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New year new products

A new year calls for some exciting new items.

After the crazy Christmas season stock levels were looking a bit low. That could only mean one thing – time to order more fabric! I always like to spend January designing new prints so once I had a collection ready to go I put in the fabric order. If you don’t know anything about the pattern design and fabric printing process check out the about page. The first new print to be released was the sea turtles design which you can read about here.

With so many new items being made I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick list of what’s coming up in the next month. Lots of items are being restocked too so if there’s anything out of stock on the website don’t forget to sign up for product alerts on the product page. If you spot something on the list that you would like just let me know!

Reusable makeup remover pads

New makeup remover pads

The reusable makeup remover pads were hugely popular over Christmas – I couldn’t make them fast enough! They’re really pretty and they’re kind to the planet too. Here’s a list of the new makeup pads coming soon:

Turtles
Houseplants
Bluebells
Chickens
Unicorns
Apples
Giraffes

Plus lots more extras of the favourites already on the website too!

Pencil cases

The pencil cases were another firm favourite over the festive period. Their handy size means they can be used for all sorts of purposes. A handbag makeup bag, a travel sewing kit, or even a teabag pouch.

Turtles
Houseplants
Bluebells
Penguins
Flamingos
Elephants
Bees
Llamas
Autumn leaves
Kingfishers
Puffins
Pandas
Pineapples
Raccoons
Lighthouses
Chickens
Otters
Giraffes
Robins
Beach huts
Seaside

Reusable beeswax wraps

If you’ve not heard about beeswax wraps yet check out my post about them here. These are a super easy way to start your journey towards less single use plastic. A lot of the fabric allocated for these was just to make sure stock levels are topped up but there were a few new ones too.

Bluebells
Turtles
Houseplants

Wash bags

Wash bags are another product that are super versatile. Being made with water resistant fabric means they can be used for a whole host of reasons.

Otters
Chickens
Cows
Sheep
Turtles
Houseplants
Bluebells
Bananas

Aprons

New aprons being cut out

It’s great having the water resistant fabric for the aprons. It’s just so much easier to have a wipe clean apron if you’re a messy chef! A few of these completely sold out over Christmas so it was time for a restock.

Flamingos
Puffins
Teacups
Elephants
Turtles
Houseplants
Pineapples
Robins
Penguins

Stocks are limited so if you want to reserve any items please get in touch soon!

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Turtle print: from inspiration to final design

Many of my print designs are inspired by my travels including the new turtle print.

A couple of years ago I visited the beautiful Greek island of Zakynthos. The island is home to an endangered species of turtle which are absolutely adorable but hard to spot. On a day cruise around the island we were lucky enough to see a few and snap a couple of pictures. I loved the fascinating patterns on their shells and was inspired to design a turtle print.

Loggerhead turtle of Zante

I knew that I wanted to use watercolour paints for the drawings of the turtles to match their watery habitat. It’s great to get all my paints and brushes out; the possibilities of all the different colour mixes is really inspiring. To begin the drawings I always draw a rough outline in grey pencil. For watercolour paintings I draw the outline with a watercolour pencil so that the lines can be blended in to the painting as it progresses.

As well as the photographs I’d taken in Zante I researched more pictures to have a bigger range of angles and shell designs to choose from. I selected three different turtles with a mix of different colour shell patterns because I wanted to give variety to the print.

The final stages

Once I’d painted the turtles it was time to scan them in to the computer and clean up the images. Cleaning up drawings is an important part of the print design process. When sketchbook pages are scanned the texture of the paper is also picked up which can look messy in a digital print.

After cleaning up the paintings the final stage is to arrange the turtles in to the digital print. This stage always takes far longer than I think although I knew that I wanted the turtles to be in a random arrangement to look like they were swimming around. After a lot of tweaking (2mm up, 3mm across and repeat) the design was finished!

Finished turtle print

I also tried it with a sea blue background colour to make them look like they’re swimming in the ocean. Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below.

Finished turtle print sea background
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5 easy ways to be more eco-friendly in the bathroom

If your new year’s resolution is to be more eco-friendly then you might be wondering where to start.

We’ve already discussed 5 easy ways to be more eco-friendly in the kitchen. Now it’s time to tackle the bathroom.

1. Make recycling easier

It might sound obvious but if it’s easier for you to recycle, you’re much more likely to do it. You probably already have a recycling bin in your kitchen but do you have one in your bathroom? All those cardboard toilet rolls and shampoo bottles add up so make sure to stick a recycling bin in your bathroom for easy access. Otherwise those recyclable items might end up in the normal bin headed for landfill…

Add a recycling bin to your bathroom to make it easier to be eco-friendly

2. Try switching to bars

Unless you’re brand new to the eco-friendly way of life you will have heard about shampoo bars. A solid bar of shampoo is roughly the equivalent of 3-4 bottles of shampoo. Just think of all that plastic being saved! These handy bars are growing in popularity so there are plenty of different flavours to choose from now. Find them in your local eco shop or keep an eye out for them appearing in the bigger supermarkets. My personal favourites are The Friendly Soap Company and Alter/native.

Shampoo bars come in all sorts of scents these days

If a shampoo bar is too much of a jump for you, why not switch your hand soap instead? Bars of soap are so easy to find and come in a huge range of different scents. Try to buy ones that are wrapped in card/paper instead of plastic. Bonus points if you support a local or Fairtrade business!

Switching to bars of soap is an easy way to make your bathroom more eco-friendly

2b. Refill your plastic bottles

If bars just aren’t your thing you can still reduce your plastic use in the bathroom by refilling. Take your empty shampoo, conditioner and soap bottles to your local refill station. These are popping up all over the place, usually with Faith in Nature products. (If you’re in Newcastle/North East and want to know where you can refill your bottles, just ask!)

3. Look for plastic free alternatives in the kitchen

Simple changes can be made to make your bathroom entirely plastic free. For example, did you know honey makes fantastic cleanser? I’ve always struggled with eczema but since using honey on my face I’ve had the smoothest skin! Don’t worry about the stickiness, it wipes off with water surprisingly well. Plus it’s so much cheaper than standard cleansers and comes in a glass jar which you can reuse afterwards.

Honey makes a great cleanser alternative

Another foodie swap which surprised me was apple cider vinegar. Strangely it makes a wonderful conditioner and leaves your hair super soft. It’s also handy to use when you first switch to shampoo bars to make the transition easier for your hair. Magically the vinegar smell disappears as your hair dries leaving you with silky smooth locks. If you’re not convinced, this article goes in to the ins and outs of the science of it.

Apple cider vinegar makes a great plastic free alternative to conditioner

4. Zero plastic everyday essentials

An important item to consider going plastic free with is toilet paper. There’s no reason for it to be wrapped in plastic, we all know what toilet paper looks like! There are companies out there providing toilet paper without all the unnecessary plastic packaging. I use Who Gives a Crap – they wrap their rolls in super pretty paper instead of plastic so they’re still nice and hygienic. As well as that, the paper itself is recycled and they give 50% of their profits to help build toilets for people in need of them. You can’t go wrong! (If you want to give them a try, click here to get £5 off your first order over £36)

Look for a more eco-friendly toilet paper option

If you’re using disposable razors it’s really worth swapping to a more eco-friendly alternative. Metal razors are fantastic as you get a much closer shave and you can just replace the blade when it starts to blunt. The initial cost of buying the razor itself is obviously higher than the cheap plastic razors but the replacement blades are super cheap and it’s all recyclable!

Switch your disposable plastic razor to a metal razor

5. Swap makeup wipes for reusable makeup remover pads

Of course I couldn’t write a post about eco-friendly bathroom habits without mentioning reusable makeup remover pads. You may be wondering what’s so bad about makeup wipes; they look like they would naturally break down right? But no, the majority of makeup wipes are actually made of plastic that block drains and fill the oceans once you throw them away. This is why reusable makeup remover pads are a much better option. Not only do they look super pretty, they can be reused over and over again. Just tie them up in their washing bag then chuck them in a 30 degree wash. Check out the full range of makeup pads here.

Reusable makeup remover pads are the perfect addition for an eco-friendly bathroom

I hope that’s given you some ideas for how to make your bathroom more eco-friendly. Which was your favourite tip? Let me know in the comments below.

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Let’s save the planet

Our planet is super important and Drawn by Rhiannon is committed to minimising the environmental impacts that come with running a business.

As lovely as it is to bring wonderful new items in to the world, it’s important these items aren’t causing too much of a negative impact on the environment. Here are the steps that Drawn by Rhiannon is taking to help save the planet.

Designed and handmade in the UK

This isn’t just some catchy tagline. Drawn by Rhiannon is committed to supporting British businesses and reducing transportation pollution. Because of this, keeping everything in the UK just makes sense. All the cotton printed fabric, lining fabrics, thread, and packaging supplies are sourced within 12 miles of Drawn by Rhiannon HQ. Other haberdashery essentials such as zips and D-rings are currently sourced from Birmingham. Ongoing research is being carried out to find a more local supplier for these. And of course, everything is handmade by Rhiannon in her studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne which is powered by 100% renewable energy.

Drawn by Rhiannon industrial sewing machine

Eco friendly fabric printing

Once the fabric has been designed by Rhiannon, the files are sent to a fabric printing company in North Tyneside. The cotton fabric is printed using digital pigment inks. This process of printing requires no water and uses around 95% less energy than screen printing. There is virtually no ink waste and no soapy residues from production. All this helps to reduce the environmental impact and the print quality is fantastic with fab vibrant colours!
Currently the water resistant fabric is printed in London but once a suitable base fabric is sourced this will also be printed in North Tyneside.

Eco friendly fabric printing - Drawn by Rhiannon environmental policies

Reusable products

As well as implementing eco-friendly policies in the running of the business, Drawn by Rhiannon wants to encourage other people to think in a more sustainable way too. Through the eco range of reusable products, Drawn by Rhiannon is offering simple changes that will drastically reduce plastic waste in customers’ homes. Find out more about the reusable beeswax food wraps, the reusable makeup remover pads, and the reusable sponges. Stay tuned for more reusable products being released soon to help you reduce your environmental impact.

Plastic free packaging

It’s lovely to receive some beautifully packaged happy post but not if it’s full of nasty plastic. All the packaging at Drawn by Rhiannon, as well as the gift wrap options, are completely plastic free. Orders are either wrapped in blue polka dot paper bags or blue tissue paper depending on size. Items are then packaged in cardboard mailing boxes, sealed with paper tape. The paper bags and mailing boxes can be reused or put straight in home recycling bins. The tissue paper can be reused or put in a compost bin as it’s biodegradable.

It’s not just the postal packaging that’s zero plastic; all product packaging is also 100% plastic free. The reusable beeswax food wraps are packaged in paper envelopes and the labels are printed on 100% recycled paper. The tags for the reusable makeup remover pads are printed on card and tied with vintage ribbon, and the packaging for the reusable sponges is also plastic free and fully recyclable at home.

Reusable beeswax food wraps

If you have any questions or suggestions about Drawn by Rhiannon’s environmental policies please get in touch. You can use the contact page or social media.

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Made by hand from start to finish

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

At Drawn by Rhiannon everything is done by hand from start to finish.

Every item begins with an image drawn by hand by me which I scan in to the computer to make a digital fabric design. I then make all the items myself on my industrial sewing machine. I also make all the packaging myself, photograph the items and edit them to make them as clear as possible. Finally I list them on my website and write up a description for every item. It really is all done by hand!

To show you what I mean here’s a rundown on how the new rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads were made by hand, step by step. (You can take a look at the finished product on my website here.)

Step 1: Drawings

I love that every fabric I design begins with one of my drawings. I use all sorts of materials to draw with but for the rubber ducks I decided to use promarkers. These pens are brilliant for creating bold graphic designs which was exactly the look I wanted for the ducks. I chose a selection of rubber ducks from my collection (I have almost 100 now!) and started to draw. I initially sketched the ducks in pencil to get a rough outline to work with. Then I went over the lines I was happy with with a black marker and coloured in the shapes. These are the pages from my sketchbook that I scanned in.

Step 2: Digital print design

Once I’m happy with the drawings it’s time to make the digital print design. The drawings always need a bit of cleaning up so I go around the edge of the drawings erasing any fuzzy edges from the scanner. Thanks to the bold line work and colours, the duck drawings scanned in really well and were fairly simple to convert in to digital images. Next I make sure the colours are where I want them to be. For example, some of the ducks had scanned in with bolder colours so I wanted to make sure that the colour depth was even across all the ducks. I never want to over-edit on the computer otherwise the drawings will lose their hand-drawn character. 

I had a good idea in my head about how I wanted the duck print to look which made it easier to arrange the design. Sometimes I’m not sure how I want the finished design to look so it can take a long time to work out a composition that I’m happy with. For the rubber ducks I simply wanted them in lines with a half drop repeat.

Step 3: Making

When I’ve finished the design, I send it to a fabric printing company in London. They print my designs on to the fabrics then send it back to me to be made in to all sorts of different items. 

With the reusable makeup remover pads there are quite a few steps required to make them. First of all I have to cut out the printed fabric and the backing fabric. For the back of the pads I use a soft cotton towelling that I source locally.

 

Once the fabrics are all cut out it’s time to start pinning. About 70% of making anything seems to be pinning!

 

After pinning everything in place I sew the two sides together on the industrial sewing machine. I then topstitch around the whole pad to make sure it’s really secure.

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

Then I repeat the whole thing four more times to have a total of five makeup pads per pack. The final stage in the making process is to make the little wash bag that the pads are stored in. I make these with tulle that I buy locally so that you can see which design pads are inside each bag. It’s also a handy little bag to keep for washing the makeup pads in so that they don’t escape and get lost in the wash.

Step 4: Packaging

I include an information tag with the reusable makeup remover pads which also gets made by me. I designed the tag on my computer to include how to use the pads and the cleaning instructions. These tags are then printed on to card and cutout using my cricut machine. The cricut machine saves me a lot of time and cuts a lot more accurately than I would!

Step 5: Photography

Once the makeup pads are made, in their little bags and tied with a tag, they’re ready to be photographed. I do all my product photography myself in my studio. Luckily my studio has nice big windows that let in lots of natural light so as long as the British weather is being kind, I can usually snap some pretty good product shots.

Then it’s just a case of editing the photos to fix the lighting and make sure the colours are true to life. Finally they’re ready to list on the website!

I always write a small section about the inspiration behind the print design for a personal touch and make sure important details such as size and fabric type are listed.

You can see the finished listing here – https://www.drawnbyrhiannon.co.uk/product/reusable-rubber-duck-makeup-remover-pads/

 

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Gift wrap

Adding gift wrap to your order will make your purchase extra special.

There are two options for gift wrap – Christmas gift wrap and other occasion gift wrap. Being eco friendly and using no plastic is very important at Drawn by Rhiannon. All the elements used in these wrapping options are either recyclable or reusable and there’s no plastic to be seen!

Christmas

If you select the Christmas gift wrap option, this is how your item will be wrapped. It features Christmas print kraft paper tied together with red twine and finished off with a festive cinnamon stick and jingle bell. A hand written charity Christmas card will be included so please leave your gift message at checkout. (If you would like to know which charities are being supported this year please get in touch.) Your order can then either be sent to you or it can be delivered directly to the recipient. Just type in whichever address you would like it sending to at checkout.

Other occasions

If your order is for a birthday gift, an anniversary present, a well done surprise or any other occasion, this is the option to choose. Your item will be wrapped in blue kraft paper and tied together with blue polka dot ribbon. A hand written note card will be included so please leave your gift message at checkout. Your order can then either be sent to you or it can be delivered directly to the recipient. Just type in whichever address you would like it sending to at checkout.

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Product spotlight: passport cover

The summer holidays are here so it’s time to jet off somewhere fabulous.

Swimming costume? Check. Plane tickets? Check. Passport? Check. But have you got a fantastic cover for your passport? If not, read on…

Panda passport cover

Passport covers not only look super pretty, they are also really handy. If you’re carrying your whole family’s passports, it’s so much easier to work out who’s is who’s at a quick glance. If everyone has a different passport case, it makes passport control a much simpler ordeal.

Lovebird passport cover

Even if you’ve just got your own passport to look after, having a snazzy holder makes it so much easier to find in your bag. No more “oh my goodness where is my passport” panic.

Ladybird passport cover

As well as making them look pretty and easy to spot, passport cases help to protect your passport. The passport covers are reinforced with interfacing to give them strength. This gives an extra layer of protection and helps to stop your passport getting crumpled.

Sheep travel wallet

If nothing else, buying a passport wallet will get you thinking about your next holiday! Where will your new passport cover take you?

Elephant travel case

Don’t forget to take a photo of your new passport cover while you’re on holiday. Upload it to social media and tag @drawnbyrhiannon and you could win a £10 gift voucher!

Drawn by Rhiannon social media share

Take a look at the full range of passport holders here.

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Belgium: Last stop, Bruges then Ghent

After three days in Antwerp we hopped on the train again.

If you haven’t seen the first two instalments of our Belgium adventure, take a look at them here.

The last stops on our Belgium trip were Bruges and Ghent. We decided to just stop in Bruges for the day as it’s only small, then head back to Ghent for the night. Unfortunately we chose to visit Bruges on a day when it rained. All day. Luckily Bruges is so super pretty that it still looked fabulous on a dreary day.

The main square was full of horses ready to take you around Bruges

Every street was lined with beautiful buildings full of intricate details.

Literally every street is full of stunning buildings

As well as the classic Dutch style buildings, there’s a fabulous cathedral. The inside was lovely and light and had the most wonderful stained glass windows.

The whole town is surrounded by a maze of canals which gives the buildings a stunning backdrop. Even on a gloomy day the canals were looking lovely.

After spending six hours strolling around Bruges, we were completely sodden through but well and truly wowed by the beautiful town.

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to the Belgium trains company. We used several trains and they were all super nice, so reasonably priced and on time! (If you’re reading this outside the UK and you’re wondering why I was excited by that, trains in the UK are pretty rubbish.)

The final stop

Our next and final stop of our Belgium adventure was Ghent. I didn’t know much about the city before visiting but a quick google search before going revealed it was going to be a stunner.

We were really lucky to be staying in a hotel right in the centre by the cathedral so we could walk straight out of the door and start sightseeing. It’s the perfect size for walking around but there’s also a small electric minibus that takes you around the city for free. Similar to Bruges, Ghent has gorgeous canals running through the streets. The weather was much kinder to us here so the reflection of the buildings on the water was stunning.

About every two minutes I had to stop to take a photo because everywhere is so photogenic!

Sorry to keep repeating myself here, but honestly the buildings everywhere were just so beautiful!

A happy place to be

What I loved most about Ghent was the atmosphere. Bruges was lovely but it very much felt like a touristy place, whereas Ghent felt like a real city. It’s got such history to it and has overcome so much in the past and you can somehow feel that in the air.

If you’re interested in medieval history, the castle has lots of stories to tell.

The inside of the buildings are just as stunning. The cathedral interior is designed in the classic Flemish style which can be seen all over Belgium.

They had some lovely old shops in some of the buildings too. This cute building housed a fabulous sweet shop selling traditional Belgian treats. Sadly it was closed when we visited but the window display was great.

As well as all the historic architecture, there’s a contemporary edge to the city. The university city has some brilliant independent artist shops and this famous graffiti alley which will be different every time you visit.

Ghent really is such a wonderful place. If you visit anywhere in Belgium, make it Ghent! It has a slight hidden gem vibe about it so it’s not completely overrun with tourists yet.

After two days in Ghent it was back to the UK for us. If you’re thinking “But wait, what about the food you had when you were away?”, don’t worry! The food was so fabulous in Belgium I’ve decided to dedicate a whole blog post to the subject. Stay tuned for the final Belgium post all about food coming soon…

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Q&A with Rhiannon

In case you didn’t know, Drawn by Rhiannon is run by me, Rhiannon.

The business isn’t named ironically – my name is Rhiannon and I draw stuff. I’ve had a few questions sent through social media recently so I thought I’d round them all up and do a blog post Q&A! Let’s dive straight in.

How did you start?

I studied fashion design then fashion graphics at university. After the first year of university I knew that I wanted to focus on print design so I moved from fashion design to fashion graphics. My final major project was a collection of homeware items made with my printed fabric – sound familiar? At the end of year show I had several people ask me if I would be selling any of the things I’d made so I was like hey, people want to buy this stuff! Using my FMP as a starting point, I opened Drawn by Rhiannon and it’s just grown from there. The puffins were the most popular design from my first collection so I decided to use the puffin as my logo.

My final major project at university was the starting point for Drawn by Rhiannon

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! I love travelling and many of my favourite designs have been inspired by things I’ve seen on holiday. I’m also super inspired by the beautiful North East where I live, as well as animals, random objects and food.

Do you do this full time?

I work pretty much full time hours at Drawn by Rhiannon but I also work part time in a craft shop. This just makes sure I know all my bills will be paid. Plus it’s great to use some of my skills at the day job too. I would really love to just work on Drawn by Rhiannon all the time as my main income so hopefully one day I will be completely full time here!

How long does it take to design a print?

I get asked this question all the time and it’s such a difficult one to answer! Every print design is completely different so each one takes a different amount of time to create. There’s the drawing and colouring stage, the digital cleaning and then arranging stages. Some things are quick to draw but then take forever at the computer stage. Others take such a long time to draw but are relatively easy to digitalise. The pineapple took over 5 hours to draw! One thing that I can say about all my designs is that they are all a labour of love.

The pineapple design took so long to draw I couldn’t look at pineapples for months afterwards!

What are your future goals?

Like I mentioned earlier, my aim is to run Drawn by Rhiannon full time. I’d love to have my own shop filled with things I’ve made plus other local artists’ work. And I’d have a little tearoom in there too because I love baking!

One day I hope to have a shop where I can sell my items and bake cakes too

Did you always want to be a designer?

Not at all! I was always changing what I wanted to do when I was older. For a long time I wanted to be a pilot but then I found out how much it cost to train and that you had to do physics so that kind of went out the window…

When I first went in to the fashion world, I thought I wanted to be a stylist. Then I wanted to be a fashion journalist – until someone who worked at a fashion magazine came in to give us a talk and told us that it was exactly like what you see on the devil wears prada. I basically fell in to fabric design because I never knew the job existed! It was only after a print design project in my first year that I fell in love with pattern design and knew that was what I wanted to do.

What do you do in your spare time?

What’s spare time again? Running Drawn by Rhiannon whilst working part time in the craft shop too doesn’t leave much room for spare time. But when I do get the chance to take some time off I love to travel. If I could get paid to travel I would drop everything and do that instead! Other than that I love baking and cooking, music (my ukulele featured in one of my print designs), and going to the beach.

Which is your favourite print?

Oh that’s so tough! There are some prints that I honestly can’t stand to look at because I spent so long designing them that I kind of never want to see them again… but I think my favourite prints might be either the bananas or the pandas. The bananas were really fun to design actually and I was so chuffed with how they came out! The pandas remind me of the amazing trip to Edinburgh zoo that inspired the design so I love that print.

Drawn by Rhiannon banana dress
I would love to make a dress with my banana design fabric!

What is your favourite item to make?

This changes all the time. I used to get so sick of sewing zips because everything I made needed a zip. Since then I’ve expanded my product range to all sorts of things that don’t need zips. At the moment I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for sewing coin purses and pencil cases.

If you have any more questions for me just comment below and I’ll answer them!

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Share your photos for a chance to win!

It’s lovely to see Drawn by Rhiannon items in their new homes!

I spend so much time designing and making all these items that it’s brilliant to see them in their new homes. When your order arrives, simply take a snap of your new item and upload to Instagram or Facebook. Don’t forget to tag @drawnbyrhiannon so I can see them!

It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a quick snap of your new item in use, or just out of the packaging!

It’s great to know that your order has arrived safely and that you love it!

It’s been especially fun seeing the beeswax wraps in use. So pleased so many of you are embracing a more eco-friendly lifestyle!

Every time you upload a photo of your purchase to social media and tag @drawnbyrhiannon, you’ll be entered in to a prize draw to win a £10 Drawn by Rhiannon gift voucher to spend on anything you want!

So what are you waiting for? Grab your phone and get snapping and sharing!