May bank holiday weekend, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and visit our favourite bluebell woods. During late April and early May, the woods on the National Trust Sissinghurst Castle estate are carpeted with bluebells. We’ve been eagerly awaiting their arrival all through this dismal Spring and when we finally saw them, we weren’t disappointed.
One of my daughter’s favourite outdoor games is Pooh Sticks and hidden in the woods is the perfect Pooh Sticks bridge. There’s even a handy box provided for the purpose!
We followed the path around the estate, spotting some fairy doors along the way…
The Little Chick found a big stick, which of course she insisted on carrying the rest of the way! We discovered the jetty on the lake and watched the ducks and moorhens. We even got a glimpse of some fish, swimming in the depths.
All too soon it was time to return home, with the beauty of the bluebells still fresh in our minds.
Where’s your favourite bluebell wood? Have you been able to visit this Spring? I do hope so! I can’t wait to visit the bluebell woods at Sissinghurst again next year.
April has been a very strange month this year. As well as the customary April showers, here in Kent we’ve been treated to hailstorms and even a flurry of snow! However, when the sun did shine, I was ready with my camera to snap some of April’s floral magic. Below is a grid of my favourite photos I posted on Instagram in April.
Last Friday I attended a Kent bloggers’ day event at Park Mall in Ashford. The event was organised by the lovely Kate from Happy & Glorious one of the new independent gift shops in Park Mall.
It’s been several weeks since I’ve finished showcasing my jewellery with Made in Ashford and I was interested to catch up with my fellow creatives and see what’s new!
As a designer maker myself, it’s so encouraging to see a town regeneration project that encourages small, independent businesses. I’m also a fan of unique, handmade gifts, so I was really looking forward to discovering what Ashford’s newest indie shops had to offer.
Processed with VSCO
Happy & Glorious -British Made Gifts
The bloggers’ goody bags!
The first stop was Kate’s shop Happy & Glorious a gorgeous, beautifully displayed space, packed full of British made goodies. Happy & Glorious are a small, family-run company,which prides itself on supporting British home-grown talent, design and manufacturing. They’ve been trading online since their beginning in 2012 and have found a bricks and mortar home at Park Mall since late last year!
The always-fab window displays
Gorgeous UK produced ceramics
Some of the product lines Kate designs and creates herself, including some very pretty gift cards and mirrors. There are lots of yummy scented, handmade soaps and candles on offer, but my favourite gifts are the cute succulents!
The best of UK made gifts
I love these cute succulents!
Quirky and Gorgeous
As a special treat, I’m able to share with you some discount vouchers, to be spent in store or online at www.happyglorious.co.uk
£5 off £25 with code BLOG25
15% off with code BD2016
Valid until 31st May 2016
Just around the corner is Fabric Heaven or Emporia Fabric and Craft a truly wonderful shop filled with a great selection of modern fabrics, trimmings, wool, haberdashery and every thing you could possible need if you’re handy with a needle and thread!
Pretty pastels; I came away with some of the turquoise fabric
Don’t worry if you’re a sewing novice, Emporia Fabric runs regular sewing classes and workshops, just check out their website for details.
Some ready made garments for sale
Take a stroll down Park Mall
The shop’s workshop/ demonstration space
The trail of balloons led me along the Mall to Made in Ashford a great collective of Kent-based designer makers and creatives. I’ve been lucky enough to sell my jewellery here and as the shop duties are shared between the makers, it’s a great way to gain retail experience, get customer feedback and make new friends.
Processed with VSCO
There’s something for everyone, all locally made!
The inviting, colourful shop front
Below is just a selection of handmade gifts on offer, I really recommend you pop in and take a look for yourself!
Cards, jewellery & giftware by Lucy Alice Designs
Gorgeous unique retro inspired clothing by Aye Aye
Cute cards & Prints by Made in Pixieland
Unique ceramics, cards and homewares by JuJu Art
Local Scenes -prints by One White Sugar
The fabulous Mini-Medley childrens’ wear
Fellow Kent Blogger Nicola Jennings Art
There really is something for everyone on offer at Made in Ashford and if you’re a local maker who’s interested in selling with them, please email: email@example.com
There was just enough time to meet up with fellow Kent blogger and local friend, Lydia from Polly had a Dolly and have a coffee & cake at new independent cafe Stag Coffee This smart new cafe had only just opened and I was impressed by the modern decor, friendly staff and excellent coffee. I was pleased to see it was child-friendly too, always a bonus to a busy mum!
An Aladdin’s cave of scarves, purses, bags and accessories. Very tempting to a scarf-a -holic like me! So I treated myself to a lovely silver scarf using their voucher code which you can use online too: –
20% off your first online order with code GLAM20
Lots of lovely accessories
Perfect for any scarfaholic!
Just opposite is the Creative Collective a thriving gallery, exhibition and community space for local artists. They offer an affordable art scheme and even host film and poetry nights. Yet another reason to visit Park Mall if you’re out and about in Ashford.
So if you’re looking for somewhere new to shop, somewhere that supports local independent businesses, check out Park Mall in Ashford!
A few weeks ago, the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle opened to the public for the spring and summer season. We’re lucky to live just a short drive away from this beautiful place and look forward to the spring opening weekend. So we set off to enjoy the gardens in the Sunday afternoon sunshine!
The Tower and Rose Garden
The Tower at Sissinghurst Castle
The Little Chick leads the way to the rose garden
The Rose Garden Gate
My daughter (aka The Little Chick) was very excited to be allowed to climb up to the top of the tower for the very first time, under Daddy’s strict supervision! She really enjoyed waving to me, way down below on the ground.
A view of the Orchard from a gap in the fence!
Daffodils in the Orchard
Looking towards the Moat
One of our favourite parts of the garden is the Orchard, with its carpet of daffodils. Unfortunately, due to the recent wet weather, the Orchard was closed to prevent the ground becoming a swamp! Luckily we could still enjoy the glimpse of daffodils, narcissus and snowdrops through the low fence and across the moat.
The Lime Walk and Nuttery
Other special things to discover are the Snake’s Head Fritillaries, mini-irises and Hellebores. These can be found flowering in the Lime Walk and the shady Nuttery.
Snake’s Head Fritillaries in the Nuttery
Beautiful Hellebores in a shady corner
Mini Iris flowering in the lime walk
My favourites (this time!) are the camellias; they really are magnificent and a must see for any camellia fan.
Pink double camellia, covering the garden wall
We really enjoyed our first visit of the year to Sissinghurst and can’t wait to come back in April to see the bluebell woods!