The Perfect Summer Garden Party

Posted by Jo Deakin on

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FEATURE

As we approach May, a month that for me symbolises rebirth and happiness, I am so excited and quite frankly ready to host friends and family in the garden again.  Whilst the weather might not be what it was last year, one thing we can be certain of is restrictions are finally lifting and there is a sense of positivity mixed with the smell of sweet spring flowers in the air.

I think regardless of whether you have access to 100 acres of rolling countryside or a balcony attached to your city flat, being outside with those closest to us, celebrating being together is everyone's main focus right now.

So we could think of nothing better to feature in our latest Studio Notes than our tips for the best summer garden party.  

Our top 5 favourite things to include in outside entertaining are below and I hope will give some inspiration for creating the best and most inviting spaces to entertain so your guests will want to stay forever!  From table style and recipe ideas to wearing something relaxed and chic, we have included our hottest treats we are currently loving below.

 Top Tips for a fabulous al fresco party

1. Summerill and Bishop Table Cloth

I am dreaming of one of these for my Birthday later in the month, this has got to be one of my favourites and would go so well with some Jo D china at afternoon tea time!  The crisp white china against this beauty sets the tone for a very fun and bright day ahead spent around the table together.

 

2. Sarah Raven solar spike lights

As lunch will invariably roll into the dusky hours, these stunning solar spike lights have already been installed at home.  Although the sunshine has only had a short time to get these going, they work so well, they are gorgeous to look at and they will add beautifully to the atmosphere as that glorious haze washes over the table.

3. Whispering Angel Rose

Now I am afriad to say it but unless it is almost see-through blush pink rose I will not be drinking it!  But when it is this glorious stuff, I cannot refuse.  It is light, refreshing and is the perfect tonic to go with a sunny day spent outside with friends.

4. Tart London

Lucy and Jemima epitomise summer entertaining to me.  Their style is laid-back, relaxed but totally delicious food that is so scrummy and spoiling.  The recipes in this book inspire me to make an effort for our closest mates, go that little extra to pull out a show-stopping pud and give us all a treat after a long and hard working week.  I am planning their white chocolate, cardamon and raspberry tart for Sunday, rain or shine it will be delivered to the table!

 

5. All things Sezane

Althought I wish I had legs up to my armpits and was a cool 5ft 10", I am in fact a mere 5ft 2" shrimp.  However Sezane to me is the ultimate in laid back luxurious fashion.  It is French chic at its absolute best and although it has some punchy price tags, it's quality and style is just the kind of thing I would love to wear for a spoiling garden party.

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DESIGN

Featured as our 'favourite's this month', I wanted to share a little more info on the next design recently launched in our Balance Collection.

A little on 'Gatsby'

Art Deco (or Deco for short) first appeared in France just before WWI.  It's style encompassed visual arts, architecture and design and had huge influence on the design of buildings (think of the Chrysler Building in NYC or Leo DC in The Great Gatsby - swoon!), furniture, fashion, cars, trains and everyday objects.  It combined modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials and represented luxury, glamour, exuberance and faith in social and technological progress!

As a lover of all things symmetrical, the Deco era for design, style and pattern, to me, is the epitome of high-end luxury balanced with punch and flare.  It would speak to me as it combines bold geometric forms with stunning colours, and it is so appealing on the eye.  Our Gatsby design encapsulates the Deco era of geometry combined with a little Jo D contemporary style.

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NEWS!

And finally some lovely news for all you loyal and fabulous subscribers, we are delighted to be taking part in the two day Spring VIP Sale hosted by the wonderful Tamara and Caroline of By Beautiful Brands.

This platform champions beautiful brands and will be showcasing 70 stunning and diverse retailers, the perfect number to allow everyone to shine individually.  No two brands have the same offerings so I hope you find lots of lovely and unique treats to shop for.

To access the discount go to their website www.bybeautifulbrands.com

 

 

 

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Making The Perfect Cup

Posted by Jo Deakin on

Top Tips For The Perfect Cuppa

It will come as no surprise to hear that we will of course be celebrating National Tea Day on 21st April.  We are so passionate about the mighty cup of tea and everything it stands for.  Both in the sense of a nation of committed tea drinkers but also in our daily Jo D mantra of putting on the kettle, slowing down, taking time over how your cups are lovingly made and what restorative qualities this entire process has on our busy lives.

Perfecting your morning cup of joy has always been a hot topic when it comes to starting your day right.  Whether you have the latest in coffee bean perculating technology and barista style machinary (!) or instant will do, if it is a bag in a hurry or a precision timed teapot, we have 3 simple tips that instantly make this ritual so many of us live by, stand out to be a treat, and we think, the right way to start any day.

1. Water

Start with your water quality: Use freshly drawn cold filtered water for the perfect results, and don't be in a rush to pour straight from the kettle once boiled.  The optimum temperature for tea and coffee brewing is just under 100 degrees, so allow a minute or so after boiling to pour.

Also be mindful of how much water you are using, think of it as an eco-cuppa and only boil the amount of water you actually need.

2. Ingredients

Just as freshly ground coffee always tastes as though it has come straight from a barista, choosing loose leaf tea or fresh herbs will also make those taste buds dance with joy.  One of our favourites is a strong lemon and ginger first thing, to boost a cleanse on your system after a restful night of sleep.

3. Cup Of Choice

It is no surprise that with all the effort made going into brewing the perfect cup, you also need to drink it from the very best.  Quality is one of our main passions at Jo D and fine bone china is the perfect way to take your tea or coffee.  The bone china helps to balance the temperature, retain the flavour to ensure each sip is as delicious as the first.

We hope you find a moment to celebrate in some small way on 21st and we will be raising our mug to all the tea lovers out there!

Behind the scenes of the Peacock Pattern

The launch of our latest line of products has so far, and thanks to our wonderful customers, been really well received, I am so grateful to everyone for taking the time to get in touch, place orders and give us feedback on the items.

Being an entirely British brand comes with so many positive and proud feelings for us, we thought it might be nice to give you a little more information on each of the new designs and how they came to paper.

A little on the 'Peacock' Pattern...

It was only a matter of time before our resident Jo D motif made it's debut into one of our designs.  The Peacock symbolises so many things in so many varying cultures.  From rejuvenation and beauty to truth and kindness. 

I favour the spirit animal symbolism, as the Peacock is believed to come from a place of honor and integrity.  They are flamboyant and show beautiful colours in such a magical way. 

It is said that people with this spirit animal are entirely trustworthy, self-confident, and are good at discerning the truth in all matters. They are always willing to walk their talk. Moreover, they revel in being the centre of attention.  So with all that said, it seemed like it was time for our take on the stunning Peacock feather to take centre stage!  This is of course not without the Jo D signature symmetry, and complimentary colour scheme.

The Products

Each product is crafted from start to end under one roof in Stoke on Trent and showcases the very best British skills of manufacturing fine bone china. 

The mug size is generous and provides the perfect comforting cup.  It is ever so slightly larger than our original Jo D mug so you have the luxury of a few extra sips with this new addition!

Every item is made of the finest quality bone china which not only achieves the best overall look and feel, but also keeps your beloved comforting brews warmer for longer.

A set of the cups and saucers would make the most stunning end to a dinner party for coffee and would work equally well for Afternoon Tea.  This cup and saucer is a brand new shape and design to add to our Jo D product list.  It will sit perfectly under your coffee machine to make a special mid-morning treat and also makes a stunning set when the various options of saucers are mixed together. 

Our exclusive teapot is the first of it's kind for the Jo D Collection.  We have combined this exquisite piece with the perfect pour, the Peacock pattern and the stunning hand-applied painted details to the outer rim and lid handle, to give this tradition a more modern vibe. 

 

We believe making a pot of tea should be a great treat and requires a special product to make the perfect brew for family and friends.  You are going the extra mile in detail when you make a pot for other people to enjoy with you and this provides the perfect centrepiece for any gathering.

It is a generous size and can make 4 cups (or 3 full mugs) of delicious tea and pours like a dream.  This is such an important but often overlooked detail that really does make all the difference when it comes to making the perfect pot.

Once again crafted from the very best fine bone china skills Stoke On Trent has to offer, this robust teapot is such a stunning addition to a party and although a traditional past time we feel the shape, detail and quality gives it a contemporary twist.

We are so grateful to each and every order we receive and we hope this gives you a little insight into the designs, products and work that goes into getting the products off the design pages and onto your kitchen tables.

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The Balance Collection - Time for a change

Posted by Jo Deakin on

It is finally time to take an exclusive look at our brand new Balance Collection. 

 

In our fast-paced, busy lives, it can be hard to take the time to find moments to ourselves.  The Balance Collection is designed to inspire those simple, comforting moments to create a daily ritual that will enliven the senses and deliver joy and wellbeing.

We are so excited to finally introduce you to our exclusive first look at the new mugs, cups and saucers and our very first teapot.  We really hope this new collection helps to lift your spirits and transport you to some bright days ahead.

The Story

The Balance concept as a new collection came from some welcome rest-bite over 15 months ago, before Covid was a real threat to us and our lives as we knew it.  My husband and I travelled to Oman for a short stay at the incredible Zighy Bay. We were so lucky to have that time where we were able to stop, rest and restore from the 1,000MPH lives we were living.  We spent time together, walking, reading and for me, do a lot of designing from our little terrace.

It was a chance to reset and find a balance, to think about priorities and what really matters.  Having the time to reflect always makes me think about how important making time for ourselves really is.  In this fast pace of life we live in (even in Covid times, there has always been a deadline of some sort) people often don't allow themselves a moment to stop and rest, even for however long it takes to make and drink our favourite warm cuppa.

Since the last 14 months have played out, I have felt so strongly that my belief in the importance of making moments to reset and Balance ourselves has become even more important to try to factor into our days in whichever way we can. 

We have seen the importance of our homes come back into the forefront of so many people's priorities, as the roof over our heads became an even safer, more sacred and treasured environment to spend so much of our time.

It has been fascinating to me to see that althought the world has shifted in an unprecedented and unexpected way, the need for simple, comforting moments has remained a solid, positive and much needed daily ritual.  Face to face coffee turned to Zoom Chat coffee, afternoon tea parties were switched to facetime, but the mighty mug has remained a pillar of British culture.

It has solidified my believe in the work we try to do here at Jo D, to provide you with the best quality fine bone china products available for you to enjoy your beloved and cherished quiet moments.  We strive to bring you style, quality, choice and a little bit of luxury on a daily basis, because we truly believe every person deserves a moment of bliss in this crazy world we live in. 

Our products are proudly designed, produced, manufactured, decorated and delivered all within a 65 mile radius.  The factory we use in Stoke on Trent is of the highest quality producing craftship and luxurious fine bone china and we have developed a very close working relationship to strive and provide only the finest quality products to our incredibly important customer base.

By shopping with us, you are supporting British jobs and British manufacturing, something that is one of the most important pillars within our brand.  Your loyalty and valued custom means the absolute world to us and I am so excited for you to see what we have been working on over the last year or so.

I really hope you like the new products, I cannot wait hear your feedback, do get in touch to let us know what you think!

Enjoy!x

Read on for a little snippet of the ideas behind each new pattern...

Peacock

The Peacock symbolises so many things, from rejuvenation and beauty to integrity and kindness, so it was only a matter of time before our signature Jo D mascot made it onto one of our products.

Zighy

Taking inspiration from a trip to Oman, Zighy is a bold and contemporary design sparked by the patterns and sunsets at early evening light falling on the wonderous mountain landscape of the the Arabian Peninsula.

Gatsby

Inspired by the Art Deco era and style, The Gatsby collection combines sophisticated geometric patterns with a pinch of Jo Deakin flare.

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Easter Thoughts

Posted by Jo Deakin on

When I think about the past Easter holidays, it has been filled with memories of the children's excited anticipation waiting for Easter Sunday and their chocolate covered faces as they unwrap each egg on their way to hunt for the next!

I think about what it means to get together with family and friends, what food I am going to cook, how the table will look, will there be flowers in the garden for me to pick and put in the guest room for a burst of colour as family arrive to stay for the weekend.

Fast forward to thoughts of this coming Easter and like everything over the last 12 months, it is going to be very simple, quiet and mellow, with no guest room full of flowers and large menu to organise.  This Easter will be another occasion to add to the list of missed holidays, Birthday's, new baby arrivals and so many more happy days unmarked by celebration. 

For many, this will be another occasion which highlights the huge gap that has appeared from loosing loved ones over the last 12 months and celebrating simply is not on their agenda this year.  We are thinking of you.

However, we have done so remarkably well with the efforts everyone has gone to to keep our families, friends and community safe during the Pandemic, I feel actually why stop now when we are so close?!

The children will still have their excitement levels cranked up to ceiling height, there will still be a roast (barbequed of course by my BBQ-obsessed husband!) and I will still make the table look really pretty with fresh flowers.  I might even still pick some flowers but just pop them in our bedroom instead!

We are used to 'distant get-together's' over Zoom, we are used to 'just us' around the table, but we can infact choose to celebrate Easter for it's symbol of renewing, restoring, resting, nuturing, nurishing and welcoming the new season with open arms.

We can celebrate being together over the garden wall with our neighbour (who let's face it, we know infinitely better now than we did before Covid), we can celebrate being together in our family unit we have never been stronger in, and we can of course always send a little something to the ones we miss and love, to share a moment together.  Not ever forgetting, sparing a thought for those whom all of the above are simply not options they can facilitate and times are extremely tough right now, again our thoughts are with you.

Whatever your plans are this Easter, we hope you manage to celebrate or mark it in a way that fits with you and your current feelings.  As the days get longer and lighter, we can at least say we are inching towards summer and better days are ahead for us all now.

We always like to include some of our favourite seasonal gifts, ideas and homeware inspirations in our studio notes so we thought we would include a few Spring-flavoured goodies here, for a little extra Easter inspiration this year.

Love Jo x

Issy Granger

Everything on Issy's website is on my gift wishlist, and these gorgeous yet delicate hand blown glasses and pom pom carafe would make any table on any occasion sing with happiness

Petra Palumbo

Carrying on with my obsession for pretty glassware, this would make the most gorgeous guest room carafe and glass for any welcome family or friend when we can finally have people to stay.  I love making the guest room as homely and welcoming as possible, and a thoughtful touch like this really goes that extra mile to make people feel spoilt and treated when they come to see us.

Summerill and Bishop

It is impossible to pick out just one favourite thing from this incredible store, however for quite some time now, I have had my eye on this beauty!  How stunning would this fresh mint green (a firm Jo D favourite colour!) linen table cloth look on the table for any occasion, even before you put flowers, chinaware or glassware down?

The Edition 94

Candle light at any time of the day or year can make such a big impact to a room, table and atmosphere.  We absolutely love these stunningly bright Swirl candles from Edit 94, I cannot wait to get back into this shop asap! 

Lakeland

For anyone with a crafty eye, why not have a go with some Easter baking in the holidays.  I cannot wait to get into these super cute bunny biscuit cutters with the children when school breaks up.  We love a bake sesh in this house and they look like a really fun way of injecting some extra Easter vibes into the sweet treats that will be filling our kitchen in a few weeks!

Paper Dreams

These stunning eco friendly paper decorations have just arrived this morning, ready to decorate our kitchen with this Easter.  They are fully reusable, they look so fun and bright and can be recycled if you were ever crazy enough to throw them out!  I absolutely love this company and althought their products are quite pricey, the fact they are reusable and can lend themselves to any occasion is so worth investing in to enjoy time and time again!

Cox and Cox

This hanging bell tent is the stuff of dreams.  Homemade lemonade in hand, swinging in and out of the summer sun, what is not to love and dream over? SWOON!

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Mother's Day - Tips on Self Care

Posted by Jo Deakin on

With Mother's Day around the corner, we think all Mummy's deserve some serious recognition and spoiling this year.  Of all the years, this past 12 months has been such a juggle for all the mothers out there.

Whether you are a more experienced, worldly mama, who has missed her grandchildren or children so much during lockdown, or are a new and inexperienced mummy who is missing their mother in the new days of becoming a mother herself.

You might, very sadly, have lost your mummy recently or in the past, and this is actually a really hard day to get through as it isn't a day to celebrate but is in fact, a huge wrench thinking about the hole that is left.

 

Perhaps you are yet to be a mummy and are excited, worried, nervous to cross into that world.

There is no 'one size fits all' for Mother's Day, but if you are looking for gift ideas to celebrate the strong female presence around you then we think we have some really pretty options for you.  Sometimes a comforting cuppa in a new mug is all it takes to show your appreciation for everything our mummy's do for us!

We also feel it is really important to look after yourself with a little self care as often as you can, why not use Mother's Day as an excuse to stay in the bath a bit longer or sit down and really enjoy that cup of coffee you normal only drink half of!

We have included our favourite top 5 self care tips below to encourage you to take a few extra moments for yourself, or create some moments for your own Mama this year!

1. Finish your comforting cuppa

If you possibly can, always try to finish the delicious cup of comfort you took your time over to make.  I know it can sometimes feel like things won't or can't wait, but for the extra 5 minutes it takes to finish what you lovingly started, it really does make all the difference to restoring you before the next challenge of the day.

 2. Lock yourself in the bathroom!

I know this sounds weird but try to carve out some time once a twice a week when you light some candles, run a lovely hot bath using your favourite bubbles and oils and either read or just be in the tub.  If a bath isn't for you, why not treat your face to a scrub and mask and lie on your bed for 20 mins and let the goodness soak in! Take some deep breaths in and out, try counting to 4 on the inhale and 4 on the exhale and pause for just a second before taking your next breath.

3. Cook something you love

I aboslutely love pouring over my cookbooks.  There is nothing I find more satisfying than leafing through the pages and finding something that makes me really excited to cook.  I am not sure I could ever be fully plant based as I simply cannot give up milk in my tea, for me nothing can replace organic semi-skimmed milk in my first brew of the day!  However the benefits to eating a diet rich in plants, veggies and whole foods has really proven to suit my system and I have loved exploring this world and feeling the benefits daily.

 

4. Move your body

This tip isn't for any fad reasons or weight loss, but put simply I literally mean, move your body for 20 minutes a day in a way that you enjoy and can find time in your day to do.  So many of us during lockdown have found walking with family, the dogs or my favourite, on my own (!) has been a joy and such a beneficial way of clearing my head and cultivating perspective on how the day is going.  For me I love a balance of low impact HIIT, yoga/pilates and walking but I love a blast of running occasionally too.  This needs to be what you like doing best so find what that is and allow yourself the time to do it, you will feel so much better if you do!

5. Be honest with yourself

For so many of us we are longing to see family and friends after such a worrying, upsetting and a times frightening year.  We have not been able to do what comes naturally to us as pack animals, experience togetherness.  However, you might like me, feel quiet reflective on everything that has happened over the last 12 months and you might be thinking that going forward, you want to use your time more wisely, with fewer plans, spreading yourself less thinly, like we all did before the Pandemic and ending in fatigue and burn out.  I am so keen to get back out into the world but I don't want to forget the good things that have come from lockdown and want to be honest and authentic going forward, spending my time with who I really want to, doing what I really want to and being more than happy to sit on the sofa with tea, netflix and chocolate!  I find writing down feelings and thoughts helps so much to get them out of my head onto paper, where I can think more clearly and reflect on how best to deal with things.

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