Mood Beach Bar & Restaurant

A Winter Wonderland at Mood Beach

A winter wonderland

A “Winter Wonderland” is a rare occurrence in Majorca, we might see snow once or twice a year, and normally only on the mountain tops, but in a restaurant in Costa d’en Blanes? Never! Well, maybe not quite never… This Christmas season a talented artist is being brought over to transform the interior of Mood Beach Bar and Restaurant into a snowy winter scene. Over a cup of tea and a slightly dodgy Skype connection I had a chat with artist and visual merchandiser Sian Wedgwood-Walker, tasked with turning a Mediterranean seaside establishment into Santa’s grotto.

Vicki McLeod: So, where shall we start? Where did you study?

Sian Wedgwood-Walker: I went to Birmingham University where I studied Fine Art. When I left I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I thought about becoming a curator, but I’m a bit of an art snob, I don’t really like “old” art and I knew I would have needed a wider perspective than that. Within the art world you’ve got two ways you can go: you can either be one of the chosen few of amazing artists which make it, or you can be part of the rest and basically have to find something else to do!

I’d been doing a lot of performance and installation art during my degree, I liked to explore my interaction with the world through clothes, so I thought perhaps fashion was something I could try to get into. I started to work with a friend of mine who was an illustrator and we did some shows and projects together, but it didn’t work out so I looked to change direction a little. I’d always been interested in creating environments, and I was fascinated by window dressings, I really liked to go to the shops just to look at the windows, so I decided that maybe this was the way to go. I knew that I needed to use my creativity and I really like building and making things, so that’s why I decided to join House of Fraser and work my way up. I started to work as a Sales Assistant on the Phase A “mat” (that’s retail speak for the area you get when you are a franchise in a department store). I was forever redressing the mannequins and moving things around to see how they would work and they soon realised that I was really interested.

VM: Did they notice an increase in sales as well?

SWW: Oh yes, every time I increased the sales between 5 and 20%.  I started to look into how I could develop my career. The clothes I was working with were very nice, but not my kind of style. Then a job came up internally at House of Fraser where I had the freedom to create my own windows from scratch. It was a fun dream job, I had total and utter freedom! I could take things from anywhere in the store and put them together. That’s when I made a ball gown out of Lee jeans and dressed a mannequin in it, I called her “Miss Light Up Lee”. But then the credit crunch came and that really stifled my ability to be creative, we had to focus on blatant discounted offers and really work on selling, and everything just lost its fun. Then I moved to work for H & M in a very different, much smaller store. It was a promotion for me as well as I was also in management. The company look at visual merchandising in a very different way, and it does really make a difference to sales. Then I moved up from a 2.3m store to a 9m store, and I am running a team of six. H & M are an amazing company to work for, but still retail is very structured and set, there are specific things you have to do depending on the brands that you are working with.

VM: So now you are developing what you do outside of H & M as well.

SWW: Yes, I’m moving into creating environments for parties and weddings. I did my own wedding last year when I married my husband Flixx. My creativity really got to flow, we had a Peter Pan theme because it was his favourite book when he was child. Everything was drawn from the idea of being in Neverland. The whole theme was magical. The only problem was that my ideas were much bigger than my budget, so we had to keep it realistic! Now I am currently working on a project for a Burlesque show which is great, and I am still also working for H & M. We have Katy Perry jumping out of shopping bags throughout the stores at the moment for the Christmas campaign, it looks great!

VMC: What kinds of window and visual displays do you like to see?

SWW: I love Selfridges, their windows are always amazing, and Karen Millen as well. They are always very creative and inspiring.

VMC: From a cynical point of view the windows have to make you stop and want to go inside the shop don’t they?

SWW: Yes, of course. That’s the aim. We use “Hotspots” inside the stores as well to promote clothing. We might have something which has been in the store for months and we move it to these particular places and it will sell out or a customer will say “Ooh, this is new!” even if it’s been in the store in a different position for a while. There’s certain things which most people know about the psychology of visual merchandising now: like keeping the items that you want to sell on eye level. And customers always turn right when they enter a store. We have what we call an “A” area it’s the main selling point where you would put your main trend or campaign.

VMC: And what’s your personal style, which designers do you like?

SWW: I love Vivienne Westwood, she’s a crazy mentalist, completely bonkers! And I love Alexander McQueen as well. But I pull things from everywhere really, I like Victoria, 1920s, street style. And I love to make things as well.

VMC: Were you a big fan of Blue Peter when you were little?!

SWW: Yes, I loved it, but I never had the sticky backed plastic. My mum taught me to sew and I would make clothes for my troll dolls. I love to see how things are put together, I’m a bit of a geek about that.

VMC: So what are you going to be doing at Mood?

SWW: Margaret, the owner, wants to have the theme A Winter Wonderland so I’m going to use the colours white, silver and tinge of minty blue. There’s going to be as much fake snow as I can fit in as well! I have some ideas about how we can make it seem as if you are walking on snow as you go into the restaurant area.  I’m going to be using a lot of icicles, baubles and snowflakes, and white twigs. I want to hang a lot of things from the ceiling and make the whole place very glittery and twinkly. I don’t want to say too much as I want it to be a surprise.

VMC: It’s a big place though, this sounds like a lot of work!

SWW: Yep, it will be, we’ve scheduled that it will take us two days to install, we want it to be ready for Sunday December 20th. We’ve doing everything including the table settings. I’m also really keen to recycle and reuse objects so I’ve asked Naim at Mood to save wine bottles and we will be spraying them and using them in the installation as well. I’m so excited! It’s going to really fantastic!

                                                                                                                                                                                               

You will be able to see the Winter Wonderland at Mood Beach from Sunday December 20th to January 3rd. For more information email info@moodbeach.com

 

Coffee time!

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It happens every year: August is a burn out, in more ways than one, and then BOOM! The weather changes and we’re straight back on the Mallorca merry go round of charity events and get togethers. I’ve got to admit, I do love our island for that. This Friday I am helping to organise “Mallorca’s Biggest Coffee Morning” which will be at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes and in aid of the cancer organisations on the island. It’s only 5€ per person which gives you a cup of coffee, a slice of cake, and a nice warm glow. You can bring friends, or make some when you get there as it’s normally quite busy. Doors open at 11am and then at 1pm there will be a menu special offer (call Mood for info as you have to book by Thursday afternoon, 971 676 456). Izzy Newman will be singing and being her lovely self, there will be cake competitions (thankfully for my waistline I am not a judge) which you can enter if you would like to. The categories will be Best: chocolate, sponge, fruit, cupcake or decorated, and you need to bring your creation to the venue between 10 and 10.30am on the day.

We’ve also got an fine offering of prizes for the best cakes, and some excellent raffle prizes as well. I have all of these in my hot little hands, I’m trying to figure out which ones I am going to “lose” and keep for myself, heh heh heh! So, if you are at the event on Friday you might win:  a painting by Vivian Borsani , a voucher for a pair of TopAs shoes, a 25€ voucher for Gaia Bathtime in Palma, a voucher from Salon Bling for a Shellac manicure, a voucher for a photography session with Aimee K Photography, a voucher for a facial from Bodhana Wellness in Portals, a voucher for a massage from Bodhana Wellness in Portals, four sessions with the Mallorca Tutoring Academy, a session of yoga with Saskia Griffiths, a makeup session with Laura Gisbert, a crystal ball from Angela Pryce, a book voucher from Kay Halley at Universal Bookshop, a voucher from Clare Jury at Nice Price, a voucher for a Jessica Geleration – gel polish treatment  from Lauren Watson at Studio 1, a voucher for a nutritional consultation from Suzanne Garaty, a voucher for a microdermabrasion facial from the HSJ Clinic and Doctor Huw Jones, and handmade jewellery from Confetti and Julia Ball. Not a bad list eh? And there’s more! So please make sure you come along on Friday and support the event.

Chinese Whispers

_-Industry-Chinese-Whispers-2-4-Xbox-720-_Whilst the Brits are getting their knickers in a twist about this new ‘Bedroom Tax’ we´ve got a few new problems to deal with ourselves over here in Mallorca. Have you heard about it? You have to declare if you have any property worth over 50k, investments, and something else as well, I´ve heard, on the grapevine. Well that´s just it isn´t it? It´s all gone a bit “Chinese whispers”: everyone´s talking about the new tax declarations that we have to make if we are residents in Spain, but no one seems to actually have any solid information. First it had to be done by a certain date, then no, that date was wrong and it had changed, then there we thought it was just property, but now it is assets as well, or so I have heard.

And the dire consequences of not declaring? Fines, large ones, and interest on the fines, plus excommunication, followed by death, or so I have heard, Chinese Whispers again you see. There is some entertainment to be gained from telling someone who knows nothing about the new declaration, watching the levels of panic rising, their breath quickening and their faces reddening as their hearts start pumping? Priceless.

Some people I know have even said, perhaps they just won´t bother to declare at all. After all, how could the hacienda find out if there were assets? But, I get the feeling that perhaps, that this time they mean business. Perhaps, gasp, the British and the Spanish tax offices will actually speak to each other? Given the terrible state that the Spanish economy is in I think they are going to be knuckling down pretty hard on us.

We all like to tell the stories of the black economy and how quaint things were once upon a time. There is a story from my village which goes something like this: “George couldn´t afford to pay his electricity bill so the bank took some money out of his friend John’s account to pay it because they thought he ‘wouldn´t mind’”. Those kinds of sweet little stories have done the rounds for years so I completely understand why we may not really take and new crack downs seriously, but when you have people like Kate Mentink from EPORE (Europeos Por Espana) wading in and organising information sessions, then it´s time to take notice.

Kate says that confusion is rife on the subject, “I see that the misinformation on this tax subject, and the subsequent rising levels of panic, are causing problems for the ex-pat residents here on the island. I do not think the traditional. “head in the sand” attitude is really going to help this time!” So that is why she is organising a free information session this Friday night (March 22nd 6.30pm) at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes. The speaker will be a tax expert Miguel Angel Serra, he is a lawyer and an economist. The whole meeting will be in English; it is free, without any obligation or commitment.  There will be a question and answer session at the end. Best get there on time to get a good a good seat, there will be a lot of people there, or so I’ve heard.

If you can´t make it to the meeting on Friday then get in touch or if you need more information visit http://www.familymattersmallorca.com