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Friday 12 November 2021

Alternative Christmas Gift Ideas *Ad

It's that time of year again where we start thing about the C word... and with that in mind, I thought I'd share a few gift ideas with you that aren't your standard socks or pyjamas!

For the Foodies

Getting gifts for those that are lovers of good food and wine, doesn't mean you always have to get them food itself. Have you thought of gifting them things to accompany their food and that aren't just practical but an enjoyment to use and treasure?

The 6 o'clock club - Wine coaster from Katie Cardew is a perfect gift for the wine connoisseurs and red wine loves alike. I love the style of Katie Cardew's art and I'm sure that those who are also a fan of the 6 o'clock club will also appreciate it too. They can sip away after a long day and rest assure they won't mark the table with their coaster championing their drink choice!

As I've mentioned, buying for food lovers doesn't always have to been food itself so why not opt for beautiful crockery? This Puglia Bowl from Sous Chef* is handmade in Italy and a beautiful addition for anyone who loves cooking and entertaining. Who said that cook ware had to be boring and practical when they can be pretty and practical? Serve figs drizzled in honey, a gorgeous salad or scoops of gelato; this bowl is a beautiful home ware gift and a lovely nod to the Italian Mediterranean. 

Scrunchies and Stationary*

Writing paper and scrunchies are my new favourite thing to gift people! Hair up in a pretty scrunchie and pens down on inspiring writing paper will always help to motivate people and get them off to a productive day. 

 I recently teamed up for an Instagram Live with Prints by Natasha Cole to showcase my writing paper and found that lots of her scrunchies paired perfectly with my paper! Take this Suede Effect Beige Scrunchie this pairs perfectly with the Flock To Feather* paper from my shop and would make a lovely gift to a friend over the festive season.

Another perfect pairing is the Leopard Print Hair Scrunchie and The Myla* paper for those who love some leopard in their life. 

And my personal favourite is this set of 2 scrunchies and The Countryside Walk*. 

People on the Go- Sanitizing and Stationary

Another gift idea I have is for people on the go! The wanderlust is a great paper for those who travel and the perfect pairing to accompany it is a personalised hand sanitizer to keep them safe on their travels. 

I recently discovered Little Letters LDN who make gorgeous personalised pieces that are not only practical but pretty too! I fell in love with these Personalised Hand Sanitiser Holders and feel they are a perfect gift in to accessorise your sanitizer and look chic on a handbag.

Presents for the Pooches

A family member that should definitely not be overlooked this Christmas is your doggo! My recommendation for pet gifts is Environmutt -home to environmentally friendly pet treats and accessories. 

I recently picked up a Dog Gift Set for Olive and Harry which they both LOVED. Not only were the treats inside natural and good for the doggos, the tug toy is also fashioned from recyclable tshirt yarn. The gift set we opted for contained sprats,  tripe, tug toy,  ball and poo bags- all of which will definitely be put to good use! Olive particularly loved the tug toy!

The gift of words

Heading back to the paper theme, have you thought of sending a letter to a loved one rather than a card this year? 

A heart felt letter to a long distance loved one catching up and reflecting on the year can be a really lovely way to show you care without costing the earth. Equally, the recipient doesn't necessarily need to be a long distance relative. Happy mail out of the blue can be an unexpected joy to someone you care about that could make their day! 

To keep with the festive theme, I'm releasing some Christmas papers in the shop very soon so keep your eyes peeled on the Par Avion Paper* Etsy store for their release very soon!

So those are just a few of my gift ideas for Christmas this year that are a slightly different to you usual. Admittedly there are a lot of paper based ones in there!

Have you got any gifting alternatives to recommend?

*Ad I was kindly gifted the Sous Chef bowl in exchange for a review. ?I have also advertised my own brand Par Avion Paper Co in this post. 

Sunday 24 October 2021

Holly Lodge Dog Fields & Cafe

Tucked away in a tiny village called Upton Cambridgeshire, there's a hidden gem for dog lovers and cake lovers alike! Holly Lodge Dog Fields and Cafe is a wonderful place that I wish I could take credit for finding but Chris was the one to discover it on one of his cycle rides!

The Holly Lodge Cafe is a cute, rustic, welcoming place as well as a cake lovers dream. It opened in 2021 and is the perfect pit stop for cyclists or a welcome cake break before taking the dogs into the fields. 

With indoor, outdoor and marquee seating, there's plenty of space for everyone to come and enjoy the cafe with doggies too.

The food here is incredible and will certainly take you over your calorie count for the day but trust me- it's so worth it! Chris will also concur...

Not only is the food delicious, it's locally sourced from a 35 mile radius of Holly Lodge, supporting other local businesses. If sweet things don't do it for you, there's some incredible savoury bites like chipotle scotch eggs and pork with pickle pies!

Once full of cake and caffinated, you're ready for the fields. 

There are two secure dog paddocks to book- the North Field and the South Field. On this occasion we chose the North Field; a 3 acre field with wooded area and gorgeous views of the Cambridgeshire countryside. The South Field is an incredible 6 acre field with plenty of open space for dogs to run wild. 

From tyres and tree logs, hay bales and plenty of dog toys; it's a doggie's dream. I've not come across a place like this in Cambridgeshire before and think it's such a great place to bond with your four legged friends!

From a dog owner's perspective it's wonderful to watch your dogs run free in the knowledge that they're completely safe and secure. With recently getting another puppy, it was also a great place to let her off lead for the first time and socialise her with other dogs.  

The fields are also a great place to take children too. On this visit we brought our friends with their dogs and children who enjoyed the fresh air and play time with the pooches too. Both fields provide dog bins and waste bags, running water for doggy drinks and cleaning. Booking of the paddocks is available here.

Our hour in the field flew by so fast and before we knew it, it was time to leave but we will definitely be back very soon for more exercise and cake at the cafe! If you're interested in visiting for yourself, the opening hours are as follows:

The Farm Cafe

Thursday 9am-4pm,

Friday 9am-4pm

Saturday 9am – 4pm

Sunday 10am – 4pm

Monday 9am – 4pm

Will you be visiting Holly Lodge Dog Fields and Cafe?

Thursday 30 September 2021

Getting Sh*t Done- How I Keep Organised

I've touched on the subject of Organisation  in my post on the Daily Goal Setter planner I use- something I still use but since 2019 I've adapted my organisation further and thought I'd share with you! With life being hectic at times, it can be hard to keep on top of everything and remember everything but with my current arsenal I think I've got it covered.

 The Diary

Call me old fashioned but I love a paper diary. The feeling of writing on paper rather than tapping events and appointments into my phone is far more satisfying and I find looking at a diary much more appealing too. Around this time last year I found Busy B's website packed full of wonderful planners, organisers and hybrids of the two. The one I opted for this year and again for 2022 is the Perfect Planner. Not only is it pretty, its incredibly practical too and I find it helps me with the logistics of my shift pattern, planning my life and keeping a note of Chris' shifts too! With that in mind, I've started a system of stickers in my diary to know what shift I'm on rather than keep writing, dayshift, night shift the entire way through. It frees up space to write other bits and I can just glance at the colours to indicate what shift I'm on that day, I use blue for days and red for nights. As for Chris' shifts they're a range of colours that I won't get into! I love to input my fitness into my diary to keep a tab of what I did that day and for my Etsy store a tally of how many items I sold each day to keep track. As well as the week to view pages, this diary consists of four handy pockets to store those random bits of paper we all have, tear of to do lists, stickers and a note pad at the back of the diary too. It's a super practical diary and stylish too!

Birthday Card Planner

I recently picked up this lovely birthday card book from Busy B. Each year I start off with the best intentions of keeping on top of my loved ones Birthdays but it's easy to get behind or distracted in general life. Since using this I've found I keep on top of people's birthdays so much better!

After filling in everyone's birthdays, I fill each month with enough cards and at the beginning of each month I'll look through and see who's birthday is when. I'll then write out their card and use a post it note to date when it needs to be sent by before popping the card in the letter rack ready for posting later that month. It's such a simple process but being that bit more organised and using the planner has meant I've never missed a birthday yet!

Gift Organiser

Another item from Busy B. Can you tell I'm a fan of this brand? The Gift Planner is another good way to organise occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, weddings and other events that call for a gift of some kind! This planner has helped me to not only get on top of being ahead of the game with gift giving but also with budgeting too. 

It's also handy for gift receiving too. You can jot down who bought you what so that you don't forget and can thank the right person for the gift you received- something I think comes in handy in particular for weddings! I've found this organiser to go hand in hand with the Birthday Card Planner and again refer to it at least once a month or whenever I have an idea of what to get someone for their birthday/Christmas. As an extra added bonus, this organiser comes a handy pocket and stickers! Who doesn't love a sticker right? This organiser has you covered with Christmas, Birthday and generally pretty stickers for gifting. I love it.

 Travel Checklist

In my mind the key to a successful trip is all about the preparation so I created The Travel Check List which has everything you need listed to ensure you won't forget the important things as well!
It makes packing stress-free with these handy sheets of prompts and I even added space for additional items to add as not all trips are the same. 

Having a tick off check list helps me to get organised and not be thinking "hmm did I already pack that?" , not remembering and having to unpack to check if said item is the bag! It also means I don't have to remember so much in my head if it's written on a list for me. 

Outfit Planner

The Outfit Planner is another thing that I love for packing and goes hand in hand with the travel checklist . Again I  think that the key to a successful outfit is all about the preparation! The Outfit Planner lists have everything you need to ensure you won't forget what pairs together and have outfits planned for the next 8 days. I've not only found this makes travel packing stress-free but it also means I don't over pack and take unnecessary bulk with me- something that is especially important when you're travelling light with just hand luggage! 

Again having it on paper and ticking it off is a great way of not having to try and remember what to bring in your head and by planning out what you're wearing you can even pack a few things that will make up more than one look and again reduces on bulk packing.

The Home Renovation Planner

This was something I didn't know I needed until we bought a new house and our friends gifted it as a moving in present! They know me too well I think! The Home Renovation Planner comes from Paperchase and I've absolutely loved using this to curate the rooms of our dreams in the new home.

As well as being organisational I've found it therapeutic and also kinda crafty with making mood board/ theme boards of colours, textures and bits we'd like to buy for each room. The grid paper to sketch out has also come in handy, especially with seeing what will fit in a room.

This planner is also budget friendly with dedicated spaces for jotting down your budget and what you've spent so far, as well as month views and goal setting to motivate you and get you organised. I also love the little hints and tips throughout the book and links to inspiring instagram accounts for home decor! 

So far I've made progress on the kitchen and the study- both of which will be blogged about in the future so watch this space... This book would make for an amazing gift for anyone buying their first home or a new home. I certainly loved receiving mine!

The Food Shop

I thought I'd touch on this one again because I still find this one incredibly helpful each and every week. Sync  your notes for the food shop! Yup. Sod scrappy bits of paper and wondering who’s turn it is to go get the shop! If you have an iPhone and live with a partner, friend or whoever, add them to a notes list! It syncs with their phone so when you add something to the food list they get it too. 

This has revolutionized shopping in our house as when one of us uses the last of an item, we add it to the list and voila its bought rather than thinking “ooh must add that to scrappy paper list” and then forget. You always have your phone with you but a paper food shop list? That tends to get left on the side and then you find yourself trying to remember what exactly was on that poxy list... 

The other routines I still do now from my last post are batch meals which have become even more helpful now that I work shifts, Night before prep and Sunday night prep (which is not necessarily a Sunday now with working shifts but whatever!)

What's on my organisational wishlist?

The next thing I'd like to add to my organisation arsenal is definitely a Christmas Planner from Busy B for the next time I host Christmas. Having a dedicated book to write down Christmas recipes, ideas on what to buy and how to decorate and gifting too would be my organisational dream for the next time I host so watch this space...

I also love the idea of this Couples Bucket List Book from Paperchase. Instead of dreaming about it, why not plan it? You may not have the budget at the moment but planning it can certainly give you the goal and motivation to get there right? Again this would make for a gorgeous gift for a couple, perhaps newly engaged or married!

Anyway I could talk planning until I'm blue in the face. It really appeals to me and the way my brain works! Are you the same or similar to me? I'd love to hear how you keep a hold on things and stay on track too!

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