Autumn Survival Pack

Posted by Jo Deakin on

As October comes around, my attention is always turned to the preparation and pressure of the upcoming festive 'silly season', and here at Jo D we embrace all of this madness and chaos!

Both my children's Birthdays are in November so from the middle of September onwards it is a time to get organised for what lies ahead.

We love Halloween and very shortly after this Spooktacular day comes my littlest's Birthday.  That is a lot of baking, wrapping, dressing up and face paint right there.

We roll straight into Bonfire night from this present and cake explosion and a few weeks after that it is time for my eldest's Birthday....Is it too early to then mention not long after that it is Christmas.....ahhhhhhh!!  If ever there was a time to listen to my own advise and create a quiet moment for myself to enjoy my favourite comforting cuppa then it would be at this time of year!

As you can appreciate, with this in mind, and in order for me to get any enjoyment out of such a busy time, it is so important to me that I get well ahead of the game and feel a sense of organisation and calm.  But also to stay well, be energised and on form for all the excitement and activity.

With the bugs out in full force and lots of children off school with horrible coughs and colds, I thought it would be great to theme this week's blog around an Autumn Survival Pack, not just for me to benefit from, but for all of us!

This is just my story for the coming months, so even if yours is looking different but packed with an equal amount of life-juggles and moderate stresses then I really hope the tips below will help.

Below I have included some self care tips, some warming winter drinks, and other tricks to optimise your own health and immunity as this looming festive season rushes towards us.

Do try to slow down and sip wherever possible, keep taking deep breathes and remember to always laugh when you can.

Love Jo x

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Jo's Top 5 'Silly Season' Survival Tips

1. A Pot of Jasmin and Ginger Tea

We are loving Jasmin tea at the moment, not only because it it so fragrant and delicious but it comes with wonderful health benefits too as it is bursting with antioxidants and is said to boost brain function too!

Enjoy a warming pot of this jasmine tea recipe with chai spices including cinnamon, star anise, cloves and ginger. The addition of orange and berries adds a fruity tang and it is so warming and comforting.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp loose leaf jasmine tea
  • a handful of frozen berries
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • a slice of ginger
  • a wedge of orange
  • 1l water

Method

Put the jasmine tea and frozen berries into a Jo D teapot.  Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, ginger and orange.  Fill the teapot with 450ml of freshly boiled water, let it brew for 3-4 mins, strain into teacups and enjoy.

2. For a boost of immunity and to keep the bugs at bay, make sure you have a pot of these in your cupboard to take daily.

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that our bodies cannot make or store.

  • Aids iron absorption
  • Supports immune function
  • Supports the body in times of stress
  • Supports energy levels
  • A co-factor for the production of collagen
  • Maintains the integrity of blood vessels
As you can tell from the list above, it is pretty essential and a must at times of busy life, for most of us that is 24/7-365!

 

 

3. For the all important decorations required at this time of year, look no further than the amazing Paper Dreams for a plethora of choice from Birthdays, Halloween to Christmas.  They are so cheery and easy to store so they can come out again and again.

We especially love their set of fat bat and fat spider for a really spooky but brilliant look, plus they are so well made they will stay up in your house for ages.

4. Cooking is something we are very passionate about at Jo D and we believe whole heartedly in the importance and power of good, wholesome and home-cooked food.

We love making soups as they are so easy, warming and can be packed full of flavour.  We also love Leon's book Soup which is jammed packed with ideas, ingredients and flavour to suit the whole family...Bingo!

Their Tom Yum (Yum Yum) soup is brimming with flavour, goodness and packs a punch to keep those airways open and runny noses at bay.

5. And finally, don't forget to turn your devices off as the days drawer to a close, go to bed early enough to try and get the important 7 hours + in if possible.  One thing on my wish list is one of these amazing and totally beautiful eye masks from Elizabeth Scarlett.  There is something so luxe about going to bed with one of these and it will encourage your eyes to stay closed for as long as your alarm will allow!

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New Beginnings

Posted by Jo Deakin on

The start of September always marks the inevitable shift from lazy summer days to the return of our routine and structure.  Every time this glorious month rolls around there is always a sense of change afoot, and for me a chance to rebalance, restore and begin afresh.

With the children back at school, holidays a fond and fading memory, it is a time for pouring concentration back into moving on with our goals, passions and projects.  However, and let's be honest, this really can take time to get into a rhythm and a sense of 'togetherness' to return, if such a thing even exists!

With a fresh cup in hand, I find myself rewriting to-do lists and creating new lists for immediate action and lists for things that can wait, I know, nuts!  This often instills a sense of calm and order but equally makes me feel like I am still yet to actually achieve ticking anything off those lists as DONE, anyone else!?

For me the biggest and best ways that instill a sense of calm, organisation and ablity to work well starts from being kind and realistic to myself.  I am still learning this skill and often am too tough on myself for what is actually achieveable within any given day.  However, it is important to be kind to yourself so you have the best chance of meeting your own expectations and know where your limits lie.

To me, nothing symolises being kind to myself, ready to take on the next task of the day, than taking a moment to pour and enjoy my favourite comforting cuppa.  For me this is normally always in the form of tea.  Coming in to make the first cup of the day, after the school run, fills me up with love and calmness and prepares me for the hours ahead.

Next month marks 3 years in business for Jo D and with this in mind I am particularly driven to take the company to the next level and continue on my mission to design and produce the best quality, choice and style in British fine bone china.  For this I need buckets of organisation, passion and drive, all the more reason to continue being honest and realistic with myself and hopefully the dream will continue.

Below are some ideas of ways you can bring harmony and order to your lives which will hopefully help you across all facets of life.

Jo xx

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A work space harmony

To me, nothing does this better than a clean desk space, where coming to work is a joy, not a dumping ground to keep pieces of lost paper, and yet more never ending to-do lists!  One of my personal goals is to one day create a space with a large clean desk, in my stock room, where it is light and airy and I am surrounded by my inspriation.

This solid oak and walnut desk screams Jo D, so much geometry and pattern, I just love it!

Organisation hacks

I love the feeling of being organised at work and in the day to day and a solid diary and post-it notes aplenty always help me with this, but when it comes to winding down at the end of the day, continuing the same order can be such a good way of maintaining the balance and structure, which in turn helps us in the long term.  Something I have just recently tried for the first time, but so far has brought a brand new sense of calm to life, is menu planning for the family.  As the littles in this house are still little, they eat earlier than us, and making sure they are nourished and energised can be a full time job in itself.

The below bit of wonder comes from Fraser & Parsley and I am not joking when I say that writing down a food plan for the week not only helps take care of the stress of what to cook but it also helps you buy only what you need week to week, saving the pennies, a win-win!

Keep well 

What we eat and drink and when we do this, all makes a massive difference to how efficient we are when running at 100MPH per day!  It is so important to take regular breaks, eat plenty of good stuff and keep hydrated.  The threat of winter bugs is being talked about everywhere at the moment, so along with the menu planning, it is so important that we try to keep ourselves running as optimal as possible.  Warm drinks such as home brewed honey, ginger, and lemon, takes a matter of seconds to make but can be so beneficial to our well being and energy.

So too is the brilliant power of the mighty Elderberry...we keep a bottle of this in our fridge at all times and we all have a spoonful when the bugs are about...

 

Keep calm! Keep Moving!

Easier said than done, I know, but if I have learnt one thing it is that taking a break to move your body instills so much calm and clarity, always right at the point when you really need it.  The discipline of stepping away, putting on your trainers and getting onto your mat or out into nature is something that can be a daily struggle to achieve.  However this is non negotiable for me and I know it helps me so much in clearing my thoughts and bringing about that warm and fuzzy feeling of getting in a bit of a burn to shake out the brain fog.

I have just started trying Melissa Wood Health, an app that has a plethora of workout videos, all low impact, yoga and pilates based, and there are some really lovely meditations on there, if that is your thing!  The movements are intense and slow and it is such a great feeling to slowly be getting stronger.

I am also absolutely loving my seriously loud leggings from Hush. I don't know what it is about having some fresh workout clothes that makes such a difference to my motivation and willingness to exercise but it works.  They are so comfortable and supportive and I can't help but get moving when I'm wearing them.

I fully support dancing in your kitchen as a workout by the way, if you don't already do this, may I suggest you start, it is the best form of exercise I know!

 

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The Holiday Shop

Posted by Jo Deakin on

The Summer Holidays are fast approaching now and I am so excited and ready for some down time, slow sunny days and room to restore and refresh.

There is never a right time to 'down tools' and take a break.  The to-do list still has a never ending feel and there are always loose ends that could be tied up.  However, as time rolls around for the all important break away, it is really important that we are present to this feeling, make peace with it and embrace the pause on normal, busy, working life and make the very most of being away.

Whether you are taking time for yourself by being with family, friends or just a break for two, we always encourage you to fully absorb the calm and quiet moments that a holiday can bring.

Taking time away not only helps to gain perspective on the everyday tasks and trials but it also lends a reflective quality and a chance to take stock of everything that has been achieved and all the plans waiting for us when we land back in blighty.

We have the opportunity to go away to warmer places this year, having not been abroad last year.  The hope is Portugal will happen for our family holiday this summer and I cannot wait to feel the sun on my face!  When I know a break is coming I seem to feel like I suddenly really need it and it is all I can think about, hence the productivity at my desk slows right up and the concentration fog starts to set in.

I tend to pack a whole raft of 'work related' items that not only don't get touched but they also sit neatly starring at me from the corner of the room making me feel just a little sense of failure everytime I choose the beach or my book instead.  So this year I will be travelling with a little notebook and a pen so I have an area for work I can write all ideas, new patterns and thoughts down in, and I will ditch the looming pile of things that don't get the attention they deserve.

I think, and especially after the last 15 or so months, we all need to be away from the everyday and fully submerge ourselves in the now and the here.  For me that looks like sandy sandwiches, rock pool exploration, ice creams before midday and a whole lot of sunny drinks and smiles.

We thought it would help you get in the mood for your own break away to provide a Holiday Shop Guide to the essential luxuries we could all treat ourselves to as we speed towards the bright and breezy summer days ahead!

Jo's Top 5 Holiday Essentials -

1. The throw-on outfit for sunny days

From sun lounger to lunch and beyond, this piece is simply perfection.  Not only is it consciously crafted in FSC viscose fabric (Viscose certified by the Forest Stewardship Council) but it is so stylish and will be such a treat to wear morning, noon and night.

2. The swimsuit of dreams

Who doesn't love a scalloped edge detail?  This recycled nylon-blend, light weight and stretchy swimsuit from Marysia is both stylish, subtle and I imagine with the edge details, would also be super comfortable too.  Let's face it, it has to be practical (boring I know) as well as look and feel great, no one wants anything riding up in the wrong places whilst building a sand castle!

3. The Sun Screen

For light and dewy face protection we absolutely love Tropic's Skin Shade.  This is one of those products that will make your life easier. A 100% mineral SPF50 that offers broad spectrum protection, it not only shields you from the sun’s damaging rays, the slight tint will give you a radiant all-round glow.

4. The best summer shoes

I am not a fan of wearing heels in the summer, especially if you are going somewhere hot.  It needs to be chic and comfortable at every turn for me.  These gorgeous sandals from Tory Burch are lightweight, ergonomic and feel like heaven. The blush pink colour is so on point for Jo D too!

5. The summer dress

From one of my favourite's Sezane, the style of this gorgeous clothing brand is boho-chic but with an edge of originality and floaty decadence that always feels so special whenever I wear anything by them.

However you plan on spending some time away this summer, I really hope it is relaxing, restful, fun and restorative, oh and of course, you too feel the sun on your face, Jo x

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Think BIG, shop SMALL

Posted by Jo Deakin on

News

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This week's newsletter is inspired by Holly Tucker, of Not on the High Street origin and now founder of Holly & Co, and the wonderful work she and her company are doing to promote and support small businesses this month.

June marks the first annual Campaign Shop Independent which is running throughout this month, building up to the 25th June; the first ever official ShopIndependentDay and exactly 6 months until Christmas Day, gulp!  Holly & Co are banging the drum for small businesses across the country, a lot of whom saw a big boost in sales and support for shopping locally and independently during the Pandemic.  Holly is keen to not loose this positive step in building back up the recognition for shopping with small UK based brands as life returns to normal, and asking people to consider where they are putting their money for the good of local communities and the wider economy.

To quote Holly "Imagine if everyone was to spend just £1 with independents each and everyday, that would add an additional £19 billion into the UK economy.

As a small, independent and growing business, this statement blows my mind...imagine indeed Holly!  Our ethos from the very outset, since launching in 2018, has been about being a brand with a face and a voice for our extremely loyal customers.  We are passionate about offering the very best choice, quality and style in British fine bone china and here at Jo D, we could not be more behind this campaign to champion the best that British independent retail has to offer. 

My company would not be what it is without my customers purposefully choosing to shop with me, buying my products and supporting my brand and our ethos.  By shopping with us you are supporting British local jobs and manufacturing.  When I say local I really mean that, as all our products are designed and manufactured within a 65 mile radius, from Worcestershire to Stoke-on-Trent and back, and we are extremely proud of this!

So we too are banging the drum and waving the flag for all small businesses right across the country who are trying to grow and thrive in this every changing crazy world we live in!  We thought it would be nice to shout about some of our favourite local and British brands that we so enjoy shopping with, and I hope this inspires you to really consider where you shop and who you are supporting in the process.

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Jo's top 5 favourite small independents to shop/support/enjoy...

1. Deakin and Francis

Deakin and Francis have been in business since 1768, so you could say this isn't exactly a small independent!  However, this family run business still remains in the original factory in Birmingham and has added a flagship store in London's Piccadilly Arcade to its brand in more recent times.

D&F make some of the world's finest cufflinks, signet rings, gentlemen's accessories, ladies jewellery and bespoke commissions.  Across seven generations, D&F continue to build on the heritage, brand and family values that have been created over the past two centuries, with quality and eccentricity at the core.

2. Thyme Kitchen

This fabulous place not only stocks our brand new Peacock range teapot and matching cups and saucers but they also serve fresh local beautiful breakfasts, brunches and lunches from Chef Susie Mandleberg, plus they host monthly guest chef pop ups with Sauce Supper Club and are home to Dine at Home with Tom Shepherd.  This is a very special small but thriving business and we so enjoyed a very special Dine at Home box from Tom during the last lockdown, it is truly spoiling!

3. Indian Summer London

Indian Summer is based in Fulham, London and is a lifestyle boutique, selling a colourfully curated mix of clothing, accessories, jewellery, home ware, stationery and party wear. Founded by mum and entrepreneur, Ruth Green in 2004. Who wanted to create a lifestyle store in London that offered a more relaxed approach to style and shopping. Indian Summer offers a message of optimism, fun and a relaxed, luxurious approach to style. This bright and vibrant store champions new and super stylish brands and products in a laid-back environment with a vibe that can't help but put you in a good mood...what is not to love about this store?!

4. Millie McCallum Art

I went to school with Millie (quite a few years ago now!) and have always followed, bought and shouted about her talents from the roof tops.  This image tells you everything you need to know about Millie.  She is talented, vibrant and utterly free-spirited and her artwork can't help but make you smile, uplift your spirits and make your walls sing with happy vibes.

5. Gussy and Lou

These gorgeous girls have taken the humble snuggly jumper and emulated it to dizzying heights of colour and style.  Gussy and Lou create wearable & fun-infused women's and childrenswear, from ready-to-wear cashmere to everyday jeans and the perfect summer wardrobe additions.  Finally with some gloriously warm weather here I have got my eye on this floaty number, the perfect throw-on summer dress!

 Remember, think BIG, shop SMALL and support your local brands and businesses for the good of the community, economy and country as a whole!

Love Jo x

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Time For A Treat

Posted by Jo Deakin on

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Feature

I don't know about you lovely people but I am so delighted that this brilliant country has stuck to all the efforts and plans and thankfully this week marks the opening up of our wonderful restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and so many other social distinations we have missed being able to go to.

We can finally gather around the table, with a menu and a glass of something cold and refreshing in our hands and interact in a way we have been hard-wired to do for so long but unable to do, for so long.

It is also my Birthday on the 19th so we are heading out for a treat dinner with some great mates and I cannot wait to be around the table, eating, drinking, chatting and probably being asked to leave because they are trying to close up!

This provides the perfect segue to talk about some of our favourite places to visit and experience a really spoiling treat together.  It could be a date, a celebration, an overnight stay or a really good coffee.  We have put together our favourite places to visit for that first and much deserved treat.

1. The Dormy House - For an overnight treat

'A Bit Like Home But Better'...is how this stunning country house hotel describes itself.  I have been lucky enough to visit here for a night (what feels like years ago now) and they really do create understated luxury so well.  There are corners and tucked away seating spots to snuggle up with a coffee and the papers next to a roaring fire.  There are decks outside bathed in sunshine for the brighter days, but it is the feeling of intimacy and style that makes this place so special.  The food is exceptional, the ambience they manage to create in each area is different but so comfortable and the overall experience is one of being ultimately spoilt.  Plus they have sister hotels and the stunning town of Broadway to explore, not to mention the most breathtaking rolling countryside of the Cotswolds.

2. Rudding Park - For a stylish spa experience

This would have to be in the list of places to treat yourself having collaborated with the wonderful team at Rudding on their bespoke afternoon tea service, however the hotel provides so many areas of enjoyment and I have to say the spa and the surrounding areas to relax are absolutely incredible.  There is style at every turn, no details have been left out and it is the ultimate place to go and be pampered.

3. Claridges - For Tea

As a tea lover, for me, Claridges in London's Mayfair is the ultimate treat as far as afternoon tea goes.  It is the epitome of sophistication, luxury and British elegance.  The tea and afternoon treats are famous the world over and to walk through the doors and be treated to an experience in this wonderful established hotel is nothing short of spectacular.  It would certainly be the ultimate treat to visit here after the last 14 months!

4. Sushi Samba - The ultimate blow out

I used to live in London and will always love it for its bright lights, bustling streets and its vast array of choice when it comes to glamorous spots for dinner.  This restaurant is simply everything that London stands for...cool, diverse, stylish and when it comes to a treat, one of the ultimate places to visit.  Located in London's Heron Tower, you will wonder if you have arrived at a restaurant or a night club.  To top off a day wandering the wonderful streets of our beloved capital city, Sushi Samba has got to be one of the most remarkable places to go.  The food is next-level in flavour and diversity, yet the interiors are wild, fun and so inviting.  Enjoy a quick trip in the lift to take you to this world and hold on tight for an experience you will not forget.

 

Whether it is brunch, lunch, dinner or just a takeaway coffee and a walk with a friend, we really hope you all manage to get out and about in some way and create a moment, however big or small, to mark this positive time of change towards better days.

Love Jo x

 

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Design

Throwing the spotlight on our final pattern from the new Balance Collection, I wanted to give you an insight into how the Zighy design came about...

A little On 'Zighy'

Inspired by a trip to Zighy Bay, Oman, this design draws on my passion for geometric pattern, whilst evoking the beautiful skies we were treated to daily on our 5 day trip away.  Zighy is a curved Bay that is framed by a dramatic moutain range backdrop which casts the most epic early evening light and shadows. I was lucky enough to design this pattern from our hut on the beach whilst looking at this stunning sight.

The jagged rock formations and sheer scale of the bay was so inspiring to be surrounded in for a whole 5 days.  I wanted to bring their forms into the designs whilst sticking to the Jo D house style of symmetry and geometric balance.

On leaving this place I felt so calm and balanced, it is also where the name for the entire Balance Collection came from.

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