Tag Archives: shop local

Review: Creamline Best of Local Box delivered to your door

Over the years we’ve tried all kinds of veg box schemes. We’ve tried those recipe boxes and we’ve had a milkman, then no milkman because the local diary closed, now we have another milkman because another dairy opened. Getting food delivered to the door isn’t just convenient, with the Creamline Best of Local Box scheme, you can get brilliant locally produced food from independent producers delivered to your door.

Review: Creamline Best of Local Box delivered to your door

I live in South Manchester and I was asked to give the Best of local Box a try. Where I can I do try to shop local, and I buy directly from a number of the Best of Local suppliers on a regular basis. I knew that the contents of the box would be of a really high standard, but would it be more expensive?

The Creamline website it really simple to use. Just browse and add to your basket the products you want delivered, choose your delivery day, pay and then wait for the knock on the door.

Review: Creamline Best of Local Box delivered to your door

I had a good look and what was on offer, then meal planned around that. I was excited that there was a baker, something we don’t really have locally anymore; so I did go a bit wild when ordering bakery products.

Here’s my order for my first box…

Review: Creamline Best of Local Box delivered to your door

The meat products are what I usually buy from the butchers who supply Creamline anyway. The meat were the most expensive part of my order; we ate some straight away and I put the rest in the freezer for another day. I always think it’s better to buy good quality meat and eat a little less of it, than cheap, low quality meat.

The bread, rolls and bakes were incredibly quality. I’m so used to bland supermarket bread that just some toast made with the bloomer was a real treat. If you order the Best of Local Box, them it’s well worth stocking up on this gorgeous bread. I can also highly (HIGHLY) recommend the millionaires flapjack, which was superb.

The fruit and veg come daily from Manchester’s Smithfield Market. It was as fresh as could be. The watermelon lasted for ages and made one boy very happy (watermelon is his favourite thing).

I really loved my Creamline Best of Local Box. I knew everything was made within a few miles of my home, by local people who really care about the quality of what they produce. It’s exactly the kind of thing I would order and will order in the future.

Review: Creamline Best of Local Box delivered to your door

I think that sometimes when you order a food box, you’re not really sure where the food has come from and what kind of quality it will be. I already shop with a number of the shops who supply the Creamline Best of Local boxes; so it’s just a more convenient way for me to shop, without the bother of carrying it home. It’s delivered to my door, well packed, free of charge and by a cheery person.

The box is no more expensive that going from local shop to local shop. It’s great quality and I feel like I’m still doing my “shop local” bit to help my high street.

They’ve even got a discount code on their website right now if you want to try it out for yourself!

For more information about the Best of Local Box, visit the Creamline website.

We reviewed the Creamline fruit and veg box a few years ago, you can read about that here.

Disclosure: I was given a Creamline Best of Local box for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

Confessions from the Toy Shop

This December I have been busy working in my local independent toy shop. A friend owns it and she promised me coffee and some wages if I helped her out. I like both of those things, so I cheerfully snapped her hand off.

The toy shop in question is a lovely establishment, packed full of gorgeous toys and games. Not a behemoth the size of ten football pitches; like Sodom and Gomorrah but with Barbie dolls and LEGO. It’s thankfully very different to that, it is an incredibly pleasant place to shop and work (there’s coffee, remember) and I’ve enjoyed my time at the tills immensely.

Now follows some thoughts and observations from my time in a toy shop during the busiest toy selling month of the year…

A fairly obvious one to start; the most successful shoppers are the organised ones. Those who come with a list of things they’ve already checked out on the website, or phoned ahead and we’ve put it to one side for them. You’re awesome, we love you. We love the lady who had everything listed on a spreadsheet. We love the “combat shoppers” who come in, blitz the shop and get all their shopping over and done with in half an hour. You wonderfully organised people, we salute you!

If you’re buying for someone else’s child it helps to have a vague idea of what they’re into. If they’re four and into pirates we can sort you out. If they’re four and you have absolutely no clue, we give it our best guess, but half an idea is a starting point.

If you want a really big expensive item like a train table or a dolls house we might have to order that in especially for you.  This can’t happen on Christmas Eve. I’m sorry.

We love the people who appreciate our collection of silly seasonal hats, antlers and elf ears. Sadly we don’t sell them, but feel free to make me an offer I can’t refuse.

We’re small and local and that makes us chatty and friendly and a bit above and beyond helpful. Yes I am sorry that I wrap presents so slowly, but just look at it, it’s a work of art!

Approximately 99.9% of the customers are very lovely. It’s a toy shop, we sell happy things in packages. There’s no grumpiness or snark, no shouting or fighting over the last Furby (we don’t sell them anyway), it’s just an incredibly nice place to work.

Working in a toy shop in December has been hard work, but so much fun. I’ve met some lovely people; cooed over tiny babies, given reindeer food to toddlers, chatted dinosaurs, scooters and slime with children. Hidden vast packages under the counter for parents on a Christmas mission. I’ve wrapped, packed and taped presents, curled ribbon, priced up a thousand items, made hundreds of cups of coffee and loved every minute of the most fun job I’ve ever had in my life.

If you ever needed a reason to shop locally or pop into your local independent toy shop, then if it’s that brilliant just working there, then it can’t be a bad place to shop either.

toy shop

Small Business Saturday 2014 – What’s On in Didsbury

This years Small Business Saturday falls on 6th December 2014. It’s a day to celebrate our local small businesses, online shops and independent stars of the high street. Living and working in Didsbury, I know just how lucky I am to have so many fantastic local independent shops within a few minutes of my house.

Didsbury is an amazing place, it always has been and for that to continue, we need to support and celebrate local business. So this Saturday, just a few short shopping weeks from Christmas, I urge you to show your local high street some love.

small business saturday

In Didsbury, a small, adorable suburb of Manchester, there seems to be plenty going on for Small Business Saturday 2014. I’ve picked a few highlights for your shopping pleasure…

Giddy Goat Toys (Albert Hill Street) – Free Christmas wrapping and the usual friendly and helpful service.

Airyfairy Cake Boutique (School Lane) – 15% off all shop stock, eat in or take out.

Wheildons Butchers (Queensway) – 10% off meat, fruit, vegetables & groceries when you spend over £10.

Warburton Street – Join Harriet & Dee, Ashley Brown, Morten’s Bookshop etc for a festive street party – with live music, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and festive fun. Definitely worth swinging by.

Taste of Honey (Burton Road, West Didsbury) – Christmas cheese and chutney tasting.

Didsbury Physio (Warburton Street) – Mince pies for all clinic visitors on Small Business Saturday.

Carrington’s (Wilmslow Road) – Samples of Russian vodkas to try and maybe buy.

Maclure Barbers (School Lane) – A “winter spice” scalp cleanse with every haircut.

Beaver Road School – It’s their School Fair, so why not swing by and sit on Santa’s knee; there will also be games, food, choirs, bands and about 700 excited children!

As well as all that, Didsbury Traders have launched a Children’s Christmas Trail. Local children are encouraged to go with their parents around local, independent businesses to collect stickers and ultimately win a prize. Participating shops include Sew-In, Harriet & Dee, HealthySpirit, A Sweet Thought, FreshSave, Nest, Morten’s Bookshop, Airyfairy Cake Boutique, Refresh Bakery and Giddy Goat Toys. Pick up a leaflet from participating shops.

small business saturday

Small Business Saturday will also see the launch of new 2015  TAG Cards which can get you discounts and offers in a range of businesses in South Manchester.

There’s lots going on in your local shops and businesses this Christmas, and all year round too. Local independents tend to go the extra mile to make shopping with them an interesting, personal experience. So show your local shops a bit of love and help support your community this Small Business Saturday.

Shop Local #SmallBizSatUK

photo (11)Today (Saturday 7th of December) is Small Business Saturday. We shouldn’t need it, and to my mind it’s a sad indictment of our nations shopping habits; but today is a day when we’re all encouraged to shop local and indeed celebrate our brilliant local shops. I’ve previously blogged about how much I love my local high street and feel I need to get behind this day of days too.

For some that’ll be hugely difficult; the enormous behemoth out of town shopping centres will have rendered their high streets barren and their shops boarded up and empty.

I know how hard it can be to make the effort to shop local, especially as Christmas approaches and it’s really tempting to just go to a huge megastore and heap everything into a trolley and have done with it. I used to do that, but the last few years, I’ve preferred to spend my money locally in the knowledge that I’m helping to provide local jobs and support businesses in my community.

Did you know that for every £100 spent in local independent shops around £48 is ploughed back into your community, whereas for huge supermarkets and the like, it’s only £13.

Warburton Street, Didsbury

Warburton Street, Didsbury

For the lucky folk of south Manchester, in particular the good people of Didsbury we are blessed with some amazing independent shops and businesses. I know a few local shops have embraced the day, here’s what I’ve garnered from Twitter, Google and local gossip.

  • Giddy Goat Toys – Mince pies, stollen cake, Kids Lucky Dip, your fave Christmas tunes playing & some very awesome toys
  • Airyfairy Cupcakes – A free cupcake with any purchase, open 10am-5pm
  • The Flower Lounge – A free gift for customers visiting the shop on Saturday
  • Harriet & Dee – A free gift with every purchase as a thank you to thier lovely customers

I urge you to shop local, especially this Christmas. It’ll give you a nice warm, fuzzy feeling, I promise.

Why I Support My Local High Street

I’ve just been for a walk around my village, a place I’ve lived all my life. I popped into a few shops, I’ve stocked up my cupboards and started my Christmas shopping (eek). I love Didsbury with it’s strong community spirit and it’s great independent shops and businesses.

Didsbury is a suburb of Manchester divided into three parts, East, West and the Village. There aren’t many shops in East Didsbury, a small smattering maybe, but Didsbury village and Burton Road in West Didsbury are buzzing with independent shops and businesses. I think this makes the area so unique and vibrant.

I live in Didsbury village and my favourite shops, in no particular order are:

These are all fantastic local businesses which I make a very special effort to support. I’m married to a local businessman and I know how badly the economic downturn has affected local businesses. We try where possible to shop local and now I’m at home all day I can happily while away a few hours doing my shopping and having coffee somewhere lovely. I know that is a luxury that not everyone can enjoy.

Wherever you live can I urge you to support your local shops and businesses. Yes the big chains have their place, but if you shop locally then you’re essentially supporting your community. You’re making it an interesting, vibrant place, you’re helping to support businesses which employ local people, you’re reinvesting in your town. Most of all, you do get a nice warm fuzzy feeling from shopping locally and you’ll more than likely pick up some bargains too.

What’s your town like? Is it buzzing or does Mary Portas need to step in? Do you shop locally or are you supermarket mad? I’d love to know what you think.

Note: I’ve not been paid to write this post, I just really love my local shops!