Hello lovely people,
I originally started this blog the day after the official opening of Cositas homeware shop in St Albans. The trouble is, that was weeks ago now, (25/02/2017) and it would feel l like I was talking about last years summer holiday if I JUST talked about the amazing opening event.
Let me start by telling you all about the lovely owner – Emma Bustamante. I first met Emma a few days before the opening of her shop. I’ve always got my ear to the ground in respect of what’s happening in St Albans, particularly if it involves a new shop opening.
I’m not a shop-a-holic (contrary to what lots of people think) but I like to know about all the local ones to where I live. Especially ones that can fill up my home with the most magical inspirational pieces of furniture, pictures, mirrors and so much more. Anyway, I heard about her official opening and popped along a few days before with some good luck straw from my purse, (it’s an Irish thing that we do in my family) and we chatted very briefly as she was in the middle of doing her displays. I had a good nose through the windows and was giddy with excitement walking home after seeing all the gorgeous pieces of furniture and hanging pictures.
When you visit Cositas and meet Emma you will feel like you’ve already met her before. She is so welcoming when you come into her shop and I love the way she takes the time to talk to everyone even if she is surrounded by 50 plus boxes that have just been delivered. She takes everything in her stride and always has the loveliest smile on her face. You know THAT smile that reaches your eyes. Its the smile of a very happy and positive lady. Emma oozes positivity. She has so much belief in all the individual items that she sells and her bespoke furniture courses are what will really get her passionate when talking to you.
Going back to The Grand Opening of Cositas, aside from The Super Star herself – Emma, there were two other special ladies who joined everyone for the opening.
Fiona Wade from Emmerdale is a good friend of Emma’s and she cut the red ribbon to officially open Cositas. She was so lovely to talk to and absolutely stunning as well.
Sarah Weightman, the founder and director of award winning Everlong Chalk paint, gave the most amazing demonstration of her painting a piece of furniture. Cositas stock both the Chalk Paint and the paint brushes.
I’ve never actually been to the opening of anything so well received. I’ve only met Emma once before the opening but she’s part of a business group that I belong to and through cyber talk we have all got to know her and her business really well. Clearly, there was a lot of people there supporting Emma on a personal level as I could feel the love and pride and the applaud that followed the cutting of the ribbon was so uplifting and spirited. I’m not alone in wishing Emma every success in her business.
How glad was I when on my way out of the shop Emma practically kidnapped me to the studio part of the shop so I could watch the demonstration. Sarah Weightman put on an absolutely brilliant show for those interested in seeing her Chalk paints in action. She used a small table with drawers to demonstrate just how easy it was to apply one coat and to show how amazing the finish was. I’m not a painter so forgive my ignorance but she used a white paint tin to splash on a finish which gave it a vintage look. Honestly, I was sold immediately and at the end of the demonstration when Sarah offered her paint brush to the audience I was straight up there testing out both the paint and this white finish that she used.
Sarah is such a warm and very talented lady. She has a really lovely accent and is so tiny and almost doll-like in her appearance. It was reassuring to know that as well as being successful in her business she is also a mum of four from Northumberland. She left a full time job to pursue her own brand of chalk paint and had been incredibly successful in her journey.
Cositas is located in a brilliant spot on Holywell Lane. Right opposite is the wonderful hotel and behind the shop you will see the cathedral and be lucky enough to hear the bells.
So much care is taken in arranging not only the window displays but the entire layout of the shop. Its like going into an Alladins cave for bespoke and really eye catching pieces of furniture, jewellery, bags, pictures, candles, lights and even items of clothing.
Gifts galore from candles to bags to picture frames. It really is filled with the most exquisite and precious items of homeware. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting.
The entrance to the front door is flat so its very buggy and wheelchair friendly.
Not forgetting the huge display of award winning Everlong Chalk Paint and brushes that Cositas now stock. I’ve never painted anything other than a wall and although I’ve seen the result of so many friends upcycled pieces of furniture, I’d always assumed it was a messy and difficult task and not worth the effort. That was before I spoke to Emma about her love and serious in-deph knowledge of furniture painting.
Emma currently has eight different courses listed on her website, ranging from £55 – £155. Visit her website to find out her next available course.
My husband can personally vouch for the Take a Seat Workshop as I surprised him with this for his birthday. After he got home he was buzzing so I had a good incline that it all went well, plus he was very pleased with the chair he painted and upholstered. It was a busy weekend and before I knew it we were both back at work and so I asked him to send me a few lines to review the course.
You can judge for yourself just how much he enjoyed it:
I’d been to Cositas before, on one of my wife’s many business outings. I think I was just asked to go along to control our 15 month old baby, as she had caused chaos on a previous visit..!
I met Sally on that occasion, she works there and helps the owner. Our daughter seemed to like her so on that occasion she did not cause a scene. My wife showed me the area set out for classes, I was impressed at how casual and welcoming it looked. In fact the whole shop felt the same.
A couple of weeks later, on my birthday (I’m now at that age where you probably shouldn’t be celebrating them..), I was presented with a voucher entitling me to a 5 hour course refurbishing a chair. Excellent I thought – although ultimately I knew it would end up in my daughters bedroom as there is no room anywhere else in the house.
The date was set for a weekend in May so a couple of weeks before we went back to Cositas to choose a chair. Sally was there again. I was starting to wonder where the owner was.
I chose an old wooden chair (which I thought would look nice in my daughters room).
On the day of the course I turned up at 10am sharp. My chair and fabric that I had chosen were there ready in the class area, ready to be worked on. Emma and Sally were so very welcoming and it felt incredibly relaxing. We joked about this being my first Saturday in a long time with no children in tow..!! We didn’t start working on the chair until 11am, being busy chatting about lazy children and fact it wasn’t like that in our day. Do they all really want to spend their whole day inside attached to their phones or is that just our children?!
Anyway I eventually started working on the chair. I was amazed at how easy it was. The paint that Emma has sourced is remarkable, making any refurbishment a joy rather than a chore. Emma took me through the whole process – whilst chatting / drinking coffee / eating Millionaire shortbread. It turned out I was the only one doing the class that day, 2 others had cancelled, so Emma took the opportunity to paint an old chair herself. Customers were coming in and admiring her work. But not mine.
And then it was all finished, the time had flown by and I had a new chair that I had converted myself.
A fantastic day, thoroughly enjoyed it, even tried to sell paint to a customer! I wouldn’t be surprised if they come back for it.
I did laugh when a customer came in and asked if an item in the window would be suitable as a key hanger. Did they really expect the answer to be “no I don’t think so”! Doh!
I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone, and I have every intention of going back to refurbish items currently in my home. I came away at the end of the day feeling I had accomplished something different. So just go for it.
And yes if you’re wondering, the chair did end up in my daughters bedroom..!!
He even took his own pictures throughout the course:
If that glowing review doesn’t tempt you to book a course then pop along to the shop and chat with Emma who will happily chat all day about the array of courses she offers.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Cositas and chatting with the lovely Emma, the pop in when you are next in St Albans. If you want to pre-book a course without coming into the shop then contact Emma here.