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

#HugsForNoah has been on Channel5!!

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Tonight we watched Channel 5’s Extraordinary People: The Boy With No Brain – an amazing programme about a truly dedicated and inspiring family who we are proud to call our friends.

The programme gave a very inspiring insight into daily life for Noah from pre-birth until his fourth birthday, showing his progress and the lengths his family go to in order to create the best possible quality of life for him and to raise as much awareness as possible about Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.

It is clear to see from the documentary footage just how brave Noah is, no matter what obstacles are put in front of him he will face them head on with a huge, infectious smile.

You will see that there were several medical professionals included in this programme who each gave their views and opinions on Noah’s case.

Clearly each child with these conditions are different as is the progress they make through life, this is something also explained by the medical profession and they also go into detail about the ‘growth’ of Noah’s brain, potential reasons, etc.

Nobody has ever stated that Noah has no brain, since he was born it has been common knowledge that only 2% of his brain was showing which by the age of three years had ‘grown’ to 80% which I am sure anyone would agree is superb.

The documentary also features another little boy too with is own very interesting and emotional story… the other child’s problem is not Spina Bifida or Hydrocephalus related.

We are so proud of Noah and his family, proud to have them in our lives and be able to call them our friends.

We love you lots and lots Noah, you really are a superstar!!! ❤ 💛 💙 💜 💚

Sending you all lots of love and hugs, you did amazing!!!!! ✨✨✨

You can follow Noah’s story and support him by visiting Hugsfornoah here on Facebook or his website at www.hugsfornoah.co.uk

Love Laura and Dan xxxxx

MarkThreeMedia #TheBoyWithNoBrain #HugsForNoah

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As anyone who follows our blog will know, we have always been massive supporters of HugsForNoah… Noah’s mummy was a friend of ours way before her pregnancy with Noah so we have followed this journey from the very beginning.

Little Noah was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and was not expected to survive birth as the medical professions thought his illness too severe and his parents were advised to plan his funeral while Noah was still in the womb. Noah has exceeded all expectations and is now four years old and continues to amaze everyone with his progress.

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His story has been recorded by Mark Three Media to show the advances his health has made, along with the intensive work his family put in to make his life the best it can possibly be. The documentary will follow every day life in Noah’s family along with a few surprises along the way.

I don’t know about YOU but WE cannot wait to see Noah on television… he is a true miracle baby, an inspirational little boy who is growing into an amazing and intelligent young man who is a pleasure to have in our lives.

Noah has an amazing family and support network, without whom he would not be the fantastic little boy he is. Noah we love you very very much ❤

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📺 Set your tv recorders to RECORD “Extraordinary People: The Boy With No Brain” on Channel 5 at 10:00pm on Tuesday 11th October 2016 to make sure you don’t miss this fantastic programme showing Noah’s resilience and amazing progress!!! 📺

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Of course, the haters are going to hate… the family have already received some very nasty and uncalled for messages from people who ‘claim’ to understand what they are going through. People who claim that the television programme has been inaccurately named – the name “Extraordinary People: The Boy With No Brain” was NOT chosen by the family.

The point of Noah’s documentary is to outline the complexity of his health problems, the fantastic development he continues to make each day and everything his family does to help him to lead the best possible life. Noah was born with only 2% of his brain showing on hospital scans and in July 2015 an MRI scan showed is brain had developed to almost ‘normal’ which is a remarkable progression.

Even before the programme has been aired, the family have been accused of scaremongering which is exactly the opposite of what the programme is intended to do… the programme (which has not yet been aired, and I have not yet seen) will show the story of Noah’s life with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, explaining that prior to Noah’s birth his family were advised that he would not survive, they were advised by medical professionals that if their son did survive he would be severely disabled however Noah goes on to inspire and amaze both his family, friends and the medical professionals with the progress he continues to make.

Just remember, this little boy and his family mean the world to us so the minute you upset them you are also upsetting us along with their many thousands of supporters.

Surely everyone should be looking at the positivity and awareness which will come from sharing Noah’s story?

Look at how this FACTUAL programme covers all aspects of Noah’s health including input from medical professionals across the country!!

This is a story of hope and positivity. This story shows that regardless of the diagnosis or outlook you are given, with love, commitment, support and determination anything is possible!!!

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 💖

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

xxx Laura xxx

Happy 60th Birthday Mum

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Today would be Mum’s 60th birthday but on 23rd February 2007 Mum was taken from our lives but there is never a day passes when she is not in our thoughts 😔

Happy birthday Mum, thank you for everything you ever did for me, everything you ever gave me, everything you said to me and being the best Mum I could have asked for. The biggest gift you ever gave me was life and the confidence, support and courage to face the world, regardless of what was thrown my way.

I will never forget the card I found in my suitcase when I was in Benidorm, a much needed holiday due to problems at work, it simply read:
“Don’t let the ba***rds get you down! Mum”
I still have that card, and that sentiment is always with me. Thank you Mum!!

“Every day become more like my Mother
And I couldn’t be prouder”

A lot has changed in the past nine years, there are so many differences in my life – I hope you would be proud of the choices I have made, the decisions and options, the walking away and starting afresh. I’m happy now but I always miss you 💖

🎉 🎈 Happy 60th Birthday Mum!!! 🎈 🎉

Love you with all my heart, you are always in my thoughts xxxxx

Christine Thomson

Birthday wishes, sent to Heaven
from your family below
We miss and love you dearly
and we wanted you to know

Your birthday’s not forgotten
and your memory lives on
We celebrate the life you had
even though you’re gone

If we were given just one wish
one which could come true
We’d wish you back beside us
to spend this day with you

We will always love and miss you
and often shed a tear
Especially on your special day
today and every year

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💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖

💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖 💔 💖

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In Memory Of A Wonderful Mum – She Is Gone

I recently contacted Dandelion Wishes and Good Night Kisses through their Facebook page, after admiring their work for a very long time.

As most of you will know, we lost my Mum on 23rd February 2007, and as it is now coming up to Mum’s 60th birthday I had decided that I want to get something special done with a poem we were sent to be read at her funeral.

We have family who live in New Zealand (my Dad’s youngest sister, her husband and two children) who were sadly unable to make it over to the UK for Mum’s funeral so they decided on a poem and sent it over to us via email… we had this poem read during Mum’s service.

I spoke to Sarah about incorporating this poem into a special remembrance piece… after some discussion we decided that Sarah would add this poem to one of her large handcrafted blocks with a matching tealight holder.

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I am absolutely overwhelmed with the attention to detail and how pretty Dandelion Wishes and Good Night Kisses work is. Sarah’s customer service is fantastic and she kept me informed every step of the way, sending me photographs of her progress and giving many options for each piece.

I would highly recommend Dandelion Wishes and Good Night Kisses to anyone looking for a special and unique gift or memorial piece.

Here is my new memorial plaque and candle holder in their new home, on the shelf above my desk. Sat next to them is my Hugs For Noah Award which we received in 2014.

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In special memory of my beautiful Mum, Christine Thomson
xxx 15.05.1956 – 23.02.2007 xxx