Thursday, 27 December 2012

My Awsome Year of 2012

Ahhh yes, that time of year again where one reflects on all that happened throughout the year.  I thought I'd get in early before all the other bloggers out there do their New Years round up.  That way you won't be fed up already with all the reflective posts, and may actually read mine all the way through ;).

I say 2012 was awesome, but the first few months were weird ones for me.  My Uncle very suddenly became ill and was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, despite not being a smoker, and died within weeks of finding out what was wrong with him.  I wasn't really all that close to him so it wasn't as traumatic as it could have been, but still a shock none the less.  I think what was most distressing was not knowing him all that well and now not having the chance to get to know him.  For a while I did feel guilty about not making more of an effort to see him, but life takes over so it is not always possible to do so.  The most scary thing is that he was 4 years older than his brother, my Dad, so to think that in four years time my Dad may not be around anymore is just horrible!  But the lesson is that life is short!!!  It can be taken from you at any time reguardless of whether you live a hedonistic lifestyle of drugs, smoking, alcohol/all the other vices; you could still drop dead of lung cancer.  So enjoy life whilst you can!

Anyway drama at the beginning of the year over, by April/May I was back to working on Betty Blue's Loungerie full time again.  This saw the launch of my most successfully selling item to date, The Black Nell Robe.

Logistically this robe is a nightmare to get put into production.  But at the expense of the sanity of the ladies who work at the factory I use, I decided to ignore their pleas for a simpler version and stuck to my guns and the original design.  I even added a more beautiful version, The Crystallized Black Nell Robe.
Hundreds of hand placed sparkly black crystals of varying size.  They sparkle ever so subtly in the light and add a real touch of luxury and glamour to the already alluring lace design.  I'm not going to lie, I started going a little crazy after hand crystalling 6 of these robes in a row.  I started seeing crystals when I closed my eyes.  All worth it of course when I get lovely emails from customers raving about how beautiful their robe is.

Onwards in my year and onwards with challenging myself.  A good friend of mine maintains it is good to scare yourself every now and again.  By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, it is amazing what you can achieve and that sense of empowerment and achievement is a very addictive feeling.  So I thought RIGHT!  I am going to model my own range of loungerie!!!  I had never modelled before, and never wanted to particularly.  But it was something other people had suggested I do, and it was definitely pushing myself out of my comfort zone!  So I visited the best one woman talent show that I know, Morgana at Iberian Black Arts.  This was the result.

Not bad for a first attempt at modelling, but I am sure I will look back in a few years time and think "Pah!  I can do better!".  The shots were of a few new products, The Tempest Set, The Hedy Teddy and The Marilyn Rain Bonnet.  And I promise the Hedy Teddy is coming soon!  I'm just a bit slow at getting new things into production; it's much easier just to change the colour of an item as all the hard work is already done!  But soon I promise ;).

June saw the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of our dear Queenie (who happens to share my name so of course this makes her cool - she should totally be called Queen Betty!).  I decided to join the celebrations by taking part in Victorious Vintage at Portsmouth's Historic Docks, along with my good friend and fellow business owner Katie, from Katie Vale Designs.

The weather was a little rubbish (this is Britain after all!)  but much fun was had by all, and the country was all in unison and feeling very patriotic for once.  People were actually in a good mood!  We did have this other little patriotic thing in the summer called the 2012 Olympics...........but I'm not really into sporty stuff so we shall skip over those months.

In September Betty Blue's Loungerie celebrated her 1st Birthday.  It however ran past without much recognition as I was busy preparing myself for a competition!  Back in the summer I had entered a whole host of businessy type competitions with the thought of "you have to be in it to win it!".  Well I was only picked as a finalist in one of the competitions!!!  It was The Start Up Hub competition run by the Conservative Party.  I was invited along to their annual conference up in Birmingham, where I had to convince delegates to vote for my business to win the award.  It was an hugely exciting day for me, rubbing shoulders with the elite and meeting a few senior British politicians.  I didn't get to meet the PM though or the Mayor of London :(.   BUT I DID WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!  Here is my winning picture :).
Sitting atop a blue lion with my rosette, as you do.  So now I am an award winning company!  I won a fabulous tablet computer from Fujitsu (which I totally use to look all important and business like) and some business mentoring from one of the other sponsors, which I am due to have in January up in London.  The night I won I was all excited and didn't sleep a wink, that is how sad I am!  I just sat up playing with my new tablet computer.  Sad but true.  Now I've had a taste for winning, I want more so have been entering even more competitions in the hopes of winning titles :).

After the conference I didn't have time to rest.  It was straight into preparations for my second ever photoshoot, as a model.  I just released the first results of the photoshoot, but in case you missed em, here are the first lot of pictures.

That's right there are more pictures of a COMPLETELY NEW product to come.  Can't give you everything at once!!  And this Tempest Set in Cotton Candy, will be available much before the other new item.  In fact I may get a delivery either this week or next, so the above will be up for pre order soon :).

To round off my year, last week I found out I am a finalist for another start up business award that I entered.  I only found out a couple of days before Christmas so am unsure of all the details, and I probably won't find out everything until next week now because of the holidays.  But this is what I understand it to be.  It is called the Local Business Accelerator Scheme.  Basically it involves about 500 local newspapers around the country (UK).  The local papers, in my case The Basingstoke Gazette, choose local businesses to pitch to them as to why they should win.  The prize is free advertising in the local paper.  Then this is where my memory gets a bit sketchy.  The local business that is chosen then I believe (but could be making this up) goes through to a national final, fronted by Deborah Meaden of TV's Dragons Den.  The overall winner, wins business mentoring for a year with Deborah, and I want to say they win £10,000 as well, but again I could be making that bit up.  Either way it's a pretty awesome prize to have mentoring from Deborah Meaden!  And to a company like mine the advice would be invaluable!  I will of course let you all know as and when I do, what the actual details are.  But I do know that I have to do a Dragon's Den style pitch to the Basingstoke Gazette and a panel of local business owners on 24th January 2013, so wish me luck!  Again I plan on using dirty tactics again to win - namely scantily clad pictures of ladies.................let's hope the panel is all male.

Anyway, that was my year in a nutshell.  A pretty sucessful one overall and I'm hoping 2013 will be just the same.  I have lots of plans for world domination in the loungerie stakes, new products to launch and old ones re vamped and made even better (yes that included the Black Nell Robe which is as rare as hens teeth at the moment).  So keep your peepers peeled for news!

Lots of Love and good wishes for the New Year!!

Betty xxx

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas! NEW PRODUCT ALERT

You've all been such good customers this year that I have decided to reward you early as a special Christmas present from me :).  In October you may remember that I visited the wonderful Morgana at Iberian Black Arts again, for my latest product photoshoot.  Well my factory have been busy working away and I will have a few beauties in my hands very very soon.

So may I introduce to you a very special little item, designed with Valentines in mind, the Tempest set in Cotton Candy:
That's right!  The flirty Tempest Set, but this time in a gorgeous bright pink to bring the colour to any mans cheeks.

 It's exactly the same as the black version; sheer soft light and fluffy tulle, with bouncy ruffle accents.

I just love the colour of this fabric, it is so bright, flirtatious and pretty.  And as it shows, even red heads can wear pink.

Again, I decided to model.  Didn't Morgana do a fabulous job on my hair and make up!!!!  I want to master this hair doo myself!  The hair was inspired by this hair in Pin Up Girl on Betty Grable.

We backcombed my hair to get the height but I suspect Betty was wearing some sort of hair rat as hers has such height in the film.  I have serious dress and hair envy ;).

Anyway watch this space to be able to pre-order this beauty (and get it in plenty of time for Valentine's Day as I'm sure these won't hang around in my office!).  I will of course email you all in my newsletter when these are up on the website.  Not on my mailing list?  Well why not?!  Go and sign up to it here to be the first to hear about new products and old items coming into stock again.

Lots of Love
Betty xxx

P.P.S  If you zoom into my nails you can see how awesome and glittery they are.  My nail tech said it was a special glittery varnish for Christmas and most of her customers were indeed waiting for Christmas to have the glittery finish.  I had to have it then!!!  It was back in October!!!  A girl's gotta have her sparkle!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

White Christmas - The Cocktail

Well you guys have been keeping me nice and busy this December with orders flying out of my office and stocks running low.  So sorry for the lack of blogging yet again!  But I have some good news - production is running EARLY on some new very very soon you will get to see some new products and pre order them.  Hoorah!!!!

But as for now, well Christmas Day is nearly upon us.  I love this time of year, mainly because of all the good food around, but also because it is a brilliant excuse to indulge in a cocktail or two (or three).  Christmas Day I get out the spirits, ice, garnishes and coctail menu and like to make aperatifs for each of my family.  One cocktail that has become a firm favourite of my sister and I is my "White Christmas".  So I thought I would impart this little piece of Christmas wisdom to you all and show you how to make one :) aren't I kind!
That's the cocktail shaker that I got in the
summer at the Cointreau event I went to
- so handy!

So you will need:

Single Cream
Cocktail Shaker


Put the ice into the cocktail shaker.  Add equal measures of Single Cream, Gin and Disaronno.  Shake your tail feather and pour into a glass.

It's as simple as that!  For a garnish I added a grating of nutmeg on top mmmmm 

Equally you could sift drinking chocolate or cinnamon on top, or add a cocktail cherry on a stick, or both!!

So are you going to have a go?  Enjoy as an aperatif, on a cold winters eve to warm your cockles, or make a punch bolw of it that guests at your Xmas party can scoop into.  Do send me pictures of your sophisticated cocktail soiree's if you do make one up.  Hope you enjoy!

Lots of Love
Betty xxx

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

House of Dawg

It is official, I live in a mad house!  If our neighbours didn't think we were mental already, then they certainly do now.  Those of you familiar to my blog, or indeed if you are a friend of mine, you will know that I have 5 doggies..............well now I have 6.

I know I know, a little excessive to own 6 dogs, but the latest needed a new home.  Technically he is a "foster" dog at the moment, but we suspect he will be a permanent addition to our brood.  His name is Arthur and let me introduce you to him.

Our Arthur is quite squiggly so very difficult to photograph, but oh how beautiful he is!  He is a wired haired standard sized Dachshund and I love him already.  Here is a picture of him running towards me as I try and photograph him.  It's quite comical :D


EXTREME CLOSE UP!!!!!!!!!!   His most endearing quality is his awesome hairdoo:

Trying to get a picture of the back of his hair is quite difficult!  It is so awesome because it has a very different texture to the rest of his coat.  His coat is wirey whilst the bit on top of his head is all fluffy and soft so it is excellent at styling!  I think I may need to invest in some moustache wax so I can style his beard and hair.

Arthur has the sweeeeeetest nature, although he is a little naughty.  He has a wicked streak that only endears us more to him because he is such a cheeky chappie about it.  On his first night with us, he climbed up onto my Dad's lap and had no personal space awareness when it came to the other doggies (who were a little miffed to say the least that this dog was staying! teehee).  This is his naughty look.

How can you be mad with a doggie who has a face like that!  Even if he is in the middle of destroying one of the other dogs toys teehee.  The next picture is of him on my Dad's lap, invading the space of my old dog, Benny.

Poor Ben, he was there first.  Arthur on the other hand was very pleased with himself. 

Arthur has now fitted in with the old lot of doggies and I can't imagine life without him.  He is so sweet and constantly makes us laugh because he is so naughty/cheeky.  We are hoping he will stay with us forever :)

Do any of my followers have as many doggies or pets as me?

Lots of Love
Betty xxx

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Nikki Strange Designs

I don't often feature other small businesses in my blog - not sure why, but it is something I should really do more often!  Well today I want to tell you all about an old school friend of mine who also runs her own business, and like me is trying to earn an honest crust in this boring old recession.

Nikki and I went to senior school together (high school to the Americans amongst us).  We often talked about running our own business in the boredom that was our GCSE textiles class.  Well *cough* ten years (man that makes me feel old)*cough* later and here we both are, running our own businesses!


Nikki went to Uni in Portsmouth and studied Fashion and Textiles Enterprise.  Since Graduating she has won lots of textiley print competitions, her printed items have been sold in places like ASOS and Topshop and she has had a stream of freelance work to keep her nice and busy.  Her distinctive style has been a hit with the fashion pack, her signature being brightly coloured abstract type prints.


Recently she has had some rather lovely I Phone cases printed to a very high standard.  At £14.99 a case, they would make an excellent stocking filler for any arty, trendy, creative type friends you may have.  (I keep telling her she needs to up her prices considerably but she won't listen to me).  A bargain considering they are limited edition, better quality than much more expensive household labels and a unique print.


If only I had an I Phone!!  My favourite has to be the rather kitsch "Hawaii" print!  Just imagine a Carmen Miranda type outfit, bamboo handled handbag and you pulling out your I Phone with the gorgeous tropical type print on it ;).  Well perhaps if you don't have an I Phone then you may like her Christmas Cards!!!

Aren't they amazing!  I'm a firm believer of buying from small independant companies this Christmas, it helps other young people and gives your loved ones a unique present.  It will also make you feel all fuzzy and nice inside because you are supporting someone trying to earn a decent living, instead of lining tax avoiding corporate types pockets!!  So go and buy something from either her website, etsy shop or Society 6.  Then pat yourself on the back for being a good person and go to my website and buy something for yourself as a treat ;) here.

Anhoo apart from being an amazing print designer, Nikki is also my 'Charity Shop Good Luck Charm'.  The last time I went charity shop shopping with her, I picked up these amazing bargains.  I've been back to the same charity shop since, without Nikki, and not found anything as exciting.  So when we met up last week for a good old chin wag, naturally we popped in to see if there were any bargains.

The faux fur coat you see is the amazing find, the damage to my purse?  A mere £10!  It was a bit of an impulse buy as I had just bought myself a rather lovely buttermilk, 50's wollen swing coat for this winter (and many more to come!).  But how could I not buy it when it was only a tenner and fits like a glove?!

The above piccy is my new winter coat.  Slightly more expensive than £10 but I love it all the same.  Anyway, Nikki is now coming with me EVERY time I go to a charity shop so I can find more bargainous pretty vintage things :).

Until next blog post, make sure you take a look at Nikki's prints, even if they are not your style (not being particularly vintagy) I'm sure you know someone who will love her stuff.

Lots of Love
Betty xxx

Monday, 19 November 2012

Xmas Post Dates

If you're like me then the mention of Christmas will fill your heart with joy.  If not, then I apologise but I have to mention Xmas this early.  It is indeed that time of year again where I have to remind you all about Christmas postage, because I wouldn't want you to miss out on a Betty Blue's Loungerie item on Christmas morning!

If you wish to purchase a Crystallized Black Nell Robe to give to your beau on Xmas day, you must order it ON OR BEFORE 1ST DECEMBER 2012.  These robes are hand crystalled by myself and they take me an absolute age to do as I want them to be extra special and perfect.  If you order after 1st December, there is NO guarantee that I will be able to deliver before Christmas.  Unless you want to pay me extra which of course then I will consider ;).

The Marilyn Rain Bonnet is also a custom made item, therefore the same rules apply.  Unless you want to pay me extra, you must order ON OR BEFORE 1ST DECEMBER 2012 to receive this cute little take on a rain bonnet in time for Christmas.

All other items qualify for the dates below:

UK Customers:  Thursday 20th December 2012
EU + International Customers:  Thursday 13th December 2012

I hope this makes it really clear for everyone so you avoid disappointment on Christmas Day.  Make sure to let your partners know if they are buying a BBL item for you ;).  As usual select your gorgeous Betty Blue's Loungerie item at you won't regret it!

Lots of Love
Betty xxx

P.S. You know that little letter I pop in with your order of any of the versions of The Nell Robe?  The one warning you about ironing/pressing the lace panels?  Well this is why:

BIG sad face!!!  I burnt a huuuuuge hole in someones Crystallized Black Nell Robe :(.  I had to unpick the section effected, cut out some panels with my fingers crossed that I had enough material left over from production to match the lace pattern, then re-sew the back panels and re-crystal the effected this is why I say DO NOT IRON THE LACE.  It hurts when you do!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Pumpkin Yummyness

Well I am making a concerted effort to blog more after I was quite quiet through October due to exciting busyness.  So a little post for you with seasonal suggestions!

Last night was Halloween, and for the first year in many, I hadn't really prepared all that well.  I usually love cooking and baking Halloween goodies, but because of my busy month.......well I just couldn't be bothered.  I only managed these cupcakes:

The spider cupcake holders my sister bought from Avon and we made our cupcakes look spidery to sit in them.  Then the ones below were swirly doggie doo dahs with orange glitter on top ;-) just because.  Usually I make tombstone cookies and bat and ghost ones too but we couldn't be bothered.  I did however dress my doggies up!  Last year I bought a little witches costume and a devil costume from Poundland for my sausages.  This was last years effort

Frank is on the right wearing the devil's costume and Tessie is wearing the witches costume on the right.  Incredibly difficult to get them both posing perfectly.  So this year I swapped the costumes over!

Witchie Poo Frank
Frank was a reluctant model, I think he was feeling slightly self conscious at being dressed as a girl.  But he is a bit of a big girls blouse so I thought it suited him!

My little Tessie Pops was a better poser.  I think she has the look over the shoulder and 'smize' look down to an art.  I suppose you might also call it a not very impressed to be dressed up look haha.  The devil outfit suits her because although he is tiny and cute, she is a bit of a Princess (doesn't like going out in the rain).

Anyway that was my Halloween, not very exciting really but there we go.  I did however have a delicious dinner that I thought I would share with you.

I made for dinner a cheesy fondue and served it in a baked hollowed out pumpkin!  Pumpkins are in season right now, so if you like eating them AND like cheesy fondue, then they are the perfect combination.  Now I have to say that something went wrong along the way.  The cheese wasn't very runny so sort of went hard.  My parents suggested it may be because traditionally fondue is served over a flame to keep it runny.  But the pumpkin was really hot as it was baked so it should have held enough heat to keep the cheese melted.  I think I went wrong somewhere with the recipe.  You see the inspiration for this was from a picture I saw in the Sainsbury's magazine.  I saw it, thought I can do that at home, I don't need to buy the magazine to get the recipe - how wrong can you go?  It's fondue served in a pumpkin, easy!  Well I was wrong.  I shouldn't have been cheap and should have in fact bought the magazine.  But despite the cheese not being as runny as it should, it was still yummy!  So here is the recipe I followed if you want to try it for a yummy warming meal on Bonfire Night.

You will need:
1 Pumpkin, top cut off and seeds and pulp scooped out
1 Clove of Garlic
1 tsp Lemon Juice
290ml(1/2 pint) Dry White Wine
225g(8oz) Emmental Cheese Grated
225g(8oz) Gruyere Cheese Grated
1tsp Cornflour
1tbsp Kirsch

Cut the garlic in half and rub around the cheese saucepan.  Then rub all around the inside of the pumpkin and leave the cloves in the pumpkin.  Bake the pumpkin in an oven for roughly 1 1/2 hours at a medium heat (adjust according to whether it looks under or over cooked).  In the saucepan heat the lemon juice and white wine.  Once boiling turn down the heat and add the cheese little by little by little until all melted.  In a cup mix the Kirsch with the cornflour.  Add it to the cheesy mixture and stir until the mixture is smooth. (I think this is where I went wrong as the recipe said not to let it get too hot or it will burn.  Mine didn't burn but maybe over heating it made it go all solid?).  Take the pumpkin out of the oven and pour cheesy mixture into the centre.  Serve straight away with bread, crudites and fondue forks!

You may like to buy the Sainsbury's foody magazine to get the actual method and recipe so you don't go wrong like I did.  But it was yummy none the less and towards the end of the cheese you can use a spoon to scoop out the pumpkin flesh and it is all cheesy and pumpkiny and scrumptious.  Will deff warm you up after standing outside for the fireworks on Bonfire Night so why not give it a go.

Oh and don't forget pumpkin is not just for Halloween, it can be eaten allllll through the Autumn/Fall season.  If you are on twitter be sure to follow @PumpkinOil - a fantastic company that are always imparting useful and yummy ways to use pumpkin.  If you're not on twitter their website is: and they are also on facebook so you won't miss out on the wondrous pumpkin fun.

Lots of Love

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Busy Bee Part 2

Hello everybody!  So last blog post I said I would further divulge why I have been so busy and blog post less this month.  Well this is why.

After the excitement of Birmingham and winning, I had to get my head down and make sure that I had everything prepared for a photoshoot I had the following week.  It was again with the fabulous talent in one woman, Morgana of Iberian Black Arts.  She did my hair and make up as well as the photography AND the digital arty stuff afterwards (yay for photoshop!) which makes her a genius!  I shot with her two new items, for which I tweeted little teasers for y'all.  But for those not on twitter these are the fabrics the new items are made from.

Scrumptious candy floss coloured fabric (cotton candy)
AMAZING leopard print crepe de chine
I can't wait to reveal these babies, but in all honesty it won't be until the new year.  First comes the Tempest set (which hopefully I get delivery of this week!!! *fingers crossed*), then remember this one (below right):

Well this comes next on my to do list in production.  It has been a bit of a nightmare to source this fabric in any great quantity.  Apparently pale blue stretch satin is a rare commodity!  I bought mine to make this sample above from a fabric supplier who buys end of run type fabrics so he rarely has the same fabric twice.  I bought all he had which was about 11 metres.  I can probably get about 10-12 garments out of that at a push, so not much use when  it comes to production numbers which are a lot higher.  This means it would have cost a ridiculous amount of money for the size of the garment.  I'm talking like £95 which is the same as my Black Nell Robe.  So I don't think my lovely customers would want to pay £95 for a little teddy, no matter how awesome it is.  However!  A couple of days after my photoshoot the other week, I went to a fabric show in London.  And I think I may have found some suitable light blue satin to match up to my high expectations (satin can look and feel really nasty if you don't do it right!).  So it's back on!!!  I will be making the Hedy Teddy next :).

THEN the pink number will be released in time for Valentines :) so I will be putting it up on my website in January so you all have time to buy it to spice up your Valentines Day.  I may be kind and let you pre order it in depends how nice you all are to me.

The shooting of this item even had a valentiney prop to make it look extra cute.  This picture to the left is the prop I used.  A beautiful vintage chocolate box - unfortunately there were no chocolates in it boo.

I decided again to model the items,  if you hadn't already guessed.  I had such a fun time last shoot with Morgana that I thought why the heck not!  And it was nice to hear feedback such as "ooooo who's the new model?! Haven't seen her before", which is obviously good for my business as my competing brands have not used this "new model", so it sets me apart from the rest :).  Clever non?!  Anyway the below picture is the make up and hair look that Morgana and I went for this time round.

The hair was inspired by Betty Grable in the film Pin Up Girl and for the make up we stuck with a neutral eye pallet to make a big POW with bright pink lips to match the pink set.  Morgana has the ability to turn ANYONE into a glam pin up girl, so if you want to treat yourself or your other half with some beautiful photographs be sure to look her up!  Her blog is here.

The last thing that has been keeping me nice and busy is the afore mentioned leopard print number.  Again I managed to choose a fabric that is as rare as hens teeth.  I have enough for an initial run of garments, but I have a horrible feeling it is going to turn out to be my new best selling design.  So I am desperately sourcing the right kind of leopard print fabric.  Leopard print is a funny old thing.  You can get it right, like I hopefully have, or you can get it very very wrong - as in looking like a prostitute wrong.  It's a very fine line between a classy leopard print and a trashy one and I have seen a lot of unsuitable prints in my search.  Again this is where the fabric show came into play.  I think I may have found a suitable substitute, should this design sell incredibly well and I need to get more made.  The only drawback has a slight glitter in the fabric.  I'm not sure how I feel about a glittery leopard print.  So I thought I would open it up to you.  Yay or nay?

It is similar to the fabric I already have in that it is of a similar scale of print, but it is a stretch cotton as opposed to a crepe de chine (shiny satiny type fabric).  If you click to enlarge it you can just about see the glitter running through.  Please leave comments on whether you think glitter is good or bad.  It could be quite Hollywood glam I suppose.  Anyway let me know your thoughts!

Hope you have enjoyed my catch up, I will try and blog more next month I promise :).
Lots of Love
Betty xxx

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Lady Luck

Well I have been as busy as a bee these past few weeks and haven't had a chance to sit down and blog about it all.  There is much for you all to catch up on!!  So I will start from the beginning.

It all started with an article in the Basingstoke Gazette about being a finalist at The Start-Up Hub UK competition at the Conservative Party Conference.  I was on the FRONT PAGE!!! as well as page 3 (don't know if I should be mildly offended by that or not but hay ho!) and was famous in my village from that day forth.  The postman even commented to my Dad, and I quote, "I saw your daughter in the fact I saw quite a lot of your daughter"............enter awkward laugh from my Dad.  Here is a photo of said article.

I hadn't shown the pics of me in the Tempest Set to my Dad to save his blushes..............until they were in the widely distributed press, sorry Dad!!
So to add to my accolades I can now say I was a page three girl.  (For my foreign readers a page 3 girl is someone who poses topless for the tabloid papers to be perved over by those of dubious nature).

This article led to a phone call from Solent news who asked me a few questions and prepared a press release to be sent out to the national press.  At this point I probably should have self edited, but I apparently don't have that function built in, because journalists take every word you say very literally.  Anyway I don't care as publicity is publicity right!  A couple of days later I got heaps of very excited emails and txts from friends saying OMG I'VE JUST SEEN YOU ON THE DAILY MAIL WEBSITE.  The article can be read here.

I'm pretty sure that the journalist lady I spoke to practically coached me to say I think Sam Cam should get one of my Nell Robes.  But I do happen to think she would look good in it, she has a wonderful figure.

The next day I got even more excited txts and emails saying OMG YOU'RE IN THE BLOODY METRO.

For the benefit of my foreign readers, The Metro is a daily paper that is distributed to all the train stations in the UK.  Typically commuters read it on their way to work, but anyone taking a train can pick one up.  In short the circulation is HUGE and this is a massive milestone for Betty Blue's Loungerie!!!  I think I gave the people in the Start-Up Hub office a mild heart attack with this article, as scantily clad models and politics don't usually mix very positively in the press.  But technically it wasn't my fault ;-).  None the less it was an hugely exciting moment in my life as it was one of my mini goals for my business to be featured in such a newspaper :) GO ME!!!!!

The exciting few days culminated in the actual event of The Start-Up Hub competition the following day.  To say I was excited was an understatement.  Rarely is one given such an excellent opportunity in life to shmooze with the elite.  Political party preference aside, this was a really great opportunity to promote my business and meet the kind of people who may be able to further my business or just generally give me advice or help.  I was very aware in the weeks up to the competition, the amazing opportunity I had been given and wanted to make the very most of it.

I'm afraid this came out in a way that only I could do, I was like an over excited puppy.  I think a few people were perplexed by why a young lady in the fashion industry was so excited to be at a political party conference.  Generally these things are considered to be a little stuffy and boring, especially to someone of my age who is not in the political world.  I, however, had the best time ever!

Me on my stand mid sentence - thanks to @ToryBusiness for the piccy
The idea of the competition was to convince people to vote for your company to win by placing a coloured ball in your tube.  The tube with the most balls at the end of the day wins.  Anyone walking past the stand could vote, so it was down to me to convince people.  There were 12 finalists exhibiting over 3 days, so 4 on each day.  I was up against three other companies.  They were:
Funding Options - Looking for business finance?  Well they help you find it!
Blendology - They do gadgety things that are very clever with 'tap' technology and were close competitors to me!!
Icotope - An amazing server cooling product that saves energy

Picture of the ball tubes, I stuck a picture of the Tempest Set on
mine :) - again thanks to @ToryBusiness for the picture
All worthy contenders and all awesome in their own way.  However they all lacked one of scantily clad ladies.  I'm not going to lie, I may have used my feminine charms to gain a few votes.  Jokes aside though, I think people voted for me because I was able to communicate my enthusiasm for UK manufactured goods and my passion for glamorous loungewear.

As well as the passers by, I did manage to meet a few of the "Big Wigs" in UK politics.  I met the Home Secretary, Theresa May as well as Andew Lansley.  I did also meet a Lord, but I can't for the life of me remember which Lord it was, but one I do remember was Lord Feldman who had been "in the business" (fashion/rag trade) so he was pretty interesting to talk to.  Another big wig that I met was Damian Collins, the MP behind the Start-Up Hub competition.  I get the impression he now thinks I am a complete crazy because I kept saying to him, "Thank you SO much for inviting me, this is SOOO exciting, I don't get out much as I work from home so I've had an amazing time".  Pretty sure I said this more than once haha, I was just so excited!  Especially as I actually won on my day!!!  MEGA EXCITING!!

The official pictures of the winning ceremony haven't been posted online yet so I can't show you my super happy face but this is the certificate I was presented.

I'm putting it on my office wall so I can see it eeeeeevry day!  Something else I am putting on my office wall (and something I totally nicked) is this awesome rosette.

Technically this had already been promised to one of the other days winners, but I had asked Damian Collins MP if I could keep it and he said yes, and we all know politicians don't lie, so meh (sorry James I hope this doesn't get you fired, I tried so hard to behave myself but it's the former student in me; big signs must be stolen).

As well as the certificate and giant rosette, I also won some prizes from the sponsors of the Hub.  I got this awesome tablet computer from the lovely people at Fujitsu.

Anyone who is anyone in the business world owns a tablet computer, especially of the Apple variety.  You only have to watch "Be Your Own Boss" (programme with the Innocence Smoothie guy about helping start up businesses by investing in them) to see this.  EVERYONE has them.  Now as a start up company myself, and a young one, I am slightly confused by this as they can cost anything up to £1000 and that to me is A LOT of money that I could invest more sensibly in stock.  But ho hum, everyone spends their money differently, and something I have learnt is that not all start up businesses are new to the business world like I am.  Many have worked in the industry for other big corporate companies, before setting out on their own.  I think this puts my win on the Start-Up Hub into perspective; I have no previous business experience but I still won over other companies :-D yayyyyy.  Anyhoo I can now pretend to be very business like and consult my tablet computer when people ask me questions.  Awesome!!  I also got 3 months free on the Fujitsu cloud, as did all the other finalists from Fujitsu which is pretty awesome too.  The other sponsor, Immersat, has given me business mentoring as part of my prize.  This is something I was actually looking into before the competition, so again pretty awesome prize all round!

To finish off my day of awesomeness the final sponsor BVCA, invited myself and some of the other Hub finalists to the business dinner, where the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a speech.  The dinner was AMAZING!  The type where the plates are decorated prettily and the food is in small stacks to look all "cheffy".  It was extremely yummy.  I then went out for drinks with two of the other finalists, Bency from Think Drink and Peter from Iceotope.  I don't however have any pictures because my phone battery died :(.

All in all I had the most fantastic day.  It was so lovely to be surrounded by people who actually took the time to listen to what I had to say, and people were genuinely interested in my business.  Usually when I do events people don't really want to stop and talk or take your leaflet, so it was a refreshing experience.  I did have one silly lady come to the stand.  Unfortunately I was eating my lunch at the time so my Mum (who I took along with me) was the one who spoke to her, I wouldn't have entertained her ideas.  This "lady" did not want to be glamorous whilst she was lounging and didn't understand why anyone would.  She liked wearing tracksuits and T-Shirts and just did not want to look nice and pretty whilst lounging.  This is ok, not everyone is going to like my business and I accept that.  But my Mum was quite taken aback at how rude this woman was about my business to her face.  I wouldn't have talked to her.  The way to deal with those kind of people is just to get rid of them because she is NEVER going to a customer, so don't waste your energy!  But bless my Mum, she wasn't to know that.  Luckily that was the only negative person.  Everyone else was lovely!  A HUUUUUUGE thank you has to go out to Damian Collins for inventing the Start-Up Hub and all the lovely sponsors I met, as well as the delegates who voted for me :).

In my next blog post you will be able to hear about what I did the following week and why I've been so busy and unable to blog.  In the meantime though, if you haven't already, sign up to my newsletter for all the latest news :), you can do so on my website.

Lots of Love
Betty xxxx

Thursday, 20 September 2012

What is a Peignoir?

I have long had a fascination with the origins of lingerie in its various forms.  In fact in my 2nd year of Uni I practically wrote a book on the subject.  We had to write an essay on The History of the Corset.  In typical me styley I got a little carried away and wrote an essay that was around 2" thick when bound.  I felt a little bad for the tutor who had to read it!  So to indulge my inner geek I thought  I would share some knowledge with you about the origins of the Peignoir.

So what exactly is a Peignoir?

The origins of the peignoir come from the French word "peigner" to comb the hair; a garment worn whilst brushing ones hair.  Isn't that just lovely!  A special garment to don just for the few seconds (or hours I suppose if you are brushing out pin curls) that a woman brushes her hair.  They were worn typically whilst women groomed, whether it be brushing their hair, removing or applying make-up, getting ready for bed or to go out somewhere and whilst getting in and out of the bath or shower.  These tasks traditionally take place in the bedroom so the peignoir has quite a romantic or even saucy connotation to them.

Peignoir's are usually an ecompanient to a nightgown, babydoll or negligee.  Some of the designer sets were also sold with matching sheer long elbow length gloves and stockings made of the same fabric.  These sets were intended for occasions where the wearer may be seen in her night clothes, or even just to wear in bed.  Stockings in bed?!?!  I'm not sure how comfortable that would be!

These days the peignoir is synonymous with the pin-up paintings of Gil Elvgren; depicting an outer garment that is usually about knee length, or even longer, has sleeves and is made of a sheer fabric such as chiffon or georgette.

Having researched into the peignoir it has struck me what a great little garment it is.  Do you often drop foundation into your lap when getting ready to get out, or get hair all over the place?  Well you shall no longer have that problem!

The Solution?  I suppose I have already designed a peignoir without realising it - The Nell Robe.  But I'm not sure I would want to drop make-up down mine.  It does fit the description though: a cover up to wear whilst preening, semi sheer fabric (lace sections) and floor length.  But to me a peignoir should be shorter and flirtier, like those of the 50's/60's Gil Elvgren pictures.  So to answer this I designed the Tempest Bed Jacket.

It is technically a peignoir, only bed jacket is easier for people to pronounce ;-).  A cutsie little cover up that is fun and flirty but not as expensive as the Nell, so you can drop hair and make-up down it to your hearts content.  (The Bed Jacket is £45)

This item, along with the accompanying Babydoll and Briefs are now available to Pre Order from my website here.  I am due them in mid October and anticipate to post them out the last weeks of October, all being well.  So go on and treat yourself!!! Once again get yours over on my website.