Hope & Rainbows

Kate sent me a very lovely email asking me to let you know about her gorgeous designs:

Hope & Rainbows

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My shop is called Hope & Rainbows.  I launched the site in July, initially through a Facebook campaign to spread the word via my friends and family, who were very enthusiastic and supportive.

More recently, I have been receiving orders from unrelated, genuine Customers (not that my friends and family weren’t…!) and I’ve been so happy to find that my illustrations and products are being well received by the world at large too!

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Each of my designs is digitally hand designed by me, Kate, at home (with ‘helpful’ input from my husband and daughters!!).   I am able to produce the images as a mounted or fully framed print, to brighten up a nursery or playroom.

There is already a wide selection of pictures to choose from, including almost all initials, but I also offer a bespoke service to create a totally new illustration when necessary to fulfill a customers’ exact requirements.

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The popularity of the prints led me to also sell packs of 25 postcards with the same range of images on.  These make a wonderful standalone present for a little one (for those all-important thank you letters…), but are even more special when paired with a framed print to gift for a Christening or Birth.

In August, my husband had the brilliant idea of transferring images onto child-sized tote bags, to gift to our daughter’s friends at her fourth birthday party.  These reusable, adorable bags went down an absolute storm and I have received many orders for them since – they are a lovely keepsake and a great alternative to a plastic bag that tends to go straight in the bin.

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I chose to fill ours with a few sweeties and the obligatory piece of cake; a friend of mine recently shared that she has put a blank greetings card, sheet of stickers and a pencil in each bag – the children loved having a craft to do after the party.

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Following the success of the party bags, I am also rolling out some new larger drawstring bags in the near future.  The party bags are great for a pair of ballet shoes or football boots; the drawstring bags are for the full kit and caboodle and a really lovely Christmas present (a bargain too, at £7!).

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So I would love to invite your readers to visit my website to get to know my work better and to visit my shop  or Etsy store  if they would like to place an order or get in touch to chat about a custom design.

You can also find out more about Kate’s designs at her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hopeandrainbows

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Christmas Planning 2012

I really don’t want to scare you, but it’s 74 days (Xmas Clock) to Christmas. Yup, that’s less than 3 months. Eek! Feels like we’ve only just finished the Summer Holidays, so how can it nearly be Christmas!!?!?!

In my effort to try to make your life a little bit easier, last year I came across a lot of really good blog posts that I thought would be useful to share with you. There are some ideas about Christmas planning, how to not spend a fortune over the Christmas holidays and some ideas about being ethically conscious during the festive season. Some of the posts come from American blogs, but I don’t think this makes them any less valuable, as I always think that our cousins over the pond seem to be better at Christmas than we are!

I hope you find them interesting and helpful, especially the ones related to planning for Christmas!

Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Task 1

Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Task 2

Plan your Peaceful Christmas: Task 3

Goal: Get Christmas Shopping Finished Early

The Giant Christmas List: Curbing Impulses

Frugal Christmas – top 5 recycling ideas for your gifts….

Christmas Countdown Checklists – (A NHM Reader (Thanks Gillian!) sent this through. Excellent website so I’ve included it here)

5 ways to slow down and embrace your holiday stories – (One of my favourite blogs of all time. I LOVE SimpleMom)

Some Thoughts about Holiday Cards

Should I cancel Christmas or would my children never forgive me and Santa?

How to avoid a Christmas spending splurge … using tips from a psychologist

Christmas Gift Guide – 30 days and counting (a bit early for this, I know!)

Celebrate Solstice

Ultimate Christmas Movie Guide

The Countdown To Christmas – Let The Preparations Begin!

New Mummy’s Tips Christmas 2011

An easy, no-frills advent calendar

Dealing with Holiday Leftovers

Charity at Christmas (I think this is a really, really great post)

How to have a Frugal Christmas – Free Santa letters….

Count down to Christmas with our children’s books Advent calendar – interactive

How to have a Frugal Christmas – Fun Stuff to do together….

9 of the Best Christmas Crackers under £10

Tips for making your Christmas more enjoyable, and more economical!

Here’s how to save money on Christmas presents and make your kids really want to spend time with their family

Things to Make and Do with Kids During Christmas Vacation

How to Entertain and Keep Costs Down During the Holidays

Review 2012 of the new Photography Studio at Viables

Sarah runs the photography studio at Viables that opened earlier this year. After I wrote a blog post about the new studio I contacted Sarah to ask if I could attend a session with my husband and little one. We had a lovely time and the photo’s came out so well. There are some awesome pictures of my little one, I just wish I was more photogenic! Typically my little one wasn’t playing ball that day so after 30 mins we had to stop the session. However, Sarah made us feel so welcome and the shots that came out were very natural and exactly what I was looking for. The session was also very reasonably priced and I get to keep all of the shots taken from the session. Sarah even gave me a letter of permission that allows me to use them for printing, etc.

I know Sarah is looking into offering a number of different packages, for example:

  • Group sessions for Antenatal groups
  • Short sessions for those who are also visiting “Tiny Tots Tuesday” at The Parlour Tea Rooms, also in Viables.

Once I have more details about these (and she’s not quite so busy!) I will add another post with details.

If you would like more details about Sarah’s photography or her studio please check out:

Thanks Sarah! Sorry I didn’t give you pre-warning to this post!

This is NOT a sponsored post and I paid for my session.

Related Posts

New Photography Studio in Viables

“Tiny Tots Tuesday” at The Parlour Tea Room

Family Photographers in North Hampshire

Christmas Blog Posts

Below are a list of blog posts which are sort of related to Christmas. Some could be helpful for gift hunting (if you haven’t already got it all sorted). At NorthHantsMum my aim is to try to make your life a little bit easier. Hope these help!

If you have 5 minutes to spare you can make the best Christmas cards ever for free

Christmas Offers


Are homemade Christmas gifts a good idea?

The Great Autumn Winter Coat Hunt: Snow Boots

Find me a Gift

An Explosion of Memories

Christmas!!!! (Food, Presents & Pampering)

Are you suddenly realising that it’s only 4 weeks to Christmas? Yup, me too. I’ve managed to book the Christmas food delivery slot today, but because I’d left it quite late (when did the 19th of November become late for Christmas bookings???) I didn’t get any of the slots I wanted. Ho hum.

I’m only just starting to think about Christmas Presents (children seem to speed up time because normally I’m way more organised than this!) but I think this year that I’m going to try to buy local as much as possible. The list below are some ideas of local places where you can get fantastic hand crafted presents. I’ve also included a few ideas that might help your Christmas go a little bit more smoothly.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions to share.

Christmas Presents

Butterflies and Cupcakes

A lovely family business that do some beautiful items. They operate from Tadley but can deliver depending on how close you live to Tadley.

The best items they do are:

  • Name Hangings that are priced at £1.50 per letter
  • Name Plaques (up to 6 letters or more depending in name) at £8.50 and includes an animal character E.g. giraffe, tiger, etc.
  • Christmas Stockings are £12.50 but take a while so last orders for them are the second week in December

Little Rosies Tea Shop (Elm Tree Garden Centre on the way to Tadley) has a shop attached to it with some really nice present ideas.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre “Our Shop”, town centre. Lots of original items including snow globes and wooden Christmas Tree Decorations.

Alison’s Wonderland, Viables Craft Centre. The shop is attached to the Parlour tea rooms so you can browse with a cuppa in hand. Alison is lovely and very friendly.

Ma Humbug’s, Viables craft centre. Quaint old school sweet shop who will make up sweet boxes for you. Yummy!

Pots2Paint, Viables craft centre. If you are looking for that unique present for the Grandparents then this place will be perfect for you. Check out their website for more details (click on their name and it should take you straight through).

Childhood’s Dream, Winchester. I know I keep raving about this little shop (see the NHM facebook page), but I love it! Lots of wooden, old school toys that retain their value so if your children look after them, you can sell them on easily when they grow out/become bored with them.

Local Mummy Businesses – A list of local Mum businesses in the area that make gifts that would be perfect for Christmas.

Christmas Food

Vegetable/Fruit Boxes

We use Able and Cole box delivery close to Christmas because they deliver right to your door, regardless of the weather conditions which is so worth the £1 delivery charge. They also do a Baby and Toddler box of Veg and Fruit. It can be quite pricey but at least you know you are getting good vegetables, etc. As well as fruit and veg they also deliver diverse things like mince pies, Ella’s baby food and organic cleaning products. They deliver right up to December 23rd. Riverford also deliver boxes to the area.

Local Farm Shops

There are lots of farm shops in and around Basingstoke. Check out the Farm Shop page on NorthHantsMum to find one near you.

Christmas Pampering

If you are already exhausted with the drama of “Christmas with Children” check out the Mobile Beautician Page or Mobile Hairdressers Page on NorthHantsMum. These wonderful ladies will travel to your house and pamper you in your home. Some of them are even being kind enough to offer you a discount if you mention NorthHantsMum!

Hope this has given you some inspiration. I will post up a few more posts about Christmas, but I’m sure you are being bombarded about it from everywhere else so I’ll try not to lay it on too thick.

Good Luck!

NorthHantsMum