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Updated Price List

Good Morning, Happy Friday!

This weeks blog post is a little different as I wanted to give you advance notice of our updated price list, which will be coming into effect in a couple of weeks.

As you know, we are lucky to meet and work with lots of amazingly talented crafters and designers, which means we can include handmade items created by small businesses, in most of our monthly parcels, as well as giving them a well-deserved ‘shout out’ at the same time!

As we continue to grow at The Smile Parcel, we intend to continue supporting these hardworking independent businesses in this way.

To reflect this, we are implementing an updated price list for orders placed through us, or through our own website, which will come into effect on 1st July 2018.

If you already have a subscription in place with us, these new prices will not affect your current subscription, and any orders placed before 30th June 2018, will stay at the present prices for the full length of your chosen subscription.

Karen x

Animal Therapy!

Good Morning…it’s Friday again, Whoop!

It’s time we had another positive mental health tip, and to start off the weekend, this one is all about ‘animal therapy’.

I think lots of people would agree that when they’re feeling down, or just not quite 100%, spending even a short amount of time in the company of animals or pets, makes them feel better.

It is well known that animals can make great companions and be a perfect antidote to anxiety and loneliness. Animals of many types can help reduce stress and create a feeling of calmness in children, the elderly and everyone else in between.

Therapy dogs have been used for many years and they offer support and comfort by visiting people in hospital, those in nursing and residential homes, and children at special needs schools.

Sadly, not everyone who would like a pet, is able to have one due to the practicality, not having suitable accommodation, or not being at home enough to take care of them properly.

Fortunately, there are lots of other ways we can interact with animals, by visiting a friend’s pet, volunteering to work with, or help look after, animals in a local shelter or rescue centre, or even getting out into the countryside and seeing farm animals.

So, next time you are in need of a pick-me-up, find a 4-legged friend…

Karen x

May 2018 – Parcel Contents

Good Morning!

It’s a very rainy wet morning at TSP HQ, so I’m going to cheer myself up by showing you the contents of this month’s parcel!

The theme for May was ‘Make Time For Tea’, and the contents were all about taking a break and making time for a well-earned cuppa, with a friend, and having a catch-up, and remembering to ask ‘Are You Okay?’.

May Contents:

Travel Mug –

The first item inside your parcel this month, is a travel mug with the quote ‘Always time for a cuppa’ – something we believe in completely! We wanted to include a mug you can take with you this time, rather than a ceramic mug, so you’re always ready for a catch-up and cuppa – wherever it may be!

Tea Towel –

This pretty tea towel is in the same blue floral design as your new travel mug. The quote this time reads ‘Come, let us have some tea and talk of happy things’, which fits with our parcel theme perfectly.

Tea Bags –

As this month, we are all about having a nice warm cuppa, we couldn’t possibly not include a couple of tea bags! These caffeine free vanilla chai sachets contain 6 herbs, along with vanilla, there’s cinnamon and ginger, cardamom, fennel and liquorice – better get the kettle on!

If you received our parcel last month, you may recognise the packets keeping your tea bags safe – they are similar to the little packets that contained the sunflower seeds in April – that’s because we went back to the lovely ladies over at ‘Twine and Bow Wedding Stationery’ to order another bespoke design.

Biscuit Tub and Chocolate ‘Animals’! –

In our opinion no cup of tea is complete without a biscuit (or two!), and we can’t really go wrong if there’s a little chocolate involved too – hopefully they aren’t too small for dunking! (check the packet ingredients for allergens). We’ve also included a cute little biscuit tub, as travelling with a snack is a must…

 ‘Make Time For Tea…’ –

‘Make Time For Tea, Make Time To Talk’ – we all have busy hectic lives, so this is a reminder that we all need to take a break sometimes, to meet up with a friend, or a family member, or even someone we don’t know well, and have a catch-up – as they say ‘it’s good to talk’!

Smile Cards

As always, there should be a couple of these little cards in your parcel, I’ve written one for you, and the blank one, is for you to write a short inspirational or positive message, and give to someone you know, or leave somewhere for a complete stranger to find – but this is of course optional, there’s absolutely no pressure to do this if you don’t want to*.

Parcel Assistant

This month, your Parcel Assistant is, Louis…between you and me, I think he may have recently changed his name to match a new born prince – we’ll pretend we haven’t noticed!

Karen x

*Parcel Assistants are cheeky little pompom chaps who help (or hinder!) us with packing your monthly parcels!

Calendars & Bunny Prints!

At the beginning of the year, I mentioned wanting to include some details from our lovely contributors in this blog. We have had the pleasure of working with some amazingly talented crafters and creators, and in this post, I’m going to showcase two of them – ‘Katie’s Cabin’ and ‘The Leaf Press’.

We asked the business owners to write a short description and tell us a little about why they started and what their small business means to them.

Katie Houghton from ‘Katie’s Cabin’ …

‘I have always loved to create and spent most of my childhood drawing, writing and making, so I’ve always had it in me naturally to be creative.

Katie’s Cabin started as, although I had always done various craft projects, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffered from other health conditions, meaning I couldn’t work the regular 9-5 and so, I decided to use my creativity to make some extra money, and from there I have built my products and my etsy shop, and continue to build on this daily.

Creativity is part of who I am and I wouldn’t be me without it, so it makes me happy doing something I love, and I always get a buzz coming up with new ideas. It’s my anxiety buster and gives me a focus that I need in my life, and it’s a bonus when people seem to love my items as much as I love to make them’.

You can find Katie’s products here: Www.etsy.com/shop/katiescabinhandmade

********

Suzy Dobson from ‘The Leaf Press’ …

‘The Leaf Press was thrilled to contribute a Quotes calendar to the January 2018 edition of the brilliant Smile Parcel.  It was my best-selling calendar for 2018 and I hope everyone who received it in their Smile Parcel liked it too!

The Leaf Press is run by myself – Suzy – from a garden studio in Suffolk, UK.  I’ve been creating both wedding stationery and gifts since 2010.  In the gifts range, as well as calendars there are personalised notebooks (for all sorts of occasions and hobbies), hand-bound journals, bespoke prints and quirky note cards.

Each gift and piece of wedding stationery is designed by me.  The majority – like the Quotes calendar – are printed and hand finished in-house.  I love having control of the whole process and chatting with customers along the way!

Designing makes me happy, and I like to think that my designs are fun and bring people joy – as well as having a functional purpose.  I hope the Quotes calendar made those who received it smile and I look forward to working with the Smile Parcel again soon!’

You can find Suzy’s products here: www.theleafpress.co.uk

Karen x

Are You Okay?

Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, and at The Smile Parcel, we want to focus on the importance of meeting up with friends, having a break and a catch up – along with a cuppa, of course!

We all have busy lives and so much going on all the time, we’ve always got a big ‘to-do’ list, and our main target is just to get as much done as possible and be sat on the sofa at the end of the day.

Our conversations are taking place more and more often on technology, which is great for keeping in touch with friends and family who are far away, or even abroad, but there’s nothing quite like face to face, without a screen in-between, if it is possible to do so.

Talking can be a very difficult thing to do, especially if you’re experiencing a mental health condition, so arranging a meet up with a friend, or even someone you haven’t spoken to for a while, is a great opportunity for a catch up and find out what is happening in each other’s lives. Talking and opening up about our feelings is something we should all do, and arranging a cuppa is a great excuse to do it!

The good thing is that meeting with a friend could happen anywhere, if for example you’re uncomfortable in crowded spaces, or being inside a house you’re unfamiliar with, maybe a quiet local park, or a trip to the countryside would be better (and take a travel mug with you!).

If you need some help or advice regarding your own mental health, or are looking for information and guidance, we have a ‘Get Help’ page on this website, with lots of useful telephone numbers and contact details for organisations who can offer support.

Last week was Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, which is all about giving women an opportunity to open up about motherhood and all the challenges that brings, and to show that no one is ever going through it alone.

So, there isn’t a better time to remind ourselves how important it is to take a little time out and ask a friend ‘Are you Okay?’.

Karen x

April 2018 – Parcel Contents

Good Morning!

For this week’s blog post I’m going to show you the contents of this month’s parcel!

The theme for April was ‘Growing’, and the contents were chosen to help bring a little brightness and springtime to your home.

April Contents:

Yellow Pot & Compost –

As this is our springtime parcel, we wanted to make it as bright as possible, starting with a bright yellow metal plant pot. We’ve included some compost in your parcel too, ready to be popped inside the pot. Then when you’re ready, it can be displayed on a pretty window sill.

Sunflower Seeds & Instructions –

Now these dwarf sunflower seeds are ready for planting in your yellow pot – sadly, we can’t give an absolute guarantee that they’ll give you glorious sunflowers, but there’s no reason why not – we’ve supplied a few instructions to get you started. The little packets which are keeping your seeds nice and safe, were made by ‘Twine & Bow Wedding Stationery’ – you can find them on Facebook, and on eBay.

Bunny Quote Card –

This beautiful card has been designed and created by Katie over at ‘Katie’s Cabin’. We loved the gold foil quote, it is a great reminder to follow your heart, as it will hopefully lead you in the right direction. There’s a business card enclosed in your parcel with details of where to find Katie and her other gorgeous designs.

Live, Love, Laugh –

The theme of this month’s parcel is ‘Growing’, and we wanted to include items that relate to growing in lots of different ways, as we are all growing, all the time. This wooden arrow plaque can be stood on a shelf or hung on a wall, using the dowel included.

Living, loving and laughing are all important aspects of growing, and finding out where we belong, so do lots of them!

 ‘Growing Old Is Mandatory…’ –

This is one of our favourite Walt Disney quotes! Growing up is definitely optional – thank goodness…I’m not going to fall for it!!

Smile Cards –

As always, there should be a couple of these little cards in your parcel, I’ve written one for you, and the blank one, is for you to write a short inspirational or positive message, and give to someone you know, or leave somewhere for a complete stranger to find – but this is of course optional, there’s absolutely no pressure to do this if you don’t want to*.

Parcel Assistant –

This month, your *Parcel Assistant is a little chick called Charlie…Easter may have been and gone, but chicks aren’t just for Easter!

Karen x

*Parcel Assistants are cheeky little pompom chaps who help (or hinder!) us with packing your monthly parcels!

20 Reasons To Smile!

Last year we asked our Facebook followers to name something (other than friends and family), that makes them smile. I’ve compiled the list together to share with you, and maybe pass on a little inspiration, now the warmer weather is finally here – for the moment!

I’d say, I agree with all of them, except 1 – I’m not so keen on the running and exercise…I’ll leave that one to someone else!

I’ve got a few of these lined up for tomorrow actually, I can wake up and realise it’s the weekend (bliss), say hello to our lovely office dogs, have chocolate (shhh!) and a cup of tea for breakfast, while sitting in the sunshine listening to music! Are you with me?!

What would you like to add to the list below?

  • A Coastal Walk
  • Walking In The Woods
  • Clean Sheets
  • Reading A Book In The Bath
  • Mermaids!

  • A Manicure & Pedicure
  • Watching ‘Friends’ On TV
  • The Sunshine
  • Unicorns & Rainbows & Glitter!
  • Chocolate

  • Cups Of Tea
  • Making Someone Else Smile
  • Fluffy Socks
  • Waking Up & Realising It’s The Weekend
  • Dogs

  • Watching A Sunrise
  • Watching Funny Films
  • Seeing Wild Deer
  • Listening To Music
  • Running And Exercise

Karen x

A Quarter-Way Through Already!

Hello Lovelies!

This week I’m going to do a little catch-up or ‘update’ on what’s been happening at TSP HQ over the last few months – as we are over a quarter-way through 2018 already!

We’ve had a great start to the year, and packed lots of Smile Parcel’s, and more importantly, gained lots of amazing loyal repeat customers – which means we must be doing something right! We are loving putting together your parcels and have loads of plans in place for your future parcels.

We‘re now in the second week of April, and after a very long soggy Winter in the UK, we may actually be heading for Spring next week (Shh, the weather man said that, not me!).

I’m looking forward to sitting outside on the patio table, topping up my vitamin D, while ordering your May contents from the suppliers – sounds like bliss…I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

We’ve been keeping to our weekly blog posts since the beginning of March and are planning to keep that going with sharing tips, mental health related posts, updates, and showing you parcel contents at the end of each month.

We are also looking to include some posts from our wonderful contributors. As you know, we like to support cottage industries and artisans where we can, by including handmade products from independent small businesses and crafters, and we’re super happy that we are managing to do this most months.

We have now built up quite a list of amazing talented people who have contributed to our monthly parcels and we would love to showcase their businesses. If you have contributed, you may receive an email from us soon, asking if you’d like to talk about your business in our blog, so keep a look out for it.

As it is ‘that’ time of the year, I had a (very overdue!) Spring clean of the office over the Easter weekend, and unearthed my Customer Service NVQ coursework and certificates from 2009!

The Smile Parcel was just a distant dream, or even unknown, at that time, but I was obviously unconsciously planning for it (if you believe in that) – I think I’ll pop those certificates in a frame, why not?!

I think I’ll finish this post with a very important birthday celebration, that would of course, be our youngest canine office helper (I use that word lightly!), who turned 5 years old in March.

Max is a very cheeky, and sometimes very naughty, Standard Schnauzer, who enjoys annoying his smaller, but older brother, Marley – who is a much better-behaved Miniature Schnauzer.

…Of course Max didn’t share his birthday toys – don’t be ridiculous!!

Karen x