How to choose your Wedding Rings: a simple style guide

How to choose your Wedding Rings

If you are looking for wedding rings this simple guide will help you choose your perfect ring styles.

Choosing your wedding rings is such an important task, because long after your wedding day, your rings remind you of the love and trust you have for each other. This article will tell you about the different styles and make it easier for you to decide what sort of rings you really want. 

Handmade Wedding rings 

Handmade wedding rings white gold and yellow gold

Ring Styles

Traditional or D shape

This is flat inside next to your finger and curved on the outside. A traditional choice for wedding rings.

Round or Halo

A round section ring is completely round. It is also known as a halo ring as it has no flat sides, so it looks like an angel's halo. Quite a dainty style in narrow sizes.

Court or Oval 

This is an oval profile ring, wider in height and narrower in depth, with gently curved edges.

Comfort or Inverted D shape 

This is curved inside and flat on the outside, it feels comfortable to wear. A more contemporary look.

Flat or Rectangular 

This is flat on the inside and outside, also known as rectangular. It can be gently rounded so the corners are more curved. This makes it more comfortable to wear.

18 carat yellow gold D shape classic wedding rings made at How Fine Designs Wedding ring workshops

18 carat yellow gold D shape classic wedding rings made at How Fine Designs Wedding ring workshops

Surface finish

You may like to add a textured finish also known as hammered finish, because the jeweller uses various shapes of hammers to create different patterns, for example dotty or striped. This type of finish reflects the light in different ways and is great to add a reflective surface to an otherwise plain band. These are generally very hardwearing and tend to stay looking good over the years. 

Hammered wedding ring band with hammer

Hammered texture on wedding band 

 

You can also choose to have a satin or scratched surface. This is another more contemporary finish. It will likely need to be retextured once in a while to retain the satin finish as it is more of a shallow surface decoration, but this is not expensive and is relatively quick for jewellers to do.

The surfaces of your rings can also be shaped or textured, or simply highly polished in the classic style. 

Can I match my engagement ring?

Yes, it's a great idea to match the style of your engagement ring. Many people do wear wedding and engagement rings together once they are married, and it's right that they should look good when they are worn together. Some people do prefer to transfer their engagement ring to their right hand, but even if you plan to wear them apart it is still lovely when your engagement and wedding rings look great together. If you wear them together you would usually wear the wedding ring closes to your heart, then your engagement ring on top.

It's sensible to choose the same metal for both the engagement ring and your wedding ring, as the hardness of metals can wear them down at different rates. The purest gold is 24 carats, but it isn't really used for making rings as it is too soft. Gold is alloyed with other metals such as copper to make it stronger. So the best gold for making rings is usually 18 or 14 carat gold. 9 carat gold is sometimes used for making wedding rings, but the colour is not so rich or golden as the higher carat golds because it has much more copper content, but it certainly does bring the price down.

So if you have an 18 carat gold engagement ring it really is sensible to buy an 18 carat gold wedding band, as they will match and have the same hardness. A harder 9 carat gold wedding ring has the potential to wear down a softer 18 carat gold engagement ring, so this sort of combination is best avoided.

Do we have to have the same or matching rings?

No, it's your wedding, so you should choose what you like most. If your partner wants something specific, but you want something else, that's fine. You will have your own personalities and styles. Sometimes couples choose different metals, but both opt to have the same surface texture, which makes them 'go together'. 

Width of ring

There are many different things to consider when choosing your wedding rings. If you have slender fingers or are more slightly built, a slimmer fit of ring may be more suited to you. If you have larger fingers you may prefer a thicker style of ring. Though obviously much of it will come down to personal preference. The average mens wedding ring is between 5mm and 7mm wide and the average ladies wedding ring is between 2mm and 4mm. The wider your ring you will need to measure up in size slightly, so it is worth trying a few styles on to see which style and fit you prefer.

Wide hammered wedding ring band 6mm and narrow wishbone shaped wedding ring 2.3mm. Both D shaped

These are both D shaped rings. The wide hammered ring band is 6mm and the narrow wishbone shaped ring is 2.3mm.

Depth of ring

This is how much your ring is raised up from the surface of your finger. A deeper ring depth contains more gold and so is less likely to get misshapen over the years. So if you are very active and know that you will be likely to damage a thinner ring a deeper ring may be stronger. People who are more careful are likely to be fine with a thinner depth of ring shank and it will reduce the cost of your precious metals. 

Engraving 

You may like your rings to contain an engraved message; from the simplest initials and date of your wedding, to a fun message for each other. Some clients send each other messages which remain secret until they are married!

Font readability known as legibility and sizes are important to consider, as the tiniest font sizes are barely legible to the eye without a jewellers loupe. Larger bands 3mm and above make it easier to read engraved messages. Think about whether you would like a clear font such as Ariel, or Helvetica, or whether you would prefer script, which looks more like handwriting. As guidance you will need more space for script and it tends to look better in upper and lower case, than all block capitals. Try printing out your idea of text in your chosen typeface and size to see what it will look like. If you can read it easily it will look similar when engraved. NB. Be extra careful to type the message correctly and check it, as mistakes once engraved cannot be easily changed.  

Diamonds

You may also consider adding diamonds for added sparkle; these used to be saved for eternity rings, but are now more popular in contemporary wedding bands.

New beginnings and infinite love

Wedding rings symbolise your new lives at the beginning of your journey together.  With each ring you give each other a perfect circle representing infinity and symbolising your love for one another. Long after your wedding day is over, your wedding rings will be one of the only gifts that you will wear or use every day.  A very precious thing. 

Through history the wedding ring has been worn on the left ring finger in most western countries. It was thought to represent the vein leading to the heart and although our knowledge of anatomy has improved since then, it's still a sweet thought! In some European countries wedding rings are worn on the right hand.

The circle of the ring symbolises your unbroken love. The oldest wedding rings are thought to date from Egypt where natural materials such reeds were used to make rings. These were replaced as they broke, and before long more hardwearing materials were used including leather and bone. Luckily we now use precious metals which should last a lifetime. 

Have you thought about making your own rings for one another? You would be starting with a new piece of gold and be able to create a perfect ring; an infinite circle made for each other with your own hands. If you would like to know more about making your own wedding rings in Yorkshire you may like to read this.

 Bride and groom making each others wedding rings at wedding ring workshop in North Yorkshire

Why Art and Creativity is essential for your Mental Health

Why Art and Creativity is essential for your Mental Health

Mental health and wellness is important and the practice of creativity is a way to improve mental health #WorldMentalHealthDay

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I've struggled with mental wellness myself after a series of losses. We had only a small family, but over the course of three years my husband and I went from having four parents, to having one healthy mother, and another in a care home with dementia. I lost my father in law, my father and an uncle. On top of this I also lost friends and a cat. I want to share what I’ve learnt in the hope that I may be able to help you if you're ever in a similar place. It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to not be ok. Above all I want to share how I reconnect with the world again. 
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Each time I’ve lost somebody special I do take time to process the grief. I take myself off social media for a while, because for me that doesn’t feel like the right place to be and I need to take a break. But after spending time grieving I realised I needed to break the cycle and get going with my life again. Each time it has happened recently I have felt better sooner, so know that I have learnt how to heal myself without medicine. I'm not saying it will always work for other people, but it is certainly worth trying and if I can help one person feel better it's been worth sharing.

Why Art and Creativity is essential for your Mental Health #MentalHealthAwareness

Many people told me that the best way is to start talking about it if you can manage, but everybody is different and I found it really difficult to hold a conversation without bursting into tears for the longest time. I’ve always been really sensitive and found it made me avoid situations where I’d have to talk to people. My creativity has been the best way I’ve found to express and heal myself.
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If you’re finding things tough and overwhelming I’d recommend you start doing something creative because that frees you too do something that can help you process things in a nurturing way. I found that when I didn’t feel like speaking, I was thankful for my creativity because it gave me a way to express my feelings. I’d say gave me a voice when I didn't feel like talking.
 
Acrylic paints
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So what is it about creativity that's helping? Whether it's painting, drawing, or making something with your hands. I think it's taking you back to the act of play when you’re a child. That's how we learn and develop from a young age and that's how we process things. As adults I don't think we play enough, we are always conscious that we need to be good at things and worry about being judged. Are we good enough?
.Daisy chain

The act of creating something can be quite cathartic, however simple. When we are doing something creative for ourselves that can become our why, even if its only for a few minutes. By re-engaging our inner child, we can free ourselves and release ourselves from the fear of failure and overcome our anxiety for a short while. When you watch small children playing or even creating art work they spend some time doing the activity; they might think well this is absolutely fantastic, they might think that's not how I wanted it to be, but at the end of the session they put it aside and quickly move onto the next thing! When asked if they want their picture, very often they don’t, because it’s not about the outcome. They don’t judge what they’ve done, and we can learn a lot from that. My advice is to try to return to your inner child, and allow yourself to produce creative marks without the pressure of judging the finished product, simply to enjoy the moment. To enjoy the act of putting the paint on to the brush, mixing the paint with water, mixing the colours and enjoying how they react to one another; simply being in the moment. How does the paint react when you apply it to the paper, or mix it with another colour? Even though we’re not focused on the outcome, it can often lead to a better picture anyway! If we are able to see what happens to try things out. At the end of the day what's the worst thing that's going to happen if things don't go right? Even if it’s bin worthy, we can always make another one! Putting things into perspective it’s a piece of paper, so it's not the end of the world if things don’t go quite to plan. I think if you look at things in this way we can be freed to be more experimental and if things don't go right, it doesn't really matter. If things go well, that’s a bonus. I like to tell people in my groups and classes that moving forwards is more important than rubbing out, so if you're making a drawing and you want to make corrections sometimes it's good to forget about erasing the bits that aren’t right yet, instead just continue to draw over. This will help you to keep forming what you're trying to represent. Before long your new marks will cover up your old marks and in the scheme of things the drawing underneath generally doesn’t distract from where you're going. If you start to look at things like that, you have the evidence that you were forming your idea underneath and it shows your progress. Gradually as you draw more your ability and control will improve and so will your confidence. The final outcome generally also tends to be better, whereas if you are constantly erasing or rubbing out your drawing, its likely that you’ll keep making the same mistakes, so you feel as if you’re going backwards, or certainly not moving forwards very much. So baby steps in the right direction rather than completely starting again is what to aim for.

Painting dirty pour acrylic paint

Whatever activity you choose doesn’t really matter; whether it’s drawing, painting, crochet or macrame, you should try to do a little bit every day if you can. If you keep waiting for perfection you'll never get going. You simply start where you are and make a commitment to try, no matter how bad your first attempts are. If you have any unused art equipment in the back of a cupboard you can start with those, otherwise you can head to the art shop for a set.
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If you’re not sure what to choose as your creative project you could start reflecting on what you used to enjoy as a child. Many of us enjoyed something that perhaps we were told we weren’t good at, but that’s just one persons’ opinion.
.Creativity for mental health
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I'm starting to redefine who I am, now my story has changed. I do believe that although I have been grieving, it also gives me an inner strength to focus now on being me again; to think about what I want to achieve and to live my best life.  I'm rewriting my story as I go and I hope you will too.
Daisy chain necklace
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So what did you love to do as a kid? It’s time to reconnect with your inner child. Let go of perfectionism, start where you are and go from there. Don't suffer in silence. It's ok to not be ok. If you're struggling please reach out to somebody and talk to family and/or friends/ go to your doctor for help. If you know somebody who is finding things difficult please listen and be there for them. I've added a couple of links below. If you need help please reach out. I'm listening.
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#WorldMentalHealthDay 
 

If you've enjoyed this please share it http://bit.ly/WhyArtandCreativityisessentialforyourMentalHealth

 

 

Bee on purple flower

Bees and why we need them so much for our future

Our future depends on bees and other bee related things.

I've been fascinated by the humble bee recently, so have done a bit of research into them and thought I'd share it with you.

This may sound over-dramatic, but our food supply does genuinely depend bees and their pollination of our crops. But bees are threatened with climate change and by our over use of pesticides. 

Read on to find out more about why we need bees; how to provide bee friendly plants in your own garden, why you shouldn't be afraid of bees and how to revive a tired bee. Plus discover some of the reasons bees have gained extra significance to many people in a certain North-West English city and to see my new bee design necklace. 

Find out more about BEES

Different species of bees in the UK

The UK is home to many species of solitary bee, and believe it or not they all have different specialisms! They are experts at pollinating flowers with their own anatomy, so some bees only pollinate certain sorts of plants. That's why bees look so different. If you've ever wondered why some bees are thin and shiny, and others are plump and fluffy, it depends on their job. Nature is great at adaptation to role. 

There are over 20,000 known species of bee around the world. Around 270 species of bee have been recorded in the UK. Only one of these is the famous Honeybee. Honeybees are the ones that produce the honey and most of them are in hives looked after by beekeepers.  

Why not see if you can identify the bees you can see with this wonderful bee identification guide from the Friends of the Earth. They have launched their annual Great British Bee Count. So you can join me in downloading the app and counting the bees where you are. I do think there are less than I can remember in previous years, which is why I'm helping to promote this. I'm hoping that this is simply the result of our hard winter, and that more bees will soon emerge.

  Bee on purple flower

Bees are our friends

If you are afraid of bees, you really should be reassured. Bees rarely sting. If they are flying around you they are probably looking for pollen or water. They are sometimes confused by sweet smells, such as sugary drinks or perfume. So stay still and calm. They will soon realise that you are not what they are looking for. When honey bees sting they die, so they are very unlikely to sting you and will only do so if they are being defensive and fearful. Female bees are the only ones that can sting too, so many bees are unable to sting anyway!

Bee-friendly farming and how we can help bees in our own gardens

Famers depend on bees to pollinate their crops and already farmers in the UK are are successfully growing crops without neonicotinoid chemicals.

We too can avoid using pesticides which are damaging to bees and find natural solutions in our gardens. Biological pest control is a great way to use nature to help maintain a natural garden. Gardening organically is obviously the best thing to do, but every step taken to reduce pesticides will help to save the bees. 

Encouraging bees into our gardens

We can all help by planting more pollen and nectar producing plants and flowers. If everybody planted a few more bee attracting plants, even in pots on our doorsteps, balconies or yards.

I am lucky enough to live near the RHS garden at Harlow Carr and I often buy bee attracting plants at their nursery. You can use this RHS link to see their recommended plants for pollinators

Rhododoendrons at RHS Harlow Carr
My own favourites are Lavender, Marjoram, Buddleja, Echinacea or purple coneflower, Bee balm, Black-eyed Susan, Borage, Rhododendron, and Ivy (which is useful to bees at the end of the season).

 

How to revive a tired bee

A revived bee after a drink of sugar solution in my garden

If you find a tired looking bee you can help them by making an energy drink using sugar and water solution. The bee pictured above enjoyed my mixture of two tablespoons of white sugar with one tablespoon of water.  If you mix the solution and place the mixture on plate or spoon. This lucky bee soon felt better and flew away after their refreshing drink! 

NB. It isn't recommended to feed bees honey, as this can give them viruses. 

What do bees do when it rains?

If you've ever wondered what bees do when it rains you are not alone. Bees can cope with a little bit of light rain, but if they sense it's going to be very rainy they get extra busy before the rain comes, then hide out for the duration of the rains. The water actually dilutes the nectar, so bees wait in their hives for the flowers to dry out again before visiting them to collect their nectar. So if you see bees being really busy collecting nectar from flowers near you, perhaps they can sense the rain is on the way!

Can bees fly when it's windy?

Yes bees can definitely fly when it's windy, but mostly they wouldn't choose to leave the hive or to fly if the wind speed is much over 25 miles per hour. They can and do fly home though. In fact collecting pollen is what they mostly choose to do if it's windy, as it acts as a ballast and stabilises them in high winds, as its carried on their leg hairs. When they collect nectar it is collected on their abdomens, but in high winds this makes steering more difficult. So bees are clever creatures and are often making the decision which food to collect based on the conditions they find. This article from the PNAS explains more. 

Famous bees 

Manchester Bees

Manchester Bees

 

More specifically, the bee is a worker bee and is a symbol of the city’s hard-working past, during the Industrial Revolution. Manchester has strong links to the bee symbol and it has been used on some of the buildings, so if you are in Manchester you should look up to see some of the bee symbols there. I know there are 7 bees on the city shield and I've spotted some in King Street. Some more have been spotted on the Mosaic floor in The Town Hall, on the brick work of a building in St Anne's Square and in Lincoln Square on a bench. More recently the bees have been put on the city litter bins. Have you seen any more?

 

Manchester Arena Attack

Since the 2017 Manchester Arena attack at the Ariana Grande concert which left 23 people dead and more than 800 people injured, including people from my local area. It was a shocking attack, but it's great to see how people have supported each other and become stronger through such adversity. 


Manchester bee tattoo by @mowbles Emma Mowbray

Emma Mowbray @mowbles on Instagram has done some amazing bee tattoos and together with other Manchester tattoo artists they are raising money for the youngsters involved in the Manchester Arena attack in May 2017. I love that so much positivity has come out of such a tragic event. The One Love Manchester concert held just a month later by Ariana Grande was something to be really proud of. 

Bee Necklace

For my own silver bee necklace you can click on the picture below to see a bee necklace I make using fine silver. Handmade in Harrogate, UK. 

Bee silver necklace handmade

Please help save the bees! 🐝

 

 

 

Learn how to untangle necklace chains with baby powder and pins

How to untangle necklace chains with this simple hack

Find out how to untangle your tangled necklace chains with this simple recipe using baby powder. It's an easy way to untangle knots in your jewellery using household ingredients. You will soon have your favourite tangled necklaces separated, untangled and ready to wear again. 

If you've ever found your jewellery in a tangled mess you'll understand the frustration it causes. And no, I don't understand how they get like that either but like finding odd socks after washing, it's another of life's great mysteries!

The dreaded tangled chains always seems to happen when you're in a rush, but really want that special necklace... So please don't pull your hair out, or throw the whole knotted bundle of chains out of the window; this should do the trick. 

 

Ingredients:

Untangled necklace chains with baby powder and pinsEssential

Small or medium size plastic bag

Talcum powder

Two pins or needles

Tangled chains

 

Optional but recommended

Newspaper

Relaxing music

Cup of tea or similar

 

Method

  1. If you can remove any charms from necklaces or bracelets then you should.
  2. Undo any clasps if you can.
  3. You may wish to lay out a piece of newspaper to save tidying up.
  4. Use a small plastic bag and add a generous amount of baby powder.
  5. Add your tangled chains and seal the top of the bag.
  6. Give your bag a good shake until all the links are coated with powder.
  7. Remove the chains from your bag and they will start to unravel much more easily.
  8. Any tricky tangles can then be tackled using a couple of pins.
  9. Put one pin in the knot and shake it around.
  10. Use the second pin to loosen the knot.
  11. Work on the ends with small links before the ones with clasps if you can, as they will unravel easier.
  12. Repeat 9 and 10 until finished (you may need the optional drink).
  13. Notice I did say easier. You may still need your patience, but do recoat the chains with baby powder occasionally if you need to and remember to shake and jiggle the chain from the pin.
  14. Rinse your necklaces separately in warm soapy water.
  15. Dry with a soft cloth.
  16. Tidy away.
  17. Put on your favourite necklace.
  18. Enjoy your relaxing music/ go out to celebrate.

 How to untangle necklace chains Pinnable image for Pinterest

 

More jewellery care on the blog soon.  

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How to measure your finger size to buy a ring online with a Wheatsheaf ring stick and gauge used by jewellers to measure ring size

How to Measure your Finger and Choose a Ring Online

When you're looking for a ring online you need to be confident that you're going to get a ring that will fit. Perfectly.
The very best way to do this is always to visit a jeweller and have it measured using a ring sizer set like this. Known as a Wheatsheaf ring stick it's the industry standard and an accurate way to measure for rings. In the UK we measure ring sizes from A to Z, and beyond but it's easy to convert from other countries' sizing.
How to measure your finger to buy a ring online. Use a Wheatsheaf ring stick and gauge used by jewellers to measure ring sizes

I can't easily get to a jewellery store. What are my options?

It is possible to measure your finger at home. The best time of day to measure your fingers is the afternoon or evening. You can do it yourself by cutting a strip of paper about 5mm wide and wrapping it around your finger. Ideally the paper should be reasonably firm, but certainly not stretchy (crepe paper or ribbon would stretch). You should mark where it overlaps and join it at this point using sticky tape. Try the paper ring on again for size. Open it up and measure it carefully. Tell your jeweller the measurement in mm and they will be able to work out your ring size from that.
 

I already have a ring that's the right size. Can I measure that? 

Tapered candle used as a ring stick and a sharpie pen
Yes you can use a tapered wax candle. This is the sort of candle that is wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. Simply slide your ring onto your tapered candle and mark either side where it fits with a sharpie. Then post the candle to your jewellery designer. This is a very accurate and cheap method.
 

Are there any other ways I can measure a ring at home?

A bar of soap in a bowl of boiling hot water a silver ring by its side
Yes you can make an impression using a new bar of soap. Really good if you're being sneaky and planning a surprise! Mine was the Essential sensitive fragrance free soap from Waitrose, but any cheap soap will be fine. First pour some boiling hot water into the sink or bowl and leave your soap there for about 10-15 minutes to make the soap soft.  The water will look milky. Then carefully remove the soap from the water, handling it as little as possible. Be careful, the water may still be quite hot and the soap slippery! Now firmly press your ring into the surface. Push it in enough that it makes a good impression, I used a lolly stick to press it down into the soap.
Ring in soap after being softened in hot water
Lift your ring out carefully using a wooden skewer, lolly stick, toothpicks or plastic cutlery. Don't use anything metal, such as tweezers, or you may damage your ring! Then simply leave the soap to cool and set.
Soap with ring impression
You should have a great impression. Putting your ring closer to one of the edges would made it even easier to measure. Now simply send your bar of soap to your jewellery designer. They will know what size of ring you need from the soap impression. 

Can I use online measuring guides?

Yes if you are trying to find out the size of an existing ring there are a few online guides which help you to work out the sizing. If you put your screen size to the size of the your credit card and measure your own ring against the size of the ring on the screen, that will give you the correct size of your ring. 
 

Is there an easier way to measure at home?

You can measure a ring you already wear as long as it is still round. Note: If your ring has become misshapen, this is not the best way to measure. 

Use a ruler to measure from the INSIDE of the metal from one side to the other. The diameter measurement in mm can be sent to your jeweller. 

Planning a surprise purchase? 

Engagement ring on red rose
If you are planning to purchase a ring as a surprise for an engagement ring or similar, do bear in mind that left and right hands will not have the same measurements. Usually the dominant hand is larger than the non dominant hand! Try swapping your own rings from one hand to the other. Are yours the same?
 

Can I get a cheap ring sizer to use at home?

Multisizer ring sizer plastic to use at home
Photo credit: Cooksongold
Yes. You can buy a plastic multisize ring gauge to measure your own finger. These are simple to use and slip onto the finger and tighten like a belt. Again it is worth measuring your finger in the evening to make sure it is not going to be too tight. Check again in the morning to make sure your ring won't be too big. 
We sell these in our online shop for £1.00, which is redeemable against any future purchase. Simply search ring sizer to find it.

Anything else I should know?

Remember your jeweller will be making the ring to the size you tell them. If you make a mistake you can't expect them to change it without charge. So make sure you double check your measurements before you send them off. 

 

Getting your finger measured professionally is always the best option. 

 

For an interesting history of the British Wheatsheaf company click on the link below. 
www.wheatsheafonline.co.uk 

 

 

 

Galentines, Valentines and Singles Awareness Days

Galentines, Valentines and Singles Awareness Days

                                       

Valentine's card from 1909. Cupids and red heart. Credit Wikipedia

1909 Valentine’s Card. Credit: Wikipedia

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is what makes people feel loved.

It seems that Valentine's cards and gifts are becoming less popular. I thought I'd find out more.

My husband and I have always sent each other cards and gifts, but recently I've been wondering about the history of the Valentine. Exactly why do we exchange cards? I had a feeling there was a connection to the card making industry, but it seems that Valentine’s Day has a much longer history.

Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine is celebrated on 14th February. It began as a religious holiday to honour an early saint or possibly several saints called Valentinius. And it wasn’t until the 18th century in England that people began exchanging cards. These were hand written love notes or ‘Valentines’. Flowers and candies were sometimes given, and keys were also sent to unlock the lover’s heart!

I discovered that women purchase about 85 percent of all Valentines. Does that mean that the majority of them don’t ever get anything back? Hallmark cards claim that 144 million people buy Valentine’s cards... Am I alone in worrying about the recycling?

If we want to make something ourselves a hand made card or gift is often even nicer. Perhaps we should go back to exchanging hand drawn hearts and messages. There are certainly lots of lovely artisan independent designers for that more individual personalised card or gift, who put a whole lot of love into what they do. I don't know about you, but I love cards and gifts that are created by people who love what they are doing.

I also began to think about people who may not be in a relationship. Sadly my Dad recently passed away and so my lovely Mum will be on her own for the first time in over 50 years. This made me think: should we feel bad if we are not in a partnership. There are so many single people for so many reasons, that I really don’t think so. I'll be sending a little something to my Mum to make her feel loved.

Update: In the end I decided to phone her on the morning of Valentine's Day and told her I loved her. This of course made her cry and I cried too, but we talked about my Dad. In the end she was really touched that I thought to phone her on V Day, and I think it really made har feel much happier than she might otherwise have been.

Singles Awareness Day 11th March

Did you know that there is a special day called Singles Awareness Day? It seems to have started as a bit of a backlash against Valentine's Day. I discovered that In the UK it's 11th March, China it’s 11th November and in America there's a National Singles Day on 22nd September. The idea is that singles gather together to have fun and also buy gifts for themselves. A treat if you like. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of buying something lovely for myself and having fun. That’s something everybody should be able to do without feeling guilty, whether in a relationship or not! 

Galentine’s Day 13th February

A more recent celebration first seen in the American series Parks and Recration (2010) is credited with starting Galentine's day. Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope said “It’s only the best day of the year”.

It seems that Galentine’s Day, despite its youth is growing fast. A quick peek on Pinterest and you'll notice just how many Galentine’s boards there are. Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s, you may really enjoy Galentine’s. I mean who needs an excuse to spend time with your besties? So gather your friends and a good movie, a bottle of wine or a pot of tea, a few nibbles and share some laughs.

 Heart shape biscuits and cup of tea with tulip

Biscuits courtesy of http://www.sugarplumbakes.com (thanks Vaani xx) 

I’d like to wish you all love and happiness, whether it’s for valentine's, galantine's or singles day. Lets just try and have a happy day every day.  Hopefully we can all be more inclusive and celebrate love! 

Please do support artisan makers and let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Of course we need more love in the world every day and not just on these special days! We also need more self-love, so be good to those you love all year round and remember to make time for yourself too!

Sending you all love and sparkles,

 

Sally ✨💝✨

 

 

 

Why I'm Giving Jewellery Away

Why I'm Giving Jewellery Away

How it started

When I first started making jewellery I was learning the techniques and spent many hours making things. I beavered away and obviously wore some myself, but mostly gave away the jewellery to friends and family. To be honest it took me so long to make things, and the quality was probably not the best, but I made things for the joy of making and loved the creative challenge. Soon I realised I loved the feeling of giving.

After a while I felt sure that family and friends would be fed up having jewellery as presents. Luckily at that point I was being asked often where I sold things, so I worked very hard to set up a website. And all was very exciting until I realised that after all my efforts very few new people actually came, so thank goodness for my lovely friends! I very nearly gave up... all that work for nobody to see! 

Then I discovered Instagram. I have always loved it on there because it's such a friendly community. People are very generous with their comments and I've found that its a great place to get feedback about my products. Its so lovely to be able to talk to your customers when you don't have a bricks and mortar shop.

So I held a few giveaways; the lucky winners have always been very happy with their wins and I get to find out more about what people like. I have also been lucky enough to win a few prizes too! Happily I was getting found and have built so many lovely friendships on Instagram too. I’m now managing to get a steadily increasing flow of traffic to my website. It's definitely still baby steps, but its making me feel much more positive.

Positive thinking helps creativity

I first discovered the power of positive thinking by wearing one of my hand stamped rings myself. I stamped a ring with ‘I am an artist’ and it really helped me. I had previously experienced a really dry patch and couldn't really get creative with anything.  I was amazed how simply having this daily reminder increased my creativity.  I sold a ring to one of the lovely ladies in my adult art classes and she said it helped increase her confidence in her work. Then I began selling to creatives I met through Instagram and artists as far as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, America and New Zealand are now wearing my jewellery.

 

Word of The Year

Flourish neon light

I’m not a fan of new years resolutions. I've never found they work for me. Instead I prefer to set myself a more positive goal to guide me through the year. Simply by having a word to guide me helps me a great deal. The words I considered for myself this year were evolve, brave, creative, thrive, trust, joy, focus, flourish, meraki, love, magical, vision and simplicity. 

I wanted a word that supports me being more visible promoting my business, but also in my personal life making sure I nourish my body with good food choices instead of junk. I also wanted to make time to nurture my creativity and not feel guilty about doing things like going for a walk in nature or treating myself to a gallery visit, or a much needed massage after lots of hammering. 

So after living with a few words pinned on my wall for a while,  I have chosen my main word to be ‘flourish’ and I’m loving how its helping me to be more outgoing and to feel better about nurturing myself. As a supporting word I decided to choose 'meraki' (pronunciation may-rah-kee) which means to do something with soul, creativity or love, to put something of yourself into your work. Its a Greek word and I really like its meaning because I do put a little bit of myself into every piece of jewellery I make, so need to make sure I nurture my own creativity. Daily meditation is another of my meraki choices. As a typographer I also love how the word looks and find it visually inspiring.  I'll be wearing my rings daily and enjoying the confidence its giving me..Meraki definition to do something with creativity or love, to put something of yourself into your work

 

 

 

Kindness Project

You might wonder why I’m excited about giving products away. Well it’s one of my business core values. Kindness. Because by being kind I get more of my products into the world, and more people will experience how good they are at making them feel better. A self fulfilling prophecy if you like. I have also donated jewellery to good causes, which is something I love to do. 

So I'm sure you can imagine how excited I was when I found out about a project on Instagram started by the lovely Victoria from @featherandwild www.https://featherandwild.blog 

With her #atouchofkind project she's started an initiative to show random acts of kindness to people and also supporting independent makers. The general idea is that makers will send out mostly handmade items of any sort to people without cost to them and without any expectations, but with the suggestion that they too might pay it forward in some way. So of course I’m going to be sending out a few of my handmade silver word of the year rings with the hope that it helps people. 

Instagram feed @howfinedesigns showing giveaway #atouchofkind

I’m now looking forward to being able to pay it forward with a touch of kindness to other artists and creatives. I want to give them the self-belief and a little reminder to live their best lives. Being kind to ourselves is something we really need to do, so if I can help people to be good to themselves as well that's another benefit.  Do pop over and say hello if you're on Instagram.

What next?

Obviously this isn't a sustainable business model. While I'm able to offer a few offers like this I will, but longer term I would really love to be able to give something back as a regular commitment. I'm now working on my new collection and wholesale. It would be so good to hear from other people doing something like this, it certainly feels good to give something back. 

Do please let me know what you think, I'd love to know.  

Blue Monday but Please Don't Be Blue...

Blue Monday but Please Don't Be Blue...

Grab a brew and reconnect with

your CREATIVITY

The third Monday of January is officially the day known as BLUE MONDAY. This is the day more people are reported to feel fed up and blue: I really don't like that idea, so I'm giving you some creative tips to avoid feeling the blues... or at least to really enjoy the blues you create! There is no need to do all of these, just choose the ones that appeal to you. 


Top tips to make your life more colourful and creative:

Splash some colour around. Painting is a great activity. Don't worry about what to paint, just let the colours do whatever happens. It's the act of painting, the process that's important rather than the outcome.

Blue ink splash with red on white background
Treat yourself to doing something different such as learning a new creative skill or activity. It doesn't have to be art. Try joining a choir, playing an instrument or take a dance class. The sound of music is known to induce feelings of wellbeing, and the social side is really good for you too! 

 

Take a walk outside. Walking is brilliant for you. Research has shown that regular brisk walking several times each week improves your overall health considerably. 

Natures beauty. Trees against beautiful coloured sky.


Take any sort of exercise. Whether it's walking, running, pilates, yoga, football, tennis, swimming, boxing, it doesn't really matter. All sorts of exercise are good to make your blood flow and to increase endorphins.

Gratitude journaling. Begin to write down things that you are greatful for. If you are feeling really blue you may not think that you have much, but even the smallest things should be noted. Make a regular time, it only needs to be a few minutes each day.


Draw something. It really doesn't matter what! Just start with making a regular drawing every day. There are lots of word prompts on line to give you a stimulus for the subject matter. This regular activity will repay you with a steady improvement. Just don't quit after the first few days. They say that 21 days is needed to achieve results, so aim for three weeks or more.

 Drawing of bird using blue and purple pastel

Turn your phone and tech to night setting. On an iPhone go to Settings then select Display and Brightness and press Night Shift. You can preset the times you want to use the softer colours and it eliminates much of the harsher blue light, with the aim that you will sleep better. 

Blue lights with neon glow on blue wall at Hepworth Gallery

This image was taken at The Hepworth, Wakefield. Steven Claydon, Like Shooting Sparrows in the Dark 3, (deterrent lure) 2016. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London 


Try to make your bedroom a technology free zone ( yes I know this is a tricky one). Save the tech for downstairs and use an alarm clock to wake you. If you banish electronics from the bedroom you won't be tempted to use them during the night. By putting a notebook and pencil by your bed to jot down ideas and thoughts, or nagging worries, make a to do list for the next day etc. the idea is that you will sleep better. If you are lucky enough, perhaps you will even be able to record your dreams in the morning... Your body will benefit from the more restful sleep you will hopefully enjoy. You may also find a SAD light is a helpful bright light to make you feel more optimistic during the daylight hours. I use one during the dark winters days and love it!   

 

If you have financial troubles seek help. Get a credit card with 0% interest. Tell somebody and work out a manageable plan to make your repayments. 

 

Breathe Deeply. Before you go to sleep and when you wake up treat yourself to a minute of really deep breathing. Oxygen is necessary to repair your body, so your body will thank you.

Blue flowers outside

 

Have some FUN! Do something you wouldn't usually consider. Schedule it into your diary and take a friend along. It doesn't matter what, as long as it makes you laugh. Ever fancied archery? A night at the latest cinema release? Sledging with the kids? Yes good old human interaction!

Colourful blue and green sledges. Fun!


Look at artists. Picasso was famous for his blue period and Yves Klien even invented his own shade of blue. A famously depressed artist was Van Gogh... Do you have any other suggestions? 

Coloured pencils in graduated shades of blue


Rose tinted glasses? Treat yourself to some fresh flowers. Really spend time choosing colours and shapes you are drawn to. I recommend going to an actual florist, as they will let you mix the colours and textures. You may even smell which ones are loveliest!

Pink rose. Stop and smell the roses
Smells... Scents and fragrances are very powerful and can be really uplifting. Try going into a department store and try on a few new fragrances. Your nose can get overwhelmed with too many: three seems a good number.

Cook something tasty. The brighter the colours the better, think blueberry muffins, beetroot soup! You get the idea I'm sure...

Beetroot soup with sour cream and herbs on green table

Wear bright colour clothing. That's sure to make you and everyone around you feel brighter. 

Make a brew of your favourite cuppa. Meet up with a friend in real life, or at very least stick the kettle on, have a cuppa of your favourite brew and phone a friend. Make it a BREW Monday... (but if you have trouble sleeping make it a decaff after 2pm in the afternoon).

A delicious cup of coffee

 

Please let me know in the comments below if you found this helpful or if you have any other top tips. I'd love to hear what you think. 

Love and Sparkles,
Sally XOX

If you have found this article hasn't helped at all please don't feel that you are alone. Depression is an illness, so if you think this is something you can no longer handle on your own please seek help. You are certainly not alone. I recommend the book 'Cheer Up Love' by Susan Calman.

 

If you are still feeling depressed tell a friend or visit a medical professional. SAMARITANS www.samaritans.org or call free any time on 116 123 (UK) 

Make Your Dream Come True Day

Make Your Dream Come True Day

Friday 13th January is actually 'MAKE YOUR DREAM COME TRUE DAY' and maybe its not as crazy as it first sounds.

Do you have a dream? Well it will be likely to stay that way......

Unless YOU start making plans to make it happen. Several years ago I had a dream to start my own business. I had made jewellery for years. To be honest, at that stage it was an expensive hobby and although I did make lots of gifts for family and friends,  I was sad that I had let another New Years Resolution date pass me by. I don't believe that many people ever stick to their resolutions.

Four years ago I decided it would be different. I wrote down what I wanted to achieve and started to make notes in my phone every time I had an idea. Next I decided to actually tell people what I was thinking of doing. I joined a few Facebook groups and then paid for mentoring from people I knew were really respected in the industry.

At first people told me it would never work, as jewellery design is a pretty saturated industry, but what happened next was great. I had a lot of positive feedback for my ideas. I decided that I would really go for it; after all what was the worst that could happen? If it failed at least I had tried.

The best thing I noticed about sharing my intentions, I realised the one thing I was most scared of was of failure...But then I thought, what would happen if I never tried? I guess I would never have known. 

As an art teacher I often encourage people to be experimental and to just start where they are. I don't know whether you have heard of daily practice? If you keep doing something creative, regardless of the outcome, eventually you get less worried about what other people think of your work; it's quite liberating actually. So I decided that I would take this innovative approach for my business building. I have attended numerous webinars, joined countless Facebook Groups, posted hundreds of pictures on Instagram and met so many lovely people (I'm @howfinedesigns), I've been featured several times, read lots of books by inspiring authors, designed my website. I launched my website and had my first sale in November 2015. I'd like to say a very big thank you to everybody who's helped me along the way. Now in 2019 I continue to have lots of exciting plans for the future.

 

If you would like to order one of my hand stamped silver rings to help you make your dream come true simply click on the picture below to shop.

Word of the Year silver ring

 

What will YOU plan to make your dream come true? Set YOUR intention today.  

Advent Calendar Gift Guide

Advent Calendar Gift Guide

The 12 Days of Advent

Please visit us each day for new gift ideas, special offers and ways to make this Christmas extra fabulous and less stressful....
Advent Day 1
Advent Calendar Day 1 Love heart keyring silver
We're on the countdown to Christmas. It's such a busy time of year, so we thought we'd save you some time and effort: so sit back with a cup of tea (or something stronger perhaps) and let us guide you through your Christmas gifting.
Please be assured that we LOVE packaging your gifts to look beautiful and you will love that your gift recipient has a big smile on their face on Christmas morning. 
This Christmas get FREE worldwide shipping and gift wrapping with every purchase from How Fine Designs with the code: LOVESPARKLES 
Featured here is the Love Heart Silver Keyring at £72 
Advent Day 2 
Advent Calendar Day 2 Heart necklace silver
When the world is whizzing round at breakneck pace and everybody is so busy, it can be overwhelming knowing that you are responsible for organising gifts for everyone. It's important keep things in perspective though, so slow down and take a deep breath or two. These days it can be quite daunting with the expectations involved with putting on a show and making everything look perfect for Christmas. As anybody who organises Christmas knows, it is a LOT of effort for a few days. So why not make THIS the year to BUY LESS..... Single presents with more thought behind them will much more likely to be remembered than multiple gifts which will likely be quickly forgotten. Hand made gifts are my personal favourites. They are remembered long after the others have slipped our memories..... 
I always try to to remember that the most important thing is to let people know they are loved. Today I picked up the phone and spent time talking to my Mum. This heart is for my wonderful Mum. Why not tell somebody special they are loved. Family and friends we love you lots xox
Featured here is the So Solid Love Heart Necklace at £125
Advent Day 3
Advent Day 3
When the weather is cold and the lights are dim its always great to have some fresh foliage in the house. When the garden is past its best (in the UK!) bringing a fresh Christmas tree inside is an  exciting event in our house. We always look forward to its lovely fresh pine scent and gorgeous green foliage. Decorating our tree is a family ritual and we love it. 
The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals for thousands of years. Pagans used to decorate their homes during the winter solstice as it made them think that the spring near. Across Europe fir trees have been used for about 1000 years. Many trees were hung upside down from the ceiling using chains. The first Christmas trees came to Britain sometime in the 1830s when prince Albert (Queen Victoria's German husband) had a tree set up in Windsor Castle. In Victorian times the tree would have been decorated with candles to represent stars. The most famous Christmas tree in the UK is the one in Trafalgar Square London, which is presented to the British people for the help given to Norway during World War II. One of my favourite Christmas memories was visiting Austria where the trees were not decorated, instead we celebrated Christmas Eve at the local church. It was not at all commercial and had all the joy of Christmas with much less of the stress and pressure we have to make everything perfect. During the day we skiied and enjoyed the snow and beautiful fresh mountain air.... In our family growing up we always had 'tree presents' which were opened in the evening rather than the big presents enjoyed in the morning before lunch. 
Why not give an everlasting sweet silver flower in bloom. This was originally designed for my daughter Grace and has a purple cubic zirconia set in the centre. It would make a super 'tree present and comes gift wrapped.
What Christmas traditions do you love in your house at Christmas? 
Todays featured Jewellery is the Sterling Silver Grace Flower necklace at £80
Advent Day 4
Advent Day 4 Marble Swirl Silver Necklace

Return to traditional values.... Remember the good old days? Everybody likes to reminisce about days gone by..... even small children remember when they were tiny (a year seems like a lifetime to them)! Childhood memories are precious, so finding a gift that reminds people of this is priceless, even though it needn't cost a lot. The vintage glass buttons in the picture would make a brilliant present for somebody crafty who likes to make things. In Harrogate we are lucky enough to have a fabulous haberdashery shop called Duttons for Buttons, which sells amazing array of buttons, lace, threads and all sorts of fantastic colourful treasures for the crafty friend or relation. If you have a similar haberdashery store this sort of thing makes an original present idea, otherwise Ebay is a great place to find things for creative friends and family. These glass baubles were one of my Ebay finds and I love them! Todays featured Marble Swirl necklace has been a really popular gift and is quite a fun piece of jewellery with the lovely associated memories of childhood games. 

Featured here is the Marble Swirl Necklace at £30 without a chain (use your own chain) or £45 on a long silver chain (as shown above) 

Advent Day 5

Artist gifts I am an artist ring silver Advent day 5

What do you buy for an artist or designer? This can be a tricky one if you are buying for a creative friend or a partner...... Something well designed will be well received..... Designers and artists usually like things which have been well thought out and sometimes quite minimal. Think "less is more". I have a few fabulous Alessi products which are beautiful and useful too. Google the wonderful Alessi Anna corkscrew and the Alessi Blip spoon rest which is curvaceous, wavelike and beautiful, but also useful.... Art books or vouchers are always really popular..... at least most artists I know love Art books. Another tip is to buy Artist quality materials such as these Faber Castell Polychromos pencils, something from a gallery shop, or best of all a beautifully handmade item. Artists and designers mostly LOVE other artists work!

An empowering ring such as this "I AM AN ARTIST" ring is a wonderful handmade gift to help your artist to really believe in themselves. Each is uniquely made to fit and will have the individual style of a one off piece of jewellery, meaning that each is subtly different from the next. Made of Sterling Silver and with a comfort fit band this is one ring they really won't want to take off. 

Featured "I am an artist" ring made of Sterling Silver at £70 or you can add your own words or phrase (use the contact box to let us know the words you would like e.g. I am enough)

Advent Day 6

Advent calendar Day 6 Gift guide Silver Leaf tie pin

Spending time wrapping presents as you go along is a great thing to do... and I should know! Having left everything until the last minute and ended staying awake into the wee small hours on Christmas Eve when the children were small! It also saves last minute dashes to buy more wrapping paper ((yes me again)). Adding little flourishes like hand tied bows is my top tip for a creative wrap. In the image above you can see I have layered tissue paper on top of another sheet of paper and simply scooped up the present with a ribbon and tied a bow...... no need for sellotape for this one! Match the writing inside the card to the ribbon and you have a beautifully co-ordinated creative pressie.

What do you get for the person who has everything you may ask? New to my range is a leaf tie/lapel pin.

Featured Jewellery is the Silver Leaf Tie/lapel pin at £39 

This Christmas get FREE worldwide shipping and gift wrapping with every purchase from How Fine Designs with the code: LOVESPARKLES 

 Advent Day 7

Advent Calendar Day 7 This Twig Silver bangle bracelet and satsumas

A workshop can be a great present for an artistic friend or relation. I made some of my own Christmas presents at a nearby artists workshop. 

Although I currently make jewellery, I also teach art and really love to create things in different media. The glass bowl above was really exciting to make. This wasn't my first attempt I have to say.... We started out by making four glass coasters and even these were very impressive. I had so much fun that I've done several workshops now and its great to take a few friends along too. We learned how to cut the glass safely and were able to choose and make our own designs after a while. The colours are simply wonderful! 

If you're in the Harrogate area why not check out The Glasshouse Studio in Knaresborough. If you do, be sure to tell the lovely Jane I sent you...... You could begin making your presents for next year and be really organised!!!

If you're getting stressed about the Christmas preparations why not go outside and stretch your legs, I picked these holly sprigs nearby. Immediately I felt much more festive and calmer. I think sometimes the simplest decorations are the very best and bringing nature inside always looks lovely. A plain bow around them looks simply timeless. Oh yes and clementines...... I simply can't get enough of them at this time of year, anybody else? 

Todays featured jewellery is the This Twig Bangle bracelet made of Sterling Silver at £139. 

 Advent Day 8

Advent Day 8 Aloe plant, chocolate money, reindeer and Silver star tie/lapel pin

Entertaining at Christmas can be lots of fun, but the rush of preparing for it can be quite a lot of stress. Even when you're not hosting you have to make or buy gifts for your hosts and to make sure you're the most fabulous guests. After a few days of such close proximity even with close relations sometimes people can be prickly with each other.....

Sometimes we have to remember what its all about and for me that's spending time with family and friends. Recently losing a couple of friends and a family member makes me realise that we shouldn't take each other for granted. This year I'm definitely going to try to be a great house guest and be really helpful to my hosts..... I know they have worked really hard to make things special and memorable for us. I'm also sparing a thought for elderly friends and relations who can't make it to our celebrations this year, so I'm going to send special messages and presents even though we won't be seeing them xox

Todays featured gift is the You're a Star tie/lapel pin in Sterling Silver at £43

Advent Day 9 

Advent Day 9 Candle, lights, silver glass love heart necklace

At this busy time of the year amidst the kinetic activity of life and the social whirl of the festivities, its really important to make sure you give yourself some nurturing time and space. So make sure you schedule some me time..... light the candles, put on the fairy lights and the relaxing music, paint your nails or whatever takes your fancy and give yourself some LOVE!

And if you're doing some online shopping this week you can choose a couple of things for yourself too....... with our special code just for YOU.

The featured jewellery today  is our new Queen of Hearts glass and sterling silver necklace at £85 

Our gift to you today is a 20% off code when you spend £100 or more with the code: SELFLOVE

Advent Day 10

Advent Calendar Day 10 Silver heart earrings writing place cards Christmas fairy lights

At Christmas it's the smallest things that make a difference..... fresh foliage on the table, hand written place cards, and fairy lights to make the place more magical! These really do add to the atmosphere and come in a huge variety of different styles. My preference is for a warm light. The cool ones feel rather too cold for my liking most of the time, and particularly for Christmas I do really love a cosy atmosphere. They are great for taking photographs and give a lovely warm cosy glow. Also remember to help out with the chores. When there are lots of people coming there is always another cup of tea to be made and another pan to be washed so I always get a new pair of marigold washing up gloves (as a jeweller my hands take lots of abuse already!)

When we are old we shall enjoy watching the younger generation rushing round looking after us I am sure.... 

Todays featured jewellery is the Shiny Heart Earrings set made of sterling silver at £29.00

Advent Day 11

Advent Day 11 Table decoration mince pies fairy lights stars

When I've had enough of all the chores I love to spend a few minutes planning the fun stuff...... like how the table should look at Christmas. Usually I love to have candles and things, but at Christmas time I think its best to keep the table  arrangements low down, so they don't get knocked over amidst the pulling of crackers and the refilling of Champagne glasses!!! I've been looking for something simple and came across these gold spray painted leaves. I bought these ones from M&S but may have a go at spray painting myself if I have a spare few minutes. My advice is to lay newspaper or an old sheet outside in the garden and definitely don't spray on a windy day! The cranberries and jewels just add a fun colour pop, but I'm sure you can think of your own ideas. The mince pies in my picture are from Betty's.... I do think its absolutely fine to pick and choose what to make yourself and what to buy..... After all we do want to enjoy the celebrations at Christmas, not find ourselves in bed with exhaiustion. So I'd say pick and choose now what you want to make and what you will add yourself, then add the others to your shopping list! I used to try to make everything, but I think its best to keep a balance and make the things I'm best at! Hope you enjoy creating something. Please do let me know in the comments below what you're planning to make?  I'd love to know.......

Our special offer is a free gift with every purchase from our One of a Kind range

Advent Day 12

Advent Day 12 Gingerbread house and Betty's chocolate penguinsFor the final day of Advent I'm going to wish you all lots of love, and a healthy and happy Christmas. This adorable gingerbread house was made by my daughter (Mary Berry's recipe, which tastes delicious by the way) and the chocolate penguins are from Betty's famous Tea rooms in Harrogate.....

If you haven't heard of hygge yet (pronounced HOO-GA) I'm going to recommend a couple of books for you. One is 'How to Hygge' by Signe Johansen and the other is 'The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well'  by Meek Wiking. In essence the Nordic countries are renowned for having a superb quality of life, but we can recreate the 'cosiness' in our own homes by being kind to ourselves, and others. Nature, candles and good food all play an important part. Perfect for Christmas time hey? 

Our featured jewellery is a one of a kind Star flower Fine Silver necklace at £40

I hope you all manage to enjoy time with your nearest and dearest, whether it be your family or friends. Go create some lovely memories and spend some blissful time.....

Love and Sparkles,

Sally 

Please do let me know in the comments below what you've found useful:
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