Sunday, 6 December 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Friday, 23 October 2009
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
8th August 2009
With several of the main trade fairs around the corner, we have been busy promoting the new trade collections. Two of my favourite trade magazines are Gift and Craft Focus where you come across unique and often small companies who have those 'must have' unusual products. I do hate to see companies copying their competitors (or websites as we are finding!) , so us as consumers are left with an overload of the same thing. Entrepeneurs make it by their own signature and style, and not by following others footsteps
What is lovely in the gift industry at the moment, is that retailers are pulling the stops more than ever before because the consumer wants that something different. Luckily we have very fresh ideas and a keen eye so we're always kept on our toes, with a fair price in mind. We were delighted when Craft Focus featured us as a new company to watch in their Industry News section, and gave us such a lovely write up.
10th August 2009
I always think the summer time is a quieter time for us for courses with so many people on holidays. To my surprise I added a one off date in August to find it virtually booked up within a fortnight!
It's all go with new collections arriving, photo shoots, a good stream of orders and even the odd client coming in from Hong Kong for a private gift wrapping course. It's an exciting time with preparation underways for the forthcoming events and a very full diary for the rest of the year. I'm even sourcing ribbons for next Spring and fell in love with this romantic embroidered ribbon which we have online for £1.50 per metre. After the current wedding season I somehow don't think we will be left with much for Valentines Day!
11th August 2009
One of my favourite reads (not that I ever get any spare time!) is Woman and Home Magazine.
Our courses have been featured in the latest issue and the phone has been red hot with enquiries from North Yorkshire to South Wales. We've also been frantic helping magazines with their Christmas shoots, liasing with good old Marks and Spencer who always come up trumps with their wrapping range (they I believe are one of the best on the High Street for Gift Wrap)
We're now even working with an interior magazine for their January shoot. When it's been a hot and muggy day I can't get my head around snowdrops and new year diets!
And back to Woman and Home magazine...dosen't Joanna Lumley look fabulous on the cover?
I will enjoy the read on the train this week to another course.
19th August 2009
I love a good challenge and was recently asked by Crafts Beautiful Magazine to create a feature on how to use those roll ends and remnants of ribbon. Those of you who have been on a Gift Wrapping Training Day will have plenty of ribbon ideas! So for a couple of days I talked, breathed and dreamt of thrifty and inexpensive ribbon ideas...from how to get a matching handag to adding trim to jeans.
The online feature shares the top 10 ribbon tips (please click on the link). Being brought up on a diet of Blue Peter and sticky back plastic, I really enjoyed looking through their online craft projects...so ten out of ten to Crafts Beautiful and that's definately being saved to my favourites.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Today I was at the 125th Lincolnshire Show seeing the Princess Royal open the newly built Epic Centre. I love the fact that it has so many environmental pluses however the building lacks any personality feeling like a stark dental surgery. Sadly the outside area is a complete shambles (how can you sit at a table on a slant??) The architect clearly got his inspiration from the Tellytubbies as there's no shade, nowhere decent to sit, and being squashed in like sardines isn't my idea of fun. Our Council tax has clearly been spent on an overprices garden shed called the Epic Centre!
June 27th 2009
What a sad story to hear of the death of Michael Jackson. Despite his troubled life, he gave us the best music which appealed to every race, religion, and age. He danced with fire in his shoes and nobody can ever do the moonwalk as perfect as the King of Pop.
We've had the tribute songs playing quietly in the office and still can't believe that he has gone.
July 4th 2009
Bollywood came to Lincolnshire this weekend. It was a mixture of fundraising events and a milestone birthday. With a cross range of guests and a passion for India I decided to have an ice breaker Asian theme in an Indian Raj Marquee, and was amazed at how much effort people made to be there in superb costumes. Champagne flowed on the summer evening by the watermill and everyone had an absolute ball, dancing in to the early hours and relaxing in the chill out tent.
I have to admit I've never enjoyed one of my own events so much and was so touched at the distance some came from, including Spain, France and Ireland.
July 7th 2009
Today we hosted our charity event and grand sale at the Watermill. Not only was the weather kind but we also had a great turnout. We had some lovely exhibitors, plenty of happy helpers and a few dogs joining in the fun. We took around £1100 at the event and with my donation (all of which we will put through Gift Aid) we hope to give each charity around £800.
The event was also covered by the Journal Magazine and our event will be featured in next months issue. If you would like to make a donation please get in touch.
July 17th 2009
After a very good week, I'm busy sourcing new stock and will be making a quick visit to the Harrogate Trade Show looking for dare I say.....Christmas stock! I'm always teased about getting ready for Christmas in July as I was one of those who went mad at the glimpse of the first Christmas cards in the shops at the end of August. Already I've been asked by magazines to wrap presents for Christmas shoots and it's very hard finding Dark Green Tartan Paper in the middle of summer.
I'm delighted to have found these lovely bright and cheerful gift tags (Made in Scotland for us).
They have cute little brass eyelets and are a classic understatement to any gift, napkin or plant and I can't wait to experiment with them on forthcoming photo shoots.
22nd July 2009
One of the greatest inventions to come in to the floristry world was good old stem tape. It's like a self sticking tape made with crepe paper. It usually comes in green, brown or white (wedding corsages usually have white stem tape covering the stems). I've been digging in to my creative mind and ribbon remnant box and have made these gorgeous roses out of wired ribbon.
You will need a single beaded berry from a bunch, an arm length of wired ribbon and stem tape
(All of which we sell right here at www.janemeans.com)
I've made a few roses and tied them on to a special wedding gift as shown.
Thursday, 18 June 2009
These ribbons are truly luxurious and come on a 10 metre roll without breaking the bank. Jane Means is known as the Gift Wrap Guru and she not only has ribbons by the roll and metre but lots of other wrappings and decorations that are hard to find on the High Street.
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
June 7th 2009
We are delighted to be at Burghley Horse Trials for the first time. We sadly couldn't squeeze in to the Country Living Tent so are exhibiting with our own tent.
We're selling all our unusual ribbons, trimmings and wrapping and will also be running a Gift Wrapping Service for the show...and it's so handy being quite close by.
The event is from September 3rd-6th at Burghley House, Stamford, Lincs
For more information log on to www.burghley-horse.co.uk
June 17th 2009
From one type of animal to another. I came in contact with a huge 6ft Rhino today, a gorgeous leather version from www.omersa.co.uk
I had the task of wrapping it for an undisclosed client who just happens to be one of my favourite all time rock stars (sorry my lips are sealed on this one)
It took 3 of us and nearly 2 hours to complete the wrapped creation.
We wish Mr Rhino lots of luck in his new A list mansion!
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
" W r a p C h a t "
Well hello and welcome to my blog..In a nutshell I train lots of companies in Gift Wrapping techniques, which you may think is a bazaar way of earning a living. I've always loved nice presentation whether it be interior design, a shop window, a dinner table or in my case a wrapped gift.
I currently live with my very patient other half KP and our Labador Margo in both Lincoln and London. I've many humourous tales to tell and tips of the trade with nearly 15 years in the business so happy reading!
June 5th 2007
We have just exhibited for the first time at Pulse at Earls Court, and what an elegant and enjoyable show. If you are a retailer this is a fantastic trade show. Here I was exhibiting our Christmas range of wicker decorations, and at the last minute I decided to include our Easter products on the stand. We were amazed by the order levels of the Easter products and yet again Pink and Green are the key trend colours. Our Egg wreaths were popular with several stores who were going to sell them all year round...amazing!
June 21st 2007
Last night I had an absolute hoot running a course. Max our delightful host invited me to run a course at her beautiful home close to Lincoln Cathedral. She invited close friends to attend a wrapping course in a surprise for her sister Vikki who's over from Australia to celebrate the big birthday. We kicked off with a champagne on the roof terrace and laughed our way through four hours of wrapping.. breaking for a sumptous afternoon tea. I returned back to the office with a huge grin, stretched waistband and my first client from Australia!! What a super experience...
July 31st 2007
Yesterday was photo shoot day for our Christmas and Easter collections. We are very grateful to Max and Ron who not only let us use their super home for the shoot but were also so hospitable and kind. I'm praying one day that they will open this fabulous place in to a B+B, as this would be the place to stay in Lincoln with a wow factor, and would be top of my recommendation list!
Today was the photo shoot for the Country Homes and Interiors feature.
I would like to thank Max, Allie and Clemmie for being superb students, and Polly and Charlotte for such an easy and enjoyable day..Even Margo the beloved black Labrador managed to get infront of the camera! You can read the 5 page article in the January 2008 issue which will be out and Christmas and full of expert Gift Wrapping Tips!
August 27th 2007
Despite this being a bank holiday I had a very enjoyable day in Haselmere, Surrey where I trained the
staff at the 2 Noggs stores on the High Street. Everyone was full of enthusiasm and I would like to thank Nina and Chris for being so hospitable. If you're in the area, they have a super range of gifts and you can now have them professionally gift wrapped too!
August 31st 2007
Lots and Lots of Preperation today as I'm heading off to the Autumn Fair for a few days to run seminars for those eager retailers desperate to wrap in time for their Christmas rush!
If you fancy coming along you can find a link to Autumn Fair on the homepage.
I was amazed how popular the Gift Wrapping demonstrations were at the Autumn Fair Talking Point Seminars.. All of the demonstrations were crammed full and I'm sorry if you didn't get your free handout, however you can get one from the Autumn Fair link on the homepage.
It's very encouraging to see such a large turnout of retailers taking a gift wrapping service seriously!
September 29th 2007
This book I absolutely love..It's Secret Services by Cary Whitley. It's an absolute must for those who have action packed lives and want a book on everything from Renting your own small cinema, Buying tickets for sold out events, Great party and wedding ideas, Nanny Hire to Pet Fairs and Free Personal Shoppers. It's your very own pocket concierge and is available from Fab Publishing for £12.99 (Order line 0870 4430035)
You will find me featured on Page 52 under 'Nothing plain about this Jane'
I met Cary several years ago when she came on a gift wrapping course and I wish her the best with this fantastic must have publication (I will certainly be giving a few of these as Christmas Presents!) I will make sure I have several copies in the shop at Covent Garden this Christmas for you to buy
October 9th 2007
With the popularity of this course that I'm running for the Wicked Stepmother Courses, I decided to launch my own courses at home called 'Ideas for Christmas' and have already have had a party of four keen to apply! Due to the hectic work schedule this year the courses will run in 2008
October 23rd 2007
Lots of preparation going on from sourcing papers from Italy to shop cabinet makers as the team and I will be providing a Luxury Wrapping Service at Covent Garden Piazza this Christmas.
The Wrapping store will be open from December 7th until 22nd (Closed Mondays)
and open 12pm-8pm Tuesday - Saturday and 12pm-6pm on Sunday.
For more details please refer to our Press Release linked from the home page
It will be hectic but we are all looking forward to the smells of Mulled Wine and Mince Pies outside!
November 19th 2007
With the sucess of the gift wrapping courses in Northern Ireland in October, I will be returning to Magherafelt in October 2008 to run more courses. It was my first visit to Belfast this year and I can't wait to go back!
November 21st 2007
I've finally had a minute or two to sit down with the 2008 diary to organise next years course dates.
After a well earned holiday after Christmas, I will be commencing the courses in February including a new venue which is an idyllic barn in the pretty village of Steventon in Oxfordshire. Also on site here is an old fashioned bakery and a sumptous gallery and studio selling fabulous interiors, furniture, gifts and toiletries (my credit card will be getting a swipe or two there as I've my eye on the wicker dog bed and leather cushion for the beloved labradoor Margo!) I cannot believe the demand for gift wrapping courses this year and sold out of course places a few weeks ago with not even a spare day before Christmas to add any additional ones.I've also had to turn away many retailers for last minute wrapping courses so please do book early for next year!
December 1st 2007
Two amazing things have happened this week...Firstly I nearly fell off my stool when I saw my face plastered on the front cover of the Journal magazine (My poor granny Peg nearly had a heart attack in her hospital bed)..I suddenly realised that a facial and a new lipstick were needed!
Yesterday as I headed off the tube with KP, I had a text from my old school friend Tara to say I'd been mentioned in the Times..and to my amazement they had featured the Wrapping Shop in Covent Garden as 'Shop of the Week'!
We are now frantic getting the last minute prep done in time for Thursdays opening, with ribbon and wrapping everywhere. Do feel free to pop and see us..We are Unit 12 next door to Lush in the Central Avenue at Covent Garden Market, and will be open until 22nd December (Heaven knows when I'll get my own wrapping done this Christmas!)
We finally shut our doors at Covent Garden on the 22nd and I came back to Lincolnshire and collapsed in a heap with a delightful cold over Christmas. We had a great time wrapping all types of objects with celebs and West End Actors popping in to visit! The team worked extremely hard and I would particularily like to thank Chloe and Max who were often there helping in the evenings...Here's to another busy year no doubt - Happy New year!
February 2nd 2008
This is a very sad day indeed. My beloved Granny (known as Pegleg) passed away at home. Those of you who were on a Lincolnshire course several years ago will have had the chance to not only meet this super lady but taste her homemade soups and cakes on the day itself. She loved course days and always remarked how lovely everyone was. She has always been a great inspiration and someone who I will always admire. I have wonderful memories of our life together and her hard working values will continue with me forever.
Over 300 people attended the funeral today at Martin Church. Jon Ryden did a fantastic tribute which had us in a mixture of tears and laughter. I would like to thank those of you who made such long journeys in the awful foggy conditions to attend and your emails and cards have been a great source of comfort during this sad time. Even though she was 90, we were very close and I have lost one of my best friends who I would always turn to in a crisis. Life must go on and it will be one where she is never forgotten. Those of you who drive in to Lincoln on the B1188 will see snowdrops and Tete A Tete Daffs planted on Canwick Hill in her memory. March 1st 2008
Despite the earthquake this week it feels as though Spring is on the way..This week we are as busy as ever getting our last minute Easter orders..We're also preparing for the very popular Country Living Fair which is always a busy show. This year the trend for Spring is define Pink and Green and I'm glad my designs highlight these colours. Whilst out for supper this week..I window shopped around Chelsea after supper and there were my Pastel Wreaths in several windows of the General Trading Company in Sloane Square!
March 27th 2008
Where has this year gone so far? My goodness in a breath I've conquered Valentines Day, Mothers Day and now Easter in just over a month..No wonder I'm exhausted! Despite the credit crunch we had a sucessful Country Living Show in London last week and have come back and collapsed in a heap!
April is quite exciting as I've a diary full of courses in Lincoln, Oxford, London, Leeds, Norfolk etc..and I'm scrambling to find additional dates before June (Believe me I'm not moaning..infact I'm very happy to be in demand at this time of year!). Well I hope you all had a good Easter and ate as much chocolate as I did..It's now time to work it off.....by walking the dog of course..
March 30th 2008
You will have seen my beloved labradoor Margo appearing on the website in places..To my horror yesterday she was rushed to the vets and operated on there and then with a huge abcess in the rear ladies department. I couldn't understand why the day glow jacket of the postman didn't cause the usual stir last week and little did I know how much pain she was in (If only animals could talk!) Well good news she's on the mend with a lovely big scar with enough stitches to sew a duvet (ugh) and it won't be long before she's begging for affection and treats yet again on course days!
April 3rd 2008
Well I can't wait for tommorow..I'm heading off to run a course at the Gallery in Blakeney Quay in Norfolk.
I can tell Margo is getting better as she's sat by the front door waiting with lead in mouth (and I've not even mentioned the words 'ball, food or walk'!)..... Little does she know that she's coming to Norfolk too!
April 6th 2008
Had a super visit to Blakeney...KP insisted he drove me there with Margo in tow, and after a really enjoyable course we had a swift half at the local then decided to stay over (thank goodness we packed a toothbrush). I love Blakeney as a place but wouldn't recommend the Blakeney Hotel..Before we had even asked about rooms we were turned away for a drink as we weren't residents. Next it was on to the Manor at Blakeney where we eventually stayed and the phrases 'diabolical' and 'Faulty Towers' come to mind. How I would love to see Alan Sugar and his Apprentice team sort that place out. On a final note I had a super day with Suzi Hartley and Co and after seeing her amazing home I know her new venture opening in May called 'The Coastal Trading Company' will be a place to die for with your credit card when visiting Blakeney (with a wrapping service too!)
April 10th 2008
Yesterday took me to the outskirts of Leeds to train a team up at Chiltern Mills. We had great fun wrapping Duvets, Bedding, Cushions and many other bits. I made the big mistake of gift wrapping the staff kettle so it left us thirsty for the rest of the day! I wish them all the best for their new Gift Wrapping Service in their 12 outlets. On the way back to Lincoln we got sidetracked and decided to try out the Glass and Bottle at Harby (Off the A57) for supper. Toby the owner made us very welcome and the food was excellent This establishment will definately go on my recommended eats although I'm somewhat concerned that they are taking Potatoes off the menu. (Big mistake to me as we all love Spuds!)
April 17th 2008
I've just had 10 days of being on the road running courses. I had a super time on Monday and Tuesday running courses at The Gallery in Steventon, Oxfordshire. The lunches were mouth watering and pretty much everyone had second helpings. How can you resist the fresh baked biscuits, bread, quiches and cakes when they have just come out of the ovens in the old Bakery on site? It was a full house and I can't wait to get back in October for another 2 days of heaven. I may even enrol KP on an Aga Course designed for Men who want to cook Sunday Lunch (What a great invention for us women!)
April 20th 2008
I've had a day stuck in the office sorting out all of the tangled ribbons..The word nightmare is an understatement...During my Tea Break I decided to send an email to Radio 2 and ask for a cheeky request to keep me going. Steve Wright played it on air and has made my day!
April 21st 2008
I've decided after having several Americans on courses over the last few years that I need to take the Wrapping Courses stateside. It's early days and I'm looking at starting them next year in either Boston or Chicago. It's now the long road to find a good venue and how to market myself over there. If you've any ideas on either please let me know. Watch this space....
April 22nd 2008
Sounds like I am going to be busy this summer. I will be running demonstrations for Country Baskets in Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Manchester. Details can be found on the link on the left
April 23rd 2008
You will be delighted to know that Margo is making a dramatic recovery a month after her life and death experience. So many of you have kindly sent in get well messages and even doggie treats...I put her on the website for a bit of a joke and she now appears to be a Doggie Icon all of a sudden. I'm doing a Gift Wrapping photo shoot tommorow (I know it's crazy as we're not even in May yet) and the lucky mutt is allowed to come too as long as she carries a few presents in the photos...watch this space!
May 7th 2008
I'm just back from Hong Kong after spending a hectic 2 days organising the Easter order and attending a trade show...I must be crazy sitting on a plane for 12 hours just to make sure the manufacturers get the quail eggs design right for the 2009 collection. After the explotion of orders this year we are extending our rustic range for Easter and I can't wait to get the samples through.
May 10th 2008
After months of deliberating I've decided to take the plunge and go e-commerce on my website. The shopping cart system has always put me off knowing that I have to spend thousands to get it up and running. Despite the credit crunch business has been fantastic this year and whilst we are the Gift Wrapping Number 1 on Google it makes sense to broaden our horizon and offer an e commerce site. It's best that we get it going now before the peak gift wrapping season kicks in at the end of the summer. We will keep you posted on developments!
June 22nd 2008
I'm just back from a weeks R+R in Kalkan, Turkey. We stayed in the luxurious Villa Keros...a place to die for and I was in total heaven. It's now back to hundreds of emails and a pile of mail...Today I've been at Country Baskets in Leeds with a very keen audience standing for up to 2 hours watching me demonstrate the latest wrapping techniques. Tommorow I'm demonstrating for Action Research in Spalding so fingers crossed they raise lots of pennies and the Marquee dosen't disappear with the gales....see you in a few days!
June 25th 2008
I did a course for Coghlans Cookery School in Millthorpe some years ago and I'm delighted to have been asked back to idyllic Derbyshire to run a demonstration on August 26th. Tickets are only £20 and will include supper and a gift wrapping demonstration...you can even have a go yourself! For details on the event, please click on the left to direct you to Coghlans website: http://www.cookingexpert.co.uk/
June 27th 2008
Nelson Mandela has reached the grand age of 90 and it was wonderful to see him live at his birthday tribute concert in Hyde Park. I ended up making jazzy cellophane waterproofs and luckily the rain held off. The highlight was Simple Minds 'Don't you forget about me' and of course Amy Winehouse surprising the crowds by her great performance. Two other surprises were seeing Victoria Beckham and Gordon Brown being Booooed. All in all it was a fantastic concert with many great acts and a wonderful atmosphere.
June 28th 2008
Gordon Ramsay has opened a new restaurant at The Warrington in Maida Vale and of course we had to visit being residents just down the street. What a super meal and I'm somewhat of a critic. The staff were excellent, the portions of scrummy food which I initially thought were small, were spot on and a bottle of Chablis was only £27 which I don't think is bad for London. The best thing was we were able to walk home so I will definately be back...Be warned it's a 3 week waiting list though.
July 13th 2008
I've returned back from a weekend in Glasgow where I decided to push the boat out and stay at the Hotel Du Vin in the West End. If it's good enough fo Kylie and Princess Anne well it's good enough for me! What a fabulous hotel and the best thing is their towels are gift wrapped!
It wasn't all play as I was at Country Baskets doing a wrapping demonstration hence why I was in Glasgow. The audience were there with fold up chairs and a pack up lunch and seemed to enjoy every minute. I had a super visit and felt so at home amongst the uber friendly locals...can't wait to go back!
July 22nd 2008
I'm delighted to be asked back to do the Gift Wrapping Seminars at this years Autumn Fair at the NEC. I'm racking my brains to think of some new ideas for retailers and scouring the net for new wrapping products. For seminar times click on the logo...See you there in September!
August 1st 2008
The emails have been pouring this week after an article was published about courses in Woman and Home Magazine. I've not even seen it yet but Maxine Ferguson who has been on a couple of my courses has apparently given a good write up. She wanted to learn how to present things well for her boutique B+B and I'm sure she will be wrapping towels Du Vin style before long.
August 6th 2008
Yesterday I had a lovely day with the team at Haute Mama. Despite not having a brood of my own I just adored these products and their high quality packaging that the girls brought along.
Fiona the founder has done a lot of painstaking research to find some brilliant top notch suppliers.
Take a look at their website (link on the left) which too I was very impressed with...it's a brilliant one stop for everything before and after a pregnancy with plenty of designer gifts.
August 14th 2008
The diary has been having a serious re shuffle this week and I am thrilled that I can now make the Country Living Fair in Scotland on 20-23rd November. I had a great time in Glasgow recently and despite it being for work, I just can't wait to go back with the wrapping team in tow! We always have a sucessful show with Country Living and the Scots are so grateful that you make the effort to go up there, you just can't help but want to go back. I'll be doing my Christmas shopping there and for details of the fair click on the link. August 17th 2008
We've just come back from a super weekend in Dartmouth despite the rain. It was my best friends wedding at the breathtaking Royal Naval College and Margo the beloved labrador was a bridesmaid. She was tucked at the back of the chapel as quiet as a mouse. Pete and Sarah, the new Mr and Mrs Milne are now enjoying a relaxing honeymoon in Tuscany. How I would love to be there escaping the rain!
August 21st 2008
Here's my moan of the week ... I was charged £8 for a Visa Debit Fee after booking flights with Ryanair. This is not only very crafty of Ryanair but is an utter rip off. Ryanair probably only pays 5p per card transaction yet charges £8. I too was so appalled at the baggage charges that i've decided to TNT our bags to Dublin instead. ...and why is it you're charged £12 for 1 bag and £28 for 2 bags ??
They will be charging for Oxygen next.
September 1st 2008
I'm just back from Ireland as I'm hoping to eventually run Gift Wrapping courses in Dublin at some point.
I loved the renovated Sherborne Hotel..it was too pricey to stay but I enjoyed a couple of drinks at the
end of a hectic day. We headed to a Tullemore Farm to join our great friend Oliver Choiseul. We all then headed to Roundstone Co.Galway over the weekend to celebrate his birthday. My best moment was returning to the beach crossing to Omey Island from Claddaduff..it's one of my favourite places in the world. We sadly couldn't drive across as it was very much a rough high tide.
September 4th 2008
Christmas is fast approaching from the amount of calls and emails I've had since my trip to Ireland.
It's all stations go this week preparing for the Autumn Fair Seminars with a few courses either side.
I'm hoping to get a lot of Christmas products ordered there and I think the tone this Christmas will be cheerful after the credit crunch and terrible summer! The leaves are falling like mad from the trees in Canwick and it really feels like winter is on the doorstep.
September 10th 2008
The Talking Point Seminars at the Autumn Fair were a real sucess. I clocked several people in the audience who were familiar faces from previous demonstrations or courses, and was surprised too at the amount of men in the audience. My collegue Suzi Charlton and I had an enjoyable few days, collapsing in to the wonderful Spa at the Malmaison at the end of our hectic days.We drew the lucky winner on the last day out of the bucket to win 2 places on a course who was Lesley Ellwood from City Life Magazines in London.
If you were at Autumn Fair and didn't win, at least you have your £10 course voucher from us!
September 11th 2008
We all remember where we were when we heard the dreadful news some 7 years ago. Despite having a full course today my thoughts were very much with those who lost there lives on that terrible day.
Tommorow will be an odd day too as it's Pegs' birthday yet she isn't here. I have such a backlog of emails and bookings that I will be busy and will no doubt toast her with a glass of sherry when I clock off.
October 5th 2008
Work has been twice as busy as normal and the phone has been red hot for the last few weeks.
They say business goes one way or another so I've now taken on extra staff to help me..not only on the wrapping jobs around the country but also to help pack orders and man our busy little office.
I'm particularily delighted to welcome Caroline who is my new PA...I would be totally lost without her now and funny enough I clocked her brilliant wrapping on one of my courses which is a double bonus!
If you're crazy about wrapping (and wrap well too!)and fancy some work at Christmas time please get in touch with us as we have lots of jobs in the pipeline which need staff.
October 30th 2008
Apologies I've been off the richter scale for a while...I've been running packed courses every day this month (except for Sundays which is my cherished day off). Since the last blog entry I have been to Belfast, Oxford, Kent, Derby, Birmingham, and every other day down to London. I've met some really interesting characters this month on courses who are heading straight to B+Q as we speak! The new ribbon collection is arriving any day so all in all life is very exciting! We've had a few hiccups with the new website (I never knew online shopping carts were so technical) but we will be up and running any day now.
One lovely surprise last night on the train back from London was to spot my tags and ribbons whilst flicking through a copy of House Beautiful (Pages 97 and 98 in the Christmas 2008 edition)
November 17th 2008
So much has happened in the last fortnight...the new ribbons arrived and have been going like gold dust... even a few celebrities have been placing orders which is very exciting (my lips are sealed as I won't disclose names!). Already I am busy designing the range for next Christmas and can't wait to seriously get to the drawing board straight after the Christmas rush.
Whilst I was flat out at the Country Living Fair the new .com website was launched at long last after 6 months in the pipeline. I'm still busy sourcing high quality and unusual gift wrapping papers, decorations and ribbons...we had plenty of oohs and aahs at the ribbons at the show and some really positive feedback. Certainly the London crowd seem to be buying Brown...as I predicted it is the 'in colour' this year.
November 30th 2008
I had an absolute ball in Glasgow although there was one slight hiccup at the Country Living Fair when we had no power on the Saturday which was a sell out. Despite a delayed opening the crowds poured in and certainly made up for lost time. well done to the event organisers who did a brilliant job of keeping both the exhibitors and public informed during the power cut. So I headed back south and have been running courses in London all week. The course on Saturday too had a few hitches as we were sharing the building with a wedding party. I'm now keeping up the vitamins and trying to dodge everyone with coughs and colds to get me through until Christmas as this year is busier than ever with wrapping jobs throughout the whole country. The demonstrations were so well attended that I have decided to start courses in Glasgow next year. My PA Caroline has been busy on the case and I would like to thank all of the ladies who have emailed in with their suggestions which certainly helped our hunt for a top class venue. When presentation is everything in our business, the venue also has to have the wow factor and we spend a lot of time vetting boutique hotels, restaurants and character properties to find the right one that ticks all of the boxes. We are delighted to be working with the beautiful One Devonshire Gardens Hotel Du Vin as our venue, and that wasn't just because their towels were Gift Wrapped! (See July 13th 2008). Already bookings are pouring in and courses will be in March and November with extra dates in the pipeline.
December 10th 2008
We're now in full swing for the Christmas season. I seem to be living out of a suitace in Kent with a mixture of Private and Corporate Courses this month (you'll find a great wrapping team at Bluewater this Christmas!) I returned back to the Millbrook Garden Centres in Gravesend and Crowborough and had a full house both days for the Gift Wrapping Workshops. I also couldn't resist some of their sumptous velvet decorations which will look devine on the mantlepiece garland when I finally get home on Christmas Eve. BBC Southern Counties radio even collared me whilst I was there on the morning show and I'm now back in London preparing for the mad rush of Christmas wrapping jobs.
December 12th 2008
We're delighted to join forces with the Guide Dogs for the Blind this coming year as they will be our chosen charity for 2009. Already the collection box at St Pancras is filling up a treat and we have seen many guide dogs pass through the station (even the Police Explosive dogs come up for a sniff!)
In the coming year I will be doing a Gift Wrapping demonstration for Parkinsons Disease and we will be hosting a charity event in a marquee for several charities in early July at my parents idyllic Watermill!.
We will keep you posted...
December 15th 2008
The Gift Wrapping Service was launched at St Pancras International in London this week. We had no idea how cold the station would be and had to buy hot water bottles to not only keep the staff hands warm but also to keep the double sided tape sticky (This has been a first in my 14 years and has caused much amusement to our customers!)
Rudolph dosen't need to come to St Pancras this year as there are thousands of cold red noses wandering through the station with a collection of doggies, celebrities and happy male commuters knowing there's a wrapping service in town!
December 18th 2008
It was an early rise yesterday with a 7am interview on BBC Three Counties Radio. I was also lucky enough to be invited to the House of Commons for dinner...I had an invitation back in the summer and enjoyed lunch on the terrace but this was quite something! ..To stand in the Commons chamber with the MPs papers strewn around for the days events was quite a sight. I sadly didn't meet up with Lord Mandleson to air my support for the Post Office but had a lovely evening being cheeky to a local MP
Thank you to my hosts for a super evening.
December 22nd 2008
To my horror GMTV asked me to go on and I barely had a voice. Luckily I got through it ok despite sounding very quiet. I've been so lucky to avoid the lingering cold going around until now...it's probably the chill at St Pancras taking it's toll on top of the busiest year ever in business. I'm looking forward to Christmas with the family and having my social life back again after being a workoholic since August.
January 2nd 2009
Happy New Year to You all. After freezing to death by the Thames for the Fireworks on New Years Eve and catching a hideous cold, I've had a really good start to 2009..The fieworks and atmosphere were breath taking. I've always wanted to experience New Years Eve in London and we certainly felt the crush in Trafalgar Square when we were trying to get home! A few of us hit the sales today in London but I came back pretty much empty handed and feel it's just a big media hype this time. Jo Malone was business as usual with not one item reduced...We all love sales and I can't wait to start my online sale.
January 12th 2009
It's been a hectic day today but a sad one too. My dear friend Gilly Owen lost her fight for life and her final words over Christmas were "Don't take life for granted Janie, just get on with it". so that's this years motto.. 'Just get on with it'.
Despite the credit crisis we are very busy with lots of bookings already with new projects for the year ahead. I wasn't able to do the seminars at Harrogate as I thought we would be on holiday..I'm so glad we postponed it and I made time for a really good friend instead. Gilly you will be dearly missed and I have great memories of all of the things we got up to in Prague, Vienna, Geneva, Budapest (pictured) etc. with plenty of laughs along the way.
January 16th 2009
So we're off to Earls Court to do the Top Drawer Trade Show which I'm really looking forward to.
Last year I had a great 3 days and a very sucessful show too.
I'm also gift wrapping some huge gifts for a client (we've even had to hire a seamstress!)
It will then involve 2 of us with stepladders to complete the job which will be interesting as I'm not good with heights! After that it's a whilstlestop tour of the UK to run corporate events and courses and that's before Valentines Day.
January 23rd 2009
Top Drawer was a real sucess and we had lots of positive feedback and plenty of orders. Having been a retailer I am a supporter of small businesses and it makes my blood boil when you're told by the big wholesalers that the minimum order is a hefty grand...no thanks. We are sticking to our £50 minimum order for trade and it's being gratefully received during the credit crunch. So it's back in the office with lots of magazine features in the pipeline for Spring. We've even had a few online orders from celebrities this week although my lips are sealed and it's an exciting time with the new summer ribbon collection on the horizon. Some people have a thing about chocolate...for me it's ribbon!
February 17th 2009
After a hectic season I desperately needed a holiday so we headed to Khao Lak for some R+R. I find Phuket so over developed that we decided to head north. The one thing we noticed was how new everything was, after the Tsunami demolished most of the region. After a luxurious stay at Le Meridien it was then off to Koh Phat Tong which was a remote island further north. We stayed at the Golden Buddha Resort which was an amazing experience as it was 20kms of unspoilt beach with barely 20 people staying. Our thatched hut was right on the beach...how I wish we were back!
March 1st 2009
My goodness the snow has gone and Spring is now here. Work has been crazy and since back from holiday I've been running courses and demonstrations in London, Suffolk, Kent, West Midlands and Leeds to name a few. The Easter orders are going very well and we're delighted to get the Editors choice at House Beautiful in the April edition..We've had such a huge amount of orders we have sold out of several items just in a weekend. I'm heading up to Glasgow this weekend and start the new courses which are pretty much fully booked, then it's straight to the Country Living Spring Fair so no rest here!
March 20th 2009
The Country Living Spring Fair in Islington as always was well attended with some great exhibitors. Every time I nipped off the stand I would end up spending another £20 and we certainly noticed how few people were paying by credit cards. We had a great show and since being back we are snowed under with orders since we've had so much coverage in the Country Living Magazine. Many customers popped by to say hello and I'm always amazed how many of you read this little blog! Business is great in this unstable time and we are pulling out all of the stops to add that extra service to our loyal and new customers. We've also been featured in several pages of Woman and Home so I'm delighted the Easter products have been well received by the press.
April 14th 2009
Oh my goodness where has the last month gone? I can't believe how quickly the weeks before Easter went. To our absolute delight we had a brilliant response to the Easter features in Country Living, House Beautiful and Woman and Home. Even though Easter has passed we have long waiting lists and can't get our next delivery quick enough. The phone has been none stop so apologies if some of you had several attempts to get through. We're now having a big Spring sale so if you want your £1 ribbons (for 10 metres) get in quick as customers are ordering in bulk which is a first...especially in a recession! April 16th 2009
I've been on the road with the Gift Wrapping side of things and have done several demonstrations in the Midlands and North West (I felt very guilty leaving the girls in a hectic office). I've had so many requests for Gift Wrapping Courses in Birmingham and Manchester, that I have decided to start courses in Cheshire. The team are currently sourcing out venues. If you know of a lovely Cheshire venue with character than can provide a nice lunch please let us know. If we end up choosing your venue we'll give you a free place on the first course worth £95.
We hope to have courses running by the end of the year and will keep you posted.
April 19th 2009
This week has taken me up to the North East and Scotland. As it was such a long journey to Kinross in Scotland we decided to stay in Berwick Upon Tweed. Having passed this some many times on the train we decided to stay over. What a bonus it was to find a gem of a B+B on the quayside called The Walls B+B. Everything here was brilliant and we can't wait to go back (I'll even get off the train it was that good!). We then based ourselves at the Blair Adams House near Kinross which was such a wonderful experience. I have to say the A68 back to Newcastle was scenic but annoyingly full of speed cameras virtually every mile, so the drive back felt like eternity. I thoroughly enjoyed checking out 2010 venues in North Yorkshire, The North East and Scotland and will keep you updated
April 29th 2009
I'm back after a few days away. The courses in Oxford were fully booked and yet again the girls at the Gallery in Steventon laid on a super lunch with wine. This week has also been the Spring Bazaar at Irnham Hall near Grantham and my gift wrapping demonstration was well attended yesterday.
Caroline and I have had a few busy days with the sale coming to an end and i'm now working on the new ribbon collection which is very exciting. It will be a mixture of colours with dots, stripes, stitches and some luxury 2 tone wired taffetas in time for the Autumn...watch this space!
May 1st 2009
It seems like yesterday when we were stood at the Thames frozen on New Year Eve and we're now in May! With only 2 months until our charity event on July 7th at The Watermill, It's full steam ahead to get the invitations printed, finalise the marquee furniture, cake makers, tea servers, hand picked exhibitors and beg for tombola prizes that are in date (I couldn't resist this old favourite!)
We will be doing this for Guide Dogs for the Blind and St Barnabas Hospice, and I will also be holding my annual sale at this event (with plenty of bargains ready for grabs at 10am!)
If you would like an invitation sending, or would like to donate yourself or a prize please let us know.
May 3rd 2009
I'm enjoying a Bank Holiday at home and had a super day today cycling along the old railway line tow path from Lincoln to Bardney. The council have made the route reaslly interesting with sculptures and snippits of history and information. When we visited a pub in Bardney for a quick half I couldn't believe me eyes when I saw one of my best pals in an old copy of Hello magazine!
Today I also heard some great news through the grapevine. Ellie Wade (Former Top Chef at Foo Go) is opening her own Cafe with daughter Charlotte on Tuesday in The Terrace on Grantham Street.
Her food is to die for and I'm such a huge fan that I've asked if she could whisk up some mini quiches and cookies for my Lincoln courses (I'm hopeless at baking!).
At last Lincoln will have a gorgeous urban city cafe close to the cathedral, delicious food, outdoor table and brollies, friendly staff and all at good prices.
I know Cafe Portico, Lincoln will be a great sucess and wish them all the best...I will definately be a regular! For more details where they are click on the link.
May 9th 2009
Wow I've been blown away by an inspiring designer and textile artist on the block called
Polly O'Connor. My favourite bag is from one of her collection and I even had a person
stop me in Harrods to ask where I bought the beautiful bag!
I was lucky enough to take a peek in to her East Sussex studio this week and was in awe of these superb creations from cushions, bags, textile cuffs (very yummy), corsages with several commisions being worked on for the discerning buyer. I'm in the queue to have a wacky pin cushion made
This lady will go far (her wares have already been featured on GMTV) and I'm so impressed that I've awarded her the artist of the year and will promote her creations online. What's lovely is she is passionate about her work (this is more a hobby) and her creations don't break the bank.