Writing Christmas cards is one of my favourite parts of the season. I love letter writing at any time of year but the added bit of festivity and the added excuse to write to people I wouldn’t normally is something I relish.

I mentioned in my Christmas planning post that I’d be sharing a few of my thoughts on writing top-notch cards, and this is it. This is by no means a prescriptive guide, the best cards are the ones that you write from your heart but I (at least) think it’s always nice to have a bit of nosey into how other people do it.


Before you do anything, you’ll want to work out how many cards you’re sending out and to where. The further away your cards are going the earlier you’ll need to have them written. I’d suggest checking your local postage times, Royal Mail last posting dates can be found here.



Obviously, you then need to pick your cards. I have a set that I’m very proud of in my shop, which have just the right level of sparkly in my opinion. But you should choose the cards that go with the kinds of wishes you want to send out into the world, are you going for something humorous, are you trying something traditional, or something minimal, or are you going for all-out glitter, sparkle, and sequins? Finding cards that you want to be your marker on someone’s mantelpiece can be tricky, but it’s so nice when you stumble across that set that’s just right. Just remember whatever you buy to make sure you buy enough to have a couple of spares because mistakes will happen (if you’re me).


Now to the format, where you have two main choices if you’re going for something other than the “Dear John, Merry Christmas, Love Jane xx”. The first is to write a personal note in each card, something specific and thought through that is more about your individual relationship. The second is to go formal with a pre-written or typed insert, one of my friend’s mums is particularly great at these. If you’ve got a lot of updates you want to share with grandparents this way can definitely speed things up. Or, you could merge the two and have your pre-formatted updates go into a personal card, which is what I’m potentially thinking of for this year.


This is the route I normally go down. I like to use Christmas cards to reflect on my relationships and why I’m thankful to have the people I do in my life – I guess because we don’t have Thanksgiving here. Where possible I like to include a story we’ve shared over the year. I’m also partial to throwing in a Christmas cracker style joke in there too – because they’re great and you can never have too many in your life.


As I said I receive a lot of great examples of these from mums – is there anything mums can’t do? These often come in the format of a typed up insert and can be designed as much as you like and even include photos. In terms of copy, think about including the big events that have happened over the past year. Have you changed jobs? Moved house? Taken up a new hobby? Got a pet? If not, what are you enjoying in your day to day? It can be a great chance to look back over the last 12 months.


I love a good finishing touch, and when it comes to letters that means adding something a little special to your envelopes – of course, make sure that your address and stamp are still clear and visible. You could adorn them with doodles, stickers, or add a few extra words. How about wrapping them in gift wrap so they’re like mini presents in and of themselves? Whatever you do, add something you wouldn’t normally and you’ll feel like you’re really sending something festive out into the world and who knows you might even make a postman’s day along the way.


I’m going to be reviewing the kind of content I put out in the new year, and I want to make sure it’s stuff that you find useful or interesting. I can’t see things changing too dramatically (I’m not suddenly going to become a make-up guru) but I am going to have a bit more focus to my content, and perhaps my posting schedule.

I currently just write what I feel like or what I think you might find engaging. But going forwards I really do want this to be a useful resource for other people as well as something that it’s nice for me to work on. What better way to do that than to ask for a little bit of your feedback?

So, I’ve put together a very, very short questionnaire that I would really love if you could honestly fill in.

It should only take you 2-3 minutes, there are just 10 quick questions, and it would help me out a lot if you could give me your feedback. 

Take the questionnaire below!

Create your own user feedback survey

I’ve had a slow couple of weeks recently. Not bad weeks, but weeks that didn’t quite feel like I’d done the best I could. So, in order to get out of the funk, I thought I’d write a list of the things that make good weeks go well, and that I hadn’t been doing recently so that I could change it up. Just in case someone else is in the same position, these are the keys to a productive week that I’ve found (so far) that actually work.


I’ve written at length a few times about organisation and planning, so I don’t know why this one doesn’t always stick but don’t just write a to-do list longer than your arm. There is nothing more off-putting (perhaps other than a blank page) than an overwhelmingly long to do list that you just don’t know where to start with. The best way I’ve found to solve that is to break my to-do list into chunks and then assign those chunks to time blocks, so I’ll give myself an hour and a half to queue my social media on a Saturday and then I do it at a set time. That way I always know what I’m doing when. Pro tip if you’re going to do this though is to schedule in a little buffer time because no matter how well you think you know your own productivity things will always go wrong and having a little breather will mean it doesn’t throw you off course.


If you’re anything like me, and I hope you’re not for your own sake, you’ll end up prioritising the everyday things you need to do over the work that’s on your to-do list. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, you probably do need to do laundry. But if you’re going to decide that you can’t do any real work until the rest of your life is in order, you need a plan of attack for your chores. For me, and we’re back to the time blocking, I have a specified chores period on a Saturday morning, which means that I don’t worry too much about tidying other than making my bed and having a bit of a clear up the rest of the week.


Know the conditions you work best in. Are you a morning person? Do you like to be alone or work around people? Do you need peace and quiet? Do you like to do a long chunk of one thing or keep your day varied? Work out what you need in order to be productive and make sure you have those things. I like to work in my own space (I have a weird thing about people walking around me when I’m working) with my headphones on, so as much as possible I sit at my own desk or one in a corner and I make sure my headphones are always charged up. I also know that I don’t work well on an afternoon so I don’t schedule in anything too heavy for 3 pm. It’s so important to work how you work best, and that’s not something I can really help you with other than suggesting you find out for yourself.


This has been something new to my thinking but it’s made such a difference. There was a really bad period this year where I was only getting about 4 hours of sleep a night, I was running on caffeine at work and then finding myself asleep on my desk on a weekend. I knew that something had to change and that I couldn’t keep trying to cram more and more and more into my days. So I started to schedule around my sleep pattern. I start with the time I have to wake up on a morning, then I work back with how much sleep I need, then back again with my wind down time and so on and so forth. Making sleep a priority has made such a difference and has actually meant that I end up doing more in a day even though I’m technically working for less time.


Don’t forget to leave yourself time for something you enjoy that could be anything from going out with friends to watching a movie or spending an hour cooking. Give yourself those moments to remind you why you’re working so hard and also help you recharge. If you’re not having fun, something has to change. This is your life and it can’t all be about work as much as you might have conned yourself into thinking that it is (that last sentence is very firmly aimed at myself).

How do you plan a productive week? What are your keys to success?

There are so many reasons that I love Christmas. It’s cold and crisp. There are twinkly lights and sparkles everywhere. The food is so good. There’s so much great music. But today I want to talk about the joy of the organisational challenge that is Christmas.

You all know that I’m an organisation nerd. I love a good to do list, and Christmas can come with so many to-dos if you want it to. Now I’m not saying you need to get Monica from Friends level intense. But I feel like most of us have a few more social occasions and a few more jobs to do than normal, and it takes a little bit of planning to keep on top of it all.

So here are my top tips, or rather the things that I’m super excited to get going with, to keep control of the holidays. There’s also a cute little December calendar you can print and keep at the bottom of this page.


First things first you need to know what’s happening when. It’s super basic but it works. As far as possible mark down all of the things you have to do. This year I’m dividing up the must dos and the can dos so that if I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed I can cut something. Knowing when things have to be done, and when you’re out and about from the start should help you get a little bit of balance, and ensure you don’t try to cram everything in all at once. This is where my handy illustrated calendar comes in.


Whatever your plan is add in some buffer days for things to go wrong, for gifts not to ship, for you to get that inevitable cold. Also, make sure you plan in some time for you, it’s a season to be enjoyed not sprinted through as far as I’m concerned.


Early in the season (aka I did this in early November because I got way too excited) get a list together of all of the cards and bits and pieces you’ll have to send out. That means you can buy the right amount, plus a few spares. It also means you can work out when you need to send everything out, the further away it’s going the longer it’s going to take. Also, you might want to stay tuned for my card writing guide in the next week or so!


Along with your card guide starting your season with a list of gifts you want to buy or at least people you want to buy for can make the month feel like it’s going a little smoother. I’m the kind of person who likes to have a plan before they head out to the stores/start buying online, but you should just go where the Christmas muse takes you. As with cards, I’d always recommend having an emergency secret Santa style gift in the wings too. This year I’m making hampers which has taken a bit of extra planning too.


Again, this is a very obvious one but no planning session is complete without a good old to do list. Write down everything that has to happen for you to feel like you’re on top of the festivities. If you have a lot of different things to do I’d suggest dividing them up by time rather than just subject, I’ve left cooking prep on a separate list and then realised I hadn’t actually bought anything I needed to beforehand.


As I said, Christmas is to be enjoyed. This year I’ve made a wish list of things I’d like to do from markets I’d like to visit, to movies I want to watch, and walks I want to go on, to make sure that when the new year arrives I feel like I’ve had the Christmas I wanted. My calendar has a little list space on the side where you can write these in, so you’re always reminded to make time for the fun things when you’re looking at your schedule.

Download the calendar here! If you use it please do let me know, I’d love to know where it gets to in the world.

In my review of my first year of blogging I touched on the fact that a lot of opportunities I thought I had haven’t quite worked out. I think I was hit a lot harder by them at the start of the year, and when things didn’t work out before I even started blogging. But now I’ve had so much practice (bad things count as practice too) I’m so much better at dealing with lost opportunities now, so I thought I’d share some of the tips I’ve had to work out for myself to help anyone in the dame place out.

If it was an offer…

Take confidence from being noticed

If someone has reached out and offered you an opportunity no matter what it is you should take some confidence out of the fact that you were noticed and someone wanted to work with you etc. Take it as a professional compliment, and use that to give you the confidence that if one person is out there noticing you’re doing good work there are probably 10 others doing the same too. That means other opportunities might be just round the corner.

Make it happen some other way

When someone offers you the chance to do something it can make you realise quite how much you want to do it. That means it can be particularly heartbreaking if it doesn’t work out. But if you feel like it was something you really truly wanted to do, use that heartbreak to push you forward and make it happen for yourself. If it was a style of work you wanted to try, do it yourself. If it was a brand collaboration, reach out to someone else. If it was a big project, find some other way to do it or get it funded. Just because someone else pulls out doesn’t mean that you have to.

Remember you haven’t lost anything

Despite what I said above, remember if you’ve been offered something and then that offer mistaken off the table you haven’t actually lost anything apart from an idea or some invested feelings. This is something I’m trying to work on from the start of this kind of process – it’s not real until it’s done.

If it was something you worked on…

Take pride in what you’ve made

If you’ve made something, whatever happens with it you should be so proud! If you’ve made something you really like, that’s even truer. Even if you’re sad, take a moment to appreciate the work. If you can share it with friends and family, or even your social pipes, as a piece of work that you’re pleased with if nothing else.

See if you can reuse it

While bespoke projects are one-offs and can’t be reused in their entirety, you can always cannibalise a piece or a process to turn it into something new so that effort isn’t lost. That could mean breaking down design elements, reusing research work you did to write your own blog post about a subject, or even using it as a case study of work you can do to sell your services. Everything can be upcycled.

Acknowledge your growth

This one links into “take pride in what you’ve made”. If you’ve made something, you’ve also grown in order to make it. You’ve either learned something new or practiced and refined a skill you already had. You are better for the process even if it was disappointing. Whatever happens you’re stronger for having done the work than not.