Counting down days until dad’s back with family

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Imagine an advent calendar counting down to the best present of all – the safe return of a loved one from a tour of duty abroad.

That was the brainchild of RAF wife and mother-of-three Nicky Cunliffe, both as a way of helping husband Stuart mark off the days of an Afghanistan tour and a reminder of happy times the family has shared.

Nicky created a personalised chuff chart for her husband, who serves at RAF Boulmer, at the kitchen table, full of photos, messages and images for him to open out in Afghanistan as he embarked on a six-month tour.

And this homespun inspiration has now translated into a budding business, Chuff Chuff Designs, creating personalised count-down calendars online which can be posted either to family homes, or directly out to military personnel in theatre.

All you need to do is select the photos, images and messages you would like to use, and then create your own countdown calendar on an easy-to-use website.

“When Stuart goes away he counts down the days until we are back together,” said Nicky.

“‘Making a Chuff Chuff calendar is a wonderful way for him to tick off the days, opening one window at a time and discovering enchanting family photos, pictures his children have drawn for him and messages of well-wishers.”

The Chuff Chuff Calendar website can be found at