Hello Nancy

Hackney Coffe Co.

Even though I've lived in East London for over five years now I'm still discovering new places to try. I rarely leave my little bubble in Stoke Newington so I was thrilled to be invited to pop along to Hackney Coffee Co. last weekend to try out their food and coffees.

Hackney Coffee Co. is a intimate spot just two minutes walk from Cambridge Heath station (so handy for me). We popped in to grab some lunch and test out their drinks too, Simon and I love our coffee so I was really looking forward a good latte.

The coffee was pretty darn good, actually it was really good. Simon always has a black filter which I think is the best way to judge if a coffee is good as there's no foamy milk to hide behind. Plus filter coffees tend to be a little more complex in flavour. However, I'm too much of a wimp to have my coffee straight up so I opted for a latte which I really enjoyed.

We sat upstairs which had hundreds of books to read. There's a little cosy reading room tucked away up there too which I think would be a lovely spot in the Winter time. Along with our coffees we also enjoyed two huge sourdough sandwiches and it wasn't until we had finished eating them that I realised I hadn't taken any photos of our food. That's what happens when you're too busy enjoying what's in front of you I suppose. I also noticed a selection of cakes but I was way too full after my mammoth sarnie.

If you're based in East London or work in the area I highly recommend popping along to get your coffee fix, these guys know what they're doing.

Brides The Show & Special Discounted Tickets

Hi everyone. I hope you're having a good week? I just wanted to pop up a quick post as I have a 25% discount to share with you folks for tickets to the Brides Magazine show happening this September. I personally can't wait to go and I'm really happy that I get to share this discount with you all. The show is being held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London from the 30th September to the 2nd October 2016. 

From dresses to diamonds, flowers to cakes, the event will bring together top experts and over 150 luxury suppliers. Expect the freshest ideas, the highest quality craftsmanship and the very latest trends. Every element of your wedding planning will come to life; you’ll be able to sample that delicious cake, smell that blossomy bridal bouquet and admire that designer’s exquisite work up close.

Be inspired by a crafted selection of hands-on talks and classes and enjoy daily fashion shows. Find the perfect wine for your wedding with their wine workshops and learn bridal beauty from the Bobbi Brown Pro experts. To me it sounds like a perfect way to spend some quality time with your fiancé, bridesmaids or family and get truly excited for the big day!

If you use the special discount code NANCY you will receive 25% off tickets to Brides The Show. You can find tickets here. Hopefully I'll see some of you there! 

Wedding Inspiration No. 1

So If you hadn't already heard the news...I will be getting married to the love of my life next September! Simon proposed to me a few weeks ago whilst we were in Budapest and after enjoying a few days together in total bliss and amazement it became pretty clear that I would need to start planning our wedding day.

I had no idea that things like the venue and catering had to be put in place so quickly but after a week of planning the important stuff I'm back to daydreaming about the little details again. Here is my first post full of wedding inspiration and beautiful images.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting via Call Me Cupcake

Green Floral Arrangements by Wildflower

Personal Wedding Photography via Miss Moss

Eucalyptus Garlands via The Knot

Stained Glass of A Wedding Bouquet by The Round Window

Romantic Lace Wedding Dress by Delphine Manivet

Botanical Watercolour Invites by Jolly Edition

Long Horseshoe Table Layout via SMP

Romantic and Simple Hair via Magnolia Rouge

Green Cocktails (the wedding will be very green!) by Apt. 34

Green Berries and Eucalyptus Table Runners via WGM

I want lots of salads for the Wedding Breakfast and burrata HAS to be on the menu. Peach and Burrata salad via Two Red Bowls

Gold Floral Crown by Mignonne Handmade

Green Earthenware Platter by Terrain

Meet The Maker - Rosie Drake-Knight

Today for I want to introduce you to Rosie Drake-Knight (totally badass surname am I right?) who designs gorgeous leather accessories. I was immediately drawn to Rosie's use of pattern and colour in her collections, as a pattern designer it's always great to see hand drawn prints being used creatively.

Rosie is actually kindly offering you all a 10% discount with code ‘NANCY10’ for the new collection so get shopping! Without further ado I will leave you to read the interview. Enjoy!

What made you want to work with leather?

I have always enjoyed the sensory element of leather – the way it feels, smells and looks. Whilst doing my degree I dabbled in leatherwork, but during my final major project I jumped in at the deep end and started to experiment with screen print, appliqué and construction.

Once I graduated I took around a year to really find my feet with the material. I’ve stripped back a lot of the technical elements to my work and focused more on the product and the surface pattern, than the complexities of embellishment. This was a really difficult road to go down as it felt like I was stepping backwards, but I knew it was for the right reasons and I’m really happy with my new collection.

What is your favorite part of running your own creative business?

I love the satisfaction of packing orders! Carefully wrapping products that I have made, from concept to finished item, and then stacking them up to be posted is such a fulfilling moment. I’m so grateful for the support from my customers, after all, they allow me to do the thing I love the most, make!

If you could own a brick and mortar shop where would it be and what would it be like?

Oh the dream! I’m from the Isle of Wight and would one day love to move back there to be near to my family. I have always had my eye on the most beautiful victorian shop just a stones throw from the church I got married in. It has a glossy forest green tiled front with original curved glass windows and a bell above the door. I imagine it full of plants, teak furniture and music… oh and lots of leather of course!

Have you got any new ranges coming up?

My new collection launches on June 17th! It takes me a good 6 months to design and make for a new collection so as soon as I release it, ideas will start to brew for my winter range. I’m really excited to release the summer collection as the creative campaign that accompanies it includes moving image and a location shoot. I have used both of these styled promotional methods in campaigns for my other business, Native Makers, but never for my freelance work. I try to listen to my customers and this new range carries forward some of the favourites, but with a fresh twist! 

Any tips for my readers in case they want to set up a creative business too?

Be organised, take the ‘business’ part seriously. Wear Pjs to work. Try it, Don’t waste time thinking about it. Get cracking, make a mess. Paint, draw, stitch, cut, stick. Have fun! After all, why are you working for yourself?

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

My mum was a wise woman. She always told me to ‘Do what makes you happy’. Life is too short to sit around waiting for the good stuff. Make the good stuff happen!

Thanks so much Rosie!

Don't forget to have a look at Rosie's lovely work here as her new collection has just landed.

Life as a Designer - Q&A Video

A little while ago I asked my followers on Instagram to ask me whatever questions they would like me to answer. Most of the questions were from people asking all about creative small business and living as a freelance designer. It looks as though you guys are looking for advice in all things creative and how to make money from doing what you love.

In this video I cover my design process, how I find inspiration, how I cope with working in a competitive industry as well as my favourite creative and foodie spots in London. I hope you enjoy it!

I will be filming another Q&A soon (it was so fun) so please do leave any questions you may have.


Laura Ashley AW 2016 Press Show

On a very wet and gloomy Tuesday I made my way to the Laura Ashley AW 2016 press show. In a way I was quite glad the weather was acting in a typical English manner as it made the sneak peek at the Autumn and Winter collections even more enjoyable.  Keep reading to find out what the Laura Ashley team have been cooking up.

I walked into the homeware rooms first and was greeted with six new and very diverse collections. The blue Modern Botanique range was my favorite collection as it included touches of Mid Century and Shaker styling, and you know how much I love 1960's interiors.

This is a picture heavy post as I wanted to show you everything, so there's more after the jump..

How To Wrap Gifts Perfectly Every Time

I was recently sent some really gorgeous papers and greetings cards by Lonetree Cards. The timing is perfect as I seem to have so many birthdays to celebrate over the next few months. It was Simon's birthday recently which was totally overshadowed by our engagement, I used some of the Lace Blue gift wrap by Lonetree for his gifts along with some grey striped bakers twine. It's always a bit tricky wrapping up gifts for men without it looking too "pretty" but I think the paper worked perfectly.

With all these birthdays I have coming up I'm going to be doing a lot of gift wrapping, something I take very seriously. I'm a bit obsessive over pretty parcels and I have picked up some tips along the way. Read more to find out how to wrap the perfect gift.

These presents are for my friend Vicky. So, Vicky if you're reading stop now!

First things first, measure your paper against your gift to ensure you'll have enough. I recommend wrapping gifts up in boxes but if this isn't possible try to line up any straight edges your gift may have against the straight edge of the paper to keep things neat. If wrapping up a fabric gift always wrap it in tissue first to protect it. All fragile items should be placed in boxes to keep damages to a minimum.

 I always use double sided tape to wrap my presents. I think gifts look a lot better if the shiny plastic sticky tape is kept at bay! Fold over the long edge of the paper to create a neat edge and run a line of double sided tape along it.

If you tape your presents this way they look so neat and the edges almost disappear. Plus there's no chance of them coming unstuck.

The next step is the tricky end sections. Pop your gift between your knees to stable it and push down the first side of the paper against the box making a really crisp edge. Continue this all the way around the four short sides making sure to create really sharp edges. Pop a tab of double sided on the underside of the last corner and stick down. Add a sticker or patterned tape and you're done!

I hope you found this guide useful and don't forget that practice makes perfect!

The Lonetree products used in this post include the Lace Grey and Lace Green wrapping paper. They also have a great selection of cards too. A big thank you to Lonetree for sending me some lovely paper goods to try out.

Home Etc

Getting Engaged in Budapest

On Tuesday evening I returned from a whirlwind long weekend away in Budapest with Simon, it was such a lovely little break away which was made even more memorable because Simon asked me to marry him! As soon as we had arrived in Budapest and unpacked Simon got down on one knee and proposed to me in our little apartment.

I'm getting a little teary eyed thinking about it again (I cry at everything).

It was the most perfect moment and I wouldn't have changed the way he planned it for the world. It was very relaxed, private and unostentatious. After I said yes and many minutes of crying we went out to lunch to one of my favorite spots to eat in the city, Central Cafe.

I wasn't actually planning to blog about our little trip but I wanted to share this milestone with you. Simon had worked with jewellery designer Gee Woods to create the most perfect engagement ring and quiet a few of our friends and family members had known about his plan for months and managed to keep it a secret.

 If you'd like to read my in depth Budapest City Guide you can find it here. But for now here are a few photos from our wonderful weekend.

I'll be posting various wedding themed posts over the next few months, we'll hopefully be getting married late Summer next year so keep checking back if you're interested to see us pull it all together!

Summer is Here

I tell you what, it's been completely mental weather here in London. Last week it was colder than it was on Christmas day. I know Brits complain a lot about the weather but it really is terrible sometimes. I don't know why people continue to live here. However, I'm pretty lucky and I have a lot of nice trips planned this Summer, I actually just got back from a very special holiday but more on that a little later.

Here are my Summer must haves, perfect if you're lucky enough to live in a warm place but equally useful if you're going on holiday.

Swimwear for all body types by Modcloth

Summer nectarine salad via Honestly Yum

Rose gold Saltwater sandals

Lapis lazuli bracelet by The Vamoose

Basalt tote bag by Variety Hour

Stick highlighter by Glossier

Simple swimsuit by Cos

Canape plate by Anthropologie

Rimowa topas titanium cabin suitcase

Paul & Joe Beaute Summer lipsticks

Embroidered toiletry bag by Anthropologie