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National Nest Box Week – Win a nest box!



It’s National Nest Box Week!

For National Nest Box Week we’re giving you the chance to win!

National Nest Box Week
A beautiful cedar nest box, a packet of 18 ‘Chunky Dumplings’, and a dozen of our bestselling greeting cards, featuring a flock of fabulous, feathered friends
(Worth over £60)
A dozen of our bestselling bird-inspired greeting cards
(Worth £22.80)
Half a dozen of our bestselling bird-inspired greeting cards
(Worth £14.40)

To be in with a chance, submit an original photo of a bird/birds in your neighbourhood, an original artwork, write an original bird-inspired poem, or share an original anecdote. We will put the shortlisted submissions online for you, our 17,000+ strong Customer Club members, alongside our 2000 Partners, to vote for the winning entries.
In case you need any persuuasion – just look at this!
Details of the prizes
The nest box is made exclusively from long-lasting cedar sourced from expertly managed Canadian forests. The timber ages naturally and attractively and, at 19mm thickness, gives excellent insulation and strength, tempting generations of birds into your garden. This beautiful box is ruggedly built using Canadian cedar from managed forests that weathers attractively and lasts for years without the need for preservatives or varnishing.  Ideal for Great, Blue, Marsh and Coal Tits; Redstart; Nuthatch; Pied Flycatcher; House and Tree Sparrow Or, you could choose an open-fronted version more suitable for Wrens, Robins and Flycatchers  Chunky Dumplings are a ‘better kind of fat ball’!

Send your high-resolution photos, your original artwork, your poems and your bird anecdotes to
All submissions must be your original work.  The initial shortlist will be selected by the three directors and the final winners will be decided by our Partners and Customer Club members.

The deadline for submissions is midnight, UK time, Monday 28th February.  The shortlist for voting will be made available on 7th March and the winners will be notified during week commencing 21st March.  By submitting an entry, you agree that Flamingo Paperie may use your submission for the purposes of publicity. No purchase is necessary to enter the competition.

To learn more about National Nest Box Week, and the work of the RSPB, check out the following links:

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Wrendale Jigsaw Challenge

What would you do with a week of isolation? I set myself a Wrendale Jigsaw Challenge! 6 beautiful jigsaws in 6 very long days! (And yes, I know isolation was more than 6 days but I had a jigsaw to finish off first!)

My Wrendale Jigsaw Challenge

Wrendale jigsaw

The first difficulty was deciding what order to do the jigsaws in. I mean which one would you do first?

There are 6 to choose from:

  • Feathered Friends
  • Country Set Christmas
  • Zoology
  • A Dog’s Life
  • Farmyard Friends
  • Country Set

A Dog’s Life

I decided to start with what I thought looked the most difficult, A Dog’s Life. If you are a dog lover then this one is definitely for you but as most dogs are varying shades of brown and black this is possibly the jigsaw with the least colour in it. So I thought this made it more difficult than the others.

Now, do you separate the edges out first? Not everyone does apparently. I have been very religiously brought up to separate the edge pieces and complete them first. So for this one I did. Plus I was curious to put together the beautiful poem round the outside. Each of the Wrendale jigsaws has a poem written by Hannah Dale herself and reading it will put you in the mood for the gorgeous images you’re about to assemble.

Country Set Christmas

Next up it was Christmas. My isolation period was in January and I had intended to do this particular Country Set Christmas jigsaw puzzle over the Christmas period but that didn’t happen. There were a few calls from my Facebook followers to complete this one first. And after the slightly tougher Dog’s puzzle the day before I felt indulging in a Christmas puzzle was well deserved. This was a real treat. So many reds and greens and bright colours. By the time I was finished I was craving mince pies.

I just had to put the postbox together first (if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I have a think about them!).

The Country Set

The Country Set puzzle was also quite difficult though it had more colour than the Dog’s Life one in it. There are a lot of squirrels and foxes.

I love the picture that comes separately with each box, it’s just small enough to prop up while you’re puzzling and not too small to see the picture. You can’t see the poem on the outside of the box so you need this picture if you’re going to follow it to put the poem together. Of course you could be like the Queen who allegedly likes to put jigsaws together without the picture. I think putting the edge pieces together like this would be a real challenge!

The Farmyard Set

The Farmyard Friends jigsaw was lovely to do with some really bright and lively animals alongside cute and fluffy ducklings.

By the time I got to these jigsaws I wasn’t doing the edges first. I decided to do the areas of similar colour first and the poem was the last bit to complete. I felt like a bit of a rebel leaving the edges to the end but actually reading the poem after putting all the animals together was a lovely way to finish.

Feathered Friends

This one is also known as Garden Birds though on the box it says ‘Feathered Friends’ and although it is mainly birds there are a couple of butterflies and other birds that you might not associate with the garden. This was possibly my favourite of all the jigsaws. I mean just look at that Goldfinch and Kingfisher!!!

I find that with all Hannah Dale’s illustrations I could believe that she actually got the creatures to pose for her painting. Each character looks like they are proud to be in her picture. If you could only pick one of the Wrendale puzzles then unless it is Christmas I would recommend this one. Complete the puzzle then take a walk outside and appreciate our feathered friends even more.


And last, but my no means least as they say, I complete the Zoology puzzle. For maximum effect complete this puzzle while listening to David Attenborough documentaries (who knew we could all be on the edge of our seats over a common daisy?!).

As you can see I couldn’t decide which image to share from this puzzle. If I had to choose my favourite it was a close call between this one and the Garden Birds.

About the Wrendale Jigsaw Puzzles

The puzzles themselves come in a beautifully illustrated box. There is no plastic shrink wrap round them. The lid is sometimes held on by some paper stickers but I found that some of these come off or rip but the lid fits so snuggly it doesn’t need the stickers. Inside the puzzles are in a paper bag, which I love. Anything that doesn’t use plastic is a real hit with me. There is the image of the puzzle inside and also a small dessicant bag to help protect the box contents.

The quality of the pieces is great, they are study and have a lovely textured coating on them.

As you will have seen, each jigsaw puzzle is a collection of Wrendale illustrations collaged into one big picture. I was worried that these would be difficult with all the white between the images but there was no need to fear. The images are spaced perfectly so that each animal or creature is well defined but not too far away from its neighbour to leave oceans of white.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments about which puzzle you have completed, which was your favourite, which would you like to do next?

And if you’re unfortunate enough to end up in isolation, what jigsaw challenge will you do?!

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A year of Flamingo Paperie

Rachel joined my team in January 2021 and has now had a year of Flamingo Paperie. She wanted to compliment her existing healthcare business (which is mainly Neal’s Yard Remedies) with cards and gift wrap. She felt she needed to make her business different. To make it more special and offer a complete gift package to customers.

Rachel’s first year of Flamingo Paperie

So I caught up with Rachel to find out how it all started and how Flamingo has benefitted her over the past year. Have a watch and listen and let Rachel inspire you to earn more when you add Flamingo Paperie to your life.

What Rachel really brought out to me was how relaxed she is about it all. I know Rachel has worked hard to get her Flamingo business off the ground. She is very focussed and has been very successful. She’s grown her customer base and seen her team grow with new team members too. Yet she’s really quite chilled! As she says herself it’s about sharing what’s already a fabulous, beautiful bundle of quality, affordable cards, gift wrap and stationery.

How will you make Flamingo Paperie work for you?

However you decide to fit Flamingo in to your life, I’m here with the rest of my team to support you to do your business, your way.

If like Rachel you already run a home biz then Flamingo Paperie could help you grow your business. Maybe you have a skincare, health, beauty, mindfulness or therapy biz? Or perhaps you supply gifts and homeware?

What makes your biz more special than everyone else who’s selling the same thing?

I am finding more and more people joining my Flamingo team to enhance their existing business. They are now offering the ‘full package’ by adding cards and gift wrap.

🎁 The complete gift experience 🎁

Flamingo Paperie FAQs

If you’d like to find out more about Rachel’s business you can visit her at

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Important last posting dates Christmas 2021

last posting dates

Here are some important dates for your festive calendar including the last posting dates for Christmas 2021

Advent Friday (Nov 26th)

Advent Friday is the last Friday to post your advent calendars.

It’s also the last day to order any advent calendars from Cards and Gift Wrap to arrive in time for Dec 1st. Remember you can always send them direct to the recipient and if you’d like me to include a message I can do that for no extra cost, just ask.

Rockin Robins Advent Calendar

Festive Friday (Dec 3rd)

Festive Friday is traditionally the day that businesses and many individuals write or post their Christmas cards.

The great thing about writing your cards on this day is :

  • you can tick it off your list
  • share the experience with thousands of others around the country
  • no worries about cards arriving in the post after Christmas, well before last posting dates for the UK
Christmas Wishes Christmas card box set

You can get beautiful Christmas cards here and even Christmas stamps to go with them!

Send a Letter to Santa and get a reply! (Dec 10th)

Here is a message from Santa via Royal Mail:

Dear Children,

Are you looking forward to Christmas this year? I certainly am! Christmas is a very exciting but busy time for me.

  • The elves are busy making toys
  • The reindeer are practising their sleigh runs
  • And I’m busy preparing my list of who’s been good.

I will be getting my sleigh ready for the long journey on Christmas Eve. In between I will try and reply to as many of you as possible.

Please send your letters to:
Santa/Father Christmas
Santa’s Grotto

If you’d like a reply – post your letter before Friday December 10th 2021

Royal Mail last posting dates (Dec 18th onwards)

Here are the last posting dates for mail within the UK:

Friday 17 DecemberRoyal Mail Bulk Mail Economy
Saturday 18 December2nd Class
2nd Class Signed For
Royal Mail 48®
Tuesday 21 December1st Class
1st Class Signed For
Royal Mail 24®
Royal Mail Tracked 48®**
Wednesday 22 DecemberRoyal Mail Tracked 24®**
Thursday 23 DecemberSpecial Delivery Guaranteed®

For International last posting dates visit

Cards and Gift Wrap last order date for Christmas and New Year (Dec 22nd)

My last day in the workshop will be 22nd December and then I will be closed after that until the New Year.

Cards and Gift Wrap reopening in 2022 (Jan 6th)

I will be back in the workshop on the 6th January 2022 with news of new cards and full of exciting ideas and plans for the year ahead!

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Val Goldfinch

Val Goldfinch is one of my favourite artists. Not only because her illustrations are beautiful, often of nature or childhood memories. Many of them have also been made in to jigsaws, and I am a self-confessed puzzle addict! So here is a bit more about Val and her designs.

Val Goldfinch has lived in Towcester for over 25 years and has painted since childhood. She trained in Graphic Design at Nene College, but now concentrates on her distinctive and detailed watercolours. Val produces a wide variety of work for both personal commissions and worldwide publication.

Val specializes in combining several images in one painting especially with a theme featuring images in alphabetical order often specific to a town or an area. Her favourite subjects include buildings, inside and out, gardens, nature, seaside and local scenes.

Val Goldfinch cards

Many of Val’s illustrations have been made in to cards by Flamingo Paperie. You can see their current range here.

Which is your favourite? Please share in the comments below.

Val Goldfinch Jigsaws

Some of Val’s best known illustrations are the ones that have been made in to jigsaws. Often from her alphabetical style and always on a theme, these are (from personal experience) like doing lots of mini jigsaws inside one big one. Full of little details, often with evocative memories, these are delightful for avid puzzlers and beginners alike. Quality jigsaws made in the UK by Gibsons. Available from Cards and Gift Wrap here.

Val Goldfinch advent calendar

For a real treat, you need to have the Winter Alphabet advent calendar, illustrated by Val. A traditional advent calendar with 24 doors to open. Beautifully illustrated on the outside and with individual illustrations behind each door.

Winter Alphabet Advent Calendar by Val Goldfinch
Winter Alphabet Advent Calendar illustrated by Val for Flamingo Paperie

More information

If you’d like to find out more about Val’s work, commission a piece or contact her then visit her website.

You’ll also find her on Facebook and I know from experience that she’d love you to message her and tell her how much you love her work or how much you’ve enjoyed doing one of her jigsaws. It would make her day!

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The Dreaded Day

The Dreaded Day

The Dreaded Day. The one I have been fearing for over 20 years.

But first, here’s a (very) brief history of Ivor Ross.

My dad!

This is my dad, on my wedding day, probably one of the best days of his life as well as ours.

I’m an only child so you won’t be surprised to learn that I was the sunshine in my dad’s life. He thought the world of me, and I of him.

My dad was born in 1928, the 6th of 9 children. Just too young to serve in WW2, he saw all his older brothers go off to fight and luckily all come back alive and physically unhurt, mentally – well – who knows. He did his national service and saw active service as part of that overseas. A sort of jack-of-all-trades and master of none he held various jobs and kept a pretty mean garden, growing plenty of fruit and veg for eating at home. There’s nothing quite like peas grown by your dad! A keen sportsman, good at football, bowls and billards and woe betide anyone who tried to take him on at whist. (Unless you were his brother or sister as they had all been brought up round a card table by their mother, my grandmother). Oh and he told tales – tall ones!

He married my mum in 1974, at her suggestion…. and I came along in 1976.

That’s my dad in a nutshell

So why am I telling you all this and what has it got to do with the Dreaded Day?

Sadly dad died less than two years after this photo was taken. Bowel cancer didn’t kill him in the end but while he was ill they discovered he had it. It wasn’t really suprising. His father, my grandfather, had died from it and 3 of his brothers and sisters had already died from it too.

I was 24. Not particularly young but not that old either.

Clearly there was a higher than average incidence of bowel cancer in the family, they said. I should speak to a genetic specialist, they said.

I did.

They got samples, tested them, looked for genetic markers but found none. At least none that they know indicate a genetic link. But the indicators are still there. There’s a high likelihood I too might develop bowel cancer.

What next?

But it’s OK cos I was only 24. All the occurrences within my family were older, way older so I didn’t need to worry about it – just yet.

At least not until I was 45.

I was advised to start getting regular colonoscopies every 3 years from the age of 45. Bowel Cancer is one of the most treatable cancers provided you catch it early. My limited understanding is that it takes time for the polyps to develop into cancerous lumps so catch the polyps early and you can even avoid the cancer altogether.

At 24 I had hoped that they would develop a less intrusive scanning method by the time I turned 45.

They haven’t.

I’m 45 tomorrow.

So I’d like to use my 45th birthday to raise a little awareness of bowel cancer, remind us that it needn’t be a death sentence and raise some money for Macmillan Cancer Support who help so many people affected by cancer.

The Dreaded Day

How you can help

If you’d like to make a donation then the easiest way is to buy a quiz! If you like a tea-time puzzle, my mum has been printing quizzes with the help of a couple of puzzling friends and the latest one is available to buy and download here. Just £1 and the full £1 goes to Black Isle Committee of Macmillan Cancer Support. My mum has been on their committee for over 20 years and has raised over £14000 with the quizzes alone.

If you’d like to make a larger donation to Macmillan Cancer Support then simply buy more quizzes (it’s up to you if you download it or not!). E.g. if you want to donate £10, buy 10 quizzes, the full £10 will go to Macmillan as I will cover any payment processing fee myself.

I’ll also be donating 10% of all my sales from both my Cards and Gift Wrap shop or from my Flamingo Shop to the Black Isle Committee of Macmillan Cancer Support over the next week.

Help me literally kick cancer in the butt on this dreaded day!

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New Flamingo Paperie cards for Summer!

Flamingo Paperie cards for summer

61 new Flamingo Paperie cards for Summer!

Isn’t it great to see such a huge range of new Flamingo Paperie cards for summer, especially after all those new cards we had in March too. Flamingo just keep coming up with fabulous, exclusive new designs for all your occasions.

These are available to order online right now. Don’t forget to join the Customer Club first, if you haven’t already, to get a free joining gift.

Summer Brochure

I will be getting new brochures about mid-May and posting two to everyone on my brochure mailing list (one for you and one for a friend). If you’d prefer a paper copy of the brochure to sit and browse through, just tick the snail mail box when you join my Club.

Presents Happy Birthday by Jessica Hogarth

It’s never easy to pick a favourite from a new release but this one caught my eye. Don’t you think it’s the sort of card that can be sent to anyone of any age or personality? And I love Jessica Hogarth’s designs. (I have a few other things of hers in my Cards and Gift Wrap shop – see other Jessica Hogarth items)

Jessica has a few designs in the new Flamingo Paperie summer range.

Happy browsing!

Janet xx

PS If you’d like to save up to 30% off all your cards and gift wrap join my team as an independent Flamingo Paperie Partner. You will save yourself some money and you can build your own side line business when your friends, family and colleagues see your cards and want to buy from you! Your starter pack will contain cards and brochures as well as a personalised ecommerce website to kick start your business.

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Happy Days!

Big Day across mainland Scotland today I am so lucky to have an online shop as well as my bricks-and-mortar garage pop up. How exciting that sooo many shops are able to open again today across Scotland. Today is a good day! (and I am sitting in my wee pop up as I write this!) Let’s hope for even more Happy Days to come.

Spring Cards Bundle

Spring Bundle

Need a quick card top up?

How about a beautiful bundle of 10 spring themed cards that could be used for any occasion.

20% off and free UK delivery. Grab your bundle now »

The Happy Newspaper

Happy News – Happy Days

I often get asked to send The Happy News as a gift – here’s what one customer who did just that said:

Just been wanting to say thank you so much for all your time and efforts in making the post as lovely as possible for the receiver.  The happy newspaper and the colourful envelopes, stickers and handwritten note were very appreciated – they all sent me photos! Also, I thought you’d find it funny to know my dad got the Pierce Brosnan stamp!

Yep – sometimes I have to lick James Bond to send your orders – it’s tough but someone has to do it! Give the gift of Happy News »

Coming Soon…

I got a very sneaky peek at the new Flamingo Paperie cards coming in May.

61 new cards and a new flowers craft kit (Californian Poppies – of all colours and looks amazing!).

I’ll have brochures towards the end of the month but if you’re in my Club I’ll email you the online brochure and link as soon as I have it.

Have a good week – hope the sun shines like it did over the weekend – wasn’t it gorgeous?!

Janet xx

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Flamingo Paperie April offer

April Flamingo Paperie April offer for Customer Club members.

If you are already a member of my Flamingo Customer Club, then you should have had an email from them about the Flaminog Paperie April offer.

  • Place any order on my Flamingo website before the end of April and they’ll send you 2 free cards
  • Place any order over £30 on my Flamingo website and they’ll send you 6 free cards (and it’s free postage!)

Don’t miss out!


With the children back at school (yippeee!) I’ve had a little time to do some more designing.

There are a few new products in the Homeware section of my website. These are all printed to order by Redbubble and I can easily tweak designs to suit. Just ask! Check out the Homeware section »

Simply Green

I developed this leafy pattern for a future paper tape design but thought it looks quite nice on a mug too – what do you think?

Leafy tape will be in the future, there are a couple of new Christmas designs being printed just now – watch this space! See all mugs »

This week I added a few new Wrendale and Sally Swannell cards to my shop, why not have a browse and see if there’s something you like (I think the giraffe might be my favourite – well you know how I feel about cake!)

The Mystery Box is back!

Got a few birthdays coming up?
Seen a subscription box you liked but missed it?

I have lots of gift wrapping items left over from my subscription boxes but not enough to make complete coordinating boxes. So instead I’ll mix and match you a bumper mystery box of gift wrapping.

Alternatively – subscribe for a monthly box of coordinated loveliness! Have a great week – hope the sun continues to shine for you.
(It’s actually got a bit cold and dull here – but no snow so I’m not complaining!)
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Spring is here!

Spring and Easter

It’s officially Spring and Easter is just around the corner.

And here are some beautiful Easter Shakies (middle picture) and some packs of smaller Easter cards from James Ellis. James Ellis have made a commitment to go 100% plastic free. Not only are the shakies now fully recyclable, the packs of smaller cards come in card wallets instead of plastic cellos – hurrah!!!

And it’s not just cards! If you’d like to send someone a Spring or Easter gift to make them smile then there are some lovely gift items as well as cards. The Wrendale gardening journal is a great place to start. OR perhaps you’d like a rabbit papercraft kit, a Sally Swannell Hen House mug, a Daffodils and Ducklings jigsaw or a rabbit face covering!

Best Sticker Ever?

I like to design stickers but I don’t think any of my designs will come close to this sticker I received yesterday.

There is hope!

What’s inside?

You asked what was inside the new Flamingo Paperie notebooks…

Have a great week!

Janet xx