Are Our Regions Becoming Rainier?

Most of us refuse to leave the house without a brolly in our hand, especially in the UK where the weather is unpredictable. But we’re a hardy bunch, and we’ll seize the day whatever the weather. From venturing out in sub-zero temperatures in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne without a coat, to the promise of sunshine in the South from March onwards, it’s certainly a mixed bag in terms of the UK forecast. And this is only increasing…

Regardless of whereabouts you reside in the UK, you’ll have noticed that it has become more difficult for forecasters to pin down weather patterns. In recent years, there’s been an upsurge in extreme weather events. We’re taking a look at how our traditional April showers have evolved in the past decade, from sporadic flooding to some of the hardest hitting storms we’ve experienced.

Join us as we uncover just how much of a rainy nation we are, and how the times have changed.

Is the North still destined for drizzly days?
The answer to this comes as no surprise – there’s less rainfall across the year on average in Southern cities of the UK, and the North reigns supreme as the spiritual home of the brolly. The North certainly does get a bad reputation for being dreary and grey from October through to July. Even in the summer months, Northerners will be reaching for their brollies while the South sizzles in glorious sunshine. Northern UK cities have been historically regarded as umbrella territory, and rightly so. In Manchester, the average annual rainfall is 929mm, and across the border in Glasgow, the average rainfall sits at a substantial 1,171mm.

But while there are some notorious Northern areas for rainfall, recent finding have shown that since 2008, there’s been 24.3 per cent less rainfall recorded in the North. In Scotland, the drop in drizzle was 18.9 per cent over the same 10-year period. Over the past decade, precipitation trends have changed notably, and even the wettest region in the UK has experienced an overall decline in showers.

Showers in the South
The South doesn’t escape from a spot of drizzle every now and again though. In Exeter, the average rainfall per year is 848mm, and Bristol had a recorded 819mm of rain per year. London had an average of 594mm, and on average the South of England had 795mm of rain per year between 2008-2018. This is a lot less in comparison to the figure of 1,704mm for the North!

Over on the moors, the South West of England is one of the rainiest areas of the region, and the city of Plymouth gets an average of 1,000.5mm of rain per year. Gloucester follows closely with a rainfall of 840.3mm. Our picturesque Southern seaside is frequently falling victim to the untameable seas and rainy days though, as the average annual rainfall is increasing gradually.

Londoners certainly have a differing stance towards taking on the elements compared to the North though. Those down South tend to choose a trendy birdcage umbrella instead of adding an extra layer to their outfits with a raincoat.

Changes in our rainfall patterns and extreme weather
However, the North seems to be bearing the brunt of more episodes of extreme weather, such as flooding. Regions in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Scotland have experienced some of the most serious cases of flooding. Most recently, Doncaster and the surrounding areas have been submerged by a deluge which has caused mass destruction. Researchers from the University of Vienna took data from 3,738 flood measurement stations throughout Europe over a five-year-period – and they found an 11 per cent increase in flooding across Northern England and Southern Scotland.

How we deal with the weather certainly varies by region. On average, temperatures are consistently warmer in the South, so an umbrella makes sense on most days, rather than overheating in a thick coat! Meanwhile, in the North, shrugging on a big coat, wielding a trusty brolly and marching out into the rain is what it’s all about! We could all learn a thing or two from the famous northern resilience to the wet and rainy weather – add a brolly to your bag and you’ll never get caught in the rain again!

Fashion forward: Alternative routes into the industry

The UK is a bustling hub for prospective fashion employees, with many degree courses and further education options on offer for those wanting to secure a career in the industry. A little bit of creativity can go a long way though, as finding work in a fashion environment is an extremely competitive task nowadays. Some of the biggest names in the industry are Brit exports, and if you’re looking to follow in their footsteps then there are some inventive career paths that you could pursue to make your dreams a reality.

Umbrella textile designer
Umbrellas come in all colours, styles and prints nowadays, meaning we’re often spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the perfect rainy day essential. Most modern umbrellas are made using high quality nylon, and as a textile designer you could specialise in umbrella manufacturing. A degree in textile design or a related subject, or alternatively a college foundation course will allow you to appeal to potential employers. In terms of interests and skill, a clear passion for design and a creative flair will make you stand out as a clear choice in the recruitment stages. From experimenting with shapes, styles and prints, a career as an umbrella textile designer is extremely varied and will allow you to be innovative with your approach. If you believe that you could come up with a design that has the potential to rival the signature birdcage umbrella, then consider a role as an umbrella textile designer!

Skype stylist
The digital age has prompted an influx of advances in the fashion industry, and it has even triggered the emergence of remote styling. Skype stylists have become commonplace, providing people with portable fashion advice, meaning we’ll never have to endure those last-minute outfit panics again! American businesswoman and Third & Loom CEO Brenna Lyden used her online blog to leverage her Skype styling service, and she sparked a huge following which spawned into others offering the same service. If you believe that you could inject some new life into wardrobes around the would (why start small after all?!) then consider establishing yourself by creating a portfolio of the outfits that you have created. The ever-popular photo sharing platform Instagram is a great place to get started, simply build your following and then prepare to advice the masses on their garment combinations!

3D fashion engineer
While 3D printing is becoming more common in sectors such as architecture, it also has the necessary scope to fit a purpose in fashion. Creative genius and artistic director of Louis Vuitton Virgil Abloh has utilised the technique for products in his collection, showing just how up and coming this technology is. Securing a career as a 3D fashion engineer is a niche task, but it is certainly at the forefront of the industry so get a head start! As the manufacturing process continues to modernise, 3D printing engineers will help to increase sustainability in production methods, while also helping to tackle the issue of fast fashion. Having a strong grasp of information technology and hardware could prove beneficial in this role and being a natural problem solver could also be helpful!

So, how will you break into the fashion industry? The options are endless, you just have to think big and use your own individual flair to set you apart from other candidates!

Are we all becoming luxurious shoppers?

We are all familiar with the idea of high-end products versus their affordable, budget friendlier alternatives. But in terms of longevity, what should we opt for if we want to get the most our of an item? We delve into the world of price and quality differentials and help you to make the call.

Throwaway culture
We are living in a era dominated by the notion of a ‘throwaway culture’, a trend which has surfaced as consumerism grows. The concept applies to items which are classified as being disposable or if they are only short lived. Our throwaway culture is rooted largely in the appeal that inexpensive goods can have, and as they tend to be affordable, convenient fixes as opposed to buying luxury alternatives.

However, there are a series of drawbacks to consider, and it’s really up to the individual as a customer to weigh up the benefits. These habits have progressively created harmful impacts to our natural world, with the ‘fast fashion’ phenomena implicating many affordable clothing retailers. On the other hand, luxury goods are typically designed in adherence to set quality standards. This can help to curb our tendency to throw items away, as they should be made with longevity in mind. Purchasing luxury items is one way to help fight against fast fashion.

Is there such thing as a luxury ‘buzz’?
Many people who buy luxury goods do it for the emotiveness of the purchase. One study from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology has even linked a boost in self-esteem to the value of making a luxury purchase. We often associate luxury goods with an authentic status, and they are often regarded as more valuable because of their stats as the best product available. Paying less for similar goods that do note bear the same excellent quality does not warrant the same emotive response, and this gives the ‘real McCoy’ its unique selling point. Purchasing something more luxurious than usual is an event, and shoppers are usually willing to put some research in place before their big investment.

Nowadays, shoppers are looking more and more for an experience when they make a purchase, and this can be facilitated in a variety of ways. Retailers have been pushed to create an engaging experience for their shoppers, and luxury brands achieved this at a remarkable standard. The high-end French department store Galaries Lafayette used an ‘invite only’ system to create a unique allure to their stores, with access to ‘Le Concierge’ lounge where VIP’s could enjoy unique services such as personalised shoppers and relaxation treats.

The ‘everyday luxury’ staples
A luxury product doesn’t have to be extravagant. In fact, it can simply be an item that you rely on everyday that is enhanced with excellent quality features.

Something as simple as buying an umbrella can be enhanced by opting for a luxury model. The Fulton Diamond Collection is a range of rainy-day essentials, including ladies umbrellas, crafted to the highest quality standards. From woven fabrics to stunning woods, luxe leather and intricate detailing on the hardware, the Diamond Collection certainly has a luxury visual appearance. When this is combined with the functionality of the range, the distinction between luxury and budget becomes clear. The advanced performance fibreglass frames provide impressive durability, making for a longer lasting investment overall. Umbrellas can often be disregarded as disposable items, but by purchasing a luxury product you can enjoy a more cost effective essential that needs replacing far less often that their cheaper market counterparts.

Will you change up your buying habits and invest in luxury?

Preparing for Reign: What to expect from the third season of The Crown

Many of us are guilty of enjoying lazy mornings spent binge-watching the latest new series. As a result, it has become somewhat of a ceremonious occasion when a long-awaited season makes a return to our favourite streaming services. The Crown follows on from the proud legacy of the period drama, following the phenomena which followed programs such as Downton Abbey, Peaky Blinders, and Call the Midwife. Well, it’s time to recap season one and two, as we eagerly await the third instalment of the hit production.

What happened in seasons one and two?
The first season began at the start of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in 1952, initially portrayed by British actress Claire Foy. She married Prince Philip Mountbatten. Elizabeth, the heir to King George VI, and her husband moved to Malta where she gave birth to her two children Charles and Anne. Meanwhile, Philip re-joined the British Royal Navy.

King George’s health began to decline, and this was followed with a terminal diagnosis. He provided guidance for his daughter ahead of her ascension to power, and he later passed away in 1952.

The first season also documented the progression of the Commonwealth of Nations, nuclear testing in the Soviet Union and the relations between the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill (John Lithgow) and US President Dwight E.Eisenhower. The season ended with Churchill leaving office, replaced by Anthony Eden (Jeremy Northam), and the origin of the Suez Canal dispute.

Season two saw Foy’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II resume, with notable historical points leasing the plotline further. These included the unfolding of the Suez Canal dispute to the retirement of Harold Macmillan in 1963, and the birth of her son, Prince Edward, in 1964. Elizabeth gets entangled in the publicised backlash originated from Lord Altrincham (John Heffeman), amidst a trail of her own person qualms surrounding the state of her marriage to Philip. Philip is crowned and given the title ‘The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’ in February 1957.

Viewers learned more about Elizabeth’s familial circle, specifically regarding her sister Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (Victoria Hamilton). From The Marburg Files scandal and the exile of the Duke of Windsor (Alex Jennings) to a presidential visit from John F. and Jackie Kennedy prior to his assassination in November 1963, Elizabeth steered the country through a decade of rapid changes and political unrest. The second series ended at the birth of Prince Edward, her fourth child.

In line for the throne: What should we expect from season 3?
Of course, we are all eagerly awaiting the already iconic production to return to our screens. Famous British Oscar winner Olivia Coleman taking over for Foy, and Tobias Menzies picking up his duties as the Duke of Edinburgh. We expect to enter a new ear of Elizabeth’s reign when the series resumes on Sunday 17th November. The third and fourth instalments are set to delve into the years 1964-76, and viewers can expect to be introduced to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. Viewers will also witness the disintegration of Princess Margaret’s marriage to Lord Snowdon. In terms of historical points of interest, the moon landing and the decolonization of Africa look set to dominate the plotline of the third series.

Images of Coleman have been released as a teaser ahead of the big return — and we believe that a classic birdcage umbrella wouldn’t look out of place in the striking shot! Keep your eyes peeled for the trailer and get ready to binge watch the UK’s acclaimed regal drama!

How are essential products tested?

From wind tunnels to blind-testing popular cola beverages, brands must put their product through its paces. How else will they know if they can go toe-to-toe with their competitors? After all, consumers are looking for quality, especially when it comes to everyday essential products. Testing processes have to be innovative in order to give a brand something to shout about. Fulton Umbrellas are keen to explore a few brilliant product testing methods!

Pepsi Challenge
Pepsi Challenge

The Pepsi Challenge
The ’Pepsi Challenge’ was a straightforward testing process in which the company sought to prove that their product was the favourite choice amongst customers. Participants blind tested two products, one of which was Pepsi and another was Coca Cola. After tasting both, the drinkers were asked to decide which one they preferred. Unsurprisingly, Pepsi reported more than 50 per cent of tasters were said to favour their drink over Coke. The testing initiative dates back to 1975, and in 2018 the brand revived the concept in their Pepsi Max campaign.

Fulton Umbrellas Wind Tunnel
Fulton Umbrellas Wind Tunnel

Fulton Umbrellas Wind Tunnel
We’ve all been caught out by an umbrella that has fallen victim to the elements, and it is never a fun challenge to be stuck in! Umbrellas have to withstand a lot in order to make it as a daily essential. Fulton is committed to ensuring that their products are always picked up from the porch on a day when the forecast is looking rather inclement. A sudden rainstorm is sometimes only half the battle, and an umbrella which gives way and reverses in the wind is never ideal. Fulton put their umbrellas to the test to assure quality performance in the harshest of conditions.
Fulton took products from their collection to be tested at the Imperial College in London, in the wind tunnel facility. Every element of Fulton’s innovative product range was tested in the process. The Fulton Cyclone golf umbrella was tested at a wind speed of 78mph, and the super strength durable structure will allow you to complete every round of the course even in adverse weather! The high-performance polyester fabric and lightweight aluminum frame of the products lived up to their function and disaster was averted —a Fulton success!

100 Day Quality Guarantee
100 Day Quality Guarantee

Tesco’s School Uniform Guarantee
Parents with children heading back to school for the new term will want to know that they are getting quality uniform essentials that last. After all, the playground can be a challenging place for new school trousers and polo shirts. We all know that kids like to use their curiosity and explore everything, and sometimes a bit of wear and tear on school uniforms can leave parents looking for replacement items far sooner than they would’ve liked! Tesco came up with a solution for this, and their annual campaign coincides with the start of the new school year: put the product testing process into the hands of the child wearing the garments! Tesco offer a ‘100 Day Quality Guarantee’ on their school uniform range at selected stores, meaning that garments can be tested under the exact conditions that they’d need to endure. From hands-on art lessons to a bumps in the playground at lunchtime, the garments experienced it all. With scuff-resistant shoes to reinforced trouser knees, each uniform innovation was well and truly put to the test. Parents can return products when proof of purchase is presented, up until the 100-day deadline has passed.

It certainly seems like ‘tried-and-tested’ is one of the best approaches to take!

Innovations In Fashion

Arnold Fulton
Arnold Fulton

In 1956, Fulton Umbrellas started out in a small factory based in Whitechapel, where our founder, Arnold Fulton, started designing and producing some of the world’s most renowned brolly’s to date. Since this time, we’ve witnessed some immense innovations within the fashion sector, which have definitely helped us pioneer the direction of our business and revolutionise the way that we make our umbrellas.

While we often see these changes at annual fashion shows, with outlandish designs that arguably complicate how functional an outfit is to wear, what changes have fashion manufacturers welcomed that make life a whole lot easier? We’ll start with one of our own exciting developments…

Diamond Collection
Diamond Collection

1. Our Diamond Collection
After three years in the making, we’ve recently launched our Diamond Collection to celebrate 60 years in the business. As you can see, the development of Fulton’s umbrellas can take a significant amount of time, as quality is the cornerstone of our success. We pride ourselves on pushing the boundaries of development, while only using the highest specification materials and precise engineering standards before hand- finishing each product.

For this range in particular, we’ve combined the most elegant woven fabrics, beautiful woods, fine leather, and detailed hardware. It’s important for us to strike a balance between expert craftmanship and technical performance, while also designing umbrella’s that our customers will be proud to hold.

One of the standout features on each umbrella within this range is the fibreglass ribs which add a great deal of lightweight strength. Fibreglass is a prominent feature in our umbrellas, due to its longevity as a material. It is tougher than the carbon fibre alternative, and it has a higher breaking point when flexed which is extremely important when it comes to braving the inclement weather conditions here in the UK. As well as this, the material will not absorb moisture and will not corrode. We strive to make brilliant quality, easy-to-use products for our customers, and using fibreglass helps us achieve this — as it is very strong but also very light.

2. 36.5® Technology
This revolutionary fabric will become more mainstream in the next few years in both our day to day apparel and footwear. Using performance enhancing materials, it helps users to control the ideal core temperature of 37.5° Celsius. As well as this, it helps keep the microclimate next to your skin at the ideal relative humidity of 37.5% — regardless of the activity you’re doing or the external climate you’re in. When you’re hot, active particles embedded into the material use your body’s energy to remove the moisture and cool you down. On the other hand, when you’re cold, it will trap this energy to warm you up.

The particles which are used are made from volcanic sand that have billions of microspores which increases the surface area of the material. Delving into the specifics, the particles actually absorb infrared light in the spectrum that the human body emits, where the light becomes the energy that powers the particles. Interestingly, the active particles trap odor molecules and release them when they’re washed and dried. The active particles will last the lifetime of the product too, as they are permanently embedded in the fibre.

3. ChroMorphous
As described above, the textile industry has encountered remarkable changes that are set to shift the industry in a completely new direction. ChroMorphous is no exception either, as this fabric is bringing something to the table that we could have only dreamt of a few years back. Simply put, this fabric is described to be an active, user-controlled, colour-changing eTextile. Wearers can control the colour and patterns of their clothing at any given time using their smartphones.

The technology works as each fibre contains a small conductive micro-wire inside. So, when an electrical current passes through it, the fibre warms up slightly which activates the colour-changing pigment. Although the material requires heat to activate new colours, the fabric itself won’t get hot and wearers will feel little or no change. This is something that is still in its development stages but will likely transform the way we shop for our clothes in the future. As this will allow for people to change the colour of their clothes, this might eventually contribute to the reduction of mass production and fast fashion — allowing people to purchase products for the longevity rather than their style.

Evidently, the fashion landscape is ever-changing. From making our umbrellas sturdier and increasing product lifespan, to clothing that maintains the right body temperature. What other innovations would you like to see in the future?

Why is rain important?

As a nation, we are very accustomed to a rainy day. From those drizzly April showers to the severe downpours that follow rumblings of thunder, we experience it all — but we aren’t always as prepared for it! The UK Met Office found that between 1981-2010 Britain had an average of 1,154mm on rainfall per year, and during this period we endured an average 156.2 rainy days. Being caught off guard when the heavens open can seem like an annoyance, but rain is actually a very important aspect of wider life, and furthermore, the health of our planet and its ecosystems. Join us as we take a look at some of the unsuspecting value found in the humble ‘rainy day’.

Rain is a lifeline
Rain is a lifeline

Agriculture and the environment
Rain is a lifeline for supporting crop growth across the world, and this proves vital in the need to meet soaring food production demands. Rain is a valuable way to manage crops, and it is a natural alternative to the strenuous man-made irrigation process employed by farmers in regions where less rain falls. Each crop has its own water requirements, and farmers can use climatology methods to calculate which crop will fare best in accordance with long-term rainfall trends based on the region they’re in. Therefore, rain really is vital in order to maintain the world’s food supply, and agriculturalists are already experimenting with cropping habits, and the effects of climate change on rainfall are already impacting annual figures.

Rain creates landscapes
Rain creates landscapes

Rain creates landscapes
Some of the most famous areas in the UK have been created by rain at some stage, through the gradual process of erosion. Rain is heavily involved in topography — the study of physical land features, as it carves and softens areas of land, creating unique rock formations on some of the UK’s most iconic areas. From the White Cliffs of Dover to the Birling Gap in East Sussex, erosion caused by natural elements such as rain continues to make its mark on the land, and the level of impact that it can have on our surroundings is remarkable.

Rain
Rain

Atmospheric clean up
Rain itself is associated with the phenomena of atmospheric cleaning, targeting pollution build ups found in our towns and cities. A telltale sign of this is the brown haze which is often evident in the skies of these pollution-dense areas, and it appears due to a layer of pollution containing a harmful mixture of aerosols, dust, and soot gathered in the atmosphere. This has been proven to have potentially damaging effects on human health, as well as food security. These metropolitan examples of pollution benefit greatly from a good downpour — just make sure you’ve got your trusty Storm umbrella to hand! Rainfall can periodically clear the air of this dirt and debris, and when this happens after a prolonged dry spell, it brings a distinctive fragrance known as petrichor. Australian scientists first named the term in the 1960s, and it describes the earthy, warm scent that enters the atmosphere produced by bacteria released upon rain hitting dry ground.

Therapeutic qualities
Some of us rejoice when it rains — and no, we’re not even talking exclusively about farmers here! Many people take comfort from the sound and appearance of rain, and if you happen to be warm and sheltered when the downpour begins, then rain can feel therapeutic. Many of us enjoy the comfort that comes with even just hearing the sound of rain, and there’s certainly something more appealing about listening to rain whilst warm indoors than being stuck in a deluge without a brolly! In fact, taking a walk in the rain or even going for a run can feel extremely relaxing. Fulton’s range of umbrellas are all designed to help you tackle the elements, with fiberglass ribs for lightweight strength and durable polycarbonate joints.

Now that we’ve learnt the value of a downpour, it’s time to seize the day — whatever the weather!

What to remember at weddings

The considerations involved in planning a wedding will seem endless for couples as they work through everything from choosing a venue to deciding on their menus and picking wedding favours. With so much to do, it’s almost inevitable that sometimes, small details can be forgotten — but as long as these details don’t involve forgetting the rings, then you should be fine! Join us and take a look at some of the key things to remember at weddings.

Birdcage-1 White
Birdcage-1 White

 

Have a ‘point of contact’ person
On the big day, you’ll be overcome with emotion and from the getting ready routine to arriving at the venue, it’s likely that the bride and groom will be hard to reach. It’s not likely that couples will be spending time on their phones trying to make sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time, so it can prove useful to assign one of your attendees with the job of keeping guests informed of the goings on ahead of the ceremony. Having a handful of questions pop up simultaneously can be overwhelming, and the couple will already have plenty on their minds before they exchange their vows. Ask a family member or friend to act as a point of contact for guests or even a call recipient from suppliers or caterers, as this can feel like one less worry on a day that you’ll want to enjoy every single minute of!

Clearview
Clearview

Don’t get caught out by a downpour
One of the big concerns for both couples and their guests attending their big day is the weather, as we all know that in the UK, you just don’t know what you might have to endure. You could be sweltering in late September looking for shade at any opportunity or shivering in a marquee on a day in mid-July. If you’ve already checked the forecast and it isn’t looking promising, then it could be an idea to place a compact umbrella beneath the aisles in your venue. These could prevent the day from getting rained off, as many couples are drawn towards outdoor ceremonies rather than the traditional church setting — and your guests will certainly be grateful! If you’re a bride worried about getting soaked as soon as you step out of the wedding car, the consider a clear umbrella from Fulton’s collection. Our products are engineered with additional flexibility and reinforced ribs to help withstand wind. Your guests will still be able to see you, but if it’s a rainy, windy morning then you’ll manage to keep your hair and makeup sheltered from the elements.

Fend off the shivers
As mentioned, not everyone is inclined to keep their wedding inside, as a natural setting can often make for a great summer party feel to your wedding, as well as providing some lovely photograph opportunities. However, you might want to take into account that even if you are fortunate enough to enjoy a sunny wedding day, once the evening draws in the temperature is bound to take a fall. This can make guests wish that they’d brought that extra layer they were debating, as they try to combat their shivers by dancing — or by visiting the bar more often! A smart choice to keep your nearest and dearest warm is by dotting some blankets around your venue for guests to pick up when necessary.

Provide a spare seat or two
You’ll probably be spending a day or two in your venue making sure that everything looks perfect ahead of your big day, paying attention to the smallest of details and being precise with the quantities of things that you’ll require. It’s always good to have a little too much than a little too less though, be on the safe side and make sure that your guests’ plus ones are accounted for by providing a few extra seats if you are holding your ceremony somewhere other than a church with pews. You won’t want to be having people rushing around in the minutes before you walk down the aisle, so have a few additional spaces free to guarantee that your ceremony runs seamlessly.

Fairway - White
Fairway – White

It’s easy to get bogged down with wedding planning, so keep these all-important things in mind and worry less and enjoy yourself on your special day!

Save it for a rainy day? Alternative uses for umbrellas

While we often forget our umbrellas when we need them the most, they can also come in handy for a range of unsuspecting purposes. Umbrellas are versatile, and you could get more use out of your trusty rain shelter than you first thought with some handy tips in this guide. Let’s take a look at some clever brolly innovations!

Art installations
Back in 2017, the Coppergate Shopping Centre in York gave shoppers shelter from the rain beneath an array of suspended umbrellas, a vibrant display which made visitors smile come rain or come shine. It was a slightly tongue-in-cheek instalment, after the centre had previously fitted a beach area, complete with deckchairs and a sandpit, to celebrate a hot summer in the same year. However, the rain soon returned, and the success of the beach was short lived; so the street became a canvas for what was named the ‘Brollywalk’, and many passers-by stopped to admire the eclectic tribute to the classic British summer. In this way, umbrellas became a cheerful, artistic take on the impromptu-showers that we all know and love (when we’ve got an umbrella with us, of course!). Umbrellas come in a whole host of colours and prints, and they can make for quirky centerpieces or event decorations, so why not opt for something a bit different!

Parasoleil UV Spotty Rose
Parasoleil UV Spotty Rose

Sun shields
When the forecast heats up, us Brits all change into our summer wardrobes and leave the umbrella at home in favour of a trendy pair of sunglasses. However, consider packing your umbrella when the temperature hits double figures, as the intensity of the sun can require some shelter. An umbrella provides a portable escape from the sun and shade from the harsh rays. Take the Parasoleil UV Spotty Rose umbrella we’ve developed for example, with a UPF 50+ label, you’ll be protected from up to 99% of UV rays!

Umbrella kite
Umbrella kite

Kites
Did you know that you could make the perfect afternoon pastime from an old umbrella? With a bit of adjustment, an old umbrella could become a kite! Repurpose it by manipulating the wire frame or adding some wooden rods to create a kite shape. Then, use a ball of string and a makeshift handle to complete your invention, and enjoy the challenge of making it fly. Autumn and winter are the best seasons for trying this out, as it tends to be windier which makes for optimum kite flying conditions!

Met Gala
Met Gala

Fashion statements
Umbrellas come in a whole host of prints and colours, allowing people to express their individual styles in a unique way. Whether you keep it sleek and co-ordinate your prints or colours, or you choose to brave a bold contrast, an umbrella can make for a trendy addition to everyday attire. For some star-studded inspiration look at Lady Gaga’s recent Met Gala outfit choices, one of which included a black umbrella to match her extravagant dress. Her entourage of dancers also held umbrellas around her, making her appearance on the iconic Met Gala stairs an impressive spectacle.
So, which one will you try out? Remember, you don’t have to save your umbrella for a rainy day!

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 Roundup

Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show

Last week saw another spectacular year of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, where blossoms were blooming, and creativity was flowing across all the miraculous exhibitions on display. Hosted in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of retired British Army soldiers, the event brings in around 157,000 visitors each year and never fails to impress locals, tourists and of course – the Royals.

UPF 50+ Parasoleil UV
UPF 50+ Parasoleil UV

Last year we saw a plethora of emerging trends, but what made 2019 so special? Aside from the gleaming sun, where our UPF 50+ Parasoleil UV Spotty Rose would have certainly came in handy and will do in the coming summer months, protecting you from 99% of the sun’s UV rays, there is a lot to recap on!

The Duchess’ Debut
You may have seen some photographs circulating the media recently of the Cambridge’s pondering in a stunning garden. Did you know that this was designed specifically for the week-long extravaganza? With the help of Andrée Davies and Adam White, the Duchess of Cambridge co-designed the RHS Back to Nature Garden and was very hands on during the process. She even received some help from George, Charlotte and Louis!

As this was a Feature Garden, it wasn’t in with a chance of winning any awards. However, that didn’t matter as Prince George told his father, Prince William, that he would score the garden ’20 out of 10’ which is a huge complement from our future King!

Plant of the Year
You may be familiar with the Plant of the Year Award at the Chelsea Flower Show, and this year’s winner was very impressive. Out of 20 contenders, the Sedum Atlantis took first place. The award was announced in the Great Pavilion, where all 20 plants were on display.

But what makes the Sedum Atlantis so special? Well, it’s extremely low maintenance which is one bonus — meaning it never fails to look good. As a hardy stonecrop, the plant itself is drought tolerant and is easy to grow. From June to September, it forms 30cm high cushions of variegate foliage topped with yellow flowers. As well as this, they’re extremely attractive to pollinators!

BBC People’s Choice Award

For the second year running, Mark Gregroy copped the BBC People’s Choice Award for his Welcome to Yorkshire Garden. The display itself was his 99th garden and also won him a Gold medal and hosted some famous faces — including Dame Joan Collins and Dame Judi Dench. However, one of the best complements he received was from Hollywood A-Lister, Stanley Tucci, who described it as stepping into another world.

Gregory commented: “I want to thank everyone that voted for us, I couldn’t be happier. It’s such an honour to receive this accolade again and to have been able to share the place I call home with the world is a privilege. It seems that people love Yorkshire as much as I do!”

Best Show Garden Award

Everyone wants to win the Best Show Garden, there’s no doubt about it. However, judges called Andy Sturgeon’s M&G Garden ‘perfection’ when naming him this winner. The woodland landscape embodied a naturalistic sensation and lavish planting definitely impressed visitors. One area of the garden that must be mentioned is the burnt oak timber, which was definitely a focal point!

Believe it or not, this is Sturgeon’s eighth Gold win — but what was his mission behind this particular design? Speaking on the creation previously, he said: “I want visitors to think “wow!” when they first see it, then be drawn into the detail and engage with it – to look closely at individual plants and the water in the garden. In fact, they could recreate our use of waterspouts at home, using just one to have water falling into a small pool,”

Those were some of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show highlights, and we can’t wait to celebrate the next in 2020. With summer finally here, it’s time to pay more attention to our beautiful gardens and create an immersive experience that everyone can enjoy!