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Brand In Focus | Southwood Stores.

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Southwood Stores is an online concept store by Hayley Southwood, where you will find handpicked, quirky, Scandinavian influenced gifts and homewares. Hayley believes passionately about empowering women and has recently launched her own in-house label GRAY, celebrating strong women.

I first came across Hayley and her online shop back in 2013. (I can’t believe it was 3 years ago?! Time sure does fly with a toddler in tow!) At that time, Hayley was the only UK stockist of Hello Apparel; and I went straight ahead and ordered a HELLO Jumper from her, along with one of our most loved prints that sat in Eli’s bedroom, The Mountain Print by Clare Nicholson. I always loved parcels from Hayley, with the attention to detail of packaging and customer care; with some treats even winging their way over to Berlin!

Watching Hayley, via Instagram, over the past few years has been wonderful. Seeing how her little shop has grown and expanded with wicked new products and new brands, through to the launch of her very own clothing label: GRAY By Southwood Stores.  The ethos of Hayley and her shop is to be brave and follow your dreams. And she’s definitely succeeding there – having now opened her very own Southwood Stores showroom – where you can not only have a cuppa with the lady herself, but from here she also offers Social Media / Branding services with sessions operating on-site.

Details of showroom opening times are as follows:

Monday 10am-2.30pm
Wednesday 10am-2.30pm
Friday 10am-2.30pm
First Saturday of the month 11am-2pm

I could buy everything that Southwood Stores have in stock, but here are some of my current favourites hitting the top of my #MoMWishlist:

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WIRE MESH MEMO-BOARD (BLUE) – £55.00

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VINTAGE SCHOOL CHAIRS – £60.00

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PALM LEAVES – £55.00

Back to GRAY By Southwood Stores. Hayley worked really hard to find the right garments for her label – high quality and responsibly made. The slogan graphic prints are also locally screen-printed by a “woman owned business”. I think it’s fantastic that Hayley has stuck to her local roots here too – there’s nothing better than championing your local business community and spreading the love even further afield.

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The sweatshirts are super soft, wash well and have a really flattering fit. I went for the WARRIOR sweatshirt. Because, well, we’re all WARRIORS. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about”. This is something that resonated deeply with me – and I do feel like a proper WARRIOR when I’m wearing my sweatshirt. It’s more than just words, isn’t it? It’s about how these things make you FEEL.

On top of alllllll this, Hayley is also hosting a series of Conversational Meet-Up’s, of like-minded Women. The recent one looked brilliant so look forward to the next Event’s being scheduled. You can find the latest details and tickets, here. 

Hayley is a true inspiration and I look forward to seeing how Southwood Stores continues to grow and evolve! (Oh, and I can’t wait to have a cuppa with her in person at the new showroom soon!). Keep doing what you’re doing Hayley, everything about your being is amazing. Just remember to BREATHE (and get the kettle on!).

 

MM.

*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*. 

 

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Wot Ma Like | Shy Bairns Get Nowt mug.

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“Shy bairns get nowt”. For those who don’t understand what this means… I shall explain! This well known phrase (an overused phrase by oneself!) translates to: a shy person doesn’t get anything without asking for it.

I absolutely LOVE this mug. My dear friend Christie bought me it for my birthday this year, but due to Royal Mail being HORRENDOUS the birthday gift not only arrived smashed to smithereens but as we were out at time, it was put into a food caddy that was FULL of food at the time. (I honestly don’t know where to begin with that one!).

A few weeks ago, we went back to Newcastle for the first time in 6 years, where we had once lived for 4 years, to visit our lovely friends Christie (who sent me the mug!) and Adam. Our Motherland is a 1 hour drive from Newcastle, so we used a lot of Geordie lingo to begin with, but living in Newcastle gave me a proper tongue from the Toon! This mug is perfect for me and I couldn’t wait to get it replaced!

I managed to get the mug back Daaaaaahn Safff in one piece, I’m hoping it remains the case!

Wot Ma Like is an ingenius brand from husband and wife team, Jo & Nick Burrows, who set up the Geordie Mug company initially, before expanding the dialects to include accents such as Yorkshire, Scouse and Manc to name but a few. Their items are definitely one-of-a-kind and make such great gifts and treats for your home. We’ll definitely be purchasing more items for ourselves and others! I do love to give Independant, small and local brands a shout out – so if you’re a new/small/local business, please do get in touch!

You can find my “Shy bairns get nowt” mug as well as other Geordie products on their website: wotmalike.co.uk and you can follow them on Twitter @wotmalike

MM.

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Mr Eli turns ONE!

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This was us, a little after 9:43pm on Monday 6th August 2012. I cannot believe our beautiful baby boy is now ONE! This year has just flown by. Mr Eli has been so so brave throughout all the challenges he’s faced – he’s the happiest little boy, with the cheekiest grin!

To celebrate his birthday yesterday, the three us of took a trip to Colchester Zoo. It was just brilliant. We had the BEST day! Colchester Zoo is just 45 minutes away from where we live; and after a recent trip to a farm we knew animals BIG animals would go down a treat with the birthday boy! He loved seeing the elephants, zebra’s, rhino’s and of course, all of the different types of tortoises! Can’t lie, OH and I enjoyed it thoroughly too. We made lots of “woah” and “ahh” noises throughout the day.

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Just a perfect way to spend the day reminiscing over Eli’s first year on the planet and how this bundle of joy has grown into such a handsome chap.

Happy very FIRST birthday Mr Eli. You’re our absolute world and we love you more than anything.

xxx

 

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Newborn Nappies: There’s so much choice out there, which did you go for?

We’ve pondered many-a-time over which Newborn Nappies to use. Which brand are best in quality, absorbency, fit and of course, which are lightest on the old purse strings?

As we live in a very rainy Britain and we currently do no have a tumble dryer (plus only electric heaters/radiators) going cloth isn’t really an option for us. We struggle to get our own clothes dry at the minute (definitely going to invest in a tumble dryer for Winter!!). So, we’re going disposable…. but what does that mean?! With so much choice out there, which are best for Newborns, based on my criteria above?

I asked my Twitter followers for their tried and tested recommendations… here is what the lovely people out there said.

 

From @CharlieMooswww.charliemoos.co.uk

 

From @NatGourleyreadysteadymummy.blogspot.co.uk

 

From @MummyAdventurewww.themummyadventure.com

 

From @Petitmewwww.petitmom.co.uk

 

From @BexandMicbusybeemummybex.blogspot.co.uk

 

From @TheMakeUpMentor – themakeupmentor.co.uk

 

From @CupcakeMumma11cupcakemumma2011.blogspot.co.uk

 

From @KiddyChartswww.kiddycharts.com

 

So there we have it… the consensus is Pampers Vs Own-brand.  Do you have a different opinion from experience? Or even just agree? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below or via Twitter @MaternalMusings and I’ll be sure to add your comment to the post above!

Thanks for all the responses so far!

MM.

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Book worm: Which books do you recommend?

Both OH and I are avid readers and we want to start building up our library for the little one now. We’d like to actually start reading to the massive baby boy bump too – so wanted to get books that are suitable from Newborn upwards… thing is, there are SO MANY books out there, we just don’t know where to start! We can remember a few popular books from when we were kids (The Hungry Caterpillar, The Jolly Postman, that kind of thing…) but books do you recommend? Which books did you buy for Newborn and older? Which books did you ‘swear’ by?

Would love to hear your recommendations! We’re really excited to get buying!

MM.