They say that ‘getting your readers interested in the first paragraph’ is the key to getting your reader keen and wanting more.
I decided to try something new on my other blog Back Pain Blog UK last month. At the end of the February I wrote a post on what I had posted over that month. It seemed to go down very well so I am writing that on a regular basis and so I thought I would try it on Afternoon Tea4Two as well.
I hope you enjoy reading through my nine posts this month which included some Old School Tips, Subscription Boxes, Chocolate tea pairings and much more.
I love making gifts for my friends and family and nowadays you get get gift box subscriptions from a number of companies but actually making your own homemade letterbox gift set is a bit more unique and very very special.
With lockdown slowly but surely coming to an end I thought it might be a nice idea to put together a letterbox gift for some of your special friends and family who you have not seen for a while.
So, here are my ideas and how to go about making a letterbox gift. The first thing I did was to go and look on websites like Etsy and Not on the High Street. I wanted to make a note of the size of box I would need. There are lots of websites that sell letterbox size boxes but the minimum I could find was for 25. Amazon is your best bet where I found 10 for £5.60 and the size was perfect at 200x100x20mm. This is a large box but the bigger the better I think. You then need to think about weight and postage price which you can find online at The Post Office.
Making it a bit special means thinking about a lining and tissue paper seems to be the post popular and can easily picked up from The Post Office or local Supermarket. Now it’s time to decide what you want to put in your box.
Making it personal is what will make this a very special gift so start with your own handmade card with some plain card which again you could buy from The Post Office or, you could do like I do. I keep all my Birthday and Christmas cards and cut them up so that I can use them for friends and family cards. To make it personal you can use ladybug clipart. Clipart can make it look so professional and you can even make your own envelope and use them on that. Making your own envelopes is also easy with plain or patterned paper and you can find lots of images and videos on how to make your own envelope on Pinterest.
So, you have your box, your tissue paper to wrap it in and your personalised card to put inside the box. Now its time to think about what you want to put in your box. The best way to start this is to have a blank page for each person you are making these boxes for and start listing the special things you remember about them by using the alphabet. Here is a list of ideas to get you started. Write the list by asking yourself if they like any of the ones I am listing.
A. Art, Animals, Aunt – you could add a piece of art in it or an image of their favourite dog and is this for your Aunt so ask your Mum if she has idea of things she loves.
B. Birthday, Books, Baking, Biscuits, Birds – you could time it for their birthday, add a book if they love reading books, maybe a baking book if they like baking and their favourite biscuits or the latest bird food for their favourite outside animals.
C. Cooking, Card, Chocolates, Country, Coffee, Cat, Candles, Clip-art – you could find something different and very small that could help with cooking, make a few handmade cards for them, put in their favourite chocolates, or their favourite coffee which you can now buy in ‘bags’, a tiny fluffy cat, some candles and some bumblebee clipart so they can have a go at it themselves.
D. Dog, Daddy – you could put in a personalised doggy gift (handmade by yourself of course) anything personalised with Daddy on will melt any Dads heart.
E. Essential Oils – I use these for soooo many things as there has to be one that every one likes.
F. Flowers, Food, Friend, Feminine – you could put a small bunch of dried flowers in the box, little sample food items, if its your special friend then anything with special friend on, and if he/she loves smelly things then you can go to Boots Travel Size products and buy some to pop into the box.
G. Gardening, Golf, Grandma, Grandad – you could buy some seeds for that gardener you know or golf pegs for the golf lover and if its for Grandma or Grandad then you should start with a photo book and let it grow from there.
H. Hobbies, Hair Products – I have mentioned a few hobbies but there are so many your friend or family member may love something unusual but you are sure to be able to buy something for it. Hair Products is useful to all of us and again you can buy travel or sachet size to pop into your box.
I. Initial, make something yourself or look on lovely sites like Etsy and Not On The High Street.
J. Jigsaw, Jewellery – you could buy or have a jigsaw made through a photo shop company, or buy this lovely collectable work of art for their wrists.
K. Knitting, KeepFit, – you could buy them a knitting pattern and some wool and put it into the box and for a KeepFit fanatic then how about a video or some sweat bands or fun item that relates to being fit.
L. Logo or Lego – you could get a Logo designed online for someone just starting up in business or for a bit of fun to put in your box and I included Lego as what man doesn’t like a bit of Lego to play with. The adult stuff I mean. You can buy small ones with sooooo many pieces.
M. Memories, Magazines, Mum – you could put some memories together with a photo book. I absolutely love them and make them on a regular basis. You just cannot beat putting all your memories together. Magazines is an easy one as I am sure most family or friends would love a magazine to read, and there are a few companies online which will let you purchase a single magazine rather than a subscription. Finally Mum, well where do you start. You would probably need a bigger box with Mum but maybe start with a photo book and a few bits and give her a bigger one next time around.
N. Nails, Newspaper – nail polish and accessories is a great one and even the guys need nail clippers. Newspapers are a lovely thought for the elderly as you could find a really old one to pop into the box. It will bring back lots of memories.
O. Organised – this is to think of how organised are they. Could they do with a lovely A-Z or a book on decluttering. There is plenty out now to help people become more organised.
P. Pictures/Photosbook/Poster/Painting – back to the pictures again. Happy pictures bring back happy memories and at the moment we all have time to look through our suitcases of old pictures. Pop a few in the box to bring a memory back to life. Photobooks as I am talked about before are very easy to do online now. Posters can again be done using clip-art. Painting I have really only taken up over the last year when I was given an adult paint by numbers but I absolutely love it.
Q. Quotes – think of little quotes that are appropriate to the box received and pop them into a little box or envelope for them to open when they are feeling a bit low.
R. Reading – if they love reading you can easily pop a couple of books into your box but before you buy them check how thick they are so you will know if they will fit in the box.
S. Scrapbook, Spa, Sewing, Sweets, Sachets, Shed – you could start a scrapbook to put into the box of a family member and ask them to add to it the send it onto another member of the family to add to it. Spa was just to trigger off what you could put in the box for someone to enjoy a spa at home. Sewing has become very popular again but you can buy some really fab vintage sewing patterns online for someone who is a keep sewer. Sweets is very popular in boxes and easy to get or miniature packets. Sachets are also available now in supermarkets and online and could be facial products, hand or body products and very easy and light to put in your box. Shed was for the keen gardener but these man sheds are full of all sorts now.
T. Tea- there are so many types of tea you can buy now and can make a lovely box with just a book and some biscuits or chocolate.
U. Uncles – is this for your Uncle, maybe ask your Aunt for a few hints.
V. View – do they love a view, do they overlook a view. You could make a lovely poster or image from a picture you have taken of the country side or seaside and a very personal item.
W. Writing – do they love writing or like having notebooks around. I do, I have them everywhere and have one friend who always buys me some for Christmas. You can buy some stunning ones online and a lovely addition to the box with maybe a biro thrown in as well.
My A-Z is just my ideas but it could help you to put yours together and get started with your box. When its all finished and packed ready to go you could even finish with a touch of clipart. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them. Enjoy making your box, it will definitely put a smile on someone’s face.
Agile Home has a selection of eco-conscious products for your home and kitchen. From coconut scrubbers, bamboo toothbrushes, eco straws, to bamboo kitchen cloths and more.
One to buy is their eco dish scrubbing brush. It comes in a box with3 replacement heads, which means when the bristles do finally wear out, you need only replace the brush head, not the whole thing!
Also, every brush ships with two different sisal fibre grades, soft and hard. You’ll have the brush fibre toughness for any scenario. When you go to the website and click on the link it immediately runs a video to show you how to change the heads! £11.99 from Agile Home
Beeswax wraps have become popular in recent months as we are all so much more aware of plastic waste but instead of buying them why not make them yourself with these DIY Beeswax wrap kit from a number of companies at various prices.
Urban Outfitters on offer for £10 at the moment. Perfect for wrapping up your packed lunch or leftovers a sustainable way. Comes with everything you need to make three DIY wraps.
The Beeswax Wrap Company from £30 to £18.99 a seconds pack. Including the same clever components as our usual kits, this seconds packs includes a tea towel with a few print imperfections, three 30 x 30cm fabric squares in a surprise assortment of patterns, and our wax blocks in different shapes. It also still includes the greaseproof paper so all you need is an iron and you’re ready to go!
Or the ANGMLN Beeswax Food Wrap & Bags Set of 6 Including Wraps 3 Pack & Bags 3 Pack Reusable Sustainable Durable Eco-Friendly Organic Food Wrap, Plastic Wrap Alternative for Food Storage on Amazon for £16.05 made of organic cotton, sustainably harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil. Beeswax Wrap fabric and printing are certified by the GOTS and CPST certification ensure you can use our beeswax wrap&bag without any concern. It can provide a seal for your food, allowing it to stay fresh for longer.
Clean the natural way with eco friendly products from Friendly Turtle. Buy their Ocean Saver Bottle for Life at only £2.50 then add any of the full range of Ocean Saver cleaning drops to help you reduce plastic waste around the home.
When thinking about cleaning the bathroom they realised there are two important factors; cleanliness and hygiene. This product addresses both issues, leaving a sparkling finish on your bathroom suite and containing a powerful antibacterial agent to kill a wide range of germs. Antibacterial Multisurface Cleaner (Bathroom) – Single Refill Sachet £3.50
For even better value, shop our bestselling 5 pack boxed set and pick up 5 of your favourite cleaners for just £10.
This little book on tea and cake is a guide about one of our favourite beverages. It explains tea pairings, tea and chocolate, tea and health, tea and sandwiches, fascinating tea facts, buying the right tea, tea to help you sleep and tea cozies and teapots.
It also features over one hundred tips on baking cakes and has some recipes for delicious loaf cakes. It finishes with several lovely tea quotes. A great book for any tea devotee.
If, like many of us you read from your Kindle rather than a paperback copy then you can still buy this as a gift for someone else who also reads on their Kindle. You simply find my book on Kindle then choose the ” Buy for others” option then share the ebook redemption link or add a personalised message.
Before 1800, housekeeping books tended to be handwritten collections of recipes and instructions tried and tested by the household cook. By the 1850’s they were developed into books for ‘adult women’, in particular for your brides who were setting up home.
They were intended as work manuals, they were without lavish photography or even set in fine bindings but if you can get hold of one from a book shop they will amaze you. They tell us about the lives of the women in the past from where you can see social change and the disappearance of domestic servants.
Mrs. Breton’s Book of Household Management, which was published in 1861 was a huge success and sold 60,000 copies in its first year and two million by 1868. Of course with no television at that time these books were inspirational.
By the time Helen Simpson wrote ‘The Happy Housewife’ in 1934 modern appliances were starting to pop up everywhere, not only helping with the housework but also removing the servants of that time.
In ‘Keeping House’ with Elizabeth Craig (Collins 1936) she said ‘ I have no use for elaborately decorated or furnished homes or for elaborate meals. The simpler the home, the simpler the housekeeping.
Some of these vintage home books can now fetch a lot of money at auction. A book published in 1687 ‘The Accomplished Ladies Rich Closit of Rarities’, by John Shirley sold at Sotheby’s for £1,625. So, if your great aunt or grandma is still alive and has some old cookery books make sure they don’t end up at the tip.