Good things come in packages

Call me old school, but I love a nice piece of post. You know, the kind with a handwritten envelope/label. The kind that you’re not expecting and turns out to contain nice things. Like yesterday, when I opened an envelope to discover a thank-you card from some friends who’ve recently adopted a beautiful 1 year old girl – now I have her smiling face on my fridge. Joyous!

Therefore, I love a project that involves the use of Royal Mail. In the past, I’ve entered blogging contests to win books or other randomly lovely things (like the annual craft giveaway I was part of for a few years) – it makes someone feel warm and fuzzy inside and leads to you discover all sorts of wonderful bloggers. Thus, when a friend mentioned on Facebook that she was signing up for Oh Comely Magazine’s November care package, I thought this was something I should find out about…

The premise was simple: sign up online by a certain date, providing your postal details & anything you thought might be useful to a person who might be creating a box of goodies for you; await an email giving you the details of the person to whom you’d be sending nice things; prepare your box & get it in the post by November 18th; and await the arrival of your own parcel.

The guidance was simple too:

Something personal. Eg: a favourite family recipe, a good book you’ve just finished, a playlist of your favourite music.
An inspiring snippet. Eg: newspaper clipping, a photo or illustration you love, the lyrics to a song that strike home.
A wintry treat. Eg: a pair of gloves, your favourite tea, a mini hot-water bottle. The spending guide for each box is £10.

Simple, lovely and genius!

So, I duly signed up and got my package together. Being the idiot that I am, I forgot to take photos of it, but it contained the following:
Christmas Tea (That’s a winter essential in my world)
Giant Buttons (Why not? And they’re perfect for dipping in the tea.)
Hand-made Christmas tree decorations. (Made by me, so I guess that’s personal!)
A recipe for my brownies & our family scone recipe. (Written on the back of some inspiring views on postcards.)
Cold-kit (A Ugandan purse with Cath Kidston tissues & a lip-balm.)

Nice, no? I mean the Giant Buttons would be a winner for me alone! Oh, and there were labels (courtesy of bargain shelf Target finds while in California), so everything looked nice – which is always important.

Today, I’d just got home from a busy morning when the post man rang the bell – apparently he’d got a large box for me. Although I was expecting an eBay parcel (that would be book 3 of a 3 book EBD purchase I made last week), I had a feeling this would be my care package – I was not wrong. Here are its contents, not particularly artistically arranged on the table:


It’s really very lovely! Obviously, there are gloves & Buttons (great minds think alike!), plus a nice artistic postcard, on the reverse of which is an explanation for what some of the items are. The novel is one she’d just finished, but had enjoyed and the memory stick contains some tunes which I haven’t listened to yet – but I’m looking forward to. In the middle is the most genius inclusion: a mini bottle of Sangria plus some cinnamon sticks – a DIY mulled wine kit! Love it! Thank you so much Daisy and I hope you’re enjoying your parcel too!

What’s even better is that thanks to the #OCswapbox hashtag, you can follow people as they send off and receive their parcels. It’s a veritable world of loveliness and generosity!

Incidentally, it’s worth checking out the Oh Comely blog – their most recent post is about their culinary adventure with chocolate teacakes, which are categorically top of my ‘next thing to bake that will be a challenge’ list. I knew I liked them…

Literary blog hop results & a gift to all bibliophiles

Last week’s giveaway is now closed.

I love blogs and I love books, so really what could go wrong with visiting 70ish book blogs and commenting in the hope of a free good read? Along the way I’ve found several that I’ll be returning to and it’s been great to hear that some fellow participants have been pleased to discover this one.

On to the subject of winners. The first commenter picked by the random number generator left their e-mail address, but it came back undeliverable, so I had to try again – and it came up with Louise, who doesn’t have a blog and who I think (judging by her e-mail) lives in the UK. Apparently 84 Charing Cross Road’s been on her wishlist forever so I’m very, very pleased to be able to send a copy her way!

As a gift to all the bibliophiles that didn’t win anything during the hop [incidentally, anyone else think that ‘blog hop’ sounds like a 1950s dance craze??], I’d like to share a rather wonderful site I found last night. Bookfessions gathers together fellow book lovers’ deepest, darkest secrets into an aesthetically pleasing Tumblr. Below are the ones that struck a chord with me, but there are hundreds…


Literary Giveaway Blog Hop (25th – 29th June)

I love a good giveaway and it’s been quite a while since I last participated in one. In the past they’ve been crafty, but I have absolutely zero time for crafting at the moment, but when I saw Nose in a Book’s mention of a literary giveaway a little while ago, I signed myself up straight away. This may not be a ‘literary blog’ (heck, it’s no specific kind of blog…) but I am a die-hard bibliophile and like to review books when I get the chance.

The idea is to offer blog readers a book (or something similar) that’s of ‘literary merit’ – Judith, the genius behind it all, explains it here. For me, there was absolutely no contest as to what I’d offer – after all that I’ve raved about it, 84 Charing Cross Road was the logical choice. It’s the story of two bibliophiles; a woman who loves two cities I love dearly (my own fabulous London and the ever-wonderful NYC); and a jolly good, non-fiction read.

Ideally, the winner will get the gorgeous Virago hardback edition, but it’s not easily available these days, so if I can’t locate a copy it’ll be the standard paperback version.

All you have to do to be entered into the giveaway is leave a comment on this post – regular readers are more than welcome, as well as blog hoppers – and the winner will be chosen at random on June 30th. [I was really pleased last giveaway that the winner was a regular, it felt like a reward for putting up with my ramblings…] Oh, and don’t forget to leave some way of being contacted – either a blog or e-mail address! Don’t worry, I will post internationally too. If you fancy it, there are over 70 other blogs participating, listed below. Enjoy!

List of all the Participants:

  1. Leeswammes (Int)
  2. The Book Whisperer (Int)
  3. Kristi Loves Books (Int)
  4. Teadevotee (Int)
  5. Bookworm with a View (Int)
  6. Bibliosue (Int)
  7. Sarah Reads Too Much (Int)
  8. write meg! (USA)
  9. My Love Affair With Books (Int)
  10. Seaside Book Nook (Int)
  11. Uniflame Creates (Int)
  12. Always Cooking Up Something (Int)
  13. Book Journey (Int)
  14. ThirtyCreativeStudio (Int)
  15. Col Reads (Int)
  16. The Book Diva’s Reads (Int)
  17. The Scarlet Letter (USA)
  18. The Parrish Lantern (Int)
  19. Lizzy’s Literary Life (Int)
  20. Read, Write & Live (Int)
  21. Book’d Out (Int)
  22. The Readers’ Suite (Int)
  23. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (USA)
  24. Ephemeral Digest (Int)
  25. Miel et lait (Int)
  26. Bibliophile By the Sea (Int)
  27. Polychrome Interest (Int)
  28. Book World In My Head (Int)
  29. In Spring it is the Dawn (Int)
  30. everybookhasasoul (Int)
  31. Nishita’s Rants and Raves (Int)
  32. Fresh Ink Books (Int)
  33. Teach with Picture Books (USA)
  34. How to Teach a Novel (USA)
  35. The Blue Bookcase (Int)
  36. Gaskella (Int)
  37. Reflections from the Hinterland (USA)
  38. chasing bawa (Int)
  39. 51stories (Int)
  40. No Page Left Behind (USA)

  1. Silver’s Reviews (USA)
  2. Nose in a book (Int)
  3. Lit in the Last Frontier (Int)
  4. The Book Club Blog (Int)
  5. Under My Apple Tree (Int)
  6. Caribousmom (USA)
  7. breienineking (Netherlands)
  8. Let’s Go on a Picnic! (Int)
  9. Rikki’s Teleidoscope (Int)
  10. De Boekblogger (Netherlands)
  11. Knitting and Sundries (Int)
  12. Elle Lit (USA)
  13. Indie Reader Houston (Int)
  14. The Book Stop (Int)
  15. Eliza Does Very Little (Int)
  16. Joy’s Book Blog (Int)
  17. Lit Endeavors (USA)
  18. Roof Beam Reader (Int)
  19. The House of the Seven Tails (Int)
  20. Tony’s Reading List (Int)
  21. Sabrina @ Thinking About Loud! (Int)
  22. Rebecca Reads (Int)
  23. Kinna Reads (Int)
  24. In One Eye, Out the Other (USA)
  25. Books in the City (Int)
  26. Lucybird’s Book Blog (Europe)
  27. Book Clutter (USA)
  28. Exurbanis (Int)
  29. Lu’s Raves and Rants (USA & Canada)
  30. Sam Still Reading (Int)
  31. Dolce Bellezza (Int)
  32. Lena Sledge’s Blog…Books, Reviews and Interviews (Int)
  33. a Thousand Books with Quotes (Int)

Giveaway Winner

Thank you so much to all who entered the giveaway. It was so nice to have so many lovely comments and compliments! Honestly, the crafty bloggers are a very affirming group of people.

I’ve done my best to return the favour and admired tons of amazing creations that were also being given away. For some reason my attention was particularly caught by several gorgeous aprons – clearly I have 1950’s housewife aspirations as one of them literally took my breath away and had me yearning to bake cupcakes… Ho hum.

Anyway, back to the business in hand. The random number generator picked comment number 152 which is Sarah. Having had a bit of e-mail correspondence with her, I’m excited to discover that not only is she British, she had also found my blog before the giveaway – which means it feels even more like giving a present to a friend! (Does that sound lame? I don’t care!)

There’ll be another one in December I think, and perhaps by then I’ll have acquired a new skill to share…

Giving Away in May

It’s been a little while since I last took part in the global warmth & fuzziness that is the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day, but it’s back again…

I’m giving away a pair of handcrafted earrings. (Allergy proof sterling silver fixings, with Swarkovski beads.) These are just an example – I’ll make the same design afresh in whatever colour the winner chooses. In addition, there’s a bracelet made from semi-precious stone beads – so it’s a double giveaway.

To win, all you have to do is leave a comment by the end of May 20th. I’ll choose the winner at random and post the result the following day. (Please make sure you leave me some way of contacting you!)

Readers arriving here from Sew Mama Sew – welcome! I’m not a craft blogger generally, although I will post projects when I’m hit with inspiration, but have a tendancy to blog on an eclectic range of topics – lately there’s been rather a lot about the election [Britain had an historic election the other week, but I’m not entirely sure that the rest of the world cared about it all that much], there’s usually plenty of gym anecdotes and every so often I rave about shoes and handbags

Regular readers – feel free to enter too. You deserve some kind of gift for persisting with me!