Thursday, 25 June 2015

Rhiannon's Commissions

One of the many fab things about working at Belle & Boo is all the lovely people we get to work with. We were lucky enough to be introduced to the very talented textile designer Rhiannon Southwell when we were all living and working in London (Wow that feels like a life time ago now) Her first fabric range she designed for us included my still all time favourite 'Pirate Games' I have a blind in the boys room made from this fabric, not to dissimilar to the blind we spotted on instagtram of Jools Oliver's little boys room eek, how cool is that!



First Kate moved to Bristol followed by me and then a few years ago Rhiannon also moved and we now all live within 10 mins of each other. She has put me to shame by creating her stunning home in under a year whilst we still sit amongst the peeling wallpaper and orange varnished floors!  





My house!!!


The boys eating lunch alfresco in our crumbly porch!

Before Christmas we asked Rhiannon to design some new prints for us and she asked whether I would consider exchanging them for a commission of her children. Of course! I wish we could pay all bills this way! Here are the results, I loved working on them, it was wonderfully easy she provided the idea, the outfits and great photos, I hope you like them.


Macsen


Dylan

She in return gave us many, many beautiful designs, including our Ballet fabric and Patchwork quilt fabric, 2 of our best sellers.




(Photo by Lili Celestine )

Rhiannon is also one of the official artists chosen to illustrate a Shaun in the city


here is a sneaky peek of Rhiannons to be unveiled on July 6th


Love, Mandy

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A brave baby, her family and Rainbow Trust

As you probably now know we are working with the children’s charity Rainbow Trust who provide practical and emotional support to families with seriously ill children.  If you didn’t know we have created a fun downloadable “King For A Day’ father’s day party kit for you to make and create a fun day for Dad.  It costs a fiver and 100% of the money goes to the charity (and scroll down for info on our 'King For A Day' giveaway).


When Rainbow Trust approached Belle & Boo it really struck a chord with all of us. I grew up with a seriously ill older sister and understand the enormous impact an ill child has on ALL of the family. As a child having an ill big sis brought with it feelings of frustration, hopelessness, guilt, anger, fear, loneliness, panic and confusion.  But in fact the stories we heard of brave children, brothers, sisters, Mums, Dads and even grandparents touched all of the team.

Here is what Mandy, Belle & Boo’s founder and Creative Director, has to say:

Like most parents I don't want to consider what it would be like to have a seriously ill child, it is a gut churning thought.  But for many parents across the UK this is a reality.
What I have seen is that Rainbow Trust give these families, and the ill child, essential support, advice, companionship, expertise and kindness which they otherwise would not get.
With your help we hope we can raise a some much needed cash to help them help more children and their families


Here is baby Alisia Snow and her families story

(Ailsia at 10 months old)
When Alisia was born she was given a 10% chance of survival. 

She had a hole in her diaphragm through which some of her organs had pushed into her chest and were crushing her lungs.  After 3 weeks on a ventilator, her parents were told to think about turning the machines off but with two days to spare, Alisia started to improve and was rushed into surgery.

This was the turning point for Alisia – she began to improve every day and within the week was moved to the high dependency unit. This brave little fighter woke up after six weeks of being in a coma. 

Soon doctors had weaned Alisia off the ventilator for four hours at a time, but unfortunately, this led to complications and further surgery.

During this time, Michelle and Craig had no support. Michelle has two other children, eight-year-old Finley and 10-year-old Liam. She had been driving between Oxford and Swindon trying to juggle time with her newborn baby and her older boys. Craig lived at the hospital with Alisia for ten months. He learned how to care for her, what to do when her ventilator monitor went off, how to do her suction and how to feed her. Sadly for Michelle, she missed those first ten months of her child’s life – she didn’t see her first smile or the first time she rolled over and she didn’t see her sitting up for the first time. She had been in Swindon taking care of their two boys, getting them to school and back, working and driving to the hospital when she could. The strain was immense, “just trying to keep in touch with family, not letting the family break-down, was hard,” remembers Craig.

When the family were moved to their local hospital, they were finally offered some help. Social workers referred them to Rainbow Trust and Family Support Worker Chris, from Swindon, started supporting them. Michelle and Craig couldn’t leave the house much as ten-month-old Alisia needed her ventilator with her constantly so Chris’s car was a huge help and meant that the couple could get out of the house and get back to some kind of normality. Chris also took the boys out to the cinema and the park, which gave them some fun time away from being young carers. If Alisia has a bad night and neither Craig nor Michelle have had much sleep, Chris helps by driving them to Alisia’s hospital appointments.

When Craig’s best friend passed away, Chris helped by talking to him and took him out hiking for the day. This gave Craig a chance to talk about his loss. “Support like that is unbelievable and great,” says Craig.

Chris supports the whole family, “… he is like a worker and a friend,” says Craig. He will be with the family for as long as they need him. 

“It’s very reassuring knowing they will be with us while Alisia is still poorly. Having Chris and his support makes such a difference to our lives.” Michelle says.

(Ailsia with her family)
Alisia’s prognosis is good and her parents are hoping that she will be off the ventilator and other machines by the time she is eight years old. 

Visit Rainbow Trust for more information.

As part of our Rainbow Trust + Father's Day celebrations we have a giveaway!
'King For A Day' Competition!


To win a framed ‘I Am King’ signed print worth £45 all you have to do is share your ‘King For A Day’ father’s day party pictures with us. 

Send to us via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #BelleAndBooDads or by email hello@belleandboo.com with the subject line 'King Competition'.

One Winner will be chosen at random from all the entries. 
Entries close Sunday 28th June and winner will be annouced Tuesday 30th June
By entering, you consent for your images to be used on our social media platforms.
Open to world wide entries.  

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Simple Baking For A Father's Day Party





 (Our 'King For A Day' father's day party kit costs just £5.
ALL of which goes to children's charity Rainbow Trust)

My children are looking forward to surprising their Dad with a 'King For A Day' party on father's day all in aid of children's charity Rainbow Trust (father's day is just 10 days from now).  We have decided to do some home baking to make it extra special for him.


(Rainbow Trust provides support to families in the UK who have a child with a serious illness)

One of my favourite activities to do with my children ,who are now six and nine, is to bake. I have been baking with them since they were both very small, even aged four I got them breaking up chocolate, mixing, weighing, kneeding, decorating and, when I was feeling brave, cracking eggs.  Of course baking with kids creates a lot of mess and requires tons of patience but it is a brilliant way to spend some 'quality' time with them and a fun way to teach them about food, health, science and even maths.


(Proud of their recent 'Boo' biscuit baking!)


Although we have tried and tested lots of recipes we often return to the same one for special occassions - a 'light as a feather' vanilla sponge cake by Lily Vanilli from her book 'Sweet Tooth'. This is a perfectly simple and a delicious treat for our father's day celebrations.

So give this recipe a try and get ready for your 'King For a Day' fathers day party. And remember ALL of the £5 spent on the party kit goes to the children's charity Rainbow Trust.


The Perfect Vanilla Sponge Cake by Lily Vanilli

20 mins prep
20 mins cooking


Ingredients
330g plain flour, sifted
320g caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder (yup that much!)
pinch of salt
175g unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs
190ml whole milk
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

2 x 23cm prepared cake tin (greased and lined)
24 cupcake cases in trays





Preheat The Oven to 180C (fan assisted)

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl.  
  2. Beat in the butter until the mixture appears to be like a fine 'crumble' mix - aim to do this in around 2-3 mins on a medium speed.
  3. Add the eggs and beat, first on medium, then on high, until just incorporated.
  4. Add the milk and vanilla and beat, first on medium, then on high until the mixture is lighter in colour and smooth.
  5. Divide between the cake tins (make sure it is even)
  6. Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.  
  7. Leave to cool before turning out.  
TIP:  At each stage DON'T overmix and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

For father's day we will decorate the cake with the King For a Day cake toppers and fill it with whipped double cream and fresh berries. This will make the cake become more like a desert which is utterly scrumptious.



Buy your 'King For A Day ' father's day kit here  and raise money for children's charity Rainbow Trust


Enjoy!

Jules x

Thursday, 4 June 2015

50% off clothing

"Belle & Boo have a secret to share
We are making room for some new homeware
So snap up a gem to pass on or keep
The offer ends soon… so quick, take a peek!"

That little poem sums it up! We need to clear our stock of clothes to make room for some gorgeous new product we have in the pipeline as sadly we don't have room in the stock room for both! (If only it were a tardis!)

So from now until Sunday Midnight GMT, we have an amazing 50% off all our clothing
Use code STYLE at checkout at www.belleandboo.com to obtain the discount.

 Once the clothes are sold out they won't be getting restocked so if you've had your eye on a particular outfit act fast otherwise you will miss out, some sizes are already sold out.  

 Do you have a favourite dress? I'm too indecisive to have a favourite. Although I must say, despite being in my 30's, I would happily wear any of the dresses on the top row... If only I could squeeze into them!


And since summer has FINALLY arrived, the sale couldn't be more timely! I had a lovely time in the park this afternoon with my family. We played tea parties and set lots of dandelion seeds off into the warm air. How cute does Julia look in her Vintage Shirt Dress?

Enjoy the sun, everyone! 
Love, Clare
x

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Crown Dad A 'King For A Day' In Aid Of Charity





Daddy's deserve to feel extra special on fathers day (here in the UK fathers day is 21st June).   

So we are very excited about our beautiful new  'King For A Day fathers day party kit - a lovely craft activity for children to enjoy making at home ready to surprise and delight Dad on fathers day.   The party kit costs just £5 and ALL the money goes to UK children's charity Rainbow Trust.



 The wonderful people at Rainbow Trust provide much needed practical and emotional support to families with seriously ill children (we will be writing more about the charity and the families it helps very soon).


We, at Belle & Boo HQ, were inspired by the work this marvellous charity does, as well as the courage of the families they help. So we decided to create a unique, fun product that not only celebrates Dad's but families as a whole -  something children and parents can enjoy together.   And what do we all like to do.....well we like making things and we love to have a party!   So the idea for our  'King For A Day' fathers day party kit was born.


The kit includes printable bunting, cupcake wrappers, cake toppers, as well as a ‘King For A Day’ certificate and party invitations to colour-in.  Everything family needs to enjoy a right royal fathers day. 


(Children can colour-in the invitations and the certificate.
For our photoshoot we used
pretty washi tape and ribbons for the bunting)




And remember ALL of the £5 spent on the kit is going to charity, so you know you are helping to make the lives of these courageous children, Mummy's, Daddy's, brothers and sisters a little easier.





As usual please share your thoughts, ideas and tips - we love to hear them.  And please check back on our blog over the next few weeks......

- We will be launching a 'King For A Day' competition  - open to everyone who buys the kit (more information to follow)
- Read about some of the families Rainbow Trust has helped 
- Plus we will be posting a few easy tea party recipes 

Now let's get ready to party!

All the best, 
Jules x







Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Craft Love at Belle & Boo HQ

Because we’re having our special sale off our craft products this week I thought I’d take this opportunity to show you what crafty things some of us at Belle & Boo HQ been up to in our spare time.

As you know, knitting is my craft of choice. I’m currently knitting a baby cardigan and I’ve still got one more sleeve to knit followed by an immense amount of ends to weave in (doing coloured contrast bobble/popcorn stitch seemed like such a good idea at the time!)... wish me luck.
 Our lovely Dandelion tote bag makes a wonderful knitting bag!

And the reason I haven't finished the cardigan yet is because I got distracted by finishing off this mega cosy blanket knitted with weareknitter’s super chunky wool. Sadly for me I don’t get to snuggle under it as it was a gift to my sister in law, but I’m glad to know it has gone to a good home (and it’s a good excuse for me to knit another one for myself!) The next knitting skill I’d like to perfect is colour work, as I have been wanting to design and knit some Boo inspired fair isle for some time now!

Alice has been doing lots of sewing. She made the gorgeous ballet bag you would have seen on our website (not to mention all the stunning lampshades that we sell are hand made by Alice!).  As she’s recently moved into her own flat, she got crafty and made and upholstered this hall bench (too clever!)


Our Book of Craft has also been inspiring Alice too, and she has been making friendship bracelets and a gorgeous Boo toy.


What’s your craft of choice? We’d love to know so we can be inspired to create some lovely new craft products for you all. 

Don’t forget we’ve got 20% off our craft category until Thursday midnight GMT. So if you’ve been pining after our paper range or fabric, now is the perfect time. Just enter code FUN20 at checkout.

Love,
Clare xx

Monday, 18 May 2015

'Half Term Fun' Sale!

Keep your little ones busy this half term with our gorgeous craft and fun range. We are offering 20% off our entire craft, sew and fun ranges

Stock up on fun craft supplies for kids as well as gorgeous gifts for crafters.  

Enter the code 'FUN20' at checkout.




Great for entertaining kids over half term is our stunning paper craft range. Encourage them to stick, colour and make with our pretty printed papers, stamps, rosettes and miniature bunting.  Also on sale are our colouring sets and pencils.



Also on offer are our range of delightful little pressies perfect for filling goodie bags such as our pretty stickers and temporary tattoos.



Crafty grown ups can invest in our range of cotton fabrics including our new ballet printed cotton poplin, as well as buttons and ribbons.

And not to be missed is the chance to grab a copy of our stunning 'Book of Craft' . A brilliant and beautiful book it has 25 inspiring projects to make at home including the simple 'Hot Air Balloon Mobile' to the gorgeous 'Washing Line Wendy House'.




Offer ends Midnight Thursday 21st May (GMT).  Offer only applies to the 'Craft & Fun' catagory.

Jules