“If its compulsory to have big numbers (we get this because we did) then keep planning – your beautiful day will come. And, if you are going smaller there are so many services that are going over and above to help create equally stunning, smaller events.” Azhar and Soulafe of Blooming Bubbles on their advice for lockdown brides
London based sisters, Azhar and Soulafe are the creative spirits behind the newly-launched (in lockdown) brand Blooming Bubbles, and BOY do they know how to put an Instagram-worthy balloon installation together. The inventive duo are fast becoming known for their vibrant colour combinations, playful installation formations and creative ability for making all of your balloon-filled dreams come true. Having already been featured in the likes of hellomagazine.com and The Only Way Is Essex, as well as collaborations with industry creatives like With The Stars Inside, their future is looking seriously bright…and bubbly.
I caught up with the sisters to get the lowdown on their lockdown 3.0…
#1 Provide us with three words that sum-up how you were feeling about lockdown when it first started, and then three words about how you feel now as we look to go into another lockdown:
Before: “Tense, confused and a little anxious.”
During: “Calm, inspired and focused.”
After: “We’re in the third lockdown and we are feeling hopeful, open-minded and stronger.”
#2 Talk to us about your usual daily routine and how this changes in lockdown…
“Pre-lockdown our days started around 6:30am, since lockdown – particularly when schools closed – we had the luxury of the occasional sleep in (child dependant). Despite home schooling, family life and Azhar’s other job, we still felt that life had slowed down – giving us the opportunity to put the wheels in motion and launch Blooming Bubbles (our lockdown baby). We found that we quickly adjusted to the ‘new pace of life’ but with our Balloon business taking off we suddenly found that time quickly started to speed up. With the challenge of scarce time we managed to push through by sharing responsibilities, allocating roles and finding time slots where we develop our ideas.”
#3 How does lockdown impact your business, and how can people (brides/the wedding industry) support you throughout?
“Blooming Bubbles was created during lockdown so only knows lockdown life. We are fortunate in that not all of our services require physical contact, for example our contactless drop-and-drive balloon sculptures. The bridal industry, like many others, have faced so much uncertainty – naturally we have had many brides unable to commit or cancel with short notice due to the forever changing guidelines. We can still support brides with their planning and welcome virtual consultations. As an industry we can all support each other by simply sharing small businesses that are so easily overlooked.”
#4 Name three small businesses on Instagram you are supporting or would like to support more…
No.1 “@fortheloveofpearls_ – a bride-to-be herself who puts all her creative energy into designing beautiful hand-finished pieces.”
No.2 “@aurumandgrey – who design and create beautiful, personalised jewellery all made in the UK. There’s an amazing story behind this brand as well as a super inspiring woman that really supports others.”
No.3 “@thestarsinside – a wedding planning service that truly creates magic!”
#5 What is your favourite isolation snack?
“Soulafe discovered Nuii Berry & Dark Chocolate ice creams and became somewhat addicted and Azhar discovered the vegetarian Richmond sausages.”
#6 What’s your most recommended quarantine pick-me-up when you’re feeling down during lockdown?
“Daily walks, FaceTiming loved ones and, when all else fails, baking the famous banana cake.”
#7 What’s the item you could NEVER find in the supermarket (and consequently dreamt continuously about) during lockdown previously?
“As we slowly morphed into Mary Berry we seemed to forever be looking for flour.”
#8 What’s the strangest thing that’s happened during your lockdowns?
“The strangest thing for both of us during lockdown has been visiting our parents with our kids at their front door whilst ensuring the kids socially distance. A painful act of love.”
#9 Favourite app for keeping in touch digitally with friends and family?
“We tried the others and quickly went back to WhatsApp.”
#10 Name your lockdown hate:
“Isolation … we all need physical contact.”
#11 Name your lockdown love:
“Spending more time with our children and those birds that visited and sang everyday.”
#12 The person(s) you will hug first when social distancing is no longer in place?
#13 An act of kindness towards you that you’ve really appreciated during lockdown?
“The simple things like messages from friends on the other side of the world checking in to see how we all are.”
#14 Talk to us about what’s new at your brand?
“Grazing tables… but not as you know them. With our Moroccan heritage we bring an explosion of flavours, textures and colours – a true feast for the senses. We have found that this style of catering has become increasingly popular with lockdowns.”
#15 Name three things the lockdown has made you grateful for:
“Our family and friends, health and nature and, overall, a higher sense of gratitude.”
#16 Which restaurant will you dine at first once restrictions are lifted again?
Soulafe: “La Petite Maison…currently ordering the cheesecake.”
Azhar: “A.Wong…dreaming of Dim Sum.”
#17 What series have you now completed on Netflix? Any recommendations?
“This Is Us… if you haven’t watched it you must.”
#18 What book would be top of your quarantine book list?
“This is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay – a hilarious eye opener.”
#19 For a little Instagram-escapism, what three accounts would you recommend?
No.1 “@archidesigntr – makes you want to pack your bags and travel the world.”
No.2 “@celestebarber for good belly laughs.”
No.3 “@greenweddingshoes for the perfect bridal inspo.”
#20 Name three things you bought online during lockdown last time and three things you’re thinking of buying this time around:
Lockdown 1&2: “Baking powder, dishwasher (ours broke the day before lockdown so we hand-washed for weeks) and a bird feeder.”
Lockdown 3: “An oven (random but of course it would happen during lockdown), cosy loungewear and wellies.”
#21 What’s your lockdown outfit most days?
“Making a point of wearing our summer dresses when we had the lovely summer weather and otherwise a classic white t-shirt with jeans or leggings.”
#22 What’s your advice to lockdown brides?
“If its compulsory to have big numbers (we get this because we did) then keep planning – your beautiful day will come. And, if you are going smaller there are so many services that are going over and above to help create equally stunning, smaller events.”
#23 And, finally, your lockdown beverage of choice?
“We don’t drink so for us it has to be Moroccan mint tea all the way.”
Discover more about Blooming Bubbles and their incredible balloon installations and grazing tables via their Instagram.
Want to read more WFH Diary entries from your favourite bridal brands, boutiques and designers? Head on over to the Bridal Editor WFH Diary page.