Tuesday, 27 September 2011

All's Fair...

Trade Fair time...A crazy couple of weeks living out of suitcases and setting up and dismantling stands, first at Autumn Fair in Birmingham and then to London for Top Drawer. We had great feedback about the season's collection and were really busy at both, which is very encouraging in the current climate. Equally encouragingly,  Fenwick's sales of toiletries bags are up by 500%, which just shows that even in tough times the little things still count! Our own range of cosmetic bags is proving extremely popular - our little cosmetic bag with appliqué vintage birds is doing very well for Eve in Witney, whilst at Ambience in Burford the dolly bag with patchwork hearts is proving a hit. It's great to see one of our favourite stockists Cricklewood doing so well at the moment, too.

Our own private 'loveliest stand at the NEC' award this year goes to Danish company Bloomingville's - it looked absolutely stunning, even by our own very high standards!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Cyprus for a little calm before the storm

Just back from a wonderful few days in Turkish Cyprus, staying at Darren's Mum's house in the mountains. A perfect 'Retreat' for a few days well-deserved R&R with the family before we launch headlong into the silly season aka Christmas! A heavenly mixture of wandering around markets (a favourite pastime in England which I can resist even less when overseas), lounging by the pool and playing on the beach.

 I do seem to be the only member of my family who can dress suitably for both car and air travel. Darren provided plenty of entertainment as he tried a less-than-discreet costume change at the airport - notice this is not only in public but in front of the airport window
for maximum, ahem, exposure!

"Hm, if I take one of each,
I might just get everything  in..."

My packing dilemmas are far more subtle and all carried out in private at home, starting with selecting which Retreat Home vintage fabric luggage labels I'm going to use; then it's large toiletries bag with everything including the kitchen sink in it, or minimalist cosmetic purse pared down to the bare necessities? (Inevitably, it's the kitchen sink every time!) A final dash back for a lavender-scented eye pillow so I can pretend I'm not 'cruising at 30,000 feet' (I wish they wouldn't say that) and I'm done. At least I don't need to get changed in public!

Poolside reads this year were One Day (must see the film), and Red Queen  and White Queen, both by Philippa Gregory, to whom I am currently 100% addicted! Absolute bliss.

Back home yesterday and straight from airport to office, as we're on countdown now to trade shows at the NEC and then at Top Drawer, setting up and dismantling our wonderful Retreat Home stand and talking to our lovely customers, old friends and new. Then our Christmas sleigh will be off for a round of personal appearances at Bentalls, whilst I, in the thick of Christmas, start thinking about new locations for our Spring Summer shoot. Normally I share this task with our lovely stylist Selina Lake, but she is getting married on Saturday so has plenty on her mind already!

Absolute madness, and I absolutely love it!www.retreat-home.com