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Relax & Recharge

We can forget how important it is, to take time out, to relax and recharge our batteries – in fact it’s not just important, it’s vital!

In the same way that the technology we use every day, needs to be rested and recharged regularly, we, as humans, work just as hard, if not harder, so it’s essential that we do too.

There are so many ways to recharge, some people like to simply chill out in front of a fabulous boxset, and get “lost” for a while, while others may like to participate in hobbies, or activities that they enjoy. Whatever is your choice, we all need to give ourselves a break and some much-deserved downtime.

However, taking time out for ourselves can sometimes feel like we are somehow being “lazy”, or that we should always be on-the-go, after all, it seems that there’s always something that needs doing, but if we don’t give ourselves this time, to simply step back, and take a moment to breathe, we can experience burn-out, and then our overall wellbeing and mental health can be hugely impacted, in a negative way. If we keep going at full speed, constantly, it can be really hard on us, both physically and mentally.

Taking time off gives both our mind, and body, a chance to “switch off” and unwind for a while. Going away on holiday, is an obvious way to take a break, but in reality, that isn’t always an option, so it can be a great idea to plan relaxation times in advance.

It doesn’t matter whether your “thing” is to take part in an activity, such as joining a group, maybe yoga, an art class, or circling in the countryside – it can be something physical, something creative, or simply planning time to do absolutely nothing…it really doesn’t matter, as long as it gives you, time to be, you.

So, whatever you enjoy, make time to do it, go on, you work hard – you deserve it!

Karen x

June 2019 – Parcel Contents

We’re quickly approaching the end of June, and although Summer is supposedly going to make a return later this week, it’s currently pouring down with rain out of my office window!

Fingers crossed, Summer will be back soon, and we can all venture back outside. The theme for our parcels this month was “Step Outside”, and they contained products all connected with encouraging the recipient to get outside, into the fresh air…and simply take a moment, to breathe.

June Contents:

Sunglasses Case –

Being outside in the fresh air is brilliant for our mental health and overall well-being, and fingers crossed, the British weather will be kind to us, and make it a little easier too! We all know that protecting ourselves while outside is important, so if we’re going to wear sunglasses – it’s also important that they have a stylish home!

We loved the quote on these cases too “Always Bee Yourself” – so true.

Rainbow Pin & Filigree Heart –

Pins and badges are a great way to add a little personality to clothing and bags. There are so many inspirational designs available, but this rainbow was a great fit for this month’s theme.

The filigree heart decoration is so pretty and delicate, and looks lovely hanging, well, anywhere…

Bee Pebble –

At TSP HQ, we are a big fan of bumble bees – after all, they practically keep us all alive! These cute pebbles look perfect as decorations, sitting on top of flower pots, or simply on the window sill. We discovered these on eBay, created by a lovely lady called Emma, who also makes a similar design with ladybirds, and paints lovely plant pots too. You can find her eBay shop here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/emsi2110

Clay Sunshine & Rainbow Drops –

This happy clay dough sunshine made us smile from ear to ear as soon as we first saw it, and we knew they were a must for this month’s parcels. It now just needs a lovely bright sunny window to hang in, to do it’s shimmering and twinkling in full!

Umm, tasty Rainbow Drops remind us so much of childhood, sitting on the grass in the playground, without a care in the world – I’ll take a bit of that!

 “Every Lovely Word…” –

We’ve got a slightly different postcard for you this month. “You are every lovely word I could possibly think of” – we may not have ever met in person, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t true. These cards have been made by Cara over at “Red Fox Design” – you can find their shop on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/weareredfoxdesign

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

Your *Parcel Assistant for June is Colin. Now, Colin is overwhelmingly excited about the arrival of Summer – he loves a refreshing dip in a pool, so if you have a pond – please remind him that he can’t swim!!

Karen x

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

 

Where Can I Buy The Smile Parcel From?

This week’s post title may sound a little odd, as I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you’re already visiting our website – where you can buy our parcels!

However, as we have grown our small business, we have slowly increased the number and range of parcels available, to follow what our customers ask for, and so with this, we now have several different places and platforms for purchasing.

Firstly, I wanted to do a little update on the parcels we offer, and how they differ.

We now have 3 versions of The Smile Parcel available, they are, our original “The Smile Parcel”, “The Smile Parcel Plus”, and finally, “The Smile Parcel Select”.

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“The Smile Parcel” is our original monthly surprise parcel, which is exclusively sold through our own website. These are available as a one-off purchase, or as 3- or 6-month subscriptions. Monthly parcels are all posted during the first week of each month.

You can purchase these from our website here: https://www.thesmileparcel.co.uk/

“The Smile Parcel Plus” parcels, contain the same contents as our original monthly surprise parcels, and are posted at the same time each month, however, they are a “Plus” in two great ways.

When we launched over 2 years ago, we knew we wanted to get to a stage where we could donate a percentage from our parcels to a mental health charity, so we were excited when we were able to launch our “Plus” parcels, and donate 10% from every single one to, Shout, a UK text messaging service, founded as part of the Royal Foundations, Head’s Together charity.

As well as the donation, all “Plus” parcels contain a beautifully fragranced soy wax tin candle, handmade by Charlotte over at Crafts Uniquey, in stunning Yorkshire.

These parcels are currently available to purchase on 3 marketplace platforms, nuMONDAY, uOpen and Etsy, or are also available through our Facebook Shop and Messenger (pop us a Facebook message for more information).

Our nuMONDAY Shop: https://www.numonday.com/shop/the-smile-parcel/

Our uOpen Shop: https://www.uopen.com/subscription-box/the-smile-parcel-plus

Our Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheSmileParcel

Finally, the most recent additions are “The Smile Parcel Select” parcels, which were created out of the demand from you, our lovely customers, asking for a range of one-off purchase, ready-to-go parcels. These all have set contents, which are listed in the description of each parcel, so there’s no surprises with this range. These are ready to post as soon as an order is placed, so they make great gifts.

These parcels are currently available to purchase on 2 marketplace platforms, nuMONDAY and Etsy, or are also available through our Facebook Shop and Messenger (pop us a Facebook message for more information).

Our nuMONDAY Shop: https://www.numonday.com/shop/the-smile-parcel/

Our Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheSmileParcel

Karen x

May 2019 – Parcel Contents

The last day of May is almost upon us, and soon Summertime will be in full swing!

Our parcels for May were all about the importance of taking a well-deserved break, making time for a cuppa with a friend, and having an overdue catch-up and natter!

The theme this month was “Cuppa Break”.

May Contents:

“I Can’t Adult Today” Travel Mug –

This month’s parcel is all about those times when we need to give ourselves a break – and even better, a cuppa break! We chose a travel mug, so you can, well, take it with you, so there’s no excuse to not have a well-deserved cuppa break, wherever you are. We loved the quote on this mug…in fact, I’m not sure that I will be able to “adult” tomorrow either!!

Pukka Tea Bags –

Obviously, we couldn’t give you a mug without including a couple of tea bags. Having a cuppa is a great excuse to meet up with a friend, and have a good old catch-up! We’ve included 2 different tea bags from Pukka – Vanilla Chai and Night Time, so whether you’re looking for a warming lift or to relax before sleep…we’ve got you covered.

The little “Tea Time” packet has been made by Mel over at The Kraft Package, you can find Mel over on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheKraftPackage

Biscuit Tub & Coaster –

This cute biscuit tub is perfect for popping in the car, or in a handbag, just to have a sweet treat ready at hand, just when you need a little pick-me-up. Asking “How are you?” may seem simple, but it’s easy to forget how important it is. Life is busy, we’re always on-the-go, and sometimes we just need someone to ask “Are you Okay?” without feeling like we should reply with “I’m fine”.

Heart Plaque –

We love the rustic style of these heart plaques, and their unusual design, as the text has been laser engraved – “There’s always time for tea and cake” …so true!

They have been made by Scorching Designs (great name!), who you can also find over in their Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ScorchingDesigns

 “Breathe” –

Our theme this month is all about encouraging you to take a break, and if possible, meet up with a friend. Sometimes, we all need a moment, just to breathe, and be reminded that, whatever is happening in our lives, we are strong, and we will get through this. We don’t always need someone to tell us the answers to our problems, we just want someone to listen. Postcard from ‘Katie Abey Design’.

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

Your *Parcel Assistant for May is, Bobby. Bobby doesn’t really get on with our other Parcel Assistants, so if you still have some living with you, from previous parcels, I recommend keeping them apart!

Karen x

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

 

Stepping Outside

We’re approaching another bank holiday weekend (yay!), and fingers crossed, the weather actually looks like it may be Okay, so it’s a great excuse to get outside!

We all know that sometimes, simply taking a moment to step outside, and take in a deep breath of fresh air, is enough to make us feel a little better. Having anxiety or depression can be crippling, and being outside can be helpful for calming the mind, and allowing us to have a mindful moment.

Sitting outside can also reduce blood pressure, and lower our heart rate, as when we’re outside, our body naturally slows down, and so it can give us a sense of peace.

Being outside, especially around nature, can help reduce our stress levels, boost our mood, and has been proven to increase brain function too.

It also gives us a reason to “unplug” for a while, both physically and mentally – it may be scary to leave technology behind…but it will all still be there waiting for us when we return!

Walking can be brilliant to help increase our focus, for those moments when we feel a little lost – a brief walk, can work wonders to help us regain our ability to focus and find direction. For a significant boost in concentration and creativity, maybe escape to a forest, or a beautiful woodland.

This week was the Chelsea Flower Show, and one lovely garden was designed by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate wanted to highlight the benefits of the natural world, and inspire children, families and communities to enjoy the great outdoors, and how being active in nature can positively impact our physical and mental health – so it must be true!!

So, find a little time over the long bank holiday weekend, to take advantage of the benefits of being in the great outdoors. Replace technology time spent on electronic devices, with a walk in the local park, or even, maybe, a bike ride…

Karen x

April 2019 – Parcel Contents

Well, it’s been a busy couple of weeks at TSP HQ, so I’m afraid I’m a little late with this parcel contents post – but don’t tell anyone – and I think, I’ll get away with it! Shh 😉

Our parcel theme for April was “Keep Growing”, and the contents were all about how we are all, always, growing, no matter how old we are, or what we’ve been through.

April Contents:

“Keep Growing” Pot –

Springtime is finally making an appearance, and this makes us very happy! We’ve gone all-out Spring themed this month, with “Keep Growing”. This little pot was a perfect fit for your first item, it is super cute too – and will hopefully come in useful, when you see your next item this month…

“Smile” Message Beans –

We loved these beans as soon as we discovered them – for obvious reasons! We’ve included a little instruction card with these too, to give you a head start, and explain more about them…and why they are “magic”! We’d love to see your photos as your beans begin to grow, so do send them over to us on Facebook or Instagram.

Sheep Box Frame –

Spring is known to be the season of new life and growth. Flowers and plants are starting to bloom, and if you live in, or visit the countryside, you’ll begin to see the new Spring lambs arriving in the fields. This lovely framed felt lamb is great for popping on to a shelf, to add a Springtime feel to your home.

Yellow Flower –

We’ve just mentioned above that lots of beautiful flowers are now coming into bloom, and our gardens are starting to turn green again. When it comes to flowers, our personal favourites, are yellow Gerberas. We wanted to include a bright artificial flower in your parcel – so this one was an easy choice for us, we hope you approve…

 “Keep Going” –

Our theme this month is all about growing, and is a reminder that we are all, always growing, no matter how old we are, or what we’ve been through. Sometimes we need a little push to keep fighting on, and that’s Okay. Life will always have something unexpected to throw our way, but if we want to make the most out of life, we need to learn to push through these barriers, and “keep going”.

The button badge is from ‘Colour Your Life Club’ who you can find here: https://colouryourlifeclub.co.uk/

The postcard is from ‘Katie Abey Design’.

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, Frank. Frank is a big fan of Springtime, and especially Easter – it may be a good idea to keep him away from any chocolate containing confectionery!

Karen x

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

Let’s Do This!

Well, we’ve made it through the first quarter of 2019, and what a super productive one we have had!

As you know, I like to do little updates throughout the year, just to let you know what has been happening behind the scenes at The Smile Parcel, and what’s new.

We started off the new year, by making lots of changes to the website in January. We wanted to make it a little more user-friendly, easier to navigate, and generally make it look tidier and more organised!

Also, in January, we introduced our first “The Smile Parcel Select” range parcels. These are one-off purchase parcels, with set contents and themes, so there’s no surprises with the “Select” range. Customers have been asking for one-off gift parcels since we launched back in 2017, so we have been putting them together, as and when they have been asked for, so it seemed to make sense to include a range that are already, ready-to-go.

We currently have around 15 parcels available, all with inspirational themes including: “Keep Going”, “Stepping Outside”, “Take A Break”, “Time To Relax” and “You Got This!”.

With the introduction of the “Select” range, we opened a Facebook Shop, which we’ve been told by customers, makes ordering very easy! Simply click on the blue button on the parcel listing you’d like, which takes you straight through to our Facebook Messenger, where we’ll send you our new direct PayPal link, for one-click payment, so not even an invoice is required.

We opened an Etsy Shop for this range too. We are very new to Etsy, so we are still learning our way around, and how to make the most out of it.

We decided at the beginning of the year, that 2019 needs to be all about marketing for us, and trying different ways to get our brand known and reach new audiences. The world of marketing and advertising for small businesses seems to change at  a very quick pace, and if you’re not a marketing whiz (like me!), it can take time to understand new ways, and learn what works for a particular business, what doesn’t work, and what to try next – it’s definitely a bit of a mind field, and something we are always looking to improve and learn about – but I admit, we do find it to be a mission full of trial and error!

As part of the above, I revamped the Instagram account for The Smile Parcel, as I’m hoping to get to grips with using this more as a platform, and I’m also trying harder with Pinterest – which isn’t really a social media platform, but more of a search engine, and (like a lot of people!) I naturally gravitate towards Pinterest when I’m looking for personal ideas, so why not get more involved as a business tool too?!

I’ve been fortunate to work with, or be introduced to several very motivational business peeps so far this year, all female entrepreneurs, who are incredibly clued up on running successful small businesses, and they love to support others to do the same.

I think it’s so important to have role models, in whatever profession you are in, and running a small business, especially from home, can sometimes be a lonely place, after all, you need to be a Jack-of-all-trades (and I’m definitely a master of none!). I’m hoping to work more with these talented women during this year, and hopefully gain just a fraction of their knowledge and skills, and put them into practice!

On a personal note, I have now been volunteering as a Crisis Counsellor for almost 4 months – it’s gone so quick! I initially spoke about this back in December, when I was doing my training.

I wanted to talk about it for 2 reasons, firstly, I wanted to encourage others to become volunteers. The charity I work for (details below), are always looking for more Crisis Counsellors, so if you might be interested, do take a look at their website for more information.

I can honestly say it has been one of the toughest, but best things, I have ever done.

The second reason is because I believe whenever we get the opportunity to talk openly about mental health, we should, and in turn, this helps to normalise talking to someone about how we’re feeling, including seeking therapy and having counselling, which is so important. It’s never a weakness to ask for help or talk about mental health, in fact, it’s the opposite, it takes strength and courage to talk about your story.

I posted a blog post on 7th December 2018, which gives you more details regarding the training needed and what is involved, but you can also find their website here: https://giveusashout.org/

Overall, the first quarter of this year, has been inspiring, motivating and educational – let’s see what the second quarter has to offer…

Karen x

Keep Growing

Springtime is now definitely here, and we are loving it at TSP HQ!

The trees are beginning to turn green, flowers are starting to bloom, and if you’re lucky to live in or near the countryside, you’ll start to see the new Spring lambs arriving in the fields.

Spring is known as being a season of new life and growth, and regardless of how old we are, or what we’ve been through, we are all, also growing, all the time.

Personal growth is an important part of life, it gives us the opportunity to experience new things and learn about ourselves, about others, and the world around us.

We are always evolving as people, life is always changing, and we can choose to stay where we are, or we can continue to grow with it, keep learning, challenge ourselves and have new experiences.

Personal growth can be great for our overall well-being and mental health too, as it can make us more prepared and able to deal with the challenges that life will undoubtedly throw our way, and develop the skills needed to handle our emotions.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to keep fighting on, and know which direction we should be heading, and that’s Okay, but if we want to make the most out of life, we need to learn to push through these obstacles and barriers…keep going, and keep growing.

Karen x