A New Year, A New Plan… Moving Our Business Forward

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We are back!!!

Happy New Year, I Hope you all had a wonderful festive period with your loved ones and are having a great start to 2017.

Today we re-open Cards And Candles For All Occasions after our extended, one month, Christmas break and along with those closest to me we have decided that I need to make some changes to the way I run the business.

As much as I love the handcrafted work I do and dealing with so many amazing people, both customers and suppliers, over the past few months I have been forced to stop and look at my own health too. Since launching Cards And Candles For All Occasions in April 2010, I have been working full time hours every day of every week, some times working straight through the night to meet customer deadlines or get things all done and the realisation has now come to me that I cannot continue in this way.

At thirty six years old, I have been suffering with Fibromyalgia, Depression and Anxiety for a number of years and especially over the past eighteen months my health has been deteriorating, there are days where I feel unable to function but I sit at my desk doing the best that I can to fulfill all of my commitments to our business and customers.

The end part of 2016 was particularly difficult for me as my health was not in a good place due to the hours I was working, I was taking on more orders than I could handle as I did not want to disappoint anyone and in turn this was adding to the need for working excessive hours and stress levels were rising. It was getting to the stage whereby I could barely function effectively as I was so exhausted, in huge amounts of pain and I constantly felt stressed. Something needed to change.

I took the decision to have an extended break over the Christmas period to give myself some time to recharge (I slept most of Christmas, only really waking up for my pain medication), re-evaluate the future of Cards And Candles For All Occasions and plan the best way to move forward with my business. The thought of closing the business was considered and discussed, but this is the last thing I want to do. I know what I want to do, I just have to put those plans into action.

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Over the last couple of weeks we have made a lot of decisions about the future of Cards And Candles For All Occasions and how we plan to move the business forward… in order for me to be able to continue with the handcrafted business which I love, the biggest change I have to make is to reduce the hours in my working week.

Until now I have pretty much been working seven days a week, every hour possible and it is having a detrimental effect on my health – the increasing pain, the insomnia and exhaustion, the mental effects of Fibromyalgia, they all contribute to making me miserable and the thing I have found hardest of all is accepting that I cannot keep up with the lifestyle and working life I held before Fibromyalgia took over.

I never thought I would end up in a wheelchair with a chronic illness at just thirty five years old!! But here I am, this is the life I have and now I have to move forward with a plan to make the most of what I have, make things so that they are manageable and in the bigger picture remember to look after myself too.

I need to find a suitable “Work + Life = Balance” otherwise, as a friend stated this morning:

You need to stick to the plan sweetheart or you will be permanently closed. Invest in you xx

The last thing that I want to do is to be forced by my health to close my business, but I can totally agree with the above comment as the way I was going before Christmas I was heading for a serious burn out and I cannot afford either physically, mentally or financially to risk this in the long-term.

Today is a big day for Cards And Candles For All Occasions as not only are we re-opening for 2017, but today is also the day we are implementing the changes which have been decided upon which will allow me to continue to work with you, our wonderful customers, on the unique, handcrafted and personalised products we all love.

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As I have said above, the biggest change we are making to Cards And Candles For All Occasions is our business working hours, with immediate effect our working hours are as follows:

Monday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Tuesday – open from 12:00noon until 6:00pm

Wednesday – CLOSED

Thursday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Friday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Saturday – CLOSED

Sunday CLOSED

We hope that you will understand our reasons for reducing our working hours and in time, once we adjust to our new schedule we are hoping that it will make us more efficient in dealing with your enquiries and processing/handcrafting your orders. My hope is that by reducing my working hours it will help to improve my mental and physical health allowing me to be more productive when I am working, therefore if all goes to plan there should be minimal disruption to our customers.

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The second change that we are making to Cards And Candles For All Occasions to help in moving forward more efficiently is lead times for our orders, with immediate effect we have listed below the minimum amount of notice we will require for each product we sell to allow us to source materials, design and handcraft your product ready for dispatch:

Standard Greeting Cards
Minimum 10 days notice

Keepsake Cards (eg. Bookatrix, Easel Drawer, Handbag)
Minimum 14 days notice

Exploding Box Keepsake
Minimum 21 days notice

Ecosoy Candles
Minimum 14 days notice

Wooden Gifts (eg. Themed Frames, Plaques, Candle Holders)
Minimum 21 days

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and look forward to working with you throughout 2017 and beyond.

xxx Love Laura xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions website

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My Latest Work – 21.06.2016

Good morning all, I hope everyone is well.

First let me apologise for being awol over the last few weeks, I know my blog is looking rather neglected – this has not been deliberate, I have been having a difficult time with my health and once I finish working on customer orders I don’t seem to have any energy left for anything else.

So far this week has started a little better, so let’s hope it continues this way!!

Recently we have been receiving a lot of customer orders for our handcrafted exploding box keepsake gifts, these are so versatile as they have so many areas for decoration so can include many more elements than a standard greeting card. They are perfect for any occasion.

The most recent handcrafted exploding box keepsake gifts we have completed are here below…

The first one is for a wedding – this one is personalised with a message to the bride and groom and includes names of all their bridesmaids, as well as photographs of the wedding venue, their colour scheme and a crystal swan centrepiece.

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The second one is for a very special lady who lives in France so I was asked to make this very “Paris-themed” and the centre-piece is a model of the Eiffel Tower, the elements around the sides are all things relating to France and that are important to the lady’s life.

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I hope you like out latest handcrafted keepsake designs and would love to hear your comments 🙂

To keep up to date with what we’re doing you can join us over on Facebook, our page is www.facebook.com/cardsandcandlesforalloccasions

Have a great week!!

xxx Love Laura xxx

#HugsForNoah 3rd Annual Gala Dinner – 30th October 2015

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It’s that time of year again folks… a night to look forward to, an evening of amazingness not to be missed!!

It’s the third annual Hugs For Noah Gala Dinner 😀

Tickets are officially on sale for Noah’s gala dinner, it would be really wonderful to see all my friends come along to support Noah on Friday 30th October 2015.

Venue: The Halston Aparthotel, Carlisle.

The evening will start at 6.30pm until 1.30am and I am sure will prove to be another fantastic evening!!

Tickets are £48per person. To book your tickets, please go to www.hugsfornoah.co.uk then click donate and pay either through PayPal or credit card. Please leave your name and the names of those who are attending with you in the message (for your seating arrangements).

Dinner will be set menu.

As Noah is currently being filmed for a documentary, there will be media there on the night filming all that’s going on, it would be amazing to have lots of Noah’s friends, family and supporters in the video footage too 🙂

On the night Noah will be launching his wheelchair giveaways and rocking with the wheelchair dancers – it really is a night not to be missed.

Noah with Miss Daisy

After routine scans during Shelly’s pregnancy it was discovered that Noah had sever Spina Bifida and was given little chance of survival at birth.  Noah was born with just 2% of a supposedly normal brain tissue and has been blogged about since before his birth.

Noah’s parents set up HugsForNoah to both raise much needed funds to help provide for Noah’s future needs, as everything for a disabled child is so much more complex and in turn more expensive, but also help raise awareness among would-be parents of the importance of taking folic acid at least 3 months before getting pregnant.

As a part of their campaign to raise awareness of the importance of Folic Acid pre-conception and during pregnancy, Noah is now an ambassador for FolicAcidUk.

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This year Noah was invited to join the Music Man Project on-stage at the London Palladium as ambassador for their amazing organisation. On 21st June 2015 they performed the “Music Is Magic” show. I have taken two quotes from the Music Man Project’s website to give you a brief insight into their work:

“The Music Man Project provides a comprehensive range of music education services to enhance the quality and breadth of musical opportunities for all people, regardless of any learning disability, difficulty or special educational need.

As UK’s first full-time music education service specifically for children and adults with learning disabilities, our core aim is to provide a high quality and enjoyable music education which leads to unique and inspirational performance opportunities for our students.”

“Experiencing the atmosphere and emotion of live music can develop skills and confidence in a fast and enjoyable way. Attending music concerts and taking part in music making with professional and amateur musicians is a fundamental feature of the Music Man Project.”

Noah at the Palladium

Noah’s modelling career recently began and all money earned through this will be used to buy fantastic ZipZac wheels just like Noah’s to donate to other small children who desperately need independence.

This photo was taken by Noah’s Mum on his first ever photoshoot for his new modelling career… you can clearly see the connection between Noah and the photographer and just how much difference their artificial lawn is making to Noah’s life and independence.

Noah's first modelling photoshoot

Noah Wall is an ambassador for the fantastic company Artificial Grass Limited and SIS Pitches, you can read about why they chose Noah on their website by clicking here.

Noah is now the Ambassador for the American brand (ZipZac) and the beginning of his journey as Ambassador will be launched on the night of his Gala Dinner. Noah has two of these amazing ZipZac wheelchairs to give away on the night, which will be donated from Noah to staff at the RVI Hospital Newcastle ward 1b. The story is a very touching one and will be shared at the gala dinner as to how this came about!

Noah’s Zipzac has made such an amazing difference to his life… he has so much more independence and enjoys doing his own things, he loves to dance in his wheels as you can see here:

Noah disco dancing

I am sure there will also be much, much more happening on the night and you’d be crazy to miss it!!!

Can’t wait to see you all on 30th October… Love you Noah, you are such an inspiration xxxxxx

Handcrafted Keepsake Gift Box – Baby Boy’s Christening

Our newest keepsake card design is proving very popular and I have to say I am loving working on something a little bit different… this is an 8x8inch easel card which is mounted on top of a handcrafted drawer which incorporates the card and gift box in one.

This particular design is for a baby boy’s Christening and incorporates a Sugar Nellie digital stamp which has been coloured using Promarker pens, before being die cut using an X-Cut scalloped circle die. There is also a die cut, layered cross with floral embellishments and a Christening themed verse and personalisation.

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (4)

We also added a lacy Christening gown as the baby boy’s parents are following tradition and he will be wearing their family heirloom gown – it is such a lovely change to hear of a baby who is wearing traditional wear at their Christening, made even more special having previously been worn by other family members.

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (1)

The base of this keepsake is made using pearlised cardstock, this is an opening drawer which means a gift can be placed inside the gift box or this can be used for other keepsakes by the recipient.

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Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (5)

This design of keepsake card can be handcrafted to any colour scheme, theme or occasion to give a unique and personalised gift for your loved one.

If you would like to discuss your requirements for a keepsake like this or indeed any of your greetings card or keepsake card requests, please email us at admin@cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk

xxx Love Laura xxx

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Wordless Wednesday – 18/03/2015

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Noah’s 3rd Birthday Party #HugsForNoah

We are busy getting out party pack printed and cut out ready for our party in the Buzzworx and Cards And Candles For All Occasions office tomorrow for a very special, beautiful boy’s birthday…

NOAH IS THREE TOMORROW!!!

We have all our bunting, party hats, cupcake wrappers and cake flags printed and being cut out and we have the camera batteries ready so we can record a special message for the birthday boy.

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You can download your party pack from Noah’s website here;

Noah’s 3rd Birthday – Virtual Party Pack >HERE<

It would be fantastic if we can help Noah’s family get more people to join in his virtual birthday party this year than before and hopefully it will be another global success.

There is an events page on Facebook where you can join in Noah’s birthday fun, leave your messages and photos and share Noah’s story – just pop over to:

Noah’s 3rd Birthday – Virtual Party on Facebook

We love you Noah and hope you have a wonderful birthday with lots of love, hugs and party celebrations xxxxx

#HugsForNoah Valentine Day Christening

As many of you will know from our blog posts, Facebook updates and dedicated sections on our website, we are huge supporters of #HugsForNoah.

Noah is a very special little boy who was born on 6th March 2012 with a condition called Spina Bifida, there were many complications throughout pregnancy and Noah has several medical conditions which a lot of adults would give in to, but he does’t complain and just keeps on going with his gorgeous smile. You can read Noah’s story on his website… www.hugsfornoah.co.uk

When we heard that Noah’s Christening was to be held on Valentine’s Day 2015, I knew that I wanted to create a special keepsake for Noah to remember this special day. It was an honour when Noah’s mummy asked us to handcraft keepsake personalised candles for each of Noah’s Godparents – we designed two tall pillar candles with Noah’s name, date of his Christening, the colour scheme to match this special occasion and then scaled this design down for the five smaller pillar candles which were then personalised with a special message from Noah.

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We were invited to attend Noah’s Christening which was held at the beautiful Holme Cultram Abbey, a day filled with so many smiles and surprises with Noah and his family – it is always an honour to spend time with such a special family.

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Rob, Shelly, Noah, Steph, Ally and Lucas

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The biggest and best surprise of the day?? The day before Noah’s Christening he stood for the first time!! Needless to say the photograph which Rob and Shelly shared of this amazing moment brought many happy tears and smiles and Noah’s progress in the last few weeks has come on in leaps and bounds. Noah is an amazing little boy 🙂

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You can see a video of the highlights from Noah’s Christening here: