Posted in British gifts, gifts, independent retail, support uk, toys, unusual toys, wooden toys

Dollies and teasets.

The teaset is a constitutional part of British life and begins in our childhood.

Summer afternoons with your favourite toys and afternoon tea.

We have already discussed in my previous blogs the importance of toys in child development, particularly dolls and soft toys.

No matter what age you are, we all remember sitting down and having a pretend tea time. Whether it was sitting down with friends and family around a tiny table, or with our dolls, teddy bears and toys, nothing was going to stop us having our afternoon tea.

As the years have gone by, nothing has changed, and kids still love pretending to have tea time, probably more than when we were kids, especially if there’s cake involved.

Cordelia's House of Treasures
Great for pretend tea parties or picnics

If you’re interested in trying to encourage your children to enjoy this traditional role play adventure every Sunday afternoon, you’re going to need the right tools for the job.

A lovely cool bag for sandwiches and cakes with a note pad to take orders

Once upon time, you may have worn your mother’s favorite apron while arranging miniature tea sets on a tiny table, serving imaginary tea and scones to your favorite doll. Or you may have been in command of your action figures, leading them to the battlefield in the center of your living room.

The character you were playing when you were young – a chef in a play kitchen or a general in the Stars Wars of your imagination – are still perhaps being played by many children nowadays. Pretend play is such a source of joy that even with the advent of so many modern games, this old-fashioned imaginative play never loses its 

Because of the many benefits it can give, children should be encouraged to engage in pretend play. But never impose the idea or it will lose its appeal. Here are some scenarios for starting a pretend play:

– If you see your little girl constantly dressing up her doll, ask her where her dolly is off to and maybe it’s better for little dolly to have something to eat in the play kitchen before taking off.

– When your little boy is playing with his action figures, comment on how the little ones need the guidance of a teacher or the care of a doctor.

– If your child pretends to be a wild animal ready to pounce on you, go along with it. You can act scared at first and then pretend to tame him by giving imaginary food and petting him on the head.

As children warm up to the idea of role playing, whoever’s babysitting would usually be assigned a role. It may seem ridiculous for a grown up like you to assist in a play kitchen or act as the customer in a lemonade stand the size of your arm. But the benefits it can bring to your child won’t make it so ridiculous anymore.

Benefits of Pretend Play

Social and Emotional Development – Children can become whoever they want to be in pretend play. Because of this, they are able to get a very basic view of how it’s like to be a doctor with his toy hospital or how it’s like to be a chef with her play kitchen. As kids act out the part of somebody else, empathy is planted. When children realize they can be any character they want to be, their self-confidence could grow. And with this comes the desire and strength to explore new things.

Mental Development – Even if it’s just child’s play, there are also many problem-solving situations that children encounter during role playing. It may be a concern on what material should best replace a lost play kitchen spoon or who among the action figures to pick as the second in command. The process of looking for solutions to obstacles develops the analytical skills of your child. It also promotes resourcefulness, creativity, abstract thinking and logical reasoning.

House of Disaster designs

Communication – Whether children are playing with their parents, playmates, dolls or imaginary friends, they will always engage in conversation. A child starts to learn the importance of communication, especially when he or she mimics grown-up talk and actions. When children pretend to read to their dolls or write down grocery lists, they may be motivated to start learning how to read and write.

So encourage your child to pretend play. You can start off by presenting a play kitchen or a doctor’s kit. Remember, the skills that your child learns here are the skills that matter in real life.

Posted in British gifts, gifts, stationery

Benefits of the notebook.

7 Brilliant Reasons to Carry a Notebook With You

With the right apps, a smartphone can do almost anything, but it’s also useful to occasionally ditch your phone in favor of a trusty notebook. Here are seven reasons to carry a physical paper notebook around with you.

Switching from relying on your phone in every aspect of your life to using a physical notebook can be beneficial for more than just your handwriting. You can’t check social networks on your notebook, for one. Committing to using a notebook for certain aspects of your life—say, your to-do list—can help wean you from your smartphone
Notebooks trump apps when it comes to versatility. They aren’t just for journaling, though they’re great for that, too. A notebook can be a repository for all the odds and ends you want to remember, from your monthly budget to your grocery list to your list of all the great restaurants you’ve visited or coffees you’ve enjoyed drinking. Nor do you need to use it solely for writing. It’s also a great place for your sketches, doodles, and diagrams.

Writing by hand has numerous advantages compared to typing, and keeping a notebook on hand is a great way to keep your script skills sharp. Studies find that writing by hand helps you process information better, remember more, and think faster compared to typing. Plus, it improves your spelling. Since you likely don’t spend a lot of time writing out information longhand at work, your handwriting skills have probably atrophied since you left school. Occasionally jotting down thoughts in a notebook is a handy way to reinvigorate the parts of your brain (and hand) that don’t get a workout when you type on a computer or a smartphone.

A notebook is the perfect place to jot down a quick thought before you forget it. While you may think in the moment that the memory will stick with you, chances are, that little tidbit of information or spark of an idea won’t stick. Not only is memory fleeting, but it’s incredibly fallible. Eyewitness testimony in court cases has been found to be highly unreliable, and researchers have found that even people with so-called Highly Superior Autobiographical Memories—super-memory skills that allow them to remember just about every detail from their lives—are susceptible to false memories. Even when we believe we remember events

Carrying pen and paper makes it easy to write down information on the fly, providing a more accurate snapshot of the day when you go back to your notebook. Writing down events and thoughts during the day is a good way to bolster your memory, but a notebook can be used for less lofty purposes, too, like writing down where you got that amazing slice of pizza.


Journaling is an established technique doctors recommend to combat mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Keeping some sort of diary helps people express inner thoughts and fears, identify negative thought patterns, and track symptoms. Even if you don’t have anxiety, keeping a journal can help you clarify your feelings and get to know yourself. You may think you don’t have time to dedicate to writing every day, but if you carry around a notebook, your diary will always be on hand to write in while you’re killing time during your daily life


Carrying a notebook has been an essential part of the creative process for centuries. Ludwig van Beethoven didn’t go anywhere without one, just in case inspiration struck while he was out. Benjamin Franklin carried a pocket notebook to chart his moral progress on his “13 virtues” character development plan. Mark Twain took notebooks with him wherever he traveled to write down observations and book ideas. The same goes for today. Modern authors and artists know that their best ideas probably won’t come to them when they’re sitting down at their desks, ready to work.

Digital planners and apps are convenient and useful—until your phone goes dead. Paper and pen don’t require any charging and are always ready to use. Even if you use your phone or computer for most writing tasks, it’s great to keep a notebook on hand for when your digital devices run out of juice. Even if your phone isn’t yet dead, using a notebook can help you save that battery life for something more important, like getting directions or playing games.

Posted in British gifts, British travel, historic places uk

Favourite places in Shropshire

I was born in Shropshire and so were many of my ancestors.

As a youth I don’t think I appreciated the beauty of my home county . I will share with you some of my favourite spots.

Where is Shropshire many people say. ” never heard of it!”. Well shame on them!

Buy from Shropshire

Shrewsbury, the birthplace of Charles Darwin. A beautiful medieval town with black and white buildings. It has some beautiful architecture with some Georgian buildings close to the river Severn. The ox bow river meanders around this town. It’s beautiful in the summer and has a lovely atmosphere close to xmas as it is full of independent shops.

Buy local, buy from Shropshire

Ludlow is another favourite of mine. The architecture is similar to Shrewsbury. A pretty market town with a castle. The food festival draws many visitors and a plethora of high quality restaurants are present in this small town. The silver pear gift shop is well worth a visit. There are some beautiful jewellery shops and delicatessens. Great for independent retail shopping.

Buy local buy from Shropshire

Attingham park is a lovely National Trust property just outside of Shrewsbury. The grounds are beautiful and you can enjoy a leisurely stroll come snow or sunshine. Deer are reared in the grounds and are lovely to see. Badger sets are protected in the grounds and is home to a variety of birds. There is also a great tea shop. Just ideal after a brisk walk on a Sunday afternoon.

Buy from Shropshire,  buy British

The rolling Shropshire hills are truly a sight for sore eyes. Driving from Shrewsbury to Ludlow you can appreciate the expanse of these hills and their beauty especially when they are topped with snow. Great for walking and blowing away the cobwebs.

Buy local buy British

Stokesay castle.
Stokesay Castle was constructed at the end of the 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, who at the time was one of the richest men in England. It remains a treasure by-passed by time, one of the best places to visit in England to experience what medieval life was like.

Buy local buy British

Stokesay castle. The north tower.

Buy local and buy British

Whittington castle.
Although not recorded in the Domesday Book, local legend claims that a series of primitive castles has existed here since the 9th century. The present castle ruins date from 1221 when the fitz Warren family applied to King Henry III for permission to build a stone fortress. Originally, the castle had 7 towers, each about 18 metres high, with walls 3.7 metres thick and a drawbridge over 12 metres long. The fitz Warrens had a remarkable love/hate relationship with the English monarchy.

Buy British buy local

Moreton Corbett castle

This is a haunting and impressive structure in its current state.
The impressive ruins of Moreton Corbet Castle are the product of over 500 years of building. The earliest surviving remains are those of a stone castle begun in about 1200, including a fine gatehouse. The Corbet family remodelled the castle in the 16th century, and the Elizabethan south wing is a rare survival from this period of a bold Italian-inspired design, which was devastated during the Civil War. Fine Corbet monuments fill the adjacent church.
In the 18th century the castle was abandoned as a residence, and it soon became roofless. Plans were drawn up in 1796 to build a new house on the site, but the project was never realised and the castle remained a ruin. The Corbet family still owns the castle today, although the site is managed by English Heritage.
In the 18th century the castle was abandoned as a residence, and it soon became roofless. Plans were drawn up in 1796 to build a new house on the site, but the project was never realised and the castle remained a ruin. The Corbet family still owns the castle today, although the site is managed by English Heritage.

Buy from Shropshire

Hawkstone hall and follies.
Hawkstone Hall is a 43,400 square feet early 18th-century country mansion near Hodnet, Shropshire, England which was more recently occupied as the pastoral centre of a religious organisation for many years. It is a Grade I listed building.

If you like medieval history Shropshire is the county to visit. Enriched with history and architecture you won’t be disappointed.

Posted in countryside

Accessories for chickens

I have recently purchased two lovely young hens and was very surprised that you can buy your chicken accessories. Hold on to your stomach as I burst into uncontrollable laughter when I saw these things.

First up the chicken swing. This looks just like my chicken belle. But my goodness a chicken swing!!

The chicken xylophone. What tune have you got for us today girls??? Lol.

The chicken biker. This is down right ridiculous but it made me laugh.

The chicken sweater?? Omg lol.

Last but not least the chicken harness. Who in their right mind is going to take a chicken for a walk??

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from it’s owner. Lol.

Posted in Uncategorized

High street supermarkets which offer great interior ideas at an affordable price.

I was looking around for new bedlinen and instead of looking at MS , Next and the department stores I thought I would try our supermarkets . I was pleasantly surprised.

Offerings from George, Asda.

Grey and yellow is very popular right now. It’s fresh, uplifting and Scandinavian in style. Grey and white is very versatile to add any colour to. This ultimately saves you money and you have the choice to change the theme of your home without too much hassle

Contemporary grey with a ray of sunshine

The geometrics are cool

Geometric style

Although this picture is from last year the geometric style is still present on the high street.

Stylish grey white and geometrics for a modern style

This is a great alternative for either the man who hates floral design or the woman who doesn’t like fussy.

Bright and cheerful

Like a ray of sunshine in your room yellow, grey and white. Completely fresh and makes you smile. A look you could reintroduce every summer

Dunelm bedset from £16.00

There are a plethora of geometric accessories you can introduce into your scheme

You are only limited by your imagination
A look which is versatile for the office , bedroom or lounge

There is nothing flowery or flouncy about this look but it can be comfortable and minimal.

Obviously you have to be careful you don’t overdo it with the patterns

I think if I were going geometric at home I would either use the accessories or textiles patterned designs. Otherwise you could easily be overpowered. A mood board is probably a good idea.

Geometric without the noise

I personally love the owelry print design brand.

Can’t wait to introduce this brand into my home.
Clever and modern designs by Owelry Print

We are so fortunate in the uk to have such talented artists.

Great ways of changing the look of your home

The high street makes it easy to redesign your home without paying out a fortune.

Bee happy
Posted in Uncategorized

The harrogate trade show

The 8 reasons you won’t want to miss Home & Gift 2019

At its core, retail is an industry powered by people and, with 85% of professionals still indicating that face-to-face meetings are the key to building strong business relationships, it’s never been more important for buyers to be attending the right trade shows. With less than 3 weeks to go before Home & Gift, the industry’s favourite event, returns, here’s a look at the 8 reasons that buyers won’t want to be anywhere else but Harrogate from 1

4-17 July.

1. The industry’s biggest names – Home & Gift is introducing even more of the industry’s biggest brands this year including Fifty Five South, Parlane, Premier Decorations, Forma House, Caspari, Village Candle, Designed in Colour, Also Home, Tyrrell Katz, Le Toy Van, S’ip By Swell, Jellycat and Kikkerland to name just a few.

2. Undiscovered brands – Not just a destination for the biggest, most well-known brands though, Home & Gift will also be presenting more than 160 brand new exhibitors in its line-up, with a new sector, Design Now, entirely dedicated to emerging names and new design.

3. First show of the season – By far one of Home & Gift’s biggest appeals is its perfect timing within the buying calendar; giving retailers the opportunity to make strategic purchasing decisions, based on the first 6 months of trade, when it comes to festive stock and best-selling gifts ahead of the vital Christmas period. Visitors will also get the very first look at the many new product launches happening at the show.

4. Inspiring speakers – Whether you’re an independent store or a seasoned department store buyer, everyone can learn something from the ShopTalk programme, which includes everything from case study presentations and panel discussions, to hands-on clinics and masterclasses. Some great names include Sophie Conran, Entrepreneur and former Dragon Piers Linney, jewellery designer and reality star Rosie Fortescue, and designer and author Peal Lowe.

5. New online tools – A brand new online platform makes it easier than ever before for visitors to explore the 700+ suppliers on the Home & Gift website, as well as enabling them to ‘favourite’ key exhibitors, download shopping lists and plan pre-arranged meetings with suppliers through the s

ite’s Visitor Login portal.

6. Something for everyone – With eight carefully though-through sectors—Including the new Design Now, Taste and Craft—and an improved show layout to guide visitors through them, every retailer is sure to find something to suit their specific aesthetic and store

offering at Home & Gift.

7. A show like no other – As much as Home & Gift is a crucial buying opportunity for visitors, it’s also a celebration of the beloved retail industry, which is why the show takes such joy in providing relaxed environments for meaningful connections to be made and real business to be done. Striking the perfect balance of business and socialising, the show truly does have a unique spirit of i

ts own.

8. At home in Harrogate – From picturesque walks and the iconic Turkish Baths, to the famous Bettys Tearooms and the great array of restaurants to spots for a late-night drink, there really is something for everyone in the beautiful town of Harrogate when it comes to Home & Gift afterhours. Visitors should keep an eye out on the Home & Gift website as special deals for local restaurants, bars and attractions are revealed closer to the show.


Home & Gift 2019 will take place 14-17 July, across the Harrogate Convention Centre and grounds of the Majestic Hotel.

To avoid disappointment, it is suggested that visitors book accommodation as soon as possible. More information can be found at

More information about the show and its exhibitors can be found at

For more information and high resolution images, please contact Jordan Evans at Clarion Events

T: 02073847751 | E:

Posted in independent retail, toys, unusual toys

Cuddly Toys

Virtually everyone must have had a cuddly toy in their lifetime? They give a feeling of comfort and companionship. In childhood a feeling of safety and security.

When I was a child I loved bag puss and imagined an ideal toy shop to look that way. The big chain shops have no soul and you don’t get the satisfaction of looking in the nooks and crannies of an independent shop.

Cuddly toys now come in all varieties. We have bats, dinosaurs, tarantulas and dragons. No longer are we confined to a basic teddy bear.

The benefits of soft toys

Young children often use soft toys to project their own feelings – and then comfort them, encouraging valued qualities such as empathy, affection and bonding. Soft toysalso encourage creative play through role playing.7 Jun 2017

Children learn about their world through play. This development can be enhanced by the toys parents provide for their children. Small children like things that are soft and cuddly and parents have provided soft toys as obvious play choices throughout time. There may be benefits of soft toys that parents have never considered.

The most obvious benefit is that no matter what shape, color or size, soft toys are usually cuddly and appealing to young children. They can hold them close and cuddle them. This warmth offers the comfort and security often needed when children are tired or placed in a situation of needing to cope with change. Soft toys become close friends, providing love and stability.

Soft toys also offer young children a chance to explore possibilities in a safe way. They can tug at them, chew them and even throw them around, all without any immediate harm to either child or toy. It is this flexibility and durability that is so appealing to the child. Whilst exploring the possibilities of how they can use their own bodies, children learn a lot about the changing nature of things around them through ownership of a soft toy.

Origins of the Rag doll

Traditionally home-made from (and stuffed with) spare scraps of material, they are one of the oldest children’s toys in existence. The British Museum has a rag doll, found in a child’s grave dating from the 1st-5th century AD. Historically, rag dolls have been used as comfort objects, and to teach young children nurturing skills. They were often used to teach children how to sew, as the children could practice sewing clothes for the doll and make some simple dolls themselves. In America, from the colonial era up to the early 20th century, children of various statuses would play with dolls made from rags or cornhusks. Mass production of rag dolls began around 1830, when fabric color printing was first developed.

Above is the Annabelle doll pictured here in the Warren’s museum.

You might not want to buy this demon doll , but it really depends on how naughty the child is ! Whooooooo

Our shop has a good selection of cuddly toys designed by British Companies Suki and Wilberry toys.

Wilberry toys are just lovely. They have some lovely ideas regarding clothing and textures. Rest assured they are safe too.

Suki toys ready for xmas.

Young or old, big or small we all love our soft toys.

Look around our shop and see if you can home one of our soft toy friends.