Miffy Comfort Blanket raises funds for premature babies

miffy1Launching on World Prematurity Day, 17 November, priced £14.99


With survival ratios of UK-born premature babies having tripled in the last 20 years, this year’s World Prematurity Day (17 November 2014) sees the launch of a Comfort Blanket featuring the classic character Miffy to raise funds for Bliss – the national charity which supports the one in nine babies and their families who need its help.

miffy2Whilst soft toys are not allowed in ICU incubators, nurses actively encourage new mums who can’t hug their premature babies to use comfort blankets to transfer their natural scent. Packaged in a luxury gift box, the Miffy Bliss Comfort blanket is made of soft white velour with satin edging. It would make an ideal gift for any new born baby.

Available from 17 November from, the Miffy Bliss Comfort Blanket is priced £14.99, £3.50 of which will be donated to Bliss.

Dick Bruna’s much loved white bunny character celebrates 60 years in 2015; the launch of this Comfort Blanket is the first in a series of fund-raising products and activities to support Bliss throughout the anniversary year.


Festive Family Fun at Barnplants Garden Centre

barnplantseditorialVisit Barnplants Garden Centre this Christmas and take a trip on ‘Barnie the Train’ through their Magical Christmas Tree Forest.  Look out for reindeer amongst the trees, and polar bears, penguins and other enchanting animals in the snow filled winter wonderland.

The adventure continues when Barnie drops his passengers off at the station as mischievous elves then guide visitors to Santa’s Grotto.  Here the children can make a bag of Rudolph’s favourite food to take home, which can be scattered in the garden on Christmas Eve to guide him on his way!  It’s then time to meet Santa himself in his Grotto where he will be giving all the children a present (yummy mince pies and mulled wine for the adults!).

There will be hundreds of Christmas trees to choose from, as well as a large range of Christmas decorations to make your home look truly festive!  Christmas shopping is made easy with a wide range of Gifts for everyone! You can then recharge your batteries at The Coffee Shop which open 7 days a week offering excellent breakfasts, lunches and delicious cakes.

Make Christmas special!

Barnie runs every Saturday and Sunday from 22nd November to 21st December and also on 22nd & 23rd December.  Please call 01206 213380 for times and prices to book your magical ride!

Secrets of a professional organiser to beat everyday clutter

Bedroom afterHands up if you’d give your family home 10/10 for organisation. If so, you can stop reading now. For almost everyone else, bulging cupboards, toys sprinkled everywhere, piles of paperwork, and a cold sweat if you’re asked to locate a passport quickly is more realistic.

It’s not easy juggling responsibilities for children, laundry, shopping, relationships, never mind for pets, extended family and work, too. But a smooth-running, organised home doesn’t need to be a fantasy. You can make it happen.

Did you know that November 1st – 7th 2014 is National Organising Week? To celebrate, the Association of Professional Organisers and Declutterers (bet you hadn’t hear of them!) is publicising the benefits of cutting down on household clutter: you’ll gain space, a more relaxing home and find things more quickly. You’ll also feel less stressed.

In my job as owner of Essex-based Organised Spaces, I help people to declutter, get organised and stay organised. Getting started is often the biggest challenge, but once items have a home, it’s easier to maintain order.  Organised Spaces offers tips to get started decluttering. If it seems daunting, APDO-uk’s website lists professional organisers who can help in Essex and across the UK.

But you can make changes now with my top 10 tips to stop everyday clutter taking hold. After a clear out, these tips will help you maintain order, too:

  1. Never go upstairs empty handed.
  2. Keep a bag permanently for the charity shop in a cupboard. Aim to add one thing to it every day. Drop it off at the charity shop and start again.
  3. Use the timer on your phone for 5 minutes a day, gradually increasing to 15 minutes, to tidy clutter areas, e.g. kitchen table, worktops, hallway. A short time is better than not at all.
  4. Have an ‘in tray’ system for paperwork. Keep a tray/magazine file/envelope handy. Add daily paperwork to it and schedule time in your diary once a week to clear it.
  5. If you don’t have time to file important paperwork once you’ve done tip 4, use a lidded box for ‘filing to be done’. This allows you to tidy papers fast, means only one place to look for paperwork you need to file and keeps papers safe. But combine this with a diary date to file the box contents monthly.
  6. Keep a list of small places that need a declutter, e.g. a drawer, shelf or surface. If you’ve had a bad day it can be a very effective time to do a 10 minute declutter.
  7. Set a time limit with your kids for how long things, e.g. artwork, are displayed or kept.
  8. Keep your paper recycling and shredding containers easily accessible so it’s quick to scoop clutter into them.
  9. Actively be the gatekeeper of what comes into your home: you don’t need to tidy or recycle it if it doesn’t come through the door. Don’t take home leaflets, free newspapers, cardboard coffee cups, etc.
  10. Find an image of an uncluttered space that inspires you and pin it up for inspiration.


Samantha Bickerton runs Organised Spaces which declutters and organises homes and home offices, and home stages property for sale in Essex. Contact us if you’d like to gain more space, make your home run more smoothly or if you’re selling your house. Find more tips in our blog.



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