can lose yourself for hours amongst the delights on offer, every line and every item can be lapped up for your sheer paper supply delight!

Paperchase Tottenham Court Road Store

We began our afternoon with a look at the upcoming Spring and Summer 2016 ranges. The design sourcing manager and one of Paperchase's in-house designers talked us through everything from Valentines Day to Easter and all of the other beautiful ranges in between. Telling us of the inspiration behind each collection and how they take each idea through to fruition.

Although some of the product designs are outsourced many are created in-house and the starting point of an idea can be as simple as an i-Phone photograph of some fruit and veg on a stall outside of Goodge Street Station. From this simple beginning, a main design is created, a range is envisioned and the process sparks to life. Slogans are thought up, products and how they will integrate with the design and be part of the range are decided and suddenly the Paperchase signature quirky style is brought forth from that one single moment of inspiration.

I've always engaged with the brand for its unique and constantly evolving style. I know many friends who also love to browse the aisles of a Paperchase store even if they aren't in the market for stationery! There's just so much to love and admire.

Paperchase SS16 Preview Get Organised Collection

There are some really beautiful selections to look forward to in 2016. One of my absolute favourites was the copper and black, marquetry wood styled 'Get Organised' offering. Beautiful to do lists, notepads, desk accessories and much, much more, make up this smart and chic design that will certainly be welcome on my desk in the very near future.

I also fell in love with the wedding stationery, especially the gorgeous geometric designs below. Just a pity I won't be needing it - unless I can convince my other half to have another wedding just for the excuse to add a little of this loveliness to my collection!

Paperchase SS16 Preview Wedding Stationery
Paperchase SS16 Preview Wedding Stationery

Easter sees some funky and fun florals coming our way whilst the Mothers Day collections include a beautiful, darker but vibrant, floral pattern that I think all mothers will love. That's another reason that Paperchase is always a favourite place of mine to turn to for cards, gifts and paper inspiration. They always come up with something more unique than your usual pink hearts at valentines and flowers for all other occasions, whilst still providing something thoughtful and on target for the event in hand.

Paperchase SS16 Preview Easter Collection
Paperchase SS16 Preview Mothers Day Madame Romantica

Another favourite of mine had to be the gorgeous turquoise and animal print 'Serengeti'. There are some really lovely, as well as very fun pieces to choose from in this selection including an absolute must grab zebra stapler. 

Plus for the first time I believe, Paperchase has created a gym inspired set, designed to motivate you to hit the treadmill in style. With some really fun and tongue in cheek slogans, you can expect backpacks, water bottles and wash bags galore. Everything you need by your desk to ensure that you get in a bit of movement in the very best of style.

Paperchase SS16 Preview Serengeti Collection
Paperchase SS16 Preview Get Fit Collection

After delighting at all that is new to look forward to next year, we went back to the current season and it was time to get down to some serious Christmas crafting and styling for the holidays up ahead of us. So we took ourselves over to the dedicated area to make a start on the creative activities. 

Paperchase Blogger Event 2015

Task one involved a supermarket sweep style effort with us bloggers making our merry way down to the Christmas section, armed with a generous £25 gift voucher and a need for speed, gathering together the best decorations we could find to forthwith design and decorate our colourful mini Christmas trees. I say colourful but I had in fact opted for the black tree and was looking to vamp it up, Vegas style, with a little gold and silver bling and the one piece that I absolutely couldn't resist, Elvis The Bulldog! 

The Paperchase Christmas range this year offers all sorts of bright and sparkly delights, from offbeat bright pink flamingoes, giant orange carrots and bulldog tree decorations to the more traditional reindeers, snowmen and Christmas sparkle. There's also a beautiful mint green collection which would make a subtle but stand out difference to the usual reds, golds and rich greens that we might usually see. 

Following a successful tree decorating frenzy we moved on to making beautiful pinwheels with the very lovely Laura, Freelance Designer and owner of Things By Laura. Aside from being a pinwheel making extraordinaire, Laura designs for weddings, events and retail displays with a passion for paper craft. Her designs are all totally beautiful and completely bespoke. You should definitely check out her portfolio if you're a lover of all things creative, especially if you're planning an upcoming wedding. Inspiration galore and so very original and inviting.

Paperchase Blogger Event Pinwheel Making
Paperchase Christmas Range 2015
Paperchase Christmas Tree Styling

And thus our creative afternoon came to a close and we made our way out into the blustery winter weather clutching our beautiful newly decorated trees all ready in time for the upcoming festivities. 

Thank you to Paperchase and to Laura for an inspiring day and the chance to meet likeminded bloggers and creatives. I'm certainly looking forward to adding some of that beautiful SS16 goodness to my ever burgeoning stationery collection when it hits the shelves next year. I hope you've enjoyed having a little pre-release peek with me here on the blog today and that all this prettiness helps to get you through this mid-week hump in style!

Louise

 

Don't miss the What Now 'Unwind This Christmas' GIVEAWAY! Enter to win a gorgeous box of goodies to help you relax this holiday season. Click on the picture to find out more.

 

Amidst The Action At The London Ski And Snowboard Show With Nikon

With the winter fast approaching I'm guessing some of you will be planning a little seasonal ski or snowboard action as part of your festive breaks. So for anyone with an interest in such chilly activities, with an additional penchant for photography and a desire to improve on their quick fire action shots, you may be interested in a recent event that took place on a slightly rainy afternoon in London's Battersea Park.

London Ski Show

Recently I was kindly invited to attend the London Ski and Snowboard Show by Nikon with a view to testing out the Nikon D5500, picking up some tips and tricks from expert photographers Dan Vojtech, Martin Privratsky and Neil Freeman, and getting some shots of our own on the action packed slopes at the event.

London Ski Show

First a little about our tutors for the day. Dan Vojtech is a Czech photographer who focuses on action, adventure and lifestyle photography, specialising in extreme sports. He has worked previously for Red Bull and has a string of other credits to his wide and creative portfolio, working worldwide with a variety of magazines and other companies.

Martin Privratsky also hails from the Czech Republic and is a documentary filmmaker producing viral content and advertising for a number of brands worldwide. He also concentrates on extreme sports and lifestyle and his most recent film is a portrait of life and of the people living in Los Angeles.

Last but not least, Neil is a professional photographer and a tutor at the Nikon Training School based in London. I hadn't previously heard of the school, situated on Margaret Street in the West End, but having chatted in length to Neil about what they offer, it sounds like a fantastic place to head for the day to get in some very handy photography training, advice and tips from the professionals. So I may well check it out for myself in the near future.

London Ski Show
London Ski Show

Now thanks to the Great British transport system annoyingly I missed a little of the initial introduction from Dan, but following a quick catch up and re-cap on how to get the best out of the cameras, myself and a friend hit the slopes, or 'Battersea Mount' as it was so titled, with the rest of the team to try our hand at getting in some top shots. 

Despite the quick learning curve I'm still very happy with the photos that came out of the afternoon. It was great being so close to the action and getting advice from the experts. Plus the Nikon D5500 was a pretty easy camera to pick up and get to grips with quickly, whilst still taking some quality photographs.

As D-SLR cameras go this lightweight and compact version lends itself to easy use for even the most inexperienced of photographers. In fact you can easily get some decent shots just by leaving it in auto and using the point and shoot approach that I admit I have favoured in the past!

With a number of useful functions such as touch screen for easy navigation, as well as built in wi-fi to enable you to share your masterpieces straight from the camera, I really quite liked this sharp and functional piece of equipment and getting to test the camera out on real and very active subject matter over the course of an afternoon was a real treat! It's also designed to work well in low light which makes it a useful piece of kit for photographing subjects on darker, wintery days.

London Ski Show
London Ski Show

The Ski and Snowboard Show was equally an afternoon well spent and if you're an avid skier or snowboarder, is well worth a visit. Held annually over the course of 4 days, you can immerse yourself in all things ski related. Watch all of the action on the mount, get down to the live music on the alpine stage, have a giggle in the comedy tent and partake in a little après ski with some warming food and drink at one of the welcoming stalls. 

You can also lose yourself for a good hour or so amongst the stalls of the many exhibitors as you pick out a myriad of equipment, all that you could possibly ever need for your next expedition to those snowy slopes.

London Ski Show
London Ski Show
London Ski Show
London Ski Show
London Ski Show
London Ski Show

So as day turned to dusk the days activities came to a close. After such an enjoyable afternoon with Nikon and some truly warming and friendly hospitality we headed home armed with an SD card full of shots from the event, shared here with you today.

Now I may need a little more practice but I look forward to putting what I learned to the test and continuing to improve my photography skills, knowledge of the equipment and how to get the best out of it. I really appreciate Nikon giving me the opportunity to add a few more tricks to the list!

Are you a keen photographer or someone wanting to improve on their current knowledge? Do you have any top tips for never missing those all important action shots? Interested to know your thoughts.

Louise

 


The 30 Plus Blogs Collective: An Evening At OMNIYA Mediclinic In Knightsbridge

Last week on a slightly drizzly but warm and inviting evening in West London, a group of likeminded bloggers gathered together at the beautiful Omniya Health and Beauty Mediclinic in Knightsbridge for an evening of beauty, networking and tasty treats! Let me share with you who we are and what was learned from a brilliant evening amongst so many talented people.

Omiya Mediclinic Knightsbridge

Firstly if you haven't yet heard of the 30 Plus Blog Collective then let me give you the lowdown on exactly who we are! 

Started by Hayley Carr of the blog London Beauty Queen, 30 Plus Blogs is Hayley's brainchild and a genius way of bringing together so many of the fabulous bloggers out there over the age of three-zero. Giving a group of unique and creative minds the chance to represent themselves in a blogosphere that until now has perhaps slightly under-estimated and under-represented the wealth of talent and expertise out there coming from bloggers over the age of thirty. It also provides a way to offer readers in the same category a place to come to when looking for topics and content that is more relevant and exciting to them.

It's a fantastic idea and since launching earlier this year, is one that has taken off with such momentum that it has already more than demonstrated just how many of us have a voice that wants to be heard, and a readership out there that is wanting to listen. 

Omniya Mediclinic

Now to Omniya, the venue for the evenings event. This innovative clinic in Knightsbridge is a health and beauty haven. Here they offer beauty services designed to make you feel better both inside and out, concentrating on a multitude of services including well-being, nutrition, clinical beauty and spa treatments as well as stocking a multitude of leading and advanced products within the beauty market.

On hand were many experts willing to discuss the suitability and benefits of certain treatments and products, some of which I had come across before and others that were totally new and intriguing to me. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn more from those in the know and ask questions about particular skin, hair and beauty issues.

Vichy

Many interesting products stood out to me, including the new Idealia Skin Sleep from Vichy designed to achieve the look of a good nights sleep even if your slumber has been cut well short, sounds good to me! As well as the range of advanced skincare products by Skinceuticals, formulated to improve skins appearance, backed by science and aimed at combating discolouration and signs of stress on the skin as well as preventing future damage.

Thanks to a more than amazing gift bag from the event I am road testing a couple of these as we speak and am looking forward to reporting back here on the blog at a later date with my feedback.

I also came across Roger & Gallet for the first time which might seem odd to some as I realise it's been around for many years and since the event I have seen it everywhere! However for some reason it had never previously been on my radar. Now I'm feeling like something of a fan, the Fleur de Figuier scent being top of my list for a subtle but inviting autumnal, winter fragrance.

Skinceuticals
Roger & Gallet
Neom

I must also mention the food and flowers that encompassed the event and topped off a truly great evening. Incredibly tasty and healthy bites from Treat tickled our tastebuds and beautiful seasonal blooms from Bloomon delicately decorated the space. Adding an even more decadent and delightful feel to what was already a fantastic night.

The Good Treat
The Good Treat

This was a great event to be part of and I am very proud to be included in a group of bloggers who are representing the fabulousness of those of us over thirty. 

At times it infuriates me that we live in a world so geared to the young, not that I don't have huge respect for the younger generation and appreciate that being in your teens and twenties most definitely has its own struggles. It just seems at times that the media especially is so constantly poised to write off anyone past a certain point. I mean for goodness sake we still have our whole lives ahead of us so don't you even dare to write us off just yet. Trust me, we have a whole lot more still to say!

Are you part of the collective or is it something that interests you? Were you at the event and did I miss you? Leave your comments and details below and let's connect.

Have a great Wednesday everyone.

Louise

 


The Lantern Ghost Tours London Haunted Pub Tour

Last Friday, in honour of the impending Halloween celebrations of the weekend, I headed off to London to take part in a historical and spooky haunted pub tour!

Organised by the lovely Lauren, event planner extraordinaire and the voice behind the blog Blonde Vision and run by the tour group Lantern Ghost Tours, this was a great night learning some spooky facts about the capital and chatting to new friends. Lauren and two fellow bloggers run LDN Meetup, a bloggers event database set up to bring together likeminded bloggers for unique networking events and experiences, and this was one of their many upcoming events that I was looking forward to taking part in.

London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour

This two hour walking tour began outside Temple underground station and featured three pubs with haunting tales, a number of other fascinating and historical London sites along the route, plus plenty of opportunity to grab a drink or two and get to know fellow blogging comrades!

Now I don't want to spoil too many of the details should you be enticed to take such a tour yourself. Instead here's a little teaser with a few pictures from the night in question and the haunted path into London's past onto which we ventured. If mysterious tales of days past in our beautiful capital intrigues and inspires you then I definitely recommend booking a spot on one of these Lantern tours.

London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour

Now whether you believe in ghosts or not you surely cannot fail to be captivated by the abundance of history that is deeply imbedded within our capital city. This tour was a great insight into some of the finer points of the Fleet Street area of London, and our tour guide was well informed with many a tale as well as historical fact concerning some famous characters from days past in this part of town.

London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour

We were delighted with stories of ghostly figures from the English Civil War, the tale of Spencer Perceval, the only Prime Minister ever to be assassinated and the story of Samuel Johnson, the man who compiled the English Dictionary and who's figure is still sighted from time to time wandering around his house. 

We picked apart fact from fiction when it comes to the many and varied grisly tales of Sweeney Todd, demon barber of Fleet Street, and we soaked up the atmosphere at the very famous Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub where we tried to entice the current parrot incumbent to say hello and have a chat in the way that his famous predecessor Polly had once done in days gone by (although without much luck I'm afraid!).

London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour

The pubs that we visited were steeped in history and character. The Old Bank of England pub being one of the grandest and most beautifully restored buildings I've ever had a drink in! With Mrs Lovett's lair hiding out the back in a spacious and welcoming beer garden (surprising given its title) this is a site well worth a visit and would be a great stop at which to take a rest with your friends on a chilly and atmospheric London night.

London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour
London Haunted Pub Tour

I really enjoyed getting an insight into a part of town that I rarely ever get to visit. The gruesome past that lies behind some of the beautiful old buildings and courtyards cannot fail to fascinate, and I just love to try and picture, amongst the foggy headiness of a dark London night, what it must have been like to live in such different times and circumstances than we do now.

We were lucky to receive a small discount to our tickets but even at the usual price of £14 per person I would recommend the Haunted Pub Tour as a great way to spend a chilly winters evening exploring the city. 

Lantern Ghost Tours also run two other London based tours that I may well check out in the near future. If you're interested in what they have to offer take a look at their website: www.ghost-tours.com

I hope this post inspires a fun and intriguing weekend for you all. Thanks for reading and see you again soon.

Louise