Santa’s Been! Photo Cutouts unwrap NEW Christmas designs

Photo Cutouts have been busy working away in our workshop on some new themed photo boards for Christmas. We are pleased to reveal that our new face-in-the-hole board designs are now ready to book for hire or to buy.

New Christmas Designs

Santa’s Workshop – a large 1.5m wide, 3 face hole photo board, perfect for families or groups of friends to create a fun photo opportunity.

Large Santas Workshop Christmas photo board

Selfie with Elfie – a 1m wide, 1 face hole photo board with an eye-catching design. Great for engaging with people and making events memorable.

Christmas Selfie-with-Elfie photo board

Christmas Wreath Selfie Board – a large handheld festive photo board. Ideal for passing around at Christmas events or parties.

Handheld selfie board_ Christmas Wreath Design

High-quality

All of our Photo Cutouts Boards are made from an industrial PVC with a high-quality vinyl print so they withstand a lot of use. The quality is miles apart from cardboard versions, they are even waterproof. As the boards are mounted onto a sturdy steel frame they are suitable for use at outdoor events such as Christmas Markets, skating rinks, to entertain families queuing for Santa’s Grotto or in a retail environment to attract the Christmas shoppers.

Face in hole board Christmas elves

Customise

As with all our photo board designs, we have the option to customise with your logo and encourage adding social media handles for photos (and your branding!) to be shared across social media. Customising is an option whether looking to hire or buy just get in touch with our design team to discuss your requirements.

Natural Christmas Tree Company Branded Christmas Photo Board

 

Photo Competition

Photo Boards lend themselves perfectly to Christmas competitions. Several companies we have worked with previously have used branded photo cutout boards as a competition mechanism. Encourage people to share photo’s in your face-in-the-hole board across social media to win a prize and select your favourite photo. To tempt customers to share their photos on social media, Klondyke & Strikes ran a ‘Show us your best festive face’ competition last year, with a prize for the best snow globe photo. Check out the hashtag #KlondykeSnowglobe on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Christmas #KlondykeSnowglobe_Instagram

Inspiration

For inspiration on how you could use Photo Cutout boards as part of your Christmas marketing campaign or seasonal event, take a look at some previous blog posts featuring boards from….

Klondyke and Strikes Garden Centres

Odin Events Nutcracker Trails

Natural Christmas Tree Company

National Trust Hardwick Hall

Get in touch

Give our team a call today to discuss your branding requirements for your next peak season!

www.photocutouts.co.uk

office@connectedshopping.com

01284 848330

Summer makes me think of…Christmas!

The last month of summer stretches before us, with the sun shining, and the bees still buzzing. However, here at Photo Cutouts, locked in our windowless offices, we are thinking about Christmas, and us worker bees are buzzing with excitement about some new photo cutout boards!

Coming Soon new christmas designs

My dear readers, I am well aware that there was a collective eye-roll when you read that the theme for this week is Christmas. After all, we are still in the hot, hazy, lazy days of summer, and one does not wish to think of the cold, the possible snow, and the chaos of Christmas shopping.

Whilst I agree, allow me to also explain our (or at least my) reasoning of broaching the Christmas topic. Shopping for the holidays can be stressful and frantic. We are bound to be grumpy when stressed and overwhelmed. But, some fun and giggles can certainly alleviate that stress. What is a good way to have a bit of a lark? A nifty face-in-the-hole board of course! Just think: in that frantic shopping, you pause because some genius business has an awesome Christmas-themed photo board prop – it draws you in, and you simply cannot resist that fun photo opportunity. Suddenly, holiday hecticness turns into some holiday merriment.

Christmas Photo Boards

Yes, I have simplified things a little bit, and have added my own special brand of logic – but, as usual, I am correct. I would also like to add that we at Photo Cutouts are like magical Christmas elves helping everyone out. We are actually doing more than providing some striking piece of eye candy for a storefront. We are helping businesses attract more customers, and we are helping customers have a good time…. And in our spare time, we are still working on world peace.

Anyhoot, back to our Christmas theme. Christmas is certainly a time for photo opportunities and Photo Cutouts has helped to create some memorable ones. Last year Klondyke & Strikes Garden Centres ordered Snow Globe boards for their stores in England, Scotland, and Wales. (Did I mention that they suddenly became our favourite garden centre?).

Garden Centre Christmas Snow Globe

Odin Events used our Nutcracker boards to organise Nutcracker Trails with the aim of promoting Christmas shopping in town centres around the country.

Christmas Nutcracker Trail photo board

The Natural Christmas Tree Company and Thetford Garden Centre have also been our Christmas fans.

Christmas face in the hole Thetford

So, why not jump on that Christmas bandwagon (or sleigh), and start thinking about how you would like us to help you with creating buzz-worthy Christmas peep board prop. (As always, contact details below.)

In the meantime, do keep reading our blog, since, very soon, our Fun Think Tank Team will be revealing those new and exciting Christmas-themed boards!

https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/
Tel: 08450 570 321
Email: office@connectedshopping.com
Online form: https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/contact.htm

Innovative new design for Hempstead Valley Dinos #HVDinos

Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre has been having a roarsome time this Summer with their dinosaur-themed activities. The shopping centre management team came to Photo Cutouts with the challenge of making several dino-themed photo opportunities for their retail entertainment during the school holidays.

Our fabulous designers came up with 2 dinosaur-themed photo cutout boards and, a Photo Cutouts first, a double-sided photo wall.

#HVDinos Face-in-the-hole board

The face-in-the-hole boards had 2 head holes at a suitable height for children to have their photographs taken. Children really seem to engage with the photo cutout boards and completely get the concept of posing to be part of the scene.

#HVDinos retail entertainment Photo Cutout board

Double-sided photo wall

For the photo wall, our innovative team put together 2 designs. These were printed and mounted back to back on 2 panels of sturdy PVC foamex. The double-sized photo wall provided a mammoth 3m x 2m backdrop for shoppers to pose for a photo opportunity.

Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre retail entertainment #HVDinos_PhotoWall

Photo Cutouts have made photo walls in the past however a double-sided version is certainly a first. The team adapted our usual design for a 2-panel board of this size so that fixings were concealed within the board. This gave a blank canvas on both sides for 2 great designs and 2 great photo opportunities.

Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre retail entertainment #HVDinos_PhotoWall

Hashtags for social sharing

The peep boards and the photo wall both included the shopping centre logo, social media handles and the hashtag #HVDinos to encourage visitors to share their photos. Photos were shared across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the dinos have proved to be a roaring success in increasing footfall to the shopping centre.

Mark Rumfitt, Centre Manager of Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre said:

“We’ve turned the clock back by more than 400 million years with this new dinosaur trail and are bringing something that’s fun, exciting and educational to Hempstead Valley. In the first few days of the arrival of our dinosaurs, we have seen a huge influx of families spending time together and enjoying this new event.”

Hempstead Valley Dinos are at the shopping centre until 18th August – be quick to catch them before extinction (last pun I promise!)

Retail Entertainment

Photo Cutouts have worked with a number of retail spaces in the past as shopping centres, local councils and BIDs, look to combine retail and entertainment. We are experts in creating custom made, branded photo boards. If you are interested in adding our products to your next shoppertainment project, then please get in touch.

Call us: 01284 848330

Email: office@connectedshopping.com

Photo Cutout Boards at Countryfile Live

BBC Countryfile Live returned this year to showcase the best of the British countryside. The event runs across 2 weekends in August, the first at Blenheim Palace and the second at Castle Howard. Visitors are treated to presentations from the shows’ presentations, theatre productions and food demonstrations, all surrounded by stands and food outlets from a range of exhibitors.

Photo Cutouts have proudly supplied bespoke face-in-the-hole boards to some of the exhibitors at this year’s Countryfile Live event, including Rohan Clothing and London School of Tropical Medicine for their Bug Off campaign.

Countryfile Live Exhibitors

A great engagement tool…

The exhibitors were looking for a great visual engagement tool to attract people to visit their exhibition stand.

Photo Cutout boards are perfect for trade stands. An interactive marketing prop with an eye-catching design which includes the company logo, creates a great photo opportunity and makes the stand memorable for visitors.

Countryfile Live_Rohan stand

Encourage social sharing with a competition

Rohan chose to use their board as part of a competition mechanism. The design called for people to snap and share their photos on social media using the hashtag #RohanBestinShow. This is a great way to encourage visitors to share their branded photographs across the web and become advocates for the company, brand or cause. The theme of ‘Best in Show’ was in line with the agricultural nature of the Countryfile Live event and generated some humorous photos of dogs in the face holes (which we always love to see!)

Rohan_BestInShow

You can view posts from the Rohan Best in Show photo competition on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, searching for the hashtag #RohanBestinShow

Photo Cutouts offer marketing props for exhibitions stands

Visit our Exhibitions page to see how Photo Cutouts can help increase footfall to your exhibition or trade stand.

If you are exhibiting at a similar show and are looking for a great portable engagement tool to attract people to your stand, then please get in touch and we would be happy to work with you on a great design.

Website: photocutouts.co.uk

Mail to: office@connectedshopping.com

Tel no: 01284 848330

Standout at exhibitions with Photo Cutouts

Summer time means county shows, outdoor expos, and exhibitions. If you have a stand at an outdoor event, then no doubt you want to stand out – and we at Photo Cutouts can most certainly help! Not only do we have some memorable marketing props, but we also have tips and tricks to boost the footfall at your booth.

GLT Show Exhibition
Photo board in action at GLT Show

Exhibition stand tips:

#1  Use a bespoke photo cut-out board

Photo cutout boards are a fun and innovative way to engage people at trade stands.  We have designers in house who can create a bespoke design to meet your objectives, or advise on face holes
and placement for you to use your own awesome design. Our boards are printed onto industrial PVC Foamex with a high-quality print, and they are also waterproof, which makes them suitable for any outdoor events.

BCConference Selfie Board

#2  Make your stand memorable

Visitors will literally get “into” your brand, leaving with them a humorous and memorable photograph featuring your company.

#3  Use hashtags for social sharing

A display without hashtags is like a Kardashian without a reality TV show. People love hashtags, and adding them is certainly motivation for visitors to share photographs on social media from your booth.

#4  Handheld selfie boards

Create photo opportunities with handheld selfie boards: walk amongst delegates and pass them around for others to use.  The standard size for handheld selfie board is 100cm x 80cm, making it
light and easy to carry around. Two handles on the back help maintain the face-in-the-hole illusion.

Folding photo cutout board

#5  Folding photo cutout boards

Not only do we produce photo cut-out boards, but we designed some to fold!  A Photo Cutouts folding board is easy to carry around and can be put in the back of a car. And when it is time to store it, only half the space is needed.

#6  Team with other marketing props

What happens when you take a photo cut-out board and add some other marketing props?  Why, marketing magic!   How about a roller banner? Once again, our team can help design a banner for you based on your needs (or you can supply your own artwork).  Plus, we offer a choice of three different roller banner sizes.

Or add our dry-wipe speech bubbles into the mix!  Create your own personalised prop for your photo booth with our fun, whiteboard speech bubbles. Write on, wipe off, over and over again! Unlike other designs, ours come with handles on the back for ease of use and unobstructed messages.

Wellbeing exhibition stand at Norfolk Show
Wellbeing exhibition stand at Norfolk Show

 

The never-ending delights of British garden centres

It is now early July, and that mad garden centre dash and rush appears to be over. Perhaps you are like my family and have bought nearly every new, fun, exciting plant possible, and you have also sunflowers-garden-centresfinally found a spot for everything somewhere in the garden. (As the great Carol Klein recently said on BBC Gardener’s World Live, “Don’t worry, you’ll always find space.”) Now it is time for a well-deserved rest on your laurels, under the laurel tree, and a break from garden centre visits. Except-t that this is not quite how it should be.

Dear readers, you know by now that I am one to poke and prod, and I enjoy telling you how best to live your life based on my extensive life experiences. I recently spoke with a friend (and an avid gardener) who lives in Calgary in the province of Alberta in Canada. After our conversation, I realised how lucky we are with our garden centres. You are possibly puzzled by this statement –allow me to explain.

First, I was informed that Calgary (a rather large city) and the surrounding area do not have the number of garden centres as we do in the UK, nor do they have such a variety. Second, garden centres are selling off their plants and not receiving much new stock (except for maybe some autumn plants for containers). Apparently, going to one of the few garden centres in Calgary is currently a dismal event for some gardeners. How sad is that? I will answer that it is sad indeed.

homemade cakesAfter our conversation, I sat by my laurel hedge to ponder things over. I thought of how, in cold, dismal January, I can go to a garden centre and I can see (and buy!) pansies, hellebores, and primroses. There is inevitably a café or restaurant where one can enjoy a light lunch (oftentimes made with seasonal produce) or an afternoon tea. If one does do not have time for lunch, many garden centres carry an assortment of delightful edible treats such as lovely biscuits, jams and jellies, crackers, chutneys, cheeses…the list could go on. Should one not feel food inclined, then there are gifts and cards to peruse. (I recently bought a set of two small cups and a little melamine tray with a William Morris design, which made a wonderful gift for a friend to enjoy coffee for two. My Canadian friend loves all the cards with pictures by local artists; she buys so many when she visits that her husband had to give her a rather stern talking to.) If none of these strike your fancy, then how about taking the children/grandchildren to pick out a bug or insect house? And, finally, amidst all these choices, remember that garden centres still do sell plants, and the choice is spectacular.

 

Now, while a gin and tonic and a bit of a rest is certainly in order, do still find a bit of time to visit some garden centres…it is not too late to perhaps plant one more pot.

If I may be so bold as to offer one more recommendation, here is one for some summer reading: The Gardener’s Year by Karel Čapek. I am a long-time fan of this Czech author, who wrote plays, novels, short stories, and essays. The Gardener’s Year is an amusing 12-month chronicle of gardeners and their garden follies and glories; it is also a thoughtful account of human nature. One of

my favourite parts is at the end of the chapter “Preparations”, and you shall have to read the book since I will not divulge more here. Josef Čapek, the author’s brother, provided the charming illustrations.

Millbrook garden centre use photo cutouts
Millbrook engage customers with a Photo Cutout board

As for all you garden centres, whom I have praised so highly (and well-deservedly so), here at Photo Cutouts we think one of our custom-made photo cutout boards could be a great marketing prop, adding even more interactive fun to your business. Check out these 5 Ways Garden Centres Use Photo Cutouts for inspiration.

Get in touch:

https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/
Tel: 08450 570 321
Email: office@connectedshopping.com
Online form: https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/contact.htm

Disclaimer: Aside from the rather appalling choice of garden centres and what is available, Calgary is a lovely city and a wonderful place to visit. And, to be fair, the growing season is rather different and much shorter than ours.

From The Garden Centre Association, here is a list of their top 10 garden centres for 2019:
https://gca.org.uk/annual-awards/

This is an article from 2016 with some intriguing recommendations:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardens-to-visit/the-uk-s-best-garden-centres-and-nurseries/

Fish and chips, beer, and Photo Cutouts – what more could one ask for in June?

I know, I know, we just did a blog on May events, and now here is a blog about some events in June. The thing is, I am such a super sleuth and I ferret out fabulously fun activities, which I feel would be a frightful shame if I did not share them with you, my loyal fans. So, mark your calendars and start planning for some late spring entertaining events.

Without further fanfare, may I present…

National Fish and Chips Day is on “Fryday” June 7
http://www.neoda.org.uk/fishandchipdayNational Fish and Chips Day

I think the name is fairly self-explanatory, though the debate rages on regarding some of the origins of this quintessentially British grub. Apparently, Western Sephardic Jews (who had settled in England), coated fish in a batter and fried them; the chips came via either France or Belgium; and both London and Lancashire claim they had the first chippy (for you non-British English, a chippy is a fish and chips shop).

Instead of focusing on disagreements (since there are more than enough to go around!), we should actually be reminded that we really have fishermen to thank for this dish. To quote from The Fishermen’s Mission* website, “Fishing continues to be the most dangerous peacetime occupation with a one in fourteen chance of being killed at work, the funds generated through the National Fish and Chip Day allow the Fishermen’s Mission to continue to provide Welfare and Emergency services to our Fishermen and their families….”
(* Full name is The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen)

So, my fellow fish and chip enthusiasts, please do go out and support your local fish and chips stand, or shop, or fancy restaurant, and in turn the monies from National Fish and Chip Day will help support Fishermen’s Mission. And whilst you are munching and crunching, think about your plans for the following weekend in order to…

Celebrate National Beer Day aka Beer Day Britain on June 15London Pride photo cutout
https://www.beerdaybritain.co.uk/

I am certain some diehard fans will have this event highlighted in their calendars, but others (though they are keen drinkers) might possibly not be aware of this glorious tradition, as it is actually a fairly recent event day, started in 2015, by one Ms. Jane Peyton.

I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised (and shocked!) that us Brits did not actually have a day dedicated to honouring our beloved beverage; however, this oversight has been now been righted. 800 years after the Magna Carta was sealed (15th of June 1215, of course), Jane Peyton established peace in our pubs by starting Beer Day Britain, which, according to the website “celebrates all beer including traditional ales, mainstream lagers, and limited edition craft beer and everything in between no matter where it is brewed or who owns the brewing company.” And by celebrating British beer, you are actually helping our British economy – whether it be at your local pub or going on a beer tour. One does what one can for one’s country.

Btw, Beer Day Britain coincides very well with Father’s Day on June 16. Perhaps, combine the two events into one spectacular Beer and Fathers Weekend!

How Photo Cutout Boards fit in…

Reel in customers with the always fun face-in-a-hole photo board
https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/

• Roll out this amazing marketing tool with one of our roller banners
https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/roller-banner.htm

• Vinyl banners to help you and your business stand out and be noticed
https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/vinyl-banner.htm#

 

If you would like more information on our products then please get in touch:
Tel: 08450 570 321
Email: office@connectedshopping.com
Online form: https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/contact.htm

Lastly, there is no late month haiku, but, poet that I am, I have composed an ode…

An ode to fish and chips

Too many annoyances stressing you out?For Fish Sake campaign
Well, I have news to make you smile, not pout!
Listen, listen to what I have to say,
I know it will chase the doldrums away:
It’s a celebration of fish and chips –
Yes, indeed, ’tis Fryday!

Mark the date as the 7th of June,
which is coming up oh so soon!
Now close your eyes and think
of a dish
as delish
as chips and fish;
and if you please –
add some mushy peas.

Then, as you savour that crispy crunch,
do not forget to say:
Fishermen and cooks thanks a bunch!

Photo Cutouts provide seaside boards for ITVBe’s The Only Way Is Essex

Popular ITVBe reality show, The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE), approached Photo Cutouts earlier in May, for help in dressing the set for their seaside themed, end of season party.

Filming for the finale took place in the rear garden of the stunning venue The House in Crow Lane, Clacton-on-Sea on Thursday 16th May. The full cast were pictured attending including Shelby Tribble and Sam Mucklow (pictured). The party was to have a seaside themed, festival atmosphere to match the location and who better to supply traditional seaside party props than us.Shelby and Sam having fun with face in the hole board

We specialise in the production of the traditional pier pastime of face in the hole boards. And it was this seaside range which caught the eyes of the ITVBe team. https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/buy-seaside-peep-boards.htm

Seaside face in the hole boards

Photo Cutouts supplied the TOWIE team with a range of seaside face in the hole boards to add some fun to the bash. The designs were the traditional saucy postcard style featuring overweight ladies and skinny gents – perfect for creating funny photo opportunities with the cast. The show aired on Sunday 26th May and is available on ITV on Demand, where you will spot newcomer Joey Turner using the Photo Cutouts ‘Strong John’ face in the hole board.

TOWIE's Joey Turner as 'Strong John'

Sister company, Fun4Guests also got in on the fun. Fun4Guests supplied a range of party hire props, including a vintage Kissing Booth to add some romance to the bash.  Kissing Booth TOWIE Screenshot

The season finale party was a huge success and a lot of fun. Photo Cutouts and Fun4Guests were delighted to be involved in our neighbouring counties TV series.

In case you missed it, ITVBe’s reality TV hit is available to watch on catch up for free via the ITV Hub.

If you would like to hire our Photo Cutout boards, party hire props or vintage Kissing Booth the please contact us to discuss your event.

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Exciting events in May – and the secrets to commemorating them in style

Oh dear, oh my. After my last blog way back in April, about recalling summer vacations of yesteryear, it May have appeared I took off on an early summer seaside vacation. But, ’tis not the case. I cannot divulge what I was doing (top, top secret you know; one must always be at the disposal of Her Majesty of course, though I have said too much already!). Probably best if we May just move along, as there Maybe some May events which we should be discussing.

Photo Cutout board at National Trust site

First and foremost, allow me to remind you that May is National Walking month. People are walking, they are looking…and lo and behold what do they see? A captivating photo cutout board of your business, which gives rise to people’s curiosity! In other words: A photo cutout board is a nifty way to advertise, since it is a marketing prop that truly does draw people into it.

Second, and just as important, below are some May events that are so fantastic that they have a whole week to celebrate their awesomeness!

Third, and also of significance, is that a few of these events are celebrating products that are very British, so we can support and buy local.

So without further ado, May I present:

May 20 to June 2: British Tomato Fortnight
http://www.britishtomatoes.co.uk/british-tomato-fortnight/
Last year it was British Tomato Week, but this year the event goes for two weeks! And who can blame the British Tomato Growers’ Association? I myself love tomatoes – to discover, to learn about, to grow, to eat, to cook with….

Now, to clarify, there are many tomato varieties from different countries, and British Tomato Fortnight celebrates all tomatoes, but with an emphasis on local British growers. Summer does not seem to be complete without tomatoes in some form, so do check out the website and the events to get you in the mood for growing these tasty treats. Maybe even a bit of a family outing to an event?

 

May 25 to June 2: National Children’s Gardening WeekVegSoc photo cutout board

https://www.childrensgardeningweek.co.uk/

Why should grown-ups enjoy all the good times? This is a wonderful idea, and fun and educational for the whole family, and it ties really well in with British Tomato Fortnight. If children are to learn, they like the learning to be interactive, and this is what gardening is all about. Mayhap pick up a tomato seedling or two from a garden centre?

May 25 to June 2: English Wine Week

https://www.winegb.co.uk/
I am ashamed to say that I have been neglecting my British wine, but no more! I will state that though perhaps the bambinos will not enjoy this event, the rest of us most certainly will. According to the Wines of Great Britain website, “Two thirds of the UK’s annual production is now sparkling.” This fact certainly put the sparkle in my day!

So, after some fun with family in a garden, it May make sense to support local and try out a British wine!

• May 27 to June 2: National BBQ Week

http://www.nationalbbqweek.info/
Planning to visit various events and garden centres, then doing a bit of gardening, May also make you work up an appetite. Fire up the BBQ and start that summer grilling (even though technically it is not summer, yet). Maybe pair your food with a British wine….

I could go on and give advice (and I usually do) about all the above events, but I’ll let you, my captive audience, contemplate how best to plan and spend the next few weeks. Before I sign off, I will divulge a secret: Your garden centres have quite a few of the tools needed to help you celebrate the above May events in style, so do go visit them.

Millbrook garden centres interact with shoppers
Millbrook garden centres interact with shoppers

I will also let managers of garden centres in on a secret: While we love our garden centres, perhaps they could use that little something extra…like, say, a snazzy photo cutout board outside (or inside…or both). Contact us (deets below) and we will create something spectacular to help you promote whatever you wish.

And, finally, British Tomato Growers’ Association and UK Wine Producers, we totally support you, and are definitely going to check out your events and products, because we believe in supporting British business. Just so you know, we too are British, and we’d love it if you supported us and called (or emailed) to enquire about one of our custom photo cutout boards specifically designed for your business. Share the fun!

Deets:
Tel: 08450 570 321
Email: office@connectedshopping.com
Online form: https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/contact.htm

I believe I missed a late April haiku, and disappointed my many fans; I hope I have made up for it with my mid-May one.
Flowers from April
May celebrate a royal babe.
Party into June!

PS. My dear readers, if you do go to any of these events/places, and there is no snazzy photo cutout board anywhere to be seen, then, of course, call the manager and tell them what they are missing!!!

May the rest of May be a happy one.

A recipe for food for thought

This blog is dedicated to:
D.H., thank you for providing the inspiration;
M.B. for sharing your many (amusing) memories;
L.H. for getting me what I needed;
C.H. – trying to get you to recall events from the past is
like pulling teeth, but you continue to be my biggest fan.

Before writing this blog, I have had quite few idea thingies bopping and bouncing around in my brainy brain (fine, we all know this is an oxymoron), almost like a bunch of ingredients but no recipe. I now propose to see how the ingredients come together, and if the outcome is a delicious dish or food poisoning. Brace yourselves my loyal reader fans, brace yourselves….

ice cream recipe

Do you remember the summer vacations of yesteryear? The days when the family packed up the car and drove to a seaside town to escape from a hot and muggy city. Our parents would rent a little caravan or chalet, and there we would settle in for a week or two, and proceed to thoroughly enjoy ourselves. I find seaside towns tend to evoke a jumble of memories: the feel of clumpy wet sand built into sandcastles; the excitement of discovery when rock pooling; that satisfying crunch of freshly battered fish and chips; the heat of the sun during a fun game of beach cricket; the satisfaction of burying a sibling up to the neck in the sand; the sugary stickiness left over from candy floss; that coconutty smell of suntan lotion….

Have I also mentioned that in memories like these there are unicorns flying around and fairies sprinkling pixie dust?

Do you remember the summer vacations of yesteryear? The days when you sat in the family car, so eager to be at the seaside, but the car kept stopping – either because your carsick prone sibling needed to throw up (yet again), or because the car overheated and it needed to be manually cranked to start again. Our parents would rent a little caravan or chalet, sometimes smelling of Eau de Wet Dog, or Eau de Mould, or even Eau de Something Decomposing. There we would settle in for a week or two and try to enjoy ourselves to at least some extent. I find seaside towns tend to evoke a jumble of memories: listening to those piercing shrieks and that incessant whinging of some children who were (for whatever reason) not thoroughly enjoying themselves; the physical pain of tripping and falling on the promenade, coupled with having a broken heart because the ice cream cone fell as well; the disappointment of being dragged to some “Restaurant” because the parents wanted prawn cocktails in fancy glass and scallops on shells; the sugary stickiness of candy floss stuck in the hair; that smell of public toilets….

Have I also mentioned that in memories like these there are roaming orcs and goblins eager to substitute a child in place of the fish and along with the chips?

Whether they be of years ago or of last year, memories of seaside holidays are usually a mixed bag – rather like seaside towns, as some appear to be flourishing while others seem to be deteriorating.

The themes (or perhaps more aptly “the ingredients”) for this blog came from my colleague, who alerted me to an article on the BBC titled Seaside town reinvention ‘should start with Blackpool’, and from English Tourism Week (March 30 to April 7, 2019). Both of these topics made me reflect on the importance of our seaside towns, and the need to preserve and nurture not just our British seaside towns, but also their traditions.

beach seaside fat mabel ice cream recipe

One of my other colleagues was reminiscing about some holidays at the seaside when he was a child, and then what those holidays were like with his own children. He recalled “bumping into a fat lady” who turned out to be Fat Mabel, a photo cutout board who has remained a fixture of the seaside for years (and she does not seem to age – good for you Mabel!). He also told me about playing (or rather trying to cheat at) miniature golf with his sister, and then how he suddenly became a mini golf champ when he played the game with his son (not suspicious at all!).

Not that far from the sea

Mini golf and photo cutout boards are just two of the many things/traditions we associate with the British seaside, and they are also our two businesses (Putterfingers is our portable miniature golf for those of you who have suddenly landed from outer space and are not yet in the loop). At both Photo Cutouts and Putterfingers we like to have fun, we like to make a bit of money whilst having fun, and we love it when other businesses can use our products to promote their business, all the while they are having fun and making that bit of money like we do. I would venture to say this could be called increasing economic growth, which is one of the recommendations from the report published by the House of Lords The future of seaside towns.

seaside beach recipe hut sand

Now wait! One more thought ingredient to add to our bubbling cauldron before you begin to think I am some pontificating know-it-all. Our blogs (this one and the one for Putterfingers) are usually quite light-hearted and fun with interesting facts, a bit of history, some educational material, and usually a good sprinkling of quirkiness, and I certainly do not wish to depart from this, nor do I wish to even suggest I have a solution for the improvement of seaside towns (even though I am excellent at telling people what to do and I am always right). So there! I am not a pontificating know-it-all. Nevertheless, I will impart some parting words – rather like that final seasoning and fancy garnish that finishes the dish. If you have a chance to travel in the UK, whether it be a day trip or that summer holiday, perhaps decide to be one of the tourists that some of these seaside towns would welcome. Most of us have a chance to travel abroad, but sometimes the best holidays are those spent discovering the treasures that are in our own back garden.

If you are interested in more information about the future of seaside towns, here are some links:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-47800638

Seaside Heritage Network

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/regenerating-seaside-towns/news-parliament-2017/seaside-report-published/
(This link provides a synopsis of the report from the House of Lords along with a link to download the complete report in PDF.)

You might also wish to revisit a couple of our blogs from June 2016: British seaside culture is worth preserving, and Face-in-hole boards: a bit of history.
https://photocutouts.co.uk/blog/british-seaside-culture-worth-preserving/
https://photocutouts.co.uk/blog/face-in-hole-cutout-boards-around-the-world/

And, finally, check out some of the seaside-themed boards we have on standby, ready for your fun summer event (be it at the seaside or not)!
https://photocutouts.co.uk/blog/beach-boards-celebrate-coastal-culture/

I do hope I have given you some food for thought. Until next time my darlings, toodle pip!

Tel: 08450 570 321
Email: office@connectedshopping.com
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