Free postage in the shop this weekend, plus some new arrivals!

Marmalade Pie the shop

To celebrate the arrival of the August bank holiday weekend there’s free postage off everything in the shop this weekend, including sale items. Just use the code AUGHOLIDAY at the checkout.

Woodland printed baby muslin squares

I’m currently enjoying expanding our children’s and baby range and I’m particularly excited to now be stocking these beautiful muslin cloths (£18.50) by British designer Zoe Olivia Elsdon. Each lovely gift box contains three soft, pre-washed muslin cloths in woodland designs. They’re the perfect gift for new arrivals.

Ice cream baby rattles

Continuing the baby theme, these handmade baby rattles (£12) are sweetness itself. The old-fashioned bell inside them makes a delicate little tinkle when you shake it. They’re just scrummy, and shouldn’t really be confined to babies only!

Wooden folk bird ornament

A flock of these folksy wooden birds (£4.95) have also landed in the shop. Catch one now before they fly away again.

I hope you all have a great bank holiday weekend, whatever you’re doing. We have one week of the school summer holidays left, and after that I hope to have lots of new posts for you all to read!

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Short but sweet: a couple of days on the Isle of Man

Scarlett Point, Isle of Man

A few weeks ago we spent a couple of days on the Isle of Man. It was a short stop-over before our main holiday in Derbyshire, allowing us to catch up with ourselves and enjoy some reviving sea air.

We arrived late in the evening and fell into bed, walking the next day to the sound of the sea. As usual, we did a bit of beach combing in Castletown and were rewarded with some treasure.

Shell on Castletown beach

Then we hopped aboard an old train headed for Douglas – heaven to the small steam fans in the family.

Isle of Man railway

Soon after arriving in Douglas we stumbled across the most delightful cafe, just five minutes from the station. We ate fresh Manx Queenies and Langoustines in the warm sunshine. Delicious.

Little Fish Cafe, Douglas

Afterwards we caught a horse drawn tram along the Douglas sea front – a relic from Victorian times, and every bit as charming as it sounds.

Isle of Man horse drawn tram

We finished our time on the island with an evening walk in the golden sunshine along Scarlett Point. Then it was the onto the early boat home to continue our adventures in Derbyshire…

Scarlett Point, Isle of Man IMG_8801

We ate at the Little Fish Cafe. 

More information about trains, trams and buses on the Isle of Man can be found here

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Three more things I’m loving this summer…

Summer picnics at Marmalade Pie

Lazy, hazy picnic days… I love a picnic at any time of year, but it’s always going to be particularly lovely in the summer. Lolling on the picnic rug, sausage roll in hand, the sun on your face…it doesn’t get much better in my opinion. Except maybe if someone brings a packet of Cherry Bakewells too.

Lazy, hazy, picnic days

Liz Earle lavender and rose hot cloth cleanser… A new twist on the their classic face wash, exclusive to John Lewis. I love the scent of lavender and rose, so I was very happy to switch my usual bottle for one of these. I think my skin looks better too, or maybe that’s just the lovely warm weather.

Liz Earle lavender and rose face wash

The Outlander novels… I’m a bit bereft now season two has finished, so I’m reading the books to make up for it. A bit silly and bodice-ripping at times, but I love it nevertheless! Especially in a deckchair with a glass of Pimm’s.

Outlander

Flask and lunch box both available now in my online shop!

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Summer sale now on!

Marmalade Pie summer sale

Over in the shop, the summer sale is now open.

There are some fantastic bargains – from scarves and candles to beautiful jewellery. Treat yourself – or stock up on lovely presents!

Here are some of my favourite picks:

Marmalade Pie summer sale

Urn candle £6 (was £10), Bertie the dog decoration £3 (was £4), block print scarf £4.99 (was £8.99).

Marmalade Pie summer sale

Bird bunting £3.99 (was £5.99), Liberty print mini crackers £5 (were £10), flower necklace £8.99 (was £11), linen scarf £4.99 (was £8.99).

Grab yourself a bargain now while stocks last!

 

What to pack for British holiday

What to pack for a British holiday

I refuse to call it a staycation. Surely that would imply staying at home? Holidaying in Britain is every bit as exiting as going abroad – so much variety packed into one island. But packing for a British holiday does present its own set of rules.

The good old British weather presents a bit of challenge. You never know what you’re going to get. So it’s tempting to pack everything, including the kitchen sink.

Here are my top essentials for a British holiday wardrobe:

A raincoat and wellies…do you want to risk a British holiday without either of these items? You could probably get away without the wellies if you’re city-bound, but the raincoat is non-negotiable. If you need to keep things light, get a packable rain coat in a bag.

A warm jumper and jeans… you’ll want some summery clothes too, but you’ll inevitably need to layer things up with a warm jumper. I’m always surprised by the temperature differences within our little island – you’re never going to regret popping a pair of jeans in.

A breton tee… a classic, you don’t won’t to be without one of these. They’re a staple and go with everything.

A scarf or two… brilliant for adding an extra layer of warmth on the beach…or shielding yourself from the sun. A couple of different scarves also interest to your limited wardrobe.

Suncream and hats… the funny thing about British holidays is that no matter how miserable the weather might be, I always seem to end up with a sunburnt face – especially if we’re by the sea. It’s tempting to think you won’t need a hat or suncream, but don’t be fooled!

One pair of pretty shoes and one pair of sensible shoes… for me, this translates into nice sandals and walking shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever worn more than two different types of shoe on a British holiday…unless you count the wellies!

A sense of humour! Don’t forget to put this in, along with your flask of coffee and your thermal underwear.

Jumper by White Stuff (past season), Breton by Boden (similar here), flask and scarf from Marmalade Pie. 

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How to save money this summer

How to save money this summer

In the school holidays it’s hard to keep track of money. It’s not so much the big days out and holidays away – you can plan for them – it’s all the little things that quickly add up: trips to the cafe, ice creams, little treats here and there… and that’s before we’ve even thought about new school uniforms and two new pairs of shiny black shoes. It’s easy to end up completely penniless by the end of the holiday.

This year, I’m determined to keep a lid on the spending. If I’m careful, we can still have treats. Here are some easy ideas for how to save money this summer

Set a weekly budget for the little extras. This can be as much or as little as you like. Put it in a jar and plan things out with your children – it’ll help them learn and give them an idea how quickly money runs out! I wouldn’t expect the money in this jar to pay for big days out – it’s more of a fund for ice creams, comics etc. You do have to be quite disciplined to do this – make sure you have a plan for when the money runs out on a Monday afternoon!

Find as many inexpensive drop-in activities as you can. Where we live there are free drop-ins at the Cathedral twice a week with crafts and activities. We’re also heading to our local museum’s weekly craft sessions which cost £2 per child. Go and check out the noticeboards in your library or children’s centre, or follow local museums on Facebook.

Go to the park. A lot. Buy a flask or a insulted mug and take your coffee with you from home! Or make use of that useful free coffee from Waitrose if you happen to live near one.

Join in with the Big Friendly Read at your local library. Every summer libraries host a summer reading challenge – this year it’s got a bit of a Roald Dahl theme. The idea is to read a book every week for six weeks. Each time your child returns their book they get a special postcard to add to a special collector’s album. Some of them are even scented (don’t sniff the George’s Marvellous Medicine one too hard, it’s poisonous!).  It’s all completely free.

Crafting at home doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need to buy lots of new craft supplies to make things fun. I’m saving as many junk modelling things as I can and keeping them in a box for the boys to help themselves. All they really ever want for their creations is sellotape, scissors and a box of crayons.

What are you favourite ways to save money this summer?

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#OnePerfectThing in July

Tea and cake

Perfection often feels out of reach. But however imperfect you’re finding life, you can make an effort to find #OnePerfectThing. Something which makes you pause, smile and feel thankful.

It’s been a beautiful month, hasn’t it? For the most part, July has been warm, sunny and pretty mellow. Just as it should be.

I’ve loved seeing your #OnePerfectThings photos over on Instagram and it’s great to see new people joining in with the hashtag each month. There’s been so much sunshine and happiness in your pictures – thank you for sharing them!

Here are four of my favourites…

#OnePerfectThing in July

Top left: @poppyprudden / top right: @trot_a_mouse  / bottom left: @sallytangle / bottom right: @beautifulclutter

My absolute favourite this month is Poppy’s photo of a perfect evening picnic!

Unknown-28

Thank you all for joining in, I’m looking forward to August!

You can join in with #OnePerfectThing over on Instagram – find me here. 

Three things I’m loving this summer…

summer flower posy: larkspur, sweet pea, rose, daisy

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that summer is finally here! And isn’t it all the sweeter for the long wait? Here are some things I’m loving so far…

My garden… We’ve worked particularly hard on it this year and it’s really paying off. The rose arch is already looking beautiful, and my bigger border is a delight which just keeps on giving. I love pottering out there, deadheading and gathering little posies.

Verbena

Peas in the pod… Tom grew these from seed and is enormously proud of them. You’re never going to get a massive harvest of peas from half a dozen plants, but it’s still worth it. Watching them grow and the pods burst out and swell is such fun for children and adults alike. You don’t even need to cook them, they taste best eaten straight out of the pod on a warm day.

peas in the pod

Pimm’s… or when the budget won’t stretch, a bottle of Austins from Aldi. Once you’ve chucked a load of fruit in I’m not sure you can tell the difference. My personal favourite way to have it is with cloudy lemonade, ice, lemon, mint and a handle of frozen berries. The current bottle is sinking alarmingly quickly.

PImms and lemonade

What have you been loving this week?

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Dressing for the summer holidays – with Octer

Denim pinafore dress

The school summer holidays are a whirlwind. At any given moment I’m on hand to make things happen – whether it’s painting, baking or firing bows and arrows in the park. It’s full-on, and I’m here, there and everywhere. Which calls for practical dressing. My pretty dresses aren’t ideal when the paint’s flying. What should I swap them for?

A denim pinafore dress and a rucksack. Perfect for days with the kids: practical but fun, sensible but a bit childish. There are lots of pinafores and rucksacks in the shops this summer. It’s hard to know where to start looking, especially when you’re short on time (who isn’t?).

Which is where Octer comes in. It’s a shopping site that allows you to search for items across a huge number of retailers at once. I looked up denim pinafores and was able to quickly search through lots of styles from different stores, until I found the perfect one. It saved me trawling through lots of sites, and once you’ve found something you like, you click through to the retailer’s website and order as usual. The same was true for rucksacks – I quickly found one I really liked at a great price from a brand I’d never come across before.

I’ve thoroughly tested my new items out. They were perfect for a summer day at a castle, followed by an evening at the park sipping Pimm’s and throwing tennis balls around!

Summer rucksack

Castle Rising

Denim pinafore

Pinafore dress £24.99, New Look / Rucksack £35, Brakeburn at Cotswold Outdoor – all purchased via Octer. 

 

Items courtesy of Octer who invited me to try out their website. All words, thoughts and images are my own. 

 

Things to do in the summer holidays: make a boredom jar

Making a boredom jar

The summer holidays are upon us! I’m trying to be organised this year and plan lots of activities and get-togethers. But there’s always going to be some slack time when everyone gets a little bored.

For these moments, make a boredom jar. All you need to do is write down lots of activities on bits of paper and fill a jar with them!

Paint a picture….go on a scooter ride…write someone a letter…bake biscuits…read a book…post a postcard…make a dinosaur world…

Get your children to write down some ideas too (although maybe tell them not to write down go to Legoland).

I’m keeping mine really simple and cheap. Oh, and if you suggest a craft activity, remember to have all the things ready in the cupboard.

If you need any other inspiration how about checking out my posts on making a miniature garden and magic potions?

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