Hi everyone, scroll down to find out more about the special jewellery range I helped design to raise funds for Breast Cancer Care.
I’ve always tended to associate The Great British Bake Off with the beginning of Autumn but as Mary Berry once more graced our screens in her navy Barbour jacket, I was sitting in front of my Dyson fan trying to cool down after another sweltering day! What an amazing August it’s been – granted we spent the first half in Cyprus, but it’s been cooking here almost constantly since we returned. Having read all your lovely comments last week, I’m glad that you too have been able to make the best of it.
Lucy returns to work at the beginning of September, so my weekly visits to see Honey won’t always be possible now. I feel incredibly lucky though to have spent as much time with her as I have, and Colin. We have just come back from a couple of days at the coast with them all which was lovely. Honey now says Nanna all the time and Colin is Dad dad. Her brothers George and Henry are great with her too. We built sand castles, played on the pier and collected sea shells, it was best of times.
In between all this play time, I’ve had some busy shifts and have also been trying to finish my book. I’ve set myself a deadline of the 1st September to deliver the final chapters of the first draft. My editor has said my writing has noticeably improved over the last 20 chapters or so, which has cheered me no end, and is now spurring me on to complete it. Thank you so much for your constant words of encouragement, not just recently, but throughout the entire five years.
Writing about this time has brought back some pretty incredible memories, one of which was when QVC asked me to design a piece of jewellery to help raise money for our designated charity Breast Cancer Care. The brief was basically to create something that would have meaning for those of us, our families, friends, colleagues and workmates whose lives are affected by this cruel disease. I have to be honest and say that although it meant a great deal to be asked, the request carried with it a huge feeling of responsibility. The result of that request was of course the I Hope pendant, but I just wanted to remind you why I chose the design I did.
Sometimes here on the blog, you write of your struggles – the sadness, loss, despair and fear – and reading and responding to you, has helped me to realise that although no two situations are the same, there is something fundamental we all share – we never give up hope. Whether caring for a poorly child, coping with disease, supporting a parent, missing a son, loving a daughter, losing the battle or fighting the fight, it’s the one thing that keeps us going. I wanted the design to be something simple yet beautiful, which would embody that sentiment.
The thing is that when times are hard and people are struggling, it can be difficult to tell someone how you’re really feeling: “I hope your treatment won’t be so bad this week, that the scans will be clear. I hope you are coping without her. I hope each day you know how much I love you. I hope that you are feeling stronger. I hope you never have to go through this. I hope you know how brave I think you’ve been.” Or, as my Lucy said to me “I hope you will get better forever…” Often the simplest of designs are the most complicated to create, but I couldn’t have been happier with the finished result, and judging by the thousands QVC have sold to date, you were as pleased with it as I was. As the words are only on one side, you could always engrave someone’s name on the other side – there’s plenty of room. I often get requests on Twitter or here, asking when and if it’s coming back, and I’m delighted to tell you it’s just come back into stock and is available online now. We also now have stock of the I Hope ring which I was asked to design the following year in time for Breast Cancer Month. Like the pendant it was incredibly solid and well made which led to it selling out, but we have renewed stock.
In early 2016 I was approached again by our jewellery buyers who explained that this year we would be creating an entire collection of Breast Cancer Care jewellery, and would I be able to come up with some more designs? I was so pleased to be asked as I felt there was definitely more we could create within the ‘I Hope’ theme. I think at this point I should thank my lovely silver buyer Amber Arkell who has worked tirelessly with me to create the three brand new pieces. Not an easy task when all you’re working with is something that began scribbled on a piece of paper! The bracelet was particularly complicated, and it was quite difficult to get the dimension and shape right for the larger pendant, but with her help and Colin’s creative input, we now have three more pieces of jewellery in the I Hope range.
You saw the images in my last blog, but here is the final product. This will only be available on our website beginning of September, and you won’t be seeing this on screen I’m afraid.
The I Hope earrings, again solid silver, with a post and butterfly fixing. The final piece is the larger I Hope pendant that comes with a much longer 76cm chain. All the jewellery is made in solid sterling silver, and I am really pleased with the finishing and weight, I really hope you will be too.
On Saturday 3rd September I’ll be able to show you the earrings and the pendant live at midday and 1pm when we have our Jewellery Month Grand Opening. And for those of you who enjoy a spot of social media, I will be Live on our Facebook page at 3pm talking about the designs so you can chat with me then, before I’m back with our QVC Selection at 5pm.
This is the 16th year QVC have supported Breast Cancer Care, and with your incredible kindness and generosity we have raised millions of pounds. So many women, and men and their families and friends have benefitted from the amazing service BCC provide. I hope this year we can do the same.
Before I head off to hang out my washing I just wanted to thank you so much for keeping in touch, and for all your lovely comments on the blog. I hope that those of you who are due to holiday abroad soon that you will enjoy it, and for those of you who’ve holidayed from home, you will have had the sunshine.
Take care, and I’ll see you soon,
With my love, Ali xx