Boswells Blog

21st September 2019

Your Guide to Our Student Check List Essentials

Your Guide to Our Student Check List Essentials

Whether you’re heading off to university for the first time, or returning for another year of study, we’ve put together a guide to student essentials to get you started for the new academic year. Don't forget to sign up to our Student Club to get 10% off now and other offers throughout the year!

You can scroll to read the entire guide, or simply click the options on the menu below.

 

Arriving in Oxford Making Yourself At Home Bedding and Towels
Kitchen Essentials Space Saving Solutions Making It Your Own
On the Go Starting Your Studies Beating the Fresher’s Flu
  Enjoying Your Time in Oxford  


 

Arriving in Oxford

Bridge of Sighs Image

Arriving in a new place can be a bit daunting at first while you figure out how to get around and what to expect from your new location. Oxford has lots of exciting things to offer, from its iconic dreaming spires to its museums, restaurants, pubs and shops, but it’s also an old city with many an interesting sight to be found off little side streets and winding passages. If you’re new to the area we recommend picking up a copy of the Pitkin Oxford City Guide to get to know the area.

The guides are available in nine different languages, and offer a comprehensive guide to Oxford’s attractions, big and small, along with a map of the city centre and suggested walking routes. If this is your first time living in the UK then a visitor to the UK travel adaptor will allow you to run 240v mains devices, like your phone or tablet, and so we recommend this as must have item.

We think Oxford is a fantastic place to live, but it seems that Oxfordshire's clothes moth population does too. Although the moths are pretty harmless (except to clothing) we suggest investing in something to keep them at bay, which will protect your clothes and soft furnishings from getting munched. Zensect Moth Proofer is a good way to do this, as you can discreetly hide the lavender scented balls, and there’s no need to be spraying chemicals near your clothes.

 

Making Yourself At Home

One of the most important parts about settling into any new home, whether its student halls or a new flat, is making it your own. Partly this comes down to practical purchases, but also adding your own decorative flair to your new place.

 

Bedding and Towels

Bathroom ImageThe first things you’ll need are the more practical items—your bedding, towels and something to go in the kitchen. To get you started we highly recommend a bed bundle. The single duvet bundle comes with one hollowfibre 13.5 tog duvet (perfect for draughty college halls) and one free hollowfibre pillow.

The bundles are all non-allergenic, and great value as there’s no need to buy a separate pillow. Plus, the double and king size bundles each come with 2 free pillows! We suggest also taking a look at our low cost range of sheets and pillow cases to get you started.

When you buy your towels you can mix and match the colour to personalise your bathroom a little. We recommend our range of Bliss Pima towels by Deyongs, which are currently at a fantastic price, and are made from 100% cotton (so they’re nice and soft!). These towels are available as a face cloth, a hand towel, a bath towel and a bath sheet in a range of different colours.

  

Kitchen Essentials

Cooking ImageNext you’ll need to fill your kitchen with the essential implements to keep you well fed during your time at university. We highly recommend the 1.7L cordless kettle from Igenix, which has all the safety features you’d expect, like a locking lid and automatic shut off. The Igenix 2 slice toaster is also a fantastic buy, and a great idea for grabbing a quick piece of toast before your morning lecture!

For those of you with greater culinary ambitions than toast, we’re currently selling a good selection of low-cost saucepans and frying pans in our Cookshop. In particular we suggest taking a look at our range of stainless steel Royal Cuisine saucepans, which are sold individually at 16cm, 18cm and 20cm. They’re suitable for electric, gas, ceramic, halogen and induction hobs, and they’re fully dishwasher safe, which means that whatever facilities you have in your accommodation these pans should do the trick.

Our China & Glass department is stocked up with lots of glasses, plates, bowls and mugs, and there’s plenty to choose from within an affordable budget. 

 

Space Saving Solutions

 

Student housing can often mean getting a little creative with space, so we have some items to help you out there as well. We suggest checking out our range of clothes hangers—its hard to appreciate just how essential they are until you arrive to an empty wardrobe with no way of hanging up all of your clothes! The mix & match range have proven to be a favourite with our customers, probably because they’re available in 17 different shades, and come in a pack of 5.

A collapsible airer is also worth investing in so that you have somewhere to dry your washing that can also be packed away when you aren’t using it. We also do a pop up laundry basket, which can be stored away when not in use. And for those of you with awkwardly placed plug sockets, an extension lead will give you a bit more freedom as to where you can set up any tech you’ve brought with you!

 

Making It Your Own


Throw ImageOnce you’ve stocked up on the basics you may want to personalise your new place a little. We aren’t going to lie to you, fairy lights aren’t strictly speaking essential, but adding some fun touches to your accommodation can be a really important part of settling in to your new environment, especially if this is your first time away from home.

Other little flourishes that can make you feel more at home are things like throws and rugs. We highly recommend the Ultrasoft single throw as a great bargain. There are 7 colours to choose from, and they’re as soft as the name would suggest—just the thing for keeping warm during the Autumn/Winter, and just generally great for brightening the place up.

 

On the Go

Since you won’t be spending the entirety of your time at university in your room you may need a couple of items for when you’re out and about. A Kikkerland portable phone charger is pretty useful; it charges via the mains and can slip into a bag or a pocket as a way of topping up your phone or mp3 player over the course of the day. A small umbrella to keep to hand is also a sound investment—if you’re new to the UK, be prepared for unpredictable weather and rain that can start and stop with little warning. The Fulton Miniflat umbrella is ideal for unexpected rain showers as it fits easily in a bag, and won't cost you a fortune.

  

Starting Your Studies

Fresher’s week won’t last forever, soon lectures and seminars will begin in earnest and you will need a few scholarly supplies. Firstly, it’s a good idea to get hold of an academic diary. This will help you to keep track of your classes and deadlines, and the diary covers the entire academic year, so no need to buy a new one in January. We also have a good range of pens and notebooks in store at the moment to help you get ready for the start of term.
 

Morning classes can be a pain, and so it’s also wise to get an alarm clock to help you get out of bed on time (which inevitably gets harder as it gets colder).

 

Beating the Fresher’s Flu

Colds and flu spread through universities with ease and efficiency—and don’t let the name fool you, it isn’t only freshers that are at risk, fresher’s flu will find you whether you’re a first year undergraduate or a post-graduate veteran…even your lecturers aren’t exempt. We’re offering a walk in flu vaccination service in store over the Autumn and Winter, available from early October 2018.

If a cold or the flu do catch up with you though we also have a range of products in our pharmacy to help you manage your symptoms, not to mention tissues and throat lozenges. 

 

Enjoying Your Time in Oxford

There’s usually plenty going on in town, and the city has some great annual traditions that are worth keeping an eye out for. Don't forget to pop into Boswells or visit our website to take advantage of our student offers while they last, and to get 10% off with our Student Club! Finally, and most importantly, have fun, study hard, and make sure you make the most of your time in here in Oxford!

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2nd August 2019

Holiday Packing Tips!

Holiday Packing Tips!

With your flights and hotel booked, the luggage is the last thing you need to take care of before heading out on that well-deserved holiday. But packing your bags doesn’t have to feel like a chore, especially if you follow our 6 best expert holiday packing tips!

Limit your liquids

We all know the rules pretty much by now, and yet there’s still mass confusion and hold-up when someone tries to sneak a bottle of water past airport security. Much to everybody’s chagrin, pan-European baggage restrictions state that all liquids carried in hand luggage must be no more than 100 ml per item, and must fit into a one-litre transparent bag (usually available right before security). If you’re carrying any larger liquids, stow them in your checked suitcase.

Bring some just-in-case medications

We’re not asking you to prepare for every illness imaginable, just a small bag with the most necessary pills and medicine. After all, nobody wants to suffer a punishing headache, high-climate fever, upset stomach or all three during a holiday. It might be easy enough to pick up a domestic remedy for your ailments at home, but medicines in the country you are visiting may be limited to prescription only. The same goes for allergy meds and asthma remedies, bring them with you!

Name tags are there to help

Unless you’re an international man of mystery, you shouldn’t have to worry about travelling incognito. Most suitcases come with name tags fitted as standard, so be sure to fill them in just in case you – or the airline – lose your luggage!

Observe restrictions on luggage

Read the fine print when it comes to how much your checked and carry-on bags can weigh

If your airline says: “23kg”, then they mean 23kg! Weigh your bags before you get to the airport and make sure you are within the restrictions, otherwise you’ll be forced to cough up extra cash at the airport or you’ll have to re-pack and redistribute your items until your bags meet the weight restrictions.

Skip the shoes

How many pairs of shoes you should take is very much dependent on how long your holiday might be and what sort of activities you’ll be doing, but we’d suggest that three pairs is a reasonable average for a 1-2 week getaway. More important than volume is versatility, so make sure you’re not stuck hiking in stilettos by bringing a pair of shoes for every planned activity of your trip. Wear your most cumbersome pair on the plane and stuff your socks in the rest – and you’ll save even more space.

Cosmetics – at a minimum!

Unless you plan on travelling to a desert island, it’s likely that you’ll be able to pick up popular shampoo or sun lotion brands in almost any corner of the world.  If you really can’t live without that special face cream, try to take only as much as you’ll need for your trip and nothing more. That way you can discard the empties and save extra luggage room for your trip back home.

So there you have it... The perfect Boswells packing tip for your Summer getaway!

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1st July 2019

Alice's Day 2019

It is said that in the summer of 1862 a girl named Alice was sitting in a rowing boat in Oxford with her siblings and family friend, Charles Dodgson. She asked the man if he could tell them a story, which the man did. Today we know this man as Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland. The story was inspired by the little girl but the reader can follow Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world, which is populated by strange creatures.

The story, loved by both adults and children, is to be celebrated throughout Oxford on Saturday 6th July 2019 on Alice Day.

There are many Alice in Wonderland inspired events taking place at museums and venues around the city; from the Queen of Hearts riding a Dodo around the Natural History Museum to storytellers reading parts of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. White Rabbits will be bouncing through the city centre which you might spot on an Alice Walking Tour or you could take the chance to dress up as your favourite characters at the Story Museum. Plus workshops, talks, croquet, tea parties and many more activities to bring the book to life and inspire people of all ages to discover Wonderland.

If you need a rest amongst all the busyness then make sure to head to our 1738 Tearoom for an Alice Tea; a scone with jam and clotted cream or butter, little cakes and treats and a pot of your choice of tea for £8.95. Yum! And whilst you’re here under 14 year olds can join in our colouring competition to design the mad hatter a new hat for the chance to win a £10 Boswells Gift Voucher. We’re looking forward to it all so much we’re running our celebrations from Friday to Sunday.

Make sure you head into town and join us for lots of fun and a touch of madness!

Call 01865 241244 or email tearoom@boswellsltd.com to book your 1738 Tearoom table today.

For more information about events, locations and booking activities that are not hosted at Boswells please visit https://www.storymuseum.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/alices-day/

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7th June 2019

Oxford Green Week

Oxford Green Week

The annual Oxford Green Week starts this Saturday, 8th June, and runs until the 16th June. It was created with the aim of raising awareness of eco-friendly issues and the amazing people that run projects in Oxford to combat climate change! Here are a few details about eco-friendly products we sell in Boswells, our 1738 Tearoom and Broad Street Cafe.

ECO CHIC

Eco Chic creates simple, reusable and hard-wearing accessories that work for you and have the planet in mind. 
Made from environmentally friendly materials, their products are designed to help you make little changes to reduce waste and fight against throw away culture. Their bags and accessories are not only environmentally friendly but also are practical solutions that you will love. 

HUG RUG WOVEN

We have a wonderful range of planet friendly rugs, throws and cushions. So super soft it’s hard to believe they are made from recycled plastic bottles! Resistant to stains, mould mildew and moths, ideal for indoor or outdoor use and they are washable – Amazing! 

SAMSONITE ECO

A fantastic range by esteemed brand Samsonite with luggage made almost entirely of plastic bottles and recycled materials! Perfect for those trips abroad – designed to help the planet, built to travel across it. 

STEEL STRAWS

These steel straws are all the craze at the moment, carry one with you and help make plastic straws a thing of the past! They’re easy to clean and so on-trend in their range of metallic colours. Try putting one in the freezer to enjoy even cooler summer drinks!

 

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CIDER AND LAGER

We stock two wonderful BumbleBee Ciders and a Chadlington Brewery Lager in our 1738 Tearoom; both are created locally, in Oxfordshire by companies who are passionate about protecting the environment. Chadlington Brewery ‘work to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible’ when making their lagers by using Oxfordshire spring water, heated with renewable sources and the spent grains of their English hops and malt are used for animal feed on Oxfordshire and surrounding counties’ farms. With BumbleBee Ciders their ethos is in their name, they are actively playing their part in reversing the decline of the bumblebee species through supporting their conservation. Their passion for this stems from the bumblebees being the chief pollinators of the Somerset bittersweet cider apples, sourced from British farms and orchards, which makes the products taste so good. 

VEGAN TREATS

We offer a range of yummy vegan cakes and pastries. A personal favourite is the Valrhona Chocolate cake but there’s a wide variety if chocolate isn’t your thing. Be sure to treat yourself this Green week, or whenever!

 

COFFEE

Our Broad Street Café features some top quality beverages at great prices. All of our coffees are made with eco-friendly triple certified coffee beans! The triple certification means the coffee is organic, fairtrade and rainforest alliance certified. Our Broad Street Café is right on the door of Oxford’s Big Green Day out so make sure to drop in if you’re on Broad Street this weekend or any other time… coffee is always a good idea!

RECYCLABLE CUPS 

Last but not least, our Broad Street Café uses Vegware compostable cups for all hot drinks to help reduce the plastic waste that cafés often produce. To go one better we offer a 25p saving on all hot drinks if you bring your own reusable cup for us to put it in, if you don’t have a reusable cup yet we sell a wide range of those too. 

We hope that you enjoy Oxford Green Week and we look forward to seeing you in store to show you even more eco-friendly products that we sell! 

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31st May 2019

Bank Holiday Weekend

Bank Holiday Weekend

We had a great weekend launching our new book, The Boswells Connection.

Six out of the seven authors of the book joined us in the main store window to meet with readers and sign their copies of the book. One lady waited patiently before we began to be the very first customer. She’s been shopping at Boswells since 1975 and had two books signed, one for her and one for her daughter.

It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with some of our customers and hear their stories about the store. Another lady reminisced on getting the one daily bus to Oxford from Woodstock as a child for a shopping trip with her granny, Boswells sold a game called "Pass the Pig" which she remembers playing – and we still sell it now!

The toy department features in quite a few of the stories in The Boswells Connection. It’s not too late to get your own copy and read them for yourself, pick up a copy for our Gift Department or one of the till points today.

That’s not all that went on over the weekend; we had a magician in toys and competitions on all floors. Luggage had a map for customers to guess our holiday destination. One lucky man picked exactly right, we were dreaming of heading off to Malta. In the Lower Ground Floor we had a lucky dip of envelopes; it was one lady’s lucky day when she selected the winning one first thing in the morning!

We had a lot of fun, we hope you did too if you had a chance to join us. Make sure to keep an eye on our social media and website to hear of other events we have coming up!

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24th May 2019

'The Boswells Connection'... The Trouble with You

'The Boswells Connection'... The Trouble with You
Tomorrow is the launch of ‘The Boswells Connection’ a book of fictional stories linked to Boswells written by Oxford Inc, a group of writers who compile stories around a common theme. Join us in store tomorrow, 25th May, between 11am – 2pm to meet some of the authors behind the project and to have them sign your copy of the book (which must have been purchased in Boswells). We have lots of other events planned for the weekend too so join our mailing list or follow us on social media to keep updated.
 
This excerpt is from a story by Karen Gray; Karen has lived and worked in Belgium, France and Egypt at various times and moved to a village outside Oxford 12 years ago. Some of her previously published stories reflected life in other places but all had an insight into family lives. She discovered Boswells while exploring Oxford and this time she writes close to home. Boswells Tea Room and particularly the toy department with its appropriately decorated lift doors reminded Karen of her (now grown) three sons and the cubic metre of Lego they left behind with her. She couldn’t resist the chance to imagine a visit by three generations of one family with consequences that many will recognise in The Trouble with You – and it may not all be fiction!
 

The Trouble with You

Karen Gray

We don’t usually go on a Wednesday. That’s because I go to school now, and Mum is working. But today is different. Today is half-term and a special day.

When we get to Gramps’s house, Mum goes in to get him and I stay in the car with Abi, as usual. ‘I’ll be two minutes,’ she says. She always says that. It’s never two minutes.

I wasn’t sure about my little sister when she was born but I’ve got used to her now. She doesn’t look like me. She’s blonde and makes funny faces. Gramps says she’s a real cutie, she ought to be on telly, advertising babies’ nappies. She’s good at pooey ones, Mum says. When we take her out, lots of people smile at her and ask what her name is. It’s Abigail but we call her Abi for short. She looks cute but she’s never still unless she’s asleep. ‘Old fidget bottom,’ Gramps calls her. Mum says she’s dreading the day Abi starts crawling.

While we wait for Mum and Gramps to come out I begin to count out loud, as usual. 1, 2, 3... Abi listens for a bit, then starts straining at the straps of her baby seat and kicks her legs. 10,11. I get one of the soft toys out of the bag Mum keeps in the car and wave it at her. She stops kicking and grabs it. I start counting again but she soon throws her toy down onto the floor of the car where I can’t reach it because I’m still strapped in my seat. 17, 18... I hold out another one and Abi bashes it out of my hand. 20. Where’s Mum? I wish she and Gramps would hurry up. By the time I’ve counted to 31, the toy bag is empty and Abi is beginning to scream. She’s not so cute when she screams.

At last, Mum follows Gramps out of his house. It’s only as wide as one door and one window before the next house starts. On the window sill there’s a droopy green plant. It used to have red flowers.

‘Have you got your key, Dad?’

‘Of course I’ve got my key!’ He pats his coat pocket. ‘You don’t need to ask me every time! The trouble with you is you fuss too much.’ Mum bangs the front door shut, comes to hold the car door open and waits while Gramps drops down onto the passenger seat, bottom first. He glares into the back of the car at Abi,

‘What’s all that noise about?’

She stops screaming and stares back at him. Gramps swings his right leg into the car, grunts, then lifts his left leg with both hands and heaves it in alongside the other one. Another grunt. Mum is watching.

‘Alright, Dad?’ He ignores her and she shuts the car door. She gets in on her side, starts the engine and asks, ‘Boswells as usual? Or do you want to try somewhere different today as it’s your birthday?’

‘Why would I want to do that? Bloody silly idea.’

After we’ve parked the car with Gramps’s special sticker and gone into the shop we find a lady with a purpley-blue scarf and a shopping trolley waiting for the lift. She says she’s not in a hurry and lets us go ahead of her. Even Gramps says thank you. He gets in the lift with Abi in the buggy, as usual, taking up all the room because the lift isn’t very big. Mum and I go up the stairs, as quick as we can, and meet them outside the lift on the next floor up. We go round the corner into the café, find an empty table and a highchair, then Mum settles us at the table and sits down herself… 

We hope you've enjoyed reading this little teaser. If you're tempted to read the rest and all the other stories, do come in store to get your own copy of the book!

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16th May 2019

'The Boswells Connection'... Recovery

'The Boswells Connection'... Recovery

One week to go until the launch of ‘The Boswells Connection’ a book of fictional stories linked to Boswells written by Oxford Inc, a group of writers who compile stories around a common theme. Join us in store next Saturday 25th May between 11am – 2pm to meet four of the authors behind the project and to have them sign your copy of the book (which must have been purchased in Boswells). We have lots of other events planned for that weekend too so join our mailing list or follow us on social media to keep updated.

Seeing as May is ‘Share a Story Month’ we’re posting the start of a couple of the stories to give you a taste of what’s to come. We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

 

Recovery

Annie Winter

As Julie turned into the next aisle of the toy department, the large bag hanging from her shoulder sent a display of novelty balls flying. Mortified, she scrabbled around on the floor to retrieve them as they rolled energetically away. Another woman shopper squatted down to help and between them they managed to retrieve the escaped balls and load them back into their container, by which time a sales assistant had arrived.

‘Thanks so much for helping,’ Julie said. ‘I feel such an idiot.’

‘Don’t worry,’ the woman replied. ‘We’ve all done it.’

‘That’s so kind of you,’ said Julie. ‘Can I buy you a cup of tea as a thank you?’ She felt drawn to her rescuer’s warm smile and the friendly interest in her eyes. She was wearing an elegant green jacket which matched them.

‘Well, that would be very nice, but’ looking at her watch, ‘I have to be at the bus station in five minutes to meet my children. It was nothing, really.’ And with a kindly wave, she shot off down the stairs.

Julie was in the shop to choose a present for her small nephew’s birthday. She loved the toy department. For much of her married life it had been the best – and lately just about the only – toyshop in Oxford. It was full of memories of her children’s lives; the cuddly toys, the Lego, the shelves crammed with everything a child could possibly wish for. Now they were grumping their way into adolescence and were too cool for old fashioned things like toys – screens were all they seemed interested in these days.

After she’d chosen and paid for the present, Julie went into the tea room and looked around for a free table. It was Saturday afternoon and the café was full. Julie didn’t feel like having to exchange pleasantries with a total stranger, but there wasn’t much choice if she was to get a seat at all. Ah! There was someone leaving a table in the corner so she made a swoop towards it, just seeing off a couple of middle aged women who had also been hovering.

While waiting to give her order, she tried not to feel tempted to get out her phone and pretend to the outside world that she had a million emails to answer and lots of games to play. So, she sat and looked pensively into the middle distance until the waitress came. As she waited for her Earl Grey and chocolate brownie to arrive, a flood of painful thoughts seeped into her mind and her eyes filled with tears. The weekends the children went to their father seemed to stretch out forever. She tried to take part in outings and trips with her friends to fill the gap, but with most of them she felt their paths were diverging. What she was experiencing as a single mother, soon to be divorced, bore little resemblance to their comfortable, even smug, existence in couples. She had tried joining things but it was difficult to get out in the evenings, and at the weekends when she did have the children she wanted to be with them.

It was nearly two years since Ted had left…

If you’re tempted to know the ending and read the other varied stories then make sure to get your hands on a copy of the book!!

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10th May 2019

'The Boswells Connection'... Two Thinkers

'The Boswells Connection'... Two Thinkers

On Saturday 25th May we’ll be launching a book of fictional stories linked to Boswells written by Oxford Inc, a group of writers who compile stories around a common theme. Seeing as May is ‘Share a Story Month’ we’re posting the start of a couple of the stories over the next few weeks to give you a taste of what’s to come.

We hope you enjoy them!

If you’re tempted to know the ending and read the other varied stories then do come into store and purchase a copy of the book from Saturday 25th May. Four of the authors, including Geoff Bremble whose story is below, will be with us from 11am to 2pm on the Saturday to sign your copies of the book. We have lots of other events planned for that weekend too so join our mailing list or follow us on social media to keep updated.

 

Two Thinkers

Geoff Bremble

8 June 1933, Oxford

It was late morning and the professor had at last completed the final draft of the lecture he was to give at Rhodes House. He was staying in rooms in Christchurch and had developed the habit of taking a walk along Cornmarket Street at around midday. He was in the company of James Harvey who had been assigned by the University to look after his needs during his stay in Oxford. They were now in the first-floor restaurant in Boswells department store looking out onto Broad Street and across to Saint Mary Magdalen church. Over the last few days he had observed a rough looking man walking with a distinct limp towards him past the church and pulling a small trolley. Its contents were covered by a well-used tarpaulin and, strapped to the trolley, were a couple of long rods both of which had at one end some sort of net.

‘James, see zat man down there, pulling zat trolley. He’s been doing zat at ze same time each day we’ve been here. Any idea why?’ the professor said in a deep guttural voice.

James Harvey leaned over and looked out, ‘He’s a fisherman on his way to the river. I know him, poor chap. He lost a leg in the Great War and has never really recovered from his ordeal. But nice enough.’

‘I vould like to go and vatch him fishing. Vould zat be alright?’

‘Well you’ve nothing fixed for the rest of today, so why not follow him. But don’t disturb him or you might get a mouthful.’

‘A mouthful? I don’t understand.’

‘You will when you get it,’ laughed Mr Harvey standing up, ‘quick, you had better go or you’ll lose him.’

The professor went down the stairs out onto Broad Street and, from a distance, followed the man down George Street. After about ten minutes and having reached Hythe Bridge he paused for a few moments to take in the feverish activity on the Canal Wharf to his left. There were barges lined up on the canal waiting for their turn to offload their goods before turning round to make the return journey north. Further beyond he could see the outline of Castle Hill which he had visited a few days earlier.  After a moment or two he continued over the bridge, crossing the canal and the river Isis. It was then that he nearly lost sight of the fisherman but, looking to the right, he spotted him 50 yards or so along Upper Fisher Row starting to set up his equipment for the task ahead. After about ten

minutes the man was ready and seated on the river bank. The professor watched as he flicked the baited hook upstream before allowing it to float slowly back towards him only to flick it back up once more. Eventually a fish took a bite causing the line to tighten as it made attempts to escape. The fisherman, engrossed in what he was doing, quietly reeled his catch to the bank manoeuvring it into his catching net and then in to the holding net. He began to re-bait the hook and the professor, seeing his opportunity, stepped down from the bridge and walked towards him.

We hope you're as excited as we are! 'The Boswells Connection' out on the 25th May...

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11th April 2019

Our Guide To An Unforgettable Easter Egg Hunt!

Our Guide To An Unforgettable Easter Egg Hunt!

Our Guide To An Unforgettable Easter Egg Hunt!

A hunt is no fun if all it takes is the ability to spot the brightly coloured Easter egg basket sitting on top of the fridge and the pile of coloured eggs scattered around the living room. It’s also no fun if it requires the detective skills of Sherlock Holmes and the combination to a padlock. Basically what we’re saying is follow the Goldie Locks rule: not too easy, not too hard, but just right. 

Easter egg hunts should stretch the imagination of your children and make them work for the delicious reward of chocolate bunnies & sugary Peeps. This year, try out one of these themed ideas and make Easter a holiday challenges the mind, works out the body and, of course, satisfies the taste buds!

Dusk Hunt

We’ve heard of the glow-in-the-dark egg hunts, but how about a dusk hunt! It will still be light enough to keep track of the kids, but dark enough that you can give them flashlights and let them go exploring. 

  • Make the game harder with flashlight tag – If a kid is tagged by an adult they must wait five seconds before continuing to search.
  • Make only some eggs that glow in the dark – For a group of all ages, make glow-in-the-dark eggs for the younger kids and require the older kids to search out the regular eggs, this allows for the younger kids to feel like they’ve won, too!

Mini-Game Challenges Theme

It’s no secret that it takes more time to set up an Easter egg hunt than it does for the kids to find and consume the goodies in the eggs. They’re often done and asking for more before you even have time to snap the pictures. This year, extend the hunt with mini-games designed to even the odds of finding eggs between the age groups and allow the kids to have even more fun than usual!

  • Have each game coincide with a school subject: math, science, english, etc. Make them age appropriate questions, then they can continue searching. Ex: fifth graders can only answer fifth grade level questions.
  • Have games require teamwork. Use puzzles, team building activities, quizzes, all games that compel kids to work together before they can continue searching for eggs. Make sure every enough eggs for everyone to feel like they’ve won!

Crack the Code Theme

Add a little mystery to your hunt. Turn your egg hunters into super spies with codes to crack on their way to finding the treasure! It will not only be fun for the kids, but will be stimulate their minds before all the sugar.

  • Provide clues throughout the day that will help them locate the egg stash. Use easy-to-crack codes, magnifying glasses, and backwards writing to challenge the kids. This can be as simple or intricate as you’d like.
  • Provide costumes! If you give the kids glasses, magnifying glasses, and other spy gear it can give the kids the full spy experience and make it truly memorable.
  • Give each child participating one key to deciphering where the eggs can be found. Have them work together to solve each piece of the puzzle and reveal the hidden location of the eggs.

Arts & Crafts Theme

Let’s face it, parents go through a lot of early morning work hiding those eggs, and store bought plastic eggs do not come cheap! Encourage your kids to get involved by letting your kids decorate the eggs themselves; you can even have the older kids hide eggs for the younger ones so they feel a bigger part of the action.

  • Don’t use eggs! Use found items like cardboard boxes, plastic cups, old soda bottles, anything the kids can decorate to hide the eggs and save you some money.
  • Have kids make eggs for each other. Pair up the kids and let them decorate eggs for their partner, they can make them as specific to the kid as they want. Each child will feel special and they will get to show off their artistic skills too!
  • Once the kids find all their eggs, give them a colouring worksheet and have them colour the eggs on the page as they are in front of them. Hang the coloured pages up on the wall so you can all remember the great Easter you had!
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29th March 2019

Mother's Day Weekend Itinerary Suggestions!

Mother's Day Weekend Itinerary Suggestions!

Stuck for ideas this Mother’s Day weekend? We hope that these suggestions for our fellow Oxonians might just be the perfect timeline combination!

Saturday night why not go to the award winning, 40 year long running performance at the New Theatre Oxford of The Rocky Horror Show! Directed by Christopher Luscombe and featuring timeless classics, including Sweet Transvestite, Damn it Janet, and of course, the pelvic-thrusting Time Warp, The Rocky Horror Show is the story of two squeaky clean college kids - Brad and his fiancée Janet. When by a twist of fate, their car breaks down outside a creepy mansion whilst on their way to visit their former college professor, they meet the charismatic Dr Frank’n’Furter. Safe to say it’s an adventure they’ll never forget and definitely a great pre-Mother’s Day evening outing!...

So Sunday means Mother’s Day has arrived, you might have gone to the Rocky Horror Show or done your own thing, either way I’m sure mum is getting hungry! How about Sunday lunch in our very own marvellous 1738 Tearoom for a sandwich and a bit of cake? Our delicious selection of food and beverages are sure to keep mum feeling happy!

Sunday evening there’s only one place we want to go to… The Sunday Afternoon Social at Tap Social Movement in Botley is the perfect chill out location for the whole family! It even says in their Facebook event ‘Bring the kids, bring the dog’! Founded in 2016, Tap Social Movement grew out of a passion for good beer and social justice. We are a craft brewery which provides training courses for people serving prison sentences, offering courses in brewing and business start-up, and providing one-on-one support in securing permanent employment to assist in effective rehabilitation. A valiant cause with delicious drinks to enjoy with mum!

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