The reason I’ve featured both the GUCCI // SOHO Disco BagAND theA.P.C // Demi-Lune Bagis because tomorrow I might will finally own one or the other! I’ve lusted over both styles for well over a year – infact, I wrote about them in The Edit | Black Shoulder Bag, this time last year. I still have the medium-sized bag void in my wardrobe, and it’s driving me crazy! So tomorrow we shall see if my beloved wallet even fits in either of these styles – thats the real dealbreaker!
Helping parents be responsibly irresponsible since 2013. The Real Family Rave. Award winning, critically acclaimed, internationally acclaimed. Created by parents who love clubbing, for parents who love clubbing. Dance/Create/Play – see you on the dance floor!
I had been following Big Fish, Little Fish Events on Instagram for a long while and sadly, every time an event came to London town, the date would clash with other plans… or as it happened, we ended up moving to Berlin! If you don’t already know, Big Fish Little Fish “are an independent, grassroots music and events crew that put on family raves with all the freedom and excitement of a mini-festival, right in the heart of cities and towns across the UK”.
So when we moved back, I was desperate to take Eli off to the Family Rave. Fast forward almost a year, and the same things happened – clash of dates. Then finally, FINALLY the 23rd April event came up! At first we thought we wouldn’t be able to attend because Greater Anglia are messing about with the tracks EVERY single weekend for the next few months – which means some weekends, a 3 hour journey into London (which would normally take 35 mins btw). We checked out the trains and realised it was the weekend of the London Marathon – which meant the trains were RUNNING – with no replacement buses, no random journeys. Just direct! BOOM.
Natasha from BFLF got in touch with me and mentioned the theme was ‘Popstars & Rockstars’, as part of the Camp Bestival 2017 tour. Many are now aware, Eli is obsessed with his Starman. So for him, it was a no brainer. He was going as Ziggy. He wanted the red hair and the lightning bolt face. He wanted to complete the rest of his outfit himself, of course. Natasha also mentioned a potential venue change, due to the recent happenings at the Hackney club. I imagine this was quite a stressful week between the event for the BFLFteam, through horrendous circumstances. But as it happened, they managed to be able to continue with the same venue – and what a venue to boot!
TheWringer + Manglewas really easy for us to get to. A short journey on the Overground took us to London Fields station, where it was then a 2 minute walk to the venue. Eli was clarted out in full Ziggy regalia – and loving all the comments along the route!
Upon arrival at the location, we saw the queue leading down to The Mangle. We were advised by both Natasha and Hannah that there may be a delay for entry as all bags were searched. Rightly so. The airport style security was very thorough, which is great and welcomed by all. Safety first. I was asked to try the water we had in our bag – as well as test my trusty Lipcote. We then went into the depths of the venue. It was dark, there was neon, there was a craft table (Captain Cookie Crafts), cakes and bar for the adults. PERFECT.
These events are aimed at families with young children (birth – around 8 years old) – though we definitely did see folk of all ages there!
Facepainters PHACE by Philly, were also on hand, transforming the faces of both Adults (£7) and Children (£5). Had I not already painted Eli’s face myself, I can guarantee he would have had his face decorated – we loved the designs we saw!
Parachute Dance – something that the Kid’s and Adults all love, of course.
Entry into the event also includes free glowstick and transfers. Eli chose a Skull & Cross bones tattoo, obviously.
As this event was in conjunction with Camp Bestival 2017 On Tour, there was the opportunity to pose against the photobooth backdrop (Eli needed zero coaxing). Photos shared and tagged with #CB17ontour and #BFLF would be entered into a competition to win one of 3 Family Guest Passes for Camp Bestival 2017 itself! (Fingers firmly crossed!)
All BFLF events are based on the concept – 2 to 4 Hour Party People (ha), so by 4:30pm the event was drawing to a close. The glitter cannon finale was epic and Eli proceeded to swim/create snow angels in the remnants.
We had the best afternoon! I cannot recommend these events highly enough. The music isn’t too loud (for newborns, you might want to bring a set of ear defenders – but the volume was more than acceptable for toddlers). Everything was incredibly well managed, organised and maintained by Hannah, Natashaand their team. The most brilliant amount fun for a few hours – the 3 of us had a good old dance, with Eli getting the ‘big fish, little fish, cardboard box’ dance suspiciously easily…
As parents, with no local support, we don’t get out often. AT ALL. So this was a fantastic way of reliving a little bit of youth and letting our hair down – with Eli absolutely loving every second too!
Just to also highlight, you will need to take cash for additional extra’s once inside (for Face-painting and the cake stall etc), though at this venue, the bar did accept cards. We had 2 cans of beer from the bar (which does alleviate a lot of spillages I imagine!), but the cans were on the expensive side. So do bare that in mind too. We don’t get out often, so this was fine for us. Adults are not admitted unless accompanied by a child and there is a max of 3 children per adult. This made us feel very safe in a new and very dark environment. Pre-Walking infants do need a ticket, though this is free! (Bonus for new parents!). These events have limited seating (just dance!), club lighting rigs (no strobes) are used and events are busy with around 500 people at each party – which helps create the rave ambience. Each event is stewarded and risk assessed in advance – we saw lots of stewards in high-vis, so you couldn’t miss them! Buggies must be left in buggy park and are not be allowed on the dance floor.
We can’t wait to join the next event! If BFLF visits a city near you, don’t miss it. Travel to one if you can. I urge you. You won’t be disappointed!
✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Special thanks to Natasha for inviting us along to this event. This is in no way a sponsored review. All opinions my own. Some quotes and details taken from www.bigfishlittlefishevents.co.uk
Drawing on our experience as seasoned clubbers and parents the BFLF crew create anarchic, social, daft fun for all ages. Inspired by Hannah’s (the founder) lifelong love of clubbing and her babies’ enjoyment of festivals. BFLF is something we want to take our own families to – somewhere relaxed, entertaining, and where the adults enjoy themselves as much as the children and vice versa with grandparents, uncles, aunts and carers all in the mix. Raving always came from the heart, a way to express a love of music and dancing with your friends. BFLF extends that across the generations so you can rave with your family too. It’s a celebration of life, love and music.
We work hard to make sure each event is unique – different DJs, creative themes and guest artists running everything from hula-hoop demonstrations to synthesiser workshops to interactive light installations.
Our parties are held in interesting and quirky venues; clubs, arts spaces and pubs, which help create the ambience of being at a real rave.
Started in Brixton, summer 2013 BFLF now runs on weekend afternoons across the UK, and also works with other festivals and organisations (Glastonbury Festival, Camp Bestival, South Bank Centre, Edinburgh Festival, Beautiful Days, Coventry Mysteries, Kendal Calling, National Gallery, Stratford Circus, The Museum of London, London LGBT Pride, Out With The Family, Winterville, Mini VAULT, Farnham Maltings, Dreamland Margate and the London Electronic Arts Festival).
Regular events are now held all over the country including: Exeter, Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham,Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Leicester and Manchester and many more.
Lucy is bringing to you focused, effortless style with a personal touch. A brilliant concept that I’ve seen grow from idea to launch and beyond. (All whilst juggling being a Mum of two gorgeous girls – that’s Mum-Boss inspiration right there!)
We talk to Lucy about the ideas behind Born At Dawn, the meaning behind the brand name and there’s also a treat for our readers in there too!
CB: Please introduce yourself and your concept. LK: I’m a Northern girl that calls London home and has done for the last 13 years. I grew up in Warrington, Cheshire but these days I live in Walthamstow with my husband Adam and my 2 little girls, Lilia and Pixie Rose. As well as spending time with my family, when I get chance I love playing the host and entertaining- I love bringing our friends together.
I’ve always loved fashion retail, ever since I got my first part time job in a boutique near where I lived (It was in a chain called Morgan if any of you remember it?). I loved clothes, the customers, the buzz and how every day was different. I was always drawn back to it, so following doing a Business Degree at Sheffield University, I completed a Retail Management Graduate Scheme, was a manager at GAP’s flagship store and then spent 8 years at Harrods driving their Womenswear sales and strategy.
I launched BORN AT DAWN at the end of February this year. The mission is to bring focused, effortless style with a personal touch. The collection is mostly Scandinavian and French inspired brands and is centred around wardrobe heroes- beautiful, easy-to-wear clothes that can take you from day to night. All the pieces can be worn multiple times and in different ways, giving you endless options.
A “Night In” experience in also available in selected parts of London for customers that prefer to touch and feel the product before buying. A chance to book in an evening for us to bring the collection to you so that you can invite your friends over for a catch up, have a glass of Prosecco and shop all in the luxury of your own home.
CB: Brand names are a really important first impression of what you’re about, so how did you come up with your online alias/brand name? LK: It is incredibly hard to choose a brand name! The reason I liked BORN AT DAWN is because it had multifaceted meanings behind it that were special to me. In business terms, it represents our focus on the birth of a new way to shop that suits women’s lives. On a personal level, the name Lucy means born at dawn, both of my children were born at dawn (early in the morning) and the launch of my business and the start of my entrepreneurial journey is a new beginning for me too.
CB: Where did it all begin? What inspired you to start up your concept? LK: Listening to other women’s frustrations with shopping (and my own!). It’s easier to dedicate lots of time to shopping and fashion when you are younger, for instance in your early twenties, but as we get older and have more responsibilities, things change. When your life gets busier and more demanding due to our career and/or children, you have less time to dedicate to it. You still want to look good but your style changes slightly- you need more versatile, easy-to-wear, good quality pieces that work well together to make dressing straightforward.
We all know there are great high street stores like Zara that are accessible but as most women know- once you find a great piece there, before you know it all your friends will all have it and it will be all over your Instagram feed by the next week. There are mass market websites like ASOS, but who has time to browse 4000 options for just a black dress? They are catering for so many different customers now that it’s overwhelming. I wanted to focus on harder to find, more exclusive brands and build a collection of beautiful clothes that suit busy women’s lives.
The “Night In” service was devised after interviewing women about their shopping habits as many said they still liked to touch and feel the product before buying but couldn’t dedicate time to visiting the shops.
CB: What is your brand ethos? LK: It’s about always being positive and celebrating real women wearing our clothes in their everyday life. The BORN AT DAWN customer is confident and knows their own mind. She doesn’t want to be a slave to trends or have other people always dictating what she should wear that season. She loves clothes and wants to look good but simply wants to wear what she likes and feels comfortable in.
CB: On a day-to-day basis, what or who inspires you? LK: Other women inspire me all the time- friends and all the people I have met along the way on the BORN AT DAWN journey. People who are down-to-earth, positive, work hard, follow their hearts and are focusing on their own version of success whatever that may be.
CB: Can you tell us about or give us a sneaky peak of something new that’s coming up? LK: I’m always working on future events as love getting out there and meeting our customers. We’ve done some great pop up exclusive shopping events over the past couple of months and we’ve got much more in the pipeline for 2017. The best way to keep up to date is by following the BORN AT DAWNInstagram and subscribing to our newsletter.
CB: Anything you wish you’d known before you became a parent / best piece of parenting advice? LK: Don’t focus so much on the birth. Of course, you need to do a little research when pregnant but don’t make it your main focus. The birth is over relatively quickly and the midwife can help you with that but then you have a child to bring up for life, so maybe spend a bit more time researching/thinking about that instead. I was pretty clueless and hadn’t spent much time around babies so I have spent the last 4 years either going by instinct or frantically googling!
CB: Parenting-essentials, we know there are more than a few! But what is the one thing you can’t leave the house without? What is your most used piece of parenting/child paraphernalia? LK: I’ve learnt to pack quite lightly with kids now and they’re a bit older so I wouldn’t say I need much apart from some changing stuff and spare clothes (vital!) I always have a few kid’s games downloaded on to my phone too in case of emergency- sometimes it’s necessary if they are playing up somewhere they shouldn’t be.
CB: Along the same vein as above, what is your ultimate Mama-Essential? What is your go-to item that you just can’t live without? LK: Wine. There’s nothing I love better than a glass on a Friday night at the end of the week.
CB: What gives you ‘Mum-Guilt’? And how do you get round it? LK: I don’t often get Mum Guilt but I recently did just before the launch of BORN AT DAWN when the girls were in nursery a lot and family were helping me out with childcare quite a bit too. I missed them! The only way I’ve found to get around Mum guilt is to try and be focused in the moment when I’m with them. I don’t think the important thing is the quantity of time but the quality of time when you are with them. The times I feel bad are when I’ve been focused on other things whilst looking after them and that’s often when they will play up too. Sometimes it’s hard though when you’re self-employed- its inevitably going to overlap from time to time. We just have to do our best, that’s all we can do.
CB: Me-time is super important too, what do you like to do to zone-out? LK: My guilty pleasures are KUWTK and Loose Women. I like nothing better than watching one of them when I’m home alone and have an hour spare!
CB: Which are your go-to brands/shops? LK: Since launching BORN AT DAWN, I’ve only worn pieces from the collection. I curated it to suit busy women’s lives so it’s perfect for me.
In terms of shoes and accessories- I don’t buy often but I buy good quality. Shoes are so much more comfortable if you pay that little bit more and my designer bags have always lasted for years. I love Isabel Marant, Bimba and Lola for shoes; and Givenchy and Alexander Wang for bags.
For the girls, I like quirky Scandinavian brands like Molo and Bang Bang Copenhagen.
CB: What current wardrobe item is your all-time favourite and why? LK: I love my leopard biker jacket from Mads Norgaard; it makes any outfit feel special. I love how soft the leather is and I’ve always been partial to leopard print so it’s perfect.
CB: Choose 3 words to describe yesterday. LK: Slow, Tired, Hard.
I had a bit of a rubbish day yesterday- today is much better. I love going to The Yes Mum Moon Clubsand something she talks about is following your energy flow. Some days you feel rubbish and tired, sometimes you feel on top of the world and you can take on anything. That’s just the way we work as women so I try and not feel bad when I have those kind of days-its normal and I know I will be on track again soon.
CB: Tell us something about you that might surprise people. LK: My oldest daughters Lilia’s middle name is Butterfly. I love it but no one believes her when she tells them! Hopefully she likes it when she’s older!
CB: Whats the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? LK: My parents are the kindest people I know. Despite being on the other side of the country, I always know that if I needed them they would drop everything to be there. I couldn’t name one time as there have been so many but they constantly amaze me with their support and love. I hope that I can make my girls feel the same way.
CB: Recommend a book, film or album from the past year. LK: I liked “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved the concept of creative ideas appearing to you as a gift and if you don’t take them, moving on to the next person.
CB: What can you see out of your closest window / what is your current view? LK: My garden and my daughter’s snail collection. We will get her a real pet one day soon!
CB: Other than with your family & friends, where would you most like to be this weekend and why? LK: I am desperate for a holiday but don’t think it will happen for us this year with the business launch. One of my favourite places is Ibiza in summer so I would love to be there. I’ve been many times and it holds many special memories for me.
A NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE TREAT
Lucy has kindly offered the following code for free delivery on any order: FREEDELIVERY
AND a special rate of £39.95 for a “Night In” service if you are in the catchment area*
*Currently available in most of North and East London and selected parts of Essex. Other areas may be available on request.
Loved chatting with you Lucy. It’s been a total pleasure getting to know you over the last year or so – and watching your BORN AT DAWNconcept grow from idea to a beautiful and wonderful business! Congratulations my darling – hope to see you soon!
There once was a girl who enjoyed shopping for clothes. It was a pastime, a hobby, something she enjoyed…
Then she got a little older. Now she has more responsibilities and demands on her time and the enjoyment starts to wane. Her life has changed and so has her style. She needs a different wardrobe. She needs outfits that will take less thought, are easy to put together and ones that can take her from day to night. She needs the pieces she buys to be versatile, to last, look great and she wants to wear them multiple times and in different ways.
She tries the mass market online websites but they are trying to cater for so many customers that she gets 3908 options for just a black dress. She tries a shopping centre but there is no atmosphere and it’s hot and busy. She manages to discover an amazing jacket at a popular high street store but within a week it feels like every single person on her Instagram feed is also wearing it. She tries to follow catwalk trends but it’s hard to find the time, and by now she knows what suits her. She simply wants to wear things she loves rather than being dictated to.
The perfect solution would be to spend hours browsing independent stores but it’s impossible. So before things go from bad to worse and she runs the risk of ending up in a changing room in her underwear on TV being made over by Gok Wan, we decided to step in.
We have spent the last year researching brands and travelling across Europe to discover harder to find, more exclusive brands and buying beautiful pieces that can be worn multiple times and in different ways so you have endless options. We hope you love the collection as much as we do. X
Meet Mark Lemon, the Founder & Author of independent Children’s Book publishers, Lemon Drop Books. Award winning Children’s Book Publishers, no less! Disillusioned with the lack of diversity in Children’s books, Mark Lemon (with two mixed-race children of his own) decided to create a series of exciting story books with non-white characters. With thrilling tales and beautiful adventures, the Otis & Thea Lemon series is fast becoming a firm favourite in family households.
We talk to Mark about some exciting collaborations, a cause close to his heart and exceptionally important campaigns, – including #diversechildrensbooksuk. Plus, what happened when Mark had a previous role in Silver service?!
CB: Please introduce yourself and your concept. ML: My name is Mark Lemon. I am the Founder & Author at independent children’s book publishers, Lemon Drop Books.
CB: Brand names are a really important first impression of what you’re about, so how did you come up with your online alias/brand name? ML: With a name like Mark Lemon, we had to fit Lemon in somewhere! Lemon Drop Books seemed to have a memorable ring to it.
CB: Where did it all begin? What inspired you to start up your concept? ML: I have always enjoyed writing, but never thought to do it as a career. After our first child was born, I had the idea of writing Otis’ very own adventures. We quickly noticed a lack of children’s books featuring non-white protagonists. I wanted to find books that the kids could look at and relate to and imagine themselves being a part of. So, in an effort to diversify children’s literature, I created my own.
CB: What is your brand ethos? ML: Our brand ethos is to create beautiful and diverse children’s books, which all children can enjoy across the world.
CB: On a day-to-day basis, what or who inspires you? ML: On a day-to-day basis my kids inspire me. Creating Lemon Drop Books was for them, building a legacy for their futures. I am inspired by people who are brave enough to go it alone, grabbing their careers by both hands. Don’t get me wrong it’s tough, but the great thing about Instagram is the supportive network that shouts from the social sidelines, cheering you on! My main inspiration is my family.
CB: Can you tell us about or give us a sneaky peak of something new that’s coming up? ML: Look out for my collaboration with the brilliant parent merch Mama, Mother Like No Othercoming very soon. Using our Dad slogan, ‘I Dad It My Way’ we are releasing a t-shirt for the lead up to Fathers Day. From every t-shirt sold we will donate the proceeds to the amazing bereavement charity, Winston’s Wish. This is a charity close to my heart due to losing my father suddenly at the age of 12. Please keep your eyes peeled and join us to support this great cause.
We’re hoping to soon kick off our campaign promoting diverse children’s books across the UK. Across the UK there is a greater need for diversity in children’s literature in the mainstream. Over the previous two years a good friend of ours, Marley Dias, has been promoting her 1000 Black Girl Books campaign across America; meeting Barack & Michelle Obama at the Whitehouse and carrying out interviews on all major television stations. I would like to bring a similar campaign to the UK #diversechildrensbooksuk. We will be asking authors, publishers and organisations across the country to donate to us their diverse children’s books. Once we’ve received the donated books, we will then distribute to a large number of schools, filling that gap in the school Libraries.
CB: Anything you wish you’d known before you became a parent / best piece of parenting advice? ML: SLEEP! Sleep as much as you can pre child. More importantly, just relax and enjoy the early years.
CB: Parenting-essentials, we know there are more than a few! But what is the one thing you can’t leave the house without? What is your most used piece of parenting/child paraphernalia? ML: Snacks. ALWAYS make sure you have some form of food to plug the shopping aisle or bus meltdown! Children get hangry just as much as adults, if not more.
CB: Along the same vein as above, what is your ultimate Papa-Essential? What is your go-to item that you just can’t live without? ML: It would have to be my phone.
CB: What gives you ‘Dad-Guilt’? And how do you get round it? ML: Using my phone too much is probably my main ‘Dad-Guilt’. I’m sure this is happening across the parenting land, but I do need to remind myself to put my phone down and listen to the children. My wife is very good at letting me know when to STOP.
CB: Me-time is super important too, what do you like to do to zone-out? ML: Just sitting down and listening to music is usually a good zone-out for me. Basically, anything that allows me to shut off my brain. My mind is constantly trying to think of new ways to get our books out there.
CB: Which are your go-to brands/shops? ML: I love brands like AllSaints, Reiss and for a long time my footwear only consisted of Nike Air Max 1’s (still does). I’ve got to shout out the brilliant Parent Apparel ladies for their Dad-merch. My most comfortable chill out jumper has to be my ‘Breaking Dad’ sweat – go check them out!
CB: What current wardrobe item is your all-time favourite and why? ML: It would have to be the AllSaints denim shirts. The fit is really comfortable and they age well.
CB: Choose 3 words to describe yesterday. ML: Holidays, sunshine, kids!
CB: Tell us something about you that might surprise people. ML: I worked at Claridge’s Hotel in London as a silver service waiter. At the end of a shift I was taking dirty plates and cutlery down to the basement. I was waiting for the service lift when a lady wearing sunglasses and a very large minder came out of the lift. It was Mariah Carey and her bodyguard. “Good evening.” she said. I think I mumbled something like, “Yes it is.” It was good fun working at Claridge’s.
CB: Whats the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? ML: I would have to say that one of the kindest things that someone has done for me is to support me through a very difficult time when I was a teenager. Throughout your life you meet people that keep you on the right course, offering amazing support. The kindest acts are generally the selfless shows of support.
CB: Recommend a book, film or album from the past year. ML: I discovered the Robert Glasper Experiment last summer. He’s a brilliant musician with a great style.
CB: What can you see out of your closest window / what is your current view? ML: I can see a main road. I’m currently in a café drinking coffee. Yep, I’m one of those guys on his laptop with his headphones on.
CB: Other than with your family & friends, where would you most like to be this weekend and why? ML: Probably sat on a sunny beach in Jamaica, drinking a bottle of red stripe.
Loved chatting with you Mark! Really hope to catch you at an event sometime soon! Wishing you lots of luck for your impending busy ventures!
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for those incredibly important causes and campaigns that Mark has highlighted. You can follow Mark on Instagram: @LemonDropBooks, Facebook and via his website: Lemon Drop Books; where you can also find the wonderful Otis & Thea Lemon books for purchase too.
Say hello to Jen Fuller, founder of ETTA LOVES – an incredibly stylish collection of sensory baby muslins designed with love and science to support your baby’s development. We love to champion a family-run business and Etta Loves was founded from the sofa by Jen! When you buy from a small business, you’re supporting a family. And that always feel’s nice. Even better when the products are this clever and functional!
CB: Firstly, please introduce yourself and your concept. JF: Hello, I’m Jen Fuller and I am the founder of Etta Loves, we produce stylish and sensory baby textiles that are designed with science to support babies’ eye development.
CB: Brand names are a really important first impression of what you’re about, so how did you come up with your brand name? JF: Funnily enough I love my daughter Etta’s name (it was my choice; my husband would have called her Aida) so when I devised the idea of sensory baby textiles it seemed to slot into place. It was discussed at length with my NCT friends, who are a bunch of smart, creative and inspirational women, and everyone agreed it was unusual and catchy, with a sense of authenticity given that Etta is chief product tester!
CB: Where did it all begin? What inspired you to start up your Brand/Social account(s)/Business/Service/ Movement or Concept? JF: I was sat on my sofa during one of the fairly boring early days feeding 4 week old Etta and watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race, when I realised that Etta’s gaze was locked onto my black and white patterned jumper. It was the first thing I’d notice her actively try to concentrate on, that wasn’t a face, and something just clicked. Muslins are so omnipresent for the first year of life, and beyond, so when you add in how multi-functional they are and the close proximity they come to a baby’s face it made sense to start there and make them do something far more valuable than just mop up baby yuck!
CB: What is your brand ethos? JF: To make products which start with the science, but never forget the style or the function. Products that both you and your baby will love. Products which complement your little one’s visual development whilst retaining a real sense of style for you.
CB: On a day-to-day basis, what or who inspires you? JF: I’m inspired by all sorts of random things, but am also lucky enough to live in Walthamstow which has the most amazing community of entrepreneurs and wonderful small businesses. I really feed off the people I have met during my journey so far, and when I team that with two of my NCT friends who are actively involved in the business it’s just a joy and hard not to keep being full of ideas.
CB: Can you tell us about or give us a sneaky peak of something new that’s coming up? JF: We are about to expand the Etta Loves Animals range into washcloths and dribble bibs, and the second “Etta Loves …” collection is in the design phase, with samples due soon. The new collection will have the same stylised unisex appeal but is a very different inspiration from “Animals”.
SENSORY WASH CLOTHS // COMING SOON
CB: Anything you wish you’d known before you became a parent / best piece of parenting advice? JF: The best advice for me was that everything is just a phase, which is so commonly banded around but so so true. When you’re stuck in the deepest despair about them not feeding, napping, pooing etc it can feel like you’re totally helpless and that it will never change, but it always does. That and to ask for help, lots and lots of it.
CB: Parenting-essentials, we know there are more than a few! But what is the one thing you can’t leave the house without? What is your most used piece of parenting/child paraphernalia? JF: Funnily enough muslins, especially given that Etta is the snottiest baby I’ve ever come across! Second only to Calpol and Cedric the zebra!
CB: Along the same vein as above, what is your ultimate Mum-Essential? What is your go-to item that you just can’t live without? JF: Dark chocolate and eye cream. They were essentials before and whilst my world has shifted they are just as important, if not more so!
CB: What gives you ‘Mum-Guilt’? And how do you get round it? JF: Going to work (not Etta Loves) 4 days a week. Being on my phone when Etta is in the room. Doing anything at the weekend which doesn’t involve her. The usual really. I don’t get round it I think I just justify all types of work as being essential to our future, and have to tell myself that I do need to prioritise myself every now and again as ultimately it will make me a better, well rounded mum.
CB: Me-time is super important too, what do you like to do to zone-out? JF: I really enjoy Yoga but have been a bit crap sticking to it. Reading a book is a rare but enjoyable treat, and actually gardening in these spring / summer months.
CB: Which are your go-to brands/shops? JF: I am a big fan of Zara for Etta and I, and I also love Born at Dawn, a new curated online shop for stylish and classic piece for adults. For kids clothes I adore The Mini Edit as they have the best collection of cool clothes I’ve come across and within it I’m addicted to Mini Rodini for Etta. I also discovered this week that Cos does baby clothes… which is dangerous information! I’m a huge fan of interiors so will lose myself in House of Hackney or the John Lewis haberdashery department.
CB: What current wardrobe item is your all-time favourite and why? JF: It’s between my Hush boyfriend jeans and a new Stella Nova jumpsuit from Born at Dawn.
CB: Choose 3 words to describe yesterday. JF: Paris, workshop, wine.
CB: Tell us something that might surprise people about you. JF: Perhaps that I am working full time in my role at a media agency and running Etta Loves in the spaces in-between. Or that I lived in Spain for a year, and it turned out that my old boss is now being hunted by Interpol…
CB: What’s the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? JF: I generally find that people are kind more often than not, however my husband Chris often surprises me with little acts of kindness. I knew he was a good’un when after a few weeks of going out I caught a nasty cold. My doorbell rang and when I opened it no one was there but a box full of everything that I both needed to tackle a cold plus a few of my favourite treats was sat on the doorstep. It was such a thoughtful thing for someone to do, it really stuck with me.
CB: Recommend a book, film or album from the past year. JF: I’ve just finished reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and wow was that a beautiful yet harrowing read. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
CB: What can you see out of your closest window / what is your current view? JF: It’s dark and we live on a fairly busy road so I can’t see much through the obscured window film! New people have just moved in across the road so my view is normally them mooching about their daily life.
CB: Other than with your family & friends, where would you most like to be this weekend and why? JF: In the countryside breathing clean air and with a 24-hour beauty therapist on hand. I need some serious buffing and revitalising at the moment!
Loved chatting with you Jen – you’ve created a wonderfully functional and SCIENTIFIC baby product; that is super stylish too. Eli is almost 5and we have muslin’s still in use – proof that this is product that you’ll be using for a long time after those new-born day’s are over! Looking forward to watching how Etta Loves evolves!
Be sure to follow Jen & Etta Loves on Insta: @EttaLovesand shop the latest collection: Shop Now.
ETTA LOVES // THE STORY
Sat on my sofa with a heap of mucky muslins by my side, I realised that 4-week old little Etta was staring at my top. It was the first thing I’d noticed her actively trying to focus on and unsurprisingly it was a simple black and white pattern.
After a month of trying to rotate black and white clothing (which got both difficult and boring) this got me thinking; why isn’t one of the most seen items by babies designed to stimulate them and capture their attention? And why wouldn’t you use medical knowledge of babies’ visual development to make them the best that they could be at doing this? And while you’re at it they should be stylish…
Functional, developmental and stylish muslins are what I wanted to create.
Now don’t get me wrong, I own other lovely muslins and some are black and white. But whilst these provide some stimulation for my little one through the very fact that they are high contrast, they haven’t been developed with this as their primary objective.
Etta Loves muslins are not only practical, super-soft, absorbent 100% cotton, but they have been designed with input from an early years visual expert, to ensure that they stimulate babies’ visual and cognitive development. As such the range is split between 0-4 months and 5+ months.
As an added bonus they look fabulously stylish, so whoever uses them will look great, regardless of which bodily fluid they might be trying to catch…
ETTA LOVES // THE SCIENCE
At birth, an infant’s vision is very limited as their visual system is not fully developed. Over the first few days and weeks of life vision improves steadily and infants will be able to see high contrast patterns in black and white.
Very young infants do not see in colour because the cells in the retina which detect colour have not yet fully developed. Their main focus will be on objects 8-10 inches from their face – which is happily the approximate distance from their face to your face when you are interacting with them.
By around 6-8 weeks of age babies can focus on your face more easily, and that is when you might notice that gorgeous first smile being returned right back to you.
During the first few months the brain is working out how to work the eyes together as a pair and vision starts to improve quickly. At this stage babies will start to learn how to track objects and will start to reach out for things that they find interesting.
It is generally thought that by the age of 5-6 months children have much better colour vision, although at this stage it is still thought to be not as sensitive as that of an adults. Children of this age will mostly be attracted to bright, strong primary colours.
Vision continues to improve steadily through the first 12 months and beyond into toddlerhood. It is possible to assess vision in infants, babies and preverbal children and any concerns about your child’s vision should be discussed with your GP.
&OtherStories have joined forces with TOMS, best known for its One for One® giving. Together they have created earthy ready-to-wear garments that resonate with the beauty of Californian living. The collaboration also boasts updated designs of the classic slip-in shoe and new endearingly ethereal leather sandals.
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS®, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One™.
Realising this movement could serve other basic needs, TOMS® Eyewear was launched. With every pair purchased, TOMS® will help give sight to a person in need. One for One™.
“I was so overwhelmed by the spirit of the South American people, especially those who had so little, and I was instantly struck with the desire — the responsibility — to do more.” —Blake Mycoskie
In the spirit of collaboration and giving, & Other Stories is a proud supporter of Magic Bus and its Women’s Scholarship Fund to support English language classes for young women in India.
CB: Please introduce yourself and what you do.
AS: My name is Anniki and I work as Super Editor at Selfish Mother with the fabulous Molly Gunn and also co-founded The Hotbed Collective with Cherry Healey and Lisa Williams. I’m a freelance writer, branding consultant and copy writer.
CB: Brand names are a really important first impression of what you’re about, so how did you come up with your online alias/brand name?
AS: Well it’s interesting as I didn’t come up with either of the brand names I work on at the moment but have done loads of work in branding in the past. It used to be my bread and butter. A good name needs to get your idea across really quick and ideally have a bit of humour too. People have the attention span of a gnat these days so nothing too wordy or laborious I feel.
CB: Where did it all begin? What inspired you to start up your concept?
AS: I can only really talk about The Hotbed Collective here as Molly obviously created Selfish Mother and was inspired to create a platform for Mums to share stories and engage with one another. The HBC is different in that we want to encourage women to be more open and honest about sex. It was sparked by a conversation I had with Cherry about 2 years ago when we realised that women feel awkward ‘fessing up to the reality of bad/dull sex lives. We wanted to change that and so we’re creating a website and want to create events and other media that make it feel more permissible to talk about this stuff (without having to neck three litres of prosecco first).
CB: On a day-to-day basis, what or who inspires you?
AS: The people that inspire me are often American for some reason. There are so many great writers and performers in the states. I love Lena Dunham. Tina Fey. Lindy West. Cheryl Strayed. Nora Ephron (the late great). I basically love anyone who has a sense of humour and is outspoken and honest. I think there needs to be more honesty but we can be silly too.
CB: Can you tell us about, or give us a sneaky peek of something new that’s coming up?
AS: Well have two things right now that are exciting. On Selfish Mother we are creating a new travel section to the blog and are looking for writers who can give us tips on greats places to travel to. Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean we have to give up on all that good stuff. Selfish Mother is always changing and adapting to new things so watch this space!
On The Hotbed Collective side, we have just done our #backinthesack survey and have spoken to 750 people about their sex life post-kids. We are launching a website and then there will be an event further down the line. We are going to use the site to talk about our own sex lives but also to interview a range of different people. We want there to be tips and practical things to do when your love life sinks into the doldrums. We want it to feel intimate, fun and a bit sexy too.
CB: Anything you wish you’d known before you became a parent / best piece of parenting advice?
AS: It’s hard. I wish I had been better prepared for the lack of sleep. The fact that the first few months feel really hard. That it’s normal to feel like you’re losing your mind. Sometimes the only thing that got me through was visualising Oprah Winfrey. In the middle of the night I’d be so tired that she’d just appear to me and I’d get comfort in talking to her. That sounds mad but offers up and insight into how un-hinged I felt!
CB: Parenting-essentials, we know there are more than a few! But what is the one thing you can’t leave the house without? What is your most used piece of parenting/child paraphernalia?
AS: Snacks. More snacks. I find the minute we leave the house my daughter starts telling me she’s hungry. I have to have a few different options. And always one or two sweets. You can try Danish parenting/French parenting/whatever but a sweet ALWAYS works when you’re in a tight spot and need to use good old fashioned bribery to get home/in the car/leave a playdate/go to the shop etc.
CB: Along the same vein as above, what is your ultimate Mum-Essential? What is your go-to item that you just can’t live without?
AS: If it’s for me then it would probably be make up. If I have make up on then I feel human. In the early days my neighbour came up to me and told me I looked awful. I find that people think it’s perfectly okay to say you look dreadful when you’re a parent. After that I made sure I always had slap on. With the slap on I can fake not being tired. My other essential is the Aveda Chakra spray. I keep talking about it but so far they haven’t offered me any freebies. I feel quite sore about that I can tell you.
CB: What gives you ‘Mum-Guilt’? And how do you get round it?
AS: I get it every time I leave my daughter at nursery. I do this calculation in my head and think about how she’s going to start pre-school soon and yet I’m leaving her a couple of times a week and don’t see her. The reality is that I am now freelance and can’t get any work done at all when she’s with me. I end up shouting at her and telling her to get lost so the time she spends with me when I’m working isn’t very good quality. I have to remind myself of that. And the fact that seeing a working Mummy (who shouts sometimes) is probably a good thing.
CB: Me-time is super important too, what do you like to do to zone-out?
AS: I love to watch reality TV but never get a chance. Sometimes if my daughter is playing in the garden I will sneak into the front room to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians or America’s Next Top Model. If I can’t sleep at night I come down and watch it. Their lives are so different to mine and their problems so out of my realm of experience (Kim is usually worrying about the launch of her new butt cream and whether Kayne is having a row with her Mum or not) – pure escapism. I am really into low-brow culture and am not ashamed to admit it (I also like reading to balance it out).
CB: Which are your go-to brands/shops?
AS: The FMLY store tops – my main look is a sweatshirt with an A-line skirt and blue bruises on my knees. I love Selfridges but can’t afford anything there anymore. I also love &OtherStories as they have really original clothes and styles. I basically can’t go in there anymore as it’s too dangerous for me. I even tried to buy a jacket in a size 8 because I loved it and it was the last one. For kids stuff I love Next, Boden, Gap, FMLY store. I also love Aveda Chakra spray as I mentioned before ha ha.
CB: What current wardrobe item is your all-time favourite and why?
AS: Dungarees. I wear them all the time. They aren’t flattering on me as I have a big bum but I don’t care. I just like that combination of a casual dungaree and a feminine top. I also like the A-line skirt and sweatshirt combo. I struggle to find jeans I like or that fit properly
CB: Choose 3 words to describe yesterday.
AS: Hungover, panic-attack, moments of happiness.
CB: Tell us something about you that might surprise people.
AS: I used to be the singer in a band and had a hit – you can see the video on YouTube.
CB: Whats the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
AS: I had a friend who is a midwife and she came to visit me every other day for about a month when my daughter was born. She knew I was struggling. She is basically the nicest, kindest person I know.
CB: Recommend a book, film or album from the past year.
AS: I love the new book by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel (We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere). I haven’t seen any films apart from Trolls which I thought was okay. Music wise I am listening to the theme tune to Big, Little Lies- Michael Kiwanuka- Cold Little Heart. When I listen to it I pretend that I’m one of the characters driving along the Pacific Coast Highway (rather than driving to Lidl down the Uxbridge road)
CB: What can you see out of your closest window / what is your current view?
AS: I can see my cat who is busy burying her business in the neighbour’s vegetable patch.
CB: Other than with your family & friends, where would you most like to be this weekend and why?
AS: I would like to be at a spa. I really feel like I need a massage. I want to lie in a pool of warm water and listen to Michael Kiwanuka and pretend I’m Reese Witherspoon.
CB: Anything else you’d like to add in?
AS: When you get past 40 you really don’t give a crap about what other people think. Like really! It’s good.
I absolutely loved this chat with Anniki – thank you for taking part in our series! Be sure to follow her on Insta: @AnnikiSelfishMotherand via her brilliant blog: Anniki Sommerville
Since we moved back from Berlin, we’ve lived a more minimalist life. Afterall, our entire worldly belongings were put into a storage shipping container – we had NOTHING in Berlin as we lived in a holiday let – didn’t have our own bedding, cutlery, prints, books, NOTHING. Which was weird whilst we lived out there… but when we moved back, we soon realised just how much STUFF we had and really didn’t need. We’ve sold a lot on selling sites etc, but we’ve donated just as much to charity too; which always feels good.
One of the item’s we did use was our drink’s cabinet – a Danish, Midcentury thing of beauty. But it just felt like this big old cabinet was too much now we were scaling down – it felt like it was overwhelming the room. (We did also use it for Eli’s Art & Crafts/School gear too, it wasn’t JUST a drinks cabinet! hah). So it was a begrudgingly out with the old… in with the D I Y! DIY you say?! Why? Well, scroll and see…
I’ve always been in love with gold and marble bar carts – you know, the antique 20’s type – cemented with stays at Soho House group (DREAM household interior btw). But these gold and marble carts come with a pretty price tag too. See below the kind of vibe I had as inspiration:
As you can see, most bar carts are around the £300 mark, ouch! So I thought, why not live by the motto, ‘Fake it, till you make it!’ and make your own! So that’s what I did! See my step-by-step below of how I got my own Bar Cart of Dreams.
WHAT I USED:
IKEA – SUNNERSTA Trolley – £18
x1 D-C-Fix Marble Effect Adhesive – £6.50 per roll
x2 RUST-OLEUM Gold Spray Paint 400ml – Bright Gold – £8.75 per can
x1 Premium ‘Any surface’ tester pot – Black – £1.25 per pot
Scissors / Stanley knife
TOTAL COST: £53.25
HINTS & TIPS
Use spray paint in a well ventilated space. Not only because of the obvious issues with inhalation, but also the dust from the spray paint goes EVERYWHERE. Alternatively, use a traditional paint and paint brush to avoid dust settling.
You’ll need to do around 2 coats of paint – so just go at it finely at first, you can always cover up any bare bits!
Allow the paint to thoroughly dry – at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
Take your time with the adhesive paper, lots of bubbles form as you’re applying – these can be popped with a pin afterward, or just use a towel to roll as you go.
So there you have it – my bar cart of dreams! This would obviously also work well as a cart for bath linen / lotions & potions or even just as a display trolley.
CLAIRE BRISTON – MAMA TO ONE – NORTHERN ROOTS, ESSEX BASED – 30 SOMETHING – 5 FOOT NOTHING – NEVER, EVER CONCISE.
As I’m in the final stages of my wee ‘re-brand’, if you will. I’m sure a lot of people will still refer to me as Judy Pink, and thats cool, but my online alias of Judy Pink & Memoirs of Judy Pink / Memoirs of Maternity will soon be devoid. I’ll be going by my ‘real name’ and as most people will also concur, I’m never, ever, concise. Whether that be re-telling a story or writing for business or pleasure! Hence my new site name, Never Knowingly Concise.
So here is the story, so far…
Many moons ago, my career path started in Retail – working through store Visual Marketing & Styling roles . In 2008, we took a permanent one-way journey from The North to The Big Smoke. I swapped a role in Buying & Merchandising (Arcadia) for eCommerce and Copywriting (AllSaints). Moving on from there, I found my passion in Digital Marketing, where I then progressed through Exec roles for AllSaints (Global Social Media Coordinator), Godiva and eBay UK & DE. However, I’ve recently changed career paths completely. I saw 2017 in with a brand new role as an Early Years Practitioner – splitting the working week between Pre-School Assistant (SEN & Mat Cover) and Support Assistant at an Infant School. Writing, has always been a passion of mine – heck I wanted to be an English Teacher-come Fashion Journalist at one stage (taking on a stint as a Fashion Writer at The Sunday Sun newspaper and Copywriting role at AllSaints). So now that my work/life balance is in order, my site can take my attention once again.
In 2012 I became a Mama, to Mr Eli. He was born with several medical conditions (more on that below and in OLD posts). Eli began his journey into the Education system in September 2016 – though, he is one of the youngest in the school, with his birthday being August. He’s cheeky, cheery and creative – very imaginative and loves his Art.
I am a huge champion of independent brands, especially those founded by parents. There’s something a little bit special about buying products from a family-run business; whether that be a Husband-and-Wife team or a Mum-Boss/Dad-Preneur. You’re not funding a corporate machine – you’re helping out real people. A real family. Allowing a family to continue to be creative, perhaps alongside that oh so frustrating restraint of ‘inflexible working’, putting food on the table and supporting the roof over their heads. And that feels really good. I’m also keen to find out how people juggle their work & family life. What helps? What doesn’t help?! Is life really as rosy as Instagram has us believe? I will soon have a ‘Never Concise // Chat’ series to dig a little deeper with some incredible creative families.
If you’re a new or established family-run brand, business or service, please do get in touch. I’d love to give you a big up in any way possible!
Follow me on Instagram for my latest updates: @JudyPink
LATEST EDIT: March 2017.
Memoirs of Maternity was born in August 2011 after my other half and I decided that it was definitely time that we wanted to start our family. This blog documented the stresses and strains that came with my pregnancy. Our absolutely incredible darling boy, Mr Eli, was born on 6th August 2012. The day our lives changed forever. Mr Eli is completely one-of-a-kind. SUCH a character; such a happy little boy. I then went a little bit quiet as the throws of Motherhood quickly took over!
Mr Eli was born with two conditions, Talipes and Torticollis. I spoke about the Talipes during my pregnancy blogs. But the Torticollis was not diagnosed until Eli was 10 weeks old. I’m striving to raise awareness of both these conditions and would love to hear from those who have experience with them.
Expect to also find features on my other passions: Fashion, Design & Lifestyle… oh and the odd adventure from us and Mr Eli!
I absolutely love Mum and Baba brands, always on the look out for new start-up’s, so do give ma holler!