BUSINESS TIME: STUDIO TOUR October 05 2014, 0 Comments

I love referring to the attic as 'my studio', it makes me feel like a real freelance creative, with an actual business, which is strange because I still think of Little Nell as my favourite hobby rather than a career choice.

Working from home has it's pros and cons, there are the obvious benefits - like working in your pyjamas and being flexible with your hours. But there are a lot of cons too - like going stir crazy with cabin fever, and not having a team on hand to bounce ideas around with..

Here's some stuff I've learnt along the way...


When Little Nell started out I'd make everything to order, and the living room sofa was my destination of choice for jewellery making. As things have grown, that's just not practical, and having my own space exclusively for Little Nell really helps. It means I can create some separation between when I'm working and when I'm 'home'.  I know not everyone has an extra room to turn into their office, but even having a desk and chair that's specifically for working rather than slaving over the dining table every day will really help you. No one wants to feel like they live at the office.


I'm fortunate that I don't need a huge amount of space. (Which is just as well because there's no room for wall shelving in the attic!) Jewellery stock doesn't take up much room so most of my supplies and stock can be stored around and under the desk and I use clipboards on the wall as my in/out tray to save on desk space. This means once I'm seated I can stay there rather than having to move around to gather bits and pieces. (It sounds ridiculous but getting up every 5 minutes to get something you need makes everything take so much longer!) My desk has to function as a workshop bench, packing table and office desk at different times throughout the day, so it's important that I'm flexible with space to get the most from it.


As well as a practical working space, it was important to me that the studio was somewhere I was happy to spend a lot of time. If we have a busy week, I can be in there first thing in the morning, and late into the night, so it had to be comfortable. Our studio also doubles as a spare room so the sofa bed was an essential. It also means I can lounge and watch TV while doing mundane jobs like stickering jiffy bags, folding boxes etc.... It also makes the most decadent cat bed around.


The main joy of having your own space, is that you can put up whatever you like. Whether it's inspirational quotes, illustrations, or just copious pictures of Michael Fassbender (ahem), no one can tell you that your desk looks 'unprofessional'. I've created my own postcard bunting that I can switch around as much as I like, it includes cards, book covers, some of our press coverage and illustrations.


The hardest thing I find about working from home, is the lack of company. You've always got to make the tea, and there's no one to gossip with by the water cooler, and even if there was, there isn't even a water cooler, it's your kitchen tap. Social Media is a godsend, and not just for marketing your brand, but for keeping me sane. And although I don't have a team to bounce ideas around with, I have a lovely group of like-minded sole-traders at the end of an email who (fortunately for me) are quite happy to lend me their ears and ideas when I need a second opinion. These people are my virtual colleagues, and they're probably more important than anything else on this list.

CANDLE CRAVINGS February 26 2014, 0 Comments

A couple of years ago I received a Diptyque gift set with three little candles inside. It seemed like a nice enough gift, then (after googling the cost, like the curious gift receiver I am) I realised it cost £60 and all I could think about was how I'd have much preferred a Topshop voucher. £60? For three little candles? It seemed ridiculous, surely no candle could be worth that (they're only £2 in Ikea right?), but believe me when I say it was love at first sniff.

Since then I've become quite the scented candle snob, constantly on the hunt for a Diptyque dupe! Below I've picked my top 5 scented candles including some slightly more pocket friendly options...


1. Roses, Diptyque: For me, Diptyque are the mother of all scented candles, they burn evenly, slowly, and have the loveliest selection of fragrances. I've tried Figuier, Baies and Roses and loved them all, but I've re-purchased two large rose candles so I guess they must be my favourite. The scent fills the room really quickly without being overpowering. Not to mention the minimal, elegant packaging which i'm more than happy to display on my bedside table. My only fault is the hefty price tag of £40.

2. Wild Mint & Jasmine, The White Company: I love this scent so much, it's really light and fresh, so I'll quite often light it in the day. It burns evenly, and has elegant, simple packaging, complete with it's own lid to keep the scent locked in. At £26, it's not cheap, but it's worth signing up to the mailing list as I got mine with 20% off and free delivery.

3. Relax, Neom: The scent is lavender, geranium and juniper. I know a lot of people find lavender over-powering, or say it reminds them of their nan, but it's one of my favourite scents. As the name suggests, it's quite calming and relaxing, definitely a good bath time candle. And if lavender isn't your thing, they have a whole range of scents to suit your mood. I'm also a fan of Moroccan Rose. Prices start at £15.

4. Exotic Fig, Oliver Bonas: I hoped this would be a bit of a Diptyque Figuier dupe when I bought it (£15), and it's not far off. The scent is very similar, but it doesn't fill the room in quite the same way. The packaging is lovely too, and it's a good slow burner, making it good value for money.

5. Green Fig, Muji: Another Diptyque dupe, again the scent isn't as strong but at a quarter of the price (£11), I think we can let them off. They also have a range of candles in tins from just £3.50, and the log fire scent is definitely worth the pocket money.

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