Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wednesday Woo - I am me. I am mother

I am eclectic. I am soft. I am inventive. I am fun. I am giddy. I am brave.
I am happy.
I am ingenious.  I am giddy. I am stylish. I am beautiful. I am loved.
I am mother.

For all the mother you are 

This is part of our Wednesday Woo collection. We also have other stories and features including our 'Monday Makery', 'I Spy' and 'The art of living'.
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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

I Spy - Nina Chakrabarti

I spy with my little eye something beginning with Nina Chakrabarti!

Falling in love with someone for the first time can be an intoxicating affair. My daughter and I are utterly obsessed with Nina Chakrabarti's 'My wonderful world of fashion'. We've spent countless Sunday afternoons sitting together with pencils, crayons, felt tips and the occasional pot of glitter and glue as we enjoy being the unfinished artistBut of course now we’re smitten we want to know more about the artist behind the book. 
Nina Chakravarti was born in Calcutta, India where she spent her early years. Moving to the UK in her teens ‘carrying her stamp collection under her arm and little else’. She studied illustration at Central St. Martins and later The Royal College of Art. 

Chakrabarti’s work is loose, bright and fun characterised by its enthusiastic 'effervescent compositions'. Using different media Nina Chakrabarti draws with ballpoint pens, pen and ink, Rotring pens, and Apple Mac software.
Nina’s work is child-like in its bubbling unrestrained method and gives her work an approachable feel. She has worked and collaborated with big names such as Vogue, Marks & Spencer, I Want You Magazine, Mazda, CowShed, Topshop and Harpers Bazaar magazine to mention but a few. I know we'll be seeing more and more of her work as she continues to gain worldwide recognition and adoration.
Nina Chakrabarti lives and works in London. 

This colouring book aimed at fashionistas of all ages is so much more than a colouring book suggests. Its interactive pages are full of wonderful sophisticated illustrations that encourage creativity; creativity set forth by some of the best designers throughout the world all brought together with the fantasious vision and imagery of Nina Chakrabarti. The book is a celebration of the fashion world or as Nina says; "My book on fashion is just an enthusiastic response [to fashion],"  "I'm just a fan; I'm not an expert. This is just a personal take on it... I'm just an enthusitastic illustrator.

Covering clothing, bags, shoes, jewellery, embellishments, pattern and accessories the book lets us discover both vintage and contemporary designs turning its reader into the art student and the designer.

It also renders as an historical guide through the manner, mode, style and trend of fashion. Teaching its reader about the artistic world of design with comparative drawings of the then and now. Introducing designers : 
‘Dress by Finnish company Marimekko’….But Where is the pattern?’……Marimekko are known for their graphic patterns. Choose one for the dress opposite.’ 
Mapping the notable influences in the fashion world and paying homage to some of the greatest names in fashion and their influences ‘My wonderful world of fashion’ possesses an immediate connection to the influence in the fashion world. Inciting a fun perspective of pattern and shape and form.

The pages are a mix of elaborate patterned lined drawings and some less complex graphics that encourage with stimulating prompts the artist to elaborate and detail as they feel.  With great ‘how to…’ pages that show how to create simple accessories and embellishments such as button bracelets, safetly pin charms, and pom poms, it shows how to get creative with everyday objects and advocates that inspiration can be found in all that’s around us.

There are games such as find the matching pair and pieces to cut and stick, reference's to the nascence of objects throughout the ages, and shows how some of the best and most beautful of creations can be sourced from both the obscure and the ordinarily unremarkable objects about us. Its only a matter of taking the shape of .....for example a shoe and showing how its shape could also be used to create an altogehter different object like that of a....... hat.

The message that fashion is about making yourself feel good is clear. By becoming the artist and designer  Nina Chankrabarti encourages the readers own creativity and thoughts. The idea that clothing and accessories are more than their practicality bounces off each page. Conveying the notion that no matter what you wear, wear it if it makes you feel wonderful.
Wether it’s Marc Jacobs or a favourite home-made button bracelet, its creativity, its colour and its design is made for you to enjoy

Nina Chakrabarti justifiably concludes the book with a note.....

Just remember one thing girls......
Absolutely smitten! We now have two copies and we love them. The word Marimekko means something to Sessi now and she can see for herself the ideas of designers played out in the illustrations. I have to admit too that whilst Sessi colours in Coco Chanel's pearls of wisdom I feel a sense of joy that she has begun a journey into the wonderful world of fashion design and is beginning to create her own view and idea of it albeit without realising. She enjoys all its eclectic ideas, its origins and its playfulness.
Besides heaven knows as her mother I have NO chance of teaching her anything about fashion! Until i'm passed the stage of putting on whatever's clean atop of the fresh laundry pile and putting on my mascara as i'm hunting for their coats in the morning and back to the 'me' BC (before children) and looking more the lover of good design, beautiful fabrics and to-hell-with-practicality I used to be! Because no matter what your age dressing up is fun.

further images taken from Nina Chakrabarti's work. You can see more deatils of her work via her website:

For a full view of all Nina Chakrabarti's work and to learn more visit her website below
'My wonderful world of fashion' is available in most bookshops you can buy it here, here and here!
If you already have the book then why not try 'My even more wonderful world of fashion book' or if you'd like to use the pages to frame or send to friends as note cards or perhaps just for some more portable carry-in-your-bag-ready-to-entertain-the-kids version try 'My wonderful world of fashion postcard book'.
And if you're a super fan and have fallen in love buy all three but be sure to save a copy for yourself or you'll end up taking over the kids colouring in!

Nina Chakrabarti for; above Cowshed and below Marks & Spencer

This is part of our new 'I Spy' blog features where we bring you a view of something we've fallen in love with. We also have our Monday Makery with ideas for things to make, bake and create.
Our other popular blogposts include 'The story behind our collections', 'Tell us its Tuesday' , An A-Z of Sisters Guild, a collection of images that depict the words we feel celebrate all that is Sisters Guild. The Art of Living posts bring you all the things and places we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas, and our 'Once upon a week' gives you a glimpse into life behind the scenes at Sisters Guild. 
If you would like to contribute to our blog by guest blogging a makery or a place or event of interest please do contact us we'd love to share your voice too.

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Monday, 27 February 2012

Monday Makery - Keepsake Treasure Boxes

Moving house from an adults point of view is without doubt a monumental exhausting task. But, seeing it from a child's point of view turns it into an adventure. Its a journey of re-discovery and  finding new shelves and toy boxes to put their beloved belongings is like a game. And then there's the fun on of the empty cardboard box and all its possibilities!
We discovered along the way paper bags full of memories of places we have been, countries we have visited and outings we have enjoyed. It seemed unjust to simply return them to their nondescript paper bags to be hidden in a drawer and forgotten about and we couldn't put them into our scrapbook as they didn't belong to the adventures of this current year.
So, we've been busy making keepsake boxes. These boxes are like catalogues of memories we can revisit and enjoy much like a photo album only filled with the ticket stubs, postcards and the paraphernalia we've collected with each experience.
They're easy to create and you can personalise them in any way you wish, making each one your very own treasure box of memories. They would make great gifts too and making them in advance of a trip would make the awaiting adventure all the more exciting as you collect things to put inside. I think they would make a great alternative to the plastic party bags and you could personalise them for each guest with a initials or a picture of the guest who'll receive it. If you really want to elaborate further why not cover your card with fabric.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Card
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • decorations e.g map, stamps, labels

Here's how:
  1. Begin by marking the outlines of your box: The size of the box you make will of course depend on what you intend to keep inside. Here the boxes were made to include a large postcard so the base of my box needed to measure 8" by 6".
  2. To use the same measurements used here begin by drawing a rectangle 8" x 6". Then along each edge draw a further rectangle 2.5" deep and following the length of each side. Finally add on the flaps. 
  3. In order to make the lid you first need a rectangle measuring the same as you base adding on a tiny amount to allow to fit over the box edges without squeezing. 8.1" x 6.1". Then as before measure and mark a rectangle along each edge. The ones here measure 1" deep. Finally add the flaps.
  4. Cut out your templates
  5. Score along each marked line to fold up each side to give the card its box shape.
  6. Do the same for the lid. 
  7. Glue the back of the flaps so they stick to the inside of the box pressing firmly and making sure each edge is at its 90 degree angle. Repeat for the lid.
  8. Now to finish it off with your chosen labels, dates and pictures.
If you would like to create a 'pull out album' concertina strips of card using the same measurement as the base of your box. To make the concertina longer add a flap that can be folded and adhered to the end of each concertina end. As a delicate finishing touch punch a hole in the top piece of your folded album and tie a ribbon through.

Fill with memories and enjoy

This is part of our Monday Makery; a weekly craft or recipe to make or bake.
Our other popular blogposts include 'The story behind our collections', 'Tell us its Tuesday' , An A-Z of Sisters Guild, The Art of Living posts bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas, and our 'Once upon a week' gives you a glimpse into life behind the scenes at Sisters Guild.

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Friday, 24 February 2012

New collections arrive - I love gorgeous

ilovegorgeous has arrived made with rainbows and moonlit fairy dust sprinkles its has us dreaming of the  summer days ahead.

Inspired by the long carefree days of summer festivals, lazy days playing in the long grass and retro summer parties. 
The collection carries everything a girl dreams of. Beautifully finished party dresses, skirts in pretty and unusal prints, vintage inspired fabrics, and bouncy swirly carnival skirts with matching tops and the classic everyday dresses that have become synonymous with each ilovegorgeous seasonal story.

We've put together this seasons must haves for you.

Come see our Monday Makery with ideas for things to make, bake and create. Our other popular blogposts include 'The story behind our collections', 'Tell us its Tuesday' , An A-Z of Sisters Guild, The Art of Living posts bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas, and our 'Once upon a week' gives you a glimpse into life behind the scenes at Sisters Guild.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wednesday Woo - Love is in the air

There is a wonderful burrow behind a tiny hill-top where there lives a magical world of bunnies and rabbits. There are sisters and brothers, nephews, cousins, princes and princesses, a whole family.
Today, if you listen very carefully you may even hear the bells ringing. For today all the bunnies and rabbits on the tiny hill top are busy with wedding preparations. 
The bride will be dressed in vintage lace and she'll wear a pink floral crown, a gift from her sister.
Tonight the bunnies will dance under the pale milky moon and the sparkling starlit sky before waking up the sun for a new day and new adventures together.

Congratulations to the bride and groom!

Come play on the tiny hill-top and dance with bunnies, tell them your favourite bedtime stories and
 share your adventures. 
 They love to run and skip and hop about, they love to be held but most of all they love to be loved

This is part of our Wednesday Woo blog post series where we present a selection of our favourite things from the Sisters Guild Boutique.

We also have a Monday Makery with ideas for things to make yourself. Because everyone can be creative.

The Art of Living posts bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas as well as tips on events and whats on for families

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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines Day

My Valentine's evening has consisted of eating a big heart shaped chocolate brownie with my 4 year old son and reading 2 of our favourite bedtime stories: Penguin and Lost & Found.  Both stories happen to be about the friendship between a boy and a penguin, and have the perfect combination of humour and heart-warmingness!

Full of love...

'Everything' Penguin, Polly Dunbar
When all hope seemed gone, the two friends finally found each other. Lost and Found, Oliver Jeffers

Friday, 10 February 2012

Celebrate LOVE with 20% off all things full of LOVE

With Valentine's Day next week it gives us even more reason to celebrate LOVE with friends & family.  We have gathered together a collection of things that are full of LOVE, things that make us ooohhh & aahhhhh, bring a smile and a twinkle to the eye!

Maileg have some little sweetheart tins to hide sweet sentiments (only £2.00 each) , Rice DK have some decor gifts to add joy to your home, Belle & Boo is all about capturing the love and innocence of childhood, whilst the jewellery from Renaissance Life and hop hop hop, with secret hearts and lockets, is full of pure romance.  We are sisters who enjoy spreading love far and, for a long weekend dedicated to love we are giving you 20% off all things full of LOVE in the boutique.

Enter TOLOVE at checkout for 20% off 
(valid until midnight Tuesday 14th February 2012) 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Wednesday Woo - Blue skies on the horizon

Ok, so the weather outside may be pretty cold and the sky a little heavy with grey cloud but you can be sure that when the sky turns blue and the sun shines we'll be ready! With our new collections arriving we're already excited about the adventures we'll be having this spring. There are blue skies on the horizon.

This is part of our Wednesday Woo blog post series where we present a selection of our favourite things from the Sisters Guild Boutique.

We also have a Monday Makery with ideas for things to make yourself.

The Art of Living posts bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas.

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Monday, 6 February 2012

Monday Makery - tea-towel pencil case roll

We're been packing our things as we're moving house and one of the last things to pack was the girls baskets of creative bits and bobs. I didn't want to pack everything and thought that we should at the very least keep some essential pencils and paper to hand. I knew once they were packed I'd have so much trouble finding them when it was called for and, I know I'm going to need them to have some sitting-still-and-keeping-busy-moments! This way I could encourage them to keep their pencils tidily all the while keeping themselves busy drawing at the table whilst I continued to pack everything else. 
Thankfully my sewing machine had not yet been packed and I found a scrap of felt and an old faded tea towel that would make a perfect pencil roll. These are great for travelling, make great gifts and they took (once I'd found all the things I'd need) 15 minutes to make! 
The girls of course love them and as it didn't take very long to make I made one for each of them. I might make another batch to use in party bags for Oona's upcoming 3rd birthday too. But not now..... I've got a lot more packing to do!

Here's what you'll need:
  • Fabric
  • ribbon or ric-rac
  • pack of pencils
  • scissors
  • needle and thread or sewing machine
  • tailors chalk or fine pencil
pic 3 & 4 show the second pencil roll I made but  on this fabric shows more clearly the guide

Here's how:
  1. Cut your fabric to size. You'll need a rectangular shape that measures 13" by 15" (the larger length will depend on how many pencils you want in your roll). For each pencil you'll need an inch of fabric and then 1/2 and inch either side of the row. The one created here was for 14 pencils. Which means, 14 inches + 2 x 1/2  an inch = 15". 
  2. You'll now need to stitch along the top and bottom of your fabric to prevent any fraying. The sides will be stitched last. As the tea towel I used to create this had no pattern or colour on the reverse I added some felt to the back to give the inside some colour. If you are doing it this way too then pin the fabric together making sure the colour you want to show is on the outside/facing out.
  3. Fold up the bottom of the fabric to create a pocket measuring 4" from bottom to top and pin the edges together to prevent it from sliding.
  4. Now, make your measurements for the pencil pockets. Measure 1/2 and inch in from the left and mark a vertical line up and down the pocket. Then mark a vertical line in one inch intervals leaving you with another 1/2 inch margin on the left side.
  5. Sew vertically up your marked lines to create each individual pencil pocket. 
  6. Now sew the entire vertical left and right side edges to finish off and to prevent any fraying of the sides.
  7. Finally Flip over the fabric left to right as though turning a page of a book so that the outside is now showing. Take a length of ribbon and fold in half. Sew the mid point to the left hand side of your pencil roll half way up the side. This will allow you to tie the roll up and keep the pencil secure inside when you're out and about.
  8. Load with pencils and its ready!

Of the two pencil rolls I made I much prefer the one I made using an inner layer of felt. Not only does it give it a quilted feeling and avoids the feel of the hard pencils once rolled up but I also love the flash of bright colour on the inside. If you would like to use only one piece of fabric to make them - I'd suggest using felt over a heavy cotton. If you love beautiful fabric like we do then do use doesn't have to be a tea-towel!

Happy Making xx

This is part of our Monday Makery where each week we bring you a recipe to bake, a craft to create and simple ideas for fun things to make with children. We know that sometimes the craft isn't about the final finish but having created something together and we want to encourage everyone to have a go. I am certainly a 'newbie' when it comes to making things and trust me I'll leave all baking recipes to my sister, you see the thing is my girls love it, they feed me with inspiration and I love that our home is a constant and evolving state of creating and creations.

Our daily blogs offer you a sneak preview in our 'once upon a week' where we give you an insight into a week with Sisters Guild, a guide to whats on, with places to visit and things to do with all the family in our 'Art of Living', on Tuesday we bring you a little closer to our designers and why we chose them with 'The Story behind Our Collections' and a little closer to the bloggers, crafters and friends of Sisters Guild with our fun 'Tell us its Tuesday', whilst on Wednesday we show you new arrivals and inspiring discoveries in the Sisters Guild Boutique. To find where we get our inspiration from take a look at 'An A-Z of Sisters Guild' ; a collection of images inspired by the words which express the meaning of what we believe.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Once Upon a Week - Are the bears coming too?

Oona walked into the sitting room where it was starting to look quite stark. With her favourite bears tucked under her arms she says; "Are the bears coming to our new house"? "Yes, of course they are" I said before sitting down and talking through what will be coming with us and all the fun of making a new home together.

"We can't have a home without the bears, and the bears can't be without a home!  With all our belongings being boxed up and their things slowly 'disappearing' there's an air of curiosity and puzzlement for Oona as the house is stripped of its character. "I think the bears might like to help us pack things to take to our new house. Why don't we pack a suitcase of all your most important things you'd like to carry with you."

So, we're moving house again!  Though I've envisioned how each room will look, what will go where, what pictures will be hung, Oona the younger of the girls has needed some help in understanding  it. So, with the all important suitcase packed (with the help of her bears) which is a mix of books, clothes and an eclectic mix of loved possessions, that makes me wonder what is going through her head the idea of moving has taken on a new excitement.

It is now, for the girls another adventure, its more boxes to make dens in and bedrooms to arrange as they please. Tours with the bears of each room and a chaos that invites them to be wild as we're busy re-juggling our lives.
For me its a nightmare of packing and labeling our lives into boxes and bags and living with stack upon stack of our possessions as we ready for the moving day. All whilst trying to maintain a sense of order. Discarding the feeling of being a little lost, exhausted and annoyed with the inconvenience of it all.
Perhaps I would be better able to see it as an adventure too if it was not the fourth property I'll be making a home in since Oona was born. She isn't yet three and I crave the stability of a family home. As a woman and a mother I feel I just want to nest and though we have never moved from the area we live in I'm a little tired of feeling as though we're in waiting. Waiting for our lives to begin...... again...... and again.......and again!

So, as ever you turn things around to see its positive. So now, I'm using this time to remove the clutter from my life. The clutter that sits in each drawer, nook and cupboard. The things you supposedly need but in actual fact had forgotten you had it! It feels as though I might too be starting a new adventure now. And for the first time I feel excited. A new home will be born and we will fill it with our chaos of love, laughter and Oona's favourite bears!

This is a new series - Once Upon a Week - where we give you a glimpse into the lives and times behind the scenes of Sisters Guild.

We also publish other series in our blog including our Monday Makery, Tuesday brings the closing of our series 'The  Story Behind Our Collections' inviting you to take a closer look at the designers we house and the beginning of a new series 'Tell Us Its Tuesday'Wednesday we show you our favourite seasonal pieces and Thursdays is dedicated to the 'Art of Living' in which we share ideas and inspiration from places to visit, things to see and articles about things that enrich our lives.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Art of Living - Lost in a book

From The Incredible book eating boy - by Oliver Jeffers. 

This week Sophia has been celebrating reading week at school; there has been a school assembly, a book swap and tomorrow a dressing up day where all the children dress up as their favourite characters from literature.

It got me thinking about all the books we have enjoyed over the last (almost) 6 years. The stories I have read and reread, the ones I still know off by heart and the ones we revisited from my own childhood.
I started to feel a little nostalgic in remembering our early bedtime reads, the books that Sophia devoured, sometimes quite literally, the books that helped to give her a voice and the books she now reads to her little sisters Oona.
There are books on our shelves that are worn and tattered through their lives lived in ours and so many that almost feel alive, as though the words are still heard without being opened.

We're going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Some books seem to me like a right of passage, a milestone in a child's life, memories made and adventures enjoyed together. Here are some of the books I would recommend for any bookshelf. Books that may begin the love of reading, books with great imaginings but more importantly books that can be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere, every day.
Though I've given a rough age guide for the books it is only a rough guide and only you know your child, so follow your own instinct - it'll always prove you right.
First books
Guess how much I love you - by Sam McBratney, Peepo! - by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Each peach pear plum - by Janet and Allan Ahlberg and The very hungry caterpillar - by Eric Carle I would recommend all of the books by Janet and Allan Ahlberg and also those by Eric Carle; The illustrations are always wonderful and the stories focus on the simplicity of everyday and more often the humour and pattern found in it. They are reassuring, wholesome whimsical stories told with clarity and satisfying sounds.

Great books for 2 year olds

ABC - by Brian Wildsmith, Goodnight moon - by Margaret Wise Brown, Rosie's walk - by Pat Hutchins  and The Gruffalo - by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler The images in Brian Wildsmith's book are so incredible that when I discovered a second copy in a charity shop I decided to create a framed picture with them all for the girls room. They are images we could never tire looking at. We have loved goodnight moon and we could spend so much time looking at each individual page and their cosy intimate illustrations. I think this book will stay by our bedside forever!

Wonderful books for 2 year olds
Brown bear, brown bear, what do you hear? - by Eric Carle, Lost and Found - by Oliver Jeffers, The Shirley Hughes Collection - by Shirley Hughes and The tiger who came to tea - by Judith Kerr. Its funny how some children's books almost become theme tunes to the day, We'll often be bobbing along through our day reenacting these stories and almost singing their words. All of these books have great rhythm to them and are great for helping with children's language. 

Great books for 3 year olds
The Incredible book eating boy - by Oliver Jeffers, Where the wild things are - by Maurice Sendak, The heart and the bottle - by Oliver Jeffers and The enormous Crocodile - by Roald Dahl I'm a huge fan of all the books by Oliver Jeffers and of course no childhood could go by without a dose or rather a huge dollop of Roald Dahl. 

books for 4 year olds
The Giving Tree - by Shel Silverstein, Leon and the place between - by Graham Baker Smith, The Little prince  - by Antoine De Saint Exupery and Charlie and the chocolate factory - by Roald Dahl  The giving tree is a story of the relationship between a tree and a boy and is perhaps the first book that brought tears to Sophia's eyes. It started a long conversation about love, selfishness and sacrifice and remains a firm favourite. Leon and the place between is a book who's story leaps off the page through its words and illustrations with such effect it is almost overwhelming. It was an instant hit!

books for 5 year olds
Alice's adventures in wonderland - by Lewis Carroll, The Lion the witch and the wardrobe - by C. S. Lewis, The magic faraway tree - by Enid Blyton and The sheep pig - by dick King-Smith I don't think I could count the number of times we have read Alice's adventures in wonderland. We have dozens of copies this way, that way and the other way all over the house and it has inspired birthday parties and our own made up stories and pictures too. Discovering Narnia with Sophia has been amazing and now hiding in wardrobes and cupboards in games of hide and seek has taken on a new meaning!

There are so many books I am looking forward to reading with the girls as they get older, these are (for us) the ones whose stories remain silent, whose adventures have not yet been told. They are our part of our future adventures together.

books for 6 years and up

Reading is without doubt the best free thing to do with children. The words we read have the magic to create worlds, people, creatures, legends, they feed our imaginations and help voice our own lives. With local libraries supplying us with row upon row of free adventures be it knights fighting dragons, Big friendly giants, a wardrobe that acts as a portal to another world or a caterpillar who spends an entire week feasting before his metamorphosis as a bright butterfly, there's a whole universe of words and pictures to discover. So, hop along to your local library, grab an armful of books and give them a go.

"By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life"
- Jean Baptiste Girrad

So its the perfect time to become a member of your local library!
I know there a thousands and thousands of books that could/should/would be on the list.... tells us your favourite books too.....

This is part of the Art of Living series of posts that bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas.

In our Wednesday Woo blog post series we present a selection of things from the Sisters Guild Boutique.

We also have a Monday Makery with ideas for things to make yourself.