One year on…our transition from Brit to Kiwi

The other day Miss Crayons asked me what the date was. She pointed it out that our one year anniversary in New Zealand was coming up. So, today on the 18th of November 2018, one year on from when we landed on these fair shores, I thought I would attempt a one year summary.

So, I have to admit that the year went way too quickly, so quickly that I almost missed it. I still recall waving our container off as it drove down Postland Road with all our worldly belongings. I also remember being in transit in Hong Kong and then arriving in Auckland and being greeted by the Crowthers and half of the Birchalls.

I also recall that the ‘just two weeks’ bunking down at the Crowthers turned into almost four months. I think it’s taken them all this time to get over the trauma of such a concentrated amount of Lush in one short period. We have managed to maintain our friendship, well that’s what I read in the court restraint documentation.

In our year, we have managed to buy a house, two cars, lots of fish (since died) and four Guinea piggies (not dead). I’ve finally stop whinging about the price of cucumbers, but still referring to currency as pounds.

The children have settled into school, but not without some blips along the way, with Miss Crayons starting college (high school) in the new year and growing up way too quickly. The boy turns out is a talented long distance runner and won a prize and a place on the podium at a coastal fun run the other weekend. So I can see weekends of taking him to running events and people asking me why I don’t run – insert much snort laughing here. The Mister still works for the US company so his hours are erratic, but his commute is only down a flight of stairs so he shouldn’t grumble, but obviously he still does.

I have managed to integrate myself into the tech scene here, there’s no DPiP, but I have found a tribe who felt sorry enough for me to let me join them. So now I am part of a ‘scene’. I have my own office (complete with bunting and party lights) and I get to share it with the BFF, so work life it not too shoddy at all. Still working with some of my fav UK clients but looking to branch out into the local scene in the new year. No knee-touching networking events though, I’m still allergic to those sort of things.

I have decided to bring STEMFest to NZ and managed to convince (bully) some people into helping me organise it. Which means breaking out of the comfort zone, talking to lots of different people and committing to more sleepless nights and voluntary stress levels. You’d think I would have learnt my lesson, but clearly I am not that bright.

The other day I climbed the Mount, so I leave with with this parting photo of my ugly mug on top of a mountain! #LifeIsNotTooShoddy

Let’s organise a STEM Festival!

When I first came up with the idea for a STEM festival in 2016, I hoped, but never imagined that we would inspire so many people to action to make an event of this scale a reality. With the support of the wonderful Joff, Andy, and new recruit Liz, we have managed to pull off the second festival and made it even bigger and better than before!

We knew that if we could organise a quality, independent, and inclusive event the people of Peterborough would want to attend.

This was proven this year when we released the first 200 early-bird tickets by email and they were sold out within hours! We doubled the number of tickets available for 2017 and we were thrilled when they were all taken up, all 1100 tickets. At the initial count, we welcomed around 750 people through the doors in 2017, even on a wet cloudy day this was a great achievement.

You won’t be surprised to hear that the ‘Make some Slime’ table was the most popular. We had over 300 slime makers during the day. Phew.

750 people through the door
300 blobs of slime made
70 Aldi bananas consumed
50 Workshops and activities
30 Volunteers
26 Exhibitors
4 Exhausted Organisers!

I was also delighted to have Suw Charman-Anderson, founder of Ada Lovelace Day and inspiration for STEMFest attend for the day and meet some of our visitors. It was due to attending an ALD Live! event in London in 2015 that I came back to Peterborough totally buzzing with the (crazy) idea of organising our own little indie event. I talked to Andy and Joff, totally expecting (and perhaps hoping) that they would pooh-pooh the idea, but they got behind it and the rest, as they say, is history!

It was so lovely to be able to (proudly) show her all the amazing exhibits, play a duck challenge game and meet some of the friends and supporters who have helped us make the event a reality.

Last but not least, a huge thank you to our DPiP friends and supporters who continue to offer their time and expertise for free. Without their support we couldn’t have made this festival happen.

Did you know…

It is worth mentioning that DPiP and STEMFest is run entirely by volunteers. We work on these projects and events for free and in between our day jobs (you know, the ones that are required to pay the mortgage and feed the family). It’s a credit to the team that we have achieved so much in such a short space of time, and that there’s no intention of slowing down!

As I write this post, it is tinged with pride and sadness as I know this will most likely be the last time I am involved with STEMFest. I will be moving onto pastures new — pastures located 11,387 miles away to be exact. I am confident that I leave the STEMFest ship in the very capable hands of Joff, Andy, and Liz. Big plans for STEMFest 2018 are already underway, so brace yourselves Peterborough 🙂

I organised a STEM Festival and all I got for it was this T-shirt.

Goodbye and thank you for the memories, stay curious and awesome my friends!

Signing off for the last time as a STEMFest co-organiser,

Tia Lush
Founder of Peterborough STEM Festival
Co-organiser of Digital People in Peterborough (DPiP) and hoarder of too many brush pens.

Charity shop treasure

I found this gorgeous dinky little watch at a charity shop in Southampton at the weekend.

I love how small and delicate it is, so much so that I ignored the fact that it probably didn’t work and would need servicing or repair.

So now my smugness is dampened by the fact that I will probably have to spend more to fix it than it actually cost to buy.

Insert #Fail here.

UPDATE – 6 SEPT 2016

Turns out a wind-up watch requires — winding. Genius!

Geeky and nerdy Valentine’s cards with a difference

This year I have designed some cards featuring my best selling floral (doodle) design as well as some quirky (and I hope) funny valentine’s cards.

You don’t have to be sloppy and all loved up to show your affection for someone. Sometimes, it’s fun and good to be brutal.

Most designs can be personalised with a name or phrase to make that little bit unique.


Bat shit crazy about you valentine's day card

Cute and a little bit nerdy valentine's day card

dorkface valentine's card

love u html valentine's card

you're a weirdo valentine's card


New year BOGOFF offer

To celebrate the new rebrand at Crayons HQ, I am offering a Buy One, Get One Free offer on the best selling ‘Be Awesome’ notebook journals.

These little A6 recycled notebooks come personalised and make a perfect gift the people in your life who love stationery, planning and making lists. They are also perfect for self-gifting.

So why not treat yourself and a friend?

Awesome Notebook Journals BOGOFF

New year, new re-brand

I am forever ranting on about how important it is to keep innovating and changing in terms of your branding and logo (see this page if you need a reminder about the process). So, in an attempt to practice what I preach, Crayons HQ has had a bit of a new year spring clean and re-vamp.

The new company name will be called ‘Who Ate My Cakes’
— just kidding, maybe.

Your logo is the first impression that you make on the public. It is the face of your business. Just as your own face can express your personality and provide insight into your unique characteristics, so can a well designed logo.

I’ve had my previous logo when I set up the company back in 2007 (I know, I don’t look young enough — right?) *ahem*. It had a slight tweak back in 2010 when I added a tiny little detail to the ‘O’. Since then it has been a case of not having the time to sit down and think about what I wanted and also a case of ‘well, if it isn’t broken, why fix it?’.

Towards the end of last year I have been working on quite a few branding projects for clients and that spurred me on to thinking about making changes to my own logo. As a typeface snob, you can imagine how difficult it has been for me to choose the ‘right’ font. I have always yearned for a retro vibe so I knew I wanted something curly and fun, but I also love the strong letterpress style and so in the end I opted for both!

You will see that new logo is a complete change to the formal structured logo of the past and while it is scary to make such a leap, it is also very exciting and liberating. The new logo represents not just a change in colours, but it also represents what I hope is my style and design ethos. Serious, with a splash of fun.

Now all I have to do is design matching stationery!

Who Ate My Crayons Logos

New refreshed website

I have been neglecting my poor blog. This is due to a manically heavy workload which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the other day I was chatting with a potential client and they asked me if I had examples of the most recent projects I had worked on and to my shame I had to admit that I had not updated my portfolio for a very long time.

So, spurred on by shame and fueled by a lot of cake, I have been burning the midnight oil and so TA-DA, I present, the all new singing and dancing (not really) crayons website!

I also updated my shop as well for a more streamlined shopping experience, so do pop over and have a nose at the goodies available for sale there.

I promise to try and blog more, especially on the exciting projects I have been working on and will be working on, so do watch this space!

UK Designer/Maker Gift Guide Easter 2012

MBA Christmas Gift Guide 2011Last year I collaborated with some fabulous designer/maker friends and we produced a cracking Christmas Gift Guide. Due to budget and time-scales we were unable to get it printed in time for the holidays, but we did release the interactive online version (you will need flash enabled on your browsers to view – sorry iPad users).

We had such a positive response to the guide that I was asked if I would consider producing a new one for the new year. I would love to produce a new guide, but I need to make sure that I have enough designers signed up in order to make it viable project.

I put out a tweet asking for interest and was blown away by the level of interest it has generated. Thank you to everyone who responded. So, as promised here is my idea for the new guide. Please bear in mind that these details are in no way set in stone and may be subject to change.

Time frame

I would like to make this gift guide in time for Easter (weekend 6th April), which would mean starting work on this w/c 13th February 2012 with a delivery date of leaflets to Designers on w/c 5th March, allowing enough time for people to distribute accordingly. It’s a very tight time scale of three weeks, from initial design, proofing and printing so I would need massive organisation and co-operation from everyone involved.

The spec

1. Produce a 24 printed page A5 gift guide.
2. Showcase 11 Designers – varied disciplines (no duplicates of products).
3. Each Designer will get a double page spread. Each spread will contain 10-12 products from each Designer.
4. The entire 24 page guide will be produced as an interactive brochure (hosted on my website).
5. Each Designer will get delivered 250 x high quality printed leaflet versions of their individual double page spread laid out as an A5 double sided leaflet. The full brochure will not be printed in its entirety due to prohibitive costs and wanting to keep it affordable for each Designer. Although, this may still be an option if enough people tell me they want a full printed brochure, so never say never.

The cost

The cost for the design work, printing and delivery will be around the £135-150* per Designer (*actual costs TBC).

This is a purely design and print project, each Designer will have to make their own arrangements for distribution and marketing. This would suit individuals or businesses that already have a mailing list of clients they can send out or those who attend regular fairs and exhibitions to utilise as a method of distribution of the leaflets.

What I will need from each Designer:

1. Logo artwork.
2. 10-12 high resolution professional products photography.
3. Summary copy/blurb about your business and a profile photo 🙂

If you think this is something that would suit your business/products I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below or you can drop me an email via the contact form.

Thanks again for your interest and taking the time to read this.

Cake Camp London 2011

cake camp uk logoWhat is it?
An informal half-day event where cake lovers (and eaters) can attend and learn different skills and techniques from professional chefs at an established cookery school.

When is it and where will it be?
Saturday 22nd October 2011 held at Waitrose Cookery School, London NW3. The session will be from 12:30 to 16:30 giving people plenty of time to get into London from around the country.

What will I learn?
The four hour session will cover two core topics. Cupcakes and and mini macaroons making and decorating. A full schedule will be available shortly.

How much will it cost?
The session will cost £85 per person. This rate covers and includes all the ingredients, decorations and equipment required along with refreshments (and some canapes action), we will also get the fabulous (award winning and also Michelin Star winning) cookery team at the school teaching and showing us how it’s done . There will also be very special goody bags for each attendee with donations from each designer/maker along with some other goodies (with F&P involved, how can it not be super classy?).

What do I need to bring?
Apart from a sense of humour and willingness to have lots of fun, that’s all you will need.

Who will be teaching?
The very lovely team at Waitrose Cookery School, headed by Gordon McDermott. Click here to meet the team.

Who can attend?
Anyone and everyone. If you love cake (and who doesn’t?), this is the event for you. Plus it’s also a great opportunity to meet other twittees. We might even squeeze in some post-workshop cocktails and networking at a nearby location, for those of you who want to take advantage of being in central London.

There is a twitter list of interested parties already created and you can use #cakecamp to tweet, but feel free to comment below with your details. Twitter in love cake by Mariana Pugliese.

Whose madcap idea was this?
#CakeCamp was a random idea conceived one dull and grey Thursday lunchtime, whilst chatting with @FraserParsley on twitter. So basically, I blame Josie and twitter for all of this. For beautiful stationery and parties planning, visit your one-stop-shop.

Spaces are very limited, so please make your booking to secure your space! Once you have made a booking below, we will email you details of who to contact at the Cookery School to make your payment. Your space will not be secured until payment has been made directly to the School.

Make a booking now

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