Why Pen Pals Are Making A Comeback

Back in the days when we were Internet-less, we relied on a more traditional way of communicating: the good ol’ pen and paper combination. From making friends by replying to an advert in a newspaper to partaking in a foreign exchange program in school, the idea of pen pals was all the rage back then – until the rise of World Wide Web.

Nowadays, we’re all mobile-centric – attached to our plethora of devices to communicate quicker and cheaper than ever before. So with all our smartphones, laptops and tablets at our disposal, why should we give up this model of instant gratification? Simple – this vintage form of messaging is now back in fashion.

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Going back to basics
As with many trends, what was once a hit many years ago eventually experiences a revival to become the new ‘in’ thing – with pen pals recently getting a renewed interest. Projects such as the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club as well as The League of Extraordinary Pen Pals have thousands of members flocking to use these services, while renowned social networking and news site Reddit even has its own pen pal sub-forum.

With the latest innovations proving popular amongst the younger generation, while impressive to many adults, there’s a sense of nostalgia that can’t be beaten with pen pals – just ask 68-year-old Margaret Roberts, who answered an advert in the Liverpool Echo requesting a pen pal. Striking up a written friendship with 70-year-old Ingrid Andersson, the pen pals have celebrated a friendship lasting an impressive 57 years.

From online to offline
While the concept of pen pals brings up the notion of writing via pen and paper, there’s no reason why it can’t start on a reverse note – beginning on a digital platform, then moving to reality. For Londoner Zoe Bateman, that’s how her friendship with Californian Megan began: “She commented on my blog and then I ordered an embroidered quote from her Etsy shop, which turned into a package swap. It continued from there. She’s a fan of British culture and I love Americana, so we did a ‘country swap’, sending local postcards, souvenirs and sweets.”

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Another bonus to being pen pals is being creative – not being limited to using a generic font and email template. “It’s such a joy to include little odds and ends to make it special, such as art work or stickers, so it can brighten up their day,” explains Megan. Plus it gives the pair an excuse to practise their handwriting. “I find it relaxing – it’s nice to take a break from everything tech-based and get out my stationery,” adds Zoe. “I never handwrite anything else.”

A mutual match
Lastly, in a vast online network where many people share a similar mainstream interest, finding someone who appreciates the same niche taste as you can be difficult – but in the case of Sami Levett, she struck lucky. After joining the International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club, she is now part of a group of seven other female members who communicate daily online – as well as mail packages to each other. She says of the experience: “It gave me the courage to be my true self and not be ashamed of it. I wouldn’t have the confidence I do now if it wasn’t for those girls.”

So for those looking for an excuse to get back into the spirit of pen pals – no excuses! Find your pen pal today, and share your experiences with the rest of the Parcel2Go community.

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5 Of The Strangest Fan Mail Ever Sent To Celebrities

A celebrity is nothing without their fans – and while a lot of the attention can be flattering, there are times when certain adulations can be perceived to be somewhat strange (for instance, it’s not uncommon to hear of fans camping for days on end just to glimpse a sight of their favourite star). One particular medium where fan adoration has been seen to be pushed to the extremes is in the form of fan mail – from sending messages of undying love to…batches of toothpicks?!

While the majority of fan mail has been nothing but harmless, a lot of the time, it can be seen as downright weird – but take a look for yourself, and let us know what you deem to be the top five strangest packages a fan has ever sent to a celebrity:

1. One Direction
They’re every young girl’s dream – and as the most successful boy band of all time, no wonder they’ve been labelled as heartbreakers. However, one fan took their love for the group one step further – by sending them a very convincingly real-looking (but fortunately, forged) marriage certificate listing all five names of the bandmates.

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2. Robert Pattinson
The Twilight heartthrob took to chewing on toothpicks in a bid to curb his smoking habit – with his fans generously sending him tens and thousands of the little wooden utensils! Pattinson explains: “I’ve been chewing these toothpicks all the time. Someone noticed in Cannes and literally the next day in Lisbon, then in Paris and in Berlin there were about 20 people on the red carpet giving me huge amounts of toothpicks. Thousands of them.”

3. Halle Berry
She’s one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses – not to mention one of the world’s most beautiful women – so it comes as no surprise that one fan was brave enough to send her an engagement ring! No word on whether there was a proposal to accompany the ring, but a heartfelt gesture nonetheless.

4. Daniel Radcliffe
As someone who grew up in front of the camera, this Harry Potter actor has seen it all – or has he? After receiving a picture of two of his fans holding a cup of milk in front of his house, that’s probably one vision – and fan mail – he thought he’d never see.

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5. Ed Westwick
This former “Gossip Girl” actor received a pleasant surprise after a group of female fans had some Dutch courage on their side – drunkenly leaving love messages under his door. He said: “She went on some rant about how she is not like other girls and I should give her a call and we should hang out.”

Have you ever sent any fan packages to your favourite celebrity? We’d love to hear your mail mementoes – share your experiences in the comments below!

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Postal Etiquette: How To Address And Mail Wedding Invitations

So you and your loved one have finally agreed to tie the knot, and it’s now time to get planning as to which people you want to invite to be a part of your wedding! While the big day may feel a long time away, it’s best to give your potential guests plenty of notice – but there’s more to than just ensuring they save the date.

As the idea of sending out wedding invitations isn’t your average postal activity, you should treat your wedding invites with the time and effort they deserve. From recognising the correct way to addressing your invites to ensuring your RSVP envelopes are stamped, we’ll show you how to make sure getting hitched goes off without, ahem, a hitch…

1. Appropriately Assemble Your Invitation Envelopes
With many wedding invites tailor-made, it’s rare for a wedding invitation to comprise just a single note. From quirky invites consisting of several accessories (such as photos and sweets) to the elaborately designed invitations (engraved boxes as well as handmade scrolls), make sure you know how to neatly stuff your invitation envelopes. For those not in the know, the traditional approach goes a little like this:

• Place the invite at the bottom, with your enclosures atop (so the size should go from small at the top to the largest at the bottom)
• Tuck the RSVP card into the reply section of the envelope (which is usually within the flap of the envelope)
• Any text should face outward, so guests can instantly read the invitation as they take it out of the envelope.

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2. Stamp RSVP Envelopes
It’s common sense but you’d be surprised at how often RSVP envelopes go without being stamped – resulting in the awkward situation of making guests pay for postage simply to RSVP! Save your guests – and yourself – any embarrassment by putting postage as well as a return address on the RSVP envelopes.

3. Weigh It Up
So your invitations are all neatly assembled, and it’s time to pop them in the post – but have you weighed your post accordingly? It might seem like a time-consuming process, but it avoids any risk of your invitations being returned as a result of insufficient postage (which could also impact on your meticulously planned wedding timeline). Enclosures (as with any additional post) will bump up your postage costs, so take this into consideration should you want to include any extras (such as maps).

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4. Stamp And Send!
With all the hard work you’ve put into ensuring your wedding invitations have been put together correctly, don’t fall at the last hurdle and neglect to stamp them! Once they’ve been stamped, think about mailing out your invitations around six to eight weeks before the big day – or about three months in advance should you be having an overseas wedding.

Have we missed out any other crucial tips? Here’s hoping everything goes to plan – and that your wedding invitations were ‘made’ of honour!

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Celebrate Love Note Day With A Message From The Heart

We all know Valentine’s Day is the most romantic time of year, but spare a thought for another special day – Love Note Day; celebrated this year on Friday 26th September. While Valentine’s Day takes romantic gestures to the next level (sending flowers, whisking away the other half for a surprise getaway), Love Note Day goes back to basics by putting pen to paper and appreciating the one you love via a love letter.

A historic art form, for years people have been partaking in the act of writing and sending love letters to one another – we only need to look to the literary greats such as William Shakespeare and Lord Byron to be inspired by their romantic side. Yet while most of us aren’t blessed with a vocabulary and imagination as diverse as theirs, we’ve come up with some creative ways of telling that special person in your life how much you love them (you’re welcome):

1. A love letter with a single rose
Flowers? Check. Sentimental musings? Double check. With both of these romantic assets being used to your advantage, you can’t go wrong with winning over your other half. So long as they don’t suffer from hay fever, that is.

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2. A message in a bottle
What was once a vital form of communication for shipwrecked sailors marooned on a desert island has now become a tradition practised the world over – but if you’re worried that your recipient may never receive your whimsical love note, you can always cheat: write your letter, place it in a bottle but send it in a package. Perfect for long distance relationships!

3. An audio love letter
In these digital times, technology has certainly come a long way to provide us with suitable alternative forms of communication – and what better way to express your feelings than hearing your voice crack with emotion as you recount your romantic memories? Or you could just keep it simple and compile a playlist of your favourite love songs and enclose a letter (ideal for those who hate the sound of their own voice).

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4. Post-it poems
While some of us may be lacking in the wordsmith department, this is where Post-it notes come to the rescue – so if you’re not a man/woman of many words, condense your soppy sentiments onto a scrap of paper, and leave them around your loved one’s room as a romantic surprise when they come home from a hard day at work.

5. Love that is larger than life!
For the truly tender-hearted among us, show your love in a big way – literally. Make a large envelope complete with a large letter, declare your love that’s tantamount to the size of your romantic endeavour – and blow up stamps in a large size to match!

Do you have any inspiring ideas for putting your love into words? Post your thoughts in the comment below – and don’t forget to spoil your special someone with a love letter on Love Note Day!

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The Worst (And Perhaps Best) Breakup Letters Ever Sent

The amorous concept of sending love letters is an ideal embraced by many an adoring couple – however, receiving a letter from a loved one only to find that they’re breaking up with you can quickly alter that once romantic mindset. And while there’s a million and one ways of calling time on a relationship, it’s never easy to break this type of news – which may explain why some breakup letters skip past the sensitive part and get straight to the point!

Although many people compare breaking up with ripping off a plaster (the sooner you rip it off, the less pain experienced), some breakup letters could do with a lesson or five in tactfulness – and after scouring the web for less-than-tasteful breakup notes, these should serve as examples of how NOT to write a breakup letter:

1. The animal-loving artist
If in doubt, feature a sketch of you as a stick figure riding a giraffe – this inspiring illustration should soften the blow (or at least take their mind off the breakup thanks to the distracting animal artwork).

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2. The treasure hunt
What better way to declare your singledom than by treating your loved one to a treasure hunt? In this case this lover scorned embarked on a bitter scavenger hunt for the other half – leaving precious valuables (including clothes and expensive technology) behind in memorable places celebrated by these former lovebirds. However, the author’s letter is quick to highlight that there’s no guarantee said items will still be in those locations!

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3. The out-of-the-blue letter
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Or shall I just break up with you through romantic prose? Seems like this letter was in two minds – and decided to go for the best of both worlds by leading in with compliments only to leave the recipient high and dry…and single?

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4. The dog-doesn’t-love-you-anymore letter
That saying about a dog being a man’s best friend? Apparently that doesn’t apply in this particular breakup letter – made even worse by the fact that the letter is broken down into two parts! The first being a human breakup, and the second making a startling revelation that even the dog despises its former owner.

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5. The pizza surprise
The surprise is…you’re dumped. At least the pizza serves as an adequate compensation prize…perhaps.

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If you’re looking to call quits on a relationship, we strongly advise against undertaking any of these methods – and while it may be difficult, it’s often best to say it face to face. Otherwise you could find your breakup letter doing the rounds on the internet, and land on our blog. Pizza, anyone?

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Top 7 Postal Films Ever Made

As a service that impacts our everyday lives, it’s no surprise that the postal industry has made its mark on the world around us – from influencing the fashion industry right through to making it in Hollywood. From the numerous TV documentaries to major blockbusters, it’s a theme that is ubiquitous across a number of sectors: especially in the entertainment business.

With so many different films to choose from, highlighting the very best in postal cinema is no mean feat – but after whittling our choices down to a select few, we think you’ll be pleased with our pick of postal pictures. Without further ado, we present to you the top seven postal films ever produced:

1. Appointment with Danger (1951)
A rarity, as this film features a US postal inspector hero – with Alan Ladd taking on the protagonist role of Al Goddard. The plot focuses on the killing of a fellow inspector, with Goddard tasked with protecting the witness – however, this film is memorable for the amusing appearance of Jack Webb and Harry Morgan (later renowned as detectives in “Dragnet”).

2. Dear God (1996)
This film showcases Greg Kinnear as con man Tom Turner, where following his latest arrest, he’s sent to work at the local post office’s Dead Letter Office – the place where all the undeliverable mail ends up. After accidentally sending money to someone who had addressed a letter plea ‘to God’, this inspires his colleagues as well as himself – a real feel-good film.

3. The Aviator (1985)
Starring Christopher Reeve as a US airmail pilot, the film tells a story of how he’s entrusted with carrying the daughter of a rich man on his plane – where despite encountering danger after crashing into a mountainous region, romance potentially conquers all!

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4. Diva (1981)
Set in France, Wilhelmenia Fernandez plays a Paris mail carrier – where his devotion to opera lands him in hot water, after his secret recording of the performance of an American diva gets confused with a tape concerning a corrupt policeman.

5. Il Postino (1994)
Directed by Michael Radford, this sees an Italian mailman learn to love poetry while delivering post to a famous poet – using his new passion to woo the beautiful Beatrice.

6. Air Mail (1932)
Ralph Bellamy plays Mike Miller – owner of Desert Airport, an air mail base. Following the lives of the airmail pilots, the film shows the risky journeys they undertake to deliver mail.

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7. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Not only is this one of the world’s most celebrated Christmas films, it’s also the ultimate postal film. Centring on Kris Kringle and his admittance that there is no such thing as Santa, the film takes a dramatic twist when sacks of letters addressed to Santa appear, with a lawyer arguing that “every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore the Post Office Department, a branch of the Federal Government, recognises this man Kris Kringle to be the one and only Santa Claus.”

And if you were wondering why we didn’t feature Kevin Costner’s ‘The Postman’, for those who haven’t watched it, there’s a reason why we left it out of our list!

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Evolution Of The Parcel Delivery

Postman with letters

Here’s a quiz for you: how many years has the Parcel Post been in operation? Willing to hazard a guess? Well last year marked the 130th anniversary of the Parcel Post – that’s right, this postal service has been active since 1st August 1883. Its inception was considered to be the greatest revolution in the postal system since the launch of Uniform Penny Postage, and the idea of being able to send packages instead of standard letters signals a turning point in the postal industry.

But how did the concept for a Parcel Post come about? It actually originated a few decades earlier – and was the brainchild of Rowland Hill back in 1842; with this notion highlighted again in the 1860s by his younger brother, Frederick. Meanwhile, the Post Office devised a similar solution with the launch of the Book Post service in 1848 – with the Pattern Post (a method that involved posting manufacturer’s samples, akin to that of catalogue shopping) following suit in 1863.

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It was already possible to send parcels before 1883 (thanks to the use of stage coaches), and by 1850, the Railway Companies had dominated the marketplace – proving a powerful competitor to the Post Office. While the Post Office had tried to negotiate an agreement with the Railway Companies in the late 1860s, they were unsuccessful in their attempts.

However, their luck was soon to change – with delegates from the Universal Postal Union Conference proposing the establishment of an International Parcel Post – to launch in 1882. Yet in order for it to work, the British Post Office would have to set up an Inland Parcel Post service.

Pass the Parcel (Act)
We have the then Postmaster-General Professor Henry Fawcett to thank for the Parcel Post after proving himself a strong advocate for the cause – and after talks with the Railway Companies, The Post Office (Parcels) Act came into effect on 18th August 1882. This saw the adaptation of many Post Offices, along with updating how collection and distribution would work for the former letter carriers – who were to now be known as ‘postmen’. The whole process had to be revamped, from how parcels were transported to the carrier’s walk – with transportation aids such as the horse and cart brought in to assist with their work.

With these new revisions, the Parcel Post underwent a series of changes – with the introduction of cycles to help transport the heavy loads of parcels; along with offering long-distance shipping. Yet interestingly enough, the public saw this as a great opportunity to send unusual items – from a coffin-shaped parcel sent from a Poplar undertaker to a request made to deliver a snake!

Cost-effective couriers
The public’s initial reaction to this service was a wary one, with the Parcel Post not making as much money as they had originally hoped for. However, the Parcel Post eventually won over the confidence of its customers – and by 1885, saw the Post Office deal with 26.5 million parcels a year – with this figure increasing to 50 million by the 1890s.

As one of the most successful postal services in the world, the move to offer parcel delivery certainly paid off – with this historic innovation now a tradition practised all over the world to this day.

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Send Mail The Eco-Friendly Way

We all love saving one way or another – right? From saving time and money, there’s plenty of other means we could be saving – with the environment being at the top of our list. Becoming more eco-friendly has become a prerogative for both individuals and businesses, with certain short-term measures making a meaningful long-term impact.

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While we know these practices can be applied to instances such as growing your own food or purchasing pre-loved items, how does this work in the logistics industry? Well – we’re glad you asked! Here are four surefire ways that will improve the environment thanks to your clever courier knowledge:

1. Bulk mail
By posting several items in one package, this helps lower emissions – not to mention saving on packaging/paper waste. Saving on transportation fuel will make a huge difference to the environment, while reducing the amount of visits you need to make to the post office. Additionally, packing numerous goods helps delivery drivers fill their vans more efficiently – taking a ‘load’ off their mind!

2. Proper packaging
So you’re sending fragile items and worried about their condition – will they be intact upon arrival? Time to get out the rolls of bubble wrap along with the freshly new heavy duty cardboard, as it’s better to be safe than sorry. Except you’re doing more harm than good – to the environment, that is. Be sure to use sustainable packaging materials that are also durable, as throughout the shipping process, your item is likely to be subjected to various situations – from being handled by different people to being moved around in the delivery van. With inventions such as boxes made from recycled cardboard along with using old newspapers as padding, be sustainable with your shipping options.

3. Speed is a virtue
Spending less time in transit equals less fuel – and with many carriers making a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint, you’re not alone in wanting to wait it out when posting packages. As next day deliveries often entail quicker journeys, this means your packages spend less time – as well as less fuel – on the road. After all, good things come to those who wait!

4. Opting for the optimal courier
Ensure you do your research, as various carriers offer various benefits. Many think going down the eco-friendly route is expensive, but many couriers price their services as being budget-friendly – especially when offering incentives such as free collection for your items. With our Parcel2Go couriers all consciously working towards being as eco-friendly as possible, you can guarantee that we’re working hard to contribute to our environmental responsibility – ensuring a parcel delivery that’s economical as well as efficient.

Can you think of any other ways of posting parcels that’s kind to the environment? Let us know your eco-savvy shipping solutions, and remember – don’t be mean, treat post green!

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Different Postal Formats: How To Address International Mail

While it’s a well-known fact that international mail comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, one element that often gets overlooked is the way addresses are written. Some prefer to keep it at a minimum – listing the name of the recipient, their house and street number, then the country (along with hoping for the best that it arrives at its intended destination).

Yet this laissez-faire attitude costs the postal industry millions of pounds each year, as they attempt to decipher badly-written addresses lacking essential information such as postcodes – resulting in repeating their journeys (using up fuel via delivery vans as well as additional manpower), which in turn, costs valuable time and money.

So let’s settle this argument once and for all – how exactly should we address international mail? Let’s look at the differences between posting to the UK, then compare with posting overseas:

Addressing UK mail
Naturally, the more lines the better – as this gives an in-depth description of where your post is going to. Starting with the name on the top line, it should then be followed by their house/flat number (or building name) and their street, county/locality and postcode (which should always be printed in capitals). While some people tend to include counties, this is often deemed unnecessary – so long as the main address details are properly displayed:

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Line 1 – the recipient’s name
Line 2 – building number/name and street name
Line 3 – county/locality (if needed)
Line 4 – post town
Line 5 – post code (which must be written in capitals).

Depending on the recipient (whether it’s being sent to a personal address or requires delivery to business premises), there may be instances where other elements will be featured in the address – such as department name, dependent street (eg a business park) or even a PO Box number. So long as these are clearly written, then there should be no problems in your post making a timely delivery to its designated recipient.

Addressing international mail
Following the same pattern as posting to the UK, the main difference here is that the country is of the utmost importance – and should feature on the very last line of the address (to be written in capital letters). Additionally, it’s a good idea to write your address on the back of your post – just in case it encounters any delivery problems and needs to be sent back to you. The format should roughly read as follows:

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Line 1 – the recipient’s name
Line 2 – building number/name and street name
Line 3 – place name
Line 4 – province/state name and post code (if needed)
Line 5 – country name (which must be written in capitals).

By taking the time to make sure the address is fully written in a legible manner, this increases its chances of arriving at its recipient’s destination quickly and safely. While writing in lower case and capitalising the first letter of each word is the norm when addressing mail, many prefer to write in upper case – as this is often easier to read (thanks to the clear separation of the characters). Remember to keep the format simple and to avoid any unnecessary punctuation, and while addresses will vary in terms of detailing, sticking to a similar structure will ensure your post is successfully delivered to your addressee.

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Long Distance Relationships: 6 Romantic Parcel Suggestions

A heart shaped brown paper parcel with a label saying With Love.

We’ve all heard the mantra of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’, but we all know that sending and receiving gifts is a sure-fire way of putting the spark back into any long-distance relationship (excuse the pun). There’s nothing better after weeks or months apart only to be greeted with a present from your loved one, and with the help of our logistics lovebirds, we’ve put together a guide to the best packages you could send to your other half!

So let’s bring a new meaning to love letters, and show your significant other that sending romantic packages is ‘part and parcel’ of any
long-distance relationship:

1. Traditional telegrams
While you’ve sent many a letter and bouquet, why not be old-fashioned at heart – with the use of a telegram? You can recreate your own using a variety of templates available online, and the element of surprise is bound to put a smile on your partner’s face. Make history with this historic form of communication today!

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2. Message in a bottle
OK, so you’ve tried telegrams – now try making your own message in a bottle! Simple to make, all that’s required is a water bottle (or glass bottle, but be sure to package carefully!) then write a letter and place into the bottle. Now that’s a memento worth mailing!

3. Mix tape/USB
Remember the days of the mix tape? Why not compile a playlist of your favourite love songs for your partner to keep them company when they next visit you? Ideal for long flights and drives as well as a soundtrack for when you’re together in person, the songs will serve as a romantic reminder of your relationship.

4. Baked treats
There’s nothing sweeter than getting sweet treats in the post – right? Prepare a selection of heart-shaped cakes or passion fruit puddings to enamour your other half. For a twist, why not make your own fortune cookies? Write a personalised fortune that is significant for the both of you – and who knows? It might just come true!

(Important note: always check the list of prohibited items just to be on the safe side)

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5. Sentimental scrapbook
With all the flight tickets and coffee receipts you’ve collected as part of your souvenirs from your romantic travels, put them to good use by collating them into a scrapbook both you and your loved one can share. You could also glue cinema ticket stubs or menus from the times you’ve spent together – the world’s your “scrapbook”!

6. ‘Documenting’ your love
All those letters you’ve sent to one another, have you stored them somewhere safe? How about the thousands of emails you and your partner have exchanged? Well here’s a great way of ensuring they’re in one easy to access place – by turning them into a book! There’s loads of companies who will take your documentation (both online and offline) and have them printed into a book – assembling them into chronological order so you can keep a timeframe of your relationship. Plus it makes for great reading material the next time you embark on your long-distance reunion!

What other heartfelt ways can you think of that would make a thoughtful parcel? Let’s see what long-distance care package ideas you have in mind – and whether they’re worth being “signed, sealed and delivered” to our loved ones!

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