The Biggest Royal Influences: Which Country is the Most Devoted?

Royal families all over the world are renowned for their luxurious lifestyle, fashionable clothing, and the history behind their regal status. Not only do they play an integral part in traditional cultures, they have proven to influence the fashion choices of entire nations. For centuries, clothing styles modelled by royal figures have been iconic, gaining the royal appraisal many strive to achieve through their outfit choices and styles.

With this said, just how much of an influence has royal attire effected the fashion choices of nations all across the globe? Here with Fulton Umbrellas, retailer of ladies umbrellas, we discuss the five countries around the world that has been influenced by royal fashion.

 

1.    India

The prestige style that various royal families models in their everyday life has influenced more than just Britons. In fact, they have shaped the outfit choices of individuals all over the world — India being one of them. Research shows that over 1,300 people in India searched for ‘royal fashion’ related terms over the course of a year since May 2019, proving a popular dress choice for many. Since India has a royal family of their own, royal fashion appears to be an interest their nation shares.

As for India’s royal family, there have been many royal members throughout the decades that are renowned for their prestigious fashion choices. Dating back to the late 1920s, Maharani of Cooch Behar, Indira Devi, was pictured wearing a silk chiffon saree that used luxurious materials with a tailored touch of personalisation, this being the initial catalyst for this trend. Even decades before this, the Maharani family have been responsible for embracing a sense of modernity in their fashion attires that have led to many monumental movements in terms of the nation’s fashion preferences. In 1905, Maharani Rani Kanari of Kapurthala was regularly pictured wearing lavish head pieces and hats, all of which comprised a slight westernised twist to them. It was said at the time that for royal families such as the Maharanis, they were fans of westernised clothing, so much so they began including it as part of their everyday attire.

In recent years, it’s thought that royal fashion has been influenced by monarchies all around the globe, not just home countries. When Kate Middleton visited India, she wore a local designer dress out of respect to the host country and it caused an attention overdrive. The local designer’s website where she bought it from crashed due to the high volume of people wanting to purchase from them!

 

2.    The USA

After the British television programme Downton Abbey took US screens by storm in 2010, it’s fair to say that America’s interest in royal life is a popular thing to obsess over. The historical aura of royalty that reputable British fashions and fabrics entail is desired across the USA. The terms ‘royal style’ and ‘royal fashion’ were searched almost 1,300 times on the web by US citizens since May 2019, suggesting many turn to royals for advice on this matter.

In 2017, the Society of London Fashion Designers hosted a dress show in memory of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret that later on was repeated in places all across America including Washington, and many Canadian cities, proving royal dress attires dating back to the 60s are far from outdated.

In more recent news, Meghan Markle has become one of the most admired royal fashion influencers across the globe. The former Suits actress made her first appearance with Prince Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto whereby she wore a simple white shirt and distressed light-blue jeans. This caused a surge in sales of these two casual wear clothing items. As for other royal fashion influences causing a stir in American fashion is the likes of Katie Middleton and her children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, whereby their tweed coats, long prestigious jackets, and adorable children’s clothing has led to many feeling inspired to take the same luxurious fashion tips on board.

3.    Germany

High-end fashion brands that strive in exceptional quality and expensive materials are, of course, popular amongst the royals. German fashion brands such as Hugo Boss have proved to be a trusted source of clothing for many of the royals’ clothing attire. Prince Harry for example was pictured wearing a coat from BOSS while attending a church service event in 2017. As for Meghan Markle, she was seen wearing a Hugo Boss leather skirt while on a trip to Sussex in 2018.

Data suggests that since May 2019, royal fashion related terms were searched over 1,050 times in Germany, suggesting that royal style is something German citizens admire. Perhaps it is due to their shared admiration of Hugo Boss, or their love for prestigious clothing must-haves. In 2019 while spending time in Germany on their royal tour, Kate Middleton was pictured wearing an array of fashionable outfits. During a visit to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, she modelled a blue Catherine Walker coat and dress with nude heels, followed by an off-shoulder maxi dress later in the trip for a party.

The royal trip could have been the inspiration behind high search volumes for royal fashion related terms — after all, figures such as Kate Middleton are renowned for their stylish clothing options.

 

4.    The Netherlands

Known for being one of the most significant fashion influencers in monarchy, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands is adored for her iconic styles. Since May 2019, royal style related terms were searched over 740 times in the Netherlands, proving many citizens want to take on board a touch of royal fashion advise as part of their everyday looks.

Wearing formal work attire while working at home, the Dutch monarch modelled a colourful print blouse with vibrant red earrings, forming a smart and sophisticated work outfit. As for her bolder statement looks, in 2020 she was pictured wearing a green blouse, bright yellow trousers, and a multi-coloured jacket, showing she is not shy to express her colourful side through outfits. As for some of her signature casual looks, the nation adored her beige t-shirt with floral detailing and matching culottes ensemble when visiting the Silima Lombu Ecovillage in Tobalake.

Queen Maxima has proven time and time again to be of high interest to those seeking fashion advise, as high search volumes are derived from royal fashion related clothing in the Netherlands.

 

Clothing worn by the royals has been of great influence on nations across the world for centuries. From casual everyday looks to more formal events, it’s evident that royal families contribute greatly to these fashionable clothing ensembles.

 

https://www.deseret.com/entertainment/2019/9/21/20872303/downton-abbey-movie-highclere-castle-special-maggie-smith-crawley

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/mar/23/royalty-fashion-queen-dresses-1960

https://www.vogue.com.au/fashion/news/royal-rules-for-dressing/image-gallery/6972d1a7b18c487474b273eb759d9980

https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/maharanis-women-of-royal-india-museum-of-art-photography/AQKCzXp1tn0mLA?hl=en

https://twitter.com/hugoboss/status/945408515807633408?lang=en

https://www.usmagazine.com/stylish/news/meghan-markle-queen-letizia-wear-hugo-boss-leather-skirts/

https://www.insider.com/kate-middleton-royal-tour-poland-germany-outfits-looks-2017-7#on-july-20-the-duchess-wore-a-lacy-yellow-dress-to-visit-the-german-cancer-research-institute-and-heidelberg-market-6

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/royals/you-have-to-see-queen-maxima-s-standout-looks-in-ireland/ss-AAC3MfP#image=6

Must-See Street Art Around the World | Fulton Umbrellas

Often, countries and cities have something different to help them stand out in the world, like the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Sydney Opera House.

But what about totally unique and eye-catching street art that changes a whole aesthetic? Street art is great at breaking up the monotonous cement and brick landscape a lot od towns and cities have, and has been recognised by the British public as art opposed to graffiti, piquing our interest and putting a smile on our faces as we pass through. Art can take many forms and is delivered in many different settings – particularly when it’s free to view in public across the world!

Here, we’ll list the best street art in the world.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
In the Condado area of Puerto Rico is the colourful neighbourhood of San Juan. Fortaleza Street is decorated with a beautiful canopy of umbrellas, which has become a major attraction in the streets of Puerto Rico. As well as being a visual spectacle for passers-by to get mesmerised in, they also shelter the public from the hot rays from the sun and any rain that may start to fall from the skies.


Source: Shutterstock, by Polina LVT.

Other cities have joined in on brightening up their streets with coloured umbrellas of different shapes like golf umbrellas, including Barcelona’s Fiesta Major de Gracia, Portugal’s Umbrella Sky Project, Dubai’s Miracle Garden, Turkey’s Old Street, and the UK’s own Vinopolis Piazza near London Bridge. If you’re visiting any of these locations in the future, make sure to check them out!

Berlin, Germany
The Berlin Wall was once used as a barrier that divided and oppressed the people of East Berlin. Now, it is used as a symbol of freedom through artistic and creative independence. Berlin Wall has been graced with several iconic murals, such as Thierry Noir’s colourful cartoon heads, for something totally unique and original.


Source: Shutterstock, by Maridav

Understanding what the wall once stood for and what it is decorated with now is certainly a must see stretch of art.

Istanbul, Turkey
In 2013, a retired forestry engineer started his street art project by transforming a huge staircase from an eye-sore to a bright and colourful rainbow, injecting life into an unvisited, insignificant part of town. Not everyone was a fan, and in response, the government painted over it with a dull grey colour. This caused anger, with people viewing it as a lack of respect and an act of control over the public. This sparked the rainbow revolution!

In unity, other members of the public repainted the stairs with rainbow colours, as well as other staircases and walkways.


Source: Shutterstock, by blackboard1965

Naples, Italy
Naples has an abundance of stunning street art across the city, with detailed murals and portraits that you could swear were alive. Jorit Agoch is one of the most significant street artists in Naples which has raised this destination’s profile as a cultural hotspot.


Source: Unsplash, by Maria Bobrova.

Il Merola Park of Ponticelli, the Park of Murals, has four great portraits – check out the range of art and attractions to have a look at.

There’s some amazing street art around the world that you must see when on your travels. They’d be great spots to take some memorable pictures!

Iconic Gadgets in Films| Fulton Umbrellas

Iconic Gadgets in Films
With the popularity of online streaming services, it was only a matter of time before other franchises wanted to get involved with the change in how we’re viewing films and programs. Disney Plus launched in March this year, with film fanatics jumping at the chance to watch their favourite films for a few pounds a month – particularly exciting in lockdown. 50 million subscribers had signed up in five months, which was a great success for Disney.

To celebrate our favourite films becoming readily available, here, we’ll take a look at some of the most iconic gadgets in films.

Mary Poppins
A true film that is quintessentially British – Mary Poppins is based on P.L. Travers’ book series, which was adapted into a moving picture in 1964 and remade in 2018. The story follows a magical nanny who uses her iconic umbrella to help two neglected children get closer to their father.

The magic umbrella can be used as a parachute, allowing her to fly over London while knocking sense into her like an old friend giving advice! Like Mary Poppins guides the children, the umbrella is guiding her. Imagine how useful and stylish a flying designer umbrella would be…

Disney Plus subscribers say that they’re watching old classics, with 22 per cent watching Mary Poppins and The Lion King opposed to the newer films. Following the launch of Disney Plus, searches for Mary Poppins increased drastically in December to 100.

Safe to say the iconic umbrella truly makes it a classic for all of us.

Star Wars
In the Star Wars films series, the lightsabre is used by both the Jedi and the Sith. An elegant weapon powered by kyber crystals, these swords can cut through virtually everything while also deflecting blaster bolts. Lightsabres come in different colours that represent different meanings and origins – even if you haven’t seen any Star Wars films, you’re likely very aware of the signature weapon.

When manufacturing the lightsabre, you don’t choose the kyber crystals – the kyber crystals have to choose you. The Jedi or Sith bonds with the crystals, which change colour to match the nature of the person it chose, such as level of experience or Force sensitivity. Some colours are rarer than others, such as red, purple, and yellow. For a lightsabre to be red, the crystal has to be commanded through dark side corruption rather than bonding. Lightsabres can be healed, creating the rare white colour.

Looks like Star Wars has become more popular following the launch of Disney Plus, with searches increasing to 100 in December.

Aladdin
One of the most popular Disney films is Aladdin, originally released in 1992 and remade and rereleased in 2019. Aladdin relied on his magic carpet, aptly named carpet, throughout the film. Carpet is discovered by Aladdin and Abu in the Cave of Wonders when trying to find the Genie’s lamp, and is quickly adopted by Aladdin as his sidekick, helping save his life various times and helping Aladdin and Jasmine to fall in love while singing ‘A Whole New World’.

Thor
In Norse mythology, Thor’s hammer, known Mjölnir, is one of the most fearsome and powerful weapons created, with the ability to level mountains. In Marvel’s adaption, the hammer is an enchanted Warhammer forged by dwarves in the heart of dying star, which could only be wielded by someone who was worthy.

As Thor’s main weapon of choice, the iconic hammer has become a symbol in itself representing the hero. Featuring in the post-credits of Iron Man 2 lying in the sand for a few seconds, fans knew what the next major Marvel film would be featuring.

Some gadgets are so iconic, they’re like a character in their own right! What are your favourite film gadgets?

Beating the Blues & Surviving Self-Isolation

We’ve faced the brunt of winter. Things were starting to look up. Nights were getting lighter and warmer. It was easier to get out of bed on the mornings… but Covid-19 ruined our summer plans and has essentially thrown everything up in the air. Weddings have been rescheduled, holidays cancelled, the best part of the year has started disappointingly.

Of course, it’s extremely important that we follow government regulations so we can get self-isolation guidelines and travel bans lifted as quickly as possible by remaining indoors to prevent the spread of the virus. We know that this will have a toll on our mental health, so here, we’ll give tips on how to beat the blues and survive self-isolation.

Stay active

With the unpredictable weather that Britain loves to bestow on us, taking advantage of the one form of exercise per day and staying active can be demotivating when it’s raining — and let’s be honest, it rains a lot in the UK. Try not to slip into an unproductive and sluggish routine by going to bed late, waking up late, and not leaving the house every day for a walk, either alone or with your household.

Try to avoid scrolling through social media endlessly and binge-watching series all day with nothing else to do as this can make you feel a lot more negative. So regardless of the weather, and when you’ve got nothing to do, grab your men’s or ladies umbrella and head outside for some fresh air and stretch those legs. Whether it’s for an hour or 15 minutes, reset your mind after being stuck indoors all day. If you’re feeling lethargic, you’ll find that this wakes you up and awakens energy in you.

Take time cooking great meals

Don’t underestimate the effect of eating healthily. Indulging in unhealthy comfort food might seem appealing to beat the self-isolation blues, but this will make you feel worse. Do your best to eat well, and even spend some time experimenting with new meals and testing your skills.

If you previously felt rushed off your feet from work and life and you lived off ready meals and takeout, take pride in your cooking! Don’t eat the same sort of meals routinely and try to eat a diverse diet with different spices and cuisines — diverse food is good for our gut bacteria and microbes, which are crucial to your immune function and weight regulation.

If you want to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need, vitamin D is a nutrient we struggle to get from food alone that we usually get from the sun. As we spend significantly less time outside, this vitamin is great for healthy bones, muscles, and teeth.

Limit how much you read the news

It’s important to keep up with current affairs usually and broadening our knowledge with goings on in the world. But with the 24/7 coverage of Covid-19 dominating headlines, it can be quite wearing on our mental health. According to WHO, a constant stream of news about an outbreak can cause people to feel anxious or distressed. Switch off and seek guidance at specific times when you want to dispel fake news.

Keep doing things that make you happy

Does wearing make-up make you feel happy? Do you like wearing smart clothes? Well, don’t stop! Just because you’re in the house doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing ‘micro-lifts’, which are things usually scattered throughout our day that lift us up without us realising. The cumulative effect of missing out on these things that makes us feel good can have a damaging effect on our mood, so look after yourself!

https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/covid-19-corona-virus-advice-for-the-general-public.html

Whatever the Weather: Creating the Perfect Garden for Self-Isolation

Self-isolation is upon us — with bank holidays approaching and uncertainty of when we’ll be allowed back outside, it’s down to us to spruce up our time at home and improve our gardens to have fun with the people we live with. Fortunately, there’s plenty of inspiration for us to use to transform our gardens into a relaxing haven as the weather starts to warm up. Pop-up venues have become increasingly popular as of late. With everything from container units to outdoor amphitheatres, us Brits are keen to make the most of even the wettest of weekends. With fantastic events all over the country, why not recreate them in our own back garden? Here, we’ll will explore how you can take on the elements and enjoy the fresh air as we head towards spring in self-isolation.

Creating the perfect environment

Firstly, and most importantly, make your garden aesthetically pleasing as well as practical. Most beer gardens and outdoor dining areas have been designed to accommodate us comfortably, so that should be the first thing on your mind for the perfect ‘al-fresco isolation’ experience.

Parasols for all seasons

Order some parasols. Seriously, this should be consideration number one! The British weather is notoriously unpredictable, and you don’t want to throw a garden party for the rain to randomly douse you and the people you live with (unless if you’re having a water fight?). If the weather isn’t great, usually when out and about outside, you’ll have been protected by the elements by your men’s and ladies’ umbrellas — but now they can put these to one side in your garden and you can sit under the protection of your lovely parasols. The great thing about parasols is that they don’t stand out like a sore thumb in certain seasons, they can be used for protection against rain and shade in the sun. Everywhere from your local Wetherspoons to the Ritz Restaurant Terrace in London have parasols!

Up your flooring game

Decking and patio can be a pretty addition to any garden, but it can be so samey and can make your garden forgettable out in terms of decoration and creativity. Up your decoration game and invest into extra details that will make yours stand out from the rest. Setting down a beautiful outdoor rug underneath your dining area will take your garden to the next level — sumptuous padding makes everyone feel right at home. There’s plenty of waterproof and reversible rugs out there, so get looking online!

Mismatch on purpose

Shabby chic is a style appearing to endure all. And this is ideal for your back garden! To take advantage and create this type of look, you could buy a metal table big enough to fit you and the people you live with, that will endure all kinds of weather and complement with mismatching furnishings and seats that will look trendy and boho. Grab a cheap linen tablecloth that will look rustic, with random cushions, candles, and lights and hey presto — the perfect ambient spot!

Create the atmosphere

Make sure you’ve got a portable speaker so that you can all listen to your favourite music and have a sing along while eating food and drinking great drink!

 

There’s plenty of fun, creative ideas to improve your self-isolation experience at home. With the people you love and live with, what could be better?

Will Winter 2020 Follow in Some of These Chilly Footsteps

The beginning of a new year is always prime time for weather forecasters, predicting how the forecast will be wetter, colder, and more challenging for us to battle through on our daily commute. While many people struggle enough in January, combatting the post-festive blues, it’s also the beginning of the UK’s peak storm season. With many epic freezes on record, a chilly start to the year has happened a lot over the years. Let’s take a look at some of the most historic winter freezes in the UK and predict whether 2020 will follow suit.

1836
One of the oldest cold snaps on record, the winter of 1836/37 sent a chill right through the core of the UK, with a hostile combination of sub-zero temperatures, snowstorms, and gale force winds. On Christmas Eve of 1836, the southern region of the UK was battered by a formidable deluge, as well as intense blizzards and high winds, resulting in serious snow drifts. By Boxing Day, there had been little to no relief from Mother Nature and the storm hit the town of Lewes, Sussex, near the Southern coastline. The north easterly winds swept up a deep layer of snow on Cliffe Hill, and it was reportedly near 20 feet deep. The overhang of snow was fated to collapse onto a row of houses belonging to some of the poorest working people in the town, known as Boulder Row. The residents were advised to leave their homes but refused to do so, even after the snow drift partially collapsed and swept an entire timber yard close to the cottages into the nearby River Ouse. On the following day, the remaining snow drift fell, engulfing the cottages. Nowadays, the avalanche is commemorated by the Snowdrop Inn, a pub built on the former Boulder Row site.

1947
Post-war Britain was hit by a serious wintery snap in February 1947, and it was a freak event which certainly took the nation by surprise. The weather had followed the now modern trend of a mild January, only to experience blankets of snow in a sudden chill at the end of the month. This pattern has become a common trend ever since – making the 1947 freeze the origin of what we now know as the typical British winter. Since the snow started on the 23rd January, it fell somewhere in the UK every day for 55 consecutive days after, and we’ve not experienced this since!

1962/63
Considered as the worst winter in recent history, 1962/63 was certainly a year the UK wrapped up warm and stayed indoors, as outside temperatures fell to a record -20°C in December 1962. In Glasgow, snow fell on Christmas Day for the first time since 1938, making for the ultimate festive postcard scene. Across Wales and in South West England, snow drifts were cutting communication off in towns and villages for days at a time. Lakes and rivers around the nation were transformed into icy spectacles, and the sea even froze over near harbours and ports. Newspaper headlines in Ireland read ‘More Snow Falls as Cut-Off Families Run Short of Food’, and images show groups of people pushing vintage cars out of deep snow. This freeze was the coldest to hit for over 200 years, and the country only began the upwards climb out of winter in March 1963.

2018
Throughout the ‘noughties’ we certainly experienced some particularly frosty periods, but the notorious cold snap which gripped the country from February 2018 onwards was undoubtedly one of the worst events in recent history. This wintery spell caused £1.2 billion in damages, with the lowest temperature of -14°C recorded in Cairn Gorm, and a shocking 17 UK casualties. The phrase ‘Beast from the East’ is used to describe cold and wintery conditions created by a polar continental air mass, happening typically when air pressure is high over Scandinavia. Across the continent in Europe, many countries experienced a similarly intense chill, with snow falling in Rome for the first time in six years and in Paris, metro stations were adorned with icicles hanging from the ceilings.

At home, UK residents were forced to prepare for the wintery influx and the MET office issued several weather warnings – reaching the highest recognised level, red. From the north of Scotland to the south of London, every corner of the UK was affected to some extent by chillingly low temperatures, black ice, and blizzard conditions leading to some power outages. This continued into March, with travel disruption from closed roads to cancelled trains and planes alike.

2020
What could be in store for this winter then? Meteorologists have taken a look at the patterns we experienced towards the end of 2019, and with this in mind, it seems like cold snaps will be short lived. But climate change scientists have forecasted that January and February will experience an average temperature of 3.9°C. This is 0.5°C below average for this time of year. These cold snaps might not be prolonged though, and there’s rain on the long range forecasts – nothing a birdcage umbrella can’t tackle! However, if this prediction is right, then winter 2020 could be the seventh coldest of the past 30 years.

As we move into February, time will tell on whether or not we will shiver long into March, welcoming spring with open arms!

A Fulton Company Limited receives Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award 2020

04 February 2020, A Fulton Company Limited has won the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service award, an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, as rated by real customers.

Thanks to all of our customers for sharing their ratings and reviews!

Created by Feefo, Trusted Service is awarded only to businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine reviews and insights. Businesses meeting the high standard, based on the number of reviews they have collected and their average rating, receive the award. A highly-valued badge of approval, this accreditation remains unique, as it is based purely on the interactions with real customers. As all reviews are verified as genuine, the accreditation is a true reflection of a business’s commitment to outstanding service.

Feefo have given Platinum Trusted Service awards to businesses who have achieved Gold standard for three consecutive years. The Feefo Gold Trusted Service award recognises those who have collected at least 50 Feefo reviews in a year, and have achieved a service rating of at least 4.5.

Feefo is a reviews and customer insights technology company that provides businesses with the tools to collect real, purchase-verified reviews and insights. Working with over 3,500 clients, Feefo ensures that all feedback is authentic, by matching it to a legitimate transaction, in order to increase consumer confidence and enable businesses to make smarted business decisions.

https://www.fultonumbrellas.com/reviews/

Storm Clouds for Barney, Gertrude, and Doris

As a nation, we’ve experienced an array of adverse weather in the past decade, all of which have had a varying impact on our daily lives — most recently, storm Brendan in January 2020. The storms we have tackled in recent years have affected everything, from transport issues to causing school closures and power outrages. But arguably the most interesting phenomenon to emerge from these prolonged periods of terrible, freak weather is the names that they are given by the Met Office. They never fail to surprise the general public though, and often they are just as outlandish as the storm itself. We’re taking a look at some of the most unbecoming storm names to have battered the British Isles.

Storm Barney
While we might know Barney as a children’s television icon of the 90s, this ‘Barney’ was the second storm deemed aggressive enough to be named. Storm Barney certainly packed a punch when it hit in November 2015, with trampolines being flung into trees in Basildon, Essex. The worst affected areas of the UK were the Midlands and Wales, and 3,000 homes faced power outrages in Derbyshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, along with 6,000 more in Wales. Gust of wind swept up to a staggering 85mph, causing transport disruption on the roads and railway lines, with many trees succumbing to the gale force conditions.

Storm Desmond
Desmond doesn’t sound like a name particularly set out to cause mass destruction, but in 2015 he (as in the storm) did exactly that. Cumbria and Lancashire took the worst of the impact which began on the 5th December 2015, with a record amount of rainfall observed for Cumbria over the space of 24 hours; and this triggered a rarely attributed ‘red’ warning from the Met Office. At Honister Pass, a prominent part of the Lake District, 341.4mm of rain fell in 24 hours, and a Thirlmere, 405mm of rainfall fell in 38 hours. The city of Carlisle was submerged again, just before the tenth anniversary of its last serious flooding event in 2005. The description sent shock waves up and down the country, with a landslide between Carlisle and Preston leading the commuters being prevented from either crossing the border or travelling South. Wind speed exceeded 70mph in multiple areas of northern England, and power outrages, school closures, and blocked roads characterised the intensity of Desmond…an otherwise unsuspected name to say the least!

Storm Gertrude
Storm Gertrude arrived on UK soil after a hefty six storms in six weeks, giving the public no relief from generally rubbish weather. In January 2016, Gertrude made her presence known across Scotland and northern England, bringing intense winds worthy of a red warning from the Met. Orkney and Shetland were torn by intense winds, and a gust of 105mph was recorded at Lerwick. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued over 40 flood warnings as a precaution, and multiple bridges were closed with ferry departures cancelled at the Aberdeen port.

Storm Doris
From the name alone, Doris sounds unsuspecting, but residents in Wales had a slightly different experience when this oddly named storm hit in February 2017. Doris unleashed a mixture of heavy snow, sheets of ice and alarmingly strong winds, impacting Scotland and Wales notably. Formidable winds of up to 94mph reshaped the scenery, while blankets of snow left motorists stranded on some of the UK’s major motorways. The Port of Liverpool was forced to close, with yellow and amber warnings in place. One of the lighter stories to come out of Storm Doris was the otter cub found alone on a riverbank in Chesterfield, after being separated from its mother as the storm hit.

The storms we’re preparing for in 2020 have been named already, from Dennis to Gerda, Iris, Kitty, Maura, and Roisin. But only time will tell whether they live up to their unbecoming namesake!

Taking on The Winter School Run

While your little ones might have been enjoying the Christmas break, the beginning of the new school term is fast approaching. Yes it’s almost time to get back into the school run routine. As we move further into January, wintery conditions could make arriving at the school gates on time quite a mission, with kids eagerly awaiting the declaration of a ‘snow day’. We’re taking a look at how you can prepare for the winter school dash, on these frosty, dark mornings and afternoons.

Winter layers
It might be enough of a struggle getting your kids up and out of bed in the morning, never mind getting them to layer up and dress for the weather. Once you’ve covered the basics – they’re in their full school uniform, vest and jumper included, it’s all about finding the perfect winter layers to keep them feeling toasty. Starting with a winter coat, making the right choice will see your little adventurers through rain, snow, and wind, so make this a school run priority! Muddy Puddles has a lovely selection of children’s waterproof jackets and raincoats to choose from, with the Explorer Parka being one of our top picks – it comes in three colours, with plenty of zipped pockets and made using a super durable material. The reflective detailing is also a benefit, keeping your kids visible and safe on even the gloomiest of mornings.

Now add gloves, and a hat and they’re bound to be cosy from leaving the house to arriving in the playground. Monsoon has a quirky selection available, from 3D dinosaur beanies, to bright novelty gloves for boys and girls. These extra layers and accessories will come in handy, and your school run won’t be held up by your little ones complaining that they’re feeling chilly.

The shoes for the job
It’s often icy under foot throughout the month of January, so a good pair of shoes is vital for getting your little one to the classroom safely – with no bumps along the way! When it comes to shoes, your children might be quite particular, as even when they are younger there’s a pressure to have the right clothes for school. If it’s not on trend, it’s no good! There are also school rules to consider, and the more appropriate options tend to include brogues, flat boots, and Velcro or buckle bar shoes. Boys are usually allowed to wear shoes which aren’t classed as trainers. Parents of the nation rejoice, Clarks has an outstanding range of shoes for your little learners, they’re bound to find a pair they love and you’re guaranteed quality!

An emergency umbrella
While mums might have their essential birdcage umbrella with their handbag ready for a sudden shower, giving your child an umbrella for school could be really helpful – especially if they’ve got a walk in between getting to the bus stop after the day is done. Fulton has a range of delightful kids’ umbrellas, available in designs full of character, plus they’re designed to last with the reinforced fiberglass frame, keeping your children sheltered from the elements.

Start a walking bus
As we all begin to make conscious efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, walking to school has been actively encouraged by teachers, with some schools setting up a ‘walking bus’ initiative. A walking bus simply means you walk to school with other parents and/or children, as it can be a good way to boost punctuality while also promoting socialization – and it keeps everyone active! If you find that nabbing a spot near the school gates has become too competitive and you live within reasonable walking distance, then why not gather some fellow mums and take to the pavements early in the morning.

Prepare your kids for the new term and the colder days with this guide, and the school run might feel like less of a chore!