Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Keep Quality. Keep service.

While walking through my new abode of a town, Farnham this weekend,  I walked past the local newspaper office with a big poster in the windows, with the words “Save the Water Meadows”. Now I haven’t been to the Water Meadows, I don’t know where the Water Meadows are but I know that I want to save them!
Like too many things these days, the extra special things in life are forgotten about, built upon or replaced with something cheaper & mass produced.
In this case the Water Meadows in Farnham.
This is also the case in many aspects of our lives today. Too readily we accept mass produced, badly made and low quality products because they are cheap. Rather then looking after the small precious homemade products made by small makers who make with love.

In addition to this I also stumbled across a stall supporting the local milkmen and women, enlisting people to sign up to receiving milk again the “proper” way. Our lives of convenience have “outed” all our loyalties of shopping locally. Shopping locally and supporting our local amenities also ensures we can get our milk in time for our breakfast cereal in the morning, get our beef cut in the way we need it and have fresh bread everyday with a friendly smile. By choosing to buy in a certain way we are also supporting the local community, tradesmen and accepting a fantastic customer service. We happily moan when customer service is not at an acceptable level. So why don’t we accept the wonderful service of delivering simple daily pleasures like milk to our door everyday.

So as well as supporting my new community,  supporting my local milkman and amenities (I am in search for a baker, butcher and fishmonger next), I will also be making sure that where possible, u-ni-k gifts will represent small independent makers. Sarah and i will also endeavour to give all our clients service with a smile. :)
If you would like to do the same in supporting what counts, click on the links below and show your support.

http://www.ukhandmade.co.uk/
http://www.bishopsmeadowtrust.org.uk/

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

It’s all in the name!



I am a weird one. No really I am! 
One of the reason’s Ida’s name was the chosen name, was because I don’t like names that can be shortened. I figured that Ida would be too hard to shorten. 
Being an Anna I cringe when I am called Anne or Annie! Don’t get me wrong, Anne is a lovely name but ITS NOT MY NAME….as the Tin Tin’s say!! I wanted Ida to be Ida. However, being the weirdo i am, I then started calling her Sue! Why I hear you ask!? Well because as soon as she gave me the gift of her gorgeous first smile I called her Smiley Sue….quickly followed by Stinky Sue, and Stubborn Sue etc etc. And it stuck. She also has her other nickname given to her by Sarah : The naughty. Given to her as i constantly found myself repeating  "Don't be naughty Ida"on our first anti-natal meetings. Of course Kathryn's name is self explanatry! Danger Baby!!

So, I hear you all say, why on earth did you call your new son Samson when you don’t like to shorten names. Surely he’ll always be a Sam! Well yes, but I love the name Sam! See I am weird. 
I have rules and I basically make them up and change them as I go along. A women’s prerogative!

I have a trove of nicknames. I am called Banny, Nana and Mrs Moon by my family. All very weird but I respond to all. My sister in law has a new baby called Henry Oscar. However at 5 ½ weeks he is already adopted the nickname of Henry Boo due to me reading a text wrong at 4 o’clock in the morning when his birth was announced by his Dad.

So a nickname is a nickname. They tend to stick and embarrass you as you get older, but hey! Whether my two will always be Sue and Sam (depending on if I start to call Sam something strange like Horace- Hiccup Horace?!) I don’t know. I do know that a nick-name is normally a sign of endearment. A sign of love from parent to sibling, from friend to friend, from sister to sister.

Which is why a lovely personalisation on a gift with a very personal nickname that a parent gives a sibling is so special. Whether is be embroidered on a pretty party dress , stitched onto a cashmere blanket used everyday or simply engraved on a silver bangle. Each makes the gift that little bit more personal and special. A really u-ni-k gift!

Have a look at our unique gifts on www.unikgifts.co.uk
Each can be especially personalised as you wish.

Signing off, as ANNA with the Banna!
My name of today.



Friday, 26 August 2011

The Story of the Needlework Sampler


We’ve all admired them, needlework samplers, sitting in friends and relatives homes, beautifully stitched with care, love and precision.  Nowdays they are a personal gifts given by a skilled needle worker. Some are kept and treasured by the recievers families, where their celebration message, normally the date of a celebration of a wedding or a birth, are remembered.

The word sampler originates from the Latin word, exemplum, an example.
Originally the needlework sampler was a piece of embroidery produced to demonstrate the skill of the maker, including alphabets, motifs, boarders etc. The tradition of the English sampler evolved in the early 18th century and was traditionally of a square shape rather than a long narrow panel. The maker would embroider her sample stitch and follow it with a panel or picture. Meaning the piece could then be shown as an alternative to a print or a picture for a wallhanging.  The institution of sampler making became part of a girl’s education, and gave the girl the scope to demonstrate expression, skill and devotion to her faith.

On Samson's arrival, a lovely friend demonstrated her skill of needlework by producing a gorgeous unique gift for both Ida and Samson. Two beautiful needlework samplers.

Sarah and I hope to encourage her to make beautiful samplers for the world to see her skill and love of making something so very precious.













Thursday, 25 August 2011

Learning something new isn’t easy!


Starting up a new business isn’t easy. Sarah and I are very much polar opposites when it comes to our knowledge and experience that we have accrued over our professional lives so far. I haven’t a clue about computers, IT, building website or business on a corporate scale.  Sarah is the Website genius, IT wizard come super mum.
Running the small business that Sarah and I have chosen to start during the first year of our daughters lives (probably the busiest and most tiring time of our lives so far) means we both have to learn new skills and overlap our skills where possible so that when Danger baby comes down with Chicken pox or Flu, Sarah can switch off and be Mummy and I can run the show till all is better.  And vice versa!

Therefore we both need to be able to do what the other can do where possible. Even if in a very simplified version. Therefore my very BIG task for this weekend is, and I mean BIG, if you know me at all, is to learn simple procedures of updating our website.

Arggggggggghhhhhhhhhh is all I have to say!

Firstly I apologise Sarah for whatever happens. I will become upset and angry and act like a child. I will throw a tantrum, bang my head against the table and probably cry. (Gosh- that’s where Ida gets it from!!) But please be patient, I will get there in the end. I promise. I am just very very very (yes, three very’s!) slow at computery things!!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wise words of a Grandparent- Nanny Kircher speaks!


Hello u-ni-k blog readers!  My name is Karen and I am grandmother to the gorgeous Ida (aka “The Naughty”) and baby Samson (who hasn’t been given his u-ni-k nickname yet but no doubt he will soon join The Naughty and DangerBaby as a regular on the u-ni-k blog pages!).  I was flattered when Anna asked if I would be a guest “blogger” and share my thoughts and views on being a grandmother – then panic set in…after all Sarah and Anna are a hard act to follow…but here goes…

When Ross and Anna first announced that baby Ida was on the way, my first reaction was excitement, followed by disbelief that my little boy (children never grow up in their parents’ eyes!) was going to be a daddy.  There is also the growing realisation that I was old enough to be a grandmother (gasp!).  My thoughts turned to memories of my own grandmothers who like most of their generation were old ladies by their fifties, they had grey hair, wore flowery, cross-over pinnies, dressed sensibly and were expected to behave with decorum, unlike me who zips around in a 2 seater sports car and is known to don bike leathers and ride pillion on Granddad Kircher’s motorbike!!
I started to look in the mirror, half expecting overnight to have turned into a dear little grey haired old lady…would I have to resist a strong urge to start knitting socks and buy a rocking chair…would every other sentence start with “When I was a girl….”.  However 3 grandchildren later…(yes 3 in less than 18 months, I have Ida, Samson and Henry) I can confirm I am still relatively normal (my children might have other ideas!).  So my top tips for being a grandparent.

  1. What happens at Nanny’s, stays at Nanny’s (to a point!)   Grandparents spoil grandchildren, it’s a fact.  I absolutely adore buying things for Ida and now of course for Samson and Henry.   I am looking forward to taking them all out for treats and having them to stay.   If they want to stay up a bit later and eat chocolate ice cream in bed….who I am to deny them!!  However I think a bit of harmless spoiling is fine but be sensible. Mummy and Daddy rule, Grandparents just bend the rules a bit, but don’t break them!!

  1. Do you really think that’s a good idea?
Everyone is an expert when it comes to babies.   However things change with the times….so make suggestions, give advice if asked for it by all means, after all you have had a baby and brought he or she up so you must know something but don’t force an opinion.  You might be surprised that some “modern” ideas are actually quite good. 

  1. Everyone’s Grandchild is a genius!
When it comes to bragging about a child, grandparents can very often outdo parents!!  One thing I have noted over the years (prior to my own entry into the Grandparents Club) is that if you believed every grandparent’s tales of their grandchild’s ability you would believe 9/10th of the child population of the country was a budding Einstein!  Your friends will probably enjoy seeing a few pictures of little Johnny but after the first 50 will probably develop that glazed look normally the result of party political broadcasts!   Now I must tell you what Ida did the other day, that child is amazing for her age………………


So enjoy your grandchildren - one thing is for certain, life will never be the same once they arrive but it will be enriched beyond measure. 




Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Magical World of Grandparents....


Grandparents are made of chocolate. How else do you explain how your child is instantly covered in warm brown dribbly chocolate within minutes of seeing a grandparent?! Both then instantly become the centre of attention for every wasp within a 2 mile radius. Mum's have to magic up some wet wipes, a bin for used wet wipes and perhaps a change of clothes before more fun can be had. And boy, with Grandparents, there is definitely more fun to be had.

Grandparents are full of ideas and enthusiasm to keep their grandchild(ren) as happy (spoilt) as possible. “Oooh come and have a look at this, [insert name of grandchild/grandchildren here] will love this!” and off they totter to the nearest china shop with porcelain dolls /pet shop with puppies / Steiff bear shop with large teddies at 100s of bucks/euros/pounds a piece [delete choices as appropriate]. The chocolate covered [last wet wipe session has worn off] grandchild does indeed think it is great, as sticky handprints provide a gingerbread trail for the Mummy to follow.

So imagine my trepidation yesterday when Oompa Grampa said 'I've phoned my friend Markus and he'll open up his wood workshop for us, you'll like this”. I had several images flash before my eyes, most of which were of beautiful carvings all covered in little chocolate handprints and a stern German man asking us to leave his farm before he lets out the dogs. GULP, did I pack enough wet wipes for this holiday?

We drove through the Teutoberg Forrest to a large farm building built in the 1800s and still looking very agricultural. The authentic cobblestones leading to the barn doors were a handful for the toddling DangerBaby but holding on to Oompa's hand we were able to step over the old fashioned threshold into a brightly lit modern workshop.

We were warmly welcomed by a lovely lady who spoke some of our language (not that strange OompaLand one) and she opened up a small stable to the side for DangerBaby to go and have a look. This small stable resembled an elven workshop preparing for Christmas... it was the place of dreams! Rocking horses, xylophones, dolls prams, cookers, bikes, decorations... A world of wooden play heaven for one little girl. Toys on shelves and on the floor, all lovingly handmade in wood and waiting to be played with.

We were trying to take it all in, when in walks the grey haired Markus – complete with spectacles to complete the 'Father Christmas' look of his workshop (minus the beard as it is Summer!). Within 5 minutes my daughter was sat on the floor playing with a wooden horse making purring sounds. Much to the amusement of Markus and Britta.

Both Markus and Britta believe strongly that wood enriches peoples lives. They try to preserve the wood's original character in each and every product they craft, thus each piece gains a distinctive uniqueness. They still use traditional methods to carve the wood and each piece is smooth and almost warm to the touch.  Each and every piece an instant delight with our newly appointed u-ni-k chief tester (DangerBaby) and her financier (Daddy DayCare). 

Thankfully this workshop nestled in deepest darkest OompaLand has kindly agreed to supply u-ni-k gifts,  so we will be able to share some of the magical joy that these pieces have brought to our family. As Daddy DayCare said "This is what I dreamed Santa's workshop was like when I was little!". 

So dreams can come true for young and old alike, a world with Grandparents in it is truly magical indeed.




Monday, 22 August 2011

Twitter trends, one day here – the next day gone!


[Apologies in advance for any spelling or grammar mistakes, I'm on a German computer working in German Google Blogger to write this - all very exciting until I need to do something]
Twitter's Trending Topics algorithm identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help people discover the "most breaking" news stories from across the world. We think that trending topics which capture the hottest emerging trends and topics of discussion on Twitter are the most interesting.”
Funny thing 'trends' – back when I was little (not height little but younger... oh you know what I mean) 'cool' people were 'trendy'. It was a word that was used a lot to describe clothes, people, objects that were de rigeur back in the 1980s. I believe today's version of trendy is 'tidy', which to me brings back the advertising strap line – 'Keep Britain Tidy', which some trendy marketing bod can now take to show that Britain is still 'cool' (or 'Tidy' depending on your age group).
Still with me? Confusing isn't it? Well that's trends for you, the only thing they all have in common is that they come to an end, only to be replaced by a newer younger version that becomes the 'new thing' before too disappearing in to the haze of some old fuddy duddy Mummy (me, proud Radio 2 listener). So imagine the peril of purchasing something during one of these trends? Hypercolour Tshirts – changed colour in the heat, so the biggest colour change would be under the armpits, around the bust, on the back... all areas you didn't really want highlighted. Dayglo socks (why did you see people wearing mismatched dayglo socks?! Never a pair, just a mismatched orange teamed up with a pink).
Which is why we have our gift ideas or gift searching service. Anna or I will happily steer any gift buyer through the current minefields of 'trendy' must have this moment toys, to something that will be treasured forever. A 'LuluDoggy Hair Salon' may be this Christmas's must have toy, but come Easter it'll be in a charity box forgotten as the next new 'trend' hits the high street. So don't waste money, give us a call and we'll help you give a gift that will always be loved.

Friday, 19 August 2011

A beautiful tweet: for Ava


I was very moved today (baby hormones and all that) by a tweet that popped up this morning while I was busy tip tapping while all the Kircher’s in the house slept. Mandy Sutcliffe from Belle and Boo and amazing illustrator of the gorgeous letter press images we sell on the u-ni-k website, tweeted about honouring Ava and celebrating with a tea party. So being the nosey moose that I am I clicked on the link to find this gorgeous charity, Ava’s tea party in memory of Ava.


Go and take a peak!


Ava’s short life is celebrated every year around 22nd August with a tea part as Ava never had the chance to share one her friends a family before she died. Everyone is invited to participate in the celebration of her life.  As the website dedicated to this gorgeous charity explains-

A tea party.
Tiny Cakes and spotty plates.
Loved ones gathered together.
A time to laugh, a day to love,
A princess remembered forever.

It’s about taking time.
Making time,
Putting moments aside to love and to laugh with those you adore.
Bake a cake,
Open the cookies,
Make your milk pink and sing.
Wear pretty aprons and pick fresh flowers and above all else,

Be glad,
Give thanks
And cherish

I’ll be dressing Ida the Naughty in pink this weekend (yes, I will) and celebrating in every way I can by enjoying my naughties, Ida and Sam by spending happy times and creating special memories…with lots of giggles and slimey kisses.

We hope you will join us too!

Enjoy x









Thursday, 18 August 2011

A little weather news to make you SMILE ;)


I don’t mean this blog to be sad or depressing, as all these things make me smile. 
And I mean with a BIG smile!

I find comfort and happiness in the weather and symbolic things that surround it. Call me weird, call me a hippy, and call me bonkers! I don’t care. It makes me happy and makes me smile. It’s the simple things that make the world go round after all.

Ida was born very early on a beautiful Wednesday morning. I have a lovely memory of the sun streaming through the hospital window as Ross held her beside my bed for the first time.

When my Dad died the weather was stormy and muggy. Then the rain came and fell and fell and the sky was suddenly full of beautiful rainbows. I funnily find comfort in rain like that. Firstly it reminds me that my Dad is around me everyday and secondly I love puddle jumping!! Something I am yet to introduce my two naughties to. The summer he died my Mums garden was filled with Red Admiral butterflies. When ever I see one I always think it’s my Dad fleeting past to say Hi!

When my naughty Nanny died (she was very naughty!), there was a storm with a whirlwind. No word of a lie. I remember chuckling to myself that she was reunited with her sisters and they were probably all fighting the way siblings do. They always fought!

The day I went into labour with Sam it was a beautiful hot day. The evening he was born it rained and rained. As we left the hospital in the early hours of the morning (i'm not a fan of staying long after baby arrives) with our new baby, there was a gorgeous fresh smell that comes from refreshing rain after it’s been just a little bit too hot.

The Crazy Davies and the Italian Stallion’s family descended on us at the weekend to fuss over Ida, as friends do, and glimpse at baby Sam and have a cheeky cuddle while Ida wasn’t looking. Sarah being the keen gardener she is, reminded me that I have an abundance of caterpillars on my growing Cabbages. I noticed them the other day with Ida and took great pleasure in thinking that in the first week of Sam’s life caterpillars were happily munching my vege’s just outside our bedroom window. We three, Sam, Ida and I are taking pictures of the lovely Caterpillars tomorrow. We hope that one morning we’ll be able to catch a photo of one of the caterpillars as they emerge into butterflies and fly away. Then I will finally finish the treasure/memory box that I am making for Ida and Sam and we will add the photo’s to it as a gift of Butterflies that Granddad Allan sent to them the week Sam was born. A very special gift indeed!

Maybe when it’s finished I’ll be able to make special memory boxes for other people to add their very special moments and memories to.  And this can be MY Mummy made gift for u-ni-k.

A gift to make you all smile x

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A lesson from history; I must be kinder to my child


Now it's no secret that both Anna and I believe in the best for children. We practice what we preach, both of us grow fruit and veg and our children eat home cooked meals prepared with the fruits (or veggies) of our labour. The Naughty and DangerBaby are both foodies and will eat everything from smoked trout to moussaka, all lovingly prepared by us Mummies.

It doesn't stop at food, we clothe our children in natural fibres that let their skin breathe (which of course are available at www.unikgifts.co.uk) , and they are nearly always clean (unless we've been playing in the garden but that's friendly dirt and therefore doesn't count). They have the opportunity to play outside with other children, to fall over and get back up again and generally run around being little tikes. I think I can safely say that both our little girls are happy, healthy children. Fingers crossed it stays this way...

There's a TV programme on tonight about the Lancaster witch trials, made famous by the first admission of a child as a reliable witness in court. The little girl in question accused her family and family friends of witchcraft and they were all sentenced to death! Now you'll not be surprised to learn that one of my friends can trace her family history to the Lancashire witches; birds of a feather and all that. However, apart from a recent text message destined for her other half that went to her Mum by mistake (oops no recall function!), she has a loving and beautiful relationship with her Mother. So I don't think there will be any fingerpointing and crying of 'witch' in that family for many more generations.

There's a lesson to take heed of here, I am already forming a relationship with DangerBaby – even though she can't yet speak in a language that can be understood by everyone, I know what her words and babbles mean – the difference between 'I want my sleepytime milk' and 'I want BunnyBunny in the bath with me!'. For instance I just had to stop typing because she was making her 'I can't reach it but I can see it' noise [little ball rolled under the sofa we're playing indoor football in between my attempts at typing]. She knows that I'm her Mummy and I love her.

I can be quite a tough Mummy when it comes to playing nice with other children, sharing, and manners. So, I need to remember not to become so very frustrated and angry when she does something 'naughty' (current bugbear is her thing of tipping her plate upside down with food still on it and then swiping her food onto floor). My frustration is hard to understand, she isn't aware I spent 45minutes preparing her food just to see it fall on to the floor. Aghhhhhhh.

Perhaps I should also treat her now and again to the things that she loves? She may not be able to accuse me of witchcraft in a trial but she is after all probably going to choose my nursing home.

So with this in mind I'm off to visit our test website to browse through some of the lovely things we have lined up for our launch in September...

[Please remember that the Wicked Witch is not dead, I'm just off to Germany to visit Oompa for a few days so it's back to normal as Anna will be writing the blog and steering the goodship u-ni-k until next week].

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Operation: Visit Oompa Grampa


It's no secret that I spent most of my childhood abroad, my Dad's work took us all around the world. Which was very exciting and moulded me into the fine example of a human being that I am today [I can hear you sniggering... the cheek of it!]. I grew up with expecting people to have taken children all around the world, for me it was a fact of life.

Now as I sit here and prepare to take DangerBaby over the channel into mainland Europe, my perspective has changed. I started preparing mentally about a week ago, writing a small plan in my head with tasks to be completed by certain days, all ready and waiting to be finally checked off on one big checklist. If you could see the inner workings of my brain you'd think we were going on an expedition to undiscovered lands, not a trip to Germany.

Insurance, health cards, passports, first aid kit for baby, first aid kit for adults, mosquito repellents, entertainment systems, travel cots, booster seat high chair thingy, the list is endless. We're going for a long weekend not for months. But these are the things I use day in and day out with the little one (OK not the travel cot but her cotbed instead). If I remember correctly, I'm sure my parents just used to bung us in the back of the car with a rucksack with our favourite toys? We had lots of crazy adventurous holidays where we ended up in strange places unable to speak the language or find somewhere to sleep. When did the world change so much that I now have to write a full project plan just to leave the house for a few days?

I wonder, as a modern Mother, do I worry to much? Am I over prepared for this trip? Is our little holiday going to be less of an adventure because I have everything planned and have planned for every eventuality? Well no, I know that the best thing about plans is that there's always that one little chaos particle that crops up and you have to fly by the seat of your pants until you are back on track. I'm sure we'll have a few 'adventures' due to wrong turnings, late ferry boats, strange languages and places. It's these parts of the holiday I'm really looking forward to, as long as we have each other and Bunny Bunny it'll turn in one of our crazy family stories.

This holiday may have been planned like a military operation, but you can bet that Major Cockup and General Disaster will have made their on plans as well. Let battle commence! Wish us luck...

Monday, 15 August 2011

A day in the life of Sarah and unik IT HQ


Typical day here at u-ni-k IT HQ, minus some of the really crazy bits!
0530 – Look at Daddy DayCare blearily – wave as he leaves for work.
0700 - Go and get DangerBaby who is shouting 'Da DA!!' from her cotbed. Explain that DaDeee is at work. Let baby run around upstairs looking for him and take her downstairs once she realises that he really has gone to work.
0730 – First cup of coffee of the day, phone on and laptop on
0740 – Breakfast. Cheerios / Toast / Piece of fruit
0745 – Quick check of emails, rescue Bunny Bunny from being stuck together with Cheerios.
0800 – Take first sip of coffee having left it somewhere while making the baby breakfast!
0805 – Plug in laptop whose battery is at 3% after late night working. Turn on Cbeebies / Milkshake for the little one who has been pointing and shouting at the turned off TV
0830 – Consider Mummy having some breakfast but start second cup of coffee instead. Then have breakfast. Check emails again!
0835 – Notice that greenhouse has been open all night as I worked too late and forgot I was supposed to tidy up garden before going to bed!
0900 – Finish cleaning up the last dropped Cheerio that I can see and turn off the TV that's not being watched as baby has moved into the soft room to play the piano. Quick check of the emails and open up Dreamweaver knowing that I can't do much until baby nap time
0930 – Garden time! Where it's a little chilly for us still in our PJs
0940 – Washing machine playtime [help Mummy unload and load back up]
0945 – Find second cup of coffee for first sip! Shower time.
1100 – Back downstairs, put first wash on, check emails, open up work not completed last night. Cbeebies back on. Milk for the little one and start searching for blog ideas for me!
1115 – Start preparing lunch for the little one. I cook everything from scratch and usually forage in the garden for some of the ingredients so prep starts a good 45mins before eating.
1200 – It's time for lunch.
1230 – Nap time for her. I knit while she settles – about 15mins. Then work time for me. Blog, Webpages, Emails to makers and press friends.
1400 – DaDA! Time to go and get the humanbean-fullofbeans up from her nap.
1401 – Garden time! Kick the ball, climb & slide down the slide, swing, pick up bird poo and give it to Mummy. Pick some flower buds off the plants. Move soil around in pots. Look for strawberries, look for cucumbers. Consume anything we find that looks ready to eat. Play push a plastic bike that is too big for us around. Make a den with our blanket. Remember about Mummy's water butt, turn the tap on and splash about in the water that is collected in the bucket that now lives under the water butt tap. Get soaked!
1430 – Upload blog! Tweet blog, FB Blog link. Water stop for baby as we do this. Back outside for more garden funtime.
1530 – Snack time and perhaps a visit out to the shops for 'essentials' . Check emails, respond to emails, tweets and FB posts.
1600 - Shop or garden centre or friends house visit for 30mins of being somewhere other than home.
1700 – Milk time again. Check emails, respond to emails, tweets and FB posts. Retweet blog link for our US readers. Indoor play time, soft balls, noisy things, tents with our blanket, help Mummy peg out some washing.
1730 – Tidy up time! Henry Hoover out, washa washa washa (dust) everything in site. Put some toys away (take toys back out). Finish cleaning up yet more discovered Cheerios from the morning. Detangle DangerBaby from the hoover, put hoover away. Start supper preparations. Check emails, send updates, review 30+ emails from Anna and prioritise which ones to read first.
1800 – Bedtime hour on Cbeebies. Calm reigns in the house.
1830 – Supper time for little one.
1920 – Daddy DayCare home – Go mad for 15mins! Mummy tackles the work she stopped doing at 1400hrs to play with baby.
2000 – Bath, Brush teeth, and Book for the little one.
2020 – Bedtime so Mummy knits until she sleeps.
2035 – Sleep for baby
2040 – Supper time for tired parents. Sometimes we even manage a glass of wine with supper.
2100 – Work for Mummy – TV or games for Daddy!
0000 – Sleeeeeep. Need to do it all over again tomorrow.

Friday, 12 August 2011

My name's Sarah & I'm a knit-a-holic


So the secret is out, I'm a knitter. It goes further than that, I'm addicted to knitting and I usually have at least two projects on the go at anyone time, a bag of wool/cotton/bamboo for the next set of projects and an array of knitted pieces lying around waiting to be stitched together. I'm not so keen on the sewing bit as my sewing skills usually let down the beautiful knitted piece. But with the help of the mighty YouTube I think I've cracked that one.

It all started when I was pregnant, my Mum had a hip op and needed some TLC, so I went and stayed with her for a while to help out (ROFL, I had a huge bump and wasn't much help she couldn't bend to pick things up and neither could I... we made a right pair!). Since there's not much an invalid and heavily pregnant person can do of an evening we started knitting squares.

I hadn't knitted in YEARS, in fact my Mum taught me how to knit about 20 years prior and I don't think I'd picked up a pair of needles since. However, we knitted and purled stocking stitch squares in white, pink and green. I'd mastered it, and the squares were piling up next to me, I needed a challenge. So I started to mess about with purling when I should have been knitting to make up letters in the stocking stitch – low and behold I had a K, then a T, then a Y... soon I had squares that spelt KATHRYN. Yay! Now all I had to do was make sure I had enough squares to fill the blanket. Needless to say, I was hooked.

I've now had a few more years to perfect some of my 'make it up along the way' patterns, mainly of small animals:

The Sugar Mice

Loopy Larry the lamb (he's a lovie darling!)


Big Boss Panda:



And more to follow once our chief soft toy tester has finished putting them through their paces:

[My Mummy knits!]

So I'm planning to certify my creations as toys and launch the whole range with the new website in time for Christmas.

I will of course knit to order as well!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The arrival of Master Samson aka BIG boy bump!


As all the Kircher's in the house hold sleep, the unmarried lady that I am, (ohhhh the scandal!) I am sat in front of the new man in my life- Master Big boy bump, aka Sampson Allan Grey Kircher.

He’s a handsome fella. He has such a little boy’s face. Stupid though it sounds, he is such a boy! He has a sweet little cry that sounds like a squeaky lion and a very laid back attitude. So far he has only really cried when he’s had his manhood exposed to the elements! Which to be honest is fair enough!

He came a wee bit earlier than planned (2 days) on Sunday evening, thankfully a hell of a lot quicker then Ida did! The day before I went into labour I was raking up grass and painting the skirting boards. I was actually in B&Q buying more paint for our bedroom, that is still is to be finished, when it all started. As normal I decided to ignore that fact I was having contractions hoping that if I ignored it long enough it would simply go away and we’d be able to finish our bedroom, set it all up and have all my “to do” jobs ticked off as planned before he arrived. Unfortunately he is like his mummy in many ways and arrived early!

Anyway- so that you can all finally put a face to the nickname I gave him, here he is. 
Samson after the Sun (Happy Happy!). 
Allan after my Dad and Sam’s Granddad who can’t be here to meet or share in his growing. 
And Grey just because.



As a second time Mum I am a lot more chilled this time round. Feeding is proving difficult again but hey!! We’ll work it out.

Although u-ni-k is officially in the safe hands of Sarah this week, while I learn to juggle my new addition into the family routine, I have been being nosey and keeping updated with all that’s happening. I am hoping next week I’ll be able to squirrel away a little more so that the new look website can be launched as planned in September. It’s looking great…with lots of new products and a clearer fresher feel! Well done IT nerd Sarah Mummy! We are both very proud with our new fangled dangle bits and hope you like it too.

In the meantime I just want to take this opportunity to thank a few people for being fantastic over the past few days.

Firstly Sarah for being hero of the day on Sunday. When Grandma (my plan A for Ida sitting) went awol without a mobile, and my big Sister (my plan B) who was with Grandma with mobile in a bag…Sarah (my thankful Plan C) dropped everything she was doing (which included treating her Mum to a birthday day out!) to come a sit with Ida while I breathed through my contractions and Mr Kircher de-painted & de dusted himself after I finally admitted I was actually about to have a baby!  And very soon at that!

To Danger baby Kathryn for sharing her Mummy this week with u-ni-k and Ida! Sarah was also Ida’s surrogate Mummy while we bought Sam home. Super Mum!

To my very special girl Ida for being such a big girl. She adores Samson. I am very proud. She gets very concerned when he cries and loves to kiss him and stroke his head. She has even tried feeding him herself with her dollies bottle. Oh well, one thing at a time! We have had a few screaming rages as well!

To Larry the lamb for keeping Samson company at bedtime. Larry is Sarah’s fresh off the needles first Mummy made gift made with her own fair hands. He is gorgeous and will soon be on the u-ni-k website alongside all his friends. Watch out for him. He’s adorable and Samson and I will treasure him for a very very long time

To my little sister, Aunty Katie, for flying round my house on Monday with a hoover, tea making, washing up, organising the family, playing with Ida and generally being fab. To all the guests that are soon to visit, you’ve been warned; she has set a very high precedent! You’ve been warned!!!

To everyone who has sent lovely cards and messages.

To Mr Kircher for making such gorgeous babies with me!

And lastly I want to say thank you to Sam again. As I whispered to him during our first cuddle in hospital just after he had been born; I thanked him for his extra speedy delivery and making me a very happy Mummy to have a special little man like him.

To my beautiful little man, welcome to the world x


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

RIOTWOMBLES and other roles models for my Daughter


For those of you new to me, I used to live in Clapham. In fact spent most of my 20s rushing in and around London living the high DINKy (Double Income No Kids) life with my gorgeous boyfriend (who is now gorgeous Daddy DayCare). It was the summer of 2005 that drove us out to the 'burbs, I finally snapped after sharing a blade of grass with 3 other families and a man with a dog on a sting during one particular bright sunny day. I wanted a garden, to grow some vegs (and prehaps flowers) and most importantly have a BBQ (those that know me well will wonder in awe how I managed 5 years in a maisonette without a garden to BBQ in – we now BBQ at least once a week every week of the year! I digress).

So I watched the (highlights of the) disturbances in Clapham with horror. Lavender Hill shops looted, the old lovely building that was Debenhams all smashed up... my old haunts the background to this crazy “I want it so I'm gonna loot it and their aint nothing you can do about it” night time youth protest. This is not the world I brought my Daughter into?!  My faith in the people of Clapham was restored with one Twitter hashtag 'RIOTWOMBLES'. Hurrah for decent people armed with brooms.

Now I didn't watch the wombles as a child, I spent most of my youth either outside doing things I hoped my parents would never find out I did (playing in very dangerous places) or abroad where the English TV came on video tapes and consisted mainly of Coronation Street or Eastenders episodes. We never really lived in an area that actually received SSVC. So I'm now watching CBeebies, Milkshake and CBBC with some horror.

As preshcoolers we had Mr. Ben, Button Moon, Play School, and Rainbow to keep us singing, dancing and to help us learn shapes, numbers. These shows provided us the confidence to use our imagination to play. Mr. Ben was dress up, Button Moon was using everyday objects as toys, Play School was learning shapes and Rainbow was morals and singing. All very healthy for a growing child.

My Daughter now has an array of strange things to watch, the worst offenders of which are: In the Night Garden, Peppa Pig, and Little Princess. I don't think lifting your skirt up to show your knickers every time you feel like dancing is a good example to children (Upsadaisy, In The Night Garden) and don't even get me started on her relationship with Iggle Piggle. Peppa Pig is rude and answers her parents back on just about every episode. The Little Princess is a sulky spoilt brat. None of these programmes have role models that I want my Daughter to learn from (apart from MaccaPacca who loves stones and washing things – a very small ray of light for me, a former geologist who likes things clean).

So I'm now looking for strong role models that can influence my Daughter. Happily I am turning off the TV (watching it during the day is a Daddy DayCare thing) and turning to my Mummy friends, and female relatives to provide that role model. I'm very lucky to have collected some remarkable women as friends over the years, and I think DangerBaby's life will be enriched for it.  

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Inspirational working Mums!

A few months back, South West Trains had some serious problems and Daddy DayCare only just made it home for SplishSplash time. However, u-ni-k's Anna was still working hard at her other day job and I wondered if her and BigBoyBump needed collecting from somewhere and taking home.

Unable to reach her by phone, I turned to Twitter to see if she'd posted any updates. To my surprise one of the Mummy's we follow was looking for updates from her husband and partner (he designs her website). BabySigningMummy's husband and u-ni-k's Anna were both stuck on a train just outside a station for 4 hours! Having shared exasperation at SWT trains together, I've been drawn to following her tweets quite closely (and not just for transport updates!).

BabySigningMummy is an excellent tweeter: she's supportive of her other Mummy tweet friends, always offers good advice, and is ready with an update or two about being a Mummy to Baby Signing Bella. Bella and Baby Signing Mummy have been championing the cause of Mother and Baby communication for a while now. In fact Louise has combined BSL and Makaton to create the Baby Signing Mummy method.

Anna and The Naughty, Ale and Italian Stallion and some of the other NCT Mummies are keen baby signers. DangerBaby slept at the wrong times for us to take either class (she's very much a routine baby and we both suffer if we don't keep to it), so we've watched as the others have made planes or squished their hands to show they want some milk. It's all very impressive.

BabySigningMummy is very impressive herself. 2011 has very much been her year (and we're only in August):

In May she was voted in the Top 4 for the Best New Children's Activity 2011 in the What's on 4 Junior Awards.

On the 23rd June, Baby Signing Mummy was named winner of the Best New Business Venture 2011 by the Hampshire Winning Women Business Awards.

The winning streak has continued as she is on the shortlist for winning the Business Parent of the Year in the MumandWorking 2011 Awards.

More recently she tweeted that she's made being a finalist on the 2011 Mumpreneur Awards as well!

A truly inspirational Mummy indeed.

For more information on Baby Signing and the Baby Signing Method, visit her website at: www.babysigningmummy.com

You can follow her on @babysigningmum and follow us @u_ni_k - we're both on Twitter!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Some good news for a change

It's traditional to buy and keep the newspapers on the day of a child's birth, so for those born yesterday the newspapers would be full of rioting in London and football transfer gossip.


Samson Allan Grey Kircher arrived yesterday evening and was a ray of good news in a world seemingly focused on the current doom and gloom.


To celebrate the arrival of Samson, here are some happier events that occurred on August 7th:


1909 – Alice Huyler Ramsey and three friends become the first women to complete a transcontinental auto trip, taking 59 days to travel from New York City to San Francisco.


1944 – IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I).


1955 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, the precursor to Sony, sells its first transistor radios in Japan.


1959 – Explorer programExplorer 6 launches from the Atlantic Missile Range in Cape CanaveralFlorida.


1960 – Côte d'Ivoire becomes independent.


1965 – The infamous first party between Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters and motorcycle gang the Hells Angels takes place at Kesey's estate in La HondaCalifornia introducing psychedelics to the gang world and forever linking the hippie movement to the Hell's Angels.


1974 – Philippe Petit performs a high wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center 1,368 feet (417 m) in the air.


1976 – Viking programViking 2 enters orbit around Mars.


1985 – Takao DoiMamoru Mohri and Chiaki Mukai are chosen to be Japan's first astronauts.


1987 - Lynne Cox, 30, took two hours and six minutes to cross the Bering Strait which separates the Arctic and Pacific oceans


2007 – Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants breaks baseball great Hank Aaron's record by hitting his 756th home run.




With thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_7 and the BBC's on this day.


Congratulations to Anna, Ross and Ida! Can't wait to meet the little fella. 


Love Us Crazy Davies x x x


Saturday, 6 August 2011

It's hard for us working Mothers, but not hard on our Daughters?!

Last week Anna and I were discussing sending our daughters to Nursery, they play so well together and are obviously delighted with each others company it's a shame that they don't see each other more often (every day rather than once a week). Now that they are walking, we've entered a much more social time and us Mummies just don't cut it as playmates 100% of the time. It's hard for me to admit it but I think DangerBaby wants to go to 'school' (and leave Mummy in tears by the school gate).
As if on cue, Dr Anne McMunn (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) released a study that stated: Mothers do not harm their young children emotionally or socially by going out to work. This is according to analysis of families with children born in 2000. Questionnaires were filled out by parents and reflect their views of their children's development throughout their infancy and at 3 and 5 years old.
In fact, girls seem to gain from being in a household where their mother works full time or part time.
Boys whose mother was the breadwinner had more difficulties at the age of five than those living with two working parents.
Girls whose father was the breadwinner were more likely to have problems than when both parents were earning.
Dr. McMunn conceded that researchers were relying on the evidence of parents alone, but said the results of the next checks, made on children's behaviour at the age of seven, would include the views of teachers.
The study does say that no detrimental effects were seen “as long as parents are supported, do not have to work long hours and are able to combine child-rearing with paid work...” . I knew there was a catch!
So this makes me ask where you can find these jobs that mean you don't have to work long hours, and can combine child-rearing with paid work? Many Mummies I know would love one of these types of job, perhaps a 10 – 4 office job with a creche on site? Wowee that would be the proverbial golden egg that job would, oh hang on... *lightblub on moment*
Right that's it, Anna, Big Boy Bump and Ida are going to have to come here on my work days and use our garden / living room as a creche while I tip tappy away and DangerBaby and I will go to theirs on Anna's work days.
Woo hoo if you can't find a goose that lays golden eggs... make your own!