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With the young of the UK all heading back to school this week, it set me thinking about the attitudes to education in the West and the value it delivers to the youth of today as well as about the massive gulf between what our young take for granted and the reality of life in large areas of the rest of the world.

Whilst a significant proportion of the UK’s school-age children probably views school as a necessary evil to be got through and done with as fast as possible, the majority simply take for granted the accessibility of quality education as a given in our society, together with access to all the equipment and specialist teaching necessary for its delivery. And whilst it is true to say that many inner city urban schools face a number of quality and other challenges, on the whole the young of today in the West have massive opportunities open to them.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for a very large part of the rest of the world and this is especially true in Africa and the Middle East. Worldwide, over 75 million children do not attend school of any kind and of those who do, around one in three will drop out before completing their primary education, usually leaving without the ability to read or count. Of this number a disproportionate number will be girls.The reasons behind this are rooted in a range of issues including cultural, child labour, conflict and poverty.

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Even though I am not exactly young any more (well OK, definitely well past middle age!), I still love and get excited by birthdays! So I am thrilled to tell you that we have nearly reached The Collage Company’s 4th birthday - yippee and nearly Happy Birthday to Us!!!

As ever, the last year seems to have flown past and we have achieved a lot both in developing the brand and building sales - so a massive thank you to all our clients past and present. We love getting feedback from our clients and hearing wonderful comments such as “ I can’t tell you how thrilled I am”...or “the product was just fantastic” is just brilliant! Please keep them coming!

Thoughts of birthdays led me to wondering what celebrations we should plan (more of this later) and to exploring a few of the weird and wonderful ways in which people around the globe celebrate their birthdays, other than the obvious balloons, bunting, streamers and cakes!

For instance, only in America (I think?!) does the latest craze seem to be ‘smash-cakes’ - cakes smothered in  icing and decoration  purely for the toddler to destroy and make as much mess as they wish??? Other rather odd (well, to me anyway!) customs include being soaked to the skin and having flour thrown all over you (Jamaica why??), birthday nose-greasing (Canada - weird!!) and having your face pushed into your cake (Venezuela)  which strikes me as a tragic waste of rather yummy birthday cake! In Vietnam New Year’s Day is everybody’s birthday and children celebrate the year and the lunar symbol under which they were born - certainly wouldn’t feel like your special day would it?!

b2ap3_thumbnail_usa-smash-cakeweb.jpgCaribbean Flour faceVenezuelan Cake Plunge!

And what about presents? I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I do get rather excited about presents on my birthday - and surprises are definitely the best type! But I would definitely have a sense of humour failure if I were to receive the gift that one friend’s brother-in law received from his wife for his birthday - a plot in a graveyard!! Other odd gifts I have come across included an urn with relative’s ashes in it (?!!), an ironing board (do you think he is still alive?!) and a case of Spam...definitely NOT the thought that counts!

Luckily, the next time you are stuck for what to buy for that difficult person who has everything or the elderly relation who doesn’t want more ‘things‘ - think unique photo collage and your job is done! Our beautiful montages are the most personal of presents and will bring a smile to the face of just about anyone!

Just send us your pics, call us on 01420 562208 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. -and the job is done - we would love to hear from you!

www.collagecompany.co.uk

PS. Why not follow us on Pinterest?!! www.pinterest.com/emmycollageco and on Twitter @CollageCompany 

MAY 2014

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Waking up this morning on Anzac Day to see the moving images on the news of Prince William and Katherine attending a pre-dawn ceremony to commemorate Anzac in Australia, got me thinking about the incredible bravery of all the troops who fought in the Great War and particularly about those who enlisted from what was then the British Empire, many of whom were from Australia and New Zealand.

On this one hundred year anniversary of the First World War, our lives today seem a million miles from what those young men and their families experienced. What must it have been like for them - most of whom would never have travelled overseas before - to join up to British Forces, be transported to the other side of the globe away from family and familiarity and fight for a King and Country who must have seemed a far-distant concept?b2ap3_thumbnail_images-1.jpg

 

 They were then launched into the disastrous Dardanelles campaign, with the main landing taking place at Gallipoli, one of the worst failures of the war and the scene of some of the most terrible losses. On just the first day of the campaign, over 900 Australian troops were lost. After eight months of savage fighting and huge casualties (on both sides) from both the battles and disease, the campaign ended in failure and the invasion force was withdrawn to Egypt.

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Having spent a happy afternoon setting up my new Pinterest account (more of what this is about in a moment for those of you saying “what on earth is Pinterest!”) I have been pondering on the whole phenomena of social media and the massive changes which have taken place in only a few short years.

How we communicate and, more importantly almost, what records we leave behind for future generations, have both changed so momentously and with such speed that is must represent one of the greatest social changes ever known to mankind.

For those of you still wondering what Pinterest actually is, I would say to go and have a look! (www.pinterest.com/emmycollageco ). It is like a global online picture pinboard which anybody can add to or view. You can find inspirations, quirkyness, ideas and much much more. The whole of life is there in pictures, from the weird and whacky to the practical and everything in between.  b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2014-04-16-at-16.30.12.pngBut this really did get me thinking (in a somewhat Luddite way!) of how will future historians and social chroniclers manage to research our lives today? From Roman times, it has been possible to search through letters, diaries, musings and art to delve into peoples’ lives and attitudes and build pictures of those who are long dead. Where will this information now be found? Will our blogs still be in the ether in a hundred years time? Who  will be still looking at Pinterest and what will it tell them in the year 2093?!

Whilst I feel that there may be a major issue for historical chroniclers, more importantly, what about our own personal histories - the stories of our families and our forebears? Our memories and heritage remain key to our identities and it is vital that these are preserved for the generations to come.

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How better to keep these family stories and memories alive than by reverting to a marriage  of the good old fashioned medium of print, with modern software which enables us to create digital photographic collages using photos old and new. These unique memories will then be there for your children and their children to enjoy for years to come.b2ap3_thumbnail_Nicola-RobinsonBlack-paint.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

The next time you would like those memories enshrined in a unique photo montage of your family story - just send us your pics, call us on 01420 562208 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - we would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

www.collagecompany.co.uk

PS. Why not follow us on Pinterest?!! www.pinterest.com/emmycollageco

April 2014

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Not many of you who don’t hail from this part of Hampshire will have heard of the Tichborne Dole, a charitable ceremony which dates back over 850 years to roughly the year 1150...

This week sees the anniversary of the Dole, one of those extraordinary customs from our rich and fascinating history which dates all the way back to the 12th Century. The ceremony has been held in our local village of Tichborne, near Alresford, Hampshire since about 1150 - which is really quite a long time and the story is an incredible mix of charitable deeds, meanness of spirit and black curses!

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On the occasion of the centenary of International Women’s Day (no, I didn't know about it before either!), I spent a happy hour dog walking this morning in the unaccustomed sunshine (hurray!) and pondering that old game of who to ask to that hypothetical dinner party - assuming, of course, that it is to be a woman only affair!

Given the parade of inspiring, and extraordinary women who have contributed so much to shaping the world that we now live in, it was always going to be a difficult choice. Probably another dog walk on another day would throw up a whole different list of subjects with me thinking, “oh no, how could I have forgotten her!”

For what it is worth , here are my current eight - an eclectic mix if ever I saw one! But boy, what a great dinner party it would be!

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Just wanted to share this lovely collage of a lifetime of horses - great memories!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Arkell-Horses2_20140228-094311_1.jpg

Would love to hear your comments in the comment box below.

 

 

 

 

Tagged in: collage Horses memories
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George Watt, first world war heroMost people are intrigued by the story of their own family, as as one gets older this kind of thing seems to grow in importance as one realises the speed that life passes by at. Children seem to grow up overnight and before you know it, you yourself become the ‘older’ generation of the family!

When recently embarking on some research into my husband’s family, we swiftly uncovered a a poignant story of bravery and tragedy from the First World War which has been very much in our minds whilst reading many of the current articles commemorating the centenary of the Great War.

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