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BRAND IN FOCUS // ETTA LOVES

 

BRAND IN FOCUS // ETTA LOVES

You may, (or may not), remember that back in 2017 I used to run a Q&A segment,   “NEVER CONCISE CHATS“, where I would chat to the founders of businesses or services, who also happen to be parents. One of those chats was with none-other than Jen Fuller of ETTA LOVES. You can read our original chat, here >>> NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE CHATS TO // JEN FULLER | @ETTALOVES

Since Edie was born in August, we’ve used ETTA LOVES products with such great success! So, I just had to write a Brand In Focus post on all the amazing items that we’ve been able to test in real life.

 

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Who is ETTA LOVES?

I love to champion a family-run business and ETTA LOVES is precisely that; founded from the sofa by Jen Fuller whilst feeding her first-born daughter, Etta. Jen quickly realised that a 4 week Etta’s gaze was locked onto a black and white jumper she was wearing – it was the first thing her daughter had concentrated her focus on, that wasn’t a face.

Something clicked and the ETTA LOVES creativity began. All of the ETTA LOVES range is carefully designed with actual science.

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“Babies are born with fully formed eyes however they are not born with the ability to see clearly. This develops with time through practice and the forming of critical eye-to-brain connections.

Because of this, at birth babies are attracted to high contrast, large scale patterns but as the weeks and months go past their vision improves steadily and the world starts to appear in more vivid detail and colour.

At Etta Loves we use the knowledge of what babies can and can’t see at various stages of their visual development to design patterns that support their incredible discovery of the world around them. It’s why our patterns are often described as magical, as babies are calmed and mesmerised as they try to make sense of the fascinating shapes and contrast before them”.

Your baby is, quite literally, spellbound by science with the ETTA LOVES designs. The range started with Muslins as Jen knew how you ALWAYS need one (or two, or three!) on hand at all times.


 

CLICK TO SHOP >> 3-PACK ANIMAL PRINT MUSLINS

We have this 3-pack of Animal print muslin’s – and they’re the ultimate multitasker! Not only are they mega soft (that Bamboo-Cotton is magical in its own right!) but they’re mega functional too. Use them as usual for spills and snotty noses and for when you need those moments of calm. I can’t recommend these muslin’s enough! Even after washing what feels like a million times, the quality is still the same. Edie was completely taken by the prints straight after they were out of the box – they’re the first things she’s learnt to focus her gaze with. The Etta Loves magic knows no bounds here!  We tie the muslins to the side of the play gym/pram/cot/back of the car seat to keep Edie mesmerised (which also gives us a few minutes peace to sit down and drink that hot cup of tea – which is so important!). The science behind the designs is really quite something – they catch the eye of everyone we come into contact with, so the print also works on adults too! Stylish AND scientific, you can’t get better than that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What ETTA LOVES say:

Triple pack of super-soft sensory muslin squares in high contrast black and white patterns. Designed to the millimetre to support babies’ cognitive and visual development between birth and around four months.

The ultimate multi-tasker also delivers sensory calm through our scientific patterns.

Pack includes 1 x zebra, 1 x starfish and 1 x Dalmatian design presented in our stylish box packaging.

Each muslin is 60cm x 60cm.

Made from: 100% viscose from bamboo.

“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!”

JEN FULLER, FOUNDER OF ETTA LOVES

Eli is 7 and still uses a muslin for spills or when he’s got a cold – proof that this is product that you’ll be using for a long time after those new-born day’s are over!In times where we need to think and buy in more eco-friendly ways, its a good job that the muslin’s are designed to last – and even better when a muslin is as stylish as the ETTA LOVES designs.

 

click to shop >> NEW ZEBRA KNITTED BLANKET

We absolutely LOVE this knitted blanket in zebra print and wish it was made in adult sizes for us too! I’ve never felt a softer knit, which Edie loves to snuggle into. It has a gorgeous hand-feel, which hasn’t decreased since washing several times – just superb quality. We love how the science behind the design keeps Edie calm as she begins to drift off to sleep. It looks looks mega cool in the pram. It would make a great newborn gift too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What ETTA LOVES say:

Our first knitted blanket delivers super-soft sensory stimulation, for calm snuggles at home or on the move.

Our zebra print is designed to support babies vision from birth to 4 months old.

Soft, snuggly and sensory knitted blanket in high contrast black and white zebra print. Designed to the millimetre to support babies’ cognitive and visual development between birth to four months.

Perfect for in the home or on the go, keeping snuggly and calm at the same time.

100cm x 80cm with black edge (white edge on reverse) in our stylish box packaging.

Made from: 100% cotton.

Image may contain: one or more people, stripes and baby

CLICK TO SHOP >> ZEBRA COMFORTER

Much like the muslin’s, during a meltdown, we can guarantee this Comforter calms Edie. The print, plus the soft bamboo cotton against her cheek, immediately mesmerises her to sleep. We’ve washed ours plenty of times now and again, it still looks and more importantly, FEELS, brilliant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What ETTA LOVES say:

Super soft, super cute comforter in clever zebra print that your baby will want to keep in their hands and near their eyes. Babies not only love the clever zebra pattern but will also fiddle with the cute floppy zebra ears, providing an additional sensory experience.

Our zebra print is designed to support babies visual and cognitive development from birth to around 4 months old.

40cm x 40cm double lay knotted muslin.

Made from: 100% viscose from bamboo.

CLICK TO SHOP >> ANIMAL PRINT PLAY-MAT

reversible: 0 to 4 months and 5+ months

I was first of all struck by the stylish look of this play mat as it fits in perfectly with our decor – but its actually the science and design consideration of this product that mesmerises me (never-mind Edie!). The fact that the design is illustrated so carefully for brand new baby eyes is a real winner for us – its made Edie cope so much better with tummy time- she loves this dalmation print, her eyes widen and she is immediately transfixed! Really wish we’d had this for Eli 7 years ago as he absolutely deplored tummy time! The mat allows us time to get on with bits around the house or EVEN sit down for a few extra minutes while Edie is captivated by the monochrome print. We also love that from 5 months the mat can be turned over to further the eye development with the colour side – how clever is that?!

The mat itself is really soft, a great size and has lovely padding for the comfort of your babe. It rolls up easily for storage and carting around when travelling. Oh and you can whack it in the washing machine too – which is very important – as all new parents will understand!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What ETTA LOVES say:

Our playmat provides perfect stimulation for tummy time and playtime. Reversible dalmatian (0-4 month print) and leopard print (5+ months) in soft organic cotton with a comfy padded fill.

Designed specifically to support babies’ visual and cognitive development throughout their first year.

The pattern also encourages your baby to use their back, neck and shoulder muscles (helping them prepare for rolling and crawling) as you’ll notice them trying to push up to make more sense of the print before them.

Comes in our gorgeous box packaging with a band to hold the mat together when rolled up – making it perfect for home and away.

Size: Circular – 1m diameter

Made from: Outer – Organic cotton. Inner: Polyester padding

Machine washable to make your life easier too.

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“OUR MAGIC IS BY DESIGN, NOT CHANCE”

“From the colours we use, the scales within each pattern and the placement and space between each shape, everything is designed on our consultant Orthoptist Laura’s recommendation to support your baby’s visual and cognitive development.

As a result, our patterns will look different to your baby from week to week as their vision develops. This is the magic of Etta Loves and what makes us unique in the world”.

JEN FULLER, FOUNDER OF ETTA LOVES

So as you can now tell, we’re big fans of ETTA LOVES in our household. We can’t recommend all of these products enough. They would all make great gifts for loved ones. And remember 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!

What Jen has created is really quite extraordinary – especially for such a young and small brand! What ETTA LOVES has accomplished in the 3 short years that its been going is amazing and I honestly can’t wait for the new products to launch next year. Jen, you and your team of specialists are so very clever and you have helped a lot of families and babies learn and grow. That is really quite epic!

C
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THE ETTA LOVES TEAM

JEN FULLER – FOUNDER

Founder of Etta Loves and mum to Etta and her little sister Uma. I started this business to give parents the gift of calm and babies pure wonder through our sensory patterns. I want to make everyday moments easier, calmer and super sensory.

LAURA – ORTHOPTIST

Mum to Sophie and Thomas, Laura has 20 years’ experience as an early years orthoptist (or specialist in children’s vision development to you and me). She has provided in-depth knowledge of the first 12 months of a child’s visual development, to ensure that every pattern, colour and scale we produce is led by science to delivery the sensory magic.

SHRUTI – DESIGNER

Jen met Shruti through NCT. Shruti is a phenomenal designer. She’s the super stylish one in the group, whose baby Kiran looked effortlessly cool since day dot. Once Jen and Shruti agree on the theme and style of a new pattern, she uses Laura’s expert input to create the stunning designs.

SAMIA

Samia has a wealth of experience in the children’s wear market, so brings her unique knowledge to the team to help grow and drive the brand forward. She is also critical in helping Jen make product decisions and giving the confidence to reach for the stars

THE ETTA LOVES 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 aren’t 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.

Etta Loves was created to turn everyday essentials into sensory sensations, by using the science of what babies can and can’t see to create clever and stunning patterns. The result is that babies are mesmerised and supported in their visual and cognitive development, whilst parents benefit from a priceless moment of calm.

 

*Some words taken directly from EttaLoves.com to ensure information delivered is correct.

For clarity, I was kindly #gifted all products that are highlighted in this post above, by ETTA LOVES.

This is not a sponsored, paid post or an ad and I was not obliged to write this blog post or link back to the ETTA LOVES website. I only shout about items that I genuinely believe in, so be safe in the knowledge that I’m in love ETTA LOVES as much as Edie is!

 

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WHAT EDIE WORE // THE 2019 BODY SUIT

WHAT EDIE // WORE

We bought this “Born in 2019” body suit ahead of Edie arriving. In fact, it was the very first item of baby clothing I did buy.  I’m not keen on kids clothing, adorned with cartoons and the like. We prefer to keep slogans understated and to a minimum – so this baby grow celebrating Edie’s year of birth was spot on!

 

Part of the H&M CONSCIOUS collection, this body suit was just £3.99 and will make for a lovely memento. The actual body suit on its own has now sold out, but you can buy a similar body suit as part of a cute 3-piece set:

3-piece cotton jersey set - Natural white/Born in 2019 - Kids | H&M GB3-piece cotton jersey set - Natural white/Born in 2019 - Kids | H&M GB 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY: 3-piece cotton jersey set // £7.99

CONSCIOUS. Long-sleeved bodysuit, a pair of trousers and accessory in soft organic cotton jersey. Bodysuit with press-studs at the crotch. Trousers with wide fold-over ribbing at the waist.

If you’re looking for a gift for a newborn, this would be perfect.

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Edie has worn this body suit a few times – it works well with those comfy little leggings and with a pair of dungarees too. We have this one, also from the H&M CONSCIOUS collection, in a few colours. Above, Edie is wearing the Dark Grey version.

 

Cotton dungarees - Dark grey - Kids | H&M GB

Cotton dungarees - Dark grey - Kids | H&M GB 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY: Cotton dungarees // £8.99

CONSCIOUS. Dungarees in sweatshirt fabric made from soft organic cotton. Straps with press-studs, a kangaroo pocket and ribbing at the hems. Soft brushed inside.

Cotton dungarees - Light pink - Kids | H&M GB 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY: Cotton dungarees (Light Pink) // £8.99

All of these clothing pieces have washed really well and I’m so happy with the cost-per-wear too – as we all know, babies grow at alarming rate!

C
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BRAND IN FOCUS // AMAZON.co.uk – THE BABY WISHLIST

Baby Wishlist

When it comes to a new baby, regardless of whether its your first or 5th child, you will ALWAYS need to buy new things/newborn safety products/textiles/GENERAL STUFF. Plus, there’s always something new thats come out to make life as a new parent easier too.

When we had Eli, we were pretty organised. We love a spreadsheet and we love a bit of market research as it happens too. Getting organised was a real pleasure and never, ever a chore. We spent  a lot of time researching exactly what we needed and using the spreadsheets helped keep us in check with budgets too. Once you’re into the swing of this new parenting lark, you will realise that there are more items that you simply cannot live without. You won’t know this until the baby is earth-side and understand how your baby works and what their additional needs may be. You’re learning on the job basically.

When it came to this pregnancy we were obviously excited to get organised again. We pulled out the pram and got it cleaned up. Went through all the old furniture, toys and essentials. As there is a 7 year age gap between our two children, some things we had sold, donated to charities or as we sadly found, a lot of the remaining items had actually perished (yes, you read right, we’ve actually had plastic items, electronics and textiles perish) after 5 house moves and their years in storage. Out came the old spreadsheet and we continued to add to it as we remembered all the items we really could have done with in those early weeks/months with Eli. SO many new items have launched since we had Eli in 2012; that will definitely help us and keep our little family unit afloat amongst the newborn chaos that will very soon ensue.

So? Whats this a bout a wishlist then?

WELL, stranger on the internet, I just had to share the secondary helper in all this organisation. Let me introduce you to >>>The Amazon Baby Wishlist.

Firstly, this has been great for us to keep track of what we still need to buy and what we’ve managed to get. Amazon is usually the cheapest place to find items; with the exception of individual retailer sales and promotions. We always cross-check before we buy online. But in general, Amazon.co.uk is our go-to! Its been great for budgeting too.

So? What’s so good about it then?

Well, let me talk you through how it works!

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 // CREATE YOUR WISHLIST

This is mega simple to set up with your details, including potential baby arrival date. You can have a few users who can participate in adding to the wishlist – this is helpful for when James and I are both looking at different items and can easily see what eachother has found. You can also see what has been purchased too (this is great when you’re sharing the wishlist, but I’ll get to that bit shortly).

// ADD ITEMS FROM ANY WEBSITE OR BROWSE THE AMAZON CURATED LISTS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

The curated lists are really helpful, especially for first-time parents!

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// PLANNING ON A BABY SHOWER? OR SIMPLY WANT TO SHARE YOUR LIST?

This is a great, great tool! You can easily share the link of your wishlist with friends and family so they know *exactly* what you would like, or in our case, exactly what we NEED. This also means you’re not getting duplicate items from well-meaning gift-givers or items that you really don’t need or have the space for! Thus saving your friends and family time and money too.

 

// FINALLY, ADD ITEMS AS YOU GO AND KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING IN ONE PLACE

As mentioned earlier, this is great for when several users are adding to the list. Again, also useful to see what’s already been purchased – especially when you’ve shared your list with friends and family, so no duplicate items! James has a tendency to delete items from the list once purchased. But there’s no reason why you can’t leave items on the list as the status changes to “Purchased”.

And thats not all!

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FREE WELCOME GIFT
An exciting new gift is released each month, choose one and make it yours.
Claim yours here >

 

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SAVE UP TO 30%

Prepare for baby’s arrival by saving up to 30% on a wide range of baby items.

// Spend £200 to receive 10% off. Use code WISHLIST10

// Spend £500 to receive 15% off. Use code WISHLIST15

// Spend £800 to receive 20% off. Use code WISHLIST20

// Spend £1000 to receive 30% off. Use code WISHLIST30. (Prime members onlY)

 

We managed to take advantage of the 20% code above – it worked out so well – especially as we had been given gift cards too. We managed to get £800+ worth of items for £360 in the end! There are several terms and conditions to being able to take full advantage of the codes above however – so make sure you read all the details here. Our main issue when trying to checkout was the delivery, oddly. For this promotion to apply, you need to make sure you select the same delivery option for all items being shipped, for example, all items must be dispatched to you using FREE delivery or all PRIME etc.

Head to the Baby Store on Amazon.co.uk to get started! You’ll find the ‘Add to Baby Wishlist‘ button on each product page, in the right hand navigation, as I’ve highlighted for you below:

If you’re pregnant or know someone who is, please share this blog post with them. It’s honestly been so much quicker, easier and CHEAPER for us using this Amazon Baby Wishlist this time!

C
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For clarity, this is not a sponsored or paid post – but does contain Affiliate links.

I only shout about items that I genuinely believe in however, so be safe in the knowledge that I’m in love with this Baby Wishlist tool!

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PREGNANCY & ME // THE HOSPITAL BAG

So last time I packed my hospital bag for labour, I packed WAY TOO MUCH. We ended up taking a medium sized suitcase, a bag for me, the changing bag, a bag for James AND a bag full of food and drinks and snacks. We didn’t even open the suitcase during labour and James could have done without a bag, I could have done without a bag and I’m SO GLAD we have a PROPER changing bag* this time around (its mega organised).

*Kindly #gifted by the wonder women at Tiba + Marl

If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can see a bit of that nonsense here >>> I’VE FINALLY DONE IT! HOSPITAL BAG(S) ARE PACKED!

Don’t get me wrong, you do NEED to take a lot of STUFF into hospital with you, if thats where you’re choosing to birth your baby, of course! If you’re opting for a home-birth, then:

  1. I envy you (!!)
  2. You will have everything you need at your immediate disposal…
  3. …although, some of the below items may still be useful for home birth – and could be useful to have packed incase of a hospital transfer too.

So here we go, a list for the Mama, a list for the Baba and a list for your birth partner – plus a list of things that are good to have sorted and at hand for when the time comes. I’ll add in links for you to quick shop where possible too!

 


FOR ME //

To have packed in suitcase //

Hynobirthing essentials //

**DO NOT USE CLARY SAGE OIL BEFORE 37 WEEKS OF PREGNANCY.

Other items for consideration //

  • Your pillow from home
  • Pregnancy pillow
  • Socks with grip – some women get cold feet during labour
  • Music / CD’s
  • A treat for the Midwives for afterwards
  • Plastic water jug – can be helpful for easing the pain of your first toilet trips afterwards
  • Birth ball – if your hospital doesn’t supply them
  • TENS Machine – if you plan on using one
  • Make-up if you’re that way inclined
  • Small pack of Dettol wipes – if you’re concerned about cleanliness post-birth
  • Hot water bottle – to help ease back pain

 

A few ideas for food, drinks, snacks //

  • Eat little & often!
  • Pack your favourite snacks that are easy to chew down and won’t wilt in the heat of the hospital – items of high energy are what you need!
  • Cereal bars
  • Bananas
  • Frozen drinks – it’s quite hot on the wards,  a frozen drink will melt slowly, so will be much nicer than warm bottled water!
  • Bottles of water / Isotonic drinks – avoid fizzy drinks!
  • Glucose tablets
  • Bendy straws/a sports bottle/bottle with straw – useful for drinking at any angle!
  • Peppermint teabags – useful for trapped wind and cramps afterwards

 

 

FOR JAmes //

  • Clean clothing for James, my birth partner
  • Food, snacks, drinks
  • Toiletries – Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Skincare items / wipes
  • Car Seatwe’ve gone for another MAXI COSI car seat this time as we loved the security of the one we had for Eli, but the laws have all changed since he was a newborn. Just a reminder that many NHS trusts will not allow the baby to leave the department WITHOUT proof of a car seat for safety reasons.

To have ready to hand //

  • Birth preferences
  • Maternity notes
  • Cash for car park
  • Pen & Paper – just incase you need to leave a note in a hurry
  • Cash for payphone – there might not be signal. The battery might go on your phone!
  • List of important phone numbers on paper
  • In the lead-up to your ‘due window’, ensure you have enough fuel in the car
  • Headphones & Eye Mask for the journey to the hospital

 

FOR BABY BRISTON-HILL //

Is there anything I’m missing from above, that might prove absolutely essential for you during labour or afterwards? Comment below or send me a message and I’ll get it added in!

For ease – you can check my most favourite essentials out via the SHOP, here>>> HOSPITAL BAG

C
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For clarity, this is not a sponsored or paid post – but does contain some Affiliate links. I was also kindly #gifted a few items, as highlighted above – this was not in exchange for payment or a post. They’re just damn lovely and generous women!

I only shout about items that I genuinely believe in however, so be safe in the knowledge that I’m in love with these essential baby items!

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NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE // LEGO: BUILD TO GIVE

LEGO // BUILD TO GIVE

Help make this festive period brighter for 500,000 children around the world.

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know, we’re a LEGO family.  Like, not just a family who has a son who LIVES FOR LEGO (which we are)… but a family who all love to join in with the brick-making too. Just this weekend I completed four LEGO builds – and refused to let Eli play with any of them until I had managed to fully complete the set of four. Yep, I’m THAT Mum.  For me, I find LEGO therapeutic. It works as cathartically as writing or reading does. I find solace in LEGO.  Perhaps this is also why it has the power to hold Eli’s concentration for so long too.

Eli lives for LEGO.

Take today for example, its Children in Need (BBC Appeal Day, 2018), and the theme at Eli’s school was “Do Your Thing” (dress as someone you aspire to be/something you’d like to be). Eli chose to be a LEGO MASTER BUILDER. OF COURSE HE DID! There ain’t no costume for that, I so engineered this one myself (if you want a DIY post on this, do let me know).

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, child and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image may contain: people standing

 

Eli builds the most interesting, engineeringly brilliant and clever creations. Just like  how I am with cooking; Eli rarely likes to stick to the instructions… he prefers for his own imagination to take full focus. It’s been a real education for him – especially as he was born with several conditions; LEGO has potentially helped with his fine & gross motor skills, as well as encouraging role play and story telling. We’ve seen first hand how powerful a “toy” LEGO really can be for a child. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you an AMAZING initiative that LEGO have set up.

This festive season, the most awesome gift you can give is the gift of play.  Visit a LEGO Store between now  and 9th December or use your LEGO Bricks at home to build a holiday ornament. Display it in-store, in LEGO Life (on the app) or share online with #BuildToGive. For every ornament built and shared, LEGO will donate a LEGO set to a child in need of play. Now how good is that? And so simple too. I know a lot of you will have LEGO at home, so lets get building and sharing!

LEGO Life

If you have budding builders at home, they can join #BuildToGive in LEGO Life by building a Christmas decoration at home, uploading and sharing it in the app

Help LEGO reach THEIR goal!

By participating in #BuildToGive you can help LEGO reach their goal of giving 500,000 children the chance to play this Christmas.

 

HERE IS A QUICK EXAMPLE OF A SIMPLE FESTIVE HEART ORNAMENT that I MADE

 

FIND OUT MORE

Find out more about the Build To Give initiative, including  building instructions to give you a quick-start, by heading to LEGO.com or click here.

 

 


Legal disclaimer: *In connection with the #BuildToGive 2018 Holiday Campaign, the LEGO® Group will donate one LEGO set to charity for every #BuildToGive ornament that is built either at home with LEGO Bricks and shared on social media with #BuildToGive or in a LEGO Retail Store. Children under the age of 13 must obtain parent’s permission to post to social media. Total donation not to exceed 500,000 LEGO sets with a total value of 5,000,000 USD. No purchase necessary.

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MONKEY // IS MISSING IN TRANSIT

THIS IS A PLEA ON BEHALF OF ELI HILL.

This time last week was our final day in Billericay, and subsequently, the last day we saw Monkey. During the commotion of saying goodbye, along with poor Eli being weighed down with, what can only be described as “everything bar the kitchen sink”, Monkey was set down in his classroom as he handed out treats to his fellow classmates and we then dashed off on our journey straight up to Manchester.

By the time we realised he was MIA, it was too late and the school had closed for the day. Eli put on a brave face and cuddled me in the hotel that night, instead of his beloved pal, Monkey.

The next day a member of school staff kindly posted Monkey back to us (last Thursday) via Royal Mail (somewhere in #Billericay, though exact location is TBC). This is the last known sighting of Monkey. To say we’re devastated that he hasn’t (YET) turned up is an understatement. Eli and I are basically sat in the front window, every day, waiting for his return. I keep telling Eli that Monkey is having a lovely time, on his jollies, building sandcastles, having some “me time”, before he joins us in our new Mancunian family home…

Monkey has been there every single day for Eli (and sometimes, for me and @jameshill.tv too!). He was given to Eli by our wonderful friend @goshb many moons ago. Since then Monkey has been to there to cuddle Eli through the night when we couldn’t, when Eli had one of his many hospital appointments, he’s been there through FOUR house moves – including one to Berlin and back. He was there for Eli on his first day of nursery and on his last day at school. He was there through the vaccinations, chickenpox and the wedding’s and the birthday’s and the halloween’s and at the table with us on Christmas Day and not forgetting the crazy car journey’s we all enjoy. Monkey has played in the snow and on the beach, at the museum and at the park. He’s seen the loveliest sunsets and fireworks. They had picnic’s and parties. Through the tough time and the fun times. Monkey was always the one who could fix it, make everything ok. Even when Eli dressed him up in his undercrackers and socks, Monkey never once complained.

We know Monkey is of the @jellycat variety – we’re not sure which ‘design’, but we do know that its now retired. We’re facing the stark reality that the ‘original’ Monkey may not turn up (Royal Mail, SHAME ON YOU, if he doesn’t). I have tried contacting our local Royal Mail depot, but unfortunately I can’t get past the automated robot as I don’t have tracking… and apparently,  they cannot look for specific parcels in your depot without the tracking either.

So here is the plea.

Do you or someone you know have this EXACT monkey? We’re more than happy to purchase, we just want Eli to have his friend back by his side – its bee an especially hard week for him, considering the move from Essex to Manchester without any real-life pal’s yet.

We can’t believe we’ve managed to leave him and hopefully he is *just* delayed in transit, but if not, please do help. If your child has lost something that they find pure comfort and love in, then you’ll understand. Eli is heartbroken (as am I).

PLEASE SHARE – #GetMonkeyBackToEli

Thank you for reading
C

xxxx

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Brand in Focus | Cult of Youth.

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I first came across CULT of YOUTH on Instagram last year…  And it wasn’t long before I could see how utterly incredible Kelly, (founder) really is. She is the ultimate #MumBoss. An amazing Mama, juggling her gorgeous-chops little boy between everything life throws at you and this wicked jewellery business. She’s a total mega babe who is 110% dedicated; with her passion and frank honesty pouring out through her day-to-day postings. (Kelly generally responds to emails and comments with her son on her lap or in the middle of the night – quite likely both scenario’s at the same time (having received just a few 2am emails from her myself!). I literally have no idea how she’s doing it… I’m pretty sure she’s made of magic?!).

Kelly makes all her jewels by hand – the majority made to order – back in England. When Eli was Elvis’ age, I could barely make it to to the shops… (see, told you she was made of magic!) Not only does this mean that each piece is made with her love and care, it also makes her jewels extra special. (Yours  probably has might have even been made with a little added midnight magic too).

I instantly fell in love with the ace of base MOTHER necklace…

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…and then one day this beautifully wrapped (and ever so slightly psychedelic) parcel arrived on my desk in Berlin. My necklace hasn’t left my neck since (well, I will point out – it does come off for showers and bedtime – she’d probably slap my wrists otherwise).

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CULT of YOUTH, may well be famous for the signature #MAMAChain (now available with added skulls, ‘cos you know, us Mum’s do enjoy Rocking and Rolling still), but do check out Kelly’s other products too as they’re proper good – from personalised slogan necklaces to dainty initial pendants in Gold, Silver and Rose Gold. Gift wrap is also available now, making your jewels fit for a magpie’s nest from the get go; whether it’s a surprise for your loved one, or a well earned treat for yourself.

Basically, I’m really very proud to be a Mama / Mother / Mummy / Mammy / Mum / Mam / Mummy Dinosaur. Being a parent is a daily struggle – and we’re all in it together, one way or another. Wearing a statement necklace, made by a Mama, who went through a struggle to present it to you, is so exceptional I can’t even get it into words. It’s admirable and inspiring and everything inbetween. As a real human being, Kelly is one of the most honest Mum’s I’ve come across. Her raw emotion hits every nerve within me. So truthful and so eloquent. From Mother to Mother, the Sisterhood is real.

All the loves Kelly – keep doing what you’re doing pet, you’re bloody amazing!

Shop all CULT of YOUTH products: Click Here

MM.

—-

CULT of YOUTH was created early Autumn 2011 by head designer, London trained silversmith Kelly Seymour. Forged out of chaos in a Hackney warehouse, the first collection of heavy cross chokers and silk bound animal bones launched at London Fashion Weekend that autumn. Two years at Portobello market followed which led to meeting head accessories buyer at Urban Outfitters with three subsequent seasons in stores including Oxford Circus, Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Berlin.

 

*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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Belle & Boo | Birthday Badge Cards.

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Mr Eli recently turned 2… and it wouldn’t have been an occasion without Belle & Boo would it!
I love Belle and Boo; you can read my previous Belle & Boo posts below>
Mr Eli’s 1st Birthday!
BRAND IN FOCUS | Belle & Boo.
Belle & Boo | Very Merry Christmas (book).

Belle & Boo recently launched their “Badge Cards” collection – a range of 8 number cards for lovely little girls and boys, complete with birth-age badge. You can shop the new collection here> Badge Cards.

Sadly, at the minute there are only 3 ages for boy’s, but I’m sure Belle & Boo will have a great response to the cards and will hopefully extend the range. The “Ellis & Easy” badge card we bought for Eli is so charming and playful. We’re big aeroplane fan’s in our house, so this card was perfect for Eli (who will also be going on a plane for the first time very soon too!). What’s more, the badge is a safety badge, so you can let your little one show off their big age without the worry of them being covered in pin-pricks!

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We love this card so much that I will be framing it and adding it to the growing collection of prints he has in his bedroom – it will fit in just nicely!

MM.

 

xx

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Mr Eli turns 2!

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I can hardly believe it. Our darling little boy turned 2 on Wednesday!

We had a wonderful day celebrating. We started off our day at 5:30am, (as we do most days!), we had lovely cuddles in bed before heading downstairs. We’d set the living room up the night before, ready for Eli to pounce bright and early the next day. We sauntered down the stairs and said a big “1, 2 3… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” as Eli entered the room. He stood completely still, mouth gaping, in utter shock! It was amazing. We must have stood there for a minute before he gathered that all these bright and exciting presents were actually for him! It was so sweet. He spent the entire morning overwhelmed, not quite sure where to look or where to run to next. It was amazing to see him opening presents this year, and even better when he realised what was actually beneath the wrapping paper. Just the best feeling in the world – I could have watched him all day,  as he was just enjoying EVERYTHING. He even blew out his candles himself this year! (I spent the day previous baking his cake – never have I ever been so stressed in the kitchen in all my life! Blog post on the cake to follow)

We went off to the Big Smoke a little later than anticipated due to the present-opening overload. The weather forecast was torrential rain for the day… but it was bright when we got to London Zoo; and swelteringly hot by mid-afternoon. We went to Colchester Zoo for Eli’s 1st birthday last year… think we may make a Zoo visit it an annual thing for Eli’s birthday as he absolutely LOVES the animals! To the extent that he cried when we would leave a section of the zoo to move onto the next area! His highlights were definitely the giraffe’s, hyena’s, goat’s (!!!) and all the different monkey’s (takes one to know one!).

We had a very full day at the zoo and Eli had TWO naps! TWO! We had a not-so-good experience at Strada in Camden and headed home – we didn’t get in until 10:30pm! Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!

Eli is the happiest little boy who loves adventure’s. It’s incredible seeing him grow – I never thought we’d actually be able to see it happening before our very eyes, but he is developing every single day. He completed our lives he arrived on 6th August 2012 and we couldn’t be prouder parents. Eli is quite literally magic.

Our precious boy, always ask questions – always be curious. We love you to the moon and the stars and back!

Here are some snaps from Eli’s 2nd birthday celebrations!

#MrEliTurns2

MM.

x

#MrEliTurns2

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So there we have it. As of 21.43 on 6th August, we have our very own 2 year old human!