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Volunteering & New Creations…

Hello! It’s been a while since we had a little catch-up and an update post, so when better, than when the rain is pouring down outside my office window, and I’m tightly clutching a “huge” cup of hot tea!

The last few months seem to of been full of sorting and organising, and before we know it, Christmas will be knocking on the door – or coming down the chimney!!

We introduced our ready-to-go range, of one-off parcels earlier this year, and you’re loving them, which is great. We are hoping to continue increasing this range, and also extend into more occasion gift parcels, for particular recipients, and birthdays etc. These will be primarily available in our Facebook shop, as it offers a super quick way for you to see exactly what we have available, and payment can be directly through Facebook Messenger, using our new instant PayPal link, which makes ordering even easier.

Our latest addition is a “Look for Rainbows” themed inspirational gift parcel, which is £19, and of course, like all our parcels, free UK delivery.

I wanted to give you a quick personal update in this post too, as I’ve now been working as a Crisis Volunteer with mental health charity, Shout, for a whole 10 months!

I began my volunteering journey this time last year, when I began my 25 hours of intense training. It was tough going and covered some very difficult, hard hitting subjects, such as self-harm and suicide. But I have to say, since completing my training last December, and spending all of this year volunteering, and helping those experiencing crisis, it has been one of the best things I have ever done.

I won’t lie, it can sometimes be very challenging, as you never know what each shift will bring, but the training I received was great, and the continued support from the coaches and supervisors while on shift is invaluable.

The service that Shout offers is very much needed, and it’s in no doubt, is life changing and lifesaving. The stories we hear from those texting in, are both heart-breaking and heart-warming, but nothing can take away from the feeling, when someone, who thought they had no reason to continue living at the beginning of the conversation, tells you they feel calmer, and they now know they can face another day, and find the determination to fight on.

The charity is always looking for more volunteers, so if this is something you could be interested in, take a look at their website here: https://www.giveusashout.org/

Remember you are never alone, if you, or someone you know is struggling, reach out, support is there, free of charge, 24 hours a day.

Karen x

 

September 2019 – Parcel Contents

Wow, September seems to of been a super speedy month! But, I have to admit, I’m loving seeing the little blasts of Autumn-ness, that are now starting to arrive.

It’s time for our parcel reveal this month, and our theme for September was, simply, “Home”.

The contents were all about enjoying being back at home again, as the long Summer holidays come to an end, and making that home, a cosy and happy place to be.

September Contents:

Photo Frame –

This month, your parcel theme is simply “Home”. The long Summer holidays are coming to an end, and it’s time to celebrate being back at home again, and making it, well, homely! Your first item is this lovely photo frame. We love the quote and wanted to include something to help fill your home with memories, people, pets or places you love.

Jewellery Dish –

We all need a safe place to keep keys, jewellery, and other essential trinkets, that seem to find themselves getting scattered randomly around the house. This “Choose Happy” ceramic dish seemed the perfect choice – pop it on the dressing table, coffee table or anywhere else, and never loose the “little things” again!

Prosecco Rose Candle –

Candles are a great way to add an instant cosy feeling to a home. This tin candle is made from soy wax and is in the lovely fragrance of “Prosecco Rose”. It has been handmade in North Yorkshire by Charlotte, over at Crafts Uniquey.

“Kindness Rules” Button Badge –

This button badge may be small, but it comes with a very big message – kindness definitely rules! And not just kindness to others, but just as importantly, kindness to yourself. Day to day life can be exhausting, work, chores, family and friends…sleep, repeat. Remembering to show ourselves a little kindness too, is vital, so pin this little badge on your coat or bag, as your personal reminder!

 “Hard Times Don’t Last Forever” Postcard –

We will all go through tough times at some point in our life, that is sadly unavoidable, but when we do, it’s important to remember that things are always changing. Change can be difficult to deal with on its own, but those hard times are only ever temporary, hard times don’t last forever, and we will come out the other side – and there’s always something better around the corner. 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 this month is Larry. Larry loves being snuggly at home, and is very excited to be moving in with you, getting comfy on the sofa, and watching a boxset!

Karen x

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

 

August 2019 – Parcel Contents

Hello… I can’t believe it’s almost the end of August already!

It’s time for our parcel reveal this month, and quite appropriately, our theme for August was “Hello Holiday”.

The contents were all about celebrating the holiday season and allowing ourselves to have a break, and take some time off to refocus.

August Contents:

Beach Hut Bunting –

This month, your parcel theme is “Hello Holiday”. We’re well into August now, and the summer holidays are in full swing, but I don’t think we need summertime as an excuse to make use of the first item included this month. Personally, I don’t need a lot of persuasion to hang up some bunting – no matter the season, time of year, or day of the week, bunting always fits the occasion! This has been handmade by Maria over at Oscars Craft Store – you can find Maria’s lovely shop on Etsy.

Passport Holder –

It would be amazing if all of us could travel abroad for the holidays, but sadly that’s just not possible for everyone, and having somewhere safe to keep our passport is important, whether it is sitting at home, or in our travel bag on its way to somewhere exotic.

We loved the tropical design on this cute pink holder, and a top tip, if you don’t have a passport, it also makes a great home for travel tickets and holiday memorabilia…

A Big Book… –

Whether we are big travelers and holiday goers, or more of a day trip person, this “big book for little ideas” is a perfect place to write down those plans and dreams. A psychology professor in California even found that those who write down their goals and dreams, were 42% more likely to achieve them – sounds like it’s worth a go to me!

Ice Cream Bracelets –

When we were planning the contents for this parcel, our thoughts quickly wondered off to the seaside, and all the lovely things that brings to mind, and close to the top of that list was, ice cream. We think these corded charm bracelets are compulsory beach attire!

 Change Your Frequency –

We mentioned above that it’s just not possible for all of us to get away for the holidays, but that isn’t really what the holiday season is all about. It’s more important to make time to simply have a break, and refocus. You’re always in control of you, regardless of what is happening around you. We all want to feel happier, but even the smallest of changes in our thinking, can make a huge difference to how we view life. 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 this month is Winston. I think you’ll find Winston to be a dream to live with – he’s calm, quiet, and enjoys making time for peaceful meditation.

Karen x

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

 

Fabulous Feedback!

I wanted to do a quick post this morning, containing some of the fabulous feedback we’ve received since The Smile Parcel launched.

Receiving and hearing your feedback may seem like a small thing, but it really does make a huge difference to our business, and even more, it means so much to us.

To hear how our parcels make you feel, and how they can brighten your day, is so lovely, and when we’re having a tough day (as all small businesses sometimes do!), we re-read them, and it gives us the little boost we need, to keep going, packing those parcels!

A big thank you to all of you who have given us feedback or left a review, we really do appreciate it.

If you have purchased from us at any point over the last 2 years, we’d love to hear your feedback, or read your review if you’d prefer to leave it on our Facebook page, or over on our Google profile.

“Just wanted to say thanks for the parcel which I ordered to be delivered to my daughter. I’m away on holiday and I ordered it last minute, so had no idea of contents etc – well she received the parcel this morning, and loved it, thank you. She’s suffering from postnatal depression, and the parcel told her to keep going, and gave her something to focus on for the next few days.

Thank you again x x x”

Sarah McGaw, Milton Keynes

“I ordered one of the new Select range parcels. I wanted to be a bit awkward and had a few questions and items to add. Karen was nothing but helpful and friendly, providing me with the perfect parcel. It is exactly what I wanted and all presented in a nice way. I’m very happy with the brilliant service and lovely products, thank you”.

Helen O’Dell-Fitchew, Norfolk

“My friend loves her Smile Parcel! I’ve seen it too and it’s great! It arrived today, it’s her birthday today too, so great timing!!”

Glenda Creasey, Leicestershire

“I cannot tell you how much I love this month’s parcel, it’s almost as if my best friend has chosen the items! It’s just the most beautiful and thoughtful gift, the personalised bracelet brought a tear to my eye!! The bedside book as well was a lovely touch, it’s like you know me! It really touched me and totally lifted my mood xx”

Claire Farrelly, Cambridgeshire

Karen x

July 2019 – Parcel Contents

Well, isn’t it a scorcher today?! It’s 10am as I write this, and the dogs are already flat out on the cold-ish kitchen floor. The water bottles in our July parcels are definitely coming in useful!

The theme for our parcels this month was “Relax & Recharge”, and they contained products all connected with encouraging the recipient to take some much-deserved time out to relax, and recharge their batteries.

July Contents:

Good Vibes Water Bottle –

Our parcel theme this month is “Relax & Recharge”. Sometimes we all need a gentle reminder to give ourselves a break – a little time away to recharge our batteries. Summer brings with it the need to keep hydrated, and there’s nothing better than water for this, so we’re spreading good vibes with the first item in your parcel, and saving on single use plastic bottles at the same time!

Colouring Sheet & Pencils –

One great way to relax, can be colouring. Lots of adults have rediscovered their childhood love of colouring and drawing. It may not be your first choice of hobby, but if not, it certainly forces us to slow down, even if just for 10 minutes. To tempt you to give it a try, we’ve included some colouring pencils, and not just any colouring pencils…these are metallic – have we convinced you?!

Mini Bath Fizzers –

You may have noticed the beautiful fragrance coming from your parcel this month, before you even opened it! These mini bath fizzers smell glorious, and will definitely make bath time all the more relaxing. They have been handmade by Trishell over at Bathing Beauties. Trishell creates a range of indulgent bath and shower treats, all handcrafted using the finest quality ingredients, and they are all cruelty-free and vegan friendly too!

You can find Bathing Beauties on Facebook, and Etsy.

Chocolate –

This item doesn’t need too much of an explanation – part of this parcel theme is to, recharge, and in my opinion, there’s not many better ways of refuelling, than giving ourselves a little treat – go on, you deserve it!

 “Learn To Rest…” –

We can forget how important it is to take time to rest, we can even feel guilty to taking time out for ourselves, but the fact is, it isn’t just important to relax and recharge, it’s vital! If things don’t go to plan, our first reaction can be to give up, but this actually, simply, gives us a sign to rest, and take a step back, and “Learn to rest, not to quit”. 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 this month is Joe. Joe is very good at relaxing – a little too good, if he doesn’t respond, you may have to give him a gentle nudge to wake him up!!

Karen x

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

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”.

*****

“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