Linzi Rooney

Each month in 2013 I will feature a female entrepreneur from Northern Ireland. I find these smart and creative women inspiring and I hope you do to. Last month I featured PR guru Cathy Martin and this month it’s all about silversmith and Director at Studio Souk Linzi Rooney.

How did you get into jewellery making?

Up until 3 years ago I was working full time as a photographer, but, growing tired of sitting in front of a computer all day, I decided to change my career path and get back to a more “hands on” creative field – and so Elephant Juice was born.

What inspires your jewellery designs?

I think I always want each piece to look different and unique but not at the cost of it still looking pretty and feminine.

Elephant Juice jewellery

One of Linzi’s Elephant Juice jewellery pieces, made with antique silverware.

Last year you officially took over the reins at The Fashion Souk. Tell us about your new role.
Since taking over, a lot of changes have happened. I changed the name of the company to Studio Souk and opened Belfast city centres’ first open plan retail/studio space. I still run a fashion and craft market which now runs on the first Saturday of the month called Saturday Souk in Spires Mall. So my role now has many layers from managing director to event organiser to sales assistant – there is never a dull day!

What are the most challenging and the most satisfying aspects of your work at Studio Souk?
Working with a lot of different personalities, trying to get them to come together as a community is definitely challenging but its the most satisfying aspect of Studio Souk as well. It really makes you work on your patience!

Studio Souk Belfast

Is it difficult to juggle your creative endeavours with the business side of what you do?
Oh definitely. I think if you are creative person, a business head doesn’t necessarily come easily. But its our passion for what we do thats drives us to make it work.

What has been your proudest professional moment?
It was definitely the launch party of Studio Souk. I had to take a minute to myself to just take it all in and to say, “wow I’ve done it , I’ve actually done it!”

Linzi Rooney Studio Souk

The official opening of Studio Souk by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Januray 2014.

Does your young daughter show your creative flair?
I just think she’s a genius but I’m sure every mother probably feels that way about their children. She’s very curious and head strong like her mum so I can only hope she will follow in my footsteps.

Do you have a motto that you live by, and if so what is it?
Yes! Heal the past, live the present and dream the future!

Who or what inspires you in your life?
My mum. She died when I was 15 and it always reminds me that life is short and you never know what could be around the corner. Especially now that I have a daughter of my own, I want her to know that you should always follow your dreams, whether it works or not, at least you know you have tried.

What do you want to do more of this year, in either your professional or private life?
I’ve got a lot of things going on over the next few months. I am running all the workshops at Belfast City Hall for the Easter Festival as well as hosting a Bike Fashion Souk and exhibit at the Giro d’Italia Big Start Festival.  In my private live I would like to have a bit more free time to spend as a family, but its still early days for the company so maybe that might come next year.

How do you like to unwind?
Will I be judged if I say with a glass of wine?

The next Souk event takes place on Saturday 3 May at the Spires Centre, Belfast.

Linzi Rooney

Linzi with her mini me daughter Macie May.

Ikea kitchens 2014

Last week I got a personal tour of the brand new IKEA kitchens and the bright and bold new BRAKIG range of homewares and furnishings at IKEA Belfast.  Along with some other local bloggers and those who work in the homes and interiors industry, we were all treated to savoury nibbles on arrival before we were shown around the new kitchens.

I hadn’t been to IKEA since late 2013 so there were lots of fab new pieces that caught my eye even before I reached the kitchen area.  But I paid close attention throughout the kitchen tour as Phill and I are keen to get a new kitchen this year.  The new ranges are not just about new-look cabinets, they are designed very differently from any of the previous IKEA kitchens.  Everything has been overhauled.  Now the drawers go back further and there is more space in the inside of the cabinets.  More space all round sounds good to me!  We have quite a small kitchen so making the most of space will be essential, especially as we’ve gathered up plenty of kitchenware over the years.  The IKEA kitchens also promise to be easier to install and there are more options to customise your kitchen to suit your needs.

After the kitchen tour, we got to have a nosey at the very colourful and vibrant BRAKIG range.  I had already heard a lot about this range and I was impressed when I saw the collection for myself. If you’re looking to update your home for summer and inject a bit of fun into your interiors, I’d definitely purchase some of the items from the range. I was lucky enough to take home a pair of BRAKIG bowls and I love them! I’ll definitely be filling these with snacks when we next have visitors.

IKEA Belfast event

IKEA white kitchen

Ikea Belfast kitchens

IKEA Brakig


IKEA sweeties


My new BRAKIG bowls pride of place in my kitchen cabinet.

Holywood esplanade

Last Sunday Phill and I took a trip to Holywood, Co Down and had one of those perfect Sunday’s spent outside and in the fresh air.  Holywood always seems to be our go-to destination around this time of year.  The days are sunny buy still crisp and nothing beats a brisk walk along the Holywood esplanade followed by a slap-up meal in The Dirty Duck.

Holywood is a beautiful spot.  We tend to visit at least once a year which seems too little as it’s only about 20 minutes away from our house.  In my opinion you can’t not stop in at The Dirty Duck when you’re in Holywood and, for us, it always has to be the Portavogie scampi with chips and tartare sauce.  Delicious!  Just what you want after a walk by the sea in some very windy weather.

Once we got home we were totally beat and in bed by 9pm!  Here’s to more days out in the coming months!

Holywood County Down


Holywood beach

Willow Lane

Dirty Duck Holywood

scampi and chips


Guys I would absolutely love it if you took a minute to nominate me for a Company Magazine blogger award.   As I’ve been blogging just under one year I’d really like for you to nominate me for Best Personal Style Blog – Newcomer.  All you have to do is fill in a few details, including my blog url and why you love Willow Lane.

I’ve put so much time, effort and passion into my blog since I started in May 2013 and I’ve enjoyed sharing my love of personal style and fashion with you along the way.  This is the first award I thought I’d put myself forward for so it would be fantastic if you guys felt compelled to nominate me.