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Kids Christmas gifts galore

Sam Bertram

23 October 2017

Radish Loves is a children’s shop with a difference. Located just off Marlborough High Street it’s teeming with children’s clothes and unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else. We spoke to owner Amy Willsher to find out what she’s got in store for Christmas. What Christmas treats have you got for kids? ‘I think there’s a perception that we’re a baby shop which isn’t true. Our range has things for new-borns right up to young teenagers. We’ve got something for everybody – from stocking fillers to the bigger presents. If you’re looking for presents under £10 there’s plenty of choice. ‘Unicorn snot’ with its scented range of lip gloss and body glitters is new and already extremely popular. Girls love the pompom hair bands, clips, necklaces, bag brooches & pins. There are also fingers puppets and plenty of tattoos and stickers. The nail varnish is child-friendly and completely chemical free, and for the boys there are notebooks, spy pens, bouncy balls and yoyos, slimy slugs and lots more. I’ve started stocking a larger range of Maileg as it’s proving really popular. It’s a Danish brand with gorgeous bunnies and mice. It’s beautifully made with my favourite being The Princess and the Pea – a mouse sleeping on several mattresses with a pea hiding beneath. The mini furniture, clothing suitcases, tents and sleeping bags all fit for the mice are also fabulous. Another popular brand is Candylab cars - beautiful hand painted Beechwood classic American cars. They’re really fun with some quirky features like a magnetic surfboard which snaps on to the roof.  If looking to jazz up playrooms, nurseries or bedrooms Fiona Walker’s felt animals have just come instore. Whether it’s a dinosaur or flamingo head or hooks you can hang on wall they look great. Try a Little Lovely Co, ghost or popsicle bedroom light or some rainbow shelves to house the books. Hang a dream catcher on a child’s bedroom window to catch the bad dreams. And there’s plenty of glitz – furry, sparkly bags and glittery skirts and tutus. With winter encroaching we’ve got woolly jumpers, hats and scarves and plenty for that special Christmas outfit.’ Halloween is soon, what have you got planned? ‘We stock lots of party accessories and we’ve extended our party range to include Halloween. There are spooky cookie cutters, plates, cupcake cases and tattoos. On the Saturday before Halloween we’re holding an instore event from 12.00 to 3.00pm. There’ll be tattoos, balloon giveaways and a real-life fairy coming to visit. She’ll be granting wishes and telling stories. It should be great fun.’ And if people can’t come into the shop, they can shop online? ‘Yes, we’re an online shop too and we’ll also be at some other venues this Christmas. I’ve got a pop-up shop at Cobbs on Saturday 28th October, Saturday 2nd December and Saturday 9th December. I can also be found at the Christmas fairs at St Francis, Pinewood and Bowood. I’d love to see you there.’ www.radishloves.com

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Helping our wildlife

Sam Bertram

28 January 2017

The environmental challenge facing us is big but there’s much we can do close to home to help. We spoke to Paul from Meadow in my Garden, a Devizes business that not only creates wild flower seed mixes to attract pollinators to gardens but is driving change by educating people about the small steps they can take towards improving our environment. What would you say to people who feel the challenge is too great? ‘We’ve lost more than half of our wildlife in our lifetime so there is no option, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Our seed mixtures are like a food store for pollinators. Not having a big garden is no excuse. Even if you have the smallest bit of patio you can do an awful lot for pollinating insects. We have a very simple mixture called floral planter that is suitable for window boxes, doesn’t grow too tall and is extremely tolerant. The pollinators will love it and the display is beautiful.  We all need to do our bit so that the environment can be preserved for our children and future generations’. How should people change their thinking? ‘We need to think about how we can be kinder to our environment and that everything has a benefit. Do we really have to use pesticides or should we be looking at thinning weeds rather than eliminating them? Every bug and weed has a role too and we need to think about how we can be more sympathetic to our world. Every spoonful of soil has more living organisms than there are humans on the planet’  What about our public spaces? ‘There is so much we can do in our towns and cities. Roundabouts and verges, in fact any unloved space is perfect for planting wild flowers. Not only does it fill the spaces with an abundance of colourful, beneficial flowers but it can be a really low cost, low maintenance option. The Clean up group in Devizes started because of the build-up of rubbish in the town. Together with them we started with planting one roundabout last year and hope to extend it.  CURDS (Clean up Roundway and Devizes squad) is run by Zena Robson. If interested in joining the group visit Devizes in Bloom on Facebook to see their next meeting dates. We work nationally with lots of groups such as Team4Nature and would love to chat to anyone willing to help make our public spaces better for wildlife. If you see a space that could be better utilised get in touch with us. We also love to do talks for garden clubs, WI meetings and the like. We’re happy to give seeds to any worthy cause’. Tell us a bit more about your seeds ‘We have a comprehensive range of seed mixes that all have a different focus. While some are good for providing butterfly habitats, others are good for sowing under trees. Some can be used for pest control in an allotment, whereas others are a food source for bees, which is great for gardens but also good if you’re a beekeeper. They are an incredibly low maintenance way of filling space with flowers that give a profusion of colour right through the season and help wildlife.’ http://www.meadowinmygarden.co.uk/  

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Get Creative at Mimo

Sam Bertram

12 February 2016

Mimo is a lovely interiors shop that’s a little bit different from the mainstream, just a short walk from Marlborough High Street in The Old Ropeworks near the river. Owner Sally Ballard has also recently started running creative workshops there to great success.   Tell us a bit about how you ended up having a shop like Mimo? ‘With a background in antiques and interior design Mimo is a shop where I make the things I love & collect for the home available to the public.  It’s full of vintage, restored and quirky pieces.  I love seeing my regular customers popping by to make sure they’re not missing out on any treasures! It all started shortly after embarking on my working life when I was a nanny for some amazing people, whom I’m still great friends with today.  They introduced me to friends starting an interior design business being run alongside an antiques business and, although initially I just helped out, I eventually took over the admin side /  project management. This led to a further job with another antiques dealer running the interior design side & eventually opening my own shop in the Cotswolds shortly after meeting my ex-husband. My first shop was short-lived though as children arrived soon after, not helped by a rather gloomy recession. Now my children are older – Alex, 22 and Will, 20, I’ve had time to focus on having my own business again and I set-up Mimo in 2011.  Gary from Eric’s Attic initially offered me space in his shop to sell my collection but when the space came available downstairs I leapt at the opportunity to take it and set-up by myself. I’ve always had the idea of making one of the rooms available for creative courses.’   Interesting – what type of workshops are you offering? ‘I’ve always thought there was an opportunity to offer creative courses in Marlborough as Marlborough College Summer School is only for four weeks of the year and beyond that there didn’t seem to be much available of this type.  I’m an optimist by nature and I really felt there was potential to offer workshops in the centre of town. We’ve had some fabulous courses here so far, from upholstery to sewing & dressmaking and plenty of arty courses for both adults and children alike. I’ve loved the mosaics courses, and in particular the floristry, creative writing and Christmas Wreath workshops were incredibly popular. Next planned is an Arts & Crafts workshop for kids during half term and an upholstery weekend at the end of February both which still have places so get in quick! I’m always open to ideas so if someone has something they’d love to learn or love to teach I’ll do my best to make it happen.’   Are you Wiltshire born and bred? ‘Not at all – I was born in Oxford where I lived and attended college and my mother still lives there. It was a fabulously buzzy & exciting place to grow up although I’ve moved so many times since I’ve almost lost count of the places I’ve lived.  The first antiques business I worked in was in Woburn, after marrying Nick we lived in various places in the Cotswolds and eventually moved to Ramsbury just fore Will was born and where the boys spent their childhood.  I now live right in the middle of Marlborough and I’m loving it.  It’s great being right in the middle of town and Marlborough has so much character.  As my boys have left home for work and uni it’s mainly just me and my dog, Monty.’    So what’s planned for the future? Just enjoying where I live and my business for now.  But what will be will be – I don’t mind moving, so if I had to move again I would. But for now Mimo isn’t going anywhere soon. I love meeting new people so please pop in and say hi. http://www.mimo-trading.com/  

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Gift 34 - Father Christmas

Sam Bertram

26 November 2015

We're giving a gift idea a day through October and November. See what Wiltshire has to offer for Christmas shopping and shop local this year. No children's Christmas is complete without a visit to Father Christmas. Today's Gift is from Woodborough Garden Centre where Santa is visiting from 5th December through to 23rd December. Children can enjoy 'Breakfast with Santa, visit him in his grotto or join him for a fireside story Our prize this month is two tickets for their Santa's Grotto and Craft event . All you have to do is subscribe to our newsletter and if you book in advance & win they'll refund you. Winner to be drawn end of this month.  There are plenty of gifts & delicious delicacies for all the family in their farm & gift shop & a garden tool or plant always makes a fabulous present for a grown-up! See more..

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