Posted in British gifts, British travel, ceramics, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, historic places uk, independent retail, stationery, wedding

Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley is another iconic British brand , known for fashion , interiors and accessories. It’s a company which has been on a knife’s edge financially for many years but still it has a high street presence.

Although Laura Ashley might not be to everyone’s taste and boy does it have competition, I feel there is still room in our hearts for this brand.

You might think now this dress is damn right ridiculous but in the day her designs were sought after and contemporary.

Laura Ashley (7 September 1925 – 17 September 1985) was a Welshfashion designer and businesswoman. She originally made furnishing materials in the 1950s, expanding the business into clothing design and manufacture in the 1960s. The Laura Ashley style is characterised by Romantic English designs — often with a 19th-century rural feel — and the use of natural fabrics.

While working as a secretary and raising her first two children, Ashley undertook some development work for the Women’s Institute on quilting. Revisiting the craft she had learnt with her grandmother, she began designing headscarves, napkins, table mats and tea-towels which Bernard printed on a machine he had designed in their attic flat at 83 Cambridge Street, Pimlico.[2]

The couple had invested £10 in wood for the screen frame, dyes and a few yards of linen. Ashley’s inspiration to start producing printed fabric came from a Women’s Institute display of traditional handicrafts at the Victoria & Albert Museum. When Ashley looked for small patches carrying Victorian designs to help her make patchworks, she found no such thing existed. Here was an opportunity, and she started to print Victorian style headscarves in 1953.

The scarves quickly became successful – retailing both via mail order and at high street chains such as John Lewis – and Bernard left his City job to print fabrics full-time.[3] The company was originally registered as Ashley Mountney (Laura’s maiden name), but Bernard changed the name to Laura Ashley because he felt a woman’s name was more appropriate for the type of products they were producing. The new company moved to Kent in 1955, but when the third of their four children was born, the family moved to Wales in 1960.[4]

Laura Ashley’s first shop was opened at 35 Maengwyn Street, MachynllethMontgomeryshire, in 1961.[5] The Laura Ashley association is commemorated by a small plaque. The shop sold locally produced honey, walking sticks as well as the couple’s own products. Here Laura worked with a seamstress to introduce their first forays into fashion, producing smock like shirts and gardening smocks. The family lived above the shop until moving to CarnoMontgomeryshire. They first set up in the vacant social club, but moved in 1967 to the local railway station, which had been closed two years earlier.[4]

Laura Ashley has slumped to an annual loss of more than £14m after a collapse in demand for its signature floral home furnishings.

The retailer said Brexit concerns had hit consumer confidence and stopped shoppers from making big-ticket purchases or starting big DIY projects.

At the same time, the housing market has slowed and house moves are key to the health of specialist retailers like Laura Ashley. As a result, like-for-like furniture sales were down 9% and demand for its decorating products, which include curtains and wallpaper, was down nearly 14%.

It is a great shame that this company was sold to Malaysian Holdings and shop closures are anticipated with further job losses.

Posted in British gifts, British travel, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, historic places uk, independent retail, interior design, jewellery, stationery, support uk, wedding

Liberty London

Libertys has to be one of my favourite shops in london. It optimises style , elegance resilience in an ever changing economic climate. It has stood the test of time

For me personally Liberty’s is more iconic than selfridges or harrods. Many might disagree , but whatever your views or preference it’s great to support British and the iconic brands which are recognised throughout the world and are synonymous with this country.

The shop opened during 1875 selling ornaments, fabric and objets d’artfrom Japan and the East. Within eighteen months, he had repaid the loan and acquired the second half of 218 Regent Street. As the business grew, neighbouring properties were bought and added.

InNovember 1885, Liberty brought forty-two villagers from India to stage a living village of Indian artisans. Liberty’s specialised in Oriental goods, in particular imported Indian silks, and the aim of the display was to generate both publicity and sales for the store.

During the 1890s, Liberty built strong relationships with many English designers. Many of these designers, including Archibald Knox, practised the artistic styles known as Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau, and Liberty helped develop Art Nouveau through his encouragement of such designers. The company became associated with this new style, to the extent that in Italy, Art Nouveau became known as the Stile Liberty, after the London shop.

Liberty, during the 1950s, continued its tradition for fashionable and eclectic design. All departments in the shop had a collection of both contemporary and traditional designs. New designers were promoted and often included those still representing the Liberty tradition for handcrafted work.

In 1955, Liberty began opening several regional stores in other UK cities; the first of these was in Manchester.[4] Subsequent shops opened in BathBrightonChesterYorkExeter and Norwich.

During the 1960s, extravagant and Eastern influences once again became fashionable, as well as the Art Deco style, and Liberty adapted its furnishing designs from its archive.

Liberty has a history of collaborative projects – from William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the nineteenth century to Yves Saint Laurent and Dame Vivienne Westwood in the twentieth. Recent collaborations include brands such as Scott HenshallNikeDr. MartensHello KittyBarbourHouse of HackneyVansOniaManolo BlahnikUniqloSupergaT. M. Lewin, Drew Pritchard of Salvage Hunters and antique lighting specialist Fritz Fryer.

Perhaps the success of Liberty’s lies with it’s progressive ideas and more recently collaborations with other big brands. Liberty prints are still very popular today. Their designs are beautiful, intricate and timeless.

Posted in gifts, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, independent retail, interior design, wedding gifts on a budget

Smelly teenage bedrooms

Most of us know the odour, smelly socks etc and F***ts. I thought I need something more punchy than an airwick and I am not keen on chemicals . So I thought I know! I have a couple of Lampe Berger air purifiers

I recalled reading that they clean the air from bacteria, so I thought I would share this useful information with all the despairing moms and dads out there.

Lampe Berger History in Brief

When pharmacist Maurice Berger patented his invention in June 1898 in Paris, he intended it to be used for hygiene. Early users of LB were mortuaries and hospitals, places where it was essential to kill germs, get rid of unpleasant odors, and sanitize the air.

Jean-Jacques Failot purchased Maurice Berger’s company in 1927 and changed Berger’s unpleasant-smelling original formula to ethyl alcohol. When undergoing combustion, ethyl alcohol gives off the scent of apples. The public enjoyed the new, pleasant scent, and the business expanded to the consumer market.

The 1920s were the era of the Art Deco movement, and Failot was able to work with the period’s great lamp designers: Baccarat, Galle, Lalique, Sabino, St. Louis, and Theraud. By the 1930s, this beautiful and useful product was desired by consumers in other countries. There was a problem with exports, though, since ethyl alcohol was considered a perfume ingredient in many countries and was taxed as a luxury good.

In 1973, industrialist Marcel Auvrey purchased the LB company. His son Phillipe took over in 1989 and was finally able to branch out to New York. In 1998, LB returned to the tradition of using high-end design materials such as enamel, pewter, and opaline in its signature line, once again using famous designers to give its functional products a decorative touch.

Not only does it repel mosquitoes and other insects in the home, but a lamp filled with Summer Night can also be taken outdoors to repel insects from the patio, deck, grill area, outdoor kitchen, or wherever you’d like to be free from insects bothering you. 

Thank god for these wonderful little lamps!

Posted in British gifts, British travel, gifts, gifts for her, small businesses, stationery, support uk

Caroline Gardner

West London based Caroline Gardner is best known as one of the UK’s leading stationery and gift designers. Her signature look is an ever evolving modern classic, set apart by a distinctive and playful blend of modern hues and scale. A portfolio drawn together by Caroline’s distinctive design handprint of quirky use of colour and placement.

Caroline Gardner is to moving towards ‘naked’ cards by using an InFold, invented by the company, that holds the card and envelope together while protecting the corner. The branded paper InFold is affixed to the envelope using a plastic-free peelable label.

Caroline Gardner

Caroline Gardner is to moving towards ‘naked’ cards by using an InFold, invented by the company, that holds the card and envelope together while protecting the corner. The branded paper InFold is affixed to the envelope using a plastic-free peelable label.

The InFold design, for which the publisher has applied for a patent on, also provides the opportunity for the company’s branding.

“We feel strongly about reducing the amount of single use cellobags and so set about creating a way of keeping the envelope with the card,” explained Luca Bridges, marketing and independent sales manager of Caroline Gardner.

Posted in British gifts, candles, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, independent retail, skin food, skincare, small businesses

Clovelly candle company

  • The Clovelly Soap Company makes artisan soap and Candles by hand in a converted granary in Clovelly North Devon.
  • Husband and Wife team Sarah and Casie Harper make soap using traditional cold process techniques which give a gentle lather that is kind to your skin and the environment.
  • Scented with natural essential oils spices and botanicals giving subtle muted colours and great fragrance.They specialise in creating bespoke branded ranges for shops hotels B&Bs or stately homes and can work with your brand and colour scheme to make a range just for you.
  • Clovelly also make beautiful bespoke wedding favours tailored to your theme and colour scheme.Family run business in Devon.The Clovelly Soap Company is a small family-run business making beautiful, handcrafted soap, candles and body care products on the historic Clovelly Estate in North Devon. They are passionate about making products that you will love to use and gift.
  • Their recipes, inspired by nature, use spices, clays, flowers and pure therapeutic grade essential oils blended by hand to create their own unique scents.
Posted in British gifts, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, independent retail, small businesses, stationery

The importance of greeting cards.

Is there a future for greeting cards in this age of e-mail and instant messaging? Think about picking up your mail, there’s a bright card envelope among the bills, and instantly your day is brighter. It brings the knowledge that someone cares enough about you to take the time to pick out and mail a special message to you. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or the annual holiday card, it is sure to bring a smile to your face. E-mail would be difficult to create the same emotional response.

The birthday card with it’s tradition of sentiment and goodwill can lift your employee’s morale just knowing you cared enough to remember. The sincerity and comfort of a sympathy card can express feelings you may have difficulty expressing verbally. An annual holiday greeting card sent to family and friends allows you to keep in touch and reminds everyone that you are thinking of them.

A greeting card expresses all the human emotions, joy, thanks, sympathy, humor, love and admiration. It allows us to connect on an emotional level with the people who have touched our lives. Sending personalized greeting cards allows us a vast variety of sentiments that allow us to express our caring to family, friends, customers, clients and employees.

Select a card that has nothing on the inside, and take a few moments to express your thoughts …”Just thought we’d send a quick note to say we love you and wish you the best on your birthday:)….love Mom and Dad”. The person receiving the card will appreciate it that much more!

So the next time you are debating shooting off a quick e-mail or sending an actual greeting card, you may want to ask yourself which one conveys the kind of message you wish to send.

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The move towards solid soap.

Five Reasons to Switch to Solid Toiletries

Solid toiletries are the new craze in the beauty world and not just for environmentalists. I switched to solid shampoo about two years ago and have slowly swapped out all of my shower products for solid equivalents. I’m completely sold and don’t feel the need to use liquids again. So if you’re still on the fence or aren’t sure what the fuss is all about, here are the top reasons you should make the switch to solid toiletries!

1. Solid Toiletries are (usually) made of natural ingredients

Natural solid toiletries bars, soap bar, solid shampoo and solid conditioner bars are great eco-friendly alternatives.

Solid toiletries go hand in hand with green living and most brands will avoid using chemicals and other harsh ingredients. This means solid toiletries are kinder to your skin and hair and also great for using while camping or traveling in areas with poor water treatment systems. You can wash at campgrounds or in rivers without worrying about the chemicals you’re putting into the water or onto your body. Do make sure you check the ingredients first though as not all brands are completely natural.

2. They can be plastic-free

Solid toiletries are great alternatives because you can by them plastic free and zero waste. One of the most important reasons to switch to solid toiletries.

The bathroom is one of the biggest areas for plastic bottle use and if you can cut out a couple each month this is making huge progress! Again, some brands miss the whole eco-friendly aspect and wrap solid toiletries in plastic, but most will sell them in paper or cardboard packaging. Solid toiletries are an easy and effective way to cut down on plastic use and with the range on offer these days it’s not difficult to go completely plastic-free with your shower routine.

For more plastic-free ideas read our article: 14 ways to reduce your plastic waste.

3. Solid Toiletries last longer

One bar of shampoo isn’t the same as one bottle. No, solid alternatives will last 2-5 times as long as liquid equivalents which means you don’t need to shop as often and you get more value for money. I find that a shampoo bar lasts me at least six months, a face wash about a year and a block of soap about a month (for two people). This obviously varies between brands and products but solid products are concentrated as they hold no water so 100g of soap will last you a lot longer than 100ml of body wash.

4. They are great for travel

There are no restrictions for solid toiletries in your hand luggage.

If you travel with hand luggage, solid toiletries are the perfect solution to carry on liquid limitations. You can carry them on with you no problem and you won’t have any leaks or spills in your bag! We carry ours in a small Tupperware container but there are also plenty of metal tins and cases that work.

The fact that they last so long also makes them great for longer trips as they’re easy to carry and you don’t have to worry about finding your favourite products overseas. We travelled for 1.5 years with only solid toiletries and could stock up in countries with availability and they lasted us through the months in more remote areas. They were compact, effective and easy for taking along on our trip.

5. They take up less space

Whether it’s in your shower or in a backpack, solid toiletries simply take up less space than their liquid counterparts. Even if you have a bar each for shampoo, conditioner, soap and facewash you only need one shelf in the shower.

One of our most useful solutions for space-saving is to cut them in half and only keep half in the shower/travel case and the other half stored in the bathroom cupboard or shared with a friend! Use a hot knife to slice through your bars to make them more compact. Since even a half lasts a couple of months you can cut them into chunks and fit all your shower supplies into one small container and pop it in your carry on, gym bag or shower shelf.

For more minimalist packing tips read our article about packing light!

Our favourite solid toiletries brands

Blue Earth – This NZ based company makes a great range of shower products in a factory run on solar power. Their products are really affordable which is great news in the expensive world of sustainable living! Their products are available online and also from a range of stockists in NZ and Aus. We love the shampoo bar which foams really well and the lemongrass soap!

Website: www.blueearth.co.nz

Ethique – Another great NZ brand which is available instore in NZ, Aus and now Japan. You can also purchase online through Amazon. They make an incredible range of products which are completely natural and plastic-free. We love the solid laundry bar and shampoo for oily hair.

Website: www.ethiqueworld.com

Ethique has a great range of natural zero waste solid toiletries bars. Check them out and you will find plenty of reasons to switch to solid toiletries.

Lush – This was my first experience with solid toiletries and they’ve since increased their range to include face wash and deodorant as well as soaps and shampoos. Their products look, smell and work amazingly. My only gripe is that they aren’t all completely natural which means they aren’t great for camping, off-grid or developing areas where water goes directly into rivers, gardens or the ocean.

Website: www.lush.com

Amazing solid shampoos from Lush

Ecostore – This is our go-to for body soap as it’s really affordable and stocked in most supermarkets here in NZ. Their bar soap is great and they also do a range of products in bottles made from sugar-cane plastic. You can also find their bulk products at many waste-free supermarkets and refill your own bottle.

Website: www.ecostore.co.nz

Ecostore is a popular NZ brand and has a big range of soap bars.

Dr Bronner’s – These soap bars (also available as a liquid) can supposedly be used for anything; clothing, dishes, bodies, hair etc. We carried one in our luggage in case we ran out of anything while travelling and were unable to find a replacement in the countries we were in. If you want to go super-minimalistic this can be a good all-rounder!

Posted in #tropic #skincare # natural #kindtoskin #beauty # madeintheuk, animal welfare, anti-aging, award winning skin care, bargain make up, box beauty, boxmakeup,boxsubscribe,Sshop, facemasks, sand and sky, makeup in a box, boxed subscriptions, boxclubs, freebie gifts, facial scrubber, benefits, bridal make up, British gifts, Christmas, Christmas gift ideas, gifts for her, gifts for him, great savings, independent retail, radiant skin, skin food, skincare, small businesses, support uk, Uncategorized

Gifts under £20

Looking for thoughtful tokens that make great stocking fillers or secret Santa gifts? From handbag heroes – such as a nourishing Lip Fudge or Nail Nectar – to deliciously scented Body Washes, Tropic has you covered! Feel free to contact me to discover more beauty treats.

Beautiful skincare gifts
https://tropicskincare.com/pages/vip-experience

https://tropicskincare.com/pages/ambassadors

Take the opportunity to have your own beauty business with a moral conscience.

Makeup and skincare gifts.

Posted in #tropic #skincare # natural #kindtoskin #beauty # madeintheuk, animal welfare, anti-aging, award winning skin care, box beauty, boxmakeup,boxsubscribe,Sshop, facemasks, sand and sky, makeup in a box, boxed subscriptions, boxclubs, freebie gifts, facial scrubber, benefits, bridal make up, Christmas gift ideas, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, premium makeup brands, skincare, small businesses

Be a Tropic Ambassador

Take the plunge and try running your own beauty business with minimal outlay.

https://tropicskincare.com/pages/ambassadors

YOUR BUSINESS IN A BOX

Your Starter Kit comes with our bestselling range of skincare, worth over £400, plus training and business tools for just £198.

No hidden costs, just a box of our 100% naturally derived, freshly made beauty products that you won’t be able to stop talking about!

https://tropicskincare.com/search?q=Buil

Above is a link for customers to build their own skin gift set.