It's a girl - yellow tulips - the bump diaries week 21 Find out all about why colour denoting gender is crazy and how my family found out the gender

Week 21: It’s a girl – The Bump Diaries

So we know we are having a girl – now we just have to tell people!

Seeing our little girl last week at the ultrasound was amazing – everything from her little feet to finding out the gender. For BF the change from not wanting to even know until born to wanting to shout out the gender from the roof tops was incredible. I think for him it was even more real as he could finally picture a little baby girl in his arms or running around the house.

For me it was a very different situation – suddenly there was the task of telling people. It turns out that I am actually quite shy – all of the baby and engagement announcements had all been on Facebook or via presents so I could avoid actually telling people. When I had told people before the announcement it had felt really difficult too – I just felt uncomfortable with it.

The sudden realisation that I had to declare to the world something that wasn’t subtle and cute was difficult and attention seeking. It seems like me and BF had a change of positions of how open we wanted to be. Adding on top that having a little girl means the rain of pink was soon going to occur also scared me. I have never been a very pink girl and grew up with not having to wear it much as my mum found or made an array of crazy coloured outfits. It may have just been the era I was born or how much my mum went out her way to find clothes that weren’t pink, all I know is that I can hardly find many pictures of me wearing pink as a kid.

For months I have been going into the baby shops and falling in love with the cool and cute things that are about. We thought it would be a boy so unsurprisingly I cooed over the adorable dinosaur and star wars oufits – they appealed to my geeky side while being so cute so why would I not love them. Browsing the shops this week though with the new knowledge of us having a little girl everything was pink, floral and well anti-geeky in every way. I’m going to have an overly pink baby, toys and life it seems.

It's a girl - yellow tulips - the bump diaries week 21With my background in design, so a huge interest in the historical use of colour, it added more annoyance – pink traditionally is meant for boys. Going back any time before 150 years ago, even all the way to ancient Greek times, if you had a boy you would wrap and dress them in reds or pinks, while girls were in blue. Red and pink dyes were harder to create so showed the importance of “this is a boy”. The use of colour used to be a very important status symbol around the world – in England for instance anything purple was seen as royalty or extreme wealth as these types of dyes were rare and very expensive. In China only royals were allowed to wear silver and gold nail varnish – you could loose your life if you broke this very important colour related rule!

For thousands of years girls were dressed in blue – it is and was a sign of them being worth less than their male siblings. Knowing this makes you really think about the use of colour differently. This colour divide, other than for royals or the very rich, existed in clothes throughout life. It was only during Victoria’s reign that things concerning colour changed – there was a female on the throne after all.

During the Victoria era all kids were dressed in white similar outfits until they were about 4. Lots of parents would be able to reuse the clothes no matter what the gender so saved money. Shops decided that they wanted to encourage more sales to brought back the use of colour to denote the sex of a baby again – this time however for whatever reason they switched the colours. Now in society blue denotes boy and pinks denote girls.

For me then the use of colour either denotes the differences in perceived worth based on your gender or a tool for businesses to make more money. Having studied colour psychology at University, I know the positive and negative impact of coloured light or walls so the influence it can and does have. Pink, for instance has a calming effect on 90% of people but makes the other 10% more violent or aggressive, while blue increases the ability to focus and study. During my studies, a shocking revelation was that purple walls can increase suicidal thoughts but purple light has been found to help improve various health issues. It sounds very earth motherly but the more and more I studied colour the more that was backed up by lots of research, particularly by the marketing world, on how to influence people.

Knowing everything I do about colour, it makes me uneasy to feel any colour is going to be pushed upon my child due to modern social convention all because businesses wanted to make more money. Add with my shy nature of shouting from the rooftops about something I actually had no control over, telling people the gender, even family felt really uncomfortable. BF was very excited though so I was really open that he could tell any one and everyone but he was also the one who would tell my family.

My family knew the exact day that we were having the scan but had been warned to not ask. Almost a week after we knew it was a girl I was talking on Skype with my dad as I was in the kitchen cooking dinner – BF walks into the room realises I’m talking to my dad and asks if he wants to know the gender. Of course my dad says yes and BF announces the big news. After a minute or two them exchanging excitement, all while I carried on cooking, it was all over. My dad tried to continue the excited news with questions but I shyly changed the conversation. Once it was all over though it was a relief – he knew so now my partner only had to tell my mum. I told BF to message or call her with the news as it would also be nice for her to hear from him – he is the father to her grandchild after all.

A few days pass and he’s been to Exeter for a meeting – as he his train is almost back in Brighton he puts out a message of “Almost home to my girls!” Having been over a week since we found out he thought it would be OK and that I would have told my mum despite having reminded him again and again that he needed to do that. 10 minutes after he walks in the door I get a message from my mum of “did BF let the gender slip!!!” – sure enough 3 minutes later the phone is ringing. During that time we had the lovely conversation of “I thought you would have told you mum as you have talked to her twice since we found out” to “nope remember we agreed you were telling people and was going to tell her”. I think this is the only time he’s said oops.We look at who is calling and both giggle. I pass the phone to him and let him have a whole conversation about it all. With my mum he did also include not to make a big fuss as I was feeling shy about it so when he passed the phone over it was just a lot calmer and about Sam’s trip home message being so cute than making a huge fuss.

So now my family know and while I’m super excited it has made me realise just how shy I am about announcing big news. Looking back it made me realise the cryptic baby announcement and getting BF to post about our engagment was so that I wasn’t making some big grand announcement – while being extrovert in a lot of ways when it comes to big news I’m actually really shy! It is interesting what we learn about ourselves when it comes to the whole pregnancy journey. It’s clear who will be making the announcement when she finally arrives… it won’t be me!

How did you tell your family and friends the gender? Did you make a big gender announcement or keep it a secret? How do you feel about colours denoting gender? I would love to hear about your thoughts, opinion and stories so leave a comment below!


Made Brighton: Best of Jewellery

This weekend I have been up and down the aisles of Made Brighton and it has been fantastic. The show is full of wonderfully created pieces of art, fashion, home ware and jewellery.

I love jewellery but I hardly ever find things that I like on the high street. As someone who can’t wear gold this is even more of an issue and even in Brighton’s famous laines, it is mainly all similar looking engagement rings or gold. In the past I have travelled to various places known for their creative jewellery but At Made Brighton there was so much choice in such a small space.

While there were thousands of different pieces on display here are my 5 favourite pieces of jewellery.

5. Fabric inspired pendant

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

If you know me well, you’ll be aware that I have gotten into sewing over the last two years. Deep in the middle of the whole show was a stall full of jewellery all based on sewing, knitting, and textiles. There were pendants of famous types of fabric weaves in silver that filled the walls to bracelets with sewing techniques. I love the story and passion of all things sewing about it all yet this pendant just stood out.

You can see Kate’s whole collection at www.kateholdsworthdesigns.com including this pendant necklace for £50.

4. Unique Silver links necklace

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

Of all the jewellery, there was one piece that you could not miss – set on a black velvet display it’s unique silver links stood out beautifully. I loved the care and attention made to ensure each link in the chain was beautiful and unique all at once. There were other pieces by the same artist but this was the one that brought you in with its eye catching nature. It is hard to photograph its true nature as it is such a 3D piece of art but even flat images show that it is something extra special.

Called Angles and Curls, this necklace is beautifully created and you can see more of this exciting range at www.ellenmonaghan.net or e-mail ellen@ellenmonaghan.net to view the whole collection.

3. Delicate Silver spiral necklace

Cool silver squirrel necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

I love animals so I adore this cute squirrel necklace. It was such a popular range that I struggled to get to the stall for a closer look at first. You could get just the acorn but for me the adorable squirrels running up and down really makes it for me. You can get this necklace for £135 and the other items in Phoebe Jewellery’s Woodland collection here.

2. Silver flower pendant

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

Now for me there is more of a story behind why I love this – though it is beautiful and had everyone fighting over it. Growing up my mum would plant lots of cool and fun flowers in our garden – my favourite though was the Fuchsia bushes that sat on the corner of the whole garden. With a name like Annabelle, it has always been hard to find anything with my name on it like my sister could.

My mum rather than ignoring her daughter’s frustration searched and found that there was a type of Fuchsia that was called Annabelle. She planted it and a few months later after it started to flower she showed it to me and told me that it was better to have a beautiful flower bearing my name than anything else. It is something that has stuck with me since and so has the love of Fuchsia’s.

As you can imagine finding a necklace that was beautiful, silver and shaped like a Fuchsia is just wonderful. So close to Christmas I wish I could have justified buying it but I’ll be keeping nbNg’s details close by for when I can justify getting my self one!

This is available in a load of other metals but for me the silver one for £100 was definately my favourite. Check out their website for all their amazing designs.

1. Silver kingfisher cuff

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

I love really delicate jewellery – for me fine metal work beats big diamonds any day. Walking past Helen London’s stall without buying anything was so hard as it just was everything I love.

Every piece of jewellery had such beautiful and fine detail. While I didn’t have a chance to talk to the designer, I loved every piece as they were everything I love and look for in the jewellery that I wear. Out of all the jewellery at Made Brighton, nothing stood out or was as beautiful as Helen’s Swan bracelet. It was gracefully beautiful and I have never seen anything quite as incredible.

For more details about Helen, visit www.helenlondon.co.uk now or view her Filigree collection to purchase some of her incredible work.

This design really does show what unique, beautiful and incredible items that you could come across at Made Brighton. I hope that in the future I’ll be able to see more designs from Helen London and even own my own too.

Made Brighton is open tomorrow for one more day at Brighton Dome if you would like to search for your own favourites.

Love all this beautiful jewellery – make sure that you check out my So Pretty board for all things sparkly and wonderful!

Follow Annabelle Spender’s board So pretty! on Pinterest.

Did you go to Made Brighton? Will you go to the next event? What was your favourite piece? I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below.

 

 

 


Made Brighton: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Review

As  trained designer, I have been to a lot of design shows in the past and even exhibited at some with my own design work.This evening I headed to the 10th Made Brighton show and it was the first time that I attended this event too.

Each year, before the event officially opens, there is a private viewing were you can get into the event early to get the best choice of things as well as enjoy a far less crowded event with the joys of free drinks. I still can’t believe it but the team behind Made Brighton gave me access to the Private Viewing event!

Beautiful silver necklace - check out my honest review of Brighton MadeI have been to Brighton Corn Exchange before yet when I arrived there is still the buzz of excitement as you walk into an incredible Indian themed building. As I arrived the doors started to open so I was lucky that while there was a queue it moved really quickly.

It is a shame though that the initial feeling of excitement and buzz was stopped with a rather silly queuing system once inside – you had to walk in and if you tried to walk into the venue or to get into the queue of people waiting for drinks you were just directed away to a hidden queue. This was a bit weird and just caused more confusion than anything and minutes later was ignored by everyone. I think there was just basically someone trying from the Brighton Dome team that seemed to be on a power trip of wanting to direct people for the sake of making himself feel better than keep order. This was though I will mention the only small thing that was bad about the whole experience so you can imagine how the rest of the show was if it was just a moment of confusion that is by far the worst thing!

Now I don’t drink at events so I normally have very little choice when it comes to drinks. Most of the time it will be a range of alcohol and orange yet when I requested something non-alcoholic I was offered 4 different options – a first for me at events like this. While the complimentary drinks won’t be about the rest of the event, it was so great that they had clearly thought about everyone going. I must say that the feeling of strolling around stalls with a beautiful glass of juice still made me feel so wonderful and corks were constantly popping around the venue the rest of the evening – one even hit my friend at one point!

While I have been to the Corn Exchange for fairs and events before, I barely recognised it! You walked past a curtain and if it wasn’t for the beautiful and unique mirrored windows above I wouldn’t have realised where I was if blind folded into the venue. The whole place was stuffed to the brim with stalls that many vendors had to share to fit them all in.

Beautiful chandelier - check out my honest review of Brighton MadeI will admit that some of the things were out of my price range – I don’t have £1,900 to spend on a chandelier nor £1,800 on a piece of glass artwork but there were so many things at different prices that there really is something for everyone and an incredible experience as I swept through so many stalls finding more and more things that I wanted.

One of the biggest things that shocked me was just how incredible everything was – I have been to design shows before and none have ever had as many things, even in shows 4, 5 and 6 times as big, as this show did. The creativity of the designs that you were surrounded by is amazing; it is an environment that many young designers struggle to find and yet here was the perfect place.

Made-Brighton-2015-event-lampshadeThis for me has definitely been the best fair that I have come across in Brighton in my 2 and a half years but is also high up on the design fairs that I have attended. I have been disappointed with other craft fairs in and around Brighton before – there were some good items but you’d have to search for them; at Made Brighton every stall was impressive and beautiful. Even after going around all the stalls twice, I struggled to find a stall that was rubbish, tacty or poorly designed; the team at Made Brighton have really been clever with their selection of exhibitors. It may have gone un-noticed to others but Made Brighton’s clever planning of which stalls went were meant that you never saw similar styles down the same aisle and this just added to the creativity that you felt as you walked through the venue. Even with lots of businesses there, you never felt like you saw something twice – every stall seemed to have its own take, style on even simple things like a scarfs played felt and looked drastically different from stall to stall. Based in the heart of Brighton for only the next three days, this is for me a must as you will find plenty of Christmas presents or inspiration.

All in all this was an incredible event and I really can’t wait until the next one now to see what incredible designers I will get to meet. This is not a craft fair – this is a design fair and so expect some of the best bespoke design work locally.

I loved this celebration of design and to be able to go on the Private Viewing event meant that it was just a limited number of people there. I was warned by many exhibitors there just how busy the weekend is so if you do plan to go, try to head there early or try to visit on Friday if you have the chance.

The Good: location, exhibitors, and layout
The Bad: queue system and possibly how crowded it might get
The Ugly: my bank balance…
Overall score: 5/5

Have you been to Made Brighton? Will you be going this weekend? What are you looking forward to see the most? What is your favourite design or craft fair?