Fathers Day: What we Love about our Dads!

As it’s Fathers Day this Sunday we thought we would create a little blog dedicated to our fathers. 

Last Mothers Day as a studio we sat down and each wrote a little piece about what are mothers mean to us. So we thought we would sit down and make another little blog this time dedicated to our fathers. 

So here a  few things that I really appreciate and love about my Dad!

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Whenever I need some help with a certain task no matter what time of the day it is, he always goes out of his way to help me and make sure I do the job as well as I can. He has spent many hours putting up exhibitions with me, hanging paintings, editing product catalogues and website text. No matter how busy my Dad is he will find the time to help me and never once complains! Thank you!

My Dad is very excitable and has a few things that excite him more then anything else. One of the highest on the list is coffee and coffee bars.  My dad always amuses me with his endless excitement at finding new coffee bars tucked away in some of the strangest places in London.

My Dad is always the first one to compliment me on my work and gets extremely excited when he likes something. I love sending him the first photos of new creations, especially when I am a bit unsure about the outcome, my Dad is the first to congratulate me and boost my confidence. I really don’t think I could do half of what I do with out the support and encouragement  of my parents and endless help and love my Dad provides. 

Here are a few things that my Social Media Manager Jess appreciates about her Dad!

10424367_523886637733197_1241868391_nOne of the things I really love about my Dad is the fact that I know I can contact him at any time of the day about anything at all and he’ll always have time for me! He is extremely kind and generous and I really appreciate  his wise words when I’m facing a crisis or trying to make a decision. 

I have always admired my Dad’s work ethic. I often call my Dad when I am travelling to work or meetings around 8:30 or 9am (which to me is quite early!) and by that time he’s already been round the whole farm on his tractor, feeding and counting the cattle and maybe already spent a an hour or so in his studio making furniture!  I have definitely learnt the value of working hard from my Dad! 

My Dad gets really excited about antique things, such as tools, tilly lamps and vintage furniture and some of my earliest memories are of my Dad taking me to fairs and car boot sales such as Bath Market looking for hidden treasures! 

He provides constant support for me and I don’t think I could have achieved nearly as much as I have without that support and guidance! Thanks Dad! 

Here are a few things that our Sales Manager Leanna appreciates about her Dad!

My Dad is everybody’s friend! He literally chats to everyone and always remembers people’s names. In our family his nick name is “Nice guy Rob”. He taught me how important it is to laugh and I have carried this philosophy into my life and work, bringing people together and encouraging silly fun.

It’s important to surround yourself with people that make you happy. Telling your loved ones how much they mean to you is important and it’s good to thank them for everything they have taught you. I am lucky to have such a supportive father. He’s great at giving honest advice and he’s wise enough to know when he should and shouldn’t offer it. How lucky am I to have such a great male role model! 

Have a good Father’s Day everyone! 

Natasha Jade and Team x

 

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Guest Post: Buying the Perfect Wedding Gift!

Do you have lots of Summer weddings coming up? Looking for wedding gift inspiration??! Have no fear, Leanna is here!

Wedding season is on its way! If you’re super organised, you might be thrilled at the idea of having a party lined up every weekend and have outfits planned months in advance. One thing I think we can all admit though, is how tricky it is to buy the perfect gift. Leaving it to the last minute often results in us running around the shops last minute, spending a fortune or buying something that has no meaning.

Last year I had 7 weddings and believe you me it’s all about organisation!

Buying a gift that has sentimental value and doesn’t cost you a fortune is tricky so we have put together a list of our best selling products, perfect for your loving friends.

Natasha has hand picked some of her favourite designs that would make the perfect wedding gift for your romantic friends. Such thoughtful beautiful gifts are hard to find. Help your friends and family make their house a home by giving them a beautiful piece of original art to brighten up their walls. Her Prophet collection features beautiful and thoughtful quotes to suit any loving couple.

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On Love (A4 print) – £30

Marriage web

On Marriage (A4 Print) – £30

For friends who love to travel, why not give them a painting inspired by Tuscany or India. For nature lovers,  choose one of Natasha’s vibrant flower pictures, or for those home bunnies something a little more familiar from our London collection may suit them best.

Have a good wedding season!! 

Leanna x

Guest Post: Are Gemstones the Answer to Your Skin Problems?

Who knew gemstones could be so good for your skin!!? This guest post by skincare brand; Forever Flawless explores the history of using gemstones to cure everything from rosacea to insanity! Find out how you can use gemstones now to improve your complexion in this insightful post! 

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They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but this typically implies that women will be wearing the beautiful gemstone rather than using it to cure their skincare woes. More and more people are finding out about the benefits to using gemstone-infused products to give them radiant-looking skin. Diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and other precious stones are now being used to achieve an enviable complexion. Can these pretty jewels be the answer to your pesky skin problems?

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Gemstones for Healing

While some may think that using gemstones for skin issues is a relatively new idea, it has been used for thousands of years. Thought to bring about both mental and physical changes to the body, gemstones were used by the ancient Greeks for spiritual and medicinal purposes. It is no surprise then that they found their way into our skin creams and exfoliators. The history of these gemstones has been passed down and now there are special beauty products that contain different gemstones that are said to heal a variety of ailments. From calming anxiety to clearing up rosacea, gemstones have been used in many ways.

Turn Back Time with Diamonds

The most precious of gemstones, diamonds were regarded as the gemstones of Venus, the Roman goddess who represents beauty, love, and fertility. In today’s beauty market, black diamonds are all the rage due to their impressive exfoliating abilities that make their users look ageless. Black diamonds are being crushed into a fine powder and mixed with other ingredients (such as vitamins and botanicals) that gently exfoliate this skin. The entire process of crushing the diamonds is done in such a way that it is more effectively able to penetrate the skin, leaving it looking smooth and radiant. If you are interested in giving these gemstones a shot, Forever Flawless has a Diamond Age-Defying Beauty Kit that will provide you with everything you need to stay forever young.

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Treat Psoriasis with Rubies

Considered the king of gemstones in some cultures, rubies have been considered the jewels of the upper class for centuries. This beautiful red gem was deemed the most precious of gemstones by the Bible and is believed by some to have mythical powers. For instance, Ivan the Terrible of Russia once thought that the stone was good for a person’s memory, brain, and heart, while others believed that rubbing it on their skin restored youth and vitality. Today, it is used to moisturize dry skin by penetrating deeply and sealing in the moisture. Rubies also promote blood circulation, which keeps skin glowing. This Organic Ruby Crème contains raw rubies and vitamin A that help soothe inflamed skin and can potentially help psoriasis.

Achieve a Healthy Glow with Pearls

Pearls were considered the ultimate symbol of wealth in ancient Rome and are considered the world’s oldest gemstone. We can date pearls back to at least 2300 BC, where Chinese records reveal that they were given as gifts to royalty. In many cultures, pearls have been used for their medicinal properties. For a cure to insanity to being used as aphrodisiacs, pearls have been ground up and used in creams for thousands of years.

Pearls happen to be rich in amino acids, collagen, and minerals that can greatly benefit the skin. For this reason, they are a common ingredient in makeup to help people achieve a glowing complexion. They are also frequently used in skincare products to help reverse the aging process. Pearls can help remove dead skin cells from the body that make our skin appear dull, which also makes it a hot product in today’s beauty market.

pic4Moisturise with Rose Quartz

This beautiful, rose-colored gem has long been considered a symbol for love and beauty. The mythical properties of this gemstone are vast. Some believed rose quartz reduced negative feelings such as anger and hopelessness, and replaced them with positivity. Others used the gemstones for giving their skin a dewy glow. In fact, legend has it that the Egyptian goddess Isis used the stone to rejuvenate her skin by rubbing them around her face and eyes.

The goddess might have been on to something, because the beauty market now has a variety of different moisturizers containing rose quartz. Many of these moisturizers can be used on many different skin types and promote vibrant skin by locking in moisture. By treating dry skin and moisturizing the body more effectively, it also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Get Supple Skin with Tourmaline

You might recognize tourmaline by its distinctive color. Although it comes in many different colors, this gemstone often resembles a watermelon and has the largest color spectrum of any gemstone. It was often considered a magic stone in early times because it is believed that no two tourmaline stones are alike. It is also believed to strengthen both the spirit and body in the holistic sense.

However, tourmaline has gained a reputation for its surprising amount of benefits when it comes to our beauty regimen. For one, this gemstone has a unique property that makes it stand out from other gemstones. Tourmaline has the ability to generate electricity and can be positively charged on one end and negatively charged on the other. Because of this, it has been added to many beauty products to help increase nutrient absorption into the skin. It is also thought to trigger collagen production and make skin supple.

pic5Should You Try Gemstone-Infused Products?

Using gemstones for beauty is not a new concept and has been used by ancient Egyptians for thousands of years. Today, the market is seeing a renewed interest in gemstones because of their potential benefits to many skincare products. There are now plenty of options for you to choose from if you wish to try gemstone-infused products for your skin.

Guest Post: Finding A Voice – Song Of Dina

In this guest post Author Diane Samuels (Kindertransport) and Composer Maurice Chernick (of music group Shir) discuss their upcoming event and the journey that led to them creating ‘SONG OF DINA.’ I am proud to be part of this amazing collaboration between theatre and music….

‘We first knew each other as teenagers in Liverpool where we grew up in the 1970s. We both took part in more than a few productions put on by the drama group at our local community centre, including musicals for which Maurice wrote songs and music. Fast forward forty years and, now in our mid-fifties, we have both been moved by various conflicts throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East, to search for the source and discover what lies at the heart of things. This has taken us into stories, mythologies and, most notably, sacred texts, in particular to the book of Genesis in the Bible and to one character in particular.. 

Dina is only sister of Joseph, whose colourful coat has drawn so much attention. Her own story is contrastingly brief, raising many more questions than it answers. It begins when she, a young woman, “goes out” into the world to meet the women of other tribes. This one action leads to a chain of violent events and yet her role, feelings and what exactly happens when Shechem, prince of a local tribe, supposedly “forces” her are unclear. If she is raped by him, why does he go to great lengths to prove his love for her? How does she then regard his marriage proposal and her brothers’ ruthless revenge, wiping out all the men in his tribe?

Now is surely the time at long last to give Dina a voice, particularly with music which speaks across languages, faiths and cultures, connecting us readily to what lies deep within our hearts. Our aim is to address the violent rift that occurs in Dina’s world, still so alive today, in order to offer an opportunity for enlightenment and insight, some kind of mending.

We aim to create a full concert performance with instrumentalists, singers, actors, which we want to stream live and record for future distribution. We need support to do this as fully and beautifully as possible.

We wish to invite you to be our guest at this special event at JW3, 341-351 Finchley Rd, London NW3 6ET on WEDNESDAY APRIL 6th at 7.45pm to launch our campaign to mount a concert and live recording of our new work SONG OF DINA, a contemporary oratorio with spoken word for instrumentalists, choir, actors and soloists. The evening will include live music and song, extracts from the work in progress, and the opportunity to view artworks by a number of artists, including a lovely watercolour and 3 larger works by Natasha Jade, kindly donated to support the project. There will also be drinks and refreshments.

So please come along to share something of the creative process to date, find out plans for future development, and find out more about Dina.’

Click here for more information or RSVP to songofdina@gmail.com.

Guest Post: Best of Britannia – The Importance of Buying British

 

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As part of our ‘Made in Britain’ month, we asked Best of Britannia (who put on events all over the UK such as consumer and trade fairs to provide a platform for the very best British brands) to write this guest post for us to tell us more about their company and to highlight the importance of supporting companies who  produce and manufacture their products in the UK. Find out more about their amazing events and Buy British Day on their website and follow them on Twitter here!  You may well see us at one of their events, so keep your eyes peeled for updates! 

“In co-founding Best of Britannia the BOB team shared a common goal;

To provide a platform for the very best British brands from across a multitude of industry genre’s to show just how good they are.

We started on our journey in 2012, in London, in a year which saw the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, angry that in such an incredible year of awareness that virtually nothing was being done to champion British products and producers (let alone commissioning it/them for “official merchandise”). We have since held three more major London events championing over 450 UK producers of everything from cars and motorbikes to lingerie and fragrances. We extended our event platform to Lancashire in 2015 and are proud to be coming back to Preston this weekend and to be providing an event home for a whole host of new and returning brands as well as to flood-affected businesses from across the region.

From our humble beginnings in Clerkenwell we have welcomed participation from household names such as John Lewis and Marks and Spencer and have heralded the start of many new producers who have shown with us for the first time anywhere. Many have seen rapid growth, and many have focussed on the overseas customer, still very much a believer in British quality. What will take longer is converting the British consumer back to buying British and taking a good look at the sheer range of quality goods being produced by hand and machine here. The future looks very positive though with recent figures showing that the “other manufacturing” sector which includes furniture, jewellery, musical instruments, games and toys growing three times quicker than forecast in 2015.

At BOB North in Preston this weekend we are welcoming the skill and expertise of Patrick Grant (BBC Great British Sewing Bee judge and recent purchaser of the Cookson & Clegg factory in Lancashire) who is launching his new Community clothing label as well as Matthew Wilcock, the winner of the BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down. Also participating are British made motorbikes and scooters and menswear from Ross Barr straight back from having been invited to meet the Queen and Prince Charles at a special event marking the endeavours of designers supported by the Princes Trust.

In short working on Best of Britannia has been a complete eye-opener, and a pleasure for me personally to meet the makers of such a huge range of amazing goods over the past 4 years. If you feel like sharing in the feel-good factor that one of our events brings you and in supporting our amazing producers we look forward to seeing you in Preston this weekend, in London in October for Buy British Day (a concept which we launched in 2014 at the House of Commons), in Bristol in November or at one of our pop-up’s through the year.”

It’s so great that Best of Britannia have created this platform to showcase british products and brands! Here at Art By Natasha Jade all of our products are made in the UK, as we believe in keeping things local through supporting our local community and most importantly, looking after our planet!  Stay tuned for more Made in The UK blog posts coming soon! 

Guest post: Still Made in Britain by Tony Boylan

tony_boylanA few months ago, we  were thrilled to be featured on Tony Boylan’s amazing website; Still Made in Britain which is devoted to promoting quality British made goods and products! We’re making March our ‘Made in Britain’ month so we’ll be sharing posts and guest posts to help you source everything locally! We asked Tony to write this guest post to highlight the importance of supporting companies who still produce and manufacture their products in the UK, and to help us stay savvy when it comes to big brands with ‘an illusion of Britishness’.   Check out his Still Made in Britain website here and follow Tony Boylan/Still Made in Britain on Twitter !  Don’t forget to vote for us as one of your favourite brands still made in the UK. Click here to vote (takes  2 seconds!)

“Frustrated by the significant loss of British manufacturing jobs I began to think about how to promote the few remaining companies still producing their goods in this country.

I began to develop a website for British made goods about 4 years ago. It started with just a few companies and not much interest but over these last 5 years the interest has grown. The website receives more than 600 visitors per day many from overseas. The number of companies on the website is also now over 600 and growing with a huge variety of products from clothing to HiFi.

As I began to search deeper, it is amazing the variety of British companies, some established for more than 100 years still producing quality goods here in UK like clothing, textiles, shoes and leather goods. And now we see a growing demand for these quality brands from all over the world and especially from emerging economies where British quality still means so much.

Years ago Marks and Spencer’s proud boast was that they made 90% of their clothing in the UK, now it is less than 10% and it is very sad that both the Olympic clothes and the clothing for the English 2016 European Championship Football team will be under the M&S brand but made in Cambodia.

We also have the problem that some companies hide behind an illusion of Britishness putting Union Jack flags on their goods and giving them classic British names. It is only when you delve deeper you find that these products are all imported from China and the Far East.

Classic examples are Hunter Wellies who hold a Royal Warrant and are beloved of the country set. Lots of Union Jacks and British references but they are now made in China since closing their Scottish factory.

Another problem is labelling, companies like Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Pringle do not even put a country of origin label on their goods, again lots of allusions to British heritage but all made in the Far East .

There is however despite all this frustration, a general groundswell for what is known as ‘Reshoring’ where British companies like Trunki, who make suitcases for children, have returned their production to the UK.

Why are they returning production to the UK? Several reasons have been put forward. Shorter lead times, increases in transportation costs, quality, increasing labour cost in the Far East, and of course the scandal of sweat shops and the deaths of clothing workers in Bangladesh. These factors and others have been a wake up call to many large high street retailers who are trying hard to protect their image and good name.”

We, as a team at Art by Natasha Jade really love locally sourced products. We spend much of our weekends at farmers markets and feel satisfied and proud that we can support local farmers and artisans and help to keep their businesses thriving! Stay tuned for post about East London’s best locally sourced produce, coming soon….!

What our Mums mean to us and why Mother’s Day is so Important!

Naturally as it’s Mother’s Day in just over a week’s time – we’ve been chatting about our Mums  here at the Natasha Jade studio! We thought we’d share with you a little piece from each of us about what our Mums mean to us and why Mothers day is so important. 

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First up we have a piece from Natasha Jade!

My mother is the reason why I am doing what I do. Without my mother supporting me and constantly encouraging me I doubt I would have achieved so much. Form a young age, my Mum has always loved my paintings and always insists on putting them all over her house. This encouragement  gave me the confidence to believe my paintings were of worth and that I should pursue this avenue of work. 

My mother is always up for helping me at fairs and exhibitions and is there chatting away helping me to sell. This support and encouragement from family is probably the most valuable support in my business. When things are tough my mum is always there with a solution, telling me that everything is in fact OK. She tells me to look at each situation not as a problem but as a challenge  – this allows me to find solutions easily.

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Our Social Media Manager – Jess Murray

My Mum is like a constant rock for me and I am so appreciative of all her ongoing support! I might not have taken the most conventional route along the way but my Mum has always encouraged me to think outside the box and to be bold and daring!  When I find myself in a sticky situation, I know I can depend on my Mum to support me and it’s priceless to have that in the back of your mind when things get tough. I don’t know what I’d do without her! 

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Our Sales Manager – Leanna Wigginton

I love my mum because she showers me with tea when I go home. She is the most positive person I know. The best advice she has given me is to always look behind you and check that you haven’t left anything behind and if something doesn’t go my way she says ‘don’t worry it wasn’t meant to be, something else will come along that’s even better and much better suited to you’

Some people may find it cheesy to have a whole day dedicated to our mothers, but they are the ones who carried us in their wombs for nine months and survived child birth to bring us into this world. So I think the least we can do is take one day out of our busy schedules and serenade our mothers with love, gifts and appreciation.

Lots of people I know have parents that live quite far away from London and most of my friends in their 20-30s don’t have the space to swing a cat let alone put their parents up for the weekend.  Which leaves our parents without a clear image about our lives and what we’re up to. 

I don’t know about you, but my mum is my biggest fan and is always interested in what I’m up to and where I’m eating, drinking and sleeping. So why not give your Mum a snippet of London, the city we are proud to be living in? If they are too far away to drag round our stinky, but brilliant city why not give them a Natasha Jade mug.  These gorgeous mugs have pictures of buildings we take for granted everyday, that ooze London life. Maybe you can even go home and make your Mum a brew in a new Natasha Jade mug and get them to put their feet up for the day.