Locket Library Necklaces

‘There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book’ – Marcel Proust

It can be an age old question can’t it? What do you get the girl/boy/mum/dad/grandparent who has everything? Christmas present givng isn’t the same now as it used to be when I was little. There was always something big I wanted, a new bike, a new hi fi, or a pogo stick (it was the 80s afterall) and even in my teen years there would be a list of CDs as long as my arm I wanted or a kappa tracksuit (it was the 90s afterall).

These days I have a tendency when people ask me what I want for Christmas or my birthday to just to keep it consumable; food or booze never goes to waste and is always well received always in our house. So because I’m pretty much happy to receive anything as a present, It always blows me away when someone thinks outside the box and gets me something super thoughtful.

For my birthday back in July, when i was presented with a gold shiny bottle bag and a little wrapped box from my brother and sister-in-law I was naturally just looking forward to tucking into whatever was in the bottle over ice not realising what was in the box was actually the main present.

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Some child like feeling around the night before had given me the feeling it was a necklace. Now i’ll happily hold my hands up and admit that i’m one of life’s criers. I cry at the whistle of the wind, however due to my issuing a list complete with hyperlinks and sizing instructions at least 6 weeks before any birthday to ensure i get exactly what i want, I very rarely cry over presents. When  opened it up on the morning of my birthday however i bawled my little eyes out to see that they’d had Dave’s book printed into a locket, dedication to me and all. So I could wear it with me whenever I liked. And (most importantly) when people asked me about it  I could say ‘Oh this? It’s my husband’s book, he’s an author dontcha know?’ Modest, I am not.

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Made by a UK based company called The Locket Library, you can have almost any book made up, and your choice of quote (if you want one). They have loads of famous books that they’ve already gained reproduction  copyright for, to reproduce Dave’s book Gary and Ruth had to ask his permission, which of course he gave (only as it’s me of course). The lockets themselves are extremely well made and large enough to see what it is if you look closely, but not too big that they’re gaudy and tacky looking. They’re all made to order and come with their own personalised library card so it’s pretty much a given that your choice of book and choice of quote will be unique to you.

I’m not a massive reader as it happens, but I am, of course a massive fan of my husband, so not only is it amazing that he’s written and published a book, but it’s even more amazing that I can now proudly combine that with my love of fashion jewellery. So this really is the perfect gift for the bookworm in your life (or indeed the jewellery fan) just make sure you wrap up a pack of tissues in with it, if they’re anything like me they’re likely to need it!

Visit the Locket Library’s Esty store here

or buy Dave’s book here: Mongolia or Bust 

 

 

The Perfect Mother’s Day Present from Mandy Charlton

‘In our house, Mother’s Day is every day. Father’s Day, too. In our house, parents count. They do important work and that work matters. One day just doesn’t cut for us’ – Margaret Heffernan

I know a lot of people poo-poo the idea of ‘hallmark holidays’ like Valentines Day or Mother’s/Father’s Day, and they’re right, you should tell the people you love how much they mean to you every day, but we don’t do we? Because life gets in the way or we just assume they already know. So I think there’s no harm in having a day to remind you to be thankful for though special people in your life.

This time next week is Mother’s Day and the problem for me has always been what to get as a present. Quite simply, what do you get the woman who has everything?

I don’t know about you but we’re the type of family that loves taking a photo (the women of the family are particular camera hams), the problem is, most of the pictures we take together are either selfies, or someone is missing because they’re the ones taking the picture. So for my mum’s 60th Birthday in January we decided to ask my blogging friend and all round amazing human Mandy to take a few snaps of us altogether to commemorate such a special birthday and have some nice shots to go on the mantelpiece.
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The original plan was to all go down to Saltwell Park and get photographed frolicking among the trees and the leaves but the good old North East weather had other ideas and the rain, sleet and snow meant that we had to relocate to the warmth and dryness of our conservatory.

The whole experience was, above everything else great fun. It can sometimes feel a bit awkward or forced having your picture taken by a professional, and the fact we’d had to relocate home did mean the pictures would end up being a tad formal but Mandy was great fun and made us all feel, well at home really. She worked with us to get the shots we wanted as well as suggesting things we wouldn’t have thought of, like getting pictures with prosecco and the Krispy Kreme donuts involved – which sums our family up perfectly really!
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In the short space of just over an hour Mandy had gotten some brilliant shots, I suppose it helps when she has such a good looking family to work with, fnar fnar! I love that we got good pics with every combination of family relation. The only shame was that my nephew Robin wasn’t able to come as he was had to stay at uni that weekend – we’ll have to arrange something again in the summer when he’s home. As the present was for mum it was most important that she got in every picture, and Mandy made her feel like the star of the show throughout.

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We even managed to get out in the garden for 10 minutes in between snow showers to get some lovely couples shots:

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Mum really loved the whole experience and we now have some lovely current pictures that can proudly put on display rather than old school pictures or selfies! She said of the experience:

It was something very different and a lovely surprise.  Mandy made us all feel very comfortable and at ease (despite a last minute change of venue because of the weather), and this is reflected in the quality of the photos.  A lovely family reminder of a milestone birthday.

So if you’re looking for something different for your mum this Mother’s Day, I can’t recommend Mandy highly enough. After all, if she can make me look thin and pretty, she’s nothing short of a modern miracle worker – it will be money well spent I promise 😉

Check out more of her work at Mandy Charlton Photography or follow her on social media here:

Blog: http://www.mandycharltonphotographyblog.com
Facebook: Mandy Charlton Photography
Twitter: @MandyCharlton

8 problems with Christmas in an office

What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day’ – Phyllis Diller

Christmas is without a doubt my favourite holiday period. I’m a traditional girl at heart, and Christmases in the Weatherstone house were always filled with love and laughter but more importantly presents and food. It’s not really until adulthood that you realise what a political time of year it can be, and especially if you happen to work in an office, it’s an absolute festive minefield sometimes. Below are some of the things I’ve observed over my last 14 years of working in offices about my favourite time of year that sometimes take the ‘fun’ out of re’fun’dable presents..

 Christmas Card Politics

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Who to send to? Who not to send to. Who is worthy of the fancy M&S ones and who gets the Asda smart price ones that don’t stand up properly? Do you wait to see who you get one from first? Do you just sack it off and give some money to charity? So many decisions over something that’s going in the bin on 1st January

The Tinsel Police

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Every year we get an email with a graphic video on how quickly tinsel can catch fire so we’re not to put it round our monitors and every year Cheryl and I ignore it and do it anyway

The Office Christmas Party

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 I’ve been lumped with organising the office Christmas lunch/dinner many a time and I feel it’s up there with being an ultra-runner’s wife in terms of thankless tasks. Half the people want traditional, half the people want ‘something different’ , no one offers any suggestions, no one wants to take over organisting duties and no one wants to pay more than a tenner. Getting a deposit off anyone is like trying to crack the enigma code so you always end up out of pocket and everyone expects you to work out who owes what at the end of the night. Oh and you’re too busy organising it to remember to take the next day off so you’re the only one who has to go to work with a hangover.

The Secret Santa/Bran Tub debacle

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Can I just clarify one thing? A bran tub is where you buy a generic present intended for anyone in the office, a secret santa is where you know who you’re buying for, got it?! I like the idea of a secret santa more than a bran tub but what I hate about both most is the rules. Once I was embroiled in a bran tub where you couldn’t buy any alcohol (some people were tea total) chocolate (for the people on diets) smellies (for the people with sensitive skin) and the budget was a fiver. So what did I buy? Napkins, I bought Christmas Themed napkins. FML.

Decorating the Christmas tree

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I never realised until I worked in an office how many different ways there are to decorate a Christmas tree, in my office, the way I decorate a tree is of course wrong, so in 2013 I removed myself from the tree decorating committee and removed I shall stay because apparently i hang my baubles with incorrect spacing

Organising Office Cover

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We get Santa to organise our office cover…

Quite naturally everyone wants to be off on the days between Christmas and New Year, being in work is boring as sin and you feel the rest of the world is at home in their new onesies eating their selection boxes. Half of me thinks I should save my annual leave and come to work on the days it’s quieter but then you know the whole onsie and selection box thing is so tempting. I worked in an office once where no one could agree on who would work when that the 3 days of doom between xmas and new year was divided into hours, Hours! Christmas Cray cray.

Pinching of Stationary

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Having never been a puncher of work stationary  or an orderer of office stationary I was naively oblivious that this went on but I have it on good authority that it does, every year. Most coveted items are tape of multiple varieties (scotch, sello, masking) blue tac (for Christmas cards I assume) padded envelopes and sticky labels. Seriously, have a word with yourselves ya filthy tea leaf, leave the blu tac alone!

Christmas Jumper Day 

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This is a reletively new one which has grown legs over the last few years. In the UK Christmas jumper day is fir charity, which of course if brilliant, however i can’t hekp but feel there a sense if oneupmanship that comes along with it. For example last years i was told that my rather lovely H&M jumper with black sparkly snowflake on the front wasn’t a Christmas jumper at all, and was merely a ‘winter jumper’ this of course was aid to me by someone dressed as an elf and we know what pernickety sticklers for the rules those guys are. This year i’m going to wear one of these and shut everyone up (right before I collect my P45)

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Feel free to add your office traditions below, and remember, and Elf is for life, not just for twatting upside the head when they slag off your Christmas jumper!

What Do You Get The Girl Who Has Everything?

‘In suggesting gifts; money is appropriate, and one size fits all’ – William Randolph Hearst

I don’t know about you but I have a distinct feeling that the older you get the harder you become to buy for. Gone are the days when I had a Christmas List as long as my arm full of cds, and gadgets or earmarking every other page in the back of the Argos catalogue.  I had a few things on my list (as mentioned here) but nothing major, and I really struggled giving people ideas of what they could get me.

Luckily, this Christmas I discovered the answer to the age old question ‘What do you get the girl who has everything’? Turns out, what you get her, is this:

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It’s a bracket that sticks to the side of the bath so you can have a glass of wine whilst having that lovely Friday night, post gym, thank fluff the weekend is here soak. The funny thing is, I didn’t even know how much I needed this in my life until i got it! Here’s mine in action:

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Bath time at the Newman’s just got way more fun!

Get your own Bath wine glass holder from the Handpicked Collection here (psst. it’s in the sale at the moment!)

I Don’t Want A Lot For Christmas….

‘Every gift which is given, even though is be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection’ – Pindar

With the festive season fast approaching, it appears that I may actually be the girl who has everything because it has taken me a lifetime to come up with any kind of wish list , it’s just not the same without the back of an Argos catalog to flip through!

I have, however managed to come up with a few bits and bobs that I’ve asked Santa Claus (and a couple he’s delivered early due to the elves needing to know what exact size to make!)

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Hybrid Hyde Mesh Panel Contrast Dress Oxblood available from ASOS or Lovarni

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Karrimor 3 in 1 Waterproof Jacket Ladies from Sports Direct. This is the only other thing pre-bought, again for sizing reasons and and for mine and the hubby’s trip to Iceland in March. Considering the average temperature over there is about 1 degree Celsius, i figured i would need a good waterproof jacket to keep me warm and toasty on those glaciers!

Some other goodies i’m hoping might make their way into my stocking…

10177860 Fearne Cotton Make up Brushes

Pleasures Estée Lauder for women EDP 100ml

Estee Lauder – Pleasures perfume

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Benefit Sugarbomb face powder

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Black Faux Fur Collarless Jacket from New Look (which i now notice is sold out so her’s hoping Santa snapped one up!)

Present porn aside, i very much understand that probably the last thing Christmas is about is about what presents you get. I’ve attended a funeral over 3 of the 4 last Christmas periods and am humbly aware that there are people who aren’t even thinking about what goodies they might receive like i am, they’re dreading the thought of spending what should be such a happy time with someone missing.

So when i say i don’t want  a lot for Christmas this year, I truly mean that, what i’m looking forward to most is some time off work, and spending the day eating and drinking with the people i love the most, because if I’ve learnt anything recently its that you have to cherish these family moments because you never know what’s lurking around the corner.