Ainee’s Baazar children’s market

Ainee’s Baazar Children’s Market

Dear Mummy, what better way to spend a wet and miserable day than shopping! We’re not shopping in a shopping centre though but at a small independent children’s market in Basingstoke. It’s called Ainee’s Bazaar and with only a handful of events under its belt it is still very new on the Baby & Children’s market scene in Hampshire.

Ainee's BazaarMy mummy decided to give it a go. It’s always nice trying new sales as opposed to trying to shift items on eBay or Facebay. This is the first time in a long time that my mummy has been a seller. Clothes, shoes and toys have been stacking up for the past year and the house is bursting at the seams so it was ready for a clear out.

The car is packed and my mummy heads down to the sale room with one of her friends. It’s in Chineham Village Hall, Basingstoke just off the A33 towards Reading.

Ainee's BazaarIt’s raining as you unload the car and head indoors, luckily there is plenty of car parking spaces, as Chineham Village Hall has its own carpark. On entering the hall we are warmly greeted and handed an information letter, a free tea/coffee drinks voucher for two people and two stall holder badges. This is very professional my mummy thinks. We have a 6ft x 2ft table to sell on and plenty of space either side to set up a clothes rail. It cost us £12 to hire the 2 hours. Other sellers around us are friendly and chatty too and everyone is in a really good mood. We are allowed to set up a good 50 minutes before the doors open which is oodles of time to perfect our stall.

Ainee's-Bazzar-1The sale opens at 1:30pm and it’s off to a slow start, not the mad rush we expected and have seen at other sales. It was only £1 to gain entry and kids got in for free! It’s a slow burner and before we know it the walkways are filling up at around 2pm, we think this is mainly due to the entertainment which is a sing-along and facepainting by the fabulous Ice Queen on the small hall stage. Lots of children dressed up as characters from Frozen queued along the walkway in front of our stand, which brought more business to the table, we make a lot of sales and this is our busiest period. The Ice Queen entertainer is very convincing and she plays a multitude of different characters on her website Ellen’s Kingdom. She looks good and really engages with the young children. We can see why people came to see her!

On reflection it’s funny that the items my mummy thought would sell, didn’t. Like the MegaBlocks, all the Start-Rite shoes and sensory books. But my mummy thinks this is due to the lack of parents there with younger children and pregnant visitors. On this occasion it seemed there were a lot of older children with parents that wouldn’t be interested in the baby stuff. Even though it is the end of the month and payday, it’s a bad time of the year to be a seller in the transition months after Christmas. We would be interested to try this sale again later in the year.

The crowds dwindle and before we know it’s time to pack up and go home. We broke even which was good so it wasn’t a wasted trip, and my mummy had enough to buy a cute rainbow rainmac from another seller. It was nice to get out of the house for a couple of hours and chat to friends and other stall holders.

Ainee's-Bazzar-4We came across so many great little craft stands there too, like Loopy Needles a who make cute home items and housewares. We particularly loved the easter inspired chick hats and egg cup tea cosies. We were very impressed with her stand and attention to detail.

The lovely Lyverji Crafts whose quirky button balloon artwork caught my mummy’s eye.

Another stand which attracted a crowd was SmallPrint, the original ‘direct contact’ silver keepsake company, who had some lovely silver pieces displayed on her stand.

Ainee's-Bazzar-3My mummy was tempted by the pop-up the tea room at Ainee’s Bazaar provided by Impish Delights, but didn’t have any cake sadly as she was on Lent, however the cakes looked scrummy and the tea room was a fabulous idea!

The quality of the items on sale were in good to mint condition and reasonably priced, you can tell that the sellers at Ainee’s Bazaar had taken time to display and present their goods to buyers.

Ainee's-Bazzar-9If you’re looking for a great afternoon out with the family where you can enjoy afternoon tea, entertainment, buy pre-loved baby and children’s items and purchase from local crafters then this is the one stop shopping experience for you. Hopefully the more promotion they get, the more it will draw in the crowds for the sellers. Ainee’s Bazaar has only been going for a couple of weeks and we predict great things from them. Watch this space Ainee’s Bazaar Baby and Children’s Market could offer some serious competition to other children markets in the area.

Their next event is an Arts & Crafts Market on Saturday 21st March from 1.30pm – 3.30pm. Visit their Facebook page for all the event information.

Love Bella and her mummy x

Just for Tiny People 2nd Birthday Party

Just for Tiny People’s 2nd Birthday Party

Just for Tiny People CakeDear Mummy, we love birthday parties! Especially when they are hosted by talented and creative Just For Tiny People Teepeesindividuals such as Effie Moss from Just for Tiny People.Just for Tiny People Teepees

The open day/second birthday party was listed on their facebook page and people traveled from far and wide to visit their business premises and celebrate their success since the notorious Dragons Den appearance on TV. (Series 12 Episode 5)

Just for Tiny People have done well! Capitalizing on their fame and talent and Deborah Meadens 25% stake in the business, they are also hot shots on social media too with over 154k likes on Facebook alone!

It helps that they make beautiful products too!

They are renowned for creating beautiful teepees and secret hiding places (Hidey Holes) for children and babies, we got to see the products first hand over the weekend..and let me tell you they were stunning!!

A bit out of my pocket-money budget, but if I pester my mummy enough *cough* I mean Santa, I might get one. Sadly we didn’t buy anything, the open day proved very popular, with queues of people out the door and through the starlit marquee.

Just for Tiny People ChristmasThe marquee was placed just outside their business premises on a farm and it had a lovely rural location which was nice.

Flattened teepees, colourful cushions, mats, postboxes and pillows were stacked high in the marquee in a rainbow of colours and patterns.

We loved their Christmas display with the magical owls, Santa postboxes and Just For Tiny People booksChristmas pillows, it was all professionally laid out and looked so cute, the children seemed to love it x

My mummy was busy taking photos while I was scouting the goods. The staff were very friendly and buzzing around like busy bees, So we didn’t get much time speaking to them. My visit wasn’t actually planned either, so they accommodated me very well.

We were in the Guildford area visiting Hatchlands Park owned by the National Trust which was a couple of miles down the road and briefly popped in.

Anyway, we left without trying the fabulous cake, shaped into one of their beloved teepees! A best seller for Just for Tiny people! So cute.

I wore my Frugi Owl dress and it matched my #JFTP Magical Adventurer sticker. I’m a great lover of owls so love Just for Tiny Peoples owl branding. We watched the youngest member of staff Alice, kindly hand out tons of sweets to customers waiting in the busy queues and all children were very well behaved!

Big People at Just For Little PeopleNext time they run an open day it would be nice to have an area were the children can hang-out and test the teepees and play with toys, while the adults queue up and purchase, as I got figity at how busy it was in the marquee. They must have done a roaring trade over the weekend as it was soooo busy- well done! We love to see an independent UK small business do well. We are avid followers on Facebook and they usually run some fabulous competition to win their tepees. We can’t wait to see more of Just for Tiny People’s ingenious ideas come to life, such as the cardboard, foldaway teepee and the tablecloth sheetfort/playarea.

I promise next time we’ll stop to have a proper cup of tea, cake and a chat.

Well done on a fabulous 2nd Birthday and open weekend.

Remember tonight at 8pm (13th October 2014) they have an online market sale on their facebook page, so pop over and have a look!

Love Bella xx

Idle Cans and my funky festival cart

Idle Cans and my funky festival cart

Dear mummy, we are excited about this next post. Some of you may be aware from twitter that we recently commissioned the talented Idle Cans www.idlecans.co.uk to decorate our festival cart after seeing an exhibition in Basingstoke.

All our own work BasingstokeIt all started over a month ago, when we visited Basingstoke Festival Place shopping centre, and saw a really cool pop-up art gallery.

The shop was run by local artists in Hampshire as a way of showcasing their work to the masses.

It’s a fantastic way of bringing art to the retail sector and gives people the opportunity to purchase some great one-off pieces.Funky children's festival cart

The gallery features Illustrators, street artists, sculptors, furniture designers and fine artists.

We particularly liked Kev Munday’s artwork and he uses different types of media to display his graphics.

He has just finished decorating great-grandfather clock! You can find the pop-up shop at www.allourownwork.co.uk and on Facebook.

Idle CansIdle Cans had been recommended to us as the perfect artist to embellish our festival cart which we bought off Amazon for the bargain bucket price of £30!

Considering it’s at least £60 to hire one at a festival, this was a real bargain.

We purchased it to carry stuff from the car to the camping site at Just So Festival and also to cart me around in during the event, as an alternative to a buggy.

Carts are great to wheel over hard terrain due to their large wheels and sturdy chassis. So we contacted Idle Cans to get a quote. He replied back very quickly and professionally with a reasonable quote to cover the cart with his custom artwork. He’d never done anything like this before and was up for the challenge.

So what and who is the mysterious Idle Cans? Idle Cans is infact a Graffiti and Street Artist called Nzie, who set up Idle Cans Ltd 2013 nearly 10 years after his arrest for graffiting trains and public walkways.

He wanted to do something positive with his talent and to set a good example to others.

Fist bump with NzieSince 2003 he has been promoting the positive side of his art and is now a legal street artist running kids workshops in schools, helping paint local government murals and using his skills to bring joy to many children’s lives. What a great turnaround!

You can see his work at http://www.idlecans.co.uk

We delivered the cart to him in the pop-up gallery and within 2 weeks it had been completed!

Very speedy! We were amazed at the results. The design brief was to create a woodland scene on the sides and to commemorate my first camping and festival experience.

He had personalised my festival cart with my name and added little toadstools and woodland animals. It looked very Disney but in a funky street style way. We were very impressed by the artistic drawings and the spray paint finish.

We got so many lovely comments from the gallery staff when we came to pick it up and mummy and daddy towed me through Festival Place to give it a test drive. When we were at the Just So Festival, loads of people stopped to stare in awe and we had some lovely comments on the design. I got a high-five from Idle Cans and must have been his youngest customer.

Idle Cans festival cartWhen we got to Just So Festival, a lot of other families had their own personalised carts but mine stood out a mile.

Idle Cans did a fantastic job on it and we would recommend his services to anyone looking to personalise a festival cart, or commission a funky bit of street art.

He is very talented and looking at the other artwork he does that boyz got skilz.

Thank you Idle Cans for my beautiful cart 🙂 We can’t stop raving about it enough! I’m sure we will attend many more festivals with it and will be a part of my memories growing up. A future family heirloom? I think so!

Bella xx

Just So Festival 2014 Review

Just So Much Fun at Just So Festival

August 15th – August 17th

Dear mummy, phew! What a weekend we’ve just had! We travelled 3 hours up to Cheshire for the annual Just So Festival. It had been in our calendar for months, we’d scoured Pinterest for costume ideas for the Tribal Tournament and busy prepped all our camping gear (I’d even packed my own teddies!)

The journey up and camping.

On Friday morning we were finally on our epic adventure. The car was full to bust! Keeping me amused in the car was a challenge, even though I slept the majority of the way up, daddy had ‘In the night garden’ on standby just incase I got fractious. We were all conscious that we needed to get to the festival when the gates opened at 12pm to pitch a tent and secure our home away from home.

Camping at Just So Festival 2014Being first timers, we didn’t know where to pitch up or where to go. Natural instinct took over and mummy bundled me in my festival cart when we arrived with some bags and we took off on our trek to find a bit of flat grass. We walked for what seemed like ages, winding our way though the mass of already pitched tents. Even though we arrived at 1.30pm a lot of people had already secured their patches and more disappointingly secured others with bags and chairs. We asked several times if we could pitch up and sadly kept getting turned away with festival goers saying they were “reserved” for friends. Before we knew it we were very far from the car park, up a gradual slope and saw the end of the roped off little path. At last some space! Horror descended over our faces when we found out these patches too were “reserved” for friends that hadn’t turned up yet! 5 tent pitches! Eventually we talked the other camper round to let us pitch up as mummy had walked so far with me. When daddy turned up he was angry and couldn’t understand why people would reserve bits of grass with chairs and coats. Not a good start to the weekend my mummy thought.

It took us 2 hours to get sorted. However it wasn’t all doom and gloom, mummy had walked so far up the campsite that we realised we were only a stones throw from the entrance!! “Well done mummy” this is a perfect position I clap. Luckily for us we pitched up just before the rain started and after the quick shower, had a cuppa and a well deserved sandwich.

The next challenge was getting our festival wristbands, mummy queued for 20 mins for her wristband, she wished we had gone to get them as soon as we arrived. The sun was shining, but bored kids had trashed the ‘hello’ signs which dotted the pathway up to the entrance which was a shame. It was 4.30pm when we finally got into the festival on Friday. 2.5 hours after the festival had started! Our own fault for not leaving earlier, but also it seemed that everyone arrived at the same time to collect their wristbands. Top tip: lay your tent out on the grass, then get your wristbands before putting the tent up.

Friday evening at the Festival

We went around the festival site to get a lay of the land and it is stunning, so much attention to detail. Rode Hall is beautiful. The organisers have done a wonderful job with the decorations and the artwork. Just So Festival has 8 main areas. The Social & Footlights, Peek-a-boo, Head-over-Heels, The Imaginarium, Jitterbug, Spellbound Forest, Lazy Days and the High Seas. We started off at the Social, the main hub for eating and dancing, with the main stage within a walled field on a farm. It was called Footlights, with a bar opposite…the perfect remedy for my parents after a stressful afternoon.

We chilled out and listened to the folky, bluegrass acoustic band called ‘Kidnap Alice’ in the afternoon sunshine, black clouds threaten but nothing came of it.

Hanging around at Just So FestivalWe explored the magical Spellbound Forest and listened to some dusk campfire stories from the fabulous duo Patrick and Bridget. They were very funny! Later we headed back to the campsite for a BBQ and an early night for me.

While I was asleep Grandma and Grandpa looked after me while Mummy and Daddy took a trip down the spooky path towards The High Seas and saw the awesome Shadowplay. I slept without a problem all the way from 8pm til 7am not bad for a first timer camping eh? Mummy and Daddy on the other hand were woken by a screaming toddler in the middle of the night which is a standard hazard of camping so close to other young families. On the whole though we were all amazed how silence descended on the campsite at 11pm and all was still until babies woke at dawn.

Saturday at the Festival. The Lantern Parade Day.

We woke with glorious sunshine on Saturday, dew on the grass and our bellies full of excitement for what lay ahead. Mummy took me to Peek-a-Boo, a baby and toddler area of the festival, for my early morning walk as not to wake the other campers, and for me to have some brekkie. She wheeled me around in my festival cart, while I remained in my sleepsuit, wellies and dressing gown, she in her PJs and she had a leisurely coffee and I had a jam croissant. We joined in with the ‘Wake Up Sleepy Heads’, and giggled as parents joined their infants in a cross between dancing and aerobic stretching to shake our weary bodies to life, ready for the day. It was such fun being silly and my mummy remembers seeing all the adults prancing around under the big tree.

Within Peek-a-Boo there was also a baby changing tent, a baby bathing tent, a feeding tent, Clay Babies (which we sadly did not get the opportunity to join in with as it always seemed too popular) the Sheetfort, Sling library and Weleda tent which hosted other baby activities such as Cello Babies and Baby Yoga. Do you know what would have been good? A soft play tent. But alas, they didn’t have one….maybe for next year? (During the weekend we missed so much here, as it always seemed very busy).

Just So Festival DecorationsBefore we knew it 2 hours had past and it was 9am, ready for my cereal and for my Mummy to wake the rest of our camping party, Grandma and Grandpa and Daddy. Mummy and Daddy dashed off to the Social to practice the Tribal Stag Chant ready for Sunday’s Parade and loved it. Afterwards we all spent the whole day exploring the festival. From 10am to 6pm. Mummy and Daddy had gotten into their Stag costumes and really into the Just So spirit of things.

We played in the sand at the Pirate Ship in the High Seas (another fab area of the festival) joined in with some pirate fun and lazed away lunchtime in the sun. Watched the Dancing Games and people playing in the hay, unfortunately we missed the opportunity to take part, as it was a pre-register. We watched circus performers and blew bubbles on the Lazy Days lawn. Listened to some more live music and generally sat and watched the world go by. I wanted to walk everywhere, so there was no rushing around and by the time we got to places we missed a lot. We stumbled on bits of things and threw our routine and stress out of the window. We dressed up and danced around. The Family Traveller magazine sponsored the event and we had our family picture taken on one of the Imaginarium Stages.

Saturday night while I was in bed, Mummy headed out to watch the Lantern Parade while I rested my weary head. It was spectacular and hopefully when I’m older I will come back and be able to fully appreciate it. That night Grandma and Grandpa went into the woods (Ooooo I say!) to relax around the curious campfire and they listened to the fabulous brass band ‘Perhaps Contraption’.

Sunday at the Festival. The Tribal Tournament / Wild Rumpus Parade Day.

Just So Festival WeekendOn Sunday, after a heavy thunderstorm over night the day was ominous. Black clouds littered the sky and the mood was glum. New day trippers had entered the site and gave the festival a fresh feel today, lifting wet spirits with new costumes ready for the tribal parade later that night. We spotted some great characters, like Mr and Mrs Fish carrying huge fishes on their backs with babies in slings on their fronts. The talented Fox 5 family who were singing in the Jitterbug Tent, the beautiful mermaids and the little boy who kept high-fiving my Mummy and Daddy, chanting “Go Stags!”

We joined in with the fantastic Bollywood dancing at the Social, provided by the awesome Sohan, teaching us great Bollywood steps, my Mummy and Grandma were busting some Stag moves while I looked on.

Organisers and volunteers were handing out golden nuggets for the tribal leaderboards. (One of the many Just So Festival activities ongoing during the weekend was an animal tribe competition to collect these golden nuggets in a tube in order to win the prized Just So Festival trophy). We had lunch by Head-over-Heels and watched the festival goers try out new circus skills.

The weather was hot and sunny when we finally settled down on a picnic blanket at Footlights to watch the star attraction John Hegley. His funny poems and silly songs made me dance with glee, even though I couldn’t understand what he was saying and a lot of the jokes went above my (and other children’s heads) to the wicked delight of the parents and that added to the fun. We loved the actions to ‘Guillemot’ bird. Just before he finished the heavens opened and we retreated to the comfort of the social barn for a cuppa.

Afterwards we aimlessly wandered around the woods and the Mirror Maze taking in the last of the daylight hours. I was fascinated by the lamps hanging from the branches and the fairy lights twinkling in the dusk. It was truly magical and our favourite moments were in the Spellbound Forest, Mummy and Daddy watching in awe as wonder spread across my face.

Just So Festival PhotosWe found that the early hours in the morning and early hours in the evening were the quietest, we felt we had the whole festival to ourselves which is a testament to the intimate feel of this children’s festival. I had a blast and looking back at the photos that my Mummy and Daddy took, I have a smile in 99% of the them.

Mummy’s highlight of the Just So Festival was watching me jig around to the music at Footlights and Daddy’s highlight was Tribal Chanting. My highlight was my eyes opening up to a whole new world of magic in the woods, performance and beauty. That sums up the Just So Festival. If you are looking for an arty, folky, funky family festival with a real sense of belonging then this is the festival for you.

As first timers we felt included in the Just So family. The Tribal Tournament was great fun, high fives from strangers, smiles and nods of approval for being silly, everyone was so friendly during the festival shenanigans (it’s just a shame the goodwill and magic didn’t extended to the campsites) no wristband salute we’d heard so much about and they needed more lights on pathways to add to the festival sparkle.

Our top tips for festival camping

1) Don’t pack too much! No, you don’t need those 24 batteries!!

2) Distraction for children when putting up and taking down tents with toys and music.

3) Snacks, when the food queues get too long and kids get fractious.

4) Familiar toys and books, to make your tent feel like home.

5) Wipes, wipes and more wipes, for when dewy grass gets on sticky hands.

6) Throw routine out of the window, don’t have a plan just go with the flow – it will be easier for everyone, trust us.

7) Be silly, be a big child, get messy and engage, leave your stress in the car park.

8) Let it all hang out, no one cares if you wear your PJs all day! (mummy is a prime example)

9) Get clothes and bags ready the night before for epic adventures in the morning.

10) …and breath! Take time to look at the sky.

Just So Festival SocialWe hope you like our little review on our first camping and festival experience at Just So Festival. We have only just scratched the surface of this great family festival and what was on offer. We would recommend it to any family, young or old! As a baby there were certain activities that I couldn’t do, so I can’t wait till I’m older to visit again. Be sure to visit the Wild Rumpus team and the Just So Festival website for next years shenanigans, their early bird tickets for 2015 get listed soon.

The question is will Mummy and Daddy let me go again? Will we head to Camp Bestival instead? Who knows….watch this space.

Bella xx

Binky Linky
Throwback Thursday

Quentin Blake and Friends at Mottisfont

Quentin Blake Exhibition at Mottisfont.

Mottisfont lavenderDear mummy, last Friday we visited one of our favourite haunts Mottisfont. For those that don’t know Mottisfont Abbey, it is a National Trust country estate situated just outside Romsey in Hampshire. It’s sheltered in the valley of the River Test and includes a large manor house which hosts art exhibitions, a winter garden, a walled rose garden and a river walk.

We’ve been in every season and Mottisfont is most spectacular in June when the roses are at full bloom.

Even in the winter months the large gothic trees and immaculate winter gardens are fabulous at Mottisfont. Today we are visiting to see the Quentin Blake exhibition.

Back of mottisfontIt’s a bright and sunny day and we arrived at 10am so we could enjoy the whole day here. We usually head around the front of the house and set up base camp, but today we are seeking shade at the back of the house. Mummy and Grandma laid out the blanket and had a cup of tea while I went to explore the great open space with my football.

The lavender smelt wonderful and the gentle breeze wafted a fragrance so delicate that you could just close your eyes and go to sleep. It was a super hot day and the breeze was a welcomed relief. I stopped from playing every once and a while to sit in the shade and drink my juice and eat the leftover crumbs of mummy’s bakewell slice acquired from Mottisfont’s lovely tearoom.

Baseball capSilly mummy had forgotten my sun hat today, but luckily for us Mottisfont has a great gift shop which sells everything you could possibly need for your little adventurer. We picked up a rather cute, hot pink kids baseball cap, which just about fit me. I loved it and wore it all day! Back to front, to the side like a hip-hop artist. I looked so ‘street’ all day! 😉

We went on a walkabout with my new sun hat and met a lovely gardener trimming the edging of the lawn and some very nice maintenance men climbing up ladders tending to the roof of one of the out-buildings. It’s getting hotter now in this midday sun so we duck inside to see the exhibition.

We’ve been to Mottisfont many times before and I remember dancing downstairs at the Snow Queens Ball. I know my way around the house and head straight for the stairs as the Quentin Blake exhibition is upstairs in the gallery part of Mottisfont.

Quentin BlakeMy mummy’s been waiting for months to see this exhibition. As a child she loved all the Roald Dahl books and the illustrations that Quentin Blake provided for these books. He too was a great storyteller. Through his pictures he brought the books to life for my mother.

Sir Quentin Blake was born in 1938, and is most famously know for illustrating children’s books by the likes of Roald Dahl and Joan Aiken.

‘Chocolate Celebration’ an illustration in watercolour and ink (above) for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory hung on the wall signed by Quentin Blake going for £4,750. Wow mummy that’s a real bargain!

My mummy’s favourite books he illustrated were The BFG, The Witches and The Twits. We weren’t disappointed by the exhibition, beautiful illustrations were on show for all to see and my mummy loved the trip down memory lane.

Quentin Blake Best of BuggiesOur favourite pieces by Quentin Blake at the exhibition were the Doughnut Machine, showing characters Arabel and Mortimer eating doughnuts. Also the ‘Best of buggies’, an illustration with pen ink and watercolour designed for a greeting card in 2008. We liked this piece because it shows a super-duper buggy with all it’s contraptions.

Some other notable children’s illustrators at the exhibition were, Oliver Jeffers, born in Belfast in 1977. Our favourite drawings of his was ‘Henry kept eating books’ from the Incredible Book Eating Boy published in 2006.

We liked Micheal Foreman and his fabulous Alice in Wonderland and treasure Island inspired watercolours. There were so many talented illustrators at this exhibition it was a real feast for the eyes! Even though I was a little bit small to fully enjoy this, mummy will read Roald Dalh books to me and remind me when I’m older that we visited Quentin Blake’s exhibition.

It’s well worth a visit, so much to see and do at Mottisfont both inside and outside.

The Quentin Blake exhibition at Mottisfont is on till the 14th September 2014.

Bella x