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PLOOMS goes the races

Well, we did not see any horses, but we were at Cheltenham Racecourse. 
PLOOMS were exhibiting at the Christmas (yes already!) Fashion and Gift Fair.
This is our stand. 

And these are our neighbours.
 The Carved Angel kept me fed.
I strongly recommend their Apple Strudel Christmas Pudding - Inspired!
Orange PLOOMS fountain pen
And I loved Lazy Lizards' ethically produced toys from a family in Sri Lanka.
This is when barter comes into its own. One Purple PLOOM for Jules who 
sells their toys in the UK, some mice and a frilled neck lizard for me! 

My husband did point out that lizards eat mice, so if I can't find those 
mice when it comes to Christmas eve ...

On my travels around the fair (It is like Eastenders, you ask people to 
mind your stall whilst you go for the tea run), I spotted this beautiful china 
from a couple who travel to Provence to buy the things that they like. 
(La Belle Provence). 
I don't think they have a website but if anyone does know of them
 and they do, let me know and I will add a link.

Next stop is the RNLI Fair at Port Regis in Dorset on 30th and 31st October.
Looking forward to it already.

# today is for Jo

What do you do when your friend is so ill she can't find
 anything to look forward to?
 I have a friend, Jo, who has cancer and she is in the middle of chemo. 
She is a mum with two gorgeous daughters - six and two - 
and life is pretty tough.
 I was struggling to think what might cheer her.  
I know this is only a little thing, but I have recently discovered Instagram
 and love receiving a constant stream of positive and gorgeous images each day. 
  So I set up Instagram for Jo and today every post PLOOMS did was for her.
 We invited others to join in
 And lots of people did.
 I know it made Jo smile 
 And that has got to be a good thing.
So thank you to everyone who took part.

That would not be the affirmative

I once read that the Finnish have 37 words for the word ‘snow’. 
I once worked with a man who had 37 words for the word ‘no’. 

So frustrating, but very clever. You realised after leaving the meeting and were half way
 back to your desk -  he had pulled it off, Again
I won’t name and shame. But JOHN* you know who you are.  
(*names may have been changed to protect the privacy of past work colleagues
 …or they may not …) 

This is one of the reasons I love working for myself and alongside my husband,
 whose default position is to be helpful. (Although I have to confess I do love it
 when occasionally he turns forceful and says “NO, Sally”.)

So for those who can’t help saying ‘no’, here are:
5 Reasons to say “YES”

1. ‘Yes’ helps the world go round. People will be much more likely to put 
themselves out for you in future.

2. ‘Yes’, can always have provisions – and yet you are still being positive.
“I would love to come and eat cake/drink wine with you but can only stay for the
 one” (What am I thinking?! That’s a terrible example, why would anyone stay just 
for one? A saying I learnt from my husband, who is Irish and full of wise words, is:
 “A bird never flew on one wing” This is his usual response when
 I ask “Shall we have another?”)

3. ‘Yes’ is a word that gets you places, over the horizon and off on exciting journeys.

 ‘No’ has you sitting looking at a wall wondering where all your friends have gone.

4. ‘Yes’ is good for your health. It has been proved that a positive attitude can 
be the one thing that determines why people can battle illness.

5. ‘Yes’, may land you in deep water occasionally, but hey, we learn 
the most from our mistakes!
I also have a friend who can’t say, ‘no’.
She told me she actually feels panicky and sick at the thought of it. Whilst I
 applaud this positive attitude, it does land her in trouble. However hard she 
works (and this includes working at night to get stuff done) occasionally something
 will slip through the net. People get cross.
So for those who struggle saying ‘no’, here are some suggestions:
5 Ways to say “NO”

1. Buy yourself time. “Sounds great, but I will need to check diary/timetable/with
 so and so” This gives you breathing space to marshal the reasons why you
 can’t do it and think of alternatives. “I can’t do that, but I can …”

2. “Love to, but which would you like me to prioritize?” 
Throw the ball back in their court.

3. “Not this time, but do ask me again … because bungee jumping with
 your mother in law sounds such fun.”

4.  Be honest. “I want to say ‘yes’ because I really like you/want to help/you scare me, 
but I just know I shouldn’t as I have SO much on and I don’t want to let you 
down at the last minute”

5. If honesty is a step too far, mention you are not going to be around. 
People understand if you say ‘no’ because physically you are somewhere else. 
“Sorry I can’t – I am out of the country/visiting a friend/going to be away etc” 
Just make sure you get your story straight and don’t end up hiding behind the sofa
 with the lights out for the weekend!

And what does the Irishman do?
He just very pleasantly, says ‘no’ . No explanation. 
No rambling on about I’d like to but… 
You would be surprised how effective it is and how inoffensive. 
But maybe a step too far for me! 

Have you ever met a Pink Avocet?

First thing this morning I received an email from Pink Avocet.
They were introducing themselves as we are both taking
 stands at the RNLI fair at Port Regis in Dorset at the end of October.

It seemed like a good opportunity for some PLOOMING. 
(PLOOMING: verb, to handwrite a message in ink and photograph it)
 Larger companies have social media departments, creative directors and 
commission photographers for these projects. 
At PLOOMS on a Tuesday morning - there was me in my pyjamas.

This is how it went:
1. Have idea ...I think we have a picture of an avocet somewhere ....
 2. Into office, where is my pen? Down stairs with camera and message

3. What a BEAUTIFUL day ...but it is cold ...why isn't the heating on ...
Not the bloody boiler again!

4. Lose message behind the back of cupboard, retrieve and dust off
5. Take photos
6. Download, edit and airdrop to ipad ...or I would if it was working
7. Email photo ... camera away ...where's the lens cap?
8. Need coffee, and might as well unload dishwasher as I'm here

9. Find lens cap in the sink ... I swear it walked there
10. Play with pic stitch (if you don't have this App - get it NOW, - it's fun)
11. Send photo.
PLOOMS fountain pens

 I never knew spontaneity took this long!

As I was typing this blog a message pinged on my phone, 
which immediately called for some more personal PLOOMING. 
My friend Jo, who is 34 and has two little girls has a really aggressive form of cancer. 
The message was from her hospital bed. 
After months of hideous chemo she is in remission.
Jo is a self confessed pessimist. I am an optomist. My friends call me Doris.  
(Ms Day has nothing on me when it comes to looking on the bright side and 
decorating with gingham reindeers at Christmas. 
And yes, I really do have them.)

So when Jo told me about the nine months of treatment, 
hair loss and overall misery she was facing into, 
all I could think to do was create the Doris list.

1. Nine months is how long it takes to cook a new baby (with a lot of nausea and pain on the way). Nine months is how long it is going to take to give you a new life. A new life for you without pain and misery.

2. In nine months you have to have about 12 treatments. My friend had just had 6 and was only sick once. So on that basis, you may only be sick twice.

3. Keeping out of the way of sick people after your treatment means you don’t have to go to other people’s childrens parties for nine months. 

4. Being good and doing what the Drs say means your HAVE to take it easy and rest for nine months

5. You have always wanted to know what it is like to be a blonde …and a red head

6. You may not be able to do all the physical rushing around but sometimes what the girls are most happy with is a cuddle and having you listening to stories about their day

7. Dads and their daughters are a magical combination

8. Have you watched all the episodes of Mad Men, Suits and House of Cards?

9. Everything you are worrying about will still all be here in nine months time. 
Nothing is so urgent it can’t be put off.

Why fountain pens are like flowers

Pink PLOOMS fountain pen
Pink PLOOMS Fountain pen
Are fountain pens really like flowers?
It may seem that I have just pulled these two thoughts together as it gives 
me an excuse to photograph flowers. 

You may well think that.
But I could not possibly comment.
Well here goes ...
You have the colours for a start. 
If I am lucky enough to have flowers on my desk or in my hand, I want them
to be glorious. I want pink anemones, orange proteas and red parrot tulips.
 I definitely don't want sensible, dull blooms. 
I feel the same about my PLOOMS, why have a black or burgundy fountain pen 
when you can have a colour that makes you smile every time you use it?
Orange Pink fountain pens
Pink & Orange PLOOMS fountain pens
The other way flowers and fountain pens are alike, is that they both 
like to be kept upright.
After all we don't put flowers head first into a vase.
PLOOMS feel the same way. If they are not busy writing they like 
to be upright. If they are stored upside down, not only are they dizzy,
 but the ink settles in the nib and dries there. 
(This is easy to fix by running the nib under a tap, but can be a bit annoying.)
The best thing is to keep your fountain pen on your desk in a pot, 
a mug or even a vase  - and in your bag put it upright in a side pocket
 or mobile phone holder. 
Purple PLOOMS fountain pen
Purple PLOOMS fountain pen
This PLOOM is lying down, but it is just sleeping 
- resting in its presentation box, 
waiting for the cartridge to be fitted and to get PLOOMING!