A British 3rd Birthday!

It was Lucan’s 3rd Birthday on Sunday and the preparations had been on-going for a couple of weeks. The first struggle was to find him an appropriate gift. We knew that finding a toy made in the UK was going to be impossible so we decided to make him one. We bought seasoned British timber from a local merchant and built a tree-house and swing set, complete with up-cycled slide. The construction took 2 days of digging, sawing and hammering but it is fair to say that the results were worth it. He loves it.

We were a little nervous about the party preparations and to add to the pressure we decided to shop at Sainsbury’s for all of the goodies. Sainsbo’s have been making a big deal about their Britishness and sustainability policies recently. So,  while it is a supermarket that we do not frequent all that often we thought that this event would be a good test of if they were walking-the-walk or just talking-the-talk.

With all of the great weather we decided on a BBQ for family, friends and neighbours. The first thing on the shopping list was meat… and lots of it. The issue here, with Sainsbury’s, is that they do not sign up to the Red Tractor Assurance scheme. So, while their meat is labelled with the Union Jack, what you do not get  is the same level of confidence and clarity regarding animal welfare standards. However, we still bought chicken, beef, pork belly and pork sausages for the barbie.

Before we left for the supermarket we had to call Premier Foods to see if their Harleys jelly is made in the UK. Thankfully they confirmed it was. After all, what is a 3rd birthday without jelly and ice cream?? I had an interesting chat with the customer service guy who was able to confirm that most of the Premier Foods brands are made in the UK, including Sharwoods, Oxo and Batchelors brand names. Handy information for us!

Ultimately we struggled, in Sainsbury’s, with some of the things not made in Britain that we knew that we could find in Waitrose. For example we know that there is a very good chance that anything own brand in Waitrose will be made in the UK. Not so with Sainsbury’s. However, we did have a couple of surprises. For instance; we managed to buy paper plates and plastic cups all made in Britain. What is more is that they were the cheap essentials range, so again we were able to make some savings buying British.

The day was balmy to say the least and with neighbours, friends and family I think that the lack of balloons and anything themed couldn’t have been further from people’s minds. As the day warmed up the adults (well most of them) crowded around the TV to watch the phenomenal Andy Murrey become the Wimbledon champion. The kids stripped off and splashed in the paddling pool. A fantastic afternoon was had by all and what is even better to know is that the British economy profited from Lucan being a year older. Hopefully we can continue, as the years go by, to avoid the commercialism and dare I say plastic element of birthdays and just give Lucan so cracking days to remember like this one.



  1. Pictures of the treehouse & swong please!!

  2. We use bunting that I made with help from my mum using the scraps of fabric leftover from the clothes we’ve made over the years in place of balloons and suchlike. I’d love to see pics of the tree house etc. X

  3. Gordon Smith says

    I wish British manufacturers would state MADE IN BRITAIN on their goods. I contacted Foxs biscuits to check and they were British. Co-op own brand shews where products are made, I have Co-op salad cream and brown sauce (HP is now made abroad so that’s out) and Asda tomato ketchup.

  4. Yes please, I agree with the above… lets have a look at Lucan’s tree house & swing !!

  5. Piccy, yes please!!!

    I don’t buy much meat in the supermarket as I prefer local farm shops, but I do often see red tractor labels in Saisnburys and they do tend to label most fresh produce (veg and meat) to say where it’s from. Don’t know about the meat counter, but the fish counter says where from so I would assume the meat is the same.

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