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Saturday, 29 September 2012

You can’t get much more British than Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was a renowned Children’s author, she died in 1943 aged 77 but her stories are still very popular to this day, the most well known of them being Peter Rabbit, the cute little bunny rabbit with a blue cardigan.

Beatrix found her love for nature and the countryside from going on yearly trips to the Lake District and to Scotland with her family.

Beatrix had her own friends, usually ones that she painted and wrote about, she got her love from nature from her parents.

As Beatrix got older she wanted to publish her books, she did one book privately but a year later she went to Warne publishing and got her book published “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” it became such a success that soon after she was publishing loads more books like Jemima Puddle duck and Tom Kitten. In the end she ended up publishing 23 books over the years!

Her and her publisher Norman Warne became very close whilst they were publishing her books, they were due to be married  much to her parents disapproval, but whilst she was on her annual holiday away with her parents he took ill and died shortly after of leukemia.

After Normans death Beatrix felt that she needed to move away and she couldn’t think of a better place than where all her dreams have been made into brilliant stories. So she bought a house in the Lake district called
“Hill Top Farm” she had enough money to buy it from her books and a legacy from her Aunt.

She loved living in the countryside but she didn’t like the idea of buildings being built around her farm, she believed it should be left like nature intended it to be. When developers were going to buy the land she decided to buy it instead to keep it as lovely countryside.

Whilst she was buying all her farm she met William Heelis, who was a solicitor but she also knew him from her childhood, he used to look at all her paintings of her little friends. A romance happened between the pair and at the age of 47 she married William Heelis.

When Beatrix Potter died at the age of 77 she left all of her farm and land to the National Trust. The National Trust lets people look around “Hill Top Farm”. It has become a major tourist attraction in the Lake District.

Peter Rabbit is Beatrix Potter’s most famous story, it’s about a little rabbit that sneaks into a garden that he isn’t allowed in too and he eats loads of vegetables. Unfortunately Mr Gregger spots him, so Peter runs for his life! But fortunately for us Peter made his way into our Toy shop.

Peter Rabbit has a permanent residence here now, he can’t wait to be taken home by a special little boy or girl. But keep your eye on him as he loves running through the gardens to get his carrots.

You will also find Jemima puddle duck swimming around the shop, but be careful she is a cheeky little duck!

If you’re an older person who is a fan of Beatrix Potter’s stories you can pick up a cute little notebook, that looks just like Beatrix Potter’s books but instead you can write your own notes. You can pick from a wide range of characters on the covers.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Totnes is Leading The Way with a Car Free Day

On September the 20th Totnes will be having a car free day and everyone is encoraged to travel in a different way. The road will be closed from Station Road to Castle Street from 11.30am until 6pm and before 11.30 only essential traffic will be allowed.

The high street is a very narrow road with only small pavements. The road being closed to cars will make is easier to get around and browse the lovely shops that Totnes has to offer. The market will be running. There will also be loads of events through out the day including music, entertainment and a bike ride up the hill if you think you can hack it.

For more information please visit www.totnesonthemove.org.uk

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Memories of Wham Bars, Choc Ices and knickerbocker glorys

Some foods it seems are timeless and never leave our shelves but menus have definitely changed since I was a little girl. I am a child of the 80's and I have fond memories of dinners at a Little Chef restaurant as a treat. We would try to be really good and clear our plates thinking on to what could be our reward. The Knickerbocker Glory would have caught our eye on the dessert menu. The main ingredients as I recall were basically ice cream, cherries and lashings of squirty cream and ice cream sauce. I think Little Chef could relive their former success if they embraced their retro routes.

At home desserts were usually homemade. The choices in the supermarkets were much more limited than they are today and much more expensive. We usually brought ice cream in a cardboard box or choc ices. The picture on the right is of a big favorite, raspberry ripple mouses. Although, we didn't have a Tesco near us at the time so it would have been a different brand but it looked just the same and they are actually still around the same price. Raspberry ripple was usually one of the limited choices of ice cream flavours available at the time, not that I'm complaining, it was yum. I also remember Blamange or mouse, we would often have the powder that you would just mix with milk and pop in the fridge.

After we had been swimming at Lux Park in Liskeard (which was completely different from today, none of the slides or flumes) we would then be aloud to chose a treat from the vending machine. We would always choose a Wham Bar. We could go to the village shop with 10p and be able to choose from a dip dap, polos, an animal bar, a milky bar or penny sweets. Huba Bubba bubble gum would have been within our price range but we were never aloud it. We stock some retro sweets in our shops that I remember, I'm always tucking in to the black jacks.

As I was only a child of this era I had no interest in the savoury items only the sweets but I know we never had what are now my favourite foods. Fajitas didn't seem to have made it into the UK in the 80's and the only curry we ever had was an English version containing raisins or apple.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Mini crayons are a big hit with European band Crayon

It's always interesting to know why our customers want to order the same item in bulk - popular products are ducks for duck races and pirate eye patches for Pirate dress up kits, but an order for over 200 sets of crayons was something a little more unusual.

We took the order from Dutch singer Naomi Zeilemaker who is a band memeber of Crayon.  She wanted our Mini Crayon Sets so they could be included with the bands new CD.  We packed up the crayons and sent them over to Naomi all the way in Switzerland just in time for their European Tour. 

So many people download their music now illegally and I think this is a great idea for musicians to encourage people to buy their CDs.  Crayon have kindly sent us some pictures of the crayons with their new CD. 

You can find out more about the band and listen to some of their music at www.crayonmusic.com and www.facebook.com/crayonband

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Best Toys for a 5 Year Old Boy.....

This year Blake is turning 5 and the only thing has asked for for his Birthday is a photo album to put all his pictures of flowers and bugs into. He is a big computer game addict so no doubt he will be getting some new games but here is my list of other things he'll love. Some things to get him away from the computer:

1. Bigtrak - A programmable vehicle that will bring his computer skills it the real world normally £29.99 but currently reduced.

2. Slime Kit - There is something about boys and disgusting things and this is pretty disgusting with various body parts and slime. £4.99

3. Ugly Doll Rocket Carousel - This tin toy is a pretty special gift. Pull the lever back and watch as the carousel spins around. £19.99

4. Make Your Own Racing Car - Make and paint a wooden racing car craft kit. There are also other make and paint kits that would be good for a boy of this age including a rocket and a treasure box. It really depends on what the boy is into. £7.99

5. Buzz Wire Game - A great game for all the family on Christmas day. Take it in turns to try and make it all the way around the lightening bolt without touching it. £7.99

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