Boswells Blog

15th March 2019

Early Mother's Day DIY Gift Ideas

Early Mother's Day DIY Gift Ideas

Knowing what to get your mum on Mother's Day is never easy. You could play it safe with chocolates or flowers or try something a bit different that you’ve done yourself. We've rounded up a handful of gifts that fall into the latter category. They might not be for everyone, but they'll definitely surprise and hopefully delight! Remember, Mother's Day 2019 falls on March 31 so you've still got a bit of time to please that special woman in your life.

Coconut Rose Body Polish

Pamper mom this Christmas with a jar of this luxurious DIY body polish. It is made using coconut oil, Himalayan pink salt, sugar and a couple of essential oils which lend a beautiful aroma. Make your way over to Boxwood Avenue to find out all the details of this lovely polish.

Etched Wooden Spoons

If your mom loves to cook, you might consider making her a set of these gorgeous wooden spoons. Begin with plain wooden utensils, then get a basic wood burning kit to customize them with your designs. Head on over to Design Mom to check out the full tutorial.

Floral Embroidery Gift

If your mom loves floral motifs, give this fun DIY project a try. Begin with the free printable, and then add your own embroidery to give it a personal touch. Head on over to the colourful blog Sarah Hearts to check out all the instructions for this creative gift.

Printable Wall Art

If mom loves hanging art on her wall, then she’s sure to love this pretty floral print that has a fun quote – “Home is where Mom is.” And best of all, it’s free! Just print it out and pop it in a frame. Head on over to The Kiwi In The Clouds to download the printable file.

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1st March 2019

Pancake Day Recipe!

Pancake Day Recipe!

Shrove Tuesday is less than a week away.

Traditionally it was all about emptying the cupboards of fattening ingredients in preparation for fasting through Lent. Shrove Tuesday would have been the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients. In more recent times even those that don’t fast consider the day as an excuse for a pancake feast.

So, whether you can make perfect pancakes or end up scraping batter off the ceiling, whether you’re a frying pan flipper or someone who carefully turns over with a spatula, whether you top with sweet or savory…  it’s time to get your frying pans at the ready!

Ingredients:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • Melted butter or oil for frying

Method:

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.

Next gradually add small quantities of the milk, still whisking. The batter should end up smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Now heat the oil or melt the butter in a pan, pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round before you make each pancake.

Now get the pan really hot, and then turn the heat down to medium. Ladle the batter and as soon as it hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. You can lift the edge with a spatula to see if its tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over and cook the other side for just a few seconds only - then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.

You can stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest. Or keep the plate in the oven on a low heat or re-heat in the microwave after making them all.

Serve with you favourite toppings!

Pancakes

If you’re feeling fancy you could use some of our metal cutters to make neat, shaped pancakes. Place the metal cutter in the pan, carefully spoon in the batter and once the first side looks cooked carefully remove the cutter (with tongs or oven gloves!) and flip the pancake to cook briefly on the other side.

Follow us on social media for more top pancake tips on Tuesday. 

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food

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14th February 2019

Half Term Happenings - February 2019

Half Term Happenings - February 2019

We know how difficult it can be keeping the kids entertained during the holidays, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite Oxford activities that both kids and adults will love.

Cotswold Wildlife Park

Rhinos, giraffes, meerkats and penguins might not be what you would usually expect to find in the Oxfordshire countryside but just outside of Burford you will find all these exotic animals and many more at the Cotswold Wildlife Park. With a huge range of animals spread out in the beautiful Cotswold gardens this is the perfect place to spend the day for both young and old.

With restaurants and cafés on site as well as a great adventure playground you really can spend the whole day exploring the Cotswold Wildlife Park.

www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk

Millets Farm Centre

Located just a short drive out of Oxford, the Millets Farm Centre is another family favourite. At its falconry centre for example you get a great chance to see over 80 different kind of birds of prey and they have some wonderful flying demonstrations and hands on experiences that are sure to make this a fun day out for all. At the Millets Farm Zoo, you can go say hello to farmyard favourites such as cows, pigs, sheep and horses not to mention they have some rather special alpacas too! While you're there why not also check out the farm shop and garden centre? 

This half term there are plenty of great activities going on at Millets Farm Centre for the kids to get stuck into, such as the Children's Jewellery Making Workshop and a magic show.

http://www.milletsfarmcentre.com/

Museum of Natural History

A firm Oxford favourite, the University Museum of Natural History is just as well known for its humongous Tyrannosaurus Rex as it is a case of tiny butterflies. There is always something exciting to see!

There are all sorts of family trails that you can download or pick up when you visit to guide you and your family around the museum collections. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of half term between 1 and 4pm there are activities running based on the current exhibition ‘Bacterial World’ and over the weekends there are Science Saturdays and Family Friendly Sundays to get you interacting with all the museum has to offer.

https://www.oumnh.ox.ac.uk/ 

  

 

Ashmolean Museum

One of our favourite Oxford museums, the Ashmolean has an extensive range of collections from across the ages, exploring art and archaeology. You can learn about ancient Egypt in one room and then have a look at Renaissance Italian art in another.

On the 20th and 21st February the Ashmolean are hosting a Chinese New Year celebration between 1 and 4pm which is something you don’t want to miss! Apart from being the oldest museum in the World, one of the amazing things about the Ashmolean is that it’s free to visit (excluding some exhibitions).Ashmolean Museum

www.ashmolean.org

The Oxfordshire Museum

This museum is dedicated to all things Oxfordshire! It holds a wide range of natural and social history collections and exhibits all related to our wonderful county. There are a range of hands-on sections which will draw the children and they offer trails, backpacks and explorer bags to lead you on your journey. As well as dressing up, puppets and a dinosaur garden.

On Tuesday and Thursday of half term there are family fun drop in sessions between 2-4pm based on the theme of tea.

https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/oxfordshiremuseum

Playhouse Theatre

Currently showing at the Oxford Playhouse is The Cat in the Hat, based on the much-loved book by Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat features feline frivolity aplenty, with his acrobatic accomplices Thing 1 and Thing 2. With riotous rhymes that have delighted children for over fifty years, infectious humour and spectacular circus for the grown-ups, this wonderfully anarchic show is the purrfect treat for all the family.

https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/

Oxford Castle

The Oxford Castle is a must for anyone visiting Oxford; you can explore the history in the Castle and Crypt, you can climb the mound or you can simply relax in one of the many restaurants. The Oxford Castle Unlocked experience is a great way to learn and have fun.

This half term bring your little ones along to the castle to try their luck at some amateur Archaeology on 18th, 20th, 22nd and 23rd February 2019 from 12-1pm. The event is one hour-long and activities will include a treasure hunt, fossil making and practicing the art of excavating itself! A perfect afternoon for children with an interest in history, or for just a bit of fun and to try something new!

 

Oxford Castle 

https://www.oxfordcastleandprison.co.uk/

Cutteslowe Park

Cutteslowe Park is the largest park in Oxford, spanning over 42 acres… so there are lots of opportunities for activity and adventure. Those with an adventurous spirit can pick up a map from the kiosk and go orienteering over the 18-control course, go geocaching and find hidden treasure or skate the concrete skate park with ramps, but if you’d rather relax then play some mini golf or feed the ducks and visit the butterfly house. There is always an opportunity for a picnic as well, if the weather allows it!

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/directory_record/363/cutteslowe_and_sunnymead_park

Oxford Spy Mission Treasure Trail

Time to roll up your sleeves! All of those with an adventurous spirit must try this self-guided spy-themed walking trail around Oxford City and Meadow. It takes about 2.5 hours to complete the 2.8 mile loop trail but you can go at your own pace.

All you need to do is download your Trail now for instant fun (or receive your copy in the post), solve the mission and learn about where you live or explore somewhere new. You’ll need to keep your wits about you, but just in case you get stuck - there is a text service with clues to help you out.

https://www.treasuretrails.co.uk/what-to-do/oxfordshire/oxford?dowtk_top_button

Didcot Railway Centre

The Didcot Railway Centre is a great place for visitors of a wide range of ages, after all you're never too young or too old to enjoy a ride on a steam engine. Located right by Didcot station, the Railway Centre is easy to get to, and easy to find. The Centre will be running their usual weekend Steam Days this half term, with two different lines open to take a trip along, and an impressive collection of locomotives and coaches to take a peek at. There should be plenty to keep the family occupied here, and you could also pick up a quiz and puzzle sheet for the kids.

During half term they're open on Wednesday 20th Feb for an extra Steam Day, so there's no need to miss out if your half term weekends are starting to look a little busy with all of the other exciting activities taking place.

http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/

We hope this gives you some inspiration for a wonderful week. Please do look at the location website before heading off to check opening times, prices, availability etc and avoid disappointments. Of course, if you can think of any more great Oxford activities that we've missed let us know!

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1st February 2019

Valentines Traditions Around The World

Valentines Traditions Around The World

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and with us being located in the heart of Oxford, a multi-cultural
city, we’ve been inspired to explore some of the traditions and ways to celebrate 14 th February from
around the world. We’ve covered all the continents and here are the most interesting rituals that
we’ve stumbled upon.


The place to start is the country which has really created the current set up for this modern day
holiday, the USA. They start celebrating young with students in school all exchanging cards with each
other. Couples exchange gifts of chocolates, sweets, flowers and cards. Their most popular ‘candy’ is
Conversation Hearts with messages like “Kiss Me” or “Be Mine”. Expectation generally sits with the
men more than women to deliver on this day.


Over in Asia it’s the opposite story. The Japanese and South Korean women are the ones who spoil
the subject of their affections on 14 th February with specific types of chocolate depending on their
relationship status. Then one month later on 14 th March, White Day is acknowledged in which the
original recipients are expected to return the favour by giving their loved ones gifts to two or three
times the value of the chocolates.


For Australian’s the focus is on giving beautiful Valentine’s cards. The origin of this tradition
apparently traces back to the gold rush in the Ballarat Mine in Victoria, somewhere around the mid-
nineteenth century. The surge in status and wealth of the miners caused it became tradition for
them to lavish their beloveds with extravagant cards, intricately designed and beautifully wrapped.

Whilst there are no permanent human occupants in Antarctica there are natives, it’s just that they’re
penguins! Although not exclusive to Valentine’s Day these birds have a special courtship ritual of the
male presenting the female with the significant and rare gift of a pebble. It’s significant because
Antarctic penguins make their nests out of pebbles and small rocks to protect them from the cold,
and rare because these are hard to find on the frozen, barren continent. If the female accepts this
generous gift they bond and mate for life. How romantic!

Celebrating for only one day is nowhere near passionate enough for Argentinians in South America.
Although they do recognise Valentine’s Day on 14 th February they also hold a festival of love called
‘Sweetness Week’ in July. As the name suggests it’s an entire week celebrating love, where kisses are
exchanged for sweets.

Anonymous love letters to crushes are a little too subtle for South Africans. They literally wear their
hearts on their sleeves on Valentine’s Day following the old-age Roman festival of Lupercalia. It is
customary for young girls pin the name of their love on their sleeve for all to see.

Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä in Finland, which means ‘Friend’s Day’. For anyone flying solo
that’s the place to be! It’s all about celebrating friendship, exchanging gifts of pink roses and cards
with the greeting ‘Happy Friend’s Day’ so no one needs to worry about feeling left out.

Here in England a historical tradition was for women to place five bay leaves on the corners and
middle of their pillows on the eve of Valentine’s Day. This was said to bring them dreams of their
future husbands. However, more recently our celebrations have fallen more in line with those in
America with gifts, cards and romantic meals.

So, there we go, options from all around the world to inspire you this Valentine’s Day. Whether you
plan to spend 14th February like the Argentinians and celebrate with your love for a week, like the
Finnish and gather all your best friends together for a fun evening or to create your own traditions
just remember to spread the love. After all, as the saying goes ‘it’s not love that makes the world go
around but it’s what makes the ride worthwhile’.

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27th December 2018

Discover the Incredible Story of the Woman who Gave Birth in Boswells Department Store

Discover the Incredible Story of the Woman who Gave Birth in Boswells Department Store

When a store is around for quite as long as Boswells has been, it starts to collect stories and memories of unexpected things that have happened through the centuries. If you like, Boswells’ history is a sort of tapestry of people and their stories. As our 280th year draws to a close, we thought we’d share one of our favourite of these stories with you, which took place 21 years ago this month.

The Birth

Toy Department Image

In December 1997 a baby girl, Malaika, was unexpectedly born here in store in what was, at the time, our ladies changing room. Her mother, Viviane, had been in labour earlier that day, but was sent home from the hospital as she was only 2 cm dilated. Viviane already had 3 boys and so was sceptical about being sent home so she stayed with a friend, Valerie, who needed to pop into Boswells to pick up some bits from our Haberdashery. Of course, it was at that point that things started to happen…

Viviane suddenly felt a strong urge to push, and her waters finally broke. This was in the days when Boswells had a Ladies Fashion Department and so she dashed into a nearby changing room. These used to stand where we now keep our Keel soft toys, just along the wall, next to the ramp between the 2 parts of our Toy Department. Luckily, Viviane was still wearing a nightie, bed socks and a jumper, as she’d been expecting to stay in hospital, so thankfully she was conveniently dressed to give birth.

The birth happened very quickly, with baby Malaika being born straight into the arms of Valerie. By this time, as you would hope, our staff had rather noticed that there was a woman screaming in labour in the changing rooms, and so they sprang into action. A first aider attended from our Pharmacy, and one of our current Buyers, Marie, remembers closing off the area to other customers and sending colleagues to quickly get towels. As Valerie caught Malaika, Marie told them the time of the birth.

Eeyore Toy Image

Our staff stayed with both mother and baby until the ambulance arrived to take them to the hospital, and Viviane tells us that the changing rooms were a good spot to wait, as it had a calming low-light. She fed her daughter for the first time while she waited.

By the time the ambulance had arrived the news had spread and Viviane remembers a crowd of well wishers from the staff and customers shouting congratulations and best wishes, which is rather a nice memory to have don't you think?

A few weeks later Viviane visited the store with baby Malaika and we gave them a stuffed Eeyore toy and a large teddy bear to mark the momentous occasion. Eeyore is still sround today and they kindly brought him in for a photo.

Catching Up with Viviane and Malaika in 2018

We recently sat down to a cup of tea and a scone with Viviane and Malaika in our 1738 Tea Room to get their thoughts on the whole experience, and life since then.

Viviane and Malika 2018

For Viviane, we discovered, the birth was rather dreamlike; a true WOW moment in her life. She told us that she enjoys talking about it and visiting the store as it makes it all feel more real—although Malaika is also good proof of the event. In fact, Malaika’s birth certificate actually has 1-4 Broad Street listed as her birthplace, giving her a permanent connection to Boswells, and us to her as well.

Malaika uses the fact that she was born in a shop as a conversational icebreaker and when she was little she used to tell all of her friends about it. She’s currently studying for a Geography degree at UCL and is thinking of doing a Masters, possibly on Climate Change or other Global impacts.

Viviane went on to get a BA in Contemporary Art & Music. She is now a professional artist and has since done a picture of the outside of Boswells. She has worked with international fashion designers and her postcards of drawings of Oxford Town Hall are sold in the Town Hall shop. She goes to art fairs and sells online. Both Viviane and Malaika have continued to shop at Boswells over the years. They both like living in Oxford and Viviane thinks she will always live here.

To mark Malaika’s 21st birthday this month, we gave her a special gift of a birthday afternoon tea in our Tea Room and a Boswells gift card worth £210 (see what we did there), which she plans to put towards items for a semester studying abroad this year, possibly a suitcase. Happy birthday, Malaika! We’re very proud to be a part of your story, and to have you as a part of ours!

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7th December 2018

How to Choose the Perfect Gift This Christmas

How to Choose the Perfect Gift This Christmas

‘Tis the season to give and receive gifts, and now that we’ve learned about the history and psychology behind our gifting practices it’s time to have a look at how you can choose presents that say the right thing. As you can remember from the previous blog post in this series, gifts carry significant meanings, so it’s important to stop and think about how your present may be received.

When considering what to give someone as a gift, first consider how much you know about them. Then you need to decide whether to go for something useful, if not too exciting (like socks) or something slightly more unexpected or luxurious that they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves.

 

The ‘Holy Grail’ of gifts is something that is both of these things - a present that is practical, but also a positive surprise that shows that you know the receiver well. An example of a gift like this could be a fancy stand mixer for someone who is a keen amateur baker, but can’t justify spending lots of money towards their hobby.

 

There are a few golden rules when it comes to choosing presents for the people we care about. These include getting creative and personal - you should strive to give them a gift that could only come from you. Pay attention to what the gift receiver often brings up - are they often complaining about how their laptop is getting old and slow? Or that they love collecting vintage handbags? Giving a gift that shows that you pay attention to what the receiver likes and needs shows how much they mean to you.

 

Feeling inspired? Check out the gift-giving matrix below from the original article by Activity Superstore for more ideas.

Activity Superstore Gift Giving Matrix Infographic Image

 

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30th November 2018

Why Do We Give Gifts?

Why Do We Give Gifts?

This week in our series on gift-giving practices we’re taking a look at different theories for why we give each other gifts. The practice of gifting is so common in modern society that most of us don’t think about why we do it, but when you dig a little deeper you’ll discover a number of reasons for this tradition. Sometimes culture dictates when gifts are given, like on birthdays and at Christmas, while at other times, they’re given simply to build and reinforce relationships.

 

Giving someone a gift is a strong way to communicate your appreciation for the receiver. Some sociologists argue that this is the reason why we only give gifts to people we want relationships with. Certain gifts can also carry significant symbolic meaning and are used as a way of communicating with the receiver. Take for example flowers and engagement rings and what these tokens of appreciation symbolise when given to a romantic partner.

 

According to sociologist, Dimitri Mortelmans, giving someone a present creates a debt in the relationship, meaning that something is expected in return. When giving a gift to reciprocate, giving something much less valuable is considered a sign that you don’t appreciate the relationship equally. On the other hand, giving a much more valuable gift can also be a faux pas as this can create an embarrassing imbalance in the relationship.

 

As you can see, giving gifts is far from a simple practice and you can discover even more theories for why we give gifts in the visual below and the original article by Activity Superstore.

Why We Give Gifts Infographic Activity Superstore

Types of Gifts Infographic Activity Superstore

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23rd November 2018

The History of Gift Giving

The History of Gift Giving

With December and the festive period fast approaching, many of us are looking for inspiration when it comes to finding the best, most unique gifts to give to our loved ones. To help you with this challenging task, we have three exciting blog posts to share with you on the psychology and history of giving gifts in the run-up to Christmas.

This week, we’ll be taking a look at the history of gifting. The practice seems to have been around for almost as long as human civilisation has existed, with cavemen giving each other unusually-shaped rocks and animal teeth to show their appreciation for each other.

In Ancient Egypt the deceased were given gifts to bring with them to the afterlife. These gifts were buried with the dead and consisted of everyday necessities such as bowls and food, with wealthier people also being buried with amulets, jewellery and other valuables.

In Medieval Europe, gifts were given to forge and strengthen social bonds. Dowries were a prominent example of this, with the father of the bride showering the groom with gifts such as land, money and livestock, amongst other things.

 

Have a look at the illustration below for some of the most famous gifts throughout history and come back next week for the next installment in our series on gift-giving with Activity Superstore - you can read their full article here.

Activity Superstore Infographic Psychology of Gifting History

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21st November 2018

The Top Toys to Look Out for this Christmas, 2018

The Top Toys to Look Out for this Christmas, 2018

Another Christmas is almost here! As exciting as that is, we all know that there’s a lot of preparation to go into the celebrations between now and then. And, with new toys appearing in the shops all the time, figuring out what will make the perfect gift for a special child can be a perplexing thing indeed. With that in mind, we’ve saved you some of the work and put together our predictions for which toys are going to be big this year.

Collectable Card Games

Yu-Gi-Oh! Mega Tin ImageYu-Gi-Oh! trading card game is a seasoned favourite. Keep an eye out for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Mega Tin set in the coming weeks, as these are proving popular already.

The tin comes with one of 2 designs on the cover of the tin, and inside you’ll find a selection of the past year’s cards, as well as some new surprises to keep things interesting.

Games

Hearing Things Game Image

Looking for some fun with the family this festive season? We think we might just have the game for you! Hearing Things is a fantastic new game that allows you plenty of opportunities to mildly embarrass yourself as you attempt to guess what phrases the family are saying to you, purely by lip reading. Pop on a pair of fetching looking speech cancelling headphones and try to decipher the phrase…it promises some good giggles as it really is harder than it sounds!

Fun with Science

Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty ImageOur science toy section always proves to be one of the busiest parts of the shop in the run up to Christmas. What better way to learn, after all, than through play! Last year it was all about the slime and, although that certainly hasn’t completely changed, we’re predicting putty to be huge this year. What’s the difference you ask? While slime has quite a runny consistency, putty is thicker, can be a bit more pliable and is definitely less likely to spill all over the floor!

We have some very special putties in stock at the moment, with Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty range offering weird and wonderful versions of this squashy toy. We particularly love the Cosmic Northern lights Thinking Putty, which has a tinge of aurora colours in it, but it also amazingly glows sky blue in the dark! Wowza!


Power Tracks ImageIf you’re looking for something less gooey, though, who doesn’t love a good remote-control toy to drive the family mad with on Christmas day? The Science Museum Heliball  is one of our favourites and can keep a wide age range amused. This flying remote control toy can detect when it’s near a surface and move away accordingly! 

Power Tracks also promises to bring lots of fun to the table this Christmas, as kid’s can get their first taste of programming, as they give commands to adorable robot, Volty, to move in whatever direction they choose! It’s a fantastic introduction to STEM, but also, who doesn’t love robots!

Interactive Electronic Toys

Little Live Pets Wrapples Image

Speaking of robots, you might want to take a peek at these new arrivals!

Pokibot is a tiny little robot, but packed with great features and functions that are bound to keep the kids entertained well beyond Christmas. You can record your voice and play it back, watch Pokibot dance and spin and move about and, rather impressively, if you have more than 1, the Pokibots will interact with each other!

You may have heard of Little Live Pets Wrapples recently, but might be wondering just what exactly these are… Wrapples are little electronic pets that you can wear on your wrist. They talk, sing, giggle and purr and are both a pet and a friend that children can keep by their side, wherever they are. They’re furry, friendly and even have light up eyes. We reckon that these are going to be a big hit this year, because of the cunning combination of cuteness and portability that these fuzzy little friends offer!

Harry Potter

Hermione Grainger Doll ImageAs you may very well have heard, 2018 marks 20 years of Harry Potter. Thankfully this has meant a mountain of amazing new Harry Potter toys! Here are a couple we predict being in high demand this Christmas…

Ah yes, what could be better than Harry Potter? Harry Potter LEGO®, of course! This amazing Hogwarts Great Hall set is made up of 878 pieces to help you to build the most iconic of buildings from the Harry Potter universe in your own home. We reckon this will bring a lot of joy to quite a few people’s Christmas’s!

Also released this year were the range of Harry Potter articulated dolls. These detailed character toys are poseable, so all those favourite scenes can be recreated through play, and new stories invented too! We think this 25cm Hermione Grainger doll looks pretty realistic!

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels Pack of 10 ImageA perennial favourite, Hot Wheels have proven popular for 50 years…well we’re impressed! This year, we’re delighted to introduce the 10 car pack, which is exactly as it sounds. Each pack comes with an assortment of cool little cars to send down ramps, round loop de loops and more than likely under furniture (rescuing them from the sofa is, of course, part of the fun!)

LOL Surprise

LOL Surprise Image

A new toy to the scene this time last year, LOL Surprise has stayed as big as ever. We think that the LOL Surprise Innovation Doll and the LOL Surprise Glam Glitter Doll are both ones to look out for this Christmas. The Innovation Doll contains a LOL surprise doll in disguise, waiting to have their true-identity discovered, while the Glam Glitter Doll brings a sparkly touch to things, which sounds about perfect for Christmas to us!

TY Flippables

TY Flippables ImageThe TY Flippables arrived at Boswells only a couple of weeks ago, and immediately started flying off the shelves. Although they’re selling extremely quickly, don’t worry, we do still have some of these adorable cuddlies ready for you to take home. If you don’t know what a TY Flippable is, think of a Beanie Boo that’s covered in reversable sequins! They’re cute, shiny, and lots of fun (well we had to have a play ourselves, of course, just to be sure…)

So, there you go, our predictions for some of the biggest toy hits this Christmas. We hope that you’re now feeling a little less daunted by the prospect of all that planning and shopping, but if you do still need a helping hand our staff are more than happy to help you to find that perfect gift. A very merry Christmas to you, from all of us at Boswells!

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16th November 2018

Preparing Your Kitchen for the Festive Family Season

Preparing Your Kitchen for the Festive Family Season

Image: Pexels

As the year draws to a close, the kitchen begins to become the epicentre of family festivities, big and small. Whether it’s a friend dropping by for their pressie and a brew, or the whole family calling in for a mammoth Christmas dinner, the social hustle and bustle of the festive season means your kitchen has to be fully prepared for every eventuality—luckily, we’re here to help.

Today, we’ll explore the many different ways you can ensure you’re ready to make this winter period one you’ll never forget.

Free Up Surface Space

Clutter is the Ebenezer Scrooge of the Christmas kitchen. Messy surfaces will inhibit both your cooking and hosting capabilities, so keep worktops and dining surfaces clear at all times to ensure nothing hinders the festive fun.

For those with a kitchen island, utilise the surface by making it a service space for all those tasty treats and snacks, served on a food display stand for functionality and cute festive aesthetics. For those kitchens without space for a central kitchen island, simply spread your special selection of snacks on a granite worktop that can be wiped down quickly and easily, lasting for many Christmases to come.

Maximise Your Storage

A great way to assist in the decluttering of your surface space is through maximising your available storage options.

Wall-mounted and tall storage cabinets offer effective utilisation of vertical space in smaller kitchens and can be used to store any additional plates and bowls that those rumbling festive tummies require.

There are plenty of food storage options available for all types of snacks, nibbles and delights - and you should invest in these ahead of time to ensure you can accommodate the somewhat dreaded, but all-important Christmas supermarket shop. Having plenty of storage capability will reduce the need to go back and forth to the shop throughout the festive period, meaning once the big shop is done you’re able to sit back and relax with a glass of mulled wine, assured that you’ve got enough food in to fill the bellies of family, friends, Santa and his reindeer.

 Christmas Cooking Image

 Image Credit: Unsplash

Accommodate Everyone

One of the most stressful parts of the festive season is trying to be an accommodating host to everyone. With everyone from the newborn nephew right up to Great Grandad Terry dropping by throughout the festive season, it’s important to plan ahead of time to ensure you’re fully equipped to suit all demands.

First, make sure your cupboards are well stocked with enough glassware to accommodate all the adults—after all, it’s not a festive celebration until the drinks start flowing! Ensure you’ve got mugs, tea cups and teapots for those laid-back, early-bird Christmas catch-ups, while investing in some plastic cups for those contrastingly crazy visits from the littlies.

The festive season is a unique opportunity to create long-lasting memories with family and friends, old and new. Following these tips will help you ensure your kitchen is fully prepped for the season ahead, meaning you spend less time worrying about your hosting capabilities and more time spending those precious festive moments with the ones who matter most.

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