Something different

The Fishee Designs photo booth needs your support!

March 13, 2015

So i’m promoting something a little bit different today. My friend Emily is running a crowdfunding project over on FundSurfer, and is looking for backers to help her reach her goal. She runs the Fishee Designs Photo Booth, and is looking for backers on FundSurfer to help her expand her business and make the photo booth service even better than it already is.

So who or what is the Fishee Designs Photo Booth?

“Fishee Designs Photo Booth is a one of kind open air, stylish, unique and colourful photo booth experience. We have taken the wedding world by a glitter storm and have been used by thousands of people to create the most awesome photo booth photos known to the UK. In the photo booth world, we have some of the best prop boxes in the country and we are proud to say we curate each themed packaged to the highest standard with our own unique style. It is important to us that our guests have fun, but also come out with awesome looking photos too.

Fishee Designs Photo Booth hire is one of a kind, and the baby of Emily Fisher’s inventive imagination. She has created something truly unlike anything else on the market. Emily custom designed the photo booth herself to ensure it was the prettiest photo booth hire in the land! The Vintage Shabby Chic Photo Booth Hire Package is surrounded by lace and roses, whilst the Comic Book Photo Booth pops with colour and superheros, each package providing the highest quality photos.”

Here’s a bit more about Emily and the photo booth in this video she made:

I know Emily has worked extremely hard to get this photo booth up and running, and I think it’s a really great concept, so get backing!

Here’s the link again to take you to Emily’s Fundsurfer page: Pledge money to the Fishee Designs Photo Booth

Big love

Sofia

Photography

Inkifi – my new favourite Instagram photo printing service

March 10, 2015
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It may surprise you to hear this (or not…), but I remember very clearly the era before digital photography. I had an SLR up until it got stolen on my year abroad in uni, so until I was 22. That was in 2006. I have a huge box full of printed photos – I used to go to the Chester Camera Centre with my stash of Ilford films, wait patiently for 3-5 days and then pay sometimes a small fortune to get the photos back…it was a slow process, but so exciting.

As much as I love digital photography – Instagram is my favourite app, and I have owned a Nikon D40 for 8 years now – I miss printing my photos. I know i’m not the only one who is guilty of keeping hundreds of photos on their computer, or Facebook account, only to look at them every now and again. I used to love the anticipation of getting a set of photos back from the camera shop, never quite knowing how they would turn out.

I love looking through them every now and again. Taking a trip down memory lane, and rotating the photos we have out already, replacing them with new ones.

As well as having a load of photos stored on my phone, computer and Facebook account, I have hundreds of photos in my Instagram account – 668 at the last count. It’s my visual diary. Scrolling through the photos is a bit like flicking through the ‘real’ photos, except a lot less satisfying.

This is where Inkifi comes in. I have used a service called Polagram to print my Instagram photos before, and to be fair it was a good, quick service. However when Inkifi got in touch to ask me to review their prints, I couldn’t say no. Not only do they boast using 100% sustainable materials, but the quality of their products is incredibly important to them.

“All our products are printed on premium, smooth fine art paper with a natural, matte finish that really brings out the character of your images.

We have worked hard to source beautiful materials for you that only have a minimal impact on the environment. All of our products have now been officially approved by FSC, the Forest Stewardship Council.”

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“It’s so important to us that you can buy our products in the safe knowledge that they have been produced in an environmentally-friendly way. We are convinced that being kind to nature is not only a complete necessity in order to preserve our most precious and delicate planet but also a huge benefit to the design of our products. You can literally feel the difference when you touch something made from sustainable materials – it just feels better in your hands, softer, more organic and somehow more alive; as if each print or frame has its own story to tell you – which of course, it does.”

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It took me a while to decide what to get printed. As I said, it was about 4 months ago that I got the other photos printed, so I didn’t just want to repeat what i’d already gotten printed.

Instead, I went with a theme, and decided on a colour scheme: blues, greens and natural settings. So I printed my pictures of the sky, pretty architecture and shots of the sea/water. I ordered 24 prints.

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I decided to go with the Square prints  in order to arrange them all nicely like in the photos…ha! No seriously, I actually find they look nicer square. I also took the conscious decision to only print the photos that were square, as opposed to the ones where i’d used another app (such as Squaready) to make them narrow in height or width. I wanted one unified, seamless look.

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So, all in all i’m really happy with my new Inkifi prints. The quality really is great, and they look so pretty. It’s so nice having printed photos, and I’m really glad I went with a theme, too. I would definitely recommend doing that if you’re overwhelmed with which photos you should print.

Next on my wish list is the Instagram Poster Print, I might make that one travel-themed…

I’d love to know if you get your photos printed, too! Let me know in the comments, or get in touch.

Big love <3

Sofia

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This post was made possible thanks to Inkifi

House

House renovations part 1.2 – starting on the lounge

February 16, 2015

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If i’ve been a bit quiet this week on the blog, it’s because we’ve had our lounge turned upside down with work finally having started on it! It’s all very exciting, and at the start of the week it looked like a shell of itself.

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The plan was t0:

  • restore the brick fireplace to it’s former glory
  • board the ceiling to get rid of the artex (after this we’ll only have one more artex ceiling to get rid of!!)
  • make the wall and alcove to the right hand side of the fireplace (as you’re looking at it) less wobbly by boarding it
  • make the gas and electric meter hidden in a more attractive looking box than the previous one
  • remove the frame around the window (the frame that was there went right up to the ceiling, which made the room look smaller that in was)

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Oh yeah, and the hole that’s been just inside our front door was going to be cemented too! We’ve had that hole for pretty much a year now, it was only meant to be there for a couple of weeks! But oh, how time flies…

When we got back after the first day, the fireplace had already been knocked through to be rebuilt and repointed – very exciting!

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We’re leaving it with the flue so that if we decide to get a wood burner in future we can still have one. For now, we’re just going to close it off to have candles and things in the fireplace instead.

Excuse the really poor photos – most of them had to be taken in the evening when we got back from work. But you get the idea.

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It was very weird not having the hole there anymore. I had gotten so used to stepping in to it…I almost miss it (shh, don’t tell Tony….!!).

By the end of Wednesday the builders had done there bit, and it was on to the plastering. We now have beautifully plastered walls, ready for painting (almost, they’re still drying), and a lovely rebuilt fireplace.

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I’m looking forward to redoing this before/after photo once we’ve cleaned up the bricks and painted the room. It’s going to look so good, and I can’t wait to have a fully functioning lounge again.

Next step – paint, floor, skirting, decorate. We won’t be able to rely on the builders to do all that for us, so it will be a lot of late evenings painting again. It will be worth it!

Stay tuned for more house progress :)

<3 Sofia

Bristol, What to do in Bristol..

An interactive map of some of my favourite places around Bristol

February 5, 2015

For today’s blog post I thought I would bring you something a little different, and as you can see, it’s a map!

I got together with Lime Venue Portfolio to create this, and it shows you some of my favourite spots around the city. Click either on the map pins to find out more about each location, or select from the drop down to view either shops, bars and pubs, restaurants and local attractions.

I’ve not just stuck to one area, as the beauty of Bristol is that each area has so much to offer. I have lived and worked in many of these areas and I love what they each have to offer. I used to love wandering down Gloucester Road on a Saturday (one of the longest roads in the country with the most independent shops on it, apparently!), going in to all the shops and people watching.

Similarly it’s always refreshing heading up to the downs for a walk and to blow away the cobwebs, and over to the Observatory near the Suspension Bridge to take in the amazing views.

So I hope you enjoy checking out some of my favourite spots – let me know what yours are!

<3 Sofia

This post was made possible with the help of Lime Venue Portfolio

 

Love Bristol

LOVE Bristol: Harry Blades & Angry Daves

February 2, 2015
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For the first LOVE Bristol of 2015 I’m really excited to have Brad from Harry Blades & Angry Daves give an insight in to his daily routine and what life is like as the owner and co-founder of HBAD. I happen to have had my hair cut with Brad since before he opened up his shop on the Christmas Steps, and since starting up this blog i’ve always wanted to feature him as one of my interviewees. 

Please give a warm welcome to Brad :)

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Hi! Let’s start from the beginning, can you tell me a little bit about your background, and what brought you to Bristol? 

It’s a long story but basically came to Bristol as a stopgap in between jobs. I had been based in Oxford and doing a lot of work in London up until then. Some of my best friends lived down here and decided to take some time out in the West Country and that was almost 10 years ago. I fell in love with the city very early on and haven’t wanted to leave.

Why did you choose the Christmas Steps as the location for your shop, and what was your biggest challenge in opening it?

Mainly because the rent was affordable enough for us to do it. We also really liked the area. It was not as vibrant as it is now but we loved it and thought that it would totally fit with what we had in mind for the store. We always wanted the shop to be somewhere that people discover rather than it being in an obvious location. A risky strategy but it has paid off. I like the idea of the shop being a badly kept secret.

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Where does the name HBAD come from?

HBAD stands for Harry Blades & Angry Daves. Dave already had a shop called Angry Daves that sold streetwear and limited edition imported trainers, when we decided to add the hair element to the business we felt that Angry Daves may project the wrong image a little so we added the second name to soften the blow. Initially Harry Blade was chosen because it rhymes with Angry Dave. A bit of an anti-climax answer but I think a lot of these types of things come about like that.

What’s a typical day for you?

My typical day usually consists of parenthood (early starts for the school run) and cutting people’s hair off (very late finishes).

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I imagine you mostly cut guys hair, as opposed to girls – is that right? If so do you ever imagine that you would only do men’s hair? (Please say no!! ha!)

We do a lot of men’s hair, yes. It has always been a huge passion of mine. However I love doing women’s hair however I have always been hugely dissatisfied with the atmosphere and approach of most hairdressing salons. At face value we lean way more towards barbering, but what we are trying to do is give people a third option. There is hairdressing, barbering, then a small collective of shops that are approaching things in a similar way to us. I would far rather people see us more like a custom tattoo shop but for hair. The dynamic within the shop is way more informal much like a traditional barbershop but as we do women’s hair too that changes things slightly compared to it being an all male environment. What we are trying to do is introduce a new approach for women, much slower, and less mass-produced. Something that is totally customized for them. No condescension, just working with the client to bring out the best in what they have, and to fit their personal style rather than pigeon holing them. There are a million high street salons that can do that.

I feel that in recent years women’s hair has become slightly maligned and is not seen as being nearly as ‘cool’ as barbering is for the guys. I lay the blame for this directly at the feet of the ‘industry’ for turning hairdressing into a cartoon of itself. This something I would definitely like to play my part in changing.

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I have a fantastic team that I work with and spend a lot of the day laughing with them. They are brilliant and a total joy. I am very proud of what we are achieving together. That and the relationship I have with my clients and the creative satisfaction that I have from working hard for them and them being excited and pleased with the work that we are doing. It is not the easiest job sometimes but I love everyday that I am behind the chair. It is where I belong.

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Where do you look to for inspiration? 

Everywhere. Walking around, Magazines, Blogs, Social Media, and I am enormously privileged to be able to travel and work with other professionals from all over the country and the rest of the world. I feel like I am constantly learning.

What advice would you give to any other aspiring start-ups?

Never borrow more than you absolutely have to. A good accountant is always useful, and to stick to your strengths. Don’t try and do it all. I have nearly burnt out several times from taking on too much. I have a fantastic relationship with my business partner and we have both found that we excel in very different areas and when we work together, but stick to our strengths, things go a lot better.

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What’s next for HBAD?

We are currently in the process of building a Barbershop on Park St underneath Fifty Fifty. It will be a slightly different concept. I definitely have no intention of the original store becoming a chain. It will also give me the freedom to showcase more of the women’s work at the Christmas Steps site as well as the gentleman’s barbering. I think that will be more than enough for this year.

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Lastly, some questions about Bristol: where’s your favourite spot in Bristol, and what do you love most about the city?

That is impossible to answer. I adore the city as a whole. The rough and the smooth. Bristol has largely been responsible for making me everything that I am now, and will always be deeply grateful to the city and the people in it for giving me that. I hope that what we are doing will return at least a little bit back.

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Thanks so much Brad! 

Find out more about HBAD on their website, through Facebook or you can follow Brad on Instagram

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You can read more of my LOVE Bristol posts here – I do these because I want to promote local, independent shops and love learning about how our city thrives on them. If you’d like to be featured on one of my LOVE Bristol interviews, just send me an email or get in touch on Twitter!

<3 Sofia

Sewing, Things i've made

I made a coat! For someone else! It’s the Albion coat by Colette Patterns

January 26, 2015

colette albion

Both of those statements are totally true! When I saw the Colette Albion coat pattern, I knew Tony would like it…and so we decided that it should be his birthday present from me. Tony didn’t want a classic duffel coat as he already has one, and also to be honest I was feeling a little daunted at the prospect of making him a coat in the first place, let alone a full on duffel coat out of wool! It took me ages to decide on the fabric, but in the end a trip to Goldhawk Road sorted it, and we settled on a navy blue waxed cotton. We still wanted to line it, though, and as the second style in the pattern didn’t call for a lining, I had to mix and match the two styles a bit as I went along.

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It didn’t take half as long to find the lining. I had seen this amazing ‘mountain’ printed Liberty cotton lawn (actually called ‘Manning’ – shown here in green), and so after a bit of a Google found it on the Shaukat website (they have such a huge range of Liberty prints!). It’s from a couple of seasons ago so I was pretty lucky to have found it at all. The greys and dark blues in the pattern were perfect with the navy waxed cotton, and they’re exactly the colours Tony wears all the time.

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Here is the pattern in more detail – isn’t it gorgeous? And perfect for a guy, too.

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I also interlined the waxed cotton. I did this for two reasons: firstly because I didn’t want the waxiness of the cotton to rub off on to the  lining, and also for additional warmth and bulk. I just bought some curtain interlining from Fabricland and stitched it to the outer. I only did the main body and left the sleeves, because I didn’t want to risk it becoming too bulky especially around the shoulders.

The fabric was all pretty easy to sew – it didn’t move around or anything but it was a struggle sewing something so big and bulky! I had to really manoeuvre it around the machine.

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It also took us almost as long to settle on the details – the toggles and buttons. In the end, simple wooden buttons and toggles looked best. I improvised with the navy blue leather toggle covers, which were actually from some blue elbow patches I bought from John Lewis – they worked perfectly! It was pretty hard sewing all through the leather and the coat, but worth it.

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So, it wasn’t quite ready for his birthday…it was a couple of months late…but he’s pretty happy with it! And I have to say so am I. It wasn’t a particularly difficult pattern, and actually a really nice coat pattern to start off with. What made it hard was mixing the two coats styles – at times that really gave me a few head scratching moments as to how I was going about it! The other thing that made it a bit more difficult was just the bulk, but other than that it’s a really great pattern. I am already considering making myself the duffel version out of some wool I bought myself last year in the John Lewis sale.

Thanks Tony for being so patient :)

Big love <3

Sofia

Bristol, Out and about

Wine, cheese, meat, friends…all the best things at Bar Buvette

January 21, 2015

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Tony and I stumbled across Bar Buvette by pure chance. We had decided to go to Bao Wow for some Pho noodles before the cinema the other week, and on the way to the Watershed from Bao Wow we walked past it. We noticed it because it had those amazing ‘Caravaggio’ lamp shades, and also because the previously empty shop was actually open with people in there. So we popped in to have a look. After checking out the cheese, crudite and salad bar, we spoke briefly to the owners who said they were only here for a month as a ‘pop up’.

So we decided to bring our friends back and spend our Friday night here.

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It’s a wine bar, and they specialise in French organic and bio-dynamic wines. As well as that, you can order a platter of cheese, cold meats, salads and the table comes with a jar of cornichons as standard – what more could you want?! Oh, maybe some chocolate cake? Well they have that!! (Flourless too….)

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SO GOOD…..

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I don’t normally write about restaurants/nights out but I just felt I had to share this with you. Bar Buvette is like nothing that exists in Bristol. You can go and drink nice wine, without having to spend a huge amount on a meal, or be in a stuffy bar. Did I mention they have CHEESE?

CHEESE and WINE. There is literally nothing more than you need in life. Nothing.

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On top of that, the owners are just so lovely. They were really accommodating with our group of 10 (we did book in advance – probably a safe bet if you’re going in a big group at the weekend), and I think they’ve really hit on something good with this bar. Peter Taylor, part owner (I believe with his partner/wife Max Ososki) used to be owner of the Riverstation, and he now runs a restaurant in Haute Loire, France called Auberge de Chassignoles. From what I gather, the restaurant is closed in the winter months, therefore he’s back in Bristol bringing us unique wines that you won’t find anywhere else.

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I will definitely be back before they shut up…and hopefully if the rumours are true they will be sticking around a bit longer than the end of January. If not, take my advice and go, you won’t regret it!

If you want to find out more about Bar Buvette, the best way to contact them is either on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Big love <3 Sofia

Sewing

The Salme Kimono top – a nice, easy first sewing project of the year

January 19, 2015
salme kimono top

Happy new year!

I have to say i’m glad that we’re half way through January…it’s not my favourite month, but hey, is it anyone’s?!

I’ve started the year how I mean to go on: sewing clothes for myself (punctuated by a couple of & Other Stories and Zara sprees…well it was the sales!). This is probably the easiest and quickest sewing project i’ve ever done, and therefore very satisfying. The pattern is the Kimono top by Salme Sewing Patterns, and if you ask me, it’s the perfect top not just for every day wear, but I reckon you could dress it up beautifully as well.

I got the pattern of one of the girls in the Folk House sewing course last term. She sewed it in class and it is so my kind of top – flowy, kind of loose, but pretty and can be made with all sorts of lovely fabrics. I’m literally going thorugh my fabric stash in my head as I type this, imagining just how many kimono tops I could have in my wardrobe…at least one for every day of the week!

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I made it out of a fairly cheap viscose I bought from Abhakan in Chester (if you’re ever visiting Chester, pay this shop a visit!). I am quite into monochrome at the moment, and plus the pattern is quite forgiving if you make a mistake…

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The only thing I would say is that I had some real issues with the sleeves. After a less than successful Google, I found Secret Like of Seams had also had some issues deciphering the pattern instructions, so I pretty much copied what she did. It’s still not quite right, so I’ll have to either try something else with the next one I make, or I was thinking of just bias binding the edges instead, as I found with the method I used they are a bit bulkier than i’d like. I think the neckline would like nice with bias binding too, so the next time I make it (which will be in the next couple of weeks, i’m sure!) i’ll give that a go.

Also I usually HATE doing sleeves – they are the bane of my life when it comes to sewing. So much easing, so little time…but with this pattern the sleeves are sewn as part of the body/back so literally NO EASING at all! Love it.

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Can’t resist a silly photo…

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Watch this space for loads more Kimono tops!!

<3 Sofia x

Something different

2014 – a year in house renovations, sewing and forming new goals

December 30, 2014

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I’m sure I won’t be the first to say that this year has flown by! It’s been a year filled with birthdays, weddings, friends, house renovations and meeting some great new people. It was a landmark year in terms of birthdays – I turned 30 (eeek!) and so did Tony.

March marked the beginning of our house renovations, which took up almost all of our time and blogging took a bit of a back seat for a while. We’ll soon have it all starting again after a little bit of a break from all the building work, but I think this time around i’m going to be much more prepared and organised, and will be updating our progress on the blog later in the year.

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Sewing featured heavily in my year – I did 2 courses at the Folk House dressmaking course, and not only have a learned loads but I also made a lot more than I thought: a blazer, top, skirt and a dress…and that’s only the things i’ve blogged about! Sewing has become a bit of an obsession, but I suppose as far as obsessions go it’s not a bad one to have!

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In the autumn I started up my LOVE Bristol posts again. I’ve featured Rhubarb Jumble and Pod this year, and i’m looking forward to getting loads more of Bristol’s independent and unique shops and characters on the pages of my blog.

I realised that I wanted to make more of this amazing city I live in. I am honestly always so thankful of being here – it could have been so different when I thin back on the various choices in my life, and everyday i’m glad I decided to stay and make my life here. Bristol never fails to impress.

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Goals for 2015

I always say I need to get more organised, but really, I do!! I’m going to be realistic in my blogging goals – I know I can’t do it all with having a full time job and trying to have a life as well, so i’m going to make sure that my blogs are about quality, not necessarily quantity. I am excited about the next year in terms of featuring more about Bristol and the people that make this city so great, and about having a great group of blogging friends to go to as well with the #blogclub.

I’ve got plans for this blog in 2015, but they’re still very much in my head and not fully formed…however I feel like this next year is going to be the one where it’s going to come together. Watch this space!

I’m also going to get more ambitious in my sewing – there is so much still to learn and I want to be able to make as much of what I wear as possible. It’s going to be hard, but you have to start somewhere!

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Here’s to 2015, happy new year!

Sofia <3