Thursday, 15 March 2018

Personalised Adoption Gift ideas

Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to work on some lovely gift ideas for families that have adopted, or are going through the process of adopting, a child. One of the most popular gifts over the years has been the personalised board books which work really well as an introduction welcome book for the child or baby.

I wanted to increase the range of personalised adoption gift ideas to offer more choice, and so I’ve introduced a whole new range of gorgeous gifts to celebrate this exciting moment in your family’s life.
Personalised Adoption Gift Ideas from
Personalised Adoption Gift Ideas from
Whether you’re adopting a child into your own family, you want to say ‘thank you’ to someone who has helped you on your adopting journey, or you want to give a thoughtful memento to friends or family who have recently adopted, I think you’ll discover some truly thoughtful and special keepsakes to mark the moment.

Personalised Adoption Gift Ideas from

From personalised art prints and family trees, to handmade books, wooden gifts and plaques - I hope you’ll enjoy my range of adoption gift ideas and discover a special gift to mark this exciting time.

Sarah :)

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Everyone loves a cup of coffee... except me

I've just had a hot cup of coffee. I know, it's not something you'd think was worth a mention really. Except, I hate coffee. I'm a tea drinker, have been for years. Coffee is horrible.

So, why am I even drinking a cup of coffee you ask?

Look at that cup of coffee - pretending to taste nice just to tempt you in...
Well, I'm just getting over the flu and my taste buds are shot to hell - I can taste barely anything (we had an exciting chilli the other night - my family sat there with steam coming out of their ears, while I was complaining that it was too mild). I didn't make the coffee by mistake though - since having the flu I've pretty much gone off tea for some weird reason and I don't know what else to drink during the day! I'm lost!! Water, lemonade, blah blah - rosehip/herbal tea, yeah, I can take it for a couple of days but no more - hot chocolate, too sweet and claggy. So I figured if there's ever a time to try a cup of coffee it was now...

The only time I've ever drunk coffee by choice was during my time working in the publishing section at HMSO years ago - the tea trolley lady was replaced by a horrible vending machine (no more yells of "Caaaake!!" from the corridor as she trundled towards the office... it was a sad, sad day). All hot drinks came out of the same nozzle in this horrible new machine - tea became a foul and awful mockery of itself. So that pretty much left me with a choice of coffee or nothing. Coffee it was then. And the 'coffee' that came out of the machine actually tasted more like tea - so I just used to drink it because it tasted absolutely nothing like hideous coffee.

It was almost a newly invented drink of it's very own rarity...

I have to say I only ever started being a tea drinker when I was in my teens/20's. It seems when you get to that age people don't offer you milk or squash or pop anymore - you're expected to want a hot drink. A hot drink that is either tea or coffee (hot chocolate doesn't get a look in). Why is that? This happens more especially in a professional/work environment. Go to a meeting: can I get you a tea or coffee? Go for an interview: would you like tea or coffee? Head to the tea lady/vending machine/staff kitchen: you can have tea or coffee, that's your lot. So I started drinking tea purely because it was the lesser of the two evils. And now, actually, I don't mind it - in fact, quite often I enjoy a good cuppa. It hits the spot in a way that nothing else does sometimes!

So, what did I think of my recent cup of coffee? Put it this way, I won't be rushing back for a second. Guess I'll just have to wait a few more days until my wretched taste buds get back to normal and I can enjoy my tea again. Still, it's always worth trying things more than once I guess - otherwise I wouldn't be here in front of you able to declare my love of sprouts and olives, and I'd still be telling you my favourite food is Frosties and chicken nuggets!

Sarah :) 

Friday, 2 March 2018

Why you should buy handmade from a designer-maker, crafts person or artisan…

When you buy a bespoke, personalised item you’re buying something unique - most often something that’s been created especially for you. You can’t get more special than that!

But there’s so much more you’re buying into that you possibly haven’t consciously thought about…

Picture those super wealthy types - you know, those glossy people that enjoy living in a world where the things they surround themselves are one-offs: works of art, tailored clothes, shoes that have been hand-stitched to their exact foot measurement! Well, when you buy a bespoke handmade item direct from the creator, that’s exactly what you’re doing too (albeit on a slightly more accessible budget).
The top reasons why you should buy handmade

Think of it as your chance to live the high life on a budget!

That item you buy - whether it’s a treat for you, or a gift for a loved one - has been made with so much care and love that it’s likely the designer or craftsperson feels a pang when they package and post it to you. They’ve spent time on it for you, they’ve packaged it up themselves and posted it. They’ve been through every stage of the creation process - and all for you! Forget those things that have been designed by a team, put before a board for approval, sent to a factory to be made, stuck on a pallet and shipped to a warehouse, and finally shoved in a box or envelope by someone with no idea who you are. The person you’re buying from is the same person who’ll be making your item, who designed it in the first place, and who’ll be packing it up and posting it to you and saying ‘thank you’ for your custom. And you know that your purchase supports that person and their family - that small cottage business that was built from a dream and a talent, to support their loved ones.

There’s always a story behind the item too - it could be that they were inspired by their surroundings, by a colour they saw in the sky that morning, by a song, anything! And that means that what they’re creating is a part of them. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase ‘made with love’ - and it truly has been!

Buying ‘designer’ in its truest sense

Not only that of course, but you know that the item you’ve bought is unlike any other. There aren’t a thousand of them in shops up and down the land. What you buy will be unique. It’s hard to find originality on the high street—nearly everything has gone through a filter process, from the designer down to the shop floor. See what prickly Miranda Priestly in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ says about the subject!:
“What you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin.”
OK, her character was pretty mean, but you get the idea! So just imagine, you’re buying that cerulean sweater (or whatever) direct from the person who came up with the idea in the first place!

So next time you find yourself shopping for a gift, seriously, put aside the high street and seek out something special. Something you or your loved one can treasure and cherish.

Sarah :)

Friday, 23 February 2018

Brand new range of prints: with fast dispatch for last minute gift buying emergencies!

Everything you find on the PhotoFairytales website is personalised - but, every rule has to have an exception! I've just introduced my new range of non-personalised prints, and while they may not be personalised they are each printed to order and dispatched super fast.

Well Hello Gorgeous retro typewriter print wall art | PhotoFairytales
'Well, hello gorgeous' retro style typewrite print - available at PhotoFairytales
There are five designs to choose from, and they only cost £10 including UK delivery! I'll dispatch your order within 2 working days maximum (most orders will be dispatched within one working day) and they are sent by quick 1st class recorded delivery.
Always believe in Unicorns print nursery wall art | from PhotoFairytales
'Believe in Unicorns' print, perfect for the nursery or a child's bedroom - available at PhotoFairytales
As with all my prints, these are printed on lovely quality heavy-weight gloss paper, and arrive smartly presented in a clear presentation sleeve with a backing board and front mount. The 8x10" prints fit perfectly into any standard 8x10" picture frame, and you can find these really easily on the high street or online.
Life is Better with Friends print wall art | from PhotoFairytales
'Life is Better with Friends' print, a lovely gift for a child's bedroom or a friend - available at PhotoFairytales
I hope you like the new designs - click on any of the images above to view the whole range.

Sarah :)

Friday, 16 February 2018

The angst of the weekly food shop - 4 hacks to make it less stressful and how to stick to the budget!

Like most families in recent times, we’ve discovered that (contrary to what the supermarkets will have us believe - shopping basket comparisons, blah blah) buying the weekly shop has definitely become more expensive. I’m a strict stick-to-the-budget-every-week kind of woman, but I’ve noticed its getting harder and harder to stick to the target each week.

So, Operation Clawback is in place…

1: Internet shopping is the way to go...
I do our food shopping online. I hate, HATE, doing those massive supermarket shops. Just looking at the image below makes me feel stressed! I used to shuffle around the enormous supermarket every Saturday with armfuls of toilet roll and bread and bleach, trying to find where the husband had wandered off to WITH THE TROLLEY AGAIN, and swearing under my breath because of PEOPLE! But I find its so much easier to stick to the budget when I shop online. I can find all the special offers in one place, I can compare prices much more easily - and, crucially, I can see how much its going to cost me before I pay.

The angst of the weekly food shop - 4 hacks to make it less stressful and how to stick to the budget!

2: I buy from more than one place…
Having said what I said in the last paragraph, I do still do a supermarket shop - but this time it’s in a much smaller supermarket that I know (because I’ve methodically, aka sadly, checked prices against my usual shop) is cheaper for specific items. Basically, we're talking Aldi time. It’s a quicker shopping experience because I know exactly what I’m going to buy and it’s a much smaller shop so I can be in and out in half an hour.

3: The supermarket checkout lottery
Now there's something that always has a kind of ‘game show’ feel about it when you shop in the actual, you know, shop - you never quite know how much its going to cost until you’re there with your purse in hand. Of course, you could fastidiously add it all up as you go round - but no, I don’t think my brain could cope with that. At least, not when it’s also trying to cope with working out Will We Like It/Is There A Cheaper Alternative/How Long Does It Take To Cook/Is Anyone Allergic To It/How Long Will It Last/What’s In It/Is It Healthy Or At Least Not Unhealthy, etc, etc, etc. Throw ‘adding up as I go along’ into the mix and I might crawl into a ball on the floor and start to rock… So, here’s a tip for you: a friend once told me that her mum advised her to basically round everything up or down to 50p or a £1 as it goes in the trolley. So, as you tip those 25p tinned tomatoes into the trolley mentally think “50p”. As you choose a that toilet roll for £2.00 think “£1”. It makes it easier to add up - and can actually be surprisingly accurate. Well, it used to be surprisingly accurate. Now I find you need to round up and down to £1 or £2. See, I said food prices were getting more expensive!

4:Impulse buying be gone!
But overall online food shopping for me is the way to go. Plus, I can do it by myself. No family chucking stuff into the trolley without my noticing (Fray Bentos Pies that sit so long in the cupboard they almost become part of the family), no complaints when I buy something they don’t like/want, being able to stick to my list. I know the apparent trend now is not to do a big weekly shop - we’re all supposed to be nipping into the local mini-supermarket on the way home to buy food for the next 24 hours and no more. Living for the moment. Fancy artichokes on toast and balsamic flavoured ice cream for tea tonight? Then that’s what we’ll be having. Not in the PhotoFairytales household though. I’m sticking to the retro-style weekly shop. Besides, it means we have that lovely cupboard glut sensation. You know, that feeling when you’ve just done ‘the big shop’ and the fridge is groaning with salad and freshness, and the cupboards are full of treats and there’s biscuits in the tin.

The downside of course is that by the end of the week we’re down to ‘freezer surprise’ for dinner and eyeing up the chocolate coins the Tooth Fairy entrusts me with…

Sarah :)

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