After a dreary, rainy Monday the doorbell rang at 6pm and I was greeted with a delightful box of Pick ‘n’ Mix from the ‘The Bonbon Boys’ – turning a sour start to the day into a truly sweet evening!
Opening the box I actually let out an ‘oooooo’ as the colourful selection of sweets teased me from the blue tissue paper. And what a selection it was! I don’t even know where to begin, so I will start with a few of my favourites to get your tastebuds tingling. Fizzy Bubblegum Bottles, Rainbow Pencils and Watermelon Slices bursting with flavour. Classics, including Fried Eggs, Giant Strawberries and Super Shrimps. And my absolute favourites, Mega Jazzies, Pink & White Mice and Black & Raspberry Jellies.
It was such a shame my husband and toddler were present when the delivery arrived as it meant I had to, dare I say it, share! My little boy let out a squeal of delight when I let him try the Bumper Bananas and my husband said the Cookies & Cream fudge was ‘amazing.’ I then had to hide the box from their sticky fingers, as it was addressed to me after all!
These delicious sweets hit me with a wave of nostalgia. I remember the walk home from school with my mum, when she would give me 50p (£1 on special occasions), to spend at the local newsagents for a bag of Pick ‘n’ Mix. I used to literally run in there and smile from ear to ear as I carefully selected my bag of goodies to take home. Although, I had normally eaten them before I made it through the front door. The same can be said for ‘The Bonbon Boys‘, as on arrival I couldn’t help but try a few, even though dinner was only an hour away. The smell of these sweets alone is enough to tease anyone into tearing open the paper. With them open in the room, I felt like I was in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – they are absolutely delicious!
So who are ‘The Bonbon Boys‘? Kalem and Joe launched in June during lockdown, after the sale of traditional pick ‘n’ mix sweets were restricted, or suspended entirely by many shops due to the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, the boys have a sweet tooth and fondness for confectionary, so what better business to start, than one you love.
The sweets make a fantastic gift for special occasions, or if you fancy a truly epic feast for your weekend movie night. I will most definitely be ordering boxes for friends, family and myself, because let’s face it, everyone needs some sweetness in their life!
I received a box of ‘The Bonbon Boys Classics’ (priced at £10.95), but there is also a ‘Vegan’ and ‘Retro’ box to choose from. The boys are based locally in Bournemouth and delivery is free to most BH postcodes, but they also offer shipping all over the UK, with delivery starting from £3. Check out their website for details.
Charity, Dorset Mind, kindly gifted me a ‘Keep Being You’ box, to help promote the importance of Mental Health. Something very close to my heart.
Local Charity, Dorset Mind and their charity partner The Stable launched their ‘Keep Being You’ campaign back in January. They started gifting ‘Keep Being You’ boxes throughout Dorset to give locals a boost and to support better wellbeing within ourselves and those around us too.
I was delighted to be given one of these boxes, as mental health is a subject very close to my heart. In the past I have suffered from depression and I feel it is so important to speak to the people you love and let them know how you feel. This campaign is so impactful as it also promotes how we need to take time out for ourselves and to love who we are. You don’t have to change to fit in. You are you, and you are great!
It is always lovely receiving a gift and so I couldn’t wait to see what was inside my gift box, each one hand-packed by a member of Dorset Mind and The Stable. After opening the tissue paper, I slowly took out each item in turn and I immediately felt better. The box, hand-packed with care by Rob, contained a lovely recycled candle, a motivational calendar and Dorset Tea to enjoy with a friend or loved-one – a great way to encourage people to speak up and connect with people around us. One of my favourite items were the affirmations. Little cards with motivational statements such as ‘Make Today Ridiculously Amazing’, ‘Reach For The Stars. Believe in Yourself. You Can Do It’ and ‘It’s OK Not To Be OK. But Please Reach Out and Tell Someone.’ I will put these affirmations on my desk and whenever I am feeling low I will say them out loud. It may sound silly, but when you say things out loud and hear yourself saying them, it really does ignite something within you and make you feel better. I encourage you to try it. It works.
I am a new mum to my now 15 month old and it hasn’t been plain sailing. Motherhood is absolutely amazing and the best thing I have ever done but it is also the hardest. There have been times when my husband came home and found me crying. There have been times I have questioned whether I am a good mum to my son and why things don’t come naturally to me. I am lucky that I have a good support network – great friends and family and an extremely caring husband, who have got me through the tough times. My advice to anyone feeling down is to talk. Whether you pick up the phone, send a text, or speak to a charity like Dorset Mind. A problem shared really is a problem halved and no one will think any less of you for speaking up and expressing how you’re feeling. Also don’t doubt yourself. It’s human nature to compare yourself to others, whether it’s to other mums, colleagues, friends or people on social media. But you are unique. You are special. There is no-one else like you, so please don’t change and ‘Keep Being You’, because you are awesome!
These ‘Keep Being You’ boxes are a lovely way
of bringing the Dorset community together. Small acts of kindness go a long way
and so does positive thinking. I hope that all receivers of a box get as much
out of them as I have mine. My box has lifted my spirits and I wouldn’t be writing
this now if it hadn’t made an impact. So thank you, Dorset Mind and The Stable.
I was lucky enough to be invited to Pines and Needles in Bournemouth to pick a real Christmas Tree – such a lovely experience!
On Sunday 1st December, the first day of Advent, I was invited to Pines and Needles on Old Christchurch Road in Bournemouth to pick one of their real Christmas Trees.
My husband is the biggest Christmas fan EVER and he was so excited when we got there and saw the fantastic selection of Christmas Tress they had on display, ranging from small 2ft trees (from £24), all the way up to 12ft (£93)!
The company has been running since 1995 and hit the headlines in 2016 when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were spotted buying a 6ft tree from their Battersea branch in London. The company has grown and they now have over 20 stores operating in London and across the South, including Bournemouth – lucky us!
The trees are grown in sustainable plantations in Scotland and are hand pruned to create the ideal shape. When we arrived, the staff (very festive in Santa hats), were absolutely lovely and talked us through the different options available. We were looking at 6ft trees, but my husband was rather taken with a beautiful 7ft Nordmann Fir, which really did smell like Christmas! What’s great about the trees is the fact they are non-drop. We have a very inquisitive one-year-old and miniature dachshund, so not having to worry about needles on the floor and potentially in mouths is a real plus!
Now I had never seen a Christmas Tree Netting Machine before and I was most impressed! They simply pass the tree through a funnel made of galvanised steel and voila, you have one neatly wrapped and ready to go Christmas Tree, making it really easy to transport. Luckily our 7ft Nordmann fitted in our Honda, or my husband would have had a very long walk home!
You can also buy stands to go with your tree (prices start from £13 for a medium, up to £33 for extra large) and they also sell lights and wreaths.
We had such a lovely time picking our tree and it really is a lovely thing to do as a family, as it really does get you into the Christmas spirit. However, if you don’t wish to pick your own tree you can order it online at www.pinesandneedles.com.
We’ve put the tree in our dining room and it looks beautiful! We were advised to water the tree daily and keep it away from direct heat or air conditioning. Well cared for the tree will still fresh for up to 4 weeks so fingers crossed ours lasts until Christmas Day!
If you haven’t bought your Christmas Tree yet, I would highly recommend Pines and Needles – their staff are super-friendly and they know their stuff!