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First Day of School Photo

As another school year begins and parents are busy making sure they have everything their children need in terms of school uniform, shoes, PE Kit and the likes it’s important not to forget to document that all important day!

There are many First Day of School photo ideas on the internet, some are very quick to accomplish and others would take some careful consideration and time. Whatever you decide to do, each and every one of these ideas will be a precious keepsake photo to treasure. I’m going to make a concerted effort to take a photo of my little boy each school year so that when he is older I can look back with wonder of just how much he has grown and how each year at school has contributed to the person he will be when he is too old for school!

Check out our pinterest page for more ideas for starting back at school.

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Hoilday away with the family

We all look forward to that Holiday away with the family, once a year (or twice if you’re lucky!). This is the second year that my family and I decided to say in the UK and have a family vaycay in South Wales. Last year we had a fantastic time in The Mumbles and the weather was good for us, we managed to visit four different beaches.

This year we decided to travel pass The Mumbles to a little village called Penclawdd. The choice of stay was based on the cottage I found which was bigger than the last and had all the same amenities we have come to expect.

Lydon Cottage was an absolute gem. We parked in the drive and immediately on approach to the gate we were met with magnificient views of the estuary. The entrance to the cottage led straight into the large cream coloured kitchen with open plan dining area and living room. Upstairs led to three, double bedrooms and a large bathroom. The master bedroom was light and airy and was tastefully decorated with a nautical theme. The piece de la resistance was the double sliding doors that led onto a balcony overlooking the estuary.

True Love Keepsakes Vaycay 2016 1

We had a great time watching the tide come in and out and the different types of birds that came into view. The owners of the cottage very kindly left a pair of heavy duty binoculars so we could observe the wildlife there. One of the highlights was coming back to the cottage after a busy day and sitting on the balcony watching the sunset go down…total bliss!

True Love Keepsakes Vaycay 2016 4

The weather was not a hot as last year, it didn’t rain but it wasn’t very hot so we only managed to do one beach day. We took the car and drove down the coast to Three Cliffs Bay, a beach that is hidden by some woodlands. It’s a step walk down but gosh, when you reach the bottom, the view is well worth it. It is an un-commercialised beach that has been left pretty much untouched. There are dunes, areas of grass and pretty thistles. It’s a vast, clean beach where it’s easy to find a secluded spot. We took a picnic and enjoyed relaxing on the beach. My son had such fun splashing in the waves as well as building sand castles as any child would!

True Love Keepsakes Vaycay 2016 5

The rest of our week was spent going to Swansea for something to eat, the Llanelli Wetland Centre where we had such fun canoeing and pond dipping, seeing a family of swans and spotting beautiful butterflies and blue dragonflies. We also attended The National Botanical Gardens of Wales where they had a butterfly farm, gorgeous tropical flowers from all over the world and delicious ice-cream!

True Love Keepsakes Vaycay 2016 2

We rounded off our week visiting a Chinese restaurant called the Sea Garden that we had be eyeing up. The ambience and food was lovely and all the staff were very child friendly which makes it all the more easier when eating out with children.

It was sad saying goodbye to our lovely cottage, we enjoyed our evenings in cosied up by the fire watching the beginning of the Olympics! Now it’s back to normality and my job of surfing the internet for our next holiday! Family time away is precious as we all know they will all too soon grow up and fly the nest!

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Capturing artwork in a charm

Handmade gifts – Artwork Charm

It’s always lovely to receive something that has been handmade especially for you. These are my favourite gifts, the fact that it’s a one off makes it truly unique, knowing only you have that one thing or design is a gift in itself. Jewellery is one of the most easiest ways to personalise a gift. Artwork jewellery is a unique way of capturing a drawing, doodle or handwritten message by someone special in your life. The first drawing your child brings home from school or the last note your mother wrote to you, all the detail can be preserved in a fine silver piece of jewellery.

Artwork charm we made for our lucky competition winner

We ran a competition in October to win a keepsake charm and the winner, Kimberley, sent in a drawing her child had done. We cleverly lifted the detail and made an imprint in silver! Look at the photos below to see how a picture can be transformed into a artwork charm. Our charms can be worn on an existing chain or bracelet and would be the perfect gift for anyone who loves jewellery, charms and or course their children! No picture is too big, no writing is too complex, the possibilities of what you can capture and preserve is endless!

TLK Competition Winner Artwork for charm     True Love Keepsakes clay stage artwork charm     True Love Keepsakes Fine Silver Artwork Charm

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Creating keepsake jewellery by hand – how it’s done

Creating Keepsake jewellery by hand is something I love being able to do

Each piece of jewellery goes through a careful process that includes a sanding, firing and polishing.
I thought I’d give you a quick run down on how our fingerprint jewellery is created.
First the clay is rolled out until it has a satisfied, flat, smooth surface.

True Love Keepsake tools
Then a heart cutter is used to cut out the desired shape, the fingerprint mould is then pressed into the clay to leave an imprint, one that will be forever unique.
Any handwritten personalisation is then handwritten into the clay and the clay is then left to dry overnight.

True Love Keepsake Clay Personalisation

Next the charm is then sanded using three grains of sanding paper for a smooth finish. It is then fired to burn off the binder to reveal a charm that is 99% pure silver.

True Love Keepsakes Firing Stage
Finally the finished charm is sanded for a final time then polished to reveal the shine and detail before being delivered into the hands of the customer for them to cherish and wear with pride.

True Love Keepsake Fingerprint Charm

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Christmas is coming! Gift ideas

True Love Keepsakes Christmas Gifts

So Christmas is not too far away and that Christmas list of gifts to buy for family and friends never get easy. With the internet it’s easier to see a wealth of choices but it can become overwhelming so where do you start? Pinterest is a quick and easy way to see inspiring ideas of what you could buy someone for Christmas, either shop bought or homemade. If you have time on your hands a handmade item could be a memorable gift.

If you want to go down the handmade route, timing is key. Whether you intend to make your own or buy something handmade it needs to be done in good time! Our handmade silver keepsakes take 2-3 weeks to be made and during busier times like Christmas it can take longer so it’s a good idea to plan ahead.

Buying for children can be a daunting task, they may have been a car fanatic last year and a dinosaur fanatic this year or a Frozen fanatic last year and a Minion fanatic this year! There is always the option of asking the parent outright what they are into or you could take inspiration from a top ten list of toys to buy for Christmas 2015 like this one from made for mums.

Don’t forget, if buying for a parent, the best gift could be one that incorporates their children! Capturing their favourite drawing their child bought home from school, this great company bink! can turn your child’s artwork into anything from jigsaws to gift tags! Happy Christmas Shopping xx

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Don’t forget the treat in treating yourself

Treating others but not ourselves

What are we like as women? We are hardworking in work and at home, we are devoted to our families and we want the best for all those we love and care about…but what about the treat in treating yourself?

As mothers there is no end to the sacrifices we make, how many times have you gone without to ensure your child’s needs are provided for? As a mother myself I do not think twice when it comes to buying new clothes to ensure my child is clothed appropriately whatever the weather, on the other hand, I will wear what I call a capsule wardrobe to see myself through the season, old shoes will be re-heeled if necessary and I will look at that coat in the wardrobe and ponder whether I can wear it for another winter season, shall I treat myself? Not just yet!

 

A guilt free way to treating ourselves

We tend to get better at looking out for bargains when we have children to consider, knowing that budget has to stretch further means we’re always on the lookout for inexpensive ways to treat our little ones with toys, clothes, activities and fun days out which soon means we are way down the list of priorities if we ever had the intention of treating ourselves. Mummy blogger, Becky Goddard-Hill, tells us how to find all the best UK sales so we can save even more and maybe move ourselves further up that list!

Mothers shouldn’t feel guilty for treating themselves. We shouldn’t forget to treat ourselves to make ourselves feel happy, to feel a rush of excitement on opening something new just meant for us such as buying a piece of jewellery. A personalised piece of jewellery means it’s just for you, a keepsake piece of jewellery means your treating yourself with your children in mind…a guilt free treat a mother deserves.

 

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What made me start my own business

My experience of business from early days

From a young age I watched my Dad run his businesses, he was an upholsterer, then a decorator and now runs his own music venue. Some have failed but now he has really made it and has created a small but successful business. I have always had dreams of starting my own. When I graduated in Fashion Design I thought that road would lead to a fruitful career but it bombed before it really got going. I wasn’t cut out for the ‘cut-throat’ world of fashion, to be honest, in the end I realised I didn’t care that great a deal about pleasing designers and working 5, sometimes 6 days a week for a really poor wage which meant I had not choice but than to stay at home. I always had that gut feeling that building my own business was something that I needed to experience in my lifetime.

Going back to school, business dreams lost but not forgotten

After leaving the fashion industry, I soon realised I needed to get my career back on track but take it in a different direction, one that would make me truly happy. I decided to do a two week work placement in a school and absolutely loved it! This is what I wanted to do, I wanted to teach Primary aged children, I wanted a career where I could really make a difference to the lives of others. So I completed my PGCE in 2003 and went into teaching and never looked back. Teaching and being dedicated to your profession means there’s not much room for anything else especially if you have a spouse (and family, but more of that later!) so I put my dreams of having my own business to the back of my mind and only occasionally did it rear it’s unrealistic head!

Having a child and reigniting that business dream

After having my boy in 2011, I was lucky enough to have almost 12 months off with him, returning to work was good at first and I felt the usual pangs of worry but he was only ever a short distance away as my school had a children’s center attached to it. The second year after returning to work was when it really started to hit me, he was getting older and I knew I was missing out on so much, I was working longer hours, the job had become very stressful and even during the holidays I would spend a lot of my time prepping for the new term, I was trying to keep myself from sinking in all aspects of my life and I was failing miserably. I knew something had to change and it was me and what I chose to prioritize. I knew I had the capabilities to be a happier person and thus a happier partner, mother and step-mother. Making the decision to leave full time teaching was easy as I knew I would be gaining so much more in terms of time and happiness, two things you cannot put a price on. Having my son gave me the determination to change my life for the better and so my business dream became a reality.

A change for the better

I decided to take control of my own destiny by stopping full time employment and instead took up supply teaching, it meant a big pay cut and I have had to learn to be more careful and clever with the money I have, doing supply teaching has given me the most valuable asset a person can have and that is time; I have time for my son, I have time for my partner, my step-son and wider family and I have time to do something that makes me happy and that is to pursue my dream to start my own business. Creating Keepsakes means I can channel my creativity to produce precious keepsakes for people to cherish. Do what makes you happy, don’t be afraid to re-evaluate the importance you place on certain things in your life, what change would gain you the biggest amount of time for you to do what is truly in your heart? Don’t fear change, change is good, it can bring about a better life, one that you have only dreamed of and never imagined could come true x

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An insight into my True Love…Keepsakes

Capturing memories in True Love Keepsakes

Welcome to my blog where I will be giving you lots of information about me, my business and my passion, creating keepsakes for other parents. In my blog post you’ll get to find out why I decided to create my own business, how I hand make my keepsakes, the latest products on offer and any promotions that are currently running. I hope you enjoy reading it, please leave some feedback, I’d love to know your thoughts xx