• Google My Business: What on earth is it and why should you use it?

    Google My Business – what on earth is it and why should you use it? Good question. In the busy world of running a small business, it might just feel like yet another thing you’re ‘supposed’ to do rather than something that will truly benefit you. 

    But it’s not. It’s actually a fantastic way of getting more eyes on your business and boosting your ranking on the world’s biggest search engine. And the best bit? It’s totally free and you can quite often get instant verification. Winner.

    What is Google My Business?

    We’ve all been there. It’s Friday night and you’re exhausted from a busy week of running your business There’s a pile of washing staring at you from the corner of the bedroom and your youngest is nagging you about their homework – making a replica WW2 bomb shelter out of biscuits. 

    The thought of cooking dinner is about as appealing as a wisdom tooth extraction. 

    You pick up your phone and you type into Google ‘takeaway pizza near me’ all while trying not to dribble onto the screen. Bingo! You’ve just used Google My Business (GMB). 

    Google is the world’s most popular search engine – with 75% of the market share. Out of the 5.6 billion daily searches, a large percentage have local intent. People want to shop and buy locally. Which is great news for you…but you have to be easy to find.

    And that’s where Google My Business comes in, swooping in to make your business more visible than ever before. 

    It’s a free service designed to help local businesses get online and enables you to manage how your business appears across Google and make it stand out. But from conversations we’ve had here at JCTS, it’s widely underused. 

    So here are some of the reasons why you should consider using Google My Business, in the hope it will entice you to create your GMB profile and start reaping the benefits.

    Why you should use Google My Business 

    In order for more people to know about your business, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to find you. A GMB profile will make that happen. But that’s just the beginning. Try on a few of these other benefits for size.

    1. Google Maps and Local Pack Listings 

    Remember the last time you went out of town for a fun family day out? Chances are you relied on Google Maps to help you find somewhere to eat or stay. Up pop local restaurants, hotels, doctors and other places of interest, all identifiable by that little pin in the map. 

    One of the best bits about being one of those pins on Google Maps – also called a Local Pack Listing – is being at the top of the search page, therefore highly visible. Not only is your business highlighted, it also gives people additional information about you – e.g. contact information, opening hours and website etc. 

    You can only get to be a funky little pin if you have a Google My Business profile. And who doesn’t want to be a funky little pin at some point in their life?

    1. People can leave reviews 

    We all know why reviews matter – that know, like and trust factor that’s so important when asking people to buy from you. As many as 93% of people are influenced by reviews as they know they’re legitimate – i.e. they’re mostly made by real people with real experiences of your product or service.

    If you’re anything like the team here at JCTS, we’re always reading reviews for all sorts of things – mainly notebooks and the best type of pen, but then we’re kinda quirky that way. 

    But it’s not all about people loving your business. Research by Moz shows that online reviews make up a whopping 10% of how search results are ranked. That might not sound like much but in the world of SEO, it’s pretty mega. And in terms of local SEO, it’s even better.

    Google My Business: What on earth is it and why should you use it
    1. Google My Business Insights

    If you’re a bit geeky like us, you’ll enjoy looking at the data behind your business. And if you’re not, you could be missing a trick, but that’s another blog post. Google My Business aims to help the small business owner by providing key analytics for you to track in order to help you grow, and learn what your customers really want.

    Here are the main ones:

    • Views – of your GMB profile so you know the effectiveness of your campaigns
    • Search queries – you’ll know specific keywords people are using when searching for your type of business. This will help you stay relevant.
    • Engagement – how are people interacting with your GMB profile? Which posts are they sharing? Which are people commenting on?
    • Audience demographics – including age/gender/location, so you know if they’re the right type of audience for you
    • Website clicks – how many people are taking action and actually clicking your website link? You can then marry this up with Google Analytics on your website and see where they’re going next. 

    So there you have it, Google My Business in all its glory. As you can see, it can really help with your overall business strategy and provide you with a simple (and FREE) way of making your business as visible to as many of the right people as possible. 

    If you’d like some support with setting up your Google My Business profile, why not get in touch? We’ll get our full geek on and help you in the best way possible. 


  • Getting started on LinkedIn as a small business owner

    Getting started on LinkedIn as a small business owner

    Getting started on LinkedIn as a small business owner can feel a little daunting. After all, it’s not got that cuddly vibe of Instagram or the opinionated, soap-box feel of Twitter. Is it worth investing your time in yet another social media channel? 

    Well, first and foremost LinkedIn isn’t a social media channel – it’s easy to think it is, but it likes to call itself a ‘professional network on the internet’ – maybe even stretching to a ‘social network’ but then you might be expecting Justin Timberlake to make an appearance and you’d be sorely disappointed. 

    The great thing about LinkedIn being a little different is there’s no algorithm to try and negotiate. You’re not jumping through the usual hoops in order to get noticed. It’s just a great way to connect with other like-minded people and grow your network of contacts – which often leads to enquiries and leads along the way. 

    In this post, you’ll learn a few easy steps to get started on LinkedIn so you’re no longer facing the overwhelm of where to even begin.

    What is LinkedIn?

    What is LinkedIn?

    Essentially LinkedIn is a marketing tool – to help you promote yourself and your business to a wider network of business-to-business (B2B) professionals. Now, this can seem quite daunting, especially if you’re just starting out on your self-employed journey and you thought B2B was a Star Wars character.

    After all, a whole new platform means you’re probably not quite sure who’ll be reading about you or your product/service; maybe it feels outside your ‘safe and established network.’

    You may have also heard that LinkedIn is a serious place, for serious people – no sharing funny GIFS or last night’s dinner on your feed unless you wish to be cast out as an imposter, albeit one wearing a business suit and kitten heels to try and fit in around the metaphorical water cooler.  

    But LinkedIn has moved on from the stuffy, boardroom type feel it had a few years ago. It’s actually a fantastic platform to be part of and can provide many benefits for small business owners like you. But before we delve into exactly what you need to have on your LinkedIn profile to gain these benefits, let’s turn the clock back to those heady days at the start of your business journey and get intentional about your LinkedIn usage.

    Your LinkedIn account and your business goals

    Your LinkedIn account and your business goals

    Now we’ve travelled back in time, let’s settle in, shall we? It’s time to get a little honest with yourself. Why did you start your business? What did you want to achieve? What were your goals? 

    If you can’t remember, take a look at your business plan and remind yourself. No doubt it was because you had a great idea or you were filling a gap in the marketplace. Maybe the lure of being your own boss was terribly tempting and you were keen to be as successful and profitable as possible. 

    You probably created your LinkedIn account at the point of starting out – one of those ‘must dos’ you were given by a well-meaning biz buddy to help get yourself established. Equally, you may have thought LinkedIn wasn’t for you – you were a small one-person business and LinkedIn was for big corporate groups – therefore it didn’t fit your business profile. You’d also thrown away your kitten heels…

    Whatever the case, I would guess that, right now, your LinkedIn account is either non-existent or sits in the background, ticking over but not really working for you. Unlike your social media channels, it lies dormant – apart from the occasional connection requests from someone you vaguely remember from school or one of those ‘coaches’ who can definitely help you make £3million an hour.

    But fear not, we’ve all been there – it’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘now’ of running a business that some things slip. So let’s look at a couple of things you can do right now to get more active on LinkedIn and start connecting with people who will enhance your business and generate more leads.

    Jennifer Cooper Timesaver LinkedIn Profile

    Your LinkedIn Profile 

    This is the first thing people will read about you on LinkedIn, so it’s really important to keep it up-to-date. Your profile is all about your story – i.e. who you are and what you do. Here’s a look at mine.

    Before you begin composing, or if you already have a profile, take a good look at it and ask yourself these questions:

    • Does your profile reflect what you want it to?  

    • Is it specific and clear about what it is you do?  

    You probably think I’m stating the obvious but it’s surprising how many people get caught up in the ‘writing’ they go off-point and these two key questions aren’t addressed. 

    Now let’s move on to some other points you’ll need to look at: 

    • Profile image – it’s so important to have a picture on your LinkedIn profile – ideally a professional headshot of you. Stats show that a lack of a photo means you miss out on people connecting with you.

    • Cover Image – this sits at the top of your profile – acting as a header to your page. This needs to reflect your brand, so you could incorporate your company logo or any graphics that show you in a work setting or ‘in action’ at work – now’s your chance to pull on those kitten heels…

    So there you have it – a few easy steps to start using LinkedIn to grow your business. As with all marketing, try not to overwhelm yourself with too many things to do otherwise, it’s tempting to do none of them at all. Even just doing the few suggestions in this post will get you off on the right foot.   

    If you’d like any help with your LinkedIn account, saving you time to get on with the ‘business side of your business,’ then do get in contact. We’re here to help you expand and grow – you don’t have to do this alone. 


  • How to engage with others on Instagram 

    How to engage with others on Instagram

    As a small business owner, you know you should engage with others on Instagram, but how do you do it in an authentic way that actually provides results for your business? Maybe you already spend lots of time on social media but aren’t getting much back from it? It can feel incredibly frustrating and you’re no doubt wondering if it’s worth all the time you’re investing. 

    You may be tempted just to blame the algorithm, which seems to change its mind more often than people change their underwear, but it’s actually less about IG moving the goalposts and more about how you use the app to your advantage. It’s about taking intentional action to engage with others consistently. 

    To help you do this, I’m sharing my six top tips to use your time wisely and get results.

    Tip 1 – Identify your target audience

    It can be challenging to find your ideal client on social media; we’ve all been there. Creating a list of people from your target audience makes it easier to know who you should be communicating with. Build your list up over a period of time and start with as many or as little as you like. 

    You might be wondering what information to put on it. It only needs simple details such as their name, business name and social media handles.

    Once you’ve built your list, go ahead and follow those connections. This is an important step, so don’t miss it. If you don’t follow them, you won’t see what they’re posting. If you’re really keen, you can even turn on notifications so you know when they’ve posted. Turn these notifications on and off as you need to.

    Tip 2 – Start to engage

    Now it’s time to engage. To begin engaging with your ideal clients, start by commenting and liking their posts. A few different ways to do this include: 

    • Sharing your opinion on something they’ve posted
    • Letting them know if something resonates with you
    • Talking to them about something industry-related

    Not only does this help your ideal client see you’ve got something worth saying or that you’re knowledgeable about your area of expertise, it also enables other people to see that too. Often new followers will come to your account via comments you’ve made on other people’s posts – you’ve peeked their interest and curiosity and they want to hear more from you.

    However, don’t forget about engagement on your own posts too. If you’ve posted and people are commenting, you need to respond to what they’ve said. ‘Don’t post and ghost’ is a great rule to live by on Instagram. 

    After all, social media is just that… social. And the more social you are, the better your engagement will be. If you don’t respond to comments, people won’t bother commenting – it’s as simple as that. 

    Some of the biggest accounts on Instagram hire people just to engage with their community in the comments, responding and interacting with people – it’s that important.

    Tip 3 – Hashtags

    Let’s tackle the burning question. Should you use 10 hashtags or all 30? In late 2021, Instagram changed its bloomers yet again and announced that using 3-5 hashtags would be the optimum number. This was probably because some Instagram users were spamming the 30 hashtag rule and ruining the party for the rest of us. The app is also using a more SEO-based approach, therefore recommending fewer, more relevant hashtags makes sense to them.

    But according to research done by Later, posts with all 30 hashtags are still performing the best. Here at Jennifer Cooper Timesaver, we’re following Later’s philosophy of ‘go big or go home’ and mostly use all 30. In our opinion (and the research backs this up), the more hashtags you use, the more it increases your chances of your ideal client finding you and thus improving your engagement rates.

    Having said that, it’s important to do the research and use the right hashtags for your business – you want to attract your ideal client to your business, not just randoms who are hanging out and spamming your comments with chances to win the latest iPhone. 

    You can even follow relevant hashtags so that posts using that hashtag come up in your feed. When you click into that hashtag, you have the option to view the best performing posts or the most recent. For better results, choose the most recent posts to engage with and start getting to know people by following the steps in the first tip above.

    Tip 4 – Stories 

    Using stories is the ideal way to give your audience a chance to glimpse behind the scenes of your business. As much as beautifully crafted grid posts or videos definitely have their value, stories are the place where people can get to know a bit more about you. Sharing typical parts of your day, e.g. the coffee you enjoy or the walk you’ve done at lunchtime, can prompt greater engagement as your audience interacts with you. 

    Use all the features that Instagram has to offer too. You could create polls on topics that could spark conversation with your audience or use the question feature to find out what your audience is thinking.

    You might like to consider using that question feature to further engage your audience by taking a question someone has asked and using it as a topic for an IG live. Or if speaking live makes you want to change your underwear, expand on a question within the stories feature itself. 

    Some of the best accounts do a weekly ‘ask me anything’ on their stories, using the question sticker, and show up consistently to answer those questions for their audience. 

    The ‘close friends’ feature is a great tool because it enables you to ask for feedback or to gain market research with a smaller audience that you trust. It makes people feel special if you add them to your close friends list – why not offer it to your audience and let them know they’ll get even more great content that’s not available to all followers?

    Tip 5 – Conversation in the DMs

    Want to know the secret to engaging effectively with people on social media? You’ve guessed it, send them a DM. Start a conversation. Often this helps to build a closer relationship as you can start to get to know them on a personal level first before mentioning anything business-related. 

    You may find this a little intimidating at first – and that’s perfectly normal. It’s a little like going up to someone new at a networking event and chatting to them for the first time – all the while hoping you haven’t got bits of custard cream between your teeth. But starting small and simple is the best way forward. 

    So, once again, see if there’s anything in their bio, stories, posts or highlights that you resonate with. Get to know them. Remember that having a conversation is a two-way street and relationships take work. 

    Keep the word ‘relationship’ at the forefront of your mind – imagine how you’d want someone to interact with you for the first time on social media and go from there. Take a genuine interest – people tend to get annoyed if you try to get to know them just to pitch your services or products to them after two messages. I’m sure you’ve met those people in your own DMs.

    You’ll know when the time is right for selling or pitching. You may find your ideal clients even approach you first if they’re interested and have engaged with your profile. 

    Tip 6 – Reward yourself

    Running a business is hard work. Social media is a fantastic way to market your business for free. We acknowledge that it takes hard work and dedication to see results. Rewarding yourself for the hard work you’re doing can be easily overlooked.

    To help you reach your bigger goals, set yourself smaller daily/weekly goals. When you reach them, treat yourself. It’s important to celebrate your wins no matter how big or small they are.

    You may feel as though you have to spend hours on these engagement tips every day. But you don’t. Try spending just 30-minutes a day interacting and engaging with others on their posts and on yours. If you do consistently, you’ll soon see results. Some experts suggest the ‘5-5-5’ approach. Use your social media time to:

    • Follow 5 new people from your target audience
    • Comment on 5 posts from your ideal clients
    • Send 5 new DMs to people you’re building relationships with

    The real key to success is consistency and patience. Show up regularly and engage with those around you. You’ll soon find your own corner of Instagram that really feels like your community. Not only full of your ideal clients but full of other small business owners too. 

    And while these tips are for Instagram, you can implement them across other platforms too. By following our simple steps of creating a list, engaging with others using the different features and rewarding yourself, you can continue to engage effectively with your target audience – and grow your business.

    If you would like more support with building your Instagram audience, please get in touch here.


  • Timesaving Christmas Shopping Part 2

    Time to make you sparkle!

    Hello and welcome to the second blog this Christmas designed to help you save time when Christmas Shopping, and champion and support some of my favourite local, small businesses. If you missed the first part you can catch up here.

    It is true what they say when you buy from a small business someone does a happy dance. You will find below a selection of amazing craftspeople and passionate entrepreneurs who want to empower and celebrate women. So with no further ado, and in no particular order here we go!

    Self Care Survival Kit Shop

    The Self Care Survival Kit shop has been curated by self care coach Rachel Letham to offer everything you need to add small, regular moments of self care into your life.

    Build your own self care survival kit to get your through the winter as you choose from journals and planners to eye masks, candles and bath scrubs or select the perfect gift to treat a loved one to some down time this Christmas.




    The Diamond Setter

    Give the gift of sparkles and something that lasts for a lifetime, The Diamond Setter create timeless jewellery with dedicated craftsmanship. They have a range of stunning pieces including studs in your choice of gemstone, handcrafted at their studio at Salomons Estate, Tunbridge Wells. Choose from a range of stunning pink, blue, green, or teal sapphires, garnets, rubies, amethysts and many others. Name your gemstone and Lorraine & Gavin will set them for you in 9ct yellow or white gold, double gallery studs.

    The studs come in a luxury and eco-friendly jewellery box, a polish cloth, and a vegan suede travel pouch.

    Collect at The Diamond Setter studio or opt to receive via Royal Mail special delivery.




    My Colour Stylist

    Anni is an utter genius when it comes to colour. No one better understands how it works, and how to find the very best colours for you which will make you look and feel great. Anni offers Virtual and In Person Colour Analyst sessions. If you are a jewellery fan do you know which metal really works for you? You need Anni in your life.

    You can invest in a session, or buy one of Anni’s beautiful vouchers to go towards one. Plus once you know the best colours for you, Anni sells a unique range of fabric swatches, so you can buy samples of your personal colours, and take them in a wallet with you when you go shopping (wallet also supplied by Anni) – all meaning that you can shop in total confidence.




    Glass Alisa

    Alisa makes the most beautiful glass gifts including waves, tealight holders, and hanging vases at her studio in the Kent countryside. If you are feeling inspired Alisa runs a range of glass craft workshops, where you can try your hand at making your own glass pieces. Alternatively, Alisa also sells glass mosaic home craft kits, with everything you need to make your own glass masterpiece at home, which are suitable for ages 6 and up.

    Alisa is running a series of workshops in the New Year, something to look forward to after Christmas. A discount is applied to any one booking 3 separate, 3-hour Taster Sessions. These sessions enable you to evolve a project and try different techniques. Midweek workshops can be arranged for groups of 4 or more.




    Heavenly Herbals

    Evelyn of Heavenly Herbals makes my favourite soaps. End of. Once you have used them you can never go back to anything else! Choose from a range of natural olive oil soaps, mineral-rich bath soaks, and beautiful face and body creams. All handmade in rural Sussex, England




    Becky Pearce Jewellery

    Becky makes a beautiful range of birthstone-inspired, eco-friendly jewellery. Choose from birthstone stacking rings, minimalist style pendants, bangles and studs, and mindful spinner rings.




    Jade Tinkler Photography

    Why not go for something really different this year and book a photoshoot with Jade Tinkler? Jade specialises in luxury women’s photographs, and natural and honest portraits, that show off how gorgeous you really are.




    And finally

    And that’s it for this week. Check back in next time, when my next blog will cover Timesaving Christmas Gifts for the home!

    Thank you once again for supporting small businesses and making lots of lovely people do a happy dance.


  • Timesaving Christmas Shopping Part 1

    My Favourite Gift Emporiums

    Hello and welcome to the first of a series of blogs this Christmas designed to help you save time when Christmas Shopping, and champion and support some of my favourite local, small businesses.

    It is true what they say when you buy from a small business someone does a happy dance. Everyone I recommend here is someone who pours their heart and soul into their business and has curated a wonderful selection of gifts and goodies for you to peruse. So with no further ado, and in no particular order here we go!

    Ooh How Lovely

    If you haven’t discovered Ooh How Lovely in Hawkhurst yet you are in for a treat. For Christmas 2021, Ooh How Lovely has a variety of gift ideas for all family and friends. This includes pretty jewellery and warm scarves & socks constructions kits of tractors, airplanes and cars, festive decorations, preserves, toffee, and fudge plus lots of other locally made gifts and a vast selection of cards and gift wrap.

    Ooh How Lovely are open 10 am-5 pm Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with a late-night shopping event in Hawkhurst Village on Thursday 2nd December, 5 pm – 8 pm. Pop in or call the shop on 015808 483030 or 07400 522081. Lisa and the team look forward to seeing you and welcoming you to their colourful shop.




    Box Paper Scissors

    Another Hawkhurst favourite, Emily of Box Paper Scissors has all your gift wrapping and stationery needs covered. Sustainably made and beautifully wrapped, Box Paper Scissors has the simple aim of making gifts almost too beautiful to open.




    Three Bees Gifts

    Three Bees is a new, environmentally conscious online gift brand based in Tunbridge Wells.

    Their range of gifts, cards, and wrap are all ethical, sustainable, and planet friendly. And also very gorgeous!

    Everything has been handpicked from like-minded small businesses who are genuinely trying to protect our amazing planet and not cut corners for the sake of profit.

    All your purchases will be beautifully gift wrapped in recycled and compostable packing, making them the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one.

    Happy Shopping!




    Lauren’s Lovely Little Library

    As a Teacher and Usborne Partner based in Maidstone, Lauren can help find the perfect books for the young people in your lives; from newborn babies to young adults. Usborne books are high quality, beautiful books and are a gift that just keep on giving! 





    Rugsy Lugsy

    Rugsy Lugsy can be found at the Pantiles Market in Tunbridge Wells most weekends between now and Christmas. Charlotte and Neil make everything themselves from reclaimed or sustainably sourced wood. The Christmas range includes Steve McFreeze and Penelope Penguin (pictured) and wooden bunting for the home. Personalised wooden hanging decorations are available, and Neil makes customisable decorative houses which are available to order.





    Gabrielle Izen Design

    Gabrielle is a brilliant Kent-based illustrator and modern calligrapher, who sells a wide range of her own cards, prints, and gifts inspired by nature. All print and production is done in Kent, and everything is FSC certified.



    And finally

    And that’s it for this week. Check back in next week, when my next blog will cover Timesaving Christmas Gifts to make you sparkle!

    Thank you for supporting small business and making people do a happy dance.


  • My Top 16 Gift Ideas for Mothering Sunday

    Card from Box Paper Scissors

    Mothering Sunday is on 14 March – but what to buy? How can you treat your mum, mum friends or yourself? Because we have all been heroes this lockdown and deserve a little bit of joy and appreciation.

    Help is at hand as I have compiled a list of some of my favourite things from local businesses and crafters in Kent & Sussex. There are all lovely people who are incredibly talented at what they do.

    With no further ado here are my top suggestions:

    Treat Time

    If you know me, you know that I love stationery. So I had to start off with this! Thankfully one of my favourite people, Rachel Letham, has just started selling a range of gorgeous notebooks and other self care items in her online store.

    Rachel has a beautiful range of notebooks, eye masks available. Rachel is a self care champion and has written a brilliant ebook, Self Care For The Seasons. If someone is suffering from burnout, this is the book they need in their life!

    Visit the store here

    More stationery inspiration can be found at Box Paper Scissors. Emily has a gorgeous collection of handpicked vintage inspired items including;

    • Mothers Day Concertina Card (pictured at top of blog)
    • The Garden Plots Postcards with matching envelopes
    • Ribbon Storage Jar, this beautiful dispenser is the perfect gift for crafters to keep all their ribbons tidy and accessible.
    • Recycled botanical notebooks, lined on one side and blank on the other making them perfect to keep a journal or write garden notes on one side and sketch or stick pictures or plant cuttings on the other side.
    • Flora label & sticker book – perfect for decorating presents, envelopes, jam jars, journals..all sorts of craft projects 

    You can find lots more at Emily’s shop here

    Rachel of Mrs B Bags makes the most exquisite tote bags. This is the Tulipa Ochre design, made from luxurious velvet, with an inside zipped pocket. Leather handles make it easy for filling and carrying all your necessary shopping or day to day necessities. Rachel gives 50% of all profits to a cause close to her heart, the Motor Neurone Disease Assocation.

    You can find lots more bags here

    Emma of Soulstar Sanctuary in Langton Green is a Tera Mai reiki practioner who has created a wonderful range of mood sprays and rollerballs for energy (My mood spray got my through homeschooling!) These rollerballs of essential oils also contain crystals, and the combination enhances the healing properties in both.

    You can find more on Emma’s Etsy shop here

    Sarah at Crafty By Nature is based in Tonbridge, and sells these lovely kits which combine the amazing power of nature with some crafty creativity.

    The make-your-own bathbomb and lipbalm kits are two presents in one!
    Firstly they are a fun craft activity for your Mum to do, and then she
    also gets to enjoy either the lovely bathbombs or nourishing lipbalms.
    They are made with natural vegan ingredients and the packaging is

    You can order your kits here

    Looking for some quality pampering? You need Lisa of And Relax Treatment room in Rusthall. Lisa is a beauty & massage therapist who offers facials, massages, pedicures and manicures. All guaranteed to make mum feel a million dollars.

    You can book a treatment from 12 April here

    If you are looking for something truly unforgettable for you mum, you need a Mother’s Memories book from Our Priceless Treasures. Designed by Julie Pinnell, these easy to complete books have been designed to help you to write down all sorts of things about your life, to share with your children, their children and their children’s children – a really personal family history

    “I can honestly say it was one of the best gifts ever.  I sat enthralled as I read and read.  I couldn’t put it down.  I can’t believe that in my mother’s memories there were things I’d never known.  It was like the questions had opened the floodgates for more memories to flow out.  My brother and sister are green with envy that I hold such an amazing bit of family history, all written down in my Mum’s distinctive handwriting.  I hope many other people discover the special magic that your Memories books hold – mine is my most prized possession.” Kim

    Julie also has a beautiful range of other gifts, designed to be emotional and heartwarming keepsakes. You can find them here

    Or how about something creative? What about an Arty Farty Community membership….. £120 for the whole year!! 

    Nell runs fantastic online weekly workshops, challenges, make it days, tips and techniques. Most importantly this is time for Mum to have to herself!!

    To order email Nell at nell@artyfartyretreat.co.uk 

    For The Home

    Rugsylugsy are based in Tunbridge Wells, and create whimsical wooden creations for you home. Everything is made from reclaimed and salvaged wood, and is handpainted in eco friendly paint.

    Favourites include the Rugsylugsy heart, bunting, houses and new summerhouse hanging decorations.

    You can find lots more wooden delightfulness here

    GlassAlisa is based near Maidstone, and creates handmade fused glass home decor. Alisa has a large variety of decorative items to suit all budgets as well as gift vouchers for her workshops. As soon as restrictions allow Alisa will be running her glass making workshops again, a fantastic opportunity to learn a new skill in a relaxing rural setting.

    Find out more here

    Sarah Rickard makes the most exquisite ceramics, all handpainted and handmade in her studio in East Sussex. Inspired by folklore, mythology, the English countryside and the Arts & Craft movement, Sarah has a range of exquisite decorative pieces from these angels, to hares to garden birds.

    You can find more inspiration on her website here

    Lisa runs Ooh How Lovely, a magical shop in Hawkhurst. It is a colourful treasure trove of handpicked items. Latest arrivals include throws and material from India, hand painted Charleston inspired lampshades, and Madaraff bags from a family business in Madagascar.

    You can find out more on Lisa’s website here

    Why not treat someone this Mothers Day with a unique card, print or frame from Heidi Crundwell Photography? Heidi is an award winning wildlife photographer based on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells. Invite the beauty of the natural world into their home with one of Heidi’s prints celebrating some of the most iconic species on our planet. The strength of a lioness, the beauty of a leopard and the wisdom of an elephant, celebrate your special person with a truly wild image. 

    Visit Heidi’s website here

    Louise Dean is wonderful artist and gorgeous soul who lives in Langton Green. Louise creates a wide range of beautiful art influenced by her childhood in the Carribean. From watercolour peonies to silver & gold leaf oriental blossoms, there is sure to be something special to catch your eye.

    See more here

    To Eat

    How about this red focaccia from Homecooking Italy in Langton Green? Patrizia makes the most amazing authentic Italian kitchen food. This focaccia is a salty alternative to cake, which you can share with your family. Plus if you order a focaccia you get a small size tiramisu for free!

    To order please DM Patrizia through her instagram.

    And finally Karen of Baketastic in Speldhurst, is a bit of a baking legend in the local area. Her salted caramel brownies are legendary, and Karen makes a mean lemon drizzle cake.

    Karen can make a homemade cake for your mum – any flavour, any size, and any wording. Just contact Karen to discuss your order, with free local delivery (Tunbridge Wells area) 

    Email Karen!

    Hopefully you have found plenty of inspiration here for gifts – for you mum, for friends and for yourself! Do let me know if you have any other local suggestions for Mothering Sunday gifts