Boutique Focus: The Stripy Company

GemmaHarperHeadShotAaah stripes: from deck chairs to zebras, we love them all. And so we were delighted to discover The Stripy Company; makers of beautiful, luxe, striped blankets, childrenswear and nursery decor.

Gemma Harper told us why they are rising stars of the stripy world.

SM: How did the Stripy Company come about?

Gemma Harper: It’s the familiar story of trying to find a job that fits around childrearing and realising that an employed job that is flexible and fulfilling is rare. Creating an opportunity to work for myself was the solution! 
SM: What is the wonderful attraction of stripes?

Gemma Harper: Who doesn’t love a stripe? From Awning to Breton, Pin Stripe to Candy Stripes, there is a stripe for everyone… the pattern is so versatile and always adds a touch of sophistication where ever it goes. You just can’t go wrong with a stripe.
SM: Which are your bestselling items?

Gemma Harper: Our cotton baby blankets are our best sellers. They are a great size, fantastic quality and presented in our gift box they make such a gorgeous gift to welcome a new baby. We have recently introduced the option to personalise our blankets with an embroidered name, it’s been really popular with our customers.  

SM: And which do your own family like best?

Gemma Harper: My daughter has one of our large lilac toddler blankets that she snuggles under on the sofa and we just love the ‘Big One’ which has been with us on plenty of picnics and living room den building adventures!
SM: Where are your products made?

Gemma Harper: In a lovely, friendly mill over in sunny Portugal.
SM:  What considerations go into the manufacture of baby items?

Gemma Harper: Safety is obviously key when manufacturing any baby item, we have had our blankets tested to make sure they are made with 100% pure cotton and are free of toxic nasties such as Azo dyes.
SM:  Any tips for someone planning a striped nursery?

Gemma Harper: I would say less is more, you don’t want to go overboard dressing everything you can in stripes. Pick some key elements to stand out. I do like striped wall paper but for me personally, I think stripes work best in the soft elements of the nursery; the nursing chair, cot blanket, scatter curtains and rug. Offset against plain colours and don’t be scared to add in a chevron to mix it up!
SM: What’s next for the business?

Gemma Harper: We are looking at expanding the range, experimenting with some new designs and bringing in some new products, mainly home accessories such as scented candles. We will be focusing a lot this year on continuing to introduce our core range of blankets in to gorgeous independent boutiques up and down the UK.

Order online from

Lovely Little Things…EssJay Makes

Crafter and campervan lover Susan White’s etsy shop Essjay Makes has a fab selection of colourful VW print products including cushions, bags and dog bandanas (yep really!);  all quirky but tasteful…

Cheer up your glamping trip with a bright orange holdall – or for the ultimate in campsite sophistication; a printed loo roll holder to ‘chic-up’ that stealth walk in one’s wellies and knickers from the tent to the showerblock at 6am…

#GinFriday: The Gordon’s Frozen Gimlet

Got one of those super-healthy bullet blenders for Xmas? Given up making protein smoothies (bleee!) and stuffed it back in the kitchen cupboard..?
Well here’s a much better use for it… And this lovely cocktail is not only heatwave busting, it even has some of your 5-a-day in it!
Gimlet-2Gordon’s Frozen Gimlet
Serves 1 (contains two units of alcohol)
Double measure (50ml) of Gordon’s
Handful of blueberries
Juice from 1 lime
6 mint leaves
Dash of coconut water
1 teaspoon of sugar
Handful of ice
1. Drop a handful of ice cubes into the bullet blender
2. Add all other ingredients ensuring the mixture does not go past the MAX line on your machine
3. Twist on the bullet blender blade and blend tall cup
4. Pour into a cocktail glass

In praise of… Little Foxes

Whilst some might see the urban fox as a vulpine terror, we think he’s cute as a whiskery button. Here’s our pick of bright eyed and bushy tailed delights…

Grab this Joules Baby top quick as it’s in the sale; Mr Fox flies high in soft sky blue cotton.

Pair with these adorable welly liners from JojoMamanBebe (the liners themselves take around a shoe size, so these are great transitional items if you’ve bought wellies with ‘room to grow…’)

Molly and the Wolf stocks Tobias and the Bear’s chic statement tee which looks great with combat trousers or a tutu…

And pack DotcomGiftShop’s Rusty the Fox brolly for rainy days (or general twirling)

SM reviews… Back to school labels from

We tested a Starter Pack from, which includes a variety of back-to-school labels and stickers.

SM  tester writes: There’s a recognised condition called Seamstress’ Finger, which essentially leads to deformed and painful hands as a result of excessive sewing. 

What do we learn from this? Well, that life is too short to be sewing name tapes into school uniform, that’s for sure!

My Name Label know a few things about getting school kit tagged up, namely:

  • Kids want their labels to be bright, cool and easy to spot amongst the bun-fight that is a school changing room
  • Modern kids have all sorts of random things that need labeling (tablets, bikes, hockey sticks…)
  • Parents don’t want to order 100 shoe stickers just to label one set of school shoes.

If this all sounds familiar, check out the Starter Pack on their site, which includes 20 big stickers, 20 small stickers, 20 mini stickers, 3 pairs shoe labels (plus protective overlays), 1 bag tag, 25 standard iron-on clothing labels and 20 mini iron-on clothing labels.

Your kids can choose the colour, font and a picture from a huge selection to create labels that really sum them up; from pirate skulls to skateboards and ponies – there’s something for all. Unless you have a triple barreled surname or a title you can add in your child’s class or a phone number as well- it won’t fit on all sizes but is an added perk. 

The iron on labels are pretty simple to use – it does tell you on the instructions that if you iron without the protective overlay then the sticker will melt all over your iron, but if you forget this (or you’ve drifted off into a daze listening to The Archers) it doesn’t actually melt straight away – there’s enough time to rectify the situation! The labels will last in the wash or dryer – maybe not forever, but hey – you’ve got plenty in the pack!

The stickers are a huge hit – great for everything from folders to pencil cases to travel passes to lunchboxes, and the ones designed for inside shoes actually work really well on scooters too. The bag tag is great- like a grown up luggage tag – easy to transfer from bag to bag (if your child is fickle) as well. 

The whole pack costs £22 and will last you at least a couple of terms. 

#70Things Inspirational and Arty this Summer


If plonking the kids in front of Mister Maker is as close to art appreciation as you’ve gotten this Summer, check out the fab list that Arts Council England has compiled to celebrate their 70th year – all activities listed are affordable and fun, suitable for families and will banish boredom faster than you can shake a paintbrush.

maybe your lunch sculpture will be better than this...?
maybe your lunch sculpture will be better than this…?

Ideas include making a sculpture from your lunch or making a playlist for your loved one, taking a selfie in the style of the Mona Lisa or ballet dancing to ‘Thriller’…

See the full list of activities here – you’re encouraged to used the hashtag #70things to celebrate your creativity…

Grown Up snack time

WP_20160810_10_00_28_Pro In need of a mid-afternoon something or other and the kids’ Peppa Pig jelly just not doing it for you…?

We’re loving Pip and Nut’s limited edition maple peanut butter, which is palm oil free, great on toast (or off the spoon out of the jar).

Crave something even sweeter? Try the Ombar Centres range of 100% cacao creamy treats – packed with good things and the perfect size not to share!


Love sausage and beer? The guys at Leffe have created their own special sausage to accompany their ale, as part of the promotion of ‘Leffe Slow Time’ (a series of films  showcasing artists and artisans, their dedication to their craft and their relationship with time.) Charcuterie maker Adrienne E Treeby has created dried meat delights using Leffe Brune… Watch the Slow Time film here.

Off to see Pete’s Dragon this weekend? Get Behind the Wings with Bryce Dallas Howard

Pete’s Dragon is out tomorrow and is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon. “Pete’s Dragon” stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The film, which is directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”), is written by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field and produced by Jim Whitaker, p.g.a. (“The Finest Hours,” “Friday Night Lights”), with Barrie M. Osborne (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Great Gatsby”) serving as executive producer.

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.

Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opens in UK cinemas on 12th August 2016.

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