Whenever I hear a friend announce their pregnancy, I get so excited for them especially if it’s their first. Although these days most of my friends are on their second or third ones and even fourth ones (what are they thinking 😉 When you’ve had more than one kid, the chances are that you have more than enough clothes, toys and all the other baby paraphernalia you can possibly need. So when it comes to newborn gift ideas for these babies, I like to try and think outside the box. I recently came across Ma Premiere Box and thought it was such a sweet little idea especially for those babies who have everything.
Ma Premiere Box is a ready made gift box that comes in two sizes – small or large. The small box contains an adorable stuffed toy, a security blanket, a notebook, some badges and a funny postcard. The larger box has all this plus scented water and a tote bag. This is all beautifully packaged in a cute keepsake box. And there’s a boy version and a girl version. I love that the box is just as much for the parents as it is for the new baby and I also love that you can be sure that your gift will be unique and fun even for a baby who has everything. It’s also a great present to give from a group of colleagues or friends of the expectant mother. Next time a friend announces their 2nd, 3rd or 4th child, I know what newborn gift I’ll be giving.
When I was a kid, I remember visiting London for a holiday and my parents took me and my brother to Hamley’s toy store for the first time. It was like a dream come true. We were small, wide-eyed kids who couldn’t quite believe a shop like this existed. We had only ever been to small toy shops before, so to see this kind of scale was almost too much for us. Everywhere I turned, there were toys and games that went from floor to ceiling or so it seemed to me. Toys that I could touch and feel and smell! We weren’t allowed to buy much – we were each given a small budget but that didn’t matter. It was the looking, the exploring, the touching and the just being there that was the best part. I also think it would have been quite boring if we had unlimited budgets because where’s the fun in being able to buy everything.
Sometimes I think back on that experience and wish that all the brands I love for kids would be under one roof. These days I am much more in to the non-mainstream stuff which can sometimes be hard to find and almost impossible to find under one roof. While I keep dreaming about this fantasy shop that will probably never exist, I’ve discovered a virtual place that comes pretty close. It’s called Little Flea and it’s a one-stop place to discover some of the best boutiques for babies and kids.
If, like me, you like to look beyond the mainstream and seek out something that little bit more beautiful or unique for your kids then Little Flea is the place to go to. You’ll find familiar favourites like Bobo Choses and of course my very own ebabee shop too 😉 but you’ll also discover some very cool new lines like Little Indians (love them) and Magnus & Mouse. Little Flea isn’t a shop but the owner Anna carefully hand-picks and features gorgeous stuff for babies and kids which otherwise would be very hard to find. So it’s a great place to browse, discover and get inspired.
A little business tip – if you have a stylish small business or shop for kids then you too can get in touch with Anna and ask to be featured on her site. Anna is very helpful and approachable and loves the brands and products she features.
I’ve been thinking about doing some interviews for a while. But I didn’t want to just chat about products or brands, I wanted it to be something more than that. I wanted get to know the person behind any venture and to talk to people who were truly inspiring and could teach us all something. Then it came to me – I would interview people who have overcome something to get to where they are. Simple as this may sound – it’s not. Once you read the the interview below you will know what I mean.
If you have ever found yourself wallowing in self pity over the smallest or even big things (I know I do) then this interview will really inspire you. If you find yourself making excuses not to do something because of your circumstances, then just keep reading because anything can be overcome – it’s all about the attitude. It’s about accepting the situation and making the best of it no matter how bad. And in this instance, out of sheer determination despite such a massive struggle, was born a gorgeous baby clothing brand. More about that below.
Meet Allison Tovey who is the founder and designer at Asolon – a beautiful baby clothing and baby gift brand.
Tell us a few words about you? I’m Allison, a one-handed New Zealand designer whose mind never sleeps!
What has been your biggest struggle so far? When I was 25, thinking about quitting my full time job and working full time on my own womenswear brand, I had a major stroke. After surgery and four weeks in a coma I woke up to find my speech missing and my right side paralyzed. I spent another six months in hospital learning to speak, learning to walk and learning to function without the use of my dominant arm. After five years of countless physio, OT and speech sessions and all the rehab tools in the world – I’m back running my own business, doing what I love but in a different way to what I expected six years ago. Now I still walk with a stick, my right arm and hand are not functional but I’m still working on my rehab. I have a quote on my desk to keep me on track – ‘anyone can be cool, but awesome takes practice’.
Where and how did you find the strength and determination to carry on? People ask me this all the time and I have yet to come up with a strong answer! Before my stroke I was a very independent, determined person. Then when I had my stroke and came out of my coma I wanted to know how I could get back to my old self. I couldn’t hold on to the ‘what if’s’ and ‘poor me’ – I just had to get on with life and deal with whatever came my way. I was determined not to let my stroke define me and I just accepted it as part of my journey.
A lot of people in your situation would have given up. Did you ever feel like giving up? And how did you pull yourself out of those dark moments? As most people do, in the beginning I had my pity parties especially when I wasn’t able to do the normal things that other people don’t realise they do all the time (e.g. communicate) – it was a real emotional roller coaster. I would cry with frustration but luckily I had my extremely understanding father and boyfriend (now husband) at my side to bring me back to reality and help guide me back on my path.
Tell us about Asolon, your baby and kids clothing label?
Asolon is a baby clothing and baby gift brand selling mainly baby bodysuits, sleepwear, tops and baby gift sets. I design and create the entire range which is all about classic styling with a strong focus on quality. Every piece is individually hand-crafted using natural fabrics – NZ Merino wool, organic cotton and cotton. Perhaps most importantly, a great deal of love and care has gone in to making my garments so I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.
So many kids clothes designers say their inspiration came from their kids. I know you don’t have any kids (yet) so how come you chose to design a baby and kids clothing range? My stroke affected every part of my physical body but my creative brain was still intact. I’m not good at having nothing to do, so when I finally got home from hospital my dad got me a shiny new Mac with all the design software and I spent all my time learning to draw and design again without using my right arm. This became my rehab tool!
Soon after I was invited to a baby shower. I was still very much a shell of my old self and finding it extremely hard to communicate but I wanted to show my friends that deep down I was still the same creative person I had always been. This led to me creating my first handmade gift set ‘The Hare and The Tortoise’ and with that Asolon was re-born. As my recovery has progressed and my skills have developed my range has expanded more and more in to what you see today.
As creatives we are always looking for new ideas and ways to make them a reality. Tell us us how you look for inspiration and how do you turn that in to a piece of clothing? So many inspirations, but I guess my main inspiration for Asolon is fabric. The feel, handling it, colour and the limitless items these fabric could become! My mum was a seamstress and ever since I can remember we were always found in material shops dreaming of what we could make that weekend. As you have probably guessed now I’m a fabric hoarder! Merino is my favourite fabric to work with – simple and natural but it’s a super fabric. I can’t understand why everybody doesn’t dress their baby in merino!
What’s the best part of running a small business? In my case, the best part of running a small business is that I can have a life of flexibility. My business can fit around my life, especially my rehab.
The world of kids clothing is incredible. There is so much beautiful choice out there for any budget and taste. Apart from your own, who are your favourite kids clothing designers? High-end and high-street? There’s so many great brands that I love – Gray Label, Moi, Mini Rodini, Oeuf… the list goes on!
What’s your best piece of advice to anyone who has suffered a really big setback in life? A cliché I know but ‘your past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased; it can only be accepted’ – you have to move on and make the best of what you have today!
Would you change your past if you could? Normally people would say ‘I would change nothing’ but I would say if I was to go back in time I would STRESS LESS!
What’s next for you – both professionally and personally? All though my recovery I had to learn to do everything in a different way than I had always known so I have started a blog of my creative adventures from a one handed person’s point of view. It’s called one handed crafter. Hopefully I can inspire other young people who may be in the same or similar position and show them that you can have a creative life even if you are one handed (or indeed have any other struggles). And as for Asolon the opportunities are endless, watch this space!
Thank you Allison for sharing your incredible and truly inspiring story with us. It really puts things in perspective, at least for me. They often say ‘where there is a will, there is a way’ and Allison has shown us just how true that is. What I loved most about getting to know Allison was the incredible lack of self pity – there was not a hint of it. As she explains, you have to get that out of the way quickly and look forward to making the most of what you do have. So she has completely accepted her fate and despite her big setbacks has achieved her goals. Do take a look at the gorgeous baby clothes that Allison makes – very classic, very practical and very stylish. There are lots of stripes in the collection but also some brighter pieces that perfectly compliment the stripes. Some of my favourites include the deer print leggings and the orange poppy print ones.
P.S. If you have a story of overcoming a set-back (of any kind) and would like to share it, please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you (only requirements are that you are a parent with or without a business but if not you have a baby/kids related business). You can get in touch privately through the contact page or send me a private facebook message and we can chat more to see if it’s something you would like to share.
Once in a while a new line of baby clothing comes along that literally takes my breath away. It makes me wish for another baby simply because the clothes are that beautiful. This is one of those times. Brand new from California is Rylee & Cru created and designed by Kelli Murray who is mum to Rylee and Cru and an artist/designer. I have come across Kelli’s work before and have admired her simple, understated style that really stood out for me. The same style is now on these clothes – that swan print onesie, or the bunny print one – how beautiful are they? Playful and cute for babies yet so sophisticated to appeal to parents too. All the prints are hand illustrated or painted by Kelli and the subtle colour palette makes a beautiful backdrop for these drawings. I love the off-white, grey and blush tones in the collection – in fact I love it all. If only I had a baby to put it on… sigh!
Cute doesn’t even begin to describe these adorable knitted wellie booties for babies – I’m dying of cute overload here! These baby booties are a tribute to the cool Aigle wellington boots for kids. We are big fans of Aigle boots here and Anya even has a pair. The design of using bold colours with simple stripes is classy and stylish. And then this – a mini hand-knitted version for babies. Too cute. These baby booties would make such a fun and unusual gift for a new mum and would keep those little toes nice and toasty in the coming Winter months. I’m totally in love with the yellow ones for baby boy or girl.
Once in a while a new baby clothing brand comes along that grabs my attention. Piupia did just that. All babies need essentials like bodysuits, leggings and blankets but just because they’re essentials it doesn’t mean they have to be boring. With this collection you have fun and playful clothes that are nearly all unisex. That means no baby pinks and baby blues but instead more unusual colours like ginger, mint, light grey and dark blue that are all ideal for baby boy or girl. This cute collection is mostly themed around animals in the deep dark woods with fur inspired prints and animal faces adorning many of the 100% organic baby clothes.
When I saw the collection, I loved the cute and playful feel of the clothes so I partnered with Piupia to giveaway my favourite pieces to one lucky reader. I like all the clothes but my favourites are the adorable spotty jumper (love this), the animal face bodysuits and the fur print leggings so one lucky reader gets to win all three pieces in the colour and size of their choice. The sizes go from 0 to 2 years so the clothes are ideal Winter wardrobe additions for your baby or even as a gift for an expectant mum.
Even if you don’t win, I recommend checking out Piupia’s organic baby clothes as they are really sweet and designed with love by a mama who has a passion for clothes and fabrics. In addition to the range shown here, there are also soft baby blankets, onesies, booties and more. Besides, wouldn’t they make lovely gifts especially with Christmas coming up?
The giveaway:The winner picked at random will win 1 bodysuit, 1 jumper and 1 pair of leggings valued at £90.50. The winner can choose the size and the colour from the range available at Piupia.
To enter:Simply like ebabee and Piupia on Facebook and then leave a comment below to say you have done so. If you already like the pages, then just leave a comment. All 3 things are needed.
One entry per person and this competition is open to all my readers worldwide. The competition closes at midnight (UK time) on Sunday 28th September 2014. Any entries after this time will not be counted. The winner will be announced on this post and on my ebabee facebook page on Tuesday 30th September. Good luck!
This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Petra who is the winner!
How cute are these black and white baby grows, shorts and tees? A limited edition collection, I’m loving the prints especially the anchor print. All the prints are hand drawn and then printed on to the softest cotton. I’m all for simple style when it comes to dressing babies and these black and white baby grow suits and nappy shorts are nothing if not stylish.
I remember the crazy buying I did before Anya was born. I bought way too much because somebody somewhere convinced me that I absolutely needed it. Of course I never ended up using a lot of the things but at the time I didn’t know any better. Recently I came across the Finnish concept of all expectant mums receiving a baby ‘starter pack’ and I thought it was such a sweet and practical idea. The State sends all mums to be a cardboard box filled with baby essentials like bodysuits, sleeping bags, bathing products, bedding and more. Once emptied, the cardboard box with a supplied mattress becomes the baby’s first bed. Isn’t that a lovely custom and so helpful for a new mum?
Almondella (a new-ish Finnish brand) has taken this concept and created a range of beautiful boxes to suit various ages from newborn to 3 years old. Depending on the age and sex of the baby, Almondella put together a box with stylish toys, clothes, books, bathing products and more. I think this is such a lovely idea so I’ve joined hands with Almondella to giveaway one box of goodies to one lucky reader. The winner’s box will be tailored to their childs age and sex and will be full of the cutest goodies as you can see from the pictures.
Most of Almondella’s products come from small, independent Scandinavian brands which offer beautiful design and products that are practical and built to last. You can order these boxes on a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription which will be delivered to your door or they also have one off gift boxes. The idea of getting a beautiful little package for your baby tailored to their developmental and physical needs is lovely. Much like the Finnish State concept, it takes the hassle out of buying and choosing. These gorgeous boxes of goodies also make a wonderful gift especially for a new mum.
The giveaway:One lucky winner will receive one Almondella gift box that has been put together specially for them based on their babies age and sex.
To enter:Simply leave a comment below with your babies age and sex.
One entry per person and this competition is open to all my readers worldwide – yay! The competition closes at midnight (UK time) on Sunday 25th May 2014. Any entries after this time will not be counted. The winner will be announced on this post and on my facebookpage on Tuesday 27th May 2014.
This giveaway is now closed. The winner is Maxine. Congrats Maxine!
In India, we have a tradition of giving out something sweet to family and friends when a baby is born. Traditionally, typical Indian sweets were handed out but these days anything sweet is fine. When Anya was born I gave out small boxes of these chocolates and so many people were surprised and delighted since this isn’t something that happens in the UK. I love this ‘sweet’ Indian tradition but equally I like the American one of sending a birth announcement which is becoming popular here too. A new baby is such a special occasion that it should be marked in some way and sending cards that you can touch and hold is so much nicer than emails or texts. It’s even better if you can find a moment to add a personal hand-written note on each card.
If you’re lucky enough to have design skills or a designer friend you could have a birth announcement card made especially for you. If not, these letterpress cards by Ink + Wit are beautiful. Simple, elegant and classy, all the cards can be customised too. In addition to the paper cards, Tara the designer, also creates wooden cards (1st picture) which become an instant keepsake.
Does your country have a special tradition to celebrate a birth? I’d love to hear in the comments…
With a nearly 5 year old, Zara mini has long been out of my life. Last week I popped in there for old times sake and and I realised how much I miss it. I remember finding some of the cutest baby outfits there and for me they’ve still got the sweetest little baby clothes that I’ve seen on the high street. Even though I can’t shop at Zara Minianymore, I can’t resist checking them out once in a while.
Ebabee Likes is a style guide for babies, young kids and their mamas. It’s all about inspiration, ideas and indulging yourself and your brood. It’s written by me ~ Nomita ~ a style loving girl from Mumbai who now live’s in London. Read More...