I didn't go to art school so I've never had one before but technically, I don't think it was a crit in the true sense of the word.
There wasn't any sitting around, defending your work while everyone else slagged it off and then finding a poetic corner to weep in afterwards (though there were a few late nights in getting it all ready)
It was more like a mini exhibition of everything the creative team have produced in the last year.
It's only when you print it all out, set up several computers to display all the digital content and stick everything up on the wall that you realise what you've been doing for the last 48 weeks.
From our packaging, all our digital content and our new book
Through to all the great stuff we've done with our kids' range
All the other stuff like The Big Knit
And the little innocent touches
We had it all in one room, on display for everyone to see.
People came along
They looked, they listened and had a read of everything
Stroked their chins, quaffed champagne and savoured a few canapes (if you can pass off rollmops as canapes)
Creative attire was compulsory
And it went down so well that we've been asked to set it all up again for our company meeting at the end of December.
It's good to reflect sometimes.
As my old music teacher Mr. Hamilton used to say, if you don't blow your own trumpet, you'll never get a place in orchestra.
We had a show and tell in our creative monthly last week where we all had to bring something we'd seen that we liked.
Zoe brought in some photos of handpainted shop signs from India and Tansy brought a map of London, marked with all her favourite routes and places.
I brought in a leaflet from Hans Schabus' exhibition Next Time I'm Here, I'll Be There which was all about the chair and how chairs and sitting have become such a central part of western culture and society.
In a nutshell, it talked about everything from how sitting is not a natural position (hence why we all suffer backache) to the how kings slept on their thrones so as not to be parted from the seat of power and how chairs can control large groups of people (in theatres, football stadiums, concerts etc).
It also talked about workplace hierachy being demonstrated by chairs.
Apparently the boss has the best chair, the visitors' chairs are always uncomfy and the employees get somewhere inbetween.
My chair is on the left, Dan's is the on the right.
The only difference is that his has a cashmere jumper casually draped over it. Case in point right there.
Ben brought in lots of beautiful books. This one is by a chap called Andy Smith
They're limited edition, screen printed and brilliantly done.
This one is all about the blue inks and is printed in all different shades of blue (apart from one page which is in magenta).
Ben also brought in a book of sticky labels by Ivor Cutler.
Ivor has been making and collecting these labels since 1964. It's definitely worth a read.
Finally, Kat talked about her baking obsession.
Having mastered cakes (and pretty much most culinary disciplines), she's currently trying out biscuits, using these cookie cutters for her first attempt.
Batch # 2
Her learnings from this foray into baked goods were:
1. Experimenting is good.
2. Sometimes old school is best.
3. Using rubbish cookie cutters = rubbish biscuits.
More show and tell (and hopefully biscuits) next month.
We've just made a smart new POS kit to send to all the shops that sell our drinks.
For those not au fait with the giddy world of retail acronyms, POS stands for Point of Sale.
Table talkers, wobblers, shelf edge labels, barkers, barkstops, fins - POS is basically anything that tells customers your stuff is being sold in that shop. It's usually positioned by the tills or on the shelf next to your products to help draw attention to them and hopefully sell a few more.
Here's a posh stand to sit next to a till (or infront of a filing cabinet)
But my favourite bit of kit has to be this little cube with 'five ideas for improving your life in small but meaningful ways'.
It's meant to go on tables so that people have something to read whilst they're waiting for their soy chai latte to arrive or if the chat starts to stink.
There's enough to keep you entertained for a good 4 minutes and 38 seconds
And if you get really bored (or are just rather nosey), when you open the lid, there's more stuff inside
Maybe we'll make some little men to go inside next time round.