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Archive for January, 2008

Gift Vouchers

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Sometimes it’s just too hard to decide what to give someone, or there simply isn’t time for browsing. But you can still give them something you know they will truly love……  by letting them choose it themselves!  We now offer gift vouchers  in increments of £5, £10 and £20, so you can mix and match according to your budget. Simply choose your vouchers, add them to the basket and pay for them as you would usually, then we will send you a voucher code which can be forwarded to your friend.

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safe online shopping starts with shopsafeI’m pleased to announce that Boutiko is now a member of Shopsafe. It’s a UK directory which only lists secure websites, “so you can shop on the Internet with confidence”. 

They check the security, delivery, range of goods and prices of the online shops and have over 3000 listed, as well as voucher codes, special offers, bargains and gift ideas.

They tell me only 25% of sites which are submitted are approved by them, so I am pleased that we have made the grade! You will see the logo on our homepage which tells you that it’s safe to shop with us; this is because we use Paypal and Protx, which are both secure payment processers.

Happy (and safe!) Shopping!

PS. For the last ten days of January there are further reductions on a range of products in our sale. Every month there will be special offers on selected products so don’t forget to stick us in your favourites and check back from time to time!

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Spread Some Love!

Valentine’s Day is not far off, and if you’re thinking about how to treat the one you love, take a look at our Valentine’s Day Gifts section. If you still need inspiration and have the time or inclination to produce something really spectacular, have a look at our page on 129020_heart_leaf_2.jpg‘How to Find The Perfect Gift’ for some ideas. Yes, Valentine’s Day is a big commercial event, but even if it’s not really your cup of tea, it’s never a bad thing to show how much you love someone. Besides which, girls who say they don’t want any fuss are often secretly disappointed if there’s none at all! (Which might make it a good idea to ‘subtly’ forward the link to significant others, girls!)

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Here’s a little something I wrote for wikihow.com. You will also find it on my website. Wikihow is both a useful resource and also a good marketing tool. If you have information to share that might help someone else, write an article on Wikihow and you can help yourself and others – win win!

How to Find the Perfect Gift

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit433315_present.jpg
A good gift shows you care enough about someone to really consider what they might like. Here are some ideas to focus your thoughts and get you started towards finding the gift of their dreams.

Steps

  1.  First of all decide on your budget; this will help to narrow your choice from the overwhelming to the manageable.
  2.  Consider the occasion; do you want to give something they will cherish forever, or something fun that will make them laugh?
  3.  Think about the personality of the recipient. Are they girly, elegant, flamboyant, quirky, eccentric, traditional? Do they like practical things they can use or would they appreciate something decorative?
  4.  Think about the colours they choose to wear, the accessories they like. Do they like chunky jewellery, fun prints, understated, classic styles?
  5.  Think about their circumstances. Perhaps they have just moved to a new home that needs decorating, or they have a stressful job and would benefit from some pampering products?
  6.  If the gift is something they might continue to use in future, such as skincare products, try to find some that work well as a gift but are also affordable enough to buy again. Expensive beauty products tend to get put in a drawer for special occasions because the recipient wouldn’t necessarily treat themselves when buying something they use every day.
  7.  Give a gift you can personalise. A frame could hold a cherished photo or poem; a photo album could be filled with photos from a recent event. You could even put together a ‘hamper’ of gifts, for example if the recipient has just moved house, you could fill a box with relevant treats and useful products (in pretty packaging of course!).
  8.  Does the recipient have a hobby or particular interest? For example, if they like making jewellery, why not find them a book about it, and maybe include some pretty beads and jewellery making tools. If they like gardening, what about a trug full of things like gardening gloves, secateurs, gardener’s hand cream and a book about plants? Or a specialist cookery class and apron for an aspiring chef?
  9.  A memory box can make an original gift. You can buy boxes with a glass or perspex cover which slides off, allowing you to cover the back with photos, poems, or artwork, and then accessorise the interior with mementos relevant to the recipient or memories you share.
  10.  For milestone birthdays like 18 or 21, a photo album showing the stages of someone’s life is an imaginative and thoughtful idea (and will require some work!), which can be kept forever.
  11.  For another milestone birthday idea, or indeed for a christening, why not fill a beautiful handpainted box with gifts?
  12.  A fun idea for little children (or big ones!) is a treasure hunt which reveals progressively larger presents until the grand prize at the end! For this you can find all sorts of little gifts like pencils, hair clips or bath bombs for example.

Tips

  • The more thought and imagination you put into your gift buying, the more cherished the recipient will feel!

Warnings

  • No warnings, just have fun with it!

Things You’ll Need

  • Imagination

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Find the Perfect Gift. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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hiking.jpgThis year is about new and exciting challenges for me, and the other day I decided a good one would be to do a sponsored walk. I walk quite a bit but am not very fit at all, so starting today (or maybe tomorrow) there will need to be a lot of training!

The walk takes place on May 10th, and I’ll be doing it with my mum. It’s 20km across the Sussex Downs, and I’m doing it for the World Land Trust. I spent some time choosing the charity I wanted to support; there is so much choice out there! In the end I felt that an environmental charity reflected my beliefs best, and is also in keeping with a large part of what Boutiko is about.

The World Land Trust is an international conservation organisation working to preserve the world’s most biologically important and threatened lands. Supported by Sir David Attenborough and working with local organisations in Central and South America, the Philippines and India, the trust has helped protect over 350,000 acres of threatened wildlife habitats since its foundation in 1989.

I’m a huge fan of David Attenborough and I think the work the WLT does is invaluable for protecting areas and wildlife around the world which otherwise would be destroyed. They are currently working to create new reserves to save threatened habitats in Brazil, Ecuador and India.

I’ll be posting from time to time about my training progress; only four months to go so better get cracking! And of course any donations will be extremely welcome. There is a button on the right which will take you straight to my fundraising page.

Now where’s that pedometer……

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Being interested of course in all things green and gift related, and also a huge fan of anything creative, I was really excited to come across Simply Green. Danny Seo has written several green related books, including ‘Simply Green Giving’, a book about creating and wrapping eco friendly and beautiful gifts, from recycled candles to shirtsleeve wine bottle wrapping.   And in his blog there are lots of ideas and beautiful photos to inspire you. I will definitely be trying out a few of his ideas, and will produce photographic evidence if they’re any good!

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I am so excited about the coming year, and plan to bring you lots of lovely new products, as well as some fab developments to the website, so do pop in from time to time to see what’s new!

Each month we will bring you great offers, competitions and news, as well as ideas and tips for greening up your life. We also want to hear from you, so if you would like to comment or contribute in any way, please do contact us. As an online business it’s always a pleasure to have contact with, and especially to meet, as many customers as possible, so please get in touch!

SALE!
This month, we bring you our January Sale; plenty of fantastic deals on our gorgeous products, so you can stock up on gifts for your friends and family, and why not brighten up a dark month and treat yourself while you’re at it!  

Product of the Month
We will also be introducing our Product of the Month section. Look out for special deals on these items; it’s kind of like a mini sale every month!

Ten Really Easy New Year Eco Resolutions

Ah, New Year Resolutions. So easily made every new year, so easily abandoned two weeks later when reality kicks in. When it comes to the plight of the planet, we probably all want to contribute in some way, but some things are harder to do than others, and with the best will in the world may not always be possible. If you have to travel a lot for work it’s not always going to be easy to avoid flying, for example. There are however a few smaller scale things you can do which are very easy to integrate into your daily life, and which are not only good for the planet, but also for your pocket! Even if you only do one it’s a start! Here are a few of our easy eco suggestions for 2008: 

1. Switch to energy saving lightbulbs. There are lots to choose from now so it shouldn’t be hard to find what you need. Try Ethical Superstore.

2. Recycle more. Wash out those yoghurt pots and sauce jars and stick them in the recycling bin!

3. Buy more locally produced food products. Not just meat, fruit and vegetables, but all kinds of products that are made in the UK – baked goods, preserves, even wines. You don’t have to go far or change your routine to hunt them down either; just start by choosing the locally grown fruit and veg at the supermarket. Every little helps! (Not that I’m endorsing any particular supermarket of course….)

4. Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you actually need. Too easy.

5. Buy products with as little packaging as possible.

6. If you take taxis, try to find a firm that’s carbon neutral. They are springing up all the time. Try Green Tomato Cars or Radio Taxis if you’re based in London. Otherwise, Google!

7. If you donate money to charity, perhaps include one this year which works towards preserving the planet. What about Friends of the Earth or Green Alliance? Or if you would prefer to give to a smaller organisation, try justgiving.com for heaps of choice.

8. Just don’t leave electricals on standby! If you really struggle to remember, check out Bye Bye Standby.

9. Use the car less; walk more, and take public transport. Bus rides can be strangely therapeutic and walking or cycling is good for you and creates less pollution – it’s a win win situation!

10. Let us do some of the hard work for you; buy all your gifts at Boutiko!

Don’t forget to pass on news of the sale to any of your friends and family who like bargains! (That’ll be everyone then…..)

Wishing you all the very best for a fantastic year!

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