Allergy and Free From Show / Just V Show / Love Natural, Love You Show / Eat Smart Show|Champagne Twist
Day 1 – Friday 6th July 2018
With 4 shows under 1 roof, Olympia is the place to be if you’re a foodie.
Last year I felt overwhelmed by the vast number of stalls, the bags of free food, the number of talks and demos. So this year I planned ahead. I downloaded the show map, exhibitor list, and timetables yesterday, studied which talks I wanted to attend and the quickest routes to take to get from 1 talk to another.
Friday, I’m guessing, is the least busiest day, due to work and school commitments, and major events such as Wimbledon, Grand Prix, World Cup and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Plus, with this unusually prolonged summer heat wave, where we actually have sunshine and the associated hosepipe bans to contend with, who wants to be cooped up in a huge building contending with massive crowds?
I also noticed this year that more people have followed my lead and brought their trolleys, suitcases and wheelie bags. I’m such a trend setter!
Personally, I find it funny that I have attended a health show and purchased various chocolate puddings and cakes, with plans to purchase more. But I do this for 2 important reasons – 1, to review the produce purchased and in the case Freaks of Nature puds, to stock up.
I’m going again tomorrow and on the final day of the 3-day event – which I didn’t manage to do last year, mostly because I found the whole event overwhelming.
Can you believe it’s that time of year already? Yes, National Tea Day is coming up this Saturday and as, for me at least, it’s one of the most important days of the year, I collated a tea quotes video for your enjoyment.
More tea-related treats coming up this week, but for now, grab yourself a cup of your favourite brew and indulge in some tea wisdom. Enjoy!
Wednesday Thinking: Are the Big 4 sewing pattern companies off trend?
As many of you know, I love sewing, I adore sewing. I’m not a fan of clothes shopping per se because I find it difficult to find clothes in styles that fit and suit me. Hence, one of the many reasons why I love sewing.
But there is one hurdle when it comes to creating my own fashions. While the indie pattern industry is growing, the big four, long established and market dominating sewing pattern brands are slowly dying a death. It may seem a good thing at first, but in the long run, if these major pattern companies – McCalls, Butterick, Vogue and Simplicity – don’t change soon, it could spell the end of the sewing pattern industry as we know it.
When I heard about the possibility of making a cocktail party dress, showcasing my outfit at the Knitting and Stitching Show and following my favourite home seamstresses creating their unique versions, I was so excited, until I saw the patterns.
With a heavy heart I say this – but there simply wasn’t anything I felt passionate enough to make from the selection of patterns available for the challenge. Some of the styles seemed born out of 1980 – and not in a good way. Only one pair of trousers, a jacket with a pointed back hem and dresses that my grandmother said she wouldn’t wear, let alone spend time money and effort creating.
I felt all the more guilty because the idea behind the event is to raise money for the Eve Charity (click here for details). But, I couldn’t justify making a dress just for the event, that I knew I wouldn’t enjoy making or wearing, and would never wear again. This hardly encourages new-to-sewing folks to pick up a needle and thread.
Another major issue I had with the collection of patterns, was the non-existence of patterns for men. Last time I checked a) men wear clothes and b) men attend cocktail parties. This was a golden opportunity missed, to encourage the growing number of males who are taking up the hobby. It was as if there was a huge sign saying, “Boys Not Allowed”.
I also got the impression that these patterns were chosen in an attempt to boost sales, rather than to welcome newbies to a new skill set, or encourage more established sewists to stretch their skills. Some of the styles were 20-30 years behind the times and lacked modernity. When I look at the fashion magazines and Pinterest boards, I don’t see my style favourite reflected in patterns offered by the Big 4.
The most popular styles seem to be the classics created during the 1940s through to the 1960s. Thanks to films and television shows such as Down With Love, Ad Men, etc. Shirt dress patterns, the Walk Away dress, the Mondrian dress are just 3 examples of styles that have sold successfully in recent years.
There is also still a severe lack of patterns for wheelchair users or those with physical disabilities. All the patterns, in fact, were styled towards slim, average height, able-bodied women.
I normally buy PDF patterns from indie pattern designers because they are usually up to date trend-wise, and are easily adaptable to my height and shape. My last pattern purchase from the big 4 was actually a classic style shirt dress. Even when there are 50% savings, I find it impossible to buy more than 2 patterns. The dated designs just are not that appealing to me, and to spend upwards of £15 for a single pattern that I would spend more money, time and effort to adjust, just takes away the joy of sewing.
The sun is trying its best to shine, but it’s attempts are thwarted due to the London grey skies. However it is unseasonably warm, ‘only 3 layers of clothing required’ temperature.
Yet, I’m staying home, and contemplating a host of tasks – laundry, ironing, gardening, catching up on telly, sewing, on-line window shopping, drawing … basically anything that doesn’t involve me moving more than an few metres from my home. On a Saturday. During London Fashion Week. An event I had been looking forward to for weeks.
Why? Because I just haven’t felt the good vibes to go. Despite the talk, the fashion industry is still one of the most non-diverse in the world. When an industry says they believe in diversity, yet the powerful and the influencers in that industry tend to talk alike, walk alike, think alike, act alike and look alike, I being to wonder if there is any real meaning to their diversity hype.
Yes, I have attended many a LFW event – fashion catwalks, product launches, fashion talks and they have in the most part, been good. I have traveled to parts of London that I would never have visited, seen and met loads of interesting people and generally had a great time, at the time. But afterwards, I have more often than not felt a little underwhelmed. The goodie bag half filled with stuff I would never use in a million years, and the other half never intended for me.
The models with expression-less faces, looking like carbon copies produced from a plastics factory, wearing clothing that seems to showcase the designer’s inner-porn king desires, rather than the art of dress making. What are we saying to our young girls and women? The message I’m getting is that male designers are still the majority, in an industry, mostly owned by men, that uses expression-less and voice-less young girls and women to showcase their work, in order to sell their dreams of youth, and promote their own power and dominance to wealthy middle-aged women. The irony being that some of these women achieved their wealth from their fathers or husbands and have little real power of their own, having being taught that having their own opinion or voice is somehow unfeminine. The myth of equality continues, season after season.
Recently there have been 3 events (Vegan Life Live, a blogging talk with Ella Gregory and #YouCanSitWithUsLdn) which have made me think about my role in this ever madding world and less philosophically, how to make this corner of the internet reach more people and encourage conversation. Where do I want to take the website? Why do I really want to grow this blog? Why am I willing to get up at stupid o’clock to go to the other side of London, using a sub-par and expensive weekend transport system, it’s raining cats, dogs, rabbits, horses and a couple of hedgehogs, suffering from a bad head cold at the drop of a hat to help promote some ‘new thing’, but take 3 weeks to decide if I should purchase business cards for my own website?
The answers to the questions by the way, I want to take this social network as far as it can go. I want to grow this blog, because I want to be heard, within my own terms and not those dictated to by convention. The 3rd question – well the answer to that is a bit more tricky. And it’s taken me a long time, too long really, to figure out the answer. I’m seeking approval. I want to be accepted, I want validation and I want someone to say, ‘yes you are allowed in this group’. It’s so ridiculous, yet sadly true.
The business card thing was a manifestation of my lack of self confidence. ‘My brand isn’t good enough yet. I’m still on wordpress.com, it’s not perfect, the colour scheme isn’t right yet, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ If I was advising someone else, I would have said, “What are you waiting for? Get the darn things printed already. So what if your website look isn’t 100% ready, are you seriously going to wait for that day, because let me tell you, you’re a perfectionist – that day ain’t gonna come.”
So this weekend, instead of going to a number of LFW related events, most of which I know I wouldn’t enjoy, I’m going to work on me. It’s vital to remember that being your best self is a continuing work of progress. You evolve from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. You are a living masterpiece, you have to be seen now, not just when you think you’re ready, or worse, when you think the world is ready for you. The world knows you’re ready. You were born ready. That’s why you are here. So go and get seen already!
I’ve been doing a little spring cleaning and today is the soft launch of the new look Champagne Twist social network.
New logo, new website format and new video! These are just 3 of the changes and there are more to come.
New Promo Video
Please check out the new 2017 welcome video below and if you have any comments, suggestions, requests let me know.
There’s even more to come over the next few days. There’s the January review, a new theme for February and of course the official relaunch of Champagne Twist, with more treats, surprises and there may even be a give away … watch this space.
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