LITTLE NELL BLOG
THE WEDDING July 25 2017, 0 Comments
It's been 10 whole months since our wedding day. It feels like longer, not because our marriage is dragging, but because so much has happened since then. We went to Tanzania and Zanzibar on our honeymoom, got a puppy, went to my sister's wedding in Australia and moved 2 hours north to a converted barn in Shropshire from our little terraced house in the centre of Bristol.
I wrote before about how I found organising the wedding stressful, and it wasn't the actually arranging that was problematic for me, but the anxiety that came with everything. I won't go into that now, but I will be quite happy to never plan another. (Stress induced acne just weeks before the big day isn't something I wish to re-ignite).
We wanted a simple barn wedding, our venue was the beautiful Kingscote Barn in Tetbury which is set in the most picturesque Cotswold countryside. There was accommodation on site which was perfect for Groomsmen with tiny babies, and the staff were super efficient. They have up to 7 weddings a week in the height of summer, so they know what they're doing. On the downside, this meant we only had the morning to decorate the barn so with that in mind, we kept things simple. I certainly wasn't going to be wrapped in fairy lights the morning of the wedding, and didn't want Nath to stress out about where 1000 tea lights should be placed. And fortunately, the barn is pretty stunning by itself.
We had hoped to get married outside as we first fell in love with the views before even stepping foot in the venue, but the wind and rain the day before put a stop to this. The weather on the day was actually lovely, but I didn't want people to be stood there shivering whilst their heels sunk into the wet ground, or holding their dresses in case there was a sudden gust of wind.
I spent the morning with mum and my bridesmaids, and it was the calmest I'd been in weeks. I think each of them had tears, and somehow I held it together. I left the hotel with my wedding hair and make up done, wearing a denim jacket, skinny jeans and my wedding shoes, deciding to put my dress on at the barn. There were no wedding cars, dad took us in his car and I made him play the Les Mis soundtrack in the car (his fave) so we could have a family sing-a-long and I wouldn't think too much about the day ahead.
As I'd predicted, walking down the aisle ruined me. I hadn't let myself think about it before the wedding as I'd well up in the most embarrassing places (on the treadmill, in Sainsbury's, at the Post Office...). Our super talented Groomsman Pete played Here Comes the Sun on acoustic guitar as I walked down the aisle, and I went from a demure tear in the eye to a Claire Danes in Romeo & Juliet wail within seconds. (Just the one wail, but there was definitely an awkward noise that left my mouth.) Strangely, once I got to the top I was fine, if a little delirious. Just giggly, and incapable of reciting the shortest of sentences after the registrar.
The rest of the day is a little of a blur, we tried to keep things as laid back as possible, everything was in the same place, nothing was over organised and there was no MC shouting at people to get anywhere, it just flowed. I remember being a little overwhelmed by having all of our most-loved people together, (although sadly, you don't get the chance to properly catch up with all of them), smiling ear-to-ear, feeling so lucky, so loved and so very proud of my favourites.
My dress was a Catherine Deane bodice and skirt with a custom made lace top created by the lovely ladies at Carina Baverstock in Bradford-on-Avon. I dreaded dress-shopping, and it made me super anxious, but I'm pleased with my choice. (Although I changed the lace, and bought another top as a back-up - dress anxiety is REAL!) It was more traditional than I thought I'd go, I strictly stated no beading or volume, but having metres and metres of the finest silk trailing around me was just so fun. (I got to do my best Stevie Nicks twirl to Go Your Own Way on the dance floor too.)
Nath's suit was made by our friend and neighbour Brown in Town. I know Nath had the best time picking fabrics and learning about stitches, cuts and cigars in his fittings with David. I was really pleased he got to feel pampered and spoilt too, I think the grooms can be overlooked in wedding planning, but it's their day too. He's already worn that suit twice since the wedding, and I know he'll be wearing it as long as he can fit into it, so I don't doubt it was worth the money.
It's quite nice being able to reflect after some time has passed. My sister got married 6 months later (to the day!), and it was so lovely to swap places and watch my favourite person enjoy the same emotions. Once again, I was the one sobbing uncontrollably whilst she managed to deliver the most beautiful, heartfelt speech with grace and poise. I always wonder if it's because I'm baby of the family that I'm the first to go to pieces in these situations, any other babies the same?
A special mention has to go to our florist Lily Violet May (you'll recognise her blooms from the most instagrammable spot in Bristol, right outside Temple Meads station!) and our photographer Jake Morley. Both were so helpful in planning, and so relaxed and efficient on the day. We had so many compliments on the flowers, and having Jake around felt like an extra guest.
I would relive it all again tomorrow, but I'm so glad I'll never plan another!
WEEK IN PICTURES #3 March 15 2015, 0 Comments
1. Sneak peek of our new Bold as Brass range
2. Our ocean jasper pendants are back in stock, and aren't they lovely?
3. Finally, the sun is shining in the studio!
4. Shooting our new hair grips for Mother's Day
5. More Mother's Day photography
6. Playing with new stock
7. Gave the bathroom shelves a little spruce
8. Bold as Brass range, now online!
9.Sun is shining, so out comes the yellow.
BUSINESS TIME: SWITCHING OFF March 05 2015, 0 Comments
When I worked full time I walked to and from the office and I found the 20 minute stroll was great for clearing my head of any work related stress (at least most of the time), but now I work from home taking the 8 steps down from my attic office just doesn't work in the same way. I find it hard to leave the office without every little job being neatly tied up, but if I did that I'd be burning the midnight oil every night. There are also those moments where I'm sat watching TV downstairs and suddenly remember there was a picture I wanted to take for instagram, and rather than leave it until I'm back in the office tomorrow, I'll run upstairs and 'do it now, before I forget again'.
Now, before any of you start thinking I'm some sort of workaholic, I assure you it's not the case. I like my free time and I strive to have a very healthy work/life balance. I work to live, not the other way around, I'm just very fortunate that I make a living doing something I love. I know it's a hideous business cliche, but I believe in working smart, not working hard. If you enjoy what you do, it shouldn't feel like work (at least not all the time). And for those days when I'm struggling to remove my head from thoughts of printing costs, and sourcing new suppliers there are a few things that never fail to help me switch off...
TAKE A WALK
I could have said exercise, and that works too, but often it needs to be something I can do without having to get changed (or wrestle with a sports bra). It doesn't need to be far, sometimes I'll just walk to the park and sit on a bench for 10 minutes (like an angry teenager), but never under-estimate the power of fresh air to make you feel better when you're tired/hungover/stressed/anxious. And people watching is always a great distraction.
If there's one thing that always makes me feel better, it's being wrapped in a very fluffy dressing gown, wearing disposable towel slippers. (I'm a woman of simple pleasures). It's the combination of steam, warm water, and calming aromas that almost completely cleanses me of any stress. And when you don't have a spa to hand, a long soak in a candlelit bath always helps.
CHANGE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
When you've had a particularly tough week, it's hard not to attach that negativity with your surroundings, it hangs around like a dark gloomy cloud. For me, the hardest thing about being freelance is working alone most days, so I try to mix things up. I spend one day a week sharing office space with friends, and roughly 2 half days at local cafes. It means I've still got people to bounce ideas off that aren't my cat, (it's only a matter of time before I create jewellery for pets isn't it?) and I find being around people is good for me. (For a start, you have to get dressed, and there are no distracting box sets lingering on the shelf.)
It might seem shallow, but making the time to put on a face mask, pluck your eyebrows and paint your nails is a great distraction. (The latter is particularly good as you can't do anything for *at least* the next half hour, whether you like it or not.) I find these things get neglected when I'm really busy, but I instantly feel better after doing them, a lot more presentable and a little more human.
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE March 05 2015, 0 Comments
Unlike most made up holidays, I welcome Mother's Day with open arms. It means Spring has sprung (or is at least on the way) and it's a much needed reminder to show our our motherships just how appreciated they are. (I don't know about you but I'm definitely guilty of taking my ma for granted every now and then.)
The problem is that every time I ask my mum what she wants for Christmas/Birthday/Mother's Day, I'm always met with the very sweet (if a tad sickly) answer 'nothing darling, I have everything I could possibly want'. Well that's lovely ma, but you are going to get a gift so it's better to be something you want, than something you don't. With that in mind we've rounded up some of our favourite gifts ideas for the mother who 'has everything'.
Book something together. Whether it be a spa day, floristry class, gin-tasting or afternoon tea. Mother's Day is about showing your mum you care, so whilst gifts are lovely, I can't help but feel that sending a bouquet when you've not seen your mum for months, might be missing the point. Go on, make her day. (It's ideal if you've lots of siblings too as you can share the cost and you all get time together as a faaaamily.)
I love getting flowers, I know many consider it an unimaginative present, but we're not necessarily talking petrol station carnations here. There are some incredible florists who create the most beautiful bouquets. (Just look at Swallows and Damsons Instagram feed if you need convincing.) You can create a really personal bouquet, using your mum's favourite blooms, colours and scents. Pay a visit to your local independent florist and get creative.
Jewellery - And no, I don't mean a 'world's best mum' pendant from the Elizabeth Duke counter. But something with sentiment, and I don't believe this necessarily needs to be inscribed on the item. Think about adding your own bespoke gift card with a favourite quote that really means something. Try using a favourite book as a starting point, one of my ma's favourite is Little Women and Good Reads has 100s of quotes to choose from... If you order gift-wrapping from us, you can leave a note at the checkout and we'll hand-write it on a gift tag. You can also send the gift direct to your loved one.
Trying to find a card that's the right amount of funny (without being offensive, Ma doesn't appreciate offensive humour) and still satisfies my need for something that looks good, can be a challenge. I'll be picking up a Mothership card, because I call mine that, it has cute UFO's on, and it's resisted the temptation to use the phrase 'out of this world'. #winwin
COMPETITION: BE OUR VALENTINE February 02 2015, 1 Comment
Fancy winning this lovely lot? Well, then make sure you enter our Valentine's competition below!
We're giving away an exclusive Valentine's gift set including a set of Cupid's arrow hair grips, cut out heart necklace and lucky star bracelet. There are plenty of ways to enter, and the more you select, the better your odds of winning.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
VALENTINE'S DAY January 27 2015, 2 Comments
That chubby little baby and his crossbow are back! Yes, Valentine's Day is almost upon us. Now, I'm not one of those super soppy types, I'm fully aware that it's a bit of a made up day, and I don't believe you should need an annual reminder to be affectionate and thoughtful to your loved ones, BUT it is just a little bit of fun. If you want to get involved, get involved, but if the thought makes you gag, then maybe it's not the occasion for you. Maybe you're lucky enough to have someone who showers you with gifts and affection all year round, but if you don't, it's not such a bad thing if they get a nudge every now and then. On that hugely romantic note, we've rounded up some of our favourite Valentine's gifts for both him and her.
1. Craft beer box, £22 - Not the most original present, but probably very appreciated.
2. Quest mini DAB radio & alarm £55 - Looks good, and it gets him up in the morning? You can also unplug it and use batteries if you need to take it on-the-move.
3. Eliza Southwood Tactics print £75 - For the cycling lover in your life.
4. Timex Originals in Grey £59.99 - This is just one of many favourites from the Timex Originals range.
5. Harris Tweed x ASOS wallet £14 - I adore the Harris Tweed x ASOS collection (must be the country girl in me), go and take a look if you haven't already.
6. Blue YEAH! Print £18 - How Kapow have a great selection of bright typography prints, this is a bit of a favourite.
7. Paul Smith scarf £69 - Okay so £69 is quite a lot for a scarf, but it's a pretty timeless design, and we all deserve a little bit of luxury now and then...
8. Retro desk calendar £32 - I've got a minor obsession with rolling clocks/calendars, we have a 1950s one in silver that makes makes me feel like Joan Holloway in Mad Men.
9. Nanoblock Empire State Building £25 - If you've an oversized child for a boyfriend (like I do) these are great gifts. They don't take over your living room like Lego can, and they're much cheaper too.
10. Felt laptop case £11 - Perhaps not a romance fuelled purchase, but a practical one nonetheless. I have it and I love it, just in case you needed a testimonial.
1. & Other Stories Scarf £19 - A scarf that looks like an old TV screen? I think that's what every lady wants.
2. Seb Lester Print £75 - Because we're all mad for a bit of foil-blocking aren't we?
3. Arrow grips £12 - A pair of Cupid's arrows for your tresses.
4. Cut-out gold heart £15 - It wouldn't be Valentine's without some sort of heart...
5. Silver Karma Circle bracelet £15 - This pretty little bracelet is ideal every day wear.
6. Silver & Gold Cosmic Studs £18 - If perhaps you're looking for more of a statement item...
7. Sparrow & Wolf notebooks £10 - Because I'm yet to meet a girl who doesn't love great stationary
8. Whistles Rivington bag £80 - Yes, please.
9. Rifle Paper City Coasters £13.50 - Too pretty for coasters, these would get framed and go on my wall.
10. Anthropologie candles £20 - As far as I'm concerned, a nice smelling, nice looking candle will always be well received. And this one doubles as a trinket box when it's burnt through. Win. Win.
2015 GOALS December 30 2014, 0 Comments
I don't make New Year's resolutions, I don't think you have to wait to 1st January to make self improvements, I think you can try and become a better person at any time in the year. That said, there is something about January that gives me a kick up the bum to organise myself. It's a lot quieter than the chaos of Christmas, so I get time to plan the year ahead, as well as a host of crisp new stationary that I'm dying to cover in lists and stickers.
I think giving yourself a year to do everything on your goal list can be a little generous, there are certain goals you only tend to evaluate on an annual basis, (like the growth of your business), but most other things can be achieved at any time, why give yourself 12 months to complete a 3 week evening course? The more time we allow ourselves, the longer we tend to put things off. Here are just a few things I'd like to achieve throughout 2015...
TAKE A PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE
I don't love taking photos. I love styling shoots, picking props, and laying everything out, but I don't really know how to use a camera. This year I'd like to introduce myself to some modes outside of 'Auto'.
SELL TO RETAIL
Right now Little Nell is only available via my own online channels. In 2015, I think it's time to branch out a little, which means it's probably time to start designing a catalogue, which leads nicely to my next goal...
LEARN TO USE INDESIGN
Well now, this is embarrassing, I'm just revealing all my incapabilities in one post. I can't use InDesign. I have a very lovely friend, who helps me out with all my graphics because my skills don't really go beyond PicMonkey. I know, I'm ashamed, but it's easily fixed right?
GET A BETTER WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Juggling two jobs has its challenges, and I've definitely felt the strain over Christmas. It's so good to be busy when you rely on people buying your products, but long hours do not allow you to be a social butterfly. It's made me realise that I need to be far more efficient with my time planning, and that it's okay if you can't do everything all of the time.
MAKE TIME FOR OLD HOBBIES
I've always considered Little Nell my hobby, but as it's grown into a business, I've started to neglect my other hobbies. This year, I will get back to making my own candles (if nothing else it'll save me a fortune in Anthropologie) and cross-stitching.
LITTLE NELL ON HOLIDAY November 14 2014, 0 Comments
We're off on an Australian adventure for 2 and a half weeks on wednesday, so this is a polite reminder that if you want your order urgently, get it in now! We're away from 19th November, and back on 9th December, so they'll still be plenty of time to get your orders in time for Christmas when we get back, but if you're sending something farther afield than the UK, we'd highly recommend you get it in now.
Whilst we're away the store will remain online for browsing (and dropping hints to others!), you just won't be able to make any orders. We'll also still be online across our social media platforms should you have any questions regarding current orders, or products.
Here are a few snaps from our last Australian escapade...
We're planning to blog whilst away and keep you updated with our travels. We're visiting Sydney, Melbourne and spending a few days along the Great Ocean Road, if you have any tips for us of places that we MUST visit, we'd love to know your recommendations, just comment on this post, or tweet us at @Little_Nells.
SHOP INDEPENDENT THIS CHRISTMAS November 13 2014, 0 Comments
Last week this image caught my eye on twitter and straight away I knew I wanted to get involved! I don't think I need to do too much explaining about the thinking behind it, but in short, shopping with independents is good for you. It's good for the economy, it's good for the soul, and best of all they have the coolest stuff.
I'd love to say that I was doing 100% of my Christmas shopping through independent stores, but realistically, I'll inevitably end up doing a cheeky last minute rush to Tesco to purchase the in-laws dog a stocking. 100% may be a little ambitious, but I'm aiming to do 75% of my Christmas shopping through independent shops, and I'd encourage you to do the same, maybe not 75% but to just consider options outside of those huge retail giants.
Christmas shopping is genuinely my favourite part of Christmas, I love trawling the internet and high street in search of the perfect gift. Finding something that you know will make someone you love smile, really does make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It might sound soppy, but it's true, I get the same feeling when I hear really lovely feedback from a customer, it makes all the hard work worthwhile. (Just call me the Christmas fairy)
If you don't know where to start with your Christmas shopping, I've picked some of my favourite indie stores as a starting point...
1. Pineapple earrings from Little Nell £12 - What better way to cheer someone up during the dull winter months than with pineapple earrings?
2. Magazine rack from Moonko £22 - Also doubles as a handy rack for giant toast
3. Cloud coasters from Pygmy Cloud £14.50 - I own these, because they're awesome
4. Wall planner from Lollipop Designs £15 - For the chronic organiser, (or for someone in need of organisation...)
5. Mountain print from Leaf City Press £35 - Know someone who has just moved? This would make a lovely house-warming/Christmas gift
6. Danish stamps from Present and Correct £45 - This is just 1 from 100s of items I could have picked from Present and Correct, go and take a look. NOW.
7. Bear cushion from Robin & Mould £26 - It's a bear, and it's mustard, two of my favourite things. There are also hedgehogs, and foxes, and cats...
WEEK IN PICTURES #2 November 11 2014, 0 Comments
1. Wedding fun!
2. It might be cold outside, but that won't dampen our tropical spirits! Pineapple earrings are coming soon...
3. My new Bertie boots! They were half price, how could I not?
4. Shooting for Christmas
5. Good old fashioned organised Halloween fun! Do you remember Atmosfear?!
6. Nala helped us with some gift wrapping...
7. The most decadent Liberty hot water bottle cover
8. Playing with our new studio lights
9. This weekend was a photo taking marathon! I'm attempting to re-shoot our entire range, this may be naive...
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.
LOVING AND LOATHING #1 February 12 2014, 0 Comments
Here's what we're loving and loathing this February at Little Nell....
Sparrow & Wolf - Metallic weather notebooks and origami cushions? Okay, so I realise it all sounds a bit odd, but give Sparrow & Wolf a look over on Etsy and I promise you won't regret it. I'm currently coveting the Pom Pom trim boats cushion, I've got just the spot for it!
Mint loafers - The obsessions with all things mint started back in 2012, and it's still going strong. These patent beauties from Office are loafer shaped perfection. The only thing holding me back is the knowledge that breaking in a patent shoe is always so much more painful than normal leather. (I know, I know, first world problems.)
Revlon Matte Balms - I love lipstick but I'm a bit lazy when it comes to 're-applying' so balm stains are one of my beauty essentials. These new matte editions are super long-lasting, and not at all drying for a matte colour. I'll take one of each please!
The weather - Oh i know, it's an obvious one, but waking up to see the mess and destruction it's causing every morning is truly very sad. I know the tube strike is annoying Londonders, but at least you have homes to go back to. Give us all a break please Mother Nature.
Winter Skin - When will it end? My poor nose is in constant need of moisture. Fortunately the (delayed) discovery of Origins overnight moisture mask has drastically improved the situation, now if I could just have a little vitamin D....
Shia Labeouf - Is this another Joaquin Phoenix faux breakdown? I'm not sure what happened to the old 'happy-go-lucky' Shia. All this talk of 'art' after the disaster that was Transformers 3 seems a little bit much... If you've no clue what I'm on about, have a read here.