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Jo’s Journal – November 2020

Posted: by Jo Tuesday, 27 October 2020 @ 08:44

As October draws to a close, Autumn is well and truly here, with the trees turning beautiful shades of red and gold, and stormy weather interrupting the mild days. 

This month saw another visit to an arboretum for me – this time, the glorious Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury – where I saw the Acers in all their stunning blaze of Autumnal glory. 

On that same trip, I had dinner with my friend in Bristol, in a giant TeePee on Clifton Downs. A group of enterprising pubs have got together to make sure everyone can eat together safely and comfortably, with patio heaters and rugs galore. It’s brilliant to see such enterprise coming out of such dark days. 

Jo's Journal Nov 2020

Much of this month has seen us getting ready for Christmas as a team, making sure we have everything ready for our busiest period. We can’t predict exactly which designs our customers are going to order, but we can get packaging, stickers and boxes ready for the rush. 

Last month, I talked about one of our new necklaces being the word, ‘Together’, to represent ‘I stand with others to make a better world’ – which I felt was a really important message for this year of change. Since then, I decided this piece should be part of our ‘Mantra Changes Lives’ charity collection.

I approached Think Equal to be our charity partner, because of the incredible vision of the charity’s Founder, Leslee Udwin, to create a fair and equal world. 

Leslee is a film producer, best known for the BAFTA-winning East is East, and the powerfully compelling India’s Daughter documentary, about the horrific rape and murder of Jyoti Singh in Delhi in 2012. 

Making that film taught Leslee some fundamental truths about human behaviour, and the beliefs that are ingrained by culture and upbringing. She understood that prejudice and discriminatory behaviour will only truly end if we teach the next generation differently. 

Leslee saw that the only way to create generational change was to intervene at a very early stage in children’s lives, to teach them the skills to create a fairer and better world. First, she set up a charity, and then worked with educational and behavioural experts to develop curriculum-based learning to teach early years children to become inclusive, fair-minded, thoughtful global citizens, to protect each other and the planet. 

I am so impressed by Leslee’s vision and energy, so we are giving 25% of the sales of our ‘Together’ necklace to Think Equal

Also this month, my auntie in the Lake District passed away, at the age of 90. She was the last one remaining of five sisters and one brother, and lived to a very good age. I feel very fortunate that I have been up to see her several times this year and last, as I wasn’t allowed to go to her funeral, due to Covid restrictions. 

Jo Stroud with Auntie Betty

While I am incredibly sad about Auntie Betty’s passing, and I miss her greatly – I am also grateful that she had the best possible death. At home, surrounded by love, with her daughter and granddaughter close by. We all have to die sometime, and how wonderful to go gently into that good night – not raging, as Dylan Thomas would have us do, but peacefully and quietly. 

As Christmas comes closer, and we none of us know how the Covid restrictions will affect our celebrations, or our time with family and friends, it is tempting to get a little down about it. But I genuinely feel this year has helped us all remember what is most important in life, and has created closer-knit communities – so try to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do, this year. And perhaps, what you can do differently, which might be better than what you would normally do?

Let’s catch up next month, as Christmas gets even closer…

Jo xx



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