Bea’s Favourite Handmade & Small Business Goodies: The Christmas Edit.

Bea’s Favourite Handmade & Small Business Goodies: The Christmas Edit.

*Collaborative post*- I was gifted the items below in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

At Bea & Me HQ we are riding high on the festive feelings that only the speedy descent into holiday madness provides! I blasted “Fairy Tale of New York” in a pair of cosy Winter Socks and this weekend we erect our tree, because nothing is better than a semblance of fairy lights and adorable designs that capture Christmas Cheer and your unique passions!

Too early… Boo Neigh Sayers and Bah Humbugs alike!! This is a Pro Christmas Zone. This is where glorious small businesses are totally “Sleighing” their crafts to bring their customers goodies to stuff in stockings, Christmas Eve Boxes and wrapped to bring delight.

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I don’t know if I am on The “Nice List” this year. All I can say, Dear Reader, is that I tried! I hope supporting independent creatives & vendors goes some way to getting me there though. Also bonus fun fact: this will be the first Christmas in TWO years that I can indulge in pate, soft cheeses and alcoholic beverages to my hearts content as I am not pregnant this year!

So without further a-do lets launch into #AVerySmallBizzChristmas, handmade with love or stocked with uniqueness and personality in mind. Rest assured these businesses can provide personalisation and cheer Christmas and all year round!

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These businesses have Christmas wrapped up (I am not even sorry about the pun!) but a lot of the items for review are every day items. As much as I love all the beautiful, festive offerings the longevity to enjoy the items is just not there so I have avoided Christmas Centric items that are all jingle bells but may be put away after a few weeks.

This being said, I am featuring one exclusively Christmas item but this can be used year after year! Because it is the gift that keeps on giving and can become a nice tradition.

So gather close Dear Reader and enjoy Bea’s favourite small businesses to buy from all year round!


roots and beets

Roots and Beets:          @roots_beets

Megan is a whizz at fashioning bibs and baby blankets in the most soft and gentle (and truly adorable) material. I always struggled to find bibs that didn’t rub Bea’s delicate skin and were easy to put on as historically when bibs have approached pre dinner time, a wild battle ensues that includes but is not limited to flailing arms, Neo style moves in the form of leaning back and angry war cries!F1A7BB39-9CE1-4A74-908A-6FB6E196D41D

As a #MumMaker, Megan has really thought about the practicalities and has kept in mind the comfort aspect. The bibs came into existence because her own little boy suffered with sensitive skin. Like Bea, he never enjoyed the prospect of Bib-Wearing (who can blame them?!) but the introduction of this design made meal times that little bit easier!

I have experienced the same ease of situation. With the snap fastener the bibs are quick to put on for minimal fuss (perfect damage control!) This handy fastening can even be closed one handed after slipping bib around your LO’s neck.

The super softness comes from the 100% Cotton Double Gauze (Muslim) which is an Oeko-tex Certified Material.

I fell in love with The Sugar Plum Fairy 3 pack (evoking my warm nostalgia of The Nut Cracker which remains a firm family favourite). The sparkly bibs are also Megan’s favourite to make! The colour set contains a pastel  pink, salmon pink and burgundy with White Pearl Pom Pom trim and gold studding to add extra sparkle. Who doesn’t want additional bling for the festive period over Christmas dinner?!!

The 3-pack-sets are a steal at just £19.99 and this saves you £3.41 when buying a pack as oppose to an individual bib.

There are various colour and design combinations (including polka dots and stars) that you can find on the Etsy store here. There is also a brand, spanking, new teal sparkly version available now! (Currently 20% off all bibs for Black Friday so 3 pack is £15.99 as of 21.11.18.)


bumbles studio

Bumble’s Studio:       @bumbles.studio

Kimi set up her business in March of this year (2018) having created clothing and crafts for her friends babies, and launched herself into the small business world as her passions took her there.

You can see the skill in the items that are handmade with such attention to detail. The passion is not only engrained in Kimi’s soul but she also achieved academic excellence in the field with her BA Hons Fashion Design Degree so the heart is certainly backed up by the skilled hands!

The teething necklaces really caught my eye as it is a very real struggle currently, though Kimi particularly enjoys making the dungarees! The clothing items are very impressive and with her embroidery machine can be easily personalised. The Bumble’s Studio experience is bespoke and colourful. The fabrics demand attention.

The teething necklace I was gifted is made from natural beech wood and crochet beads. They are fashioned with baby development in mind as the crochet texture and various colours provide different stimulation. The beech wood is untested and beads are crocheted out of 100% wool.

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2mm Rattail Satin Cord (various colours) is used to make the necklace, and the knots that hold the breakaway clasps in place are glued with a non-toxic water based craft glue for extra security. The necklace is perfect to wear whilst baby carrying or nursing and the breakaway clasp fastening is safe and easy to use.

I loved the colour combinations of the beads. The pastel is very striking and I found the length (about 60cm end to end) made it ideal for both myself and Bea. It wasn’t intrusive but could be easily accessed.


babaofmineBaba Of Mine:            @babaofmine

The Instagram feed is just stunning. *Queue major amounts of stalking!* Baba Of Mine is a Family Concept Store that stocks luxurious yet affordable brands including clothings, decor, gifts & books.

The store has its physical presence in Castle Donington and Rebecca is the curator of the beautiful things! She had such a passion for the business which possibly stems from her background in interior design,

“ I love every brand we stock that’s why we stock them! Design and ethos of the brand or designer is very important to us, to be blunt I’m very picky about what and who we put on our shelves. I whole heartedly try to support smaller brands if I think they have that ‘je n’ais se quio’ for example Matilda & Grace who designs and creates beautiful handmade bows & hair accessories in liberty prints.”

The business celebrates its first year of trade this December! The store is pioneering as it is one of the first UK stockists of a beautiful brand called Saga Copenhagen and Rebecca describes the store and it’s loyal customer base as a:

“welcoming, unique, beautiful, creative, community.”

We were gifted the “Planet Childhood” Organic Zoo mustard jumper which has become a staple in Bea’s Autumn/Winter 2018 wardrobe. It provides a colour pop 2d8276e9-e2a8-4c43-8322-c44ce046ca18and comfort. The big, jumper-hug comes with the organic cotton material used as Organic Zoo commit to sustainability, being natural and supporting people and partnerships. So not only are the products quality physically superior, you get a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing you are advocating a ethical brand.

I could spend hours scrolling through Baba Of Mine’s Instagram feed and the captions really give you an insight into who Rebecca is as not only a shop keeper but a person. Also she is The Queen of the Flatlay and there are so many beautiful Christmas items featured currently.


boop

Boop Design By Victoria:               @boopdesignbyvictoria

A beautifully packaged babygrow came to us from Mrs Boop! Herself. There really is something special about handfoiled babyclothes. It just makes everything that little more special with a golden shine!

“I am loving the chance to create little pieces to mark the miraculous, exhausting  time of life for new mums and their tiny humans.”

Victoria has managed to amalgamate her two passions and backgrounds in art and Midwifery to bring a little extra sparkle to expanding families!

The business came into existence at the start of the year and Victoria has been creating many beautiful designs. Her first piece was the “Tiny Human” design which has a huge place in Victoria’s heart and is also her customers most popular design.

The first Christmas designs are a little more complex compared to the regular designs which are just beautiful quotes, pretty typography and simple design. They say it all!

The vests are rompers are available in grey or white with gold foil. The material is really soft and the fit offers plenty of growing room (available in sizes 0-3 with feet, 3-6, 6-9 Months depending on the design.) Obviously the Tiny Human Designs are only available in newborn size or 0-3 months as they are great as part of a homecoming outfit for new LO’s!82DDA731-E293-4B49-A520-977D3932327C

(All available sizes for designs are listed on the Etsy shop and there is a Mix n Match multipack saver offer available for just £26.50 and free shipping!)

Bea remained comfortable and stylish and the designs are heartwarming and unique.


bear in the hood

Bear In The Hood:             @bear_in_the_hood

Is there anything more adorable than a LO in a knitted headpiece with animal ears? I shall answer this one, Dear Reader…. No! No there is not! I was thrilled to be sent a baby balaclava and I have taken to referring lovingly to this staple headwear as a Bear-a-clava. It has come just at the right time as the design comes in 8 different colours; perfect for your own little cub to express their personality. Obviously I selected the pretty in pink version .

I was thrilled that Bea didn’t detest the balaclava being put on (as we are currently going through a rather fussy stage when it comes to getting dressed!) I think it is because it is such a comfy piece (knitted is always for comfort as well as style), with her extra tiny head I would say the 3-6 months gives her very generous wear throughout Winter and into Spring to keep her ears warm.

Bear In The Hood don’t just offer knitted headpieces; there are also bibs, bunting, prints, cushion covers and even seeing patterns if you are at all crafty and a dab hand at sewing! (If anyone would like to make me the “Very Easy Teepee” do get in touch! Ha ha!)

The products certainly have an organic look and they scream bohemian. They are for little adventurers and families that love the outdoors. Bea’s balaclava kept her most toasty whilst exploring the woodlands on a Nannie H road trip.

Pricing is very reasonable and competitive/affordable for the personalised rollers/t shirts & sweaters.

Use code FREESHIPPING for orders over £20 on the website. Also check out the Etsy Store here.


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Figgy & Fern:                         @figgyandfern

A newly established Instagram business who will be specialising in printing personalised babygrows and other clothing. So far on the page there is a rather adorable range of Breastfeeding Milestone babygrows which I think is very special (I haven’t seen these previously.) It is a unique range to celebrate together as a breastfeeding Mother and child and almost serves as a “ticking off” of the months invested so would make for a lovely way to capture the journey.

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I was lucky enough to win their first Instagram Competition which was a lovely silicone teether (it has come at the perfect time for Bea’s emerging gnashers!) She has been enjoying the pain relief. The teether is a combination of the softer silicone beads that are free from BPA and lovely wooden rings perfect for chewing. They are CE tested and compliant with European safety standards.

There is certainly more to come from this lovely small business, so keep your eyes peeled now and you can say that you supported them before they became big!


otto and oliv

Otto & Oliv:               @ottoandoliv

I could not be more thrilled when I was approached by Rachel of the lovely Otto & Oliv to offer one of their stunning printed illustrations! My inner paleontologist was itching to get a beautiful dinosaur in Bea’s nursery so what better opportunity I thought. The very Rawr-some and unique selling point of these designs are that each dinosaur is  actually anatomically accurate too, so not only do you get a fun and quirky print for your space but there is educational value too!43CA686E-C4F3-4DB9-8924-7306041C52E5

These designs have certainly filled a massive dinosaur shaped hole in the market of prints; yes there are a few cutesy dinosaur designs (some very cliche) but sometimes you don’t just want twee do you?! You want a design that punches you in the face with awesomeness and announces its arrival into your life! These prints certainly do this and you are able to find your own favourite dino in the repertoire of illustrations. I love the different galleries: Under The Sea (that includes plesiosaurs to the milo mosasaurus), Land and Sky & Triceratops Triplets (which was the design I ended up being most drawn to!) They also did a fabulous collaboration with Tales of Boys and created three prints with awesome life advice to live by with a dinosaur that matched the sentiment. My inner geek had a little chuckle!

I was gifted the Viola version of The Triceratops Triplets (PUTTY) range. It is an A4 digital print on gloss 175gsm paper. These types are ideal for rooms where the artwork will be updated every few years and the perfect Christmas gift in my humble opinion. Rachel also offers the giclee print om matte 315gsm paper which is a way to create a more permanent piece of artwork that does not fade or discolour for up to 100 years!!! I found this incredible to comprehend.

I just love how the brand came to be. Amazingly Rachel admits it was started almost by accident!

“I was on a beach day with a group of my friends who were discussing how they’d found it difficult to find bedroom artwork for their dino loving children that also complimented their interior design visions. I started a sketch in my bullet journal and before I knew it I’d received my first order whilst still sitting on a beach towel!”

Rachel has been an illustrator/designer for 8 years before setting up Otto & Oliv in July of this year (2018). Like a proud mother she couldn’t choose her favourite design-

I feel like my dinosaurs are my children and you can’t have a favourite child!

The process when drawing up a new design is very in depth because Rachel uses actual fossils of that dino to ensure the character is anatomically accurate and adds the “flesh to the bones” by listening to her favourite documentary podcast “Your Dinosaurs are Wrong” to ensure the creatures she brings to life allow for the most up to date information about that type and the artistic license with the colours and animal prints are at random, which I think is such an adorable feature!

Viola is a stunning triceratops with a peacock print around her head crest and comes in such beautiful antique rose colours. I chose this as it was an almost perfect match for Bea’s nursery decor! The playful triceratops is peeking out of her egg. She has two other siblings Indie & Bohdi. The design is so classy it really looks like an expensive piece but it is so affordable. The whole set is from just £25 depending on the size and printing method.

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For a fun and nerdy twist for Christmas cards I hope you check out their offering of three prehistoric animals in Santa hats! – Wooly Rhino, Sabre Tooth Cat and Wooly Mammoth. (They are majestic! Find them here!)

Order your first Dino Friend with 10% off using code NEWFRIEND and if you order via Instagram message please mention that you found their beautiful work on the Bea & Me Blog!


41E89684-1579-4931-AAC6-CF2F2C5B7E05Truly Scrumptious:              @trulyscrumptioussweetsandgifts

I was saving my most festive offering until last! I was lucky enough to win a Facebook competition with Truly Scrumptious Gifts & Sweets.

These are personalised wooden Disney baubles in iconic Mickey and Minnie design. It was lovely that we could decorate our tree with both our babies (it is so important that we remember our little boy at special times of the year too!)

These baubles are only £4.50 and Truly Scrumptious offer various wooden tree decs (including the Manchester bee too which look very striking.)

Check out their full range of goodies that will be fabulous for stocking fillers!

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As you can see, there is so much heart and skill in handmade gifts; for not just Christmas but all year round too. These creations are crafted by people who love their art. The wealth of items you find when browsing small bizz is outstanding and the business owners keep offering their customers what they want. There is such an ingrained personalisation aspect in small business, a high attention to detail and duty of care to their customer.

Will you be shopping independent this Christmas and what items have you/will you be sourcing?

#StaySweet

-Bea’s Mummy x

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The Baby Box Debate.

The Baby Box Debate.

In my humble opinion, any initiative that raises awareness of SIDS is not to be ignored. In the UK, sadly 300 babies a year pass away due to unexplained death and these numbers could potentially be avoided by putting simple (but effective) guidelines in place to protect your baby.

The Baby Boxes (popularised in Finland that have been given to the new member of a family since the 1930’s) had been rolled out in Scotland for all babies born after August this year, but now (as with many topics surrounding babies and parenting) there seems to be a new voice of doubt from researchers; particularly Professor Peter Blair from Bristol University, who have penned a letter to the British Medical Journal to suggest baby boxes should only be used as a temporary measure and are not necessarily any safer than cots (as there is no evidence as yet to suggest that they minimise the numbers of babies that die from SIDS.)

I believe any sensible parent will realise that these boxes are not suitable long term and are certainly not a “substitute”- more an additional item in the Baby arsenal! Babies grow so fast even for regular sleep environments (bassinets/Moses baskets.) Prof Blair says the boxes are too small for babies over 3 months old but I highly suspect parents will not be attempting to jam their quarter of a year olds into what is essentially a cardboard box!!! Clearly they are not fit for purpose at this point, just like other traditional products so this seems like a rather pointless argument!

I believe the Royal College of Midwives understand the real value to these baby boxes. These pieces of kit could be invaluable to parents (particularly in more economically deprived areas) who may not be able to provide their child a cot straight away. There is no surprise there is a causal link between SIDS and poverty. Baby boxes give the opportunity for “an equal start in life” – as they have done in Finland for decades. This duty of care to new patents is a refreshing notion and I think it is important for new mothers to feel supported and that they have been provided tools to be responsible and loving caregivers.

My post today is in response to this mornings piece covered by BBC News here.

(Other BBC articles about Finnish Baby Boxes- 2nd August 2018 and August 15th 2018.)

I fully understand that any healthcare scheme requires rigorous testing and on one hand support that it is useful to get a better understanding of how families are using these boxes and any safety implications, but I more strongly believe (that as a Mother) you can’t really gain insight or perspective from science alone.

If just one at-risk Baby is saved by this initiative then I would describe Baby Boxes as an overall success. As a parent of loss, I can categorically confirm that nothing has ever (or I suspect shall ever) be as painful as losing a child. Our Nordic/Scandi European cousins are certainly socially more advanced and this impacts on excellent overall wellbeing. Finland has very low numbers of SIDS death, although this can’t be solely attributed to the boxes I think the levels of compassion and care available for families is undoubtedly contributing to a healthier and happier society and thriving children.

The bizarre arguments against baby boxes include: low airflow because of the high sides, parents having to look directly over the box to view child, flammable lids, risk from pets and siblings when boxes are left on the floor and questionable durability in wet and cold.

Now correct me if I am wrong but a) the box containing sleeping child will not be exposed to the elements/left outside to get wet and cold. b) if there is a risk of fire a cot will be just as susceptible to flame damage as a cardboard box. c) a responsible parent will not leave a child sleeping unattended for long periods of time and would be checking on their child regardless of what they were sleeping in and how the visible the material surrounding their child may be.

I was blown away by the Baby Box offerings whilst looking into essential baby products: in particular the My First Baby Box as it seemed the best value for money compared to other brands (although I did fall in love the Moomin design Finnish Baby Box as it is so whimsical and reminded me of my own childhood love of the Moomins!!) There is a link to it in case you have been inspired to go #ProBabyBox and enhance your babies first few, formative weeks as part of their new family unit.

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My First Baby Box – Essential Collection

 

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It is quite obvious that there has not yet been enough time utilising this initiative to have any quantitative data available, but until such time as there is a fatality that is a direct consequence of a box, I see no harm in enjoying the potential benefits of a Baby Box and I hope that this post will also get parents talking about the very real and tragic consequences of SIDS. It is good practice to have any scheme in place (whether it is successful in itself or not) that gets people talking about how best they can protect their baby.

Here are some potentially lifesaving tips to minimise the risk of SIDS-

1) Sleep baby on their back (not side or tummy.) If they roll over and you are able to do so return them to the back sleeping position.

2) Ensure the head and face are uncovered. (Be mindful of a Safe Sleep environment- no loose fitting sheets blankets, avoid using cot bumpers and make sure sleep space is not cluttered with teddies or cushions.)

3) If possible keep your home a smoke free area.

4) Put baby to bed in their own, safe environment and ideally in the same room as caregiver for the first 6-12 months.

5) If possible it is great to breastfeed baby in early weeks. (Obviously this may be a contentious point. I am not suggesting that formula fed babies are at more risk of SIDS but there is research that suggests breastfeeding may prevent SIDS for the immune benefits that can not be replaced by formula.)

The Lullaby Trust
Description: This poster provides an ABC approach to safer sleeping for babies, as a way of preventing SIDS. Resource details Publisher: The Lullaby Trust Date: 2017 Subject: Accident Prevention Language: English Format: Text/Images A4 poster

I think a debate about the benefits of a Baby Box is not required at this point in time. They have been championed by health professionals and at this moment in time are considered safe and have benefits that outweigh any negatives so far. I will be keeping an eye out for any information that suggests there has been no benefit to them but any awareness that improves the care of our children can only be seen as a good thing and I think Prof Blair forgets the human element; that these boxes are creating confident caregivers and providing the best possible sleep environment if homes are not equipped for a newborn.

Would you use a Baby Box as a sleep environment for your little one? Have you personally used a Baby Box? (I would love to see pictures of them in use and any testimonials are greatly appreciated).

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

 

I am Part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme so if you purchase a product through any of my links I earn commission on that sale (at no extra cost to you!) but it will help me to keep my blog relevant and get hold of the most up to date products to review!

 

ZippyUp!: Review

ZippyUp!: Review

This piece has been written in collaboration with ZippyUp and also contains affiliate links. This means that if you love these ZippyUp’s as much as I do and you purchase through my links below I get a commission from the sale with no extra cost to you! So you can help support the blog further as I will invest in items that you want to see reviewed!

It’s all very well having quaint, fussy and buttoned clothing for your mini (heck! I have a whole section dedicated to babywear come doll like creations in Bea’s wardrobe!) but 44061636_559599001142330_5058356058796326912_nafter the Newborn stage you very swiftly come to the realisation that you actually have a little person on your hands who is just that… a little person! And they don’t appreciate being fussed; and very much, like us, find aspects of their day to be quite the annoyance ie: getting dressed in the morning and getting dressed after a relaxing bath to name but a few situations. This means that the highly aesthetic pieces that you like to play dress up with are pretty much obsolete and hang in the wardrobe for situations where you feel that you can muster enough fight to battle these garments on to your child!

What can I say?! We are coming up to Bea’s half Birthday now and I started to sacrifice high style for function and clothes that can be put on and removed with as little fuss as possible. This had me wondering if there are pieces that make it super easy for Mummy to put Miss Fussy Pants in, whilst still looking like I do care about how I present Bea. Can she still look adorable and feel less vexed after the “trauma” of being pulled through tight fitting lacy numbers, kicking her way through pulling up tights then wriggling as she attempts to escape the fumbled attempts of a frustrated mummy and a thousand buttons?!!

(Why do so many baby clothes have buttons? I mean, even huge quantities of poppers are still less than desirable when we reach the point of no return. A red faced baby. A Mum on edge questioning every single choice she has made selecting outfits in the past! I curse my past self!)

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is to always go for ease of the dressing process over how adorable your child looks. Your highly stylised outfits will still end up covered in bodily fluids, bottled milk, random patches of “what-even-is-that?” on a daily basis and when it comes to Poo’splotions the best combination of clothing has to be the classic combo of short sleeve/long sleeve body suit as I am somewhat of an expert now at peeling the short sleeved number down the body to minimise the damage from excrement that shoots triumphantly in all directions of the compass! I am always amazed how it manages to travel up Bea’s back.

But enough of the Poo Talk (which becomes the every day staple of conversation!) I wanted to find a solution for a happy baby and ultimately happy Mummy and to find a clothing compromise. It turns out that you do not have to sacrifice fashion for function! Just take a look at the gorgeous offerings from ZippyUp!

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Buy Your: ZIP BABYGROW ROMPER BODYSUIT NEWBORN – 24M (0-3M, AQUA & WHITE 2 PACK) NOW!!!

ZippyUp came into existence when another lovely Mummy (with two under 2) asked herself the same questions during those 2am nappy changes, whilst looking for that Magic Bullet that could make the bleary-eyed struggle a little kinder. Angela decided that the UK needed affordable zip fronted babygrows. They were very much exclusive to the USA/Australian market and not easy to access here, so Angela set about creating the Original ZippyUp with her background knowledge in design. Angela was the lady to bring us Mummies this much needed solution as she knows the fashion industry and has high standards so rest assured each ZippyUp has been made in her trusted factory with the best materials available.

I was gifted both the original babygrow in aqua/white and the plum/white sweater one piece and I can’t decide which I love more! The first property I noticed of both garments was the stunning quality. Durable yet super soft.

Original Baby Grow- The design ensures a good fit for your baby. There is such discrepancy in sizing in the UK clothing industry; as I have mentioned previously, but the way in which the Original Babygrow has been crafted (it is a 1×1 rib construction and weighs 320gsm) means that there is stretch in the fabric without adding elastane. Elastane can make your little wriggler hotter and the fabric less breathable so the absence of this means a happier baby and more room to grow. It is 100% cotton which I have found is so much better for Bea’s overall well being. We have made a really noticeable move towards totally organic clothing (brands such as Little Green Radicals and Lil Cubs) with similar properties and it has been a resounding success!

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Buy Your: ZIPPYUP Head To Toe Zip Babygrow Romper Onesie Pink Stripe (18-24M) NOW!

We used the Original ZippyUp babygrow as our go-to night wear for a whole week for the testing process. The zips are nylon and cleverly concealed so they never make contact with your babies skin. I just loved the neck tab that protects chubby chin skin making contact with the zip! It looks stylish but there is purpose to every element of design and it is as if Angela has turned every single Mum Worry into the perfect solution. The Original ZippyUp could truly be pulled straight from the dreams of Mummies going GaGa over buttons and poppers!

We attempt a nightly routine (in all honestly it has slipped to every other night due to Bea’s distaste of being undressed/re dressed) of Bath – Book – Bottle or Boob – then Bed, but recently found that we started having to remove the “book” element (which to me is super important) because after the bath there were tantrums! There has not been the intensity of protest to getting dressed after the bath following the introduction of the Original ZippyUp. It has not all together solved the issue, but I would not expect that from one product but it has certainly gone a long way to making changing for bedtime a much more agreeable experience. As the week went on our stress levels at bedtime have certainly reduced and now Bea only exhibits a mild annoyance rather than explosive rage at the inconvenience.

I just love the head to toe zip. It is one swift and solid movement rather than a series of late night changing fails.

Plum/White Sweater One piece- Truly my photography does not do the colour justice! It is the perfect shade for looking dressed up on more “dressed down” kind of days. I can see this romper taking us through Autumn/Winter & into Spring again as it keeps Bea suitably warm but I could imagine it still being wearable as temperatures increase again because it is breathable and I like that it it not full footed like the Original ZippyUp so we utilised it as more of day piece as it looks cute paired with white frilly socks too!

Whats great about both these pieces is that they are machine washable and can be chucked in the tumble dryer! The original also comes in a two pack and there is also a variant of the striped version in charcoal/white. If you would like to see even more colour combinations (I am now eyeing up the rose pink/white bodysuits!) check out their website.

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Angela truly has a gift for design and appreciation of what Mummies are looking for in the products they buy. Maternity pay will stretch that little bit further because the original ZippyUp is only £9.99 (in all colour combinations) and just £15 you get your paws on a 2 pack! The gorgeous striped sweater one piece is £18. Affordable, functional and rather pretty to look at!

These fabulous bodysuits are a must have addition to any babies wardrobe. Bea is looking and feeling good and we are forever Pro Zippy! #BanishTheButtons!

Have you included a fully top to toe zippy bodysuit in your baby wardrobe aresnal? Would you be keen to replace your buttoned and poppers items with zip only items? What other colour combinations would you be keen to see in the ZippyUp Range?

#StaySweet

-Bea’s Mummy x

I am Part of the Amazon Affiliate scheme and have included links that may earn me commission. As always all opinions are my own.

Bows & Bloomers & Bodysuits: Roundup of The Best of Insta Shops- 1st Week of October.

Bows & Bloomers & Bodysuits: Roundup of The Best of Insta Shops- 1st Week of October.

Can you believe how quickly it has whizzed into and through the Ber months so far? We find the Winter months drawing in closer and the first week of October has concluded! Already?! Time flies when you’re a Mum…! That is the saying right?!

Bea and I have very much enjoyed where our #InstaAdventures have taken us and I am blown away by the beauty and skill of the small business community. I would always seek clothing from small/Independent businesses now over our High Street offering because you just can’t easily source a delightful pair of bloomers or headbow that you can see from space in the local town. (#SupportSmallBusiness!)

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I have been able to source very Autumnal goodies to road test with a compliant Beatrice (I think she has now become rather accustomed to dressing up and posing for Mummy!) so I bring you a round up style post of all my new favourite things (*sang in the style of Julie Andrews/ The Sound of Music Style!!)- Please take a look at their glorious Instagram feeds. I had the privileged of virtually meeting a few of the equally fabby business owners, which as I have said before is one of my favourite parts of the experience, so I will hopefully be able to capture their voices too to add an extra dimension to this post and hopefully persuade you to shop Small Business too!

It has been a manic week so I have been unsuccessful in capturing Bea in our offering from Claudie & Co Kids, which is a beautifully festive really large gold headband (I promise you pictures in action will follow as it is just perfect for Party Season so this will be paired with one of Bea’s fancy outfits! Watch this space. But this is the picture from the Instagram feed below (beautiful but does not do the full sparkle of the bow justice!!!)

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Claudie and Co Kids turns 1 this month! Happy birthday to your whim and go for it style Melanie! It came into fruition as Mel got into making bibs and hairbows for family and friends and realised that it was not only a way to keep her busy of an evening with her husband working late shifts and bringing up her little girls, but also a great small business idea! I was really swept up by Melanie’s passion as she described her business. Her buzz words are a great foundation for any small business but I feel that Melanie really lives these values. I asked her for five words to describe her business but I got a lot more than I anticipated!

    1. Happy! – it makes me HAPPY and I hope that it makes my lovely customers HAPPY too!
    2. Custom – I don’t just make and sell (….what’s on Instagram) I also accept custom orders….If you have an idea I will have a go for you.
    3. Reasonable– I am forever being told about Claudie  and Co being reasonably priced in comparison so I will always aim to be that way.
    4. Exciting!- Claudie and Co excites me, yes it’s not huge (just yet!) but I truly believe in it and I hope it excites my customers too.
    5. Friendly– I always talk about this as I did not think that I would have met so many amazing people through Instagram. I have made friends from all over through Claudie and Co and it is an amazing community to be part of.

It certainly has that community feeling that Melanie describes and the vision to do more. I look forward to seeing how far Melanie will go. Honestly the quality of the bow was so high. The softness is ideal for a baby head and it is large but comfortable (Bea’s comfort is the most important thing to me so there will never be a case of style over comfort in her outfits but I wouldn’t have to worry about this with Melanie’s bows!)

@claudieandco.

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Now moving on to big, ruffle bums! I am a sucker for a pair of bloomers with their adorable silhouettes on baby bottoms. I feel in love with Remlyn Makes traditional aspect. Sandra created the business (an amalgam of her daughters names Remesnay and Harlynay) when she fell in love with a romper that she ordered for her youngest daughter’s first birthday, so she bought a sewing machine and began creating “handmade vintage clothing with a twist.” Like myself Sandra’s most loved garment to make are the gorgeous Olive Ruffle Bum’s! I fell in love with the fabric and I put them on Bea and it was as if they were made for her and her alone. They fit like a glove and are just so adorable that you can not help but to “awww!” out loud at them. Sandra crafts bloomers, rompers & headwear and customers can select their own fabrics too so the offerings can be really bespoke in nature.

(Pictured above is Bea wearing the two beautiful designs we got to road test obviously the Olive Ruffle Bums and the Pebble Tweed Bloomers.)

The materials used are very hard-wearing – I can imagine Bea bum shuffling in these and not having to worry about them falling apart. They are both quite thick materials but the photos really capture their fluidity too. Both pairs were easy to put on in the first instance and Bea was comfortable whilst wearing them. The colour of the Olive Ruffle Bums is so vibrant and really evokes images of an Autumnal walk. I will be pairing them with thick cream tights for Winter 2018. The ruffles fall so beautifully over Bea’s bum and I love that it has almost a playful vibe. Bloomers = cuteness anyway but these Olive’s are so sweet they could give you a sugar coma! I do feel like the pebble tweed bloomers are more for every day wear as the ruffle of the Olive may be seen as overly designed in some people’s opinion (however Bea will be wearing both pairs as daytime bloomers.)

There are some adorable offerings on the Instagram feed to feast your eyes on and have my eye on the personalised rompers there is even a super cute Halloween Set! (I adore all things Halloween so this spooktacular set is right up my street and much more a treat than a trick for me!!!)

@remlynmakes

You can never have too many bows as a Mummy to a little girl… and a slightly balding one at that at the moment! Whilst her new hair is set to grow in I have opted for 181BD1BD-EE1A-49A0-9330-E0B001B49622wrapping her little head in all kinds of material cuteness. I initially came across My Marali because of the beautifully unique pom pom blankets which I fell in love with. I thought the pink and white version would look incredible in the nursery- truly girly!

We were sent a beautiful selection box of headbands and the colour variations were perfect to take Bea through the seasons from the crisp white (which I tend to associate with snow drops of spring), to a Summery Coral (that evoked images of ice creams or flamingos!), to my favourite colour burst of mustard which is very on trend for Autumn 2018 and organic beige which will transition well from Autumn to Winter.

The presentation was stunning and very efficient customer service (turn around time was less than three days as promised on Instagram. I loved that there is a more turban type look to these headbands compared to more traditional bows. This makes them look sharp, clean and interesting. I have found the material to be quite snug to the head but not in an uncomfortable manner, but I am always checking anything I put on Bea’s head (stickler for Health and Safety and making sure I do not leave things on her head for too long at a time!)

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@mymarali.

I wasn’t lying when I said we can’t get enough of bows! I was super lucky to have won not one but TWO separate Instagram competitions for store credit at Lillies Lovelies which sell beautiful luxury hairbows #MamaApproved & choice of two bows from Everly and Me that craft beautiful handmade bows for little ladies. Of course we had to opt for headbows as our little Bea has no hair to make use of standard clips currently.

Everly and Me (2 headbands win).

@everlyandme_

Lillies’s Lovelies Goodies

@lillieslovlies.

I can’t for the life of me figure out where it even came from, but soon after Bea was born I started calling her “bunny” in hospital. It was a pet name I had not anticipated, but it stuck and I quickly started accumulating rabbit/bunny designed clothing (who doesn’t love “Some Bunny To Love” as a pun? It makes for an adorable body suit!!!)

Talking of bodysuits Cookie Dough Kids offer quirky unique designs that can be personalised for any occasion. I instantly fell in love with the Snuggle Bunny design- it was probably the glitter that attracted me! The design is simple but beautiful and made me smile. If it doesn’t make you smile I really question whether you have a soul!!!!

Kristy’s business is in its infancy (established in July of this year) but with

“cute, unique, handmade, personalised fashion”

I think there is such longevity in this wonderful small business. The body suit is lovely quality and in my makeshift “studio light” the text really sparkled.

Simple but effective! Sometimes simplicity is key and going back to basics with these lovely bodysuits and t-shirts bring charm to your babies wardrobe. There are some great designs if you are a Harry Potter fan but I do not want to give too much away! I want to you to go and checkout the website now for the full range!

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@cookiedoughkids.

The last shop I would like to feature is Lancashire based print company with heart. Having had a premmie myself I was moved by Kay’s story and the beginnings of Darling Prints. It came into fruition as a way to look after her daughter (now four) and was imagined into being because there was so much scope to come up with beautiful designs for various occasions. Kay began creating fingerprint trees for baby showers and the ideas and designs went from there- Kay still loves one of her first designs; a fingerprint giraffe and describes the business as “bespoke designs for life events.”

The service was super speedy- I literally received the beautiful prints the next day after speaking with Kay. They look so… well… Darling in their frames and add interest to the room. I love anything that relates to little people and big dreams and we are a house of animal lovers so there was something so whimsical and beautiful about the wild animal print. To add to the beautiful dreamlike feel I was even sent a beautiful gorgeous smelling wax melt too which really set apart the delivery. I love nothing more than attention to detail and getting more than you bargain for!

There are design to suit any colour pallet and there are many that look great as part of a mix and match series. There is such a breadth of design and you can see that Kay clearly has a passion for creating beautiful imagery that captures the imagination and really transforms any room. There are degrees of whimsy from more traditional designs such as Peter Rabbit to quirkier ones like the Batman Monochrome series, so there truly is a design for every style and taste imaginable.

@darlingprintsuk

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The beauty and design that can be found when you chose to shop small is very rewarding. I love that I have found a handful of newly established businesses that seem to come from the necessity to balance work and family life and live with a passion for the makers trade. There is something rather poetically beautiful about designing your own future and there is a lot to be said for being a #MumTrepreneur. Mums are Ballsy! Mums are defining their own success. Mums are choosing a happier family life by being able to work more sociable hours (often part time). I respect the way that these Mum’s have thrown themselves into running a business and many times it is about giving it a go! And boy are they succeeding. It is heartwarming. It is soulful. The background stories really appeal to me and my passion for people. That is what sets independent shops apart that there is so much to learn about the business owner.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured Instagram Shops and I hope they are a starting point for you and a new way of shopping (especially as the holiday’s are fast approaching!)  If you choose to purchase any beautiful products from the stores above please do mention that you found them through my review.

I think this is a lovely way to start a new week. Let me know if this is a format that you would be keen for me to adopt for coming weeks (a set of featured Instagram shops with links to their feed.)

#StaySweet

Bea’s Mummy x

 

 

As part of a review agreement I was gifted the items above but all opinions are my own.

Review: Little Peaches.

Review: Little Peaches.

Our little Bea seems to be suffering with Baby Pattern Baldness of late… the top of her hair is really thinning and we are constantly finding little, baby hairs in her cot, our bed and her Sansa seat…. anywhere that she spends an extended period of time really, so whilst she grows her new hair back in I have remedied this aesthetic change with adorning her in exaggerated & quirky headwear. #WeLikeBigBowsWeCanNotLie!

She has such a big personality she can wear these beautiful baby accessories with style and ease and our new favourite headbow comes from Little Peaches. It evokes Summer vibes with its sunshine yellow brilliance.

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The store has just celebrated its first year of trade (having launched in August 2017) and was truly created with a Mummy’s love. I really relate to Michaela’s utter distaste of going back to the grind having been off for maternity leave. As my own maternity leave is swiftly coming to a close, I can not even imagine spending time apart from my little sidekick. Michaela decided that this store would offer the lifestyle that would be most compatible with family life as she ensured that she could spend as much time with her daughter as possible.

Mum-treprenuer’s are fuelled by love and pure passion for products that have to earn the seal of approval from their own little people, which is one of the main reasons I trust independent businesses to deliver quality products. It is because each item has been put through its paces by a real child, with exacting standards and a varied and exciting routine.

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The store is full of adorable, fully personalisable pieces including the adorable tee that Bea sported on our little Costa trip “Mummy’s Coffee Date.” The quality of material is first rate and the fit surprised me as Bea is an awkward size and often mass produced/highstreet stores sizing is laughable (I don’t know why some manufacturers think babies are so long!!!) The t-shirt cut Bea perfectly and the full quote could be seen without being distorted in any way and offered ample space for movement.

It is a so wearable and can easily be paired with jeans, leggings or bloomers. We teamed the top, hairbow & angel winged socks with a pair of ruffle bum bloomers which were forest green/gold detailed, so there was a beautiful contrast between decadence and every day charm. I had many compliments on the angel socks as I assume, like myself; people haven’t seen these on regular/highstreet shopping trips. They certainly are the most unique part of Bea’s outfit. Yet again the material felt really durable and the thickness means that they will be functional throughout the colder, Winter months.

The service was top notch and the products have been sourced because they are the items that Michaela wanted as part of her daughters wardrobe! She says her favourite piece is the “Mamma is my bestie” monochrome top because it sums up her hope that her daughter will be her bestie forever… let’s get real.. this truly is the dream as a Mummy! I think this will resonate with a huge number of the #MumArmy.

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The full outfit was a hit with Bea; who didn’t complain about being put in any of the items, myself because I feel pride in dressing Bea in quirky and beautiful outfits that will stand out & with the general public (I saw the delight in otherwise deadpan faces of coffee drinkers and people audibly “awww”-ing as we passed.)

There is a huge selection of clothing available for babies and children and there are various snapshots on the Instagram feed of Michaela and her little lady, as well as other happy customers. It is nice to see the garments actually being worn in real life settings, because often on Insta Shops there is a feed of beautifully “fluffed” flatlays to manipulate the items into looking wearable, but this may not translate into reality! I have been fooled into this false sense of security before because I am a sucker for beautiful images!

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Little Peaches offers both style and functionality. The garments quality is not trumped by the aesthetic. By this I mean the items look great, but they also have longevity and will not burn a hole in your pocket without a quality output.

 

Do you love slogan tees too? What do you think of the winged socks and have you seen this design before? What quote would best describe your little one?

 

#StaySweet

Bea’s Mummy x

 

These items were gifted to Bea and I as part of our review agreement but all opinions are my own.

 

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Review: The Children’s Closet.

Review: The Children’s Closet.

Before Bea the bulk of my knowledge of babywear was minimal and mostly shaped by what I saw on the high street. Then one day I had one of those Instagram Wormhole moments where you stumble across beautiful things that would have never existed in your consciousness! This was the day I discovered Spanish Baby Wear and I cooed at the feed of cutesy, frilly, Pom-pom’ed items that I observed made these babies look rather regal.

Ruffled two pieces, Peter Pan collars and knee high socks to match really piqued my interest in this fashion and these items soon became part of my baby clothes search. What makes this trend really stand out from regular baby wear is the exquisite attention to detail and I would personally describe it as elevated style that you would not expect from a Babies every day wear; in a sense it even looks a little “fussy” and I initially questioned its practicality credentials. Surely these beautiful angel white rompers would soon be dirtied by every day play and wear and tear?

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Spanish wear isn’t particularly easy to come across in bulk and certainly not in high street shops. It is usually a market find or stocked in Baby Boutiques.

The Children’s Closet really is the jewel in the crown of Spanish Baby Wear. It was established in 2015 to provide “affordable everyday Spanish Children’s Clothing” and came to be because of the lack of availability in the UK. Amy (the owner) was unable to source a nice frilly collar on local shopping trips but saw loads of items on her holidays in Spain and fell in love with this style and decided that “the UK needed things like this!”

Indeed it is a niche market but I very much champion individuality and whether you love the Spanish Style or hate it (The “Marmite” of the clothing world perhaps?) there is more and more conversation centering around its whimsical charms. Like The Children’s Closet I too believe that this is a trend the UK needs because we all have different tastes and the Spanish flavour is certainly spicy.

These beautifully, often “over designed” pieces certainly allow for memorable photography, capturing the idyllic image of childhood. I particularly like that there is the vintage vibe, but it harks from overseas and is almost jarring when you see it because it is not English vintage. There is something rather fabulous about decadent, old-timey looking little people.

So Bea will be test driving the AW18 baby girls layered dress from the Newness collection and we were sent an extra Mystery Piece from Dadati, which is ideal for “The C Word” with it’s super cute reindeer print . Both have come in the smallest stocked size which is 6 months so Bea will need to grow into the pieces as she is still the lower end of 3-6 month clothing! But they will be perfect for the Party Season with the colours and designs.

Dealing with Amy was super easy and she certainly has a deep routed passion for all things Spanish Baby wear as I asked her what her favourite piece was and she couldn’t choose “I have different favourites for every brand and season!” I was certainly excited to see how these dresses could be practical as well as stylish and ensure the baby is warm throughout Autumn/Winter.

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1st impressions of Newness- in the packaging it looked bulky in terms of the material and the colour seemed brighter than in the photo of it on the website (which was a positive for me because when I opt for colour… I want colour!!!) For just £26 you get an awful lot of skill present in the garment.

There’s the layers, the collar and the two materials seamlessly joined in one piece. They are both materials that hold their own but also compliment each other so well. I couldn’t get enough of the almost aquamarine colour alongside the most decadent gold. The design will be easy to wear throughout AW18 into Spring 2019 as the design isn’t as Seasonal as some of the other designs in the collection.

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1st Impressions of Dadati- I am a sucker for pink so I was thrilled Amy included this item to review. I wouldn’t say from my own Instagram research that this dress is typically Spanish Wear or overtly so, as it seems much more wearable & understated. I don’t feel like people would question this piece compared to dressing Bea in the Newness dress which is much more an acquired taste! I would say this is a nice introductory piece into the world of Spanish Babywear. The deer pattern is really adorable and looks great at long & close distance.

The dresses in action- As previously mentioned with Bea being quite the dot of a baby still we had to roll the sleeves up, but in terms of sizing I would advise that the sizing is on the smaller side with it being a European import. I didn’t feel like the dresses were large on Bea and were wearable without looking like she was a shrunken baby in clothes 3 sizes too big, which often happens with UK sizing (for some reason ASDA seem to think that babies are rather long and Bea fits sensibly in 0-3 months rather than 3-6 months!) I would suggest maybe buying the size up to ensure you get full wear out of the gorgeous garments.

My previous observations about the Newness dress were unfounded as the material was much lighter than I anticipated and the movement aspect was clear to witness as Bea rolled the skirted section of dress up and was moving her legs as normal. I think where  there may have been a little space at the top of the dress the collar did tend to pop up but this piece is very much an occasion dress because of its decadent design. I would not be putting Bea in this for baby groups but with the festive period quickly approaching I feel this will be her go-to party frock!

The dress can easily be styled with bonnets, tights or long socks, I would personally love to see Little winter boots with it. It is also easy to wear with every day items such as the winter hat I have styled with the dress in the pictures.

The shine on the material is captivating and in different light the colour changes from green through to the more blue spectrum. I love the lace detail as this is a much softer inclusion against the hard layering and collar feature.

The dress was easier to put on than I anticipated. Bea has gotten to that age where she hates being fussed and changes of clothing often upset her. I was worried but the dress went on with minimal grumbles and no tears and the back button-fastening was easy.

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Bea was comfortable in the dress and posed for us for almost 40 minutes and was happy throughout. The dress did not impede her movements in any way however silly Mummy forgot to bring her ruffled pants to the shoot location (Nannies house!) so that is something that would have appropriately completed the outfit!

Do excuse the nappy shots because Mummy also forgot cream tights (I blame the broken sleep of the previous night where I welcomed in every hour from 12pm through to 5am!! I truly understand why the military use Sleep deprivation as a form of torture!!!)

our little model had to have a nap in between photographing each outfit but we put her in the Dadati dress before she fell asleep and it was comfortable enough to catch her zzzz’s in! The dusky pink screams luxury and is a colour that is being incorporated much more in childrenswear in the UK now. What makes it Spanish Baby Wear was the ruffle effect around the neck again and the fact that there are two very different materials fighting each other yet managing to compliment each other of one garment.

I loved the whimsy of the reindeer pattern, as woodland theme is often popular in baby room decor but it is nice to be able to wear a stylised version. The best feature in the pocket at the front as unlike many pocketed baby items in the UK the pocket could be used to store Bea’s tethers and even her small rattle rather than being a throw away feature- there was actual  functionality.

The material was very soft and again it was very easy to put on. This piece is much more every day appropriate and would look great with tights and a cardigan going into the colder months.

Both dresses withstood Hurricane Bea, and she seemed to enjoy wearing both dresses. I would even suggest that she enjoyed the Newness dress more as it brought together lots of exciting elements she hasn’t experienced from an outfit previously.

This was the first time that I have attempted flatlay photography so I am a novice, (Please go easy on me with any feedback- I hope to improve soon) but I really enjoyed capturing these two outfits. It gave me an idea as to how both these dresses can be worn to ensure Bea is happy and warm throughout Winter. Disclaimer: The pearls were only used as a photo prop. Please do not put your own babies in necklaces. Bea never wore the necklace nor would I ever let her!

Both outfits exceeded my expectations and proves  to me that Spanish Baby Wear IS wareable on the daily when you buy the right pieces. The quality and design certainly surpass many brands I have used from the UK. I look forward to occasions where I can bring out the Newness layered dress and be confident that this will be the only one in the room. I am sure it will certainly get people talking.

I thought Bea truly looked like a little princess in it. I am obsessed with historical dramas and thought that it wouldn’t be out of place in the dramatisation of Queen Elizabeth & Mary Queen of Scots in Reign!

If you are interested in introducing Spanish Wear into your babies wardrobe The Children’s Closet is the place to start and Amy would be able to direct you towards appropriate pieces for you and your lifestyle. I honestly believe it is a style that is glamourising yet clearly practical.

Having now seen it in action, there is so much give in the design that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from it at first glance. It has certainly been a pleasure to shoot Bea in it. If you are keen to explore this gorgeous fashion you can utilise Discount Code: BEAANDME at the checkout for your own piece of Spain in England.

What are your thoughts on Spanish Baby Wear? Can you just not get enough of the ruffles and Pom poms? Do you think the collars are ridiculous or regal? Would you dress your little boy in this style?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy.

 

These two items were gifted to Bea and I as part of our review agreement. With thanks to Amy of The Children’s Closet. All opinions are my own.