Thursday, 30 July 2015

Be Inspired By Fabric // Ditsy Boo Fabric!

Oh I do feel like it has been a while since we have done a craft round up and, my oh my, we have seen so many lovely things sewn with our fabric recently! Our round up today features our screenprinted Ditsy Boo cotton poplin!

 (Image Credit: Sarah Cran)

Sarah made her daughter a lovely little dress using our Ditsy Boo fabric and trimmed with ric rac and our (sadly now sold out) quilting fabric. She also made a dress for dolly with the remnants!  I really do think that is every little girls dream. My grandma used to sew me lots of clothes when I was a little girl and no outfit was complete without a dress for all my dolls, such a lovely childhood memory!

Then we have these 3 gorgeous creations, Baby bloomers, a little girls skirt and pretty hairbows (with lovely pattern placement, I must say!). I just love seeing how versatile our fabric can be.

If you love this fabric, did you know we now sell it made up as a lampshade (for lamps and ceiling lights) and did you know tha all our lampshades are made in house at Belle and Boo HQ in Bristol? 

I hope these lovely creations have inspired you to sew! If you've made anything (clothing or otherwise) with our fabric, then we would love to see! You can use the hashtag #belleandboo on Instagram or email us  here.

Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for other lovely crafty ideas.

See you soon,

Friday, 17 July 2015

Our love of picture books (and competition news)

Last week was the brilliant Book Trusts 'Children's Book Week' - a celebration of a child's love of books. 

To honor the occassion we asked all our friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to tell us 'What children's book have you loved most in your life' and in return we would give one person four beautifully illustrated Belle & Boo picture books in hardback and signed by Mandy Sutcliffe.

We had hundreds of entries (scroll down to discover who the winner is).  As well as learning about wonderful books we didn't know, it was lovely to read about peoples childhood memories of reading with a loved one. 

We also got chatting in the Belle & Boo HQ , sharing stories of books we loved as kids as well as exciting new illustrators and books we read with our own children now.  

Here are our some of our picture book favourites:

Mandy Sutcliffe, our Creative Director and founder.  She has twin boys.
  • The Pirates Next door by Jonny Duddle
  • The Whale and the Snail by Julia Donaldson
  • SSShhh We Have a plan by Chris Haughton

Illustration from 'Shh We Have A Plan' by Chris Haughton

Patrick Shafe,  Director and husband to Kate.  They have two girls.
  • Mr Ben and the Red Knight By David McKee
  • A Squash and A Squeeze by Julia Donaldson
  • Pushka by Stephen Mackey - Click here to watch a short animation of the book by Stephen himself.

Kate Shafe, Co-Founder and Director
The Shape of My Heart – Mark Sperring
Dogger – Shirley Hughes
Around the Year - Elsa Beskow

(Extract from Dogger by Shirley Hughes)

And the winner of our Belle & Boo picture book giveaway is.....
Kirsty Casey who picked  'Each Peach, Pear, Plum', 
 the timeless picture book classic from illustrator/author team Janet and Allan Ahlberg.  

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter and for sharing your stories. It certainly reminded me that sharing a book with a little person is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a grown-up. 

So next time when I am knackered and just want to slump down on the sofa with a packet of biscuits and a glass of wine, I will remember, if I spend a few moments enjoying a book with my children it will leave them, and me, with special memories which we will treasure forever.  Afterall it won't be long before our 'little ones' are reading silently to themselves, their noses buried deep inside the pages of a novel. 

Happy Reading!
Jules x

Psst.....thought you might like a peak at Belle & Boo's exquisite new picture book, ' Hop Along Boo' , a magical bed time adventure, illustrated by Mandy (out in November, published by Orchard Books).

Last week we also announced the winner of our Tombola competition on Facebook.  But just in case you missed it, here they are again:

Email: for further information.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Fun Weeekend

I had such a lovely sunny weekend with Russ and the boys. Saturday was spent at Tyntesfield, their tractor playground never fails to engage the boys giving Russ and I a chance to soak up some sun.

Then Sunday we went to The Mall Cribbs Causeway to buy a new kitchen bin (I have wanted to buy one for such a long time but never felt justified until the lid fell off completely Yey, how sad am I!!!) The fountains and their Nando's balloons provided much entertainment and again I lounged in the sun in a deck chair pretending I was on holiday and not at a retail park!

       My 'The Red Balloon' moment!

Boo has a 'The Red Balloon' moment too! You can read it in the Belle & Boo picture book, Birthday Surprise!


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Belle & Boo's Summer Fete!

Roll up, Roll up!  
You are invited to come along to Belle & Boo's summer fete where you will find beautiful gifts and crafts at up to 40% off the original price!  Plus prizes and free activities galore!

Delightful gifts for children include our beautifully illustrated Belle & Boo picture books as well as fun activity books, sticker books, cute bags, pretty stationery sets and our cool collection of temporary tattoos.  

Also on offer is our lovely range of fine bone china, exquisitely crafted for us by British heritage brand Churchill China. These are special gifts which will be treasured forever. 

Snap up our lovely retro style tin lunchboxes and melamine dinner sets and make meal times fun.

Planning a party? Then don't miss out on our charming treat boxes, paper cups, napkins, plates and invitations all reduced at up to 40% off the original price! 

And don't miss out on the chance to win lovely prizes in our tombola prize draw.

 Plus we have lots of beautiful FREE printable activity sheets.

Our Summer Fete closes on Sunday 5th July at midnight (GMT).  
So come along and see what you find! 

Have fun!
Jules x

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.



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 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.