Wednesday 31 August 2011

A morning - cooking

This morning I have been on ‘home duty’, Jeff has gone back to school to do some prep for next week, so I have been in charge of the children and this morning I wanted to give them my undivided attention. I asked them what they wanted to do – Sam “nothing”, Sophie “cooking.”

So with a fruit bowl over flowing with over ripe bananas, it was decided that Banana Loaf would be a good choice.

Sophie loves to cook, well to be honest, when in the mood both children do.

I do, when I have time.

I don’t enjoy the ‘it’s 5.00pm – what shall we have for tea cooking’ but I do enjoy a morning in the kitchen with no time pressure.

Whilst it was in the oven, Sophie started perusing my old cookbooks for her next cooking session.

We used a Delia recipe - always works -and a hour later, we had not one but 2 yummy Banana Loaves

Sophie's verdict - smiles, so all good.

My verdict - well the proof is in the eating - delicious!

Sunday 28 August 2011

Some design time.

Yesterday I spent a much needed day in my studio designing. It was bliss! I have just been so busy that design time has become so precious. But I have wanted to get started on some new wrap designs - 3 of which with a Christmas theme, which will hopefully be ready in time for Christmas this year.

I can't show you the whole thing, as I design the elements and my printers do the tricky bits with me - background colours, layers, repetition etc. So think puddings.......

.......and a paper for children - festive faces - which at the moment is turning into a favourite.

I plan to spend today in my studio designing a 3rd festive themed paper and then 3 more everyday papers. I am so pleased that the paper we launched in July at Harrogate is proving so very popular.
''It is such a good quality and is selling at such a good price point - you can't go wrong''

Friday 26 August 2011


We get so many Charity requests via email, twitter and facebook - so many, that we have had to agree on a policy. We have decided as a business, to support one National Charity and one Local Charity of our choosing each year. We will then decide if and when to support other events as we see fit. Everyone has such valid reasons for asking for support but it really is not possible to support everyone or pick and choose, so we sadly won't respond to email, facebook or twitter requests as we simply can not respond to everyone - sorry.

Recent requests we chose to become involved with, was the Riot Raffle - the fabulous idea of Zoe -and her endeavours to raise money for those affected by the recent riots. I will tell you more once our prize has been loaded onto the website.

And the second was to offer a raffle prize for a (very) old school friend, found via facebook. She is organising a charity night in aid of Breast Cancer Care. I sadly couldn't make the event itself but was more than happy to contribute to the night in some way.

I wish we could help everyone but the reality is, we simply can't but we wish everyone well in their events and fundraising.

Thursday 25 August 2011

A year ago.....

Moving dots and spots out of the house and into local, rented premises in The Anglo Trading Estate. It was the best move we made but within 5 months it became clear that we were in need of more space.

So in February of this year, we moved next door into slightly bigger premises

And as you can see we have filled up the space very quickly.

The last bit of space has been cleared - new shelving ordered ready for .........

...more wrapping paper. It has been so popular since it was launched last month that I am in the process of designing a new range.

I really wouldn't be without the premises now. dots and spots has become so much more efficient and there simply wasn't enough room at home anymore.

Daily orders from our website and trade customers keep me extremely busy

So a big thank you to all our customers for their continued interest and custom - without you, there would be no dots and spots.

My next comment will fill my husband with dread but I'm not sure that my current premises will be big enough for all the things I have planned, by this time next year!!

Monday 22 August 2011

Miracles do happen!

I, for the first time in about 10 years, have read a book!!!

I have tried to read many books, since the children have been born but have failed on each occasion. When I read, I like to read it in a short, concentrated spell otherwise I end up reading the same bit over and over again as I'm too tired to remember what I read the time before.

Now the children are older and much better at occupying themselves and because I intended to switch off completely from work, I thought it was time to give it another go, so I asked Jeff to recommend a good book he thought I might like - he choose 'One Day' By David Nicholls.

He made a good choice, I read it from cover to cover during my week in Cornwall and loved it. I won't tell you what happens but I see it's been made into a film due out in the next week or so - I wonder if it will live up to the book? Will have to treat myself to a night out to see!

Sunday 21 August 2011

Mid Somerset Show

Today is the annual Mid Somerset Show here in Shepton Mallet
The South West's largest free agricultural show.

The show is set up in the fields directly opposite our house - so this morning we were woken to cows mooing! As you can see it is very busy so it's sensible to avoid moving the car today.

This is the view from the front door.

It's a very traditional show - old marquees, animals, food, competition tents.

I noticed a tweet and face book comment from Mollie and Fred last night so I tracked them down to say hello!

My friend Jenny who owns the local sweet shop in the High Street 'Penny's Sweets' was having a stand - I'd lent her my dresser and ladders - her display looked lovely.

Couldn't help but notice this fabulous apple on a cider stand.

These flowers were displayed beautifully.

And then there were the competition Marquees - this fabulous display was produced by the very talented Harry Godden - the old gardener from my husbands school - a very well deserved first place and Best in Show.

This being Somerset, there was plenty of cheese and cider.

And finally the animals both big and small - they'll all be gone by the morning but it is a lovely day out - still a couple of hours left if you live locally.

Saturday 20 August 2011


So sadly every holiday has to come to an end - I have had a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxed, switched off week, spending quality time with my family and it's been lovely.

My Dad joined us at the beach one morning and took the children out for their very first go out in his canoe - even I had a go! Of course there was no photographic evidence to show you, as I always seem to take the photos but it was a lovely morning.

We were very lucky to have 4 days of sunshine and spent it mostly on the beach - so that's it for this year, we are now back at home taking stock of what we need to do! Orders have been coming in whilst we've been away from both the website and our trade customers so there's a lot to do on Monday - am taking tomorrow off just to round things off nicely and nudge myself back to work gently!

(Am now too relaxed!)

Wednesday 17 August 2011

A 'must do' visit to St Ives

I couldn't go to Cornwall without a visit to my most favourite place in the UK - St Ives.

I remember as a child, going down for an evening, meeting up with family, wandering through the shops on Fore street, paddling and playing on the small beaches surrounding the harbour and ending the day with fish and chips and an ice-cream.

Well our family holidays are very similar - it wouldn't be a holiday in Cornwall without a visit or 2 to St Ives. Sophie and I certainly enjoy ambling along Fore Street doing a little shopping although her favourite shops are the sweet shops! I did a post about my favourite shops in a blog post back in April (click here to revisit!)

Sam prefers to spend his time paddling and building sandcastles - whatever the time of year, he always ends up in the water.

You can't get away from the abundance of Art work and of course the seaside treats.

Pasties - delicious!

Childhood favourite - rock!

Yummy clotted cream fudge.

Loved these stripey lollies!

And of course it wouldn't be St Ives without the seagulls and........

......latterly the seals are always in the harbour.

I think I would now be disappointed if I didn't see one!

Always two very happy children after a day at St Ives and of course tummies full of fish and chips.