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Jo’s Journal – December 2020

Posted: by Jo Thursday, 26 November 2020 @ 12:12

So, here we are, nearing the end of November, and getting ready for Lockdown 2.0 to come to an end. I had no idea, when I wrote my last journal towards the end of October, that we were about to head into another national lockdown.  

Our shop in Leamington, Fabulous, had to close for the month, and I had to furlough most of our team, so I am looking forward to seeing them again next week, and getting open again. It has been a very tough year for many businesses, but at least our shop will be open in the run-up to Christmas.  

Our Mantra team, on the other hand, has been very busy throughout November, with online orders – so thank you all so much for your support for Mantra. We have had birthday, anniversary and Christmas orders – but also, several ‘just because’ gifts, to cheer someone up or show them you are thinking of them. We love seeing all your messages, as it makes each purchase even more special for us.  

The one thing I had always hoped, when we created our Mantra brand, was that it would succeed in bringing strength, inspiration and joy to a wide audience. I am such a firm believer in the power of words to change our mood and our mindset, and really believe that jewellery has a special quality that makes it the perfect way of carrying those inspiring words. From the messages we receive from many of you – it seems that Mantra is succeeding in its aim, which is good to hear.  

This month, I have spent some time looking back over the interviews I did for our ‘MyBest Self’ series through the year, as I was writing a summary for our ‘Be Inspired’ blog. It was wonderful to look back and re-read the stories, knowing that each of these inspirational women has chosen one of our myMantra necklaces to have words engraved on, that are deeply personal and meaningful to her. Do take a look at the article here, if you missed these interviews.   

We have a new myMantra design coming out early in the New Year, which we are very excited about. Keep an eye out on our social media for news of the new design. 

Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

November for many of us has been a time of enforced peace and quiet, as the lockdown has again changed many of our plans. As many of you know, I am a voracious reader, as well as a keen listener to audio books – and have used some of the extra time this month to devour more books. As well as some brilliant fiction – notably, ‘American Dirt’, about a journey of survival from Mexico to the US – I finally read Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’.  

I am a natural clutterer! I love having things around me, and am terrible at throwing or giving things away. Whether I have bought something myself, or it was a gift, I feel a terrible guilt at getting rid of it, however charitably I do it. So, this book has been a revelation.  

Dismissed by some as just a book about how to declutter your home, it is so much more than that. It genuinely is about how to change your life, by holding onto and really valuing the things that give you joy. The simple act of recognising the items that bring you real joy and happiness, and identifying the things which don’t, is a revelation in itself.  

And the relief which comes from letting the things go that you no longer like or don’t value – with a word of thanks and a feeling of appreciation that they have done their job – is incredible. With a couple of trips to our local ‘Age Concern’ charity store – accepting items, even during lockdown – and some visits to my local Clothes Bank, as well as some carloads to the recycling centre, I am starting to feel the joy of letting things go.  

I have also tried to spend time outside this month, even with the weather closing in so much more. A local walk that my husband and I do often is the stride up to Broadway Tower – a rapid 20 minute uphill ascent which gives great ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of exertion expended versus time spent, in return for incredible views!  

Jo Stroud at Broadway Tower

In a few days’ time, after the madness of Black Friday, it is Giving Tuesday, a day which we always celebrate and support here at Mantra. It is a global day of giving – in fact, the biggest single-day fundraising day of the year. We have supported Giving Tuesday since we launched in 2016, and this year is no exception.  

10% of all of our sales on Giving Tuesday go to charity – in addition to the 25% we already give from sales of our charity-specific pieces. We now work with over 11 different charities, from Trees for Cities to the NHS Charities Together – and are looking forward to seeing how much we can raise to support them this year.  

mantra trees for cities necklace mantra NHS Hope Charity Necklace

We heard from the government earlier this week, what the Covid-Christmas plans will be, so at least we can all plan now. I am aiming for a quiet one with my husband down in Cornwall, so I will sign off now and wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas. I look forward to catching up with you all in the New Year.  

Merry Christmas!

Jo xx        

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