Double Gold for The English Beagle

Audrey Williams

Move over #teamGB, its #teamSuzy all the way! Double gold for us and we are ever so proud!

The Big T – Royal Whale Reviews

Product Tested By Samantha Turnbull – Eliza 5 Years

Samantha Awarded The Big T Whale Design 5/5

It was packaged nicely and well presented. It’s not something I would normally chose for my daughter but I like and more importantly so does my daughter! It’s nicely printed and would go with most other colours. My daughter is small for her age so it did fit well and I think it will do for quite some time. She was comfortable in this.  She commented on how soft it was. I did have to cut the label out the back of the t-shirt (on the neckline) as she said it was annoying her but once I did this she was very comfortable and happy to wear it. The material is cotton/elastane allowing my daughter to be comfortable and it stretches when playing.  One of the first things I noticed was the stretch in it. Helps even more with the comfort factor. I washed it on a normal wash and it came up perfect. The t-shirt has held its shape and there is no damage to the material. My daughter has worn it several times at weekends. My daughter has mainly worn this at home and playing outside as she has to wear school uniform during the week. I think the quality is fab. I like the stretch and the way the t-shirt holds its shape. My daughter likes how soft it is! This is a unique t-shirt hand made and you can see it’s been well made with care. So many t-shirts are mass produced quickly and are not true to size or made badly. I think considering the quality of it then yes it is value for money. I would consider buying it. I’ll be honest I don’t normally spend £12 on a t-shirt for my children as they can get ruined with sun cream and playing in the garden etc, but this is definitely a good quality t-shirt and the design is quite unique. It’s nice to have some better quality pieces to wear. I would recommend. The design is different, it’s comfortable and good quality. I’m giving it a 5 as I really have no complaints with it! Easy to put on, comfortable to wear and ultimately it looked good on my daughter! Samantha Turnbull – Eliza 5 Years

Product Tested By Elisa Miles – Oliver 5 Years

Eliza Awarded The Big T Whale Design 5/5

It’s a lovely design and well made. It had a nice soft feel and Oliver said wow. The design is lovely and very unisex. I ordered 5-6 for my 5 year old and it is slightly big but very wearable and will obviously last longer so always a bonus. Oliver said it was very comfy and soft. It’s definitely very soft and did not hinder Oliver playing and jumping around. Oliver wore this to the park after swimming and also for a McDonald’s with ice cream afterwards when he wore it for the 1st time. So, you can imagine what was down it and I did worry with it being white. It washed very well with no shrinkage and all the marks came out. He’s worn it twice so far but he is now at school so limited time to wear Muggle clothes unfortunately. He did ask to wear it specifically the second time and usually he’s not bothered what I put on him. He wore it the most the second time as it was a whole day and was at nannies with more ice cream, sweets and dogs to contend with. The material is lovely. It’s soft and has a great feel and washes great. I loved that it washed well especially with it being white and having a very active and messy boy I was a bit worried. My son liked the whale design the best as he loves sea animals anyway so he was over the moon. I have brought many hand-made items for myself and my son and we love to be individual and have something that not many people have. I thought it was a great price especially after using and it washing so well. Even supermarket t-shirts are creeping up in price so to have something handmade to your specification is great. I would definitely buy it and it wears and washes well and Oliver loved it.  I would recommend as it is a great price for a quality t-shirt. Washes well, fits well and Oliver loves it so couldn’t ask for more. I was very worried with it being white and having a messy, crazy boy. It has been worn twice so far and has been put through its paces and has washed up well, hasn’t shrunk and still looks new. The price is very attractive to have something hand made that wears so well. It would definitely recommend to anyone looking for an individual t-shirt that will last your child and they will be comfy and happy to wear and could be passed down to either a male or female child with it being so unisex. Elisa Miles – Oliver 5 Years

Product Tested By Kate Cleverley – Harriet 3 Years 6 Months

Kate Awarded The Big T Whale Design 4.5/5

The quality stood out immediately and the t-shirt had a lovely soft feel to it. A nice bold print with good detail. I ordered age 3-4 which is usually just about right for Harriet although she is starting to outgrow some of her clothes, however this t-shirt has come up very big and will certainly last her a long time! This is comfortable and Harriet enjoys wearing it as a bedtime t-shirt as it is so big at the moment. The material feels lovely and has the stretch aspect. It has washed very well, I was thinking it might shrink a bit and fit Harriet better but has washed up well with no shrinking!She has worn it in the evenings and at bed time for 2 weeks.  Mainly worn around the house and in bed. Excellent and high quality material used on this t-shirt. I loved how soft and stretchy it is. My daughter likes the print on it best. For us I feel it is important this is hand made and gives a real personal feeling when the product arrives. Considering it has been handmade and the high quality  I think it is very good value for money. I would certainly consider buying from this company and they they would make great presents for people as well. I would recommend as all round good personal service.  Only reason for not giving 5 was because the sizing was not as accurate as I expected. Fantastic company, great quality product and service, will certainly recommend! Kate Cleverley – Harriet 3 Years 6 Months

Winning Gold

Audrey Williams

The English Beagle has been awarded not 1, but 2 gold awards by Bizzie Baby. Products are reviewed by Mums who give these honest opinions on pieces. The testers loved the pieces so much that Gold 5 stars were given by all. 

 

Olivia Skirt – Watermelon Reviews

Product Tested By Jennifer Willis – Jessica & Chloe – 6 & 4 Years

Jennifer Awarded The Olivia Skirt Watermelon Design 5/5

My first impressions were that the skirt was beautifully packaged and I was really impressed with the quality of the fabric of the skirt! I really loved the fabric and the water melon design was really playful and the colour was lovely and bright! I was really impressed with the fit of the skirt, both my children are quite tall for their age and I often find I am having to buy clothes in much bigger sizes for them, so I was pleasantly surprised that the skirt was a nice longer length with a good size elastic waistband too! Both my children were comfortable in the skirt, it has a lovely elastic waist band that stretches and the fabric is a lovely soft material with a bit of stretch to it- great for kids to feel comfortable and play in. The elastic waist band is fantastic, as it means this skirt will fit both my children for at least another 2-3 years, the elastic waistband also means the skirt will fit children of all different sizes too which is great! Both my children absolutely loved the side pockets – it is what has made the skirt their “favourite skirt” as they love the fact that they can fit teddy bears and figurines in their pockets and carry them around with them! The fabric is a lovely cotton/elastane thick fabric that is very comfortable for kids to play in, it has stretch and is hard wearing and both my kids find the skirt very comfortable! I love the fact that the skirt has been handmade and is unique, and it’s nice to support small family run businesses, handmade items are always better quality and arrive in pristine condition too! The skirt washed very well, dries out quickly and doesn’t require ironing after being washed – which is always a plus! Both my children wanted to wear this skirt really often, it got worn once or twice a week. They usually wore it at home or to Grandparents houses, the park or to the beach! I was really impressed with the quality of the material used, it was lovely and thick and hard-wearing with a nice comfortable stretch to it. I love the thick comfortable fabric of the skirt  and the design and the fact it washed so well without needing ironing! My children loved the watermelon design (my younger daughter LOVES everything watermelon) and they also LOVED the fact it had two really good size pockets that they could fit lots of toys into! I think its great value for money, as it’s a lovely quality skirt that has been very well made with really good quality fabric! I would definitely buy this skirt and will be keeping an eye out on their website for other fabrics and prints to buy! I would definitely recommend this product to family and friends as it is a really good quality skirt, that’s been well made with great fabric!  I give 5/5 as I was really impressed with the size and fit of the skirt as well as the good quality fabric and the fact that both my kids loved the skirt too! Overall the skirt was a fantastic item.  Both my children loved the skirt and it fit both of them well (my 6 year old is tall and slim and my 4 year old is very tall for her age and bigger built and the skirt fit both of them with plenty of growing room – they will hopefully get another 2-3 years of wear out of it).  The fabric used was great quality nice and thick and heard-wearing but with a nice stretch that made it very comfortable to wear, the elasticated waist band is great as it means it fits children of all shapes and sizes and leaves plenty of growing room.  The skirt is well made and the large pockets were a big hit with both my children  – they both wanted to wear the watermelon skirt with the pockets as they could carry around their teddies and toys! The watermelon print was lovely and bright and playful (my younger daughter loves watermelon so especially loved the print!)  The skirt also washed well and dried quickly without the need for ironing which is great! Overall a fantastic skirt- great product!! Thanks for letting us test it! Jennifer Willis – Jessica & Chloe – 6 & 4 Years

Product Tested By Kate Andrews – Arabeth 4 Years

Kate Awarded The Olivia Skirt Watermelon Design 5/5

Lovely packaging, pattern and material. My daughter loves it and definitely looks like it should last her a couple of years. She’s on the lower end of the size range, so a little big, but these means she has room to grow and it will last more than just one season. Definitely comfortable as it had a comfortable waist and the material was stretchy. This fitted well, was comfortable as well and plenty of room to grow, yet it wasn’t falling down or anything. My daughter loved the pockets as she loves finding things have pockets and immediately put her TY beanie boo flamingo in it as she loves to eat watermelon! The material description is correct and it was very stretchy although it did stretch more than the thread in the stitched hem and she broke the seam a bit, but this was definitely her doing something she shouldn’t rather than the skirt! It is  definitely important to support small businesses and give a child a sense of individuality as it’s unlikely she’ll meet someone that has the same skirt. Washed well and didn’t shrink on or loose it’s shape. She would wear this as often as she could after I washed it.  So I would say about 3 – 4 times a week for a couple of weeks and then her obsession died down a bit to 1-2 times a week. My daughter loves wearing this to nursery. Great quality, lovely and soft. I really liked the watermelon design and pockets.  My daughter liked the design and the pockets too. Great value as it lasts for a few years then definitely, especially as I now know the quality is excellent. I would buy this as I would love a matching one for Arabeth’s little sister and I know it would last. I would recommend as great quality for the price. Great quality, lovely material and  pattern, attention to detail with the pockets and waistband and washed well. My daughter loved it, it was stretchy and soft so she could be her normal crazy self in it. The pockets where big enough and easy to use, so she could carry around some toys and it will last her a couple of years. Kate Andrews – Arabeth 4 Years

Product Tested By Angharad Bryant – Nia 5 Years

Angharad Awarded The Olivia Skirt Watermelon Design 4.5/5

This arrived in lovely packaging, I looked forward to opening it. The design works well for a child’s skirt. Not over complicated and suitable to play in. This is a good length, elasticated waist allows it to fit a lot of different children. My daughter is slim so it’s slightly looser on her than ideal. My daughter was very comfortable in this skirt. The elasticated waist is a good feature for a child’s skirt. It will continue to fit as my child grows. My daughter enjoys having the pockets on her skirt to put things in or just for her hands. My daughter doesn’t often wear skirts to play as they can be restrictive but she was able to play happily in this skirt due to the stretch. I like to purchase from small businesses if possible as items are often made more carefully. This washed well at 30 degrees and dried quite quickly. My daughter has worn this about 4 times so far. This has been worn as everyday wear to the park. Good quality material that seems that it will with stand playing. I liked the bright colourful style of this skirt. My daughter enjoyed the colour of it and being able to play. Certainly good value for money. I would buy this as it is an attractive skirt that is well made and seems like it will last well. I would recommend for the same reason. This product is something that I would purchase for my daughter again. The only issue is that the elastic in the waist band tends to twist within its channel. This is a good quality product that my daughter finds comfortable to wear. It was packaged nicely so would make a nice gift as well. Angharad Bryant – Nia 5 Years

 

 

The English Beagle Mothers Day

Chapter 12 : My Honours List

Audrey Williams

It has been a year like no other and we are all looking forward to the summer and the hope that this year brings us. With Women's Day and Mother's Day 2021 both within the next two weeks, I decided to put together my own Honours List to celebrate those women who bring something special to both me and The English Beagle. 

These are not in any particular order as each deserve their own medal! Happy reading and let me know who would be on your Honour's List this year. 

Sarah at Little Legs Fabrics - Sarah's little fabric shop has always been my first choice in sourcing fabrics within Britain as the selection is vast and the quality is perfect. In addition Little Legs has grown so quickly over the past year in supplying so many like minded crafters, that Sarah has opened a shop and needed more staff. Now isn't  that a success for Small Business Britain

Online Fabric Store – Little Legs Fabrics // Little Legs Fabrics (@littlelegsfabrics) • Instagram photos and videos

Sarah at De Veley Atelier - As a fellow South African it would be biased if I say that Sarah has a special place in my English Beagle heart, but she does. I just love her jewellery and just wish I have pierced ears. From fairy wings to iconic Rolling Stones tongue image Sarah has something for every taste. I just hope that she brings back her clay necklaces later this spring.

Home | De Veley Atelier (develeyvintage.co.uk) // De Veley Atelier (@develeyatelier) • Instagram photos and videos

 

Tess at The Positive Tee Company - I met Tess when I first started sewing girls skirts as I have a strap line #nopinkallowed and I think Tess was one of my first customers when I launched the girls skirts. Since then we have collaborated on a couple of things and Tess has even asked me to make her daughter an office chair cover. I love the philosophy behind Tess's message as we could all do with some positivetee in our lives.

The Positive Tee Company // The Positive Tee Company (@positiveteecompany) • Instagram photos and videos

Silke at Raise Up Business Club - Silke ran (and still does) the Tonbridge mums business club which I joined about 3 years ago. Through Silke's love for the community and the women in the group it grew into what is now known as Raise Up Business Club. Even though I haven't seen Silke in ages her weekly posts within the group still enlighten and motivate me when things get tough. Plus Silke is always at the end of the phone if needed. 

Links page — Raise Up Business Club // Raise Up Business Club (@raiseupbusinessclub) • Instagram photos and videos

Jeanie at The Gilded Bird - Now Jeanie runs her business from the family farm and her warehouse is a barn! Every time I think of Jeanie I picture her packing orders amongst the lambs and chickens. I can assure you that this isn't the case. I met Jeanie at a Baby and Toddler event 18 months ago and I am just amazed at how The Gilded Bird has grown with plans now to take over the changing mat world!

The Gilded Bird: Beautiful Baby Mats and Accessories For Your Nursery – The Gilded Bird UK // The Gilded Bird (@thegilded_bird) • Instagram photos and videos

Claire at Capture Me Happy and My Guernsey Life - Claire has done some photography for me over the past couple of years plus has become one of my best customers. I know that I can also turn to Claire for any advise I may need for The English Beagle. Claire is now living the sun filled life down in Guernsey and I am green with envy.

Capture Me Happy - Photography (@capturemehappy) • Instagram photos and videos // Claire Reader (@ourguernseylife) • Instagram photos and videos

Naomi at BooBerrit - What can I say about Naomi? Funny, just funny. I love her take on life and living through lockdown with 2 small children. Her videos are funny and my favourite by far is her signing along to J-Lo's 'Ain't your mama'. Plus, who needs a car when they have a bicycle?

BooBerrit (@booberrit) • Instagram photos and videos

Roxanne at Ladbabymum -  No woman should have to go through what her husband makes her go through! But through it all, Roxanne continues to make it funny and not take life seriously.  And is now hit on the tail of Victoria Beckham with her PJ range for Mother's Day. 

Ladbabymum (@ladbabymum) • Instagram photos and videos

Corina at The Finch Family  An avid supporter of small businesses, plus size and Autism awareness, this wonderful lady still manages to get through life with a smile and 3 small children. And it is still special when you get a little message from Corina checking in on me. 

FinchFamily|Blogger|Influencer (@thefinchfamilylife) • Instagram photos and videos

Rebecca at Mothercraftbook - As both family, a crafter and small business owner, Rebecca has become a confidant, essentially when motivation is low and I need a pep talk on all things English Beagle. It is wonderful to have someone facing the same daily small business challenges to talk to. Having both been through similar loss in the last couple of years, it seems as though our budding friendship was written in the stars.

Rebecca Johnstone (@mothercraftbook) • Instagram photos and videos

Best Friends - Now if I was to write separately about my friends I would need several pages so have grouped Pam, Janine, Karen, Gunilla and Georgina into 1 arse-kicking, super powerful entity! Life would certainly be boring without them and even though I have not seen them as much over the past year they are still at the end of the phone. There is plenty of time to come to get back into the swing of things. I see endless Rose Wine, G&T's and even the odd Raspberry Mojitos in the future.

My Daughter -  I have included Olivia into my honours list as I am just so proud of the woman she is turning into. Being a teenager during lockdown is not fun but she had shown great strength. But I would obviously say that as Olivia is mine and comes from a long line of strong Moon and Laker women.

4 Moon Girls -  I have decided to end my Honours List with the 4 Moon Girls. I can't really call them girls as they are all women and have all influenced me in some way. My mom and her 3 sisters make up the Moon Girls and each are special in their own way. Being born a Moon, they all shine brightly and influence me in what I do. Their constant support and love, even thousands of miles away in sunny South Africa, ensure that it is always sunny here in Kent.

So to Mom, aunts Pat, Aunty A and Dinky; and my sister Sandra Happy Mother's Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 11: Follower of Fashion

Chapter 11: Follower of Fashion

Audrey Williams

When you heart skips a beat and you go all giddy!

 Thank you to So Magazine and The Times of Tunbridge Wells. 

Chapter 10: Back to my roots

Audrey Williams

My earliest memory of anything sewing related is my mother making track tops for my cousins. I am sure that there must be something earlier than that but as my Mom was always behind a sewing or knitting machine, it was part of life. The first sewing machine I used was my mother’s computerised machine, a very fancy thing for its day. It did all these fancy stitches and would also stitch your name when programmed. I certainly do not remember the first thing I made; all I know is that I have been sewing all my life.

There was always a sewing room with its tubs of buttons, wooden stand awash with coloured threads and the box of scrap fabrics just the perfect size for my Barbie’s new blankets.  My sister and I would make necklaces from the buttons, only for Mom to cut the threads at night and tip them back into the tub for the neck day.

I wanted to be a fashion designer for most of my childhood. Actually, I wanted to be an astronaut but hated science. There was one flaw in my master plan of taking over Paris Fashion Week and that was I could not draw to save my life. I drew stick men and not these willowy elongated figurines  the masters drew. I could certainly visualise what I wanted but all that came out was a stick figure with a triangle for a skirt. At the very last moment I changed my studies from fashion design to textiles and clothing and learnt all about making clothes. From the first bolt of fabric to the last garment hanging in the store. I learnt the business side of the fashion industry and I loved it.

About a year ago I could not find a skirt I was happy with. The skirts in the shop didn’t fit right or were the wrong length. Being a curvy girl, I found the fully skirts just made me feel fat and the pencil skirts were not comfortable. I found a piece of fabric I liked and made myself one and it was wonderful. Sitting behind my machine again was thrilling and I now call it my happy space.

Things moved quite quickly from there and I decided to go back to what I love sewing. The English Beagle is about family, and there is no better way to celebrate family in what I do. The prints and colours I now sew with are just perfect and each has a personality of their own. The bold and vibrant colours remind me of special women in my life, both family and friends. From the Katherine named after my grandmother to Vanessa, the African Worrier beating life’s challenges, there is something for every taste and personality.

Even with the curve ball thrown at us recently, I have learnt that we must do what makes our heart sing. And sewing makes my heart sing. I have learnt that comfort is the most important thing in clothing which reminds me of ‘form follows function’, the strap line we were taught in design school. No one wants to feel restricted in what we wear. This is why I use a soft cotton French terry with a mix of elastane for stretch, allowing plenty of movement. Waistbands are made with German elastic, the best in the business. Fabrics are sourced from small British businesses of which I am most proud to support.

Throw in some love and TLC and the skirts are proudly and lovingly made by me, Audrey.

Chapter 9: All in a name

Audrey Williams

It has been a while since I have put pen to paper and have been wondering what to write about. It was at the Mama Tribe UK ‘PowWow’ last week in Tunbridge Wells that the topic of conversation turned to Intellectual Property and the protection of the brand name. I told my story and why I feel so strongly about this and decided to write a blog on it.

https://www.mamatribe.uk

The English Beagle is not the company name of my little business, but my trading name. When I was looking to register as a Limited Company, I discovered that Company House have a long list of rules for companies wanting to use the words British or English within their name. I decided on something different, but still wanted to protect The English Beagle. I decided to trademark the name / wording. It is a very simple and straightforward process and the cost is nominal. The registration is valid for 5 years, after which it is a simple renewal.  Sitting here now, I am so thankfully that I did it 17 months ago.

About 2 months ago I was contacted by a Far Eastern registration company advising me that a local business wanted to purchase the local website domain names for The English Beagle. As the name has already been registered here in the UK, it is their duty of care to notify me and clarify my link to this particular company. As I had no connection with them at all, they proceeded to advised the particular company to select another name.

At the same time, I was advised that there was an appeal period in which the company could appeal and this had already started. It was at that very moment, I decided to do everything I could to protect The English Beagle name in that market and subsequently purchased the 4 domain websites. As I now expand into the Far East market, I know that I secured the name and that there will be only one English Beagle.

I have since discovered that the UK Intellectual Property Office has links with countries around the world, hence why The English Beagle name was flagged in this particular country. Unfortunately, it is known for local markets to register and trademark up and coming international brand names, resulting in many companies having to pay thousands of pounds to buy back their name and website urls in that particular country. Not only is it the stupid value the ‘owner’ of the domain/ trade name in that country puts on the Brand Name, but also the cost of lawyers.  I am sure that many do this just to make money.

No matter what your business is, I strongly advise you all to look into trademarking and registering the brand name. You never know when someone else will want to use your name.

For more information visit the UK GOV website.

https://www.gov.uk/topic/intellectual-property/trade-marks

 

 

Chapter 8: Not Having That Guilty Feeling

Audrey Williams

I have realised that there is only one week to go before Mini-Me starts school and have wondered where this holiday had gone. Like many of you who work from home, juggling school holiday and work can be a mine field.

Yet, as I sit and type I realise that I have loved the past few weeks. The special moments I have had with Mini-Me, especially now that she is starting high school, have been so precious to me. I said to Mini-Me as we drove home from the cinema that I am going to miss watching movies with her; just seeing her giggle with excitement and seeing the joy on her face makes sitting through 90 minutes of some cartoon all the more worthwhile.

Have I managed to do a lot of work over the past few weeks? Honestly No! Besides trying to manage the additional chores of having children at home all day, plus the added pressure of having family stay with me, I have just done the bare minimum. The relaxed outlook seems to have done me the world of good.

It all started with a week in Greece, where we spent 7 days just laying by the pool and venturing down to the beach. I took the ‘work’ phone with me and checked in once a day but that was it. I even planned social media and was able to post while on holiday without a lot of thought. Since we have been back, I have relished in the far slower pace and took the time to take stock.  

I do not feel guilty at all for taking some ‘me’ time and to think about what I want and need and what needs to be done within the business. I sometimes find myself thinking back to when I worked full time. I always felt guilty. Guilty for working full time and not spending time with Mini-Me. Guilty for being at home and not putting in extra hours to complete all the work that never seemed to end.

With the end of August in sight, I have realised that I have a few important tasks that needed to be done and with a priority list sitting in prime position on the fridge, I have worked through them. I am pleased to say, although I am writing this at 8pm on a Bank Holiday Monday, that writing this blog is the last item on my list. I can now finish the month of August knowing that all is done.

There is a lot planned for September and I am confident that it will all be done. There are also new brand and product launches coming up and with all the preparation already done, these will run smoothly. Do not forget that it is less than 4 months away to Christmas and we all just love Christmas.

As I finish off, I know that I am going to relish in Mini-Me sitting curled up on my lay while we watch TV before bedtime.  I am going to enjoy the last few days of taking a relaxed approach to work and I am going to relish in the last few days of ‘me’ time.  

I am enjoying not having that guilty feeling.

 

 

Chapter 7: Christmas in July

Audrey Williams

The sun is out and temperatures have risen to ensure we have a balmy summer. As I grew up in Cape Town all I wish is that this sun and heat last well into September. My homesickness is brewing at the moment as we are feverishly working away on Christmas, planning and buying, as well as putting final touches to a huge event in The English Beagle calendar, Christmas in July. A two-day press event in London which allows us to showcase what we have handpicked as our hot picks.

Why homesick do you ask, well, I grew up with Christmas in swimsuits and seeing who could make the biggest splash. Watermelons too big to fit in the fridge were chilled in the pool, along with buckets tied to rope weighed down with the bottles of wine and beer; while Boxing Day was spent at the beach with friends. Taking part in a Christmas event in July is just heaven.

 

The event The English Beagle is taking part in is the www.xmasinjuly.co in London and open only to press and influences. This allows us to showcase the best of what 2018 has to offer and what will be hot for Christmas this year. Only in its second year, it has proven to be the press’ go-to event for the season.

Some brands are already stocked; like Bookshell Bindery with their luxurious British leather journals and Catherine Colebrook with their gold printed mugs. Others include Seedballs and one of my favourites Grace and Favour Home.

There are a couple of new brands which I am so excited to start working with. The first being Lena Hill Apothecary Candles, of which I can not begin to describe how luxurious her candles are.  Then there is Louise-Tate Illustrations, the creator of beautiful children’s imagery which has been put onto table mats and puzzles.

 

 

I have also been fortunate to work alongside Port and Lemon who have designed a fun and decadent range of kitchen and baking accessories exclusive to The English Beagle. Everyone is a Star Baker in their own kitchen!

 

 

 

I am hopeful that I will remember to pack everything for the event. The van is booked and gift boxes are wrapped. The press pack folders and gift guides have just been delivered and I am over the moon, I even did a little happy dance when I opened the boxes! It is strange that something little, as in an A5 size booklet, can make a grown woman almost cry. The English Beagle is my baby and have put my heart and sole into it. It is amazing to think that I started all of this only one year ago.

 

I promise to take lots of pictures and upload a video link or too to Instagram and Facebook next week, so please keep watching. If I get a chance I will sneak a peak and what others are predicting for Christmas 2018 and let you all know.  It is only 4 ½ months till Christmas and my Christmas List pen is poised!

Happy Christmas in July everyone.

Chapter 6: A crash course in photography

Audrey Williams

School holidays throw me completely out of sync.  I am sure that it down to the lack of routine; not having to get up by 7am to do the ‘mommy’ jobs before school run, fit work into the next 6 hours before having to rush out the door again to fetch Mimi-Me from school. Being a single parent and running a business ensures that I have a lot of hats to wear and sometime more than one at a time.

At the moment I am still recovering from an inset day after half term. My brain says it is Wednesday but it is already Thursday. I am shocked to see that my desk is fairly organised and everything is in its place. Perhaps it is just an organised mess…

Mumtrepreneur's Desk

There were a few things I had to learn very quickly when starting The English Beagle and photography was one of them. I was fortunate to take part in a 1 day crash course hosted by Claire Witz from Tunbridge Wells Mums in Business with Janet Penny of Hushabye Photography and Claire Williamson of Little Olives Photography. 

www.hushabye-photography.comTunbridge Wells photographer, Kent photographer

 

I do not have a ‘posh’ camera and take all photos on my beloved Sumsung. Thankfully I did not need to have camera for the course and was able to use my phone during the day.

Various topics were covered, starting with the basics and building up from there. Most important lesson I learnt is never use the flash on the phone. I then had to get my head around White Balance, which is the process of removing unrealistic colour casts; if a product is white, it should appear white in the photo. Or in my language: the colour of the photo adjusted by the temperature of the light. A cold/blue picture vs a warm/yellow picture.

For someone who thought direct sunlight onto a product was the best option, I was relieved to learn that this is something to avoid. North facing windows are the best as the sunlight has been diffused already. Have a white table cloth handy to act as a diffuser if something is casting a shadow onto the product. And make sure that the props used are packed safely into one container ready for the next photo shoot! Unfortunately my bedroom has become the photo studio as the light is best late morning, so my prop box now lives in the corner.

We were also told about a few apps that seem to have made my photo-taking experience far easier now too.

mumtrepreneur

  1. DSLR Zoom Camera: same features as a ‘posh’ camera. Exposure (something which I did not quite get my head around) and white balance are easily managed; plus image sizes can be pre selected.

  1. Snapseed: Fantastic for editing images. Colours can be tweaked and I now use the ‘pop’ colour on all my photos. Plus lens blurring can be added afterwards. Additional white balance editing can be used too.

 

  1. Canva: A brilliant app that enables you to create your own image layouts. A wide selection of templates to choose from and can be used on both phones and desktops.

 Even if photography is a hobby and not purely for business, the apps listed above are great and will bring a new dimension to your photos.

Happy snapping everyone.

Audrey

Chapter 5: Relationships

Audrey Williams

I had no idea what to write about for the next installment of Becoming a Mumtrepreneur when something happened in my personal life which got me thinking about relationships, and more importantly, surrounding yourself with the right type of people.

A couple of days before the event happened, the lovely Lisa Dawson @_lisa_dawson_  planted the seed. Lisa responded on Instagram to a post about bullying that was experienced on a so-called ‘friendly and welcoming’ social media group. I replied to Lisa as I agreed to her comments and that what had happened was uncalled for. I never actually took part in anything on this particular social media group as when I did visit from time to time, I found most people to be negative in their approach, complaining and moaning. I actually removed myself from a couple of other social media groups as I found the exact same thing; everyone seemed to complain about one thing or another and it drove me mad. I now find myself only getting involved with those social media groups that have the same mind set as my own.

Over the years I have met many wonderful people who promise to keep in touch but over time, many of these relationships have come to a point where it seems to be very one-sided and I am tired of doing all the work. It is at this point that I decided to stopped making all the effort. Why must I do all the work when a relationship is a two way street. Without going into too much detail about the personal event in question, it was a perfect example of a one-sided relationship that I had no more time for. It infuriated me when I was told that this person felt excluded. How dare they! Why should they feel like that when they have not bothered to get in touch? There is so many ways of communication these days, social media, mobile, telephone, email, there is still ‘snail mail’!

I have learnt the hard way what happens when you surround yourself with people who complain all the time and have a negative outlook on life. I lived under a cloud for so long and it took its toll. One day I decided enough was enough and I took a stand. I proceeded to eliminate the negativity from all aspects of my life. It was a long hard battle, but it is so worth it at the end. It is not easy to find the right people who offer guidance, people who praise and support, and even those who offer constructive criticism. But when you do, together the relationships will be nurtured.