WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A HOMEMADE LETTERBOX GIFT SET FOR FRIENDS OR FAMILY…

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.

UMITEASETS STUNNING COLLECTION FOR TEA LOVERS…

Umiteasets have a large selection of tea pots and loose tea to choose from so when this one popped through my door I couldn’t wait to give the tea and the pot a try.

Umiteasets say “It is said that long ago a man arid a woman, madly in love with, each other, saw their happiness destroyed by a lord who took the woman as a concubine. Driven half triad by this separation, the woman ran away to rejoin her lover only to find that the lord had had him killed.

When she found the body of her lover in the mountains, she wept so much that her tears formed a torrent and her petrified body was transformed into a tea tree. Even today, that is the explanation given for the year-long humidity and cloudiness of the area. Huangshan Maofeng: One of the top ten famous tea in China, is a kind of green tea. The tea is originated from Huangshan, Anhui province, where climate is mild, the number of rainfall is abundant and the soil texture is great, so there is very suitable for the growth of tea tree. As for Huangshan Maofeng tea, the technology of picking tea-tea leaves and drying tea is very delicate, purely manual making. In fact, the tea appearance present small and has a little intertangaling, cords fatness, and tea heart like sparrow’s tongue.

After brewing, the tea leaves present limpid blue light, tea water taste glycol, and the aroma smelling like orchid, lasting long times. Due to the new drying tea leaves with pekoe, the tea buds are also very different, and the fresh leaves are all picked from Huangshan Mountain Peak, hence its named Huangshan Maofeng tea. The tea is the curiosa in green tea, which through four working procedure: editing, rolling drying and baking. As we all know that the efficacy of Huangshan Maofeng are very rich, not only for one’s body, also for health care.

The tea is delicious and I love my little pot. With an array of teas, stunning tea pots and lots more on the Umi Tea Sets website it’s well worth having a look.

NEW WAYS FOR USED TEA LEAVES AND TEA BAGS…


These green tips on used tea leaves is from the site Green Living Tips which explains about how tea can affect the environment, and a few extra tips from One Good Thing website.

Uses for used tea leaves and tea bags…

  • If you do use tea bags, instead of throwing them into your household trash bin – they can be composted or added to a worm farm.
  • I’ve seen dried tea leaves suggested as an incense (although in my opinion, burning tea leaves smell pretty bad)
  • Burning tea leaves is said to repel mosquitos
  • Dried tea leaves can absorb moisture in cupboards and odors in refrigerators
  • Tea leaves sprinkled in kitty litter can help reduce smell
  • Remove oil from pots and pans without impacting on their “seasoned” aspects
  • Dried tea leaves can sop up oil spills in the kitchen.
  • Soak old tea bags in melted wax to make firelighters
  • You can use the leaves from a tea bag to freshen up your carpets! Just allow a tea bag to dry out, then remove the leaves. Stir the leaves into a big handful of baking soda, then sprinkle the mixture over dingy or smelly spots on your carpet. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, then vacuum the area thoroughly.
  • Re-brew used tea bags to refresh parched skin. Allow the tea to cool, then pour it into a spray or squeeze bottle. Then just spritz it onto your skin or apply with a cotton pad.

These stunning used tea bags art which I wrote about earlier in the year I found on Pinterest are totally unique. There is even a book of some of these images by Ruby Silvious – 363 Days of Tea. A Visual Journey on used tea bags.

In 2016, Ruby also worked on “52 Weeks of Tea” and “26 Days of Tea in Japan,” created during her art residency at Studio Kura in Itoshima. This collection reflects a mix of ancient and contemporary style and inspiration.

More recently she created paintings based on art masterpieces such as Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” and “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,” as submissions to the 2017 International Rijksstudio Award.

BUY THE RIGHT TEA TO PAIR WITH CHRISTMAS FOOD…

To enjoy your cuppa at Christmas, make sure you have the right flavour to pair with your Christmas food.

When drinking Lapsang have it with turkey or smoked salmon sandwiches or walnut cake or Stilton cheese, to enhance the flavour of the tea and/or food. Try Twinings Lapsang Souchong, smoked pine flavour.

Of course, Christmas isn’t Christmas without chocolate but with different strengths of chocolate, this does mean there is a choice of pairings. With dark chocolate, try Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Gyokuro, or Oolong. Try this Whittards Loose Leaf Darjeeling Black Tea. A distinctly delicate loose leaf black tea, picked by hand in the Himalayan foothills. Fresh and fruity, with a muscatel sweetness.

With milk or white chocolate try Darjeeling, Dragonwell, or Oolong. This Gingersnap Oolong from Whittards will go perfectly with white chocolate. A speciality of China’s Fujian and Guangdong provinces and Taiwan, oolong tea is semi-oxidised for an astonishing spectrum of flavours, ranging from “green” floral high-grown varieties to distinctive dark oolongs with nutty, chocolatey tones. A Whittard twist on a traditional chai, we’ve opted for a delicate, creamy loose leaf oolong base and layered it with sugar and spice, and all things gingery nice.

When drinking Earl Grey try The Tea Makers Earl Grey have it with fine pate or ham and mustard sandwich’s or Crème Brulee or Leicester cheese, to enhance the flavour of the tea and/or food. This stunning version of classic Supreme Earl Grey has been conveniently packed into our biodegradable tea bags. This tea offers a blend of exquisite Ceylon teas scented with flavours of bergamot oil and blue cornflowers. 

Fortnum and Mason have some amazing goodies paired with specific teas like their Christmas Green Tea created especially for Christmas, their gently warming blend of green tea, star anise, liquorice, coconut and a hint of vanilla is a festive treat that can be enjoyed by a crackling fire at any time of day.

If you don’t want to buy lots of different flavoured tea blends then you could always go for this Twinings Christmas Loose Tea Caddy A Black Tea with Spice Flavour.

A wonderful tea for the Christmas season. A Christmas Tea spiced malty black tea that has been expertly blended with warming, spicy, Christmas flavours off safflowers and orange peel. Enjoy with or without milk for a delicious festive treat.

The caddy depicts a wintery scene in the heart of London where Twinings was founded in 1706. When Thomas Twining opened his Golden Lyon shop at 216 Strand, it was the first of its kind and London’s love affair with tea started to blossom. The Twinings flagship store recently celebrated its 300 year anniversary and now offers Tea Experience masterclasses.

With so many black friday offers I decided to not add prices to the teas as they are on offer at the moment but may not be when you try the link. Enjoy…

TWININGS TEA BLACK FRIDAY OFFERS 26th November – 2nd December…

TWININGS Tea have Black Friday offers starting 26th November – 2nd December…Offer: 20% off sitewide plus free delivery when you spend over £20 at Twinings. No code required.

Make your list early. Here are some great gifts from Twinings Tea…

Winter Hot Chocolate Gift Bag Snuggle up with a luxury hot chocolate in your new favourite mug. Create your ideal winter warmer by adding Monin Vanilla or Caramel Syrup. Dreamy nature-inspired crockery completes this lovely gift set. £15

This gift bag includes:

Individual products worth £18.78 –


Twinings Deluxe Compartment Wooden Tea Box filled with 24 individually wrapped teas.

Made from fine dark wood and finished with “Twinings” and solid brass hinges and openings. £26

Supplied filled with 24 mixed enveloped tea bags worth £6.00

Superblends Advent Calendar –

Tis the season to be merry with 24 days of wondrous winter warmers.

A selection of green teas and infusions with botanical ingredients or an added vitamin or mineral.

HOW DO I DRINK IT?

Simple use fresh boiled water and infuse the bag far at least 3 minutes. Give the teabag a few little stirs and gentle squeeze to release the flavour before removing it from the cup. £7.49

WHAT’S INCLUDED?

3 x Vitality Single Envelopes
3 x Defence Single Envelopes
2 x Heartea Single Envelopes
3 x Detox Single Envelopes
3 x Glow Single Envelopes
3 x Digest Single Envelopes
2 x Moment of Calm Single Envelopes
3 x Sleep Single Envelopes
2 x Boost Single Envelopes

TWININGS Glow – Strawberry and Cucumber Flavoured Herbal Infusion with Green Tea, Aloe Vera and added Biotin.

Biotin contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and normal hair. Enjoy at least 1 cup a day as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

When your skin and hair glows, you radiate confidence and feel great. This is the inspiration behind this carefully crafted Glow blend. This blend is a delicious mix of refreshing Green tea, Aloe Vera and Cucumber flavouring. A touch of gorgeously sweet, strawberry flavouring ensures this is the tastiest part of your beauty regime. £2.69

What does it taste like?
This delicious green tea is sweet, refreshing and easy to drink at any time of the day.

Seasons Greeting Christmas Tea – Loose Leaf Caddy – £6.37

Black Tea with Spice Flavour

A wonderful tea for the Christmas season. Our Christmas Tea is a spiced malty black tea that has been expertly blended with warming, spicy, Christmas flavours off safflowers and orange peel. Enjoy with or without milk for a delicious festive treat.

The caddy depicts a wintery scene in the heart of London where Twinings was founded in 1706. When Thomas Twining opened his Golden Lyon shop at 216 Strand, it was the first of its kind and London’s love affair with tea started to blossom. The Twinings flagship store recently celebrated its 300 year anniversary and now offers Tea Experience masterclasses.

You might also like our Spiced Chai Christmas Caddy.

Rise & Shine Breakfast Hamper – £40 –

You won’t want to rush the most important meal of the day with this Twinings deluxe morning hamper. Sip our fine English Breakfast pyramid tea bag blends from handmade artisan mugs, and enjoy Cartwright & Butler’s delicious fruit jam and buttery biscuits at your leisure. Some things are worth savouring!

This hamper includes:

Individual products worth £56.23