Super Sunday: A one-day online Festival of Fun!

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Sunday 24th May 2020 – online only
• A day long, bank holiday festival celebrating food, wellness and creativity.
• Mix and match your workshops & panels to create your perfect mini festival within the comfort of your own home.
• A showcase of some of the incredible lovely, local businesses, run by good eggs that are offering brilliant online workshops.
• Over 50 local businesses involved
• Expecting over 500 guests
• As this is the last day of Mental Health Awareness week, and as the theme is kindness, this is the perfect time show yourself a little kindness on Bank Holiday weekend or even better, to treat a loved one to a ticket as a surprise!
• (Even better) all proceeds are going to London Food Banks so you can be a good egg whilst having a great time!
• Early bird tickets from just £5 and then a pay what you like donation for all other tickets.

On Sunday 24th May, The Little Surprises Company, will be hosting their annual ‘Super Sunday’ – a day-long Festival of Fun, planned in just seven days!

This will be a digital festival celebrating food, wellness and creativity that will allow its guests to enjoy a range of interactive workshops, panel speakers & a marketplace showcasing the brilliant local brands. This is the perfect chance to learn something new, build a ‘to-visit list’ for post-lock down & meet some great new people.

Following the announcement of the Lockdown extensions, Hannah-Beth Clark – founder of The Little Surprises Company decided that she wanted to do something to promote all of the brilliant local lovely businesses that had pivoted to offering fun things to do online. Working part time as a secondary school teacher in an inner London school, she was incredibly aware of the impact that Lockdown was having on families in the community and so decided to combine the two missions and launch this year’s ‘Super
Sunday’ early with all profits being donated to London Food Banks.
Last year, Hannah-Beth welcomed more than 500 people to her Super Sunday event hosted in a barn in Waterloo, London. Due to Lockdown, the festival will be hosted online this year which means guests can join from anywhere in the world! With over 50 brands showcasing their brilliant businesses, visitors can join cookalongs with their kids, learn to make espresso martinis & and finish off their evening laughing
along with some comedy heroes, Harry Baker & Chris Reed.

Early bird tickets start from just £5 and all profits from the day are being donated to London Food Banks!

The Little Surprises Company, launched in 2016, offers customers a chance to surprise their loved ones with collections of handpicked experiences. When not in lockdown, these experiences will take their lucky recipients off of their beaten track to visit brilliant local, lovely London businesses. Over the last few months, they have moved online, launching ‘Virtual’ Little Surprises, offering a global audience the chance to deliver some delight to the inboxes of their friends and family across the world. They have everything
on offer from reflexology to live comedy.

A small selection of the brands, businesses and speakers that will be attending include:
The Epsom Bakehouse
The London Writers’ Salon
Rebel Book Club
Sussex Physiotherapy
Attune Wellbeing
Charlie Mount Breathwork
Goat Chelsea
Om Nom Health

How to get the most out of your walks while we stay at home for Covid 19

IMG_20200408_183033With restrictions on going outdoors for the time being, a walk is a precious commodity. Dr William Bird gives his advice on how to get the most out of your outdoor time.

Currently, the government advice is that you can go for a walk or a run for one form of exercise – a walk, run or cycle – per day. This must be alone or with members of your household. Remember not to touch anything such as gates or fences and to wash your hands when you come back.

We’ve been advised not to use the car for non-essential travel, so start your walk from home. If you see anyone else on your walk, remember that you need to stay 2m away.

There are two different kinds of walks, so try to perhaps include both varieties when you head out. There’s a brisk walk where the goal is to get slightly out of breath and to raise the heart rate.  Then there’s a walk with a steadier pace where you’re trying to take a moment to reflect, enjoy nature and being outside; this kind of walk is good for your mental health.


  1. Have a look at a map to plot a route around your house. Even if you’re familiar with your area, there can be places that you just don’t tend to visit.
  2. Take the opportunity to notice how the removal of congestion, traffic and noise has really had a positive impact on nature.
  3. Listen for bird song while you’re walking.  The warmer weather means that you’ll soon start hearing the distinctive sounds of birds that are returning for the summer, such as the Willow Warbler and the Chiff Chaff.
  4. Look at the seasonal changes – pick a tree or a bush or two out on your walk and visit it every day to watch it change.
  5. Take photos of nature so that you can enjoy them at home
  6. Really look at the clouds now there are no airline tracks
  7. When we’re busy with work, we don’t take the time to notice the details around the places where we live. Take a moment to notice new landmarks around your home.

Dr Bird set up Intelligent Health to deliver the Beat the Street physical activity game with the aim of getting communities active together. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, the company has turned its attention to encouraging everyone to do what they can to stay healthy and to increase your body’s immune system. For the next few weeks, #BeatTheStreet will become #BeatTheBug!

You’ll be able to sign up for newsletters packed with hints, tips and advice on how you and your family can stay fit, get active, reduce stress and have fun at home. There will be regular Beat the Bug advice and Q&A sessions with Dr Bird who works on the NHS frontline, and is a renowned expert in physical activity and an adviser to the World Health Organisation and Public Health England.

Dr Bird adds: “Walking is free and available to most people. During this Coronavirus outbreak, some of us are wondering what you can do to help. The answer is that the more we strengthen our immune systems, the better equipped you are to be able to fight it off without being admitted to hospital.

“We recommend going outside and walking or running for 19 minutes, and then exercising indoors for 11 minutes.  No matter what your ability or level of fitness, you can get more active, whether that’s remaining seated and lifting tins of baked beans, or going out for a walk. When you walk, you are activating your natural killer cells and these will help fight the virus.”

Driving Miss Daisy opens its doors in Didcot


A trusted transportation and companion service that offers driver assistance and a wide range of other help, has opened a new shopfront on Wantage Road in Didcot.

The South Oxfordshire franchise of Driving Miss Daisy was launched in December 2019 by husband-and-wife team Zororo Mubaya and Terence Kavuru to assist anyone of any age who needs a hand when their family isn’t available to help.

The couple have lived in Didcot since 2005 and wanted to provide a service giving peace of mind to those with older family members.  The company offers assistance of all kinds ranging from help with shopping trips to support at family events or even just spending a couple of hours chatting or playing board games with someone who might spend a lot of time alone.

The team is DBS-checked, first-aid trained and Dementia Friends, plus their drivers hold a Private Hire Licence so can help with day trips to perhaps a garden centre or to the seaside, or even airport runs for people with mobility issues.

The team can also help people get to appointments and will wait with the patient before bringing them home. They can even help collect children from school and take them to after school activities if working parents are unable to make it in time for school pick-up. A fully-licensed wheelchair accessible vehicle is available.

Terence and Zororo have two sons and a varied background ranging from sound engineering to health and social care recruitment.

Zororo added: “With our experience we wanted to take our transferable skills and experiences with working with supported living and social care clients who have a need for the transport and companionship that Driving Miss Daisy can offer.

“Driving Miss Daisy is often described as ‘family when family can’t be there’. When times are busy and people sometimes live a long way from their elderly relatives, we want to be able to provide peace of mind.

“We are really enjoying doing this so far – every day has been different, and we have the pleasure of helping and chatting to people from all walks of life.”

The Didcot branch opened for business on Christmas Day 2019 when Zororo took a stroke patient from Abingdon Community Hospital to her house for Christmas. She then spent four hours with family then was back in time for medication round. The business has been growing steadily since then and the couple felt the time was right to have a high street presence so people can come and in and get to know them.

Terence said: “It’s a people business and so we want our customers to know that they come in and have a chat and a cup of tea. Trust and reliability are completely integral to what we do, so we want people to know that we are here, and approachable. We’re so much more than just a blue van!”

Prices vary and quotes are available by contacting 07308 475489 or or

An official launch is set to take place later this year.

Driving Miss Daisy changes lives. We believe that helping people to remain mobile, encouraging social interaction and providing companionship is at the very heart of living life to the full. Driving Miss Daisy empowers the least mobile of society to live more independent lives through the provision of our services. At Driving Miss Daisy we are police-checked, trained first-aiders and dementia friends. We work with all ages from school children through to the most senior of citizens, so whatever your requirements please call us on 07308 475489 and give our services a try. We fulfil daily trips to the doctors, hospitals, school runs, dentists, and shops, and we love to take day trips further afield. So if you fancy a trip to the theatre with friends, or an afternoon tea at a garden centre or National Trust property, we are here for you!



Getting through April!

Happy 1st April – although this is a prank-free zone!

Someone asked me for tips on how to stay away from the fridge while you work from home. If I ever work this out, I will let you know, but it did make me realise that I have been self-isolating for a few years now! This is how we’ve been combining school-work with working from home and setting out our days:

  1. Exercise –  Joe Wicks is just the kind of person you need to be spending time with at the moment. Relentlessly cheerful and seemingly successful at getting adults and children alike to bunny hop around the living room, he is an inspiration and vital to ensuring people who can’t get outside, are still getting exercise.

Don’t forget that guidelines allow us to go outside once a day for a walk, run or cycle, so if you can, make the most of this.  Dr William Bird, founder of Intelligent Health which runs the Beat the Street game is asking people to walk for 30 minutes to strengthen their immune system and to #BeatTheBug.  Exercise is one crucial component of ensuring your immune system is ready to create ‘natural killer cells’ to fight against the virus.

If this is too much and you’re not meant to be leaving the house at present, remember that you can do chair exercises with leg and arm raises, or lift tins of baked beans. Anything is better than nothing.

We also love the Lotte Berk workouts where the brilliant teacher is raising money for Refuge. These exercises might not be suitable for children though!

2. Music-  we have a daily kitchen disco to lift the spirits, plus we’ve been to more gigs via live stream in the last week than in the whole of 2020 to date! With events, festivals and gigs cancelled all over the place (even Glastonbury!!), lots of musicians are struggling. Why not check out a local musician and put the ticket price in the virtual tip jar?  In the last couple of weeks, we’ve watched Ferocious Dog, Gaz Brookfield, Dubioza Kolektiv, Edgelarks, Holy Moly and the Crackers, 3 Daft Monkeys, and Nick Parker with a cup of tea in hand (although I’ve noticed there’s no queue for the bar!) and without people nattering in the row behind. There’s a timetable of live streamed gigs so you can see what’s coming up here

3. TV – there’s classic films on BBC 2 next week so what better time to introduce your kids (or yourself!) to classics like The Man in the White Suit or School for Scoundrels

4. Books – libraries are closed, so try your local independent bookshop where they might recommend specifically omething for you. Audible has some free books – we are currently listening to Kid Normal which we somehow missed when it came out in 2017.

We’re also introducing the small one to books we enjoyed as children; Malory Towers (there’s a new adaptation on BBC iPlayer which is not at all bad!) and the Jennings books for some nice old fashioned comfort. You can also check out authors like David Walliams reading his work.

5. Comedy – it’s so important to find things to laugh at and to step away from the weirdness of real life right now. We’re watching Le Navet Bete’s Dick Tracy show and also looking forward to a live tweet along on Friday evenings at 7pm  with Mischief Theatre, the mad cap team behind the Goes Wrong Show that was on BBC one earlier this year.  Looks like they’re going to start with the incredibly ambitious “90 degrees”. My son knows this word for word and frequently acts out his favourite line which is performed by a dog: “I’m executing a three-point turn”.

6. Netflix – recently added: Community (we’ll soon find out if it stayed joyously funny beyond series 3); Brooklyn 99 series 6 (prompting the question when is series 7 going to appear) and for kids, the Studio Ghibli collection  – our favourites, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away, plus added today: Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle; Pom Poko; Whisper of the Heart; From Up on Poppy Hill; The Wind Rises and When Marnie Was There.

7. Treats

Nostalgia is a great comfort at difficult times like this. We try to set aside time for chatting to friends and also important little treats like Buttermilk who are sending out a little taste of Cornwall. There’s all your favourite fudge flavours from Vanilla to Clotted Cream to Rum and Cappuccino.

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If you’re looking to cheer a friend up, Buttermilk also have two Easter egg ranges – a ‘traditional’ range including a Caramelised Hazelnut Easter egg  ; a Caramelised Sea Salt Easter egg and a Dark Cacao Nib Easter egg plus two ‘free from’ eggs; a delicious Choc Orange free from egg and a Choc Honeycomb Easter Egg

Have a lovely April!  Stay safe – in the words (almost) of Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar “let’s come together by staying apart”. Wash those hands and stay well. We will get through this  xx


Get Christmas wrapped up with a new eco alternative to paper waste

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Christmas can be a time of huge wastefulness with wrapping paper alone causing an environmental nightmare.

A OnePoll survey from 2017 found that the equivalent of 108m rolls of wrapping paper are sent to landfill in the UK every Christmas. More than 75m trees are cut down to be made into wrapping paper every year and most cannot be recycled due to the use of dyes and plastic laminations.

Determined to do something about this, designer Hema Kumar has recently set up FabRap, a sustainable and stylish fabric alternative. Inspired by the Japanese art of gift wrapping called Furoshiki, FabRap makes even the simplest of gifts something distinctive. There is a range of beautiful designs including two Christmas motifs that come in either single or double-sided.

The reusable 100% Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton gift wraps make any gift complete whether it’s for a birthday, an anniversary or Christmas and both the giver and recipient can enjoy the knowledge that each wrap is produced in sustainable and fair methods.

As a young child, owner and designer Hema Kumar wrapped her gift in fabric before even understanding that this was an ancient Japanese tradition called Furoshiki. The mother-of-two has always nurtured a love for natural fabrics and reusable gift wrapping and is passionate about reducing waste.

She set up FabRap in November 2018 and drew on her Indian heritage for inspiration with the gorgeous designs and vibrant colours. She also works with a company in India that manufacturers the wraps to her specifications.

Hema said: “I was always fascinated by wrapping gifts and took immense pride in the task. So much so, that I became the designated family ‘wrapper’. Being of Indian origin, I was surrounded by luscious textiles of silk and embroidered cotton with beautifully illustrated patterns. This filled me with a passion to design and create anything and everything using this wonderful medium.”

She adds: “FabRapping is easy and does not even require sticky tape or scissors. You do not need to know anything about gift wrapping to make your gifts stand out from the crowd. Our deluxe double-sided and our elegant single-sided fabrics are timeless and reusable. You don’t need to get it right the first time, as with paper and sticky tape. You can wrap anything in these amazing FabRaps and be certain that the result will always bring a smile to the recipient’s face.”

How to wrap a gift using FabRap:

  • Lay a FabRap cloth on a table or flat work surface. Place your gift in the centre.
  • Fold over diagonally one corner of the FabRap to the opposite side of the gift
  • Bring the opposite corner of the FabRap to fold over the other side of the gift
  • Fold in the sides of one of the loose corners to create a point
  • Do the same with the other loose corner
  • Bring both points of the FabRap and tie them across the top of the gift at the centre
  • The corners remain loose for a beautiful bow effect

Or check out this video for inspiration!

FabRap is available online at and prices range from €7 – €25 including UK delivery.

For journalist samples, more info or an interview, please tweet me @newburymummy



Le Navet Bete’s – Three Musketeers

“It’s like a giant Rubik’s Cube that we have to solve live in front of an audience.”

This is how Nick Bunt from Le Navet Bete describes The Three Musketeers: A Comedy Adventure which the madcap group (whose name translates to The Stupid Turnip) will be bringing to the Corn Exchange, Newbury, from 12th to 14th June.

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Le Navet Bete- pic by Mark Dawson


Fans of the hilarious West Country troupe will agree that a Rubik’s Cube is a fitting analogy for the colourful and multi-faceted performances that Le Navet Bete are well-known for. Combine all that with clever set design that the actors carry out themselves, along with physical comedy, deliberate errors plus multiple costume changes, and you’ll be excited to see what they’ll do with the Alexandré Dumas classic.

Le Navet Bete comprises four actors – Nick Bunt, Matt Freeman, Al Dunn and Dan Bianchi – plus Alex ‘Wheaty’ Best who is the production manager. The fivesome met at the University of Plymouth on a theatre and performance course ten years ago where they realised they had the same comedic taste and love of physical theatre and clowning. They started working together, took a show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and have toured extensively, building up a loyal fanbase along the way.

Since then, they’ve tackled everything from The Jungle Book to Aladdin to Dick Tracy. Two years ago, they set their sights on Alexandre Dumas’ historical adventure story and their intensive writing process has culminated in this show which recently premiered at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter.

Nick Bunt, who plays Cardinal Richelieu, Aramis, and at least seven other parts is excited to be returning to West Berkshire.

He said: “We make shows for literally anyone to come and enjoy from ages 4 to 104. It’s pure escapism, it’s fun, it’s joyous, always a twinkle in our eyes and a strong connection with the audience. Audiences are why we do this job and we want to make them feel comfortable right from the start. It’s two hours of sheer madness and engaging storytelling.

“We have been coming to Newbury for about five years now with various shows, firstly at New Greenham Arts Centre and now at the Corn Exchange. Over this time, we’ve steadily built up a brilliant loyal fan base who keep coming back for more. The audiences in Newbury are always so up for a laugh and this is why we keep coming back!”

“We’ve taken Alexandre Dumas’ classic story – that’s 700 pages of epic adventure – and condensed it into just two hours of high energy, fun and hugely entertaining theatre for absolutely anyone and everyone to enjoy.”

True to form, swords seem to have been replaced with baguettes, horses with bikes and the four actors play a grand total of 41 characters between them. Not only are there 50 outfits and 112 costume changes, but the group has decided for the first time that it might be fun to carry out the costume changes on stage, in front of the audience.

“It’s a story that’s been told a thousand times but we’ve put a fun twist on it, remembering childhood days of playing dress-up in dens and treehouses. It’s a great way to let the story play out and audiences have been loving it,” he adds. “It’s absolutely the most ambitious piece of work we’ve ever made, and we cannot wait to share it!”

Interview first appeared in the Newbury Weekly News..

Six best business books as recommended by West Berkshire SMEs

If you’re on the lookout for some business books, then our recent West Berkshire hour Twitter chat threw up some interesting reading suggestions.

We had a teacher among our participants, so some slightly unusual recommendations:

  1. Drive by Daniel H Pink – “Particularly good if you manage staff…”


2. Linchpin by Seth Godin – “Why it’s so important to make yourself indispensable and put everything you can into your work.”


3. For entrepreneurs with big ideas: A travel guide from big idea to business case by John Jukes – “a witty and readable guide for youngsters wondering whether self employment is for them and how to go about it” 


4. Creative Schools: revolutionising education from the ground-up by Sir Ken Robinson  – “A  vision on how schools could be transformed to ensure that all children flourish”


5.  Purple cow – transform your business by being remarkable – Seth Godin

How to stand out from the crowd and make your business truly exceptional


7. The four hour work week – Tim Ferriss – “an absolute game changer – I realised that for years, I’d been working for years to make someone else rich”


So, please let us know of any that we missed that should be on the list and let us know what you think of the books here. Also, if you’re local to West Berkshire and want to network without leaving your house, then please come and join us! We chat on Twitter every Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm using the hashtag #wberkshour


Please note there may be affiliate links in the post.

Happy 90th birthday to Tintin!

“Billions of blistering blue barnacles!”

Quoting Tintin’s friend Captain Haddock, small son starts running when he sees the angular frontage of Musee Hergé. After taking the train to a small town outside Brussels, and walking through a grey shopping centre, Tintin’s profile, peering into the distance is a welcome sight, whether you’re a fan or not.

With his enduring energy, distinctive quiff and exuberance, it’s hard to believe that comic strip hero Tintin first appeared in 1919, captivating children from several generations. The 90th anniversary of his first appearance as a comic strip in Le Petit Vingtieme seemed like a good excuse to take my Tintin obsessed son to the spiritual home of everything Georges Remi, Tintin’s creator.

The building is quite a sight, with high ceilings and angular colourful walls, complete with poured concrete floors and feels like a fitting tribute to Herge’s massive creative output.


The first room shows his early life and his early illustrations which give a flavour of what was to come, leading into another room on Herge’s advertising work, before you descend a floor and find yourself immersed in the world of Tintin.


There’s lots to see, and small son wasn’t sure where to start. There’s plenty of pictures, early drafts and facts about the creator and his most famous work, including info on the characters -not just his beloved dog Snowy (known as Milou in the original) and constant friends Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus plus ne’er do well ‘twins’ Thompson and Thomson, but also the wealth of background characters that appear in the 24 books.

We had incredible fun having a picture taken in the midst of a Tintin scene, and there are interactive elements, plus models of the shark submarine from Red Rackham’s Treasure and a rocket model, used as the inspiration for Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon.


Although small son was eyeing up a 5,000 Euro Tintin model in the gift shop, we managed not to spend anything in here. It’s still worth a browse as is the on-site café. We both danced back to the train to Brussels eager to re-read the books.


We stayed at the Hilton Bruxelles City, just north of the centre after a painless Eurostar journey from London. Travelling around Brussels is affordable and easy, with efficient trams, trains and buses, reasonably clear signage and plenty of helpful English speakers around. We stayed overnight before taking the train on a Sunday to the small town of Louvain-la Nouvelle, not to be confused with Louvain (Leuven). We’re grateful to Sally Murray Travel Counsellors for doing all the bookings for us!

Musee Herge is giving a day of free entry on Sunday, 6th January, but admission is usually 12 Euros for adults. Closed Mondays.

The countdown to Christmas can now begin! Buttermilk launches a new advent calendar!



Buttermilk Christmas advent calendarWhether you’re looking for a unique advent calendar or a memorable stocking filler, Buttermilk has an array of brand new products to make your Christmas merry and bright!

New for 2018, the Cornish confectioner has launched a beautiful advent calendar that has a serving of delicious fudge behind every door. Each one of the 25 helpings comes in a home-compostable wrapper – not plastic – and will get you into the festive spirit with a Christmas song title printed on the door that you can act out as a charade. There’s even a bonus serving for Christmas morning itself!

The Buttermilk advent calendar is priced at £14.99 and is available from Waitrose, National Trust shops, Amazon, Moonpig, Debenhams plus selected independent retailers.


If you’re looking to make Christmas go with a bang, then Buttermilk has a Cracker presentation box in two sizes.  The larger of the two (300g) is priced at £9.99 and contains Mince Pie, Gingerbread and Rum Hot Chocolate all in compostable wrappers.  These are available from Waitrose, Amazon and selected independent retailers.

A smaller version (150g) is priced at £5.99. These are available at Co-op, Amazon, Debenhams and selected independent retailers.

Additionally, Buttermilk has put together a selection of five Yuletide flavours in one exclusive Christmas Collection (500g), RRP £15 which contains all of the confectioner’s boxes of festive fudge together for the first time. The collection includes 100g of Mince Pie, Bellini, Cranberry & Orange, Gingerbread and Rum Hot Chocolate.

Last year’s selection of Christmas goodies proved so popular that they are also available again for 2018. These include seasonal flavours: Mince Pie, Bellini, Irish Cream, Cranberry & Orange, Gingerbread plus the beautiful best-selling Christmas bauble which is a gorgeous Christmas tree decoration filled with 50g of Buttermilk’s ever-popular Caramel Sea Salt fudge.

The entire Christmas collection is available at



July- reading, watching, listening to…

Just loving this beautiful weather, which seems to lend itself to the ‘listening to’ in particular! So this month, I’ve mainly been:

Reading; Leap In

leap in

After writing a successful call-to-arms on the subject of running, author Alexandra Heminsley turns her attention to the water in this beautifully-written book which will inspire you to…well.. to leap in.

From a description of her first encounter with a wetsuit to google problems, it’s hugely relatable and her guidance on simply exhaling served me well on a couple of occasions when a stressed me took to the swimming pool. I liked her descriptions of swimming events with simple advice about the strangest of things which can be quite confusing on the day and also the way she cuts through the bravado and the competitiveness (something which has put me off entering competitions).


Watching – Keeping Faith


I shamefully took to the sofa and watched this eight-episode Welsh language series in ONE go. Embarrassing, but worth it. This was a great drama with the most incredible landscapes, set against stunning scenery, and is now in English. While some of it was a bit head scratching, Eve Myles, who plays Faith, is just mesmorising  – playing a lawyer, mother and wife while taking the time to be one of the girls.  This all leads to problems when her husband suddenly goes missing one morning and she tries to find out why and where.

Listening to: The Slow Readers Club

What else!

Don’t forget the Twitter meet up starting in September and also to check out Buttermilk’s new caramel sea salt snack bar WHICH IS WRAPPED IN COMPOSTABLE PACKAGING! Available now in BP!