I love cake, I love corsets and I love being involved in a charity event.
Astra from Timeless Couture has a close friend, Robyn, who has recently been diagnosed with cervical cancer. She is only in her mid 20’s. One of the charities who has been very supportive and helpful to Robyn is The Mercedes Curnow Foundation who promote awareness of the early detection of cervical cancer in young women and funding private screening & hpv tests. They are fighting to lower the age of cervical screening in England from 25-20. This is something Robyn feels passionately about.
To show support and love for Robyn, Astra decided to organise an event that would involve her family and friends and to hopefully raise funds for The Mercedes Cunrow Foundation. Corset design is a love of Astra’s and her exquisite, bespoke pieces combine vintage inspired details and modern contempoary shapes. She partners Rachel at Timeless Couture and together they create beautiful bespoke wedding dresses, two of which you can see in the main photograph above . Robyn was one of the models in our photoshoot with Timeless Couture earlier in the year, see the gorgeous girl on the telephone above…so it seemed perfect to combine a corset photoshoot with afternoon tea at a special venue.
It was a ladies only day (for obvious reasons!, as Astra put it “no smelly boys”) and all the guests had the opportunity to be involved in the photoshoot.
This idea grew into producing a corset calendar which would be sold to raise further funds.
Stancliffe Hall in Darley Dale offered us the use of their venue, completely free of charge, which was an incredibly generous gesture. It is an outstandingly beautiful privately owned Hall, set in over 50 acres of stunning parkland in the heart of the Peak District.
The photography and styling for the shoot was left in the hands of Emma from Ms Honey Boudoir, who also owns Emma Cleveley Photography. She donated her time, talent, sexy props & experience for the day.
Tineke kindly supplied all the flowers for the day and there were lots of raffle prizes donated by local businesses.
Darby & Joan provided the afternoon tea for the ladies and we donated two days to set up the venue and supplied our vintage china.
Some of the ladies were hesitant about stripping off and posing, but before Emma knew it there was a queue of ladies desperate to be transformed into a sexy siren for a couple of hours. It was credit to Emma’s skill and easy going presence that made the shoot such a success, guiding the girls through poses to flatter their figures and enhanced their best bits. Hopefully we can share some of these photographs with you soon.
Another charity who had been tremendously supportive of Robyn was MacMillan Cancer Support. Most people are familiar with the amazing work they do on a daily basis, providing practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care. A spokesperson from the charity attended to talk about their role in helping cancer patients and their families. Some of the funds raised on the day were donated to MacMillan.
Pimms, afternoon tea, a room full of great ladies having a well earned sunny Sunday afternoon to themselves, a beautiful venue, pants and bras flying around everywhere, laughs and tears and raising money for two amazing charities.
A good day.
Photograph of Robyn – Yvonne Lishman Photography
Main image – Emma Case Photography
Apologies for the pun on the title of this post – I am cringing myself, but it is better than the others I thought of…
Darby & Joan were invited to cater for an afternoon tea party at Kedleston Hall at the beginning of this month. The guest list was made up of 125 textile artists from the Second Turning Textile Group. The group had just opened their new exhibition at the Hall which is open until 22nd September.
Very broadly, the work & exhibition was inspired by the architecture, collections and landscape at Kedleston Hall and showed how rich, lively and versatile textiles can be.
Our menu was what we do best – finger sandwiches, teetering high layer cakes, fresh out of the oven scones, rich chocolate brownies and lots of tea. A simple menu, but one that we knew would be enjoyed and appreciated.
We had two areas to serve. We set up camp in the Orangery and had a handful of guests seated with us in there and the rest of the group were served in a marquee.
The weather was kind, the guests were very lovely, the atmosphere gentle and it was another great success.
Thank you to Kedleston for inviting us to work with you – it doesn’t get much better than working with The National Trust.
Not forgetting a huge thank you to Emma Cleveley Photography for capturing the day so beautifully.
Saturday 7th July was a good day.
These events are always amazingly well organised, are filled to bursting point with the best suppliers in the area & are always good fun & the venue really is very special. Over the past couple of years I have got to know several of the exhibitors & it is always nice to catch up with them, especially those who make their own products & who have a real passion & talent for what they are doing.
Rachel from Tattered Rose was there with her beautiful handmade jewelery, art & keepsakes.
Becky from Butterworth Photography was exhibiting & took some great photographs of the day for us.
For those who really love to be crafty, Chloe from Adore by Chloe was there to offer advice to brides to be, party planners or aspiring domestic goddesses.
As always, the girls from Polly’s List were there with their kids corner, providing some entertainment for the younger customers.
Finally, there was one lady there whose products helped me through the day & provided much needed support when help was needed – a special thank you to Clare from Clarette Wines who was superbly positioned next door to the kitchens…!
Please contact this amazingly knowledgeable girl if you are interested in wine, like drinking wine, want to learn more about wine or have equally strong feelings about Port or Champagnes. She has spent a decade working with the best of the best in London & has just set up her own wine consultancy.
I had the busiest couple of weeks I have ever had (ever) in the run up to the day…baking, packing, planning, ordering, baking, storing, wrapping, baking…I had three or four mornings where I crashed into bed at 4am & I will admit that I lived on coffee, the occasional wine, adrenaline & very little sleep for the week leading up to the market.
Deb had invited me to play a big part in her market way back at the beginning of the year & despite thinking “aaaaaaah, this is the biggest thing I have done & can I do it??” – my philosophy since starting Darby & Joan has always been to say yes to any opportunity that looks exciting, fun & will push the business forward – so it was an immediate yes & over the subsequent months I plotted & planned how to put it all together.
On the face of it, our tea room provided tea & cake – how hard can that be? But the Fabulous Places are always incredibly well attended & we were offering refreshments to a lot of hungry & thirsty shoppers – a lot!!
There was a huge area to fill – the library at The Roundhouse is an impressive space – but luckily there was a large work area “pod” that we used as our serving station which worked perfectly. I took lots of our old furniture, props & accessories as well as our serving & eating china.
I had a good idea of how to set it all up and the next thing on my list was to find the right staff. And I definitely did. Their attention to detail, customer service, sheer hard work & always having a smile truly made the day run smoothly and made it the success that it was.
The cakes…I wanted to offer good old fashioned layer cakes, cupcakes, brownies, flapjacks & rocky road. I hoped there would be something for everyone on the menu yet keep the menu list brief.
Natalie from Yummy Little Cakes made our cupcakes & Lisa from Food Fairies made our Coffee & Walnut & Carrot cakes (which flew off the cake stands!) We made the rest of the menu & hope that we got it right.
The doors opened at 10am and the event went on until 5pm.
We had a full house with queues of up to 30 people from 10am until 5pm.
Thank you everyone who came to the event, the other fantastic exhibitors, to Deb for inviting us to be such a big part of the market, to our customers & our staff.
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