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Staying within the lines – or not?

“Coloring is an activity that we tend to associate with children. As we grow older, we put aside our crayons and colored pencils in favor of more respectable writing utensils like pens and highlighters. However, it turns out coloring can be beneficial for adults — namely for its de-stressing power.”

via Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress..

Of course – anyone who loves Phoenix Trading knows this already and if you’ve had one of our colouring in tablecloths you’ll know that you probably spent more time colouring in than your children did…at least that’s what happens in my house! I think we adults sometimes need an ‘excuse’ to colour in, it’s not something we see as an adult activity, there are always more ‘important’ things to do – but with one of our tablecloths, or maybe a frieze then we have the perfect excuse. And of course, any such creative activity we can do with our children has to be a positive thing for us and them surely.

Here are a few of my favourite products:WS173-Hearts-Butterflies

1 – Colour in hats – we have two sets: the first contains a mermaid, a butterfly and a fairy, the second a chief, space cadet and king. Both illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

2 – Colour in map of the British Isles – educational and destressful this comes in a presentation tube too so makes a great gift, and is also illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

3 – Colour in friezes – I love the animal train, though we also have farm, princess carriage, under the sea and a nativity one at Christmas. I think these are particularly great as they come in six pieces and can be coloured individually and put together later to make a large frieze if you wish, but they look great on their own too. All beautifully illustrated by Claire Winteringham, Alison Hullyer or June Armstrong.

I do get parents tell me they will get frustrated if their children colour outside the lines (maybe I just have too many ocd friends?)…my response – buy two, one for you, one for them!

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Why Flamingo Paperie and what’s cake got to do with it?

why flamingo paperie

People often ask me why Flamingo Paperie?

There are a lot of reasons but here are today’s top 5 reasons why Flamingo Paperie ticks my boxes

1 – Potential

TF22-butterfliesThe UK card industry is huge and growing. Despite what you might think, “that no one sends cards anymore because we all just Facebook each other”, the Greeting Card Association UK (GCA) reports that sales of greeting cards are actually increasing! In fact we spend more on cards than we spend on tea and coffee put together!

2 – Charity

I am passionate about giving something back. Having previously worked in areas like Darfur and Sierra Leone I cannot escape the reality that I am hugely blessed in life. I don’t believe in just giving handouts. On the whole these don’t better someone else’s circumstances. But giving people the tools they need to take control of their own lives and situations – that’s worthwhile. Flamingo Paperie as an organisation always looks to share their success, to give out, not keep it all to themselves. The people who run it have done this since they started as the company, Phoenix Trading in 1995. All our Christmas cards are charity cards. Some of my team donate all their profits to charity, and I love to help people raise some extra money for their cause, be it their Scout group or their local hospice.

3 – Being my own boss

I’ve done the working for a big company and having to work overtime to make more money for shareholders with no personal gain. I’m through with that! Anyone with children will value flexibility in life as planning even a day can all go to pot with a sick child, a well timed nappy change, an unexpected nap (from the child not me…though often I wish!). Working from home and being in charge of my tasks and goals, with no one saying “I know it’s tough and we don’t want to push you over the edge but we do need you to work the overtime” (as a previous boss said to me after I had disclosed that I had depression and was struggling to make it through each day), is a key reason why Flamingo Paperie is best for me and my whole family.

4 – Flitter

What is flitter? Why do I go on about it so much? Flitter is that wonderful stuff also known as fairy dust or magic sparkle that people sometimes mistake for the poor imitation that is glitter. Many of Flamingo Paperie’s cards are flittery – and at no extra cost! If the cards aren’t flittered the illustrations are still stunning. When I first became an independent Phoenix Trader I thought I might send them some of my designs but I’ve since been privileged to see some of the original artwork and, no – I won’t be sending mine in. The artists who illustrated for Phoenix Trading and now Flamingo Paperie are in a league of their own…if you are in that league you might want to look at the info for artists.

5 – Cake!

Sorry can’t get away from it…I’ve tried to eat less of it but there’s no getting away from the fact I love cake. Flamingo Paperie Partners eat a lot of cake, drink a lot of tea – and when we can we love wine with our cards too. Being a Flamingo Paperie Partner is about people. Whether it be listening to what someone wants out of their business, seeing how I can support someone with fundraising or helping someone choose the right sympathy card. These conversations often happen over a cuppa and if possible a slice of cake. I’m not fussy what kind of cake, any will do!

B030-sugar-and-spiceThese are my reasons for today and probably in today’s order why Flamingo Paperie ticks my boxes.

They might change because being an independent Flamingo Paperie Partner means I can be flexible like that. If you’d like to find out more do get in touch. I’ll be happy to send you some information with no commitment on your part. Except possibly the requirement to eat cake if you come to a team meeting. But as I say I’m flexible – you choose how big a slice you want!

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The Art of Handwriting – Is it Lost?

Cards lost art of handwriting

Have we lost the art of handwriting? I hope not. With social media being a part of our lives that it never was when I was young I see changes in what we teach our children. Quite rightly they learn how to touch type on a qwerty keyboard from an early age. But they still have their handwriting book too. How important is handwriting in a technical age? Does it matter anymore?

Despite the common perception that ‘no one sends cards anymore’ the opposite is true. According to a recent survey 95% of British households still send cards. So surely it’s important that what’s written in them is readable? Or is it?

I did a little research on the lost art of handwriting.Phoenix Trading

This article on The Art of Handwriting about letters by artists is worth a look just to see the handwriting. I’m not an artist so my handwriting leaves a lot to be desired but I just adore neat, artistic handrwriting.

Here is a very inspiring TED talk on the lost art of handwriting – you might be inspired to pick up pen and paper after listening to these shared memories.

Now, going back to my earlier complaint about poor handwriting, there might be an answer in this. A hi-tech pen that could improve my handwriting!

…and if you’re still not sure you need to bother brushing up on your handwriting then this 8 year old has a very good reason why it’s important – how else will he fill in his contract to be a major league player?!

So, is the art of handwriting important or not?

Does it matter if my scrawl looks pretty or is it enough just to be readable? It’s a well known fact that sending handwritten cards and notes has a positive impact on someone’s mental health. So perhaps I shouldn’t get too hung up on how good or bad my handwriting looks but worry more about if I am writing enough. After all the only way to improve my handwriting is to practise, practise, practise. I no longer have a handwriting jotter like my children at school so perhaps my best practice is to send more cards and letters.