I'm Natasha Clarke
The Founder & Creative Designer at
"THE EVENT DESIGNER"
I'm 35 years young & being born on the 23rd October sits me right on the cusp of a Libra & Scorpio. A scary combination, I know! I was in born in Oxford, though spent my teenage years living in Perth Australia. I have 3 beautiful Children Kailey 19, Kia 16 & Brannon 14.
Ever since I can remember, I have always had a creative flare. From a young age, I enjoyed writing poetry & stories, & making photo frames & decorations for my room. I was always creating something.
When I was about 8 or 9, after attending gymnastic classes for a short while, I was advised to start dancing. I was very flexible & bouncy & could never stay still for longer than a minute! I always wanted to be Kylie Minogue or Madonna, singing & dancing... though I could never actually sing!! Very luckily, The Oxford dance centre had just opened up down the road from me. I remember walking into the studio for the very first time, my eyes lit up watching the older girls dance. I knew I wanted to be just like them & I wanted it now! I shot my way through the beginner, starter & intermediate section, in flying time & before I knew it, there I was "Natasha Clarke, Freestyle Disco Dancing Champion" I wore some of the most amazing & glitzy costumes, winning many titles at the best of the best competitions. I trained every given hour 7 days a week, competing all over the country every Sunday & long weekends if at a festival. I loved nothing more than walking onto the dance floor, strutting my stuff. It's where I felt most at home & where I came alive! Some of the venues I was lucky to glide my feet along, included the famous Blackpool tower, (walking down those stairs is the highlight of any dancers career) Breen sands & Camber sands, hosted every year, by the legend that is Mr Len Goodman.
My daughters room when they were younger, using items already owned around the home & out of the craft box.
Becoming a young mum, is where my next spells of creativity started to blossom. With very little money, I would always find ways of creating something out of nothing, especially when it came to my kids bedrooms. I didn't mind so much about the other rooms in the house, just so long as my 3 children had a room they loved coming home to. One that made them feel happy & safe & where they could play & let their imagination run free. As you can see in this photo I really love bright colours & sequins (Probably from my days of dancing) This has to be the craziest room I ever decorated for my daughters. I covered the walls in Cd's & poms poms, the furniture was covered in sequined fabric, fluffy garlands & christmas snowflakes. I even hung iridescent christmas string from the ceilings with disco balls. Well.... Why Not?
The more work I did for myself around the home, the more confident I became. I started painting & wallpapering all of the rooms, laying the carpets & flooring & building & recycling old furniture. I loved taking things that others would throw away & turning it into something funky! This lead me to join a years course in Interior design at Oxpens college. Whilst studying this subject, I was approached by a local property developer, who employed me to style & fully furnish a block of 18 flats, whilst also managing a team of workers. This was my first real paid job in the creative field. It was an extremely big job with very little time to finish. I worked around the clock, even roping in my kids to make sure it was completed to a high standard, before the deadline. To this day I still remember the amazing buzz I got from this project!
Below is a sneak peak into my home!
DISCO DESIGNER MUMMY
Being a dancer myself it was only a matter of time before I started my 3 children up in the hobby & they absolutely loved it! I was a very proud dancing mummy & a very skint one too! Dancing is extremely rewarding, though very expensive. My children would need 2-3 costumes each, at the starting price of around £300... climbing up to £1000. I worried every single day about how I was going to keep this up, but seeing them so happy on the dance floor, keeping them off the streets & watching them make some of the strongest friendships, where you are encouraged to cheer & celebrate in others achievements, as part of a team, is how I stayed determined. I started buying leotards & hand sewing & gluing sequins & ribbons onto them, making simple yet stand out costumes, to make sure they still looked the part & wouldn't be lost on the floor with other dancers. I received so many compliments on my designs that I decided to teach myself to sew, so that I could extend my creations further. Before I knew it, I was making & selling costumes for other dancers within our school & others. I can not describe the feeling I felt when I watched each dancer walk onto the floor (including the famous Blackpool tower stairs), in my creations!! I had to pinch myself a few times & never really believed I made them, even after I spent weeks on end with no sleep to do so.
MY DAUGHTER KIA
My daughter Kia ready to dance her slow routine in the Under 12 championships. This has to be my favourite costume that I made. She always reminded me of a young Madonna in this.
The Oxford Wine Cafe Manager
In 2014, after living down the road for 10 years by now, I walked into 'The Oxford Wine Cafe' for the very first time, to meet some friends over a glass of something fizzy! I was at the time working for River Island as a sales assistant, though had been head hunted for a new designer shop in Bicester village, which I was due to start in 3-4 months time. My friends & I started chatting to the wine manager, who said I'd be a great personality to have behind the bar & they had a vacancy if I was interested. I didn't really think too much of it, though thought it could be fun to do in-between starting at the new shop. 3 months later I was loving it so much, I felt too at home to leave. Within 6 months I was promoted to the day time manager. This was an amazing feeling! I had never worked behind a bar or in the events industry before, though I've always been the one to host parties at my home, going all out on decorating for halloween & new year bashes! I jumped straight into making some changes to the lay out & decor of the cafe, then started planning & hosting events, dressing the venue to suit each theme & always treating the locals (who are still to this day, more like family to me, than customers) to my much loved vodka jellies. I had some of the best times of my life working here, where you will still find me today, just on the right side of the bar!
THE COCKTAIL SERVICE
In 2016 after 3 years at The Oxford Wine Cafe, I felt the need to broaden my events portfolio & thankfully with perfect timing, I had been recommended to The Cocktail Service, with whom I still freelance for today. I am very lucky to work at so many amazing events for high profile clients, at some of the most stunning locations, including Aynhoe Park, to mention just one. It was at this picturesque private country house, that I really found the drive to take my career to the next level & that's how I gave birth to
THE EVENT DESIGNER!
OXford WEDDINGS MAGAZINE SHOOT!
The Event Designers first official booking was in April 2017, when we were invited by Holly Preston to take part in a photo shoot for Oxford Wedding Hair & Makeup at Nether Winchendon House which was later featured in Ox Weddings magazine.
What an entrance!! I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity & even luckier to now call both Holly & Georgianna (Of Nether Winchendon House) very good friends of mine.
THE EVENT DESIGNER OPEN DAY
Me looking all happy, just before I opened the doors to the public for the very first time. Take a look