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28 November 2016

Just A Card Campaign

Just A Card Campaign
Just A Card


I'm sharing this Just A Card campaign today because as a small business owner this rings true with me everyday I get up and work my socks off to bring new, refreshing and unique designs that you can't get from those big chain stores. This quote in particular shared on Just A Card brings both tears to my eyes and makes me mad that this happens:

“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”

It's true. If all of us put our money where our mouth is and just bought something from all those incredible independent, small businesses and galleries out there, then not only would those businesses survive but we could all continue to live in an inspiring world full of one off inspiring drawings / beautiful creations / stunning works of art and prints / totally unique personalised gifts / rib tickling hand drawn cards / gorgeous handmade accessories and jewellery / hand thrown plates, bowls and mugs / pretty knitted hats and scarves....the list goes on. 

Don't let those jaw dropping, one off creations, which make you smile and your heart burst with admiration and joy disappear. Go and support them. First stop, go and sign and share the Just A Card campaign. It's really easy to do but if you're unsure how to sign, then check out Kate Marsden's step-by-step guide. Second stop, all those indie businesses you follow and whose designs you heart on a daily basis, go and pop something of theirs in your basket, whether it's online or in your favourite bricks and mortar shop or gallery. Let's keep this world a happy, inspiring place.

Thanks folks!

27 November 2016

#MeetTheMakerWeek

#MeetTheMakerWeek


This week I am taking part in Joanne Hawker's #MeetTheMakerWeek over on Instagram. This is a photo challenge to help us small business owners tell our story. I took part in Joanne's #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge this year, which was fantastic and really got me thinking about what I actually do. So, I'm really excited to give this new challenge a go!

If you're interested to see my photo challenge pics and hear more about me and my small business story, head over to my Instagram page to follow along.

And if you'd like to take part too, you can find out all about the challenge here and also pick up Joanne's fab free planner, which helps you work out your photos and what useful hashtags you can use to get your photos found by other makers.

Hope to see you over there joining in the photo fun!

25 November 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Adventures & Tea Parties blog
Thank goodness for music. I really needed it this week. So many plates spinning and various stresses to contend with. But there were lovely things that happened this week too. 

First up, I had the pleasure of sharing an interview I did with Joanne Hawker who is a super talented designer/maker from Somerset. Go have a read of it, she's really very inspiring. Next up on the 'lovely things that happened this week list' was the launch of my latest design, the Personalised Dog Neckerchief. It's available in both my NOTHS and Etsy shop and if you're quick you can get 20% off it in my Etsy shop until 11pm on Sunday 27th November as part of my Black Friday Sale. Oh and if you need a few tips on how best to use social media to help with your Christmas shopping, I shared my top tips over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog this week too. To top off the working week, I got some happy post today in the form of the Gilmore Girls 'Boom' pin from Copper Boom, who have been super successful with their Crowd Funding project, yay! And I shared a ridiculous photo of myself wearing my Broken Family Band t-shirt as part of 6 Music's 'Wear your old band t-shirt to work' day. Being a big music nut, I couldn't not take part, ha-ha! 

And on that note, here are some tunes that have been keeping me going throughout the week. Pop them on, have a listen, have a dance and go get your Friday feeling on!

Rock 'n' Roll Psychosis by Jim Jones Revue
Doom And Gloom by The Rolling Stones
C-h-e-m-i-c-a-l by The Chemical Brothers
Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales by Car Seat Headrest
La La Lie by Basia Bulat
Start Wearing Purple by Gogol Bordello
Dance Across The Floor by Jimmy Bo Horne

Happy weekend everyone!

How to use social media for Christmas shopping

How to use social media for Christmas shopping by Adventures & Tea Parties

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing my top tips for using social media to help with your Christmas shopping. Pop on over for a read and get your hashtag on! 

Black Friday Sale!

Black Friday Sale Adventures & Tea Parties

In my Etsy shop you can get 20% of all items until 11pm on Sunday 27th November as part of the Black Friday sale. Yup, 20% off everything! So, pop on over and see what takes your fancy. And a massive thank you for supporting independent, handmade businesses!

23 November 2016

Personalised Dog Neckerchief



If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few clues about a new product I've been working on and ta-da, here it is, the Personalised Dog Neckerchief! 

Made from beautiful 100% medium weight cotton fabric, I've made the dog neckerchief double-sided, so that it's kind on your dog's coat, durable and of course, washable after all those muddy walks!


In the centre of the neckerchief is a hand embroidered name tag, which can be personalised with your dog's name. The neckerchief is currently available in a one size, with more sizes on the way very soon but if you would like a smaller or larger size sooner, do drop me a line and I can make one for you especially. 

The dog neckerchief is really easy to use. Simply thread your dog's collar through the loop at the top of the neckerchief, before clipping the collar on. The neckerchief doesn't come with the collar or lead but it's made so that you can easily attach it to your dog's favourite collar and the nifty thing about it is it won't go flying off when your dog is chasing a pigeon or two!



The personalised dog neckerchief comes carefully wrapped in a cute branded Adventures & Tea Parties box and makes the perfect gift for your best friend!

And for all you lovely folk, I have a special new product discount code, woohoo! You can get 10% off Fido's personalised dog neckerchief until Sunday 27th November in my Etsy shop only. Simply enter the following discount code at checkout: WOOFWOOF

Hope you and Fido like it!

20 November 2016

Five minutes with designer/maker, Joanne Hawker

Joanne Hawker

Head over to the Simple Stylish Makes blog for my five minute chat with awesome designer/maker Joanne Hawker who creates gorgeous cards and accessories and don't forget to check her gorgeous website too!

18 November 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?




I kick started the week with a brand new age. Yup, I turned an undisclosed age at the weekend, ha-ha! So, I've spent the week working my way through some very tasty birthday chocolates while tapping into every department in my solo business: marketing, product development, accounting, HR, shop orders, customer services, stock management....you get my drift. I also had the pleasure of finding out about the fabulous face behind the blog, This Little Space of Mine, in my latest Blog Gem interview, which you can read here.

Keeping me company throughout all that has been the usual mix of radio, music and tea. And at the top of the playlist, which possibly got played on repeat, was this lovely collection of songs. They're more mellow than my usual Friday mix but they're very beautiful all the same and I encourage you to sit back and have a listen.

Goodbye England by Laura Marling
8 (circle) by Bon Iver
Spirits by The Strumbellas
What's In It For? by Avi Buffalo
Ain't Got No, I Got Life by Nina Simone
In This Shirt by The Irrepressibles
Dead Alive by The Shins

Happy Friday everyone and have a super duper weekend!

16 November 2016

Blog Gem - This Little Space of Mine

Yay, my favourite part of the month is here - Blog Gem interview time where I find out all about the lovely face behind an inspiring blog, what makes that blogger tick, where they blog and who they would take to a Blog Award Dinner!

This month I had the great pleasure in finding out about the super talented face behind This Little Space of Mine, a beautiful blog all about home, creativity and lifestyle. Read on to find out more!

This Little Space of Mine interview

Hello there, can you tell all of my lovely readers at Adventures & Tea Parties a little bit about yourself?
My name’s Leanne and I run the blog, This Little Space of Mine. I work in marketing by day and by night I’m a keen crafter, blogger, book worm and crazy cat lady. My crafting started with knitting, but I’ve learnt how to crochet, love cross stitch and next year plan to make a quilt. I’m a relatively new home owner and next year I’m getting married, so I have lots to keep me busy! You’ll find me at my happiest exploring new cities (like our California Road trip in 2015) or cosying up on the sofa with our cat, Freds, my fiancĂ© and a good boxset on Netflix (I’ve just finished Orange is the New Black). 

This Little Space of Mine interview

Where do you blog? What is that space like?
I’m lucky enough to have a craft room in our home; it doubles up as a guest room but safe to say my stash of yarn and other crafting goodies has taken over! I love sitting in there, cuddling up with Freds and crafting or writing blog posts, often with a cup of tea in hand and candles lit. It’s a colourful space and one I’ve made relaxing and personal. 

This Little Space of Mine interview

If you had to take only one craft tool to a desert island, what would you choose and why?
Oooo that’s a tricky one. While knitting was my first love, I now feel a confident enough crocheter that I’d probably take a crochet hook. And I never thought I’d say that!

This Little Space of Mine interview

How do you get inspired to blog? 
While the content on This Little Space of Mine is largely guided by what I’m making, or thinking about making, these days personal posts creep in too - so topics that are on my mind that I feel brave enough to share. My posts on the emotional upheaval of moving house or why I was crocheting flowers for Stroke Association have been hugely popular and I think it’s because of the honesty of them. I enjoy writing those posts; it allows my audience to learn more about me. I often tread the water on Instagram, to see the reaction, and then put the words into a post if I feel comfortable. It can take draft after draft, but they can be the most rewarding of posts. 

I like to make things for friends and family too, so that’ll often steer my blog content - this year my baby blanket make went viral on Pinterest and the traffic to my blog skyrocketed. I like to have crafting projects, the joy of them is that they can create a great amount of content and it’s fun to share with my readers what I’m up to and how I’m progressing. This all started with my year long skyblanket project in 2014.

This Little Space of Mine interview

What top tips would you give to anyone starting a blog?
I would say go for it and try not to get absorbed in what everyone else is doing. Stick to your guns and write the blog you want to read. It’s so easy to get lost in what others are doing, but don’t let it stifle your creativity. I’d also encourage you to write out what you want your blog to be. Having those words on a piece of paper that you can look back on can be hugely helpful in keeping a focus, as your blog develops. Above all else, just go for it! You never know where it might take you and who you might meet. I’ve met some wonderful people, first online and then ‘in real life’, who have become great friends. The online crafting community is especially supportive and welcoming. 

This Little Space of Mine interview
 

Is there a story behind the name, 'This Little Space of Mine'?
There is! Back in September 2014 I decided to close my first blog - I felt a craving for a new blog and a new ‘space’ to share both crafts and lifestyle content. I wrote out word after word, phrase after phrase, but nothing stuck as a name. My fiancĂ© proofed my farewell post on the old blog and spotted that I’d written the very words ‘this little space of mine’ and suggested I called the new space just that. It was perfect; it spoke to my heart as they were my words and came naturally to me.

This Little Space of Mine interview

If you could go to a Blog Award dinner with any 5 people (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would you choose? 
Oh I love this question! I’d go for Anne Boleyn (I’ve always found her part in history fascinating), Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks (both fab actors who I just love), David Bowie (I’d ask him to sing and tell me what it was like to work with Freddie Mercury) and George Clooney (he’s been a crush of mine since I saw him in ER as Dr. Doug Ross). What an eclectic bunch of people!

This Little Space of Mine interview

And finally...if you had to choose one song to represent 'This Little Space of Mine', what would it be and why? 
That’s tricky! My music choices vary but I love anything from Mumford and Sons to Elton John, through to pop music like Little Mix and Girls Aloud. I’d say at the moment I’d go for something like Bon Iver or Birdy - something quite chilled, relaxing and uplifting. I’m sure a song will one day come to me, but for now I’ll go with a playlist!

Thank you so much, Leanne. It's been wonderful hearing all about your creative, blogging world. I absolutely love the sound of your craft room and ooh, what a fab collection of people to invite to the Blog Award Dinner (one day that has to happen, it really does!)! Keep up the great blogging, Leanne! :)


I hope you've all enjoyed this month's Blog Gem interview. Don't forget you can catch up on all my previous Blog Gem interviews here for more inspiring reads.  Happy reading! 

All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Leanne at This Little Space of Mine. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.

11 November 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Leonard Cohen

What a week for news, eh? Too much to take in really but I'm not going to write a heavily political post because I'm guessing those of you reading this post will be in the same boat as me, so I'd be preaching to the converted. What I am going to focus on (and have been doing all day) is the sad news that broke today about Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen is one of the first few musicians I was introduced to by my Dad. I remember watching on repeat a wonderful documentary we had recorded off the tv where Leonard Cohen was walking around Greece, interspersed with him singing songs. I have been a huge fan ever since. His poetry and way with words, his gravelly, deep voice, and his beautiful music are so incredibly moving that I actually struggle to put into words what Cohen as a creative represents to me. He conjures up in me such intense emotion that I sometimes struggle to listen to his music because it's just so moving. But today I've been immersing myself in his songs and here are just a few of my favourites.

So Long, Marianne
Suzanne
Take the Waltz
Bird on a Wire
Hallelujah
Everybody Knows
Dance Me to the End of Love

"Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in." 
(From the song, Anthem)

10 November 2016

Gardening jobs for November

Adventures & Tea Parties Simple Stylish Makes blog post on gardening jobs for november

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing some key jobs you can do in the garden this month. Pop on over for a read and head out to the garden for some late autumn sunshine!

Happy gardening!

9 November 2016

Taking care of yourself as a creative business owner

Adventures & Tea Parties hanky rolling


This time of year is pretty crazy for us creative small business folk due to one word, Christmas. Yup, orders for Christmas gifts go through the roof and we don't stop until that very last special delivery parcel has been sent out. We then collapse into our Christmas dinner and wonder how we got through the last few months of non stop making, packing and posting without having a meltdown. 

As someone who has literally been embroidering personalised orders until the small hours every day from November to December each year, I am going to try and take good care of myself this year, so that I don't faceplant into a plate full of turkey, spuds and gravy.

With this in mind, I've put together five key things that I'm going to try and put into action. These might be useful for any other fellow small businesses and solopreneurs out there.


Eat properly
One year I pretty much lived off peanut butter and jam on toast for weeks because I didn't have time to cook a proper meal for myself. The lack of nutrition did not help with my energy levels. 

The following year, what with living on my own, I knew I needed to take better care of my diet and put a plan in place if I were to eat properly and have more energy. And so, every Saturday I would cook up big batches of meals and freeze individual portions to get me through the week. Meals included recipes that were easy to prepare, cook and that were healthy too, such as soups, stews, stir frys, pasta sauces, curries, steamed fish and veg. None of these recipes were difficult or even took that long to cook but the main thing was that they were healthy, filling, and most could be heated up quickly.

If, on the other hand, you don't live on your own and have someone who is happy to cook, let them help. You can always return the favour.


Sleep and exercise
I cannot stress how important it is to get a full, solid night's sleep. You will have way more energy and be more efficient packing those orders up the next day. 

If you have no choice but to work late because you have some urgent orders to attend to, make sure you have a point at which to stop and go to bed. Alternatively, get up later the next day. If orders are getting out of hand, meaning you simply can't do this, remember you are not superhuman and it is ok to extend the delivery date on your online shop. 

Exercise is such a tricky one to fit into this busy time of year I always find but it is important to keep up energy levels. The way I am trying to do this is by making exercise part of my working day, so that I don't feel guilty about spending time on it. For example, I walk to the post office every day to drop off my orders and walk the long way home to turn it into a 30 minute walk. I also try and stand up from my desk and do stretches every hour, so that I don't stiffen up. Each weekend I also make sure to fit in a long walk or swim to really get the bloody pumping. I always feel so refreshed afterwards and ready to tackle the next pile of orders!


Ask for help and support
If it's really getting too much, don't suffer. Ask your nearest and dearest for help. It could be anything from cooking, putting some washing on for you, doing a food shop or parcelling up some orders and even nipping to the post office for you. Also, remember to get in touch with your fellow small business pals online too. A 30 minute online chat to give mutual support works wonders. I would totally be lost without my online mates and they know who they are! ;)


Block out time to rest, relax and have some "me time"
I honestly don't know how I just wrote that because every year I don't put any time aside for myself at all, which is terrible. This year it's going to be different, honest it is but the only way it will be is by blocking out time for myself. I'm currently thinking 30 minutes a day to read, knit or draw and also booking some weekends away, so that I'm not tempted to do some extra work causing to over-tireness. Having this "me time" is so important for your state of mind. It's like mental exercise, giving your brain a refreshed approach to tackling business.

Adventures & Tea Parties photo of sweetpeas

Pat yourself on the back
It is so important to give yourself a huge pat on the back for all the hard work you're doing, maybe a little treat too. Nice things you could do include: taking a long bubble bath, treating yourself to a big bunch of flowers, buying a massive slice of cake for just you to eat, buying two massive slices of cake for just you to eat or buying a whole cake for just you to eat, after you've had that nutritious meal you cooked up earlier of course, ha-ha! Whatever you decide to do, make sure you tell yourself how awesome you are and remind yourself why you started running your business in the first place. PEOPLE ARE BUYING YOUR PRODUCTS AND THAT IS FLIPPING AMAZING!

I hope this helps all my fellow creative and indie business folk out there. If you have any top tips for handling the seasonal workload, do send me a tweet, come chat with me on Instagram or drop me a line in the comments field below. Good luck everyone and have a great season!

7 November 2016

Press Feature: Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping December 2016 Issue Front cover

I am delighted to have been featured in the December issue of Good Housekeeping! If you haven't picked up your copy of this magazine, you totally should. It's jam packed with gorgeous, inspirational articles, fashion, lifestyle, travel and more. I've already found some fab Christmas presents to buy! You can pick a copy up from most shops and supermarkets. So, go grab a copy and you'll find me on page 272, woohoo!

Good Housekeeping December 2016 classified advert page

Brand new sparkly accessories!




Hello my lovelies! Did you see all the brand new accessories in my Etsy and NOTHS shops? There are personalised handkerchiefs, glittery necklaces, sparkly hair accessories, hanky sets, and bow ties for girls and guys. Pop on over for a look see!


4 November 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Adventures & Tea Parties Weekly Roundup Post


Is it really Friday? I swear it was Monday yesterday. Where has this week gone?! Ok, so there's been a fair few shop orders being stitched up and sent out, including CHRISTMAS orders. Yes, really. Christmas orders received, made and sent. I've also been sharing some creative podcasts, chatting to Lauren Aston about her creative world, taking some colourful snaps on Instagram and updating my sponsorship page for all you small indie businesses and brands.

On top of that I've been chipping away at various goals, which has felt good. I now make 5 weekly goals to try and achieve each week. One goal per day. It helps keep me focused on pushing my business forward and on top of the more mundane but essential tasks, like admin and finance. Sometimes I don't get all 5 done due to unforeseen circumstances, such as personal boring life stuff, the odd spanner in the works (hello naughty overlocking machine. Yes, I'm looking at you!), and custom requests or large orders. But hey, that's part of the job, right?

Anyway, while thinking it was still Monday all week, there have been a few firm favourites on the jukebox helping keep me motivated. So, put your tools down folks and wrap your ears around these for the weekend is here, hurrah!

Stupid Face by Haley Bonar
Certainty by Temples
Reggae Got Soul by Toots & The Maytals
Dirty Old Town by The Pogues
Doll Parts by Hole
One Way Out by Blackberry Smoke
Something Like Happiness by The Maccabees

Have a great one everyone and don't forget to do a little dance at some point this weekend because it'll make you feel great!

3 November 2016

Five minutes with designer/maker, Lauren Aston

Lauren Aston Designs

Head over to the Simple Stylish Makes blog for my five minute chat with awesome designer/maker Lauren Aston who creates large scale knits and don't forget to check her gorgeous website too!

2 November 2016

Creative Podcasts

Creative podcasts


When I’ve got my making hat on, I’m either sat at my studio desk making personalised orders for my online shop or I’m sat on the sofa knitting or doodling. Having my eyes focused on whatever it is that I’m making, means it’s hard to watch a film or the latest Netflix TV series at the same time, so I often listen to a creative themed podcast instead. 

There are loads of inspiring creative podcasts out there, so I thought I'd share some of my favourites that I've recently been listening to. I will be adding to this list , so remember to bookmark this page and check back every now and then. 

A Playful Day

After the jump with Grace Bonney

Blogtacular

Dear Handmade Life

Accidental Creative

If you have any recommendations for podcasts I should check out, come and share them with me on Twitter, Instagram or by leaving a comment below. 

Happy listening!



1 November 2016

Sponsorship packages for small businesses and brands

Adventures & Tea Parties sponsorship and review blogging service for small businesses and indie brands.

Would you like to have a feature written about your new product, brand or service? Head over here to find out about the different sponsorship packages I offer and drop me a line to find out how I can help you shout about your awesome new product or business!

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