Last weekend we were invited to join Brother dealers from the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands for the annual Brother sewing machines new product launch. Usually this takes place in the UK but this year they decided to host it in Monaco! We like to think it’s because they had heard we were celebrating our 1st Birthday last week too! Maybe not but what a way to celebrate!
After an early 2.30am start we were transported from grey and drizzly Luton to palm tree strewn Nice. We met our reps and refueled with a strong “double expresso”
It was a comfortable 22 degrees as we boarded the Brother bus
Nice is hilly with pretty pastel clad, terracotta roofed chalets set into the hill side. A 45 minute drive delivered us to our hotel, the beautiful Riviera Marriott.
After a dip in the pool and a rest in our room we joined the group for a walking tour of Monaco.
We took in the sights from ‘La Roche’ – the Rock ..
…and enjoyed a tour of the palace and some delicious ice creams!
In the evening we met for a drinks reception then walked down to the lovely A’trego for a delicious dinner of gaspaschio, sea bass with risotto and panacotta with berries.
The sea-view restaurant was beautiful, decorated in classic grey and white stripes with wooden cladding and an air of simple elegance.
I wore my mortmain dress, in red daisies stretch jacquard from the shop which has a great “bounce” to it and survived the hand luggage with very little creasing!
Freya wore her newest make, a lovely shift dress in a beautiful bold polyester crepe, also from our shop.
We sat with fellow brother dealers Alice and Jean from Stuart’s House of Fabric in Dorset and Shirley and her colleague from Karelia House in Scotland.
We picked up some great ideas for new classes and services we could offer and made some lovely new friends too!
On Sunday morning, refreshed after a good nights sleep, we enjoyed a presentation of the exciting new models and accessories available.
We are so excited about the new range which offers some really helpful functions to make sewing even more efficient and enjoyable.
After lunch we had the chance to play on the machines some more and admire some of the beautiful samples made by the Brother team
Including some fab pop art embroideries…
Safari themed textile artworks…
And new Steam punk embroidery designs…
We ordered our display models and workshop machines and we can’t wait to show them to you in the shop! We’ll tell you all about them in a blog post very soon. We think you’ll be just as excited as us about the fab new features!
We wandered down to the beach in the late afternoon for a quick paddle…
…then it was time to get ready for the ball!
Of course Freya and I made our dresses. We’ll tell you more about them in a future blog post!
We were told to meet no later than 6.45 in the lobby where we would be taken by coach to the venue. As we rejoined Alice and Jean there was a fair bit of speculation about where we would be taken to!
The venue truly outdid our imaginations! The Salle des Etoiles at the Sporting Monte-Carlo resort was stunning!
We were greeted on the red carpet by Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnin and other hansom Bonds!
The venue provided the perfect setting for the Bond theme with mirrored walls and beautifully lit fountains
We were each given our blue Brother casino chip and invited to try our luck on the roulette and blackjack tables.
I have to say I’m glad it was just for fun as I very quickly lost all my chips – bar one which I kept as a souvenir!
Freya looked very much to part at the roulette table!
We sat down for dinner and welcomed the directors and managers who directed our attention towards the ceiling…
To the soundtrack of Skyfall the whole roof began to open to reveal the night sky! It was absolutely breathtaking! The curtains along the back wall were drawn back to reveal the most spectacular views across Montecarlo bay as the sun set!
Dinner was a luxurious 6 course affair with crab roulade, pan fried veal, fresh tomato risotto, white chocolate mouse and petis-fours, all beautifully presented.
As our meal came to an end, the live band began to play – they were fantastic too!
We had a dance, lost some more chips and enjoyed socialising until we boarded our coach home just after midnight – we were well fed, partied out and ready for our beds!
On Monday morning after we had checked out and had another lavish buffet breakfast, we were asked to meet in reception for our ‘Spectacular Monaco’ tour. And advised to bring our passports!
The tour started with a visit to the car museum- a collection of approx 100 vintage and luxury cars which previously belonged to Prince Rainier III. The collection included a number of beautiful vintage cars…
… and the racing car sponsored by Brother!
After this we walked through Monaco taking in some more sights and before we knew it we were standing outside the Monacair Heliport! We were going on a helicopter!
This was one of the most memorable experiences of my life! The helicopter had floor to ceiling windows and the views were spectacular! You can See a video snippet of the flight here
We had the most amazing time and were spoiled rotten but most of all what we gained from the weekend was the chance to meet and thank the Brother team in person after a year of support through emails and phone calls and the chance to meet so many of our wonderful fellow dealers. We’ve learnt so much from their years of experience and come back refreshed, inspired and full of new ideas for year 2 at Crafty Sew&So!
Watch this space for even more exciting times ahead!