Category Archives: Shopping

Lovely little things… Baby shower fizz from LG Drinks

What does every new mum need following the birth? A cake made from diapers? Probably not. A huge balloon saying ‘it’s a boy’ (whoa, really? No kidding…)

How about a shiny bottle of LG dry Treviso Spumante Brut prosecco instead? Available in an array of colours (including pink and blue) to celebrate your new arrival in chic Italian style – order via the website for £25 (including delivery worldwide) and make a weary new mum smile.

LGDBlue

 

SM chats to… Annika Sander-Löfmark of BabyBjörn

BabyBjörn is a hero brand that has been pushing the boundaries and creating fantastic products for decades. Since the 60s the Jakobson family business has grown into an empire and more to the point a household name for parents – albeit an often mispronounced one!

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We put some of our questions to Head of PR, Annika Sander-Löfmark…

SM: We ADORE the look of the new Ice Cream collection – how did the concept for this range come about? 

Annika Sander-LöfmarkThe Bouncer and BabyBjörn One carrier are firm favourites of parents all over the world, and we wanted to bring a fresh look to the collection this summer in partnership with John Lewis. We have absolutely brilliant designers and art directors, we produce all our own shoots and always try and make everything perfect- we couldn’t get the right shade of pink for the Dad’s suit, so the stylist literally painted it the exact shade! We work with scan and style trends to inspire us too.

SM: Any plans to bring back any of the original 60s or 70s designs ?

Annika Sander-LöfmarkPeople often ask us about limited edition collections we have run, and we actually did bring some of these back for the 50th anniversary in 2012, so you never know…

SM: The baby carriers have become the ‘must have’ accessory for the modern Dad (despite some backlash in the 80s), was this always one of the intentions behind the product?

Annika Sander-LöfmarkYes, Dads are very important for us and that they should feel comfortable using it. It has to suit both parents, function-wise and design-wise. Our first carrier, was featured in Harper’s Bazaar and was a navy blue, as the photography was in black and white it looked like the carrier was black – people were drawn to the unisex design and because of all the requests we received we made a black carrier which Dads love, and this has been a firm favourite ever since. Shortlist magazine, also once described our carrier as looking like “Batman’s armour” which we thought was a fantastic comparison for Dads.

SM: The acclaimed BabyBjörn highchair makes the bold decision not to have harnesses or straps, did you find parents needed some convincing that it was safe when the product was launched?

Annika Sander-Löfmark: Yes but we are used to introducing new solutions that didn’t exist before. The BabyBjörn Highchair has won prestigious awards all over the world and the reviews from parents about the product speak for themselves. The highchair took over 10 years from prototype to finished product, as we wanted to be certain that it could be the product that parents and babies could trust, most accidents in the home come from highchairs and babies cannot move or fall out of the BabyBjörn Highchair, and the angle of the legs mean here is no risk of them pushing their feet against a table and pushing themselves over either.

SM: Is there any difference between the One and the We design apart from the outward facing carry option? 

Annika Sander-LöfmarkThe One and the We are both a new generation of carrier, designed with the perfect ergonomics to carry children up to 3 years, the original and miracle carriers are still loved by parents for young babies, but many parents are now carrying their babies for longer so these new carriers accommodate this. As well as the outward facing option the One carrier can be opened on both sides so you can lie children down flat when taking them out. The We carrier, is a more simple, affordable carrier, which allows for inward and back carrying. Both are simple to put on and supportive for parents back and lumbar, as well as providing a comfortable seat for babies to travel, and to be part of the conversation, close to their mum or dad’s heart.

SM: As a family owned business, have there been any products that have personally stood out as favourites for any of the Jakobson generations of children?

Annika Sander-LöfmarkThe Jakobsons have been using and developing all the products and improve them all with time with the help of medical professionals all over the world. If they are not happy with it they change it. But they have of course a special relationship to the Bouncer and the Baby Carriers which have proved to make so many families so happy. When Björn developed the first carrier and carried his daughter in it, he said the bond it created was like floating on a cloud, and many parents have now experienced this.

SM: If our readers were to buy just one BabyBjörn product, which would you suggest?

Annika Sander-LöfmarkI would have to say the BabyBjörn Bouncer Balance Soft, such a life saver, we know so many mums that wouldn’t have been able to have a shower without it.

Visit the website for stockist info.

Clever Little Things

We’re suckers for smarty-pants little gizmos and a few fantastic ones have popped up on our radar recently…

The Chillipeeps 3-in-1 teat is a lifesaver when you are out and about with a hungry child and no clean bottle. Sure, you can grab some ready mix formula or a bottle of water from the store but how to serve? Keep one of these teats in your bag (it comes in a pod to keep it sterile/dishwasher fresh) and it either screws into a ready mix bottle or water bottle or slots into a carton. Simple.

Need to change a bottom on the fly? The Snappy Bin is a fab way to keep your hands clean and hygienically store the soiled nappy until you can find somewhere to dispose of it properly. Plus it folds down into a purse size. Don’t just use it for nappies – it’s great as a travel bin too.

And finally, we’re not medical experts and we don’t advocate drinking and breastfeeding, but we do lend our empathy to all the mums (us included) who have had a glass of wine at the end of the day once the little one was settled – then wouldn’t you know, they wake up again wanting another feed. The Milkscreen testing kit is available to order online from Amazon and we think everyone should have one (just in case). A few drops expressed onto the tester and the gadget simply gives you a + or – to let you know whether you are good to go or not. One word of wisdom we will share though is that many of us (again, we are raising our own hands here too) would assume that the quickest way to get alcohol out of our milk would be to pump out the contaminated milk – but actually the reverse is true, this just makes it more concentrated. Best advice is to wait, to eat – and not to beat yourself up about it.

Run free with the Bugaboo Runner

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We featured our pick of jogging strollers recently (from the gentle jog to the coffee shop to the more energetic all-terrain yomp) but then this new one from Bugaboo came onto our radar, so we thought we should share…

Compact and lightweight but with a precision engineered suspension system and air filled tyres – not to mention enhanced steering and braking – you and your little one won’t feel those bumps and the handlebar can be adjusted for the most comfortable position for your running stride.

Already have a Bugaboo? Well you simply need to get the Jogging Extension and you can convert what you have simply by swapping your seat over and clipping it to the new chassis.

Or buy the Bugaboo Runner as a complete stroller in a stylish choice of colours and tell yourself that the £583 price tag is cheaper than a gym membership plus you’ll be getting fresh air and bonding time to boot.

For more info or to order click here.

Lovely Little Things… Little Butterfly Floating on Clouds Bedtime Bathmilk

When this first arrived I was expecting something the Care Bears might bathe in, but instead this beautiful bottle in chic packaging with a lovely turquoise wooden lid now graced my bathroom.

As well as perfectly matching my towels, Little Butterfly’s products are certified organic, recommended by midwives and super caring for newborns or dry skin.

The Floating on Clouds bathmilk actually has a subtle scent of cucumber (which I adore, I used to wear the Kiehl’s Cucumber oil as scent) and mandarin and is enriched with buttermilk, oat, peach, papaya and avocado kernel oils.

As it is milk it doesn’t really foam, but it does cleanse your little Cleopatra softly and effectively.

Order online.

#Boutique Focus… Lilly and Sid

We’re recent newcomers to the childrenswear craze that is Lilly and Sid. From their concession in Harvey Nicks to their plethora of product and design awards (vote for them also in our #MMHA 2015) the brand has grown through word of mouth and happy customers. Not to mention adorably dressed children!

We caught up with Emma and Imran from Lilly and Sid for our Boutique Focus interview…

SM: How did Lilly and Sid come about?

Emma & Imran: We had worked as Head of Buying and Design for leading retailers for many years, always with the dream of running our own business together at the back of our minds. After having our daughter, we found it really difficult to find trend led clothing with a fun twist which was also affordable. 3 years later we had our son and found it even more difficult to dress him so we decided to set up our own brand named after our first two children- Lilly + Sid.

SM:  Where do you get your inspiration for collections?

Emma & Imran: Our design team are always looking for new ideas. We have a weekly design meeting where we gather all the new things we have seen during the week and add these to our trend boards to include in collections. As a British brand we are very lucky to have access to amazing archives and exhibitions and are particularly fond of the V+A. Most of our collections have been inspired by our heritage and have included British Artists, Pantomime, Punch and Judy and Fairytales. We are also greatly inspired by children and look at life through their eyes when designing, making sure we don’t take ourselves too seriously and that our collections are fun.

SM:  What is your best-selling item?

Emma & Imran: We change our collection each season, with very few carry over lines. Our customers like newness and to buy into the new trends. Our best selling items usually have a unique twist, like our sunsafe swimsuits each with a L+S character or our boys sweatshirts with an integral mask to the hood. We design all our own prints and fabrics in-house too and as each one runs for one season only, they are limited edition and often our best sellers. Our customers know that we don’t repeat stock in-season so our best sellers can sell out within the first few weeks launch.

SM:  Which items do your own children like best?

Emma & Imran: Our two eldest are now 12 and 9 so don’t fit into our collection, but our 12 year old daughter does still cosy up to one of our knitted blankets she has had for years. Our 9 year old is into the Liverpool Football Kit- eek! Our youngest child, Sami, is our chief muse and test runs many of our clothes- favourites being the colour green and comfy joggers.

SM:  What have been the biggest challenges of running the business?

Emma & Imran: The biggest challenges we face are managing time and money. When you run your own business, especially a husband and wife team, it is very hard to take time out and switch off. We also like to work around the children , and our initial business strategy included ‘ never miss a sports day’ and we have kept to this- the consequence often being midnight finishes once the kids are in bed, bathed and homework done ! We are a self-funded brand as we want to keep 100% control of our business and this holds its own challenges at every stage.

SM:  And your proudest moment…?

Emma & Imran: there have been a fair few- from our launch range being bought by our hitlist of ideal stockists including Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, to seeing someone wearing Lilly+ Sid for the first time to more recently the amazing support we have had for our charity fundraising. We are very lucky to have won lots of awards, our most treasured ones being those voted by our customers, who are without doubt the most important part of our journey.

SM:  What’s next for L&S?

Emma & Imran: we’ve got lots of exciting things in the pipeline and see lots of growth opportunities over the next few years, but ultimately we will continue to enjoy growing our boutique brand.

Editor’s pick: how lovely and cheerful is this knitted blanket? And it is machine washable too…

How to… cope with summer colds

Whilst Winter might be synonymous with the snivels, as any Mum knows, little ones can get colds all year ’round (especially if there’s one working its way through their classroom) – here’s our little guide to dealing with poorly ones in a heatwave…

– Top up Vitamin C, hydrate and keep cool with an organic juice ice lolly. Make your own (we love these Space Rocket lolly makers from Lakeland) or choose one made from the whole fruit such as Real Nice.

– Getting lots of rest is easier said than done when the nursery is like a sauna. Fresh air napping is great if you have a shady outdoor spot; oversized muslins like the Aden + Anais bamboo Daydream Blankets (pictured), a travel cot, portable cradle for tinies like this one from JojoMamanBebe or freestanding hammock like this one from Kidlantis are all your friends – as too will be this ingenious clam clip from Jaghoo (pictured) when it comes to putting a makeshift sleep canopy together.

Jaghoo clam clip

 

SM tip: if you’re facing some resistance to taking mediation and your little patient is off school for a few days, try embarking on a long (ish) read aloud story. Offer another chapter in return for taking their medicine. We love Frances Hodgeson Burnett’s ‘The Secret Garden’ for sick-kid story-time.

– Dressing in light layers …like this gorgeous pointelle top from Little Green Radicals – made from supersoft organic cotton with a cheery design that will have them feeling better in no time!

Life Skills to impress your 14 year old self with…

  • You might have previously been picked last at sports (and cried when your £60 an hour personal trainer suggested you do weights) but now you can lift a 7.8kg stroller and  a 15kg child up a flight of stairs, unaided.

 

  • You might have sucked at Scrabble or come last in the Spelling Bee, but hey – see how quickly you can substitute swear words for something acceptable. ‘He was a lying cheating BAR STEWARD’ yes…
  • You no longer think of the back of the bus as the cool place to sit. You think it’s the place where your children are most likely to vomit all over you. Especially on a package holiday after copious ice cream.
  • You might not have married him, but you could still go see Matt Goss on tour. Maybe without the bottle top shoes this time tho, update the look with Kenzo.

  • And on the subject of staying up late…. well, where shall we start? Clubbing til 3am and sleeping til noon looks like a spa weekend now – try the ole ‘ten mins cat nap actually face down on the cat’ technique.
  • And the thought of consuming carbs back then might have been more evil than communal changing rooms, but… when your toddler stuffs his mushed up, pre sucked Kinder Egg into your mouth you’ll eat it. And love it.
  • You only have one pair of jeans now. (OK, three…) Big bum? Work these

  • You finally mastered blow jobs. And essentially that’s now why you have children… 😉

#Fathersday Focus… Gifts for Happy Campers

If he’s happy sleeping under the stars, how about these gifts for divine inspiration…

Forget rubbing flints, Zippo make a cedar campfire starter puck – just crumble, light and fetch the sausages…

And make the best Smores with your own images on a marshmallow – personalised from Boomf.

Or how about some of these adorable geek-chic camper van badges from Koolbadges?