Bring the beach to me!

Hi again, lovely followers! How on earth has another week gone by?

I actually wondered whether or not to write a blog this week, as I was struggling to think of an interesting topic. So I did consider giving it a miss. Sadly for me, I have an unfortunate character trait… I’m stubborn!!

I set myself these weekly challenges at my virtual coffee morning attendance on Google Hangout every Friday with the lovely Linzi from Unconventional Wedding. It’s become a sort of ritual that I design something new and write a blog each week. This morning, I felt a sort of reluctance. I asked myself, what if I don’t bother… Who will care? What can I write about that’s engaging and interesting? What have I been up to that my followers might be even remotely interested in? And even if I can think of something, how can I make it a cohesive topic?

The fingers of my mind leafed though the last 7 days’ worth of events: socially distanced supermarket shopping, posting a veil to NYC, figuring out a way to ombre synthetic satin, arguing with my local council about my eligibility for a grant, trying to open a new business account to access a bounce-back loan (sorted now, thanks to my mate Helen the financial wizard), negotiating the minefield of BBLS, chasing my MP to petition parliament on behalf of small wedding businesses and the long reaching financial effects of Covid amongst many other tedious tasks.

Meanwhile, I’m trying not to let my brain explode into an emotional and physical meltdown at the ridiculously complex and exhausting process to risk-assess my 2500 sq feet 7 showroom studio to facilitate a Covid-secure shopping experience. This would be about as far away from the hands-on, personal, free, unrestricted, wild adventure into a crazy attic of wonderful treasures that we pride ourselves in offering as you could possibly imagine. BUT we will find a way, which is why we are not rushing to open on the 1st June!

To be honest the week has been an emotional and mental rollercoaster… a Coronacoaster for sure.

I thought “pivot” was my least favourite term of the epidemic, but now I think it’s “risk assessment” 😷😒😑.

On that topic, we now plan to open late June, early July. We will not sacrifice either our clients’ safety or our customer service. We will be announcing our “Covid secure guidelines” in due course.

So, as you can see, it’s been a frustrating week – not stuff that will scintillate you!

That said, I got to thinking about the pressures we feel, and put ourselves under, at times of stress – the expectations and responsibilities.

I feel very fortunate that none of my loved ones have become unwell so far. The friends and colleagues I know who have contracted Covid have all recovered. My husband is a teacher, so is being paid. I received a small business grant, so am not overdrawn. With careful juggling and a loan or two, Bexbrides will survive.

So, whilst I’m extremely stressed and juggling over 80 brides being moved to new dates, I’m working out the “new normal” going forward (whilst battling against it, as it goes against everything I love and stand for in the way of the shopping experience.)

I have also had wonderful moments of calm and joy this week. I’ll share 3 of them with you.

  • Etsy success
  • Satin ombre success
  • My beach garden sucess

ETSY ORDERS

I have long planned to spend more time on my Etsy shop and the items I sell on there, whilst in my bricks and mortar shop I try and satisfy all needs from traditional to contemporary to alternative, in order to survive in an extremely competitive market. On Etsy I can just sell things that are truly me: a beautiful vintage brooch or gown, upcycled retro numbers I have ombred, rainbow veils etc. Do you know my rainbow veils have sold to Australia, Canada, Los Angeles and Mississippi, but not to one single bride in the UK? Come on UK rainbow lovers – where are you?πŸŒˆπŸ€”πŸ€¨

My first lockdown challenge – the “veil on a bike” project…

SATIN OMBRE

I have wanted for years to try my signature ombre on satin. The first time I tried I was not happy with it, so I decided it was not possible and have stuck to tulle, chiffon, organza and occasionally lace.

But last Friday, at the weekly coffee morning, I set myself the challenge to do it. After making a skirt and dip-dyeing it… every last speck of colour just rinsed away.

🀣🀣🀣

So I thought I’d try my normal method, that I had dismissed as unviable a few years ago. Maybe now I’ve been doing ombre for years, and am more practised at it, it might work…?

πŸ€”πŸ€¨πŸ€ž

Yeay… it did!! I chose blue as it’s my favourite colour (the colour of the sea in Cornwall when the sky is a really cloudless blue, that deep fatherless blue…) Of course, I added a blue ombre veil, and could not resist teaming it will the new short version of the Linzistar cape in blue that I made a couple of weeks ago. Ooh, and a jacket which I’ve added sparkly stars to!

Here you go… it’s our beautiful model Molly the headless mannequin again, on location at sunny Costa del Carpark…

So, with mention of the sea (yes there is a relevance to the title of this week’s blog, I’m not just being random… well actually I am, so what’s new I hear you cry), what’s happening in the world outside of Bexbrides?

MY BEACH GARDEN SUCCESS

I mentioned at the beginning of this lockdown that I had been using the personal time suddenly available (a commodity that is usually extremely scarce for me) to work on my yard and garden. I have been obsessed with the sea (yes, yes, and peacocks of course…) since I was a tiny tot… the sea has always held me in its mystical timeless thrall. I just love it! I think in a previous life I must have been a mermaid (or maybe just a seagull…)

So I was already well known in the village as that bonkers woman with a beach hut in her back yard, even though I live a good 25 mins drive from the sea. But… close enough to have seagulls on my roof, so I can dream, right?

Omg, how I miss my late nights in here with a close friend and a bottle of beer😒

So I was very happy with my little beach hut in my yard, but beyond my back gates for over 4 years since we moved in I have been putting up with sitting in a scrubby wild patch of garden, with no time to sort it out. During lockdown, I have kept myself busy. If I was not in a supermarket queue, caring for brides with the stress of moving their weddings, arguing with the council or the bank or simply going on my #dailyexercise, I was to be found here, losing myself in simple toil, listening to endless audio books, or simply enjoying the cacophony of the surrounding birdsong.

I have felt a ridiculous amount of anxiety at what has seemed like a guilty pleasure . Whilst key workers are on the frontline and many folk don’t have a garden, or even a yard, I’ve been doing something which some might see as unnecessary. But it’s kept me sane and so for all that it’s been done on a shoestring budget, and even though my preparation skills would give a landscape gardener an apoplectic fit, I’m truly chuffed to bits.

It’s been a meandering journey and the design has changed along the way, but my key inspiration I think is the huge driftwood beam fastened to the entrance on the right of the garden,a treasured find my hubby hauled back to the car from the tideline on the first day we were allowed to travel by car to #dailyexercise beyond our home. my hubby whisked me off to the beach (if I’m honest I was a tad low that day, and he was concerned and prepared to tackle and police that might quiz us, arguing the case it was to protect my mental health). But we did only drive 25 mins each way, parked well away, and only saw 4 people in the distance. We did not drive from Leicester to Cornwall, go out in a canoe and call out the sea rescue, like some other Muppet, or Covidiot.

Since then, we have had 2 or 3 8am trips, avoiding people and scouring the beach for bits of wood, maybe from a far off tropical coast (or maybe just from Whitby – who knows, that’s the mystery of the sea!)

I didn’t take a fully “before” picture. This one was after I’d already done a lot of clearing. If I had known I’d be sharing it with you guys, I would have created a more insta-worthy starting shot!

The inspiration driftwood beam…

And a little sign that has been patiently waiting for over 4 years for me to make the garden a worthy place to hang it up!

The fake grass is a 50th birthday present to myself, paid for with etsy sales to the far away US of A…

So, with that, I’ll love you and leave you for another week. Next Friday I may have a hangover as next Thursday I have the big five 0 – yep, I’m 50 next week, on Thursday, and my daughter is 16 on Friday… what an absolute pain, neither of us is impressed, but it is what it is and as I’m 50 for a whole year I’m sure I’ll have a party (or 5) in when this all blows over.

Stay alert, stay safe, see you next week.

Bex and co.