As many of you know Social Bite is our charity of the year. Those of you who have left a review of Lily Blanche on Trustpilot may know that we donate to Social Bite as a thank you for every review we receive. But we also support the charity in other ways too and donate throughout the year.
So were delighted this week when Social Bite invited us to come and visit the new village they are building in Granton on the outskirts of Edinburgh to help people transition out of homelessness. This is an incredible project and we are delighted to be backing it.
Social Bite was founded by Josh Littlejohn and Alice Thomson to help homeless people, initially in Scotland but with an ambitious model which can be replicated throughout the world. I have been privileged to spend time with Josh and have got to know a little bit of the work he and Alice are doing. Not only does Social Bite allow customers in their cafes to “pay forward” a coffee or a sandwich for a homeless person, it employs 25% of its staff from the homeless community. This often means giving people who have been written off not just a second chance but a third or fourth chance.
Josh has brought Leonardo di Caprio, George Clooney and Bill Clinton to Scotland for Social Bite and has raised millions of pounds for this incredible cause.
Their latest venture is to build a village in Granton, using houses designed by Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland and prefabricated by Carbon Dynamics. The village will provide a transition from homelessness back into society in a supported and nurturing environment for 20 people at a time. It will be drug and alcohol free.
The project forms part of a jigsaw of programmes that Social Bite is developing to help 800 people out of homelessness in the next 18 months. You can find out more on the video below
The first residents will move in at the end of this month. Before they do, we have been invited to view the village on May 21 at noon. I am hoping to post to Facebook Live from the village to let you see it. So please tune in then. We’re really grateful to all the Lily Blanche customers who have helped make this possible. To find out more about Social Bite visit their website http://social-bite.co.uk/
WHEN LILY BLANCHE designer Gillian Crawford wanted to create a really special family locket, she drew on the past – both her degree in archaeology and her family heritage.
“Family is everything to me and as my children grew up, keeping them close in a tangible way became incredibly important,” Gillian says. “In a fast-paced culture, we don’t always take time to cherish memories. I wanted to create a piece of jewellery with heirloom quality which is deeply personal and meaningful.
“We Want Our Lockets To Surprise And Delight”
At the Lily Blanche studio, there is rarely a single inspiration for a piece of jewellery. Ideas come together, often in unexpected ways. But running through the collections are the themes of celebrating life and expressing love. The team loves designing and creating pieces with hidden secrets. We want our lockets to surprise and delight their wearers.
We know that what creating memories is more valuable than diamonds; that what makes your locket really precious are the photographs inside it. That a necklace is not just a necklace but a celebration of life and that the jewellery which is really treasured are the pieces that mark the moments on life’s journey.
At the heart of the Memory Keeper Locket is the idea of family, of keeping them close to your heart, and of treasuring precious memories. But we also wanted the Memory Keeper Locket to be something that is passed on through the generations. Quality and craftsmanship are really important to us. We were delighted when the Memory Keeper Locket was selected for the shops at Kensington Palace and the Tower of London in the run up to the Royal Wedding.
“Jewellery Connects Us With The Past In An Intimate Way”
Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Lockets are made in small batches and take weeks to complete. The Lockets are made of sterling silver and the gold versions feature 18 carat gold in a traditional technique known as vermeil. You can read more about this on our website here.
Each Memory Keeper Locket uses seven times as much precious metal as it takes to make a £300 Tiffany Atlas silver pendant. After the Memory Keeper Lockets are given a final polish, they are sent to the Edinburgh Assay Office for hallmarking, which guarantees the quality and authenticity of the piece. This Locket is often bought to mark a special occasion – a birthday, anniversary, wedding or the arrival of a new member of the family. It makes a lovely gift from a bride to a mother of the bride.
” Judy Tweeted That The Memory Keeper Locket Was Her Favourite Piece”
We were delighted when Judy Murray, the tennis coach and Strictly star, bought the Memory Keeper Locket and wore it to Wimbledon to watch her sons Andy & Jamie become champions. We were even more thrilled when Judy tweeted that the Memory Keeper Locket was her favourite piece of jewellery and wore it on the finale of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
However, every customer is special to us. Our Memory Keeper Lockets are our bestsellers and we often get to hear amazing stories. Some are heart-breaking; others are joyful but all are really personal and precious.
“They Are Precious Symbols of Life, Love and Memories”
Our jewellery is not for everyone. We are not interested in mass-producing these lockets. We want them to remain special and we want people to feel special when they wear a Lily Blanche piece. They are precious symbols of love, life, and memories.
You can see what our customers are saying about the Memory Keeper below and you can read over 100 five star reviews on Trustpilot and on our Facebook page where we would love to connect with you. Please take a moment to discover the collection by clicking the button below.
Gillian Crawford, Founder and Creative Director at Lily Blanche
“Fabulous lady, fabulous jewels #gillian” Judy Murray tennis coach and Strictly Come Dancing star.
“I absolutely love it as do my family and friends. I’ve been singing your praises to anyone who will listen” Diane C.
“Love, love, love mine. It’s probably the best necklace I have,” Carole S.
“Excellent customer service, absolutely amazing delivery of a very special piece of jewellery and fantastic after care. Would definitely purchase again from Lily Blanche,”Emma L.
“I have the silver one for my birthday and absolutely love, love, love it,” Stephanie L.
“Amazing service and beautifully wrapped and packed. A joyful gift,” Lesley McP.
“I have bought for my 2 daughters and myself. Love them,” Pauline S.
Nadin Dunnigan is one of Edinburgh’s top wedding photographers. She only takes on around 20 weddings a year but the couples she photographs can be assured of not just a memorable album but a wonderful experience. So we were absolutely thrilled when Nadin chose the Lily Blanche Gold Memory Keeper Locket as a memento of her own wedding which is happening on the Hebridean island of Harris next month.
Nadin and her husband-to-be Mo Thomson, a videographer, are always looking for something special for the couples they work with and a Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket full of images from the big day fits the bill. And if you have ever wondered if wedding photographers are romantics – the answer in this case is a resounding yes.
Mo proposed to a surprised and delighted Nadin on their beloved Harris using a unique ring.
Check it out in this fabulous engagement video he made of their proposal. It’s one of the nicest we have seen. The couple are planning to get married on the beach in March with close friends and family and a few wild ponies in attendance.
Having photographed hundreds of weddings, Nadin knows exactly what works and what doesn’t. Before she photographs a couple on the big day, Nadin organises a pre-wedding shoot in a picturesque location. It’s a relaxed informal occasion which often produces some of the most stunning images.
It not only gives Nadin a chance to get to know the couple free from wedding-day nerves and find out what their preferences are, it allows her to teach each couple a series of poses and compositions which will bring out their best looks on the day. As a result, she achieves wedding shots that it might take another photographer hours to perfect on the day and the couple are back with their guests in record time to enjoy the festivities.
Nadin’s website and blog are a fantastic resource for brides getting married in Scotland and cover everything from what time the sun sets in Edinburgh in winter to what to expect from a wedding photography package. There is a wonderful post when she reveals what she feels about her own wedding preshoot and how different it is for her being on the other side of the camera. You can see her work here.
You will need: A Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket Laptop; Printer; 15mm (0.6 inch) craft punch; 130gsm self adhesive photographic paper.
First choose your images. Pick strong portrait shots which are clear and unfussy and where there is a bit of space around the head (ie the top of the head is not cut off or up against the edge of the photograph) Single headshots work best at this size.
If they are not already uploaded to your computer, scan or upload the photos. (If you have physical photos you want to use you can skip this part but you should have copies made of them in case you make a mistake)
Sign up or open up your favourite graphic design site or photo –editing app. We like http://www.canva.com because it is free and easy to use. We will assume you are using canva.com for this exercise.
In the “create a design” page choose the custom dimensions option. Enter 65 x 65 in the blank fields and make sure it is set to pixels (px). This will open a new page with a blank square “canvas”.
Select “uploads” from the menu on the left hand side. Click on “upload your own images”. This will take you to the menu on your computer. Select the image you wish to use from the folder in which you stored it. This will return you to canva.com. Wait until the image is fully uploaded.
Next select “elements” on the left hand menu. Click on “frames” and keep scrolling down until you find the simple circular frame with no extra border and no thick green band in the middle. Click on this. The circle frame will upload to the square white box.
Select “uploads” from the left hand menu and click on the locket image you recently uploaded. This should automatically pop into the circle frame. Use the crop button and the resize dots to manipulate the image until you have the desired effect. Click the tick sign in the white band at the top of the canvas when you are happy. Click the dustbin symbol to delete the image and start again.
When you are happy with your image, click “download” in the blue band at the top of the canvas. Click the green download button to save the image to your computer. Remember to name and store the image in a folder.
Repeat this process until you have all the images you require.
Open a word document and copy the small circular images onto it. It is good to make a number of copies of each image in case you accidentally damage one or in case you require spares at a later date. Leave a bit of space around each image.
Once you are happy with the images on the page, print a test page on ordinary paper to ensure you are happy with the results.
Practice punching out the images with the punch – we use the Hobbycraft 0.6 inch paper punch – and placing them on the locket to ensure you are happy with the order of the images etc.
Once you are happy with the test images, choose your final paper, select “photographic paper” if you are using it and best quality print on you printer properties and print the images out. (Remember to reset the printer to normal print for the next time you use it).
If you are using photographic paper please make sure it is lightweight. We use ICE 130 gsm self-adhesive photographic paper which you can buy in small quantities. Thick or heavy paper will jam the locket and is likely to damage it.
Punch out the images with the punch. If you are using self-adhesive photographic paper, simply peel off the backs and stick them in place. If you are using ordinary paper, use the little sticker seals which come with the locket. Let it rest for ten minutes before closing the locket. Your highly personalised unique Memory Keeper Locket is now ready to wear.
This week is the fourth anniversary of my mother’s death and I have been thinking about her and the legacy she left behind. We shared a love of interesting jewellery. She had an excellent eye and one of the pieces I inherited from her was her pearl necklace.
Three strands of ivory cultured pearls with a pearl and sapphire clasp, they live in a slim, navy leather case nestled in a white silk lining. I have only ever worn them once – to a very grand white tie dinner in Helsinki for the Millennium Technology Prize, Finland’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
These are special occasion pearls and I feel I am the custodian of them for my daughters and their cousins. My daughter has said she wants to wear them on their wedding day.
Pearls Are Always Appropriate
“Pearls are always appropriate,” said Jackie Onassis but they can be intimidating. Jackie O knew what countless women – from Elizabeth I and Coco Chanel to Princess Grace of Monaco and Angelina Jolie -have learned; pearls equal power. And if ever women were reclaiming or finding their power, it is now.
Pearls never really come into to fashion and they never really go out of it. They are the ultimate anti-trend jewellery. It is absolutely no coincidence that the women in the Royal Family who have access to some of the most sumptuous jewels ever made, opt time and time again for pearls. From the Duchess of Cambridge to the Queen – pearls and royalty are synonymous.
It is not just the fact that they go with everything, or that a single string of classic pearls boost confidence and signals that you mean business. It’s that the creamy or pale pink lustre of pearls reflects the light upwards to the skin bathing it in a lovely glow. If you are regularly photographed or in the public eye, pearls will soften harsh lighting and lead to more flattering images. This was one of the secrets the Queen Mother passed on to her daughters.
Pearls are often, paradoxically, understated but dramatic in their effect. If you have pierced ears and you don’t already own a pair of cultured pearl stud earrings – acquire some. You will be amazed at the effect two little pearls can have and you may never feel properly dressed without them again!
One thing is certain, invest in pearls now and you will still be wearing them decades later. To shop the Lily Blanche Pearl sale click here
Rule number one – don’t panic. We’ve got this. You are our customer and we won’t let you down. That, in a nutshell, is our philosophy. There is still plenty of time to shop online for Christmas at Lily Blanche
Every Lily Blanche customer is important to us and we will do everything in our power to ensure that you are not just satisfied but delighted with our service. Last Christmas every single Lily Blanche Christmas order was delivered on time. This year, the volume of orders has doubled but we are organised to repeat the feat. See Christmas deliver dates here.
We know that you are really busy, you have a million things to attend to and it is impossible to keep track of everything you buy online but we are really, really experienced in sending parcels so here is what happens when you buy from us.
Your order is made with care
Your order is made with care. It is checked and given a final polish before it leaves the studio. I try personally to oversee as many of the orders as I can. Your chosen piece of jewellery goes into a gift box with some extra tissue paper inside to protect it in transit. The box is tied with ribbon and a branded polish cloth goes in with it.
Your gift box goes into a sturdy cardboard outer lined with two sheets of contrasting tissue paper. We add a little spray of Jo Malone nutmeg and ginger scent between the sheets to give a lovely Christmassy perfume when you open the box. Next, we place one of our luxurious lookbooks on top of the tissues sheets. This gives even more protection to your gift box and is lovely to browse through.
We add a little spray of Jo Malone nutmeg and ginger scent between the sheets to give a lovely Christmassy perfume…
Next, the tissue paper is folded and your invoice, a personalised letter from me, any gift message and some other little surprises are added. Everything goes into a crisp, thick personalised envelope. If you have ordered a Memory Keeper Locket, another envelope with instructions and sticker frames is included. We give you double the number of frames you need just in case.
The whole box is then checked and sealed. Your label is printed and Royal Mail tracking labels are put on it. Clear tape goes over the tracking sticker so there is no chance of it coming off in transit. Finally, your box is photographed for our records, your tracking number is recorded and you are emailed with it. The order goes into the correct sack, the paperwork is printed and the sacks are hand-delivered by us every afternoon directly to the Royal Mail depot in Stirling where we know the delivery guys and they take the same care and trouble with your order that we do.
We have had a complaint this year from the wife of a customer who signed for an order from us that was addressed to her husband. She was unhappy that our logo and our address were on the label as that spoiled the surprise. Royal Mail will deliver 130 million parcels this Christmas. We put our logo on the label because if something does go missing, it is much easier to find it if it is in a branded box than if it is in a plain, anonymous box. We are obliged by Royal Mail to put a clear return address on all Royal Mail Signed For parcels. They won’t accept them otherwise. There are also new rules about what can be posted by Royal Mail. If the company sees our logo, they immediately know that we have an Online Business Account with them and that everything we send passes all the relevant legislation so our logo represents added security for ourselves and our customers.
If you want an order to be a secret please let us know. We will always endeavour to work with our customers. If this means delivering to a work address or delivering for a set date, we will do our utmost to make sure this happens. Just drop us an email and let us know.
For our free shipping service, we ask that you allow five working days. Royal Mail is massively busy at present and the tracking website is not always working but this is a hugely reliable service. We have not lost anything yet. If you have not received an order within seven days of receiving the Lily Blanche shipping email, do please contact us. If you do not receive the shipping email, please check your junk mail file. If you are using a hotmail, aol or other generic-style email address and you may not receive the shipping email – this is a problem with hotmail and aol and there is nothing we can do about it. You will be missing other emails from other companies too. You can always email me email@example.com and I can forward it on to you.
I hope this information helps you understand our service. You can have complete confidence in it. We take it very seriously.
Have a wonderful Christmas and I hope there is a Lily Blanche box waiting for you under the tree.
The Pantone Colour of the year 2018 has been announced and it is – drum-roll please – 18-3838, ultraviolet. We’re going to be seeing a lot of purple in the new year. Lily Blanche Purple Amethyst lockets, earrings and rings are bang on trend.
Here is what Pantone has to say about its choice. “Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.
Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.
Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection”. Prepare for a purple patch!