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



Father’s Day AND National Fudge Day!

National Fudge Day! It always sounds a little bit made up, but I promise it isn’t! It started in the States but as we believe the its spiritual home is Cornwall, we have brought it to the UK on 16th June! And as Father’s Day this year lands on the same weekend (17th June), it makes sense to combine the two with a round-up of fudgey gifts!

artisan tin

First up is the artisan tin which retails at £11.99. Filled with three of your favourites, the  crumbly fudge, the honeycomb and creamy milk chocolate and the Peanut Brittle (which we’ve discovered is extremely popular with dads), it’s available here






Perfect as a gift for someone special, or to put out as petit fours at the end of a meal. A decadent treat whatever the occasion.


Butter tablet

Last,  but not least, if your dad loves Cornwall, then check out Buttermilk’s multi-award winning, traditional tablet. It’s handmade in Cornwall and is one of Buttermilk’s best-ever sellers, but comes from a traditional Scottish recipe handed down from the original Scottish owner of the Buttermilk shop in Padstow.


#ad #buttermilk #cornwall #fathersday #nationalfudgeday


For more info or an interview with Buttermilk @newburymummy

Reading, watching, listening to – April

It’s going to be May this week! Not that you’d know by looking out of the window.  You, like me, may be fed up to the back teeth of hearing about GDPR, so I’ve decided to just delete my database and Mailchimp account and won’t be sending out marketing emails anymore! My work blog will still talk about current projects and will offer PR advice, and my inane witterings and updates will stay here.  At the bottom of my marketing emails (long after everyone had stopped reading), I used to talk about what I was reading, watching and listening to. And here it is!


The husband has just bought me a copy of “Coal Black Mornings” by Suede frontman Brett Anderson as he knows how much I love this band. I haven’t told him (my husband, not Brett Anderson), that I read this earlier this month. In one sitting.

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It is a beautifully-written autobiography about Anderson’s pre-fame days, before Suede won any Mercury Prizes and before the release of Dog Man Star, one of my favourite albums of all time. Far from being the posh boy I thought he was, he grew up in dreadful poverty on a council estate with eccentric parents.

Anderson calls it a “book about failure” but it is far from it. It explains everything about their music and their raw, blistering lyrics. There’s no romance or luxury here and when you read about Anderson’s upbringing it explains Suede’s gritty, real lyrics and the classical undertones to their music. It is this incredible musicality that drew me to them in the first place – I remember hearing So Young when I was in sixth form and feeling blown away. As a huge misfit myself, this was a band that I could identify with. Their first two albums are a major part of the soundtrack to my life and they were the first band I ever saw live. He is a phenomenal frontman – so energetic and passionate. And so beautiful….


I came across The Good Place on Netflix by accident and stayed as it has the always-brilliant Ted Danson as the architect of the afterlife and Kirsten Bell, she of the voice of Anna in Frozen in a brightly-coloured afterlife.   Eleanor Shellstrop dies and owing to a mix-up (they think she was a human rights lawyer), turns up in the Good Place in error. What I didn’t realise until a few episodes in is that this ‘Son of a Bench’ was getting a ‘forking’philosophy lesson. (You can’t swear in the Good Place).


There’s a twist at the end of series one that you’ll see coming, but The Good Place is the first time I’ve ever seen a comedy that has moral philosophy at its heart.  Eleanor is a self-centred, terrible person, but you’ll love her and admire her for trying to get better. Moving into series two, Eleanor has become inspiring. Though she isn’t perfect, she’s fascinating and has inadvertently inspired me to be a better person too.

Listening to:

Emily Barker

Let me know what you’re reading, watching, listening to! @newburymummy

Chocolarder launches its newest #EASTER Egg, filled with a sea buckthorn and honey fondant

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Penryn-based Chocolarder is launching what surely must be one of the most unusual and luxurious Easter Eggs to be found on the market.

The 140g Easter egg is filled with a breath-taking combination of black bees’ honey and Madagascan vanilla, unrefined sugars and a pinch of Cornish sea salt. The final unexpected ingredient that balances this sweetness is a serving of foraged sea buckthorn from the nearby coast.

The result is a heavenly blend of bitter orange with hints of pine and mango, creating a fondant with real depth and character. The fondant fills two half eggs made from Chocolarder’s 55% Chuno milk chocolate which is grown at 300m altitude in San Jose de Bocay in Nicaragua. The chocolate has a rich, creamy, malty taste and is made from single varietal beans that are fully-traceable right back to the farm gate in the Nicaraguan highlands.

Chocolarder owner and founder Mike Longman is a former pastry chef who set up the company in 2012 using his previous experience in fine dining. Chocolate’s answer to Heston Blumenthal, Mike is a true innovator and is constantly looking for the next big flavour.

He said: “If you’re seeking something different for a special someone for Easter, this is a far cry from the mass-produced eggs that you see everywhere at this time of year. Having seen sea buckthorn growing along the Cornish coast and always wanting to make the most of the ingredients that surround us, I was keen to make the most of this mesmerising flavour. Mixing it with honey and vanilla has created a real showstopper and a fondant that is full of flavour but not too sweet. Not only that, but sea buckthorn is rich in vitamin C and Omega 7 and has been renowned for its health benefits for thousands of years.”

The egg is packaged in a beautiful wooden slat presentation box which is made from recycled materials and in turn is fully recyclable. Chocolarder strives to use as little packaging as possible while protecting the egg and keeping the flavour in prime condition.
As well as the Easter Egg, Chocolarder offers a full range of chocolate bars including amazing flavours such as a wild gorse flower bar made from gorse picked from the cliffs of Kynance; Cornish honeycomb, made from the honey of Lizard bees and a Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh bar, among others.

Mike adds: “My intention was to create a product based on the principles that have always been at the heart of great food – unadulterated sensory enjoyment without compromise. No shortcuts, preservatives, bulking agents, substitutions or artificial shenanigans. Just the real deal from the bean to the chocolate. This is a genuine commitment to ethical transparency that extends to every aspect of the business.”

Mike has an unequalled knowledge of chocolate and is one of about 20 chocolate in the UK who buy in the raw organic cocoa beans and make chocolate from scratch. He is also passionate about supporting reputable growers and farmers while shipping the beans to the UK in the lowest carbon method possible – via sail ship.

The select beans used at The Chocolarder are roasted, winnowed and ground using a grinder made by Mike. They are then left to mature for 30 days. The chocolate is then hand tempered and made into bars. This obsessive attention to detail yields some of the finest chocolate in production today.

“It’s a beautiful and highly-visual process and we’d love for more people to enjoy the theatre and spectacle,” he added.

The firm has exciting growth plans for 2018 and is building a new headquarters complete with factory and café via a crowdfunding campaign. The new building will be based in Bluebell Hill, close to the site where the company originated.

Chocolarder was founded in 2012 by former pastry chef Mike Longman. Mike is fascinated with the process of producing chocolate from scratch and has perfected the art of roasting, conching and alchemising cocoa firstly in his kitchen at home and now at Chocolarder HQ in Penryn.

Chocolarder is one of the only small batch bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the country, producing fine quality, stone-ground chocolate using organic beans imported from single estate, family run plantations in Venezuela, Java, Madagascar, Peru and the Dominican Republic.

Demand for the delicious, high-quality product means that Mike is looking at a larger premises and is crowdfunding this project, where investors can buy bespoke gifts and experiences such as tours, corporate events and products in order to raise the £50,000 needed for the new factory.

The Easter Egg is priced at £13.95 and is available at selected outlets including Harrods, Fortnum and Mason, various farm shops and online at

Are you a #journalist #blogger #pbblogger #foodjournalist interested in covering this story? Tweet me @newburymummy or email



Escape the 9-5 with a career with animals!

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Following years of stress, there’s a spring in Julie Turner’s step as she sets off to work. The busy mother-of-one faced a two-hour commute into London every day to tackle heaps of work at an IT recruitment company.

Julie decided enough was enough and needed to make a drastic change to her work-life balance. This led to her buying a We Love Pets dog walking franchise in West Berkshire in 2014. Just one year later her branch won the title of Small Business of the Year at the West Berkshire Business Awards.

We Love Pets was founded in 2008 to meet the need of busy pet owners, by providing dog walking and pet sitting services. The business has grown to 16 franchises across the South West and South East. The franchise network enables animal lovers to run their own business and enjoy a better work-life balance.

Franchisees and their teams look after family dogs, cats and other pets. Previous customers have included snakes, lizards and donkeys.

Julie now enjoys the flexibility of working from home and taking care of her son. She manages a great team whilst enjoying the support from experts in the head office team. There are financial rewards too, as Julie turns over about £7,000 per month.

Her commute now involves going down to the kitchen to make a coffee before she starts work in her home office. She now deals with invoicing, emails, customer enquiries and staff hours, taking breaks when she wants to and meeting with her team regularly. The support from other franchisees is invaluable and they work together to face challenges together.

Julie says “The business fits in with my lifestyle and it’s great to have the flexibility to work from home. I used to commute to London and now I only commute to the home office and to meet staff – it’s heaven”.

Company Director Joanne White says, “we’re delighted with the success of the Newbury branch, her branch really has complemented our ethos to looking after people and pets. We look forward to expanding across the UK and are looking for likeminded people who want to move away from office/corporate stress to run their own businesses”.

Want to know more?

tweet me: @newburymummy or email




New Year’s resolutions often include doing more exercise and a Pamber Heath businesswoman is inviting people to embrace the great outdoors every month as an antidote to the stresses of modern life.

Corrine Thomas is inviting people of all ages to her Fresh Air Fridays sessions; a new movement that aims to encourage people to step away from their computers and out into the fresh air.

A sedentary lifestyle can increase the chances of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers and with that in mind, Corrine has been the facilitator for North Hampshire for a year, running monthly meetings in both Basingstoke and Pamber Heath.  The idea of the group is to combine walking, wellbeing and mindfulness in a three-hour session, no matter what the weather.

Corrine also works as a career coach and specialist in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) for children and teenagers and realised that there was real pressure on people of all ages from the demands of modern life.

She says: “Many of us live busy and hectic lives, rushing around trying to meet the next deadline, whilst thinking about what’s for dinner or worrying about whether we’re spending enough time with our families. Time for our own development and wellbeing comes way down the list.
“This was me not long ago, I spent most of my life in a state of overwhelm, was stressed and had lost the ability to be creative. I’m a trainer and coach for both adults and children and often hear my clients expressing the same frustrations. “Something I do love is being outdoors, taking time and space in the beautiful surroundings of nature always enables me to clear my head, see things from a different perspective and re-connect with my inner creativity. I often solve difficult and nitty gritty problems that are bothering me after time outside. “When I found Fresh air Fridays I was delighted, it gives me time every month to re-connect with who I truly am. A few hours focusing on my own wellbeing leaves me refreshed and full of energy, so I can get back to the life I love.

Corrine decided to get involved with fresh air coaching to improve productivity and well-being and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that we are more successful and happier when we spend time in a natural environment.

“There’s a real joy in connecting with nature and celebrating its simplicity. It just allows me to leave behind a busy life and connect with something so simple. I love connecting with my members and the community spirit it brings,” she adds.

The Fresh Air Fridays concept was originally set up by Rosie Dixey and Ruth Steggles who wanted to set up a self-development community that would take place outside.

Ruth says: “I love being outside, walking and group coaching when I realised that these things could be combined with amazing results, Fresh Air Fridays was born. In order to achieve maximum health and wellness we need time in nature, as well as to move our bodies and still our minds.  These are the underlying principles on which Fresh Air Fridays has been built.”

Rose adds: “We explore a different self-development theme each month and each session is structured to allow time to relax, time to reflect and time to create steps to take in your daily life; all whilst being outdoors in lovely surroundings.”

Sessions take place across the whole of the UK and Corrine’s North Hampshire sessions take place twice a month; one is on a Friday around Pamber Heath and Silchester with a second on a Saturday (“Any day can feel like a Friday!”, she jokes), along the Basingstoke canal near Hook.

Her current attendees range from the self-employed to retired people and all have noticed that the walks can be game-changing.

Katie, said: “Fresh air Friday walks gives me a regular space in the beautiful outdoors to enjoy nature, with like-minded people in a calm and relaxing manner, helped by the breathing exercise and meditation, where I can reflect on my life and purpose. Thank you Corrine for facilitating these sessions so well and bringing healthy tasty cakes each time too!”

Kim said: “I love walking and I have a passion for personal development. Fresh Air Fridays combines both of these perfectly and the session is a lovely way to spend time in nature. The sessions have provided an opportunity to meet other people who are willing to listen and share their experiences with me. I look forward to the session as it allows me to take a break from my busy life and gives me the time and energy to fill myself up. I always come away from the sessions feeling energised and inspired. Corrine is a skilled facilitator who brings a lovely sense of humour and wisdom to the sessions. I find the sessions nurturing, creative and fun.”

The first Fresh Air Fridays session is free; subsequent sessions cost £25 or £250 for the year. For more information, click onto


For more information, or to speak to Corrine, tweet Margaret at @newburymummy