If you are subscribed to my YouTube channel, you may have noticed a few new videos. Well, please stay tuned, as I upload more footage from the Great British Sewing Bee Live event, held at London’s ExCeL.
As a taster, here are 2 recently published videos.
There are more videos on the way, which will be published over the next couple of days, if my over worked computer can keep up!
Plus, I have a very special announcement to make over the next few days, so please subscribe, so that you don’t miss out on all the latest form Champagne Twist.
Thanks for reading and to all my new subscribers, a very warm welcome, hope you like it here in this little corner of the interweb 🙂
This is a short post about the items I purchased at the Great British Sewing Bee Live event at London’s ExCeL.
Simply Fabrics / The Textile Centre – Stand G14
My first purchase was this amazing sequenced number – just over 1m for £10. I think I was influenced by the sparkly dresses showcased at the Vogue patterns fashion show, but hey, you can never have too many sequins, right?
I also purchased 2 lining fabrics, one to go with the sequins. Both for an amazing £2 per m.
Next came the this rather frivolous purchase, a vintage piece from the bargain bucket for £6. It’s about half a meter, so a little on the pricy side, but I’m thinking of making a head scarf or maybe a neck tie much like my Ghislaine Chelsea scarf a made a while back. If you have a better idea, please let me know 🙂
Now for the essentials, which I think were a real bargain – all this for just £2. A metal thimble, to help protect my little digits while I hand sew, and a selection needles for various sewing tasks. Each bundle costs 50p! Even my bank manager couldn’t argue with that.
My last purchase wasn’t much sewing related, but will prove to be a rather useful and stylish tool – a tweed hand bag and matching purse combo. The bag fits an A4 folder, has a number of roomy pockets, both external and internal. The purse has plenty of space for credit cards, notes and separate zipped compartment for coins. Total cost £30. The bag is sold online for £39 and the purse for £25. At the GBSB Live event, the purse was given free with purchase of the bag. They had a fairly wide selection, so if you’re in the market for a new bag or purse, you could do a lot worse than visit this stall.
Event: – Health Bloggers Community: Photography for Bloggers Workshop
Venue: – SHOT, Bride Lane, London
Date: – 15th September 2017
The event was billed as a,
‘…mix of theory and practical tasks, you will learn to take drool-worthy pictures and still-life shots with personality to truly master the art of taking photos for your blog and Instagram feed.’
So impressed with this statement, I signed up, and looked forward to a 3 hour long food photography class.
“Our partner SHOT.London will be providing you with their real, organic whole food treats to style, prop and experiment with… and of course, eat! We’ll have lots of food, props, and backgrounds for you to play with, so you’ll leave a pro photographer.”
Wow, we get to play with the food too? and then eat it? Plus there are props, backgrounds and I’m going to leave a pro photographer!!!
***Alert!*** – there is no way anyone, no matter how gifted you are, can start a class at 3pm and leave at 6pm a professional. And this class proved it, as I will explain later. The remainder of the ad continued …
“EVER WONDERED HOW YOU GET THAT INSTAGRAM PHOTO? HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT PHOTO POST OF YOUR TRIP TO BRIGHTON?
OR A PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOT FOR YOUR ABOUT PAGE? YOU KNOW, THE ONE WITH THE PERFECT ANGLE, THE BEST LIGHTING AND JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FILTER?
Wonder no more, as we have all the answers to your photography related questions. A few of the things you’ll learn in this workshop:
the basics of creating outstanding photos
how to find the right props
how to make the most of the lighting, and tools to help you
filters, editing and basic tricks to find your style
This is one workshop NOT to miss. So grab your ticket, dig out your camera and we’ll see you there!
About our Teacher:
Anna is a photographer with a passion for the health and fitness industry, this can include food, products or any sports that increase the heart rate generally making people healthier and happier.”
Disclaimer: the session was due to start at 3pm but due to various public transport issues (it was the day of the Parsons Green station bomb), I was unable to get to the class until 3.30pm.
I arrived at the venue, SHOT. London, which is a small cafe style restaurant near Fleet Street, in East Central London. There were around 25 people at the class, in a space that ideally could comfortably seat no more than about 15 at best. The teacher, Anna, presented behind the counter, with the aid of a small laptop, which was difficult of those at the back of the class to see.
At around 3.50pm the attendees were invited to cross over the road to St. Bride’s Church, to take pictures of the food in the outdoor natural light.
The food was pre-packed in logoed plastic containers. It wasn’t made clear whilst I was there, if we could open the packaging or eat the contents later. The packages were not labelled, so I wasn’t certain if any of the food there was vegan or vegetarian.
There wasn’t enough interaction or guidance between the teacher and some of the attendees. I didn’t feel particularly welcome and observed that Anna approached some of the attendees more readily than others. Whether this was due to shyness on her part, I don’t know, however I didn’t feel as if we were all given the same amount of individual help.
This part of the class took about 45 mins to an hour. Followed by short review of a couple of the students work. Then came a flurry of tips on a broad rage of subjects, from selfies, portrait photography to Instagram and editing programs.
The class was meant to be a 3 hour long session, and had it not been for the intervention of the host, the teacher would have ended the class 30 minutes early.
There were no props provided as stated in the advert (see above text in blue), other than about 6 pre-packed plastic food boxes to share with 25 or so people in a confined space. There were no “backgrounds to play with” either, unless they counted the church.
Value for Money?
For just under £25, the price seemed like a bargain for a 3 hour session on food photography by an “experienced photographer”. In reality, it offered nothing more little from that advertised. Trying to see examples on a tiny laptop from a distance was impractiable, and 1 practical session where only a few were granted guidance from the teacher, frankly, unacceptable. I certainly did not feel like a professional photographer at the end.
As for being a workshop “not to miss”, I wish my train wasn’t delayed, but cancelled, as my afternoon would have been more productive. It’s with a heavy heart when I say, if this is an example of the type of classes run by H.B.C., I would strongly suggest you save your time, energy and money and avoid. This is the first of a new series of events hosted by H.B.C., so here’s hoping that this is a blip, rather than a pattern.
The session over promised in a number of areas and under delivered in so many ways. The venue was nice, but there were too many people in a confined area. Instead of a laptop, A4 sized pictures should have been handed round, so attendees could have a good look, and wouldn’t have to strain to see such a small screen from a distance.
It would have been a great move if handouts were provided, with ideas of how to progress afterwards. The interaction between the teacher and the attendees seemed uneven, which for me, added to the general negativity of the session.
For the rating, I thought long and hard about giving the class a zero out of 5. But in fairness, I did learn a couple of new things, such a a new photo location and not to use the zoom feature on camera phones – just move closer to the subject. But these ‘tips’ simply didn’t warrant the ticket price or matched what turned out to be the over hyped and misleading advert.
I thought I would leave the class inspired. I left the class annoyed, disappointed, and a little hangry,
It has admittedly been a while since I’ve been out and about in London Town. Few things will draw me from under my comfy duvet when it’s pouring down with torrential rain. However a chance to attend a Chanel workshop would do the trick.
Starting today and running till 24th September, Chanel is hosting a special pop-up mini exhibition and workshop event on Old Bond Street. I was lucky enough to attend earlier this afternoon on the launch day.
During the workshop participants were introduced to the history of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, the inspiration of Chanel’s latest perfume creation. During the fun session, we were we able to sample the 4 main flowers scents used to create this new perfume, Orange Blossom, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose and Jasmine.
While I found the workshop genuinely fascinating, as a fan of Chanel, I wasn’t told anything new that couldn’t be sourced from the official Chanel YouTube Channel. That said, I still found it enjoyable and loved the idea of sampling the main notes of the perfume and then the new Gabrielle fragrance itself. The expert guiding the audience was also very entertaining, informative, skilfully delivering the presentation with passion.
I wanted to learn about the new fragrance, partly so that I could review it, and partly to see if I liked it enough to purchase it for myself. Having gone through the trouble and undoubtably huge expense of hiring an Old Bond Street building, decorating it so beautifully, and creating a fun and interactive experience specially themed around this new perfume, the participants were strangely not given a sample of the said perfume to take home.
Like most, I rarely purchase a perfume straight off the bat. I tend to source samples initially so I can experiment with the fragrance for a few days, and experience the dry down fragrance over time. High end fragrances of this nature are a considered purchase, so I was surprised and disappointed that such a obvious opportunity to promote this new product was not taken advantage of.
When I think of Chanel, especially Gabrielle Chanel, I think of glamour, generosity, decadence, opulence and aspiration. The environment of 27 Old Bond Street certainly has that air, with its beautifully decorated open spaces, but not gifting a small sample of this new product seemed a little mean.
We were gifted a branded ribbon, a badge after the workshop, and later an exhibition poster contained in a large branded canvas tote.
A small vial of the eau de toilette would have done wonders for bloggers and customers to promote this fragrance. While I don’t wish to sound ungrateful, the gifts, which are nice and useful, they did make me feel a little under appreciated and somewhat exploited. As I mentioned, I was keen to learn about the new perfume, described by Vogue magazine as a “once in a decade event”. I would have happily forgone the bag, badge and ribbon, for a 1.5ml sample of the eau de perfume or even the eau de toilette, rather than being used as merely a virtual, unpaid walking advertisement.
If they had pinned the ribbon and badge to the bag, again it would have felt that little bit more special. How many adults attending a Chanel event would relish a pin badge or a piece of branded ribbon, especially when those items are presented beside the large perfume bottles? It would be hard enough to fob that off to a 5 year old. The effect defocused from the new fragrance celebrations and came across as a little ‘stingy’, a word I would never before have associated with Chanel.
I have written a review of the fragrance, which you can read here, as I popped into Fenwicks for a sample card. Having just visited an event about the new perfume, I really shouldn’t have had to go to a department store to obtain a sample.
There is the opportunity to explore the interactive displays on the ground floor to and watch the video montages. However to fully experience Gabrielle, you are respectfully invited to purchase a bottle for around £115 for 100ml.
If you’re in the area, have a spare 30 – 45 mins, and you’re a Chanel fan, I would suggest going to Espace Gabrielle Chanel, located at 27 Old Bond Street, nearest tube station Green Park. Book a workshop to learn about the product and receive a some nice goodies, but don’t expect a take home a sample of the actual product for which the entire space was developed.
Yes, we are a little late this month … but June was so jammed packed it was hard to choose which would make the final edit. Now that the techno stuff is also on the mend, the video backlog will soon be cleared, so watch out for even more.
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Few things surprise me. I predicted Brexit, the US election and the UK election. I knew when One Direction would split up, and that the Master would kill Missy in Doctor Who. As I said, few things surprise me, but today at the Allergy and Free From Bloggers’ meet up, that was an absolute shocker.
Attending the event was intended to be a treat for us bloggers, a chance to meet fellow foodies and interact with great companies who work tireless to create such great products.
Sadly, for want of a simple clipboard and checklist, rather than a happy, friendly chit chat between foodies, the event turned into a free for all, which could have turned rapidly into something more disastrous.
I’m writing this, because I have never in my life witnessed such total greed in people. I will point out firstly that the organiser and attending bloggers couldn’t have been nicer and I would have loved to have had a good old natter with them. I would have loved to chat with all the food producers who also attended, as it is unusual to have the opportunity for a face to face with people, who not only care deeply about the products they make, but also the customers who they sell their items to.
Yet the ugly greed of some people, completely spoiled the occasion for me.
Examples of behaviour
One woman had the audacity to sit down next to me and boast at length how she grabbed a number of free samples. Then she asked me what a blogger was!
Another woman continually grabbed as much as her hands could manage, pushing other people in the process. Honestly, was there any need for this?
I asked another person who seemingly came from nowhere if she was a blogger. She replied in the positive. She lied. When pushed, she admitted she overheard that someone was giving out freebies and she wanted to see what she could get.
One woman, with a foot in a cast, climbed over several benches, and physically pushed her way to the front, in order to get a bottle of beer. She may have a bad foot, but she’s got a good pair of eyes and more stamina than Andy Murray! She’s pretty quick too, for a person with a foot in plaster.
Another woman, pretended that she didn’t understand English, yet was later heard conversing in English to her associate, discussing how they could trick other producers into giving them more free stuff.
It wasn’t the fact that these people took, well stole, these items, heck it happens all the time. It was the calculated malice in which they conducted themselves. Honestly, in all my days, I have never seen a sudden mass of people, so greedy, so dishonest, so disgusting.
There are the knock on effects – this was a group of bloggers, who specialise in food allergies. They perform vital work in getting information out to people who a) can’t attend these events and b) require specific knowledge in order to carry on with their daily lives.
Of course, these greedy horrors won’t care a jot and would probably step over their own grandmother for a penny. But many will miss out in this important information, why should. they have to suffer?
It both angers and saddens me that I had to bore witness to such abject greed. For goodness sakes, this is a G8 country. Yes, things are bad, but have we reached the level of such awful behaviour? Have we become so uncaring, so selfish, so greedy, so absolutely shameless? Apparently we have.
How it went wrong
I don’t understand why the area wasn’t closed off to the general public, or why none of the bloggers were asked for any form of ID. Thankfully it didn’t quite develop into a full run, but in a confined area, with so many people, frankly it wasn’t worth the risk for me and I left half way through.
It was continually announced over the PA that it was a private event, yet still more and more people crammed their way into the space in order to fill their boots. The effect was by then too little, too late. Perhaps being in that immediate environment heightened what happened, but I tell you this, I never what to witness such ugly, cold hearted greed ever again.
I did manage to speak briefly to a few producers, and I will either contact them separately and/or review their products in due course.
Yes, I know I run a risk of being ostracised from the blogging community by publishing this post, but if this is the way such events are conducted, people need to know.
Reaction from Allergy & Free From Learning Centre Assistant
To add insult to injury, one of the Allergy & Free From Learning Centre assistants rudely interrupted me mid-conversation with the event organiser, after I had waited patiently, by holding her hand up to my face, giving me the most evil look imaginable.
Was there any need for that, for what was in essence partly her failure to keep the event safe and organised?
No doubt this will all be buried in the social media web as quickly as possible to minimise any perceived damage.
It’s the season for blogging meet ups, as yesterday I attended my 2nd event, this time hosted by scarlettlondon.com. BloggersSuite was held at the Qbic, London City hotel in Aldgate, East London.
The 2 hour long afternoon event was very different from Blogtacular, which I attended 3 weeks ago. Most of the attendees were beauty or fashion bloggers. The diversity of the attendees in terms of age, ethnicity, gender and blogging specifications was not as diverse as I would have liked.
Qbic, London City, is a nice hotel, but I’m not sure it was the ideal venue for BloggersSuite. The event hosted 75 bloggers, with a few businesses showcasing their products, Instagramable areas and a long table for the speakers and attendees. I thought the space was too small to be effective, and I found it difficult to hear the speakers, specially due to the loud background noise. There wasn’t enough space for all the attendees to sit down to listen to the speaker, meaning that only a lucky few were able to enjoy the highlight of the event in relative comfort.
Food and drink
I was disappointed with the food, which consisted of Qbic logoed cup cakes and popcorn in pink striped bags. The cup cakes were Instagramable, but the sponge was flavourless, and had quite a dry texture. The creamy frosting and decorative disc were both very bland in taste.
The popcorn packets again were Instagramable, but tasted stale.
The drinks were nice, I liked the complimentary cocktail, but I can’t tell you what it was as they were not labeled and there was no one I could see to ask.
Very impressive selection of beauty themed goodies in the bag. The value of the contents I believe outweigh the ticket price. If you’re not into beauty, you may find the goodie disappointing, but I am excited to try out these products and will report back on them soon.
Attendees were also gifted mobile phone usb sticks from SanDisk (not shown).
Bloggerssuite did top Blogtacular by arranging a charity raffle for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, and at the time of writing, they had raised the best part of £200 in just 2 hours. I thought this was a nice touch, which was notably and extremely disappointingly missing from the otherwise perfect Blogtacular event.
If you would like to donate to this cause, please click this link for more information.
The audience were treated to talks from 3 high profile bloggers on 3 different topics. The speakers were;
All three speakers were brilliant, but as I mentioned, I found it difficult to hear their talks over the background noise, and I know I missed out on some key information they offered, which is such a pity.
It seems that the topic I was particularly interested in, “Fashion to flatlay” was cancelled, without explanation. The published timetable I accidentally discovered the day before on one of the speakers blogs, seems to have substantially changed, without notice – maybe I missed the announcement.
Value for money?
At £14.14 (£5.80 for early bird tickets), the ticket price was value for money. The goodie bag was generous, and speakers were good, but it was a pity that there wasn’t enough space to really take full advantage of everything the event had to offer.
It was a compact, busy venue, the food disappointing, drinks good, but in fairness, these events are not meant to focus on the facilities, the menu or even dare I say the goodie bag.
The speakers made this event, providing invaluable information in an entertaining way, which I’m sure everyone who attended were able to gain some good takeaways. The charity raffle was also a lovely thing to do, and I think the organisers should be highly praised for their efforts in this regard.
However, there simply wasn’t the space or the opportunity for me to engage with other attendees or the businesses as I would have liked. I did have a quick chat with a rep from SanDisk, but ran out of time to talk to the other business reps. The number of attendees was spot on in my opinion, but the venue was too compact to really make the most of the the event.
I also would have appreciated some sort of house keeping at the start, such as a welcome speech from the organisers, and speaker and business introductions.
Would I recommend BloggersSuite?
Yes. If you’re a beauty or fashion blogger, it is well worth a couple of hours of your time, especially for the goodie bag and the mini masterclasses.
I do get the impression that the organisers work very hard to put these events together, and was impressed with portions of the afternoon. The let down was the lack of physical space. I could forgive the sub par food, but not being able to hear the speakers and introducing a new timetable without notice simply shouldn’t happen. There was a general lack of information on just about everything, which I found surprising and disappointing. With just a few, inexpensive tweaks, this could be an essential annual event on every bloggers’ calendar.
Did you attend BloggersSuite? What did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe.