We woke up on Saturday 27th April to a grey and cloudy day. We hoped this would mean that more people would head for a pub rather than a park. It seemed crazy that only six months earlier, we had started talking to Paul Thurbon (the Manager of the Crown & Anchor in Chiswick) about the possibility of making our Dream On Days bigger, and opening them out to the public.
I have to admit that there were quite a few nerves floating around when we woke up. Everyone told us that when you are organising an event, you can only do so much, and then you have to let go, cross your fingers and hope that things will work out (easier said than done). Nerves aside, we took the time to eat a good breakfast and get ready; then we started out for the pub at about 8:45am.
It felt great when my best-friend Tracy phoned to say they were arriving in Chiswick, and just about to pull into our road. The Saunders family, our biggest supporters had arrived.
As we approached the pub at 9am, we saw a character peering into the windows of the pub, looking to see if anyone was in; our second community member, Theo Carter-Weber had arrived.
Next up were Paul Claxton and Rick Keating of Red Rose Empire, who arrived with a taxi full of speakers and all the kit for the music set-up. That made us nine strong, all we needed now was to get into the pub, but we did not have to wait very long at all until Beth, the assistant manager (now manager) arrived (she came in an hour early especially so we could get set up), and that was when we started to turn her pub upside down. The nerves were now mixed with excitement.
Bradley Hillas and Camen Gupta from Healthy Planet were the next people to walk into the pub.
Martha English, our lovely Photographer and Acupuncturist arrived soon after that. Martha’s kids also came along, to give their mum moral support and to help out. I felt really chuffed as we now had two families, and making Dream On a family affair has always been very important to us.
Paul Claxton (as you read on you will see there were so many Paul’s wandering around, that it got rather confusing…) and Rick got very busy setting up the music staging area. It was fascinating to see them set up all of the kit, so quickly, and get the sound ready for the musicians. It’s quite a technical and complicated procedure, hence why we left them to it.
Thanks so much Red Rose Empire for making sure we had a kick-ass sound system for the day.
So, with the music set-up in hand, the rest of us set about moving tables around downstairs. Here is a fun photo that I took (even though I was shaking like a leaf at the time!) of the downstairs team:
My Paul had the brilliant idea of creating a tea spot in the upstairs room for refreshment (it was a bit early to start on the wine and beer); so we brought our kettle along, a selection of Pukka teas, coffee and normal tea. Beth supplied the mugs and tea spoons, but there was a problem, we forgot our milk (which was in the fridge at home…) Theo was a star; he went out and came back with milk and even better…. biscuits, a lifesaver for a very early Saturday morning start!
Martha speedily set up her acupuncture table upstairs and then shot downstairs to start taking photos. Here are a couple of photos, the first of Paul and I having just set up our banner, feeling very proud of what was taking shape. Second is us with our Crown & Anchor stars, Paul and Beth.
Carmen and Bradley from Healthy Planet had the challenging task of building a dream tree out of books, which they had not done before (it fell over a couple of times but they soon got it sorted). Healthy Planet promote recycling and growth, so they came up with the ingenious idea of using toilet roll tubes as plant pots, and with a tray of soil to hand, people could plant seeds. Here are the guys with their table and tree all set up.
Camen and Bradley were brilliant; they rallied around helping us in every way they could to make the day buzz. They also spent the day tweeting about the event, taking photos and being generally awesome!
Our focus (with the help of the Saunders family and Theo) was now on our Masters & Harris table, which also included Theo’s children’s novel, ‘The Story of Spencer the Spider’.
Here is our long Masters & Harris table; we were selling second-hand books and showcasing my Paul’s novel ‘Rotten Apples’, Golden Lining Cards, Angel Cards the Post-it corner and the mini pamper place.
As you may have noticed from our T-Shirts, we were promoting awareness of Lifeblood – The Thrombosis charity. We had a couple of collection tins, and Gloria, our gorgeous piggy was also snuffling out the donations.
Thanks to Annya from Lifeblood for sending us all of the kit to help us do this.
I have to thank Martha English, at this point, for her amazing photos of the day. There are a few photos that either Paul or I took in the morning, but you can see the difference that a professional photographer makes!
Right, let’s now move upstairs.
To be honest, there was so much going on before 11am, that I can’t quite remember who arrived when…
Before I introduce you to everyone upstairs, let me show you a picture of the room before it was transformed late on the Friday night. Here are photos that we took when we were setting up the room (see what I mean about the quality of the photos?).
So, who were the stars upstairs on the day?
You have already met Martha, but you haven’t yet seen her little acupuncture corner. Martha was quite incredible on the day, she multi-tasked madly; taking photos and then composing herself, giving people fabulous acupuncture treatments.
Paul and I met Martha through Helen Roberts, who is a totally inspiring entrepreneur and the Champion for Start-Up Britain Richmond.
Here is Martha at work:
When Martha said yes to joining us on the Dream On Day, her friend Maya and her colleague Georgie also agreed to showcase, which was fantastic!
Maya Stanic is a very busy, amazingly talented Stained Glass Window Artist, and we were lucky to have her with us! She was so lovely, and caring during the day. Here is the piece Maya made especially for the day. I have also included a photo of Maya with Martha’s daughter, Florence (you can see that I took that one…):
We were thrilled to get a call from Georgie Sandeman the week before the Dream On Day. Martha told her about the day, and Georgie wondered if she could join us. Georgie is a talented and busy reflexologist. Having her with us on the day, offering her ten minute free treatments went down really well!
I have known Chris Lang from Flash Accounts for many years, and I love the way he works and how he runs his company! It’s always good to have a strong financial mind around, in case you need one. It was also a pleasant surprise when Chris arrived with his wife, Edyta and his baby daughter.
Next up is Dawn Adrienne Taylor; we met Dawn at Nature Intended (which is a local health food shop on Chiswick High Road), she had a little stand at the back of the shop and was telling people about Sizzling Minerals. Instantly, we felt drawn to her warmth and loveliness, and got chatting. We’ve been friends ever since. Dawn is a lady of many talents; she is a Nutritionist, Reiki Master and Raw Chocolatier.
Dawn’s friend Martin was manning the Sizzling Minerals Bar, and it was great to chat to him about his experience taking the minerals, he was a fountain of knowledge: (can you guess which pic I took?)
We met Sasha earlier in the year at the Richmond Start-Up Britain Dragon’s Den competition. She was also one of the eleven small businesses who, like us were chosen to present to four dragons (Helen Roberts was one of them, I’ll tell you more about Helen later). Sasha runs ‘Sasha Wallace Horizons (The Quality of Life Coaching Practice)’. On the Dream On Day she offered a free mini health and life check, which was very cool, and she even had an unexpected visitor……
Here is Lucy Heale, and her Luxe Boxes. I met Lucy when I worked at a company called RPM, where she is the Art Director. What is extra ordinary about Lucy is that, as well as having a fulltime job, she has formed an inventive gift box company called Luxe Box London, creating some imaginative and amazing gift boxes. Her recent lines include: the Mum and Baby box, and the Baking box:
Regulars to The Crown & Anchor may have heard of our next company, ‘I Made It Myself’. We first heard about Laura and Sangeeta from Paul T (at the Crown & Anchor). He told us how these lovely ladies had created a company which offers fun craft workshops in Chiswick, from sushi making to vintage jewellery making. We then met them at one of the Friday night Voodo Vendredi Jazz evenings, which Paul T hosted at the Crown & Anchor. It was very inspiring listening to these mum’s telling us about the business they have created, whilst juggling the pressures of being full-time mums (apparently they have had 5am business meetings! Through no choice of their own)
To add to the relaxing, pampering atmosphere, we were proud to have The Body Shop take a table. This is down to one amazing guy, Patryk Proniewicz. We met Patryk when he was managing The Body Shop on Chiswick High Road. Now, when the Chiswick branch closed, we thought that was the end of that, but not at all. Patryk moved to the Wandsworth branch; and under very trying circumstances, he kept true to his word and arranged (and filled) 100 sample pots for us, and arranged for one of his team (Carmen) to attend the day to give free hand massages. On Friday we hopped in the car and shot off to Wandsworth to get the pots of Rose and Absinthe hand cream.
Carmen was a great addition to the day, and the hand massages went down very well.
So, that’s everyone upstairs.
Meanwhile, downstairs we were all set up and ready to go. More of the musicians had arrived, including Jenny Hallam and Aaron John, we were now ready to open the doors, and to welcome the world in, but that’s a story for the next blog…