Spring into Summer…

Yay! The sun is streaming through our window, the heater behind the counter is well and truly back in it’s box and the shop has been Eastered to within an inch of it’s life…

April is here folks! And with it came our first family afternoon at the beach – check it out:

We even had to put a sun hat on the baby! OK so we were shivering by the time we got back to the car, but that doesn’t matter. We’d had a dose of vitamin D and it’s amazing what a difference that can make.

I was in such a summery move, I’ve restocked the gorgeous Bella bags from My Sister Mabel in Teignmouth. One of our longest standing products, we’ve sold these bags for years because we just think they’re awesome. Perfect for shoving in everything you need for a day out mooching around the shops, or a picnic in the park… hell, you could even grab a baby sun hat and head off to the beach…

3 Little Words

There are a few things in life that really make me grumpy…

The way Amazon send you something the size of a thimble in a box the size of a kennel.

The way adverts are SO MUCH LOUDER than the programme you’re actually watching.

People who say “I tell it the way it is”… (this one literally makes me want to scream).

But few things really make me want to rant than the following:



This was on some packaging I had with a necklace I bought from a well known Cornish clothes shop in the Christmas sale, and it was only when I went to clear up (ah-hem – about a month after a bought it – ooops…) that I notice the 3 words that are guaranteed to get my heckles up: Made in India. Or China. Or Indonesia.

Now, just to be completely clear, I appreciate this is a charged subject, and I’m not against sending work abroad, but what I am against is brands that pride themselves, actually market themselves on being local, Brisish brands, who then outsource the production of their garments to another country. I sincerely hope that this company would only use reputable factories, who adhere to proper Heath & Safety standards and pay their workers a fair wage, but the headlines in recent years have told us about plenty of large high street names who don’t.

But even if they do treat their workers well, wouldn’t it be nice to see a large retail chain who boast “Designed in Cornwall, made in the UK”? Or even, shock horror, “Designed in Cornwall, made in the Cornwall”?! It’s all very well marketing the living daylights about your Cornish roots, product pictures showing models mooching around harbour side locations al la Padstow or St Ives and basically making a buck off the seaside lifestyle, but all of this rings very hollow when you turn the item over and see those 3 little words.

And I know this is pretty much the norm;  we had a customer in the shop before Christmas who had spent all year only buying things which were made in the UK, and she said she had no idea how hard it would be. Which is pretty depressing.

Look, I’m not naive; I know it’s all about the money (money money) – but it’s nice to sit and daydream about a day where life is better – where the sun shines in summer, where war is no more and where things which are designed in the UK are actually made here too.




Bluebell Love! Spring is on the way (brrrrrrr)…

…although you wouldn’t know it in the shop today. I’m writing this post huddled up to my heater, wishing I’d bought the hound into the shop today so he could keep my feet warm.

Speaking of which, the Rockpool Pooch was strutting his stuff on the Barbican this week, sporting his rather fabulous Hootchie Mama dog bandana.

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(Don’t be fooled by the sunshine – it was brass monkies that day as well).

Still, spring is surely on the way, and we’ve cracked on with the next video postcard from the shop, introducing our newest stockist, Bluebell Love from Chagford in mid-Devon. I’m not going to be troubling Davina or Claudia for their presenting jobs, but hey, one tries.

Bluebell Love

More next week! (Maybe I’ll have found someone who can make me a sheekskin onesie by then…)




A new start for 2017!

Oh gosh, I haven’t blogged in 9 months. That. Is. SHAMEFUL. I have committed the cardinal Bloggers Sin, hammered home by every “Writing a Blog for Dummies” article EVER: I’ve not kept it up.

Oh ********.

In my defence, I have had a baby and spent most of the last 9 months trying to keep him alive / healthy / germ free (failing) and happy. Does that get me off the hook m’Lord?! No??

Oh well, I’ll just skip over the excuses then and jump straight to repentance. I pledge to hence forth, forthwith, forever hereafter BLOG MORE. Preferably once a week. (Certainly one a month. Depending on how germ free I manage to keep the little one…).

Anyway, since returning to work I’ve set myself a New Year’s Resolution to record little video postcards of new and exciting product ranges when they arrive in the stop. I’m not what you’d call a particularly natural presenter, and I do have the tendancy to repeat myself and OVER ENUNCIATE. But still, we’re all lumps of clay aren’t we? (Some of us are just a little lumpier than others…).

So here are the first two. Enjoy.

New We Started With Buttons Range!

Carol Hicks Creative’s Glass Puffins – I LOVE…

Introducing the Theo Paphitis #SBS Shop!

Woop woop! Another month, and another development for Rockpool!

Roll out the red carpet, prepare the fanfare and get that credit card ready – we’re very happy to announce that we’re going to be part of the brand new Theo Paphitis #SBS online shop, due to go live on Friday 8th April!

Our business has gone from strength to strength since winning out #SBS award in August 2014 , and we have so much to thank Mr P and the ever supportive community of small, independent businesses for. We’re therefore so pleased to be joining the gang on a brand spanking new online shop, selling oodles and oodles of products and services from small independent UK businesses. Make sure you check if out once it goes live; some of our favourite businesses will be represented – some local, some further afield but all fabulous! KERNOWSPA, Karen Davey, Cover My Cast, The Cake Nest, Gorgeous Gifts and many many more…

We’ve had a sneaky peek and we’ve discovered some gorgeous products we’re just itching to get our hands on. We’ve got out eye on this fabulous Green Floral Birds Print make up bag by Lylia Rose and we know mini-RT will love this Creature Peeper Insect Magnifying Jar by One Stop Bug Shop.

Can’t wait to get shopping! Have a lovely weekend one and all.

Gazing at the sun…

Afternoon from a bright and breezy Barbican, and welcome to our first blog of 2016! (On 21st February… shameful).

We’re now happily set up in our new home at the front of The House that Jack Built, and have spent the last 6 weeks enjoying THE WINDOW. We love THE WINDOW. We can wave at passers by, scowl at overly loud motorbikes screaming down Southside Street, survey (and often tut at) the weather and generally be part of the rest of the window-owning community. We loved our first shop, but having access to natural daylight really is a game-changer. Yesterday a lovely lady came running in to buy a bag we had in our window display, which she had seen the night before whilst out on the Barbican for dinner. All hail the power of THE WINDOW.

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If I had one criticism of the beloved window it is that it desperately needs a clean – there’s a point around 3.30pm when the sun begins to set and peaks through the lane opposite and the shop is bathed in beautiful sunlight (when the clouds allow). However, its on occasions like this that I realise the window looks like it hasn’t seen the mercy of a squeegee since Mr Drake himself was wondering round looking for a nice flat patch of grass and wondering why everyone else is getting so het up. If only there was someone you could pay to do this kind of thing for you…

Anyway, we’re very happy in our new home and have had lovely feedback on the new shop. And the move isn’t the only new change for 2016; we now have the lovely Louise working in the shop on Mondays, meaning we’re now open 6 days a week. Louise is the mastermind behind Everyday Wonders, one of our very popular crafty suppliers, so she loves chatting about all things handmade.

We also have a couple of new stockists in the pipeline which should be hitting our shelves in March – keep your eyes on our social media for further info!

Right, I’m off in search of a sponge and bucket. 🙂



To Did and To Do…

Seasons Greetings Rockhoppers! I trust this post finds you well, if not a little stressed (if you’re lucky) or downright desperate (if you’re anything like me and have only bought a pathetic smattering of gifts so far). Still – fractiousness, desperation, staying up until 3am wrapping gifts or making the cake – its all part of the Christmas tradition, right? RIGHT?!

Anyway – as the sun sets on 2015, I thought it would be nice to reflect on what, I think we can all agree, has been a pretty bonkers year for Rockpool. But no one wants to read a blog post about “these are all our achievements in the last 12 months, aren’t we great??,  so in order to keep it brief, I’ve done what I always do; I’ve made a list. (One can never go wrong with a list).

“To Did List in 2015”:

1. Said goodbye to a job which wasn’t really my cup of tea, despite the lovely people I worked with.

2. Realised I no longer had an income and that, for some pinickity people (like the bank manager), this might be a problem, so agreed a lease on a small shop on The Barbican in Plymouth.

3. Turned said shop into a cosy little home for Rockpool Trading.

4. Grew.

5. Grew some more.

6. Ended up with double the number of stockists we had when we first opened, covering a broader range of products from candles to cushions, bags to bunting, spoon fish mobiles to fairy doors and everything in between, all of which are lovingly handcrafted in Devon & Cornwall.

7. Had a lovely summer chatting to folk from all over the planet who were visiting Plymouth, as well as broadening our customer base in the city.

8. Got nominated for a Plymouth Herald City & Waterfront Business award for Rockpool. Terribly exciting – never been nominated for anything before. Celebrated with a piece of red velvet cake.

9. Got shortlisted for a Plymouth Herald City & Waterfront Business award for Rockpool. Even more exciting. Bought a posh frock and attended our first ever awards ceremony where were were Commended in the category of “Best homeware, gift shop, arts and crafts, hobbies and interests retailer”. Celebrated with lots of bubbly.

10. Attended the Plymouth Christmas Market and met lots of lovely local folk and publicised our cosy Rockpool home on The Barbican. Also ate a LOT to keep warm. Nearly lost Christmas cheer, having to listen to Christmas hits solidly for 11 days.

11. Rediscovered Christmas cheer, and made the most of the festive season by selling at fairs in Plymouth, Tavistock and Edinburgh, bookending the country with our handmade wares, as well as online and of course in the shop.

12. Waved a sad goodbye to our buddies at Funky Poppy who are moving out of the House that Jack Built at the end of the year after 5 happy years in the wonderful independent shopping arcade.

“To do lists for 2016”:

1. Move Rockpool into the front shop at the House that Jack Built, and make it as cosy and comfy as our first shop was. (Squeeeeeeeeeee! SO excited!!!).

2. Sleep more.

See you in our new pad in 2016 folks!

This one!




Bye bye Black Friday!

Happy Black Friday everyone!

Hope you’re all well and don’t have too many shopping mania related injuries (!).  I think we’re all a little bit over the elbows out, heads down, grab it before it’s gone thing to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like a half price Kenwood mixer as much as the next person, but I’m not willing to queue for hours in the cold, or sit for hours clicking Refresh, to get it.

No, shopping should be fun as well as functional – especially at Christmas. We spend enough of our lives frantically running around, meeting deadlines, chasing goals and meeting expectations. Christmas shopping should be about buying your loved ones gifts which they’ll treasure – and more importantly which didn’t give you a hernia to buy.

So excuse the shameless plug, but our shop, Rockpool Trading, will be open for relaxed browsing and friendly chat all day today, as well as most other days in the run up to Christmas (Wednesday – Sunday). You can also find us in the Plymouth Craft and Food market (until 6th Dec) and at various fairs in our adopted city, Edinburgh (tonight, from 6.30pm and 9pm we’re at St Thomas’ Church, Glasgow Road). So enjoy the ride folks, and let’s all try and get 25th December in one piece…

Christmas Shopping Poster A4 2015-page-001


And the award for the best independent shopping arcade goes to…

Greetings Rockpoolers! Hope we’ve all had a good summer? Apologies for the radio silence – we’ve been holed up in the shop, making the most of the lovely tourists on Plymouth’s historic and beautiful Barbican. We’ve met and chatted to everyone from Birmingham to the Bahamas, and it reminds you how lovely folks are.

Meanwhile, BIG NEWS: the summer has been rounded off with a lovely achievement for us. Rockpool has been shortlisted in the snappily titled “best homeware, gift shop, arts and crafts, hobbies and interests retailer” category at the Plymouth Herald City and Waterfront Business awards. After only being open for 6 months, this was entirely unexpected and so amazingly appreciated. As a small business, positive feedback is just so so lovely, so to be listed among other fabulously successful independent retailers in Plymouth is, well, awesome.

It got us thinking about how many successful independent businesses have come out of The House That Jack Built since it opened it’s doors as an independent shopping archade in 1982. For over 30 years it has been the home of the individual and the artisan, the quirky and the off beat, the crafty and the unusual, and it holds a dear place in the hearts of locals and tourists alike. But aside from this, it has also given the opportunity for small businesses like ours to start out of the uber scary journey of trading, without the crippling rents and rates that can come with a prime high street spot. Case in point: 3 of the current businesses in The House That Jack Built were nominated in our business awards category alone, and 2 (ourselves and our lovely neiughbours Funky Poppy) have been shortlisted. Another shortlisted business (Eva’s World) is an alumni from the arcade, and there are at least 4 other businesses on the Barbican who started in this little rabbit warren of shops and galleries.

In short, every city should have a House That Jack Built, because without it, Plymouth might not have the fabulous range of independent shopping it has today. And we wouldn’t have the excuse to buy a posh new frock… 🙂


It seemed like such a good idea at the time…

Well, it was a long time coming, but I’ve finally, FINALLY finished the newly branded Rockpool website!

And oh my word what a mammoth effort it was. It was like giving birth – except with a lot more tears and tantrums and a little less pain. (Only a little less mind…). These things always seem like a good idea at the time; “let’s rebrand the website!!” we thought. “Let’s update it! Give it some zing! Some wow! It’ll be eeeeeeasy!!” That was 6 months ago. What started out like a simply refresh turned into A PROJECT. And the problem with PROJECTS is they have a habit of taking over your life. We’re all very happy with the way the site is now, but there were definitely sleepless nights along the way (should the background be blue? Or white? Or multi-coloured?! Will more people buy things if that heading is fractionally to the left…? What do you want oh Great General Public? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?!).

Long story short, by the time the new site was launched on 1st August, I think we were all pleased it was done and not taking up almost our every waking moment. And all those involved were still speaking to each other, which is fantastic. We’re so super grateful for all the help and advice we got along the way, and especially grateful to Naomi from Ambient Photography who did such a fab job with our product photographs.

We hope you all like the new website as much as we enjoyed…. no, sorry I can’t lie. We hope you all like the new website because frankly we’re not making another one any time soon.

Enjoy your summer everyone.