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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.