Just A Little Instameet 13.09.18

On Thursday 13th September I hosted my very first ‘Just A Little Instameet’. The event was designed to bring together like-minded Instagrammers to give them an opportunity to meet both big brands and small brands, interact with industry professionals and share their passion for interior design and lifestyle. It was held at the beautiful Marchmont Arms in Hertfordshire and was a full day of all things interiors and home.

As with anything I put my hand to, this event involved a lot of planning, organisation and commitment. The irony, yet again, is that this ‘Just A little Instameet’ was by no means ‘little’! (The story of my life…!). There were 19 brands involved, 4 workshops, morning and afternoon refreshments, buffet lunch, cocktails, pop-up shops, luxury goody bags, a competition prize and a total of 130 people who attended.

When I first mentioned to people that I wanted to host my own event, I was told to keep it small and to keep it simple. I was warned that to manage all the aspects involved in a large event, would prove too much for one person whilst juggling family life and other work commitments. Well, that just lit the spark to my overly competitive flame and presented me with a challenge! If I was going to organise and host an event, I wanted it to be big, I wanted it to be exciting and I wanted it to be inspirational.

So, in the month of June, I got to work to create my very first interiors and lifestyle event by coordinating the content for ‘Just A Little Instameet’. Three months later, the event took place on a sunny Thursday in September and was everything that I had hoped for. (I write this with a smile on my face and a huge sigh of relief!!). A special thank you goes out to my ‘JALB’ team – my husband Matt and my good friends Chris, Nicola, Tom and Mark – who were amazing at coordinating everything on the day. Chris, in particular, worked tirelessly to help ensure things ran smoothly on the day and I couldn’t have done it without her help.

Jane Burkinshaw was the official event photographer and she captured the essence of the day beautifully. I have pulled together below a selection of her images along with some from the guests and described how the day unfolded. I hope you enjoy the read…

The event started promptly at 10am with guests queuing outside the entrance of The Marchmont Arms. I have to admit, at this point, the realisation of meeting 130 new faces and presenting to them all had suddenly dawned on me and left me feeling somewhat overwhelmed!

As guests arrived they were greeted by the ‘JALB’ team, given their own personalised lanyard and handed a printed Order of Events for the day. Hot teas and coffees, and breakfast pastries were served in the reception and bar area, where guests were able to get social and meet all who were attending the event.

Once everybody had arrived, I nervously took my position in the reception area and said a few words to welcome each and every one to the event and to fill them in on the day’s activities. I think this was my most nervous moment of the entire day as it was my first official interaction with my guests!

From there, we split into four colour groups; Hague blue, Green Smoke, India Yellow and Raddichio (all Farrow & Ball colours!) and began our workshops. One of the workshops was presented by interior designer, Lauren Gilberthorpe. Lauren has a wealth of experience ranging from complete new builds and full-blown home renovations to bespoke project work on barn conversions, townhouses and seaside retreats.

Within Lauren’s workshop, guests learned how to draw to scale using an architects ruler, understand the theories of room design and got creative, developing their own mood boards.

Farrow & Ball presented the colour workshop where they talked about their six neutral groups and how to achieve a timeless and cohesive scheme in your home. Each of their groups contains four colours that sit effortlessly together for an understated look, or as a base for bolder shades and patterns.

By applying Farrow & Ball’s top three tips on how to select the right neutral group for you and your home, guests were able to play with colour combinations and ask questions to a Farrow & Ball colour consultant.

With two workshops complete, it was time for lunch which was served in the orangery. And wow, weren’t we treated! The Marchmont Arms laid on a beautiful spread of delicious foods, from Wholefood Salads, Roasted Aubergine, Spinach and Harissa Burgers, Roasted Lentil Falafels, Kiln-Smoked Salmon Tacos and Panfried Tenderstem Broccoli in a chipotle dressing.

After lunch, we rejoined our colour groups and began the afternoon workshops. I presented in the main dining room and talked through two table-scape designs that had I created using products from Robert Welch and The White Company, with flowers from Bloom & Wild.

One table was designed for a formal dinner party and the other was for an informal party. In my presentation, I talked about the similarities and differences between these two table-scapes and the three keys areas for hosting a successful dinner party; Theme, Menu & Timing.

In the lower dining room, Nikki Hill gave a fantastic presentation on how to create a balanced and healthy home environment to help boost mood and de-stress. Nikki is a fully qualified Naturopath, Clinical Nutritionist, Medical Herbalist and women’s hormone expert. Using the wisdom of traditional knowledge, alongside accurate scientific research and extensive clinical experience, Nikki has formulated a premium range of products to help alleviate the most commonly experienced female hormonal complaints: Heavy bleeding, PMS, sleep disturbances, anxiety, irregular cycles, period pain and menopausal symptoms.

Guests were able to speak openly with Nikki to find out more about her experience and methods and also sample her herbal teas. Having spoken to a lot of the guests from the event, Nikki was a real highlight of their day!

With all four workshops complete, it was time for an afternoon cup of tea, or coffee, and something sweet!

Guests were then able to meet the founders of some fantastic small businesses, and even able to shop their beautiful products! These brands were carefully hand selected by myself and are ones that I truly love and wholeheartedly support.

The ‘pop-up’ brands at the event were;

Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms Magazine (website) were also at the event to answer any questions on how to be featured in a magazine and to offer a subscription discount to the guests.

As the day drew to an end, we gathered in the main reception area for cocktails and a chance to reflect on the day’s activities.

Guests were treated to a hand-printed goody bag (stamp courtesy of The English Stamp Company), filled with wonderful products from brands that I just love;

And one lucky person won the Hübsch competition prize of a stunning desk lamp!

Guests were also treated to a perfectly formed meringue kiss, courtesy of Lotti & Lu!

This absolutely stunning ‘Just A Little Instameet’ marble sign was created by the very talented Lucy and Pete from Blonde and Stone with (Southside Waterjet). As soon as I saw it, it just blew me away! I thought I would share some behind the scenes footage of how this sign was created;

I just want to say a massive thank you each and every one that was involved with the event on Thursday. Whether you were a guest, a workshop host, a contributor, a friend or a supportive husband (and yes, Matt – I’m talking about you!), THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

Thanks for reading, SJ x



  1. Karen Blain
    September 19, 2018 / 9:05 pm

    You gave everyone such a wonderful day out SJ, it was a real joy to come along. It was so nice to spend time with so many lovely like-minded people sharing similar interests. I really hope you can find the time (and the energy!) to do it all again before Christmas!!! You, team JALB, and all involved, must be very proud of all your hard work. Kx

  2. Maria
    September 19, 2018 / 10:07 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous…any chance of having one in Toronto Canada some day?

    • justalittlebuild
      September 19, 2018 / 10:15 pm

      Would love to!

  3. Nicola Hickey
    September 19, 2018 / 10:11 pm

    If you were considering regular ‘instameets’ would you consider varying locations ….. I’m down here near Brighton so somewhere perhaps ‘south of the river’……. I’m buy my ticket in a heartbeat as I’m sure would others xx

  4. Sarah
    September 20, 2018 / 8:15 am

    Sarah Jane I’ve just read your blog (even though I’m supposed to be going to work) it is great. The photos are amazing and it’s put me in a good mood for work and ideas to do at home. I’m really sad I didn’t make it so will try for the next one
    You are inspiring 😊

  5. Nicola
    September 20, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    SJ.. What a fantastic blog post! I have just re-lived the day over a cuppa. Amazing photos too.
    Thank you for asking me to be part of your team, I knew it would be huge from the moment you first mentioned it back in June!
    So proud of you.. keep believing in yourself and anything is possible.
    Lots of love, your ‘just a little friend’
    Nicola xxx

    • justalittlebuild
      September 20, 2018 / 11:01 pm

      Ah! 😻

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