Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Back to School Style

Just as the summer holidays are in full swing it feels like it's time to start thinking about September and back to studying.  The studying is important (of course!) but who says it has to be all work and no play?  Part of the fun can be picking the right stationery and organisers for the year ahead.

At Clare Loves you’ll find a super selection of those little touches needed to make going back to school less of a chore (or should that be bore?!). 
The Scissor Pencil Case (£12.50) is made in the UK and eco-friendly. A beautifully hand printed and handmade pencil case, this original design is screen printed on 100% cotton canvas using an eco-friendly and chirpy, coral red ink.

To make sure that homework isn’t forgotten, get out nifty notebooks like the Elephant Notebook (£3.50) and Owl Notebook (£3.50). Both are made in the UK and include 56 plain pages, perfect for lists or doodles.  If those notes and ideas just keep coming, pick up the Pair of Notebooks (£7.00), which show off Mr Fox and Sir Badger, made in the UK and containing 40 A5 size plain pages in each. 

A tidy desk is a tidy mind, with the Desktop Series (£92.50) there’s no excuse for not keeping clutter free. Made in the UK, this family of functional desk objects is made up of four individual pieces, each designed for a specific task. This set consists of a pencil pot, sharpener pot, eraser pot and tape dispenser, all made from turned maple.

Don’t keep all the treats for the kids, parents can keep up to date and organised with the Weekly Planner Pad (£9.00). Made in the UK, from 100% recycled paper, this pad has 55 pages that can be dated and filled in. Use one for each week as a calendar, or just when needed, it could be used for school timetables and after school activities, for menu planning, as a star chart ... the list of possibilities goes on!

To be honest,we just wish the summer holidays would last forever!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Summer Holiday Heaven

When it comes to a British summer holiday the weather isn’t always willing to play ‘beach’ ball - but no more working for a week or two, fun and laughter, going where the sea is blue … sounds like the perfect ingredients for Summer Holiday Heaven.  (Thanks for the helpful description Cliff!).

Whether the destination is a couple of weeks enjoyed at home, a trip to the coast or flying off to the other side of the world here at Clare Loves we have a great range of products to add a sense of summer style and adventure – and they’re all British made.

Have the world on a wall with the Scratch off World Map (£15.50).  Scratch off the gold foil and each destination will reveal a colourful patchwork and facts about the country!  Whether it’s a romantic retreat or gap year get away this map will tick off those places travelled and help plan the next places to go. 

This is one that won’t wash away!  The Sandcastle Bowl (£19.00) looks great in the kitchen, as well as when it’s being used for sweets, pens, ice creams or even sand!  Handmade in glazed ceramic this bowl is available in sunshine yellow, pale blue or white. 

Can’t get to the coast?  Bring it to your home with the Coastal Cottage Cushion (£36.00).  Beautifully illustrated with higgledy piggledy seaside cottages and made from 100% cotton fabric, this cushion includes a luxurious feather inner pad and comes in Dark Navy or Sea Grey. 

The British Holiday Postcards (£6.50) add a personal touch to your post, with 24 designs to colour-in, write and send.  Each one is different, but with a British holiday theme and are designed for children of all ages. 

Before riding off into the sunset, freshen up from frolicking in the summer sun with the Horse Print Wash Bag (£18.00).  This large sized wash bag is made with a coated printed cotton outer and waterproof inner liner and contains two compartments inside to stop getting any soapy toothbrushes!

Wherever you go, whatever you do - have a happy holiday.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Getting Down to Earth

A growing number of studies have found that being out in the garden can improve mental and physical health.  Being busy in the garden has been proven to lower the risk of diabetes and help in aiding better sleep, with one study even suggesting that women involved in gardening have lower rates of osteoporosis than joggers, swimmers and those who did aerobics.

It’s also been found that gardeners have significantly higher levels of optimism and fortitude than non-gardeners.  There can’t be a better reason to put down the trainers and pick up the gardening gloves.

The Paper Pot Press (£9.95) is eco-friendly and made in the UK from sustainable beech with an oiled finish.  This clever device can turn strips of old newspaper into plant pots.  Plants can be left undisturbed in this newspaper pot, which with no disturbance to the roots, will rot down in moist soil.

Designed for safely storing away those special seeds, is the Harvest Seed Storage Tin (£49.00), which is made in the UK from powder coated heavy gauge steel.  Beautifully decorated with harvest produce this box has a tiny row of holes for ventilation and a hinged lid, plus the option of being used as a freestanding box or a wall mounted cabinet.

If it’s a bit more wildlife that’s being wished for, the Mr & Mrs Birdee Nest Box (£19.00) are perfect shelters for attracting birds.  Eco-friendly and made from high quality birch plywood from sustainably managed forests, Mr Birdee is designed for Garden Tits whilst Mrs Birdee is for Robins and Wrens.  For a creative kick for children, let them decorate the boxes before they go outside.

Decorative and supportive, the Birdie Metal Plant Stakes (£24.50) are handmade in the UK, topped with a life-size Robin or Blue Tit.  These great looking plant supports are sold as a pair- one Robin and one Blue Tit- both made from solid steel with a lovely rusted finish. 

Happy gardening!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Father's Day - Sunday 15th June

According to American history, with the first official Father’s Day celebrated in 1910.  Father’s Day as we know it is not even 100 years old.  That said, some historians think that this special occasion is over 4,000 years old.  It is recorded in the ruins of Babylon that a young boy called Elmesu wrote a Father’s Day message on a clay tablet wishing his father good health and a long life.
Whether it’s helping out with the DIY, being a personal taxi service or providing a comforting hug on those tougher than average days, Father's Day is a day to champion Dads everywhere.  And if you're looking for a great British made gift for your Dad or even Grandpa - here are our top picks.
Crafted from the finest quality solid English Oak and hand engraved, this Oak Cufflinks Tray (£49.00) is a superb design that’s perfect for storing his cufflinks in pairs.  No more hunting for a matching pair in the mornings!  Or if he’s more of a gadget man, there’s the Phone and Tablet Tray (£75.00) engraved with ‘Dad’s Stuff'.

Winding down at the end of the day is made all the more pleasurable with a 'wee dram' served in this Whiskey Glass Set (£50.00).  These weighty glasses are made from the finest lead crystal and come with a stylish accompanying water jug.

For a Dad that travels for work or pleasure, here’s a wash bag that's manly in size and design.  It's a roomy 33cm x 33cm, so large enough to hold everything he needs.  Made from a coated cotton outer and containing a waterproof inner liner, the Stag Print Wash Bag (£18.00) has two compartments inside.

Finally, something special to hold his collection of fine wines.  There’s no better looking storage solution than the Oak Wine Rack (£75.00).  Handmade in solid Oak from sustainable sources, this rack is ergonomically designed to hold a single bottle at one end and remain perfectly balanced, or it can hold up to 12 bottles. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Picnic Perfection

Originally a fashionable social event, picnics date back to the 14th Century when they were often connected with the outdoor meals that were held before a hunt.  The French started the modern fashion for picnics in 1789 by opening their royal parks to the public after the revolution.  In the year 2000 a 600 mile-long picnic took place in France in order to celebrate the first Bastille Day of the new millennium, let’s hope they weren’t a few sandwiches short!

So with the warmer weather here, why not head for the beach where the Seagull Picnic Blanket (£36.00) will fit right in.  Good looking and practical too, with its stylish printed cotton top and water resistant nylon backing.  This blanket also rolls up and secures with webbed nylon straps and a carry handle.  Or why not head for the hills with the Rolling Hills Picnic Blanket (£36.00)?

If you’re going to go and fly a kite, why not take the Single Line Pilot Kite (£17.50) up to its highest height?  This kite has sails made from tough spinnaker nylon with its larger size allows the sail to catch more of the breeze, making it fun for older children and for those who are still kids at heart.  There’s also the Single Line Box Kite (£17.50) which has traditional charm.  Its stable box shape makes it suitable for smaller children. 

Pack the Small Oak Serving Platter (£30.00) and use it to lay out cheeses, sandwiches or even cupcakes.  No more worries about getting any unwanted grass flavouring!

And when the day starts to cool there’s no reason to retreat indoors.  Snuggle up under this Lambswool Throw in Moss (£95.00), watch the sun set and finish off the last of those picnic pickings. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Hop hop hurray - Easter is coming!

We just love the Easter holidays - time off school, time off work.  Sunny days and everywhere looking fresh and green.  What could be better?  And we've been told it's not all about the chocolate - although if we're honest it's at least a little bit about the yummy stuff!  Especially if it's the thing you gave up for Lent.

Chocolate aside, here are a few Easter goodies we hope you'll love.

If you're making Easter decorations, here's a handy little pocketbook of ten Easter eggs to cut out and colour-in.  Just add a pretty ribbon and they're ready to hang.  Great for younger kids.  £2.95 

Meet the Yolk Folk – three make-them-yourself paper chick decorations.  The set contains templates to cut out and full instructions, all you need is scissors and glue.  Suitable from age six upwards.  £6.00

Here's Little Loopy Lapin.  Knitted from pure new lambswool with a cute hand embroidered face, he's just waiting for a cuddle.  And he has a friend, Little Bare Bear.  £22.00

And just in case the Easter Bunny pays a visit, this Bunny Bag will be very handy.  Perfect for special days out, to hang on a door handle & keep treasures safe – and of course for the Easter egg hunt!  £16.50

Have a very Happy Easter!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Mother's Day - Sunday 30th March

‘God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made Mothers.’ - Ruyard Kipling 

Honouring Mothers goes as far back as the ancient Greeks, who had an annual spring festival dedicated to a maternal goddess ‘Rhea.’  The ancient Romans also had an annual spring celebration on the Ides of March for the mother goddess ‘Cybele’.  Mothering Sunday as we know it, only dates back to the 1600s and was a day where even servants and other employees were encouraged to visit their mothers. 
Fast forwarding to the 21st Century and Mother's Day is the perfect day to treat Mothers and Grandmothers.  Maybe breakfast in bed or a bunch of freshly picked flowers.  An extra hug or a handwritten note.  Whatever you choose to do, remember Mums are marvelous!

Here are some of our favourite gift ideas for Mother's Day, and they're all made in Britain by lovely ladies!

There’s nothing like a home cooked meal - and now it can be whisked up without being worn!  This gorgeous hand printed Jelly and Cake Apron (£24.00) is made from 100% cotton and is perfect for protecting any Mum from splashes and spills.

Whether it’s another fun filled day with the family or part of a wonderful working week, a quick caffeine boost using the Espresso Cup & Saucer (£16.00) will start the day right.  This pretty design was inspired by the flower power era of the 1960s and if she’s more of a tea drinker there’s also a coordinating Tea Cup & Saucer (£20.00).

A Mother’s heart is filled with love so why not show her how much she’s in your heart with these knitted lamb’s wool Lavender Filled Hearts (£12.50).  Filled with lavender and wheat, they will create a lovely scent in drawers, or could help her drift off when placed under a pillow.   Plus they can be heated up on the radiator to pop in her pocket and keep her hand warm.