Daily inspiration for stylish parents & their kids

The sweetest headband from Ivy & Nell via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

What I especially love about Ivy & Nell is that their designs aren’t over the top and are made with little ones in mind by professional Milliners.

The sweetest headband from Ivy & Nell via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

How sweet are these super soft little head bands? Ideal for a flower girl or special occasion.

The sweetest headband from Ivy & Nell via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The best thing about Ivy & Nell headbands is that any style can be tailored to suit your colour scheme – they even offer bespoke services.

Look, this may come across as judgemental – in fact I know it does – but I have always hated baby headbands with a passion. I’ve called them so many names, uttered my grievances to friends and family alike until one Sunday afternoon during a shopping trip with my husband. Adam was carrying Edith and we headed into a local shop to buy her (and I’m quoting this) ” something pretty for being such a good little girl for Daddy “. So sweet.

When we went in there were no dresses or outfits left in her size that we liked and there was the usual obligatory jewellery and accessories stand that you find in all little girls shops. Adam wandered over and before I could stop him, he had slipped the forbidden headband on to my baby’s perfect head. I prepared to throw a fit. What on earth was he doing?? Headbands are awful, they look terrible… And then I saw her cute little face and boom. Headband-gate was officially over and this baby was open for business!

Since that day, we have succumbed, and have a couple of headbands for babies. Nothing too flashy or garish but simple and pretty, something that won’t itch her head, is adjustable and looks seriously, ovary-twitchingly sweet. Just like the headbands from Ivy & Nell.

What I especially love about Ivy & Nell is that their designs aren’t over the top and are made with little ones in mind by professional Milliners. They range is size from newborn (for the seriously hardcore headband lovers amongst you) to adult headpieces for you to wear too. Their headbands are designed using the highest quality fabrics and accessories, from super soft sari yarn to adorable paper flowers.

Whatever your thoughts are on baby headbands, you could not help but love these for an older little girl. So sweet and delicate, they’re the sweetest gift for flower girls.

Harriet x

IMG_86632-540x540

Adorable and so much easier to use on your little ones than standard towels – perfect for using after baby swimming or even post-bath snuggles!

PONCHO-LIBERTY-BABYSHOWER-BLANCO-resized

These ponchos are by far the cutest I have found – they are made from the softest towelling and there are a tonne of different trims to choose from so they will suit any style conscious little one or parent.

Back when I had Reuben poncho towels weren’t really very popular – they certainly weren’t sold in every supermarket and every high street store like they are today. They were, however, so much easier to use than than the usual towels when getting a baby out of the pool. The hood went straight over the head, the fowl wrapped around and – most importantly – stayed put! After one of the mums at our very first Water Babies baby swimming class had one, I knew I had to steal her style and get myself – or Roo – one to use.

These ponchos are by far the cutest I have found – they are made from the softest towelling and there are a tonne of different trims to choose from so they will suit any style conscious little one or parent. Not to mention the fact that (unlike baby towels or over the head ponchos) these will last up to four years of age.

The brand, Baby Shower, is fast becoming a favourite of mine – it’s like a treasure trove for style and cuteness. I have no doubt you will be seeing a bundle of their products on the blog over the conning months.

Harriet x

Image credit: http://www.havokjournal.com

Image credit: http://www.havokjournal.com

Ok look, I don’t usually put this kind of thing on the blog – I like this to be a happy place and (apart from my miscarriage) I don’t talk about tragedies or new stories.

But this needs addressing. It needs to be said.

I want to talk about terrorism in Tunisia and what we need to say to our children about it. Fortunately for us we don’t know anyone involved in the latest attacks in Tunisa or Kuwait (or the poor man in France) but someone, somewhere will. There will be children at Roo’s school, Toby’s nursery, or somewhere in our social network who know someone who has either died, been injured or had a lucky escape on the next beach or hotel along. I already know of two friend’s whose family member are out there at the moment – or were during the attacks.

With the vast majority of those affected in Tunisa being British citizens I can’t help but feel like I should talk about it somehow and the impact this attack and the many others happening around the world will have on our children. Reuben has been asking questions because I have had the news on quite a lot over the last few days, there has been such important news (especially with the wonderful news of USA joining 2015 and legalising gay marriage – hi guys, how you doing? Lovely to see you’ve left the 1940’s – another topic I want to cover later in the week or whenever I get to it!). Back to Reuben’s questions – he asked me why a ‘man on the telly was crying’. My husband gave me that, ‘Geez well done, I told you not to put it on with them downstairs’ look. It really was crunch time here, because I didn’t know what to tell him. I know my boy well enough to know that if I tell him he’s crying because he’s sad as he saw a young man who was trying to help his fiancée who had been killed and he couldn’t help, he’ll ask me why did she die?

And that’s the question no one can answer. No one.

Why did she die? Why have any of these people died?

How do you explain to a four year old that she died because there are people in the world that didn’t like her because of the country she came from and her views of the world? How do you tell a four year old she died because people wanted to instil fear into the hearts and souls of others, for no other reason than to create shock and panic and because they have a different idea of how people should act and what they should believe. I don’t want my children to learn that terrorists are people of a particular colour or creed as the media would have us believe, but sadly they are people. Just people.

How the hell do your explain terrorism to children when you can’t explain it to an adult? You can look at the dictionary definition: “the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims” but you can’t explain the why. You just can’t.

As I predicted Roo did ask, and I told him this: “There are bad people in the world, they don’t look any different to you and me, they bleed if they ride bikes and fall off, they cry if they are very sad and they laugh when they are very happy, but they aren’t like you and me. They believe that people who don’t do as they say, or act how they want them to, don’t deserve to live on the Earth. They don’t like them. And they do some very bad, very wicked things to try and make everyone else afraid and make all the good people believe in and behave as they want us to.”

Roo has asked me when he’s heard snippets if they are talking about the bad people, he’s also asked me if the bad people are coming to get us and I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to say to him about that as a person who practises and preaches honest parenting. I (obviously) told him he didn’t need to be afraid and that wasn’t something he needed to worry about – these countries are very far away. It would be letting the bad people win if we were always afraid and we talked about the world wars and how people fought for their freedom and their right to choose what they wanted to believe, how they wanted to act and who they wanted to be. We talked about how there have always been bad people in history but the good people have to stand up for what they believe in and never NEVER back down. Ever. That the good people, who want everyone to live and be happy however they choose to live and be happy, have to stick together.

I don’t really know why I’ve written this post, I just didn’t feel that I could write nothing. I wanted to say… Something. Terrorism is a huge part of the world nowadays (and if we are honest, it always has been – the weapons have just got meaner and the news coverage more technologically advanced) – it’s horrendous, but it’s fact. Terrorists are everywhere, they are brutal and they are hidden behind the masks of civility that we trust. I don’t want my children to be afraid of terrorists, I don’t want them to live IN terror but at the same time I don’t want to lie to them of pretend these things don’t happen. In my heart I believe that teaching our children that this kind of thing does happen (if and when they ask), it’s an evil of the world and one that good people must stand up against, is imperative. Ignorance only serves to encourage fear, and that, well; that is what terrorism is all about.

Harriet x

A great website for dads (and mums too!)

A great website for dads (and mums too!)

One of my favourite pictures of my husband and our boys.

One of my favourite pictures of my husband and our boys.

So Father’s Day has just passed and of course, like most mummies, I was looking around for something special to do for Daddy, when I came across this website everythingfordads.com

I think this is definitely something that needs to be shared with everyone and something that should be shared with all the daddies out there.  There are so so many sites out there that are truly fabulous for mamas – MumsNet, Emma’s Diary, Gurgle just to name a few – but not so many aimed at Dads. There are plenty of great dad blogs but unless you want to read about their lifestyles, share their parenting view or have an interest in what they want to discuss, they won’t necessarily be for you.

There are so so many sites out there that are truly fabulous for mamas - MumsNet, Emma's Diary, Gurgle just to name a few - but not so many aimed at Dads.

There are so so many sites out there that are truly fabulous for mamas – MumsNet, Emma’s Diary, Gurgle just to name a few – but not so many aimed at Dads.

dadsexpo1

everythingfordads.com is exactly what it says it is – everything for dads. From fun crafts to news topics on pressing parental matters, from advice for dads from dads to humorous anecdotes that let dads know they aren’t alone when they are having a bad day.

dadsexpo2

I really think this is something that you should share with your partner or dad-friends. It’s vital that we stop whining about how little dads do when it comes to parenting if we don’t give them the equal opportunity to nurture and learn as parents.

 

everythingfordads.com is exactly what it says it is – everything for dads. From fun crafts to news topics on pressing parental matters, from advice for dads from dads to humorous anecdotes that let dads know they aren’t alone when they are having a bad day.

I really think this is something that you should share with your partner or dad-friends. It’s vital that we stop whining about how little dads do when it comes to parenting if we don’t give them the equal opportunity to nurture and learn as parents.

Harriet x

Adorable, stylish baby toys from Babee & Me via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parenting and their kids.

I love the wooden block stamping on these toys – so sweet!

Adorable, stylish baby toys from Babee & Me via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parenting and their kids.

Edith loves cuddly things already – just like Toby & Reuben, they have all been very quick to take to snuggles :)

Adorable, stylish baby toys from Babee & Me via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parenting and their kids.

This toy got me in particular because of Edith’s teething troubles at the moment.

Adorable, stylish baby toys from Babee & Me via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parenting and their kids.

Beautiful, bespoke playmats for your little one.

Adorable, stylish baby toys from Babee & Me via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parenting and their kids.

Soft cubes are great for exploring babies!

I have to confess and say that I have very few baby toys in the house that I actually like. I bought a tonne of toys for Roo when I was first pregnant and most of them were gaudy, plastic and annoyingly loud. Which I think seems to be the checklist for a lot of baby toy manufacturers because, like it or not, the bambinos LOVE them, so the parents buy them!

For this reason, I haven’t taken many toys out of the loft for Edith. I found with Toby, once he got big enough, he only wanted what Roo had, so we didn’t really get him anything new for ‘that stage’. Edith has her Flora fox and a Fan-Fan Le Fawn teething toy that she loves (and I adore) but the other things she has are hideous, gaudy rattles, playmate and a bouncer all of which leave me requiring at least two cups of coffee to even look at straight and hungover, forget about it.

I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes as me and waste time with gaudy, hideous toys when I now know there are so many adorable things out there that are still bright enough and playful enough for baby to enjoy, but unlikely to send a signal to mars like a landing strip at midnight. One of those brands is the gorgeous Aussie brand Babee and Me.

I love love love their stylish playmats, I love their baby toys and toddler toys too – they are just so effortlessly stylish and cool, while retaining that fun. I’m steadily starting to buy things like this for Edie (and trying to plead with Toby to play with toddler toys that I think look awesome in the playroom – which is pointless) to chew and discover with.

The verbs stylish mama behind the brand, Rachel McKenzie, set things up in 2010 after she had her little boys and decided that they deserved something handmade, not mass produced and stylish too. All her products are locally made in Byron Bay, which I love because it gives the brand a really authentic feel. Rachel makes all the fabrics herself using screen printing techniques and all of her wooden blocks and toys are hand painted.

Harriet x

Delicate sterling silver jewellery from TwentyFourSeven via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Delicate sterling silver jewellery from TwentyFourSeven

Delicate sterling silver jewellery from TwentyFourSeven via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Made in Spain, the designs are so simply which is what makes them so sweet and perfect for wearing every day.

I’ve been searching christening gifts for girls lately and one of the super sweet things that came up was this adorable jewellery for girls from Twentyfourseven.

Delicate sterling silver jewellery from TwentyFourSeven via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I love this design, and the fact that you get to choose your length makes it perfect for girls who like longer or shorter pieces.

The range is aimed at girls aged 2 to 14 years and is just perfect for every day use. I really love the sweet little charm necklaces, they are so simple – which is what makes them so darling. You can choose different lengths for the necklaces too so if you have a little girl that likes something a bit longer or shorter you can get the perfect fit.

Most of the jewellery is made in Spain using sterling silver so this is a really ideal gift for a little girls birthday or special occasion.

Harriet x

DIY Masks by Wintercroft via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

These masks are so awesome they have even been used by campaigners recently – how cool is that?

DIY Masks by Wintercroft via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

You could download a few different versions and really enjoy a day of making masks for the whole family – make up stories, you can join in too.

DIY Masks by Wintercroft via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

These masks are also a great way to teach children about recycling and how to use up old bits of unwanted card.

Masks are often a bit of a dicey topic – they either terrify people or people think they are great fun. I love masks for kids, I’m not a fan for grown ups usually, but these DIY masks from Wintercroft could easily sway me to love both.

Wintercroft design the template for your mask and you use any and all unwanted card around the house to make your mask… then you just decorate it however you want – you can follow their instructions or just go crazy.

I love the creativity this allows children, they end up with a professional, amazing looking mask, but they get to feel the pride of making it themselves.

This would be a perfect rainy day craft I think – maybe even something to save for Autumn and Halloween if you wanted, but for me, DIY masks are awesome any day of the week.

Harriet x

Random acts of kindness via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

A random act of kindness is something that you can’t really compromise.

I’ve just returned from a trip to Britmums, a huge conference for bloggers and social influencers. It’s been a fab weekend, exhausting but fantastic and filled to the brim with advice, friendships and inspiration.

One of the things I’ve bought home with me has nothing to do with the conference itself, but it has stuck in my mind and it probably will for a long time to come.

On the way to London (where the conference was held) I was heavily ladened with Edith in her carrier – no point in taking the pram when she won’t sit in it and she isn’t big enough for the pushchair bit – an over night bag filled with both our things and my HUGE, stuffed to the brim handbag that is filled with nappies, wipes, notepads and god knows what else. As soon as I arrived at the station in York, the guard took my bags and helped me down to the coach, where I managed to get to my seat without bashing too many people in the face with my behind or baby strapped front. As I sat down I heard this friendly, irish voice say, ‘Oh would you look at that, what a beautiful baby! Can I hold her while you get settled?’. This was the voice of one of the kindest people I met on my trip, his name I never really caught – it began with O – and for that I’m truly sorry. He (and the lovely geordie trio sat at the table with him) kept me and Edith entertained the whole way there. There wasn’t one tear from her as she was passed around, told she was such a beautiful and strong little girl and I had my hands free. This delightful man regailed me with chatter about his wife and sister (who had a 12lb baby!) and then offered out all of his food and drinks. He bought everyone (including myself) a coffee and chocolate bar as he chatted away.

I don’t really think this small quartet of people will ever realise how much they improved my journey, or how they brightened my day. I was nervous about heading down to britmums, especially with Edith – it would be the first time I’d done a big conference with a baby and I was worried she’d scream or make a fuss all the way through. I was worried that she would need changing and there wouldn’t be anywhere to do it… like most overwhelmed, tired mummies I was worried about everything.

Fortunately the conference was as fab as always and everyone was smitten with Edith – they loved her and she was such a treat. As I went for tea that evening, just to a small Wasabi fast food place at the bottom of Chiswell Street, I realised I had forgotten my purse. This wasn’t a big deal but an already over-tired, over-whelmed Edith was fed up and grumpy so running back to the hotel, back to the shop and back to the hotel was probably going to land me in a whole world of shrieking from her. I asked the man behind the counter to put my order to one side and I would be back in no more than 10 minutes, ‘I’m so sorry, I’ve left my bank card and picked up a business card instead’, I said. He took one look at me and one look at Edith, handed me my food and told me that if I come back another time I can pay for it then, but for now to just take it and enjoy it on him.

So, why am I telling you this?

Random acts of kindness are everywhere, and we don’t always realise how important they are. These people MADE my weekend, they were the highlight amongst a flood of highlights and all because they were randomly kind to a stranger with a baby. I wanted to share this because I have made it my mission to try and pass on the kindness and I’d love it if my readers could too. I don’t know how I’ll do it – it could be paying for someones drinks when they are struggling to hold on to their active toddler and get money out of their purse. It could be offering to carry shopping to the car for a pregnant lady who looks as tired as I feel. I just don’t know. What I do know is that I will do something, because I want my children to grow up and see that random acts of kindness like these are what makes the world tick.

So a little challenge for you – be the dude on the train who lifts a persons spirits and then tell me about your random act of kindness ideas, please.

Harriet x

Storage ideas for kids via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Photo credit: http://csoppkeblog.hu/category/gyerekes-mindennapok/

Last week I moved the boys furniture about in their room – or should I say I took away furniture, specifically Toby’s bed and the under bed drawers. I’ve written about the boys sleeping together before, and I’ve found that in the last month or so it has become a bit of an issue with one single bed and two boys that like to ‘spread out’. You haven’t seen a sleep time starfish until you’ve seen these two!

Anyway, taking away Toby’s bed meant that I lost a tonne of storage underneath it – it had a pile of books, jigsaws, old toys that no one wants and a bundle of baby bedding that I just haven’t had time to pop on eBay yet. I thought I’d shoot out a few children’s storage ideas of how to store your children’s stuff – including the stuff you don’t want anymore or stuff that you can’t categorise into ‘bedding’, ‘building blocks’ etc.

  • Think outside the box

Is the item that you are wanting to store pretty? Cute? I have a beautiful dress that I bought for Edith when she was a first born and it’s now hanging on her wall as part of her decoration… I love it so much that I’m going to give it a go with the boy’s old baby clothes. You know, the ones you ‘just can’t let go of’!

  • Utilise wardrobe space

You always have a big open space at the bottom of the wardrobe, so use it! I have a stack of books in the boys wardrobe and I rotate their bookcase and this every so often.

  • Toys in the way? Under bed drawers or baskets.

I have lost two under bed drawers with the removal of Toby’s bed, but I still have some left over under Roo’s bed. These ones are built in and they make a great place to shove the boy’s less popular toys – again ready to rotate. Another brilliant place to store toys is in an old wicker basket… it looks super stylish and it’s a big open space to just cram em’ in! Lazy mothers unite!

  • Try a tall boy

We have two tall boys in the boys room – it was my plan to throw them out or give them to the charity shop when I first rejigged their room but I have found them to be insanely useful for storing things like sheets, bedding, old clothes and books. I know it’s not the best way to store things with minimal fuss but what the hey. Out of sight, out of mind and all…

  • Airing cupboards are friend’s not foes

Hello nice big space! You look friendly! This is one of the best places to store bedding, old baby clothes and blankets that your children just don’t need but that you aren’t ready to say goodbye to. If you have an airing cupboard you can also use it to store old toys, just be careful not to put anything perishable in there as the heat might ruin it.

  • Make something new and useful out of something old, useless but precious.

Ok, you have come to terms with the fact that your baby is NEVER going to fit into that old outfit, and your baby making days have come to an end… what to do with those things you can’t let go of?! Have them made into something useful and cute. You can find a tonne of companies that will make your baby’s old clothes, bedding, blankets and other nik-naks into a big quilt, or even a teddy. You can even do it yourself, check out youtube for tutorials galore.

  • If all else fails, store it.

If all else fails you, and you have something big or lots of little things to put away, simply go down the storage company option. I know it isn’t ideal but if you have decided that your children have a very special rocking horse that you would love to become a family heirloom, or a bundle of perfect gender neutral clothing that you can’t let go of and you want to pass down the generations, then just bite the bullet and purchase a monthly storage locker. It’s not a costly as you might think and it beats regretting throwing out your stuff.

Harriet x

 

Swearing in front of kids via toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

If you think about it, what do we know about children? We know that if you tell them not to do something they will test their boundaries, they will see what will happen if they ‘defy’ your instructions.

Ok, I’m going to level with you. I swear. A lot. And I do it in front of my kids.

And guess what? I’m not sorry for it.

Swearing is an age old form of expression, something that people have been doing since the dawn of time – it’s a means of self expression. There is a time and a place for swearing, but it happens and I defy anyone to tell me they have never cussed once in their lives. Swearing makes no difference to your parenting ability.

If you think about it, what do we know about children? We know that if you tell them not to do something they will test their boundaries, they will see what will happen if they ‘defy’ your instructions. It’s natural, and it’s something that all children should do. So, if we think about it logically, making swearing something forbidden – something that we always tell each other off for, or something that we try really hard not to do, then we make it that one thing that children really want to do. I can honesty say that I treat swearing as an everyday thing, it’s no big deal, but I impress upon the kids that it isn’t something that they should use. To give you an example, Reuben asked me the other day if he could say ‘shit’, so instead of being cross with him of telling him oooh no that is a forbidden word, I simply said ‘No Roo, you know that is a grown up word, and it doesn’t sound very nice when you say it. If you want to say something when you are cross or angry to help you get your frustrations out, what about ‘oh fiddlesticks’ or ‘oh poopyhead’.

To further my point a bit more, Roo turned to his Grandparents a few weekends ago and said, ‘Grandma, did you know my mummy says fucking?!’ To which Grandma reacted with surprise and shock. He then followed it up with, ‘You don’t say that do you Grandma?’ Now at this point, my mother-in-law being clever, turned to Reuben and said ‘yes, I do sometimes, but my very often. It’s something most grown ups do.’ At the point, Reuben realised it wasn’t going to be something that got a big reaction, so it wasn’t important to him. He didn’t feel that he had a boundary there to test, so he just doesn’t feel the need to say it.

I’m not suggesting that my child doesn’t say things, just like all children, but what I am saying is that the absence of a reaction to swearing is the same as the absence of shock or discomfort when asked about sex or death – it demystifies it and it becomes something that is just not acceptable for the child to do but not something that they want to do. Does that make sense? Children don’t automatically want to do EVERYTHING adults do or say. My boys don’t have an overwhelming desire to wash the laundry or do the dishes, but they sure get to see me doing it often enough. They might see if I will let them have a go, but they soon realise it’s not that much fun!

At the end of the day, swearing is a part of who I am. Teaching children that swearing is so wrong and horrendous is counterproductive no matter what your parenting style. Teaching them that it has a time and place is a far better route, in my humble opinion.

What are your thoughts on the issue? Do you swear? I’d love to know.

Harriet x

Beach and bath toys from Quut via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The simplest of toys from Quut can really transform a beach day.

Beach and bath toys from Quut via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The Sloopi is perfect to building, creating and imagining – it’s a pirate ship on the moat of your sand castle, its a digging boat…

Beach and bath toys from Quut via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The sloopi even doubles as a bath boat.

You might remember my posts about Quut beach toys (you can catch them here and here if you missed them) and if you do you will know that I am a big fan!

We are quite lucky with our location as we have the beautiful city of York 20 minutes drive one way and then we have the beach town of Scarborough 30 minutes the other way! That means its literally a short car journey and we get to enjoy a day at the beach, so when it comes to beach toys and what to take with us, I like to think we are pros now!

Beach and bath toys from Quut via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

You can make so many different things with these shapers – perfect for beach fun or playing with bubbles in the bath.

Beach and bath toys from Quut via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I love the lili toy from Quut – that see through lid is genius, and so pretty too!

Last year we made sure we had all of the Quut beach toys range to enjoy during our beach trips – we even took them to Turkey with us for our summer holiday. They are designed with children in mind, allowing them to utilise the products in the most creative ways. As adults (who design the toys) I often think we think too much like ourselves and lose the innocence of childhood when it comes to the toys. We forget the simplest of games was usually the best.

These new shapers and Sloopi from Quut are great. Not only to they allow kiddos to create shapes, scoop and sail around their moat, but they are also perfect for bath time too.

Harriet x

Adorable hangers from Red Hand Gang via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

These hangers are so pretty – perfect for using to organise or decorate.

Adorable hangers from Red Hand Gang via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Why not hang up an outgrown outfit, or maybe a special piece that you want to use as display?

Adorable hangers from Red Hand Gang via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Ideal for those pieces you just can’t let go of! Turn your child’s old clothes into room art… and you never have to let go of them then!

How sweet are these adorable clothes hangers from The Red Hand Gang?

At the moment all of my children seem to have clothes all over their wardrobe, or hanging on hangers that are just too small or too flimsy. These are such a brilliant idea for organising your child’s space especially if you have some really special outfits that might make a nice display on your child’s wall.

I’ve put Edith’s flower girl outfit out on display in her room – it’s a nice way to display your baby pieces after your child has grown out of them, almost like a reminder of days gone past, like a photo or a hand impression.

These hangers are solid wood so ultra study and they are hand painted to perfection.

Harriet x

Forest schooling via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Reuben’s school is what is known as a Forest School which has been developed from the Scandinavian education system. In Scandinavia they are totally focused on allowing and encouraging children and young people to build their self esteem and independence through exploring and experiencing the world around them, specifically the great outdoors.

Reuben started proper school a few months back and it’s been such an exciting chapter in our lives He is absolutely loving it! I realised that I had written about his start on the Muddy Puddles blog (which you can read here) but I hadn’t shared it with my own readers, and I wanted to talk about the type of school he is attending because I think it’s absolutely amazing and needs to be shared as much as possible!

Reuben’s school is what is known as a Forest School which has been developed from the Scandinavian education system. In Scandinavia they are totally focused on allowing and encouraging children and young people to build their self esteem and independence through exploring and experiencing the world around them, specifically the great outdoors. Forest schooling via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.Each child within a group is treated as an individual, with choices over how they learn – not unlike montessori systems – while focusing on their development using the natural environment (so not always a forest per se – though in Reuben’s case it is literally a forest!) The whole idea of Forest Schooling is to allow children the chance to show an interest in what they really like, to help them develop skills and an understanding of their own abilities, without being pushed in one direction. So in Roo’s case, he loves numbers, building and being creative, and is therefore actively encouraged to build dens, count bugs, and create artwork using the things he finds in the forest. Children are given the chance to get hands on experiences, outdoors with their peers. The other great thing is that it allows teachers to step back and really watch their students – the amount you can learn from watching a child, especially about the way they learn and develop, is huge. So to have the chance to do this, and act as a guide while a child develops naturally is fabulous.

For Roo, he has a Forest school ‘session’ every friday afternoon, though this isn’t the only time the philosophy is utilised – in fact, everything about the school follows the same principal and they use what they have learnt in their friday sessions throughout the week in the rest of their more ‘traditional’ curriculum focused learning. During Friday sessions, Roo gets the chance to visit the woods near his school, and experiences a wide variety of multi sensory activities all within the natural environment. What I really do love is that the sessions run in all weather conditions (unless weather conditions are dangerous) so he get’s to experience rain and snow, in the way that a child should – exploring with friends. Roo thinks it is amazing to be able to go outdoors in the pouring rain – provided he is wearing his weather proof trousers and his coat – he even came home one day explaining to me how rain clouds work! At 4 years old!

Once he is at the Forest school ‘site’ he gets to choose what to participate in, and has already come home and told me he’s been hunting for bugs, digging and building dens with his friends. Other things that take place are artworks and crafting using natural mediums, mud painting (eww – not looking forward to washing that up!), learning to tie knots, fire building and even camp fire cooking!

There is such a vast amount of evidence to support the increased emotional wellbeing of children who are learning and spending more time outdoors, and it’s especially beneficial to helping keep kids fit and healthy. On top of the health benefits, I also think that it is vitally important for children to learn to communicate with peers and adults to solve problems and share experiences, in a real life setting. Reuben always comes home full of enthusiasm (last week they climbed a big hill in the area on a long walk and he did nothing but talk about how him and a friend had climbed this huuuuge hill like adventurers – it was even called Devil’s Hill… though I suspect the teachers made that up for fun). I genuinely feel that this type of learning helps him to develop a relationship with other’s through simple interaction without the distraction of toys or technology. It also allows for children to have a more one to one experience with their teachers, like I mentioned before, being given the opportunity to step back and observe children and the way they learn will tell you a lot about how to help get the best out of that child. Since starting school Reuben seems to have grown in confidence and enthusiasm for his learning (though that may have been diminished by his poor experience at preschool).

If you want to find out if there is a Forest School near you then you can do so by visiting Forest Schools. I can’t wait to find out more and more about what Roo does at school – from the weekly newsletter mind you, he only shares snippets and it’s usually food based haha! – and as I find out, I will share it with you.

Harriet x

 

What we read :: Pop-Up: Everything you need to create your own pop-up book by Ruth Wickings

This book is great as it allows older children to enjoy a pop-up book, but also teaches them how to make their own.

It’s been a time since I’ve written about our favourite books or books that I think are worth recommending, so when I saw this feature on Cool Mom Picks about the best pop-up books I felt inspired to write about this one in particular.

Reuben is getting more an more create since he started school – in fact, half of the time his favourite afternoon activity is playing quietly in the dining room with his lego. The other half of the time it’s chasing his brother around and hitting him over the head with something hard, but hey, we’re getting there.

What we read :: Pop-Up: Everything you need to create your own pop-up book by Ruth Wickings

Perfect for creative kids like Reuben.

What we read :: Pop-Up: Everything you need to create your own pop-up book by Ruth Wickings

I can’t get enough of the illustrations in this book – they are just so fab.

I’ve ordered this particular pop-up book for him because I think that it will be something he can really enjoy doing and sinking his teeth into. The book features some amazing pop-ups but unlike others it teaches the children how to make their own pop-ups and gives them the pre printed illustrations to do it with. Cool, right?

I think that as children get older they still love a good pop-up book, but that desire to learn and create has kicked in and pop-ups often get put away as too babyish or not worth the money because more educational things take precedent. This is fun, it’s creative and it’s ideal for a slightly older child who (like me still in my late twenties) still loves the magic of a pop-up book but needs something a bit more advanced.

Harriet x

Sonny Angel :: collectable dolls via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This sweet collection from Sonny Angel is good enough to eat (excuse the pun)!

Sonny Angel have been around for a time now, and I’ve never really fallen for them, until recently. I don’t know if it’s having Edith or what is it, but suddenly I seem to be drawn to dollies and figures in a way I never was before, which makes me smile as collectables aren’t really my thing. Since I’ve always had a predilection for pretty things (though I can usually reign myself in) I have fallen head over heels for this latest range of Sonny Angels collectable dolls.

This range (or collectable series if we are to be precise!) is called the Laudrée series. Laudrée is a renowned Parisian pâtisserie founded in 1862, and they have teamed up with Sonny Angel to create these adorable, cake styled characters. Each little Angel is wearing nothing but their birthday suit, a pair of angel wings and these super cute, good-enough-to-eat hats.

Sonny Angel :: collectable dolls via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Each Angel wears nothing but their birthday suit, a pair of angel wings and these beautiful headpieces – inspired by the French Patisserie Laudrée.

Sonny Angel :: collectable dolls via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

If you are a collector of Sonny Angels then Toyella is definitely the place to go as they allow you to buy 12 for the price of 10 and guarantee all of the figures.

The way it works is this: there are 12 Sonny Angels in each series but each one is a secret purchase – so no matter where you buy it from you will never know which little character is coming to live with you. Even the shop won’t be sure which little Angel is inside because the angel pictured on the box you get is not necessarily the one that’s in there! The packaging shows pictures of all 12 in the series so children (and grown ups) know when that series is fully collected and can move on to the next one. I can’t think of any children that wouldn’t love collecting and swapping these little figures – don’t you remember swaps at school as a child? It was one of the most fun things to do (though I do recall one girl swapping me a tamagochi for my pretty hair pins. Needless to say our parents didn’t think that was such a great swap and we had to swap back!)

The best thing about ordering your Sonny Angels from Toyella is that if you are like me and you can’t bare to have one piece of the collection missing, you can order 12 Angels for the price of 10 AND you are guaranteed to get all 12 in the series. Perfect. You could always do what we do with Reuben and keep them aside, only to dish them out for treats or exceptional behaviour… but you would know that he was never going to be disappointed.

Harriet x

SugarCane, loom weave clothing for girls via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Summer clothing for girls can often be full of synthetic materials and doesn’t last, but with SugarCane that isn’t the case.

SugarCane, loom weave clothing for girls via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Mixing simple styles with classic loom weave designs, this is a brand like no other.

SugarCane, loom weave clothing for girls via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I just love the colours and styles.

SugarCane, loom weave clothing for girls via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Simple fashion, but with a huge economic impact. The loom weavers are often the primary earners in their household. SugarCane supports these women.

SugarCane, loom weave clothing for girls via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This vest has to be one of my favourite pieces from the whole collection – I love it.

This is one of the sweetest fashion lines, especially with the summer months coming up this type of clothing for girls is just angelic. There seems to be an abundance of great summer ranges this year, but what stands out for me with this range is that it is based on the principle of women supporting women.

The brand is California based with the clothes being made using the traditional artisan techniques of loom weaving from the women working in the Philippines. These women are often the primary earners in their households so by honouring their traditional artistry to create this line, SugarCane is really giving back to the community through you, the consumer.

I love the patterns of this collection (especially this lovely vest – isn’t is darling?) and there really is nothing like it.

Harriet x

7 signs you have a teething baby via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The classic teething expression – sucking her gums and dribbling.

I have mentioned a few times now that poor Edith is teething, and boy is she grumpy with it! Reuben would get a sore bottom, Toby bright red cheeks and a temperature, but neither of them had much of a temper with their teeth. Edith is like a rhino coated in itching powder, you put her down she screams, you pick her up and you haven’t done it fast enough damn it! Wahhhh!!!

I can’t say I blame her, toothache sucks, it’s one of the worst pains and it’s perfectly reasonable for her to be a witch, God knows I would be. That being said, as much as I understand and I sympathise with Edie, a teething, grumpy baby makes for a grumpy mama any day of the week. When I thought about it, this is one thing that all mamas will have in common, as every baby teethes, so see if you recognise any of these signs that you are the mama of a teething baby. Continue reading

Rhubarb, Pear and Apricot chutney via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Rhubarb is a brilliant chutney vegetable, so kiss goodbye to the rhubarb crumble that no one in the family likes and get ready for tasty, easy chutneys this spring!

In this house we really aren’t big rhubarb eaters, in fact, when my lovely mother-in-law came over with some fresh rhubarb that her and Toby had collected from her garden, my husband asked me what on earth was I going to do with it – with a silent plea to NOT make rhubarb crumble! The thing is, the rhubarb was so fresh, and Toby had spent a wonderful afternoon with Grandma collecting it for us – we had to do something. So, chutney.

Not many people think of rhubarb as a brilliant chutney vegetable (yes, its a veggie, not a fruit! Call me google.) but it is! It makes the most amazing chutney to accompany meats like ham or gammon and don’t even get me started on cheese. Yummy!!

Here’s the chutney I have made this time (and I’m saving some for Edie’s christening next month to serve with the cheese board).

You will need:

6oz rhubarb, peeled, trimmed and cut into small pieces

6oz pears, peeled, cored and cut into quarters

1 small apple, quartered and cored

2/3 cup dried apricots (plus boiling water to cook them in)

1 tsp ginger paste

3 cloves garlic

2 cups white malt vinegar

2-3 tsp salt

1 cup golden granulated sugar

Chop the apricots into small pieces and place in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and cook in the microwave (750w) for 4mins. Allow to cool slightly and drain.

Meanwhile, place the apple, pear, rhubarb and garlic in a food processor and roughly chop. Place in a bowl and add the ginger paste, sugar, salt, malt vinegar and apricots.

Rhubarb, Pear and Apricot chutney via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Chop the rhubarb into small chunks – and peel it. You don’t have to peel rhubarb BUT it helps to make it less tough when you do.

Rhubarb, Pear and Apricot chutney via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The best thing about chutney is that it looks awful until it is cooked, but once it’s done – wow!

Cook in the microwave for roughly 2 hours, stirring every 10 mins. I like to keep cooking this until I have a thick spoon-able consistency, but if you find you get there before 2 hours, just take it out and allow it to cool.

To sterilise jam jars, you add freshly boiled water to the empty jar and leave to cool until you can tip it out. Simples.

Enjoy with cheese, gammon, ham or chicken! (I LOVE this with my mum’s coca-cola ham or a real strong mature cheddar. Mm-mmm!)

Harriet x

Kids art books from Doodle Nest via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents are their kids.

With Father’s Day coming up, I’ve been looking into how we could do something special for Daddy and I love these Kids’ Art Books from Doodle Nest.

Kids art books from Doodle Nest via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents are their kids.

Maybe once or twice a year you could collect up those special drawings and do this?

Kids art books from Doodle Nest via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents are their kids.

Doodle Nest use professional photography and editing, to create a really special, quality hard back coffee table book that pulls together such a beautiful collection of your children’s artwork that you (and your children… and their children… ) will cherish forever.

You know those lovely pieces of art work that your children do for you when they are at school (or sometimes even before)? The ones that you put up on the fridge using magnets, or that you put away because they are too precious to lose or find torn. We are just starting to get more than scribbles from Roo, you know, shapes and attempted words – it’s so precious!

Kids art books from Doodle Nest via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents are their kids.Kids art books from Doodle Nest via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents are their kids.

You can even add a special personal message for Daddy.

With Father’s Day coming up, I’ve been looking into how we could do something special for Daddy and I love these Kids’ Art Books from Doodle Nest. They take your child’s precious art work and turn it into the most darling keepsake book. Just looking at the examples had me feeling all sentimental, never mind my own children’s work. Doodle Nest use professional photography and editing, to create a really special, quality hard back coffee table book that pulls together such a beautiful collection of your children’s artwork that you (and your children… and their children… ) will cherish forever.

You really don’t need an occasion to order one of these books, though I have to say it would make the most fantastic Father’s Day gift for any loving Daddy – and you can include a special dedication too. Perfect.

Harriet x

Cabbages & Kings via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I just love these adorable rompers. Such sweet clothing for kids!

Cabbages & Kings via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The Andean inspiration is so apparent in every piece and that’s something I think sets this range apart from others.

Cabbages & Kings via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

These full length bibs aren’t just stylish they are so practical, covering the whole body! Perfect for weaning stages.

Cabbages & Kings via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

All the products are made with keeping traditional techniques alive in mind, whether it is by artisan designers in Peru or Bolivia or embroiderers in Mexico.

I have to say I am smitten with this delightful brand from over the pond. I just can’t seem to get enough of rompers at the moment (we’ve had a few days of delicious sunshine up here so Edie and the boys have had their legs out in summery shorts, dungarees and rompers) they are so sweet! Perfect for little girls or boys, and I think these from Cabbages & Kings might just be my favourites. Made in Mexico from 100% raw cotton and hand embroidered, they make the most exquisite clothing for kids.

That is what I truly love about this brand – the authenticity of it. All the products are made with keeping traditional techniques alive in mind, whether it is by artisan designers in Peru or Bolivia or embroiderers in Mexico. The founder of the brand, Alexandra Gizela, has always had a keen interest in Andean culture, and when she couldn’t find what she wanted for her own child’s wardrobe, she combined her passions to share her tastes with us all.

Boy, I’m pleased she did! Unfortunately for me, Toby has suddenly sparked an interest in potty training, or I would have him dresses in those rompers every day of the week!

Harriet x