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NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE CHATS TO // Joanna Riding | Mini Maison

Meet Joanna Riding, founder of Mini Maison, a brilliant online store offering modern, but playful, nursery and kids’ decor to style-conscious customers who wish to look beyond the high street – AND Mama of TWO!

Jo talks to us about how she juggles being a Mum Boss, the Mini Maison concept and THOSE Blue Blahnik’s!

CB: Please introduce yourself and your concept.
JR: I’m Jo and I’m wife to Steve and Mum to Joshua and Sammy (4 and 2). Mini Maison, my company, sells modern décor for nurseries and children’s bedrooms.

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?
JR: Mini Maison came about through good old fashioned brain storming over the course of a few weeks. It wasn’t the first name that came to me but I knew that I’d change my mind a few times before settling on THE one… I was right – I went through Little House, Lilliput Décor and a few others before settling on Mini Maison!

CB: Where did it all begin? What inspired you to start up your concept?
JR: I started Mini Maison after I struggled to find modern décor for the nurseries I designed for my boys. I researched for a while (probably for too long, because I was so nervous to actually take the leap) and our virtual doors opened in 2015. The business is currently going through a period of change as we grow to incorporate ALL children’s décor and not just babies, because I realised that as my boys grew out of their baby years, I was STILL struggling to find the cool products I was looking for on the high street.

CB: What is your brand ethos?
JR: Mini Maison is the friendly place to shop if you’re looking for playful, modern design for your kids’ spaces; bedrooms, nurseries and playrooms. I’ll always do my best for my customers and try to make Mini Maison a place to go for good, accessible design.

CB: On a day-to-day basis, what or who inspires you?
JR: My kids inspire me daily to be a better person. Sometimes this errs into mum guilt (see above) but I started Mini Maison so that I can be work and fulfil my ambitions AND be around to pick them up from school.

CB: Can you tell us about or give us a sneaky peak of something new that’s coming up?
JR: We’ve got a few new brands joining the Mini Maison family in the next few weeks… I can’t say too much but it includes these two absolute beauties (below).

CB: Anything you wish you’d known before you became a parent / best piece of parenting advice?
JR: People will ALWAYS have an opinion, if you’ve asked for it or not. Go with your gut – Mama usually knows best. And… nap when the baby naps. This is a crucial one for me. Even if it’s not every day, you’ve got to make the most of a napping baby because the napping phase DOESN’T LAST! I know some people struggle with this but if you choose to tidy your house instead of sleeping when you’re knackered then I might think you’ve lost the plot a bit (I LOVE sleep – it’s my special skill, being able to sleep anywhere, anytime!)

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?
JR: When they were babies I had SO MANY must haves (that I then had to wean my children off of!): Ewan the Dreamsheep, Sleepyhead, dummies, swaddling suits (basically swaddles with zips on that meant we didn’t have to faff around with getting the tightness right – although they do look like straight jackets!). Now they’re older, we’re finding that they’re all about the night lights – sometimes more than one (good job Mummy has a never ending supply!). And an iPad – I think that one goes without saying, right!?

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?
JR: Concealer – to cover breakouts and also the massive bags that are usually hanging around under my eyes!

CB: What gives you ‘Mum-Guilt’? And how do you get round it?
JR: Time I spend working and not ‘being’ with my kids. Running your own businesses does sometimes spill over into ‘family time’ and I think this is inevitable. But I do feel bad that I’m sometimes replying to emails or dealing with last-minute problems when I’m meant to be paying attention to the boys. This means that I do put the TV on more often than I probably should, and I feel REALLY guilty about this.

CB: Me-time is super important too, what do you like to do to zone-out?
JR: I actually rarely feel like I zone-out or turn off. I’m almost constantly thinking about work – whether it’s new product ideas, new marketing techniques, listening to a podcast, let alone the actual work-work that goes into running a business. I’m desperately trying to tune out the voices in my head which are constantly chattering about the business. My husband and I try to have one evening a week where I’m not on my phone or laptop, and we just make a nice dinner and have a few drinks together. Also, seeing my bestest friends just helps me feel more centered (if a little hungover).

CB: Which are your go-to brands/shops?
JR: Where do I start?! Iove Zara for clothes – I’m like a kid in a sweetshop and it’s great also for kids clothes too. I do try to buy from some smaller brands too, including Scamp and Dude and Fred & Noah for the boys. My friend Lucy runs Born at Dawn and she has curated a range of beautiful, timeless clothes that I want ALL of!

CB: What current wardrobe item is your all-time favourite and why?
JR: I still have my wedding shoes, which are THE blue Manolo Blahnik shoes from Sex And The City. I try to wear them to events as often as I can (which is not very!) but to be honest I just like getting them out of the box and looking at them as they are just SO beautiful. In terms of things I actually wear regularly, you’ll almost always find me in a pair of skinny jeans. They’re my go-to-staple (even if they are on their way out of fashion).

MANOLO BLAHNIK // Blue Satin Pumps – £745.00

CB: Choose 3 words to describe yesterday.
JR: Chocolate (it was Easter), fun and family.

CB: Tell us something about you that might surprise people.
JR: I have a really thin skin and worry A LOT about what people think about me. People are always surprised to hear this because they think I’m really confident but on the inside I’m usually bricking it and worrying about how I come across. NB. This can lead me to talk a lot, often about a load of old shit!

CB: Whats the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
JR: My husband is always doing kind things for me and is incredibly thoughtful and I feel blessed that I’ve surrounded myself with the most incredible friends and family… their kindness regularly sees me through the week. One particular occasion springs to mind, after I’d had my second baby (by c-section) and couldn’t drive or walk very far, my friend Catherine would come to my house and help bundle me and my boys into the car and take us out for the morning somewhere, so that I didn’t actually go insane stuck in the house.

CB: Recommend a book, film or album from the past year.
JR: Bad Moms – this was the last time I went to the cinema (I know… too long ago!) but oh my god, it is SO funny. It’s so good to spend your evening properly laughing out loud watching a film with a friend. Also, Amy Schumer’s autobiography is a brilliant read.

CB: What can you see out of your closest window / what is your current view?
JR: Our garden – and it’s just reminding me of all the work I want to get done on it before the summer officially arrives

CB: Other than with your family & friends, where would you most like to be this weekend and why?
JR: On a beach, with an endless supply of food and drink, with some shade available (I think this officially makes you a Mum when you can’t spend too long in the sun anymore!), and some books and magazines.

Loved chatting with you Jo – looking forward to seeing howMini Maison continues to progress, expand and inspire!

C

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Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for upcoming product launches by signing up to the Mini Maison newsletter and by following Mini Maison on Instagram: @MiniMaisonUK

#NeverConciseChats #ClaireChatsToMiniMaison

THE STORY

Welcome to Mini Maison, a shop offering modern and playful nursery and kids’ decor to style-concious consumers, wanting to look beyond the high street. Our carefully selected and curated products look equally good in a bedroom as they would in the rest of the home.

Started by an interiors-loving mum who gets inspiration from blogs and social media, she found it almost impossible to get her hands on the products that she was seeing online, in the UK, resulting in high shipping costs and problems with boring things like customs and import tax. And so Mini Maison was born. A simple idea; to bring you contemporary accessories for your little one’s bedroom, all the while offering unparalleled customer service and individual style.

Enjoy browsing and please do not hesitate to contact us should you need any assistance or have any queries. Oh, and please stop by regularly as we will be adding new products all the time.

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THURSDAY KIDS | Kids’ Style: 16/06

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• T H U R S D A Y. K I D S •
Feat some of my current faves:
✖️Bag // @tibaandmarl
✖️Tee // @nor_folk
✖️Hareems // @stitched_up_apparel
✖️Feet // @vans_europe

MM.

 

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OMM Design, “D.I.Y Banner” | This Modern Life.

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I’ve wanted a ‘DIY Banner’ for such a long time. I’ve wanted to write out our favourite slogans or words across the walls of Eli’s bedroom – obviously, without the permanent graffiti! So a few months back I finally got mine ordered from the really lovely This Modern Life online store. It was a toss up between the black and the gold – but the black just pipped it at the post. (It stands out against everything). As soon as it arrived, I took out all the letters and laid them out to see what I could write first…

Then realised that the metal fasteners were missing! A very swift response from the very lovely Suzanne meant that a new set of clips were in the post… (thanks a bunch again!)

I set to work…

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Even though Eli’s birthday was 6 weeks away at the time, I knew I wanted to debut my banner then. We removed the antique painting from above our sofa and strung the banner up in the centre of the wall. We were over the moon with it – I think it looks spot on! It was the perfect backdrop for Eli’s 2nd birthday (we will of course be wheeling this out every year going forward! A new little tradition!)

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Obviously, the birthday banner had to come down at some point… boo.

So, I set to work again – this time, I clipped together “Always be curious”. Our family motto. (Which is actually a little longer… “Always ask questions, always be curious.”) We *might* have taken inspiration from a certain Mr Richard Dawkins’ in his letter to his 10 year old daughter there; but it fits so nicely as we’ve always wanted our children to be curious about the world around them – and Eli has definitely always been a curious boy!

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This one is on the wall beside Eli’s library.

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And I just had to keep a little something for Eli’s bed-head too 🙂

What do you think of the DIY banner? What would be your favourite words to spell out?

MM.

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From the This Modern Life product page for the OMM Design D.I.Y Garland:

We love this multilingual DIY letter banner – use it to spell out your child’s name, a special song lyric, Happy Birthday, or even ‘MARRY ME?’

There are loads of letters in each pack, so you can create several banners with one kit.

Design Tips:

 Spell out your baby’s name in the nursery, or a cute phrase like ‘night night little one’ or ‘wake up bright’.

 Write out favourite song lyrics in your kids room, or use words like ‘PLAY’ and ‘READ’ to define areas of their room.

 How about ‘WELCOME’ by the front door, or ‘LOVE’ in the bedroom? Perhaps a family message in the lounge or kitchen.

 These not only make a perfect gift, they are also ideal for ‘Happy Birthday’ banners, and as a tag on beautifully wrapped presents.

Size: Each letter is approx. 8cm tall.

Good to know: 122 characters in each pack:

AAAAA BBB CC DDD EEEEEEE FF GGG HHH IIII JJ KK LLLL MMMM NNNN OOOO PPP QQ RRRR SSSSS TTTT UUU VV WW X YY Z ÅÅ ÄÄ ÖÖ ÆÆ ØØ Ë Ï Ü ßß Œ Ç Ñ & ! ? ‘ ‘

Plus 18 symbols:

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