I love this time of year - it is perhaps even better than summer. I love the chill in the air and I'm a huge Christmas fan, so seeing the lights go up and hearing the music on the radio makes me happy every year. But (there was always going to be a but0) it can also get quite hectic and this increase in things to do isn't helped by the darks mornings, dark evenings, and in fact yesterday, dark afternoons! When things get a little stressful, it's good to have some words of wisdom around your house, to remind you of what's really important and to Keep Calm!
I love this Keep Calm and Drink Tea Heart - and the combination of the Union Jack and tea is inspired - tea solves everything, doesn't it?
For me Christmas isn't just about the day itself, the preparations and run up to the big day are all part of the fun. I love choosing gifts for friends and family, planning what food I'm going to cook, thinking of Christmassy things to do with kids and even writing Christmas cards. Sometimes in the rushing around, you can lose a whole week without really enjoying it, so this picture is a perfect reminder that every second counts:
Hang this Happiness is a Journey Picture in your hallway to remind yourself that life is all about the little things.
This lovely Live Laugh Love Wooden Block has a similar philosophy that will remind you to look on the bright side when you're not feeling so good.
Just surrounding yourself with positive things and words can really help to improve your outlook on life just by slowing you down a little. These Porcelain Heart Dishes just have three simple words on them, but what important words they are: dream, hope, love
Good luck with all the shopping, cooking, nativity costumes, Christmas cards, decorations, parties - enjoy it!
A subject close to my heart at the moment ... I'm trying very hard not to be, but at the moment I am definitely a tired mum. Tired, and fairly haggard looking! McToddler is going through the terrible 2s with gusto and the daily battles to get him to do, well, anything are exhausting. So here are the gifts that I'd like to receive this Mother's Day (as well as a lie-in and breakfast in bed, of course!).
Apparently asking for some peace just doesn't cut it, I've tried several times believe me. So the second best option is this delicious Peace Tea with its warming blend of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and rooibos. Surely worth a try?
For some pure pampering, this Rose Relaxation Box would go down a treat in this house:
I cannot stress enough how absolutely divine these Willow Beauty products are. They're all organic and the essential oils mean they smell delicious. Also important when you're giving a gift is the presentation and they are beautifully packaged. The Relaxation Box would be such a treat - just make sure you give her the time to use it too!
And just when McToddler and the Things are completely driving me round the bend (fairly frequently as it happens) I like to remember all the funny, charming, gorgeous, cute little things they do and say and this Moments Book would be the perfect place to jot down precious memories, which remind you that the total exhaustion you sometimes feel as a mum is totally worth it!
Right, I'm off for a(nother!) cup of tea - hopefully this one will revive me enough to deal with the school/after-school club/Brownie runs this evening!
Christmas is but a distant memory, January flew by and suddenly it's nearly Valentine's Day. So we thought we'd showcase some of our prettiest hearts, which would all make lovely Valentine's gifts.
Starting with the most striking, this Large Carved Nordic Wooden Heart is absolutely stunning: it measures 30cm high so will make a real statement in your home and would make a wonderful Valentine's gift.
Or for decoration but with a practical purpose too, how about this pretty Cream Wooden Heart Clock? It would look lovely in a country-style kitchen, bedroom or hallway.
These Porcelain Heart Dishes were amongst our bestselling products this Christmas and it's easy to see why - they're so pretty and at only £7.50 they're also really affordable.
Or for a more humorous take on the heart theme, we don't think you can go wrong with this witty Keep Calm Union Jack Heart. A reminder to everyone, everywhere that sometimes you just need to kick back with a cuppa!
This rustic style Wooden Hanging Heart is only £4.95 so makes a stylish little gift to show just how much you care.
Now, you know what they say, Christmas is all about the kids. So we thought this week we'd show our favourite gifts for children from Beautifulthings.co.uk. Technology seems to be dominating the wish lists of lots of the children I've spoken to recently, but actually we think that a more old-fashioned approach might be the way forward for their stockings.
This gorgeous Owl Flower Press is the sort of thing that a little girl wouldn't think of asking Father Christmas for, but you can bet she's going to get hours of fun out of it - and it looks so pretty too.
Christmas Dinner for young children can be a bit of a bore, rather than the feast that the adults enjoy. So if you want to keep your children at the table for a little longer, then this book should help. Something to Keep you Happy at the Christmas Dinner Table is full of games, puzzles and colouring in and is sure make them smile as they take their seats at the table.
Now, most children are lucky enough to receive a mini mountain of toys and books at Christmas, so why not be a little more creative and treat them to something for their bedroom. The pleasure a lovely picture brings will last a lot longer than the latest plastic tat! I absolutely love our range of canvases from artist Jessica Barrah - there are various designs to choose from, including the Guards Canvas and the Little Bird Canvas.
Or for a really modern look, our selection of Laser Cut Paper Prints are truly stunning, with the Fairy Girl Picture being especially striking.
And of course, we have to mention our ever-popular bookends in a range of designs:
We hope this has given you a few ideas - visit our Children's section for the full range!
Well, I think it's fair to say we're in full festive mode here with lots of you clearly getting organised with your Christmas shopping. Well done! To try and help you we thought we'd put together a series of guides to our favourite Christmas gifts at Beautifulthings.co.uk. There will be one every week until Christmas, so do check back for more ideas. This week, gorgeous Christmas gifts that don't break the bank: that's right, gifts for under £10.
We have fallen in love with the beautiful jewellery that Ridley & Dowse produce, but for a little bit of their designer style at a fraction of the price, this Daisy Blossom Bookmark (£9.50) makes a great gift for the reader in your life.
For fans of rustic chic, this lovely Heart Chalkboard (£4.99) is a great way to keep on top of To-Do lists or shopping lists.
Another great little Christmas gift for fans of hearts are these bestselling Porcelain Heart Dishes (£7.50).
The Gelicity Spa Bath range is a really novel idea that will give the recipient a lot of fun. By adding a sachet of crystals to a bath, it turns the water into a sort of jelly to create spa-like bath in your own home.
Or how about giving someone a little peace at Christmas time? We certainly all need that and this gorgeous Peace Tea (£4.99) is a wonderful warming blend of Rooibos, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg, Liquorice, Ginger and Mace. Mmmmm.
We hope this little guide has given you some ideas for Christmas gifts for under £10. There are many more on the site.
Sorry for the lack of blogging - the summer holidays are a tricky time for working mums. Beautifulthings.co.uk had a great summer with some lovely pieces of PR - most notably our Home Chalkboard was featured in Your Home magazine and our Russian Doll Bookends were in both Mother and Baby and Best. So, we shipped lots and lots of both items, in between having fun with friends and family.
Back to normal now (although the Things have still only done one full week of school so far) so expect more blogs from me soon.
Following on (ahem, I realise this is not strictly true and that there's been a bit of a gap!) from my last post about McBaby's Christening, my website of the week is Coco Cards, the beautiful website where we bought our Christening invites from.
Coco Cards has such a fantastic range of contemporary and stylish invitations and stationery, whether you're looking for birth announcements, wedding stationery or invitations to either a child's or adult's special birthday party, I would thoroughly recommend taking a look. They were quick and helpful and we were delighted with our invitations. Below is the style of invitation that we went for:
I must say, I'm also liking the idea of the Mummy Calling Cards: a great excuse for some lovely new stationery, and apparently these are the next big thing, so go and get ahead of the pack!
It was recently McBaby's Christening - we left it rather later than we would have liked, which made the event more stressful than the Things' Christenings had been previously. Would McBaby take a swipe at the vicar when she poured water over him? Would he have a spectacular tantrum and throw himself on the floor, refusing to partake at all? These questions were making me nervous. As it happens, I needn't have been nervous - he was a little angel and we all had a lovely day.
In the aftermath of his Christening it got me to thinking about unusual gifts for children. McBaby was given some truly beautiful Christening gifts, all of which were really thoughtful and once children come into your life, it seems that you are always buying them gifts â€“ new baby gifts, Christening gifts, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and then gifts for all your childrenâ€™s friends too. So finding a unique gift for the children in your life can be difficult.
But unique gifts for children will be appreciated for much longer than the latest must-have toy, and parents will also thank you for an unusual present. So, to help you out, here are some ideas for unique Christening gifts for children, some shamelessly pinched from McBaby's friends and relatives, others all my own work!
So, here are some of my ponderings on unique gift ideas for children's Christening presents. Can you think of any more? What did your children receive that you particularly loved?
So, here are some of my ponderings on unique gift ideas for children's Christening presents. Can you think of any more? What did your children receive that you particularly loved?
In a new feature here, we want to bring you our Website of the Week - sites that you may not have heard of, that will add something to your life. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them here as a comment, or you can email us at email@example.com.
Today is such a gloomy and dull day that I'm thinking about holidays and escapes. And the site I always turn to when planning a break is Tripadvisor, so this is our first Website of the Week. You've possibly already heard of it (it's a big player in the travel world) but if you haven't, I warn you now, it becomes addictive. It's a fantastic way of getting the inside story on hotels, apartments and resorts with thousands of reviews from real people on their trips, which makes it a great way of choosing a holiday that will suit your needs. I would never stay anywhere now without checking out the Tripadvisor reviews - after all, holidays aren't cheap so it's worth doing your research!
I'm not sure what this says about me, but I am so very tired this week and the only thing I can put it down to is the missing hour. Yes, I know it happened nearly 3 days ago but even the Things and McBaby are still fast asleep when it's usually time to get up and we all need an energy boost. The lighter evenings are a wonderful trade-off and it's definitely given me that Springtime feel, but somehow my energy levels haven't caught up yet.
If you're feeling the same (and speaking to people it seems like there might be a few of you!) then do check out our Energy Boost Aromatherapy Candle. The fragrance of this candle is lovely: geranium, refreshing orange and patchouli, and it includes a little booklet of tips to boost your energy too.
I have a couple of little tips that I find boost my energy levels - half a lemon squeezed with a dash of hot water really helps me to get the day started (provided I have the energy to squeeze said lemon!), and fresh air first thing also works wonders, which is why I love to walk the Things to school. Oh, and of course if all else fails then a lovely cup of Dragonfly Swirling Mist White Tea with some Cadbury's Bar of Plenty chocolate does the trick (in the short term!).
The weather has been amazing here the last couple of days. This morning Thing 2 handed me her coat at drop-off, insisting that she didn't need it (I really hope it stays sunny all day!). Maybe Spring has finally sprung and we can shake off the shackles of winter and enjoy the warmth and the feelings of new starts. I love the optimism of spring-time - new beginnings, new life: lambs in the fields, blossom on the trees, buds in the gardens. I want to get organised, to spring (sorry!) into action and Get Stuff Done.
Looking at my home, there are so many things that need sorting and tidying and decluttering, and I've found some wonderful blogs out there that really inspire me, so I thought I'd share. IHeart Organizing is so inspiring and has some really lovely interiors ideas, plus her photos are so zingy and bright.
I feel the next one needs a warning before you click on it - there is a VAST amount of information on this site and you may lose an hour or two by visiting. But it will be worth it if you take on board even a fraction of the organising ideas.
Lastly, a UK site, which is fairly new, but definitely worth having a look at:
At Beautifulthings.co.uk we've got a few products that will help with your spring clean. My absolute fave of the moment is this gorgeous vintage-feel decorative chalkboard
Such a great place to keep all those bits of paper, coupons, receipts etc that seem to just hang around. Or why not use it to jot down your shopping list as it occurs to you. Or this Home Chalkboard is an equally lovely but more affordable option:
So, good luck with your spring sort out - and remember, the best way is to choose a small project, one at a time. Baby steps and all that!
Mother's Day falls on Sunday 3rd April this year, so now's the time to start thinking about what lovely things you are going to do for your mum this year. Here are some of our favourite gift ideas for her, and do remember that we send your gift straight to your mum, with a gift message, free of charge.
This Rose Relaxation Box makes the perfect gift for a mum who needs a bit of a pampering treat - and if her children are under 10 this will surely be all mums! Willow Beauty create gorgeous organic products at affordable prices - their philosophy is that organic beauty should be for all. Their products are all Parabens and SLS-free and as well as smelling divine, the packaging also means that this gift box is a real treat. I would also recommend checking out their Hand Cream and Soap Gift Box, which is only £18.
This Mademoiselle Tea Set will look gorgeous in the kitchen, whilst also being a lovely practical gift - she can make that cuppa for one in style with this!
This Mayan Music Ball Necklace is the perfect gift for mums with babies, as the gentle tinkling of the music ball is said to help relax babies. Mayan music balls are used for meditation and relaxation, but also look stylish too - a unique gift as no two music balls are the same.
This pretty Rose Jewellery Stand is a lovely addition to any dressing table - keep necklaces and bracelets nicely organised in a pretty display. No more untangling necklaces! Do check out our Gifts section for lots more gift ideas for mum and we are always happy to answer questions on any of our things, or make sugggestions. Happy Shopping!
If you're looking for a little something for someone this Christmas that doesn't break the bank, then we are here to help. We have a gorgeous selection of Christmas gift ideas for under £10 and you can use the Find Her a Gift facility on right hand side of every page to help you easily locate them - just leave occasion blank and price under £10 and bingo, loads of great gift ideas. Here are some of my favourites:
This Home Chalkboard is such a cute way of keeping on top of things and leaving other members in your family a reminder and it's less than £5 - perfect as a stocking filler or a little teacher gift.
For someone who needs a little pampering after the hectic run-up to Christmas (so basically everyone!), the Gelicity Foot Spa will soothe those aching feet, and again it's less than a fiver!
For anyone whose New Year's Resolution will be to get more organised next year (me included!) - this Teal Lavish Notebook is so pretty and such a great price - £7.99.
For someone who loves their home - this Wooden Heart will look pretty hanging from doors, cupboards and mantlepieces.
There are plenty of other ideas too, including yummy herbal tea, jewellery, compacts and make-up bags. Happy shopping!
It's that time of year where lots of you will be thinking about Secret Santa gift ideas, whether through work, forums or even for friends and family. Now, I know it's traditional to go down the novelty route and buy a funny gift, and believe me, I won't judge you if that's what you choose. However, there is another option - buy them a nice gift that might actually be useful. Revolutionary, huh?! So, here are some of our favourite Secret Santa gift ideas for women.
For a slightly cheekier gift, how about one of our mission statement notebooks? We have three in the range all of which should bring a smile to your Secret Santa victim's face, whilst still being a practical gift. Change the World Notebook is my personal fave, but Marry into Money Notebook and Really Rather Naughty Notebook may be better, depending on who you're buying for.
Our Union Jack Make-Up Bag is also proving very popular and it's not difficult to see why - it's soooo pretty, and a great price too at £7.99. This is one for girls who like to look good. And the other idea for glamour pusses is our Doll-Face Mirror Compact.
So, I hope these give you a fresh perspective on Secret Santa gift ideas - there are many more on the site too.
The symbol of the heart is such a warm, comforting thing to see in a home isn't it? It stands for so many important things: love, family, comfort, joy, happiness, so it should be no surprise that we've got lots of gorgeous home accessories with hearts on at Beautifulthings.co.uk to add that all-important feeling of happiness to your home.
This beautiful wooden heart clock will look lovely in country-style homes and is pretty as well as practical. It's made by East of India, which means its been made with care and love.
As a gift, we think this Wooden Trinket Box is just divine. It's a wonderful warm but neutral colour and would work equally well in a hallway or kitchen holding keys and loose change as it would in a bedroom with your jewellery.
I've just bought these Pink Heart Crochet Boxes for my daughter's bedroom - we are forever on a hunt for hairclips as we dash out the door in the morning (where do hairclips go? They're like socks in this house!). Not any more, we are using this hearts to store hair accessories and it's making my life so much easier!
These would make a great stocking filler - something practical!
Finally, I couldn't write this without mentioning the Porcelain Heart Dishes that are just flying out here - no wonder they're so popular, they are so cute.
Plus of course all the lovely jewellery we have we hearts on. Hearts, what's not to love?!
As we're almost in November I finally feel able to say the C word (no, not that one!) and not feel like it's way to early ... So, here it is, my first Christmas post of the year - there will be many more to follow.
Christmas for me is as much about the run-up as it is the Big Day. I love the planning side of Christmas: what will we cook, what gifts will I buy, where shall we visit, what films will we watch, you get my drift. As soon as the calendar turns to December the Christmas CD comes out in our house and I'm ready for as many festive activities and parties as you can throw at me.
As a child, advent calendars were always a huge part of the excitement, so imagine my delight when I came across this gorgeous grown-up beauty advent calendar from Selfridges:
Isn't it just gorgeous? What a treat: a new beauty product to play with every morning in the run-up to Christmas, just when you're in need of some pampering. It is a truly inspired idea and I will no doubt re-visit it on the Selfridges website every day between now and December 1st!
I love this time of year at Beautifulthings.co.uk because we always have lots of lovely new goodies and gift ideas arriving. Yesterday I added the gorgeous Vintage Rose Print Satchel to the site and it's already getting lots of attention - isn't it just divine?
The arrival of new beautiful things does mean one thing though - we have got to clear some space in our stockroom! And of course actually this is good news for you, because it means there are lots of fantastic bargains to be found in our Sale section. Most things in the sale are new reduced by at least 50% and a few have savings of over 70%! If you're a canny shopper, then you could stock up your gift cupboard with some gorgeous, well-priced gifts.
This gorgeous Black Chunky Bead Necklace and Grey Snakeskin Bag are two of my favourites - both are classic, but interesting, and both are 50% off their original price. Do pop along and see if there's anything to take your fancy! Happy shopping.
I finally caught up with the first episode of the new series of The Inbetweeners last night. What a treat. The programme itself couldn't be further from a beautiful thing if it tried ... so why are you writing about it then, I hear you ask! Laughter, that's why. I haven't sat on my sofa and laughed out loud at the TV for ages, but that's exactly what I did last night. A lot.
It's crude, it's rude, it's totally cringey, but man it's funny! If you're not likely to be offended by teenage boys and what they *might* talk about, you MUST watch.
I thought you might be interested to know a little more about what goes on behind the scenes at Beautifulthings.co.uk and the inside story on running a business. One of the key things I've been working on over the last few weeks is social media marketing - that's Facebook and Twitter to you and me! I really like the idea of being able to interact with customers - it's one of the best things about being a small business I think: being able to get to know the people that shop with you. So I've set up a Twitter account - you can follow us at @beautifulthing and also a Facebook fan page - www.facebook.com/beautifulthings.co.uk - please do come and like us.
It's really exciting to watch our number of likes and followers grow, and even more exciting when people tell us they like what we're doing. We've also been running some promotions just for our fans, so it's definitely worth coming and 'liking' us. Recently we had our Spread a Little Happiness Competition and keep your eyes open because there'll be more coming soon.
Like everyone, I never have enough time in my day and the one tricky thing about these sites is that they are definite time zappers. I go to post some images of new products for Beautifulthings.co.uk and end up still there half an hour later, nosying through someone I used to go to school with's wedding photos - not a great use of time ...
Twitter is a great networking tool too though, it's nice to connect with people also running businesses and hear how they're doing, and there's a great feeling of community there. If you run a business, you need to get yourself on there, and if you're not, go follow businesses and people you're interested in, but don't say I didn't warn you about the time you'll lose!
Here comes the rain again ... It is absolutely torrential here on this grey Saturday afternoon. It's August, we should be firing up the barbecue just now, laughing, drinking pink wine and bouncing on the trampoline (the Things, not me, although actually I am a little partial to it sometimes too). Instead, I'm sat here, looking for something beautiful online to cheer me up. And I found it - so here's a little bit of colour for you, if it's grey where you are too.
This gorgeous mixed media print is by Mati Rose McDonough (www.matirose.com) and I love her work, it's so vivid and immediate and joyful. I'm just trying to decide where I might be able to put one of her pieces in my home.
She's cheered me up on this horrible day, hope it's made you smile too.
I've just added some fantastic new products from Gelicity to the pampering section of the shop, which I think will make a really different gift. By simply adding a sachet of powder to your usual bath, you can turn it into a luxuriously thick and creamy gel. Hmmm, why would you want to do this? I hear you ask. Well, there are several reasons ... This gel retains heat for 3 times longer than boring water, helping to soothe aching muscles and joints (and meaning a longer bath - bliss) and the tiny gels beads gently exfoliate and rehydrate skin, leaving it silky soft. And, let's be honest here, there's also the novelty factor. You won't want to bathe in gel every day, but as a special treat it's like transforming an ordinary bath into an indulgent, luxurious home spa experience.
And as well as a Gel Bath, there is also a Therapeutic Foot Spa Treatment available too: perfect for helping to keep your feet looking fine in flip flops. Submerging your tired feet into a bowl of warm, silky gel is just lovely, let me tell you. I know, because I've tried it ... several times (all for the good of our lovely customers you understand!). Priced at only £4.99 I would really recommend this Foot Spa as a perfect little pick-me-up gift for someone you love this summer. Great for brides in the run up to their big day, or indeed bridesmaids, mother of brides etc. Or as a little thank you.
And I think that it's the uniqueness of this gift that makes it special and a little bit different. Enjoy.
So, over half way through the year and no blogging from me, despite all my promises to the contrary at the beginning of the year. We moved (house and office) and, well, you know what that's like - the days turn into weeks, turn into months. Plus we did building work, decorated lots of rooms and put a lovely new kitchen in. Excuses, excuses.
I've been keeping a list of things that I wanted to blog about, beautiful things I've seen elsewhere, plus beautiful things here in the shop. So, slowly but surely I'll work my way through and hopefully you'll believe that this blog is back.
We've got loads of new home accessories just added, which are going really well. Having just moved, I know how important it is to have things in your home that make you smile, things that you truly love. But (sadly!) I also know what it's like working to a budget, so I've been trying to find some fun and quirky things that won't break the bank ... do check out our Home Accessories section and let me know what you think.
To give you a taster, here are a couple of my faves:
Oops. I seem to have totally neglected this blog since McBaby arrived - I'm so sorry and one of my (many) new year's resolutions is to bring you lots of beautiful things to see, do, read, cook, eat and buy in 2010.
The new year has got off to a slow start for most of us in the UK, with all the snow causing huge disruption for most of the country. I like to use the new year positively: new year, new start and all that, but this year I really haven't managed it ... yet! I wonder how many of you are also feeling like me - the snow cheated us out of an energetic start to the year and instead we're languishing towards the end of January feeling like we haven't achieved much.
Well, I'm determined not to let it scupper me too much. The sun is shining in Beaconsfield today, my children have almost completed their first full week at school without ANY weather disruption, I've been sourcing some beautiful new things for the website and I've got lots of lovely ideas, tips and things to make your life more beautiful this year.
So, here's to 2010 - and lots more activity on this blog!
Now, although summer seems to have disappeared, I've been taking extra care of myself over the last few weeks - exfoliating in the shower, using the divine Kiehls Body Lotion and getting my feet flip-flop ready (again) using the gorgeous Pedicure Collection Gift Set from butter LONDON. When summer returns (even if it's just for brief glimpses) I want to be able to wear dresses and flip-flops with pride and butter LONDON really know how to help.
This gorgeous trio of products have sorted out my cracked heels and dry skin and I'm itching to get my legs out again! butter LONDON really know their stuff and were determined to make feet sexy with their pedicure products. The Stiletto Stick contains high levels of Urea and Macadamia Nut Oil, which deeply moisturises. Brilliant. And we are really loving the Silk Stockings Finishing Gel - it firms and moisturises and my legs are looking great (just need to sort out my veins - Big Mac has given me a few new ones to worry about!).
Thank you butter LONDON - I thoroughly recommend these products to make your legs and feet beautiful - summer or no summer!
Following on from my previous thread about the decadent and fabulous Crazy Bear, on Saturday we went to their Thai restaurant for dinner. There were eight of us and we were lucky enough to be given the Snug - our own private dining room. This was brilliant as it meant we were able to talk as a table, rather than only being able to hear the person sat next to us.
The service was friendly and efficent and what I remember of the food (!) was really delicious. However, it is definitely true to say that far too much alcohol was consumed for me to be able to provide a detailed report (thank goodness I'm not a restaurant critic!).
We stumbled into the fantastical bar after our meal and a thoroughly good evening was had by all. I totally recommend this place if you're in Beaconsfield, and if not, do try and get to either of their other restaurants in London and Stadhampton (near Oxford). Most definitely a beautiful thing!
One of my favourite restaurants in London is The Crazy Bear on Whitfield Street - gorgeous food and always a good atmosphere, combined with very cool design. So, you can imagine my excitement when we found out Crazy Bear were opening in Beaconsfield (it made moving to Beaconsfield MUCH more attractive I can tell you!).
We enjoyed some drinks in their garden in Beaconsfield a few days ago - what a treat. Even more of a treat thanks to a lovely friend of mine who picked up the tab - thanks Steve! It felt like being in the South of France - I'm such a sucker for swanky hotels and bars. Comfy over-sized furniture with huge canopys and a stylish vibe, although I'm not totally convinced by the empty Krug bottles on each table ... So, for a big blast of Mediterrean cool in Beaconsfield I thoroughly recommend The Crazy Bear.
We're going to their Thai restaurant for my husband's 40th v. soon so I will report back on the food then!
If you live in or near London and enjoy cocktails then you are going to love this post ... FREE MARGARITAS in some of London's most beautiful bars. Yes, you did read that correctly - see, now you're glad you kept with this blog aren't you?!?
The Platino Margarita Challenge is being run by Square Meal with 10 London bars each concocting their own Margarita recipe (including a secret ingredient), which will then be judged by all those lucky people (i.e. you and me) who have registered. After registering you'll be sent a booklet and then from July 15th off you go to sample your free cocktail.
I'm feeling very sad that with a new baby and having just moved out of London I am not going to be able to put my booklet to quite as much use as I would've done this time last year. So, reader, please go and have a margarita for me!
I don't suppose I have any readers left ... but just in case you were wondering where I got to, I do have an excuse. And I think it's a pretty good one. On 10th May I had a little baby boy, hereafter known as Big Mac. And yes, there is a reason for that - on our dash to the hospital we got stuck in traffic and baby made a rather dramatic entrance into the world in the McDonald's car park, on the North Circular, next to Ikea. So, if you happened to be there a few Sundays ago, hello. You won't recognise my face, but maybe my behind as I flashed the road!!!
Luckily we had a friend with us who's a midwife and both Big Mac and myself were fine (if a little shocked) and he has been a lovely, chilled out baby.
So, here's to my latest beautiful thing - Big Mac. And I promise that I'm now back to work and this blog will be regularly updated with lots of things to make life a little more beautiful.
The reason that April's been a write off in terms of blogging is that (finally) we moved. Now, as you probably know, moving isn't much fun at the best of times, but I really wouldn't recommend it when you're 8 months pregnant, as I am. It has been incredibly stressful trying to get everything sorted before the imminent arrival, and try and make our new house feel like home for the Things.
We've moved out of London (sob sob) to Beaconsfield, so life is very different at the moment. I'm trying to find my feet (and some friends!) but have to be honest and say that I'm really missing London right now. The beautiful architecture, the convenience of so many shops, cafes and activities for Thing 1 and Thing 2 on our doorstep, not to mention my friends.
But Thing 1 is settling in beautifully at her new school, and Thing 2 seems to be enjoying nursery, and then of course Thing 3 (hmmm, not sure that's going to work is it? Maybe this one will have to be the Cat in the Hat!) will change everything again anyway.
In terms of Beautifulthings.co.uk, the move has gone really smoothly, which is one less thing to worry about and our normal speedy service wasn't interupted at all. If you're in this area, please feel free to post ideas of things to do with kids - would love to hear.
seems like a distant memory already! Well, I suppose it is really, apologies again for lack of posting. during April.
So, we booked 6 Coastguard Cottages for a few days at the end of March and it really was as lovely as it looks on the website. A wonderful location, just behind Aldeburgh High Street and a few minutes from the beach, with a wonderful attention to detail that made us feel very lucky to call it 'home' for a few days.
The Things absolutely loved the (windswept!) beach and we enjoyed the fresh air and family time. Oh, and if you have small children and are visiting this area then you must go to Easton Farm Park - we enjoyed a wonderful day here with the animals.
Another beautiful sunny day here in London and the Things are both at nursery. Of course this means it's work time for me, but I also thought I'd take a little trip to Primrose Hill with a notebook and do some brainstorming (and maybe eat some cupcakes too!).
There is the cutest little bakery in Primrose Hill - Primrose Bakery, where they do the most delicious cupcakes. And they look beautiful too.
Cupcakes have been big news for quite some time now and it's not hard to see why - they add a little bit of pleasure to a day and (let's face it) they're all about delight and decadence with their sugar sprinkles and swirly butter icing. Yum.
So if you're in NW London, this is somewhere I would recommend to give you a lift. And on that note, enough cupcake eating, it's back to work for me.
I think I might be biased, but I think Mother's Day is a pretty special day, so I thought I'd post the article I've written for the main site here too, just in case anyone missed it. Here are some of our gift ideas for Mother's Day. Enjoy.
Mothers Day Gift Ideas for Mum
What we now celebrate as Mothers Day, a time for buying gifts for mum and treating her for the day, has its origins in ancient times. In Ancient Greece and Rome the Goddesses of Isis and Gaia were worshipped as the Mother of the Gods and then early Christians celebrated their Mother Church. In the seventeenth century this day was broadened to embrace real mothers and the name Mothering Sunday came about.
Mothers Day always falls during Lent and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries this was a day when families were permitted to break the fasting of Lent, and workers were allowed to spend the day with their families.
Today, Mothers Day is all about showing your mum just how much she means to you, buying her a Mothers Day gift and a card, and spoiling her for the day, I hope my husband and children are reading and paying attention â€“ gifts for mum is important!.
This year Mothers Day is on March 22nd, or May 10th if you are in the US: write it down NOW and then let us help you find some beautiful gifts for mum.
Gifts for Mum on Mothers Day from Beautifulthings.co.uk
Whatever your budget, we are sure to have some gifts for mum that will make her day:
here are our favourite gift ideas for Mothers Day, arranged by price.
Gifts for Mum under £10
Time for Tea Chocolates (£6.95)
These yummy chocolates make a gorgeous gift for mum, deliver with a cup of tea!
Organic Bloom Hand Cream (£5.25)
A nourishing hand cream with an orange blossom fragrance.
Ooh La La Spotty Cosmetics Bag (£9.99)
A place to keep all her goodies.
Gifts for Mum £10-£20
Viola Vintage Shopper (£12)
Pretty and practical and perfect for shopping.
Ooh La La Tea Cosy (£14.99)
Perfect for adding some fun to that relaxing cuppa!
Black Fan Shell Bag (£19.99)
A great-shaped bag at a fantastic price.
Gifts for Mum £20-£30
Black Chunky Glass Bead Necklace (£25)
A must-have necklace that goes with everything.
Bath Time Selection Box (£24.99)
Perfect for a little pampering, just what she needs.
Ollie & Nic Teal Purse (£25)
A classic style with a modern twist.
Gifts for Mum over £30
Mini Heart Charm Necklace (£34.99)
Show mum just how much you love her.
Personalised Message Canvas (£65)
A unique and very special gift for Mothers Day
Fluke Embossed Leather Bag (£120)
For mums who love bags: a designer leather bag.
As well as buying gifts for mum, there are lots of other ways that you can treat her and make her feel special this Mothers Day. Here are some other ideas, some simple, some free, some v. extravagant!:
Breakfast in bed, a lovely pot of tea, some croissants and pastries and scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, all delivered with her favourite newspaper or magazine
Some home-made vouchers that she can redeem throughout the year: a long bath, uninterrupted, run by someone else; someone else doing the hovering, ironing, washing-up, shopping etc; a back massage; a family day that she gets to choose; lunch in her favourite restaurant. You get the idea!
A voucher for a massage, facial or manicure at a local beauty salon
A homemade collage of photos of her children: priceless
Make a Mothers Day hamper by putting together a box of her favourite things to eat and drink
Other websites that have some beautiful things that could make great Mothers Day gifts include:
http://www.goodgifts.org A charity gift is always a great gift idea for mum and this website has ideas to suit all interests and pockets.
www.my-wardrobe.com Well, we can spend hours drooling on here, if you really, really want to spoil her we donâ€™t think you can go wrong with anything from this website
www.qualitymagazines.co.uk A magazine subscription is a gift for mum that lasts all year
www.lookfantastic.com For a beauty pampering treat at great prices, this site is hard to beat.
We hope this has given you some gift ideas for your mum this Mothers Day, remember, March 22nd in the UK and May 10th in the US. Happy Shopping!
When planning a holiday I love nothing more than surfing the internet, looking through brochures and trying to find the perfect holiday for us. So I just had to share this beautiful site with you - we're off to Suffolk for a few days soon and I'm really hoping that the cottage we've booked through Best of Suffolk will be as lovely as it looks.
All cottages on this site have a real wow factor - I won't tell you how many hours I *might* have spent drooling, before finally deciding. A very pleasant way to spend half an hour (or more)!
Oh, and if you know Suffolk at all, any recommendations on places to visit with two small children would be much appreciated. Feel in desperate need of a holiday and not having to battle airports is a huge bonus, grotty British weather not so much .... Will do a full report when we get back.
One of the things I want to do on this blog is bring you some of the things I've found that are helping to make my life 'beautiful' (!), for this read positive, fulfilled, happy and healthy (with no doubt some retail therapy thrown in too).
I recently came across a fantastic idea at Graze.com. This website will deliver to your desk a delicious box of fresh and dried fruit, nuts and seeds - a healthy snack to stop you reaching for the chocolate, which I do with alarming regularity.
My first box arrived on Tuesday and it was really yummy - large batons of juicy, fresh pineapple, a punnet of dried apricots, strawberries and macadamia nuts, and a little pot of roasted seed mix. I felt very virtuous whilst munching away and would thoroughly recommend.
Visit the site NOW because they have a fantastic offer running - your first box FREE and second for half price - perfect for trying it out.
Let me know what you think - I was very impressed, and so was Thing 1, who ate rather more of the pineapple than I wanted her to! As a weekly treat, it certainly beats Starbucks on the feel-good stakes.
We were delighted to see that some of our products have been featured on MumsJustLove. This site aims to trawl the web finding a collection of lovely products for mums and well, we think we have rather a lot of those!
Actually, I think we have lots of other beautiful things that are perfect for new mums, small children and Christening gifts - check out our Gifts Section and see if you agree.
A lovely piece of press for us in March's Essentials magazine - our cute Bobby Pin Mirror Compact, created by celebrity illustrator Jeffrey Fulvimari is featured on their Treat Yourself page. Thank you Essentials.
Also featured on the same page is this rather gorgeous Emma Bridgewater mug - what a great Mother's Day gift. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are very excited about Mother's Day (bless them, they love any day that sounds a bit different and clearly have no concept of what the day is actually about) so maybe I will get breakfast in bed:
I don't own any Emma Bridgewater things, and having just had a good look at her website, I think it's about time to change all that. Really beautiful things.
So it seems that one of my New Year's Resolutions to be more active on my blog has already fallen by the wayside, with this being my first new entry in 2009. Sorry everyone, I've had a good think about the blog and promise more posts, that are more focused, more regularly!
I'm sat in my office today looking out of the window at a covering of about 4-5 inches of snow, and it's still falling. This is nearly unheard of in central London and according to the news, is the worst snow the southeast of the UK has seen in fifty years. Of course, it means that everything comes to a standstill! It feels like I'm the only one in the world working today - so much for getting my press list together and up-to-date - it's been voicemail all the way this morning for every journalist I've called.
A great day for browsing the internet and looking for lots of beautiful things to tell you all about in 2009. Enjoy building your snowmen or snuggling up in the warm with a hot chocolate and a good book, whichever is more your style ...
Whether you're buying Christmas gifts for your mum, sister, best friend or wife, chances are, you've got a few women on your list to buy presents for. So we thought we'd try and be helpful and make some gift suggestions for each person.
Gifts for Mums
For new mums, you should have a look at our Mother and Baby Goody Bag, which contains three natural, herbal balms. We love the Grow It: Herb Garden - a lovely treat for anyone that enjoys either gardening or cooking, or both! For mums who like to look good, then how about the Black Fan Shell Bag with its vibrant print and roominess? And the Black Chunky Bead Necklace is one of those items that every woman needs in her jewellery collection - easy to wear and modern-looking, it goes with everything.
Gifts for Sister
For your trendy little sister the Ollie & Nic Baker Boy Hat will keep her looking good and warm, and the Horse Resin Necklace was designed and handmade in the UK - it's brilliantly kitsch, she'll love it. If she's a fan of colour, then how about the cheery Dumpling Dynasty Shopper? Or if she needs to chill out then the Be Happy Candle should help with that.
Gifts for Best Friends
Well, the obvious suggestion here is our scrummy Friendship Tea or if she's a chocolate-lover then the Girls' Night Selection Box will keep her happy for a while! We are loving the handmade resin jewellery from UK design team, Charmed, and the Turquoise Little People Resin Necklace is fun and funky.
Gifts for Teachers and PAs
Finding a little thank you gift can be tricky, but we have some gorgeous ideas. The Warming Winter Spice Hot Chocolate is absolutely delicious and looks great too. Or after a term of teaching a classroom of children, a little relaxation should be on the cards so they should appreciate the 5 Flower Bath Melts in Gift Box. Or how about the Sleepy Tea - do you see the theme here?!
Gifts for Little Girls
And if you've got some little girls to buy Christmas gifts for, I think we've got them covered too. The Christmas Felt Hairclips make a cute stocking filler and all the little girls I know (including Thing 1 and Thing 2) love baking cakes, so the Baking Kit would be ideal.
Gifts for your Wife/Girlfriend
And finally to the most important person!!! Ollie & Nic are fantastic UK designers that most women love - their bags are always on trend but are also classics, and they're super-practical. We don't think you can go wrong with the Ollie & Nic Lady Chocolate Tweed Bag. If she likes jewellery then how about either the Mini Heart Charm Necklace, a classic piece that she'll love or for something more colourful, how about the Pink and Purple Bangle Bracelet? And for a cute stocking filler the Raspberry Chocolate Hearts are yummy.
I hope this has given you some ideas - not long to go now so if you've still got shopping to do (like me!) you'd better get a move on!
With everyone feeling the pinch a little at the moment I thought it might be a good idea to put together our suggestions for lovely gift ideas that won't break the bank. So here are our top 10 under £10.
2. Mission statement notebooks - there are three different types so you should find one to suit the lady in your life - as seen in Cosmopolitan, Closer and the Daily Mirror, £7 each
3. Warming Winter Spice Hot Chocolate - a luxurious and decadent gift at an affordable price, and it is yummy - £9.99
4. 4 Bath Melts in Lilac Gift Box - for someone who enjoys pampering, these smell as good as they look - £8.99
5. Handmade Set of Two Felt Hairclips - a cute stocking filler for little girls, available in three different designs, £5.99 for set of two
6. Doll Face Make-Up Bag - for sassy girls everywhere, this lovely cosmetics bag comes with a matching hairclip - £9.99
7. Two Christmas Tree Chocolates - beautifully presented, these make a wonderful Christmas gift for teachers, nannies, PAs and anyone who loves good chocolate - £5.50
8. Not for Anyone Else Bracelet - stylish and simple - a great stocking filler - £7.99
9. Ooh La La Cake Purse - a fun Christmas gift idea - £6.99
10. Silver Guardian Angel - a lovely gift idea for someone special - £7.99
We hope these give you some ideas for unusual and interesting Christmas gifts that won't break the bank.
Every Christmas we try to have a bit of a theme at Beautifulthings.co.uk - it's usually something that's important to us and this year we wanted to be more eco-friendly and support small UK businesses.
As a small business ourselves we know how difficult it can be to get people aware that we exist and then decide to buy from us (and I can't tell you how much we appreciate our customers!). With that in mind, we also like to work with and support other small businesses so I thought I'd give you a quick introduction to a couple of our suppliers.
The lovely Amanda designs and makes our beautiful felt hairclips (as seen in Easy Living):
and I know I've already talked about Lucy in Brighton who designs and hand makes her vibrant jewellery - we just added a new design so do have a look:
When buying a gift for someone I think the idea that it's a handmade gift makes it extra special and if it's handmade in the UK, then even better. Our gorgeous goody bags containing natural, herbal balms all made in Wales make wonderful gifts and as well as looking pretty, they really work.
And if you'd like to know more about where any of our gifts are from, please just ask. We're always happy to receive e-mails and phonecalls (and even letters!) from customers.
I'm delighted to see that the fun Marry into Money Notebook has been featured in December's edition of Cosmopolitan. We love these cheery notebooks: also available are I'm Going to be Really Rather Naughty and this is my plan and I'm Going to Change the World and this is my plan.
We think these notebooks would make excellent stocking fillers and are also perfect for Secret Santa presents.
Sorry to bang on about Christmas, but we're in full swing here now. All I can say is I'm clearly getting old because I can't believe how quickly it's come round again!
As the glossy magazines bring out their Christmas gift guides this month, it's rather an exciting time here, seeing whether any of our products are featured. Great news on Wednesday (and believe me, I needed it that day!) I popped into the newsagents with Thing 1 and Thing 2 in tow, and there was the December issue of Easy Living. Got it home and hooray, our gorgeous Russian Doll Hairclips are featured. Unfortunately the price is wrong, but the credit is right, the image is good and they're there - and that is the most important thing.
It's always particularly exciting to feature in a magazine that I love, and Easy Living is one of my faves.
There are a few more possible mentions in various magazines in the pipeline so I'll keep you updated.
Okay, so this was one of the things that I was worried about when thinking of starting a blog - that's right, that'd I begin well, and then my posts would tail off a little. Exactly what's happened and I apologise. But I do have an excuse .... sort of ....
October is always a really, really busy month behind-the-scenes at Beautifulthings.co.uk because it's when our new goodies arrive by the boxload. New stock is a funny thing I always find - a bit up and down. So firstly, a lovely box arrives - hooray, it contains new beautiful things. This is exciting and involves lots of oohing and aahing around the office as everything is admired (and mentally added to wish lists!). But then comes the boring bit, boo - each box has to be unpacked and every item checked to ensure it meets our standards, plus ticked off against the delivery note. This is time-consuming and not something I enjoy. Soon however the items are ready to go on to the site - hooray. Time to think about what's so good about each thing, why we love it, why we think you'll love it, how you could wear it, who it makes a good gift for etc. This is fun and creative. But then, boo, all the fiddly bits have to be done too, re-sizing all the images, copying and pasting, re-doing the sort order, groan. Once it's live however it's another hooray, now we can see how many people are looking at, and buying, each new thing - very exciting to see when you love something as much as we do.
So there you go, that's been a large chunk of my time for the last few weeks. Here's one of my personal faves, a lovely Ollie & Nic tote bag.
It's that time of year when so many new beautiful things are arriving it almost gets tricky to keep up with them all, so do keep an eye on the website because over the next three weeks there's going to be so many new things.
One of my current faves is the Lucy Wallis Sweetie Bracelet which is so vibrant and fun. Now I'm not always brilliant at accessorising (Thing 1 and Thing 2 don't usually give me time, unless safely in front of CBeebies of course) so I love jewellery that I can just chuck on without thinking but that I know will work with whatever I'm wearing.
And it makes it even nicer to know that Lucy designs and hand makes all her jewellery in Brighton and is a lovely lady. She totally understood when she called me the other day and endured a conversation with both Things screaming in the background! Oh the joys of working with small children - answering the phone is not always a simple job if there's a tantrum going on ...
I hope you love her jewellery as much as I do.
Is it wrong to really, really fancy a Cosmopolitan before 1pm? What about if I say it's Friday - that makes it better, surely? I think this sudden craving might have something to do with this rather lovely new sign that's now in the Home Accessories section. It's got a great retro glamour about it that feels very decadent.
Sooo, back to cocktails. Can anyone recommend a good place for cocktails in London? I have a night out planned soon with the girls and we're looking for somewhere to go. Do e-mail me if you've any ideas! Thanks. xxx
I've had a lovely weekend, which culminated today in having a group of girlfriends and their various aged small people for lunch. This was (of course) lunch in two stages - the first sitting for the children, aged between 6 months and 4 years, and then the second, more civilised sitting, for the grown-ups. But this evening, I can count at least four conversations that I started and never quite finished. Is this what it is to be a mum - never to finish a conversation in the company of your children?
We were all multi-tasking, all afternoon. And then I started thinking about beautifulthings, and how I often don't finish things that I start here either. But is it any wonder, when I'm juggling so many things at once? So, how do you cope? What works for you with regards to time management? Any tips, I'd love to hear them.
Oh, and as an aside, one of the things I cooked was this rather delicious (if I do say so myself!) tart - enjoy.
One of the strange things about working in the fashion and gifts market is the different timelines. So, in reality, it's August. I'm wearing my summer clothes and flip-flops (although not these last few days!) and I'm using this rather lovely bag for trips to the park with Thing 1 and Thing 2 (when it's not raining that is). However, I'm also spending large parts of my day finalising the Christmas range for Beautifulthings.co.uk, talking to the press about Christmas gifts and starting to take delivery of some rather gorgeous new bags and jewellery for A/W. Sometimes I feel confused to step outside and realise that it's warm and sunny. And finally, at the trade fairs recently I've been thinking ahead to Spring next year and putting together orders with some of our suppliers. Eek! It's hardly surprising I don't even know which day of the week it is sometimes is it?!?!
After months of planning and hard work the new beautifulthings.co.uk website is finally live and looking good (if I do say so myself!). Thanks go to Anuschka, Robert and the rest of the team at Moustique for their patience and help. I think they've created a lovely-looking site - hope you agree.
The migration of data was hugely time-consuming and frankly rather boring so I'm rather glad I didn't have to do it all myself! That said, it was a job that could be done while Thing 1 and Thing 2 (a.k.a. my beautiful daughters) sang, played and fought in the background.
It was important to me that we retain the girlie feel that is so intrinsic to the site, whilst giving it a more contemporary feel - do let us know if you like it. Plus, I hope you'll welcome our new fairy, who will soon have a name thanks to the competition we're running in this month's newsletter.
I'm off for a celebratory cup of Sleepy Tea - yes, I know it should be champagne but it's 11pm and I'm home alone.
eta, now actually publishing this post the next morning!