Wednesday, 27 July 2016

BearHugs Gifts*

Being chronically ill has a lot of downsides, but it has also brought with it some amazing positives, one of which is the fantastic friends I’ve made. I’ve met some of the most incredible, brave, inspirational people over the years, who could choose to just sit back and use their illnesses as an excuse to give up on life. But they haven’t; instead, being unwell has spurred them on to do all sorts of remarkable things. I’d really love to use my space on the Internet to showcase some of the wonderful things my friends are doing, and today I want to tell you about Faye, and her small business, BearHugs.

Photo of Faye from BearHugs website

In her early twenties, Faye started to notice a gradual decline in her health. In 2013, she had to give up working as a Speech and Language Therapist and found herself predominantly housebound. Spending the majority of her time in a darkened room, Faye could only tolerate noise, company and mental stimulation for short periods before needing to rest. Sitting up made her dizzy, chewing food was a challenge and she struggled to walk from her bed to the bathroom. This led her to become entirely dependent on others; using a wheelchair on the rare occasions she left the house. Faye now knows that these symptoms are caused by Lyme disease, which you can find out more about here.

Her idea for BearHugs first came about after she received a particularly thoughtful parcel from a friend, just when she needed it most. Being housebound, receiving something nice in the post can really make your day. Although she wasn’t able to act on her ideas straight away, that parcel had planted a seed in her mind. As she made small improvements with her health, she began to write blog posts about her experiences and began selling homemade jewellery online, donating the profits to charity. Several years later, Faye’s health had improved to a level where she was doing a fair bit better. She found herself thinking more and more about her business idea and, after browsing their website, contacted the Prince’s Trust. A couple of weeks later, she had enrolled on their Enterprise Programme and, with their invaluable support, was able to turn her idea into a reality. BearHugs was launched in the summer of 2015.

Recently, Faye very kindly offered to send me a BearHugs gift box to review on my blog, and I knew immediately it was something I would love to write about. I was very excited when the postman knocked on my door with a big brown box with a BearHugs sticker on the top. Opening the box, I found it full of crimpled red strands of paper packing, hiding a smaller box inside wrapped in blue string, with a sticker informing me that I had been sent a BearHug.

Cutting the string to peek inside, I found more paper packing, this time in the BearHugs signature blue colour. On top was a brown envelope instructing me to open it. Inside were two postcards – one that told me who my BearHug was from, and the other with a discount code for you guys! Having these postcards means you can order a BearHug from the website and send it straight to your recipient, knowing you can include a special message just for them.

After delving into the blue packaging, I began to uncover the treats inside. I was completely overwhelmed by how beautiful all the products were, but also how jam-packed the box was with lovely things. I had been well and truly spoilt! The great thing about BearHugs is that there are lots of different types of boxes for all occasions, people and price ranges. From luxury treats, pampering and tea boxes to New Mum and baby, movie night and kids boxes, there really is something for everyone. And if you can’t find something you like, you can even contact Faye who will help you put together a custom box. There are also two delivery options – standard delivery is £2.99 and next day delivery is also offered from Tuesday to Saturday, and varies from £8.99 to £13.99 depending on the weight of the box you choose.

I believe the box Faye sent me was a custom box, and she had really thought a lot about the items inside. The first thing my eyes were drawn to was a large white coffee mug with the phrase ‘A big hug in a mug’ in black writing on the side. Anyone that knows me will know that I collect cute mugs, so this went down particularly well! To go with my mug was a miniature packet of Teapigs Everyday Brew tea, which I was very excited about, as Teapigs are one of my favourite tea brands. And, of course, you can’t possibly enjoy a cup of tea without a biscuit or two! So there was also a little packet of Divinely Chocolatey Cookies from Border Biscuits - yummy!

To add to the relaxing theme of my box, Faye had also included a tub of Sheffield Skincare Company’s Dooley Scrumptious whipped Body Butter. Packed with skin nourishing Shea butter, coconut and sweet almond oil and scented with sweet chamomile and cold pressed orange peel, I think I’m in for a right treat when I use this. The last two things in my box were an adorable little colouring book from Buster Books and a beautiful set of 36 Summer Meadow colouring pencils from Dot Com Gift Shop. I’m definitely looking forward to zoning out and doing a bit of colouring to chill out.

Overall I’m just bowled over by my BearHugs Gift box, but also just the company as a whole. I think Faye has done an amazing job of overcoming diversity and using what could be seen as a very negative experience to create something so positive. I know how much happy mail means to me, so I’m sure that BearHugs are bringing joy to so many people, and will hopefully continue to do so for years to come.

Don’t forget, Faye very kindly gave me a 10% discount code to share with you, so, if you’re thinking of sending someone a BearHug, you can use JENNY10 when you check out!

Have you heard of BearHugs before today? Is there someone you might send one too? I’d love to hear what sending and receiving happy mail means to you!

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