I caught up with Nicola Skowronek founder of Sheepers who make the most gorgeous hand stitched sheepskin slippers!
Nicola, who lives in North London started Sheepers in September 2015 and tells me all about the business and how it came to be.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I grew up wearing the cosy slippers – when I visited my family in Poland as a child, we would all wear them to keep warm when the temperature dropped below zero degrees.
The slippers always held fond family memories for me and i had a dream to bring the slippers back with me to London so others can experience the same comfort and quality i experienced as a child, and so Sheepers was born.
Describe the sheepers style?
cute, affordable and warm!
How and where is the product made?
Everything within sheepers is handmade and is made in Europe
What is your most popular style/product?
the sheepers slipper
What tips would you give someone looking to build their own business?
make sure you have good branding! Having a business always needs an identity!
Where can we buy sheepers?
What have you got planned for this year?
This year I hope to have a pyjama range to match my sheepskin slippers! I also hope to have lots of beautiful jackets to keep everyone warm in the winter!
Coming up to Mother's Day I thought it would be great to share some of my favourite pieces I have found from some fabulous small businesses!
Shopping local is so important as every time you buy from a small business, you are helping support someones dream to create something of their own and support their family through their own creativity.
This Mother's Day, why not put the flowers and chocolates to one side and buy something unique and individual instead.
Here are some of my faves!
Stanley and Maud
This gorgeous brand sells beautiful hand made silver jewellery with words and letters delicately imprinted on each piece. The collection is huge and there is something for everyone. I especially love the Liberty fabric collection which is perfect for Mother's Day gifting.
Didi and Bud
I have been a Didi and Bud fan for a while and love the simplicity of the monochrome prints! How exciting to see a PJ set especially for Mums to match the cute little ones available! These super soft stretchy PJs are so cool you'll never want to take them off!
Bertha and Co
This brand new kidswear site sells a gorgeous selection of brands and recently stocked up with some super cool bags! The range is perfect for baby changing bags but also every day handbags (because who could ever have enough bags!). This satchel from Honey & Toast is one of my faves!
Planning a baby shower can be pretty daunting if you are a non mum. Trying to come up with games that are not drinking games - or thinking of ideas to suit all guests from friends, to family and new grandmothers to be can be tough!
Here's a run down of some of the best ideas I have found in a little starter set for baby shower planning!
Keep it casual - decorating and setting up in someones house will be much more comfortable and relaxed rather than hiring a venue. You are also able to save on catering and no need to worry about paying for hire. Guests will also be able to dip in and out when they want to and you can treat it as a relaxed afternoon activity rather than having a specific start and end time.
This is where you can get a bit creative (if you want to). There are loads of fantastic ideas on Pinterest which is a great place to start. Whether you are looking to go full on blue or pink or something more neutral, bunting is a quick and easy way to decorate. If you are not keen on making your own, simply buy some online. A coloured table cloth is another super easy way to add to your colour theme with minimum effort and cost. If your feeling really baby showery you could even go for a bit of confetti!
Food and drink
Dare I say - bring you own buffet! You could rally a few guest together and ask everyone bring a dish. Something easy to grab and eat is perfect, so no to spaghetti and yes to finger food! Dessert is another great opportunity to add to your theme and buy in (or make) decorated cup cakes. There are cute edible paper decorations available online that are easy to put together with a dab of icing and food colouring.
This is probably the main source of worry when planning a baby shower. Not everyone is keen on the ‘eating brown foods’ our of nappy games! In stead of going too overboard its best to come up with around 3 or 4 games or activities and be flexible for which ones your group plays depending on the mood. Here are some ideas,
1. Baby shower charades
A great game to get your guests on their feet and get everyone in the group involved. Ask everyone in the group to write down 3 activities involving a baby and put them in a hat for teams to pick out and guess. Try adding in a describing round and a silent acting round.
2.Guess the celeb parents
In teams or pairs give guests a list of celeb couples and see how many weird celeb baby names your teams and guess. For an added extra throw in a picture round to guess the celeb kids from photos on a sheet. Have a prize ready for your winning group.
3. Blindfolded nappy changing is a great game idea!
Set up an area in the room and use some dolls and a basket of nappy and get your guests into two teams. See how many nappys each team can change against the clock and a countdown timer.
This is always a lovely part of the baby shower and whether you and your guests go all out or go for small and thoughtful gifts for the new mum, dad and baby - this is a great chance to give something personal. Looking for a unique gift is a great place to start, there are some incredible small business in the UK selling handmade, personal and one off gifts for new parents as well as babies!
Best of luck with your baby shower planning! Let me know how it goes! :)
I caught up with Rod from Blog Modern Dad Pages to find out more about life as a dad blogger and parenting!
What inspired you to start a blog?
I have been a stay at home dad since July 2007 and started my blog September 2014 after I had read my first parent blog 3 months prior. After reading it I thought that maybe I had some things I would like to say, so I started kicking the idea around in my head until one day I took the plunge bought my domain, word press pack and wrote my first blog post!
You said that you are self employed and work from home, is this blogging full time or additional work?
No I actually sell steel poles as in light poles for streets and traffic signal poles. Well any kind of steel pole those are just examples.
Top tips for someone looking to start a blog?
Write from your heart! I have found my best posts are the ones that really come from deep within me! People can feel the emotion you put into your writing.
Favourite blog that you read?
That's a hard one! I have so many I read. There is OMG it's a girl, DIY Daddy, Baby Brain Memoirs, Cuddle Fairy, Life with Baby Kicks, Mamazou and so many more.
We love your Instagram - who do you follow that you love?
Everyone that I follow! To be honest there would be a lot more, but even following almost a thousand is hard to manage! Instagram can eat up hours a day!
What parenting product could you not live without?
When the kids were babies and toddlers it was baby wipes. Now for Olivia it's the detangling hair brush's and for the boys now that they are 16 and 18 their iPhone's.
What do you think is important when inspiring and motivating your kids?
Finding those certain words that spark them! Talking to them about their futures, what they want to do and working that in to motivation for them.
What do you wish some one had told you about parenting?
How frustrating it can be! As a parent there are times especially when more than one start testing your patients and you feel like your doing a horrible job and you get angry and frustrated not only with them, but yourself as well!
Have you got any new years resolutions or goals?
I don't! I make only one New Years promise to myself and this year was to really try and convey myself and who I am through social media and my blog.
Where can we find you online?
I am at www.moderndadpages.com and Modern Dad Pages on all social networks!
We are excited to announce a brand new baby product available from Elizabeth Eve! You can now buy all our adorable animal printed baby grows as part of a set in the Every Day Baby Grow sets.
Whether you are buying for a baby boy or baby girl or even looking for a unisex or gender neutral present, each box include cute designs great for baby showers and presents for friends and family.
Shop the collection Here
We caught up with the lovely Victoria from Thats My Baby Blog, mum to Charlie (2 years) and Holly (9 months) to find out more about her love of writing and her favourite products for mums and dads!
'I’m a secondary school English teacher, so I love curling up with a book or talking about a book, or browsing for more books. You get the picture! Aside from that, I’m the eternal tourist: I love travel and sight seeing (my husband says I have a weakness for ruins and I have a sneaky suspicion he might be right!). I love the outdoors and get grumpy if I haven’t been outside during the day. My glass is half full and I think most things can be fixed and are rarely lost, which means I can spends hours searching for something insignificant so I can keep believing that!'
What inspired you to blogging?
I've always loved reading other people's blogs (when we were planning our wedding, renovating our house or making travel plans), so knew it was something I wanted to do when the time was right, but it wasn't until my first pregnancy that I realised what I was going to write about.
What is your favourite product that you have featured?
There have been so many favourites and I've got some really great ones coming up, but I can't include those can I? Okay, I've chosen! It would have to be our Babybjörn baby bouncer. Ours is a gorgeous soft blue mesh fabric which is perfect for the summer months and warm enough for the winter too, plus they fold entirely flat so you can take them anywhere and that’s a huge plus.
Are there challenges when writing a blog?
Oh my goodness, yes! When I started blogging I thought the challenge would be deciding what to write about, but it's taking the photos: sometimes I spend hours trying to get the right image, but come away disappointed because of poor light. They're so worth it when you get them right though and have become my favourite part of the process; I've learnt so much about photography and I love that there is still so much more to discover about it.
What is your favourite thing to write about?
Hmm, that's a really good question and a tricky one! I haven't done much beauty for a while, but I really love that, otherwise it's posts about days out or products that fit with our daily lives. Have I cheated there and avoided the question? I've cheated, haven't I? Sorry.
We love the 'From the Bookshelf' section of your blog! Whats your top kids book?
Oh, thank you! It's one of my favourite sections on the blog which, I guess, is no surprise given I'm an English teacher! As you’ve probably guessed from my previous answers, pinning me down to one is tricky and even more so when it comes to a book but, Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is one that we read lots and it always gets several encores. I love that Donaldson's stories rhyme as they create natural rhythms we all recognize, plus she bucks the trend for gender stereotypes (the princess in this story is actually a doctor) which are subtle yet powerful and Scheffler's illustrations sit alongside the stories perfectly.
Any top tips for anyone wanting to start a blog?
I love that you've asked this question! Firstly, work out what you'd like to write about and see if those things sit well together and, if you only have one thing you want to blog about, try to work out what offshoots there are so you can categorise your blog. Once you've done that, I think you need to see whether any of that fits in to your daily life because you’re more likely to make it work and enjoy it if they do. Research your topics to see what other bloggers are doing; the blogging world is always changing so follow bloggers with similar interests.
What’s your holy grail product for new mums?
I’m cheating again! For mums, it would have to be Clarins Treatment Oil. Lots of us take care of our skin when we’re pregnant (I used Clarins every day when I was pregnant), but find it difficult to make the time once baby is born. I used their firming and toning oil in the bath and before bed most nights; it’s such a treat for your skin and the gorgeous aroma helped me drift off. For our babies, it would have to be Red Castle’s cocoonababy as it solves all sorts of sleep struggles for little ones. If you haven’t heard of it, look it up.
What’s your holy grail product for parents with toddlers?
A good cup. I know it’s simple, but a cup that doesn’t leak is so hard to find yet essential as you want your toddler to keep their fluids up while they’re racing around. We alternate between a Camelbak kids’ one and Munchkin’s miracle 360.
What have you got planned for 2017?
Lots! On the topic of toddlers, I’ve got a series of posts coming up that are focusing on their developing independence (routines, nursery, swimming) as well as some baby weaning posts and am collaborating with a number of brands on those. I’m also planning more days out posts as I only started doing them last summer and they got great feedback.
Where else can we find you?
Aside from my blog, I love instagram (@thatsmybabyblog). I’m on twitter too, but I’m an insta girl at heart. It’s such a positive platform and works perfectly with my love of photography so I always have a scroll whenever I post a picture myself.
Find more from Victoria here - Thats My Baby Blog
Wishing you all a very happy new year! It’s true that every year we say it - but the last year has gone so fast and although a lot has changed it has flown by quicker than any other!
With every new year we always reflect and come up with some new years resolutions. Commonly these are areas that we want to work on or specific goals to meet. Personally mine are pretty achievable things that I think are important to fit in every year if it can – like, going on holiday. Always important to try and give yourself time to go somewhere new and take a holiday, whether it’s a budget week or whatever!
In this post are some resolutions that cover a range of thinks and are not only personal to me but from reading online magazines, watching bloggers and vloggers seem to be areas highlighted by a lot of people.
Making more time for you
It’s easy to forget to look after yourself, especially when work and home life get busy. Putting some time aside if you can or simply having an activity that you can pick up when you need a moment of quiet is a great way to wind down and get a bit of time out. Having a hobby that is not related to anything else expect just your own time and relaxation is proven to make a big difference to your wellbeing. Something like knitting, drawing, sewing or even writing and blogging is a great way to take your focus from any worries and find something you love doing just for your self.
Finding a health or fitness new years resolution that is sustainable and doesn’t leave you feeling a bit fainty or hangry can be a bit of a challenge. Possibly a better resolution is committing to a more of a healthier lifestyle that includes getting out and about more, going for walks, and being mindful and aware of your food and fitness without forcing yourself to a bootcamp at 6am on a Sunday morning – who’s going to keep that up all year?! Finding a great cookbook and teaching yourself to cook new healthy meals is a great way to vary food for yourself and family and introducing new meals to your routine.
Family and friends
One of the most important is making more time for friends and family. This can tie in perfectly with our healthy living resolution by planning in days out, doing activities and even travelling to see friends you haven’t seen in a while. Getting away from our Instagram and Facebook feeds can be a good thing too (shock horror).
Have you read Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg? Do it! A must read for anyone looking for some motivation! Whether you are thinking about work or home this is an interesting read and reminds us to keep stepping up and challenging ourselves. The start of a new year is a great opportunity for motivation in what ever you want to achieve.
Happy new year!
Its been a crazy busy year for Elizabeth Eve, with a whole new range, new websites and collaborations with some new friends to feature some of the products across the country we can't wait to see what 2017 has in store!
You can now find Elizabeth Eve baby wear on Etsy and Not on the Hightstreet among other lovely kids clothing sites.
New product launches include our new Baby Shower Gift Boxes where you can buy an adorable gift set from each of our characters with baby grows, bibs and toys along with fun baby shower games for the new mum and dad to enjoy with friends and family.
We have also introduced the super cute lounge sets perfect for sleep time and layering to keep cosy and warm.
If you would like to stock Elizabeth Eve then please email email@example.com
Charlotte, also known as Dotty from Bury St Edmonds started the hugely successful Stanley and Maud just a year ago and with magazines like Tatler and Elle picking up her gorgeous hand made jewellery we couldn't wait to here more about her inspiration and how she started. Here she lets us in on some top tips for success and how she got started with her own business.
Tell us a bit about Stanley and Maud..
Stanley and Maud prides itself on it’s collection of personalised jewellery and gifts, all of the pieces in the collection have been made from materials sourced from Great British suppliers. The collection includes necklaces, bangles and bracelets, all can be personalised and each piece is designed to sit co ordinated amongst other designs to create your own style.
What made you start your own business?
I’ve always been creative and often dabbled in new craft hobbies here and there but nothing ever stuck, I love jewellery and always pecked at my husband for more! he told me “I had enough” and obviously i wasn’t happy to hear that so I decided to start designing my own and I officially opened Stanley and Maud in January 2015, I had my son in the September before so I was on maternity leave from my full-time job as an events coordinator, I was told there was a highly likely chance of being made redundant upon my return so I took the business full-time in Summer 2015.
Where can we shop the range?
You can view the collection via my website www.stanleyandmaud.com and I’ve recently got my first stockist in Yorkshire!
What has been your biggest success?
Being recognised by Tatler, Glamour and Elle was a huge achievement for Stanley and Maud. Being asked by three major fashion/lifestyle magazines to feature was so exciting…it was an amazing feeling knowing they thought you were good enough to be on their glossy pages! The best reward is by far the feedback I get from my lovely customers, I have such a kind loyal following and I’m so so grateful.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Trying to find a happy balance between my work and family life…I don’t always get it right but things are good and as the business grows I’m dragging them in to help me! My husband has titled himself the ‘Director of Packing’! I loved my old job but I love that I can work from home and be there for all the little moments like the school run, school plays and family meal times.
What is your favourite piece from the collection?
I honestly love every piece but it has to be my chunky and skinny sterling silver bangles! They’re stamped with meaningful quotes to me and they’ve not left my arm since the day I made them.
What is your top tip to new mums and dads starting their own business?
Be yourself and don’t be afraid to be open about why you started, you’ll be surprised how many people are or have been in the same situation as you. If you can’t stop thinking about something then do it.
What can we expect from Stanley and Maud in the next year?
I have lots of new plans underway but I can’t share those just yet! I have recently just received my first ever stockist order which was really hard work but so exciting! I would like to gain more stockists next year and there’s the potential to add a team member to Stanley and Maud…fingers crossed!
Check out Stanley Maud here-