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Beach Benefits

There’s something special about spending time at the beach. Whether you’re swimming in the ocean, lounging on the sand, or just soaking up the sun, the beach is a great place to relax and recharge. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the benefits of spending time at the beach.

  • Stress Reduction One of the most significant benefits of spending time at the beach is stress reduction. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore, the smell of the saltwater, and the warmth of the sun all combine to create a relaxing environment that can help reduce stress levels. In fact, research has shown that spending time at the beach can have a positive impact on our mental health and well-being.

 

  • Vitamin D Another great benefit of spending time at the beach is the exposure to sunlight, which can help boost our Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, and it also plays a crucial role in supporting our immune system. Just make sure to wear sunscreen and take breaks in the shade to avoid getting sunburnt.

 

  • Physical Activity The beach offers a variety of physical activities that can help us stay active and healthy. Swimming, walking on the sand, and playing beach games are all great ways to get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery. In addition, the sand offers a unique and challenging surface that can help improve our balance and strength.

 

  • Connection with Nature Spending time at the beach can help us connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the world around us. From watching the waves to observing the wildlife, the beach offers a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in the natural environment. This connection with nature can help reduce stress and increase our overall sense of well-being.

 

  • Quality Time with Loved Ones The beach is a great place to spend quality time with friends and family. Whether you’re building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or simply enjoying a picnic, the beach provides a relaxed and fun environment where we can connect with the people we love.

    In conclusion, spending time at the beach offers a wide range of benefits for our mental and physical health. From stress reduction and Vitamin D exposure to physical activity and connection with nature, the beach is an excellent place to relax, recharge, and enjoy life. So next time you’re looking for a fun and healthy activity, head to the beach and soak up the sun, sand, and surf.

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    A Festive Weekend

    Bournemouth and Poole know how to do Christmas! We had the most wonderful Christmas weekend a few weeks ago and it set us all up perfectly for the most magical time of year.

    On a chilly Friday evening we checked into our beautiful Bournemouth Beach Lodge. A perfect size for the five of us and Mabel our border terrier. The lodges overlook the beautiful beaches of Boscombe and Bournemouth, in the most wonderful location. 

    We headed straight into Bournemouth for the Christmas Tree Wonderland, this free event runs until 2nd January 2023. The multitude of festive themed lights from the giant bauble to the cuddly polar bears are the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.

    We then dined at the fabulous Urban Garden which is situated right amongst the Christmas Tree Wonderland. The funky, laid back and friendly restaurant was both child and dog friendly and served up the most wonderful locally sourced, seasonal food for us all. From Dorset fondue to winter veg curry.

    We were so lucky with the weather all weekend and the Prom Cafe was the perfect brunch spot right by Bournemouth Pier. Even in the daylight the Christmas Tree Wonderland was magical. 

    You can’t visit the seaside without a game of crazy golf and the Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf was so much fun. Family friendly so even our 5 year old enjoyed himself the whole way around. Full of tricky challenges the action packed course was a huge hit with us all.

    On our second evening we visited the brand new Poole Christmas Maritime Light Festival on its opening night. This brand new attraction takes you on a nautical journey from a 5 metre tall ship to a giant anchor. Such a wonderful trail taking in lots of the wonderful sights of Poole along the way.

    Truly Scrumptious just off the quay was the perfect stop off point for some sweet treats. The wonderful old fashion shop was full of traditional and new sweets. We had all worked up an appetite and the perfect restaurant was  Da Vinci’s Italian Restaurant. Located right on the quay the family run business specialises in fresh local ingredients cooked in an Italian style. We sat in the upstairs dining area overlooking the harbour and even Mabel was allowed to join us. The food was incredible, especially my cheesecake dessert. And the service was wonderful. 

    After a second brilliant night’s sleep and waking up with the views of the sea from our lodge, and another sunny day we headed to Skate Bournemouth. Based in Bournemouth gardens until 3rd January the genuine ice rink was so much fun and the festive vibe was wonderful. Despite my worries I stayed on my feet the whole time and we all had an absolute ball. 

    We had well and truly worked up an appetite so headed to The Nici. The newly refurbished hotel was a super stylish venue for lunch, and even Mabel came along too. The funky vibe of the hotel including a mini cinema room and beautiful menu was an absolute delight. 

    Our super festive weekend ended with a hot chocolate at the Ski Lodge in Bournemouth Square. Alongside the Christmas Market it was the perfect spot to sit and reflect on a wonderful Christmas Festive Weekend In Bournemouth.

    Both the Christmas Tree Wonderland and Poole Christmas Maritime Lights are on until 2nd January, these free events are a must see. Visit my highlights on my Instagram for more photos.

    Ad/PR visit, all views are my own.

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    Beyond The Beach 2022 Campaign

    Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are well known for their miles of beautiful, sandy, award winning beaches and they draw visitors from near and far. This summer I have been doing something a little different, I have been exploring beyond the beach. There are so many wonderful places to visit in the BCP area that won’t leave your shoes full of sand. If you follow Sand & Seagulls social pages you may have seen some of the places as I took you on my journey with me.

    Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre is in the heart of Bournemouth and originally opened in 1929. The Grade II listed building with theatre and ballroom hosts a wide variety of events from tea dances, to live shows and concerts. I saw the phenomenal live show Mamma Mia in July, it was the perfect venue.

     

     

     

    Moving away from Bournemouth, and just outside of Christchurch we had a wonderful family day at Highcliffe Castle. The incredible castle will take your breath away. It was originally built between 1831 and 1836 using mainly French stone which was salvaged from abandoned or demolished buildings. It is a Grade I listed building and an important example of romantic and picturesque style of architecture. We learnt about how it was once a beautiful home destroyed by fire, left to ruin and now being brought back to life. So many wonderful interactive ways for children (and grown ups) to discover and play, including dress up and crafts.

     

    As well as a fountain of knowledge from volunteers. My husband and I got married at Highcliffe Castle in 2010, it was wonderful to revisit and take my boys with us. With a super cafe or lots of picnic spots you can make a real day of it.

     

     

     

     

    The Regent Centre was definitely one of our go to places this summer, we visited a few times to catch children’s films. The 1930s art deco cinema stands proud on Christchurch high street. Originally opened in 1931 it’s been restored to its art deco glory and has a dedicated team of volunteers helping run events from live shows to film viewings. You can even sponsor a seat to show your support. The beautiful venue hosts theatre, music and film and is a true icon on the high street. When in Christchurch a must visit is also The Church Priory. It is one of the longest parish churches in the country and even has a cafe and gift shop. Open everyday for visitors it is beautiful to walk around, and with educational boards throughout it’s a wonderful way to spend an hour or so.

    From there we went to The Red House Museum, just like the Priory the museum is free to enter. The former Georgian workhouse takes visitors on a journey exploring Christchurch from before the Ice Age to modern times. With a children’s education area including old fashioned toys for the children, my boys loved it and want to go back again. It was fascinating to learn about the history of the area. The Red House Museum has a wide variety of events running throughout the year from arts and crafts to museum talks.

    We finished our tour of Christchurch with a walk around the ruins of Christchurch Castle and Norman House. The beautiful ruin is said to contain stonework dated back to 1160 and is a beautiful site as you walk through Christchurch. The perfect spot to end our trip around Christchurch was The Ducking Stool. Situated down the picturesque Ducking Stool Lane the strange contraption was used in Christchurch from the mid-14th century to punish women who were found guilty of anti-social behaviour. But right next door the tea room offers the best milkshakes, the perfect spot to rest tired feet.

     

    Our last Beyond The Beach visit was to Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. I have always had a soft spot for Hengistbury Head, I think it’s a real little gem. It’s a fascinating place with a wide variety of heathland, freshwater wetland etc, but also for its important archaeology and geology. The visitors centre is free to visit, donations are welcome. With a huge variety of exhibitions and interactive displays you can an amazing insight into the wide variety of wildlife that can be found nearby, and the history of the area. Theres a wildlife garden, a gift shop and the hiker cafe just a few metres down. A great way to spend time Beyond The Beach. There is so much to do in the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch area Beyond The Beach, I have only just touched the surface on the different things that are available to do. What areas of BCP do you like to explore?


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    Do you like stripes?

    You can never have too many stripes! That’s what I tell my husband anyway, I love a stripy Breton and have a wardrobe full of them!

    Stripes were originally worn by fisherman, and became the official uniform of French sailors in 1858. It is reported that it was easier to find a man if he fell in the sea wearing stripes. 

    Stripes are not only wonderful, timeless and flattering to wear, but they can be a perfect way to add a seaside touch to your home.

    Wide stripes are often used to capture a bold cabana look, and finer have a more of a sophisticated coastal nautical feel.   

    We have a lovely collection of coastal accessories that can work for all beachy vibes.

    Horizontal stripes are also meant to bring a sense of calm and peace, which is why many designers favour them in waiting rooms and bedrooms. 

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    Simple ways to add a seaside feel to your home

    At Sand & Seagulls we’re all about bringing you the seaside, either through jewellery or home decor. We are lucky enough to live by the sea, but I know lots of people aren’t so lucky. So why not bring the seaside to you?

    With these simple ideas you can really add a beachy feel to any room in your house.

    Wall colour

    Beautiful blues really say seaside, either a feature wall or all four walls. The watery tones of blues and greens can really take you to your happy place by the sea.

    A feature wall 

    Whether it be snaps of your own seaside visits, or beautiful prints of some of your favourite places a feature wall, perhaps even on a blue wall, will give a real seaside pop. And create interest in an area of a room that has been a bit neglected.

    You could even add a Sand & Seagulls print like Escape To The Beach or Vitamin Sea print .

    Natural textures

    Some gorgeous pieces like wicker baskets, seagrass placemats, driftwood, or even a selection of shells you recently found on a shelf or in a bowl all work really well to add a seaside feel to your room. Really bringing the inside in! 

    Panelling 

    This idea involves a financial commitment, but the results can be amazing! It works really well in a bathroom, or dining room and painted white against a blue wall, really can look quite something.

    Beachy accessories 

    And of course accessories are everything, the little touches that can make a real difference. And we can definitely help with this at Sand & Seagulls, from beach wall art, to whale accessories, to candles. 

    It doesn’t need to be a drastic room makeover, or expensive either. Just some little touches here and there, can really help bring the seaside to you. Pebble Photo Frame or Coral Reef Wall Art or even just a little touch with a Mini Beach Hut.

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    A British homewares brand inspired by islands near and far

    One thing we love at Sand & Seagulls, almost as much as we love the seaside, is supporting fellow small businesses. And that’s where our Gull Friends come in.

    Our beautiful collection of pieces from independent brands who are also inspired by the seaside.

    Our latest Gull Friend to join the team is Monique Lucas, Monique says 

    “Monique Lucas is a Homewares brand inspired by “islands near and far” that I have lived and worked in.

    Whether that be the exotic islands of the Far East; the sultry islands of Florida’s Key’s; or the more homely Islands around Britain.

    From such experiences, I have found a continual inspiration of both coastal life and atmospheres.

    The surroundings of the sea, greenery and ever-changing nature are what birthed my detailed, and vibrant, designs.

    I produce most of my work when I am on an island; free minded, slowing down and connecting with my surroundings.”

    We are thrilled to have a beautiful selection of her products on the website from her starfish print oven glove, to crab print apron and even set of coral napkins. Just beautiful we’re sure you’ll agree! 

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    Ditching the plastic single use parcel tape

    Unlike a few years ago there isn’t any excuse for using single use plastic now. There are so many alternatives out there now for everything from shampoo bottles to beeswax wraps for your sandwiches. As an online retail business I send out a lot of parcels every week. And the traditional plastic parcel tape is a no no now, so I’ve been looking for plastic free alternatives.

    There’s lots of different ones out there, made from paper rather than plastic so they can be recycled, often still attached to the parcel box. BUT … a big bugbear of mine, and lots of my fellow small businesses is that the tape just won’t stick!! It often peels off too easily, meaning precious parcels are not secure enough.

    So I have bought four different types of tape and I have reviewed them to hopefully find ‘the one’.

    1. Nattee Strong Paper Packaging Tape

    Bought from Amazon for £6.49 inc prime delivery

    Measures 50m x 50mm width

    The tape I purchased has FRAGILE on it but the do sell plain

    Mixed reviews for this tape on Amazon, ranging from “poor” to “just the job”. The tape didn’t tear when unrolled, but did worryingly seem to be lacking stick. I was actually pleasantly surprised with how well it stuck to cardboard. But it let itself down when trying to wrap a parcel, and sticking to itself. At first it was okay but over an hour or so the tape seemed to lift and part a lot. I would feel nervous posting something out using this tape. 

    Total score:

    Price –  8/10

    Purpose – 7/10

    Overall – 7.5/10

    1. Plastic Freedom Paper Tape 

    Bought directly from their website as a one off purchase for £5.00 plus £2.99 delivery (so £7.99 in total) 

    Measures 50m x 48mm width

    The tape I purchased has an ocean design. They do have a plain version for 50p less. 

    Lovely reviews on the plastic freedom website for this tape. And although the plain version is 50p cheaper I did love the design on this one, personally because it’s a good fit for my brand. Really impressed with the tape, it sticks securely to cardboard and paper. And to itself really well so I would feel confident packaging up parcels using this tape. 

    Total score:

    Price – 7/10

    Purpose – 9/10

    Overall – 8/10

    1. Z.S & Daughters Strong Kraft Paper Packing Tape

    Bought from Amazon for £5.99 inc prime delivery

    Measures 50m x 48mm width

    The cheapest of all the tapes. And the reviews on Amazon for this tape were mixed, from “shameful” to “the best tape I’ve used”. The widest of all the tapes by 2mm, but this isn’t noticeable. Upon using it I noticed almost immediately that it rips very easily when unrolling. On my test boxes it stuck well to the cardboard, with only some small lifts along one edge. But it let itself down by being poor at sticking to itself. So when taping up a box it is sticky enough on the box but if you wrap a couple of layers around on top of one another, it really doesn’t want to stick. This would make me very nervous when sending through the postal system.

    Total score:

    Price – 8/10

    Purpose – 5/10

    Overall – 6/10

    1. Packplan Polka Dot Kraft Paper Tape 

    Bought from Etsy for £10 plus £2.95 postage (so £12.95 in total)

    Measures 50m x 48mm width

    Other designs available and a white tape version. 

    The most expensive tape out of the four. But purchased from a small independently run business on Etsy so a little higher price is understandable. The tape I picked was quite plain but they sell some amazing colours to really give your parcel stand out. At over twice the price of the Amazon tape, I did wonder if it was worth it. But with five star reviews across the board they have some happy customers and I can see why. The tape performed brilliantly, not only on cardboard and paper but it stuck to itself as well. Meaning secure and pretty looking parcels. 

    Total score:

    Price – 7.5/10

    Purpose – 9/10

    Overall – 8.5/10

    So it just goes to show, you definitely get what you pay for! If you want to make sure your precious parcels are secure and arrive with your customer intact, I would recommend spending a little bit more on eco-friendly tape. Take notice of the reviews, people do know what they’re talking about. And if you can always support a small business because Mr Amazon really doesn’t need any more pennies in his pocket.

    Hope this has been helpful. All views are my own, and all tapes purchased with my own money. 

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    Eco Swap October Challenge, A Year On

    During October 2019 I set myself a challenge to make 10 eco swap changes. And in fact, I managed 24. From ditching my plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one and reducing my cling film usage with cotton sandwich wraps for lunch boxes instead.

    Every day around 8 million pieces of plastic makes their way into our oceans. This fact is horrifying, so even though my changes seem small; small acts when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world.

    So a year on … how am I doing? Have I kept to my changes?

    My first swap was to Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, which I am still subscribed to now. It was a god send during lockdown v1 when panic buying shoppers snapped up all the supermarket toilet paper. And I find the rolls last a lot longer than the ones I used to buy in Aldi.

    I am still using my Conchus About Life body wash bars, I’ve not used a plastic bottle shower gel for over a year now. And my bamboo toothbrush is firmly still by my bathroom sink, I love it.

    Biodegradable bubble wrap and recycled kraft paper are always used to pack up my business parcels. I’ve had a few issues with the kraft parcel tape not sticking, but I have ordered a different sort from Sticker Mule which is arriving later this week.

    Eddie is now potty trained so we no longer use nappies and wipes, but I see lots more companies are introducing biodegradable wipes which is great.

    Biodegradable poo bags are still in my drawer and pockets, and we’ve had no issues with these.I visit my local re-fill shop Two Rivers Refill as often as I can and always use my beeswax wraps for wrapping leftover food in the fridge.

    I have struggled with deodorant and the toothpaste tablets, as I found the alternative options weren’t for me, but I’m on the lookout to make this swap again. Any suggestions welcome.

    A new swap for me since the challenge is to Ocean Saver cleaning products. The clever eco drops go into a clean and empty bottle, add water and your cleaning spray is ready to go! From kitchen cleaner to bathroom cleaner, they have a product for the whole house.

    Overall I have kept to most of my swaps and those I haven’t kept to, I am now making conscious changes to try harder and find a different alternative. Because if we’re complacent it’s easy to slip into old habits. It’s everyone’s responsibility to help save the planet.

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    Dining out at The Oaks

    Dining out at The Oaks

    Opened in July 2019, part of The White Brasserie Company, in the heart of beautiful Highcliffe in Dorset. I spent most of my childhood in Highcliffe and have seen the venue change hands many times. I even bought a BMW from the pub car park many years ago, but probably less said about that the better! 

    It’s so lovely to see the building now standing proud in the village as a wonderful meeting, drinking and dining venue; The Oaks. My husband and I were lucky enough to be invited along for an evening meal last week. 

     

    When I heard they have three beach huts in the garden which you can dine in, for a private dining experience I knew this was the place for me. We dined inside one of those a few months ago, it was very special. And in winter now they each have a heater so they are very cosy. 

    This time we opted to dine inside as the decor was just stunning. Firstly, as we are right in the middle of these very worrying and uncertain times. We felt very safe indeed, their 5 point promise of procedures and rules made sure of this. Following one way systems, single use menus and cashless transactions etc.

    The interior design which was created by Inge @ingewatrobski  is just stunning. I visited earlier in the day to see the pub in the daylight and it’s just fab. Quirky little pictures and mirrors on one wall, a library of colourful books on another. Faux plants in the conservatory area and even empty bottles as windowsill decorations. 

    We received excellent service from Jack, and were made to feel very welcome. And the food well …oh my! My husband declared the steak as the best he’s ever had. The vegetarian choice for me was brilliant, as often there’s only 1 or 2 things to choose from. And my favourite, the ‘crumble off’ at the end. The pudding special, warm apple and blackberry crumble vs the chilled mango and pineapple crumble. Both were delicious, for me the warm crumble with vanilla ice cream won.

    If you are local, or even if you’re not, but coming to visit the area I highly recommend The Oaks as a brilliant place to eat. They have even extended their Eat Out to Help Out scheme this October, all you need to do is sign up to their newsletter.

    Thank-you again for having us. 

    Two course dinner for two and wine kindly gifted. All views are my own.

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    Doing a Happy Dance

    I can’t believe it’s been over 7 months since I last posted on here. So much has changed and happened. The worrying times aren’t over yet, and new things have become normal things; wearing face masks and keeping our distance.

    One thing that kept me going has been Sand and Seagulls orders. At times when you couldn’t see loved ones, I was able to send them your gifts. Or as a treat to yourself, a little pick me up. The orders never stopped, and even when I ran a limited stock, I never closed.

    I am always grateful for your orders, but these ones at this time seem especially significant and special.

    “This is the most gorgeous and delicate necklace. I love mine and want to buy more as gifts for friends”

    “Beautiful company. Very personalised and fast delivery. The necklace is so pretty. Exactly what I wanted. I will be shopping here again. Thank you.”

    “Very pleased to find this gift as it has made an ideal Coral Wedding Anniversary present for my wife, who is really pleased with it.”

    It’s a bit of cliché now to say when you buy from a small business an actual person does a happy dance. But it’s true, they do …and I definitely do.

    So I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all the orders and wonderful reviews. I hope to keep happy dancing for many more months and years to come.

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    A staycation on the beach with Bournemouth Beach Lodges

    Bournemouth Beach Lodges website describes the lodges as an enchanting overnight stay overlooking beautiful beaches in a tranquil location. And this is definitely true!

    We were lucky enough to be invited to spend the weekend at the beach lodges at the end of February and we had the best time. We had a dog friendly lodge too so Dolly our Pug came along for the adventure as well.

    Arriving on a wet and windy Friday afternoon we easily found a free car park space on the overcliff drive. And the zig zag path led us to the 24 amazing lodges. Just a stone’s throw away from the beach, the view from the lodges is breathtaking. And the lodge itself is perfect. The open plan space didn’t feel too small with the 5 of us and Dolly inside. And it had everything we needed, even a small welcome pack. Beautifully created and laid out, the lodge really is the perfect way to have a holiday by the sea.

    There was a double bed and small single bed on the mezzanine floor accessed by wooden steps with a stairgate at the top and bottom. And the sofas folded out to make a double and a single, so there was plenty of room for us all. Each has a private raised deck with deck chairs too, so in the summer with the doors wide open, it would be incredible.

    Our weekend was full of pre-arranged activities which we were very lucky enough to be gifted. All only a short distance away from the lodge.

    The Bournemouth Big Wheel, based on Pier Approach, offered a spectacular view over the town, sea and Bournemouth Pier. Then, only a ten minute walk away from the lodge we enjoyed lunch at Prom Diner. The American themed diner with amazing views over the sea serves fresh food from cooked breakfasts to paninis to waffles. And after working up an appetite from the sea air it was a welcome retreat.

    Unfortunately due to the high winds over our weekend, my surf lesson with Sorted Surf School was cancelled. Again, just a short walk from the lodge, this would be a great way to spend an afternoon.

    West Beach is a seafood restaurant with amazing views over Bournemouth beach. We were lucky enough to enjoy a meal here on the Saturday night. They had a great kids menu, vegetarian options and even Dolly was allowed along. We were very well looked after and had a really lovely meal.

    We woke up to sun and less wind on Sunday so we headed to Rock Reef indoor climbing centre. Based on Bournemouth Pier the activity centre includes clip ‘n climb walls, Highline and more. As my youngest Eddie was too young for these activities I got to have fun with my eldest two boys and had a great time.
    After working up an appetite we headed to Bistro On The Beach based at Southbourne beach. It was a busy, bustling place on a Sunday lunchtime. We enjoyed a delicious family lunch.

    We then took a short drive to Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum an amazing hidden gem, full of history, beautiful collections and artwork. An extraordinary, must visit place.

    We really did have the best beach staycation, and none of us were ready to return back to reality. We were very lucky with the weather, it could have been a lot worse. But I can say in February the lodge was warm and cosy, also spotlessly clean. The staff were friendly and helpful. We didn’t need to use the laundry during our stay, but this is a great extra. And the shared BBQ hot plates would be amazing in the summer.

    For a full lodge tour and more photographs take a look at the saved highlights on my Instagram account @sandandseagulls

    Press stay and activities kindly gifted in return for social media coverage and blog. All views are my own.
    https://www.bournemouthbeachlodges.co.uk/

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    That Friday Feeling (with Weird Fish clothing)

    That Friday Feeling (with Weird Fish clothing)

    Last April I introduced you to Weird Fish clothing and the gorgeous Etta striped jersey dress

    Just like me, Weird Fish live for that Friday feeling. The weekend gives us time to unwind and be ourselves; which is so true and so important when we lead such busy lives.

    And when I saw their Shelley Striped Crew Neck Sweatshirt I knew it was the piece for me. The perfect piece to help brighten up this dismal rainy and windy weather we’ve been having.

    There’s much to be learnt from dolphins, they’re such beautiful and elegant creatures with their peaceful and calm ways. And of course, it features my absolute favourite thing ….stripes! I love how the dolphins are darting between them like waves.

    The sweatshirt is 100% cotton, it’s warm enough to keep away a spring chill and it’s classic shape is both timeless and flattering.

    Teamed with jeans or shorts in the summer, it’s going to become my go to piece in my wardrobe.

    Kindly gifted by Weird Fish, in return for my honest review.

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    Life in slippers with Gumbies

    Working from home slippers are my work shoes, and I’ve recently found my favourite pair. My navy and pink outback slippers from Gumbies

    The best thing about them is they’re made from approximately 8 recycled plastic bottles, from post consumer waste to produce. Since Gumbies launched their slippers in 2017 they have helped recycle more than 500,000 bottles; which is amazing.

    Not only are the slippers a fab fit, super comfy and vegan friendly they’re helping to keep plastics out of landfill and our seas.

    They are clever too because they are machine washable so if they get a bit mucky you can pop them in the washing machine. The soles come out so can be washed separately as and when needed.

    Available in four different colourways you’re sure to find a perfect pair.

    Slippers kindly gifted me in return for a review. All views are my own. https://www.gumbies.co.uk/

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    What’s In My Bag

    I think it’s part of human nature to be a bit nosy, I can definitely hold my hands up and say I’m nosy. So I thought I’d show you what’s in my bag.

    I can’t go out without my bag, and times when I do, like on the school run, it feels really odd not to have it!

    So here’s what’s in mine! Well starting with the actual bag itself. I have a faux leather backpack from ASOS that my husband bought me for Christmas.

    My purse is also from ASOS in a lovely faux croc leather material.

    My lips get so dry, especially in the winter. I’m not a massive lipstick fan, so I keep with me my SKYN Iceland Lip Fix from M&S This minty version came from my advent calendar, but they do a berry one which looks just as good.

    The ban on plastic straws comes into force in April 2020, so until then I always take my reusable metal straw and pouch from Sundipped Sea with me.

    Everywhere I go, Eddie comes with me and as he’s still in nappies I use my Nautical Pouch to keep everything together, including my biodegradable baby wipes from Aldi.

    I always have a reusable cotton tote bag with me to save me from being tempted with a plastic bag when I’m out shopping.

    Ideas or inspirations can come to be anytime so I always have a little notebook with me. I’m currently using one of my Creative Adventures notebooks.

    And of course, I can’t go anywhere without my phone. I love my Google Pixel 3a XL. And my keys complete with beach hut keyring.

    Entivably random receipts, juice bottles and snacks end up in my bag too. But these are my main must-haves! What are your bag must haves?

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    Bournemouth at Christmas Time

    I love Bournemouth , but at Christmas, I love it even more. And this years Christmas Tree Wonderland is amazing, magical and spectacular. And best of all, it’s free. 

    We were kindly invited to experience the wonderland a couple of weekends ago. And we had the best time. We started right down on the beach front because I love a beach hut, especially a Christmas themed beach hut. 

    The boys then got to do something they’d never done before, ice skating at SKATE . We enjoyed an hour on the ice with hire of the skates included. We timed it perfectly as our session ended at 4.30 so it was just getting dark. It was so magical and an experience the boys are still talking about now.

    We then had a much needed drink at Moguls Alpine Bar which overlooks the rink. Mulled wine for me and a pretty awesome hot chocolate for the boys.

    It was then dark enough to experience the wonders of the glittering trees and illuminations. Including the spectacular Wonderland Tree, Seattle Tree, Giant Teddy and Rockery. The incredible lights were so captivating and stunning, so beautifully created and laid out.

    We were treated to some much needed fuel at the Prom Cafe right on the seafront before taking a ride on the Big Wheel. We’d been on it before, but never in the dark. And what an incredible view we had. The glistening lights of the Wonderland were so magical, a perfect birds eye view of the trial.

    The festive trial is open until 2nd Jan 2020 so if you want to feel festive and experience Bournemouth at it’s very best, I highly recommend a visit.

    https://christmastreewonderland.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Christmas-Tree-Wonderland-Trail-Map-2019.pdf

    We were kindly invited to experience the Christmas Tree Wonderland, all views are my own. 

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    Eco Swap October Challenge

    October Eco Swaps Challenge Blog

    October Eco Swaps Challenge BlogEvery year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments. 

    The average time a plastic bag is used for is 12 minutes.

    I could write a whole blog full of statistics and reasons why single use plastic should be banned and why we all need to be thinking more about the impact our choices are having on their earth. But, I think a lot of us already know we need to make some changes.

    Making eco changes can be daunting. However, we don’t need to all suddenly live zero waste lives, some small changes can make a real difference.

    And that’s why I set myself an Eco Swaps challenge in October. Could I make 10 swaps at home and in my business to help make a difference, and encourage others to make some simple swaps too. So here are some ideas for you.

     

    “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world”

     

    • Who Gives A Crap toilet paper. Made with 100% recycled paper, so made without trees. Can be purchased online through a subscription, delivered plastic free.

     

    • Using a body wash bar instead of a traditional shower gel in a plastic bottle. I love Conchus About Life 100% natural, plastic free, zero waste bars. They also make shampoo bars that I’m looking forward to trying.

     

    • I used to always take my makeup off with a wet wipe. Now I use cotton facial rounds from Sundipped with a pack of 10 I’ve always got one on hand. And they wash really well, so I use them time and time again.

    • Plastic toothbrushes last forever! So I now use a bamboo toothbrush, again from Sundipped These toothbrushes are biodegradable, and a fab, easy swap.

     

    • For my business, when sending out parcels I now use brown kraft tape instead of brown parcel tape. I have also recently started to use biodegradable bubble wrap and dissolvable packing peanuts. 

     

    • Poo bags! For those of you with dogs biodegradable poo bags are a must. I use Earth Rated bags as they will degrade unlike conventional poo bags. 

     

    • Wet wipes can take 100 years to biodegrade. So I have swapped to Mum and You biodegradable wet wipes. They start to biodegrade in 15 days in landfill. 

     

    • I’m helping bring back the milkman with Milk & More .This swap is all about reusing, their glass bottles are reused on average 25 times before being recycled. 

     

    • I’ve gone plastic free for my pits with Earth Conscious not only are their cardboard tubes recyclable, but their deodorants are made from 100% natural ingredients. 

    • Two Farmers Crisps are the UK’s first 100% compostable crisp packets. And they taste amazing!

     

    • I love using my reusable coffee cup from Huski Home disposable coffee cups need to become a thing of the past. 

     

    • Same goes for water bottles, a reusable water bottle is a simple and easy swap.

     

    • Reusable fold up shopping bags are a great way to stop using supermarket plastic bags. You can find some lovely ones on Etsy. 

     

    • I’ve recently started to use toothpaste tablets from Plastic Freedom because toothpaste tubes cannot be recycled in your normal curbside recycling bin. 

     

    • Cling film is one of the most commonly used single use plastics in the UK and cannot be recycled. So I have started to use Beeswax Food Wraps instead. Not only do the wraps prolong the life of whatever you wrap, they can be used over and over. 

     

    • Along similar lines, for my boys school lunchboxes. We don’t wrap their sandwiches in cling film anymore, instead they have cotton sandwich wraps, which I just wipe and re-use. Etsy have some great ones. 

     

    • This is the time of year for candles, so I make sure I’m purchasing natural, eco friendly candles which are made from natural waxes. 

     

    • Refill not Landfill! We have two refill shops local to me The Naked Pantry New Forest and Almond & Co both encouraging you to make eco friendly changes. And refilling your bottles and groceries rather than buying from supermarkets. From rice to hand wash, to shampoo and cereal. 

    • I’ve always bought wet cat food pouches, purely for convenience. But they can’t be recycled. So I have swapped to tinned cat food. Not only does Monty prefer the food, but the tins can go in my curbside recycling bin.

     

    • For dinner and snack time splats, instead of using wet wipes. I have washable wipes now. Made from cotton with a flannel lining they’re soft on Eddie’s skin, and wash really well. You can pick them up on Etsy.

     

    •  For groceries, and even picnics and days out I use a bento bag from Sundipped .Perfect for popping a few food items in and reducing the use of a plastic sandwich bag.

     

    • Straws … from 2020 plastic straws will be banned in England, so before then we all need to get used to and start using alternatives such as paper, stainless steel and/or natural grass straws.

     

    I set myself a target of 10 eco swaps and in one month I achieved 24. I have so many more things I would like to try too including shampoo bars, biodegradable bin bags, would love to start making some of my own cleaning products and soap nuts for the washing machine.

    What eco-friendly changes have you made? Would love to hear about your swaps and hear your ideas.

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    Gift Guide

    wrapped nautical christmas gifts

    Gift Guide

    Who needs snowflakes when you can have seashells!?


    wrapped nautical christmas gifts

    With the big C (sshhh.. Christmas) just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts. Christmas can be an expensive time and I know I try to start as early as possible to spread the cost out a little bit. Two of my boys have December birthdays, not ideal either. So I know how expensive this time of year can be!

    Lots of people try to support small and local businesses at Christmas too, thank-you!! So here is a Sand and Seagulls gift guide for those people in your life who wish they lived at the beach.

    And better still, everything has FREE UK delivery.

    Gifts for her

    The perfect way for her to keep a piece of the seaside with her all the time is with a necklace. Our most popular piece is the Silver Star Necklace, and then there is our selection of Sea Glass necklaces, where each piece is completely unique.

    For days when she’d rather be at the beach. Our Personalised Nautical Pouch is ideal for make-up, notebooks or nappies and wipes. And as each one is made to order, the wording can be personalised.

    Gifts for him

    Traditionally, the most difficult person to buy for! How about our Hello Sailor Mug, it’s made from enamel so perfect for taking out and about.

    If you love them to the beach and back, why not tell them with our hand stamped Keyring, as each one is made to order we can alter or personalise the wording too.

    Gifts for the home

    Our Wall Art pieces are always super popular and bring that coastal feel to any any home. “Seas The Day” with our silver boat wall art piece. This minimalist metal piece instantly transports you to warm choppy seas without having to get wet!

    Capture all your seaside memories with our personalised Seaside Memories Print. It features all of the most popular and favourite things about British seasides, and you can even add your very own favourite beaches name at the end.

    Lots of us dream of owning a beach hut. But, with the prices of them it will sadly always be a dream for me. But, the next best thing, a Mini Wooden Beach Hut decoration… I think we’d have a teal one, how about you?

    Gifts for girls

    I love notebooks, and always have since I was a little girl, and I always will! And our Melody Mermaid Notebook is fab for the little girl in your life. Perhaps to write stories in of Melody’s mermaid adventures!

    Almost too pretty to light, our Clam Shell Candle would make a wonderful addition to a seaside themed room.

    Gifts for boys

    Only Pirates Allowed! If you know a pirate mad boy, then our Pirate Pete Door Hanger would be perfect. A great alternative to a toy – and as I know from experience – Santa often brings more toys than we have room for!

    Keeping on the pirate theme, our matching Pirate Pete Drinking Jar is perfect for keeping your little pirate hydrated whilst on his adventures. A great alternative to a plastic bottle too as this can be reused time and time again.

    Hopefully these ideas have given you a bit of inspiration for some seaside themed gift ideas. There’s lots more over at the shop https://www.sandandseagulls.co.uk/shop/ with lots of new pieces being added all the time.

    Zoe x

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    Getting washed without water (with Pump’d Up)

    pump'd up washing without water

    pump'd up washing without waterOne of my initial thoughts when getting prepared for my first festival in 20 years, the Big Feastival 2019, was how am I going to wash? A quick google revealed the chance of a shower was unlikely.

    But that’s when I discovered Pump’d Up a brand which launched earlier this year, and have created a revolutionary cleansing range that provides brilliant cleansing – without water!    

    I was kindly gifted a Festival Wash Kit, which includes a Hand Sanitiser, Shampoo Foam and Body Wash. 

    Their products are vegan friendly, so never tested on animals. They are alcohol free, paraben free and triclosan free. And their packaging is completely recyclable. I was also impressed with the weight of the 70ml bottles, really light so perfect for camping when you try to keep things as light as possible. 

     

    I kept the festival hand sanitiser with my all the time whilst at the festival because it kills 99.999% of germs. I only needed a couple of pumps of the foam and it absorbed into my skin really quickly. It didn’t leave any residue like some hand gels do. And has a really fresh initial smell which doesn’t last too long. The foam claims to last longer than gels with its Advanced Barrier Control. 

    I’ve now popped it in my backpack which I take out with the boys, because it’ll prove so useful for after nappy changes, and when we’re out and about.

     

    The festival body wash was an absolute lifesaver! There were a few showers at the festival, but the queues were so long for them every morning. I’ve never seen anything like it. So, reluctant to miss any of the festival, but with temperatures breaking hottest records, the towel off body was foam was brilliant. 

    And so simple to use, I massaged a few pumps of the foam into my skin to release the dirt and sweat. And then whilst wet and soapy, removed by towel drying. The amazing formula lifts the dirt into the solution and is removed by the towel. Genuinely brilliant! The ladies I was with also tried it and were really impressed with the results, and the fruity fresh scent.

     

    The festival shampoo foam works in a very similar way. I have to say, I did try it out before the festival. Because I’m so used to my dry shampoo spray, I wasn’t sure if I’d get on with a foam shampoo. But wow, the results were amazing. I massaged the foam mainly into my roots and towelled off in the same way as the body wash. The coconut fragrance was divine, and no drips or mess at all. It dried very quickly and the results lasted all day. 

    Currently priced on Amazon at £10.95 including free Prime delivery. I think these products are an absolute must for when you want to stay fresh in situations where a bath or shower can be hard to find! Well done Pump’d Up!

     

    Marked as #ad and #gifted. But all opinions are my own. 

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    Beach games for little people (and sometimes big people)

    beach games for kids

    As a Mum of three boys I know only too well that children definitely didn’t get the memo that grown ups love to sit on the beach quietly,relax and sunbath.

    So with the summer holidays in full swing, I have come up with five beach game ideas that will help keep the little people in your life entertained at the seaside. You might even be able to sneak in a sit down in the meantime. 

     

    Beach Treasure Hunt

     

    The beach is a great place to explore, so with a bucket and a list, see what they can find on the beach. The list can be changed and altered depending on the age of children and the sort of beach you’re visiting.

    I would love to add “find a piece of seaglass” on mine, but we’d still be there now. As sadly it’s rare we find any seaglass on our local beaches. 

     

     

    Sink or Float

     

    When the treasure hunt is over, use the pieces you’ve found to play sink or swim. My eldest two are 6 and 4, and they really enjoyed doing this.

     

     

    Sand Hopscotch

     

    Hopscotch is a classic playground game. But can also be played on the beach with a stick to draw it out, and a pebble to throw. 

     

     

    Family Sand Picture

     

    Why not ask the kids to draw a family picture in the sand. You could even offer a small prize to the best picture. 

     

     

    Feed The Shark

     

    This one is fun for the whole family, and can get quite competitive. Just draw a shark in the sand and see who can throw a pebble into his mouth. 

     

    If you play any of these at the beach with your children, I’d love to see your photos! I’m on Instagram and FB @sandandseagulls 

    Happy Summer, whatever you’re up too! 

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    Running The Samarathon

    Every six seconds the Samaritans respond to a call for help. Someone is at the end of the phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a week.  If you’re feeling low, struggling to cope, they can help. No judgement, no pressure.

    Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK and it is considerably higher in men. In the UK men are three times as likely to take their own life than women.  

    Each day around 16 people take their own life in the UK and Ireland.

    I have been, and people close to me have been affected my male suicide many times in recent years. My Dad tried to take his life when I was at University, if he had been successful he would have never walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.

    Family members of friends, and even friends of friends have taken their life. All men, and on the outside they appear to have the world at their feet, so much to look forward to and a long life ahead of them.

    The recent suicides of people in the public eye including Mike Thalassitis from Love Island, Chester Bennington from band Linkin Park and Prodigy singer Keith Flint have shocked and upset so many. Bringing to light the importance of positive mental health and talking about problems, issues, how we are feeling etc. Because suicide is a final solution to a temporary problem.

    Even as I write this, during Mental Health Awareness Week the usual sound of the Jeremy Kyle show in the background isn’t on. The programme has been suspended due to the death of a male guest shortly after filming.

    Whilst out jogging the other one day, I became overwhelmed with emotion about male suicide and I knew I wanted to do something.

    And that’s when I found out about the Samaritans Samarathon which is a marathon across the 31 days in July. I have signed up and I plan to jog the 26.2 miles, mostly, if not all at the beach, to help raise money for the Samaritans.

    But this is where I need your help;

    I’m initially looking for 10 or so businesses who are willing to donate a small prize to my raffle. I will collate all of the prizes during June, and create a grand prize raffle. I will then encourage people, mainly through Instagram to donate, and for every £1 they donate they have 1 entry into the raffle.

    So, if you are a business, small or large, and would like to donate. Please email me at zoesandandseagulls@gmail.com

    Or if you’re interested in buying a ticket. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram or Facebook @sandandseagulls where I will share all the details

    Remember Samaritans are there if you need them: Call 116 123. Call free, day or night, 365 days a year

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    A Wonderful Family Day Out

    knoll house hotel lunch

    knoll house hotel lunchYou may remember my blog Afternoon Tea With A View in April, where my husband and I visited The Knoll House Hotel for afternoon tea.

    Well, we were very kindly invited back last week. But as a whole family this time for lunch. And we really had the best day.

    We were so lucky with the weather again, and Studland in Dorset is just stunning when the sun shines. It was wonderful to walk the same corridors that Enid Blyton did in the Fifties and Sixties. The hotel is where she found inspiration for her Famous Five. The hotel is full of history and is staying true to its heritage with Victorian style carpets and plenty of watercolour portraits. It really is a hidden gem.

    First stop for us was the indoor swimming pool. The hotel does have a large outdoor heated swimming pool, give it a couple of months and we would have definitely all been in there! We had the indoor pool to ourselves and my boys absolutely loved it. The perfect way to work up an appetite.

    The bistro, with it’s stylish decor, has a childrens play area attached to it, and it’s such a brilliant idea. My boys are aged 6, 4 and 17 months and they were the perfect age to make the most of it. It meant my husband and I could enjoy a pre-lunch drink whilst they were fully entertained.

    The service in the bistro and hotel was excellent, different staff from our previous visit. But they were friendly, attentive,and great with the kids.

    The kids menu was super, with a choice of 1 course, 2 courses or 3. And at £7 for two courses, really reasonable. Especially as the portions were a really good size. My eldest boys had the chicken goujons and skinny chips which got a big thumbs up. And my 17 month old tucked into the sausage and mashed potato.

    As a vegetarian, choice can often be limited for me, but it was great to have mixed choice across the menu. I thoroughly enjoyed my orzo pasta, it was topped with a crispy egg which I’d never had before. All washed down with a white wine spritzer. Everyone’s plates were empty and we even had room for delicious chocolate brownies

    Of course we couldn’t leave without burning off some more energy in the pirate ship play park. Again, amazing for the children, and for wide range of ages.

    We stopped off at Shell Bay on the way back to the chain ferry. Such a stunning beach with sands dunes and amazing views over to Sandbanks. If you haven’t been, it’s the perfect place to go whilst visiting the Knoll House Hotel.

    Gifted Family lunch in return for social media coverage. All views are my own.  

    https://www.knollhouse.co.uk/

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    Exfoliate, Renew and Hydrate (with Living Sea Therapy)

    living sea therapy

    I wash my hands a lot, whether it be after a nappy change, whilst cooking dinner or after polishing a piece of jewellery before it goes in the post.  

    Because of this my hands are very dry. I’ve used lots of hand beauty products in the past, but either found them too greasy, too fragrant or to contain ingredients such as alcohol or nasty parabens which I want to avoid.

    When I discovered Living Sea Therapy I had that “Why haven’t I found you before” moment. Working with their sister businesses, Cornish Sea Salt Co and Cornish Seaweed Co the Living Sea Therapy range was born.

    They use sustainable hand harvesting and exclusive processes based on natural science to create their wonder ingredient, Living Sea Complex. This combines three vital elements to harness the restorative powers of the sea especially for you and your skin. This unique infusion includes Cornish sea salt minerals, unique geology and wild seaweed extracts.

    I was gifted three products from their hand range, Hand Lotion, Hand Polish and Hand Cream to try. I’ve been using them for a couple of weeks now, and I absolutely love them.

    The hydrating hand lotion lives next to my kitchen sink now and is perfect to apply to my hands after each wash. Not only does it smell amazing, instantly taking me to the sea, it absorbs into my skin quickly and easily and gives my hands a moisturised boost.

    The exfoliating hand polish is like giving my hands a mini hand spa! The soft cream polish isn’t too abrasive, smells amazing. And gives my hands an instant smoother feel at the end of each day.

    Afterwards I use the hand cream which complements the polish perfectly. Not only does it smell wonderful but the cream, which is thicker than the lotion. Absorbs into my skin really easily, is not greasy at all and the moisturised feeling last ages. You only need a little bit as well, meaning the 100ml will last.

    Living Sea Therapy also have a wonderful looking range of bath and body products including bath salts and body butter. I have also seen they have a body wash which I can’t wait to try.

    With free delivery on orders over £25, I highly recommend treating yourself to a gorgeous Living Sea Therapy.

    I was gifted three hand products from Living Sea Therapy in return for my review. All opinions are my own.

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    Afternoon Tea With A View

    knoll house afternoon tea

    The Knoll House Hotel, established in 1931 is a traditional Dorset hotel, and quintessentially English, full of charm and history. Situated at Studland in Dorset, it’s a little hidden gem with breathtaking views over Studland Beach and beyond.

    We were kindly invited for Afternoon Tea, and I couldn’t wait to visit the hotel I’d often driven past, and dreamt it to be the perfect coastal retreat.

    And I wasn’t disappointed, steeped in history with a modest charm, the family and dog friendly hotel was all I imagined it to be.

    Afternoon tea is served in the Bistro daily from 2-5pm. The bistro has a relaxed, friendly and slightly more modern feel to it, than the rest of the hotel.

    Although lucky with the weather, it was too chilly to sit outside so we enjoyed the incredible sea views from a window table.

    Our Afternoon Tea For Two included a generous pot of tea, sandwiches including cheese & pickle and ham. Often, as a vegetarian I lose out on the sandwiches, but not at the Knoll House. Four scones, two plain and two fruit with copious amounts of cream and jam. And my favourite part, delicious cakes on the top tier of the stand. The choice of cakes vary daily, but were treated to chocolate brownies, walnut cake, gingerbread cake and mini victoria sponges.

    Some afternoon teas I have had in the past have been too rich and heavy, but the food served to us at the Knoll House was perfect, and just a few crumbs were left.

    Adjacent to the bistro is a play room, perfect for little ones to keep themselves entertained. We visited the Knoll House Hotel without our boys this time, but I’m looking forward to taking them with us next time. As I know they’d love this room.

    Gifted Afternoon Tea For Two in return for social media coverage. All views are my own.  

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    Visiting South Devon For The First Time (With Coast & Country Cottages)

    Sunbathing by the beach

    132 miles from where we live, just outside of Bournemouth; is the beautiful and popular seaside resort town of Salcombe in South Devon. A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to visit thanks to Coast & Country Cottages

    Arriving on Saturday 23rd March, we enjoyed three nights staying at Dory Cottage a traditional and stunning three storey cottage right in the centre of Salcombe. It was the perfect base for our family – and with it’s coastal decor, well sized living area with smart TV, off road parking and attic den – it ticked the boxes for all of us.

    Even Dolly our Pug came along! Coast & Country Cottages have over 100 pet friendly cottages in South Devon, which meant Dolly could have a holiday with us too.

    We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather and we made sure we made the most of the two full days we were in South Devon, visiting local beaches we’d been recommended to check out.

    I fell in love with Hope Cove, a very small seaside village, and it’s two stunning beaches. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most popular spots in South Devon, with stunning scenery, rock pools and amazing sea glass finds we were smitten. From Hope Cove we took the coastal path to South Milton Sands, it wasn’t ideal terrain for a pushchair but the views were breathtaking. The Beach House  looked great whilst we were there, perfect location and amazing looking food. Unfortunately, we were so busy we could only stop for an ice cream!

    On the second day we discovered North Sands, and we timed it perfectly as it was low tide so we could do more rock pool exploring; and even found the most perfect sneaky sunbathing spot.

    Whilst we were there we visited The Winking Prawn . So many people had recommended it to me, and it didn’t disappoint, perfect for the children too.

    The cottage has a shower room on the first floor, but the bath is ideally placed on the ground floor which is perfect for sandy toes after a day on the beach.

    We ate out every night, and although I was prepared with a few microwave meals we decided to make the most of it. The first night we walked into Salcombe and had a yummy pizza at The Victoria Inn. The second night we ate at the Hope & Anchor in Hope Cove where I had an amazing halloumi burger. Our last evening couldn’t have been more perfect, watching the sunset at the Lobster Pod Bistro. Such an amazing idea overlooking Hope Cove, I want one of the pods in my garden now!

    The village of Salcombe itself is lovely, such a beautiful quaint seaside village.  We ran out of time to go crabbing on the quay, and luckily the weather was in our favour so we didn’t go to Kidz and Co Play Café, which is an ideal rainy day place to go. We did discover the Salcombe Gin distiller, Cranch’s sweet shop, and squeezed in a spot of shopping in Joules and Seasalt Cornwall.

    The cottage was well equipped with everything we needed, even a bbq for the summer. We hired stair gates and a high chair from a local company, and their service was great.

    Both of my eldest boys were sad to go home which is always a good sign of a holiday. Coast & Country Cottages have a property for everyone. Whether it’s a romantic weekend away or a family getaway. If you’re thinking of visiting South Devon I highly recommend you check them out.

    We had a discounted stay at Dory Cottage in return for social media coverage. My views are my own.

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    Stepping into the weekend (with Weird Fish clothing)

    Etta Striped Jersey Dress

    Just like me, Weird Fish live for that Friday feeling. The weekend gives us time to unwind and be ourselves; which is so true and so important when we lead such busy lives.

    The Weird Fish story began in 1993 with a simple mission, to produce well priced, well made and distinctive clothes that become instant feel good favourites.

    So when they asked if I’d like to pick a piece from their summer new styles, I couldn’t wait to get browsing.

    If you know me, you’ll know I have a soft spot for a stripe. So when I saw the Etta Striped Jersey Dress in Dark Navy I knew it was the dress for me.

    I’m always a little conscious of my ‘Mum Tum’ when wearing dresses , but the Etta is so flattering. And a dress with pockets is always a winner!

    Made from 100% cotton jersey it’s well made and washes well. I really like the pretty knot detail to the back neck, giving it a feminine touch.

    For cooler days the dress would look great with a denim jacket, or a chunky knit over the top. Equally perfect for the warmer weather teamed with sandals or flip flops.

    The Etta Striped Jersey dress will definitely be my go to piece this summer.

     

    Kindly gifted by Weird Fish, in return for my honest review.

     

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    Dreaming Of Beach Huts

    wells-next-the-sea-beach-huts

    wells-next-the-sea-beach-hutsBrightly coloured beach huts help make the British coast wonderful. They go together with ice creams and sandcastles. And of course the unreliable British weather!

    It is estimated that today there are at least 20,000 beach huts along our shores.

    Previously they were known as bathing machines where beachgoers, including King George III, wheeled down to the shoreline to protect their modesty as they entered the sea.

    The wheeled huts remained relatively unchanged in appearance from their introduction in the 1730s until as late as the 1930s.

    Then as attitudes to the human body changed, the huts became permanent structures on promenades and undercliffs. But the function of them still echoes their past in that they provide shelter, basic storage and privacy. They are a simple, informal daytime space which can be both private and social.

    Did you know? – The oldest public municipal hut is at Undercliff Drive in Bournemouth, not far from me. Built in 1909, hut 2359 has a commemorative plaque.

    The playful use of design is often used to enhance the basic form of a beach hut. Although many beach huts do remain plain and unadorned due to council regulations. However, it is colour that remains a defining characteristic of the beach hut. They tend to be either bold primary colours or muted seaside pastels colours such as green and blue.

    Did you know? My local area of Bournemouth has over 1,900 huts, equating to around one in ten of the country’s beach huts.

    The popularity of the beach hut shows no sign of slowing down, with both private and municipal beach huts being built to meet demand. The desire for the beach hut is experience is very often out of reach financially for many though. With the beach huts on Mudeford Spit in Dorset, close to my home, always making the headlines with the most expensive beach huts at circa £300k; more than a lot of people’s homes are worth.

    So a popular option is to hire a beach hut; the site Beach Huts For Hire is a great place to go as they have hundreds of beach huts listed for hire (and for sale) so you can pretend you own a beach hut for a week or so! We did this a few times last year, and I can’t wait to do it again this summer with my family.

    It has always been a dream of mine to own a beach hut; sadly it’ll probably always just remain a dream. But I’m happy to lust after them and enjoy the beauty of them from afar.

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    Marine Conservation Society – We’re members

    Marine Society Fact Sheets

    Marine Society Fact SheetsSand and Seagulls is proud to be a member of the Marine Conservation Society. The society started in 1983 in a garden shed in Hertfordshire. And their vision is for sea’s full of life – seas and coasts where nature flourishes and people thrive.

    Their mission is to to drive political, cultural and social change for healthy seas and coasts that support abundant marine wildlife, sustainable livelihoods and enjoyment for all. And this is something we strongly support too.

    When you become a member you’re adding your voice to thousands of others and help their work to protect our seas, shores and wildlife.
    The more members they have, the louder their voice becomes, and the more effective they can be in campaigning and lobbying for change. Each and every one of their members matters and helps them make a difference. Find out more at https://www.mcsuk.org/join

    The Marine Conservation Society also need people to support their campaigns, because collectively we’re a force that people in power can’t ignore. To find out more and see how you can help go to https://www.mcsuk.org/campaigns/

    One of their current campaigns which has really struck a cord with me is ‘Stop The Unflushables’. The 2017 Great British Beach Clean weekend found over 18,050 unflushable items littering our beaches , including cotton bud sticks, wet wipes and sanitary towels. Items such as these contain plastic so they don’t disintegrate like toilet paper. Flush them, and once they reach the sea, they last a very very very long time.

    #youcantflushthis If it’s not paper, pee or poo; don’t flush it down the loo! This is something I have started to teach my boys. To find out more to go http://www.wetwipesturnnasty.com/

     

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kryn77v3qIY&feature=youtu.be
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    Did you know?

    Beach couple cake topper

    Whether you believe in new years resolutions or not, the start of a new year always brings thoughts and reflections. Whether it be about the previous year and what we achieved, or your plans, hopes and dreams for the new year ahead.

    I therefore thought the first Sand and Seagulls blog of 2019 would be the perfect place to reflect on how far Sand and Seagulls has come since it’s launch in 2013. And introduce you to my business if you’re new around here.

     

    1. Sand and Seagulls started from my kitchen table in Dorset, in July 2013. I was on maternity leave with my eldest and I needed something else to do, for me, that wasn’t just being a Mum. And, I missed my working life in Financial Services marketing.
    2. In 2010 my husband and I had a seaside themed wedding, from a VW camper wedding car to a fish & chips evening buffet. We have always loved the seaside, we’re incredibly lucky to live close to the sea. (see photo above)
    3. The first piece I sold were a pair of navy blue anchor button earrings. (see photo below)
    4. Sand and Seagulls started out with just a few earrings and necklaces; and grew into a full jewellery collection. And then I added a homeware section to complement the brand and business. And most recently seaside themed clothing.
    5. It’s a dream of mine to own a beach hut one day. The prices of beach huts where I live are crazy, so it’s unlikely. But I can dream right?! (see photo below )
    6. In 2018 I launched the ‘I refuse to sink’ collection. And at the end of 2018 the sales of necklaces, bangles and prints had raised £1,865 for Teddys Legacy. (see photo below)
    7. My favourite thing about the seaside? – The waves; I love the power of them and how they’re just the very beginning of the amazing wonders beyond them.
    8. It’s a long term dream of mine to bring Sand and Seagulls to a seaside high street. I would love to have a little shop; serving tea and cake one side. And selling my pieces on the other.
    9. My favourite quote? – May the shells on the beach remind you that treasures arrive everyday in the form of simple things.
    10. In 2019 I am planning on developing my jewellery range. And I would love to be featured in Coast magazine.

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    By the sea all worries wash away

    camber sands

    I’m a strong believer that the gorgeous seaside towns of England aren’t just perfect for summer holidays, but beautiful places to visit and enjoy all year round. And this is certainly true of Camber Sands in East Sussex.

    At the beginning of this month I was lucky enough to stay in the beautiful Blue Beach Hut Chalet owned by Emma within the Camber Sands Holiday Park.

    We had a two night stay, and when I say we; myself and my three boys. And because my husband couldn’t get time off work, we brought my Mum along for the trip too. My Mum is a big clean freak; and I lost count of the amount of times she said how clean the chalet was. She also gave a big thumbs up to the 200 thread count Egyptian cotton bedding.

    We arrived on the Tuesday afternoon after a three hour car journey and easily found our chalet which was tucked away from the main caravan site. Although chilly when we first walked in, which was expected for November, the heaters very quickly kicked in and it instantly felt warm and cosy.

    Emma has thought of everything; from a mini dishwasher to a high chair cleverly folded away in the cupboard. With two bedrooms; a double and a twin, and a sofa bed, we had plenty of room and all slept well – despite the howling winds on the first night. The travel cot fitted perfectly in the living area, which was great, as I was always going to sleep on the sofa bed and give my Mum the bedroom! Well it is nearly Christmas after all; and I’m after brownie points!!

    As we didn’t arrive until after 3pm on the first day, and with the night’s now drawing in we didn’t have much time to explore. But we did have a great meal at the main caravan parks restaurant and got to check out the play park.

    With only one full day in Camber Sands we made sure we made the most of it; we all had a swim in the onsite swimming pool, which was perfect for my boys. But would equally be great for older children and adults too. (extra charges apply).

    And then we headed out to visit Rye and Rye Harbour and the amazing Camber Sands beach. Although a really windy day we got to experience the incredible stretch of unspoilt sandy beach. I had heard that it features one of the purest and longest dune systems on the South Coast, and the only one to be found in East Sussex. And wow; it didn’t disappoint, the beach was breathtaking. And I can see why it’s so popular.

    There is a brilliantly fitted out kitchen at the hut with everything you need for a comfortable stay at any time of the year. So was perfect for making dinner for all five of us and we all snuggled up after a blustery day exploring the area. With the boys bathed and in bed, a cheekly bottle of wine was shared whilst watching TV in the warm and very cozy chalet.

    We all absolutely loved our mini break and were very sad to leave, a huge thank-you to Emma for letting us stay. I can’t recommend the Beach Hut Lodges enough. So much so; if you fancy a winter stay too, mention Sand and Seagulls when you book and Emma will kindly give you 10% off your stay.

    There are two Beach Hut Lodges owned by Emma, we stayed in the blue hut. The yellow hut looked equally lovely, and is just next door.

    http://www.thebeachhutcambersands.co.uk/

    *I was gifted this stay at The Blue Beach Hut Chalet. I would never endorse or promote anything that I didn’t love and enjoy*

     

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    Great British Beach Clean

    the great british beach clean

    the great british beach clean

    On UK beaches the amount of litter found has doubled in the past 20 years. And litter in general has increased by 135% since 1994, with plastics increasing by a staggering 180%. (correct as at Sep 2018)

    The Marine Conservation Society is the UK’s leading marine charity. They work to ensure our seas are healthy, pollution free and protected.

    Our seas are under immense pressure: too many fish are being taken out, too much rubbish is being thrown in and too little is being done to protect our precious wildlife.

    Their vision is for seas full of life where nature flourishes and people thrive.

    I fully support their vision, my business and products are based on the sea and the beach, my love for our beautiful oceans, and the land close to it. So, whenever I can help, in whatever way I can, then I’ll be there. So when I heard about the Great British Beach Clean 14th – 17th September 2018 I knew I had to join in.

    So on Sunday 16th Sep I headed down to my local beach, Friars Cliff in Dorset along with 149 others making it a record breaking day. It wasn’t the nicest of days, but armed with a litter picker and a bag I spent two hours on the beach looking for and picking up litter. As the photograph below shows, in that two hours, I didn’t find too much -which I was really pleased about. It would have been horrific if I’d have filled my bag. But the total amount of rubbish all 150 of us found in two hours, shown in the photo belong, was staggering and heartbreaking.

    Did you know it’s estimated that one rubbish truck load of plastic litter enters the ocean every minute. (correct as at Sep 2018)

    The rubbish I personally found was pretty evenly split between items that had been left on the beach; i.e. lolly sticks, cigarette butts and sweet wrappers, to items that had washed up with the tide like polystyrene and small pieces of plastic.

    On average cigarette butts, plastic bags, fishing gear, and food and beverage containers are the most common forms of plastic pollution found in the oceans.

    And speaking to other litter pickers on the day, they also found the same. A lot of seaweed had recently washed up bringing a lot of the rubbish in with it.

    Sadly, we’ll never be able to retrieve all of the rubbish and plastic that has ended up in our seas and on our beaches. So what else can we do? – We need to stop new plastic entering the oceans and prevent the crisis from worsening.

    Less Plastic have created an informative flyer, highlighting the 9 ways we can all help reduce ocean plastic. Maybe you might be able to give one or two of these a try? Or maybe you already do? – and can help encourage others too as well?

    9 Ways You Can Reduce Ocean Plastic

     

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