On April 29th, the Barking Mad Charity Dress Sale will be making a comeback in Braceborough Village Hall near Stamford from 4-8pm. Last year my close friend Sarah Milne and I raised over £2000 for Three Counties Dog Rescue at the inaugural event which was opened by TV presenter Catherine Gee.
After numerous requests we’ve decided to squeeze the event in our busy schedule (doing our bit for Charity) and hope you can join us.
This year we have an actress opening the doors so read on…
We all have a few clothes in our wardrobe which hardly get worn, and this is a chance to donate your pre loved frocks to our charity dress event.
Sponsored by Country Living Magazine Fairs, it is a boutique experience with a buzzing atmosphere, good quality clothes at a bargain price, delicious refreshments, with free entry and parking. This year we are delighted that Karen Westwood is opening our event and the actress has appeared on Spooks, Dr Who and Monarch of the Glen to name a few.
Last year many people picked up bargains including a few designer finds like a Reiss Dress for £8, Armani Jeans for £5 and a Jaeger Jacket for £15.
We priced items low to sell, and offered a complimentary gift wrapping service with purchases wrapped in scented tissue.
Clients loved the shopping experience and stayed to enjoy a luxurious afternoon tea for under £5. It was a huge success with so much support, with customers even coming from Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire to snap up bargains.
With the event only a couple of months away, we are asking for any High Street pre loved ladies clothes to be donated. These can be dropped off at the following locations or collected locally nearer the time. (We are also looking for more drop off points within Lincolnshire so please let us know if you can help and we will gladly promote you in return!).
You may be struggling to find the perfect present for your loved one (beautifully gift wrapped of course) or may not have the pennies to splash out on something expensive, so i’ve devised a little something for your loved one. Biscuits!
There’s nothing I love more than a homemade biscuit with a cup of builders tea (in a china cup of course) so here’s an easy recipe. Homemade biscuits are always a favourite and these shortbread hearts can be packaged beautifully so it looks as though it has come out of a chic deli in Paris or Milan.
Your loved one will love the fact that you have spent a little time making something personal. You can also add nuts and some finely chopped fruit such as strawberries to add a flush of colour.
6oz Plain Flour
Pre heat the Oven to 190C or Gas Mark 5
Beat the sugar and butter until silky smooth
Add the flower to make a smooth paste
Roll to around 1cm thick and cut in to hearts with a cutter (Lakeland have a great set)
Pop on a baking tray (you can sprinkle some sugar if you wish)
Bake in the oven until golden brown (approx 20mins) then pop on a wire rack to cool
If you have some leftover strawberries these could be added with whipped cream to make a great dessert or tea treat
They could be served on a gorgeous pink heart plate from Sophie Conran
If you’re short of time you can buy macaroons and flowers or buy some heart shaped biscuits, and serve you’re loved one a pot of tea in bed before work.
I managed to pick up a wonderful cake stand and have threaded through some pink gingham ribbon. After our photoshoot we naturally had to have a well deserved tea break…with biscuits.
If you have any lovely biscuit recipes we’d love to hear from you… Enjoy!
PRESS RELEASE: JANE MEANS BUSINESS OVER IP ISSUE WITH BERISFORDS
Award winning ACID member Jane Means is a ribbon designer and wrapping design expert and used to use a supplier named Berisfords. She was very disturbed to discover that Berisfords had produced and were selling what could only be said to be a remarkably similar ribbon product. After correspondence from ACID Affiliate Lawyers McDaniel & Co., Berisfords agreed to give an undertaking and pay £893.26.
Niall Head-Rapson said, “Often a simple letter before action can achieve a result and in this case, whilst not admitting liability, Berisfords have agreed not to produce this ribbon design further and paid Jane Means’ costs.
Following the payment, Jane Means said, “I have spent many years building up my name and reputation as a ribbon designer and I am pleased that this matter has been concluded. I will do anything necessary to protect my signature designs”.
Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, “It is good that Berisfords responded positively to Jane Means’s IP claim and that the matter has been resolved without the need to take further legal action”.
A personal note from Jane…
” We have a very good relationship with suppliers, and you trust your manufacturers with your artwork. I was very shocked that Berisfords an established company who I’ve had a long standing relationship with, and given plenty of repeat business to over the years, would do this. It’s poor behaviour to copy others and I would’ve hoped this could have been resolved so we could’ve continued working together but how can I work with a company who I don’t trust?”
“I would like to thank those of you for your endless messages of support which have meant so much during this case, and welcome any comments”
I’ve always had a love for upcycling and there’s nothing more I enjoy than doing up an old piece of furniture. Many years ago I did a furniture restoration course but sadly due to work commitments I have very little time nowadays to do these hobbies.
We have an old stool that we use for our exhibitions which you will find us perching on at the end of the day and I decided it needed some TLC
I wanted to give it a creative finish and somehow incorporate ribbons, so I dusted down the sewing machine and got to work…
I decided to cover the seat pad and back support using an old linen tea towel as a base and remnants of ribbon
Firstly I unscrewed the seat pad (making sure that I didn’t lose any of the screws)
I cut the tea towel in a slightly larger template. I then arranged my ribbon remnants on top of it
When I found a design that I liked, I took a photo of it (unless you pin the ribbons in place they will probably move whilst you are using the sewing machine)
One by one I then stitched the ribbons on to the tea towel with my sewing machine, trying to keep my lines straight.
I then unscrewed the back support and cut my tea towel into a slightly larger template
This time to make it a bit more quirky I decided to use an alternative colour of ribbon.
I then stitched this on with the sewing machine
To help with the covering process, I used double sided tape to keep the fabric in place
Finally I screwed the pads back in place…and voila I have a creative ribbon stool.
At the end of a long day on our feet, we can now perch on an elegant stool which reflects our brand and creativity.
If you have used ribbon in any similar projects we would love to hear from you…
I have always had a love for lace. It reminds me of my late grandmother, and how we would enjoy afternoon tea, surrounded by lace jam covers, vintage china tea cups, beautiful edges tablecloths and napkins with intricate detail.
She always had lace place mats for the pot of tea so her polished dining table didn’t suffer heat marks, and her pearls were often left on the kitchen sideboard (Image via Bloved Weddings)
Nowadays I find any excuse to use it in my gift wrapping projects, and it looks great as an extra feature, used with other vintage embellishments.
The nearby city of Nottingham is renowned for it’s lace market and I used to trawl through the market to find bespoke pieces when I made handmade wedding stationery in my earlier years.
In this project I have kept the lace theme by half wrapping a brown paper box with a simple paper doilie. I love the simplicity of it but it can also be edged with ribbon.
I then got completely carried away and decided to make some lace themed gift bags using doilies and double sided satin ribbon.
In this creative idea, lace can be added around jam jars with glue or spray adhesive to give an eye-catching effect (Image via Jadorable Home)
Remnants of Lace were used in a collage to make my wedding ring cushion by the very talented textile artist Polly O’Connor
Recently I wanted to add lace to a monochrome gift wrapping feature and chose tissue in a black lace design (which we sold out of within days of it going online), I added lace with our black stitched ribbon.
This project I have half wrapped the box in a remnant of vintage floral tissue and added some of our popular Raspberry Stitched Ribbon
Another clever idea via Pinterest is this Jewellery display idea. Just use an old picture frame and add lace with a staple gun.
On a recent buying trip, I was somewhat overwhelmed looking at the hundreds of lace variations. It made decision making very hard for my ‘Handpicked Collection’ (this is where I chose my absolute favourites that blow me away and share them with my customers via our online shop).
It has also be a huge trend in Fashion with Issey Miyake and many other designers showcasing lace in their collections. Karen Millen have certainly lead the way here in the UK.
Pinterest is a huge source of inspiration and here I found some brilliant lampshades by Andrea Daniels - These are such a joy to the eye.
I love the fact that lace is such an individual masterpiece. No lace is ever the same and it is filled with unique detail and I am full of admiration for those who design lace collections. I have introduced my own favourites in the Handpicked Collection and these are available by the metre or in bundle packs.
If you have any great lace ideas we’d love you to share them with us.
Over the years I have been to plenty of weddings, and have pretty much covered everything from being a bridesmaid 5 times, to a best man, florist, gift list person, hen weekend rep and of course the ribbon person…called in to do cars and pews. This time I was going to be a bride.
Normally I don’t shout out too much about my personal life, but I’ve had endless requests for an insight in to the wedding, and many of you have asked what ribbon did I use, to what dress did I wear, what flowers, food and colours and who is the new husband?
We do have a pretty unique story. I was working for Dior in Milan and met David in Malpensa airport after he threw his passport at me to keep his place in the queue, when our flight was cancelled because of snow a few years ago. Several months later we got together and met for a coffee and the rest is history.
To be honest getting married has never really bothered me, it’s more about being with the right person. We got engaged en route to India and had a week to talk about our wedding plans We wanted a total mixture of mountains, water, something cosmopolitan yet informal, special details and very intimate with only our close circle of friends and immediate family.
As we met in Milan, we decided to marry there, and chose the stunning Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como as our venue (The James Bond film ‘Casino Royale’ was filmed here as well as other films).
With busy careers and only 6 months to plan our wedding we enlisted the help of Lake Como Wedding planner Rachel Birthwistle who did a fantastic job.
Getting married in Italy is certainly a challenge. We did the notice of Impediment at Marylebone Town Hall (in the exact room where Paul McCartney married Linda!), and the documents then had to be sent to the Immigration Service in Milton Keynes, before being sent to Lenno Town Hall in Italy (this is when we let Rachel take over!)
Getting married for the first time later in life, the thought of a big fat white meringue and a dribble of bridesmaids filled me with horror, so I decided to go for 1950’s glamour with a twist of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O. Here my dad is eagerly awaiting to walk me up the aisle at long last.
By pure fluke, I ran in to Karen Millen after a quick lunch in Soho and there was my dress… A chic powder blue satin fitted dress. I loved the bow detail at the back and knew it was a great detail as so many wedding photographs are behind the bride and groom. The best thing is that it was in a sale! I added an Ostrich Feather Cape from Monsoon for the chilly evening and dressed it with quilted shoes and my favourite nude clutch bag from Dior.
My very good friend Stephanie Shine is a talented milliner (you will have seen her hats at Ascot and Royal Weddings to name a few) and I was lucky enough to have one made for a wedding present. She created it in days with help of some sketches and I was over the moon with it. My hairdresser Yvonne Bell from Bailgate Hair also came out to Lake Como and did a great job of my hair, giving it a fun and natural look.
Having been a florist previously in life and the rip off price of wedding flowers, I decided to do all of my own flowers including my bouquet, and with Rachels help, I popped along to the florist wholesaler in Como and did everything in a day.
We were lucky enough to use beautiful candle holders and vases from a big American society wedding several days before (that Stevie Wonder had played the piano at!).
I designed my own ribbon, a baby blue and off white Stripe that I called ‘Como stripe’ and decided that this was a complete one off design for my own wedding. I also love the luxury element of velvet, so added in powder blue velvet to decorate the chairs and vases.
I have always loved cameo brooches and designed a silhouette logo with the help of the talented designer Abigail Warner who put it all together from my amateur photos.
With only 20 guests at our ceremony in Italy, we certainly had a really special celebration. We wrote some of the vows ourselves and everyone had a little job or honour to do which made it even more personal.
With both of us having such demanding careers, we wanted to have some time alone during the day to take everything in. Not only were we blessed with the view of the lake, mountains and surroundings, but the weather was perfect!
One of my favourite moments was enjoying quality time with friends and family. Here we are joined by good friends Artist Suzi Morris and film director Tristan Loraine, catching up on lost time whilst overlooking the lake during sundown. It was heaven.
I have always loved Lake Como. On my first school skiing trip aged 14, I remember seeing the lake in moonlight whilst driving through the mountains to the resort. I’ve never forgotten that tranquil picture, and to me it is one of the most special places I have visited in the world. Little did I know that I would be married there.
Despite working harder than ever before, I have had the most incredible year with my career. Although we enjoyed getting married in Italy, it was straight back to work. The last 3 months have been fully booked with private clients, luxury brands, Harrods gift wrapping training, radio and television appearances, demonstrations in Liberty’s windows and gift wrapping for the likes of Chanel, Dior, Ralph Lauren, Jack Wills and Selfridges.
I am working right through until Christmas eve, and we will finally get away for our honeymoon in Tahiti (and a well earned rest) on Christmas Day!
We are now in to the peak time of the gift wrapping calendar, and are busier than ever with our London gift wrapping services and events until Christmas
For the last few weeks we have been busy gift wrapping wicker hamper baskets for a private client in Mayfair (over 300 of them). You can also see how to pack the perfect hamper basket in my previous blog post.
Kirstie Allsopp popped along to the Country Living Fair in London to sign copies of her new book ‘Kirstie’s Christmas Crafts’ on our stand. We are delighted to be featured in it, and can’t wait for the TV series.
I was also involved with the ‘Get Creative’ Event at Liberty in London and spent a fun 90 minutes gift wrapping live in their window on a busy Thursday evening infront of crowds. The iconic London store stock our ribbons and I popped in several days later to run a free ribbon masterclass for customers in their magical Christmas shop on the 4th floor.
Clifton Nurseries, another stockiest of our ribbons invited me to run a mini gift wrapping workshop in their heavenly ‘Quince Café’ in Little Venice. We all had lots of creative fun whilst sipping fizz and getting in to the festive spirit. I can’t wait to be back there on the evening of December 9th to do another festive event and tickets are £20
I headed over to Kent and East Sussex to run 3 separate events in one day for Millbrook Garden Centres. It was a race against time to reach each garden centre in time but we did it albeit tight, and it was wonderful to meet so many of you.
We have now started our Gift Wrapping Service in Selfridges flagship store in London. You will find us in the Beauty Hall on the ground floor every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until Christmas from 5-10pm. The service is complimentary when you buy any products from the Selfridges Beauty Hall (minimum £70).
I am delighted to be working behind the scenes for Chanel in Bond Street in mid December. You will also find me gift wrapping at the Ralph Lauren Fulham Road Store at a VIP charity event, and for Jack Wills and Dior just before Christmas. This year I will have no lack of luxury stores to buy my presents from and already I am drafting my Christmas list. I just need time to wrap them!
It’s also been an incredible season for filming and media. I appeared live on the Paul O’Grady Show on December 2nd (You can view it on ITV1 catch up).
I was lucky enough to be joined by Il Divo, Brendan O’Carroll and Jane McDonald and enjoyed a quick tipple at the aftershow party.
You’ll also see me appearing on a BBC2 Christmas Programme on December 19th and I also had great fun filming withLyndsey James for her forthcoming Craft blog in January. The short outakes clip on Youtube is worth a watch and very funny. I also have a Kuwait film crew popping over to film my work sometime before Christmas.
I will be joining presenter Melvyn Prior on BBC Radio Lincolnshire on 11th December. We will be discussing everything Christmas and it will no doubt be fun and chaos in the studio. I will then be heading to do a Christmas gift wrapping evening event at one of Rutlands best loved boutiques, Vanilla in Oakham.
We’ve had some great press lately with features in the Observer, Times and Telegraph. Our ribbons have been featured in many magazines including Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Essentials, Woman and Home, Country Living, Prima and Bella to name a few! You will also see them in the second series of The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC2.
With such a crazy season, I will have little time to celebrate Christmas myself as I don’t pop my scissors down until late on December 24th. It will be a quick family supper and as I have worked non stop since my wedding, I will finally be heading off on honeymoon on Christmas Day for a well earned holiday!
If you have any general enquiries about our Gift Wrapping Services, Events and Courses please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us
I hope that you all have a lovely Christmas and we would love to hear about your festive wrapping in our comments box below
There is nothing more I love at Christmas than to receive a wicker hamper packed with speciality foods and luxury wine. It is a perfect gift for anyone and can be made bespoke with personalised presents.
Fortnum and Mason are renowned for their hampers, which are filled with gourmet biscuits, speciality teas, crackers, petty fours, and wine and Champagne.
I remember as a child when my parents received one, and they still use the branded hamper to this day for blanket storage (Wicker hampers are particularly good for this as fabrics are able to breathe).
Hampers come in different shapes and sizes, and the most popular ones are with a box and lid. I love this style as it makes a great storage box once you’ve consumed the contents. We wrap lots of hampers for clients and these by far are the favourite.
There are many variations of hamper boxes on the market including your wicker hamper through to boxes made with card, wood and leather (prices vary considerably).
It is a good idea to choose your packaging first as there are limited options when buying hampers and boxes. If you are giving hampers away at Christmas do by your supplies early as suppliers may run out of stock.
There are several basket makers in the UK who could also make a bespoke size and shape for you. You will also find some great baskets on Ebay
Once you have chosen your box or basket it is time to fill it. You will need some padding such as shred, foam peanuts, tissue and cellophane.
I always line it first with cellophane then add the tissue on top. You can also sprinkle pot pourri in the basket (think of Rowan Atkinson in ‘Love Actually’) or lightly spray the tissue with a winter fragrance (M+S do some great ones for £5)
Bear in mind that if you have bought lots of products they may not all fit in, so it’s a good idea to have a practice run using your own groceries before you go shopping.
Once you have chosen your products, look at the whole range and imagine them in layers. I tend to segregate them in to piles of robust, medium and fragile
Pack the heaviest and rigid items at the bottom such as bottles, ensuring they or packed tight (or there is plenty of padding between them) and the label is showing.
You will then start layering the products and filling the hamper. Play safe and wrap breakable jars and bottles with bubble wrap (they can have an additional layer of tissue to make them look more elegant). It would be a disaster if anything breaks in transit.
Delicate items such as Pannetone, crackers and mince pies should be placed at the very top to avoid them being crushed.
To add extra luxury to the hamper, line it with a rich metallic tissue such as this gold one. I fold the sides in to a slightly narrow width so placement is easy. It gives a polished interior finish.
Once you have completed the layering process of your products, Close the lid and add your written and decorations. If you have any spare space at the sides pad it well with tissue.
Finishing detailing is really important so in this one I have pleated the tissue whilst wrapping a book to give that luxurious effect. When I am gift wrapping for Dior, we always do this pleating process with tissue and add it to the top of the bag (The French term is called ‘applice’).
I also add paper lids and decorations to jars, and love the luxury range of chutneys and Jams from Carved Angel (Their Christmas Puddings were voted ‘The Best’ by the Times and they are always mobbed at the Country Living Fair)
If the product comes in a nice box like this Christmas Pudding from Highgrove, just add a band of ribbon around and tie a simple bow. It makes all of the difference.
Large gaps in your hamper can soon be filled with Pannetone or Christmas Crackers. If you have any small spaces they can be filled with candy canes or small bags of festive treats. You can buy these from luxury outlets such as Daylesford or Fortnum and Mason although you can get a cheaper alternative from Aldi or Lidl
If your hamper is heavy it is a good idea to add some bricks, wooden blocks or rolls of ribbon under the corners so you can access the underneath easily with your ribbon.
If you are packing a hamper that is open with or without a handle, it is a good idea to have the smaller items at the back. I packed this luxury hamper for the Dior in Paris and had to get the balance right. In the gaps I made some handmade ribbon roses to highlight the floral theme.
We have gift wrapped many hampers for clients and one note of advice is don’t rush. The interior needs to be the focal point and you want the wow factor to happen when the lid is opened. I hope this helps your Christmas hamper project and I would love to see any photos on our Twitter or Facebook Page.
One of my favourite stores is Liberty located in the heart of London. The iconic building is located just off bustling Regent Street. We were over the moon when Liberty decided to stock our range of ribbons last year.
I am delighted to be involved with their forthcoming ‘Get Creative’ event which will showcase their designers, artisans and makers. Already Stella McCartney, Etsy and Rosie Wonders have signed up to be involved.
On Monday 28th of October I will be gift wrapping live in one of their windows from 5.30pm-7pm, infront of the London press, bloggers, visitors and shoppers.
Their Christmas shop is one of the best in London and the surrounding streets are always bustling and their windows attract crowds from around the world, so it will no doubt be a buzzing atmosphere.
I will be inspiring passers-by with really handy gift wrapping techniques and plenty of ideas for Christmas. Already I have put together a mood board for the window to give you a taste of what is to come. Their Christmas products on the 4th floor are incredible so pop in and see the collections.
I will be back in store on October 31st to work yet more magic. Come and learn how to gift-wrap in style with me in the Christmas Shop. I will demonstrate how to wrap the perfect gift at Christmas and will show you how to jazz up an envelope with a few tips.
For more information log on the the Liberty website. See you there!