Small Biz Shout Out #2 Love Gwen Jewellery

The first time I spoke to Corinne, and heard her story, I just wanted to reach out and hug her. However, due to social distancing and all that, I am only able to show her my love by sharing with you, her story. This is not only a tale of bravery against the odds, determination and love, it is a story that will make you realise exactly why shopping small is so damn important. Keeping talented people like Corinne supported should be the first thing we think when we are looking to buy.  Here is Corinne’s story!

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Corinne – Love Gwen Jewellery

I have always been an artist, I did sculpture, painting and in my 20’s I started as a young apprentice under my now mentor Lisa. I worked with Lisa for 13 years, after begging her to hire me! I learned from a strong woman doing it on her own and have now followed in her footsteps.

After having my two children Beau (7)and Gwen (4) I was inspired to create jewellery that made me and my customers capture the love that our children, siblings and partners had brought us.

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My little Gwendolyn inspired most of the pieces you see on my online shop.  Gwen is a free spirit and from the minute she was born, my desire to create and inspire kept growing stronger. Don’t get me wrong cleaning up my 4-year-olds vomit while breastfeeding my 6-month-old DID also inspire me to do something more with my day to day too BUT mostly I have always been a maker.

I had been dreaming about starting Love Gwen Jewellery for years but the universe decided to give me one giant kick up the ass to get my jewellery out there.

I was working for another jeweller in a tiny shop when I was robbed, in broad daylight, on my own. 5 men smashed through the windows and threatened to kill me with hammers. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. In an instant I thought I would die and never see my family again. They left with jewels and money and I was left coping with PTSD and raising 2 children under 4, whilst my husband went to work. It was one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced.

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After that, I could never work in a shop again, I could barely cope with my day to day.  My work was always such a huge part of who I was creatively, so how would I work again and heal? Love Gwen Jewellery was finally born. It healed me from my trauma and made me see how much making others happy with my jewellery is what I have always needed to do. I could breathe when I was making and I could learn to be a good mum again too. 

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Two months later, I hit another bump in the road. Cancer. I had grown a tennis ball size tumour in my armpit. It seems my stress and anxiety from the robbery had manifested into a huge lump. I still remember when the doctor told me. I skipped into the office thinking I was untouchable, I’d been through enough yeh? Wrong. Apparently I still had some battles to go. In the coming weeks I had major surgery and survived. Now missing an armpit and with one boob slightly lower, I was ok. I still kept Love Gwen Jewellery going and I remember doing all my Christmas orders 1 month later in a sling after surgery. Once again Love Gwen saved me.

It has been 3 years and between routine scans, anxiety, and support from family and friends Love Gwen Jewellery has thrived.
I shared my love and made pieces that people truly cherish – Corinne
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I’ve had Abby Gilmore, Constance Hall, and Celeste Barber all tell the world they loved their Love Gwen pieces and it has been an amazing ride. My hubby and my kids are so proud and they tell their friends at school, that mum will make them jewellery.  My son Beau has brought home a few little girls bracelets for me to fix which I love.
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All the jewellery I make is made with my own two hands, and every piece is personal. I promise it’s made to last.- Corinne
I do a lot of custom pieces which I LOVE and engagement rings.
My jewellery is sterling silver and gold, nothing is plated and all links are soldered, it really is made to last a lifetime. My jewellery won’t change colour or snap, never to be seen again the junk jewellery pile!
I make pieces for baby to adult, that will last their whole lives and it makes me so happy that something I made will be with them forever – Corinne
Another thing I do at Love Gwen which I really adore, is I get kids, or adults to write their own names or even the writing of a loved one that has passed, and I turn it into a name necklace for them. That is truly rewarding work.
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In times like these

Unfortunately jewellery is generally one of the first things to go when times get tough. It gets pushed to the back of the to do list. My customers are mostly Mumma’s who deserve to treat themselves and want to honour their families in jewellery. So when Mumma is trying to survive, she puts her wants and needs last.
It’s also a very hard thing to promote when you know people are struggling. We are all struggling.

Changes

I like all small business owners have had to make changes to the way I work. I have recently eliminated postage costs to customers. For now, I will pay for that. I have also made sure I offer sales whenever I can. My product quality will never change. The price of gold keeps going up but I’m keeping my prices as they are. I have been offering to send gifts directly to the receiver, so no one needs to leave the couch (the best part of online shopping!). A lot of mums won’t be out shopping for birthdays, and Mothers Day, so I’m happy to wrap it up and pop it in the mail on their behalf.
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To all my customers I want to let you know I am still here! I will be here for that birthday you can’t celebrate, that mum you can’t catch up with on Mothers Day, that 1st birthday that got cancelled. That Christening that you couldn’t go to.
What better way to show someone you love, you’re thinking of them, than a piece of jewellery that will last them their lifetime – Corinne
You can support Corinne by checking out her beautiful range at Love Gwen Handmade Jewellery 
You can also find Love Gwen Jewellery on Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest
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You can also email Corinne Barlow if you have something you may like to commission – corinne@lovegwenjewellery.com.au
WORLDWIDE SHIPPING AVAILABLE

Thank You!

Whilst many, many small businesses are letting go of staff, and popping the ‘closed’ sign on the door for the last time, thousands more are trying their absolute best not to become a victim of the Covid-19 Pandemic. That is why it is crucially important that we all make sure we are researching before buying and making a real point of ‘shopping small’. By sharing these posts you are sharing this small business with your friends and you are creating a chain of exposure for each and every business we feature. Imagine the difference you could make, just with the click of a button!!

Who can you support next?

Liv xx

 

Small Biz Shout Out #1 Cakes by Carter

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I’m so happy to be introducing you to Lisa for #1 in my ‘Small Biz Shout Out’ series. Not only does Lisa create the most incredible cakes right here in Melbourne, (I’ve eaten a few) she is also a genuinely good human. If ever you wanted to support a small business, this is the one for you. I mean, great human and gorgeous cake… Is there a better mix?
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Hello everyone! I’m Carter – Lisa Carter. My dear Qantas family, in Melbourne, where I worked for many years helped create the name of ‘Cakes By Carter‘ on a lonely nightshift, and the dream has been moving slowly since then.
Cakes by Carter was created out of a passion for home baking after making my first wedding cake back in 2002. Now, 18 years on I am still baking and specialising in cakes; all kinds of cakes. I offer novelty, wedding, proposal, baby reveal, cupcakes… you name it, I can do it! I also have a unique talent for decorating cookies using the freshest of ingredients, all hand made by me. Vegan, gluten free and egg free are some of our frequent requests, so no one is left out!
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Cakes by Carter is a loyal member and of the CDAV (Cake Decorators Association of Victoria) and I have a genuine passion and love for what I do. I am proud to be a 6 time winner at the Royal Melbourne Show & Red Hill Show.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on my business. From weddings to birthday parties, and all other events on hold, Cakes by Carter has had most bookings cancelled. For my small business this is huge. Looking at an almost empty booking diary is not what I was expecting at this point in the year.
Being home based and always maintaining a certificate in food safety, I can guarantee our practices are safe and adhere to new Covid-19 measures as put in place by the Government.I have recently updated my practices to include the addition of hair nets and face masks while continuing to wear gloves as always – Lisa Carter

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To Melbourne, I would like to say, I am still operating. I’m still filling my kitchen with beautiful baking smells, and I would love to create something for your loved ones, especially at a time when we are all desperately searching for special connections.
Let me, Cakes by Carter help you surprise your loved ones, friends or work colleagues with a contactless delivery of cupcakes, cookies or a cake. If you know someone who has to stay home for their upcoming birthday why not have a gorgeous small cake delivered right to their door?

You can support Cakes by Carter on Instagram & Facebook

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Thank You!

Whilst many, many small businesses are letting go of staff, and popping the ‘closed’ sign on the door for the last time, thousands more are trying their absolute best not to become a victim of the Covid-19 Pandemic. That is why it is crucially important that we all make sure we are researching before buying and making a real point of ‘shopping small’. By sharing these posts you are sharing this small business with your friends and you are creating a chain of exposure for each and every business we feature. Imagine the difference you could make, just with the click of a button!!

Who can you support next?

Liv xx

 

 

 

The Expat ‘Mumcation’!

Are you dreaming of a childfree vacay with your gal pals?

Are you desperate to say goodbye to the laundry and school run, and lay by a pool, sipping Manhattan’s like an extra out of Sex in the City with your long lost mates from back home? Isn’t it about time you took a break and spent some quality time with your friends, minus the hubster and the kids? A relaxing break, being all classy and beautiful? This could be the chance to really be you again, to rekindle old friendships long left behind.

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Well, it turns out when the media were telling us ‘Mums’ that we all deserved.. no… needed a ‘Mumcation’ they were thinking of classy trips to the local winery, or Yummy Mummies sipping Chardonnay in hot tubs chatting about Florence’s ballet lessons. They weren’t thinking about the millions of Expat mums who would be rushing to the airport, gagging for a bag of pickled onion monster munch, clutching their passports, heading home for a week in the pub with the girls.. I’m here to fill you in on the reality of  The ‘Expat Mumcation’…

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The reality of an Expat ‘Mumcation’

I’m currently ‘drying out’ in Hong Kong airport after my very own Expat ‘Mumcation’, and let me tell you, it’s not pretty. I’m sweating, my stomach is churning, I’ve got the shakes and the bags under my eyes are way more impressive than even the best Louis Vuitton cases.. My fake tan has almost completely disappeared, my perfectly shaped eyebrows have started sprouting, and I have just broken a nail. My hair is greasy, my jeans are way too tight and I have a broken tooth. I feel (and look) like the guys out of ‘The Hangover’

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Just over two weeks ago I gleefully waved farewell to my two little darlings in Melbourne and headed off on a ‘Mumcation’ to the UK to celebrate the wedding of a dear friend. I had just under three weeks of freedom ahead of me and was pumped, preened, waxed, and feeling tip top. Having planned this trip for months, I’d had time to give myself a good talking to about my behaviour on my upcoming trip.

“You’re an adult Olivia, there’s no need to go crazy”

“It’s important that you’re sensible Olivia, you have two small children who need you”…. 

Well. It turns out that when you go on a ‘Mumcation’, whether it’s in Barbados, Benidorm or Bognor, you just can’t help yourself. I joked about behaving like a 14 year old, but totally lived up to it. I was child free, I had a wad of cash in my pocket and the barman was gonna get it… “double G&T’s all round”…. oh dear god…. Even typing that is making me queasy.

I had landed at Heathrow after a 26hr trek from Melbourne, squeezed my ‘bestie’ and headed to Windsor for a “quiet night” before Saturdays Hen Do… After a very civilised dinner, lots of giggles and catching up, we decided to have a walk before bed. Turns out the local pub did 2-4-1 cocktails, so we had 18.  At 3:45am we found ourselves down some back alley with a bunch of 17 year olds, smoking and begging the bouncers to let us in an already closed nightclub. It wasn’t pretty. I was free as a bird, for the first time in ages and my behaviour was, quite frankly, unacceptable.

The outcome

 

19 days later and it turns out my liver isn’t thanking me for the 2 whole bottles of gin, 27 tonics, 4 bottles of prosecco, 6 bottles of Sav, 102 Sambucca shots, 34 tequila shots, an entire tube of Mango flavoured Berocca and one whole box of Alka Seltzer. My heart is barely pumping due to the 29 pork pies, 18,000 Cadbury chocolate buttons, 22 Menthol cigarettes (I don’t even smoke) and about 72 packets of Salt & Vinegar Squares.

I lost count of the cans of coke I guzzled (wtf) just to get over the hangovers.. My dentist is going to poke me in the eye. I ate scampi and chips about 8 times.. because my daughter misses it?? Do you see what I’m getting at? Most mums will get together with their local friends, pop to a hotel in the city, have a few too many, totter back to their room, and get up for a leisurely brekkie, before making their way home to their little darlings. When your best friends are 10,000 miles away, there is no “weekend break”; it has to be at least two weeks, involve binge drinking and excessive calorie consumption. You basically have to make up for the 3 and a half years you’ve missed out on, when it comes to food, drink and shopping. *whoops.

The truth

The truth is, we all need to see our friends, spend time with them, and make the bloody most of it while we’re there, because it doesn’t happen very often. If that means almost dying in the process, well, hey, it is what it is… You know what though.. No matter how useless my body is, lying here in my tiny bed at the airport, no matter how many wrinkles I have added to my forehead, no matter how wrecked my organs are, I would do it all over again… No matter how much my heart ached for my babies, no matter how much I missed my husband, no matter what I may have missed out on, I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

We laughed, really, really laughed. We laughed so hard it hurt. We sat round the table and shared meals together after years apart. We talked for hours about our children, our lives, about everything. And, we laughed a bit more. We had time to be us. We spent time doing things we wanted to do, without time restrictions, play dates or bedtime routines. I watched my friend marry her love, and we all ugly cried to Oasis’ Wonderwall at the disco…

I guess what I am trying to tell you is that when you take your ‘Expat Mumcation’, do it in style, because it’s over in the blink of an eye, and you’ll be back on the other side of the world, reading “The Tiger Who Came To Tea” thanking your lucky stars you did it…. and survived… 

National Lamington Day – How many can you eat?

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You don’t think your tastes would change that much when you move abroad. I honestly never thought my kids would be taking Vegemite sarnies to school, or eating meat pies like they’re going out of fashion. I also never thought we’d ever get used to Lamingtons after trying my first one three years ago! Hey, the Brits are renowned cake bakers, we know our shizzle when it comes to baking, and the Lamington was like no cake I’d ever tasted before….. However…..

Tomorrow, July 21st, Australians and a few of us expats too,  will be taking time to savour and celebrate the coming of age of an Australian classic, the humble Lamington.

It’s National Lamington Day and I know what I’ll be tucking into frequently tomorrow! 

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Adriano Zumbo’s Tiramisu Lamington

The sweet treat has been tantalising Aussie tastebuds for more than 100 years, and the list of flavours is endless. The Wilson’s are ready and willing to try as many as we can before the visa runs out!! 

Lamington Lowdown

The first ever Lamington cake was made in 1900, most likely for the wife of Queensland’s eighth governor, Lady May Lamington. Made by either the Lamingtons’ French patisserie chef, Armand Galland, or well-known Brisbane cookery teacher Amy Schauer, regarded as ‘the Nigella Lawson of her time’.  We all love a Nigella!! The sponge cake was dipped in chocolate and liberally sprinkled with shredded coconut. Lord and Lady Lamington were said to be so impressed by the cake, that it was regularly requested at Lamington House. If only we all had our own baker… 

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THE LOWDOWN ON LAMINGTONS

  • National Lamington Day is celebrated on July 21.
  • The Lamington cake was first made in 1900.
  • The exact story of the invention of the Lamington is disputed. Some people think it may have been an accidental recipe after being dropped in a chocolate mixture.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lists the lamington as an Australian icon (along with the meat pie and Vegemite HURRAH), and former Queensland premier Anna Bligh has declared this special cake a Queensland icon.
  • Toowoomba in Queensland is the home of the 2011 Guinness World Record for the Largest Lamington, weighing over 2,361 kilos.
  • A Lamington recipe first appeared in the Queensland Country Life publication in 1900. A recipe then appeared in a Sydney newspaper in 1901, and a New Zealand newspaper in 1902.
  • The world record for the longest line of Lamingtons was set in Adelaide in 2015, with 20,000 (yes that says 20 thousand) pieces of Lamington snaking over 1,073 metres long. The former record was held in England with a Lamington line that measured 885 metres. Who knew the Brits loved Lamington so much?
  • Susan Day makes so many Lamingtons each year that if you laid them end to end, you’d make it from Melbourne to Sydney – hands up who’s coming on that road trip? 

If you’re a Lamington lover, then tomorrow is your lucky day!

If you’re in Australia you can cheat and head to Coles to get yours, however if you’re enjoying the sunshine in the UK, get your BAKE on and enjoy Lamington Day with this recipe for homemade Lamingtons!!

Let me know what you’re doing to celebrate!

Olivia xx

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Donna Hay’s Lamington’s (Recipe link above)

Stationary that’s light years ahead of the rest!!

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Ever since I was a child I’ve had this almost obsessive craving for brand new stationary. Not sure if it was the newness, the smell, the thought that maybe with a brand new pad I could create a masterpiece. I would convince my parents to spend shed loads of money on new pens, notepads and all sorts of wonderful files and folders, under the premise of lots of hard work that term! Um… I would start off well.. I’d immaculately write my name on said items, then spend the rest of the year scribbling boys names and enormous love hearts all over them. Pretty sure “I love East17” was in amongst it. My kids are no different, however the stationary today is much cooler.

What’s new?

Nothing’s really changed in my love of stationary, I buy a lot, and I manage to keep it tidy for a few days…. However, Big W have just got a brand new range of stationary which I’m certain will save me from scrawled memos and lost invoices forever!!! Yes, the clever peeps at ‘Smash’ have been at it again. This time they’re making the whole family fall in love with endless supplies of dreamy desk delights.

‘This new range is out of this world! ‘Imagine, Explore and Inspire’ your next ‘Master Plan’ (and your ‘Plan B’!) with our new Neo Galaxy Stationery Range.’- Smash

What do we love about this stationary in particular?

Apart from my inner magpie loving the “shinyness” of the Neo Galaxy range, I also love that they have thought of everything. The quality is great (there’s no way those folders are tearing under the pressure of NAPLAN, or the binders will buckle under the weight of all my endless paperwork) and the designs are suitable for all ages. The kids really loved the space designs, the colours and the stapler…. of course…. The sticky notes don’t curl up like other brands, ***HURRAH, and excuse me whilst we tear up over the incredibly cute little paper clips…..

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Yes, the Wilson’s have been checking out the new Neo Galaxy range of stationary, available from the 15th July in Big W… just in time for back to school, or even for you mamas out there whose home/work life needs some pimping.

Best things about this particular range?

It’s unisex! Yes, it’s purple, but in our house and many across the land, purple is super cool for one and all!

It’s funky no matter your age! The whole family like this range, which makes sharing a little tricky, but means we all have matchy, matchy coordinated workspaces.. Pretty sure I’m still the only one actually working here though!

I have styled the kids desks to show you why it’s definitely good for all…

So, bottom line is….. head down to your local Big W and get your hands on some of this Neo Galaxy stationary before it disappears in to a ‘black hole’ (or other people’s homes). You’ll be thrilled with it, and the kids will love you to infinity and beyond, I promise xx

Tell them you love them “to the moon and back” with a desk full of Neo Galaxy stationary!

Available in store at Big W from 15th July 2018

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Everyone LOVES a sticky note!!