“ Brand: Betterware / Type: Photo Frame „
Whilst Christmas is predominantly a time of celebration and enjoyment of course, it is also an important family time in my opinion, when loved ones are brought together to enjoy the festivities. I always find myself feeling slightly reflective on Christmas Day, thinking over the previous year's events and thinking of family members. This is especially so with much-loved family members who have passed away, as I do have to admit that I notice their absence with something of a heavy heart each Christmas evening, when the rest of the family is gathered together to celebrate and I do find that the one or two empty chairs around the table are more noticeable on this day more than any other - probably because the rest of the family is together in its entirety.
I think it is important to enjoy Christmas for what it is of course - a time for joy and celebration - but I do always find myself having a moment of reflection, particularly concerning a close family member of mine who tragically took his own life at Christmas time some ten or so years ago. I can't help but notice his absence during the festive season, particularly as he was such a fun-loving chap who always thoroughly enjoyed the festivities.
It has been something of a tradition of mine to visit his grave around the time of his anniversary, and whilst I will occasionally visit at other times throughout the year, I like to specifically mark the anniversary of his passing during the month of December, but ALSO like to show that I am thinking of him, and missing him, during the time of the Festive Season.
I never visit his grave empty handed if I can help it, and whilst flowers are usually my choice of marker, I will always try to get an ornament or decorative item for the Christmas visit. This may sound maudlin, or morbid, but it has become something of a tradition to include this important member of my family into the family gathering SOMEWHERE. I think it is important to upkeep this little tradition as it shows he has not been forgotten at a time when he so easily could be, with everything else that is going on during the busy festive period.
I have managed to obtain some pretty Christmas Tree ornaments in the past, selecting one each year to take with me at the Christmas visit. These have included a dove, as well as a small glass angel. The main reason for me choosing a Christmas Tree ornament as a grave marker is mainly because they usually have some sort of ribbon or thread at the top, and this lets me attach the ornament to the other graveside items that are already placed there. This may sound like a simple enough solution, but it has proven increasingly difficult to track down Christmas Tree decorations and ornaments over the past few years, mainly because most such items are extremely festive and cheerful, as you would expect for their intended purpose. I have felt in the past that these are far too 'glitzy' and festive to be used for a graveside marker, and I have had to source a suitable item elsewhere.
The perfect item revealed itself a couple of months ago, in the pages of a catalogue that was posted through my door from the well known "Betterware" company. The item in question is called the "Memorial Photo Frame" and it looked to fit the bill perfectly. I eagerly ordered the item through my Betterware Representative, and this review outlines my experiences of the product.
Packaged in small, square 'pouch' made of a satin-like fabric in a deep red colour, there was a protective polythene layer covering the item during transit. Removing both the polythene and the pouch was extremely easy and took a mere moment.
The frame is very small, and so it fits neatly into the palm of my hand. This is more than ideal for the purpose I purchased it for, as I do prefer my trinkets and ornaments to be quite under-stated and not overly fussy or 'showy', for obvious reasons.
I was extremely impressed with both the style and design of the photo frame, and first impressions were certainly very good. The small photo frame is made of a robust metal material that is coloured in a sort of 'steel' gray colour. The shape is similar to that of a bell, in my opinion, and there is a small decorative angel at each of the outer 'sides' of the frame that each have their wings displayed beautifully, to offer a little decorative detail. The words "In Loving Memory" are detailed around the top and bottom of the bell-shaped frame so there is really no doubt as to the intended purpose of this particular photo frame.
The reverse of the frame is covered in a red velvet-like material and there are two small 'legs' located here which can be rotated easily. Rotating the legs in this way allows the back section of the photo frame to be removed and this is where you can insert your photo. The front of the frame is not covered in clear glass, but is more of a thick, durable plastic which doesn't appear to be particularly prone to scratching or marking. I found removing the frame's backing was very easy, even though I suffer with limited mobility in my hands. I found it easy to replace too, and the little legs do seem to be quite robust, holding the frame's backing securely in place.
The frame actually only measures around 2 and a half inches across, from each of the angels' wings at the outer points. The frame's height is a similar length and I do find that the petite size of the frame gives it a very delicate feel that is quite understated. This is perfect to my mind, as any sort of memorial-type item should really have a slightly 'sombre' feel to it to save it from appearing tacky or cheap.
I'm not sure if the purpose of the frame is actually intended to be hung on a Christmas tree, as there is a small length of satin ribbon attached at the top of the frame, threaded through a small loop integrated into the frame's design. Personally, I feel that my Christmas tree is a really festive item, and I probably wouldn't chose to have such an item placed on my own tree, but this is down to personal choice of course and I see no reason that the frame couldn't be used in this way. Certainly, the metal used in the frame is not overly heavy and so I do think it would be suited to being displayed in this way.
When it came to my own use, I simply attached a length of rubber band through the frame's loop at the top, and then reattached the red-coloured ribbon on top. This rubber band is of course not the most attractive of items, but I knew I would need something slightly more secure than a small length of thin ribbon to successfully place my frame at the graveside. In actual fact this idea worked perfectly, and I was able to 'thread' the rubber band through the small holes in one of the graveside flower holders, tying a small knot underneath. This meant that the rubber band was largely unseen, and I was able to tie a bow in the pretty ribbon to help disguise the unsightly band. Furthermore, by attaching the frame in this way, I was reassured that the frame would have SOME chance of withstanding the harsh winter weather, as there have been some occasions where I have witnessed some of my ornamental birds and angels becoming broken or damaged, as a result of being blown around the graveside.
As my frame is being displayed outside, I fully expect it to suffer a little damage - either to the metal finish or perhaps the velvet backing - or both! I don't think this necessarily indicates that the frame is poorly made, however, and I was actually really impressed with the quality and attractiveness of the materials used. I have no complaints whatsoever on this front.
I can appreciate this is perhaps not the most jolly or festive review that you would hope to read at this time of year, but I can also appreciate that there are lots of people in a similar position to myself, who find themselves reflecting over much loved-and-missed family members at the festive season. It is often the case that we want to remember our loved ones in some small way or other over the festive season, and I do feel that the Memorial Photo Frame is a pretty enough item to allow for this gesture to be done quietly, and sensitively, without taking anything from the festivities that are going on elsewhere. Whether used in the way I have described here, or whether placed around your home or garden, I do feel the frame is a small token marker that suits its intended purpose perfectly. For the reasons outlined in this review, I think the frame deserves top marks in the product rating score.
I paid around £4 for my frame a couple of months ago. You can order the frame directly from your local Betterware Representative, or you can order online at www.betterware.co.uk where the price is currently only £2.49. I believe postage costs apply for orders placed online but cannot comment further as I have never used the website myself. (Info correct as @ December 2012).