Monday, 20 July 2020

Mini Weddings during Covid - Gorgeous Gift Ideas under £25

Now that weddings are back on (albeit in a pretty minimal way), many couples are having to adapt the plans they made months ago when the world was such an incredibly different place. Quite understandably some couples have decided to postpone their big day, but others are keen to have their wedding day despite it all: and good for them! These covid-era weddings are going to be much smaller affairs, perhaps with a bigger celebration planned for the future when things are back to normal. 

These small wedding days and mini civil partnership ceremonies are every bit as special though, and I think they present a need to find an equally special gift. Just because you can’t be there with the bride or groom in person, doesn’t mean you can’t send them a special keepsake to help them celebrate their important ‘small wedding’ day!

Mini Weddings During Covid - Gorgeous Gift Ideas Under £25

Here’s a collection of thoughtful, meaningful and special wedding gift ideas for you to send to those couples getting married in summer 2020…

Mini Weddings During Covid - Gorgeous Gift Ideas Under £25

Personalised Wooden Circle Plaque, £23.95
Handmade to order and available in a choice of colours

Mini Weddings during Covid - Gorgeous Gift Ideas under £25
'We Begin Our Adventure' Personalised Print, from £15.95
Created to order, available in a choice of sizes

Mini Weddings during Covid - Gorgeous Gift Ideas under £25

Personalised Wedding Sign, from £18.50
Available in a choice of sizes and designs, for indoor/outdoor use

Mini Weddings during Covid - Gorgeous Gift Ideas under £25

'Home is Where We Are' Mini Wooden Message Plaque, £12.95
Handcrafted and beautifully gift boxed, range of designs available

Personalised 'Ticket to Happiness' Print, £15.95
Created to order, various designs available

For more gorgeous personalised wedding gift ideas for the bride or groom, visit the Wedding Gift Collection on the website by clicking here.

Sarah x


Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Gift Ideas for Key Workers under £20

Thank you gifts for key workers... not a phrase you'd probably thought of at the start of this year!

Right now there are a lot of us that have quite a bit to be thankful for - whether we’ve battled through illness, juggled home schooling with home working, been forced to be inventive over dinners thanks to the lack of food staples in the shops, or struggled with isolation and all the anxiety that has brought - there’s barely a single one amongst us that hasn’t had a tough time over the last few months.

And then there are the ones that have helped us through all this: the NHS and care workers, the teachers and supermarket staff, the postal workers and emergency services, the utility workers and transport staff, and many more besides - all those that have kept things going through thick and thin.

Personalised Gift Ideas for Key Workers Under £20

As things are starting to slowly ease and life is beginning to look a bit more normal, now is the perfect time to let those key workers know how much we appreciated them during lockdown. I wanted to create a handpicked collection of ways to say ‘thank you’ to these heroes in disguise. Whether it’s the teacher who shone during lockdown, the nurse who was there in a time of crisis, the postie who kept the post arriving - whoever it is, this collection of personalised gifts are a great way to say a special thank you to that key worker and show your appreciation.

Gift Ideas for Key Workers Under £20
Heritage Blue Plaque - £17.95
Made to order and personalised with any wording

Gift Ideas for Key Workers Under £20
Mini Wooden Message Plaque - £12.95
Hand crafted to order, beautifully gift boxed, 18 designs to choose from

Gift Ideas for Key Workers Under £20
'I'm Kind of a Big Deal' Personalised Prints - from £15.95
Personalised with any message and name, range of colours and sizes

Gift Ideas for Key Workers Under £20
'Elephant' Personalised Mug - £13.50
Personalised with your own wording front and back, range of designs available

'Bee's Knees' Wooden Sign - £14.95
Freestanding or wall mounted wooden signs, range of colours and designs

If you want more 'thank you' gift ideas, click here to take a look at the range of gifts over on the site. Everything has free UK delivery too!

Sarah x

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

WOW: 32 brand new gifts and designs just landed!

How are we all doing? Keeping well? Everything is ticking along nicely here at PF HQ... it's been a busy few weeks, and I managed to add to the pressure by deciding to introduce lots of brand new goodies to the site, and give the home page a nice little makeover whilst I was at it! (You know when you have those ideas that seem good at the time, and then a month in you're wondering where all the hours in your day are going?!)

Because we've all been kept so far away from loved ones and friends recently, I wanted to create a Missing You Gift collection too - full of gift ideas ranging from the heartfelt to the cheery.

Personalised Missing You Gift Ideas
Personalised 'Good Friends' print - available as a canvas or art print

I now have a Get Well Soon Gift collection too, with some sweet and thoughtful personalised present ideas for friends and loved ones who might be poorly at the moment.

Personalised Get Well Soon Gift Ideas
Mini Wooden Message Plaques - beautifully gift boxed, range of designs

Whilst most children haven't been at school over the last months, I know that lots of you want to send you thanks to the teachers who've been working so hard - either remotely or in person with our key worker's children. So head over to my Gifts for Teachers section to find something special to say thank you at the end of this weird old school year!

Personalised Teacher Thank You End of Term Gift Ideas
Personalised Gift Mug - wide range of designs available

If you want to see all the new additions, click here to visit the What's New section of the site where I've laid out all the new gift ranges and designs in one easy to find place.

Brand New Personalised Gifts and Prints
'Positivity and Courage Rainbow' Art Print - other designs also available

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you - for your continued support, for all your lovely orders, and for your patience when orders didn't get delivered quite on time (although thankfully Royal Mail are a LOT more on top of things now!). If you're anything like me, your jeans are a bit tighter since March, and your hair has taken on a bit of a 'thatched' look, but we're still here, still standing, and still keeping calm and carrying on.

Sending love your way: stay safe and stay well.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

NEW 'Post For You' Service on all Personalised Cards

I know lots of you are stuck at home isolating at the moment, which means even something basic like posting a card to friends or family becomes an issue. So, I've introduced a brand new service add-on to my range of personalised cards - a 'post for you' option.

This means I will hand write the envelope for you and post the card to your loved one 1st class - you don't have to even venture as far as the postbox!

New Post For You Service available on all personalised greeting cards!

I'm hoping this will prove useful now while everyone is struggling with Covid, but also at any time (because queuing up in the post office just to buy a stamp is no one's idea of fun!).

I've also just added loads of new personalised card designs to the site, so there are lots of lovely cards to choose from for all sorts of occasions. Every card can be personalised on the front, and can also feature a personal message on the inside too. The cards are a lovely size, professionally printed, and dispatched quickly within just one working day.

Create your perfect personalised greeting card today - and if you need me to, I'll even post it to the recipient for you too!

Stay home, stay safe - shop online.

Sarah :)

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Top 5 tips for working from home

Thousands of people across the country (and the world) are finding themselves working from home now. Whilst this is temporary and life will be back to normal after coronavirus (honestly, it will, this will pass), it can be really hard to adapt to working in a home environment, especially when you’re sharing it with the whole family and you can’t just get up and leave the house to get away from it all - and even more so when it wasn't planned!

I’ve been working from home for about 11 years now and I know from experience how hard it can be to stay focussed and productive. So I want to give you some really practical home working tips that, through trial and error, I’ve worked out and realised over the years in the hope that they might help you too… you can survive working from home, trust me!

Your work area: If you have the space, establish a work area - whether it’s a proper desk, the dining room table, a piece of board over your lap Roald-Dahl-style, whatever. That way you can walk away from it (or commute, if you will!). It’s important to be able to get work out from under your nose at the end of the day. If you can’t physically shut a door on the room you work in, make sure you clear and tidy your work area at the end of every day. Even if that just means stacking paperwork into neat piles, putting the lid of your laptop down and putting your pens in a pot, it will make it feel less intrusive when you walk past it during your days off or evenings, and it’ll make everything feel more controlled (in an already chaotic time). Working from home is all about creating divides between work-life and home-life. That’s easy to achieve when you work in a different building, but you have to consciously make the effort when you work from home - otherwise home and work can blend and you’ll never be able to switch off properly. At a time like this, when we can’t just go out whenever we want, that’s more important than ever.

Get yourself comfortable: Make sure you’re working in enough light - whether that’s natural light (ideally) or an improvised table lamp. If you find yourself frowning or working in your own shadow because the window is behind you, that’s far from ideal. You might be improvising with a dining chair that’s not the right height, so if that’s the case make sure you sit up straight (I’m world class at hunching over my desk, so I know how easy it is to end up with backache and a stiff neck at the end of the day!). Stand up and walk around the room at regular intervals. And don’t make yourself too comfy: whilst it might be tempting to put the coffee machine on the table next to you, it’s better to keep it where it is so that you’re forced to get up and move to get yourself a drink! But remember, chances are you’re going to be working from home like this for a few weeks, so make yourself comfortable and create an environment that’s as pleasing to work in as you can.

Keep to regular hours: If you’ve got very young children or others in your home that need attention I know this can be really hard. When I first started PhotoFairytales I worked from the kitchen table and my daughter Amy was very little. Even little things like her interrupting me to ask for a biscuit would cut through my concentration and it would take time to get ‘back in the zone’. If your children are old enough to understand and cooperate, try working in hourly chunks that mimic their own school routine. At the end of each hour you make yourself available - and maybe even have a 15 minute ‘playtime’ with them. That way they have a routine, the same as you. You might find yourself getting up a bit earlier to do some work before they wake up, or working later after their bed time - but just make sure you’re not tempted to dip in and out of work when you shouldn’t be. Turn your phone off, turn the laptop off, make yourself step away when you’re ‘out of hours’. When you go out to work there are structures to your day: the commute, the lunch hour, the clocking off time. But when you work from home those things can get blurred. You might not be able to stick to the same hours as usual, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of routine (having a proper lunch hour is a good place to start). Maybe think about setting an alarm on your phone to remind you when to ‘go home’ at the end of the day: bzzz bzzz, home time!

Happiness is still important: Bring in a bit of what my Amy calls ‘the aesthetics’… put a nice plant by your workspace, get yourself some nice pens to write with, a pretty pot to put them in, a nice ‘work’ mug. Whatever little touches you can add that makes the environment more pleasant to work in. Chances are you’re going to be working from home for a few weeks, so you may as well make the best of things.

Dress the part: It’s so easy to just work in your pyjamas - or even get so engrossed in work you forget to brush your hair or teeth (I’m speaking from experience here, trust me on this). So, every morning make sure you get dressed just as you would if you were going to work (I mean, you don’t have to do the full shirt-and-tie-power-suit thing, but dress like someone might be coming round to the house and you wouldn't want to be caught on the hop). It sounds crazy, but the act of getting properly dressed makes you feel like you’re going to work. And it means that in your downtimes like the weekends and evenings you can still get that relaxed feeling. For example, I work from home but I never wear slippers during the day. I have a pair of shoes that I never wear outdoors, but they feel like shoes and that makes me feel different - and act different - during the day. They’re less comfy - so at the end of the day when I’ve finished work I take them off and put my slippers on - and that’s my sub-conscious indicator that tells my brain it’s now relaxing time! (I’m confessing all my secrets here, you do realise that?!)

Bonus tip: This one is all about distractions… How houseproud are you? Do you make the beds every day? Keep the carpets hoovered?  Keep things basically tidy at home? If not, you might want to get on top of things a bit. It’s hard to keep focussed when out of the corner of your eye there’s a pile of dirty plates in the sink. So every day, allot 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening to do a swift tidy. Make the beds, do a sweep of the rooms and pick up anything that doesn’t belong - even if that just means chucking stuff in a box until later, just get it out of sight. I’m not suggesting you do a full clean of your house, just a straighten up. Rope in other family members and get them to pull their weight too. It’s easy to get distracted by housework when you’re supposed to be working - personally, I find the washing is the main culprit for this: I’ll find myself dashing to the washing machine to get the next load on, or get it pegged in the garden while the sun’s shining. That’s fine, it gives me a reason to step away from my studio and straighten up and switch my focus - but I draw the line at shoving the hoover around when I should be answering emails. That sort of thing can wait - when I’m at work, I’m at work. You’re spending a lot of time in your home right now so keep it organised, delegate chores if you can, only do housework during out-of-hours - a tidy home is a tidy mind!

Also, does your phone constantly ping and buzz with notifications from social media? These might be a nice distraction normally, and you might have a routine of checking your Instagram or Facebook account during your lunch break, but they can cut across your concentration if you’ve got your phone beside you because you’re working from home.  Think about switching it off or muting the notifications - you’ve probably got enough distraction going on in your home with kids and partners interrupting you, so you don’t want to add to it with notifications that an old school friend has just seen a squirrel in their garden (or whatever)!

Above all though, remember this isn’t going to be forever. It’s a strange moment in time that we’ll all remember, but it will become a memory and life will go on.

Stay in, stay safe.

Sarah x

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