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

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter

Wordless Wednesday – Handcrafted 8x8inch Greetings Cards

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Handcrafted Exploding Box Keepsake – Special Memories

One of our lovely regular customers recently contacted me looking for something special to give to her Mum who is terminally ill.

She was looking for a handcrafted exploding box keepsake which could incorporate some of her Mum’s special holiday destinations, favourite musicians, tv programmes, etc so we decided that the twelve internal sides of the exploding box would have photographs of each of her Mum’s likes including her favourite flowers, cream tea, cruise ship holidays and a photograph of her great-grandsons.

The recipient is a lover of cream tea and loves to bake cakes for her family, hence our chosen centre piece of cup and saucer (she only drinks from a china cup and saucer, no mugs for this lady!).

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Our customer received her order yesterday and is over the moon with the finished piece, so I just hope that her Mum loves it too đŸ’–

I am quite pleased with how this keepsake has turned out and would love to hear your feedback.

xxx Laura xxx

#HugsForNoah #DIYSOS is on #BBC1

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It’s official… at long last the BBC home makeover show #DIYSOS featuring the amazing work on the #HugsForNoah family home is being aired on BBC1!!

Have you seen the DIY SOS: The Big Build – Cumbria advert on the BBC as yet? No, well here is a sneaky peek on YouTube!!

I am guessing that you are all aware of baby Noah’s story but for those of you who are not, then please watch this short video which explains Noah’s health condition:

We first met Noah’s mummy @Shellibobbins via Twitter in 2010 and here is a blog post we wrote explaining why we support this amazing little boy and his family!!

>Click Here< Cards And Candles For All Occasions supports #HugsForNoah – Do You?

Wednesday 27th August 2014 saw the launch of the new #HugsForNoah website which is with huge thanks to Gingerweb Design and Bonnita Graphics – I think you will all agree that Noah’s brand new website looks fantastic!!! What a great job on a very important website for a very special little boy đŸ™‚

By visiting www.hugsfornoah.co.uk you can read about baby Noah’s story, his family’s daily struggle and all the progress Noah makes on a daily basis. You can also shop for #HugsForNoah merchandise all of which gives a donation directly to this amazing charity.

Cards And Candles For All Occasions are very proud to support #HugsForNoah and to enable us to help while doing something we love, we created a special range of #HugsForNoah handcrafted candles… these are available to view and purchase through Noah’s website or by visiting our website directly at
“#HugsForNoah on Cards And Candles For All Occasions”

So set your recorders, programme your TiVo/Sky+ and get your tissues ready to watch a very emotional episode of DIY SOS: The Big Build in Cumbria on

THURSDAY 28TH AUGUST 2014 at 20:00 (8:00pm).

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We will definitely be tuning in and the TiVo is already set.

xxx Love you loads Noah xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions’ Website

Badger’s Woodcrafts Website

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Badger’s Woodcrafts on Facebook

Kidsgrove Victorian Market – 30th November 2013

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Tomorrow we will be at Kidsgrove Town Hall for their annual Victorian Christmas market… there will be lots of opportunity for Christmas shopping, treating yourselves and supporting local charities including Staffordshire SANDS.

We know for certain that the following will have stalls:

1. Cards And Candles For All Occasions – www.facebook.com/CardsAndCandlesForAllOccasions

2. Badger’s Woodcrafts – www.facebook.com/BadgersWoodcrafts

3. Felt Sew Great – www.facebook.com/FeltSewGreat

4. Kelly’s Enchanted Castle – www.facebook.com/KellysEnchantedCastle

5. Staffordshire SANDS – www.facebook.com/staffordshiresands

and lots, lots more

Come and see us, say hello and join in the festive fun at:

Kidsgrove Town Hall (Victoria Hall)
Liverpool Road
Kidsgrove
Stoke on Trent
ST7 4EL

Saturday 30th November 2013

This event is open from 10:00am until 4:00pm

At this event there will be Santa’s Grotto, Victorian Tearoom, Handmade local products (including us!!), Traditional and Vintage stalls, Dress Up Competition and lots of festive entertainment.

Come along and SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES and join us at this fantastic event… can’t wait to see you all!!

xxx Lots of love from Laura and Gordon xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions – website

Badger’s Woodcrafts – website

Remember Our Troops This Christmas

Support Our Troops This Christmas

T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE,
MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY,
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO,
IN THIS HOME, DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES,
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT,
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR,
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED,
A TRUE BRITISH SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO,
OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALISED THE FAMILIES,
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS,
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE,
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM,
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN’T HELP WONDER,
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE,
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT BROUGHT,
A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES,
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED,
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
“SANTA DON’T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS..”

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL,
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED,
FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.

I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE,
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR,
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, “CARRY ON SANTA,
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.”

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.”

This poem was written by a Peacekeeping soldier stationed overseas. The
following is his request. I think it is reasonable.

Watch Over Our Troops

Prayer Request:

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.. There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm’s way, prayer is the very best one.

‘Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands.

Protect them as they protect us.

Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need.

In Jesus Name, Amen.’

PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favour of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to all of the service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

Please, do your small part to plant this small seed.

Remember Our Troops

International Wave Of Light for Baby Loss Awareness

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As you know raising awareness of baby loss and the support available to bereaved families is something very close to our hearts and something our work through Staffordshire SANDS allows us to do.

Staffs SANDS wave of light

Each year on 15th October there is an international Wave Of Light which we always take part in to acknowledge those babies who have been lost around the world and in memory of our own baby Angels and those of friends.

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day across the world. We would like to invite you to take part in the global ‘Wave of Light’. Simply light a candle at 7pm and leave it burning for at least 1 hour to join us in remembering all babies that have died during pregnancy, at, during or after birth.

I'm A Mummy

This can be done individually or in a group, at home or in a communal space. Wherever you do this, you will be joining a global wave of light in memory of all the babies who lit up our lives for such a short time.

Infant Loss Owl