I Pledge To Shop Small, Will You?

Hey guys.

Being away having a little time off has put my blog schedule out of whack but it’s a Thursday and I’d like to chat about something that I’m actually starting to get quite passionate about.

Christmas is just around the corner, so I’m pledging to shop small this year and I’m asking you to also consider it; let me tell you why. Having recently opened my Etsy shop and having barely dipped my toe into the retail market ocean, this is what shopping small means to me. When I see that order e-mail in my inbox the pure joy of it lights up my day and warms my soul. It’s also the cause of many a happy dance. Even the smallest purchase, like a card, means the world to me.

That card, on average costs £2.50 and that to me is fruit for the week. Or perhaps, it’s a ‘pat on the back’ coffee from my favourite indie cafe. Last week, I was able to treat Lewie to lunch and that hasn’t happened for a very long time. It was a simple meal of a toastie and a hot chocolate but I felt amazing and proud that I could do that for him.

These purchases fuel small businesses dreams, and your support helps them to feed their families, pay their bills and most of all it means they can keep making and creating.

Now, I’m not an idiot and I know that people want to get as much as they can for their money, especially at this time of year. I too buy from high street suppliers and from the likes of Amazon simply because it’s cheaper and convenient. You choose where you spend your hard-earned money and all I’m asking is that this year you support some small, independent businesses too. That could result in buying a handful of illustrated cards for your nearest and dearest or deciding to purchase one gift this year from a maker. Put your money back into the local economy and buy your turkey from your favourite butcher down the road or whilst out christmas shopping, stop by an independent cafe for lunch and coffee to recharge instead.

Small businesses can’t compete with the conglomerates but by shopping small and rather than getting something machine-made, you’ll be buying a product that has been handmade with love, passion, time and born from years of experience. There is an abundance of places that’s full of amazing people online. Sites that spring to mind are Etsy, Folksy, Ohh Deer and Not On The High Street but stop by the indie stores in your towns and cities too, you might find some unexpected beautiful items. Norwich is full of them, especially around The Lanes and Jarrolds has a lovely card section that supports locals too. You could also hop over to a nearby Christmas Craft Fair, that’ll be full of indie makers.

Who knows, you might find a seller you adore and would buy from again for all sorts of occasions, not just Christmas. Support them further and share the love by liking their social media channels, like what they post and even share some posts too. Oh and don’t forget a review, they’re incredibly insightful and helpful.

It may take a little more time and effort but your support is truly worth it. Be the reason someone has a happy dance moment and fill their hearts with festive glee.

I’m taking the pledge to support small, who’s with me?

I pledge to shop small badge

Cx

Stay Curious!

Hello there!

You cannot imagine the little squeak of excitement that escaped me when I opened up an e-mail last Wednesday from A Most Curious Wedding Fair (AMCWF). There had been a last minute cancellation and they wanted to know if I was free to exhibit…OH HELL YES!

I had been in touch shortly after launching Frog & Pencil to see if they had any spaces but of course, they were full. I spoke with Gem (the lovely gal organising the fair) and she mentioned that I could still promote myself via their directory list and I happily signed up…but holy moly I was over the moon to have the chance to exhibit!

I attended the fair last year, as a Bride, and I took my gorgeous Maid of Honour with me. It was exactly the kind of fair I had been looking for, something a little more quirky and personal – a refreshing alternative to the more traditional fairs I had been to. So, when Frog & Pencil hopped into the world, I knew that this was my kind of event!

AMCWF describes themselves as a fair for the ‘style savvy couple’ but I think it’s so much more that that. The suppliers are cool, unique, chic, individual, whimsical, eclectic and offer couples something fresh within the wedding industry. I believe that weddings are changing, they’re becoming so much more personal and couples can do whatever they want…if they so desire. You don’t have to have a ‘cookie cutter’ kind of day and I love that AMCWF embraces this idea.

The Fair is held in St Andrew’s Hall in the centre of Norwich and it is a stunning venue. My hairy, glamorous assistant and I arrived early to set up, which thankfully didn’t take much time at all – we’re becoming pro’s now! I had seen the list of exhibitors prior to the day and I genuinely felt honoured to be one of the suppliers among them; there were some amazing people showing off their wares! Seriously, Norfolk is overflowing in creative talent; you lucky, lucky Brides!

Doors opened at 11am and there was a queue to get in for most of the day. With a friendly atmosphere and a steady flow of people, it had all the ingredients for a great day. I spoke to many lovely couples and I really enjoyed hearing about their plans. Frog & Pencil received so much love from the public and fellow exhibitors, I was smiling all day with pride…I still am! In the last hour it quietened down and I took that moment to explore the show, peruse the stands and chat to the wonderful faces stood alongside them.

Here’s my Most Curious Wedding Fair gallery – I meant to take more photographs but I was just simply enjoying being in the moment. Sadly, I later discovered that a bunch of my photos were super blurry…I need to invest in improving my camera skills, but here’s a taste of the day.

As I’ve mentioned, AMCWF was jam packed with amazing suppliers and like last week at Wensum Valley, I’d like to share with you a handful of them.

A SPECIAL CROAK OUT TO…

A Most Curious Wedding Fair: A HUGE thank you to Gem and the team for having me last minute, I truly appreciate the opportunity. You were so welcoming and I loved being a part of the day. Go check out their website to see all of the awesome people who exhibit in the London & Norwich shows…and don’t forget to click on the Most Curious Directory to find suppliers who are equally brilliant but were unable to make a show.

The Little Lending Company: Here you can find fabulous decor accessories and props to hire out for your wedding day, or you can choose from the ‘styled station’ range. Penny is so friendly and super creative; she’ll have whatever you need to make your day unique.

The Swaffham & Fakenham Florist: These gals will make your wedding blooms look spectacular! They teamed up with The Little Lending Company and created an incredible stand at the show, so you won’t be disappointed; go check them out!

Flower30: Another very talented florist who had a gorgeous stall. I spoke with Sharon for a while and she’s so lovely! An artist with a bunch of flowers!

Beth Moseley Photography: Beth creates the most beautiful, natural and relaxed photographs! She’s also lovely, just what you need on your big day – give her a bell if you’re in the market for a photographer!

Buns of Fun: I had a great time meeting Emma and she gave me lots of advice about starting out. Her cakes are incredible and each time I went over to introduce myself there were always people chatting to her. Get in quick I say!

Dust with Cocoa: Debbie is another delectable cake maker, they are just gorgeous! She also won ‘Best Stand’ on the day and it did look marvellous. Check out her website for more cakey delights!

Doughnut Lab: Hold on to your hats as these are by far the BEST doughnuts around! We’ve been a big fan of these guys since they launched; we even had a batch delivered for my birthday. They pack all their doughnuts full of flavour, you’ll just want more and more! We certainly had a happy doughnut lab face at the end of AMCWF; yum!

Grace & Fortune: Beth creates delightful, delicate accessories for your hair and I fell in love with her designs. One of these would finish off your Bridal look perfectly…I wish I had known about her last year.

Botanical & Bloom: I’m a sucker for geometric shapes and succulents, so naturally I fell in love with Hannah’s stall. She creates geometric concrete planters which are so chic and contemporary! They’re on my wish list as a home for my new little succulent, Derek.

So, to all you couples out there, click away and absorb all this wedding inspiration and create a day that reflects who you both are.

Till next time, stay curious!

Cx

A Froggy First!

Hello there!

Last week was a wonderful whirlwind while I prepared for Frog & Pencil’s very first Wedding Fair.

Having only launched in February, I couldn’t believe my luck to have found a stand available at a Spring event…I genuinely thought I may have missed the boat and would have to wait for the Autumn fairs. Lovely Norfolk Brides offered me a spot at the Wensum Valley Hotel Wedding Show on Sunday 13th March and I snapped up the opportunity!

My week was spent designing flyers, making sure I had enough samples, thinking of creative ways to arrange my stand and to have everything printed in time. I even invested in a roller banner…this was particularly exciting for me as in my previous marketing jobs I’ve spent many an hour running around beautiful Norwich delivering and setting up roller banners. It felt quite poignant when my very own was delivered and I LOVE it.

Sunday came around in a flash and it was an early, misty start for my hubby and I as set up started from 7am.  We were welcomed by the team and made our way to the Frog & Pencil table and wowzers, we had a great spot (with a beautiful outlook too)! It also turns out that we were fortuitous with our brilliant exhibitor neighbours, Lesley from Short Cakes and Aurora Wedding and Events Hire, both were so friendly, helpful and gave me loads of advice about the Wedding Fair scene, a big heartfelt thank you to you guys.

At 10am the doors opened and I was raring to go! A bride approached my table, looked at my designs, shook her head and said to her friend ‘No!’…a good start hey! It did make us chuckle and thankfully, throughout the day I was given many lovely compliments. There was a steady stream of people and the five hours flew by. It also helped that we were sat by popular stands such as Adnams, Short Cakes and Aurora as they brought welcomed footfall to Frog & Pencil.

I spoke to so many awesome couples about their wedding day plans and it was also a pleasure to be able to give some tips having lived through this adventure last year. It felt amazing to hear that people enjoyed my work and to see their big smiles appear as they clocked my stall. There were a bunch of comments on how ‘different’ my illustrations are and I’m incredibly proud of the fact that Frog & Pencil is unique.

Overall it was an excellent and positive experience. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to other exhibitors and networking, they all gave some great guidance. Even more so, it was interesting to see how my target audience felt about my work; however the proof is in the bookings. As of yet, nothing’s pinged through but it’s still early days and I’m hopeful.

Being by a window on a beautiful sunny day was just perfect albeit a little challenging when taking photos but thankfully they’ve turned out pretty good with a little editing…so here we are, enjoy clicking through my Wensum Valley Wedding Fair Gallery.

We were honoured to be amongst some brilliant exhibitors and I hope they all had a successful show. I wanted to take the opportunity to give a handful of those a mention and share their details.

A SPECIAL CROAK OUT TO…

Norfolk Brides: Dalia and Tim were brilliant hosts and I’m very appreciative of all their help and knowledge in the run up to this event. Check out their website to see what’s coming up next!

A Most Curious Wedding Fair: Sat in front of us was the lovely Hannah from A Most Curious Wedding Fair. On Sunday 20th March they will be hosting their unique Wedding Fair in St Andrews Hall in Norwich from 11am – 4pm. I visited last year and it was ace, certainly worth having a look around. You’ll also find a familiar froggy face in their Most Curious Directory as a cool, recommended supplier…which is very exciting for me!

Short Cakes: Our super wonderful neighbour Lesley who creates the most beautiful, delicate wedding cakes. We were lucky enough to have a sample of the chocolate cake and it was delicious, so if you’re in the market for a celebratory sponge then get in touch…be quick though, people were flocking to her stand looking to speak to ‘The Cake Lady’!

Aurora Wedding and Events Hire: Another ace neighbour who were also popular! Providing hire items for your big day, give them a look…their sweetie cart is a must for kiddies and husbands alike!

Adnams Norwich: Dishing out tasty tipples these guys were BUSY!!! I can personally recommend the Adnams Prosecco, we served it at our wedding and it is a moreish fizz with a fabulous price tag to boot!

Joshua Patrick Photography: If you’re looking for a photographer, hop on over to Josh’s website. He’s really friendly, enthusiastic and his images are natural, relaxed and just stunning; you won’t be disappointed!

Oops! a Daisy Florist: The gals at the show were gorgeous and they had such a delightful stand full of romantic, whimsical flowers which I thought were divine. I’d pay them a visit if you’re looking for an excellent and creative florist.

There we have it, my first show done and dusted; I LOVED it. Thanks for having me Norfolk Brides and thanks to all the couples who took the time to check us out. Drop me a line if you have any questions or would like a quote, it would be wonderful to talk some more.

Have a tip top evening all and I’ll be back later in the week with a post all about the details from my Christening commission…I’ll warn you, it’s a cute one!

Cx