Summer seems to be here at last! Since Midsummer weekend we have so much of our bunting for hire out decorating so many marquees.

For Paula & Robert’s wedding, the colour scheme was pale blue with hints of navy. Paula came to visit me in my studio to have a look at the bunting and to discuss all her options, as well as discussing how much she required. We decided on having four lengths in the apex as well as decorating all around the edges. There were two walkways leading to the main marquee and on to the WC areas. These too were bunted! The main areas we used our Pale Blue bunting and for the walkway to the WCs we used our Elspeth navy bunting, which we recreated in the bespoke “Mr & Mrs Scott” length.

We had arranged with local marquee firm, Collingwood Marquees, to hang our bunting in the roof when they were errecting the marquee. Once up, we went along and tied the bunting to the edge of the marquee. It took a couple of hours to hang 110metres of bunting, but the end result was fantastic. My bride & groom were happy – and that is all that matters to us!

A massive congratulations to Mr & Mrs Scott!!

Emma X

p.s. all our hire details can be found on www.emma-bunting.co.uk

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I just love going up to Eshott Hall, an 11-bedroomed 17th century house, elegantly converted into boutique hotel not far from my office in Morpeth. This time of year I love going up and seeing the Wisteria which hugs the front of the building. Wisteria has always been one of my favourite plants, and to see it in such abundance is just beautiful.

We are working with event planners Flawless Weddings & Events preparing for tomorrow’s wedding at Eshott – it’s going to look amazing!  Photos to follow…..

Emma X

www.emma-bunting.co.uk

@EmmaBuntingUK

The month of  May English holiday madness is nearly over – our second “Bank” holiday in one month. Great for relaxing weekends with the family, but stressful for work as we have to squeeze the same amount of work into a four day week!

We’ve been celebrating Bank Holidays since the 1870s, traditional on a Monday, when the banks were closed and no trading could take place. This year, the kids & I are going to scream ourselves senseless (and no doubt queue for hours) at the wonderful Alton Towers. I can’t help but love this place as it’s the first place I ever went to as a child and rode on the Corkscrew – still to this day one of my most favourite rides.

This year we are on a mission… The lovely ladies from Bubblegum Balloons have just celebrated their first birthday. If you don’t know bubblegum balloons, then take a look at some of our photos from one of our recent styled photo shoots. I LOVE them!! In celebration of their birthday, they sent all their customers a Confetti Flutters - basically a large plastic syringe filled with cubes of coloured paper. The Bubblegum ladies have challenged us to take a great photo whilst fluttering our confetti – so that’s our plan for today’s Bank Holiday…. A Bubblegum Balloons Confetti Flutter at Alton Towers!!!

Lets hope we don’t annoy anyone in the queue for the Smiler….

Happy Bank Holiday!

Emma X

ps all the balloon photographs taken by the wonderful Adamskii

@EmmaBuntingUK

hello@emma-bunting.co.uk

www.emma-bunting.co.uk

Frankly, this week has been weird weather wise.

Monday was hot & sunny – cropped trousers, pumps, linen top & shades. Tuesday was cold and wet – jeans and heavy Barbour jacket & boots. Wednesday was hot & sunny – back on with the summer outfit & shades. Yesterday was cold and wet – back on with the autumnal wear. Frustrating!! And quite depressing. However, yesterday wasn’t all bad. I drove up to Otterburn, about 30 miles north-west of Newcastle, to visit the gorgeous, quirky and romantic Woodhill Hall. It was my first visit there and I it was worth the drive out.

Woodhill Hall, a 300 year old Georgian manor house beautifully converted into a 30 bedroom luxury private wedding venue, is the brainchild of Corrinne and Chris Knight. Nestled in trees just outside of the village of Otterburn, Woodhill Hall has to be in my top five favourite unique Northumbrian wedding venues. It is set in 100 acres of beautiful countryside and offers couples the opportunity to hire the hall for 2-3 days and literally “take over” the place. Each room is uniquely decorated and named. It almost feels like I’m flicking through a Cole & Son Wallpaper book when I look through the photos of each room – just love the big bold patterns that Corrinne has brought together. I love the detached Carriage House and the Grilikota BBQ Lodge – not sure I know of any other venue that can boast having a BBQ lodge that can seat up to 30 people!

The rooms are all so unique and quirky – just up my street – and in the grounds I found lots of interesting things including a Shepherd’s Hut on wheels and a suit of armour! In the Walled Garden is a gorgeous double Tipi – which seems to melt into the surroundings. Although it was pouring down the day I went to visit, I thought it was magical, its own little hideaway!

We are delighted to say that we are now a preferred supplier of wedding bunting for their gorgeous Tipi and cannot wait to decorate the tents, along with events company Flawless Weddings and Events with their super finishing touches and quirky props for hire. We are going to have a lot of fun at this venue!

If you want to see it for yourself, pop up to their Open Day on Monday 26th May 2014 – from 1-4pm. Contact Woodhill Hall for further details.

Here are just a few of our photos from our rainy day – yet it still managed to impress..

Emma X

@EmmaBuntingUK

hello@emma-bunting.co.uk

www.emma-bunting.co.uk

 

When people see our bunting in the studio, they often say to me that they didn’t realise there would be so many options! For me, there are no rules, so anything goes! Any shape, size, colour, fabric, design, or print. We can either have plain bunting, hand-cut lettering, stitiching or painting of design, and have just found a great printer who can print logos directly on the flags!

For our bespoke work, prices really are dependent on the amount of craftsmanship that goes into each piece, so, simple bunting starts at £5 per metre and can go upto £18 per metre for a hand-finished piece. All our work is done by local people here in Northumberland and each piece is inspected for quality before it is dispatched. Because the majority of our work is made-to-order, you will be getting a length of bunting that is unique.

If you need bespoke Corporate Bunting, Wedding Bunting or Party Bunting, we can help. Our showroom is at Flawless Weddings & Events, 36 Newgate Street, Morpeth, NE61 1BA, pop in and see us!

If you have an idea for bunting, then please get in touch, let us help!

Have a great Thursday!

Emma X

http://www.emma-bunting.co.uk

@EmmaBuntingUK

After a VERY cold day yesterday – sadly back in my winter jacket – we have woken up to wonderful blue skies and sunshine. Quick, out with the summer jacket while it lasts!!! The weather has inspired me to talk about summer vintage parties, whether it be for a special occassion or a perfect wedding…

If you’ve been following our work this year, you will have seen we’ve joined Flawless Weddings & Events in Morpeth, a wonderful party and event planner covering the North East region. I love going to work, the showroom just fills me with inspiration! There are so many wonderful ideas for creating a vintage style event, but we have found this season, the hessian and lace style has been very popular. From runners to bunting, or chair sashes, hessian is just such a lovely fabric. It has an amazing smell, especially when it’s warm. By adding a bit of lace, it softens the look completly.

Our “Lottie” range of florals, stripes and dots, goes so well with this soft vintage look and is still our most popular range. But we are now mixing it with our new “Hannah” hessian and lace range. The two work beautifully together. You can hire our bunting from as little as £1.50 per metre, or order something bespoke starting at £5 per metre.

But here’s a few photos to give you some inspiration…absolutely love the Flawless Wedding Post Boxes, lovingly named Betty & George xxx

For more vintage inspiration, follow our Pinterest board

Emma X

 

 

www.emma-bunting.co.uk

@EmmaBuntingUK

hello@emma-bunting.co.uk

I love it when we work with brides who are looking for something just a bit quirky and creative! Using red as a colour theme for your wedding isn’t as scary as it first sounds! The colour red, in psychology, signifies warmth, strength, positivity, excites the emotions and motivates us to take action. Used as an accent colour, red can look simply devine.

This April, we created a new range of bunting for one of our brides. As with all our bunting lengths to hire, we name if after the person who first commissioned it. Katy wanted a set of bunting with an eclectic mix of red colour patterns and styles. We have worked on a few weddings with red themes, but this was the first time we have made some to hire out. We were delighted when we saw these photos from photographer McKinley-Rodgers, at The Londesborough in Stoke Newington – where we are delighted to say we are a preferred bunting supplier. I think it looks amazing!

Details of how you can hire our bunting can be found at www.emma-bunting.co.uk and prices start from £1.50 per metre to hire.

For red styles that inspire us, follow our board on Pinterest.

Emma X

 

http://www.emma-bunting.co.uk

@EmmaBuntingUK

hello@emma-bunting.co.uk

 

It’s been a long time since I wrote my last blog – to be honest, finding something substantial to talk about after my Liberia experience was really tough… but with the beginnings of what looks like (dare I say) “summer” – with rumours of us getting 26C today, I thought it time to think about something jolly that I saw last week…

I met up with Alison Bell, owner of The Bells of Hemscott – a gorgeous Bell Tent camping site in Widdrington, Northumberland, a stones throw from the beach – and helped her decorate her bell tents with lots of our glamping bunting. The camp site is set against her family working farm, so entry to the field is down a farm path with curious young heffers to one side and a lovely pair of swans to the right. It’s an easy stroll, but thankfully, Ali will provide the transport down to the site with all your luggage… It does mean though that the site is free from cars so is completly safe for kids to run around in.

The site itself has a couple of Bell Tents and a Tipi, along with a composting toilet and shower shed. Each tent is supplied with a fire pit and an amazing rocket fire – with full instructions on how to light and cook with it! Along the fence overlooking another cow field is a simple washing up area. There is a smaller separate area for communal chillaxing. Inside, the tents have really comfortable air beds and cosy decor – of course with our gorgeous bunting!

It is ideal for hen parties, big groups or large families as the whole site could be booked for an entire weekend!

Ali describes the site as: “traditional, sustainable, idyllic and peaceful. Our offer is a rewarding rustic and rural experience where you will cook on stoves and fire pits. We are proud to have no electric hook ups or fancy amenities.”

After experiencing life without electricity in Liberia, this would be the first time I have stayed somewhere in the UK without mains electricity – and frankly, I think it’s heavenly. A holiday is meant to be a break from reality, to recharge your batteries and just learn to enjoy life and spend time with your loved ones. What is not to like?

Ali, book me in again!!!!

Emma X

The Bells of Hemscott and bunting by Emma Bunting

Chapter 9: Liberia – my final thoughts

I feel quite sad this is my last post from my journey through Liberia. I am being asked whether what I have seen, or the challenges I have come across have changed the way I see and do things? simple answer? Yes, they have. 

Above anything else, I have realised how important it is to appreciate what is around you and not take everything for granted. I don’t feel guilty that I have hot and cold running (clean) water, nor that I have light at the flick of a switch. It isn’t my fault that I have been born into a western civilisation, however, seeing poverty, suffering and anguish first hand has made me less likely to complain and more likely to acknowledge the good things that life throws at us. I am probably more inclined to find my moment and #LiveIt

I am now more aware that people in countries such as Liberia are not “basket cases” as someone was over heard describing all African countries, but that they are strong, resilient, hospitable, friendly and determined to succeed. Their main problem is that they are living in a country, which, over time and through civil war, has been mismanaged. They need education and guidance to help them become self sufficient and prosperous.

I hope my blog posts over these past two weeks have shown the importance of Oxfam’s work, how they choose communities to help, how the projects work and what the underlining positive outcome of all the projects  - if you lift one life, you are lifting whole communities.

Liberia…my journey.

Chapter 1: Oxfam offers a glimmer of hope

 

Chapter 2:  Journey through the country

Chapter 3: Oxfam’s Livelihood Programme

Chapter 4: Living like a local

Chapter 5: How do you choose who to help?

Chapter 6: Saving for change

Chapter 7: Virtuous Women

Chapter 8: The importance of Water, Health & Sanitation

Oxfam rely on donations to support their incredible work. It really is the case of lift one life and you will lift whole communities.

I am hosting an Oxfam event on Sunday 9th March at the Morpeth Rugby Club. We are trying to Zip 100 men and women, across 200ft from a 150ft high mobile crane! Having fun and raising our goal of £12,500. If my stories have inspired you, please help us reach our goal by donating via….

https://get-together.everydayhero.com/uk/morpeth-zip-wire

Thank You!

Emma X

Chapter 8: Liberia – The Importance of Water, Health & Sanitation

One of the many things we take for granted in the Western world is our use of a common tap, or a faucet, as they call it in the USA. Such a simple device and often overlooked. I can’t remember the last time I turned the tap on and thought – is this water safe to drink? Such questions are ones that we never have to address. To live in a country where questioning water quality is a continuous task, is something that was very new to me.

Living in the twenty first century, you make the assumption that everyone has access to clean drinking water, that everyone has access to hygenic toilets. But honestly, that just isn’t the case. In Liberia today 60% of the population have access to “improved” water, 18% have access to improved sewage sanitation and 5% have access to flushing toilets. A large proportion of the people, mainly in the urban slum areas, are defecating in openly in the streets or directly into the rivers – which also act as a water supply for washing and cleaning clothes. There is nothing pretty about faeces, especially when it is human waste. Seeing it – and on several occassions – standing in it, is really not pleasant at all. Not only is it unhygienic and poses increased health risks, but it is also humiliating for the people and offers them no sense of dignity. Especially for women. As a woman, I know how uncomfortable it can be on a monthly basis, so having no clean, safe and private area to use the toilet must be so degrading and distressing.

The WASH (Water, Sanitation and Health) is a major project, so big that Oxfam must work in a consortium with five other agencies to actually tackle this enormous problem. Oxfam is the lead agency within the consortium and reports directly to donors and fellow partners. A key benefit of working with other agencies is that you can share learning, technical and design development and use the strengths within each partner. The programme is monitored and results evaluated, with results being shared with the Government. Some examples of issues currently being worked on are hygiene promotion in rural areas, issues with hand drilling for water, issues with gender and disability, looking at how to scale up the project and roll out to everyone, household and public latrines. The issues are massive – education is key, as well as funding to support building of new latrines and water distribution centres.

We looked at four areas: water pumps, water distribution centres,  pubilc latrines and household latrines

The Oxfam-funded water distribution centres have been set up in slum communities. These centres are locked and gated facilities with large water towers, and open daily from about 7am-10pm. The centres are not connected to a mains water supply – such a thing doesn’t exist in Liberia – but are fueled by a diesel generator that pumps water directly from a drilled bore hole in the ground. These machine dug holes are about 40metres deep, which provide “clean enough” drinking water. Every morning, women queue at the water distribution centres and fill their 10 galloon water butts for 5LB$, which is about 5 US cents – and about 3p in sterling. Apart from having to get up every morning to go and get water, these women amazed me with their grace, strength and agility to carry such weights on their head!

Oxfam’s role in a project like this was to build the water distribution centre and educate the community on how to form an elected Water Board who would be responsible for recruiting a water distribution manager, and responsible for the cleaning, maintance and purchasing of the diesel required to fuel the centre.

In smaller communties, Oxfam has built a number of public wells offering free water. These pumps get water directly from the ground, again about 40 metres deep, and give the local families free access to “clean enough” water. Each hand pump serves about 50 houses, but each house can home up to three families. The pumps are always open.

When it comes to the issue of water, much of the hardware is in place. What is important now is the delivery of education regarding basic hygiene, to prevent against diseases. Before the intervention of Oxfam and the WASH consortium only about 25% of the population had access to drinking water, it is around 60% now.

Toilets. Ah, Liberian Toilets! Well, as I discussed in my previous blog, out in rural communities the toilets are dug straight into the ground with two boards either side for you to squat. I didn’t really have a problem with this because I have used this system in Sweden. I lived in Stockholm for 8 years, and we often visited friend’s summer cottages, which were located in rural areas. One of these had such a toilet. I remember being heavily pregnant at the time so I found it very uncomfortable to use!

In slum areas around 80% of people are open defecating as there are no sewage systems in place. It literally is a case of pooing in a plastic bag and throwing it away “Mind Your Business” shouted as the plastic bags are thrown through the air. We saw some public “toilets” which were rickety structures on the river side. The human waste goes straight into the river. Awful during the day, would be frightening at night – don’t forget there is no electricity in the slum areas so NO light at all. These toilets are especially dangerous to young women, as violent crime against women is sadly all too common.

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Oxfam has funded public toilet blocks in some slum communities. Again, as with the water distribution centres, Oxfam has educated and trained the staff to run the public toilets as effectively as possible. The government too has installed County Council toilet blocks, which is a positive thing. The problem arising is that it costs 10 LB$ per person (half price for children) so often families can’t afford to use the facilities. We saw several sites where human waste was literally infront of the public toilet blocks.

We did see something positive though. We went to the equivalent of the Blind Association. These toilet blocks have been specifically designed so that blind people using their stick can guide themselves to the toilet.

The final project we looked at was my favourite. The last day of our remarkable journey through Liberia – was the hardest for me. The stories of the slum communities where desparately upsetting. The stories from women how difficult and degrading it is to use horrible riverside “toilets” – especially during their menstral cycle or when pregnant, or the fears they face when needing the toilet during the night. I found it very difficult to see hope in all the suffering…

But then I found the Tiger Worm….

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It is my resounding positive memory of Liberia. These wriggly little earthworms, which we dug up from the soil, maybe the answer to many people’s prayers. A new eco-toilet has been designed which is remarkably simple and inexpensive to build. These lovely little worms – 2 kilos of them – are put in the toilet system and live there happily consuming the human waste. To make this system even more exciting, the worms produce their own faeces which can be collected and used as a fertiliser!! It is an amazing, yet quite simple thing. We met with the Monrovian County Council who have promised to roll out more of these Tiger Worm toilets based on the results and findings of the Oxfam project.

Meet Diamond – a beautiful Liberian lady who has one of the Oxfam pilot Tiger Worm toilets in her home…. She is proud and extremly happy, and has noticed a big difference in the health of her children. Not only has she a Tiger Worm toilet, but she was educated on the basic hygiene message of WASH YOUR HANDS!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to my own children since arriving home from Liberia – Have you washed your hands??!!!!

Oxfam rely on donations to support their incredible work. It really is the case of lift one life and you will lift whole communities.

I am hosting an Oxfam event on Sunday 9th March at the Morpeth Rugby Club. We are trying to Zip 100 men and women, across 200ft from a 150ft high mobile crane! Having fun and raising our goal of £12,500. If my stories have inspired you, please help us reach our goal by donating via….

https://get-together.everydayhero.com/uk/morpeth-zip-wire

Thank You!

Emma X

 

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