Thursday, 23 June 2016

Our Summer Fete Returns


Roll up, roll up! Our summer fete has returned to www.belleandboo.com!

Join us for lots of fun, discounts and prizes!


 All orders over £25 (excluding shipping costs) receive a FREE signed paperback book of 'Hop Along Boo'. Over the course of the fete, there will also be 3 golden tickets sent out with orders over £25 (selected at random) and if you're lucky enough to receive one of these you're the winner of  a FREE limited edition print of your choice.

Add a tombola ticket to your shopping cart to go into the draw to win 1 of 3 www.belleandboo.com gift vouchers.

In addition to this there is up to 40% off selected products in our fete stalls, including our ever popular teaset, papercraft range, picture books and dresses.

 And to keep the little ones entertained we have added lots of new colouring sheets, activities and games that are available for free download. Including play tombola tickets, pin the tail on boo and cupcake wrappers so you can have your own summer fete at home.


Lots of love from
www.belleandboo.com



Monday, 13 June 2016

Over The Irish Sea: Adventures + Competition



 There is nothing more exciting than going off on a family adventure to discover new places.   And just on the doorstep of our home country, England, is beautiful Ireland - a place Belle and Boo could really have a magical adventure. 

Ireland’s breathtaking scenery looks like it has jumped off the pages of the most beautiful picture book and it has oodles of incredible history where giants roam, vikings conquer, pirates plunder and fairies hide. Ireland itself is a sort of huge theme park, museum and playground - you could write several books about why it makes a great place for families to visit. 

So we are thrilled to tell you that later in the week we will be launching a competition with our friends at Stena Line for one family to win a return trip by car on one of their beautiful Irish Sea routes (sign up to the Belle & Boo newsletter for further information or make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram )

To whet your appetites we’ve put together a little round-up of some of the wonderful places to visit and things to do in Ireland for children and families.


Giant’s Causeway
Bushmills, Antrim


Of course we had to start with the Giant’s Causeway - it just sounds so magical!  

Children will be captivated by the mysterious Giant’s Causeway, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. Steeped in legend, the story goes that it was carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool who left behind an ancient home full of folklore. Get the children to look for clues of his existence – including The Giant’s Boot and Wishing Chair.  

There are four stunning walks at the Giant’s Causeway suited to every ability, including a pram friendly jaunt and a new accessible cliff top walk for families and people with disabilities. Take a picnic and enjoy one of natures most magical settings.


Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Ballintoy, Ballycastle


A wibbly, wobbly rope bridge that requires a head for heights, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge s suspended almost 100 ft (30 m) above sea level.  Breath in the salty air for an exhilarating experience, it was first erected by very hardy salmon fishermen over 200 years ago  to check their salmon nets. It originally consisted of a single rope hand rail which sensibly has been replaced by The National Trust with a two hand railed bridge - phew! 

Once you have got the kiddies across the bridge to Carrick Island, they can enjoy the incredibly diverse birdlife and in the water - basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises are often seen! 

Once you have made it back across the bridge, you can head out to Rathlin Island where thousands of puffins are breeding every year.

And as a reward for crossing the bridge treat yourself to a delicious hot drink and a yummy cake at Weighbridge tea-room where you can also take in the lovely views across to Rathlin and the Scottish islands. 

Cliffs of Moher
County Clare


Visiting The Cliffs of Moher is like being in a movie.  In fact the cliffs have been used for many a cinematic moment thanks to the incredible drama of these majestic cliffs.  Older children (and most of us excitable adults) will be particularly thrilled to hear the cliffs appeared in Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. The cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. 

You might also get to dance to some traditional Irish music, as musical performances in the open air at the Cliffs of Moher has been a long standing tradition. We think Boo would certainly enjoy a jig on the cliffs.



Muckross House and Farms
Count Kerry 



County Kerry has oodles to offer including the Ring of Kerry (a drive where you can see its rugged coast - part of the famous Wild Atlantic Way) and the stunning Killarney National Park with it’s forested mountains and lakes to explore.  Within the park is Muckross House, a magnificent Victorian stately home where you can experience the working conditions of the servants employed in the house and see the elegantly furnished rooms of the landed gentry.  

Then how about taking a step back in time at Muckross Traditional Farms and see what life was like in rural Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s - no electricity, water from a well - the kids will be fascinated 
You can visit three working farms , each furnished in traditional style and complete with animals, poultry and machinery. There is also a School House, a Labourer’s Cottage, a Carpenter's Workshop and a Blacksmith's Forge.  Not forgetting a Farm Animal Petting Area and a Woodland Play Area.



Seafari 
Kenmare


Part of the Wild Atlantic Way is Kenmore Bay where you can take a Seafari Cruises to explore the local wildlife. Perfect for little adventurers, the cruise is very comfortable and sheltered, toddlers to teens will love seeing one of the largest seal colonies in Ireland. Here you might spot a Kathleen, a seal with a red coat. According to legend this seal is a selfie and once a human.

You may also get to see otters, white-tailed sea eagles and other sea-birds. And of course we were very pleased to hear that rea, coffee, squash and biscuits are offered on all cruises.

Clonakilty Beaches



We can’t stop mentioning the Wild Atlantic Way because it has so much to offer including dreamy beaches such as  the stunning beaches near Clonakilty.  There are five in total but the Blue Flag beach at Inchydoney Island is not only family friendly but gorgeous, with plenty of sand dunes and a long stretch of sand ideal for flying kites, paddling, or even surfing  - well we love trying something new!  



Dingle Dolphin Tours
The Pier, Dingle, Kerry



Everyone should get the chance to meet a friendly Dolphin.  Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours operate a one hour tour to the mouth of scenic Dingle harbour in County Kerry to meet Dingles most famous resident, a very friendly bottlenosed dolphin called Fungie. The early morning trips, running from 8am-10am are the best way to get as close to Fungie as he will allow when there is less boat traffic to disturb him. The Dingle dolphin has been in Dingle for over two and a half decades.

Of course being that Dungie is wild, the tours can’t guarantee he will show-up but then that is half the fun - you can always play who can be the first one to spot the dolphin!


Irish Fairy Trails
County Kerry & Tipperary



Head to the lovely Town Park in Templemore, Co. Tipperary, and walk past the lake, to find the fairy trail in the woods. Try and spot all the fairy doors, which are updated at seasonal times like Christmas and Halloween(. Afterwards feed the ducks and swans and let the kids play in the playground, while you get a “workout” on the outdoor adult gym.


In County Kerry take your children on a charming fairy adventure in the south west of Ireland in County Kerry.  The fairy trails can be found in the woodlands of both Derrynane House and also in Darryquin, part of the demesne of Parknasilla  near Sneem on the Ring of Kerry.


Derrynane House, Parknasilla  and Russborough House are also areas of great history and beautiful scenery. Derrynane House was the home of Daniel O’Connell, the ‘Liberator’ and has lovely gardens and a museum.  The house is also next to beautiful beaches.


Athenry Heritage Centre
Galway



Belle & Boo, Ellis and Easy and all their friends love playing dress up and we think the best way to learn history is to experience it in a fun way. 

The Athenry Heritage Centre is a ‘Medieval Experience’ where you can dress up in medieval costume and become a Knight, Princess, a Lord or Lady of the Manor. There’s also inner an exciting Have-A-Go Archery activity and lots of interactive exhibits, which includes weapons and armour from the middle ages.
You can also experience the market street and see the dark side of life in the centre’s medieval dungeon. 

Titanic Belfast
Queen’s Road, Belfast




Us grown-ups all know the tragic story of the Titanic and this fantastic visitor attraction brings the story to life through innovative and interactive exhibitions.  

Located right beside the historic site of this world-famous ship’s construction, Titanic Belfast has nine galleries, telling the story of RMS Titanic including her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end. 

Brilliantly immersive, you can experience the excitement of launch day,be transported to Titanic’s deck promenade and dive to the depth of the ocean to explore where RMS Titanic now rests.
Kids will love seeing and hearing the ocean and feeling the ships engines rumbling on board at the Palm Court CafĂ©.  But wait until they meet Fredrick Dent Ray, a dining room steward and survivor, who is brought to life utilising technology used in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.


Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park
Westport, Mayo



Ahoy there - let's go on a Pirate adventure!  

Westport was in fact home to a real life Pirate Queen!  in the 1500’s, Grace O’Malley, the famous Pirate Queen of Connaught, built one of her castles where now stands the beautiful Westport House – built in 1730 by her descendants.  Enjoy the calm and beauty of the house, it’s exhibitions and natural parkland before heading to The Pirate Adventure Park, a treasure trove of family fun with its Grace O’Malley-themed amusement park.  

There are plenty of rides but also a choice of adventure activities including zorbing, zip wire, archery, combat games and high ropes frame.  

For something a little more sedate, the Westport Train Tour of historic Westport town and Quay is just the ticket. Particularly good for tied little legs you can pick up the train at one of multiple stops in Westport House, town centre or Quay and be taken on a tour of 46 sights in the beautiful heritage town. 


Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
County Clare


Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is a medieval fortress, built in 1425 with a folk 'village'.  The castle it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour.  Inside there are lots of a furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times.

Not to be missed are the farm houses and cottages, here you really see and experience  tasks of rural Irish life. But surely the best bit is the chance to watch the baking of the griddle bread next to the fire and tasting it hot with fresh creamery butter. 


Imaginosity
Dublin



Anything that gets children to use there wonderful imaginations is a must in our book.  And at Belle & Boo we believe imaginative play is essential to a child’s learning and development. 

Imaginosity is Dublin Children’s Museum and is 100% child-centred.  A creative, educational & interactive space, suitable for children up to the age of 9 years. The three floors of exhibits are educationally designed but in a fun way so little minds are inspired.  

Booking is essential, and there are regular workshops so check before you visit.


Ballycross Apple Farm
Bridgetown, Wexford



Home baked waffles, pretty orchards and river to explore, horses to stroke, and a farm shop packed with delicious apples, homemade juices, chutney and honey .   Ballycross Apple Farm is an idyllic place to spend an afternoon. A real working farm it has been kept as natural as possible with lovely walks, a stone courtyard, and yummy scruffy cafe selling homemade waffles! 






 Ireland  is a fabulous place to get back to simpler pleasures, explore, learn and where children's imaginations can run free. 
It's no surprise to tell you Belle & Boo have packed their bags, hopped aboard their pirate ship and gone across the Irish sea.   Enter the competition with Stena Line next week and you could be joining them. 

For an excellent and extensive list of places to visit My Kids Times 


Happy sailing!
Love
Belle & Boo HQ

 If you would like to be kept up to date with information on Belle & Boo competitions and news sign up to our newsletter and following us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Friday, 27 May 2016

International Children's Day 2016 - get involved





"There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.
-- Kofi Annan

On Wednesday 1st June countries from around world will be celebrating International Children's Day.  A day to honour children and to promote child welfare and rights.  

In Colombia to China, Nicaragua to Russia, lessons in schools to community events, will be drawing attention to children’s issues.  

"Creating a world that is truly fit for children does not simply mean the absence of war. It means having the confidence that our children would not die of measles or malaria. It means having access to clean water and proper sanitation. It means having primary schools nearby that educate children, free of charge. It means changing the world with children, ensuring their right to participate, and that their views are heard and considered. It means building a world fit for children, where every child can grow to adulthood in health, peace and dignity.
-- Carol Bellamy (Former Director of the Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund)

It was in in 1925, during The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland, when June 1 was first  proclaimed as International Children's Day. After the conference, different governments around the world decided to declare a day as Children's Day. Some celebrate Universal Children’s day on the 20th November - established by the United Nations in 1954 with the aim to promote the welfare of children around the world.

 One wonderfully inspiring and simple way you can get involved is by joining the OUR FUTURE WORLD #Tweetadream campaign.  Created by a group of young people in 2015 this simple idea asks children to visualize their DREAM for the future.   All kids need to do is tweet their dream using the hashtag #tweetadream . This can be done through words or through a drawing. Last year 26,000 children participated.  It's a positive message full of hope and a wonderful way to bring children from all over the world together. So go on grab some pencils and paper and ask your little one 'What is your dream for the future'? 

To raise awareness and mark the importance of International Children's Day,  every order over £25 on Wednesday 1st June (only) will receive the beautiful new “Stories of Childhood” limited edition print by Mandy Sutcliffe.  

Visit the Belle & Boo shop for baby gifts to adult craft projects, children's picture books to summer dresses. As well as affordable decor updates and kitchen accessories.  




Love ,

To find out more about #tweetadream visit www.ourfuture.world

Monday, 16 May 2016

Feasts & adventures on beaches & in castles..


Places to visit and things to do - 30th May Bank Holiday and Half Term.






May is one of  of our favourite months - the sun starts to shine and here in the UK we are very lucky to get two bank holidays on either end of the month!  That's two extra days for the team at Belle & Boo HQ to enjoy precious time with our families and friends making, seeing, doing and exploring . As usual there are oodles of things to do up and down the UK for all ages to enjoy, so please read on for our pick of events, free activities and places to go over May bank holiday weekend and during half term.  

Stick Man's Summer Holiday - Essex



During May half term families can join Stick Man at Weald Country Park on his holiday adventures. There will be an activity trail with questions, tasks and a small gift at the end. There is also a Stick Man play trail for kids to enjoy. 

Essex
Saturday 28th May thrououtout Half term.



Global Explorers - Westonbirt, National Arboretum



The wonderful Westonbirt is hosting a global explorer craft day where children can take part in craft activities whilst learning about trees from around the world.  Westonbirt is an exceptionally beautiful place and a fabulous way to fire up children’s imaginations. The new walkway up in the trees is fabulous fun. Well worth a day trip.
Global Explorers 
June 1st - 3rd (half term)


Make your own knitted City - Bristol




As massive craft fans and a Bristol based company we were excited to visit M Shed to see Bristol, an amazing knitted version of our home city.  A huge, intricately crocheted and knitted model of Bristol you can spot  a wooly version of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Zoo, a Banksy mural as well as pubs to tiny bicycles. And on 31st May kids have the chance to make their own creations inspired by Bristol using finger knitting and pom poms.

Bristol
Briswool Event For Kids - 31st May

Family Party on A Victorian Pier - Somerset



On Bank Holiday Monday the wonderful Victorian Clevedeon Pier will be celebrating the launch of their new Visitor Centre. There will be a daytime Seaside Spectacular and i n the evening, a Party at the Pier.  There will be activities for all ages, music, fireworks and lots of surprises.
Clevedon Pier
30th May


Happy Birthday Mr Burningham  - Oxford




John Burningham is one of the UK’s best-loved illustrators and storytellers famous for children books including Mr Gumpy’s Outing.  If you are near Oxford or looking for a day out in one of the UK’s most beautiful cities you might like to take the kids along to the Oxford Story Museum where this exhibition explores Burningham’s  life through pictures showing how he uses widely different techniques to suit the mood of each of his books. One for adult illustrators too.
Happy Birthday Mr Burningham Exhibition
The Story Museum
 29th - 31st May


Sunday 29th May - Tuesday 31st May




Cook & Craft - Cumbria 
We are high fans of the Rheged Centire in Cumbria (who recently was the home to the first Belle & Boo exhibition) .  A great place to visit it has lots of activities for all the family, good food, arts and culture. During halter there are a series of events of kids including the opportunity too create an enormous crocodile or make chocolate soil pudding with local babe Vicky Allison. 
Rheged Centre 
Half Term Activities
2 Jun 2016 & 3 Jun 2016


The Royal Bath & West Show - 1st - 4th June





The Uk’s biggest celebration of rural Life has lots to offer all ages.  For children between the ages of 5 and 14 there is a Family Trail, guiding you to a huge range of brilliant areas plus the opportunity to win lots of great prizes! Don’t miss ther engineering and technology activities specially developed for children. A swell as opportunities to learn about farming including a Sheep Show.
The Royal Bath & West Show
1st - 4th June

Seashore Explorer Week And A Feast on A Beach - Dorset




The gorgeous Studland Bay is offering free explorer events for families throughout half term. Possibly one of the most gorgeous stretches of coast in the UK, set amidst a protected nature reserve, Studland Bay has lots to offer and makes for a great family destination.  And at the end of half term you can enjoy a  'Seabass Feast’ with all the family with two courses of delicious grub cooked and served next to the incredibly lovely beach (Booking is essential for the Seabass Feast). 
Studland Bay
Seabass Feast
Friday 3rd June


Food Festival In a Castle - Monmouthshire




Looking for a beautiful area of the UK to visit and a place guaranteed to keep your tummies satisfied and your taste buds tingling. Then head to the Monmouthshire Food Festival  held in the glorious grounds of Caldicot Castle. There is a full programme of demonstrations, talks, tastings for grown ups and lots of food and drink to try! There is also The Childrens Quarter a dedicated area for children of all ages, the aim to promote healthy alternatives to high fat and sugary snacks.  There is also a focus on the importance of bees to our food supply change - something close to Belle & Boo's heart. 
Caldicot Castle
4th – 5th June 2016


Sunflowers and Dress Up Days - Northumberland



There are plenty of family adventures to be had at Cragside once the home to Lord Armstrong - Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius. Discover the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. It is crammed full of ingenious gadgets; go for a muddy barefoot walk, visit the Young Engineer’s zone, and spend time exploring Nelly's Labyrinth, a network of paths and tunnels cut out of a vast area of rhododendron forest. If that is not enough during half term kids have the opportunity to plant a sunflower and join in a victorian costume activity session. 
Half Term Events At Cragside
Tue 31 May 2016
Wed 01 Jun 2016


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Your child in the next Belle & Boo book!

WIN 
Your chance to have your child beautifully illustrated in the next Belle & Boo picture book by Mandy Sutcliffe.



In the next few weeks I will begin illustrating the sixth Belle & Boo picture book, due to be published in early 2018 by Orchard Books.

I’m so excited to give one of you the chance to have your child sit with my favourite characters amongst the pages of this new book. 

Love,
 Mandy Sutcliffe, Founder of Belle & Boo




To enter all you have to do is spend over £50 on the Belle & Boo boutique from now until 31th May and you will be automatically entered into the draw. 

One Winner will receive:
Their child featured on 1 page within the Belle & Boo book.
1 x art print of the page in the book
1 x  signed copy of the book 
And your child’s name will be printed in the books dedication!

So if you are looking for a gift for a new baby or a birthday present for a best friend then hop on over to our boutique.  Or maybe you need some pretty new kitchen kit or a cushion or a lampshade to freshen up a room for spring.  Or stock up on craft and art materials from our beautiful sew, paper craft and children's art ranges.  There are lots of things to choose from all beautifully designed and made to the highest quality.  


Happy Shopping and Good Luck!

Love Mandy and All at

The Fine Print
Purchase must be made between Thursday 28th April and Midnight on the 31st May 2016 (GMT).
£50 minimum spend and can be an accumulative total of more than 1 product.
The minimum spend excludes shipping costs.
Free Shipping over £50 for UK customers.
Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email. 



Friday, 29 April 2016

Belle & Boo at Rheghed


Have you been to any of the Westmorland group service stations? No? Well you must, I would go as far as saying they are revolutionising service stations as we know them, making them go to destinations just like in 1980 when my friend Alex has his birthday party at one, he he!
We have been selling our Belle and Boo goodies at Rheghed Centre in Penrith, Cumbria since last summer and a tentative plan was made back then to host a Belle and Boo event. Logistically it wasn't the easiest thing to organise because of distance and we are a little control freaky at Belle & Boo head quarters but Rebecca and the rest of her team were amazingly helpful, enthusiastic and creative and we were able between us to transform a dark unused corner of the centre into a Belle & Boo garden, with picnic tables, Belle swinging in a tree with her friends and the branches decorated with our art prints.
Then came the best bit getting to take our families to the Lake District for 4 days with the legitimate  excuse that is was a work trip (although these events never feel like work)



The Belle & Boo children

We stayed on the stunning Lingholm Estate which is going through an incredibly exciting transformation including a walled garden which is said to be one of the inspirations for Mr Mcgregor garden in Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter often holidayed at Lingholm so it was wonderful wandering around the grounds imagining her their with her sketch book and paints.
It is such a beautiful part of the world, 


a Beatrix Potter illustration from Squirrel Nutkin

we rowed, discovered secret islands, climbed mountains, paddled in streams, it was the perfect mini Easter break. 



The events themselves were great fun, people had travelled from Edinburgh and Durham, there were girls and boys from 3 weeks old to 8 years old and I think we all had a lot of fun. Story telling, crafts, face painting, nose twitching and apple munching.



A huge THANK YOU to Rheghed for making us feel so welcome and a special hello to all that came.

Love Mandy x