The Allergy and Free From Show – Free Tickets!

Hello,

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Fancy going to the Allergy and Free From Show for free?

All you have to do is subscribe to Champagne Twist, send a message asking for tickets and I will send you the code.

 

 

Blogtacular 2017 – (2) Fears and Concerns

Hello,

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Yesterday, I wrote about my hopes for Blogtacular 2017. Today the topic relates to my fears, concerns and how I will attempt to tackle them.

I admit, the initial outlay for me is a huge spur, in that I need to make this event cost effective for me and my future plans.  But like many people, the thought of meeting potentially 100s of people all at once, fills me with a mix of excitement and dread.  What if I say the wrong thing, what if wear something inappropriate?

I am definitely one of those people who would rather find the nearest, shaded corner and stick to it like glue. I want to focus on the learning opportunities, without worrying about how I look or if I say something silly.

Solution? – Chill out, stop eating cow and most importantly stop worrying about these things.  Easier said than done of course, but these are 3 things I need to remember:

  1. One of the goals of this event is to have as much fun as possible. Most of the people going to Blogtacular were either in the same boat or are in the same boat.  We are all going to be a bit nervous, even probably the hosts! But it’s important to remember, this is an event in London, in June, which celebrates all things blogging, vlogging, creative, shopping, crafts … heck is it June 10th yet?
  2. Another goal I have is to meet more people. Blogging is great fun, but can suddenly become a very solitary career if not kept in check. I have noticed how hard it is to discuss blogging matters to non-bloggers.  As much as I love the movie “The Net”, I don’t relish a future as the Sandra Bullock character.
  3. The main goal for me during this event is to learn how to take this blog, my youtube channel, Pinterest and Instagram feeds further. Whirling ideas around in my own head is only going to get me so far. It is also a chance to share and even impart some of my own wisdom to others. The opportunity to share and exchange ideas is a positive thing and will always lead to growth .

So, while no doubt I will be spending some time hiding in my strategically selected corner, gathering up courage to speak to some poor, unsuspecting soul, – for which I apologise now in case I do say something stupid – I will also, after a suitable amount of time has elapsed, venue out onto the ‘dance floor’.

Another ways to break the ice is to attend one of the fringe events. There are 2 photowalks and a videowalk scheduled for Friday 9th, as well as a pre-conference party, also held on Friday. These are opportunities to meet people before the conference in a more manageable group size, as well as gain some more skills so vital to the blogging arena. So if you can, sign up for these fringe events and hopefully it will help ease any fears you may have.

What are your tips and suggestions to cope with anxiety or dealing with unusual situations? Are you shy or worried about meeting new people? How do you overcome these situations? Please comment below and share your ideas.

Tomorrow, I will write about how I’m planning to revamp my social network in time for Blogtacular. Please subscribe so you don’t miss the next instalment in this series.

Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow.

#makelikeaboss: The Village Haberdashery and A L’aise event – My Take-A-Ways

Today, I visited The Village Haberdashery in North West London, to a) not buy any fabric (didn’t work!) and b) listen to a talk by a remarkable business owner, Suzie Dicker.

For the 2nd of the Make like a boss series, Suzie Dicker of A L’aise (which happens to be French for ‘at ease’ or ‘comfort’), explained to a keen audience how she started her amazing business with practically nothing. Yet within 18 months, her stationery and small leather goods company can easily sit amongst such brand names as Smythson, Orla Kiely and Cath Kidston.

My 3 take-a-ways from the talk were:

  1. Don’t try and do everything yourself – if you’re not good with numbers, get an accountant. Outsourcing isn’t a dirty word, or something to be ashamed of, rather it should be embraced, as it will allow you to focus on the areas of the business you excel at.
  2. Good product photography is key.  Suzie attended 2 trade shows in her first year of business, which created a buzz for her products. She made the point however, if those potential customers then refer back to a website which doesn’t match the high quality of the products, it doesn’t create the best impression.
  3. You can start a business with no money.  This is a huge one for me, as I’m in the process of building my own business on a limited budget. Have a business plan – if you need help writing a business plan, ask an accountant or business advisor. Make sure you have the paperwork to back up your dreams before you head towards your bank manager. Start off with a professional business plan and make it impossible for the bank manager to say no.

Actually, there was another personal take-a-way  I finally managed to source the fabric for my top to match my Henley Skirt. It has only taken me the best part of a year, and yes I did promise not to buy any more fabric. But then again, if recent events have taught us anything, seizing the day seems rather apt.

The next in the make like a boss series features Tilly Walnes from Tilly and the Buttons. Visit the Village Haberdashery website for more details, check out the facebook page here.

Thanks to Suzie for an inspiring talk and  all at Village Haberdashery for hosting such a fantastic event.

February Favourites | Champagne Twist

February was a fun filled, choc-a-block month. And it looks like March with continue the pace. Here is a favourites video, highlighting the events of the 2nd month of 2017 on Champagne Twist.

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Top 5 YouTube Sites of 2016 | Champagne Twist

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Photo Credit ‘Death to Stock’.

These are my top 5 YouTube Sites for 2016 (in no particular order) –

  1. Kristabel Always interesting, and often thought provoking Kristabel’s YouTube channel has given me loads of inspiration during 2016 in the realms of travel, fashion and lifestyle.
  2. Lorraine Pascale My favourite ever chef and one of the most multi talented and inspirational people ever, Pascale proves you can achieve your dreams and eat cake too!
  3. At Home With Nikki If you love anything to do with home decor, you need to check out this youtube channel.  Nikki plus Homes and Gardens to shame.
  4. TED-Ed another highly inspiration and educational resource, Ted-Ed has 100s of videos covering a wide range of subjects – there is something for everyone.
  5. The Resistance with Keith Olbermann – Keith Olbermann is a riot! If like me you were disappointed with the results of the recent US election, check out Olbermann’s posts. If nothing else he will give you hope for 2017.

And as a bonus, why not check out my YouTube channel – Champagne Twist

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What were your favourite YouTube sites of 2016? What YouTuber are you currently excited about? Please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading! Please subscribe to Champagne Twist for more.

You Can Sit With Us Ldn

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Frankie, Betty magazines - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn

It’s Sunday, it’s freezing, it’s raining, I don’t feel 100%, the transport system is partly closed due to engineering works … again. Why don’t I just spend the day in bed, nice and warm, with my ready supply of cups of hot tea?

Camden Collective, 110 Hampstead Road, London #YouCanSitWithUs - Champagne Twist
Camden Collective, 110 Hampstead Road, London

Because, I would have missed out on a golden opportunity, that being the #YouCanSitWithUsLdn. The inaugural event hosted by Kristabel Plummer of I Want You To Know at the Camden Collective, was a marvellous event where a host of social networkers, bloggers, YouTubers and Instagramers, both newbies and established, came together to talk, share ideas and network about all things primarily relating to blogging.

I managed to have a few words with Kristabel, she said that it was the first time she had ever arranged such an event.  I would never have guessed. A simple concept that was extremely well executed, I left not only impressed by her natural gift as an event organiser, but also empowered. Empowered by the fellow social media dons at the event, their openness and willingness to share their knowledge. Kristabel managed to create a welcoming space for social networkers to come out of their collective shells and share their experiences with virtual strangers. All this on a limited budget (although again, you would never guess), a short time frame and help from her friends. It’s amazing how a good idea can develop into something great, positive and empowering.

At times, for me, it was a little surreal. I was suddenly chatting away to bloggers I’ve been following for years. I felt I knew so much about them, but they knew little about me. Yet they were still interested in what I had to say. Before, they had been people whom I would watch on YouTube, or I would read their adventures in some far flung place on their blogs. The curious thing I quickly realised was that every person in the room, no matter their personal journeys, had at least 3 things in common. 1) They worked hard on their respective social networks, 2) Their are all multi-talented and/or multi-gifted, and 3) They all, without exception, at some point had exactly the same fears and angst as everyone else.  It didn’t matter if they had 1 follower or 1 million followers, making social networking perhaps the great societal leveller.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn group photo set-up
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn group photo set-up - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com

I know that I will have to pull my little socks up in terms of my own social network, and I was very nervous when I arrived, attending the event on my own and meeting new people that makes me a little uncomfortable. Some of these women are fierce – their knowledge is vast, and their energy levels are immense. However, I left believing that it is not only possible to achieve the goals I have set for my blog, but I can surpass them. The social network community is very friendly and I was soon made to feel at ease. Blogging offers wonderful opportunities for people who enjoy solitude, but the benefits are 10-fold when you take just a few steps outside your comfort zone.

I could have easily spent the day at home working on my blog, with my ready supply of tea. Instead I spent the day with the caring bloggers support group, surrounded by positive energy, and meeting fabulous people. I think that’s a good swap!

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Betty, Frankie, Umbrella magazines - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – Betty, Frankie, Umbrella magazines

Hopefully, this will be the first of many events, and I for one will place the next event at the top of my agenda. This will certainly go in my end of month favourites video, and is an early strong contender for the best of 2017.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – plant in blue pot

Did you attend the #YouCanStillWithUs event? What did you think? Please comment below and subscribe for more.

Thanks for reading.

Village Haberdashery – New Location Report

vh-dummy-2Some afternoons start off a little dreary with grey skies, as did last Wednesday when I made a trip to the new Village Haberdashery site. However, the grey skies were soon banished, to be replaced by a rainbow of fabrics, yarn and flowers.

The Village Haberdashery is a sewing and knitting emporium, newly situated in West Hampstead Square. A very short walking distance from West Hampstead Tube, Rail and Thameslink stations, the store is ideally situated for those who live in and around North London.
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The new shopping estate where the store is located is still a bit of a building site, but it’s easy to find, and if you look suitably lost, a skill I have perfected over the years, a nice group of helpful builders are on hand to provide precise directions should you need them. After climbing a flight of stairs, or if you’re more sensible using the lift, you are greeted by a beautiful retro dressmaker’s
mannequin on the first floor, outside the shop front.

 

Follow the sign, where a magical wonderland awaits.

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A unique, and I think better, use of a wheelbarrow. I wonder if I plant my yarn scraps in the garden, will they grow to be huge balls of wool like these ones?

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After seeing this beautiful dress, I was inspired to purchase some of the fabric. Initially, I thought about making a summer skirt with it, but I’ve changed my mind and will instead make a square necked tunic, to show off the beautiful print. The tunic is part of my #2017MakeNine challenge, so please stay tuned.

If there is any fabric leftover, I hope to make a matching Ghislaine hair tie.

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Les Fleurs Rayon by Rifle Paper Co. – Birch Floral in Periwinkle

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Lots of space for sewing and knitting classes, or for a good cup of tea and a natter. In the background, you can see some of the sewing machines set aside for classes.
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Just look at this marvellous wall of wool. Imagine the wonderful array of knitted goodies you could make with this collection of yarn.

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I have often tried to visit the old location, but it was a bit of a trek and difficult for me to get to, however the new location is more ideally situated. The new store is bright and roomy, yet jammed packed with lots of sewing, knitting and paper crafting goodies.  It is quite easy to spend an entire afternoon browsing and chatting to the owner and members of staff. They are welcoming, helpful and ready to offer their expertise should you need it. A home from home. I’m already looking forward to my next visit and adding to my ever increasing stash.

Have you visited the new Village Haberdashery? What do you think? Please add your comments below.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more. Oh, and please check out my seamstress tag YouTube video here 🙂

#2017MakeNine – Sewing and Knitting plans

Hello folks,

I don’t know about you, but I am done with Winter. I’m fed up with the cold, the rain, or as the tube station announcer described the miserable drizzle as, ‘adverse weather conditions’.  Hey, at least it wasn’t the usual, ‘leaves on the line’ or ‘wrong type of snow’ excuse for late running trains.

So today, I’ve turned off the TV and will keep it off, as quite frankly I can’t cope with another day of #FakePresident and his new side kick PM May. I need to recharge my batteries so that I can be more effective for the #Resistance.  Who would have thought that word would be trending 70 years after World War Two. Didn’t our grandparents leave this scene already?

Yesterday, I went to West Hampstead to visit the new Village Haberdashery shop, and then onwards to the Collaborative Store in Marylebone, to test a beauty product which was featured in Vogue and a new-on-the-market tea brand. During my travels I saw no less than 4 famous people – who needs Hollywood? Sewing, knitting, people watching, beauty, clothes and tea; ingredients for a pretty good day. I arrived home exhausted, hence posting today and not yesterday. When my legs ache from a walk-about in the beautiful parts of the the city, it’s another sign of a good day, at least that’s what I’m telling my poor little legs.

I will post more about yesterday’s mini adventures later this week, but today I’m concentrating on a new sewing and knitting challenge for 2017. The concept was originally developed by Lucky Lucille. I didn’t plan on doing another make challenge this year, as I was going to tackle my UFOs pile. But then 2016 happened, and knocked me and my challenges sideways. Having a perfect wardrobe of hand made clothes didn’t seem such a priority, when people were drowning in Mediterranean sea.

I made a vow that 2017 was going to be the year when hope triumphed, and I was going to play my part in making the world a better place. For me to do that, I have to fully embrace my creative side, so #2017MakeNine challenge accepted.

I’ve already technically made 3 items, so it’s nice to know that I’ve already made a positive start. But in the interests of fairness, I will count my Greenery knit set as 1 item, and will embellishment them with some very trendy embroidery by the end of the year.

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So allow me to introduce to you, my sewing and knitting plans for the #2017MakeNine challenge:

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  1. Greenery knit set, with embroidery
  2. Pink pussy protest knitted hat
  3. Black cat knitted hat, with felt and embriodery embellishments
  4. Floral square neck tunic, with rick rack embellishment
  5. Blue gingham dress
  6. Cerise gingham skirt
  7. Cobalt palazzo trousers
  8. Sunshine knitted scarf, with bumble bee embellishment
  9. Balloon print dress

I will soon post a youtube video to showcase my crafting plans with further details, so please stay tuned for that.  By the way, I have designated February as ‘Design Month’, so this list fits in perfectly with what I have in store for you over the shortest month of the year. Cue new graphic!

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I’m pretty excited about this core list of makes, and I know that as the political turmoil waves it’s ugly wand, I will have something to occupy my thoughts when I need hope and light during the dark times.

Are you participating in the #2017MakeNine challenge? What are your sewing and knitting plans? Please share in the comments box below.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more. Continue to go high people.

Resist.

That’s another year over with …

… so now what?

jan-17

Hello,

Today is the 4th day of a new year, and as I prepare to take down the Christmas decorations, I’m reflecting on the year past and wondering what good came of it, if anything.

2016 for me in the great scheme of things, was a huge step backwards in terms of social democracy and political change. I recall as a school student discussing with fellow students that I would never see a Black President of the United States in my lifetime. So imagine my surprise when Barack Obama won the 2008 and 2012 elections. Not only did I live to see this phenomenon, so did my parents and grandparents. We were all given hope that anyone who worked hard enough, and had a good heart could achieve anything – how long could it be before we see a female United States President?

Then 2016 happened. So did BREXIT, then even worse Hillary didn’t win the electoral college. It wasn’t so much that the UK is facing a future outside of the EU, and the US elected Duck a la Orange, it was the fact both political campaigns highlighted what many people suspected but didn’t want to face –  that the UK and US are populated with many ignorant people, who are lead by power hungry, racists and bigots. Playing on our fears, many claims were made including how the the NHS would be saved by leaving the EU. Then within hours of winning, the leader of the BREXIT campaign admitted on live national television that it wasn’t true, and knew it wasn’t true, but didn’t say anything in order to get the votes.

Meanwhile hate crime has increased, with Neo-nazis now given the mandate to intimidate people they deem unworthy of British citizenship. At times it feels like we are living in pre-WW2 Germany.

Then Hillary didn’t win.  I knew deep down that this was a possibility, but everyone around me, maybe in a desperate action of hope kept saying, there was no way the US electorate would vote for a proven racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, non-tax paying, questionable billionaire and proven idiot. Besides, Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person ever to run for President!

Oops!

The events of 2016 has proven to me that we are all so out of touch with one another, then the blatantly ovbious results occurs, we are all taken by surprise. Yes, it was great to have a Black President as it represented a move towards equality. But representation is not the same as reality.

This all of course pales into insignificance when we see the war victims of Syria, the suffering of refugees as well as victims of terrorist attacks.

So what has 2016 meant to me?

  • The most qualified woman, can still be beaten to the role by the least qualified man.
  • Racism is still a thing in the 21st century.
  • Sexism is still a thing in the 21st century.
  • White Supremacy is still a thing in the 21st century.
  • We are more concerned about Kim K W, than we are about who is running our countries.
  • Our Parents, Grand Parents and Great Grand Parents worked hard and suffered greatly, and as it turns out, for very little positive societal gain.

I hear the arguments that we should just accept BREXIT and the US Presidency results and carry on. But doing that for me, means accepting that everyone I know and hold dear has lost several hard won for fights. It means that women still won’t be paid the same as their male counterparts, it means that people are in fear of physical and verbal attacks just because they are wearing a different style of dress to their attackers, or speak with an non-British or American accent.  It means that if my brothers want to take time off work to care for their children, they will be seen as less manly. If my sisters wear trouser suits instead of mini skirts, they are seen as inhuman.

While I can list a number of personal highlights, such as hosting my first photography exhibition, expanding my social network platforms and improving my sewing skills, these now seem empty whenever I switch on the TV news. Perhaps I was too hopeful – I thought we were finally moving towards equality, respect and peace.  I thought we were moving away from nuclear war, and towards world peace.  Now the threat of WW3 and social discord is more apparent than ever.

The easy option would be to just give up and hide in a corner.

I can’t do that.

But, sadly, I also know I can’t do much either.  But I can do something, and sometimes that is enough.

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It’s now 2017. I want to move forward, but not in the same direction as BREXIT or Orange-head. I’m still working towards peace, harmony, respect, understanding and love. These are my overall goals for 2017.

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Watch my January resolutions, by clicking on the image above.

What are your goals for 2017? Please comment below.  Thanks for reading.

 

The CT Show – new episode now live

Hello,

Episode 4 of the CT Show, has just gone live on the YouTube Chanel. Please check it out by clicking the picture below.

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