Swinging Summer

Summer is a special time of year isn’t it? Those grey clouds are replaced by an azure sky. Longer, lighter and lazier days beckon. Whether you are home, or away, we have some great ideas (even if we do say so ourselves) to celebrate the Great British Summer. Sunny days (fingers crossed) provide the perfect backdrop for some BBQ fun with friends, family or neighbours. From afternoon tea for mum to three tips for a brilliant BBQ, there’s something for everyone in our summer style guide.

Afternoon Tea Week – tipsy afternoon tea with the ladies

afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea Week celebrates the great British tradition of Afternoon Tea and it is just the excuse to catch up with loved ones over a cuppa and some treats. #AfternoonTeaWeek takes place from 9th – 15th August. Grab your bestie and head to Peacocks Café or Massarella’s or why not pay tribute to the nation’s favourite pastime and create your own tea party with tea from Grapetree?

Throwing a tea party at home is a brilliant way to reconnect with loved ones. To be the ‘hostess with the mostess’ you’ll need a teapot, teacups, cutlery and cake slicers for serving. Charity shops are a good source for reasonably priced Chinaware and accessories to get that authentic olde English tearoom look.

If you own a tiered cake stand, dust it off and use it for the centrepiece. Don’t have one. No problem just follow these three tips to get your tea party down to a, well, T!

  1. Get ahead by prepping your sandwich fillings in advance, assemble just before guests arrive to avoid soggy sarnies. Simple classics include cucumber, smoked salmon and egg mayo!
  2. Don’t forget the Tea! Offer a variety of teas, like Earl Grey and English Breakfast, and add to the mix some trendy options like chai, mint or jasmine green tea.
  3. Let them eat cake! Throwing an afternoon tea party is all about having fun, so don’t feel that you have to bake all the cakes too! Head to Tesco for some good options. Their luxury Macarons will look cute on the cake stand!

With a bit of planning and preparation, it’s easy to recreate tea at home. For the essential ingredients we suggest:

  • Go vintage on the crockery. The British Heart Foundation and Mencap are treasure troves full of vintage, retro, pre-loved items so you might find those ‘must-have’ china cups.  Don’t worry if the patterns are mismatched!
  • Adding special touches with lace-like doilies from, napkins and party pieces from Poundland.
  • Baking your own scones try this easy scone recipe. Make in advance and simply warm through before serving.

Finally, if you’re feeling especially fancy, treat guests to a glass of prosecco with their afternoon tea.

It’s National Prosecco Day on a Friday 13th August so why not make tea tipsy and raise a glass (or two) at Crown & Cushion?

BBQ Brilliance


Nothing beats the aroma of something sizzling and succulent on the grill, mellow tunes playing in the background, a cool drink in hand. We’ve cooked up a three-step guide just for you. Follow these tips to ensure that your summer BBQ goes off without a hitch.

  1. Get Prepping
    One of the key aspects of a brilliant BBQ is preparation. Of course, you’ll need to set a date and get your invites out.
    From setting your menu to organising ingredients, you’ll want to make sure you’re on top of every part of your BBQ. We suggest stocking up at Tesco! Find out if you are catering for any fish eaters, vegetarians or vegans. Wrap veggies in foil parcels and grill them on the barbecue to cater for all your guests. Nowadays there are some fantastic non meat BBQ recipes.
  2. Theme setting
    When you’re getting ready for your BBQ, it’s a good idea to set out the general theme and atmosphere that you’re aiming for. For example, are you looking to create a casual ‘Aussie Style’ event with a relaxed feel, or a chic ‘white theme’ BBQ party? After all, if you can’t get to Ibiza or Santorini, why not let the white isles come to you?
  3. Sip something
    While you can ask guests to bring a bottle, it’s also a good idea to offer some refreshments to complement your menu and create the right atmosphere. A pre-mixed non-alcoholic fruit punch or an alcoholic Pimm’s and lemonade go far and cater for everyone too.

Finally fake it until you make it

When it comes to the traditional BBQ it is all about the host having as much fun as the guests so keep it simple. So, let us share, our secret hacks include (ssshh just don’t tell everyone)

  • Say goodbye to dry burgers – place an ice cube in the centre of your burger patty and your burgers will be cooked through without being dry.
  • Five a day – Remember a simple and quick Greek side salad is a good accompaniment to meat – simply mix onion, cucumber, feta cheese in a bowl. Add some olive oil and a sprinkling of dry herbs!
  • No more washing up – use disposable plates to save on your washing up and avoid a next day headache, so head to Poundland.

We hope we have given you some style ideas for August and we look forward to seeing you soon. Shop safe.

The safety and comfort of our customers remains important. The rules have changed; face coverings are no longer mandatory in the shopping centre. However, we would still recommend the use of face coverings in the centre to protect yourself and others. #ThankYou


The Great Summer Staycation is here!

Schools out for summer! And with the holidays in full swing, we want to inspire you with some ideas to enjoy the Great British Summer, right here at home. Yes, that’s right. From activities for the children, to date time for mum and dad. There’s something for everyone in our summer style guide.

No more mum/dad i’m bored

Let’s face it, it’s been a worrying time for children and young people. Take a break from homeschooling, classroom bubbles and exam result waits and focus on the #bestsummerever! Here’s three activities to keep the little, and bigger ones entertained this July.

  1. Make your own lollies

    Who doesn’t love an ice lolly on a hot day? It’s a great way to help kids with their ‘5 a day’ too. Pick up some strawberries, bananas and blueberries from Tesco. Grab a lolly mould check out Poundland and you are ready to go! We think these Real Fruit Ice Lollies by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall look delicious!

  2. Camping under the stars

    Camping for a night at home has huge benefits. There’s no packing, no driving for miles to a crowded campsite, you can practically pick the weather, plus you have your own private bathroom nearby! A camp out is a fun activity for little ones and teens. Impress the kids with your outdoor skills (thank goodness the tool shed is nearby) and build something memorable. Pick up a tent from Sports Direct. Remember the marshmallows for an authentic campfire experience!

  3. Family Movie Marathon/Teen film night

    It’s easier than you think – all you need to worry about is choosing the perfect summer flick! Get away from the tablet and get closer to nature…even if that nature is your neighbour’s birch tree! While you may have a Wi-Fi signal in your garden, don’t use it to load up Netflix on your iPad. Hang a sheet from a clothesline, and project a film with a projector. Sure, there is some financial investment but a projector can be recycled for those winter movie nights in the lounge. Now where’s that popcorn?

Finally, it’s always a good idea to get some ‘wet day’ staples. Get crafty with supplies from Poundland. Their craft materials are fab for a rainy day – let’s hope there aren’t too many!

Date Day Ideas – First dates, anniversary dates, mates dates

July is the perfect time to put that all important date day in the diary.

There’s been little opportunity for date time. For a long-time shops, pubs and eateries were closed. Then we had outdoor dining in April too which was often a little on the chilly side.

Create the ‘First Dates’ vibe with a relaxed chat, coffee and cake at Peacocks Coffee Lounge.

Anniversary date? *wink* Grab a spot of lunch at Market Fish & Chip Shop, check out The Fragrance Shop for his and hers romantic summer fragrances and visit Warren James for that special anniversary gift! Mates Date? Grab a drink, or two, from the Crown and Cushion.

Destination : Home Garden

Unfortunately, a holiday might not be financially affordable or feasible for you this year. So, this July why not bring a holiday vibe to your own back garden?

Remodel your garden with a deck, or just jazz it up with some stylish accessories for those holiday vibes! This doesn’t mean you need a big space either… you can decorate the smallest of areas with cute lanterns, wild flowers and fairy lights. Enhancing your garden assets will offer an instant wow-factor to your home and provide somewhere to sit with a homemade cocktail! Make your own Tiki Bar and pretend you’re in Marbella!  Need inspiration? Visit Pinterest for ideas and YouTube for DIY tutorials!

Whether you are going all-out on DIY decking, or just adding some simple accessories, a garden revamp is perfect for summer. Nip to Poundland for some garden bargains and don’t forget to stock up on drink supplies and summer reads at Tesco! Add the hint of a beach for the little ones with a paddling pool or sandpit.

Shop safe

The safety and comfort of our customers remains important. The rules have changed; face coverings are no longer mandatory in the shopping centre. However, we would still recommend the use of face coverings in the centre to protect yourself and others. #ThankYou


Summer Holiday Fun

The summer holidays are almost here, and we want to inspire families everywhere on destinations they can choose to visit here in the UK! Many of us may still feel hesitant to go abroad, but you still deserve a little time ‘away’ with your loved ones.

Along with dreamy destinations, we’ll be letting you know where to get all the essentials from. We’re talking sunscreen, travel pillows and clothes to stay cosy in…


We have a few options for you to choose from…

– Lundy Island, Devon
– Snowdonia, Wales
– Dedham, Essex
– Shropshire Hills, Shropshire
– Lake District, Cumbria

These locations are dotted with history, totally picturesque and are perfect for the family that want to spend quality time relaxing with nature, on beaches or near stunning cliff sides.

Be sure to grab all the essentials you’ll need for your UK vacay – if you’re unsure on what you should be taking with you, we’re here to break it down for you. Keep reading!


Now, you’ll probably be doing quite a lot of walking if you’re hiking up green mountains or travelling to historical buildings from one part of a town to another, so comfy clothes and shoes are a MUST.

We’d suggest popping to Sports Direct for stretchy leggings and hoodies, plus breathable and comfortable shoes from Wards Shoes or Shoe Zone.

Don’t forget your family matching facemasks from Poundland, Tesco or Revolve. *wink wink*


It’s always a good option to have good train or car snacks for the journey, plus – going somewhere where you’re not 100% on the food in the local area is a bit risky. Packing crisps, pot noodles and other fun foodie options will potentially help when you need a midnight snack.

We ALWAYS take Pringles, nuts and breakfast bars when we go away… Don’t forget to head to Tesco and Poundland when you’re next visiting the centre to grab lots of yummy options.



You know the essentials we’re talking about:

    • Sunscreen
    • Mini first aid kit
    • Tablets to help headaches, tummy upsets and more.
    • Hand sanitisers
    • Mini deodorants
    • Hairbrush
    • Makeup bag

And the list goes on, of course!

If you need to stock up on these must-have items, be sure to pop into Bodycare or Boots when you’re next visiting the centre.


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Sometimes it’s a good idea to pack a few extra activities for the kids (and yourself) to enjoy while you’re away from home luxuries.

We think a pack of cards as well as smaller toys from Poundland will keep all parties occupied. If you want to go ALL OUT, you could grab a few bits from Tesco too – whether it’s a badminton set, football or water guns if you know the sun will be shining.

For the parents, we think a sophisticated colouring book from WHSmith would be a fabulous idea to gain a little ‘zen’ in the evenings. Don’t forget to pick up a colourful pack of pencils too.

Now, if you’re staying within (or near) the UK, we hope we’ve given you a few ideas to work with. We look forward to seeing you at the centre, picking up all the essentials you may need from Chesterfield Pavements. Don’t forget to continue #ShoppingSafe too – keep that facemask on and a 2-metre distance where possible.