29 February 2016
Spring is knocking on the door - it peers down at us through the warmth of sun rays on these still-cold winter days. It whispers promises in the air.
Our Spring is for discovering and reflecting - discovering nature and new life in both plants and animals, and reflecting on the beauty of nature, whilst blissfully basking among it all. It is such a positive, peaceful time of year, and one that we are very much looking forward to experiencing again this year.
What is Spring to you?
22 February 2016
You may remember Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten from when we completed their branding back in October 2014, and their unique signage in November 2014 - covered on the blog here and here.
We are just over a year on, and the Kindergarten have just celebrated their first anniversary. As Hannah - Co-owner and Business Manager - summarised, '1 year of learning and growing, 1 year of building and innovating, 1 year of creating and reflecting, and 1 year of evolving and developing'.
The Kindergarten began with the dream of developing a Nature Nurtures approach to early years education - respecting the importance of outdoor experience for exploration, learning and development; emphasising creative play, social interaction, the awe and wonder of nature; promoting a model of the child as a competent individual in need of security, consistency, challenge, autonomy, the time to play without interruption and the freedom to explore their world.
Here, learning is all done through play, and is entirely child-led - which makes this a very unique and attractive 'pre-school' environment, for those who appreciate the importance and benefit of hands-on learning. Now that is what we call inspiring!
So how has their branding helped them to achieve their success to date? Hannah says 'We believe branding is more than just a logo. It was so important to us that we had a strong brand and we knew Leaff could deliver this for us from the moment we met them at the studio for the initial brief. Leaff have provided us with branding that represents our values as a company, our mission, and a banner under which our community (children, parents and staff alike) can come together.'
What Helen & Hannah have built physically with their site, as well as the trust that they have developed and 'nurtured' between themselves, their team, the children and the parents, all compliment the strong and unique visual identity of their branding.
Without that attention to detail in every aspect of their business, their branding would have been nothing more than a mask. After all, a good brand is nothing without a strong service / product, and a strong service / product is nothing without a good brand.
Hannah finishes, 'Leaff clearly love what they do and will immerse themselves in the creative process to meet the brief. We are so proud of the community they have helped us to create. From the bottom of our hearts Kate and Jay, thank you for being there at the beginning and for joining us along the way!'.
15 February 2016
When Jamie Oliver’s documentary ‘Sugar Rush’ aired late last summer, with shocking footage of Coca-Cola being given to a still breast-feeding baby in Mexico, we decided to never drink another Coke again. Coke was being forced on the people of Mexico due to their lack of access to fresh drinking water, which itself was as a direct result of Coke’s use of water in the making of their product.
For all of those people in the UK that watched the documentary, and saw people who had easier access to bottles of Coke than they did to clean drinking water, how many have stopped drinking it? Why haven't Coca-Cola seemed to suffer a blow as a result of this exposure? Maybe people feel like they are unable to make any kind of an impact on what Coca-Cola does? Is it possible for a brand to become so big that it's popularity is resistant to the actions that it takes?
Coca-Cola could have offered those in Mexico fresh drinking water, all bottled in their branded bottles, alongside their normal Coke drink. They would have acknowledged their moral responsibility, it wouldn’t have cost them financially, and it would have made a great piece of PR (far better than sponsoring a positive event just to bring your brand up in association).
But they didn’t do that. Why? Because greed is a greater force than generosity. Especially in large corporations.
But when you get down to the smaller, more human companies, generosity rewards far more greatly than greed.
Good deeds are shared on social media, your business is cast in a favourable light and noticed by potential customers. People within smaller businesses are able to feel more a part of the good that they have done, and therefore bask in some of it’s shared glory. Perhaps, when a company becomes a global brand like Coca-Cola, any good the company does feels so diluted to employees that it barely registers, and so greed becomes the greater motivating force than generosity.
This greed has increasingly lead to a negative perception of the brand, and with each straw being added, who knows when this ‘brand camel’ might finally break?
08 February 2016
This month the winter sunshine has held the promise of Spring, and that has had us experimenting with vegan ice-cream. Thanks to the wonderful Naturally Sassy cookbook that we received for Christmas, we have been introduced to an array of new flavours and ideas to get creative with.
Banana & Cacao Ice Cream
1 tbspn Raw Cacao
1 tbspn Maple Syrup
Thinly slice the bananas, spread out onto foil or a baking tray and pop in the freezer. Once frozen (the recipe stipulates 2-3 hours but we have found that they are pretty frozen by around 40 minutes), mash up in a bowl - or if you have a food processor, pop it in there.
Stir in the cacao and maple until well combined (or whiz it all together in a food processor). If it has become a bit too loose at this stage then you can pop it back into the freezer in a tub to firm back up - it keeps like this in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
And finally, enjoy - just as it is, like our small did here, or with cacao nibs, or even fresh fruit. I suspect that peanut butter may be a welcome addition to this mix - we will enjoy playing around with that idea.
Do you know any amazing vegan ice-cream combinations? We would love to hear about them.
01 February 2016
I was really inspired by a little decoration that someone gave to us as a gift a couple of years back, which compelled me to create some Easter decorations of my own this year.
I love colour, and to me, there is no better time to celebrate it than Spring. With Easter just around the corner, this week I got my craft-on and created these fun, vibrant, wooden hanging eggs. Here's how...
Cut them out...
Using a thin wood - we used MDF - cut out your chosen number of eggs and drill a small hole at the top of each one for threading at the end.
I really enjoyed getting my hands colourful at this point! I chose 3 vibrant shades of wood paint to cover all of the eggs in a base colour. A couple of coats each side was perfect.
I chose a range of bold acrylic paints to make a dot pattern with the end of a brush. Acrylics were good at leaving a texture because they were thick.
Lastly, I chose some vibrant thin ribbon to thread them up with, ready for hanging. They could be hung on door handles throughout the house, to add detail to your spring decor - or why not make more of a feature of them? I am thinking branches in a vase, adorned with the eggs, which would create wonderful contrasting colour pops.