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My dream

My dream

When I was just 4 years old I started work. My auntie ran a newsagents though it was so much more than just a newsagents. She sold everything and always told me that if they didn’t have what someone asked for they’d find an alternative. My dream even then was to have my own shop. I just didn’t realise it.

I was always quite good with numbers, it runs in the family. I’ve always kind of felt guilty about it. Fellow pupils at school who seemed to work so hard for their maths exams and I never had to. Numbers just made sense and it doesn’t seem fair but that’s life and there are countless other things I am not good at that they were. Anyway, because of my ‘gift’ my auntie used to show off when I was as young as 4 by getting me to serve the customers and give them the right change. There were no contactless payments or automatic tills, if the sums were very complicated it was added up with a pen and paper.

Image by Shirley Hirst from Pixabay

I loved everything about that shop. From stocking the shelves, seeing if I could squeeze just one more packet of crisps on to the rack to making up 10p sweetie lucky bags (10p of sweeties in the bag, about 20p in my mouth!).

As I grew I got to know more of the business. I helped with stock taking each year and my favourite bit was sitting in the freezing cold stock room out the back in front of the electric bar fire with notepad and calculator adding up endless lists of numbers. We’re all a bit weird in one way or other right?!

When I grew up

I thought I’d become an accountant but a desire to ‘make the world a brighter place’ drove me in to engineering. As I began my university life studying civil engineering, so my auntie retired and so ended my dream of running that little shop.

I could have taken over the business, never gone to university. But then I’d never have gone to Africa and worked as a water and sanitation engineer and helped a few to improve their village life. I’d never have met my husband either, moved to the beautiful Isle of Lewis and had 4 children and made the choice to give up my career.

…and then I might not have started working from home, selling things.

My dream come true?

Funny how you can look back on your life and see choices made without realising the true reason for making those choices. It was only after selling from home for about 5 years alongside being a full time mum that the penny dropped. I loved retail! I wanted a shop!

But times have changed since I was 4. We now have internet, supermarkets and global imports on a scale never seen before. Newspapers and sweeties are still sold in shops but even newspapers have gone online and sweeties are no longer a ha’penny. My personal opinion of newspapers has also changed, perhaps why I sell the Happy Newspaper!

So I never thought a physical shop was a reality now. Too many high street stores are short lived, too many empty town centres. Times have changed. Furthermore, living in a fairly remote location in the Outer Hebrides I knew I had to embrace the online market. And I have. Combining some local fairs and events with a growing online presence I have built up my Cards and Gift Wrap business slowly, year by year, reinvesting everything back in while raising my 4 children. Always with a pre-school child by my side, ‘helping’ mum.

And then, just a small thing, covid-19 happened. My online business thrived but the fairs and events were gone. My shop-in-a-basket that served many local workplaces vanished. Time to think outside the box. On top of that my husband started working from home more and we were homeschooling all in the same room that I had hoped would be my ‘stock room’. Something has to change.

Maybe, just maybe…

We’re lucky to have a big garage which is already in two sections. Maybe, just maybe…

Could we convert one part in to a pop up shop?

That’s why I’ve launched a Kickstarter. Not just to raise the money for the materials to make the garage dry and waterproof but to see if there is enough local interest for me to have a physical presence. To see if 40 years on I could have my own ‘shop’ and realise my dream.

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Coronavirus – 3 ideas to help you through the crisis

Coronavirus

If you are finding the Coronavirus dominating the news and beginning to seriously affect your daily life, here are some simple ideas to help you through the crisis.

3 ideas to help you through the Coronavirus crisis

1- Don’t send germs through the post!

All that licking and sticking when you send a card or letter? (Not that I’m totally sure that this is a method of transmission of the virus but why take the chance.)

Playful pigeon folded letters

Instead send a Pigeon Letter!

Pigeon letters need no licking and can be sealed with a self adhesive postage stamp. With lots of pretty patterns to choose from, Pigeon letters look great and will bring a smile to the face of anyone stuck in self-isolation. Write your letter on the inside, fold your Pigeon, seal with a self-adhesive stamp and send your Pigeon flying through the post. No germs included!

If you do want to send them ‘spit free’ use a Wax Seal Kit.

wax seal kit purple

Now is a great time to get yourself addicted to wax sealing your cards. Believe me, once you’ve started melting and stamping with a wax sealing kit you will want to put a seal on everything!

Which one will you choose? I recommend starting with a heart in an envelope as shown in the picture. But you also might like a smiley face, paw prints or maybe a cupcake.

2- No toilet roll left? No problem!

How about some pretty Tissue Paper?

giardino tissue segreto
Tropical Tissue

Here you’ll find lots of tissue paper with pretty patterns and designs.

If you find the supermarkets and corner shops are bereft of loo roll then do not despair. You could have flamingos or tropical birds. Stars or stripes. Zig zags or polka dots.

Whatever your personal hygiene preference our tissue paper will brighten up any bathroom.

The only difficulty we can see is that you might find it too beautiful to use!

3 – Bored in self-isolation? Get creative!

Don’t go stir crazy. Instead get your creative juices flowing and encourage your mindfulness.

Sloth papercraft kit
Unicorn colour in tablecloth

Hang in there, it’s only a few days. How about making this gorgeous sloth to hang out with you in your solitude? Each of our papercraft kits will take several hours to complete so your time in limbo will seem like no time at all and you’ll have something to show for it at the end. If a sloth isn’t your thing, check out the flowers or some of the other animals available in our Paper Craft Kits.

If there are a few of you stuck for something to do then you need a Colour in Tablecloth.

Great for all ages, big enough to cover your table and with space for everyone to find their own bit. Work together to create a masterpiece. Brighten up your mealtimes (even if it is the 5th time you’ve had pasta this week because that’s all you have left in the cupboard).

All of our paper craft kits and colouring in will provide you with hours, if not days of creative mindfulness and relaxation.

So don’t let the Coronavirus get you down. Find something to create and fill the time. Send a germ free letter or card to brighten up someone’s day. And definitely don’t get caught short!

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The Jackson Family

The Jackson Family
image

“Before I came I hadn’t heard of Rachel House. I think everyone has this image that you’re going to walk through the door into sadness and death and people crying in corners. It wasn’t until I walked through the front door that I thought “wow”. It’s smiles as soon as you enter.

Rachel House takes the stress away. I don’t have to be running around, cooking meals and sorting Mark out. It lets Morgan, Eden and Sky just be kids. When we’re here, I’m more relaxed and I know that my kids are very happy and safe. It’s just a home from home.”

Help families like the Jackson’s by buying our special butterfly basket products, or indeed anything from my shop as I’m donating 10% of all sales to CHAS

via The Jackson Family.

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Are you a Mad Hatter?

Greeting cards and stationery for all occasions

In this era of social media, texting and instant messaging, here are 10 reasons to pick up a pen, stick a stamp and send a card. The Mad Hatter may have had the right idea.

10 reasons to be a Mad HatterTF11-Teacups-and-butterflies

Haven’t forgotten you

Good friends starsIt’s been a while since we last spoke, I’ve been busy and didn’t want you to think I had forgotten you. A handwritten card will forgive a lot more non-contact than a FB msg, take the extra minute to write a card.

Saw this and thought of you

Fun with gardening Your friend loves gardening and you saw this great card they’d love. Send it! Don’t just look and think “I know who’d appreciate that” because if you don’t send it they can’t appreciate it!

Just catching up

It’s time for a coffee and cake somewhere. Your friend will feel you really want to meet up if you write a note, with even a time and place suggested….trust me, much more meaningful than a text and they’re less likely to forget a card and more likely to reply.

Wanted to make you laugh

Laughter is truly the best medicine and whether someone is ill, having a tough time or not that you know of, a humourous card will brighten up their day….just like it did yours when you picked the card.

Remember when…

Pyjama party…we had that pyjama party years ago? Doesn’t the one on the left look like….

It’s National Clean up your room day*…

…and I wanted to give you advance warning. Or chocolate truffles, ice creams, save the whale etc. Your friend will love the thought and might even frame the card! (*It’s May 10th by the way if you need to know…)

I’m a bit of a Mad Hatter

Happy Unbirthday! At least 364 days a year you can send these cards and let’s face it most of us would love more than one birthday a year. Or if you really are a Mad Hatter and love tea, then I have the perfect card!

It’s been a year since…

Whether it’s been a year since you walked along that beach or since they lost a loved one, such a thought will either bring back happy memories or remind them they aren’t forgotten in their grief.

No flowers allowed

With many hospital wards not allowing flowers any more a colourful card goes a long way to brightening up the hospital bedside cabinet!

Phoenix Trading greeting cardJust because

If none of the above apply, well then just because it’s a thoughtful thing to do. Pick the right greeting card and it will look good and do good!

Go on, make someone smile today, send a card.

To stock up on cards visit my UK shop, if you’re outside the UK, visit International Enquiries to find out how to get hold of some fabulous greetings cards.

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Stuck for words?

I thought I would start something fun and I’m asking you to help. How about sending someone a card or note this month? Someone you wouldn’t have sent to otherwise, could be someone who needs cheering up, someone who is having a rough time or just someone you want to surprise. Stuck for words? Then take a look at this video – it’s brilliant!

[vimeo 57981044 w=500 h=281]

Originally found on ohjoy.blogs.com

…and to help you get started I’ll include a free card and a stamp in every order this weekend!*

* Really sorry but only in the UK – hope that doesn’t stop you joining in if you’re somewhere else!