Stockings by the fireside

What is the tradition behind hanging Christmas stockings?

What is the tradition behind hanging Christmas stockings?

Christmas Retro Sweet StockingIt is a familiar sight in households around the world at Christmas. Stockings of all shapes, colours and sizes hung up ready to be filled with delightful goodies. However, who were the first people to put stockings out for Christmas? What is the tradition behind hanging Christmas stockings? In addition to this, what do you put inside a Christmas stocking? We hope this blog answers these and many other questions surrounding this seasonal custom.

A Long, Long Time Ago….

We need to travel back to the time of Saint Nicolas, and the era of the Roman Empire. In the early 4th Century, Nicholas of Maya (also known as Nicholas of Bari), a Christian Bishop, gained a reputation among the pious and the poor for his generosity and kindness. Though little is truly known about Bishop Nicholas, it is believed he was the son of wealthy Christian parents.

Legends surrounding Nicholas proclaim he restored life to three children, killed by a butcher and put in a tub of brine during a time of famine. Likewise, he reputedly calmed the stormy seas during a voyage, saving the ship he travelled on from a watery grave. Nicholas is therefore also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker and became one of the earliest Christian Saints. Likewise, his legendary habit of secret gift giving gave rise to his famous, traditional role, of Santa Claus.

Personalised Chocolate Gold Bullion BarOne of the earliest attested accounts on Nicholas describes a time when he saved 3 young girls from being forced into prostitution. Secretly Nicholas visited the home of the poor father and threw a bag of gold, (some say through an open window, others say down the chimney), to be used as a dowry for the oldest girl. Legends say that the bag of gold, sometimes described as a ball of gold, landed in a stocking hung by the fireplace to dry! Once married he revisited the home and repeated his generous gift for each of the other two girls in turn. Therefore, often, 3 gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are associated with Saint Nicholas.

It is also believed this is the origin behind the use of the pawnbrokers’ symbol, of three gold balls! His legendary habit of secret gift giving gave rise to his famous, traditional role, of Santa Claus, and the first stories of stockings evolved!

A legend is born

Many believe that tales of Saint Nicholas’ secret night-time visits of gifts spread far and wide. Children began hanging their stockings up, or placing shoes out, in the hope they too could benefit from his generosity.

Wanted, Santa - Metal Wall SignIn the Netherlands, another legend, of a character called Sinterklass, influenced by the story of Saint Nicholas, also leads us to the history of Christmas stockings. Sinterklass and his assistant Zwarte Piet, travelled the land on a white horse and mule. Sinterklass represents Saint Nicholas as a Bishop, dressed in a red cape, with a long white beard and a red mitre. Children left hay, carrots and other food gifts out for the travellers in their clogs. In return, Sinterklass ans Zwarte Piet filled the clogs with sweet treats, nuts and small toys.

Traditionally these exchanges took place on the feats of Sinterklass, St. Nicholas’ name day, 6th December. The Dutch colonists in America continued this tradition, eventually substituting clogs for their stockings!

Christianity and folklore combine

It is certain, therefore, that the tradition of the Christmas stocking, as we know it, originated from Europe. The stocking has morphed out of legend, folklore and the rise of Christianity. Mid-winter festivals and traditions merged with Christian teachings. Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ on 25th December became a firm date in everyone’s calendar. Santa Claus visits homes on Christmas eve and fills the stockings with treats and delights! Just like the story of Saint Nicholas, the stockings have evolved too. From mere clogs or items of clothing, to elaborate, specially designed stockings in plush colours and styles. What do you find in the stocking on Christmas morning though? Are they only filled with treats for good children?

Stocking fillers, naughty or nice?

Christmas Retro Sweet StockingTraditionally, as explained earlier, stockings held gifts of fruit, nuts, coins and small toys or ornaments. Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, rewards good boys and girls by filling their stocking and often leaving wrapped presents under the tree. For naughty children however, there remains the ever-present threat of finding coal in your stocking.

There are a few theories to the origins of this. The first takes us back to the Dutch clog tradition, where Sinterklass filled clogs left by the fireplace with treats, if good, or just coal if naughty. In Italy, there is a tradition predating Santa Claus of an old woman (witch) called Befana. Befana visits children on Epiphany Eve, like Santa, leaving treats to the good girls and boys. However, she leaves onions, garlic or coal for the naughty! Of course, some might see coal as gift, in impoverished homes where fuel remained a luxury for keeping the home warm!

Hang your stocking!

Dobby the House Elf Christmas StockingWhat is the tradition behind hanging Christmas stockings? We hope to have answered your question! Your stocking can be a simple sock, or an extravagant, personalised decoration, but we don’t think you’ll beat the world record for the largest stocking! According to the Guiness book of World Records, that record is held by Pubblica Assistenza Carrara e Sezioni (in Italy). In 2011, their stocking measured a massive 51.35m in the leg and 21.63m heel to toe! Now that certainly needs a lot of treats to fill! Hang your stocking in the best place for you. The fireplace, your bedpost, a doorknob or under the tree, Santa will find it! However, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, how big it is or where you hang it, just make sure you are good!

Thanks for reading our blog. Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we love sharing history and traditions and if you need inspiration for some cracking stocking fillers, please visit our online store. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

A 1950's Childhood Book

An Insight Into Childhood In 1950s Britain

An Insight into CHILDHOOD IN 1950S BRITAIn

1950s Childhood Memorabilia PackEmerging from the ravages of the Second World War, the resulting camaraderie, and the patriotic feelings for the country, British families worked together through the highs and lows of the 1950s. Although brief, this blog aims to provide an insight into childhood in 1950s Britain.


There is no doubt that the war had a long-lasting effect on families in Britain. Families, torn apart by death, evacuation, and the departure of American and Canadian service men, took time to adjust. Many children grew up in fatherless homes and the divorce rate increased as people struggled to adapt to life after war. In addition to this, despite the war ending in September 1945, some rationing continued for a further 9 years.  Children waited until February 1953 before the rationing of sweets and confectionary lifted. Rationing of sugar followed just over six months later, in September 1953. However, rationing for meat, and other limited food items, remained in place until July 1954.


Despite the rationing and austerity experienced in the early 50s, it is widely believed that the diet of young children then, proved far healthier than children’s diets today. Indeed, a study by the Medical Research Council, in the late 1990s, found the nutritional intake of 1950s children to be far superior to that of comparable children in the 90s. 1950s children ate far higher quantities of milk, bread and vegetables, therefore increasing their intake of calcium, fibre and iron. They consumed far less sugar too!

Retro Milkshake Diner SignUntil the mid 1950s, eating out remained a luxury for the upper classes. However, the introduction of American styled burger bars by Wimpy in 1954, brought change to British families. Teenagers, for example, loved the hamburgers and milkshakes these exciting new venues offered! An influx of migrants from Hong Kong also introduced the British to the delights of far eastern cuisine. Even Billy Butlin introduced chop suey and chips into his holiday camps in 1958!

Political social changes, at the back end of the 1940s ensured that the health and well-being for everyone began to improve. Children had free access to health care in the 1950s, thanks to the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948. A mass vaccination programme in 1958 endeavoured to vaccinate all children under the age of 15 against polio and diphtheria. The introduction of anti-biotics also helped to control and indeed eradicate some diseases like tuberculosis.


Personalised Queen Elizabeth II Newspaper BookAfter the sudden demise of the much-loved King George VI, a new monarch took to the throne. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on 2nd June 1953 at Westminster Abbey. The BBC televised the event. However, many families did not own a TV set, so some rented one, whilst others watched with friends and neighbours. The BBC recorded the event both in colour and black and white (most families watched on the latter format). Those with no access to a TV, listened to the radio! The whole of Britain joined the celebrations. Streets and towns displayed bunting and flags. Street parties brought families together and despite the typical British weather (it poured down at the coronation); everyone had a wonderful time!


1950's-Memorabilia-HamperBritain experienced a post-war baby boom. As a result, particularly in urban areas, class sizes grew. In some cases, classes held as many as fifty pupils at a time! Schooling concentrated primarily on the three ‘R’s, reading, writing and arithmetic. Students learned with a blackboard and chalk. Discipline certainly differed from today too! Children deemed to be ‘naughty’ received corporal punishment. Boys often felt the thrash of the cane, girls a rap of ta wooden ruler against their knuckles! The free milk policy introduced in the 40s continued, ensuring every child had their daily fill of calcium!

Children began school usually at the age of 5. As part of the Tripartite system, they sat an 11 plus exam. According to how successful they were, students then progressed to, grammar school, the secondary technical school (not in all areas) and the secondary modern school. The general leaving age for school remained at 15, although reviews of this began at the end of the decade. As most children walked to school and traffic levels rose, an act in July 1953, introduced the first school crossing patrols!


Advancements in technology helped to improve life at home for many families. At the beginning of the decade, women, now encouraged back into the home to be mothers and housewives, often spent up to 70 hours a week doing their chores. Labour saving devices like washing machines, vacuum cleaners, food mixers and freezers all helped to make life easier. By the end of the decade, women enjoyed more free time. Some women looked to increase family income by taking on part – time job roles giving families, and their children, more money to spend on luxuries.

Thomas-Crapper-Metal-Wall-SignAn archived report from 1950 stated that only 46% of English homes had bathrooms. Most used tin baths and outdoor toilets! Up to 10% of homes in the Midlands, Wales and the South and East of England didn’t even have plumbed in water. Filling baths with water heated in pans and kettles took a lot of time and effort, with families sharing bath water in a set pecking order. Slowly, with government grants, clearing of slums and regeneration of badly bombed areas, houses with indoor plumbing became more available to all. However, even by the mid 1960s, 25% of British houses still lacked an indoor toilet or bathroom!


We’ve tried to give you an insight into childhood in 1950s Britain, however, for those that grew up during this period, this may be the most important section!

Children in the 1950s certainly knew how to enjoy the great outdoors! From climbing trees, go-karting, hopscotch, football, cycling and adventures in the woodland, children enjoyed freedom. With far less traffic on the roads and no sense of health and safety, children, with a packed sandwich in their pockets, disappeared for the day for fun and adventures and returned when it got dark, or they got hungry! Just think about Enid Blyton’s Famous Five adventures! Children had great respect for their elders too and people in authority like teachers, policemen and park keepers. They knew that if they mis-behaved it was quite normal for someone to give them a ‘clip behind the ear’!

A 1950's Childhood BookPlastic toys became popular in this decade. Cheap and readily available, plastic helped to increase the range of toys available to a wider market. Toy farm sets, garages, dolls houses, and even Barbie, all appeared in the toy stores! Children loved to emulate their heroes too, like Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger! Saturday morning visits to the cinema helped to make these characters popular with the masses, so western outfits and guns often appeared on a child’s Christmas list!

From the age of 15 children went to work. The birth of the teenage culture began in this decade too! Older teenagers enjoyed another export from America, rock and roll! This music brought colour, excitement and dancing into their lives. Films, like rock ‘Around The Clock’, had eager audiences, keen to enjoy the music of Bill Hayley and his Comets! Teddy boys appeared among the working class youths and music fed the soul!

We hope our blog has given you an insight into childhood in 1950s Britain. Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we are passionate about celebrating the nostalgia of our past. Find more gift ideas from the 20th Century at our online shop.

Metal Wall Signs Size Guide

What’s the Best Size For Wall Art?

What’s the best size for wall arT?

Size Guide for Metal Wall SignsMetal Wall Signs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but what’s the best size for wall art? It depends on your home or business. Here we have our Metal Wall Signs size guide. We have information about our signs, the sizes they come in and how to make the best impact with your metal wall sign display.

Metal Wall Signs

There is such a vast array of metal wall signs on the market, so what makes ours special? Most of our signs are manufactured in Britain, using Welsh steel. Their quality is unsurpassed! They feature high quality images and text and make great additions to homes, offices, and businesses. All our signs come with pre-drilled holes in the corners to make installation simple. Most of our metal wall signs come in four sizes, from small to super jumbo! We also have 3D metal wall signs, these are generally in small or large sizes and look fantastic!

Selecting your Art

Nostalgic British Canals Waterways SignChoose artwork with appropriate content. If you are selecting artwork for the bathroom, for example, why not display some vintage Pears advertising signs, or the rules of the bathroom! Remember that halls and lounges are regularly visited by guests to your home, therefore, display wall art with a general appeal in these locations. Focussing on hobbies and interests can be a great guideline. Artwork featuring sport, transport and beautiful locations often prove to be popular choices.

Dining rooms are a great space to display your love of food or drink. With signs ranging from vintage advertising to retro diner themes, wine to whisky, there is a great and varied selection out there. Likewise, for kitchens! Brighten your kitchen with metal wall signs featuring culinary delights, for example! Remember there are personalised signs available too, perfect if your want to celebrate a baking queen or create your own home bar area!

Personalised Classic Cocktail SignIf you are lucky enough to have a whole space dedicated to a home bar, we have a wonderful range of metal wall signs to select from. For maximum impact, chose your theme. It might be a traditional British pub, a Tiki bar, or a traditional cocktail bar. On the other hand, you might want to create an authentic Irish home bar, complete with a Guinness dispenser! Alternatively, many of us prefer to have a private chill out space, like a study or man cave. Personalise this space with art that really speaks to your sense of humour, passions and personality.

Metal wall signs can be perfect for brightening outbuildings too. From garages, garden sheds and summer houses, blank walls are just crying out for some art! Garden themed art featuring plants, tools and animals are perfect! However, out metal wall art is not UV coated, so always hang out of direct sunlight. If you are passionate about motorbikes, cars or scooters, shout about it! Metal wall signs can create a real vintage vibe in your garage. Imagine your walls filled with metal wall signs featuring your favourite mode of transport, it will make it a deeply personal space!

Selecting your Sizes

Once you have decided which room you want to focus on, you then need to decide, what’s the best size for wall art? Measure up your wall space. For a symmetrical layout, find the centre of the wall. Once established, use this point as your guide to plan the size of your sign or signs. It is a great idea to plan it out on paper first, scaling your measurements accordingly. If you are hanging more than one piece, the general rule is to leave a gap of 2 to 4 inches between signs. If you are using a partial wall space, measure out the size of wall you wish to use first. Then, find your centre point on this, and plan it out on paper as afore mentioned.

An important point to remember is to only hang metal wall signs with metal wall signs. Do not mix and match with framed art, or other mediums, this will not look great. Likewise, when grouping art work, follow a theme in subject matter or colour. Many metal signs come in a variety of sizes. You may want a single piece; you may want to create a pairing or a gallery effect. It is equally effective hanging same size pieces together, as it is mixing up sizes. Deciding on the overall look you want to achieve will help you establish what the best size is to purchase. So, what sizes are available and what should you chose?


Home Is Where You Park It Metal Wall SignThe smallest size we have available is 150mm x 200mm (think A5 size as a visual guide). These smaller signs are perfect for gifts and make great quick statements. As these small signs are a neat size. They fit in to small spaces, think caravans, campervans, the porch, or the WC! Of course, the smaller signs naturally lend themselves to creating a fantastic montage. If you are going to try a gallery effect on your wall, theme it with the style, content, or colour for the best impact. Arranging and grouping wall art can be a skill. There is an excellent guide on the following website, Love To Know.


The next size available is a perfect poster size. At 300mm x 400mm the large metal signs make an immediate impact on any wall. Ideal decorator’s pieces for the home or work, the themes often lend themselves as inspiration where to hang them. Close to A3 in size, the large metal wall signs can look great solo, or when hung together either in a neat trio, or as a clustered arrangement. Mix and match the large and small signs for a wonderful wall display, but remember, keep theming and colour united for maximum impact.


Jumbo signs come in at 500mm x 700mm. The size of these signs creates an amazing ‘advertising sign’ impact on a wall! They are sure to make an immediate impression on your friends, relatives, and customers. As a visual guide they are larger than A2, smaller than A1. If you have a large wall space that you want to fill with a statement piece, then a jumbo sign might be just what you are looking for! On a large wall space, you can also use a jumbo sign hung with two large signs or 3 smaller signs on the side. Ensure they look balanced on the available space.

Super Jumbo

Pickled Newt SignSuper Jumbo signs are in a league of their own! At 700mm x 1000mm these signs need an exceptionally large space to display them in. However, if you have the wall space, go for it, they make an amazing impact! If you want to make a statement, particularly for a business premises or a home bar, the super jumbo signs are perfect! Consider hanging one behind your bed, as an alternative to a headboard! Again, you can use a Super Jumbo as part of a montage. Keeping the gallery of art connected by content and colour will ensure you create a masterpiece in your own home! Visually these signs are larger than A1 and smaller A0. A considered purchase that will not disappoint!

So, what’s the best size for wall art in your home? We hope our guide has helped you to plan your purchase.  Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we have a range of over 400 metal wall signs in stock.  If you need any more help, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our online store is packed with gifts celebrating the whole of the 20th Century, from Victorian Britain, to the noughties!







A 1940's Childhood Book

An Insight into childhood in 1940s Britain.

An Insight into childhood in 1940s Britain.

Growing up during the second World War, children endured tremendous challenges to their young lives. Experiencing upheaval, shortages, grief, fear, fun and a large dollop of the great British ‘keep calm and carry on’ attitude! This blog gives an insight into childhood in 1940s Britain.


Children's-War-Memorabilia-PackOn 1st September 1939, two days before Britain declared war on Germany, the Government began the evacuation programme of children from cities and large towns. Travelling, usually by train, often in school groups, children departed for the countryside. An exciting adventure for some, a cause for home sickness and sadness for others. The countryside, especially for those children only used to city living, certainly offered a complete change of life. Indeed, some children settled in isolated farming communities, with no running water or electricity.

The much-anticipated early air raids did not come to pass, as a result, many children returned home. However, the invasion of France in the late Spring of 1940, led to a second wave of evacuations. On this occasion, 24,000 children even found themselves being shipped off to other parts of the world, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa! There became a real threat of a British invasion. Many children, once sent to coastal areas in the South and East of England, found themselves on the new front line. These children endured further upheaval with a second evacuation!


Blitz-NewspaperGermany began bombing British cities and key locations. Air raids became frequent and frightening. For 57 consecutive nights, at the start of the blitz, London found itself a target. Other major cities and ports also endured terrifying attacks. Despite the mass evacuation process, many children remained in these locations. 7,736 children died during the blitz. A further 7,622 children received injuries. The bombings tore families apart, creating a lot of orphans too.

During this time children also found a way to help the war effort. Older children, members of girl guides and the scouting movement, helped with Air Raid Precautions (ARP), acting as messengers and firewatchers. Highly dangerous work, many died in their time of duty. Others worked for the voluntary service, helping displace families and those in need. Young children helped too, by collecting materials, like clothing and waste paper to be recycled. Others collected knitted socks and money to support the troops.


A 1940's Childhood BookDisruption of schooling became inevitable during this period. The evacuation of thousands of children upset the system for months. In addition to this, the army requisitioned many school buildings for war use. The Imperial War Museum states that bombing destroyed 1 in 5 schools, whilst air raids disrupted lessons, sometimes for hours! Classrooms changed too. Some schools converted basements and cellars into makeshift classrooms. Others conducted lessons outside, especially when schools received damage from bombing raids. Rural schools often experienced overcrowding because of the influx of evacuees.

At the beginning of the decade, schooling remained compulsory up to the age of 14. In 1944, after the war, this rose to age 15, with a clause of this rising to 16. At the same time, parliament created the role of Minister of Education. Local authorities received more powers and compulsory attendance came into being. In addition to basic education, provision for recreation, medical inspections, transport to and from school, physical training and a quota of milk also now featured in a child’s daily school routine.


During the war time period, many 14-17 year old children worked full time. These children often worked in agriculture, offices, or industries, for example, aircraft production, ship building, or engineering. From 1941, all 16-18 years old children needed to register for National Service, even if they worked full time. Boys received call-up papers to join up from the age of 18. Girls, aged 18, joined the Women’s Auxiliary Service or needed to participate in other work related to the war effort.

Despite the difficulties that war brought children still found time to play. 1940s children loved going outside to play with their friends. Riding bikes, exploring their environments, including climbing trees, skipping and of course playing war time themed games! Children only seemed to stay in on rainy days. On these occasions, colouring, reading, board games and listening to radio programmes filled their time.

Disney's Bambi Personalised BookCinemas provided magical entertainment when budgets allowed. Both teenagers and younger children visited the cinema as a treat. Due to the cost of colour production, many films remained in black and white. However, I’m sure they found great escape from the difficulties of the decade watching Walt Disney classics like Pinocchio, Fantasia and Bambi. For older children, musicals like Meet Me In St Louis and Holiday Inn and block busters, like Casablanca, provided light relief for many.


Ration Book Mug with 1940s SweetsFood rationing began in January 1940. Meat, sugar, butter, cheese and eggs all appeared on the list. Babies, children and expectant mothers did receive an additional quota of milk, orange juice and cod liver oil to maintain their health. In 1941 clothes joined the rationing list, although a recognition that children grow out of their clothes quickly, resulted in an amendment for children’s allowance in 1942. Every family joined the grow your own campaign. Children joined in this effort, growing vegetables at home and school.

A lack of critical ingredients meant sweet treats and puddings became a very rare treat. The government produced leaflets with adjusted recipes in. Steamed and baked puddings included mashed potato! Rolled oats and bread or breadcrumbs also helped to bulk a recipe out. Even Cadburys had to change their offering. The Ration Bar replaced the Dairy milk, made with dried semi-skimmed milk, wrapped in grease-proof paper and about as appetising as cardboard! Choices for confectionary became limited to liquorice, sherbet and boiled sweets like Sarsaparillas and Lemon Sherbets. However, some lucky children benefitted from the arrival of the American troops to Britain in 1942. The American servicemen, generous with their off-ration chocolate and chewing gum, also organised parties and dances for children at their bases!

We hope you have enjoyed ‘An Insight Into Childhood in 1940s Britain.’ If you are looking for gift ideas from this period, why not visit our Sweet and Nostalgic website where you will find a great selection of memorabilia and 1940s gift ideas.

The Great British Summer Holiday – 7 Top Destinations Then and Now

The Great British Summer Holiday – Top Destinations then and now!

During the post war years, the British summer holiday escape was in its hey-day! It is ironic, therefore that post pandemic, with limited travel options abroad, our UK destinations seem appealing once again! So, where did our parents and grand-parents head off to for their summer getaway? Let’s look at the great British summer holiday and top destinations then and now!


Cornwall, a favourite summer holiday destination. Sitting at the South Western tip of Britain, Cornwall boasts something for everyone! From the sandy beaches of the southern coastline (known as the Cornish riviera), to the towering cliffs and famous surfer’s beaches like Newquay and Fistral in the North. Delightful, picturesque fishing villages, wild moorland and a county full of history and mystery! In addition to this, you can indulge in delicious cream teas, Cornish ice cream and famous Cornish pasties!

St Ives Railway Poster SignHowever, getting to Cornwall and all its delights can be difficult! The M5 only takes traffic to Exeter, in Devon. Therefore, if travelling by car, you must brave the A30 and all other holiday makers following the same route. Alternatively, you could let the train take the strain! That is certainly what many of our Grand-Parents and Parents did. Lines took holiday makers direct to popular destinations, like Newquay and St. Ives. Indeed, you can get the train all the way to Penzance! Why not have a look at for more information.


Devon and its famous Jurassic coastline! This South Western coastline, known as the English Riviera, boasts sandy beaches and fossil rich cliffs. For seaside holidays, families flocked to Torquay, Paignton and Sidmouth. Still popular today for staycation holidays, these historic towns have plenty to offer. From gorgeous beaches, theme parks and zoos, to historic castles, botanical gardens and casual country walks.

Torbay Express Railway Poster SignIn addition to this, Plymouth offers amazing Maritime history and a wide range of activities, come rain or shine! In addition to this, the South Devon railway will take you on a round trip steam train journey, between Buckfastleigh and Totnes. This delightful journey will give you a small insight into the world of travel for those holidaying in this area in the post war period.

The South Coast

HMS Victory 3D Puzzle KitTravelling further East from Devon we have famous holiday destinations like, Bournemouth, Brighton and Eastbourne. Particularly popular with those travelling from the Capital, these historic seaside resorts provided many families a chance to escape. For a week or two, holiday makers enjoyed staying at grand hotels, friendly B&Bs, or, if they were lucky, (a cost-effective option), with friends or relatives! This year, look out for the 32nd London to Brighton Classic Car run, 6th June 2021. A great draw for car enthusiasts, with a myriad of vehicles including, in 2020, a 1915 Model T Ford! If maritime history is of more interest, visit Portsmouth. At the National Museum of the Royal Navy, you will discover HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. The Tudor ship, Mary Rose can also be visited in this vibrant port city.

The East of England

From Clacton, in Essex, to The Broads in Norfolk, the East of England has much to offer. Our parents and grand-parents may well have visited the Butlins resort in Clacton! Although no longer there, Clacton still has plenty to offer those looking for a seaside holiday escape. Built in 1871, Clacton Pier was voted Pier of the year in 2020, for example, and hosts a wide variety of family fun activities!

For those looking for a quieter escape, why not visit The Broads? A beautiful National Park, known for its waterways, exotic wildlife, and picturesque landscape, this is definitely the place to visit if you are looking for a slower pace of life!


Yorkshire Railway Poster SignYorkshire, boasting two National parks, stunning coastline and history steeped with the Romans and Vikings, a destination for many families during their summer break! In the 50s and 60s, families escaped the mines and factories for a fortnight, often by the coast. Train links led them to destinations including, Filey and Whitby. Amusement arcades, candy floss and seafood stalls all provided an escape from their day to day lives. Many of these features remain today and you are guaranteed a warm Yorkshire welcome, even if the weather doesn’t live up to hopes and expectations!

If the coastline is not for you, however, why not visit the North Yorkshire Moors or the rolling Yorkshire Dales? Contrasting landscape, each beautiful in their own right. For history buffs, a visit to York itself is a must. With its historic Cathedral, the Jorvik Viking Museum, medieval walls, restaurants and tea shops aplenty, you will not be disappointed!


Edinburgh - The Vennel 1000 Piece Jigsaw PuzzleAlthough North of Britain and therefore, historically cooler and wetter than the South, Scotland remains a popular destination for holiday makers. Our predecessors often crossed the borders by train, pulled by fantastic steam engines, like The Flying Scotsman! Scotland boasts the most amazing landscape, from the borders in the South to the Highlands and islands in the North and West. Scotland has so much to offer in history, culture and sport. From the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to the Edinburgh Tattoo, castles, Lochs (even a monster!) and, of course, golf courses! Inventors of this fine sport, St. Andrews is known as the home of golf! There is so much to see and do in Scotland, that one visit will certainly never be enough!


Llandudno Railway Poster SignThe small country with a big heart! With rugged coastlines, amazing national parks, a deep-rooted Celtic history with its own unique language, Wales is never short of diverse holiday destinations. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, every summer, the coastline would be visited by the hard-working miners and their families from the valleys! Known as miner’s fortnight, seaside resorts like Barry Island, Porthcawl and, of course, the Gower peninsular, offered an annual opportunity to embrace the refreshing sea air! In the North, Llandudno, Bangor and Rhyl equally proved fashionable destinations. Wales does boast wonderful coastal holidays and has a coastal path around the whole of its shoreline!

Wales offers far more than just seaside vacations, however. From its vibrant, cosmopolitan capitol city, Cardiff, in the South, to the impressive Snowdonia National park in the North. Families are spoilt for choice on which region to explore next! Enjoy the culture, history and fine food as you explore the ever-changing landscape.


As you have read, the great British summer holiday is something staycationers have enjoyed for decades. This blog merely scratches the surface of some destinations that proved popular in the past and offer so much more to those in the future. Who needs guaranteed sunshine and scorching temperatures? When we have a nation filled with sensational landscapes, unbeatable beaches, history, culture, why travel anywhere else? Besides, you can’t beat tucking into delicious fish and chips, wrapped in paper, whilst looking out over our amazing coastline!

We hope you have enjoyed our blog. If you would like to visit our Sweet and Nostalgic store for more inspiration on gifts and collectables from the 20th century, please visit our online store. Happy holidays and stay safe!


5 Awesome Gift ideas for Mother’s Day!

5 Awesome Gift Ideas For Mother’s Day

Mum’s are amazing. They pick us up when we are down, they are our biggest supporters, they love us unconditionally! On Mother’s Day, it’s a perfect opportunity for us to say, ‘thank you’ to them, for everything they do. How can we spoil them? Are there unique gifts out there that will really show our appreciation? Absolutely! Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we are passionate about spoiling our amazing Mum’s on Mother’s Day. So, dip into our guideline on 5 awesome gift ideas for Mother’s Day!

1. A Great Read!

Personalised Wimbledon TennisNewspaper BookBusy mums don’t always get the chance to enjoy a good book, but reading can be the perfect escape! From great classic fictions, to factual books on their favourite subjects, buying your mum a book for Mother’s Day is a sure fire winner. Personalise that book, and you’re really nailing it! How thoughtful! Personalising their favourite classic, like Pride and Prejudice, or The Wizard of Oz, will have them in raptures! Alternatively, you could give them a personalised newspaper book, filled with facts on their favourite artists, like The Beatles or David Bowie. Likewise, there are newspaper books about Wimbledon, Queen Elizabeth II or The Suffragettes. Imagine her sat down, feet up, coffee in hand, as she browses through your thoughtful gift, perfect!

2. Sweet Treats!

Retro Sweet Hamper for Mother's DayDo you have the world’s sweetest mum? Is she fond of chocolate or a pick ‘n’ mix? Then perhaps gifting her with a delightful selection of sweets, might be just the way to show her your appreciation for everything she does. From a handmade tray, filled with chocolate hearts, to hampers filled with retro sweets, these are gifts she’ll adore! In addition to this, our sweet treats are personalised too, adding another unique element to your Mother’s Day surprise! Just think how much fun your mum will have dipping her hand into a jar of sweets, her own, personal supply! Many of the sweets are certain to take her on a trip down memory lane, to the days of her own childhood, buying penny chews with her pocket money! These are gifts she is not likely to treat herself to, so, go on, spoil her!

3. A Tipple or Two?

Personalised Rose wine and Chocolate Gift SetHow many Mums look forward to sitting down, at the end of a busy week, to enjoy a glass or two of their favourite tipple? My hand just went up! Therefore, treat your Mum to something special. A personalised bottle of wine, with delicious chocolates? Perfect! If you want to add a bit of fizz, make it a Prosecco or Champagne! Alternatively, if a nice gin and tonic, or Jack Daniel’s and Coke is her poison, take a look at our alcohol and newspaper gift sets. Choose a paper from the date of your birth, and she can read all the headlines of what else was happening on the day she became your Mum! These gifts certainly show her you have given a lot of thought to celebrating the wonderful Mum she is!

4. Something Fun?

Personalised Rules of the Kitchen Wall SignWhen you are down, your Mum will go out of her way to make you smile. A perfect way to express this, on Mother’s Day, is to return the favour. Buy her a gift that will make her giggle. Perhaps a tongue in cheek book about Motherhood, like our spoof Ladybird Book, ‘The Mum’? On the other hand, maybe she’d love a sign for her bedroom, kitchen or home bar, that reflects her personality? We have a wide selection of fun signs, everything from Handbag Diva‘s to Gin drinkers! We even have signs that can be personalised! Perhaps your Mum is forever reading the riot act about keeping the bathroom or kitchen tidy? Buy her a sign to hang up instead, it’ll be a good reminder for you all, and they have a great fun vibe too! For Mum’s who are great cooks, we have celebratory signs,  like ‘The Baking Queen’ or ‘Cupcake Queen’ signs. Take a browse through our metal wall sign range, you might just be inspired!

5. Chill out Pastimes!

Tempting Treats 1000 Piece Jigsaw PuzzleMother’s Day should all be about Mum having time for herself. However, how does she like to spend that time? Does your Mum even know how to unwind? Might we make a few suggestions? Has she ever tried a jigsaw? You can while away the hours piece the most beautiful images together. Jigsaws are scientifically proven to be perfect for mental health, de-stressing and can be fun family activities to do together too. Likewise, adult colouring books have become a firm favourite for unwinding. We offer a beautiful, personalised book, where your Mum’s name becomes incorporated into every design! Alternatively, for a different type of challenge, why not buy her a personalised puzzle book? Whenever she has time to sit down with a cup of coffee, she can tackle a new puzzle! Your Mum will be thrilled that you have bought her a gift that encourages some chill out time, just for her!

We hope you have found inspiration in our 5 awesome gift ideas for Mother’s Day blog! Whatever you decide to do for your Mum on Mother’s Day, make sure you tell her you love her! If you need any more help or guidance, contact us at Sweet and Nostalgic, we’re always happy to help! We are also thrilled to be in Feedspot’s Top 50 Gift Shop and Blogs. Thank you for reading!

Personalised Licence To Sell Home Bar Sign

 5 Reasons Why You Should Buy A Personalised Sign!

Want to buy a personalised sign? Looking for something unique, an unusual gift or a statement piece for your home? Here we have 5 Reasons Why You Should Buy A Personalised Sign! You won’t be disappointed!

  1. Personalised Signs Make Great Gifts!

Personalised Baking Queen SignWhy should you buy a personalised sign, because they make great gifts! Why, may you ask? Well, imagine their delight when they unwrap their sign! What could be more unique than a gift featuring their name? In addition to this, you can choose a sign that really reflects the personality or passions of your recipient. Giving a personalised sign is a clear indication that you have put thought and love into your purchase, for example a ‘Baking Queen’. Finally, you are presenting a wonderful gift that can be treasured and displayed for years to come.

  1. They make a statement!

Personalised Retro Garage SignStand out from the crowd with a personalised sign! By stamping your name onto a metal wall sign, you are making a statement. What might that statement be? It could be confirmation that you have a great sense of humour. Perhaps you want the world to share your passion, like tinkering in your garage, for example! On the other hand, maybe you want to put a personal stamp on a room, like an office or home bar? There is no doubt, these brilliant signs will help you achieve an individual style in your own home or business.

  1. There is a fantastic choice of themes!

Personalised Social Club SignThere is a marvellous selection of personalised signs available with a variety of themes. Humour is always a best seller! We all enjoy a giggle, and a cheeky personalised sign that raises a smile, is a must! From teasing teenagers, to outlining house rules, a funny sign is sure to be a big hit! Alternatively,  you may have a home bar or man cave, why not put your personal stamp on it? There is a great choice, from a traditional British pub theme, to a 1980s cocktail bar! Likewise, we have retro signs for kitchens, playful signs for bedrooms, and vintage style signs for garages!

  1. They are pieces of Art!

Personalised Chocolate Diva SignOur metal wall signs are pieces of art. Surprisingly light and durable; our signs are designed, and manufactured in Yorkshire using Welsh steel, making them quality, 100% British made! Many of the designs contain detailed artwork often reflective of periods in history. Glamorous 50s styled ladies, retro graphics, and fonts, all help to create striking images. As defined in Wikipedia, all art is ‘intended to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power!’ The very definition of a vintage styled personalised sign! Evocative, fun, mood enhancing and often stimulating memories, signs are fantastic pieces of art for your home or business.

  1. They come in a variety of sizes!

Personalised American Diner SignOur personalised signs come in three sizes. The large, 300mm x 400mm, is a perfect poster size. Ideal as an individual piece for a smaller wall, or alternatively, in a collection with others, creating a gallery effect. The jumbo, 500mm x 700mm, is slightly smaller than A1 in size. These make a striking impact on a larger wall. Perfect if you want to pack a punch, for example, our retro Diner sign! On the other hand, if you have a particularly large space to fill, go for a super jumbo sign! These come in at a stunning 700mm x 1000mm! Super Jumbo will certainly help you to make an impressive personal statement in the right location! So, you see, a sign for every space, perfect!

Sweet and Nostalgic  hope you have enjoyed reading our blog. We are passionate about nostalgia and aim to list a wide range of gifts on our website all celebrating the 20th Century. In addition to this, our gift website and blog feature in the top 50 list on Feedspot!





Be It Passion or Love, Who Celebrates Valentine’s Day?

Who Celebrates Valentine’s Day?

Harry Potter Love Potion
Valentine’s Day in the United Kingdom is an annual event on 14th February. However, cupid’s arrow does not just strike in the U.K! Who celebrates Valentine’s Day?  Do traditions vary from country to country? What will you be doing this Valentine’s Day?

Which Countries Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day?

Any country where Christianity is a major religion celebrates Saint Valentine’s Day. However, some countries apply greater significance to the February 14th date than others.

Indeed, most countries around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day in some shape or form. From Latin America to South Africa, and Asia to Europe. The U.S.A, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all mark the day of romance too. So many people in the mood for love!

However, this is not the case everywhere. Some countries have banned celebrating Valentine’s day altogether! Why, you may ask? For many, for good reason. As stated earlier, Valentine’s Day is a Christian celebration, so some Muslim countries have taken the step to ban the festivities to prevent cultural clashes. These countries include Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Saudi Arabia’s culture makes it taboo to show signs of affection in public.  Valentine’s day, therefore,  goes against the ideologies of this country. Russia, celebrates women, rather than a saint, on March 8th, International Women’s Day. More details about each of these are outlined in this article by Wedded Wonderland.  7 Countries That Refuse To Celebrate Valentine’s Day – Wedded Wonderland

How Do Celebrations Vary?

All you need is love - Personalised Retro Sweet HamperFor those countries that do mark St. Valentine’s day, celebrations can vary significantly. Here, in the U.K., exchanging cards and gifts and going out for a romantic meal are  commonplace. Many other countries like U.S.A, Spain, France, and Australia, celebrate in a similar fashion. However, there are some places across the globe that have some fascinating differences.

In Japan, the celebrations are split between two dates. On 14th February, ladies in Japan give gifts of chocolate to their loved ones. One month later, on 14th March it is White Day, and the turn of the gentlemen. This is similar in South Korea, though the men are encouraged to give non-chocolate sweets. In fact, the 14th of every month seems to be significant to South Korea. The exception is April 14th, ‘Black Day’. On this date, singletons go to restaurants to celebrate being alone and eat black noodles!

Personalised Best Friends Retro Sweet JarIn Germany, as in Britain, red roses are a significant gift between lovers.  In addition to this,  children join the celebrations. They buy presents for their parents, teachers, and classmates! Similarly, in Finland and Estonia, the celebrations are focussed more on friendships. Gift giving is between friends rather than partners.

South African ladies traditionally wear their hearts on their sleeves! Women pin the name of the person they love onto their shirt sleeves. Here, this is often how gentlemen find they have a secret admirer! St. Valentine’s Day is very significant in the Philippines, especially for weddings. The number of couples choosing to tie the knot on this special day can be vast. It is not uncommon for local wedding ceremonies take place en-masse. In the past these have taken place at shopping malls and village squares!

Saint Valentine is the patron saint for many living in Lebanon. Couples exchange gifts of cupcakes, chocolate, and red roses, to celebrate the feast day. Traditions also vary between cities. In Beirut, the men take their partners out for a meal. In Sidon, the day is more focussed on the love of a family, rather than that of couples. Finally, Singaporeans are among the most extravagant gift givers for Valentine’s Day. 60% of lovers in Singapore admit to spending between $100 and $500 for the event!

The Cost Of Celebrations

Whilst spend per head in Singapore might seem impressive, it is America that invests the most on February 14th. It is believed that over $27 billion will be spent in 2021. Men spend an average of $339 and women significantly less at $64, according to Bankrate. The U.K., by comparison, tallies up to approximately $1 billion. Millennials are the biggest spenders, with an average spend of £42 for their Valentine.

Personalised Champagne and Newspaper Gift Set


So, what do they spend their money on? Flowers, jewellery, Champagne, sweets, and chocolates are all popular choices. Some splash out on romantic trips.  Many buy clothing and beauty treatments, others, entertainment. However, there is also a growing trend to buy Valentine’s gifts for pets too! In 2019 Americans spent $886 million on their furry companions!

If you are looking for unique, you can’t go wrong with personalised gifts, like a romantic bookl! More unusual choices could include a two person jumper! If money is no object take a leaf from the Beckham’s book. David gifted Victoria an $8 million dollar Bulgari diamond necklace! Or maybe you could be environmental and buy a tree for your loved one?Personalised Disney Book of Love

Whether you mark Valentine’s day this year or not, at Sweet and Nostalgic we hope you have found our blog informative! If you need inspiration for gifts, please, visit our online shop, there is something for everyone! We are delighted to be listed in Feedspot’s top list of Gift Websites and Blogs.







Celebrate Your Love For Puzzling on National Puzzle Day!

What Is National Puzzle Day?

 Personalised Puzzle BookNational puzzle day is a non-official holiday celebrated on the 29th January every year. On this day, people are encouraged to try out puzzles of all shapes, sizes, and degrees of difficulties! Puzzles can be anything from crosswords to jigsaws, Sudoku to Rubik’s Cubes. The idea is purely to have fun and enjoy the challenge of tackling a puzzle!

 The Benefits

Scientists are confident that participating in puzzles is beneficial to our health. In Science Daily, there is a report from the University of Exeter, published in 2019. The report states, ‘Older adults who regularly take part in word and number puzzles have sharper brains.’ The findings come from the largest online study to date. Certainly, other research lists benefits to be, improved memory, increased I.Q., and better problem-solving skills. In addition to this, participating in puzzles can decrease stress and lift your mood. So, what puzzles should you try?

Puzzle Ideas

Marmite Jigsaw 1000 PiecesA puzzle is any game, toy or problem that tests your knowledge, ingenuity, and patience! Puzzles come in all formats and many people have their favourites. Some puzzles tackle words, for example, crosswords, anagrams, riddles, and word searches. For those who enjoy numbers, mathematical problem solving and sudoku are popular. Tactile, mechanical puzzles have been around for centuries too. From Chinese puzzle boxes, to puzzle jugs, puzzle locks, to the more recent, (by comparison to some of these earlier varieties), jigsaw puzzles. Visual puzzles like dot-to dot or spot the difference can be great fun too! Modern video gaming has introduced a whole new world of puzzles to a different generation, for example, tile matching games, platform games and adventure games! In fact, the history of puzzles spans centuries! Let us look at it in more detail.

History of Puzzles

The earliest documented puzzles come from riddles found in Ancient Greece and Egypt. Greek mythology produced the Riddle of the Sphinx, whilst labyrinths proved intricate puzzles, one of the most famous being the Ancient Cretan Labyrinth. The earliest tactile puzzles include bottom-fill vessels first found in Cyprus 1000BC with decorated versions discovered in China around 900AD. In Rome, secret compartment rings dating to 200BC show the use of intricate levers and clasps. In addition to this, the Roman Trick Lock, is carbon date to 100-400 AD. Indeed, trick locks appear to have been extremely popular in Ancient Rome.

Ancient Puzzle JugPuzzle jugs first appear around 1400s. The trick with these jugs is to drink the contents without spilling a drop. Sounds easy? Not so! The jugs contain a series of holes that leak if you drink normally. The trick is to find a tube that runs through the jug, cover the holes, then suck the fluid up, like a straw.

The origin of Chinese puzzle rings has a mysterious past. Some believe they first appear in Egypt, others, Arabia. History shows them being used as locks and as engagement rings, to be united on the wedding day. You might know them as those interlinked metal hoop puzzles found in many Christmas crackers!

TFL Heritage Posters 1000 piece Jigsaw PuzzleManufacturing of puzzles came with the Industrial Revolution and a rise in a wealthier middle class. Initially paper or wood versions of puzzles became popular. Sliding puzzles and dissection puzzles, for example. 1760, and the first jigsaw puzzles appear. Created from cut up maps and used to teach geography, jigsaw puzzles have since grown in popularity and remain loved by young and old.

The 1800s introduced puzzle boxes to the masses, often made from ivory, the boxes became associated with the mysterious Chinese culture, though many probably originated from Europe. Joining a mass demand for puzzles, magazine and newspaper editors added puzzles to their publications in the early 20th Century. Prizes increased readership too!

In the 1970’s the Rubik’s Cube took its place in the puzzle chronicles. The Rubik’s Cube created a mass frenzy of new puzzle fans across the globe! Whilst the peak of Rubik’s Cube popularity remains in the 1980s, it is still challenging individuals daily. The World record time for solving this puzzle is an amazing 3.47 seconds, by Du Yusheng, in 2018.

The rise of video gaming leads us onto a new era for puzzles. Tile matching games, for example Tetris, really took off in the late 1980s. Platform games and adventure games also often include puzzles as part of their format. There is certainly plenty of choice for all those that wish to celebrate National Puzzle Day!

29th January

Flacon De Luxe 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle - The FloristSo, be it a traditional crossword, a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle or a hidden objects video game, make sure you celebrate on 29th January. Enjoy the benefits, revel in the history and above all folks, have fun!!

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we hope you have enjoyed reading about National Puzzle Day. We are passionate about celebrating nostalgia and have a wide range of gifts available on our website all celebrating the 20th Century. We are also thrilled to be in the top 50 blogs to read on Feedspot!






How To Have An Unforgettable Nostalgic Family Christmas?

Have A Nostalgic Family Christmas

Christmas 2020 is likely to be very different for many of us this year. What will a Covid-19 Christmas look like? Sad, lonely, budgeted? It is likely that many of us will be changing our usual plans, however, this does not mean Christmas is cancelled! On the contrary, now, more than ever, we need the spirit of Christmas to shine bright. We must all share the ethos of peace and goodwill towards one another. We need to have a nostalgic family Christmas, whether we are together in our homes or online! Let’s look at just how that can be achieved.

Being Together Is the Most Important Gift

Think back to Bob Cratchit’s family in Charles Dicken’s iconic novel Scrooge. The family has very little. Their meal comprises of a scrawny goose and small Christmas pudding for dessert. However, their excitement over these ‘treats’ and being together to enjoy them, are what makes their Christmas special. “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” Charles Dickens. If you are budgeting this year, buying separate gifts for family and friends can prove to be expensive. Why not, therefore, consider gifts that can be shared by a family, because being together matters most.

Sharing is Caring

A hamper is a great gift way to achieve this. I can remember being a young child, near Christmas, when the food hamper arrived. My parents saved a little every month, from January to November, for this spectacular parcel. December , and the lifting of the lid. Seeing the delights inside, generated so much excitement from myself and my siblings! The Sweet and Nostalgic Christmas hamper is designed to evoke similar feelings of joy for your recipients! Containing a Christmas memorabilia pack, a sixpence, Christmas music and a host of sweets, who wouldn’t feel like a young child diving into its delectations?

Alternatively, why not consider emulating a nostalgic Christmas with a retro sweet hamper? Stimulate the senses with the look, smell and taste of delicious sweets from their past, because nostalgia is a beneficial force. The Reporter, has a fascinating article about ‘The Science of Nostalgia’. It’s a compelling read, and states that ‘nostalgia helps people to cope with negativity; when in a lonely or poor state of mind, special moments are recalled to help deal with current problems.’ Therefore, your gift will give your loved ones far more than a sweet treat, it will give their mental health a boost too.

Family challenges

Why not send your family and friends a challenge? Bucket lists are great fun and encourage a family to work together to slowly scratch each element off as achieved. From watching movies, to listening to music, shared experiences are perfect for bringing people together. The ‘100 Things To Do’ bucket list is one of our favourites. It includes challenges like writing a poem, flying a kite and growing your own vegetables! Great family activities, but which house will complete their bucket list first?

Online Quizzes

It is likely this year that we may be limited on how we mix over the Christmas period. However, this does not mean we cannot spend time with close family and friends. Thankfully, in this age of technology, there are numerous video chat platforms available that allow us to spend time with loved ones in a virtual world. Although this is not ideal, it does give us the opportunity to spend time together, so why not have some fun and quiz?

Whether you theme your quiz on Christmas Trivia, Music Trivia or TV Trivia, your sure to see competitive sides come out and to fill your homes with fun and laughter! Set firm dates in your diary over the festive period for these get togethers and take it in turns to be hosts. It’s great to have events to look forward to (all be it virtually). Why not go even further for these quiz nights? Dress up as music stars or TV characters, theme your drinks and food, but above all, enjoy!

Some Me Time

Finally, you may just want a little me time. A little escapism from the real world can be healthy, and reading a great book is an ideal way to achieve this. However, what about diving into a book, in which you and your family take on the lead characters? Immerse yourself into a personalised classic novel, like Pride and Prejudice or  Robin Hood and reconnect with the feelings you experienced the first time you read them. Oh, and don’t forget it’s Christmas, and in my household, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without ‘The Wizard of Oz’!

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic, we want to wish you all a safe, peaceful festive period. We hope our retro gifts and ideas help you to have a nostalgic family Christmas. Have fun exploring our website of 20th Century gifts and thank you for reading our blog.  We are thrilled to be in the top 50 blogs and websites for gifts on Feedspot.