I don’t think a home can ever have too many cushions. I’m a huge fan of cushions for bedrooms, living rooms and of course kids rooms. The more, the better. I went looking for some playful animal pillows/cushions that double up as cuddly toys too. So when they’re not decorating your home, they can be played with.
This collection of kids animal pillows are all so cute and stylish too, so while they’re ideal for a kids room, it would be fun to have one or two dotted around the living room to add a playful touch. I’m loving that quirky winking cat for my living room!
The adorable raccoon and bear socks in my ebabee shop have been a huge hit. They are the cutest, quirkiest things and look so cool on chubby little legs. But today it’s the turn of the adults. I have some quirky adult socks that I am giving away. So if you’re one of those people who like to wear your colourful socks and curl up on the sofa or in front of the fire, this is for you. These fun socks are by none other than Donna Wilson and I am giving away two pairs – a his and hers. And even if not for you, with the festive season coming up, these Donna Wilson socks would make fun gifts for someone. To enter the giveaway read on.
I have been a huge fan of all things Donna Wilson for a long time. If you already know Donna Wilson, you’ll know that her designs are always colourful and playful. The designs are just as much for adults as they are for kids which is what I love about her creations. So I wanted to share some of my favourite pieces from her gorgeous new AW collections. How cool is that women’s bear shawl? It’s a super cute shawl but I also love it as a rug or a throw on a kids bed. And the new melamine plates and bowls are really quirky too like that hungry wolf tray which I love for adding a bit of fun to my kitchen. Now back to the giveaway.
THE GIVEAWAY: One lucky reader will win two pairs of adult sized Donna Wilson socks. One pair for her and one pair for him. The winner will receive the women’s flower socks (fits UK shoe size 4-7) and the men’s mountain bike socks (fits UK shoe size 7-11). To enter simply leave a comment on this post and you can also follow my facebook page to stay in the loop. The giveaway closes on Monday 5th October at midnight (UK time). Any entries after this time will not be counted. Sorry, this giveaway is open to UK readers only.
This giveaway is now CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who entered. The winner is Lisa Hilton – congrats Lisa!
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.
How can anybody not get excited looking at beautiful, monochrome, minimal kids room decor like this or is it just me? Do kids really need to have colour in their lives 😉 This stuff is so playful for a small child’s room yet stylish enough for them to hold on to for years. What’s not to love?! Here’s where you’ll find it all:
Animal themed decorations are so lovely for a kids room. Even if you don’t go for the whole hog animal theme, a few touches here and there are so fun. Of course you can choose colourful versions of animal decorations but I’m in love with these kind of natural tones for a nursery or kids room. I know some people think brown/beige/sand type colours are boring for a kids room but just look at these decorations – nothing boring here. All of these would look great in any colour scheme but I love the idea of combining lots of white with natural tones like these.
If you read my first inspiring stories interview then you’ll know what these interviews are all about. Today it’s time to meet another incredibly inspiring lady who is also a mum. Everybody has setbacks in life – some have bigger setbacks some have smaller – but we all have them. It’s not these setbacks that define us but how we deal with them. So I hope to share stories that will inspire us all and help us to realise that no matter what, we can achieve those dreams and goals. In today’s story, despite numerous delays, setbacks and medical problems, a gorgeous handmade teddy bear brand was created and launched.
Meet Rachel Beasely who is the founder and designer behind Bear Good – a range of traditional teddy bears made in England that are given a contemporary twist. But Bear Good isn’t just about the bears, it’s also about doing good. Read on to find out more about these bears and about Rachel’s story of sheer determination.
Tell us a few words about you? I’m a mum of two – a 3 year old girl and an 11 month old boy – who are both the apples of my eyes! I’m originally from Yorkshire but have been in London for almost 15 years. I used to be in advertising and marketing but then took the leap in to entrepreneurship and tried a few different things. In 2012 I had the idea for Bear Good and the rest is history as they say. A pet hate of mine is noisy eaters – I can’t sit next to them as it drives me nuts! Only adults though, I don’t mind kids eating noisily which is a bit strange!
What has been your biggest struggle so far? Getting my business launched! You have a plan in your head but then things happen that you have no control over. I planned to launch in February 2014 but the products were late so I had to delay. I was also pregnant with my second child and due to deliver very soon. Unfortunately my obstetrician didn’t listen to me about my past medical history and gave me some incorrect advice which resulted in a traumatic birth leaving me with severe back problems. On good days I experienced pain but on bad days I couldn’t even get out of bed. I learned to cope with this as there was no choice.
Things got progressively worse with with my back throughout the Summer of 2014 but I wanted to focus on the positives in my life like becoming a mum for the second time and enjoying my son. I knew I couldn’t give the business all the time it deserved but I tried to look at what I could do. I decided I could slowly build the website myself just to keep things moving and planned a soft launch just before Christmas 2014. However on December 1st my back finally gave way. One minute I was stood up and the next I was on the floor.
The next few weeks are a bit of a haze! On December 19th, the day before my birthday, I was wheeled in to hospital for an injection in my back. A few hours later I was wheeled out the same way as the injection hadn’t worked. I had another in early January which enabled me to shuffle along. But then I had an operation on my back on 16th January and the change was amazing – the following morning I was sat up in a chair having a cup of tea after having been for a short walk!
Where and how did you find the determination to carry on with your plans? Aside from my family, my business was something I could focus on that wasn’t related to my back. And because I had committed to a charity already I didn’t want to let them down. Financially I’d invested a lot too so giving up just wasn’t an option.
A lot of people in your situation would have given up on their dreams. Did you ever feel like giving up? And how did you pull yourself out of those dark moments? Oh yes! I felt like giving up plenty of times! Especially when the pain was unbearable. But I had the love and support of a great family who helped me get through this. My mum practically moved in with us to help keep the house ticking so that my partner didn’t have to worry about the washing and ironing. My partner was my rock. At my lowest points he picked me up and helped me see a future past the pain, past being in bed and running around with the kids again. I had six weeks post-op where I couldn’t pick my baby up and when I did it was wonderful, as was getting my daughter on my knee for a cuddle. I also kept imagining my company being successful and achieving the goals I’d set myself. So I can’t believe it but I launched the website a couple of weeks after the op. Looking back, launching the site then was probably pretty stupid, but I think I just needed to close a chapter and open a new one.
Tell us a bit about Bear Good. What inspired you to make teddy bears? It wasn’t so much about the bears to start with but more the idea of interweaving doing good with a business. We were told that having children would be difficult for us. Following a lot of mountains climbed and hurdles overcome we welcomed our daughter in to the world in 2011. I felt very, very lucky to have been given this gift and I wanted to protect her, nurture her and ultimately give her everything I possibly could. Filled with all the new mum wonderment (and exhaustion!) I started thinking about all the children out there who haven’t got a safe environment to live in, a nurturing loving family, good healthcare and access to quality education. I knew I wanted a shift in direction post-birth, so combining my business and branding background with the urge to do some good at the same time led me to come up with Bear Good. The company has been built on a real commitment to giving, so much so that we give 10% of our sales to the charity and the non-profit we support. This means donating is intrinsically built in to our business model as the charity gets their share come what may, rather than being profit share based.
As creatives we are always looking for new ideas and ways to make them a reality. Tell us how you look for inspiration and how you turn that in to a teddy bear? The teddy bear is the flagship product and my inspiration came from imagery of children carrying a teddy bear. It said to me that there is a whole lot of love from a child to their bear and that’s the kind of love that we want to pass on to the children we are trying to help. I also recognised that to be a bit different we had to look again at design and I opted to go classic where high quality is part and parcel, design is simple and there is somewhat of a legacy created. After all, we are aiming at the gifting market where someone is looking at buying a gift that is incredibly special and meaningful for a special occasion like a birth.
A teddy bear is for life. I wanted to make sure I made bears that would last a lifetime, that a child could have adventures with and it would still be in one piece in years and years to come. Yet I didn’t want them to be old fashioned. So whilst the designs are classic, the fabrics are contemporary like moleskins and corduroy. We wanted to support British manufacturing as much as we could so the fabric has been sourced from a mill in Todmorden, Lancashire. The bear’s t-shirts are all inspired by the American raglan motif t-shirts from the 70’s. Perfect for everyday wear and gifts alike. I love them and would wear them if I could!
I’m really excited to say that every child that has come in to contact with them wants to take them home – the bears have a real personality to them are just waiting for good homes to go to!
What’s the best part of running a small business? As most mums would agree, life with children is busy and non-stop. So the flexibility I have makes life much easier as a family. I also like the fact I can make my own decisions and put my ideas in to action.
The world of soft toys is so incredible these days. There is so much choice out there for any budget and taste. Apart from your own, which soft toy creators do you admire? I adore traditional teddy bears, I love Lucky Boy Sunday softies as the designs are wonderful and I also like Sew Heart Felt puppets. Of course Jellycat has to be in there too – my son and daughter both have different characters whom they love.
What is your best piece of advice for anyone who has suffered big setbacks in life? Don’t beat yourself up if you have to change your plans. If you need time to heal, take it as it will pay back ten-fold in the long run.
Would you change your past if you could? I would have listened to my gut instinct in the hospital as I honestly believe I wouldn’t have been through this if I had. The times when I haven’t listened to my gut instinct are the times when things have gone wrong.
What’s next for you both professionally and personally? Professionally I am aiming to build the Bear Good business quickly to make up for lost time. Personally I am making my back as strong as it can be in the hope that I never have to go under the knife again. On a lighter note I am already planning Christmas 2015 in my head as I missed that, my birthday and the new year last year so I want to make this one really special for my partner and my children.
Thank you Rachel for sharing your inspiring story withus. What I loved most about getting to know Rachel was that giving up was never an option for her. In our chats and messages to each other I got a real sense of sheer determination from Rachel. Nothing would stop her achieving her goals and making her dreams a reality. As Rachel explains, apart from family, it was visualising those very goals and ambitions that kept her going through her darkest days. Giving up may seem like the only way in short term and who would blame you if you did under such circumstances but if you slowly chip away at your goals, they can and will become a reality no matter what life throws at you along the way. Do take a look at Rachel’s gorgeous one of a kind teddy bears that would make a lovely gift for a new baby or an older child especially to mark a special occasion.
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 a blog or business but if not a parent 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.
Are your little girls crazy about the Disney princesses and characters? Anya isn’t obsessed with them (thankfully!) although she does like some of the characters – I don’t know too many little girls who don’t. But I am not a fan of all those plastic dolls and the synthetic, shiny clothes that come along with them. If you feel the same way then you’ll love these adorable alternatives that I recently came across. These Disney inspired princess cushions are colourful and so cute. They’re a great doll substitute and also double up as sweet little decorations when not being played with. The range isn’t very big at the moment but I’m hoping it will grow soon. So next time I get asked for a fairytale princess doll, I shall be opting for one of these no-plastic, natural ones.
With Christmas coming, it’s the perfect time to give. So today it’s another giveaway. This time for a gorgeous handmade doll that would make an adorable Christmas gift. Read on for all the details.
Do you know pink nounou? It’s a little studio in Portugal that makes the cutest handmade dolls and soft toys as well as sweet paper products like notebooks, posters and party invitations. All these goodies are made by Ana who is a mum and a graphic designer. Ana has a very distinctive style that is colourful and playful which is very appealing to kids but also to anyone young at heart. I fell in love with Ana’s creations a long time ago because to put it simply, everything that Ana makes leaves you feeling happy.
Ana kindly sent Anya a doll too and Anya loves it. It’s become her nightly sleeping companion and her daytime ‘friend’ so when I took it away to take pictures there were tears. This doll is called Amelia and each one is different. Different fabrics are used for the top and the bottom half of the doll to keep the dolls unique. The doll has no loose bits so it’s not only great for little girls but for younger kids too and would make a lovely Christmas gift.
The prize:The winner picked at random will win one Amelia doll. The colour of the doll will be different from the one pictured as each doll is handmade and unique.
To enter:Simply visit the ebabee shop and Pink Nounou and sign up to both the newsletters. Then come back here and leave a comment below saying that you have done so. Your entry is only valid when all steps are completed. (Remember sometimes newsletter sign-up confirmation emails can go in your spam folder so do check there too)
One entry per person and this competition is open to all my readers worldwide. – YAY! The competition closes at midnight (UK time) on Tuesday 25th November 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 Thursday 27th November. Good luck!
UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. The winner is Alexandra. Congrats Alexandra!
Something very cute for you today. Soft toys have become quite an obsession in this house of late. Anya cannot go to bed without at least five to accompany her. There’s often hardly any space left on the bed for her! And each week her bed companions change so that ‘nobody feels left out’! I like the reasoning of a five year old mind.
With her birthday and Christmas being very close to each other, it always means I have to plan for more than one set of gifts to give her (if you can help it, never have a December baby). Right now I’m thinking birthday gift and I’m loving these pigs softies. From one of my favourite kids toy and decor shops, their collection of pig soft toys is second to none. From baby bacon in a box to that pig in a tin. How cute! And while I maybe thinking birthday gift, that red pig is such a great Christmas present too. My favourite though is the three little baby bacon in a box. They look good enough to eat (sorry, couldn’t resist)!
A quick start to this Monday morning, I wanted to share these handmade dolls. How adorable are they? All these dolls are made by hand by Sophia Smeekens who has been making dolls ever since she was a kid. I love the quirky faces and the pointy heads on those stripey dolls which are my favourite. And the sleepy eyes? Too sweet! Handmade dolls always get my vote and these ones are so different than any I’ve seen before. You can find a selection at the lovely Pearls and Swines boutique.
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...