Whilst researching possible Christmas markets to attend and sell our products I found one at Stydd Gardens in Ribchester. We haven’t been before, so we decided to check it out, especially when we discovered they have a cafe.
What a lovely discovery. Ok, so it was a hotter than normal Sunday at the end of September and the place was very, very busy. Yes, we did have to wait for 45 minutes to get out food, but it was worth it. The restaurant is situated in the glass houses of Stydd Gardens – with vines dripping with grapes, passion flowers and the odd small ornament dotted around. The tables and chairs are miss-matched, but not in a contrived, mock-vintage way, but in a way that suggested they really had been collected as the place has grown in popularity. The waitresses were polite, efficient, friendly but never in our faces and the food was just lovely. At no point was there a sense of ‘we are busy and here is a pile of rubbish thrown on your plate’. Despite the pressure the kitchen was clearly under the food arrived beautifully presented, generous portions, fresh and tasting lovely.
We will be returning. Before the 7th of December, because I have a feeling we will be bombed out during the market if today is an indication to how popular this place is. Mx
On Friday I spent a day on my own, shopping. Yes, you did read that right, a whole day on my own. And I didn’t buy a thing. No, you still don’t need glasses. I just couldn’t find anything that I really wanted, or that I was prepared to pay full price for. It didn’t matter a jot though, it was just lovely to wander around the shops on my own. My eyebrows are now in shape, thanks to the Benefit Babes, I’m loving the 50’s arch they do.
The reason I was in Manchester was to meet my gorgeous friend Jenny. It was so good to catch up that we did our usual and stopped up until 4am chatting again. She even popped out in a taxi for more wine at one point. I mean, what were we thinking, two bottles between me, Jen and her boyfriend? Amateurs.
Earlier in the evening we went to Aritsan, Manchester. In other posts I have talked about the importance of getting service – and the food – right. Somehow this place missed. It felt a little like every member of staff had come via the American academy of customer service. We were asked repeatedly whether we were ok, if we were enjoying our food, if we wanted anything else. Ask us once. It is sufficient. Especially when you have to duck around the trendy, but stupidly low HUGE lamps hanging down. I have a suggestion – raise the lampshades. Then, should there be something I want I can catch your eye, rather than perform a contortionists act to ask for a drink. That said. it was a really enjoyable evening. The food was good, the place looks great, the company was just amazing. Thank you Jenny – next time we wont save it so long. Oh, and I will try to remember to charge my phone next time. Mx
I am not one for taking orders. The Dazzler – and all those who have tried before – will tell you that I am inclined to do the exact opposite of any order I’m given. Many a time my parents have told me I ‘like to make life hard for myself’, and don’t tell them, but they are right. Sometimes.
Funny how the first few orders for Typical Type haven’t had this effect. They have made me jump for joy and I can not wait to fulfil them. We want our customers to get the service we would expect. And trust me, we expect a lot.
Launching a new business has been more nerve-racking than I thought it might be. Just because we love our product doesn’t mean others would. What was once a tiny thought, a few pins on Pinterest and a handful of letters produced in the garage is now a reality. With no budget we launched. I won’t lie to you – we needed a second revenue and we thought about the things we could with all the things we already had. For once being married to a ‘gatherer’ had it’s benefits. We thought about what we would like to do and what we thought others might like and Typical Type was born. I am learning all of the time – WordPress, a website, a Facebook page, about markets as well as marketing. I have sent my self on a crash course – so far it has been two weeks and I have way too much to learn before I feel like I have stopped crashing!
Eventually we decided we had thought about it all too much. For years we have been talking about setting up a new business and putting it off. Funny what necessity will do. So we went for it. Initially we had quite a few enquiries and then suddenly all went quiet. We were worried – had we got it all wrong? Did others not like our work? Then this week we have taken our first orders. Some names, some letters and even one whilst I have written this. We have new products ready to launch any day now too. I am no fool, I know a few orders wont make us a fully fledged business, but I also know that getting these orders right will make all the difference to our future success.
This time I will be making life easy for myself and listening to those orders.
Making good coffee is an art. But it really isn’t difficult to master it. It helps when you have a beautiful new Italian coffee pot to make it in.
Good coffee should go hand and hand with good food and good service. It’s so depressing when you treat yourself and all you can think is ‘I could do better than this at home’. Being a stay-at-home Mum I often pop out for coffee with friends or The Dazzler, or just as a little treat for myself. I wont bore you with the places where I wont return to. I will share with you a few I love though –
Priory Hall, Lancaster. Serves Atkinsons coffee and Debbies lovely cakes. It’s all shabby and faded minimalism. It’s run by a couple of young lads, but the customer base is mixed – from ‘hip’ to ‘hip op’ – it doesn’t matter, as long as you love your coffee. https://www.facebook.com/thehall10?fref=ts
The Wolfhouse Kitchen, Silverdale. What is not to love about this place? The cakes rock. The coffee is good. The staff are lovely. Go for a walk to Jenny Brown’s Point and then go eat here. You will thank me forever more. https://www.facebook.com/TheWolfhouseKitchen?fref=ts
Last, but by no means least, the best coffee I have had in a VERY long time is served here, Lovingly Artisan. (And yes, I have been known to serve the odd one from here too!) The bread is amazing too. Have a chat with Aidan and you will soon realise that he lives and breathes sourdough, and good coffee. Next time you are headed to Oxenholme make sure you leave enough time to pop over and see them. By a loaf as a gift (You will be moved to the top of the ‘best guest’ list) and make sure you take a coffee. You will never buy one on a train again. Ever. Even if you are parched and in dire need of a pick me up. https://www.facebook.com/lovinglyartisan?ref=ts&fref=ts
Go treat yourself, life is too short to drink rubbish coffee.
Christmas shopping is a chore in our house. I would like to pretend that it all skipping down snowy high streets, glittering department stores and beautifully wrapped presents, but it isn’t. The reality is it is a military operation, starting around October and finishing on Christmas Eve. It starts with me ordering a cd each for the kids. Then a book. Then a film. By now Mr Tesco is already chuckling. Then it starts in earnest, with each child getting a new outfit and at least one ‘must have’ item on their list. And don’t get me started on stockings…
So, this year I’m taking a break from Mr Tescos, Toys R Us and Debenhams. In an attempt to help support small, independent suppliers this year I would like to get most of our Christmas presents from them. You may think this is because we have just set up a second business http://typicaltype.co.uk/, and you would be right, but it’s not the only reason. It’s because I’m fed up of the mountains of plastic tat, the presents which lay lingering in their packaging, the lack of thought and personality which goes into buying a Barbie or Moshi Monster, the latest DVD or game. I want to skip merrily along to the post office to collect my lovely parcels of happiness which have been lovingly created for me and my family.
I suspect the kids may be a bit surprised with what Father Christmas brings them this year, but I hope they will remember their presents (For the right reasons!) this year too. I know The Dazzler will think I am mean – to him, as a child the magic of Christmas was in that enormous pile of presents, the receiving of the ‘that toy’ and now the wonder comes from watching our kids have the same experience. But I would like it to be another way. Granted, there wont be as many presents if we buy from smaller suppliers, think ‘pillow case’ rather than ‘bin-bag’ full of toys. They won’t be able to go to school in January and say ‘I got the latest super-duper piece-of-plastic remake-of-a-1980’s toy from Father Christmas’ but I can live with that. Frankly, if you ask our kids what they did yesterday I would be surprised if they remember, let alone what they got for Christmas last year. This year they will be able to go in and say ‘ Father Christmas got me a beautiful handmade Doll, a pretty dress and some delicious sweeties. I MUST have been good’
So, where am I going to get all these goodies? Well, to be honest I’m open to suggestion. I know of lots of fantastic supplier already – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Modo-Creative/134651483238003?fref=ts for great personalised prints, for friends with newborns https://www.facebook.com/superlovemerino?ref=ts&fref=ts are selling must-have Merino wool base layers. I like the look of these guys https://www.facebook.com/wearebreadandjam?fref=ts and I’m sure at least one of these may make it’s way herehttps://www.facebook.com/ilovebreadandjam?fref=ts. For my parents, they will get some stunning photos from the very clever https://www.facebook.com/tireedawsonphotography?fref=ts.
But I still need more. Boys things are top of the agenda – suitable for teens and a 6 year old – oh and The Dazzler. So feel free to share and let me know your suggestions and I will share mine as I discover them. I will let you know how it goes – whether I manage to fulfil my Christmas desire, or if I turn in despair to trusty old Mr Tesco. I hope not. I’m convinced there is a whole world of amazing individuality our there and I’m on a mission to find it!