Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Downton Abbey - what to buy Lord & Lady Grantham...

Picture the scene: you've been invited to Downton Abbey for the weekend. Your luggage is packed, your outfits have been chosen, your hat and gloves are ready at the door, and the chauffeur is waiting beside the car. But wait! You simply can't arrive empty handed; you need to bring your hosts a thoughtful gift. The problem is, what on earth do you give to someone who is an Earl with an ancestry pile the size of Downton?!

Well, just in case that occasion should ever arise, I've put together a fabulous gift guide that I'm pretty sure will solve your dilemma - I've even included some gifts for the servants, because it doesn't do any harm to give them a token of your appreciation too.

Downton Abbey Inspired Gift Guide

  1. Lady Mary - she may be a little, erm, imposing but she should (hopefully) see the funny side of this personalised canvas print (especially in light of the royal visit Downton is expecting...): 'Queen' Personalised Canvas, from £18.95
  2. Tom Branson - the doting father of little Sybil will be charmed by this elegant print for his little daughter: 'Heritage' Personalised Name Meaning Print, range of colours, £15.95
  3. Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham - family is important to Lady Grantham, so she will be absolutely delighted with her own Family Tree print: Personalised Family Tree Print, range of colours, from £18.95
  4. Mr & Mrs Bates - being a hardworking Valet and Lady's Maid doesn't leave much time for romance, but this touching print will celebrate their relationship: Personalised Timeline Print, range of colours, from £18.95
  5. Mrs Patmore, Cook - the busy cook for Downton will always appreciate another mixing bowl for her kitchen, and especially this one which is personalised just for her!: Personalised Ceramic Mixing Bowl, choice of designs, £27.95
  6. Daisy, Kitchen Maid - this is a practical gift that Daisy can put up in the kitchen and use every day: Personalised Cook's Conversion Chart, range of colours, from £15.95
  7. Carson, Butler - this upright and rather stern figure will see the amusing side of this custom made wooden sign and will enjoy propping it up on his mantelpiece: 'Complete and Utter Poppycock' Bespoke Wooden Sign, range of colours, £14.95 - exclusively available in the PhotoFairytales Folksy shop
  8. Lady Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham - an even more formidable character than Lady Mary, you will win her over when you present her with her very own blue plaque in recognition of her status: Personalised Blue Heritage Plaque, £17.95
  9. Robert Crawley, 7th Earl of Grantham - and last but not least, Lord Grantham... well, what else would you buy someone who loves his faithful Labrador other than a wonderful print that can be displayed in the library: 'Dog' Word Theme Print, created to order in any colour, £22.95

So, you are now fully prepared for your stay at Downton Abbey. Just watch out for Barrow, I'm not sure he's completely trustworthy you know...

Respectfully yours,

Friday, 2 August 2019

Award Winning PhotoFairytales!

Eek, it's been an embarrassingly long time between posts! I do have an excuse though: behind the scenes I'm working on a major relaunch of the website. An exciting new look, exciting new products, and an easier way to browse and view. It's turned into a gargantuan project that I'm working on every spare minute, but I'm hoping to have a launch date (and lots of great offers and giveaways) for you soon!

In the meantime, I have fabulous news to share with you...

Last year I was overjoyed to be awarded the winner of 'Best for Personalised Handmade Gifts 2018' by SME News.

Well, this year I'm the winner of not one, but two amazing awards!

I've known about this for a little while now, but because the news was embargoed to the press I wasn't allowed to tell anyone and have had to sit on my hands: but now I'm allowed to yell it from the rooftops - and wave my hands excitedly too!!

PhotoFairytales has been awarded: 

'Best Personalised Gifts Company 2019 - East Anglia' 
'Sustained Excellence for Personalised Handmade Gifts 2019'. 

How about that - pretty darn amazing, eh?!

The annual UK Enterprise Awards celebrate various business industries from all across the United Kingdom. With the Brexit deadline looming, and with it all the uncertainty that the business world is feeling, the awards are an opportunity to celebrate strong, vibrant and diverse businesses that year upon year develop and grow their products and services to befit its new audience and situation. This is something that I constantly strive to do with PhotoFairytales: bringing fresh new products and designs, and continuously developing and working on making the business the best it can possibly be. That's also why I'm working so hard to revamp the website - it's so vital to refresh and stay current, especially during these increasingly hard trading times for retail.

There have been tough times on the high street over the past year, with many household names sinking and either closing branches or shutting for good. It's a worrying time, but also a time for thinking of a new way to approach things. Every problem is just an opportunity, right?!

Jessie Wilson, Award Coordinator for SME News discusses the success of this year’s programme: “The United Kingdom, as a business community, is renowned for its ability to thrive in diverse conditions and time of economic uncertainly. It is for this reason that we celebrate and showcase some of the UK’s strongest, most innovative businesses and business owners! Well done to all my deserving winners, it has been a true honour to showcase the dedication you show to your clients and your business. The awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for their ingenuity and hard work, distinguishing them from their competitors and proving them worthy of recognition.”

Of course, none of this would be possible without the continued support from my lovely customers. Your loyalty over the last 10 years (10 years, how about that?!!) is phenomenal. So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you: whether you're a new customer, an old customer, a regular/occasional/one off customer - a big, heartfelt thank you to you. And yes, I really do a happy dance whenever an order comes in - it might sound daft, but every single order makes a difference to me and my little family. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Sniff... feeling a bit emotional now!
Sarah x

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Lady Boss with a fearless attitude (and a FREE print!)

I took a quiz yesterday to determine what kind of business-owner I am… just for fun, and mostly because it reminded me of those quizzes I used to do in teen magazines back in the day (mostly full of questions to determine whether you’d be a good match for a certain celebrity: remember doing those?!).

And the result? Well, apparently I came out as ‘fearless’!

I have an authentic, fearless personality which puts customers first when it comes to creating an awesome product that they will love (yes, I like to think that’s right). Sometimes I get frustrated with aspects of control over my business (yea-uhuh!), but I have a unique skill for powering through imperfections and I am incredibly persistent (yup). I have the opportunity to continue growing and using my wisdom to take my business to the next level.

So, although the quiz was just a bit of fluff and fun, it has left me feeling a bit empowered to be honest. I run my business myself, from home, and sometimes to be perfectly honest it can be hard to maintain a feeling of positivity. I adore what I do, and I have truly AMAZING customers - buy hey, we all have ’off’ days and I’m no stranger to the wobbly ’am I doing it right’ imposter-syndrome times. Even after nearly 10 years of doing this! So it’s actually rather lovely to be told that you’re fearless.

It may have been a bit of daftness, but I’m going to believe it (just the same as I believed the quizzes in Smash Hits magazine and Just Seventeen!).

If you're feeling a bit fearless yourself, or fancy a bit of motivation on your wall, I've got a free print you can download. Print if off, put it in a frame and put it up on your wall for a little bit of empowerment whenever you need it! Follow the links below - the print will print on A4 and will fit in any standard frame with an 8x6" opening (or a frame with a mount that has an 8x6" aperture).

Free Motivation Print in Blue - click here
Free Motivation Print in Pink - click here

(Small print: the print is completely free for your own personal use. You may not reproduce or sell the print, or pass it off as your own work. Not allowed for commercial use. Copyright belongs to PhotoFairytales.co.uk)

Enjoy! And now I'm going to go and get on with my fearless day and see if I can use my wisdom to get my business to the next level!!

Sarah x

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Folksy Finds: February 2019

As February draws to a close I wanted to share some of the gorgeous handcrafted makes that I've discovered on folksy.com this month. This is a fantastic site if you want to find genuinely handmade and crafted items made in the UK - it's like the British answer to Etsy, and if you haven't come across it yet I urge you to take a look (and bookmark it!).

Here's a round-up of just a very few of the lovely things I've discovered. These are only a small handful though: you can see lots on my special February Folksy board over on Pinterest - just click here to view.

Top to Bottom, left to right:
  1. Pink Baby Booties, £4.50 by Bluebeezywings
  2. Floral Mother's Day Card, £2.25 by Cariad Crafts
  3. Felted Fusspot Bear Bowl, £14.50 by Ali Dufty
  4. Sterling Silver Frosted Ring, £14.00 by Max Pring
  5. 'Randolph Rabbit' Mounted print, £5.00 by The Cornish Hare
  6. Daffodil Felt Purse, £12 by Orchard Felts
  7. Silver Heart Stud Earrings, £18 by Deborah Jones Jewellery
  8. Silver Snowdrop Long Dangle Earrings, £18.50 by Caroline Frodsham Jewellery
  9. Bee Cushion with Mustard Bobbles, £15.50 by Girl of the Sixties
  10. Spring Trees Cushion, £16 by Pocketful Creations
  11. Cheese Plant Leaf Hanging Decoration, £20 by Sue Trevor
  12. Fingerless Mittens with Dragon Scale Cuffs, £12.50 by Erkinwald

Top to Bottom, left to right:
  1. Embroidered Bee Bib, £6.50 by XStitcherJoss
  2. Ammonite Specimen, £8 by NOfkants Curios
  3. Copper Small Heart Pendant, £10.95 by Jennies Gems
  4. Flower Earrings, £7.50 by Beadstorm Jewellery
  5. Hatching Egg Mini Painting, £16.50 by Konyskiw
  6. Original Art Landscape Painting, £12 by Gweddus Art
  7. Easter Bunny Bag, £15 by Cat Thomas
  8. Massey Ferguson 135 vintage tractor print, £10 by The Chris Artist
  9. Pottery Easter Egg decoration, £5 by Dottery Pottery
  10. Wire Wrapped Flower Necklace, £18.95 by Verchiel Beads & Jewellery
  11. Tree of Life Pyrography Pendant, £15.95 by Sarah Designs
  12. Handmade Ceramic Button, £3 by Willow Gifts

Visit Folksy today and have fun making your own discoveries!
Sarah :)

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Valentine's Day Gift Guide: Top 9 gift ideas for 2019

It's just over two weeks until Valentine's Day, so it's time to start planning that special gift! Whether you're in the throws of new love, or you've been together for more years than you can remember, I've put together a collection of romantic (and some not-so!) gift ideas just for you.

  • What should you get for your first Valentine's Day together?
  • What should you buy your wife or girlfriend for Valentine?
  • What can you get for your partner that they'll actually like?
  • What can you get for your husband if he's a bit annoying and you're feeling a bit cross with him but still need to buy something..?!

I know, it's not easy is it? Sometimes it needs something more than a bunch of roses, you may not want to jeopardise their diet with chocolates, or maybe you just feel like you've done it all before?

Don't worry, take a look at my round up of the best Valentine's Day gift ideas for him or her - and don't forget, everything you see comes with free UK delivery too!

1: 'Bowls' personalised print: in a choice of colours, £15.95
Part of a range of designs available.

2: 'Be My Valentine' personalised oak photo cube, from £21.95
Part of a range of designs, also available with Belgian Chocolate Hearts.

3: 'Ticket to Love' personalised print, £15.95
Part of a range of designs available.

4: 'British Kissing Championships' personalised print, £15.95
Part of a range of designs available.

5: Bespoke Handmade Wooden Photo Blocks, from £7.20
Available with any name or word and in a range of colours.

6: 'Love Story' personalised canvas print, from £18.50
Part of a range of canvas print designs

7: 'Summer of Love' personalised mug, £13.50
Part of a range of personalised mug designs

8: Timeline personalised print, from £18.95
Available in a range of colours

9: Rumpy Pumpy bespoke wooden sign, £14.95
A range of colours and designs available (buy from my Folksy shop)

And finally, because 9 is an odd number and I think we could do with a number 10 - and because sometimes you need to buy something for your husband/wife on Valentine's Day even though they've been crazing you a bit recently and they can be a bit grumpy... here's one more gift selection for you!:

10: Personalised Cactus Print, £15.95
(Available to buy from my Folksy shop)

If you're still looking for more Valentine gift ideas why not take a look at the full range available on the PhotoFairytales site? Just click here: photofairytales.co.uk/romanticgifts.html

Sarah x

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