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The Buzz on World Bee Day: 5 Top Ways to Support Our Pollinator Friends

World Bee Day

May 20th marks World Bee Day, a global observance aimed at raising awareness about the essential role bees play in our ecosystems and the challenges they face. As we recognize this important day, let’s explore why protecting our buzzing friends should be a top priority.

Bees are truly the unsung heroes of the natural world. These incredible insects are responsible for pollinating over 75% of the world’s flowering plants and crops. In fact, it’s estimated that one out of every three bites of food we eat is thanks to bee pollination. From the apples and almonds we enjoy, to the vibrant flowers that bring us joy, bees are indispensable to maintaining the incredible biodiversity of our planet.

Yet despite their vital importance, bee populations have been steadily declining in recent decades due to factors like habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change. The threats facing bees are serious, with some species already listed as endangered or threatened.

This is why events like World Bee Day are so crucial – they shine a much-needed spotlight on bees and galvanize us to take action. Whether it’s planting bee-friendly flowers, supporting local beekeepers, or advocating for more sustainable agricultural practices, each of us can play a role in ensuring a buzzing, healthy future for these pollinators.

Top 5 Ways to Help Bees:

1 – Grow a Bee-Friendly Garden: Plant a variety of native, nectar-rich flowers that bloom at different times of the year to provide a continuous food source for bees.

Planting wildflowers is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to support local bee populations. Bees rely on the nectar and pollen provided by a diverse array of wildflowers throughout the growing season. By sowing wildflower seeds in your garden, you’ll create a vibrant, bee-friendly oasis that offers a vital food source. Many wildflower seed mixes are specially formulated for pollinators and can be simply scattered onto prepared soil, requiring minimal maintenance. Within a single growing season, you’ll witness a burst of colour and new buzzing visitors to your garden as the wildflowers take root and blossom. It’s an easy, rewarding way for anyone to do their part in conserving our vital pollinator species.

Want to take it further? Then the RHS has a great guide to planting am all year round bee buffet in your garden.

2 – Support Local Beekeepers: Buy honey, beeswax, and other bee products from small-scale, sustainable beekeepers in your community.

Often your local supermarket has a local section or visit your nearest farm shop. There are also a couple of sites where you can find your local bee keepers:

3 – Avoid Pesticides: Use natural, organic methods to control pests and weeds in your garden, and encourage your local council to adopt bee-friendly landscaping practices.

Reducing your use of synthetic pesticides is crucial for protecting bees and other pollinators in the UK. Many common insecticides and herbicides are highly toxic to bees, causing direct harm or disrupting their foraging and nesting behaviours. Thankfully, there are plenty of effective natural pest control alternatives that are safe for bees and the broader ecosystem. For instance, a simple diluted apple cider vinegar spray can be used to manage aphids, ants, and other common garden pests. I’m trying this on our fruit trees and bushes. Our pomegranate bush in particular seems susceptible to pests that make the flowers drop before the fruit comes. Fingers crossed this method starts to work as I don’t want to spray pesticides on my fruit! Bicarbonate of soda is another versatile natural fungicide and insecticide that can be mixed with water for foliar applications. Essential oils like lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass also make great natural pest repellents.

Companion planting can provide additional natural defences in the garden. Planting things like lavender and onions alongside your other crops can help deter a variety of pests through their strong scents. The lavender will also attract beneficial pollinating insects. By swapping out synthetic chemicals in favour of these gentler, bee-friendly solutions, and utilising smart companion planting techniques, you can keep your garden thriving while robustly protecting the pollinators that are essential to its productivity.

If the wider use of pesticides concerns you then you might like to get involved with the Pesticide Free Towns Movement

4 – Advocate for Bee-Friendly Policies: Contact your elected representatives and urge them to enact legislation that protects bees and their habitats.

Following on from campaigning for changes in your local community there are many wider campaigns to protect bees. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a good place to start. Advocating for stronger bee-friendly policies, both in the UK and worldwide, is a crucial way to safeguard our vital pollinator species. Bees are under threat from a variety of environmental pressures, and supportive legislation is needed to address issues like excessive pesticide use, habitat loss, and climate change. In the UK, concerned citizens can call on their Members of Parliament to support bills that restrict the most harmful chemicals, expand pollinator-friendly plantings, and incentivise sustainable farming. At the same time, global coordination is essential, as bee populations transcend national borders. Supporting international initiatives like the United Nations’ Plan of Action for the International Pollinators, or joining advocacy groups like Friends of the Earth, can help drive policy changes that protect bees worldwide. By raising our collective voices, we can ensure a future where bees and other pollinators can thrive.

5 – Save One Bee at a Time: Carry a bee rescue kit.

If all the above seems a little overwhelming don’t forget we can all start small. Bee rescue kits are widely available but I personally recommend a bee rescue kit from Lambees on Etsy.

Lambees do this letterbox gift set with the bee rescue kit and seeds, keyring and more. Well worth checking out.

Saving even one bee on this day can be the start of saving the world

So on World Bee Day and beyond, let’s commit to being better stewards of our winged wonders. Follow the lead of passionate beekeepers, conservationists, and everyday citizens working to protect bees. Get creative in finding ways to support these industrious insects in your own community.

Because when we let the buzz back into our world, we all reap the sweet rewards. Happy World Bee Day!

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Nourish Mental Health Awareness and Wellbeing This Week (and Beyond)

Mental Health Awareness on a Daily Basis

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s a time to pause and reflect on the importance of caring for our minds just as we do our bodies. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s all too easy to overlook the small but meaningful things. In other words, all the little things we can do to support our mental health. But this week, let’s make a conscious effort to incorporate some simple yet powerful practices into our routines.

Furthermore, Mental Health Awareness is something close to my heart. I have teenagers who seem to constantly battle with mental health and tell me they need a ‘mental health day’. Different from when I grew up where we just had to ‘get on with it’. I wonder are they more in touch or less resilient? In addition, having faced depression myself in my early 20s, the state of my own mental health is always on my own mind too.

Here are some things that I’ve found helpful over the years. Perhaps it’s no surprise that many of these feature in my shop. They are all activities I’ve found helpful and have helped to make me smile over the years so I guess that’s why I sell them in the hope they help others too.

Puzzle it Out

When was the last time you sat down with a jigsaw puzzle? This delightfully analogue activity has a unique way of engaging our minds and soothing our souls. As we methodically sort, connect, and place each piece, we enter a state of gentle focus that allows our thoughts to slow down and our worries to melt away. Puzzles can be a wonderful meditation in motion, helping us be fully present in the moment.

Do you puzzle alone or with others? Puzzling alone can provide great time out to switch off from everything and everyone around you But by comparison, puzzling with others can help foster relationships. Completing a jigsaw puzzle together can be a wonderfully social activity. It provides an opportunity to engage, communicate, and bond with family members, friends, or even new acquaintances. In addition, as you work collaboratively to solve the puzzle, you’ll naturally find yourselves conversing, sharing ideas, and enjoying each other’s company. Completing jigsaw puzzles with others can provide a wealth of mental health benefits. If you’d like to know more about this topic, then I’d recommend checking out the book “The Puzzler’s Dilemma” by Derrick Niederman. This well-researched book delves into the cognitive, social, and emotional advantages of puzzling, with insights from psychology, neuroscience, and more.

Cultivate Gratitude into your Daily Mindfulness and Mental Resilience

The transformative power of gratitude is well-documented. By taking a few moments each day to jot down the things we’re thankful for. Whether it’s the vibrant tulips blooming in our garden, the cosy hug from a loved one, or the perfect cup of coffee. If we do this, then we can train our minds to seek out the beauty and positivity all around us. A simple gratitude journal can be a game-changer for our mental well-being. In short we need to get into a way of thinking where we look for the small, simple, satisfying things in life that make us smile.

Send Some Cheer and Promote Psychosocial Wellness

During this week, make a point of reaching out to loved ones, near and far, with a heartfelt card or note? Taking time to put pen to paper and express our appreciation for the special people in our lives is a wonderfully meaningful gesture. In our increasingly digital world, the simple act of sending snail mail can be a true mood-booster.

In fact sending cards is like a double whammy for mental health. Heard of the phrase ‘the gift is in the giving’? Not only does receiving the card boosts spirits for both the receiver but also it makes you, the sender feel good too.

Embrace Nature’s Bounty

Studies have shown that time spent in nature can have a profoundly calming effect on our minds and bodies. So, make it a point to step outside and immerse yourself in the great outdoors. Even if it’s just a brief stroll around the block. Breathe deeply, take in the sights and sounds of the natural world. Then let the worries of the day float away. Plant something. Pick some flowers. Listen to the birds. Similarly, stop and look for the little guys; the frogspawn, the ants, the ladybirds and listening to the bees buzzing. And while you’re at it, why not stop to admire the wildflowers that are popping up all around?

Indulge in a Little Sweetness

Finally, don’t forget to treat yourself! A small square of dark chocolate can be a wonderful way to lift our spirits and nourish our souls. It doesn’t just taste great! Significantly, the antioxidants, mood-boosting properties, and sheer deliciousness of this beloved confection make it a perfect companion for our mental health journey.

As shown above you can also get that double whammy of giving and indulging if you share with a loved one.

Stronger Connections, Wellbeing and Making Our Awareness of Mental Health a Daily Norm

This Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s embrace these simple, yet powerful, practices to nurture our well-being. By taking the time to puzzle, journal, connect, explore, and indulge, we can cultivate a deeper sense of balance, joy, and resilience. Not just for this week, but for the days, weeks, and months to come.

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Unveiling the Enchanting Secrets and Quirks of the Outer Hebrides

Welcome to the captivating world of the Outer Hebrides, a mesmerizing archipelago off the northwest coast of Scotland. From its unconventional school holidays to its breath taking landscapes, vibrant culture, and remarkable local treasures, this hidden gem offers an experience like no other. Join me as I embark on a journey to unravel my Top Nine unique charms, quirks and more that make the Outer Hebrides so extraordinary.

Come with me on a journey through the Outer Hebrides with its Quirks, Wildlife, and Craftsmanship

Vatersay, Outer Hebrides – Photo Credit: Adrian Kirby

1 – Vast Unoccupied Beaches

Prepare to be spellbound by the Outer Hebrides’ pristine beaches. With their untouched beauty and expanses of golden sand, these shores offer a sense of tranquillity that is hard to find elsewhere. From the famous Luskentyre Beach to the hidden gems of Traigh Mhor and Uig Sands, you’ll discover a beachcomber’s paradise.

In our experience they are largely deserted, you won’t have to fight for a space for your deck chair. On most days leave the deck chair at home as the sea breeze may well whisk it away across the Atlantic – we don’t call it breath taking for nothing!

2 – Marine and Wildlife Extravaganza

Dive into the wonders of the deep as you explore the rich marine life surrounding the Outer Hebrides. Embark on boat trips to observe dolphins, seals, and whales, or indulge in snorkelling adventures in crystal-clear waters. The diverse marine ecosystem will leave you mesmerized. Get ready for encounters with playful seals and the possibility of spotting the magnificent basking sharks. One of the most rewarding trips you can take is a boat trip to St Kilda with Sea Harris or Kilda Cruises.

Explore the fascinating machair landscape of the Outer Hebrides, where nature’s artistry takes centre stage. This lush coastal habitat not only mesmerizes with its vibrant wildflowers but also serves as a wellspring of inspiration for local artists and artisans. From charming puffins to graceful red deer, the wildlife that calls the machair home becomes a muse for creativity.

Kilda Cruises – Journey to St Kilda, the Islands on the Edge

3 – Unconventional School Holidays and Sundays

In the Outer Hebrides, time dances to a different tune. As I write this the rest of the UK revels in their May bank holiday, while we celebrated our school holiday the weekend prior. It’s just one of the many quirks that make this place truly unique. In the Outer Hebrides, time seems to stand still on Sundays, as a unique tradition persists. Most establishments remain closed on Sundays in certain parts of the islands, adding to the charm of the place. However, even in this tradition, inconsistency prevails, with the Southern Islands embracing more freedom on this day than their Northern counterparts. When we arrived in the Outer Hebrides in 2009 there was no ferry on a Sunday and planes had only recently started to fly out of Stornoway airport on the Sabbath. That has all changed now but many things remain closed like the Sports Centre and Swimming Pools in Lewis and you will certainly see less washing hanging out on a Sunday than on other days.

Calmac Ferry Loch Seaforth arriving in Ullapool ready for the return journey to Stornoway on a Sunday

4 – Culture and Gaelic Heritage

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of the Outer Hebrides. This region is deeply rooted in Gaelic traditions, with a language that still thrives today. Discover the Gaelic connection through language, music, and art, and delve into the vibrant history of the islands. Don’t forget to explore our Gaelic cards, adorned with illustrations inspired by the enchanting wildlife of the machair.

5 – The Tale of Two Islands: Lewis and Harris

Experience the unique duality of the Outer Hebrides with the Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Harris, two distinct islands on one landmass. Where else would you find that?! Explore the rugged mountains and ancient standing stones of Lewis, and venture to the southern part known as Harris, where you’ll find stunning white sandy beaches and the world-renowned Harris Tweed.

6 – Stornoway Black Pudding: A Gastronomic Delight

Indulge your taste buds in the unique flavours of Stornoway Black Pudding—a culinary delight originating from the Outer Hebrides. Learn about the traditional methods used in crafting this savoury delicacy and relish its rich, earthy taste. Support local suppliers and discover where to find the best Stornoway Black Pudding. It’s a controversial subject which butcher is the best in Stornoway. We’re lucky to be served by so many, a rare thing in the age of the supermarket. My personal preference is Charley Barley but you decide for yourself, why not sample them all?! Eat it on its own, with scrambled eggs, on a pizza – it tastes good any way it’s served.

Charles MacLeod (commonly referred to as Charley Barley) Stornoway Black Pudding
Charles MacLeod Stornoway Black Pudding

7 – Guga: A Peculiar Culinary Tradition

Stornoway Black Pudding isn’t the only culinary ‘delight’ on the islands. Delve into the curious gastronomic tradition of guga hunting. Each year, a small number of islanders embark on a daring adventure to harvest young gannet chicks, known as “guga,” from the remote Sula Sgeir island. Discover the cultural significance and the taste of this peculiar culinary tradition, a testament to the connection between the islanders and the bountiful seas that surround them. This is the only place in the UK where gannets can be hunted legally and remains a controversial subject for some.

8 – Peat Cutting

Step into the rich history of the Outer Hebrides and discover the ancient art of peat cutting. For generations, islanders have relied on peat as a vital source of fuel. Experience an age-old tradition as you witness locals skilfully extract blocks of peat from the earth using traditional tools. Learn about the significance of peat in the islanders’ lives, from its use as a fuel source to its cultural importance and the distinctive smoky aroma it imparts when burned. Find out more and soak in the rich scent at the Arnol Blackhouse, one of our favourite places to visit.

9 – Harris Tweed: A Touch of Timeless Elegance

Unravel the story behind Harris Tweed, a fabric that has captivated the fashion world for centuries. Discover the intricate craftsmanship and the journey of this handwoven textile, and explore local suppliers who continue to create masterpieces with this iconic material. Taste the essence of tradition with each thread. While visiting Harris be sure to pop in to see Becca, she taught me how to weave Harris Tweed.

And if you thought weaving from your home was just a cultural tradition then you’d be wrong. It’s an income stream for some on the islands. Running your own business from home, whether full time or alongside a main job is historical and still prevalent on the islands today. While I run Cards and Gift Wrap from our home, my husband is a full-time author from home. Though he can often be found in our favourite coffee shop, Kopi Java. And you’ll find a myriad of honesty shops around the islands. Check out The Lewis and Harris Trail to make the most of any journey from the Butt to Barra.

Why the Outer Hebrides is still our home, despite all its quirks.

The Outer Hebrides may be a place of unconventional school holidays, Sunday closures, and peculiar traditions, but it is precisely these quirks that make it feel like home. Amidst the stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, there is a sense of belonging that permeates the islands. Whether it’s the warm hospitality of the locals, the connection to Gaelic heritage, or the centuries-old craftsmanship that thrives here, the Outer Hebrides captivate our hearts and remind us of the enduring spirit of this unique corner of the world. It is a place where nature, tradition, and community intertwine, creating a timeless allure that keeps calling us back.

Every corner of this archipelago has a story to tell. Experience the magic for yourself, and let the Outer Hebrides capture your heart with its boundless charm.

You might even find yourself passing by my little shop beside our home!

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Know Your Native Bluebells

We have lots of native, UK, bluebells and Spanish bluebells in the wild but did you know we also have a lot of hybrids?

Does it matter if our bluebells are native or not?

We have lots of native, UK, bluebells and Spanish bluebells in the wild but did you know we also have a lot of hybrids? I shared the Wildlife Trust identification guide to my Facebook page last week and it got a big response.

The full guide from the wildlife trust explains simply and clearly what difference it makes and what to plant in your garden. If you want to know more then click here.

I love bluebells. First we get daffodils that herald the start of spring then the tulips come out in all their colours and after that the bluebells seem to tell us that it’s May and often here in the Outer Hebrides that’s when we get the best weather. As I write this there isn’t a cloud in the sky, it’s the 1st of May and already I’ve heard people this morning in Stornoway saying it’s ‘too hot’!

So it’s not surprising that we love cards with bluebells on them too. One of these popping through your letterbox would make anyone smile.

Bluebells on Cards

There are a few bluebells on cards and these four above are my favourite:

From top to bottom, left to right:

Sunrise Bluebells by Julia Crossland
Wrendale Hedgehog seed card (contains wildflower seeds, not bluebell bulbs!)
Misty Blue by Jane Morgan
May by John Donaldson

The Misty Blue by Jane Morgan is also available in a similar design as a sympathy card.

Another lovely selection of cards from Janet, arrived really quickly and wrapped well as always. At just £2 per card if you buy 10 or more this is really good value for money.

Lynne, happy customer, Trustpilot

Wrendale Designs have a stunning Woodland Anniversary card with bluebells, hares, deer and foxes. And…last years Wrendale Family Calendar had bluebells on the front and if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you’ll see what I’ve done with mine….ok, go on then, I’ll show you here too lol.

I chopped it up!!!

Now I have lots of beautiful notecards (though I’m really thinking of framing some) and some ‘don’t forget’ lists to help me try and be more organised. Sadly this year’s calendar (as well as last year’s!) is sold ou. However, I already have the 2025 Wrendale calendars in stock. Use them, then in 2026 you can repurpose them into beautiful notecards or framed prints.
I hope you are getting some bluebells out near you. I did see some Spanish ones in our local woodland at the Lews Castle Grounds but I’m fairly sure there weren’t any native ones. I will be looking closer next time as I really hope to find some.

I’d love to see pictures of bluebells near you. Who knows you might inspire me to design a card from your photograph! You can send them to me via Instagram or Whatsapp.
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My Christmas Etsy Guide from the Outer Hebrides

While many of my Hebridean small business friends do have social media and their own websites, some of them use Etsy to sell you their stunning handmade wares. I thought I’d share a few of them here to give you some Christmas ideas. I’m always amazed by the level of talent available on our Hebrides islands. I hope this guide will help you support our local businesses and maybe you’ll discover some small business you didn’t know we had here.

My top 8 Christmas gift ideas from the Hebrides on Etsy

Lewisian Nice Harris Tweed Decor and Hair Accessories

Rainbows, hearts and Harris Tweed – the perfect combo

You can’t go wrong with rainbows, hearts or Harris Tweed and Sarah’s heart garlands always catch my eye. What a fabulous gift for someone who has everything, especially good taste.

Sollas Books – beautifully bound in Harris Tweed

Perfectly bound notebooks – in every way

I had the pleasure of visiting Corinna’s workshop in North Uist while on a family holiday some years ago. Seeing the whole hand-binding process was fascinating and the quality of her work will leave you speechless. And you can never have too many notebooks!

Coll Pottery – and so much more

Not just pots!

Coll Pottery used to be just that when I first came to Lewis but since Alan took over it is so much more.

You can’t go wrong with a new piece of jewellery for a gift and with each of these unique glass pendants your gift is going to stand out from the crowd.

Designs on Benbecula – inspired by our beautiful beaches

Jewellery befitting of our landscape

Handmade and unique from biwa pearls and silver…and adjustable too so it will fit anyone.

This stunning choker from Deborah from Designs on Benbecula is a gift to wow both when given and every time it’s worn.

Loch Sealg Designs, handmade for you

Made to order and worth it

Katie has several designs to choose from her own fashion collection and this green agate caught my eye (perhaps because I married an Irishman).

Hallmarked and handmade and if you’re not a green person then Katie will happily do the same design in your gem of choice.

EJay Design – when you’re not sure which island

Have them all!

You might not be able to have the whole world in your hands but you can hold the entire Scottish Hebrides in your hands with this gorgeous teatowel from Ejay Designs.

Eilidh does the most amazing watercolour illustrations of our islands and further afield. If teatowels aren’t your thing then check out her maps, they have gold highlights!

The Herring Girl Posters

Memories of Stornoway

If the whole Hebrides is too much, or you have fond memories of somewhere in particular then take a look at Lauren’s vintage posters.

This one of Stornoway with the famous Lews Castle is a favourite of mine with many a Sunday afternoon family walk taken round its grounds.

Hair Accessories for everyone

Strikingly Stunning

I can vouch for Catherine Anne’s hair accessories as my girls have been wearing these for years.

At Mamayana you’ll also find Mother and Daughter sets which would be a lovely idea at this Christmas time of sharing.

I struggled to choose which one to share but then this black and gold hair bow stood out.

Our Scottish Hebrides are filled to the herring gills with talent and I’ve only shown a handful of Christmas ideas from Etsy here . I’d love to know what you choose please let me know in the comments below.

Looking for something last minute – you might want to check out Etsy’s top recommendations for last minute gifts

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What October Means to Me

October nights in

October is my favourite month of the year, and it all starts with World Postcard Day!

World Postcard Day stickers October 1st

World Postcard Day is celebrated on October 1st every year to promote the use of postcards as a means of communication. It dates back to the first printed postcard in Austria in 1869. On this day, people send postcards to friends and family to keep the tradition of handwritten communication alive.

And you can even put a special postmark sticker on your postcards to ‘mark’ the occasion.

What October means to me

My childhood October memories are (mostly) fond ones of the playground construction of the annual den.

The only play equipment in our school was a tree swing, some planks of wood and a few old tyres. But if you stuff the middle of tyres with damp autumn leaves and then prop them up with old planks of wood while filling in the gaps with more damp dead leaves you get a fantastic den. 🍁🍂🍁🍂

Then you get arguments over whose den it is and who’s allowed in but we’ll gloss over that bit 🙄

There are many other reasons why I love October, but the main ones are jigsaw puzzles, cozy nights in, socks, and hot chocolate.

Out in the Moonlight 250 piece

October Jigsaw Puzzles

Puzzles are great for relaxation. As the days get shorter and colder, solving puzzles can be the perfect way to unwind. It’s a fun and calming activity to piece together the puzzle, revealing the image bit by bit. It’s also a wonderful way to spend quality time with loved ones, working together to complete the puzzle.

Cosy October Evenings

I really enjoy October because it’s perfect for cozy nights in. When the weather gets colder, there’s nothing better than snuggling up on the couch with a soft blanket and enjoying a good book or movie (and of course Strictly is in full swing!). I love listening to the raindrops on the window, lighting a scented candle, and feeling all warm and cozy. It’s a time to relax, take it easy, and appreciate the little things in life.

A Highland Christmas Cow Mens Wrendale Christmas Socks

It’s all about the feet!

Socks are also a big part of October don’t you think?

As the weather gets colder, it’s time to break out the warm and fuzzy bamboo socks. There’s something very comforting about slipping your feet into a pair of soft, thick socks on a chilly morning. They keep your toes toasty warm, and add a little bit of fun and personality to your outfit.

And on Saturday nights when Strictly is on, light the fire and toast your tootsies while you indulge in all the glitz.

Hot Chocolate

Of course, no cozy night in would be complete without a steaming mug of hot chocolate. October is the perfect time to indulge in this decadent treat. Whether you prefer it plain and simple or loaded up with whipped cream and marshmallows, there’s no denying the comfort and joy that a good cup of hot chocolate can bring. It’s a little bit of sweetness in a world that can sometimes be bitter.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Bombe

October is a month that holds a special place in my heart. It’s a time for jigsaw puzzles, cozy nights in, socks, and hot chocolate…and the beginning of Strictly escapism. A time to slow down, unwind, and enjoy the simple things in life. It’s a time to be grateful for the warmth and comfort that we have and to appreciate the beauty of the changing seasons.

What does October mean to you? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Wraptious Design Competition

Wraptious Summer Design Competition

So I did a thing and decided to enter the Wraptious design competition with my Meadow Flowers designs.

Originally designed as a set of stickers for one of my monthly Subscription boxes I expanded the design a little to suit cushions and prints for the Wraptious competition.

There are 5 different designs, all from a similar colour scheme but with different colour highlights and different flowers. From poppies to bluebells, cornflowers to daisies these will brighten up your home and bring a bit of the great outdoors indoors.

Wraptious Summer Design Competition

You can see all the cushion designs together on the Wraptious Facebook page, please give the post a ‘like’. Or visit the Wraptious website where you can vote for each individual design. You can even buy a cushion or a canvas/print. Not only will your likes, votes and sales count as votes towards the competition, they will also make me smile. And I will do a happy dance!

How to Vote?

How to buy the cushions or prints

Visit the Wraptious website where you can buy each individual design as a cushion, print or canvas.
(Please send me a photo of your cushion in your home, I’d love to see it in place!)

About the Wraptious Design Competition

Artists and Photographers are invited to submit their work to the Wraptious website during the competition. There is no theme or preferred medium. Your work could be turned into a beautiful giftware range. It’s free to enter, open to all artists globally and any age. You own copyright always, earn commission and it’s the only time we take on new artists. 6 artists with the most points are automatically shortlisted, while a further 6 are chosen by us. Give it a go! 🙂 (or please vote for my designs!)

I’d love your feedback on the designs in the comments below. Which is your favourite? Which would best suit your colour scheme at home or would you love a mix of 2, 3 or more designs? Let me know below.

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Are these Chelsea Flower Show Worthy?

Sustainable and plastic free at the Chelsea Flower Show and close to home

Lindum's Wildflower Turf at the Chelsea Flower Show
Lindum’s Wildflower Turf – Winner of the RHS Chelsea Sustainable Gardening Product of the Year 2023

This is not my garden! The photo above is actually of Lindum Wildflower Turf at the Chelsea Flower Show, which is the first to be grown without plastic matting earning it the prize of RHS Chelsea Sustainable Gardening Product of the Year 2023.

At Cards and Gift Wrap we are all for sustainability and plastic free, which is why we have our own range of plastic free paper tape…and we also love flowers!

So this week, while we’re all in awe of the blooms at Chelsea I thought I’d do a little focus on some of our favourite floral artists.

Fresh Flowers at Tatams

Claire Henley

Claire is well known for her coastal and floral designs, has been a firm favourite throughout Phoenix Trading and Flamingo Paperie and I am delighted to find her cards are available through the Eco-friendly Card Company too so her cards will be available to you for years to come at Cards and Gift Wrap.

Nicola Evans

Nicola doesn’t just do flowers and she’s one of those illustrators who is so versatile that sometimes her work isn’t instantly recognisable, if you know what I mean.

But her flower bouquets and patterns are always popular.

Pink Orchids

Summertime Vibes Birthday

Jane Morgan

Jane Morgan is new to Cards and Gift Wrap but we instantly fell in love with her wildflower canvases of beauty.

Jane’s cards are available with words on the front or usually with a blank alternative – I’d love to know which you prefer?

Sally Rich

Also new to Cards and Gift Wrap is Sally Rich. Her cards are all without words but full to bursting with bright and cheerful colours.

Floral cards are so versatile and are great to keep in your card box as they can be used for so many occasions and for anyone.


Winging their way through the postal system to me right now are some of my own floral designs with Gaelic words on them – I was even featured recently in an article for PGBuzz (the greetings card industry magazine). You can read more about that here.

Growing your own!

Meanwhile I potter about in my ‘crub. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you’ll already have seen my strawberry (yes singular – so far!)…is there anything more satisfying than growing your own?

Happy gardening and may the wonders of the Chelsea Flower Show inspire you!

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World Penguin Day

World Penguin Day

It’s not surprising that when most of the 18 species of penguins live in cold, icy parts of our Southern Hemisphere that we often think of penguins at Christmas time. World Penguin Day is a chance to learn more about these feathered, flightless wonders and how they can inspire us all year round.

Penguins have some endearing qualities that make them great for cards and gifts.

Penguin Found You Valentines Shakies card

Penguins mate for life.

They can recognise each other’s smell. When you consider that the largest penguin colony in the world is located in Antarctica and has over 1.5 million Adelie penguins – that’s quite some smell! But their commitment to each other makes them the perfect subject of a gift for a loved one.

Penguin Proposals!

Penguins have a unique way of proposing – by presenting a pebble to their future (hopefully) mate.

They have also been known to propose to inanimate objects, such as a cardboard cutout!

We have some rather cuter ideas, like this penguin in a matchbox.

70 King Penguin card

King or Emperor?

Emperor Penguins are the tallest, reaching heights of 4 feet (probably taller than you thought). The King penguin is slightly smaller at just over 3 feet.

The longest living penguins only reach 30 years but we still think this 70 card is adorable!


These penguin stickers were indeed put together for a Christmas subscription box.

But they are too cute not to include here.

Penguin stickers

Build your own penguin

If you’re a true penguin fan then you’ll want to build your own penguin!

Here’s mine. He makes a great model too, often modelling the sun hats that my daughter makes and sells in my shop in the summer

Of course there’s a serious side to World Penguin Day. Like many animals penguins are extremely vulnerable to climate change. You can adopt your own penguin and help WWF monitor their status and support campaigns to ensure they continue to inspire us for years to come.

Happy World Penguin Day, I hope it’s slightly warmer than Antartica where you are!

Janet x

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Have you had your Royal Coronation Invite?

Royal Coronation Decorations

Have you had an invite to the Royal Coronation?

What will your Royal Coronation Celebration look like? I think Eilean Siar (the Outer Hebrides), where I am, might be the only council that isn’t having a bank holiday for the coronation – or perhaps you can tell me otherwise? But at least with it being on a Saturday that won’t stop us having a little tea party.

Will you be eating the Coronation Quiche?

5 funny facts about coronations

  1. During the coronation of King George IV in 1821, the King’s waistcoat was so tight that he had to be cut out of it.
  2. In the 17th century, it was believed that the monarch had the power to cure people of scrofula, a type of tuberculosis. As a result, the coronation ceremony included a “touching ceremony” where the monarch would touch the affected area of people’s skin to cure them.
  3. At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the Archbishop of Canterbury accidentally knocked the Queen on the head with the anointing spoon.
  4. At the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, the congregation shouted “God save the King” so loudly that it caused a nearby tower to collapse.
  5. During the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838, a boy named William Jones snuck into Westminster Abbey and hid in the organ loft. He remained there for the entire ceremony and was discovered only after everyone had left.

I’d love to hear your plans for the Coronation – inspire me with your recipes and menu plans in particular in the comments below.

Are you Volunteering for the Big Help Out?

A couple of my children are volunteering at a local woodland pulling up trees (not as bad as it sounds, it’s the ones that have seeded themselves through a boardwalk they are pulling) and I’ll be taking my Cubs and Beavers for a beach clean, all part of the Big Help Out.

Are your Coronation Decorations up to Royal Standard?

Royal Jubilee Colour in Bunting

Royal Bunting

No Coronation party would be complete without some decorations and luckily we have just the thing to make your street fit for a King to visit!

20 pieces of Royal pageantry to colour in and string up to help decorate your party.

Tiara polished?

Not had the time to polish your tiara? Don’t worry you can make a new one!

Royal Jubilee Colour in Set
However you are celebrating the Coronation of Charles III (or not) let’s hope it’s a beautiful sunny bank holiday weekend where you are (and a sunny weekend here).

…and I hope you get a piece of cake!

Janet x