This Month At Wonderland - April

From eggs to the undead, priests to platters, here are some of our favourite things from April:
Wonderland do Root (Emilie and others):

“To kick the long Easter weekend off in style, Alison and Rich took (almost) all the Wonderfam to Root (restaurant at Wapping Wharf) for lunch on the Thursday. We sat outside, dusted off our sunnies, drank rose and looked back on another month of busy madness at Wonderland. The food was AMAZING! Lots of different platters with all manner of lushness, and something for everyone too – we have a mix of veggies, vegans and meat eaters and were all beautifully catered for. Highly recommended.”

Wonderland vibezzzz (Alison):

“The amazing energy and spirit that everyone brings into work every day.” Awww.

Fleabag (Jamie):

“Possibly the funniest, heart-warming, heart breaking & perfectly acted piece of television I’ve ever seen. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is AMAZING! And I’m in love with a Priest.”

Game of Thrones (Jemma, and pretty much everyone else except Ellie M):

“We’re still yearning for the super sassy dialogue and big-character twists from the earlier seasons and there are plot holes (and plot armour) bigger than an undead giant – but nevertheless we’re LOVING it. Brienne getting knighted, Tormund’s giant-suckling story, Arya’s silent creeping… can’t say too much more because SPOILERS.”

Sugarloaf Mountain (Ellie):

“My favourite moment of the month was when I made the most of the beaaaaautiful sunsheyine on Easter Weekend and went for a walk around the absolutely stunning Sugarloaf Mountain in Abergavenny, where my partner’s family lives. The huffin’ n’ puffin’ was all worth it in the end, when we were greeted by a giant platter of cheese, bread and wine at the Sugarloaf Vineyards. That makes me sound well posh…  I did lie outside the Vineyard in a star shape pouring a bottle of water on my head upon arrival, if that helps?  #keepinitclassy “

 


This photo of Llansantffraed Court is courtesy of TripAdvisor

This tweet (James):

Our awesome chocolate eggs (everyone):

Alison and Rich gave the Wonderfam the prettiest / coolest/ most tasty choccy eggs  EVAR for Easter. Check this beauty out.


THIS MONTH AT WONDERLAND

All the things making us have hearts in our eyes in March….

NATALIE JOINING WONDERLAND (Rich / everyone)

“New Wonderlander Natalie has joined us from Paris (oh la la) where she headed up M&C Saatchi PR. More about Nat soon!”

SKIP GALLERY X SELFRIDGES (Alison)

Wonderland pals Catherine and Lee, AKA Baker & Borowski, brought their awesome Skip Gallery art space to Selfridges’ shop floor, in collaboration with artists like Maja Djordjevic.

MASSIVE ATTACK IN FILTON (Jo)

“Adam Curtis did the visuals and it was pissing down with rain but it was great and different and the venue was spectacular, very stark but atmospheric.”

QUEER EYE SERIES 3 (Jemma and Jamie)

“It’s so full of heart, hope and sheer fabulousness. It’s impossible not to feel better for watching it. Now have serious binge-watch regret.”

REAL LIFE PEAKY BLINDERS (Ellie M)

“OK not quite but I went to an immersive Peaky Blinders-themed experience at DEPOT, an abandoned warehouse in Cardiff. We watched a (fixed) boxing match, witnessed a few deaths, did a bitta (fixed) gambling, all in our 20s Birmingham gangster wear. Casual Saturday night really.”

FASHION FREAK SHOW (Natalie)

A review of John Paul Gaultier’s life, in theatre format – absolute GENIUS.”

THE BRIGHTEST BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY (Emilie)

The incredible story of Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood icon and amazing inventor. Not only was she a beautiful actress but a brilliant mind.

NEWCASTLE (Jamie)

“I went the furthest North I’ve ever been this month and I was AMAZED at how beautiful Newcastle is. The culture, the history, the food”

BRUNCH AT DELA IN EASTON (Katie)

“Hands down the best brunch in Bristol”

ARCTIC MONKEYS SONGS… (Ellie K)

“…performed by a 10 piece brass band. Worth it whether you are an Artic Monkeys fan or not!”

TOUCHING THE VOID AT BRISTOL OLD VIC (Sarah)

“An amazing interpretation of what I thought would be a very difficult story to translate into theatre, but it was captivating!”

“PUT IT TO THE PEOPLE” ANTI-BREXIT MARCH SIGNS (James)

“Insanely funny, insanely British.”


Anthony Burrill: It's cool to be kind (+ interview with Anthony Burrill)

We’re over the moon to be collaborating with letterpress design god Anthony Burrill to produce a limited edition set of prints, with 100% of proceeds going to Kindly Collective:


Kindly Collective, a charity set up by Wonderland founder Alison last year, is on a mission to help create a kinder world by funding and supporting grassroots projects with heart.

 

We’re massive fans of Anthony’s work – anyone who’s visited Wonderland HQ will have seen his prints in our meeting (AKA Tina Turner) room – so you can imagine how chuffed we are to be working with him and raising money for a charity close to our hearts at the same time.

 

The Wonderland X Anthony Burrill collaboration, ‘Kindness is Strength’, is in Anthony’s signature bold and beautiful letterpress style and we reckon it would make the perfect Christmas present for people who like things to look good AND do good. We hope it encourages a wave of kindness, not only through its message but through its fundraising too.

 

There are very limited numbers available so buy one now at our Shop.

 

We asked Anthony a bit more about kindness:

 

What does ‘Kindness is Strength’ mean to you?

 

It means being strong enough to show kindness, to consider the feelings of other people and lead your life in a positive way.

 

What kindness do you want to see sweeping across the country this festive season?

 

I’d like to see more tolerance and acceptance of other people, no matter what background they might be from. I don’t want it to be just over the festive season; kindness is for life, not just Christmas.

 

Tell us about a time you were shown (or showed) kindness.

 

I think it’s small random acts of kindness that can mean the most, the things that we do without thinking and on the spur of the moment that can positively change a stranger’s day.


WONDERLAND DOES 2018

We’re officially halfway through 2018 (OK, a bit more than halfway – but we were a bit busy watching the World Cup and Wimbledon and drinking iced coffee and saying IT’S SO HOT TODAY ISN’T IT. Oh, and working on loads of cool shit of course). So it seems like a good time to reflect on Wonderland’s best bits of the year so far, in no particular order:

 

1. WELCOMING NEW WONDERLANDERS TO THE WONDERFAM

I know we just said “in no particular order” but this is everyone’s number one best thing. NO DIGGITY.

 

Our people are what makes Wonderland what it is. This means we’re fussy AF about who joins the fam and it ain’t easy to find them.

 

So we’re absolutely chuffed to have brought some super-bright, savvy, funny and all round lovely people – who also happen to be great at getting shit done brilliantly – into the fold. OMG LOVE YOU GUYZZZZZ *group hug*

2. MOVING INTO OUR NEW OFFICES

At the start of the year we moved into our first proper grown up offices in an incredible location. And we love them long time:

 

3. CLIENT LOVE

This one goes both ways. Firstly, our love for literally all of our clients – we’ve had a ball working with some wicked, interesting, fun-loving, genuinely great people to work and spend time with who truly care about what they do. From food festivals to craft fairs, ketchup to carpenters, soup to salons, mayo to money.

 

Secondly, our client love for us – we’ve had some borderline make-us-cry-happy-tears feedback from clients – like the email from one who’s moving to a new job listing all the ways we’ve helped her, to the Senior Head Honcho dude who described us as the best agency they’d ever worked with (gulp, no pressure then?), to the people who we love to meet for drinks even though we’re not currently working with them, just because we really like hanging out. HEARTS 

4. DANCING, SINGING AND GENERALLY MAKING DICKS OUT OF OURSELVES (TEMPORARILY)

Jamie’s head roll. Alison falling on her arse in a client meeting. Jemma dancing into a pizza box. Ellie not noticing that she was standing next to the Shard (only the tallest building in the UK), or all of the newly super-brightly painted walls ever. Sarah and Emilie’s Disco Friday. Rich thinking there is such a thing as a Ribena plant. James doing…. Hang on a minute, HOW HAS JAMES NOT DONE ANYTHING RIDICULOUS ALL YEAR?

5. WERK WERK WERK

It’s hard not to come across all braggy and wanky when we say this, but one thing that makes us all happy is working hard on great projects we believe in and getting brilliant results for our clients.

 

We learned a new word recently, compersion, which means “the feeling of joy one has experiencing another’s joy”. And that is a pretty good word to describe how we feel here. One person’s success/ sweet piece of coverage/ amazing creative idea/ new biz win at Wonderland is celebrated by us all, although we all acknowledge it’s usually down to more than just one of us. And that’s probably because we’re FAAAAAMLY.


Wonderland moves into Arnolfini’s second floor studios

WE LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT
Wonderland Communications moves into Arnolfini’s second floor studios

All of us at Wonderland are BEYOND excited to be moving in to Bristol’s iconic Harbourside arts centre Arnolfini from right bloody NOW.

 

Not only is the physical space spot on for Wonderland – we LOVE the office, the building, location and views – we also couldn’t be happier to know our rent is helping to fund Arnolfini’s exciting and ambitious future as it undergoes its current transformation.

 

Culturally, Arnolfini is right up our street too – Wonderland has a heritage working in and passion for the arts, and we’re hoping its brave, dynamic, and creative magic rubs off on us.

 

New client wins in the second half of 2017 have seen Wonderland continue to grow, and in recent months it became clear to us that despite the love for the Kingsdown office where Wonderland was born two years ago, and the sweets thighs of steel our St Michael’s Hill commute was creating, we were gonna need a bigger boat.

 

We were convinced – wrongly, it turns out – that finding the right place to suit us, our values, and some of the team’s more “discerning” members’ aesthetic requirements, would be a pretty tall order. But luckily for us, a moment of serendipity led us straight to our ideal new home.

 

Luckily for us, Arnolfini recently handpicked a small number of businesses to become creative and strategic partners within their amazing space, taking another step towards achieving the organisation’s long term vision and mission in 2018 and beyond.

 

It’s an utter joy to us that Arnolfini chose Wonderland to be part of their journey. The chance to be the first residents to move into Arnolfini’s studios is a dream come true for us.

 

If you’d like to come and visit us in our new digs (and hear all about our Tina Turner shrine / why the hell we even have a Tina Turner shrine) just give us a shout!


Makers gonna make. Wonderland gets crafty with The Handmade Fair win

We are ultra-excited to tell you that we’re working with The Handmade Fair on this year’s flagship event, taking place 14-16th September at Hampton Court.

 

Now in its fifth year, The Handmade Fair is THE place to be if you love making (or buying) handmade things. It’s all about celebrating creativity and features a shedload of workshops to get stuck into, hosted by some of the best talent in the business, where you can try your hand at a load of cool crafts – from making tassel earrings to learning the basics of modern calligraphy, plus all the painting, sewing, papercraft and other artistry you could wish for.

 

You’ll also be able to get your fill of retail therapy, with a whole host of stalls selling gorgeous handmade wares, as well as the kit to make it yourself, and some delicious street food stalls to boot.

Our lovely client, David Westman, Marketing Manager for The Handmade Fair (who incidentally shares our undying love for Tina Turner), said:

“We’re so excited to be working with Wonderland. From the moment we met them we were bowled over by their ideas and their infectious enthusiasm and passion. We can’t wait to get creative at Hampton Court with them.”

 

Our equally lovely Director, Rich Gundry, commented on the win, saying:“We’re a mad keen bunch of makers and doers at Wonderland; Alison is an interiors geek, Jemma dabbles with a bit of sewing, Jamie always has the paint out, James loves to cook from scratch, and Ellie is partial to a bit of upcycling. We’re gonna go away and get busy crafting so watch this space for more news.”

 

Check out more information on the Hampton Court Handmade Fair here – and if you fancy coming along, tickets will be on sale early April.


Two years in: five things we’ve learned about starting our own business

It’s been just over two years since that momentous day when Alison walked into an accountant’s office and Wonderland Communications was kicked off with a BANG and a KERPOW (and more than a few forms to Companies House).

 

We’re a little bit sentimental here at Wonderland so we’ve been reflecting on the past 24 months and thought it might be a nice to share the “top 5 things we’ve learnt in the last two years” in the form of a blog (catchy title huh?! The list ran closer to 1,000 but you’ll be pleased to know we’ll save the other 995 for another day).

 

So here it goes…‘the top 5 things we’ve learnt in the last two years’

 

#1 Have a purpose (one that you actually give a shit about)

Okay. So the day that Alison stepped into the accountant’s office (Jan 7th to be precise) is our ‘official’ birthday, but our spiritual birthday was the day we sat in the pub and sketched out our business plan (bottle of wine in hand) and worked out what we wanted our business to be.

 

With our clients, we preach evangelically about having clear, genuine and a compelling vision, mission and values.  We treated Wonderland no differently.

 

Having a clear purpose and a strong set of values has enabled us to make good decisions every single day.  It also gives the team, our clients and the rest of the world an idea of what we’re all about and most importantly it ensures we jump out of bed every morning with a purposeful spring in our step.

 

#2 Be brave

We’ve made some pretty brave decisions in the past two years.  It’s fair to say we’ve all had to pull on the BIG BOY pants and make some tough calls.

 

Setting up Wonderland in the first place was Alison’s first brave call.  Stepping out of the comfort of a salaried job and all its trappings and having the courage of her conviction to take that leap.

 

Scary stuff.  But being brave doesn’t mean being rash.  The plans were in place, the thinking had been done, but the big boy pants were definitely deployed on the 7th January.

 

Every client proposal, every decision we make, we encourage each other to be brave.  Brave in our thinking, brave in our ideas.  Being brave and making sound financial decisions for the business go hand in hand.  Every recruitment decision has been taken with a healthy dose of bravery, backing ourselves to make the investment work out.  We’ve also taken brave calls when it comes to turning work down if it doesn’t feel like the right fit for us – see #1 about our values.

 

#3 Get professional help

Regardless of how awesome you are at your job, calling on the skillz of others from time to time can be of huge value. It certainly has been for us. Especially when it has come to the big grown up stuff, like business planning and when you can afford to bring more people on board.

 

We’d highly recommend bringing someone on board to run a few sessions with you a year. Someone who can push you, challenge you and generally make you feel uncomfortable. Because being uncomfortable probably means you’re doing something brilliant. And scary. But mostly brilliant.

 

In the last two years, we’ve worked with the amazing Mette Davis to scare us silly. She’s really good at it. You see, without outside counsel, there’s a danger that you very rarely disagree with yourself. For us, having Mette to provide a fresh perspective and added impetus to our planning has been awesome and really helped us push ourselves to continue to be ambitious.

#4 Sleep on the big decisions

We all wear our hearts on our sleeves at Wonderland and being impulsive often goes hand in hand with that. We’re huge believers in trusting gut instinct, but a good eight hours sleep and allowing your brain to process everything often brings clarity and a different perspective. Sleeping on it can also can stop you being a total dick when you are feeling a little pissed about something.

 

Talking of dicks…

 

#5 Don’t be dicks

This could also be called ‘treat everyone with respect and approach every day with passion and belief in what we do and who we do it for’, but it didn’t sound so snappy.

 

But also, we quite love ‘don’t be dicks’. It says everything it needs to. We like each other a lot, we like our clients, just as much as we love the work, we love eating chips together and singing Tina Turner songs. And the reason why it works so well is that we are likeminded people, with shared values, who are all pretty good at what we do and we treat everyone we meet with love and respect. It’s really that simple.

 

So that’s my 5 things. As you can probably tell, I’ve LOVED every single second of every single day. We’re growing and flourishing. And long may it continue.

 

And it’s not just about what we’ve learned, either, but what we’ve experienced. I asked the other Wonderlanders for their highlights from the past 24 months:

 

Alison

“Aaarrrggghhhh this is REALLY HARD. TOO HARD. Too many people, projects, decisions, moments to mention. I’m at massive risk of offending someone by pinning this on any one moment. So I’m gonna say ‘all of it’. Which is a total cop out. Soz.”

 

Ellie

“My highlight is heading to Downing Street with Claire Throssell, to hand in a petition to demand that children’s safety is put at the heart of decisions made in family courts. Being on hand to manage media, interviews, outside broadcast crews and photographers was an emotional and unforgettable experience. I was astounded by Claire’s strength of character, determination, and drive for change, especially when discussing her own story and loss.”

 

James

“Seeing and being part of Wonderland growing from strength to strength. Having joined the team in the very early days it’s been amazing to see the business grow, the new team members join and new clients come on board for the ride. We’re proud to do things in the Wonderland way, and it’s great to see people respond in such a positive way to that approach”

 

Jamie

“So in my little 6 weeks, for me, my highlight has been joining more than just a workforce, but a family. It’s completely different from anywhere I’ve worked before and that has been fantastic.”

 

Jemma

“All of our clients are gems but something that stands out for me is volunteering at We The Curious as part of our client immersion. It was a great experience and gave us the chance to get under the skin of the organisation, which ultimately makes our job so much easier (and yes, I may have had a go on the laser maze challenge as well). It was also pretty cool being able to impress my We The Curious-mad kids (finally) by telling them who our new client was.”


A wintery January Saturday morning with Weekend:IN and 15 female entrepreneurs and lady bosses

Last Saturday I spent a couple of glorious hours chatting to a bunch of women who have either started their own business or are planning to do so in the near future.

 

I was invited to speak by Olivia Tripp, founder of the brilliant Insta @Bristoldoors and Weekend:IN – a Bristol based company specialising in social media marketing, influencer marketing and influencer events for independent brands.

 

Olivia is a glorious example of everything we love about Bristol, female entrepreneurs and millennials. She’s a freckled, ambitious, inspirational connector of people and a true lover of beautiful things. I don’t think there is an influencer, design brand or beautiful venue that she doesn’t know.

 

A few days on and we just wanted to extend our thanks to Olivia for inviting me to talk, as well as to the ladies who attended, listened and took part in my workshop “Stand out. Stand up. Stand tall. Stand for something, goddammit. AKA Creating a strong brand that does you proud.”

 

Meeting you all was a reminder of all the amazing, entrepreneurial women out there in the world. Ladies who have great ideas, brilliant businesses, a staggeringly ambitious start up mentality. It’s hugely empowering to spend time with such a collective of smart, sassy, energized lady bosses.

 

Thanks so much for having me. GUTTED to have missed the sessions from @the_bakemonger ,@lionheartmag , @thesefourwallsblog.

 

Final thanks to the amazing Helen @courthousefarm – what a beautiful space. I’ll be back!


Last minute Christmas presents that don't suck

So you’ve left all your Christmas present shopping until the last minute and would rather watch all the John Lewis Christmas ads back to back forever than have to schlep round the shops trying to work out what to buy for your famalam.

 

Panic ye not – we’ve come up with a list of not-shit gifts (or shops at which to buy them) which you can get in time* for Christmas (and none of them involving Amazon frickin Prime)

KEEPY CUPPY

KeepCup, approx. £10

Where to get it: Two Day Coffee, Bristol, and various other outlets

They may be a client of Wonderland but they’re also just generally a pretty amazing company with a tonne of purpose at their heart and great-looking products. KeepCup are a true sustainable pioneer, driving the reuse revolution, one reusable coffee cup at a time (did you know we use 7 million disposable coffee cups A DAY in the UK alone?

Their whole range is amazing but we especially love their new Star Wars cups, for the big or little Stormtroopers in your life.

GETTIN CHILLY WITH IT

Chilly’s Insulated Bottle, £20

Where to get it: Gift voucher online 

A shit-hot (or should I say cold) reusable water bottle is a must. A few Wonderlanders already have these bad boys and can’t recommend them enough. You might not fancy ice-cold water all day right now, but come festival season they’re essential. It’s too late to get it shipped from their website but why not give them a digital gift voucher and let your giftee choose from the multitude of designs and colours available themselves?

VERONICA DEARLY MERCH

Where to get it: Gift voucher online

 

We are big fans of Veronica here and love her funny, self-effacing and slightly rude designs. In fact our Ellie bought us all the incredible “Don’t be a Dick” keyrings (bit shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted there Els).

She offers a handy email voucher so even those Christmas Eve-rs reading this should be able to sort something out.

If you still feel the need to hit the shops, our failsafe choices:

UTILITARIAN DELICIOUSNESS AT LABOUR & WAIT

If you’re a fan of everything utilitarian then you’re gonna love this shop. It’s one of our favourites in London. Always something amazing to discover from aprons, to soap, hardware to clothing, and even the proverbial kitchen sink. Functional, simple design rules. Bloody love it.

PAPERSMITHS FOR PERFECT STATIONERY PORN

A local haunt, much loved by everyone at Wonderland, is Papersmiths, a Clifton stationery emporium and a total feast for the eyes. Pens, notebooks, things you need and things you don’t. You literally can’t go wrong buying something lovely in here.

YES DIGGITY

If all else fails, go immediately to Dig Haüshizzle on Colston Street in Bristol. You can ALWAYS find something amazing here, from furniture to curiosities. It’s literally packed with beautiful things. And the owners are SUPER lovely and helpful if you get stuck.

Or if you think Christmas is really all about giving:

KINDNESS IS CONTAGIOUS. PASS IT ON THIS CHRISTMAS WITH KINDLY

Earlier this year Alison co-founded a charity with a couple of friends. The Kindly Collectivesupports grassroots charities and projects that have a social or environmental purpose at their heart. We currently support three projects – under Kindly Kids, Kindly Women and Kindly Creatures – that all need funding and help in raising awareness.

Kindly Kids supports unaccompanied Refugee children across Europe, Kindly Women supports vulnerable Yazidi women living in refugee camps in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, teaching women to sew, and providing them with the tools and equipment to create sellable garments, providing them with a small income, independence and perhaps most importantly, helping to rehabilitate them. Kindly Creatures is raising money to fund vital research into a critically endangered species of dolphin, the Atlantic Humpback, also the shiest dolphin in the world.

If you have any pennies left over then the projects would all appreciate them.

BUY EVERYTHING FROM THE CHOOSE LOVE SHOP:

If you haven’t read about this already then you’ve been living in a cave.

Choose Love is the world’s first shop where you can buy real products for refugees. You can buy loads of different items at different prices, from emergency blankets to school bags and medical equipment. You can even buy the whole shop for just under £500.

Do something good and buy, buy buy. Find it at either 18 Broadwick St, Soho, London W1F 8HS or head to the online shop.

BUDDY BOXES BY BLURT:

These gender-neutral, inclusive subscription boxes by mental health organisation Blurt are described as a “hug in a box”. They’re packed full of goodies designed to nuture your wellbeing and mental health and encourage self-care. You can gift them to a friend, but we love that they offer am option to donate a box to someone in need too.

Whatever you end up buying (or not), have a lovely Christmas innit.

*We hold no responsibility if the presents don’t turn up on time or indeed if you think they are not not-shit.


WONDERLAND DOES: Christmas sandwiches

Ah, Christmas. A time for giving, reconnection, family, community. And limited edition Christmas sandwiches OBVS.

We are taking the taste hit so you don’t have to, to find this year’s studs and duds on the festive bread-based lunch circuit. We’ll be adding to this post as we try more seasonal sarnies.

First up: Pret A Manger’s Very Merry Christmas Lunch.

What is it?

We’re (well, Wonderland’s pretend vegan Jemma is) impressed with the number of vegan sandwiches available this year. There’s actually A Choice. Pret’s version includes vegan stuffing, grilled carrots, spinach,

crispy onions, caramelised pecans and port and orange cranberry sauce.

First Impressions

The “stuffing” looks like someone chewed up the sandwich already then formed it into slimy balls and stuffed it back into the sandwich. The thickish slices of carrot look boring and unappetising. The cranberry sauce bulging out is a bit hernia-esque. Maeemo this ain’t.

Taste

Hmm, pretty good for a shop-bought sandwich. The carrots – which I thought would be the worst bit – are in a slightly piquant, sweet marinade, just al dente and are my favourite bit. The spice and port in the cranberry sauce make it taste really christmassy and the onions and pecans add a nice crunch to make the texture of the whole thing less one-dimensional. Love the fresh spinach too. The stuffing is rank though – tasteless and this weird gooey texture.

Verdict

Some tasty bits but I wasn’t left very merry by those slimy squidgy stuffing bits, Pret. 6.5/10.