We’ve finally moved house again. Hopefully, this one will stick. Isn’t it a beaut? We’re so lucky.
Without going into too much detail now, we are moving house again. Yes, I know. Anyway, that means I have to streamline further, so I’m clearing out some more possessions, some reluctantly!
Here’s what’s on offer this time:
SOLD! 200 x A5 sized unused padded envelopes. Perfect for small to medium size items, if you’re an indie business owner. £25 including UK P&P.
30 x small unused padded envelopes. Perfect for small jewellery items. £4 including UK P&P.
2 x Sew Lovely Night Owl embroidery iron on transfer patterns. £1 each including UK P&P.
2 x cross stitch motif mugs – these are free if you pay P&P, so £3.50.
2 x iPhone 4 or 4s covers – these are samples I stitched up and haven’t been used. They’ll need some time to mould on to your phone and settle down, both in excellent condition! £10 inc UK P&P for chevrons, £6 for Tetris.
Onto some bigger items, for collection only (from Kilsyth) – may be able to arrange delivery/collection to Glasgow though, so holler if you’re interested!
1 Lloyd Loom chair, ripe for restoration! I bought this to restore and never got round to it. So, it’s now offered free to a good home. It looks like the original gold paintwork is still under that white emulsion.
And the vintage umbrella stand above is also for sale – £15 and it’s yours.
Oh, I’m loathe to part with this, but I just don’t have space for my Tretchikoff Green Lady. I’ve had her for over 15 years but it’s time for us to part ways. She’s an old one, not a modern print, in original frame. I’m looking for around £60 for her, make me an offer!
Email me at email@example.com if you’re interested in anything!
Here are two fun videos that illustrate two very different results when captioning music.
The first is lyric video for One Direction lyrics as captioned by You Tube's auto captioning system. (You can also view the results of Taylor Swift's lyrics)
Machine translation does have a role to play in providing access and despite these funny videos continues to improve but that is for another blog post.
Ever since I expressed my intention to become a craft-related agony aunt, I’ve been inundated with literally several questions from people with a burning desire for knowledge. The first one came from a would-be craft fair organiser who wishes to remain anonymous, but here is the question:
I’m thinking of starting a craft fair in the West End and wondered if you had any tips on picking a venue?
Well, my first tip is don’t. You probably didn’t want to hear that but there are already myriad craft fairs in the West End of Glasgow and frankly, I do not think that you need to add to that list of poorly-attended events. Not to say that your organisation wouldn’t be top notch, but I believe the public is tired of the oversaturated market and unreceptive to newcomers at the moment, so you really need to come up with something really special and different to capture their imaginations.
Generally speaking, though, it’s all down to location, so you are right to put a lot of thought into that. You want somewhere on the beaten track, or very near to it. No one wants to try and navigate their way to you with a detailed map and compass, even if that map is as beautifully illustrated as that one up there by Alice Dansey Wright.
You should give thought to the venue’s location in relation to public transport links, too – is it near an Underground station? Bus stops? If it’s only reachable by car, that’s already cutting back on your potential footfall, The exception to that is if your venue is very much a destination in its own right, e.g. a really popular country pub, or restaurant, with a guaranteed Sunday afternoon crowd. One place that I have exhibited at previously that really strikes that Sunday destination market right is The Cluny, in Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne. I don’t think I’ve ever done a bad market there, it has good food, good music, is a bit out the way, but has other destination venues round about it and is pretty much always packed on weekends. I miss The Cluny market.
You also want to think about what other events have gone before you at that venue – I’ve discounted venues before because I know someone has run a shoddy craft fair there before within the last couple of years. People remember and not everyone is as savvy as you and I, to check if it’s a different organiser. So bear in mind that you could end up being tainted by the reputation of those who have gone before you.
Cost is another big factor – you pay for a good location and you’ll have to pass that on to your stallholders in their fees. Don’t price yourself out the market – there is a ceiling price for each level of event, and you have to bear that in mind when deciding on your venue. Stallholders won’t pay £200 a day for a pokey hall in the arse end of nowhere, but neither will they be confident in the success of the event if they’re paying a tenner for a city centre location in the middle of shopping central.
In short – location plays a massive part in the success of your event, so you need to make sure you get it right. Go there, have a recce, speak to people, canvas opinion. Just don’t sign on the dotted line until you’re sure you’ve got a winner.
Have you got a question about organising an event? Or maybe you want to know how to track down a supplier for a certain item? Or maybe you have another burning question – drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, man, has it been hot here. Not Thailand hot – when I think about how hot I am feeling, I just remember being on that train to Prachinburi. And then the train back, standing for three hours with my face in a Thai man’s sweaty armpit before I could get a spot hanging off the side of the train – that was amazing. Anyway, I digress. Here’s some snaps from the past couple of weeks, from what will be remembered in years to come as the glorious summer of 2013.
>> 1. Lots of al fresco dining > 2. The picture postcard field behind our house > 3. The heat gets too much for Maxie sometimes, poor chap > 4. But when it’s shady out front, he does love lying on the grass, as do I > 5. I can make rainbows > 6. Potting table – the garden is bursting with plants! <<
NB: I drafted this post last week. It’s now pissing it down and we’re back to torrential rain and thunder storms. Meh.
Max has been enjoying his box of delights from Pet Supermarket. In fact, he’s pretty much scoffed the lot now, with just some of the treats left to devour. You can see he was rather taken with all the smells in there.
He’s enjoyed all three of the foods he was sent – Royal Canin, Hills Science Light and James Wellbeloved. It’s hard to say which he preferred as he pretty much wolfed them down without pausing for breath, of course. But I think of the three I preferred to give him the Hills Science Light, as we are trying to reduce his weight a bit and that seems to be a lighter version. He needs to lose a bit more weight, it’s good for his achey hips, so I’d be happy giving him this (or the others) again.
He’s not really a bandana kind of guy, so he’s going to be sending this spotty neckerchief off to my friend Susan’s little dog, Parker. Isn’t he cute?
Now there’s a guy who can rock a bandana! Thanks, Pet Supermarket! They are offering 15% off everything on their site for the next month (until 23/08) if you use the code BLOG15, so now is a good time to stock up on essentials. I’m off to check out their range of joint supplements now – rock and roll!
Last week, to celebrate Lee’s birthday, we went on a surprise trip into town (surprise for Lee, not me, obviously, I organised it) to the Good Spirits Co, for a bourbon tasting evening. More on that another time. Beforehand though, we went to the brand new Burger Meats Bun, just round the road on West Regent Street, for what the kids are calling the best burgers in town.
Lee and I are big burger fans, in both senses of the phrase, so I was pretty excited to read about this place and also pretty excited to share it with Lee, as I knew he hadn’t heard about it. I was a bit worried about getting a table on a Friday evening but knew they didn’t take reservations for small parties, so took a chance and off we went.
As you can see, I needn’t have worried. We arrived after 6, and there was only one other table seated! We were shown to a small table at the back and given menus to peruse. I’d already studied the menu inside and out earlier in the week, of course.
The menu is sparse. That’s fine though, as these guys are clearly going with what they know is good and that they can do well – specialisation. I like that. There were no specials on when we were in, or at least not that anyone told us about.
Drinks are a bit more plentiful. On the expensive side, but more choice.
We made our choices, ordered and settled back to wait for our food with eager anticipation. The waitress came and plonked down a massive roll of kitchen paper on the table – I’d read about this online, so knew it was coming and what I needed it for, which is just as well as she didn’t offer any explanation. In fact, she didn’t offer much in the way of enthusiasm at all, unfortunately!
The interior has a slight canteen in the Industrial Zone of the Crystal Maze feel to it. I am sure it’s meant to be quirky and all, and I usually like that sort of thing, but I don’t think it gels together, personally. In a restaurant this new, it just feels like they haven’t quite finished decorating yet and the twee motto on the wall is more in keeping with a chintzy tea room than a spartan burger joint. I did love the handmade tables though, nice touch, as well as the industrial lighting.
The food arrived pretty quickly – I got the Smokin Bacon burger and Lee had the Fiery. We also had a side of slaw and a side of Thai Chili Cheese Fries. The burgers are presented in paper, takeaway style – no plates here! The buns are tasty, slightly chewy but crisp brioche buns – perfect for these juicy burgers.
When I say juicy, I mean JUICY. That kitchen roll really comes in handy to mop up the torrent of meatiness that will gush all over your hands and down your arms. The burgers themselves, slightly pink, are delicious.
The slaw was pretty underwhelming, to be honest. At £3 for that little pot, I felt pretty ripped off. I’d want those vegetables to be sliced by Jesus at that price, but I have it from a reliable source that he was out of town that day. The chili cheese fries were zingy and crisp, I hear.
Juicy and delicious. Oh, yeah.
Never ones to let a dessert opportunity pass by, we ordered one of each of the two desserts on the menu. The burger and shake was a neat idea, a milkshake that tasted like melted ice cream and a macaron “burger”. The doughnuts were a bit stodgy and needed the bitter chocolate dipping sauce to give them some flavour.
So, overall, a few low points. I’d read up about this place before we went, and read several reviews, and all of the things I read reiterated how this was a real passion project for the chef/owner and how enthusiastic they were about local produce, etc. This enthusiasm really needs to be urgently communicated to the waiting staff.
The girl who initially served us could not have been less interested in us if she’d tried. She didn’t tell us about the place, despite it being a mere week old, she didn’t direct us to any of the information about the idea behind BMB, nor did she make any recommendations or tell us about the specials (there may or may not have been specials on, but from the BMB Facebook page, they seem to regularly have these now). When she wasn’t serving us or the other table, she mooched around, eyeing us up and generally made us feel pretty uncomfortable. I’ve worked as a waitress, I know it’s hard to look busy when you’re waiting for customers and it’s a bit quiet. There’s a fine line between being attentive and handy if the diners need help and hovering like an annoying wasp at a picnic though and she was sadly on the wrong side of that line.
They actually seemed to be a bit over-staffed at the time we were there, so perhaps they’d been expecting to be a bit busier earlier in the evening too. It did start to pick up a bit as we left, though. I think the service itself was fine, in that our food arrived quickly and they were polite, but it was lacklustre and I’d expected more from such a destination dining place.
Anyway, aside from that, my other main gripe is price. It’s expensive, there’s no two ways about that. As a small business owner, I know that there are many hidden overheads to try and squeeze in to your price point and I appreciate that. I don’t have too many qualms with paying for a good quality burger – you get what you pay for when it comes to meat and I am fine with that. However, I personally feel that some items are overpriced and not in any way good value, ie the slaw.
The menu is limited and as I said earlier, that’s great as they are clearly specialising. But it does limit somewhat the chances of the casual diner returning. They’re going to need to up the specials and expand the menu a little to get repeat business. They’re not Five Guys, they don’t have the fast food vibe going, and neither are they on the beaten track, so they are going to need to pull people away from Glasgow’s main thoroughfares with something more than a £7.50 entry point for burgers. I worry about their longevity (so they don’t have to, I’m nice like that).
It was also hotter than Hades down in their wee basement! It is unfortunate that they’ve opened in heatwave conditions but dude, get a fan in. It was utterly sweltering, I could feel my make up sliding down my face as we ate. Attractive.
One thing that did get me thinking was the amount of wastage they must have on kitchen roll, if they give everyone a fresh roll. I checked with BMB though, and they said that they use the roll ends in the kitchen and in the staff room and then recycle the tubes. Good for them!
On the plus side – deliciousness. The burgers really were realllllly good (I still prefer Five Guys though, sorry). I preferred them to the burgers at Meat Market in London by a fairly large margin and was happy to pay a bit more for them. And deliciousness is what counts, right?
I’d return to Burger Meats Bun, but probably not in a great hurry. I really, really wanted to love this place but with the service and the heat at the moment, I’ll wait a bit before I go back. Let me know if you try it out!
Recently, I had a delightful email from Pet Supermarket asking me if Max fancied trying out some of their wares and reporting back here, on the blog. I’ve never been asked to review a product on my personal blog before, so I was slightly aggrieved that Max was asked before I was, but we discussed it and I agreed to write about it for him if he did the taste testing, in return for extra puppy cuddles. I think everyone won out on that deal.
It’s been unseasonably hot here in my part of Scotland. It’s July, so that usually means a slightly warmer rain than usual, but it’s been TROPICAL. We’ve all been panting a bit in the heat, but poor Max has a fur coat on 24/7 and has been struggling. We’ve been keeping him cool with shorter walks in the mornings/evenings and his days in the paddling pool, or lying on the cool floor in front of a fan. But he certainly perked up when this box of goodies arrived the other day for him to try out.
We’ve not tried everything out yet, but I can safely say that the spotty bandana gave us all a bit of a giggle…
Excuse me, Babushka, have you seen Max…? We’ll report back once he’s had a chance to try everything, but so far, the Bakers All Sorts treats are going down well. Rather too well – I’ve had to hide the packet!
A lot can happen in 9 years. A lot HAS happened in 9 years. But this happened 9 years ago today. Look how young we are! Awww.
I really want this bear head for our new place. It’s down to a mere £100 in the sale. There’s a few other things tempting me, to be fair.
Industrial lighting – oh, yes.
I think this would suit the period of our house pretty well, especially in the dining room.
Love these hooks.
Might actually buy this runner rug for our bowling-alley style hallway.
And so many more things. Check out the Rockett St George sale here.
Isn’t this duvet set divine? I found this quite by accident on the Debenhams website, chopped down to a mere £20 in their Blue Cross sale last week. I was pointed there via the excellent A Thrifty Mrs blog, check her out.
The designer is Yukari Sweeney, a Japanese gal in London, mentored by Paul Smith and Eley Kishimoto and now emerging as a name to be reckoned with in the interiors world. I love her Lady Of The Manor wallpaper – it would really go fantastically well in our new house.
You can still snag a bargain duvet cover, cushion, mug, tea towel or tin until Sunday over at Debenhams.com – use the code YN49 for an extra 10% off, too. Hmm, I wonder if I should go back for a tin…
PS – I don’t iron for anyone, sorry, Yukari!
One of my career goals has always been to write more, and one of the aspects of that I’ve always wanted to do, probably from when I was a teenager, is write an agony aunt column.
Just Seventeen never did call and Dear Deidre is not really my style, but I got to thinking – what do I know about? Craft and indie business. What do I get loads of? Unsolicited emails, Tweets and messages asking me for advice and help. Do you see where I’m going with this?
So, if you’re a crafter looking to set up your own business, or perhaps you’re established but wondering how to select which craft fair to attend, or maybe you just have a dilemma you want to talk over but are in your own studio, alone, staring at the walls and feeling sick – get in touch!
You can email me at email@example.com with your question and I’ll scour my brainbox for a solution for you. Sometimes this will be from my own noggin and sometimes I’ll point you in the direction of another great article written by one of the community of awesome people there are in the indie craft/design business here on our fair shores.
Hopefully, at least one of you has something you want to talk about and will be in touch! And if not, well, you can still read my dronings on the matter anyway.
Bet you’ve got this in your head now, too:
I snapped this from the car yesterday, before I left home and it made me smile. At the new house, there is a well-established garden and we’re lucky that the plants have been well cared for by our very own built-in gardener (he has plot and cuts our grass, Lee has the rest of it – he’s pondering where to put his greenhouse just now). There are several rambling roses in the driveway and they’ve just recently come into bloom. Beautiful. Ignore the scattered pots – it’s been very windy!
Always reminds me of this song, I’ve been singing it in my head all week.
Just read this. This is exactly where I’m at. Pass the Long Island Ice Tea.