Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Parcels of love: Cuddle Boxes

I clicked on a link somewhere yesterday: The Love Box. It took me to the MSN Lifestyle blog, which was about a gift-set from the ethical, organic, fairtrade beauty company, Raw Gaia, based in Brighton.

Check out their website:

What makes Raw Gaia stand out is that we use only 100% organic, living and vegan ingredients such as cold-pressed butters and oils as well as high-grade essential oils. Moreover, our products are made following a process that avoids temperatures beyond 40°C. In this way, the life force of the ingredients and all their antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, etc., are retained. All these nutrients are then available to nourish your skin, without leaving any surface residues.

They do gorgeous gift-sets, beautifully packaged, at reasonable prices, and jewellry handcrafted by Tibetan refugees in India, who receive a fair price for their work.

So treating yourself, or someone you love, to a gift from Raw Gaia would be a feelgood thing to do in lots of ways!

It was thinking about the lovely warm fuzzies I get from giving or sending someone a Cuddle Box, that made me click on the link in the first place. I love love love doing these! I collect things and put them in a pretty box (or bag/basket). For example:

Grandad (Gardening): A sturdy basket, filled with bulbs, seeds, secateurs, twine, gloves, nourishing aromatherapy handcream, trowel and fork, some 'proper' tea and a big mug.

Mum (Tea/Coffee): A variety of special teas and coffees, an assortment of herbs and spices, some fresh organic lemons, some special biscuits, a gorgeous mug and coaster, some magazines.

Dad (Wine): A box with a bottle of wine in it, a special glass, a tiny grater, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, brown sugar, a lemon and an orange, and a book about wines around the world. You could add a recipe for mulled wine (no need with my Dad as it was him who taught me how to make it!) and decorate with slices of dried fruit (slice thinly and dry on a shelf in the middle of an oven at low temperature.)

Sister (Chocolate): Sachets of drinking chocolate, a mug, sugar, an assortment of Green and Blacks (thank you, Sally for introducing me to this!), a mini grater, some cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, a small bag of marshmallows and a book of chocolate recipes.

Various friends (Pampering): I spent one year collecting samples from magazines and trial-sized beauty products, stashing them in a big box. At Christmas, I had enough things to make 6 girlie baskets for friends, decorated with pretty ribbon.

Poorly people (TLC): A 'snuggly' of some sort (teddy, cushion, cosy cardi), a hot water bottle, a mug, some honey, lemons and a bunch of fresh herbs, a book, a magazine, some word-searches/crosswords, some gorgeous tissues, some chocolate (all depending on which sort of poorly they are!), and an aromatherapy oil. This also depends on why someone is unwell, but would probably be lavender, eucalytus, myrrh, tea tree or rosemary. Or perhaps a favourite of the person I'm giving it to.

Another lovely one to do is for a new mum. It's not easy being a new Mum. You are already exhausted, then people come round, usually at the worst times. They bring a lovely gift for the baby. They talk to the baby, sing to the baby, cuddle the baby, and bombard you with questions about the baby. Having woken the baby up, when you had been hoping to crawl under the duvet for an hour, they say 'Well, we know you're tired, we'll let you get some rest' and they leave! Luckily, not everyone's like this, my mum brought me some pampering goodies when she first came to see eldest daughter, and friends brought round casserole or took eldest daughter out for the day, when youngest daughter was born.

New mum: I would choose a pretty bag and fill it with a snuggly, some gorgeous bath/facial products, an aromatherapy oil (probably lavender, but perhaps something like rose or an uplifting citrus), a cooling eye mask, some magazines or the sort of book you can pick up and put down easily (not about babies or being a mum!), a relaxing, uplifting CD/DVD, some chocolate and fresh strawberries (or other luscious fruit), some pretty cards saying 'This Voucher entitles the bearer to ... ' whatever I think might be most helpful! (A cooked meal, an afternoon without the kids, a huge hug, a girlie day in town, a walk along the beach in total peace, a romantic evening with their partner ...)

I did one recently for a friend whose relationship had just broken up, a lovely hessian bag filled with: a hot water bottle with a fluffy pink cover, a book about friendship, a magazine with articles about inspirational women, some hot chocolate and a lovely mug, a gorgeous journal, a CD of yoga music, a candle and some lavender oil.

Cuddle boxes don't have to be expensive (it's probably even nicer if they're not), imagination is the most important thing, and the fact that you love someone and care enough to show them. I have included 'found' objects (shells, pressed flowers, pebbles, a fallen leaf I caught with a message to say 'I caught this falling leaf, but you can have the wish!') I burn playlists on the computer then handmake a cover, rather than buy CDs. I often include books or magazines I already had (a great way to re-home them!). You could write a poem or a decorate a plain picture frame, or bake some cookies, or make real lemonade (you could include a little card to say: When life serves lemons, make lemonade!) You could knit a scarf or make a cushion cover, or cover a simple notebook, or wrap pencils in lovely paper or material.

They are so much fun to do! And this has been so lovely to write ...

Been thinking about you all meeting up today (I'm not even there, and I feel all excited! Can't wait to hear about it!) and I've been imagining a Cuddle Box for a writer.

A beautiful notebook (check out Lane's scrumptious collection!)
Some hand-made writing paper and envelopes
A special pen with a selection of gorgeous coloured inks
A handful of pretty pencils
A fab dictionary (or thesaurus, book of quotations, collection of essays/poems ...)
A coaster with an inspirational or motivational quote
Some chocolate (that seems to get into all my cuddle boxes!) or vice/treat of your choice
A comfy cushion (to help alleviate flattened bottom syndrome)
Some aromatherapy oil (will do a separate post on aromatherapy for writers)
And maybe a snuggly or a hot water bottle, which are lovely for everyone
I might include vouchers for things like time, or peace and quiet!
(If I lived nearby, I might say I would do the weekly shopping or pick up the kids. If I lived with a writer, I would include a voucher for things like doing the housework or taking the kids out for the day. Even if you don't live with or near your lovely writer, you could maybe offer to type up notes, or help with research, or proofread something.)

I always put a passion pebble in too. (I'll put a 'recipe' up for them in another post. With some pictures, when I can figure out how to do it! Valentine's Day is coming, and Mother's Day and Father's Day, and they're lovely to do with the kids at any time.)



What a lovely post. Thanks for the link :) (The chocolate nibs look especially nice!)

HelenMH said...

What a lovely thoughtful person you are x last year when I had no money I had to be really creative about Christmas presents. Some people got things I owned anyway but wanted them to have, and some people got specially written stories. I must say it was more fun than 'normal' Christmas shopping!

Moondreamer said...

Thank you Karen, and you're very welcome!

They do look delicious, don't they? I'm working on an excuse for a serious treat!


Helen, what a really lovely thing to say, thank you! x

I'm sure anyone would be really touched and very honoured that you write them a story!

I agree, it's much more fun, I rarely buy things for people ... except books of course (though I have done scrapbooks!)