Christmas Is Open!

Wow, the time has arrived when we can officially talk about…Christmas!

The website opened for our December Christmas themed (of course!) parcels on 1st November, so you can now grab the one-off version, or sign up for a 3 or 6 month subscription, with the first parcel being our Christmas parcel – (subscriptions make great gifts!)

Ordering for these will close on 30th November, so we can get them all wrapped and packed, ready for posting during the first week of December, hopefully beating the posting rush!

As always, our Christmas parcels will be super festive, but will still contain our usual mix of inspirational gifts, decorations, handmade items, and maybe, treats to eat!

We know lots of these will be bought and given as gifts, so we won’t spoil the surprise and will save the contents reveal until after Christmas. As with all our parcels, we can also add a personal note inside from you too, if you wish, and we can post to any address within the UK, so we can send them to you, or directly to the recipient.

Subscriptions can be paid for in a one-off lump-sum payment, rather than by monthly instalments, as we know when buying as gifts, some of you like to have the option to pay all at once and then not have to think about it again, just let us know what you’d like to do.

And remember there’s no limit to how many one-off parcels you can order, so if you’re looking for surprise gifts for friends and family, we’ve got you covered!

We also have something brand new this year…a Christmas Eve Box! These are available now, to order directly through our Facebook page, and currently over in our Etsy shop. These are ready-to-post, so there’s no posting times or waiting for these, along with our other ready-to-go range.

We wanted to create a Christmas Eve Box for adults, who after working hard all year, deserve to take a break, put their feet up, and have some me-time, even if it’s only for a few moments, before the bustling festivities of Christmas Day begin.

Remember, if you have any questions or queries about any of our parcels, feel free to pop me an email, or a Facebook message, I’d love to hear from you!

Karen x

 

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

 

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!

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!

 

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