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!

 

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

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

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish…

I know, you don’t often see me blog on a Saturday, but I’ve been thinking about the importance of self-care this week, so I wanted to write a little about it.

Self-care is something we hear mentioned quite a lot, and it can sound somewhat self-indulgent, and ‘fluffy’ – but it certainly isn’t selfish, in fact, it’s essential!

Self-care is a very personal thing, and can be interpreted differently from person to person, basically, it’s the routine of doing something you enjoy, and essentially doing it, for you.

It could be down to simply being kinder to yourself. Our lives have become so busy and hectic, that most of us operate on auto-pilot. We are so consumed with work, household chores, sorting the kids out…and now, technology and social media have been added to that list too, so we forget how important it is, for our own health and well-being, to, just, press pause.

Investing in some well-deserved self-care is important to help prevent burnout, and allows us to take time out to recharge our batteries.

The practice of self-care has lots of great benefits, both physical and mental, it can help boost our self-confidence too, by taking part in activities that we are good at, and enjoy doing.

One excuse for not making time for ourselves, is that we just don’t have the time. But, the best thing about self-care is that it can fit into our routine, and can begin with small little habits implemented each day.

Ideas may include going for a walk and unplugging from technology for an hour, or trying mindfulness, and just, being still. Taking time to laugh, whether socially, or while watching a funny sitcom, or maybe, if you enjoy physical exercise, spending an hour at the gym, listening to your favourite music, or going for a run.

It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it is good for you, and helps you to reconnect with yourself – the key to self-care, is little and often.

Karen x

Christmas Tips & A Thank You

Hello!

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but this our penultimate blog post of 2018!!

I will share the contents of this month’s parcels at the very end of December, as of course, they are our Christmas parcels, and I know lots of you are saving them to open on Christmas day…which we love!

I want to start off by saying a huge thank you for all your amazing support during this year. We are always so overwhelmed by the number of lovely people we get to (virtually!) meet on our venture into running a small business.

Can you believe The Smile Parcel will be 2 years old in February! It’s gone so quickly, but we’re loving every minute of it, and receiving your feedback telling us how our parcels make you smile, and make your day that little bit brighter, reminds us why we are here, and what is important.

We’ve got some big plans for 2019, including introducing some pre-selected, ready-to-go parcels, for those of you who aren’t so keen on the surprise element of our monthly parcels – you can choose exactly what you want inside – but don’t worry, our monthly surprise parcels will be staying just as they are!

On a personal note, I have spent the last couple of months training to become a volunteer crisis counsellor, working with a new mental health charity. I published a separate post on 7th December, which tells you lots more about the charity, and some information in case you may be interested in volunteering too!

That post is here: https://www.thesmileparcel.co.uk/volunteerasacrisiscounsellor/

As you know we are passionate about mental health, and helping to raise awareness where we can. Sadly, Christmas isn’t a happy time for everyone, and it can also be full of pressures, and the feeling that we are all ‘supposed’ to be happy, and enjoying the festivities.

Lots of us rely of our routine to keep ourselves on track, and this can be disrupted at Christmas time.

It can help to try to be as organised as possible, and not leave things until the last minute, they can then build up and become much bigger in our minds, and become stressful.

Also try to keep any hobbies going over the holidays, as we would during the rest of the year. This can be difficult if places or groups we attend are closed, but maybe swap some of these things for something else similar, for example if you regularly attend exercise groups or classes, you could go for a walk, or even a run, each morning, so you don’t feel the disruption so much.

It can be tempting to want to make everyone else happy at Christmas, and do more than we want to do, so remember to look after yourself, and don’t take on too much – it’s your holiday too!

I hope you have a wonderful peaceful Christmas, filled with joy (and a little, or a lot, of chocolate!!)

Karen x

 

Bunting & Bath Bombs!

A great part of working at The Smile Parcel, is being able to work alongside so many fabulous handmade small businesses and crafters. I’m going to showcase another two of them in this post, and this time, it’s the turn of ‘Beadies by Jo’, and ‘Bathing Beauties’.

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.

Joanne Collis from ‘Beadies by Jo’ …

‘My name is Jo Collis, I am the owner, designer and ‘Maker of Things Beautiful” at Beadies by Jo. I started my sewing business in 2013. My sewing room is at home, just 100 metres from the sea in wonderful Ayr, on the west coast of Scotland.

Sewing and making gifts has always been a passion, and due to time restraints, remained simply for family and close friends. When the opportunity to expand my ‘customer base’ came along, I started my own business and grabbed the chance to do so.

My passion for beautiful quality fabrics governs my approach. The philosophy is simple and old-fashioned, by paying a little more, the enjoyment of an item lasts for ages after purchase.

One of my first popular ranges are my reversible dresses, having sold over 500 worldwide.

November 2013 saw a favourite addition – the ‘Table-Tent’…Beadies by Jo can now claim to have Table-Tents in houses from the UK to New Zealand!

I always have a note book and pen available at hand 24/7, to collect the ideas for new looks and lines’.

You can find Jo’s products here: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/beadiesbyjo

********

Trishell Gill from ‘Bathing Beauties’ …

‘At Bathing Beauties, we have an indulgent range of bath and shower treats which have all been handcrafted using the finest quality ingredients. We are very happy and proud that all of our products are cruelty-free and vegan friendly.

None of our products (or ingredients) have ever been tested on animals, and never will be!

We are trying to do our bit for the environment too, so we limit the plastic packaging as much as possible’.

You can find Trishell’s products here: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/bathingbeautiesuk

Karen x