Friday, 15 July 2016

Camping Love + Canopy and Stars Giveaway

So so so delighted to announce the release of a new art print "Campfire Stories"!


Due to an overwhelming demand to release this gorgeous image (taken originally from the Belle & Boo picture book, Hop Along Boo) as an art print, we have added it to the webshop today and couldn't be more excited. As a special treat, there's £5 off for the first 50 sold - yippee.


And what started all this off was we are doing a wonderful giveaway with Sawday's Canopy and Stars. 
For your chance to win a 2 night stay, for two adults and two children at Willowbrook, Sussex, head over to our website! Entries close at midnight this Sunday.

http://belleandboo.com/content/28-canopyandstars
 

 And while we're on the camping subject, here's the twins looking adorable and super cheeky at a recent camping trip.

Have a great weekend, everyone.
x

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Belle & Boo Room Tour - Mini Styling






Mini Styling is a beautiful blog and Instagram feed for modern parents created by Sally Lopez, mum to the adorable Olivia (right).  

A few months ago Sally contacted Belle & Boo HQ to say her daughter loved Belle & Boo books and she had started to collect some of our homewares.  We were very flattered. 

Since then we have enjoyed seeing photos of Olivia's exquisitely styled bedroom and nursery filled with Belle & Bog art prints, cushions, decor and toys. Sally has very kindly let us share these with you.  We think you will agree the rooms look beautiful, we love the way Sally has kept the design so simple and fresh  - just stunning.   



Olivia's vintage style bed covered with our 100% cotton bedding set to snuggle under and our hand embroidered Boo cushion.



This delightful little wooden retro television shelf is home to some of Olivia's treasures including a Belle & Boo postcard and the sugar bowl from our melamine tea set (also pictured below).



Our Belle & Boo tea set comes in a charming carry case 
designed to look like Belle's tea shop. Here it is displayed ready for Olivia to play with. 


Olivia recently turned three and was given lots of Belle & Boo goodies including our Bubbles Before Bed book, temporary ballet tattoos and a fun fizzy bath bomb!



Hanging on a crisp white wall is a framed print of the "Up The Stairs We Go' pencil drawing by Belle & Boo founder Mandy Sutcliffe.  We love how the paper butterfly's compliment the art print - don't they look pretty.





Open plan white shelves showcase some of Olivia's favourite picture books including three Belle & Boo books .  Displayed amongst the books is the 'First Position' art print, part of the Belle & Boo ballet series. 



Mini-Styling is full of inspiring, design ideas for little people so do take a peak and follow.  And watch out for Sally's and Olivia's picnic adventures coming soon (you might spot some Belle & Boo goodies!).

Check back with Belle & Boo soon for news, and information on our amazing competitions (including our current glamping competition with Canopy & Stars) and watch out for the Belle & Boo room makeover giveaway.

Don't forget you can share your thoughts, photos and feedback via this blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Love
Belle & Boo HQ


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Beautiful Cakes // Round Up


It's no secret we're all fans of cake here at Belle and Boo HQ.  And we have seen so many stunning Belle and Boo inspired cakes over the last few months we just had to share them all with you.

This stunning Ballet themed cake was created by Jessica over at 'The Woodland Wife'. On her blog she has written a post with her creative process of making this cake as well as lots more photos, so be sure to head over there. (You may also remember we featured a cake she made last year on our blog, which was equally as stunning)


A very elaborate Belle & Boo dessert table!
(Image Credit:  @museudascriancas  Cake by: @havesomesugar)

Some other beauties....


 

Image Credits L-R:

Have you baked a Belle and Boo inspired cake? We would love to see it! Send your photos to hello@belleandboo.com or use the hashtag on Instagram #belleandboo


Monday, 27 June 2016

How to Create a School Summer Fete


Belle & Boo’s Summer Fete is now on, inspired by our own happy memories of school fetes, there are stalls, games,treats and free printable activities you could even use on the craft table at your own school fete. 

Summer fetes are always such fun.  But we also know what goes into creating a memorable fete - it might sound easy but it’s actually a huge job. Not unlike running a small business, it requires time, great organisation, management , passion and patience. So here is our own little guide to setting up a fete.


Plan, plan, plan and delegate!  The first thing you need to do is make a plan and a time-line.  Then you need to find a team of people to help you. Then DELEGATE.  Whoever is in charge should be prepared to oversee and coordinate but make things easier and smoother by breaking the fete down into separate sections of responsibility.  You could to this by year groups.  i.e. one year group is responsible for games, one year group is responsible for crafts etc .

Be on the look out for individuals with certain talents and skills and think of ways they can be involved - ask if they could donate their time and skills even if it is for a few hours during the event (see ideas for entertainment).  

The Date: It’s a simple thing but this is crucial. Find a date which doesn’t clash with other local events or even cultural or religious calendar dates such as Ramadan so children don’t have to miss out.

A Theme helps to make things exciting and fresh.  It will also help generate ideas, marketing and to create a buzz.  Perhaps there is a year or term project the whole school has been involved with - such as learning about the planet, Roald Dahl, Outdoor learning, or the Olympics. Bringing in what children have been learning about in school means the teachers get more support from the PTA and vice versa and you work as team together.  

Budget: It’s very easy to get carried away with ideas but remember you need to keep your costs down in order to make money for your school. So think carefully about how you spend money and what is and isn’t necessary. 



Usually at school fetes the real money makers are food such as BBQ’s and cakes, sweets, beer and booze stalls (if adults are there).  As for activities - good old face painting or henna/mehndi stalls are always a winner and cheap to set up. A  lucky dip (made from a cardboard box with prizes worth 10p, 50p - £2.00 inside) is also an oldie but a goodie . Add in a fantastic raffle and tombola (approach local businesses for prizes), and a decent 2nd hand stalls (only worth it if you have good quality things donated for this).  




Entertainment can eat into the budgets.  If possible find ways to get as much free entertainment as possible.   It is lovely to have a wonderful band playing or a professional puppet show but this can cost a lot of money.  Look around and use what you have - maybe one of the parents is in a band.   Maybe there is a local group or club in the wider community who want to promote themselves and will perform or demonstrate their skills. For example,  if you are doing an Olympic theme - is there a child’s capoeira group near you, or a Zumba teacher, a sports group - judo, gymnastics etc; Or approach a local children’s orchestra or choir and ask them to perform music which fits in with your theme.  Some may ask for a donation but it will probably be small, in return you are giving them a platform to be seen.

Fun and games:  As well as the must have tombola, face painting and raffle there are tons of crafts and games you can make and do that are cheap to set up.  There are lots of ideas on pinterest but here are a few we like, some of which can be adapted to a theme. 

Welly-tossing competition- great for all ages.  Keep a league table for the results and the people who throw the furthest get a prize.  Entice people to take part by offering each child or adult a sweet. 



A goal competition - particularly good if you can get a teachers to take it in turns to be the goallies.  Create a league table to see who can get the most goals past the goalie in 5 minutes. 

A teacher or parent soak  - easy to see why this would be popular. 

DIY Photo booth - Simple to set up and get some props that fit with your fete’s theme.  Ask a parent or two with a decent camera and a tripod to take some snaps which can then be loaded up onto a free digital platform for parents to download.  



Prop making craft stall - this is a great way to link in with the DIY photo booth or these crafts can just be done on their own.  Ideas are endless but it could be DIY Brazilian carnival head dress, an animal mask from a paper plate, an animal ears, fairy wands.  



A Homemade Teacher thank you card - use craft supplies for decorations.  Again it can be themed or it an be kept open.

Ribbon Key Chains - cheap and easy.  All you need are a good selection of ribbons, some beads if you wish and a round silver key ring.  This is great for older kids, boys and girls.  It can also be themed using different colour ribbons - for example - the Olympic colours, a football teams colours etc

You can find lots of brilliant, practical advice on the PTA website and Netmums.  And visit Pinterest for craft and games ideas galore. 

We very much hope you have a wonderful School fete.

Love, 

The Belle & Boo Team

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

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