Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Memories are made of this

I want to give something to my girls that I have indeed created. My skills are not particularly well accomplished as I discovered last Christmas when I decided to embroider initials onto some beautiful vintage linen napkins I had found. Like a childs' picture may look in his mind, quite perfect, and yet his hand cannot create the same imaginings, my mind was full of hope that my needle and thread might dance up and through the fabric with some sort of magical gift I had yet to discover. Alas, my imagination and hope stretched a little too far and though I finished the napkins (a big feat for me) they looked as though my older daughter may have done them. Perhaps I should have passed them off as her handiwork to the glee of all the family, but I feared the disapproval of allowing a three year old to hold a sewing needle!

I am not one to give up and am convinced I can in fact create something wonderful for my girls and I am now about to make them some clothes. Not easy? Well, these Clothkits sewing kits are perfect for the less skilled or shall I say 'novice' and,  more eager creator.
Sessi is the girliest of girls so I'll be making her this gorgeous pinny:

Clothkits at Sisters Guild

Oona is constantly climbing and scrambling, over, under and through everything so I think these may be preferential, besides I love the echo of 70's colour and it'll be a great addition to her winter wardrobe.

Clothkits at Sisters Guild

Each set contains all that you will need to create the pieces. They are designed to make it uber easy for the novice in all of us who wants to be able to make clothes.

If all goes well I will also be making these adorable, huggable, loveable matching dolls too.

Clothkits at Sisters Guild 

The Clothkits revival is sure to impress our own mothers too, who'll perhaps remember making their own pieces for us when we were young. I've saved my favourite Clothkits dress I had as a child for Sessi, though she's still a little small for it I can't wait to pull it from my memory box to be worn again.

Both my mother and sister Bekka are in love with the illustrations of Rob Ryan so this kit designed by Rob Ryan for Clothkits will make a perfect gift for them to make their own creations.

Clothkits at Sisters Guild

Perhaps I could make the bag to house this wonderful book by Carol Ann Duffy, 'Another Night Before Christmas' which is also illustrated by Rob Ryan.

 The kit can be used to make a bag or two cushions.

Another Night Before Christmas by Carol Ann Duffy illustrated by Rob Ryan £4.99 at Amazon  
Also featured on the fabulous ChicLittleBaby blog

Something I've been saving for the future is a pile of fabric I've been adding to ever since my girls were born. I have kept all my favourite pieces of clothing they have worn. Some that are just so incredibly beautiful and others simply because they hold so many memories; the top she was wearing when she took her first steps, her favourite blanket, the dress she wore all summer, the first babygrows she ever wore with the prettiest floral pattern.

When I have more time, if ever this miracle idea of a future with ample time does actually happen, I hope to make a patchwork blanket of all of these memories. Perhaps one for each of their first born.

So here's to an evening in a cosy chair, needle in hand and a head full of hope for my next creations!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Clothes for scrummy boys

There IS reason to get excited about shopping for boys.  Sisters Guild brings you Little Duckling and Dandy Star this season, along with the essential winter cosy sleeping bags by Aden & Anais

The Little Duckling range has a lot to offer the well dressed boy, with no fuss, just quality fabrics and good tailoring.  It's all about being handsome and practical...and making mama feel proud!

Little Duckling clothes from £28.00

Little Duckling also do the sweetest dungarees for baby boys of the smaller snuggly variety:

Little Duckling dungarees from £31.00

Dandy Star T-shirts and Sweatshirts are, quite frankly, irresistible. ....

Dandy Star clothing from £20

And if you want your boys to be really cosy in bed, now that the winter season is here, these Aden & Anais sleeping bags will help your little ones have a good nights sleep....and they'll look adorable too:

Aden & Anais sleeping bags £29.95 each

With more to come next year, the boys dressing room at Sisters Guild makes shopping for sons a real treat.

There's 20% off clothing, including the Aden & Anais sleeping bags, using code FESTIVE until Wednesday 1st December

Pop over to Sisters Guild here

Friday, 26 November 2010

December's knocking let's get dressed

Christmas helps bring sparkle and colour to the grey of mid-winter. The ritual of dressing your home for the festivities is something to be relished.  Sisters Guild have brought together a beautiful collection of Scandinavian Christmas decorations for you to adorn your home.

Christmas also calls for an extra dash of style to your childs' wardrobe and the winter season of clothes is full of the finest fabrics, the prettiest patterns, the softest corduroy, vintage lace and exquisite embroidery. To help get some ideas for making getting dressed that little bit more fun this season,  get dressed with Sisters Guild.

Dandy Star is full of 60s and 70s charm with playful words, typography and colours.  Less about fashion, more about fun wearable works of art.  With the best soft and naturally faded cotton these clothes will become favourites in your boys and girls wardrobe - with long-sleeves and sweatshirts for cosy winter layering.

Find the Dandy Star clothing collection here

Hucklebones brings us beautiful outerwear, delicious dresses, fine jersey and charming knitwear to inspire the design conscious.  Long lasting quality, great design, beautiful heirloom clothes which at the same time maintain the intergrity and innocence of childhood.

Find the Hucklebones collection of clothing here

A clothing range that is both feminine and hip. Inspired by a trip to India, and created through a love of textiles, colour, fashion and their own children, the sought after designs of  i love gorgeous are pretty with an edge to it. For both welly-wearers and party girls!

Find the i love gorgeous clothing collection here

The enchanting characters of Belle & Boo, illustrated by Mandy Sutcliffe, come to life in these beautiful pieces of clothing.  Evoking the playfulness and freedom of childhood the clothes are reversible and made with lovely detail including the embroidered Boo rabbit.

Find the Belle & Boo clothing collection here

London based Little Duckling founded by Danish designer Rosa Wiland, offers a charming collection of clothes for free-spirited boys and girls.  With the perfect mix of tailoring, fabrics and detail, these pieces will be unique additions to your childs' wardrobe.

Find the Little Duckling collection of clothing here

We are offering 20% off Clothing & Christmas using discount code FESTIVE*
*offer valid on categories girls dressing room, boys dressing room, Christmas decor & decorations, expires 1st December 2010

Thursday, 25 November 2010


Theatre is an unforgettable experience for children. Holding onto the tickets in your hand outside whilst you wait to be shown to your seats, the hubbub in the auditorium, the smell of theatre, like Chanel, nivea hand cream and chocolate √©clairs, the silence in expectation….the lights dim, the audience lets out a hushed ‘sssssshhh’ and the curtains open.
What will happen, what will we see?
It’s a wondrous journey into a story with all the senses involved.

Theatre has always been a part of our life perhaps growing up with theatre ‘in the blood’ owing to a history in the arts and of course the family's own independent Little Theatre in Bath. (That's a whole other story) Even Fantastic Mr Fox came by!

Gathering together we put on so many productions to whoever would be around. I recall full productions of Annie, with our cousin Tamarose playing the best version of Miss Hannigan! I still remember the dance routines too! Each Christmas at the grandparents home when every family member would gather to celebrate together... post dinner we would disappear to rehearse our production adapting stories and making up our own often comedy version of the Nativity. It became a tradition and the grown ups would roar with laughter and applause. Often followed by our own laughter and applause when it was time to watch them trying to play charades post a few bottles of red wine!

I think I know every musical word for word song by song! I was the little girl that wanted to dance with Fred Astaire, fall in love with Cary Grant (an affair to remember) and join Don and Kathy in their production of ‘singing in the rain’. Whilst my sisters had a more 80's appropriate crush on Adam and the Ants and Duran Duran (so much was this love they begged for our newborn brother to be called Duran Duran…poor mother gave in ‘Duran’ is now his middle name! – sorry Adam).

Childhood is made of little memories that stay with us, leaving their mark. If there are memories I’d like to fill my childrens' hearts with it would be those that you get from the joy of creative arts. Theatre is a huge passion of mine and I hope that by introducing it into my daughters lives at a young age their appreciation will last and grow throughout their lives, enriching them along the way.

My favourite 8 shows from my 'must see' list this winter:

 Lost and Found is showing at the Polka Theatre 12 Oct - 12 Feb 

The Snow Queen showing at the Polka Theatre 19 Nov - 5 Feb

Beauty and the Beast at the National Theatre 1 Dec - 5 Jan

 Alice in Wonderland at the Little Angel Theatre 20 Nov 

showing at Little Angel Theatre from 8 Dec

Fantastic Mr Fox is showing at Jackson's Lane, the Royal Albert Hall and Stratford Circus

Peter & The Wolf is showing at The Southbank 29 - 30 Dec
  Also showing Hansel & Gretal 16 Dec - 1 Jan

And the Rain Falls Down at the Young Vic 24 Feb - 12 Mar 2011

So book some seats, dress up warm and head out to your local theatre. I'm sure you'll get hooked if not on the love of theatre yourself, then simply by watching through your childrens eyes and revelling in their delight.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I'll have a cafe latte to go please

Usually I am too busy getting the girls dressed and rushing out the door to take more than a second sip of my morning coffee. Now i'll never miss my latte before the school run!

We love these bright thermo mugs by Rice DK with colours that will make the day brighter.

The kids will enjoy a hot chocolate on the way home too. I'll just need something pretty to stash the marshmallows in!

Bright Thermo mugs £5 sistersguild.com
Latte on the go has never been so stylish. This plastic thermo latte mug with print will brighten up any morning for work or play!

Brighton sis says: 'Suitable for tea too, whilst standing in park watching young son burn off excess energy'

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Vinyl reverie

 I've just rediscovered the family vinyl collection.  I'm in a vinyl reverie.

When we were little there was a separate record player for the kids and a vinyl collection featuring Peter & the Wolf, the King & I soundtrack (Yul Bryner being one of those male figures we swooned over! )

The most memorable was the Beatrix Potter collection, with the charming voice of Vivien Leigh, dramatisation and songs.  Us sisters remember every word and still sing them today whenever we have family get togethers. (Carla being the singer in the family)  Mrs Tiggywinkle sings:

There is nothing in the word that's nicer,
I can happily guarantee,
Than a real hot strong cup of tea,

We spent a lot of time engrossed in stories and drama and in our shared bedroom we'd enter another world - with costumes, plays and dancing.  The act of putting a record on was so physical, so tactile, but visual too, with album covers that linger in the memory.

We borrowed from the grown-ups music collection too which opened up another world of music and stories in the form of folk, rock and blues.  We'd sit and appreciate an album as a whole, as a work of art.

So, it got me thinking about now, with our own children and how different it is.  I'm all for technology and convenience but it upsets me to think that my child won't grow up with the pleasure of vinyl.  I've wondering when to introduce vinyl to my 3 year old and allow him to handle the records, the player, the arm, and let him see in a more solid and visual way how music is made - imprinted on vinyl and played, literally, groove by groove.

I've had a look around for a small record player of his own.  There's some lovely vintage portable ones out there. Another thing on my 'seeking' list...I'll let you know what I find.

 courtesy of agreenfire.wordpress.com

What are your vinyl memories and do you still play your collection today?

Friday, 19 November 2010

Sisters Guild gathers gifts

Father Christmas is at his busiest time and perhaps would like some suggestions for Christmas stockings. Here we've picked a bunch of wonderful pieces for boys and girls to discover and keep busy with all christmas morning!

1.   Baby bunnies in winter knits by Maileg, £14.95 each
.   Butterfly shaped cookie cutters, £3.00 
   Colouring chalks, £1.00 
  Colouring pencils - spotted case, £3.00  
Heads and tails card game, £3.00 
   Heart shaped cookie cutters, £3.00  
  Inflatable globe, £3.00 
  Christmas matchbox mouse - little sister/little brother, £14.95 
  Nursery snap, £2.20 
10 .
Monkey by Maileg £14.95 
Crocheted fruit and vegetables by Rice, £8.00 each 
12 .
Colouring pencils - woodland theme,  £3.00

Belle & Boo little madam dolls -  which is your girl?
. Cheeky, 2.  Imp, 3. Pixie. £8.00 each

With lots of wonderful gifts to keep little hands busy all Christmas morning, and things that will be cherished and treasured for years to come.

Our top ten Christmas gifts for girls

1.   Petti Skirt - Cupcake, £44 (other colours available)
2.   Maileg pram, £16.95  
   Baking set, £10.00 
   Princess and the pea bed by Maileg, £59.95  
   Pink hobby horse by Rice, £25.00  
   Raffia bag - gypsy caravan, by Rice, £25.00 
   Vintage style snakes and ladders, £9.50  
   Fabric doll, Eva Cat by Leila Lou, £18.50  
   Belle & Boo Bubbles Before Bed book, £6.99  
Baby newborn in bag by Maileg, £25.95

Our top ten Christmas gifts for boys

1.   Maileg Horse £26.95
2.   Miller Goodman Shapemaker wooden blocks, £29.95  
   Fabric doll,  Prince Fergus by Leila Lou, £18.50  
   Felt Dinosaur by En Gry & Sif, £24.50  
5.   Felt farmhouse by En Gry & Sif, £34.00  
Dandy Star LUCKY Sweatshirt, £35.00  
7.   Boy matchbox mouse by Maileg,  £13.95  
  Monkey by Maileg £14.95 
   Porcelain dinner set - Boy Indian, £23.50   
Raffia zoo bag by Rice, £25.00

Our top ten Christmas baby gifts

1. Baby blanket with vintage bag by Mini McGhee, £56.00
2. Cozy winter sleeping bag - baby cakes - by Aden & Anais, £29.95
3. Dungarees by Little Duckling (sizes: 6-9, 9-12, 12-18 months), £31.00
4. Hanging scented heart -baby sleeping - pink, £4.50
5. Aden & Anais Security Blankets Issie - 2 pack - Pink Stars, £14.95
6. Belle & Boo - parade wall sticker, £20.00
7. Belle and Boo art print framed - Boo, £55.00
8. Belle & Boo cushion - Boo, £42.00
9. Felt dinosaur Lizard by En Gry & Sif, £24.50
10. Monkey girl by Maileg, £14.95
    And not forgetting us mamas and sisters at Christmas...
    Our top ten gifts for you and all the important females in your life (pass this on to partners as a hint!)

    1.   hop hop hop sautoir boite locket, £55.00 (ooh which colour?)
    2.   Candle in glass by Rice DK, £5.00  
    .   Large make up purse by Rice DK £13.00  
       Painted candelabra with birds by Rice DK, £44.00 
       Fabric coloured embroidered box by Rice DK, £51.30 
      Mini nuage bracelet by hop hop hop, £35.00  
      Thermo mug by Rice DK - for coffee on the go - super stylish, £5.00 
       Belle & boo 'found' framed picture, £55.00  
       Belle & Boo - My favourite spot in winter cushion, £42.00 
    Petti skirt - because you're never too old to be a little girl again (age 6-8 fits size 8-10 waist), £44.00

      Those who subscribe to our newsletter here (sign up bottom left of page) will receive a 20% off discount code for the weekend (valid Fri 19th - midnight Sun 21st November 2010)

      Thursday, 11 November 2010

      Clothkits nostalgia

      We rejoiced when we discovered a couple of years ago that Clothkits had been revived, got very excited to discover vintage kits and new kits by some of our favourite designers, and then rejoiced again when we were able to stock them in Sisters Guild.

      And... yipeee the stock has arrived!

      See the Sisters Guild boutique for more details

      Clothkits was such a memorable part of our childhood.  Clothkits just off Union St in Bath was the place to shop for creative mums, and we have to admit now that our mum was pretty cool in her day (even though there was a phase when we refused to stand next to her at the school bus-stop due to her bright pink lace up boots - oh, how I wish she still had them!). I loved going to that shop, surrounded by fabrics , patterns and prints - a visual treat for my childs' eyes.  I'm going to have to do a whole new blog post about memories of Bath as a kid - Moles cafe, Harvest with it's big red play pen, Walcot Street festival - makes me want to move back there. That's Clothkits nostalgia for you!

      The Clothkits clothes our mum created during late night sewing sessions on the old Singer machine were just beautiful, the most memorable being the corduroy dresses,  one red, one purple, with hand printed nature patterns.  All 3 of us sisters wore them in turn (yes, there's 3 of us sisters - our lovely Zoe, the oldest sis will surely be getting involved at some stage!)  Our little brother had lots of stripey bright Clothkits jumpers too - from the readymade collection.  A few dresses remain, and Carla's girls are next in line to wear them.

      We feel Kay Mawer has brought Clothkits into the 21st Century so perfectly and taken it to a stunning new level by involving artists and designers such as Rob Ryan, Mini Moderns, Jane Foster and People will always need plates.  Now the new generation of mums who love to make stuff can get some creative satisfaction from making a Clothkits piece, and there'll be a whole new trunk of treasured things to hand down and share.

      To discover the Clothkits collection pop along to the Sisters Guild boutique here

      We are digging around for some old photos and will post them here as soon as we've dusted them off.

      Here, I found some!

      Please leave your own Clothkits memories here.

      Monday, 8 November 2010

      New art & design market in Brighton

      I am really excited about this.  A new art and design market The Assembly Room is launching in Brighton on Saturday 4th December, in time for some Christmas shopping.

      They say: Designers Ridley & Dowse will assemble carefully selected local and national contemporary artists, print makers, designer/makers, illustrators and crafts people to create a one of a kind market.  You will find fresh directional and contemporary products, gifts and art work all under one beautiful roof. The Assembly room will offer something a little different to the usual craft market or fair.

      What a treat!

      Artists include  Eliza Fricker and Ellie Bond

      We shall report back with all our discoveries.

      And for those who can make it, see you there!

      ps.) any questions or tips about Brighton - how, what, where to stay, where to park - ask away

      Tuesday, 2 November 2010

      Let the magic begin...

      There aren’t many times that I get so excited about a childrens’ book that I want the world to read it too, nor so engrossed that I feel I am actually part of the journey. This book has captured my children’s imagination and caught my admiration in its sumptuous web of words and imagery. Leon and the Place Between has to be high up in the top ten childrens’ books I have read – ever - with Alice in wonderland at the top.

      The magic begins at the first turn of the page with rich magnificent illustrations made using different media giving it incredible opulent colour, dramatic depth and exciting texture. So breathtaking a tale you become part of the story and are immediately absorbed as part of the audience.

      Watching inside the tent as the show is played out; when the lights dim, so do the hues - the ‘lighting’ on the page - and you are left in darkness. With an explosion of colour and light three jugglers tumble onto the stage with a BANG so loud, so real it fills the room. In the silence of anticipation when the stage is still in expectation, you hold your breath excitedly, eagerly waiting the next marvellous moment. It is completely captivating.

      Each page is a flood of visual splendour. The deft delicate use of language sings to the imagination. The pictures summon you into an evening of magic. Word by word, page by page you are taken on a journey with a boy who believes…..

      A golden marquee at the edge of a fair, wind blowing strings of fabric bunting and golden rope in the late afternoon sky….. four children enter the tent.

      “When Leon goes to the magic show he is the only one who believes. Now his brothers and sister are in for a big surprise: this is no ordinary show and Abdul Kazam is no ordinary magician. Take a journey right through the pages of this book into the Place Between, where magic becomes really real.”

      Hire it, buy it, borrow it, I guarantee you’ll be singing its praises and sharing it with all your friends. Not just worthy of the most lettered and erudite of bookshelves but also the most sagacious of coffee tables too.

      Oh and if you don’t believe me, believe those that nominated it for the CLIP Greenaway Medal Shortlist for 2010.

      ‘It will be magic YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE.

      Tell us your favourite childhood book or your favourite read to your own children. We'd love to know.