Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Gallery - Photography Resolutions

The theme for the Gallery this week is "Photography Resolutions". There couldn't be a better theme to suit me this week because setting photography resolutions has been what my week has been about!
I love taking photos and am constantly whipping out my phone to take a quick snap. This month I have done what I've been promising myself I'll do for ages, I've added a new member to the family.

Meet Bailey!

Bailey is a real life proper camera, by far the best camera I've owned and together we have plans. I've been desperate to explore photography more, to take the time to really enjoy and capture the simple and beautiful things around me. With George growing up so fast having a "proper" camera is a must for me. I don't want to miss a thing, not one expression, not one outing. 

2012 has been a year of firsts for me already and I have much planned but above everything 2012 is the year of my putting myself first for a change. I'm determined to enjoy a hobby that I know I will get a lot out of.

So, my photography resolution.... get to know Bailey better and to spend some quality time with him, because I want to!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Spanish Stray Dogs - and Precious Parcels

What's it all about?
Spanish Stray Dogs is a non-profit organisation formed by Amee Townsend and although they are not a registered charity nor an official registered organisation, they are simply a group of people working together to help abandoned animals and to promote animal welfare.

"Although it was once upon a time just me SSD are now a very happy international team of like-minded humans who just love dogs.  And we just try our hardest to help where help is needed whether its helping the dogs that are waiting in the Spanish killing stations or helping to free beagles that are locked in laboratories.  Helping dogs is what we live for".
Amee Townsend 

Their Main Aims:

  • To re-home abandoned cats and dogs from Los Barrios animal shelter, Spain. (Currently they have 120 dogs that have been abandoned)
  • To assist with fund-raising to keep the shelter in the hands of the voluntary sector.
  • To assist in the day to day running of the shelter.
  • To promote good animal welfare.
  • To promote the importance of neutering and spraying pets

How they achieve this:

  • By publicising abandoned dogs on social media
  • Working closely with their partnered organisations by publicising dogs by all means possible overseas and locally.
  • By running media and Facebook campaigns to raise funds
  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Funding & purchasing items required for the shelter.
  • Escorting dogs to/from vets, airports, other shelters, foster homes.
  • By negotiating special rates with local vets regarding neutering.
  • Giving advice to potential owners or existing owners regarding pet welfare.
  • Carrying out home checks on potential adopters and foster parents.                                     
They also help with the Beagle Freedom Project and so far this year, they helped to send 40 Beagles to Los Angeles:  See more here
They then sent 3 more at the beginning of this month: What a difference it makes - watch more here!

Why we're supporting them 
I saw a friend's link on Facebook that caught my eye, I saw some dogs that captured my heart and now I cannot turn my back on them. Yes!... they're miles away, believe me I wish they were closer but they're not. A poor homeless dog in Spain is no less important than a poor homeless dog in the UK to me. If a local charity had caught my eye first then I'd probably be helping them instead, but they didn't. So now I am doing everything I can to help these amazing volunteers and more importantly, the dogs. All these abandoned pups want is someone to love them and look after them just like your own pets do.
Without the volunteers that care for them every single day and the kind people who donate food, money, medicines and blankets and the people who organise their campaigns, these little chaps would never have the chance to wag their tails! So that's why we're supporting Spanish Stray Dogs.

Our trip to the shelter 
Now, I'm not one to do something half-heartedly and I think it's only right that I meet some of the wonderful volunteers who are doing an amazing job looking after and trying to rehome these dogs. Not to mention how much I want to meet the dogs and give every single one a great big cuddle. 
So the flights are booked! Myself and my very good friend and colleague Sarah are leaving on Friday 27th January to go and help for a couple of days.

How can YOU help?

  • A donation would be amazing no matter how small. Just £4 is enough for a large bag of dog food. 
  • Donations can be sent via Paypal to: 
  • 100% of all donations will go to Spanish Stray Dogs.
  • These payments are received by Andy Baker ( 
  • Andy is one of the volunteers who not only helps look after the dogs but does a huge amount of campaign work, radio interviews and anything else he can to raise awareness. I'm very much looking forward to meeting him next week. If you're interested in adopting one of their dogs, Andy is the man to contact. 
  • If you're unable to donate, sharing a link is better than doing nothing and still hugely appreciated so please add Spanish Stray Dogs as a friend on Facebook, help spread the word, and share their photos. Even if you aren't in a position to adopt a dog, someone further down the line might be! :) 

  • Again, donations are vital. The shelter is totally dependant on donations to feed and care for these dogs. If anything at the shelter needs fixing, replacing or improving it simply cannot be done if the donations aren't coming in.
  • Sponsor our trip!... 
  • Make a donation to Spanish Stray Dogs of £50 or more to become one of our sponsors. As one of our trip sponsors we'll ensure you are mentioned and promoted in our post-trip write ups. Our write ups will appear on our website, our blog, as well as a few other blogs. With your logo and a link to your website. 
  • You'll also be promoted on the Precious Parcels facebook page, mentioned on Spanish Stray Dogs and promoted on a number of Twitter accounts.
  • But most of all... you'll feel fantastic knowing you have made a real difference to the lives of these dogs. 100% of all donations will go to Spanish Stray Dogs.
If you would like to be one of our trip sponsors please email

We recently had a small sale and raised £170 for them. Thank you to all our customers who bought something and made this possible. We hope to have many more!

                                                          Only 4 days to the trip!!....

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dear So and So - 19th Jan 2012

Dear So and So...

Dear Inbox
Yes yes, you were funny at first but me turning my back for 30 seconds and you sneaking some new emails in is becoming tiring. Especially when you’re full of so much junk!!
Regards, frazzled me.

Dear last night’s dinner
Oh mama!! You certainly tickled my tastebuds. Welcome here again any time!
Her who shocked herself by making something sensational from what I thought was an empty cupboard!

Dear Bailey (aka my new camera)
I love you, I love you, I love you!! I promise I’ll never walk to the top of a hill for another great shot only to turn around and find I parked my car in the view!
Yours sincerely, your dim new owner. (who loves you very very much)

Dear George
My big little man! I can’t believe how much you know about life after 4 short years on this planet.
and yes you cheeky git... everyone has a brain, even mummy!!
Love you always x

Dear Winter
You think you’re so clever don’t you. Blinding us with Christmas, making us all forget how horrible you are.Then giving us a couple of fairly warm weeks in January before hitting us with the frost. I’m sick of you! Feel free to do one!!
Her who’s bottom is covered in goosebumps!

I wish I could bring you all home with me I really do. I am coming to see you in just 8 days time.
You’ve captured my heart and I hope you will forgive me when I have to walk away without you. You see, I simply don’t have enough room for you all so all I can offer is a great big cuddle while I’m there and the promise that I’ll spread the word and tell lots of people how amazing you all are, in the hope that one day soon you will have a loving family to call your own. Please visit their Facebook page and add them as a friend. Her who doesn’t do serious very often but is just asking for a little help this time. x 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

What a start to the new year!

It was only 18 days ago that corks were popping, indiscreet kisses were being shared (not by me!) and New Year resolutions were being made. 2012 is here and what a cracking start!

I don't make resolutions as such (I read "Don't eat chocolate" as "Go on, stuff yourself with Galaxy!", but have hit the new year running regardless.

  • So far Precious Parcels have had two very successful flash sales on the Facebook page (make sure you are following so you don't miss out on future events!) with the proceeds (a whopping £170 already!) having been sent to The Spanish Stray Dogs. A huge thank you to everyone who took part and have already donated. The work the Centre does relies on the kindness of others with their donations and you lot have been hugely generous! You'll hear a lot more about this shortly as it is the charity that Precious Parcels has adopted as it is something close to my heart.
  • I have my flight to Gibraltar booked and in just 10 days I'll be visiting the shelter myself to meet some of the amazing volunteers and beautiful dogs and to find out more about the rehoming process in the hope that 2012 will see more of the dogs being rehomed in the UK. 
  • Secret talks between myself and the design pad have been going on, watch out for a variety of new products in 2012.
  • We've had a really busy January already (what happened to the usual January slump after the manic Christmas season?). This month has been brilliant with many new and returning customers ordering.
  • There is a sale on this week for the Red and Green baking sets, usually £7.95 they are selling at £5.95 for this week only.
  • Oh, and we featured in Gurgle magazine!!

I think I can safely say that so far 2012 has been a cracker and here at PP there is a lot more in the pipeline for the coming months.

What about you? Have you been following new resolutions, trying something different or just kicking back and seeing the new year in quietly? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

For one week only.... Red and Green Baking sets are on sale!

This week is the time to bag yourself a bargain and get those birthday presents stocked up!

These baking kits have proved to be very popular and this week you can grab a red or green kit for just £5.95 (usual price £7.95).

Each personalised Children's baking kit includes:

A cotton bag with cupcake design (21 x 26cm)
Rolling pin
Wooden spoon
Pastry brush
Chopping board
25 cake cases
And a personalised star!

Perfect for small baking fans and as a gift.
Don't leave it too late, this offer is for this week only!

*P&P is £1.95, regardless of the size of your order

Friday, 13 January 2012

Dear So and So - Friday 13th Jan

Dear So and So...

Dear Dad,
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you spit coffee all over.
I realise now that telling you that I felt more lively now I was taking Methadone might have come as a shock, especially when I actually meant Metatone, a harmless tonic.
Her who is sorry but thought your face was priceless! x

Dear anyone who is curious about other lifeforms out there.
I haven't seen any little green men but have spent some time in Peterborough passport office recently which is most definitely part of an alternate universe. Seriously, if there was ever a place destined to welcome visitors of the weird and wacky kind, that is it.
Her who actually doesn't care because she has her new passport!!!!

Dear New Year diet
I was thinking of starting you this month, then I though "Why be like everyone else?" so I have pushed this back to February.
Her who is going to need goose grease and a shoe shorn to get into her jeans soon x

Dear Winter
Barely a decent frost this year, so mild.
I do hope you haven't decided to mess with our annual two weeks of British Summer sun to even it up!
Her who ready for spring.

Dear Readers
It's Friiiiiday! (Thank goodness!).
Have a wicked weekend whatever you have planned!
Nat & G x

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Gallery - Phone Photos

I always have my phone with me which means I can catch those quick moments and spectacular views that I'd miss otherwise whilst unpacking and sorting out my "proper" camera. I am so grateful that on the day this was taken that modern phones now have such great camera functions!

The title of this photo sums up my attitude in 2012 perfectly... The Sky's the Limit!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Dear So and So

Dear So and So...

Dear Sore Throat
Bugger Orf!
Would say more but well can't, you know - with the razor blades in my throat and all.

Dear George
You have made my Christmas.
You have been nothing short of a superstar.
Love you little man,
Mummy x

Dear Customers
You are just all just amazing! I can't get over how many of you chose Precious Parcels to buy your loved ones gifts for Christmas, and are already now back in the new year organising birthday presents and more!
Thank you!
Her who is covered in paint and happier than a pig in muck.

Dear All
I have a new love. Or rather a mission.
This year I am both challenging myself and doing something completely new and different purely for me.
2012 is the year of the Natalie, or the snake, or is it the mongoose?
Either way - watch this space!

Dear Wind
I know you think it's funny to make my garden look like it's been ransacked by angry garden gnomes during the night, but seriously - why the trampoline?
It was a complete beggar to get right again and I couldn't even have a bounce at the end to celebrate as you wouldn't ease up.
That's just being mean!

Have a good weekend all!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Getting organised

The new year brings many resolutions, for example:
  • I will cut down on the alcohol (as soon as I finish this bottle of Baileys)
  • I will stop eating takeaways (as soon as my addiction for duck pancakes starts to wane)

I will ... oh resolutions are meant to be broken!

Lots of people however seem to be using the new year to get organised, it's as good a time as ever, and we can help!

These country kitchen hook and peg plaques are ideal for keys, tea towels, hand towels, aprons, shopping lists....
Each plaque measures approx 15cm x 10cm, is handpainted white with 3-colour polka dots and has matching wooden hearts. 
You decide whether you prefer brass hooks or wooden pegs.
£9.95 each

These personalised toy sacks are great for organising all those new toys after Christmas!
Made from 100% cotton and measuring 40 x 50cm, at just £6.95 these are a firm favourite with parents and kids alike.


Precious Parcels also has a range of fantastic cards and postcards starting at just 95p. We find many people like to buy a selection at once so they aren't caught out by last minute (or forgotten) occasions!

The chocolate habit may be incurable but these are a few of items we have at PP which can help you with your "be more organised" resolution.
For those of you who are being more careful with the pennies in 2012 you'll be glad to know that the p&p charge is remaining at £1.95 (regardless of the size of the order) again this year.

Monday, 2 January 2012

And we are back!

We've eaten up all the left over chocolate (so we can be healthy now it's the New Year), dusted off the trainers (so we can trip over them every time we come in the back door) and what was that other thing...?

Oh yes - The website is open again!

The Christmas season was overwhelming in that we were so thrilled to welcome back so many customers who had ordered before and almost as many new ones on top! Now we are back and raring to go, with new products, offers and more besides in store for 2012!

To make sure you don't miss anything we've added email subscription (on the right!) so you can have new posts sent direct to you email, you can find us on Facebook and of course on Twitter

So all that remains is to say Happy New Year to you all, we are sure 2012 is going to be a cracker!

photo by jmtimagesvia PhotoRee