Stacey calder


Warwick Rocks - April buy local campaign

I love supporting local businesses and am a firm believer of supporting business mums and local business owners wherever possible and over the last few years I've done a lot of networking with local businesses through Networking Mummies UK LTD (@networkingmummy) and Warwick Tweetup (@warwicktweetup). Through this twitter networking group I've met lots of lovely people all with local businesses, one of which was Jack (@warwickrocks) who has created #warwickrocks created to get people to buy and shop locally in Warwick.

I'm from Warwick but in the last few years have moved to neighbouring Leamington Spa and while Leamington is great I love Warwick and miss living there, don't get me wrong I'm always in Warwick my parents live in Warwick and both my businesses are based in Warwick. So when #Warwickrocks set up their challenge for April I loved it. The challenge was to see if Warwick residents could do their months shopping using only independent shops in Warwick. Well as I've said I don't live in Warwick so I wouldn't be able to do the whole month but could definitely do a couple of days. Yesterday I decided to get the family over to Warwick to see if we could entertain the two children without them getting bored, which believe me takes some thought! It's coming to the end of the Easter holidays and people often ask me how I juggle work when the children are off and it really is about balance. I work in the nooks and crannys but the children understand that once my work is done we get to do nice family things.

So yesterday we got up and while the children was getting ready I did an hours work. Then at midday we headed over to Warwick. The head office for the company I work alongside has their head office in Warwick and that was our 1st stop. It's a beautiful manor house and the UK head office for Forever Living Products. Now you might be thinking it's not a local business but it's based on lots of independent business owners personally recommending the business and the products and it's a company that has changed the lives of 1000's of local (and millions globally) people, myself included, allowing us to have a great career, a great income and all done flexibly on our terms! I needed to pick up some customer orders so popped into their product centre where I was greeted by Jeff. Jeff and the team are wonderful there and I'm always made to feel welcome and greeted with a smile. There's always some banter and I'm normally the one causing trouble of some sort, normally with my strange requests or awkward orders, which the team always manage to sort. For more CLICK HERE

Next stop was St Johns Museum. I haven't been since I was a child and neither had Jamie my husband so we thought the children would enjoy an hour there. It's FREE admission so we left a donation, my children still think its great putting money into boxes etc. so even that was fun! Both children loved seeing all the soldiers and different uniforms especially Billy (3) and loves tanks. There was an activity room with lots of children cutting, sticking and doing various craft activities, it was so full we couldn't get in there which was a shame as Mackenzie (5) loves arts and crafts. Both children went very shy when a gentleman asked if they'd like to try on some of the uniform and ran in the opposite direction! We then went to look at the old classrooms and Mackenzie thought we were crazy when we said that's what they used to be like. They both liked the old-fashioned toys room and even put on their own puppet show for us. They both loved the discovery room as it was about transport and Billy loves anything with wheels and Mackenzie loves trains. They both loved the ship display and the fact there was a seat in the shape of a train, and 2 big suitcases full of activities to do. Then we went out into the garden area and both children ran and stood in front of the 2 statues laughing at how much smaller they were in comparison to them.

By this time we were all feeling a little hungry so decided to go for a late lunch and walked up Smith Street to Bread and Co (@breadandco). I'd not been in there before but heard wonderful things about it, my only concern was taking 2 young children in there and would they get bored and not sit still and would they have something on the menu they liked. We were greeted with a smile and shown to a table. It's such a lovely place to stop for refreshments. The children thought it was hilarious that they got mummy to agree to them having coke and they loved it was a traditional bottle. Having just walked past The Golden Monkey Tea Company (@GoldenMonkeyTCo) and not having time to go in I was really pleased to discover the tea that Bread and Co use is actually from the Golden Monkey a few doors down so I felt happy that they were supporting each other too. The children thought it was great that we were brought our tea and a sand timer to let us know when it would be ready to pour. I was so glad we chose to eat there as it was lovely. The children both had fruit toast, I opted for the Croque Monsieur and Jamie was delighted to see he could have a traditional breakfast even at 3pm. We all enjoyed our food but I have to say my husband's breakfast looked amazing, the scrambled egg was yellow and fluffy which you might think is normal but on some breakfasts I've seen lately you'd be surprised! Great service and great value and all 4 of us loved it which surprised me as normally we're compromising to keep the children happy.

After that we decided we would go into the town centre and let the children spend their Easter money so as we walked up Smith Street it was a shame the toy shop was shut. I love Smith Street such a great range of shops and restaurants. I love Pancho's (@iampancho) great restaurant with brilliant food (and very strong sangria). We headed into the square and had a look around some of the shops in route until we got to Sweet Moments the traditional sweet shop. There was no way we was going to be able to walk past there without going in especially once the Wonka bars had been spotted. We went in and Mackenzie and Billy chose their sweets from the many jars on display, it was like a step back in time for me seeing the nerds, and chocolates from the 80's that you don't really see anymore. What was really nice was the handwritten letter from a child who had written in to say that they had loved the sweets and that they hoped business was good. Brilliant! More great service from a friendly woman.

Next we went to the factory outlet so they could go and spend some money. I know this isn't an independent and I think it shows as although there was staff about nobody really interacted. The children left happy, Billy with a golf set and Mackenzie with an art set. When we left and were headed to the bus stops I spotted two of my favourite Warwick residents (who I seem to see every time I come to Warwick) so we stopped and had a good natter, reminding me why I love Warwick so much. It was 5.30pm and all the shops were now closing so we headed for the bus stops my only regret was that we didn't have time to go in Hatton and Harding (@hattonharding5) which has to be my favourite shop in Warwick, although in a way I'm glad because it now means I've got an excuse to come back to Warwick and visit the lovely guys there and buy one of their signature candles i keep promising myself.

Warwick has some wonderful independent shops, restaurants and places to visit. We'll be back soon!