Spotlight On GO2 Essential Oil Sticks

The benefits of essential oils and their ability to support mental health and well being has been known for over 6000 years. After the last couple of years, enduring the pandemic, essential oil products have definitely been needed and appreciated. I think the essential oil sticks are the bees knees! There is one for every situation – to calm, to boost energy, to support sleep quality, and to aid concentration. I caught up with Marc Shipman, MD of GO2, to find out more about his well being business. Hi Marc…

Hi, my name is Marc Shipman and I am the Co-founder of The GO2 Brand. We produce on the GO common sense wellness products resulting in a better you!

What inspired you to set up “GO2”?

The idea came to me in my time of need, due to a very hectic lifestyle in running various businesses, 3 small children and at the time Free Style Wrestling for Wales, I guess like so many others life just caught up with me despite not wanting to accept the doctor telling me after 4 visits that I was suffering from anxiety.

Looking back, it now explains the terrible chest pressure I was experiencing. Having had tests it was confirmed – Gastritis that was brought on by stress.  I found myself at a crossroad and had to decide whether to take the medication that for me had longer lasting adverse effects or look for an alternative.  After all, stress starts with the information we process in our minds and if I could control my state of mind, slow it and calm it down, then I knew the rest will follow.

After many months of trial and error I found essential oils and so the journey began.  Bottles of essential oil blends in my pocket or bag was not ideal and I remember my light bulb moment when I thought, surely essential oil blends in a device like an inhaler stick made more sense!

Having more Energy, Focus, Calm etc on the GO in the most convenient and practical way is what I needed and that is quite simply when the brand was born! We worked with a very experienced and knowledgeable aromatherapy consultant to produce what we have today, 4 amazing 100% natural blends that are now helping people all over the world. 

What are the benefits of essential oils?

We have used essential oils for the last 6500 years for all their benefits. When inhaling the GO2 stick the odour molecules are released. The olfactory receptors in our nose are activated and send electrical signals to the higher region of our brain, the neocortex and limbic system which is the part of the brain involved in our behavioural and emotional responses. 

The limbic system then sends messages to our hypothalamus, the area of the brain which through the pituitary gland sends messages to the other parts of our body, different odour molecules will result in different messages being sent. 

Out of the 4 essential oil sticks (Calm, Energy, Sleep, Focus), which sticks are the most popular at the moment?

I would have to say B.Calm and Sleep which under the current COVID situation and mood of the nation, we are not surprised. 

What are the ingredients in each of the 4 essential oil sticks? 

We have used tried and tested but most importantly much researched essential oils. 

ENERGY – Eucalyptus – Peppermint – Lemongrass

FOCUS – Rosemary – Peppermint – Lime 

B.CALM – Cardamom – Lavender – Bergamot – Sweet Orange 

SLEEP – Lavender – Red Mandarin – Frankincense 

When I have been anxious in the past I have used the B.CALM stick & it did help.  What is your favourite stick to use?

That’s an easy one, I love them all but B.Calm is my baby and the one that started our wonderful journey. 

Have you any other new products to add to your range in the pipeline for 2021?

We have a few new amazing products coming in the second half of 2021 so watch this space!

Have you always been interested in aromatherapy? 

Before being told that it was anxiety causing my issues, no. I had not used essential oils prior to this and now I we want to tell the whole world about the amazing benefits of essential oils.

As you are based in UK, are your products available to purchase overseas? 

We pride ourselves that we are “Made in the UK” this was so important to us that we sourced and produced from UK supply. 

Growing up, did you have career aspirations in the medical field or something entirely different?

Definitely something entirely, as a kid I was always fascinated by the Wild West and thought one day I’d become a rancher and you know what, I made that dream come true…For a while, anyways, I lived in Montana USA where each day I rode the vast wild plains, herding cattle and chasing down wild horses.  I always had a deep connection towards the wilderness and the great outdoors. However, I fell in love with a wonderful woman and moved back to the UK. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Oh no, OK, as my wife always tells me, sometimes it’s OK to look a little less comfortable!!!!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I do like Next and ASOS

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Sorry, not the answer you really want to hear, but a good pair of dog walking boots

Boots or Shoes?

Dog Walking Boots!

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about GO2.

www.thego2brand.com 

@thego2brand

Thanks for the chat Marc – is has been fascinating learning about your essential oil sticks ….. and your life as a rancher in Montana!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Marc Shipman

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An Interview With Glezant

I’m investigating unusual and fun gadgets for the home this week with my guest Antonina Glezer of Glezant, an analytical chemist turned designer. Antonina has always had a passion for interior design and her products are fun yet practical. I caught up with Antonina recently to find out more..Hi Antonina!

Hello, I’m Antonina. I was born and educated in Moscow. I studied at Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technology and later I worked at various Moscow research institutes. I changed my professional activity from lip-gloss development to chromatography at the Institute of Organic Chemistry. Then I flew on an airplane – lab over different regions researching air pollution.

Since 1991 I`ve lived in Israel. For over 25 years I worked as an analytical chemist for a university and for a pharmaceutical company. When my children have grown older and I got tired of chemistry I have decided to go ahead and start studying something which was a passion of mine all along. First I have completed courses of interior design, then project management and, finally, I have graduated from the Holon Institute of Technology majoring in design of industrial products. Now I can afford myself to work at what always has been a hobby of mine – design.

I specialize in the creation of products from industrial leftovers. I use natural materials and also recycle them.

I could not calmly watch how the veneer of valuable wood species was thrown away. Using my knowledge of chemistry, I created a new veneer-based material. Later I used it to create fun wall stickers for my design items. I create unusual and fun gadgets for home decor and storage. In my work, I use a combination of handicraft and high-tech technologies such as laser cutting.

I have been selling since 2012. During this time I’ve made over 2,500 sales across stores like Dawanda, A Little Market, GLEZANTdesign on Etsy and AntGl on Etsy.

What inspired you to launch Glezant?

My disappointment with the new policy on the Etsy marketplace and a heightened sense of justice, desire for even greater freedom and independence.

You have designed a range of home items, accessories and utensils – what are your most popular products?

Oddly enough, my very first product that I made as soon as I finished my studies as an industrial product designer. This is Shelf-Sheep for wall decoration and toilet paper storage. My blog has this story and you can take it in whole or in part.

Have you got a favourite product out of everything you have designed?

This is the Sheep and her relatives again. It is also popular among those who use other people’s ideas. Long ago there were Sheep made of metal, standing on the floor and hanging on the wall, as well as all sorts of other animals and birds. I also love my Owl. It appeared much later, but it`s way to the market was more difficult. At some point, I even had to take her off the market until I found a more suitable material for her head. A lot of imitations of it also appeared.

When designing products to add to your collection, do you consider current trends, product usefulness, customer requests, your own ideas or bits of all those? 

You know, I tried to ask my acquaintances about their needs for household goods. But nothing interesting came out of this. I am rather inspired by the interesting source of material I find, the desire to give it a new life. After all, if I see in it an opportunity for a new life, then it is very difficult to accept that it will be thrown away. It could even be a new product made by a bad designer out of a good material. So I made a dress and a handbag out of a sweater too overloaded with details. Unfortunately, my sizes quickly went beyond the dress and I did not use it, but I still hope that this set will find it`s mistress among thin girls. Maybe someone will fall in love with it and this kit will start a new life..

Have you any other new products in the pipeline to add to your range for 2021/2022?

Yes of course. But I don’t have enough time to finish it to the final stage. And prematurely showing the model is leading to plagiarism.

Have you always been interested in designing gadgets or did your career aspirations lie elsewhere? 

As far as I remember, I always sewed and altered something for myself. In my student years (and I studied to be a synthetic chemist) I made an original hat from my mother’s unnecessary wide woolen scarf with a fashionable at this time round bolster around the face and a “ponytail” with a knot on the crown. Or made fashionable beads from rattles for babies (rattles made of good plastic were already available, and there were no beads made of large bright balls yet). But to create a new veneer-based material, then develop a product, and also figure out how to package it for mailing – this is only after studying at the College of Technology.

As you are based in Israel, are your products available to purchase worldwide? 

Thanks to the internet, of course. My customers are mainly from Europe from Poland to Portugal, Scandinavia and English-speaking countries and continents. The Israelis also buy sometimes, even the Russians buy, but less often than the Japanese. And it’s not just the cost of goods, but different ideas about beauty. My products feel like a stranger amid the predominance of Byzantine taste.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I understand that my answer most likely will not find understanding among your readers, but the truth is more important to me. I rarely buy in brand stores. I mainly buy from second hand stores. And, as a rule, I compose something of my own on the basis of these things. Then for a long time I can not part with the item that I fell in love with, I redo, modernize. I reassure myself with lines from Akhmatova: “If only you knew from what rubbish poetry grows without knowing shame.”

 Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (

I am a bad customer, I do not like to waste time shopping even on the Internet. Except when I am abroad, there is a hope to see something unusual. I love boho clothes, but in the past as a chemist I couldn’t afford to be a black sheep. Now I am a pensioner, but again restrictions – I move around my town on a bicycle, and skirts and dresses are bored in the closet and hope for something else.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

It is not a problem to find clothes. Rather a way of life  that makes it possible to wear things which express your nature and embellish you.

Boots or Shoes?

Neither one nor the other, but sandals, we mostly have hot weather.

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Glezant

https://www.pinterest.com/anglexclusive/pins/

glezant.com

I love your attitude around clothes, Antonina! Thank you so for chatting to me about your fun products, your work history and your motivations!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Glezant (Antonina Glezer)

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Spotlight On FYX

FYX is a delicious new collagen infused spring water drink – one designed for giving a beauty boost ; the other a general body boost. A healthy way to be healthy and hydrated! I was fortunate to interview founders Theresa and Andy about their products and how they managed to get hydrolysed fish collagen to taste good. Also intrigued? Then read on….

Hello, we’re Theresa, Founder & Managing Director FYX, and


Andy – Operations & Marketing Director FYX

What inspired you to develop your new collagen drink, FYX? 

T: I have always been interested in health and beauty, and there are many brands of collagen products that I’ve tried over the years. Unfortunately, I never found one that I would enjoy and stick to, whether it came in a powder, tablet or gel form. It either smelled and / or tasted unpleasant or the texture wasn’t great. It was also time-consuming, especially when having to mix the powder that sometimes became lumpy. After many years of research and looking what was currently available on the market, I wanted to create a healthy, feel-good drink for men and women which would have collagen and added functional benefits. A drink which required no mixing or measuring, that tasted great and had the consistency of water,which could be consumed anytime during the day or night. The most important thing what l wanted to achieve was to bring a premium collagen drink to the market that everyone would enjoy and could actually feel the benefits of at an affordable price. With Andy’s wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise in marketing and brand development we are both very excited to share FYX with the world.

FYX comes in two varieties – BODY and BEAUTY. Which variety is the most popular?

They are both equally popular.

What is collagen? What are the main benefits to drinking FYX? 

Collagen is known as the glue that holds your body together.  Collagen is one of the main structural proteins that forms the connective tissue throughout your system, making up 30% of your body and 70% of your skin’s natural protein. Collagen is found in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as skin, hair and nails.

There are many benefits to drinking FYX but here a few key ones: • Hydrating as mixed with spring water, plus it has the consistency of water.• FYX BEAUTY has 2500mg of Marine Collagen and a blend of antioxidant ingredients to replenish your body from the inside out and enhance your skin, hair and nails.• FYX BODY has 2500mg of Marine Collagen and is designed to help replenish your body’s recovery pre and post exercise, as well as helping to repair any damaged ligaments, plus improve joint health.• Sugar free to prevent sugar crashes.• Less than 31 calories per bottle.

Was it a challenge to put together suitable recipes for your both FYX varieties that lived up to your standards? 

Yes, very much so. Anything is a challenge if you want to do something different. There is so much competition and there are so many brands to choose from in today’s market. You have to think outside the box and create something that will have an impact and stand out from the rest, whilst considering what consumers would like. For many years l had the vision and l knew what l wanted to create. Trying to get the recipe and ingredients, flavours, taste and texture spot on takes a lot of time and patience.

As you are currently based in the UK, is “FYX” available to purchase worldwide?

FYX is available to purchase at www.fyxme.co.uk and from the 10th of May we will be shipping globally.

Is FYX suitable for everyone ( eg vegan, gluten free, sugar content etc) or are there any exceptions/recommendation

FYX is gluten and sugar free and is suitable for men and woman of all ages and for young adults. It isn’t suitable for vegans as it contains fish (marine collagen). 

Have you always wanted a career in the health food/beverage sector or were your career aspirations elsewhere?

Andy and I have been close friends for over 20 years and we’ve always been interested in food and health. We both love to cook and lead a healthy lifestyle. During one of our many conversations we discussed several opportunities and we have spoken about opening a spa or restaurant overseas one day. 

Personal now – – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Theresa – l prefer casual clothes whether it’s a pair of jeans and boots or sports loungewear with a good pair of trainers. 

Andy – I prefer casual and colourful clothes generally. You need to feel comfortable in everything you do.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Theresa – Las Vegas is like my second home. l love shopping there. You are spoilt for choice – there’s too many to mention!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I haven’t really thought about it! 

Boots or Shoes? ( & Why?)

Boots – I go for comfort these days.

For Pinning Later

 Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter/ instagram etc so that readers can find out more about FYX

https://www.facebook.com/fyxhealth/

https://www.instagram.com/fyxhealth/

Thank you Theresa (and Andy) for the chat about FYX . The drink looks good, tastes good and does you good – so it is a win win! I will point out though, that if you are pregnant or breast feeding then consult your doctor for advice before taking marine collagen. Recommendations change regularly so always best to check! During each of my 7 pregnancies, there was always a different new food or drink or practice to avoid!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of FYX.

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An Interview With Pineapple Fibre Art

Art but not exactly as you know it this week – bespoke vintage inspired crochet wall art created by Emma of Pineapple Fibre Art. Using gorgeous hand dyed yarns, these intricate art pieces are certainly pretty and you can see the painstakingly amount of work that has gone into each mandala. And the size of them! I was gifted the Pale Green Penny mandala (thank you Emma) and it amazed me how big it was and how stunning it looks too. I couldn’t wait to ask Emma about her works of art … Hi Emma!

Hello, my name is Emma and I live in Devon halfway between Dartmoor and the sea.

What inspired the setting up of “Pineapple Fibre Art”?  

Pineapple Fibre Art is based on my love of vintage doily patterns and gorgeous hand dyed yarn.  No one really has white doilies under their fruit bowl anymore, but the patterns are so intricate and beautiful that I wanted a way to allow them to be enjoyed in a more contemporary setting.   The ‘pineapple’ in my business name comes from a motif that is frequently found repeated in my work and loosely resembles, you guessed it, a pineapple.  I love to crochet, I love turning a skein of yarn (merino/nylon blend for preference) into something beautiful, the possibilities in that skein of yarn are endless and that is so exciting.

Your crochet mandalas are made using gorgeous hand dyed yarns in a variety of doily patterns. What mandala patterns and colours are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

This season the colours have been more muted, and my most popular pattern has been the Maggie, with her tight central swirl and pineapples around the outside.  This is a 60cm design, a stunning statement piece of art.  I’ve also seen an increase in my pattern sales, which makes sense with the world still partially closed due to Covid-19.

Out of all your collection, do you have any favourites?

I’ll always have a soft spot for the Fran, a graceful 70cm hoop.  She was rather tricky to get right at first, but it was so worth it.  Despite her size she is light and airy and looks beautiful in any colourway.  This one in the soft mint green was the first and I love her!

As you are based in the UK, are your products available to purchase overseas?

Yes of course!  Obviously Brexit has made shipping to the EU more expensive, and prices for shipping have been shifting, but I am happy to set up shipping to anywhere; my parcels are light, but big so courier services are usually required.

When designing the doily patterns to add to your mandala collection, do you base your designs on original vintage pieces or do you prefer to make up your own pattern combinations?

It’s a real combination!  Many of my hoops are based on vintage patterns, tweaked to fit within the perfect circle of my wooden hula hoops.  Over time I may amend the pattern further to suit my tastes and tension, the sizes of hoops available and the size the customer wants.  I have designed from scratch my own 60cm hoop, Patience, named for the time and effort required to get it right!  I also sometimes use motifs from various patterns in tandem to suit the yarn and size I am aiming for.

How long have you been crocheting?  Can you also knit?

Ooo, I’ve been crocheting for around 12 years now I think.  A friend started me off and I got the rest from Youtube.  Knitting however… that’s much more tricky: I have knitted a scarf, and one sock.  I can sort of knit I suppose, but it’s hard going and I’d rather have a crochet hook in my hand!

Growing up, did you always want to be a designer/creative field or did your aspirations lie elsewhere?

I think like many people I didn’t come into my creativity until later.  I don’t paint or draw and wouldn’t have called myself artistic or creative when I was younger, despite always making jewellery and, later on, bags. I don’t think I ever had a particularly firm idea what I’d do as an adult after the two weeks work experience in a primary school when I was 15 told me I didn’t want to be a teacher.  I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, and I’m 36 now, I’ll just keep making it up as I go!

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Dresses!  In winter I love colourful tights especially Snag mustard ones, yellow legs make me happy, in summer some chub rub shorts.  Less worry about what goes with what, and more comfy!  Teals, navy and purple figure predominately.  I’ve worked out what I like and tend to stick to it now, even if I can be a bit predictable!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love Folksy and Etsy for beautiful unique hand made things, Seasalt for clothes, but I’ve never been much of a high street shopper and 2020 removed my desire to shop in person even further.  I could do with a couple of more summery dresses though, so I might have to brave the shops soon!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots, with crochet socks!  I hate wet feet and boots mean I can walk the dog without my feet freezing off.  And I don’t do heels, I never really learnt to walk in them.  Am I allowed to say that here?!


Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Pineapple Fibre Art

Website https://www.pineapplefibreart.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PineappleFibreArt

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/pineapplefibreart/

Thank you very much for the crochet mandala ( it is very beautiful) and thank you for telling us all about your crochet works of art. My Nan always had lots of crochet doilies scattered around her house and she would have adored your work too.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Pineapple Fibre Art (apart from the header photo and the Pinterest photo which were by Linda Hobden).

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An Interview With Hill & Ellis

Encouraging people to get on their bikes, cycle bag brand Hill & Ellis have designed and manufactured a wide range of colourful and stylish cycle bags to keep your iPads, mobiles, paperwork, books, sandwiches etc safe whilst you are cycling to work, to a picnic or just cycling for pleasure. Although Tour de France in full swing, for those who prefer a more sedate cycling pace, I caught up with Catherine Ellis to find out more. Hi Catherine!

Hello. I am Catherine and I am the founder of Hill & Ellis, a cycle bag brand who manufacture stylish cycle bags and baskets. 

What inspired you to set up your brand, Hill & Ellis?

Cycling! I cycled to work every day as a TV producer but couldn’t find a bag that would fit to my bike but that wasn’t really ugly! After years of fruitless searching I decided to set about designing my own. I was stopped at traffic lights by cyclists asking where the sample bags were from, and I knew then I was onto something.

Your panniers are a modern-day twist on the classic school satchels, designed for bikes and ooze sophistication.  What was it about the classic school satchel that made you plump for that design for your bike? 

I’ve always loved the school satchel style, it’s quite classically British which also appealed, but I wanted to put our own twist on the design so that it was more original. We also have a range of other bags styles, including cotton tote panniers, scooter bags and wicker bicycle baskets.

The panniers come in a funky range of colours – I particularly like the yellow/grey combo. What colours/styles are proving popular so far?

The yellow grey is really popular and has been since we launched it as a limited edition 6 years ago. It was so popular it stayed! As well as the yellow, the burgundy, black and tan are our most popular and in our totes it’s the black and the leopard print. 

As you are based in England, are your products available to purchase internationally? 

Yes, we are based in England, we manufacture in London and Portugal and we ship internationally. 

When designing the panniers and deciding the colours, are you influenced by current trends, old favourites, customer requests, personal tastes or bits of all those?

A bit of all really. We don’t really feed into fashion fast trends as we aren’t a fast fashion brand, we want to make bags which can be used for years. But we do get inspired by prints and colours from trends.

 Can the panniers be personalised? 

All our leather bags can be personalised, as we have inhouse embossing. They look great with initials on, the perfect gift! 

Have you both always been into textiles or did your career aspirations lay elsewhere?

I have always loved textiles and I studied design at Central St Martins (a few years ago) which helped with the bag design and pattern cutting. Much of the inspiration comes from cycling, married with inspiration from prints, colours and classic designs. 

As a brand, Hill & Ellis, with every bag sold ensures that a tree is planted in its place.  Which other projects have you been passionate about so far? 

As well as planting a tree for every bag, we also carbon offset our workforce. As we have done this over the last year we have supported a range of projects.

We have also run various donation weeks  – where profits are given to charity and these donations have gone to FareShare – who support food banks and the Bicycle Charity who re-fit old bikes in the UK and send them to people that need bikes in parts of Africa.

What do you personally enjoy about cycling? 

The freedom. In the days when you went to the office you could pedal home and after just 20 minutes you would have left the day behind you and find yourself so much more relaxed. Even now, just going for a ride calms the mind. I also love the way it’s a really easy way to get some exercise into the day and you get to explore where you live. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Often jeans or tea dresses. Always something that I can pedal in. I have learnt from experience to test the outfit before getting on the bike. 

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes, mainly because I have many more of them to choose from. Boots in Winter, though.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Hill & Ellis

For Pinning Later

www.hillandellis.com

I/T/P: @hillandellis

F: @hillellis

Thank you very much Catherine for chatting with me about your gorgeous cycle bags.

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Catherine Ellis

Linda x

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An Interview With Sarah Jane Hemsley Upholstery

Talking about upholstery this week with Sarah Jane Hemsley who had a desire for more creativity in her life and this led to an interesting transition from working in hospitality to retraining as an upholsterer. I caught up with Sarah Jane to find out more about her work, her training and her career change desire! Hi Sarah Jane!

Hi, I’m Sarah Jane Bustin, founder of Sarah Jane Hemsley Upholstery – Hemsley is my middle name – based in St Margarets Twickenham, south West London.

I’m originally from Isle of Bute, west coast of Scotland and have been living in the south for 20 plus years now but go back to Bute several times a year.  

What inspired you to become an  Upholsterer?

During my previous working life, I’d always done some kind of evening class in life drawing, sculpture etc.

10 years ago, whilst doing the daily slog into London I decided I needed to try evening classes in something… anything a bit different! Plumping eventually for upholstery as I love interiors and thought of myself as quite hands on. Well within five minutes of the first task of stripping a grotty, smelly drop seat pad I was completely and utterly smitten.

You offer a bespoke service to restore, revive and reupholster antique, mid-century and modern furniture.  What has been your favourite or most challenging piece of furniture you’ve upholstered?

Goodness, well the challenges are often the larger or more complex pieces. There’s always a frisson of excitement when you get a proper antique or mid-century designer piece but probably the most head scratching was an upholstered porthole for a teenager’s bedroom. The client had seen one in a magazine and had a joiner build the ‘porthole’ into the cabinetry in her daughter’s bedroom, it was only then we were contacted to upholster it. It took many hours of working out how to pad and cover (in red velvet) this 1.5 metre circle to make a usable comfy seat!! The cushion elements and backing circle were made in the workshop and then it was assembled on site over a few hours. Think we managed to achieve it pretty much bang on!

You have recently launched a lovely range of fabrics and homewares featuring illustrations by Isle of Bute artist Lyn Bulloch – who also happened to be your art teacher when you were growing up there! What fabric designs are proving popular amongst your customers so far?

The Waverley design seems to resonate most with people. We can’t believe how many folk have recognised the ship when they see the fabric, even in West London! 

Lyn’s illustrations are technically brilliant resulting in the ink drawings being so representative of the landscape in and around Bute. 

The pretty colours of Dunagoil & Shore Road also appeal but my favourite is the bold linear horizon of mountains and fields of the Sleeping Warrior.

As you are based in Twickenham, are your products available to purchase overseas? 

Currently the products are sent within the UK only.  I would love to send overseas and will be looking into that over the next few months. 

How long does it take to train as an upholsterer?   

I trained in intensive chunks of time – 1, 2 and 3 weeks at a time – over a few years to gain my certificate and advanced certificate through the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers. My training took placed in the most beautiful setting of a converted barn in Cornwall with fantastic Master Upholsterer Richard Hooper Home | Tresithick Upholstery Training (tresithickrestorations.co.uk)

There are many evening and part time courses all over the country and the AMUSF website is a great place to start looking The Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers – Upholding the past – furnishing the future 

Have you always wanted to be an upholsterer or did your career aspirations lay elsewhere?

Becoming an upholsterer was a total career change. Previously I worked in Facilities and Operational Management for universities and hostel accommodation. It was very business focused with lots of people management and customer driven. Certainly nothing like the creative area that I now work in.

What aspect of being an upholsterer do you enjoy the most?  Any downsides?

Being an upholsterer ticks so many boxes for me. It’s creative, requiring continuous problem solving and interpretation, it’s keeping alive traditional craft skills and ensures furniture continues to be useful and loved and not discarded.

Running your own business means you’re in control of everything which I relish! I find I have ideas bursting out of me and just not enough time in the day. On the downside it does mean I work long hours and can get a bit over consumed in what I do.  I need to stand back and put perspective on things every now and then. 

Do you ever get a chance to advise, select or suggest ideas of materials, patterns, styles to customers? 

I love fabrics and have developed a wide knowledge of designs, suppliers and trends which allows me to advise my clients. Technology has moved on so much that there are amazing stain resistant fabrics suitable for family life and of course I like to seek out the smaller design companies for something special. 

I can offer advice on colour schemes, practicality of cloth and pattern scale. I particularly like sourcing fabric for clients’ one-off statement chairs in period houses… that can really get the creative juices flowing! Oh, and there’s my own Bulloch Collection of course!!!

Several times a year we have stalls at fairs and markets locally where I sell restored pieces such as the ‘Bliss’ chair.

When you are not upholstering, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

Well, this last year has been an odd one for all of us and I’ve found myself working longer hours than usual. When I do get time away from work I love walking in the countryside – the New Forest and Surrey Hills especially. I’m also desperate to get back to galleries and museums and perusing antique fairs and car boot sales.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I’m usually dressed for work… all comfort and practicality! But I’ve really missed dressing up over the last few months. I adore dresses!! It was my birthday the other day and I wore a vintage dress made from a 1940’s housecoat to the pub beer garden for a boozy lunch! Super long earrings and knee-high suede boots and it felt great.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love vintage clothes and regularly trawl vintage and charity shops. During lockdown I found a great British sock maker Pittch. I’m also determined to shop more local and independent where I can. Instagram has been an eye-opener for what’s out there.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Always on the lookout for the next perfect dress. I’ve also got several skirts that I’m planning to alter… bespoking my wardrobe!

Boots or Shoes? 

Always, always boots of all varieties (both for work and leisure) and then Fitflops in the summer. Arch support is essential as I’m on my feet most of the day – it’s definitely worth spending on looking after your feet.

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Sarah Jane Hemsley Upholstery

More information and insights about Sarah Jane’s work and the Bulloch Collection ….

www.sjhupholstery.com

https://www.facebook.com/sarahjanehemsleyupholstery/

https://www.instagram.com/sarahjanehemsleyupholstery/

Such beautiful work from both yourself and Lyn Bulloch – thank you for sharing your experience with us!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Sarah Jane Hemsley Upholstery

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An Interview With Simply Soaperior

Bath bombs, wax melts and shampoo bars …. this week I am interviewing Vicky from Simply Soaperior who makes the most delightful artisanal bath products! My teenage son adores the bath bombs, my niece is a Mrs Hinch fanatic so she uses the Mrs Hinch style wax melts and me? Well, I adore the shampoo bars that are specially formulated for different hair types. Hello Vicky and welcome…

Hi! My name is Vicky. I’m 36 with one daughter, who is 11 and called Ella. I moved to Newquay Cornwall from Cheshire 12 years ago, and that was the start of a completely new life for me and a new adventure. 

What inspired you to launch Simply Soaperior?

Probably not what you would expect.. Once moving to Cornwall, I began cleaning holiday homes (something I never thought I would do after being a hairdresser in the past) I wanted to do something a little special and add handmade soap for guests, but I thought to my self, I could do that. It became an addiction to making new items and wanting to try new things. I was fortunate that people loved what I made, so it became a completely different business, and 10 years on, I’m still doing something I love, and it is still an addiction. I can’t say I ever have the dread to work!

 I love the Mermaids Glamour Bath Bomb & the Yippy Hippy Bath Bomb! What products are proving most popular amongst your customers this year?

The two most popular products are the Shark Attack Bath Bomb, and the Mrs Hinch Inspired Wax Melt Selection, I would say the mermaid’s Glamour is 3rd in line though. 
 

Have you got a personal favourite from your range?

I love a bubble Bar! I’m all about bubbles and feeling all soft after the bath and that is exactly how they make you feel. I’m also a solid shampoo lover, it was my love for them that made me start to make them, I spent nearly 2 years formulation them till they were exactly how I wanted them. so many benefits from zero waste – they have a lower PH to work with hair and scalp unlike soap and a lot of bottle shampoos. 

Apart from bath products, you also produce “wax melts”.  What are wax melts?  

Wax melts are scented, pieces of wax that when gently melted by a wax warmer will  fill the surrounding area with a delightful aroma, a scent  as pleasant as any candle but without a naked flame (if using an electric warmer)

Have you any other new products in the pipeline to add to your range in the pipeline for 2021/2022?

We are making new bath bombs all time, but our big launch was the solid shampoo bars that went live at the end of May. Living by the sea and trying to do my bit on plastic everyone must try I’m sure you will make the swap!! 

Have you always been interested in cosmetics, or did your career aspirations lie elsewhere?

I have always been crafty and loved making things, as a child I use to spend hours in lush and body shop, but I never would have thought it would be what I did for a job but once I started I just couldn’t stop! There’s a lot of science behind making cosmetics so its not as simple as some people think. 


As you are based in UK, are your products available to purchase overseas?

It’s something I will offer soon hopefully but after leaving the EU it’s not quite as simple as it was.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

In the winter I would be ugg boots, jeans and normally a t-shirt or jumper. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I’m an Abercrombie jean lover, and I love scrolling through Etsy, its great for inspiration and to buy unique things.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Sandals and flip flops, one thing you must have when living by the beach.  

Boots or Shoes?

Boots ,trainers or sandals, because I’m all about comfort.    

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Simply Soaperior
www.simplysoaperior.co.uk
www.instagram.com/simply_soaperior
www.facebook.com/simplysoaperior

After this interview took place, Vicky kindly sent me a couple of bath bombs, wax melts and shampoo bar. They are wonderful – I was especially impressed with the bath bombs ! Thank you very much Vicky.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Soaperior apart from the header photo and Pinterest photo which are by Linda Hobden.

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An Interview With Driftwood Designs

Inspired by Wales – its beautiful scenery, language and culture – my guest this week is Lizzie Spikes, artist and illustrator based in Aberystwyth in West Wales. Lizzie founded her company, Driftwood Designs, in 2005, which she runs along with her friend Becky who apparently has a passion for spreadsheets! I caught up with Lizzie to find out more… Hi Lizzie!


Hi! My name is Lizzie Spikes and I’m the arty part of the partnership that runs Driftwood Designs.  I live and work on the West coast of Wales, near Aberystwyth, in a cave-like Welsh cottage with my two sons, our two hounds, two cats and our mildly grumpy goat.

What inspired you to set up “Driftwood Designs” ?

Becky Barratt and I have known each other since school,and we found ourselves as new mothers with complementary skills and the need to make a living around our children.  Driftwood Designs was conceived and created at Becky’s kitchen table with a handful of cards and a couple of poster prints run off for us by the friendly printer up the road.

I am always curious to know the origins of brand names, so why did you choose “Driftwood Designs”? Did you consider other names?

I came up with Driftwood Designs as a company name.  It was my second choice – I had my heart set on Flotsam and Jetsam Designs but it wasn’t available as a domain name and with hindsight would have been a bit of a mouthful.  Driftwood Designs was next on my list and it’s served us well.

You have a lovely wide range of illustrated products including posters, greeting cards, lampshades, cushions, tea towels, mugs and so on. What products and designs are proving popular amongst your customers so far?

Our cards are still our biggest seller and the pandemic has definitely increased sales as people strive to keep in touch.  Alongside this Becky and I both love the product development aspect of our work and like to dream up new designs and creations – hence the ever-increasing array of designs.  We try to put our imagery onto homewares that are both practical and beautiful.  

I particularly like the Colonnog Hearty design in the velvet cushion and tea towel.  Do you have a particular favourite design? 

I also love the hearty designs and now that we’ve found a British company who can make our textile products as bright and beautiful as we want them to be I would like to make more! Our china mugs bring me joy every day and I love my ‘Seasons’ lampshade.


As you are based in Wales, are your products available to purchase overseas? 

We’re happy to send things overseas and our website is fully stocked with our many products.

What inspires your illustrations? Do you go out with an idea to look for something specific to draw? Do you draw in situ or do you take photos and illustrate from there? 

I find lots of things inspiring – nature, the changing seasons, quotes I hear or read, places and people. And I’m lucky that our customers send me ideas and things they think I’ll like.  I always have a working notebook on the go which is full of scrawls of the things I don’t want to forget.


I hear that you like to work with pieces of flotsam and jetsam driftwood that you collect from your walks on your local pebbly beaches. What was the hardest or most unusual piece of artwork you’ve created so far out of driftwood?  Favourite piece?  

I like Driftwood as a canvas – the pieces that wash up have always had a previous use and a history that makes them inspiring.  My favourite piece of driftwood treasure thus far is a wooden guitar that I found on a local beach one rainy April which I turned into a scene.

Have you always wanted to be an artist/illustrator or did your career aspirations lay elsewhere?

I have always painted and drawn and it feels wrong to go a day without doing so.  I studied Drama and Fine Art at university – I specialised in sceneography and costume design because it was another way in which to interpret, illustrate and communicate literature.  One day I’d like to revisit set design but for now I’m happy to illustrate things on my kitchen table on a smaller scale!

When you are not illustrating, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

In my spare time I can be found out walking with my hounds and a flask of coffee or in the sea – swimming or trying to master standing up on my surfboard.  I like to be outside in all weathers.  I also like cooking, and eating, and my perfect weekend would be a hike somewhere new with good friends followed by a big meal, a glass of red wine and a warm fire.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love clothes and have frocks in all colours, shapes and sizes but mostly end up wearing paint splattered jeans which are worn on the knees, jumpers and wellies!  On the days when I wash the paint off and head into town for work or meetings I like to wear less practical attire and can even be found in heels.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

My favourite online shops are a local coffee vendor called Teifi Coffee who delivers my favourite brew, an art materials supplier, ebay for new and old dresses and I hate trailing around supermarkets so I try to buy most of my groceries online too.  The boys and I get the occasional Gousto food box delivered – it means that we try different things and the boys are getting adept at cooking by following the instructions so it counts as a home schooling task.  Locally we’re very lucky to have some wonderful independent shops and if you ever venture to Aberystwyth, Medina is definitely worth a visit for food and supplies.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I definitely, absolutely need a new pair of Saltwater Sandals.  I had a gold  pair for years and they finally gave up at the end of last summer.

Boots or Shoes? 

I wear boots in winter and sandals in summer… I rarely wear shoes and have never really considered why not- they were a part of school uniform that I was happy to leave behind.

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Driftwood Designs

We can be found on the web at www.driftwooddesigns.co.uk or on Facebook as Lizziespikes-DriftwoodDesigns and Instagram as @drifteddesigns or in real life we have a shiny new shop on Pier Street in Aberystwyth and in Castle Arcade in Cardiff.  

Absolutely beautiful prints and illustrations, Lizzie, they definitely conjure up the spirit of Wales!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Lizzie Spikes/ Driftwood Designs

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An Interview With Maggio

Heels, oh wonderful heels … it’s been a while but this week I’m featuring footwear in the form of Italian stiletto brand, MAGGIO. Inspired by Greece, made in Italy, worn by women worldwide with a passion for high heels. I caught up with founder and designer Marianna to find out more about her stiletto passion …. Hi Marianna!


Hello! I’m Marianna.

Age 36

I will wear high heels everywhere and always. I can’t concentrate and be feminine in flats😊

My favourite colour is Fuchsia and the blue of Greece.

I only drink something bubbly!

Married to Bobby Gogios and mother of baby girl born September 2020.

Moved from Athens to Denmark at a young age.

What inspired the setting up of  your luxury heel brand “Maggio”?      

I studied commerce management specializing in sales and sales management and went on to work in the travel industry in sales and marketing. This was followed by working as a Team Leader in the sales team at a software company and in 2019 I realized my dream of becoming a shoe designer and Maggio was born. 

I have always dreamt of having my own fashion brand, particularly a stiletto brand. I was so fascinated by the craftmanship involved that I used to run around at my parent’s friend’s shoe-factory fascinated and curious. I was always looking at all the shoes and dreaming that one day I would create my own shoe brand for women that want to stand out and feel empowered enough to show their inner goddess. Maggio is affordable luxury inspired by Greece handmade in Italy.

For me when a pair of heels are made it’s amazing to see all the personal touches and passion that goes into the shoes. It’s fascinating to see all the pieces that are put together to become a special pair of beautiful heels.

I’m interested in the origins of brand names – so how did you come up with “Maggio”?  Were there other names you considered?

Well, I was at a lovely beach on a Greek Island with my little notebook writing names down and sort of play with the combination of letters of my first name and family name. Suddenly I came up with Maggio and thought it sounded good. It was short and easy to remember. Yes I considered writing my full name but it’s so long and hard to spell 😊

I also considerer BYMK but that was too close to another brand.

Your aim is to have every woman feel feminine and powerful as soon as they wear heels by Maggio. What style/colour heels are most popular amongst your customers?

It’s actually a good but difficult question because in general they have difficult choosing the colours but I would say that the pink Astraea, Green Hemera and Blue Eudora are popular at the moment

Out of all your collection, do you have any favourites?

I love them all but my favourite at the moment is the new Astrea in Pink.

As you are based in Denmark, are your products available to purchase overseas? 

Yes we ship worldwide

When designing heels to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, requests, traditional styles, current trends or bits of all those?

In general, I’m mainly focused on my vision of each shoe. Everything else comes second. However, I do have a vision board where I pin different fabrics, accessories and clipping from fashion magazines to see the trends in Europe. I get my inspiration from Greece, especially the colours that are so unique and that is something you remember.

How long on average to make a pair of heels from scratch?

It takes 30 different components to produce a high heel. That is why it takes time and is very complex to design and produce a high heeled shoe. It takes around 3 months for Maggio shoes to be made passing through a lot of people and collaborators.

A couple of hypothetical questions now!  Firstly, if you could go anywhere in the world for inspiration to create a new collection, where would you go and why?

I would go to Greece to sit by the sea (my favourite place) The colours and its beauty is something unique and something you will not find anywhere in the world.

Secondly, which famous lady would you pick to be the “Face” Of Maggio and why?

I would pick Gal Gadot- she is feminine, has natural beauty and is a true power woman.

She participated at Miss Universe, studied law and was in the army and has both beauty and brains. I just love her in Wonder Woman.

Growing up, did you always want to be a shoe designer or did your career aspirations lie elsewhere?

Yes, I was so fascinated with the craftsmanship and to see the transformation on have women feel and look when the wear the right pair of heels. But it took me some time to gather the courage to follow my dream.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I’m all about colour and it is important for me that the look is feminine and preferably glamorous. I love dresses and slim fit pants. Always with a pair of high heels, of course.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I really like yoox.com as my favourite shop online. There are a variety of brands that gives inspiration and the service is great.


What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

On my wish list next when it comes to clothes, I want colorful summer dress both casual and party to dress up (hopefully in Greece) with my Maggio stilettos.

Boots or Shoes?

High heels always. I think it’s so feminine that the ankles and the lower legs are showing. It gives a sexy look and your leg looks taller – especially when wearing a skirt or a dress.

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Maggio 

https://bymaggio.com/

https://www.facebook.com/maggioshoes

IG : @bymaggio 

Thank you for joining me on the blog Marianna and showcasing your delectable heels! Love the bold striking colours and the glam look!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of MAGGIO.

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An Interview With Luxe 39

Luxury with a capital “L” this week as we delve into the world of gorgeous, touchy- feely, colourful velvet bespoke cushions! My guest this evening is Helen, founder of Luxe 39, who makes to order these delightful cushions and she has an amazing array of over 100 colour options! Hi Helen …

Hello. My name is Helen Gilbert.  I’m a 40 something mum of 2 boys living in Clapham, London.

What inspired you to set up your brand “Luxe 39”?

In 2017 I was working in marketing recruitment in the city and was struggling to balance home life and work, especially in school holidays. At the same time we were at the tail end of a house renovation, finally at the interior decorating phase, and I couldn’t find velvet cushions of the quality I wanted.  I decided to dig out my sewing machine and make cushions for myself and started to mix various velvet colours together to make double colour cushions.  When friends saw these dual cushions they asked if I could make some for them and the idea just came together that I could work for myself and set up a luxury velvet cushion company.

I’m interested in the origins of brand names – so what does “Luxe 39” stand for?

The name ‘Luxe 39’ took a bit of thinking.  I wanted a name with a matching domain which was tricky as by 2018 so many domain names were already taken so I came up with the idea of adding a number into the brand name and as we live at number 39 that was set.  I played with brand names which included the word ‘cushion’ but worried that would limit the company in the future.  I arrived at ‘Luxe’ for it’s double meaning. Obviously it refers to the luxury nature of the velvet fabric we use in all our cushions, but it also is a play on ‘Lux’ which is the measurement of illumination and references the way cotton velvet bounces light, making the colours appear really vibrant.  And so luxe39.com was born.


With 9 cushion size options, square and rectangle, over 100 colour options, plus cushion covers and draught excluders – there is such a variety to satisfy almost every house decor! Which colourways seem to be the most popular this year?

I keep a tally of the most popular colours and it is interesting to see the gradual shifts of popularity over the years. This year Mustard Yellow is rising in popularity.  It is a gorgeous bright yellow and very like Pantone’s colour of the year, ‘Illuminating’. The single colour which defies fashion and remains most popular is Burnt Orange and the double colour cushion which sells the best is the really colourful combination of Burnt Orange with Bright Pink. 

Velvet cushions are so luxurious and sumptuous! what do you like most about working with velvet?

I love the depth and richness of colours you get with velvet.  Even neutral shades are truly beautiful in this fabric and that makes it great to work with.  It took a bit of trial and error to successfully sew velvet as it ‘creeps’ when you sew two pieces together, but I’ve had quite a bit of practice now and have it mastered.


Caring for velvet cushions – what are your recommendations on keeping them pristine?

The velvet used in all our cushions is 100% cotton pile and it is actually easy to care for.  Cushions need plumping every few days and this effectively keeps the dust off them. Try to avoid dropping food or drink on them as they can’t be machine washed, but if spills do occur then we recommend blotting with a lint free cloth.  We don’t recommend rubbing velvet as you risk flattening the pile which is the unique thing about the fabric.  Velvet can be dry cleaned if all else fails.

As you are based in the UK, are your products available to purchase overseas?

Our products can be sent anywhere in the world and we’ve shipped as far as Australia.  We used to sell a reasonable number of cushions to European customers but that has noticeably dropped away since Brexit as the cost of shipping has at least doubled and I think customers are wary of the risks of buying from the UK at the moment.

How long on average does it take to make a cushion from scratch?

There a a few stages to making a cushion and all are relatively time consuming. First you need to cut the fabric precisely. Next you need to finish the raw edges before carefully sewing in the zip (which can be made a feature of with our option of a contrasting zip colour).  The sides then need sewing and pressing to ensure the seams are crisp. We overstuff all of our cushions with larger cushion pads to ensure they stay plump so they have to be carefully inserted, and then we take a lot of care to package the cushions to make sure they arrive looking like a gift – so start to finish on each cushion takes longer than you would think.

Have you had any unusual or extravagant or different colourway cushion requests?

I started the website with the colourways which I thought would go together but a lot of the options now online came about through customer requests, and some of these have become my favourites.  Mustard and Bright Pink was requested by a customer and I really wasn’t sure of the combo, but when I made it I realised it was utterly stunning and it is now a popular choice online.  Also, simple colour combos came about from customer requests such as the two tone options of Silver with Dark Grey, or Navy with Royal Blue. When the orders were made I thought they may be a little boring but they are really stunning in their simplicity.

A percentage of profits from the business are donated to mental health charities – why is it important to you to support these charities?

I worry that mental health provision in this country has been neglected and underfunded for a really prolonged period and was already at breaking point even before Covid. Having grown up with a parent with mental health problems I know how essential it that support is there at the time it’s needed so that’s why it’s important to me to support mental health charities.

Growing up, did you always want to have a career in textiles or did your career aspirations lie elsewhere?

My previous career wasn’t in either textiles or interiors, but actually the skills I gained in marketing recruitment have been surprisingly transferrable.  Business development skills are useful in most jobs, and the understanding I gained of digital marketing has been incredibly useful in setting up an online


Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I work from home (before it was the thing everyone did) so I live most of my life in jeans.  I have a favourite pair of Paige jeans which I bought 10 years ago as a treat after losing my baby weight.  They no longer make the exact style so I buy replacements second hand on ebay with varying luck. You just have to hope that the jeans haven’t been shrunk in the tumble drier at any point, or altered over the years.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love clothes from COS as they take classic styles and add a slight twist.  I don’t find that patterns suit me but COS do some beautiful colours which mix and match really well.  Now I think about it, I dress a lot like my cushions, either wearing a single colour or colour blocking two contrasting colours.

What’s next on your clothes/shoes wishlist?

I fancy treating myself to a ‘Me & Em’ dress once we can go out again as they’re expensive but are cut and sewn really well.  Again they are quite classic but often with a twist like a grosgrain stripe sewn into the side seem. As a seamstress I appreciate the construction, but I really haven’t got time to make clothes for myself.

Boots or Shoes?

It’s trainers and sandals for me as I like the laid back vibe and comfort of both.  I like wearing quite tailored clothes and relaxing the look with my footwear as I hate feeling too ‘dressed’.

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Links you would like to share:

We have accounts on both instagram & facebook @luxe39london.  
Website: https://luxe39.com

Hmmm … dear reader, spoilt for choice when it comes to colours …. what would you choose? !

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Luxe 39/ Helen Gilbert

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