Back to work with Aura Print

After over a year of some people working from home, for many people thoughts are now turned to getting back to the workplace. For some people this means a new suit or a smart new work bag. But equally as important when setting that first example is your business card, which through design and quality can say an awful lot about you and your business. Some of the brightest, best and most luxurious business cards around are those produced by online company Aura Print. Their designs incorporate a range of over 40 handpicked papers and also give you the choice to finish your cards off with unique additions such as painted edges, rounded corners or double thickness– really giving your business cards that extra-special look and feel.

Once upon a time business cards seemed to belong to the Yuppie businessman. Who can forget Patrick Bateman in American Pyscho, planning the death of a colleague who had the perfect, minimalist card. But these days, many people find that a stylish card is the best way to keep all your relevant details in one place. It is a great way of sharing your details, and many events I attend have business card draws and use cards rather than signing into events.

As a blogger and writer I find I attend a lot of events where it is useful to have a business card, and I started with a very simple one which I purchased in 2010. But as the blog grew, and I joined new social networks like Instagram, the details on my card needed to be expanded on and updated (a new mobile phone led to a new number, so that made old cards obsolete). So I was very excited when Auraprint offered me the chance to update my business cards with a new, bespoke design.

Aura Print really offer you the choice of having EXACTLY what you want for your card. You can upload your own design, images and photographs if you wish, but they also have a wealth of perfect designs to fit any business, from fashion and beauty, to technology, cars…basically anything you require. They can even create your design from scratch, working from the brief that you give them, so the card you envisage can become a reality, a true bespoke design. You can match your outlay to your budget by choosing whether your card is printed on one or both sides, you can choose your size and orientation, and you can make your choice of gloss, matt or soft-touch laminate.

I gave Aura Print the brief for my fashion-mommy card. I wanted something glamorous and sophisticated with a clear link to fashion. I opted for a double-sided design with all my relevant details on the back. This included my email and mobile number, as well as Twitter and Instagram details. One of the brilliant things about Aura Print is that it very cleverly lets you check a proof of the design so you can add and adapt details whilst showing you how this would look on the card, this allows you to keep the card from being uncluttered – you can see if you’ve added to much detail, or made a spelling mistake and amend it accordingly. My cards also have a beautiful gold metallic foil finish for the most important detail – my blog name, this is a luxurious touch which I believe helps that first impression.

The ordering process is very simple, and also allows you to add extra that may be useful for your business promotion, from promotional material, to stationary and invitations. You cards can be with you within two days of agreeing your design, so it is a fast and pain free process.

I was really pleased with my finished cards, which look professional and elegant. The quality of the cards is second to none and they are just perfect, totally what I was looking for.

 

Bonfire Night Fun

 

Remember, Remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot. Bonfire night is one of my favourite nights of the year, I love the chance to get wrapped up in your new Winter woollies, watching the sky light up with the most beautiful fireworks, keeping warm around a bonfire, whilst filling my face with hotdogs and hot chocolate. In general, I am not a fan of the great outdoors once Summer is ended, but for Bonfire Night I will make an exception.

During my childhood it was the norm to have a bonfire and fireworks in your garden, with Catherine Wheels tied to fence posts, bangers that made a lot of noise but did very little else, and everyone, including the nans and grandads and the smallest of children, holding a sparkler. If you are going to enjoy fireworks in your own garden, you need to look for a reputable supplier of safe fireworks from a company like Let’s Party Fireworks, who offer high quality fireworks like fountain fireworks, which are less noisy than regular fireworks, but with all the colour and sparkle, making them great if you have small children.

Health and safety implications, and the importing of so many unsafe fireworks has led to a rise in the popularity of organised firework events. There are so many lovely, organised displays that often tie in the fun of the fair, food stalls and fireworks that are really exceptional in their size and style, that it is now a whole family event to go to a real bonfire display.

I usually attend the bonfire at my son’s school, we’ve been for the last five years and it is always a great, professional display which also raises a lot of money for the school. If you are still looking for an organised display that is local to you, a good online search should help point the way to many displays in your area.

If you are going to a bonfire and fireworks display this year, there are a few handy tips that you can use in order to make your night go with a bang. The first is that you wrap up accordingly. The weather might be pretty mild for November, but once the sun goes down, it can be pretty chilly. Hat and gloves are a must, with leather gloves being a great idea if you are the sort of person who gets ketchup everywhere. Another way to keep warm and snug is to get there early to grab a spot near the bonfire – just head any safety signs and don’t get too close. Bonfires and firework displays are fun for all the family, but they can be very loud, which can be quite frightening for younger children (my boy is almost 9 and is still quite wary of the big bangs). For very young children ear protectors can be a sensible way to enjoy the lights and avoid the bangs.

Whatever you decide to do this November 5th, have lots of fun and, most importantly, stay safe.

Beauty and the Beast casts a spell at the Birmingham Hippodrome

One of the most beloved of all fairy stories proved to be equally as enchanting when performed as a ballet, when Beauty and the Beast weaved it’s spell at the Birmingham Hippodrome last night. The latest production by the Birmingham Royal Ballet told that age of told of love conquering all with a mixture of menace and charm, and with an ending that was sublimely romantic.

The story is the one we are all familiar with, an angry violent Prince is transformed into a beast by a woodsman disgusted by his bloody pursuit of a vixen. Meanwhile, a down-on-his-luck merchant, faced with baliffs and creditors, is waiting for a fleet of cargo ships that are suddenly seen on the coast. Promising to bring his avaricious elder daughters all manner of jewels, his youngest, and favourite daughter Belle wants nothing more than a freshly picked rose. But the merchant’s journey turns from joy to fear when he is first robbed during a storm, and then gets lost. Finding himself in a strange house, he is fed by unseen hands and then roused to sleep. On waking, he discovers his cargo has been returned, and rushes home, but not before plucking a rose for Belle. Unfortunately the rose belongs to the strange, angry beast-like Prince, who demands Belle in return. The rest of the story is, as they say, well known history.

The lead roles are all uniformly excellent. Delia Matthews makes an enchanting Belle, her lightness of step and gentle mannerisms contrast markedly with her elder sister’s, who are all rapid movements and flouncing steps. The use of white costumes for Beauty mean she is an ethereal, pure presence who quite literally lights up the stage. In contrast, the Beast (Tyrone Singleton) is a dark and brooding presence. His frustration, virility, anger and menace is tempered by his gentleness towards beauty, and is able of showing both sides to the Beastly character. He is genuinely frightening when he attacks Belle’s father, and yet heartbreaking when he is dying from lost love. One scene in particular that stays in your mind is when he shields his face from Belle after seeing her beauty, it shows the Beast’s vulnerability and is quite beautiful and poignant.

The supporting cast are also superb, from James Barton who is hilarious as the piglike Cochon, courting both of Belle’s sisters in the funniest scenes.  Yaoqian Shang as Wild Girl, protecting the Beast who once tried to kill her when she was a the vixen is just lovely, especially when she takes on the mannerisms of the vixen, all coquettish and light of movement. Marion Tait is once again hilarious, this time as ‘Grandmere’, adding laughs to the wedding scene, which, in itself is one of the most delightful set pieces. The Raven, and the Birds of the Air, were also truly wonderful in the scene when they were transferring Belle to the Prince’s castle, there are elements of a Busby Berkley chorus line in this dance.

A mention must be made of the set, which is almost a character in itself. Constant scene changes are flawless, and the dark, haunting castle is awe-inspiring in the way it helps to create the mood. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia were also on top form, capturing humour, heartbreak and love with ease.

If you like your ballet dark, but with a sprinkling of humour, and a truly happy ending, then Beauty and the Beast is definitely one not to miss.

Beauty and the Beast runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 2nd March. Click here for ticket information.