And Now for a little bit of history - Combining the old with the new!


At ASJ we have long been fans of the super cute "babushka dolls" that you are probably already familiar with from your own childhood memories. Probably to put it more accurately, anything collectable, tiny and adorable has got our names all over it!

 

In case you aren’t too familiar, this little traditional set of wooden dolls decrease in size, and fit one inside another- the smallest one being everyones favourite- right?

 

Nat’s mum has a set of Russian Dolls which are very traditional in appearance with the well known facial features and colours, and Nat always remembers playing with them as a child; unpacking and packing the little dolls together, and getting to the teeny tiny baby at the centre- which was always her favourite!

 

Alyssa, on the other hand collected wooden Russian Dolls as a child, but would always take the teeniest, baby doll out and replace that with something else- taking the baby doll out and introducing it as the new baby to her other collection of Sylvanian families!

 

But there is something we will always remember about these little collectables- and it’s the noise! Who remembers the noise of the screeching wooden dolls as you stacked and unstacked them?

 

And for a little bit of history- These dolls are also known as Matryoshka dolls, Russian nesting dolls or stacking dolls- The outer layer is traditionally always a Russian woman or Babushka (meaning "grandmother" or "old woman"), dressed in a sarafan, a traditional Russian peasant jumper dress.

 

The smallest doll is typically a tiny baby, crafted from a single piece of wood- and the smallest baby doll does not open. 

 

These lovely little dolls are thought to symbolise fertility (due to their egg-like shape!) and generally show different generations of a family, starting with the grandmother down to the younger family members- isn’t that just lovely?

 

 

According to history, the first Russian doll set was made in 1890, and over time they have become a symbol of Russia itself.

 

 

We just love an intricate pattern, so it’s no wonder we are so fascinated with these little dolls-

 

You’ve probably noticed that these dolls are beautifully decorated in bright colours and patterns- usually in a folk style, with flowers being one of the most traditional themes! Each type of flower represents the city where the dolls are crafted; usually, the flowers are painted as designs on the shawls and aprons of the Babushka. We’ve incorporated this intricate floral design into our tiny, miniature version in sterling silver- using special laser engraving techniques- because if one thing is for sure, we couldn’t miss the beautiful patterns from our own version, could we?

 

 

The Babushka doll is a symbol of a strong female matriarch, and traditionally a central figure in the Russian family. As an up and coming British brand with strong and dedicated females at the heart of the company, we thought this new piece was not just a beautiful new addition to our jewellery collection, but that she is also a perfect symbol of #girlpower!

 

Our new “Babushka” is expertly crafted in sterling silver (as all our pieces are) and she is so tiny! She stands no bigger than a finger nail in size, at just 1.3cm in height – and has a pretty incredible surprise too…. Not the kinder surprise type- this surprise is even better!

 

Both our Babushka necklace and charm open in the middle, just like the traditional dolls, but on a tiny, weeny secret hinge! You have the option to have our Babushka as plain sterling silver, or you can add a little Swarovski crystal birthstone inside your Babushka to represent a special birthday or anniversary. You can even opt for a rose quartz coloured Swarovski crystal to symbolise the stone of ‘love’!

 

Only you will know Babushka’s secret!! How special is that!?

 

We really hope you will love this strong symbolic piece as much as we have enjoyed the project of it’s design and innovation…We think it’s just zoomed straight to the top of our favourites list!!!

 

Writer- Natalie

Editor- Alyssa

Love is in the air- and it’s not all just about mathematics, either!

The infinity symbol is all very pretty, but what does it actually mean?

Gaining popularity over recent years, especially in jewellery and tattoos, it would be easy to mistake this pretty and aesthetically pleasing symbol as a new, trendy arrival on the fashion scene- with everyone seeming to have one in their jewellery wardrobe. But this little symbol is now one of the most worn, and loved jewellery designs that's ever been, and the trend for Infinity jewellery sees no sign of slowing down or losing popularity any time soon!

But the infinity symbol is indeed something which has been used for a very long time, throughout the ages. Various cultures including Indian and Tibetan cultures used the infinity symbol to represent different concepts and ideas. In some cultures, the symbol represented perfection and equilibrium between the male and female gender. It was also used in Celtic knot designs, (you may have seen our Celtic knot earrings)…and Celtic knots (very much like the infinity symbol!) have no beginning and no end. The infinity design is also present in the Celtic cross. If you start looking, you might even see the infinity figure of 8 in many other pieces of artwork, jewellery and designs too- once you know what you're looking for! We have used the infinity symbol in many of our designs over the years, even hiding them inside hearts for some of our pieces.



This being said, the modern-day infinity symbol was discovered by English mathematician John Wallis, in 1655- a mathematical symbol which symbolises a quantity with no end, and something larger than the highest of numbers.

In ancient times, Greek mathematicians and philosophers knew the infinity as the Lemniscate, which means ‘ribbon’. The idea came form The Ouroboros, an ancient symbol depicting a serpent biting its own tail. It was said to represent infinite immortality, continuity, self-fertilization and eternal return.
Today, we appreciate the Infinity symbol as not just a mathematical quantity- but an endless symbol celebrating love or connection. The two circles inter-connect, and represent relationship, and the idea of being together for ever/eternal love. On a non-romantic level, it can also be a connection of everlasting love for other things, such as sister to sister, friend to friend, mother and daughter. 

You can pick up a pen or pencil, and draw this symbol in one, swift movement. You will see that it has neither a beginning or an end- so also symbolises the idea of no limitations and infinite possibilities- which we love!

This symbol isn't just perfect for those who wish it to represent love and connection, but also those who believe in infinite possibilities and no limits... Have a think about how the infinity symbol could be personal to you- because it means so much more than love!


View our entire range of infinity jewellery here- including earrings, necklaces, bracelets and gorgeous anklets! We like to keep our infinity designs small, delicate and perfect for every day wear

Lots of love,

#TeamAlyssa x
 

Celebrating a 4 times world champion in the sparkliest of ways!

A little message to all our Formula One loving customers and fans… Who remembers back in 2008 when Lewis Hamilton won his first ever Formula One world title? An unforgettable moment in history! 9 years later and trusty Lewis has now been crowned the incredible 4-times Formula One world champion – How time flies right?! And who would have thought it back when Lewis was racing his go karts as a young teen!

At Alyssa Smith Jewellery, we are extremely proud to be world renowned for our motorsports themed jewellery, which consists of everything from expertly crafted miniature race tracks in sterling silver to miniature car parts, including a tiny piston which moves on a hinge! Some of our much-loved pieces include the Silverstone circuit which we have exclusive rights to reproduce in jewellery, our #44 engraved helmet, and something you may not have seen- our gorgeous entwined triple ring necklace and earrings



 

Did you know, these were originally designed and made to celebrate when Lewis won his 3rd world title!? That’s right, the three rings are completely entwined, featuring two silvers and one rose gold ring, and a gorgeous star in the centre! This collection has been fantastic for our Lewis fans, but is equally as popular with our other non-Formula One loving customers because it really is so beautiful, and goes with pretty much everything!

Over the years, Team Alyssa have been huge supporters of Lewis Hamilton as he was born in the same county as us, and was in the year above Alyssa at school- In fact, Alyssa’s MUM’S claim to fame is that she once made Lewis a Ribena when he popped over to Alyssa’s house when they were teenagers!

We have been very proud to launch all our celebratory pieces for Lewis, which have all been carefully thought out in both meaning, and design. Does anyone else remember the awesome piece that we launched when Lewis won his 2nd world title? For those who don’t remember, or who are relatively new to the world of ASJ, we created a piece that incorporated the Yas Marina track which was the last track that was raced around that year where he was crowned, and the number 44, which was hand carved inside the track! Alyssa hand made 44 of these incredible pieces, and each one came with a special edition card which stated which of the 44 they owned!



You may be asking about his first world title…
“What about when Lewis won his first world championship?” … As this was in 2008, it was before our time! Alyssa Smith Jewellery was only born in 2010, meaning we weren’t able to make a celebratory piece for his first ever title… But we definitely think we have made up for it…
 
Now for the great reveal…!
You may (if you’ve been stalking our social media)! or may not have seen (if you haven’t…why!?)… our BRAND NEW release of the stunning Yas Marina race track pendant with a gorgeous and unique iridescent mystic topaz set into it, which has a variation of colours from blue to purple in different lights! For those who are unsure what the symbolisation is for the stone, as the last race for this year is in November and at Yas Marina, the stone that represents the November month is a Topaz.  
We couldn’t just use any topaz though could we? This is a very special commemorative and celebratory piece, so we have searched high and low for a Topaz to match this special occasion, and we think you will agree- this stone is just PERFECT!



But here’s the thing, we will only be making 10 of these special edition pieces, all of which will be hand-made to order, for each customer! This means that you will need to allow for some time for these to be made, but remember, once these 10 are gone, we will not be making anymore! These spectacular pieces will also come with a miniature first edition card numbered from 1-10.  What number will you get?
 
If you do happen to miss out (because these are already selling fast!) then please do feel free to contact us (your favourite jewellery elves!) via email or on Facebook for information on our bespoke service. Also, if you were looking to have a different stone set (maybe your birthstone or a stone representing an important month to you) then let us know and we will give you all the details for this
 
Enjoy our very special new addition to ASJ, and have a wonderful day!
Lots of love,
#TeamAlyssa x
 

Deep in the Heart of Herts is where the magic happens!

A glimpse behind the scenes at Alyssa Smith Jewellery! Come and see inside our world and our magical workshop of a place that we like to call Sparkle Towers! - By Alyssa Smith

Side car, Sidecar

And deep inside the heart of the countryside is where the magic happens on a daily basis!
The sparkly elves from Hertfordshires Best Retailer 2017; Alyssa Smith Jewellery practice their workshop skills all year round (elves are for life you see, not just for Christmas!)
 

biz4biz

We spend our days and nights turning ideas, innovative concepts and customers popular requests (you all know who you are!) into hand drawn sketches consisting of good old fashioned pen or pencil, on paper! And yes, you did read the right- days AND nights! I have even been known to wake up in the night with an idea which simply cannot wait until morning to be written down- so I’ve ended up drawing basic concepts, ideas and stories onto whatever I have to hand at that time. The latest ‘ideas book’ was the side of my specsavers contact lens box as it was the only thing I had close by with a big enough surface area to take my random doodles! Even our Jade is now at it, and has even been known to get her ideas book out during a DATE (I know..a DATE!) and sketch something out before she forgets. Wonder if she saw him again… Chuckle chuckle!
 
So back to the elves (us). Once our designs are sketched properly (about a million times) and the concept is clear and precise, the little sparkly elves wave their magic wands and turn these hand drawn sketches and concepts into miniature, exquisite and collectable masterpieces in precious metals! If only it was as quick as waving a magic wand though- sometimes the development and prototyping stage for each piece can take months- I think the longest time frame our designs have been in development stage is around 11 months. The piece which took the longest to make was our incredible 3 dimensional helmet necklace- as seen on tv presenter Suzi Perry
 

Helmet

 
This piece was our VERY FIRST 3 dimensional design, and getting it just right (wearable, affordable, durable, looking just SO!) took ages! Other designs which have taken extra long to design and prototype was our first origami piece, the incredible crane- as scaling down something normally made in paper, with such a complexity of folds, and making it in sterling silver was really hard- but worth it! Our spinning tyre and motorbike took ages too. The detail inside the wheel on both of these items was incredibly hard to master, but we’re so pleased to say that all of these items are our best sellers, so the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ certainly applies to our designs too!
So if you’ve ever wondered how our ideas are born, nurtured and then turned into our beloved ‘borrower’ sized pieces, then pull up a chair, make yourself a nice brew, and feast your eyes on these awesome photos from behind the scenes at #teamalyssa’s amazing workshop!
The first time we ever shared these ‘behind the scenes’ photoboards was in a newsletter to our club Alyssa members in May 2017, but as time has gone on, we thought it would be lovely to write a blog so those of you who missed the newsletter could also see a little bit of the behind the scenes action!
Now, whether you’re into your Motorsports, like many of our customers- or you’re not into your Motorsports (also like many of our customers!) … there is no doubt about it that you will enjoy seeing the design process, and how our designs come to life. We’re going to share with you the design process for one of our popular motorsports themed pieces- the sidecar!
 
This same process is present throughout all of our designs, and we hope this blog post will give you a small insight into our jewellery, what we get up to every week (when we’re not drinking coffee, being silly and eating the sweets that were supposed to go in all of your packages!) Hopefully after you’ve read this, it will even also add a new dimension to your love for your favourite little jewellery company!



First things first. The concept! Without a concept or an idea, you of course have no product!

Our initial inspiration has always, and will always come from our wonderful customers and their requests and suggestions....which is then translated into pen on paper as rough designs.  This is of course after extensive research into each subject matter, legalities, whether it would work or not, whether it’s already ‘been done’, and even perhaps if the idea is past its sell by date! (to put it bluntly!)! At this stage, we will also decide how big (or should we say, SMALL!) our new creation should be! This is super duper important, because if something is made too big, it becomes clunky, clumsy, unwearable and potentially very expensive. If it’s too small, we risk losing important detail to the intricate design, and sometimes the detail is too important to be missed!  


 
Look and look again! Revisions of the designs are always important, allowing us to make changes and make sure we get things spot on before we proceed to the next stage. In case you didn’t know, Alyssa is a perfectionist and nothing passes by her without every millimetre being inspected, but when you're working in such miniature form...you have to be a perfectionist!

 

It is also important to note that designs are ALWAYS produced with the accompaniment of snacks, and also usually wine! We really don’t have a set place or routine to come up with our new designs, but involving food always makes things way more fun- and after reading a recent news article, apparently a few glasses of wine ‘loosens you up’ creatively, so it’s no surprise most of our excellent brain waves and designs involve wine. Now, whoever wrote that article is probably trying to kid themselves that wine is good for you, but in this instance, we definitely agree!


 
Next steps- After design is decided upon, sizes are worked out and we are generally happy bunnies with a new design, the long and painful process of computer aided design takes up a lot of time during the design stage of our jewellery. It's important we get every angle of our new design correct.

When the piece is a 3d engineered item, the final thing won't look perfect unless it’s perfect from every single angle.... So at this stage, we will move areas of the design, around slightly, or change an angle of something- sometimes even by less than a millimetre… even if it's just by a fraction, it still needs to be perfect!!
In this image you can see how the space between the wheels has been moved a FEW millimetres closer together... this is just one of the changes we will make at this stage before progressing with the design any further!
 
Once Alyssa is happy with every last detail of the computer generated design images, from every single angle... and has looked at it, compared it with sketches and other important bits & bobs.... the design is taken to the next stage!!

How to make it wearable! This may sound straight forward, but there is a lot to thin about at this stage! …Where will it suspend from!? …Where will an earring back be soldered on… How will it hang to make it look the best it possibly can? …If it’s a charm, we need to make sure it’s suspended in a way that the dangling bits won’t catch on things too! This stage is where the finer details are applied before translating it into a metal 'master'.

Of course, how exactly that is done will remain in our Secrets Box, at the top of our Top Secret Shelf, which is locked with a Top Secret key!


 
What’s next!? Do we just twiddle our thumbs and wait!?
Hehe, NO! Now the master has been made- we will use this to create the jewellery from... but in solid sterling silver! We make our jewellery in small batches, so you will often see things sell out, or items on ‘pre order’, where you can order something and wait to have it delivered when the next batch is finished… Once the jewellery is finished being made, it has to have a final polish, pass through our quality control, and let’s not forget that lots of our pieces are also hallmarked too.



We take such pride in absolutely everything we make, right from the concept stage, to the actual manufacture, and even packaging the jewellery up when it leaves our workshop is important to us! All of our jewellery collections have their own packaging and mini information cards… and let’s not forget the sparkling extras we pop into your parcels and yummy sweets!
We hope you have loved seeing the designs come to life, and if you own our jewellery already.... you will have another bit of the story to add to your piece...now you know exactly how it's made! YAY! If you’re yet to own some of our jewellery, then hopefully this will be something you can look forward to in the future! Each piece of ASJ is made, and packaged with love and sparkles!!

Title- Behind the Scenes at Alyssa Smith Jewellery
Publisher- Alyssa Smith
Editor- Alyssa Smith
Date- 14/09/17

What even IS a push present?

We don’t often get time to blog, because we’re all such busy bees at #teamalyssa, floating around talking to our customers, packaging up lovely orders, working on new designs and sitting at the work bench creating- but we wanted to take a little minute to draw your attention to the recent craze of ‘push presents’ which we have found ourselves getting on board with more and more over the past few months… you may have seen this phrase floating around online amongst new mums, mums to be and couples who are expecting! So we wanted to get involved in our own sparkling way and enlighten our customers!
 
Question- What even IS a ‘push present’?
 
Some of you are probably thinking “what is a push present?”- that just sounds so bizarre!
 
But in a nutshell, a push present is basically a special gift that a father/birthing partner gives to the mother to mark the occasion of her giving birth – but friends and families also give push presents too!
 
The present may be given to the mother before, after or during (eeek!) the birth of a new baby. Amazing idea right?!... We knew you would agree!


 
 
Popular Push Present Ideas
 
Push presents may have started off as an American tradition, but in recent years they have become more and more popular right here in the UK. Traditionally, the push present would be a ‘keepsake’ as an expression of love and devotion… However, we have been searching the big world wide web for push present ideas, and the following items are found to be popular ideas:
 
  • Make-up/perfumes
  • Nappy cakes (yes, you heard right!) These are basically lots of goodies stacked up into the shape of a cake and wrapped in pretty cellophane and ribbons
  • House items i.e. a coffee machine (for all the late nights and early mornings ahead of you!)
  • Spa breaks (because we all need some time to ourselves, don’t we!)
  • Clothes/handbags
  • Jewellery (Of course! We may have mentioned this last, but it’s certainly not the last idea you should think of!)
 
 
The reason we’ve been so interested in the idea of push presents is because so many of our customers have been coming to us over the past years asking for ‘new mum’ gifts. Either the new mum has been getting in touch herself, her spouse, birthing partner, friend, sister and aunty…the list goes on really! It only seems right that we start taking an interest in creating pieces which could be the perfect gift for a new mummy, huh?!
We have several gorgeous pieces in our online collections, which are ready to order for fast delivery (basically, you won’t have to wait 9 months for this!) and they won’t break the bank either- we know how expensive a new baby can be!


 
 
Push Present Ideas from #teamalyssa
 
We sell a wide variety of push present ideas on our website in our ‘new mums’ collection that would be the perfect keepsake idea; but here are our top 5 pieces:
 
 
Mummy and Baby Angel Feather Necklace – This gorgeous piece is available either in sterling silver, or in rose gold plated silver. We love both of them! If you wanted to add another feather or two (wink wink!) we can also do this for you upon request at an additional price… Perfect for an expanding family! http://www.alyssasmith.co.uk/mummy-and-baby-silver-feather-pendant


 
Guardian Angel Sterling Silver Pendant- This necklace is perfect as a symbol of protection for your new family. It is believed that we each have our own guardian angel to look over us, and this is a lovely thought to wear on your person every day. http://www.alyssasmith.co.uk/guardian-angel-pendant
 
Twink Cluster Necklace- We have chosen this necklace because it has three lovely silver stars hanging together from the same chain- which could symbolise the new parents and the new baby too. But if your family isn’t symbolised by three stars, don’t worry- we can tailor this necklace for as many or as fewer stars as you’d like- you could even have 6 or 8 stars hanging together on the chain! If this is something you’d like to find out more about, then do get in touch with us and we will be more than happy to tailor this necklace to create your family portrait! http://www.alyssasmith.co.uk/twink-silver-cluster-necklace


 
From Little Acorns Silver Necklace- This is one of our favourite necklaces of all time, and not just for new mums either! Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. This is so true and can be applied to all aspects of life! http://www.alyssasmith.co.uk/from-little-acorns-pendant


 
Mini Infinity Necklace- This is a beautiful necklace of ours, simple but so lovely to wear every day. As most of you will know, ‘infinity’ means forever, so is a lovely symbolic gift for a new mum from a loving partner. http://www.alyssasmith.co.uk/infinity-mini-silver-pendant


 
 
If these gorgeous pieces do not appeal to you (for some bizarre reason) or you feel that you’d like something extra special and personal- perhaps with the babies birth stone set into it somewhere… then you could always ask us to make your lovely ideas and designs through our bespoke service! This is where we would create exactly what you had in mind, especially for you!

        
 
What isn't there to LOVE?!
 
Do let us know if you need any help choosing a gorgeous piece, or would like us to make you something unique, and have a great day!
 
Whatever you do and wherever you go, don’t forget to sparkle!
 
#TeamAlyssa xoxo
 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlyssaSmithJewelleryLTD/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlyssaJewellery
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alyssajewellery/



Title- Push Presents
Publisher- Alyssa Smith
Editor- Alyssa Smith
Co-written by- Jade, Apprentice extraordinaire
Date- 27/10/16
 
 
 

Love of F1

It was in 2010 that I first met Alyssa. While employed at a well known low cost airline (who are known for their orange colours), I saw a young girl one in the building lunchtime with a stand trying to sell some jewellery in the canteen.

I still remember seeing a picture of Suzi Perry on that stand, wearing one of Alyssa’s pieces & recall one of my colleagues at the time not knowing who Suzi Perry was (someone who wasn’t a viewer of MotoGP or The Gadget Show at the time) which lead me to try and explain who she is.

I never really spoke to Alyssa in depth though, but being a twitter user, later that day I did tweet Suzi Perry to say that I had met someone who designed jewellery for her. I’m now glad I sent that tweet, if it wasn’t for that, Alyssa would never have seen and responded to me through twitter and we wouldn’t have become friends over the last 5 and a half years.

The biggest thing I’ve seen with my friendship with Alyssa in that time is how she has built up her business and brand and, with the introduction of the Smith&Perry motorsport collection over the last few years, all the work that Alyssa & Suzi have done for the Promise Dreams charity through this collection.

This takes me back to when I was a young boy. My first memories of Formula 1 are the name Ayrton Senna. I was only 4 years old in 1988 when Senna won his first World Championship, so I do not remember much about the races in that period, or indeed, through his career. The two things that always stick in my mind from seeing races at that time are hearing Murray Walker saying the name during his commentary and seeing the famous yellow helmet in the white and red Marlboro sponsored McLaren. He instantly become my sporting hero, and I will always hold the Brazilian in high regard as one of my icons.

I can easily recall watching races from the mid 90s, always being excited when the Monaco GP came around every year, and I can remember some specific races from that era. For example the 1994 Spanish GP when Michael Schumacher was stuck in 5th gear in his Benetton, being awake really early to watch the end of season flyaways in Japan & Australia in 1994/1995 too, as well as the 1995 British GP when Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher collided again.

Formula 1 is the reason I went into Engineering, and studying Aerospace Engineering at university. Harbouring thoughts of being the next Adrian Newey! Being quite technically minded from a young age, I always enjoy the technical aspects of Formula 1 and have done so for 25+ years I’ve been watching and following the sport. I’m working in aviation at the moment, but do still harbour those dreams of one day working in the sport I love.

As the years have gone on, I have immersed myself more in the world of Formula 1. Reading and understanding the history, of those drivers long gone and the cars they raced, names like Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt & Francois Cervert. Wishing I could have seen these drivers race, in some of those iconic Team Lotus & Tyrrell cars of the day, which were magnificent machines with groundbreaking engineering from the likes of Colin Chapman.
 

Now it is a different era. Since the 90s I’ve always had a fondness for Ferrari. There is just something so iconic about the brand, and the history of how Enzo Ferrari founded the company and went racing, with so many beautiful cars bearing the famous prancing horse. So much so that yes, I have made the pilgrimage to Maranello and visited the museum. This lead to me becoming a fan of Michael Schumacher during the late 90s and early 2000s, seeing him breaking all sorts of records in an utterly dominant era with Ferrari was watching something special.


I have become more and more neutral the older I have become. Not just to teams, but to drivers. No matter who is racing, I have utmost respect for all those drivers and all those teams that go racing. Whereas I do recall the 2001 Spanish Grand Prix, when Mika Hakkinen with such a massive lead going into the final lap before his clutch failed giving Michael Schumacher the win, I leapt up and cheered at my drivers’ main rival not finishing the race! Now when I watch races, it’s much more of an immersive experience. Watching on TV, while following live timing and team radio and keeping an eye on twitter at the same time to live tweet and post about the race as it happens. It’s always interesting to see a race using all this technology and to spot things which may not be seen on TV.

In recent years, the use of social media has provided me with some amazing opportunities within the Formula 1 and motorsport world. Through twitter this has meant being able to interact with many of the TV & radio presenters over the last few years during Formula 1 coverage and it is always an honour whenever I do get a mention during practice coverage. That all started while being out of work, and spending my time tweeting in while I was unemployed & spending race weekends watching F1 practice sessions. As the years have gone on and with my regular tweeting, it has been nice to have been able to meet many of the media, some of which actually recognise me now!, and for them to take the time to continue to read out my comments or ask my questions. I hope that with my years of watching F1 and the technical knowledge I have gained over the years of watching the sport (as well as with my experience as an engineer), I have been able to provide interesting topics of discussion during Friday practice sessions.

That is only part of what I have been able to do within the F1 world in the last 5 years or so. Through twitter I was part of a fan panel in F1 Racing Magazine in 2011 to debate the future of the TV coverage in the UK when it was announced Sky had acquired rights to the sport. I was also able to attend a special screening of the Senna movie in 2011 which was attended by a number of prominent Formula 1 people, including the late Professor Sid Watkins, and also to attend a number of fan forums, including one at Williams.
 



One of my highlights was in 2014, being in the audience of Sky Sports F1 Show. It was the first show after the Monaco Grand Prix, where the late Jules Bianchi scored Marussia’s first (& only) points finish. Not only was it great to see Jules in the studio and hear him talk about that race, but it was also quite surreal for me. On turning up at the Sky studios, I was greeted with a gift from Ted Kravitz, a Sky Sports “Ted’s Notebook” with a note inside from Ted thanking me for the tweets and to keep them up. On leaving the studio after the show, I managed to get a photo with Jules as he was leaving too, he was kind enough to stop for me, and I was able to congratulate him on his points finish and wish him good luck for the rest of the season.

Social media and twitter especially, has opened so many of opportunities within the Formula 1 world and other forms of motorsport. Being able to discuss the sport I love with fans from all over the world, as well as becoming somewhat known and recognised by people within the paddock itself, especially through attending events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which has lead to me being able to meet so many of my sporting heroes too.

It was also through twitter that I was able to win a competition last year run by Aston Martin Racing to have my twitter handle on one of their V8 Vantage GTE AM cars during the Le Mans 24 Hours and to be given an opportunity by Prodrive to take possession of the crash damaged front wing of that very car which bore my name! (which is currently being kept in storage while I try to decide the best way to display this)

It was also through social media that Alyssa contacted me one day back in 2013, asking for my help and to tap into my knowledge for Formula 1. I was being asked about track layouts & helping to make sure that the tracks Alyssa had produced for her designs were accurate and recognizable to motorsport lovers! That’s when I first heard about the Smith&Perry collection, long before its launch. It has been an honour to have played my small part in helping with this collection since its inception through my knowledge of Formula 1 and all the good work this has lead for the Promise Dreams charity.


Even after 3 years I still get the all sorts of requests for help and advice from Alyssa, and running new designs by me to make sure they look right to a motorsports lover, or picking my brain for any new ideas I can assist with. Seeing the collection grow from a handful of race tracks into 3D helmets and race cars has been great.

I know a few things about what’s coming up in the Smith&Perry collection, but I’m sworn to secrecy! I’m sure motorsport fans will love all the new introductions and I’m glad to have played my small part in helping out.

My thanks go to Alyssa, not only for being a good friend, but for also giving me the chance to put all that F1 knowledge in my head to good use, and also to Suzi Perry, who indirectly brought us together!

As for Formula 1, I’ll keep holding on to that dream of mine and keep tweeting away about the sport I feel so passionate about as well as posting many of my musings on my blog, and no doubt you’ll see me around at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Autosport International, or Silverstone armed with a camera snapping away at cars too.

 

Amit Mandalia

 

Twitter: @amit_mandalia

https://amitmandalia.wordpress.com

https://www.flickr.com/photos/amit_mandalia/