Hello lovelies! How are you doing? Here in Two Crafty Brownieland we have had an exciting week!
Before I tell you all about it, I would like to echo Lucy’s words in her last post. So many of us in the UK have been shocked and saddened by the result of our EU referendum. It seems to have brought out the worst in us, and I can tell you, I feel ashamed. I came to the UK to study medicine, and have stayed, working for the NHS for over 20 years now. I married someone who grew up 2 miles from where we live, and both my children were born not far from here, in the hospital where I trained. Through the years I have grown to love the British spirit.
It's so easy to feel afraid, disheartened and scared for the future. But I truly believe the result of this ill timed referendum reflects a general dissatisfaction with life, and not the racist, selfish views of a minority. As the days go on, I'm going to focus on what makes this nation wonderful, it's gritty, wry humour, it's calm tolerance of people of all colours. I'm going to keep doing what I do……. trying to be kind, open hearted, understanding that everyone is fighting their own battles. As one of my favourite movie characters says ‘just keep swimming…..’
The pictures above are of my Mother-in-law's beautiful garden, and yes that is a tube train in there!
Lu and I have been dreaming of getting away for ages. It's difficult to plan, what with my work, our 5 children and our beloved hubbies. But when we saw this lovely lady was doing mentoring sessions, we decided it would be a great investment for our little business. Allison Sadler is a big name in the UK crafting world. She and her husband, Christian Sadler own a gorgeous shop in Birmingham called The People Shop. What really sold us was her warm, loving, inclusive personality that shines through everything she does. So a few weeks ago we sent off an email to her, and got a lovely welcoming response.
We started planning our trip. Birmingham is an hour and a half away by train, and not far from Allison’s shop, someone else we admire and follow owns a fabric shop. Lauren Guthrie was one of the finalists on the very first series of The Great British Sewing Bee, which we watch avidly, so we definitely wanted to go see her. Throw in a meal, a cocktail, and we figured with the help of our families, we could definitely fit this trip in between Lu dropping her kids off at school, and bedtime!
And what fun we had! It was exhausting, stimulating and wonderful all at once.
We met, as we often do, at the bottom of my road, and made our way to the train. Once seated, we chatted through what we wanted to talk to Allison about, and wrapped the little gifts we had taken for her and Lauren. A quick taxi ride from the station and we were at her shop. To be honest, friends, we were both nervous and just a little star struck.
Well, what a warm welcome. She is just as gorgeous in real life, pulled us in immediately for big, close hugs, led us through the beautiful shop, past the lovely Mr C, (who sews all the clothes in the shop), into her pretty, cosy office. There were cakes, coffee, notebooks, pencils and candles, and best of all, her undivided attention as we talked through every aspect of our plans. We over ran, but she kept going, and didn't stop until she was sure we had asked every question, and covered every topic. I can't recommend her enough, if you want someone to cast an eye over your plans and give you warm, honest advice!
We couldn't leave without a browse through the shop, and a few treats. To top it all, halfway through explaining how to get to Guthrie and Ghani, Allison decided it would be easier to give us a lift there! Bless her, what a kind, fabulous person.
So on a complete high, we arrived at the fabric shop. We had emailed ahead, because we know Lauren had a little baby, and she might not be there. Her team had passed the message on, and to our delight, she popped down to meet us. She is tiny and gorgeous, and very passionate about sewing. We had a lovely chat, and then did some fabric matching for our tie dye make up pouches (coming soon, we promise!). I also bought some stretch fabric with a cardigan in mind. A big thank you to Rosie, who works in the shop, for being so patient with us!
Both Allison and Lauren had independently recommended the same place for lunch, and by now we were starving. Damascena is a beautiful little cafe/delicatessen, delicious food, and very reasonably priced. We felt well fueled and ready for a last little potter in the shops at the newly renovated Grand Central Station. With a glass of prosecco of course, in the Frizzenti Bar.
And then, all too soon, we were on the train home. Full of inspiration, ideas, tired, but happy.
Allison posted a picture of us at our session, and shortly after we posted a picture I had taken of her. And then something amazing happened. On Instagram, a flurry of interest, likes and followers which continued all weekend. Given our previous slow but steady progress, this was incredible!
We gained so much more than a mentoring session from our visit to her. Do have a look at her website, and if you can go and see her shop.
Well, that's all for now, lovelies! Have a great weekend, and just keep swimming!