Botanical Weddings + Etsy Wedding Pop Up marketplace at West Elm!

WOODLAND WEDDING

Last year I was thrilled to be a bridesmaid and a Maid of Honour to two best friends on their wedding days, and whilst their events had different themes, they both featured handmade elements with special details and customisations that gave each wedding its own personal vibe.

Woodland Wedding cake: Didi Sherman,
Photo: On Love and Photography

Photo: On Love and Photography
Wedding dress: Romany Ghani
Bride: Amity Gray

Amity and her (now) husband Lloyd celebrated with an enchanting woodland wedding last May. A truly magical event! The sun shone, the birds sang, and the feet danced. There was a strong botanical theme with lush greens, flowers, fern fronds, and foliage from the table decorations to the bouquets. I even designed my own dress with illustrations of lichen and ferns (photo: far left).

BOTANICAL THEMES

Image: Pantone

Image: Pantone

Pantone colour of the year is Greenery, a colour said to be "symbolic of new beginnings". A sweet concept for starting a new life together, and the flourishing growth of a relationship and family! 

This, combined with the still hugely popular botanical trend reveals a whole host of fresh ideas for 2017 weddings. Continuing with the handmade element, discover my Etsy wedding picks below with delicate greens stemming* from jungle to forest to garden. Click through images for individual product listings.

*pun game strong?

HANDPICKED BOTANICAL WEDDINGS

ETSY's WEDDING STYLE GUIDE

Etsy's editors have curated a Wedding Style Guide with ideas for a variety of themes to help you "design the wedding of your dreams with unique finds that fit your style". What's more, by shopping with Etsy's independent sellers, you're supporting small businesses in achieving their dreams too! Winner!

Image: Etsy.com

Image: Etsy.com

Etsy Wedding Pop-up at West Elm

Are you planning a wedding? You're in luck! Etsy are hosting a pop up wedding marketplace, and you're invited! Taking place at West Elm’s flagship store in London, you can meet the UK sellers showcasing their unique items (get your custom orders in!), and participate in the wedding-inspired craft workshops - make a day of it!

The details

WHAT: Etsy Wedding Pop-up at West Elm

WHERE: West Elm, 209 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7PN

WHEN: Friday the 17th – Sunday the 19th February 2017

OPENING TIMES:

Friday | 10am – 7pm
Saturday | 10am – 7pm
Sunday | 12pm – 6pm

COST: Free entry

SOCIAL: #EtsyAtWestElm @EtsyUK

 

PS: Etsy wedding experts are on hand to help with a series of #EtsyWeddings Q&A sessions! Starting with Charley Beard of award winning blog London Bride on February 3rd, 13:00 - 15:00 (usually viewable for 24hrs). Find out how to participate here

Are you planning a wedding? What kind of theme are you thinking of? Please do RSVP!


Sponsored post: This post contains wee affiliate links so I can keep my tea jar topped up at no extra cost to you. You can read my affiliate policy here.

Valentine's gift guide 2017: gifts and cards from small creative businesses for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Gift Guide from small businesses and Etsy sellers

Shop small for Valentine's Day and support independent businesses! Give unique gifts and cards that are made by hand with love, for your love.

Click through the images for more info and/or to purchase from Etsy sellers and Not On The High Street partners.

Valentine's Day Gifts

Valentine's Day cards

Find even more Valentine's picks on my Valentine's Pinterest board.

Do you have a favourite gift or card from the collection? Let us know in the comments below!

This post contains wee affiliate links so I can keep my tea jar topped up at no extra cost to you. You can read my affiliate policy here.

Start As You Mean To Go On - New Year Pep Talk For Small Business Owners!

Digibloom new year pep talk for small business owners


Here's my personal small business new year's mantra: "ASBO".
Thankfully nowt to do with an anti-social behaviour order.

Achieve more with planning
Stay healthy by switching off
Be more productive with time
Organise like a fiend.

Here are some more of my tips for starting 2017 as you mean to go on:

  1. Plan a (healthy) daily routine
    Plan your days in advance, ensuring to begin in the morning as you mean for the day to go on. Get up and dressed, have breakfast, prepare for the working day as if you are going to work (because you are, even if it's in your home!)

    Have regular breaks, perhaps pop out for lunch to get some sunshine. End the working day at a reasonable time, switch your computer off and clear your workspace ready for the following day. Maybe even prepare meals one day for the rest of the week. Planning can help your productivity sooooaaaarrr!
     
  2. Create an inspiring workspace
    Whether you work from home, an office, studio, library or cafe, try to create a working sanctuary. If you are easily distracted by other people in the room, invest in noise-cancelling headphones. If you waste time searching for your tools, have them organised in a storage system.

    Have your computer-based work organised into a filing system, not a bunch of files scattered all over your desktop. Guilty! Surround yourself with inspiring imagery such as artwork and photos. If you work from home, try to use a separate area from where you sleep and eat. Keep your space tidy and inviting so that you feel like working.
     
  3. Know when to unplug
    As a small business owner, it's so easy to fall into working long hours as there is always so much to do, it never stops! However - you need to protect your health and wellbeing by finding your work/life balance.

    If you rarely unwind, your spring will be so wound up that you pop! Please don't pop. Take the breaks you deserve, get outside and away from your screen, and when you unplug, really unplug! Don't think about or talk about work until the next day. Easier said than done, I know! But I have personally experienced ill health in the past due to always being 'switched on', and it can negatively impact your business. Not worth it.
     
  4. Socialise
    Talk to like-minded thinkers, whether going for a coffee, chatting on the phone, or meeting for an exhibition. Inspirational people, discussions, and places will surely aid ideas and motivation. Sometimes you can't just rely on the cat. I said sometimes!

    Do you have any tips towards a healthy and happy work/life balance?Share with us in the comments below!

8 small business tips for conquering your tax return without tearing your hair out!

8 tips for conquering your tax return. Small business tips on Digibloom blog with guest post from Anita Brook at Reid & Co.

To kick off the new year (and self assessment deadline month.. eek!), I'm pleased to share wise words from financial expert Anita Brook in this guest post to inform and motivate small business owners. Anita is a Director of the leading small business accountancy firm Reid & Co based in Milton Keynes, working with individuals and businesses all over the UK.

Prior to this she ran her own small accounting firm, launched while caring for her young daughter Isabella. "As a result I know all too well the amount of stress that can be experienced with the self-assessment deadline imminent, trust me having a young child increased this tenfold!"

Self Assessment deadline tips for Small Businesses in the UK

Here are Anita's tips for Digibloom readers:

We all know that January is an incredibly stressful time for sole traders and small businesses, with the self-assessment deadline looming closer, and more important things to do than be online until the early hours completing your paperwork – so how can you make it as stress free as possible?

HMRC require self-assessments to be completed no later than midnight on the 31st January 2017. This is always an incredibly busy time for us as accountants and we understand how stressful it can be for small businesses.

Here are my top insights into how you can conquer your self-assessment this year, without losing any hair:

1. Register in advance

By the time you read this it’s already too late to complete the self-assessment on paper meaning you have no option but to do so online. You can’t actually submit your tax return online without being registered with HMRC first. If you haven’t already gone through this process, you need to do so ASAP!

It can take a few weeks for your activation PIN to arrive through the post, and HMRC won’t give you the information over the phone, which means that if you leave it too late to contact them, you probably won’t receive the information in time. As a result you’ll likely miss the deadline and automatically be fined £100.

2. Understand the financial year and deadlines

The last tax year started on 6 April 2015 and ended on 5 April 2016. The annual self-assessment means that any income earned during that period should be included in your end of year figures. If you sent out your invoice in the current tax year but didn’t get paid until after the deadline, you should still include it.

3. Find your UTR

You can’t submit your return without something called a UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference), which is a 10-digit reference, found on any paperwork from HMRC. If you don’t know your UTR, you’ll have to contact HMRC’s Self-Assessment Helpline and ask them to post it to you.

4. Collate all your information

To file an accurate return, you need to have all the necessary information in front of you to enter either manually or online. This ‘generally’ speaking should include things such as:

  • If you are employed, receiving wages (this includes if you’re a director of your own limited company), your employer should have given you a form P60 showing your salary and tax for the year to 5th April 2015. You’ll need that form to include with your tax return and if your employer gave you a form P11D showing any expenses or benefits received.
     
  • If your bank pays interest, you will also need to how much interest you received in the tax year and any tax deductions. However, don’t include interest on any ISAs and personal allowances.
     
  • If you’re in business as a sole trader or partner, you’ll also need to know your business’s income and costs for the tax year. If you haven’t started sorting through the receipts for these costs you’ve collected, you must start doing this now.
     
  • If you’ve received dividends on shares you own, whether these are in your own company or another, you’ll also need to include this dividend income on your tax return and demonstrate where it came from.
     
  • Finally, if you earn more than £50,000, and you or your partner receives Child Benefit, then these payments also have to be shown on your tax return.
8 Tips for conquering your self assessment 2017

5. Follow the rules – to the letter

There are so many rules and regulations when it comes to HMRC and tax, it can be incredibly confusing. However, you must ensure you follow these to the letter, particularly when completing your tax return. One of the biggest errors I see is when people add up their income/ expenses.

Bear in mind, if you sent out your invoice in the current tax year but didn’t get paid until after the deadline, you still need to include it.

Another issue we see is ‘expenses’ that you can and can’t claim, especially when it comes to travel, accommodation, food & drink, entertaining, clothing and the business use of your home etc.

One thing you can do is check items such as this via the expenses list on HMRC’s website.

6. Check, check and check again

The form needs to be submitted (not just completed/ started) by midnight on the 31st January, so clicking ‘submit’ is as vitally as important as the information in it. You can complete the form online, via the HMRC website, or alternatively you can complete within specialist software, such as FreeAgent (for sole-traders) or open software, such as TaxCalc which aids the completion before taking you back to the HMRC website to file.

7. Pay on time

This may sound pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how much we see this happen. Don’t forget to actually pay your calculated tax return amount which also needs to be settled by the 31st January!

8. Bring in a professional

If you’re still unsure – hire an accountant. We are accustomed to reading what can be jargon to small businesses, because we deal with it every day. You may find in the end it’s also more cost productive because of the amount of time you spend trying to decipher all the information into the form!

At Reid & Co, we can support with all tax matters including self-assessments, so feel free to call our team today on 01908 233700 or visit our website http://www.reid-co.co.uk.

Connect with Anita via the following links:

Anita Brook on LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/anitabrook
Website: http://www.reid-co.co.uk

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HMRC have useful live webinars and videos to help you understand the self assessment process.

What do you struggle with most when it comes to filing your self assessment? Let us know in the comments!