Saturday 19 May 2018

Keep it in the family… the mad things families say to one another!

“If we lived there we’d be home by now” …this is a phrase my family would often say to each other whilst pointing at a random house when we were on a long journey home. And it’s one of those daft sayings that you think probably only your family say! (It isn't is it? Is it? Am I revealing too much in this post I wonder... well, I've started now...)

Like, as another example from my own family, “How’s your belly off for spots?” when you want to enquire after a person’s well-being. Or, “Why've you got a face like a violin?” is, or course, a way of checking on a loved one’s mental health at that particular moment. Shorts aren’t called ‘shorts’ in the PhotoFairytales household - they’re called ‘ventilated sun trousers’, because that's simply more fun than just saying 'shorts'.

A typical example of a pair of ventilated sun trousers...
And, of course, there's the classic, "Do you want to buy a battleship?" 
which basically means... erm... well...

Family Sayings personalised canvas print from PhotoFairytales
You can even get your own canvas print with all the great classic family sayings on it...

My grandpa would look earnestly at you and say, “There is a green hill far away without a city wall, you know!” as if you ever doubted it and he’d found the proof. My mum is Queen of Mad Conversations, with such ice breakers as, “I had one of those but the wheel fell off.” Had what? What did you have? Wheel fell off what?! But that’s the joy you see, when you’re ‘in the know’ you instantly know that your reply should be along the lines of, “But I have the purple one, because they have castors rather than wheels which is better.” Then the reply to that would be, of course, “Yes, but I didn’t like the hairy finish on the purple ones so went for the spotty one instead.” This conversation can go on for hours. Perfect for long car journeys when you’re passing houses you don’t live in but if you did you’d be home by now...

Mad, utterly, utterly mad. Fun though… especially when you have those conversations in public so that people can overhear. I’m sure that over the years we’ve left many, many people with puzzled expressions wondering what on earth we were talking about (tip: queues are a good place for conversations like this)! But that’s the joy: the completely silly stuff that families say to one another that makes no sense to anyone outside!

So, is it just my family that has a history of all these silly phrases? 

What daft things does your family say to one another? Please leave a comment (and let me know that my family aren’t completely and utterly weird!).

Sarah :)

Friday 18 May 2018

Father’s Day gift ideas - unique and thoughtful presents for Dad next month…

I know it may feel like there’s a way to go, but Father’s Day is on June 17th this year - and if you want to order an extra special personalised gift for your dad this year it’s time to start planning!

Don’t worry though, I’ve got a little round up of Father’s Day gift ideas here for you, and there’s even more presents for dad or grandad over on the PhotoFairytales website. Don’t leave it too late though: these dates have a habit of creeping up on you!!

1) Superhero personalised print, £15.95 - celebrate his awesomeness and special powers with this fun personalised print which can be personalised with any title (eg, Dad, Grandad, etc)
2) ‘The Rules’ personalised wall sign, £17.95 - available in a range of colour options and made from super tough acrylic, this plaque can be safely displayed indoors or outside and can be personalised with your own text too.
3) Personalised Hammer, £17.95 - engraved to order with your own names and message, this is a super practical gift that he’ll love and get to use again and again!
4) Father’s Day personalised print, £15.95 - available in a choice of colours and wording options, these prints will leave your Dad or Grandad in no doubt as to how much you love him!
5) ‘Life is More Fun’ personalised canvas print, from £18.50 - perfect for Father’s Day, this design can be personalised with any name or title you wish (Dad, Daddy, Gramps, etc) - a sweet gift for a fun dad or grandad.
6) Giant Vegetable personalised Vintage Print, £15.95 - a fun gift idea for the keen gardener… or a tongue in cheek gift for the person who absolutely hates gardening too! Other designs also available.
7) Wooden Photo Block, £24.75- a chunky solid wood block featuring your favourite photo, personalised with your own wording, and completed with a beautiful Annie Sloane wax finish.
8) Personalised Bespoke Wooden Plaque, from £10.95 - made to order just for you, commission one of these handmade wooden plaques with your own special and unique message.
9) ‘Kind of a Big Deal’ personalised print, £22.95 - whether he’s a fan of Ron Burgundy, or just simply fabulous, give him the recognition he deserves with this fun print with a regal touch. Available in a choice of colours too.

There are even more great gift ideas for you on the website - look out for the ‘ideal gift for Father’s Day’ flashes on some of the items I’ve picked out as especially perfect gifts for Dad!

Sarah :)

Thursday 17 May 2018

World Baking Day - personalised gift ideas for cooks and bakers

It's World Baking Day today - so if there's ever an excuse to hit the kitchen and whip up a tasty cake or two, today's the day! Whether your signature dish is a complicated mille-feuille, or you're more inclined towards those 'just add an egg' packaged ready mixes, there's no doubt about it - the smell of a cake baking in the kitchen is a thing of joy!

I've got a quick round up of some (calorie free!) gift ideas for anyone who loves dabbling in the kitchen - practical and pretty, unique and unusual - if they love baking, they'll love these...

Personalised Ceramic Mixing Bowl - £27.95, 2 designs available

Personalised Ceramic Mixing Bowl - £27.95, 2 designs available

Personalised Cook's Conversion Chart - from £15.95, available in any colour

Personalised Cook's Conversion Chart - from £15.95, available in any colour

Bespoke Word Theme Print - £22.95, range of designs available in any colour

Bespoke Word Theme Print - £22.95, range of designs available in any colour

'Kitchen' Design Wall Plaque - £17.95, other designs & colours available

'Kitchen' Design personalised Wall Plaque - £17.95, other designs & colours available

Personalised Blue Heritage Plaque - £17.95, personalised with any wording

Personalised Blue Heritage Plaque - £17.95, personalised with any wording

'Great British Dishes' bespoke canvas - £32.95, available in any colour

'Great British Dishes' bespoke canvas - £32.95, available in any colour

All the prices quoted include free UK delivery. Visit the PhotoFairytales website today to find more great gift ideas, all proudly designed and made by hand in Britain.

Sarah :)

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Yet another GDPR email... are you bored yet?!

I expect nearly all of you will have had at least one email land in your inbox this month asking you to resubscribe to a mailing list you've been quietly and happily signed up to. It's all on account of the new GDPR rules which come into force on May 25th.

GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation) is essentially there to protect the information businesses and organisations hold about you. It's an attempt to give you more reassurance that your data won't be abused. The emails you've been getting from those that have your details on a database are to make sure that they have themselves covered so that they don't get fined (these fines are potentially eyewatering and could result in businesses being fined out of existence if they don't comply). So it's serious stuff, and all businesses and organisations big and tiny want to get it right.

I use a company to administer my mailing list and hold all the data on my behalf - and roughly two years ago I moved my list from one company to another. I'd been with the first company for a number of years, and whilst they were perfectly fine I found that creating attractive emails and newsletters was a bit clunky and fiddly. So I moved my database to another company, namely Mailchimp. Everyone that has ever been a member of my mailing list will have been asked to 'opt in' twice: the first time you enter your details, and then a second time when you receive an automated email asking you to confirm that you really do want to 'opt in'. This double opt-in method is something GDPR want everyone to be doing. But they also want businesses to be able to prove when a customer opted in, and when they confirmed they opted in. They want a date and a time. Sadly, because I moved my mailing list some of this information had been lost - which means that those of you that joined my list while it was with my old provider will have had an email from me today asking for confirmation that you'd like to be on the list.

Yes, it is super irritating (especially if, like me, you've been deluged with these over recent weeks!), but sadly it has to be done otherwise I'd be breaking the rules.

So, if you've received one of these emails from me today - and assuming you'd like to stay on the mailing list! - please make sure you click the button in the email. If you don't, I will have to delete your details from the mailing list on May 25th and you'll stop receiving my newsletters and offers.

Don't panic if you missed the email though: I'll be sending another 'last chance' email next week just in case there are any of you that didn't see the first one. And if over the next few weeks (ie, after May 25th) you realise you're no longer receiving the emails you're used to from me you may need to sign up again as it could be that you missed both GDPR reminders. It's quick and easy though: just click here to join the mailing list and you'll be back on again! 

If you have any questions about the mailing list please don't hesitate to get in touch and I'll be very happy to help.

Best wishes,

Being a worrier - good thing, or bad thing?

Confession: I’m a worrier. I regularly worry about things, niggle, occasionally have a sleepless night about something or other, find myself getting a bit snappy or stressy because something is digging around in the back (or front) of my head… Many years ago I suffered from depression due to worrying, and found myself on anti-depressants until I found my way out of the tunnel.

What I wonder though, is whether worrying about stuff is a good thing (in a way)? Obviously there are different levels of worry - from mild concern to downright all-out anxiety and breakdown - but for the low to middle range stuff, is worrying actually a good thing? We’re all encouraged not to worry (“If you can’t do anything about it and it’s out of your control: there’s no point in worrying”… “worrying just stops you thinking straight”… “worrying prevents you enjoying the other parts of your life”… “don’t worry, it’ll be fine, nothing to worry about”… “don’t be silly”...). But what I wonder is if there is actually a place for worry. It’s a natural instinct after all - so should we fight that feeling and try to train ourselves to ignore it?

If we didn’t worry, I don’t think the human race would have lasted this long: “If I forget to take my spear with me tomorrow the sabre tooth tiger might get me”. So, at its most basic level, worry is ultimately all about self-preservation. Without worry we’d all be crazy risk-takers!

But on the more complicated and sophisticated level, it isn’t quite as clear cut as that: worrying about something can be more insubstantial or hard to define, or multi-layered (several worries all at once, sometimes inter-connected like the worlds worst Venn diagram!). Worrying about relationships, health issues, family, work, money, etc.

A couple of years ago, my dad said something interesting:
“I’ve always been a worrier. People all my life have told me not to worry about things so much. But I actually think all my worrying over the years about different things has stopped the things I was worried about from happening. Something will come up - I’ll worry about it for a few minutes/days/hours/weeks/months (depending on its severity) but very, very rarely do any of the things I was worrying about actually happen. I think if I didn’t worry about something there’s a good chance it would turn out bad!” 
So, for him, worrying about stuff is like a good luck charm, almost like a superstition! It’s an interesting way to look at things though: to think of worrying as a natural occurrence and just accept it will happen.

Maybe, at the end of the day, we shouldn’t put too much pressure on ourselves to ignore or stop our worried thoughts - perhaps what we should be aiming for is to accept and then manage those worries so that they don’t take over our life and relationships with others. Accept that its inevitable we’re going to worry, almost inviting it in - but doing it in a managed and controlled way. Perhaps our worries are made worse because we worry about worrying! Worrying, by its very nature, tends to make us think in a more extreme way - always thinking the worst, most out-there ideas and imaginings. So if we accept that worry, whilst we’ll still be worrying, we’ll be doing it in a calmer way? Could that be a solution?

What do you think? How do you cope when you have something worrying in your life? What coping techniques do you use (if any)? Leave a comment, otherwise I’ll worry that no one’s listening to me! 😉

Sarah x

Friday 4 May 2018

Brand New this month: Floral Initial Alphabet prints

I'm really pleased to introduce a brand new line of personalised prints that have just been launched on the PhotoFairytales website. These bespoke prints are so pretty - a delightful finishing touch to a baby's nursery or child's bedroom, they work equally well in a teenager's pretty room, or as a gift for her, no matter what the occasion.

Beautifully feminine, these personalised alphabet prints feature your chosen name and initial picked out in stunning florals. The flowers were hand painted using watercolours and soft coloured pencils, and each print is printed on high quality textured watercolour paper. The illustrations are just gorgeous, and they're set off to perfection on this special paper which is made in Britain using traditional mould techniques.

Available in a range of pretty on-trend sorbet, ice cream pastel shades

The prints are available in a choice of two sizes (either 8x10", or A3 size), and a choice of colours too. Your print is created to order and presented sealed in a clear presentation sleeve with a backing board and white bevel cut front mount. The prints will fit perfectly into any 8x10" or A3" size frame.

Sarah :)  

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Theme of the Month: Hello Spring - Fathers, Florals & Fun

OK, I’ll be honest - I started composing this post yesterday when it was freezing cold and raining continuously (again) here in Norfolk. I actually had the heating on by midday because I couldn’t take the cold anymore. And yet, there I was, trying to get into a warm, springtime frame of mind - I gave up in the end, I couldn't summon the enthusiasm when I was sitting there in jumpers listening to the rain beating down on the roof. But today is gorgeous: sunshine and blue skies - springtime is a confusing month, you never know what you're supposed to wear!

What a difference a day makes: the view from my studio yesterday and today:

So, with the sun shining today it's time for some positive thinking: spring is here, summer’s on its way, and there will be a time again very soon when we can leave the house without wondering whether to wear a coat. And, with that in mind my Theme of the Month for May is ‘Hello Spring’ - and to help things along I’m concentrating on all those lovely sorbet, ice-cream, summery pastel colours to get us all in the mood. The website home page has had a makeover too!

Springtime personalised gifts and keepsakes from PhotoFairytales

The next few weeks are going to see, not only the flowers arriving in the garden, but Father’s Day too! Time to celebrate all those lovely Dads and Grandads…

Here’s a roundup of goodies to help you get into the spring mood, along with some early Father’s Day gift ideas for those of you that like to get organised!

1) ‘Prince Charming’ personalised canvas print, from £18.50 - not just for the Royal baby, celebrate your own little prince with this sweet nursery print in fresh blue (‘Princess’ version also available)
2) Wooden Photo Block, £24.75- a chunky solid wood block featuring your favourite photo, personalised with your own wording, and completed with a beautiful Annie Sloane wax finish.
3) Family Print, ‘Tree’ Design, £15.95 - available in a choice of colours and styles, these contemporary prints celebrate your family, plus there’s a special version also available just for grandparents - perfect for Grandad this Father’s Day! (Great wedding gift idea too)
4) ‘Garden’ Wall Sign, £17.95 - available in a wide choice of colour options this hardwearing signs are made to order from tough acrylic and so can be displayed indoors or outdoors: a fun gift for a keen gardener.
5) BRAND NEW! Floral Initial Prints, from £16.95 - printed on absolutely beautiful traditional moulded watercolour paper, these stunning prints are a beautiful piece for your wall; available in a choice of colours too
6) ‘Life is More Fun’ personalised canvas print, from £18.50 - perfect for Father’s Day, this design can be personalised with any name or title you wish (Dad, Daddy, Gramps, etc) - a sweet gift for a fun dad or grandad.
7) Father’s Day personalised print, £15.95 - available in a choice of colours and wording options, these prints will leave your Dad or Grandad in no doubt as to how much you love him!
8) Floral Photo Blocks, from £22.50 - these stunning wooden blocks are beautifully made and finished, in a choice of colour and word options, three sides of each block features your favourite photos.
9) ‘Timeline’ personalised print, £18.95 - celebrate all the important moments of your life together! Perfect for a romantic anniversary gift, this is also a sweet present for a wedding or Father’s Day too.

I’ll be posting a round up of more fun gift ideas for Father’s Day in the next couple of weeks - and keep your eyes open for a special offer coming soon too!

Sarah :)

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