14 November 2016

The Spice of Life!

Autumn and Winter may bring darker evenings and colder weather but that also gives us the perfect excuse, if any were needed, to brighten our surroundings with the welcoming glow and comforting fragrance of scented candles. And warm, spicy notes or crisp, fresh aromas make ideal companions.

One of the first fragrances that comes to mind at this time of year is cinnamon. Although it's a spice that we use year round, it is now when we find it scenting everything from Christmas cake to mulled wine. But fortunately, we don't have to try and rival Mary Berry in the kitchen; instead, light a candle!

Christmas candle selection from WoodWick
Beautiful Christmas releases from WoodWick
Our old friend WoodWick never disappoints as can be seen from these Christmas releases. Try Frasier Fir for the invigorating fragrance of an evergreens forest or savour juicy Christmas berries with a touch of warm spice and mistletoe essence in Crimson Berries.

Cinnabark in the attractive Hearthwick range or the trio of Cinnamon Chai, Ground Cinnamon and Spiced Rum in Trilogy are also available.

Christmas candles from Kringle
Kringle Candles' festive selection
We keep to the USA with Kringle Candles' festive selection. You can opt for the Nordic cedar, firewood, orange rind, nutmeg and vanilla bean of Cozy Christmas, or the cranberry, mulberry, plum, vanilla, cinnamon and clove of Frosted Cranberry. Frosted Mahogany blends mahogany, cedarwood, bergamot, rose, citrus, musk and patchouli while Winter Wonderland offers the fresh mix of  hollyberry, frosted ivy, maple, balsam fir and currant.

Giant cinnamon candles from Torc
Torc's giant cinnamon candle will fragrance the entire season
Torc's giant Cinnamon candle has been a feature of our festive range for several years. It makes an excellent centrepiece and will fragrance your home throughout the season. Complete with its own cork mat and a smart presentation box it also makes an ideal gift for any candle lover.

Fruit-scented candle selection from Wax Lyrical
Festive fruitiness from Wax Lyrical
Fruity fragrances feature in Wax Lyrical's Orange and Clove and Fig and Plum from their RHS range. Fig and plum can also be found along with ripe apricot and warm spices in Find the Sixpence for a rich pudding-y hit or try 'Tis the Season for sumptuous red berries with green foliage.

Luxury Christmas candles from Wax Lyrical
More fragrances from Wax Lyrical
More fragrances come from Wax Lyrical in these luxury, large tumbler versions of Golden Sandalwood, Vanilla and Cranberry and Winter Walks.

Bauble-shaped Christmas candles from Wax Lyrical
Baublicious fun from Wax Lyrical !
Finally, add some festive fun to your Christmas d├ęcor with these bauble-shaped candles from Wax Lyrical. Choose between the soft, creamy Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh or the fruity richness of Vanilla and Cranberries.

8 November 2016

Let's Make it a Date!

We are into November and as I write there are just 48 days until Christmas so there's no time for reticence! There are a few dates coming up worth noting in your diary: opportunities to have a little fun and help you cross a few names off your Christmas shopping list.

Melrose late night shopping event poster
Look out for this poster around town
First up is the Melrose Late Night Shopping event. Save your Friday evening on 18 November and join us in Present Perfect and lots of other Melrose traders between 5 - 8 p.m. for a fun, relaxed shopping event. We all know what a unique mix of shops Melrose has to offer, each with a selection of gifts and goodies not found on the high street generally. Enjoy some hospitality and a warm welcoming atmosphere. And you could round off the night with a meal or drinks in one of the popular restaurants and bars. If you use Facebook, check out the event for all the latest.

Late Night Shopping notice 1 December 2016
We are glad to be supporting Gibson Park Playgroup once again
On Thursday 1 December the Gibson Park Playgroup will be holding their annual Christmas Fair evening in the Corn Exchange and, as in previous years, we will be open in their support. We will be donating 10 per cent of our sales on that evening to the playgroup. We'll also have nibbles and a free Prize Draw for all customers. So we hope you'll come along and visit the many craft stalls at the fair and pop into Present Perfect too, knowing that you will be helping the playgroup wherever you shop.

Small Business Saturday UK logo
Small Business Saturday takes place on 3 December this year
Small Business Saturday (SBS) is now in its fourth year. It takes place on the first Saturday in December which falls on the 3rd this year. The campaign encourages us all to support small independent businesses which are often the lifeblood of local communities, something that's especially true in the Scottish Borders.

Each year 100 small businesses from across UK are highlighted in the 100 days leading up to SBS. We were thrilled to be one of the original 100 in 2013 and we recently took part in the Edinburgh stop of the SBS UK bus tour. This year, the Scottish Borders are fortunate to have another #SmallBiz100 in Hendersyde Farm Holiday Cottages, Kelso.

On 3 December we will be giving a free gift to all customers who spend over £25 or £50.

Selection of ideal Christmas gifts at Present Perfect
Just some of the great gift ideas currently instore
Since September we have had a selection of gorgeous gift items arriving, from handmade items such as glass by Carrie Paxton, Jules Jules fine silver jewellery and soaps from Oakwood Soaperie to Indian silk, paisley-patterned scarves and all sorts of candles from Kringle, Wax Lyrical and WoodWick. More is on the way including a beautiful Christmas card collection. So we really do hope you'll take the opportunity to visit us either on one of the late night evenings or on Small Business Saturday or any other day. We'd love the chance to help you find gifts for everyone on your Christmas list!

26 October 2016

Catching the Small Business Saturday Bus in Edinburgh!

Small Business Saturday tour bus in Edinburgh
The SBS tour bus rolls into Edinburgh
Well, despite having LOTS of wrapping paraphernalia, I didn't quite have enough ribbon to wrap the Small Business Saturday bus when it made its tour stop in Edinburgh on 25 October, so I concentrated on smaller items as part of my gift wrapping demonstration!

Derrick of Present Perfect gift wrapping with Small Business Saturday in Edinburgh
Sartorial splendour: Christmas jumper and bus-colour-coordinated outer wear!
It was great to see the Present Perfect logo proudly displayed on the side of the bus. It will be well travelled by the time the bus finishes its UK tour in Bournemouth on 25 November and will be seen all the way from Aberdeen to Newquay.

Derrick pointing out the Present Perfect logo displayed on the SBS bus
The road to success! 
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson MSP stopped by to chat with all the SBS participants. Representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses and the Greater Grassmarket Business Improvement District were also interested to learn more from all of us.

Ruth Davidson MSP chatting with Derrick
Enjoying a chat with Ruth Davidson MSP 
It was also fun and very interesting to learn more about fellow business operators who were taking part in the tour stop: Belhaven Bikes from Dunbar, Mind Generating Success, Just Be Botanicals and Red Panda Jewellery all based in Edinburgh. You can visit their websites by clicking on the links.

Participants in the SBS Edinburgh tour stop
Clockwise from top: Just Be Botanicals, Belhaven Bikes, Red Panda Jewellery and Mind Generating Success
In truth, I didn't do much demonstrating as our audience was composed of members of the public who were passing by, but it was good to explain a few things to those who were curious. Even Ruth Davidson confessed that she eagerly accepts gift wrapping services whenever they are offered! And at Present Perfect we're always happy to wrap purchases, in the shop or online.

Derrick advising a curious onlooker on the art of gift wrapping
Giving gift wrapping advice to a curious onlooker
The Small Business Saturday bus tour will be stopping in towns and cities across the UK and will always have a small number of businesses featured at each location. Take a look at their schedule to see if they will be visiting near you and please pop along if you can. We know they will all appreciate it and you will discover some fantastic local small businesses. Remember, the big day is 3 December!

15 October 2016

Enjoying a Break Before the Build-up

Hello! We are just back from a fun and refreshing break in the South of Ireland where we spent an enjoyable week with friends visiting Co. Cork. After a very wet start the weather improved and we did manage some blue sky and sunshine.

Our holiday home was in the village of Schull (pronounced skull), a coastal location on the Mizen Head peninsula, the most South-Westerly point in Ireland.

Bantry House, Co. Cork, Ireland
Bantry House seen from the rear garden
We drove up to Bantry on the first day and avoided much of the awful weather by visiting Bantry House, ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry. The house is set in extensive grounds with views over Bantry Bay but although some parts of the interior are impressive and rich in history (photography not allowed) the fabric is in need of much TLC - an unenviable task.

Kenmare Bay, Co.Kerry, Ireland
Kenmare Bay seen from the Boathouse Bistro, Dromquinna Manor
The next day was spent in the delightful village of Kenmare, part of the Ring of Kerry. The weather was kinder and we also enjoyed an excellent fishy lunch at The Boathouse Bistro, Dromquinna Manor, with views over Kenmare Bay.

Replica galleon mast on Kinsale waterfront
Replica galleon mast on Kinsale waterfront
The marina town of Kinsale was also on our list and provided us with another very tasty lunch and good day out. The streets are colourful with many independent shops. Loving history as I do, it was interesting to learn that part of a Spanish armada landed in Kinsale in 1601 and participated in the Battle of Kinsale, an event marked by a replica galleon mast on the seafront.

Bridge spanning the gorge at Mizen Head
A bridge spans the gorge at Mizen Head to the Signal Station
We saved the Mizen Head for our last day. The signal station and the Fastnet Rock lighthouse have a fascinating history which is well set out in the visitor centre. Despite being very blustery, it was an excellent day providing amazing views of the cliffs and ocean. Well worth a visit!

The gorge at Mizen Head
View of the gorge from the bridge, Mizen Head
After two relaxing days in Belfast, the weather for our return to Scotland was glorious, enabling a comfortably smooth ferry crossing.

Loch Ryan, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
Sun glinting on the surface of Loch Ryan, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
So now we begin the build-up to Christmas. Some new stock has already arrived this week and more is on the way. We're also looking forward to participating in the Small Business Saturday UK bus tour which stops in Edinburgh on 25 October. I'll be giving a gift wrapping demonstration - (I was going to say, "fingers crossed", but that would make the demo more difficult!). The actual Small Business Saturday falls on 3 December this year. More anon.

Small Business Saturday tour bus
The Small Business Saturday bus will tour UK ahead of the big day
Well, I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse of our trip to Ireland. We really had a good time and our batteries are now recharged as the festive season approaches. We do hope you'll call in to see the new stock arrivals or you can check out the Present Perfect online shop.

4 October 2016

Autumn, by any other name still as Glorious!

Autumn gift selection by Present Perfect, Melrose
Gifts with an autumnal glow!
Strange isn't it? Some say Autumn and some say Fall. Apparently, before the 16th century we all referred to this season as Harvest, a term that's still used by some of our European cousins with Herfst in Dutch or Herbst in German. The Scots word is Hairst.

Greetings card, Stag and Hare by Hannah Giffard
Stag and Hare by Hannah Giffard - a Green Pebble greetings card
As people moved off the land and began to work in towns and cities the term Harvest became associated just with the act of reaping and the season took on the new name, Fall, just as the leaves do.

Old World travel journal
Old World travel journal by Peter Pauper Press
In the 17th century, migration from Britain to the North American colonies was at its height and the travellers naturally took their language with them. So, as Fall gained greater usage in America its position happened to reverse in England and the word Autumn, long favoured in Latin-speaking countries, became the accepted word.

WoodWick candle and Falling Leaves giftwrap
WoodWick candle, Falling Leaves giftwrap and Feathers card by Dandylion Jack
But, whatever the name, the beautiful colours and (hopefully) mellow days help to compensate for cooler temperatures and longer nights. And there's nothing nicer than being warm and cosy inside, enjoying the welcoming glow of candlelight with a steaming hot drink or perhaps some other warming spirit!

Leaderfoot Viaduct in Autumn, Melrose
Leaderfoot Viaduct near Melrose
Being surrounded by beautiful countryside, Melrose looks even more attractive as the leaves turn and is well worth a late-season visit. Hopefully we'll see you soon!

2 October 2016

Not in a Month of Sundays

A few months ago, over on our Facebook page, I decided to start a Sunday Sentiment slot; a wise or witty quotation from the great and good that had a connection to generosity, gifts and giving. Something to raise a smile or have your head nodding sagely. Today brings up No.18 and I thought it would be nice to share a few on the blog.

Quotation - It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving: Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa provided our first Sunday Sentiment
In preparing this first quote, by Mother Teresa, I happened upon a background theme by tinkering with one of my photographs. I love the rich vibrancy of these colours and so have aimed to incorporate them into each one. So even when the image isn't my own, the style will, hopefully, make it immediately identifiable.

Quotation - God loveth a cheerful giver: 2 Corinthians 9:7
Some quotes may come from the bible
That said, the colours didn't suit this image for a verse from the bible but it's good not to be hidebound!

Quotation - A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer: Seneca
Other quotes may come from ancient philosophers
Antiquity has provided us with a great deal of wisdom on all sorts of topics including gifting. Seneca was a Roman but remember those Greeks?!

Quotation - For to the noble mind rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind: Shakespeare (Hamlet)
Even Shakespeare got in on the act!
We owe so many everyday phrases to the works of William Shakespeare that often we don't realise their origin but it's a safe bet that, no matter the subject, Will has penned a few pertinent words.

Quotation - So many gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind, while just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs: Ella Wheeler Wilcox
A simple truth beautifully expressed
We haven't neglected the ladies either as this sadly all too relevant poem from Ella Wheeler Wilcox shows.

Quotation - You can always tell what kind of a person a man really thinks you are by the earrings he gives you: Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn provides the quote for today
Let's round up with the quote that I've chosen for today (2.10.16) from Audrey Hepburn. Gentlemen have a tough time when it comes to buying gifts for a lady ;)

Oh, and if you're wondering what all of this has to do with the blog post title, it's simply to say that not even in a month of Sundays would it be possible to exhaust the pearls of wit and wisdom that are 'out there' but we hope to bring just a little of it your way. If you'd like to keep up, do take a look at our Facebook and Twitter pages or, if you prefer, pop over to Pinterest.

Take care until the next time.

27 September 2016

Paisley Pattern - Riches from the East

Last week we received a stock of beautiful Indian silk scarves. We first had them last year and such was the richness of colour and design that we were thrilled to get more. The exotic pattern known as 'paisley' originated in the East, in countries like Persia (modern-day Iran) but gained it's name when it began being produced in Paisley, Scotland.

Indian silk scarves with purples and turquoise paisley designs

In the West, these designs became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries with the import of items like shawls from Kashmir and then began to be copied locally.

Indian silk scarf in silver paisley pattern

The design is composed of the buta or boteh, a droplet-shaped vegetable motif. Some believe this to be a combination of a stylised floral spray and a cypress tree, taken from Zoroastrian symbology.

Paisley patterned neck ties

Paisley is so versatile it has been used in all sorts of textile and rug designs for centuries. The pattern is popular for neck ties and it took me only moments to pull a very small selection from my own wardrobe and realise just how many I have! It's easy to see what a varied look can be achieved.

Jagger, Bowie & Lennon sporting paisley shirts
Mick Jagger, David Bowie, John Lennon
It was fashionable in the 1960s .....

Duchess of Cambridge, Sandra Bullock and Nikki Reed wearing paisley
Duchess of Cambridge wearing Alexander McQueen, Sandra Bullock wearing Stella McCartney
and Nikki Reed wearing Naeem Khan
...... and it still is!

Find our latest selection of silk scarves online and add a classic fashion accessory to your autumn/winter wardrobe.

15 September 2016

Thinking of You

Thinking of You Week logo

We're all guilty! Someone, near or far, pops into our mind; we haven't thought of them in ages and we resolve to get in touch, ask how they are and let them know we're thinking of them. But life has a way of sweeping us along, often at high speed, and our best intentions become overlooked. The final week in September gives us the opportunity to put things right.

An Eye on the Birds by Louise Rawlings - greetings card
An Eye on the Birds by Louise Rawlings - Milkwood Publishing
Beginning on 26 September, 'Thinking of You Week' gives us seven days to catch up with family and friends - not by flashing off a quick text or email but by putting pen to paper or card and taking a few moments to convey all those things we really meant to say but didn't get around to.

Loopy by Martin Leman - greetings card
Loopy by Martin Leman ARWS RBA - Dry Red Press
And science has shown that receiving a handwritten note or card creates a warm positive boost and makes people feel far more special. Some even believe that it can stave off feelings of loneliness and improve self esteem; great benefits from such a simple gesture.

Cyclamen by Jane Crick - greetings card
Cyclamen by Jane Crick - The Lavenham Press
Writing the cards doesn't have to be a huge chore either. Think of seven people who would really love to hear from you and write to one each day: an elderly relative who you don't get to see very often; a brother or sister who's away at university; an old school friend who it's always a joy to catch up with but never frequently enough; even your other half who is so special and deserves to see your true feelings expressed as only you can.

Thank You by Seb - greetings card
Thank You by Seb - Milkwood Publishing
Even the children can participate and have fun by making their own card or doing a drawing or painting for granny and grandad or an auntie with a few words to say 'Thank you for looking after me, I always enjoy our days together'.

Rowboat & Bike by Angus Robertson - greetings card
Rowboat & Bike by Angus Robertson - Periodic Society
The Royal Mail will be using a special franking mark on all mail during Thinking of You Week to ensure the message is spread far and wide. So why not join in? Make yourself a short (or long!) list of worthy recipients and set aside a few minutes each day, during your lunch break or in the evening, to pen a personal message to each one. They will be thrilled when your card drops on their mat and you will be glad you did!

Autumn in Glenlivet - one of our own designs
Many of you like to keep a stock of cards on hand and we are very grateful! Each purchase you make, especially from small, local independent shops, is a vital contribution to that business' success and to the independent artists and designers whose work is featured on the cards. That's why artist and designer, Sarah Hamilton began the Just a Card campaign: to stress how each and every purchase, however small, helps to keep so many small businesses in existence. Please keep a look out for the logo and spread the word to your family and friends. Use the hashtag #justacard on Twitter and Facebook.

Just a Card logo

12 September 2016

The Scented Home

Smell is one of our most important senses and scents, fragrances can be evocative of a time or place, can affect our mood; lift our spirits or help us to relax. No wonder then that scented products for the home come in such a wide variety, and there's something suitable for every part of it.

The moment we step through the front door, think how welcoming it is to be greeted by a bright, fresh fragrance rather than, perhaps, damp coats, smelly footwear or pet odours! And if we want this to work 24/7, then a reed diffuser is ideal.

Here, Wax Lyrical's Celebration with it's fresh green apple, pear and tangy white wine with musk base notes or Love and Laughter's eucalyptus and lavender on a cedarwood base could be just the thing. If you prefer a candle, then we have a choice of Kringle's Rainy Day, Splash or Spellbound or WoodWick's Dew Drops, Beachfront Cottage or Ocean Escape, all of which have fresh, clean fragrances.

As we pass into the living room, floral fragrances are often preferred and there are many of these. WoodWick's Honeysuckle, Wild Sweet Pea or Botanical Garden and Kringle's Sunflower Sunrise and Wild Poppies can all provide that gentle background fragrance. You could also try the gardenia blossom, patchouli and rose of Love at First Light or the fresh bluebell flowers, rainwater and oak of Wood Walk from Borders-made Esscentual Candles.

For the kitchen it perhaps makes sense to have food-related fragrances whether they be baking, such as Kringle's Apple Cider Donut, the strong espresso hit of Esscentual Candles's Spring Kitchen or fruity/citrus scents such as WoodWick's Pineapple, Black Cherry, Marionberry, Lemon and Sugared Grapefruit. These, and the floral selection, are all equally at home in the conservatory too.

The bathroom can accommodate a variety of fragrances. We can escape with scents that remind us of holidays like Kringle's Beachside or WoodWick's Beach Boardwalk and Seaside Mimosa. Or wrap ourselves in the fresh, clean fragrances of Kringle's Warm Cotton, WoodWick's Linen or soft Baby Powder.

Finally, the bedroom is our refuge from the cares of the day and, once again, gentle, relaxing fragrances seem most appropriate and can be based around lavender or perhaps the herbal scent of Kringle's Citrus and Sage. Some may prefer the warmer, spicier scent of cinnamon or WoodWick's signature Fireside.

One thing's for sure; whatever your preference, there's something for every room in the house and to suit everyone. So don't relegate candles, reed diffusers or wax melts to just one part of the home or think of them as being suitable only for high days and holidays. Fragrancing has a role to play in our homes and in our sense of wellbeing throughout the year. Call into the shop or view our candle selection online.

Please remember - Always use care when burning candles. Place them on a protected, level surface away from draughts and inflammable materials. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Keep away from children and pets.