Skip to content

Back To Work…

September 11, 2018

So, the glorious summer we’ve enjoyed is drawing to a close and the new season is emerging. It’s still very warm out here, although evenings are becoming a more chilly – but there’s a definite feel of “Back to School” in the air. Truth be told, we didn’t really stop working over the summer, but with visiting family and friends, we maybe didn’t work at the usual rate. However, looking back, we think we did pretty well, doing what we did, whilst managing a house renovation, having regular guests and trying to get away from time to time, to recharge our batteries. So, with no further ado, here’s a selection of what we achieved…

Screenshot_2018-08-20 Sofra Mediterranean Cuisine, West Didsbury, Manchester


We were contacted, earlier in the summer, by a Sofra, new Lebanese restaurant on Burton Road, West Didsbury. It’s obviously a bit more difficult to meet with clients now that we are abroad, but we ensure that we work hard to keep in regular contact with clients via email – and as a result we were able to produce this lovely new website. Without having ever met our new clients.

Claire, another new client, approached us to update and integrate two websites she had – Pram Active and 4 Baby and Me. Taking our advice, she arranged a photo-shoot of classes in action, which really enhanced what we could do design-wise. Working with Claire, we were able to seamlessly integrate the two fitness businesses into one website, with a whole new look.

Screenshot_2018-07-18 For Baby and Me and Pramactive - award-winning baby massage and parent and baby fitness classes in St[...]

We love working with small, independent businesses, especially start-ups, and The Conker Crew, based in Chorlton, ticked all of our boxes. Chantel, the owner, came to us with nothing design-wise, so we had a beautiful blank canvas to play with – as well as a super client who was incredibly easy-going and always willing to take on board advice and suggestions. As a new business, we’ve started small with The Conker Crew – the website will hopefully emerge as the business grows, but so far we’ve created a brand and designed promotional flyers, posters and banners and business cards. Out of small acorns, as they say…


Another client, Jamie, expanded his business and wanted a new website (and branding) for his new kettlebell classes, Better Stronger Faster. The new logo was carried through to merchandise including gym wear.

Screenshot_2018-09-11 Kettlebell classes, Manchester Better Stronger Faster.jpg

Additional design work has also been done with Jamie and his other website, Northern Krav Maga – we updated the website and designed a number of promotional flyers for new classes.


Something that is really, really important to us is building, maintaining and developing long term relationships with clients. It would be oh-so-easy to simply design a website and then move onto the next one and the next one. But, we don’t like to work like that. Like in “real life”, we like to cultivate friendships and meaningful relationships, so nothing makes us happier than when a client comes back, having decided that their website needs an update or a revamp. We’re usually always pleased with a finished project, as it will have come about as a result of a collaborative approach between us and client, but everything has a shelf life, and nothing more so than a website, which can show signs of age relatively quickly, as things web-wise develop quickly. So, as well as launching a number of new projects over the summer, we’re now planning for some super-duper revamps.

Although we’re definitely not touting for more work – we have more than enough to keep us quite happy – if you like what you see/read and would like to find out more about us and how we might be able to help you, do get in touch. And don’t forget, if you’re a small, independent business, you’ve probably already ticked our design boxes!






It’s Coming Home…

July 11, 2018

…Apparently. And here’s where you catch Semi Final action tonight, in and around Didsbury.



The Albert Club, West Didsbury

The club has proved a popular venue for World Cup matches, so to keep the space comfortable, the semi final tonight will be for MEMBERS ONLY, but still free admittance. You must show your membership card on the door to the and you might want to check that your membership is up to date as the club will be unable to process applications or renewals on the night.

Volta, Burton Road, West Didsbury

The semi final will be screened on the terrace, but as space is quite limited, you are advised to arrive early to guarantee a seat/space.

Didsbury Sports Ground, Ford Lane, Didsbury M20 2RU

Didsbury Sports Ground is pleased to announce the outdoor showing of England’s World Cup semi-final in support of local charity Didsbury Good Neighbours.

Doors open at Didsbury Sports Ground (Ford Ln, Manchester M20 2RU) from 5:30pm where there will be a BBQ (Little Pigs Didsbury) from 5:30pm – 6:50pm with the possibility of some BBQ food being available at half-time. Profits raised on the day will go to Didsbury Good Neighbours to help fund the fabulous work they do with the elderly in our local community. Entrance is free but donations very much encouraged.

The match will be available to view outside and a large screen and inside the clubhouse on two large televisions. There will be a bar available on the day serving refreshing icy cold beverages for adults and children.

If you wish to attend please email rough numbers can be estimated.

The Metropolitan, West Didsbury

Indoor and outdoor screens – but again, get there early as this is a popular venue.

We’re sure that pubs and bars in the area, which normally screen matches, will be doing so tonight, but we won’t post until we see definite confirmation. So, if you know of anywhere else definitely showing the semi-final, let us know via Twitter or send an email to and we’ll add to this list over the course of the day.








What’s On…Didsbury

June 7, 2018

There seem to be quite a few events coming up over the next few days/weeks, so we thought it might be handy for you to have them all together in one place. We definitely wouldn’t want you to miss out, so here’s…


Every Friday During the Summer


If you fancy a bit of live music to start your weekend off, then you should head along to Didsbury Park, for “Songs From A Park“, hosted by Papillon Productions, between 5pm – 8pm, every Friday until September. If the weather is fine, the music will be outdoors (near The Pavilion). But this is Manchester, and as we know there could be a chance of rain – if so, it’ll be indoors. The music is described as having an acoustic vibe but you may also find stripped down bands, trios, duos, choirs etc. These are free events and no booking is necessary.

Friday 8th & Saturday 9th June : Didsbury Gin Festival


That’s correct – if gin is your tipple of choice, then you need to be getting yourself along to St Catherine’s on School Lane on Friday or Saturday. Or both, if the fancy takes you. This is a ticketed event, and they must purchased in advance. Tickets are selling fast (£10, which includes a festival glass) and are now only available from M.J.Leeming Opticians and Urban Angels Hair Salon. Wood fired pizzas will be available to buy, courtesy of Thyme Out Food Co and the famous Didsbury Gin will be making an appearance, too.

Sunday 9th June : Yoga Event at Withington Baths


As part of an on-going series of events, to raise money for the Josh Wilson Foundation, an amazing charity which supports children and their families who are affected by brain tumours. This is a FREE event, but obviously, donations are encouraged! Bring your partner along – or find one when you arrive – annd enjoy two hours of calming and relaxing yoga, led by regular yoga teacher, Julia. The event runs from 1pm – 3pm.

Saturday 16th June : Didsbury Festival


Fingers crossed for sunshine! The annual festival (now in its 39th year), begins at 11am with the procession of local school-children and ends up in Didsbury Park for a day of festivities.

Saturday 16th June : Record Fair


If vinly is your true love, then you might be interested in a Record Fair which is being held at The Stokers’ Arms in Didsbury on Saturday 16th June from midday until 4pm-ish. Entry is free and from the organisers, you are promised top quality vinyl from some of the best traders in Manchester.

Saturday 16th June : Community Litter Pick


Maybe vinyl isn’t your thing. Perhaps it’s getting involved in community initiatives. In which case, a community litter pick, organised by The West Didsbury Wombles, will be held along Nell Lane in West Didsbury, where there is woodland which is apparently in need of a clear-up. Volunteers are most welcome – meet 2pm at the corner of Nell Lane and Princess Road. Bags, hoops, pickers and gloves provided.

Sunday 17th June : Didsbury Open Gardens


Back after a break last year, the 2018 Didsbury Open Gardens event promises to be the best yet. Wild birds, willow-sculpted hares and a teddy bears’ picnic are just some of the unexpected treasures to be found among the more conventional floral offerings on show at the event on Sunday 17th June 11am – 5pm.

There will be more than 20 gardens – traditional and modern, large and small – opening to the public, as well as a combined art trail, including willow weavings by acclaimed local artist, Juliette Hamilton. The day will also include the chance to get up close (at Broomcroft Hall) to owls and birds of prey from Wild Wings bird sanctuary, live music, a teddy bears’ picnic and tea and cake. Proceeds from the event will go to St Ann’s Hospice and Didsbury Good Neighbours.

For entry to all of the gardens, pick up a programme (£5) from The Cheese Hamlet, Fusion Deli or Didsbury Library, or from participating gardens on the day.

Sunday 24th June : Charity Fun Day at Withington Baths


Another event at Withington Baths, to rasie funds for the Josh Wilson Foundation, this time focusing on families. Bring the children along between 11am – 2pm – check the flyer out for the activities. A good way to keep the kids entertained, and know you are doing good by helpingto raise money for a charity close to the heart of Withington Baths.

Sunday 24th June : West Didsbury Makers’ Market


Also on Sunday 24th June, the Makers’ Market is back in West Didsbury from 11am – 4pm. Always a great opportunity to have a good mooch around the stalls and the perfect excuse to then visit our West Didsbury independents. They’ll love you for it 🙂

The Future of Life…

May 31, 2018

In the words of Abraham Lincoln…


…and this is just what we have been trying to do. If you’ve been on our Didsbury Life or WestFest mailing list, you’ll have received an email, explaining that we are deleting these lists. A part of this decision was made because of the GDPR legislation, but part was made because we/our lives/our business have taken a bit of a different direction and we’re going to seize the exciting opportunities that might lie ahead. So, if you’re not aware of what’s happening, here’s a round up.

Didsbury Life

We’ve had Didsbury Life for over fifteen years, and have made some fab friends and acquaintances through it. We’ve seen independent businesses come & go, we’ve had our ups and our downs, we’ve seen Didsbury & West Didsbury change almost beyond recognition and we’ve seen lots of similar businesses set up, some in aggressive competition, some rubbing alongside us. Our actual lives have taken a bit of a turn recently – we no longer live in West Didsbury. An amazing opportunity presented itself and we had to take it and we now live in Istria, near to the Italian border. We still have our very close ties with Didsbury – in our main business, We Are Life Design, we still work with many of our long-standing clients, so Didsbury Life, as a concept is going no-where. This will come as a surprise to some people, who will feel that we are disingenuous in promoting an area in which we no longer live. But, quite frankly, they can sod off. We still call West Didsbury home – we lived there for over twenty years and whatever anyone may say, we know that we did contribute, in a small way, to the development of the area. So, no, we’re not going anywhere – we’re just going to be changing the focus of what we do.

We Are Life Design

Our design business, which we did worry about when we moved (will clients stay with us, will we attract new clients, will we still have local credibility etc?), has amazingly gone from strength to strength and we have taken on a number new clients from Didsbury and Manchester since we’ve been away, as well as retaining the majority of existing clients. We’re not looking to expand the business – in fact, we have stripped it back a little, as we would like to enjoy a slower pace of life, and enjoy quality time with visiting family and friends. So, no, we’re not going anywhere here either – we’re just going to be changing the focus of what we do.


This is the one area of what we have done, that we are changing. With Justin, from Folk, way, way back in 2007, we had a little dream to put something on which showcased the very best of West Didsbury and which would hopefully open up to the area to a new audience, who would engage with the independent businesses and hopefully help to grow the area and the local economy. It kind of worked for a few years, but it became increasingly more difficult to drum up the real enthusiasm of the early days. Criticisms were levelled against us that it was “all about the bars”. And, yes, it did become like that, simply, I think, because licensed premises had more to lure people in with. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for some of our small, independent retailers, trying to be enthusiastic and putting on a show, only to see their premises largely empty but bars and restaurants fit to bursting. It also took a lot of organising, and last year, I made the decision that we just couldn’t do this from abroad. And, we won’t be doing it again. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but it was good while it was good. I hope!

So, where now?

A new website is being planned, which will now pull together the different strands we are focusing on. We’ll still have We Are Life Design and Didsbury Life, but we’ll also be incorporating three new ventures:

Istria Life – a bit like Didsbury Life, this will be an opportunity for us to let people know about the beautiful area that we now live in.

We Are Life Travel – this is already a blog and documents our travels, recommendations etc as well as being a bit of a diary (We Are Life Escape) of the renovation of our new/very old house.

The new website will be much more lifestyle driven and informative and will hopefully give people ideas for travel, accommodation etc, whilst also still showcasing what’s going on in and around Didsbury. And for those who think, this will never last, as the ties will fade – you’re wrong. We’ve spent the best part of the last 15 years building up strong and solid relationships with people, and this will continue. We are loyal and we have a real connection to the area and many of the businesses, and that won’t be changing.

So, we’d love you to follow us on any/all of the above Twitter accounts and stay connected. You never know what you might discover or where you might up end up going for your next holidays!

2018-04-22 09.51.11




May 22, 2018

Four little letters.



But what a head-ache they have created! Like probably everyone else in the EU, we are being bombarded with emails from mailing lists we have previously subscribed to, asking us to re-opt in or unsubscribe. I have lost count of how many have dropped into my inbox over the past few weeks, and I have to admit I’ve either ignored some of these or unsubscribed.

With the job that we do – primarily website design – we are contributing to this GDPR madness, as we work to update client websites and sort our own (and some clients’) mailing lists, before 25th May. Safe to say, our heads are royally mashed with it all…


We completely understand the need for data to be secure and for people to feel confident that their details are safe. It’s what we’ve always done with client information, and we feel very sure that every single one of our clients has taken as much care with their data as we have with ours. But we do feel that this legislation is a bit like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. We are concerned that like us, our clients (like many businesses) will have taken great care in building up a mailing list. And these mailing lists are usually crucial for small, independent businesses. We are concerned that people will be suffering from GDPR fatigue and may just either unsubscribe or not bother re-opting in to mailing lists, even if they do still want to hear from businesses. And this is not good, as all of a sudden, a small business can have lost a very important database.

We do hope that our concerns are not borne out, and that once the GDPR dust settles, our small, independent businesses clients do not suffer as a result of this legislation.

And, we personally cannot wait for post 25th May, so that we can get back to doing what we love. Designing…

When Size Really Does Matter…

February 28, 2018

Back in the olden days – about fifteen years ago – designing a website seemed so much simpler. Smart phones were yet to be unleashed on the world and most people viewed websites on PCs or laptops – meaning that once you had designed a website it pretty much worked on whatever device it would be viewed on. The good old days, eh, when things were much simpler…

But now – oh, my word, how things have changed for designers! As a client, you might not be aware of just how much things have changed. After all, you’ve come to us for a gorgeous website, and quite rightly, you just want the end result. But we think it’s useful for you to at least be aware of what goes into your website, as well as the designey-stuff, that we love.

Today, we have many devices – smartphones, laptops, tablets and PCs. Some are Android, some are Apple. Some are small. Some are big. Some are in-between. Then we have the variety of browsers people can use – Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Safari etc. See where we’re coming from? We have to ensure that YOUR website renders across all browsers and devices. And with technology advancing as quickly as it does, this can be a really big task.


Once you have agreed the design of your website with us, we then set to work on this cross-testing. Usually, because of the way your website has been designed and built, we find that there are few issues. But – and it’s a very BIG but – sometimes we do run into issues, and these have to be resolved before your website is launched. We like to think our designs aren’t bog-standard, and so sometimes we do have to delve a little deeper and change styles on an individual basis, so that the website will act differently according to specific code within each device size.

So, you see, whatever they say, size does matter. And sometimes it takes a bit of time to make sure that that size is perfect…

Cross testing across devices and browsers.

Cross testing across devices and browsers.

If you’d like to discuss any kind of design work with us, we’d be delighted to hear from you. You can pop some info onto the form below, or complete the design enquiry form on our website. Alternatively, give us a call on 0161 445 7759.

A Knotty Design Problem

February 21, 2018

We are very lucky to have some very varied clients – award winnng florists, venue stylists, a wholesale bakery, a community run leisure centre, a legal firm, artists, bridal boutiques, independent restaurants and bars, to name a few, meaning our design work is very varied. So, when we had an enquiry about branding and developing a website for a company who deal with the problem of pesky Japanese Knotweed, we relished the challenge. It would have been very easy to just knock out a template full of immediately recognisable stock imagery – but we don’t do that. And the reason we don’t do it, is because it would give us absolutely no job satisfaction. And, we firmly believe our clients deserve a whole lot better than a bog-standard template.

First up was the logo for the company – Solutions For Japanese Knotweed. Our client asked, to be incorporated into the logo, “…a small Japanese Knotweed leaf and a bit of stem (maybe a cartoon/simple version) just above the S…” The company name is quite long and therefore quite tricky logo-wise, so the decision was made shorten it and add an explanatory graphic, with the whole name being the smaller “strapline” underneath, along with a knotweed stem…

New logo for S4JK

New logo for S4JK

We still felt however, even with the inclusion of the background image, that we weren’t conveying the essence of the company – and after a mini-brainstorming session, came up with something our client really liked, and was used on the holding page, whilst we designed the website…

"Liberate Your Garden"

“Liberate Your Garden”

The brief for the project was to design a website which showcased the services offered and to encourage potential clients to engage the services of S4JK. As previously stated, we could have could just knocked out a template website, but we wanted to deliver something more personal – and, despite the fact that the website would be promoting  weed removal services, we also wanted to design something that was quite beautiful. The navigation and flow of the website was crucial too, as we wanted to ensure that once people landed on the website, they could find the information they needed – including contact details – easily.


Enquiry Form with option for image upload : S4JK

Enquiry Form with option for image upload : S4JK

We also produced business cards and a letter head to complement the website, incorporating the new branding.

Business cards : S4JK

Business cards : S4JK

We think our client is very happy with our service and what we designed

Helen and Pete at We Are Life, helped us with the designing of our website, branding, and everything else, as we were completely clueless before we came to them! We were recommended to use them by a local business and we’re so pleased we took their advice. They are friendly and approachable and we are thrilled with the end result. We are also going to get them to redesign another website we have. 10/10.

If you like the look of what we did, and like the sound of how we worked with S4JK, and are looking for design company yourself – one which works hard to understand you & your business, have a closer look at our website. Get in touch either below or on our website. We might just get to know each other…

A Little Bit of Context About How We Work…

If you don’t know anything at all about us, it might be useful for you, in making the important decision of selecting a designer, to know about our situation. Alhough we loved (and still do), West Didsbury, we were becoming increasingly fed up with the weather (too much rain, too little sun), the pace of life (too frantic, too little down time) and never seeing a sunrise or a proper sunset. So, we made the decision to move and try and find all of this – and guess what? We did! We now design from a stone farmhouse we are renovating in northern Istria, very near to the Italian border. We still get rain (quite a lot of it actually, in the winter) but we also get to see sunrises and sunsets, the sun is getting warmer and life is nowhere near as fast paced. With good internet connection we’re able to continue our design business, communicating with clients as normal via email or calls. Since we’ve been out here, we’ve taken on new clients from the UK, and continue to work with our wonderful group of We Are Life friends. So, as they say, distance really is no object…

Istria - just around the corner from Venice :)

Istria – just around the corner from Venice 🙂