5 Local small businesses you NEED to know about… {Bristol}

bristol local businesses

We all know that ‘sharing is caring’ so that’s why I’m going to tell you about 5 of my favourite local small businesses that are based in and around the Bristol area. From the best place to eat out with the kids to where to get your dog groomed, I’ve got it covered…

1) Little Giggles Soft Play

Little Giggles opened up in Yate (BS37) just over a year ago and we are regular visitors there. It’s very different to any other soft play centres we’ve been to (and in my almost-4-years of parenthood, we’ve been to a fair few!) The equipment is best suited to under-5s and the entire layout is open plan so playing along with your children (or keeping an eye on them from the cafe) is much easier. Little Giggles is a family-run business and I am always so impressed with how much the owners listen to feedback from the parents and carers who use their softplay. They’re always changing and adapting the centre accordingly, and always striving to make every visit fun and memorable.

2) Scoopaway Health Foods

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have no doubt heard about the plastic crisis that our country is facing. Thanks to supermarket packaging, we’re using WAY too much of it! I’ve written on the blog before about my hatred of plastic and I’m always looking for ways for my family to live greener and reduce waste. So, when I heard about Scoopaway Health Foods (BS7) I got very excited indeed.  They “specialise in Natural Wholesome Foods and Remedies for the whole family”. But not only that, they minimise their packaging and food waste by making their best selling lines available loose, enabling customers to scoop as much or as little as they need. This lady *points to self* plans to take a trip to Scoopaway, armed with many empty glass jars.

3) Printsome

If you’ve a need for T-shirt printing in Bristol (Organising a hen do, perhaps?) and want to support a small local business then head to Printsome. Not only can they provide more t-shirt styles and colours than you can shake a stick at, they’ll give you a quote for your garments within 30 minutes. And if you’re in a hurry, you can even have them delivered the very next day. Jobs a good ‘un.

4) The Parlour

We seldom eat out as a family these days as it seems that a good family-friendly restaurant is hard to come by. But just recently I heard about The Parlour (BS6), an independent (and kid-friendly) ice cream shop. It’s been running as an ice cream parlour since 1974 but recently the owner, Nicolo, has turned it into a high quality Italian restaurant. “It’s very much a family vibe; a place in which all ages can enjoy with delicious ice cream, pasta and charcuterie boards on the menu.” Click here to check out the menu and make a reservation!

5) Petsupplies-uk 

I couldn’t not mention my favourite local pet store, Petsupplies-uk (BS37). Every time we visit (myself and the furry member of the family) we get the warmest of welcomes and fantastic customer service. Not only do we pop in for food and doggy treats, but this is also where we get Heidi groomed every couple of months. The grooming prices are very reasonable and Heidi always comes out looking and smelling beautiful (it’s a shame it doesn’t last long before she inevitably rolls in something she shouldn’t!) ;)

So there you have it, 5 small local buinesses I wanted to shout about!

If you live in and around Bristol, I’d love to hear about your favourite local businesses too!

Let me know in the comments!

Jenna xx

Life in plastic, it’s (NOT) fantastic

Social media campaigns have kind of taken over my life just lately. Last month I took part in The Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild initiative and this month I’m trying to reduce my plastic usage for #plasticfreejuly. Both campaigns have blown my mind.

Being ‘wild’ for 30 days made me fall in love with our planet. My surroundings. My home. My children’s home. I’m ashamed to say that up until recently this big rock we call Earth was merely just a place I inhabited. This planet is where I was born, where I would live and where I would die. I lived without thinking too much about my impact on it. I also lived without thinking too much about the other creatures who we share the planet with and how my actions does/and will affect them.

I feel like I’ve had a wake up call. A sudden slap across the face from the hand of reality. What I do makes a difference. My actions count. And so does yours.

I want to do better. I want to be greener. I’m desperate to make positive changes in the way that I live.

But I’m also overwhelmed.

I’m overcome with guilt and frustration.

I feel so guilty for every time I’ve bought my kids some plastic tat they’ve played with for all of two minutes. Because let’s face it, kids AREN’T as interested in toys as we like to think.

I feel guilty for the God-knows-how-many toothbrushes I’ve sent to landfill in my 30 years.

I feel guilty for all the times I’ve used plastic carrier bags because I couldn’t be bothered to carry around a reusable bag.

I feel guilty for every time I’ve bought a bottle of water when I could have just drank water from a tap.

And don’t get me started on the nappies…

There’s. so. much. guilt.

I get frustrated when I stand in the park, pushing my daughter on the swings, and see litter all over the floor. How can I make a difference when other people seemingly don’t care at all? And am I really any better just because I put my rubbish in the bin? It still ends up in a hole in the ground. What difference does it make?

I get frustrated because when I go to the supermarket almost every single friggin’ thing is covered in plastic. My online food shop came the other day and I kid you not, my bananas were bubble wrapped. Bubble wrapped?! If only bananas came in their own protective layer… oh wait.

I get frustrated because I want to be better. Do better. But I don’t know where to start.

I look around my home and the mere sight of plastic sets my teeth on edge.

I can’t live like this anymore.

I need to set aside the guilt (I can’t undo what’s been done) and the frustration (it’s only getting in my way) and take small steps in the direction of a greener, more eco-friendly lifestyle.

I want to be better. I want to do better.

*Life in plastic. It’s (not) fantastic.

Jenna xx

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*Never thought I’d paraphrase the song ‘Barbie Girl’ in a blog post but hey!

 

 

12 Days of Pedigree:
Getting your dog ready for the holiday season

12 Days of Pedigree: <br>Getting your dog ready for the holiday season <Br/>

*Countdown to Christmas klaxon!*

Oh, my goodness – it’s almost Christmas, guys! I am so excited to spend the holidays having some quality time with my family. But not just the human members, I fully intend to have our pooch, Heidi, join in with the festivities.

The folks at Pedigree recently asked me to share my twelve tips for getting my dog ready for the holiday season in regards to including her in the fun, but also keeping her safe. I really hope you find them useful.

1. Book your doggy’s Christmas hair do early!

Just as your hairdresser’s appointment book will fill up quickly during November and December, so will your dog groomer’s. Book your dog grooming appointment early to ensure that your pampered pooch looks (and more importantly, smells) their best come the big day!

2. Store the crimbo choccies in a safe place. 

Like a lot of families, we become inundated with boxes of chocolates, advent calendars and biscuits over the festive period. (Hey, you won’t hear me complaining!) But those tasty human treats can be pretty toxic for our four-legged friends. Even a small amount of chocolate could cause your dog an upset stomach. We put all of our choccies in a Tupperware container or biscuit tin and keep them well out of reach of Heidi.

3. Treat your doggy to an advent calendar!

Just because we’re hiding our chocolates away from Heidi, it doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy her very own treats during the countdown to Christmas. Most pet stores will sell doggy advent calendars in the run up to Christmas and I always think it’s a nice way to include Heidi each day.

4. Enjoy the winter walks, safely. 

I love winter dog walks, especially on cold crisp, sunny days. We tend to walk Heidi twice a day – once during the daytime and again in the evening, after dinner. Of course, this time of year it’s getting dark very early which means taking precautions during those evening walks. I’ve invested in a light-up tag for Heidi’s collar and a hi-vis jacket for myself. Granted, I won’t be winning any fashion awards any time soon but I daren’t take any chances when it comes to our safety.

5. Ensure your dog has a safe retreat.

With lots of visitors to the house, excitable kids and the general chaos that comes with the holidays – it can be a bit overwhelming for our pets. Heidi certainly becomes unsettled when there’s lots of things going on at once or if there’s changes to our normal routine. We’re hosting Christmas dinner at our house this year so I’ll be making sure that Heidi has a quiet space she can go to if she needs a break from all of the excitement.

6. Stuff a stocking for your pooch…

Each member of our family has a stocking which we hang up on Christmas eve for ‘Santa’ to fill. Heidi has her very own stocking which we stuff with healthy doggy treats and usually some kind of Christmas themed squeaky toy (which we regret buying as soon as she gets hold of it)! ;)

7. Get creative with photos of your pet!

Whilst I may enjoy sporting a very fetching Christmas jumper during the holidays, Heidi on the other hand is not so keen. She doesn’t enjoy dressing up, so we don’t do it. So, do you know what I do instead? I create festive snaps using phone apps and free online editing software. It’s loads of fun to do and it doesn’t annoy your pooch! I like to use Picmonkey to add festive ‘stickers’ to photos of Heidi – I think they’d make great Christmas cards!

8. Be tree safe!

We usually put our Christmas tree up off the ground (on a coffee table) and fenced off from the children and Heidi. This ensures that decorations don’t get pulled off and chewed on. The consequences of our beloved pooch eating Christmas decorations (such as tinsel and baubles) are unthinkable.

9. Be wary of which festive plants you bring into your home…

According to  the RSPCA “Some plants and flowers including poinsettias, holly, ivy, mistletoe and lilies can be toxic, so avoid these if you have pets.” I love having poinsettias in our house at Christmas but I’m going to invest in a artificial version to be on the safe side. It also means I can use the same one again and again each year!

10. Avoid overindulgence

We all tend overindulge with food over Christmas and it can be tempting to spoil your dog with tasty treats over the festive period too. Limiting the treats to a few a day will ensure that your dog keeps off the Christmas weight! On days when we give Heidi extra treats, we reduce her portion size at meal times to account for the extra calories she’s already had.

11. Plan ahead in order to avoid your dog feeling lonely this Christmas…

We don’t always host Christmas dinner at our house, other years we’ve gone to stay with family for the day (or longer). On some occasions we’ve been able to take Heidi with us but other times, when we’ve gone abroad for example, we’ve had to make other arrangements for her. For the longer trips, Heidi stays with a pet sitter or with friends. But even when we’re out for a few hours, we like to have someone on hand to pop round and check on her. We generally don’t like to leave her for more than 4 hours without a toilet break and a tickle! Make sure you’ve got dog sitting/walking sorted ahead of time to avoid the stress of arranging last minute petcare.

12. Watch out for needles!

If you opt for a real Christmas tree this year, then be sure to vacuum up the fallen needles frequently. They could cause some discomfort to your dog if they get stuck in their paws. We tend to stick to an artificial tree for this reason (and if I’m honest, I can’t stand the mess of a real tree!)

I hope you’ve found this post useful.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

Jenna x

This post is a collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information you can read the following Pedigree Reviews article for tips and advice.

45 things we did during #30dayswild

45 things we did during #30dayswild

Throughout June we took part in The Wildlife Trust’s #30wilddays initiative. The idea being that you do one ‘random act of wildness’ each day for the whole month. It wasn’t until I started writing down this list that I realised how many things we did. Nothing complicated, just quick and simple acts that helped us to enjoy nature and explore our surroundings. It’s been such a fun month and it’s really changed my outlook on life. (Yes, really.)

I thought I’d share what we got up to inspire anyone reading who would also like to incorporate a bit more ‘wild’ into their lives. Why wait until next year?!

1. Enjoyed the grass between our toes.

2. Listened to bird song.

3. Planted wild flowers.

4. Downloaded The Great British Bee Count app and logged some bees.

5. Had a mini beast hunt in the garden.

6. Went on a woodland walk.

7. Visited Westonbirt Arboretum.

8. Watched Spring Watch on the BBC.

9. Paddled in a stream.

10. Made a nature collage

11. Collected feathers

12. Went to the beach and played with sand and seaweed as well as paddling in the sea! (Brean)

13. Made a painting using feathers as paintbrushes.

14. Blew dandelions.

15. Went puddle jumping.

16. Photographed a bee (much trickier than I thought it would be!)

17. Climbed a tree.

18. Made daisy chain necklaces.

19. Went to Bristol’s Festival of Nature.

20. Got up, close and personal with an owl.

21. Had a BBQ/ate alfresco.

22. Hugged a tree!

23. Explored things that had fallen from trees.

24. Did a litter pick at the park.

25. Fed the ducks.

26. Drew and painted a picture of a gold finch.

27. Looked at spider webs.

28. Became a member of my local Wildlife Trust.

29. Watched the sunset.

30. Put a bug hotel in the garden.

31. Made a nature dreamcatcher (using sticks and feathers that we found).

32. Stacked stones on the beach.

33. Explored sea caves in Wales.

34. Did nature-inspired yoga poses in the garden.

35. Made a bee drinking station.

36. Looked at Jellyfish that had washed up on the beach. (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

37. Watched a diver bird try to catch lunch! (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

38. Played Pooh Sticks.

39. Watched the clouds.

40. Followed a Bee.

41. Went steam dipping.

42. Went butterfly spotting.

43. Discovered local nature reserves.

44. Climbed on boulders and shouted into the distance.

45. Got to know lots of other ‘wild’ enthusiasts through Instagram and Twitter.

If you took part in #30dayswild, I’d love to hear what you got up to?

 

Jenna xx

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Pancake Day Fun with Robinsons

Pancake Day Fun with Robinsons

The lovely folks at Robinsons recently got in contact with us to ask if we’d be up for the challenge of creating some Robinsons Squash inspired pancakes this pancake day. Never one to turn down a challenge, especially one that involves pancakes, I said ‘Yes, please!’

First things first, we selected a range of fresh fruit from the supermarket including; lemons, mangoes, strawberries, kiwis and oranges (all of which are fruits that are used in Robinsons Squashes).

Robinsons Fruit Squash contains no added sugar, and a 250ml serving contains 5 calories or less.

Jasmine holding her ‘dinosaur egg’. :)

Once we had our selection of fruits prepared and Robinsons squash ready to enjoy (pancake making is thirsty work) we set about making our tasty pancake creations.

This was the first year that Jasmine could really get stuck in with making the pancakes with us. She loved helping me weigh out our ingredients, prep the fruit and she quickly became Chief Whisker! We opted to make fluffy American-style pancakes using this recipe and they were THE best pancakes we’ve ever had.

 

Jasmine opted to load up her pancake with mango and strawberries.

Some of the strawberries never made it as far as the pancakes though! ;)

Stephen tucking into a strawberry pancake with added chocolate sauce (naughty!) and sprinkles. Or “sfinkles” as Jasmine calls them. Elowen looked quite jealous. You’ll have to wait a few more months yet, Baby Girl!

I enjoyed some Strawberry and Kiwi Robinsons squash – there’s real fruit in every drop!

Tucking in!

Oh so delicious!

We were kindly sent some bottles of Robinsons Fruit Squash in 3 different flavours – so here’s our 3 squash inspired pancake toppings:

Stawberry and Kiwi

Lemon – you can’t beat a good ol’ traditional lemon pancake!

Orange and Mango

What do you think of them? Which flavour do you think you’d like best?

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