Category Archives: Gift Ideas

How to Make a Book Advent Calendar

It’s one month to Christmas Eve and my mind has been turning to advent calendars. I always seem to end up panic organising these at the very end of November (or worse yet, buying small advent calendar fillers a day or two ahead throughout December, one step ahead of the sher-elf) so this year I decided that I would be organised and make sure that I had things ready in advance.

Behold, my book advent calendar.

Now I know that this might look a little excessive, but advent calendars have become big business in recent years, so I’ll sometimes buy a beer or beauty advent calendar as a gift for a relative who is very into a particular hobby, so I thought, why not a book advent calendar? While I’m sure that you can buy a book advent calendar, making your own book advent calendar allows you to tailor it to the recipient’s genre preference, for example, a crime fiction advent calendar, young adult fiction advent calendar or romantic fiction advent calendar… the ideas are endless while buying the books second-hand saves a lot of money while making it a gift for your friend and giving a nod to worthy charities at Christmas.

For my advent calendar, I scoured a local charity shops to find recent fiction paperbacks and on average these cost me 50p each, so you can easily buy the books for under £15 if you hunt around for bargains. The brown paper was inexpensive, and you could use string instead of ribbon, or do as I did and buy a large roll of cheap organza ribbon that can be used for the rest of your Christmas wrapping.

You will need:

24 books, wrapping paper, ribbon or string, coloured markers, decorations.

How to make it:

  1. Wrap the books (tip, pre-cutting the paper makes this faster)
  2. When the books are wrapped, try out different stacking formations until you are happy with your design.
  3. Once you’re happy with your final design, number the books with a coloured marker so that you can remember their final position in the stack.
  4. Once the books are numbered, take the stack apart and decorate them with any string, ribbon or embellishments that you want to add.
  5. Restack the books.
  6. Go wild with the Christmas decorations, have a cookie and a cup of tea.

NB. This is to make a 24 book advent calendar but you could easily customize this for a different time period, or do the twelve days of Christmas instead.

 

2018 book advent calendar 2018 24 days christmas for bookworms

 

The Best Book Subscription Boxes

If you’ve dipped even your little toe in the murky waters of social media recently, I’ll bet that you’ve seen an advert for some kind of subscription service. From make up to meat, surprises to sanitary towels (no, really) it seems that there’s a subscription box for almost everything, though until recently a monthly box for book lovers has been a pipe dream for those in the UK.

But no more! There are now a wide range of book subscription services for bookworms in the UK, so you don’t have to pay a huge postage fee to enjoy a monthly book box from across the pond. And, dare I say it, it seems to me that UK bookworms actually have a more grown up selection of book subscription packages to choose from?

I’ve selflessly gone out of my way to test a few of these (best month ever) and am able to give you a round-up of the best book subscription boxes the UK has to offer. Curated by small teams of imaginative, talented and hardworking bookworms, they really are all fantastic:

Bookishly

bookishly subscription unboxing review

If you’ve ever had wall art envy for an amazing framed literary quote, you’ve probably come across a print from Bookishly. They’ve recently branched out from creating word art with Vintage books and have created a book club that sends out a monthly package containing a vintage book, a luxury tea sample from Jenier World of Tea and a curated item of stationery. If you know a bookworm who loves to curl up with an old book and a cup of tea before writing a thank you note on beautiful stationery, then the Bookishly book subscription is the gift for them. Or you, if you fit that description.

 

Illumicrate

illumicrate subscription unboxing review

Curated by Daphne at Winged Reviews, Illumicrate is the new heavyweight on the book subscription box market and it really packs a punch. Filled with items that match the Illumicrate ethos of “fun, beautiful and geeky” this larger subscription box is released monthly. The perfect gift for a reader who is passionate about their contemporary and young adult literature, the former teacher in me also thinks it would be the perfect way to lure a reluctant reader into exploring literary worlds.

 

Owl and Bear Gift Company

owl and bear gift company book subscription review

If you’re looking for a special gift for a loved one but don’t necessarily share their literary tastes, the Owl and Bear Gift Company Book Subscription service can help you out. Specialists in genre book subscriptions, they have a package to tickle every bookworm’s fancy whether they are young or old, or if their passion is for horror, thrillers or romance. If you’re not even sure exactly what kind of books your intended recipient prefers, they can still help you out with their bespoke subscription service which builds a package based on the recipient’s favourite authors.

 

The Willoughby Book Club

willoughby book club subscription review unboxing

Founded by Adam and Chloe Pollard in 2012, The Willoughby Book Club provides a personalised book subscription service with some really clever package options. Not only do they provide a Contemporary and Classic packages for those who want to hone their reading in a particular direction, they also provide hobby subscription packages for cooks, gardeners and natural historians. The Willoughby package I like the sound of most is, sadly, not for me… The Couples Book Club package which sends out two copies of the same novel so that you can read it together and discuss it. My boyfriend may make wonderful cups of tea and buy me the books I am embarrassed to be seen with in bookshops, but a reader he is not! Still, I think it would make a great gift to share with a close friend and it really is a genius idea.

Amazing 80th Birthday Present

I recently went to my great-aunt’s 80th birthday party and was presented with these amazing little books.

My cousin had them made for her mother and father who write poems (though my great aunt calls them writings) as 80th birthday presents and they contain 80 poems/writings that they have each written. She had lots printed so they could send them to family and friends. Not only are the poems really impressive, but my great aunts poems contain a lot of family history and remembrances which was just lovely.

My cousin is known throughout my family (and the world!) for being incredibly kind and thoughtful, but I thought that this was just the most amazing present, not just to my Auntie and Uncle but to the family as well.

Sian, we salute you!

I’m not a Philatelist, but…

I’m not a philatelist (stamp collector, but how cool is that word?) though I did once buy the royal mail Dracula and Frankenstein stamps to decorate my diary. I was about 9 at the time, and stamp prices weren’t quite as ridiculous as they are now. It was a short lived obsession, and while I do appreciate a nice stamp, stamps are not a major obsession for me.

However, I think I might be forced to rethink this after a colleague in work showed me these amazing book related stamps on The Royal Mail website.

Fantasy Stamps- Magical Realms

Nostalgic Stamps- Winnie-the-Pooh

I don’t know if I mentioned that I’ve decided it might be time for me to go back to old fashioned correspondace, but I have started sending a lot of letters to my friends living elsewhere, because who doesn’t love a proper letter? I think I might have to buy these.

Scriptum, Oxford

 

Scriptum, Oxford

 

I was introduced to this little shop on the weekend, and I could have spent years in here. It’s an amazing treasure trove of wax seals, leather journals, quills and assorted oddities. If I could have bought the entire shop, I would have. They don’t really sell reading books, the only books on display were some very expensive folio editions (cheaper to become a devoted member of the Folio Society and purchase heavily for a time) but if I ever win the lottery I will be going back to stock up my desks. I can see me now writing in a leather-bound tome with gold engraving, writing in an elegant script with a peacock feather quill and rainbow coloured inks. The perfect place to act out your Romantic/Gothic/Medieval/Harry Potter fantasy.

I came away with some vintage look postcards showing animals on vintage maps. There were two of each so I will have one to frame and another to send to lucky recipients. I will have to go back soon though. I’m sure that come pay-day I can justify my new-found need for a magnifying glass, butterfly patterned sticky notes and a few pretty marbled notebooks. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Oxford area, their website is http://www.scriptum.co.uk/