So after 28 hours, 7 trains, 3 taxis, 1 bus and shanks's pony it was all over bar the waiting... what a wonderful whirlwind of meets, greets and treats!
|Official pics courtesy of Trollbeads Cambridge, collage by Mars|
It all started on Thursday morning with the usual "Oh my god, what do I wear?" dilemma. Not the clothes - the jewellery! Final choices selected, bags packed, triple checked, note pad, kindle, phone and charger (the staples of any blogging trip) and I was off!
|Tickets check, bridge check, bracelet check, mocha & kindle check, final train to Cambridge check!|
The sun shone all the way there until I actually got to Cambridge whereupon it got a little grey, however my welcome party were waiting for me at the station to brighten up my arrival. Yes of course I have a welcome party arranged, er, okay, so my friends are pretty cool and had sorted out a lot of stuff before I arrived, thank you!!
Off we set to the first rest stop, time to grab a quick drink, sketch out plans for the evening, explain what Trollbeads are and aren't and whilst half the welcoming party escorted me to Trollbeads Cambridge, my suitcase was duly whisked away in the opposite direction and direct to where I was staying for the night... okay so I'm not exactly sure it was opposite as I was barely there enough time to get my bearings; but for the sake of artistic license opposite is as good a direction as any!
In the meantime I'd made contact with the lovely Kay, arranged to meet her at the shop and had a quick guided stroll through Cambridge...
|Pic courtesy of Trollbeads Cambridge|
Trollbeads Cambridge has got to have one of the prettiest store fronts I've ever seen and inside it's beautifully compact and bijou. Combine this with Trollbeads new store furniture, great lighting, clever use of mirrors and display space and blissfully free from other brands and the whole package packs an amazing punch considering it's footprint.
|Official pics courtesy of Trollbeads Cambridge, collage by Mars|
It certainly feels a lot bigger than it is and there are several distinct areas to browse and buy. As you would expect from the UK's first concept store they carry the full range of Trollbeads as well as the newer line of X by Trollbeads and the staff are warm and friendly, attentive without being clucky - a rather perfect mix. I had no preconceptions before I arrived, and I genuinely liked the layout and design of the store, it's been very well thought out.
On arrival I spotted Kay straight away, met Phillip for the first time and enjoyed a glass of Prosecco and just talked beads to everyone for ages.
|Trollbeads Cambridge - Spring Collection Preview Evening|
It was one of those surreal but lovely times in that I "knew" quite a few people in a virtual sense from emails, facebook, Twitter, bead forums, Curling Stones and the Internet generally, but until this evening I had never actually met any of these people in real life.
I especially had been looking forward to meeting Kay, who not only has been a contributor to Curling Stones in the past but is also someone I've been talking to for over 2 years without actually meeting in person - pssst don't tell her... but she's even more lovely in real life than she is on the Internet!
There was a nice vibe in the shop and a fair bit of shopping as well as LOTS of chatting!
The event itself was split between two venues, the shop served as first point of call and had Amanda the lovely beadmaker installed in the corner designing and making Trollbeads for everyone.
|Beadmaking with Amanda! Design and have your very own Trollbead made just for you!|
The second venue was just around the corner from Trollbeads Cambridge, upstairs at Don Pasquale's for canapes, cake and wine and the reason we were all there... the Trollbeads Spring and Valentine Collections.
A large display board held most of the collection on, complete with names and descriptions for everyone to browse, there was also plenty of time to get hands on with the new beads on a necklace whilst having a bite to eat. The team from Trollbeads HQ were presenting the collection along with the team from Trollbeads Cambridge and it was great to see such strong support for the event.
Should you wish, you could enter the guess the amount of beads competition and take home a goody bag and eat more cake and pizza than could be got through in one evening... I did nibble away but I was eating with friends later so I only hope the staff were VERY hungry once we'd all disappeared!
|New Collection and Canapes!|
The two venues worked well as people went from one venue to the other and back again, allowing everyone to have time to take the evening at their own pace.
Taking photos, chatting, eating, drinking and bead fondling can be a bit tricky when you're trying to do all of these at once, the venue where the beads were being shown had very low lighting so photos were a bit tricky... but here is the new collection from the big display board for your perusal.
|Sea Glow is firmly on my Wishlist as I love all the glow in the dark beads!|
|Blue Hematite was a firm favourite, as were all the hematite beads in the new collection.|
|Gentle Wave is another silver I've added to my Wishlist, to be fair there was a lot to like from the new collection|
|Compass is a bead I think I need to play with on a bracelet more, I can't decide whether it's on or off my list yet!|
|I almost bought Red Hematite on the night, it's a lovely purple/red, not that you can tell in this light,|
but take my word for it, it's a very nice bead! Dragonfly also appeared very popular, a very dainty bead.
|Spring Leaves was a favourite of mine as soon as I saw a stock photo, it's another one for my growing Wishlist.|
|I love Guardian of Nature, it's a very endearing bead!|
|Path of Life was one that I hadn't "noticed" as much from the stock photo, but totally fell in love with on the night.|
|If you like hearts you'll love the Valentine collection, they are all very well done.|
|I really liked Live, Love & Forgive when it saw it's debut in Gold,|
so glad the silver version has made it into the main collection
|Life & Love is one that has also made it onto my Wishlist, I definitely have a soft spot for scarabs!|
|White & Red Love Symphony is a great match for Asian Hearts|
So there you have it, I couldn't get photos of everything in a logical sequence but instead of chopping up the photos to just show one shot of each bead, I've kept the extra details and not cropped the photos so that you can catch more than one glimpse of each bead. I didn't get any good photos of either of the leathers or the lock, and the Dolphin Heart pendant is best seen in the collage where I am holding it in my hand. I've not been a fan of any of Trollbeads previous dolphin beads but I think the Dolphin Heart pendant has been beautifully done this time.
The evening was drawing to a close and it was time to say good night to everyone and head off home, or in my case off to meet my friends and have some food... more pizza!
I sorted through my goody bag whilst we were ordering food and found an extra special present from Trollbeads to all the attendees, thank you!!
My hosts for the night were the lovely Rob and Liz who run The Haymakers in Chesterton in Cambridge. Not only did they organise the logistics for the Cambridge end of my trip but I got to finally have the lovely pint of Nero I've been promising myself since the last time I visited. The new pub is lovely and I took some shots in the morning before heading off back up North!
|The Haymakers in Chesterton, Cambridge - a rare sight to see it empty (only when it's shut!!)|
Time to head home, and now I was against the clock to race back and make my appointment with the hairdresser for 3.30pm...
|Humber Bridge as you approach by train|
1 taxi, 4 trains, 1 late & almost a missed connection, 1 bus later and some more shanks's pony and it was finally time to doze whilst my lovely hairdresser sorted out my mane of grey streaks! Yes, yes, I know - most people would sort themselves out before a VIP evening out, not after, but then this is me we're talking about!
If you want to know anything at all about the new collection or my trip, please ask as I also have a copy of the new Trollbeads catalogue and details of the new collection that came in my goody bag.
Super big thanks go to all the staff at Trollbeads Cambridge and Trollbeads UK, Amanda the Beadmaker and all at The Haymakers for all their help and hospitality, and especially to Trollbeads Cambridge for the wonderful official photos!
What do you think to the new collection from Trollbeads?
Would you be interested in attending more of these launch events in the future?