Tuesday, 31 July 2012

SIlver & Bronze

We are celebrating, as I type this, 3 medals in the 2012 Olympics, hosted here in UK.
A Bronze for men’s gymnastics won last night and a Silver for Women’s cycling and a Bronze for Women’s Freestyle swimming on Sunday.

To celebrate our medals so far, I’d like to share with you our Silver and Bronze gifts.


Our Shuktara blankets  
Recycled sari kantha stitched baby blankets
Each one is a work of art, a complete treasure and unique.
Layers of cotton are perfect for Summer and Winter babies. As featured in Selvedge magazine, The Telegraph & ST Kids.
Find these here.

Our Wooden Toy Car’s
Our little car's are beautifully made and perfect for little hands.
Built to last, they have been carved from either birchwood, alder or cherry.
These toys carry the CE registration mark.
£10 each
Perfect for girls and boys
Find them here.

When we win the GOLD, we’ll share what we think is our u-ni-k gold winner.

CONGRATULATIONS to Lizzie Armitstead, Rebecca Adlington & The UK Mens Gymnastic team- Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis, Sam Oldham and Kristian Thomas.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Monday Mentor- Jools Oliver

Something I always recommend my pregnant friends buy, if my copy is still out on loan to the last pregnant friend, is this book by Jools Oliver.

DO I hear you all stifle a yawn.
No no, actually it’s a lovely read. MUCH MUCH better then all those awful celebrity “pregnancy” books telling you what to wear and what are the best creams to rub into your tummy.

This totally honest account of Jools trying to conceive, becoming pregnant, staying pregnant, labour (with the gritty bits), and all the bits after, is a funny book that will ease any pregnant lady. It was the only book that chilled me out when I was pregnant and ploughing through maternity books dos and don’ts. Nothing is left out, which should make it a little scary (for potential Mums), but as Jools takes you through her up’s and downs, explaining her worries, her moody pregnant rages and what got her through to the end actually put me and most the mums I know who have read it at ease.

I think a MUST!!

Minus Nine to One: The Diary of a honest Mum

Jools Oliver- Mum of 4 to Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, Petal & Buddy.


Friday, 27 July 2012

Friday Funny...

Officially the start of the 2012 London Olympics!

We're getting very excited as the Olympic Road Race goes right past u-ni-k HQ!

A little Friday Funny for you all! We hope you enjoy you're Olympic celebrations!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Another Happy Customer...

Here's a text message I received yesterday...

I'm loving my aeroplane suit!
It's really cool in this hot weather
and I'm now big enough to wear it!
Thanks Aunty Sarah
Love Oscar x

You're more than welcome Oscar,
I think you look very handsome in your outfit
Enjoy being the coolest baby boy we know!
Love Aunty Sarah

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Wordless Wednesday....

Nothing like a Summer's day with one of your best friends!

I see our Mummies... quick HIDE!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Staying safe in the sun...

The sun has well and truly put his hat on and has come out to play!

While most of us are rejoicing at this sudden arrival of Summer, for those with a brand new baby or very little one there is suddenly a new thing to worry about!

Baby's can't regulate their temperature very well and so need to be kept as cool as possible. If your baby room thermometer says it's too hot there's not much you feel like you can do. 

Here are some simple tips I tried a few summers ago when DangerBaby was very very young:

1. Open the windows during the day but keep the curtains closed ALL DAY. This should keep the room shaded and therefore a little cooler.
2. Move the baby to a cooler room! North facing gable rooms tend to be quite cool.
3. Fill up a bath with cold water, as it tries to 'heat up' to room temperature it 'cools' the air around it (this also works inversely so leave a bath of hot water to cool and it heats your upstairs).
4. Put washing up bowls with cold water / ice in the same room (do not sit or step on them when going in tired for a night feed tho'!).
5. Use a light cotton blanket to wrap baby in. Dress baby in as little as possible and layer light cotton blankets if baby feels cool.
6. Invest in a fan, moving air helps dissipate the heat a little.
7. Move the moses basket to the floor - heat rises so it may be a little cooler on the bedroom floor.
8. Keep calm, if baby is sleeping and isn't distressed by the heat then it's OK to relax a little about the room temp.

During the day, there's the extra stress of the delicate new skin in harsh hard sunlight. Mine has sensitive skin and doesn't function well to this day if the thermometer reaches the heady height of 24C (she is half Welsh after all). So don't be afraid to experiment with children's sunscreen until you find the right one for you. 

Here are some tips for keeping baby cool during the day -
1. Those cotton onesies are perfect for baby - cotton breathes with the baby! They don't need leggings if it's hot!
2. Hats will rarely stay on (pesky children take them off again) so invest in some shade producing accessories - perambulators, muslin cloths with pegs etc... anything you have to hand.
3. Do not be too proud to ask another Mummy if you can borrow some of their suncream. WE have ALL had those days when we've run out of the house and left stuff behind! Mummies are always happy to lend sunscreen to another baby!
4. Try to keep your baby out of direct sunlight, seek the shade of a tree  / hedge / building when out and about.
5. Be sure to have lots of fluids for you and baby! It's important that Mummy is hydrated as well as baby!
6. If travelling by car make sure windows are shaded so that baby isn't in the direct sunlight, you may want to put the AC on or open the front windows.
7. Invest in one of those little hand held fans, if you're lucky you may find one that squirts water as well! Mine loved to be gently splashed with cool water it was a good game! When it gets really hot a tepid paddling pool is the best place for Mummy and Baby to be!
8. Don't panic! Being sensible about the weather and taking precautions should mean that both you and baby can enjoy the weather!

We hope that you enjoy the weather with your little one and in a few Summer's time you'll have something else to worry about...


Monday, 23 July 2012

Monday Mentor- Selvedge Magazine


Selvedge is an independent, 100-page full colour magazine published six times a year. The magazine is image led and has an uncompromising design.
Directed towards an international audience, Selvedge covers fine textiles in every context with illustrated features on fine art, fashion, interiors, ethnographic textiles, important collections, travel and shopping. The latest book reviews, exhibitions and comprehensive listings feature in every issue. The magazine provides a wide-ranging, unbiased and critical overview of the textile world.
Selvedge is composed of all those who claim textiles as their first love, not simply makers and academics. They include professional artists, textile students, collectors, fashion and interior designers, museum curators and gallery owners. Selvedge is also aimed at an audience beyond those with an established interest in textiles. Discerning consumers are amongst our readers. Intelligent and curious they use Selvedge to learn about the history, techniques, artists and designers that made the items that furnish their lives.

We were lucky enough to have our beautiful baby blankets Featured in the Winter edition last year. Take a peek! We feel lucky and Thank the Selvedge team for adding us to such a beautiful magazine. Thank you Selvedge for making such a beautiful magazine.

To see more of what Selvedge does, please visit, 


Friday, 20 July 2012

Friday Funny

I'm on the cusp of starting Potty training with a juice-a-holic.
Juice Mummy Juice!!!
Potty training will be interesting.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

BEST buy!

This has to be quite possibly my best buy ever.

The Children's baby jumper

Simple Sizing 
Tough but gentle to touch
Easy to put on
Snug & Warm
Soft & Breathable
Doesn't make your skin itch or sweat.
Pretty enough to wear with a dress on Christmas day.
A perfect Summer & Winter weight
Unisex (great to pass on to siblings!)
Machine washable
Trustworthy next to new born skin.
Made to last.
Feels like home

*Both my 2 year old and 1 year old wear the same jumper, age 1 years, still with room for growth for both. My eldest has been wearing it since she was 8 months old. This year we haven't taken it off! We most certainly use and abuse ours.
We argue about who is wearing it, we sleep in it, we LOVE it, we barely take it off!
Perfection in a jumper.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wordless Wednesday...

I've just returned from Germany where even the youngest 'kid' of 22yrs had his own breakfast board

Available in an array of animal shapes

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Sentimental Music

"Their" song

For Mummies everywhere, I know we are a sentimental bunch!
Especially when our new born’s are super new and our whole lives have lovingly changed over night.

I know I found music a very sensitive subject when my little ones were born. Certain music made me smile, others made me blub and some music was just meant to be the little ones theme tune! I found music a way of sharing a special, perfect moment with my new little ones. A simply sway, a musical bob or a naughty jig. I still find it a lovely way to share a moment.

I know plenty of Mums and Dads who have had the same relationship with music since having a baby.  Some because a certain song was the first song they listened to after baby was born. Others  because they felt a certain empathy towards the lyrics. Or simply because the tempo and feeling fitted their little one perfectly or the way they were feeling.

So with that in mind, I ask you if your baby or little one has a theme tune or  a “their song”?
And, I share with you some songs I know are special to few little ones and their parents I know.

A beautiful song that was the first song a New Mum and Dad listened to almost a year ago!
Master H's song. Happy almost Birthday Master H.

Most certainly a “their song” moment for a very new baby I know. Perfectly beautiful just like baby.

Music I bopped to when my biggest naughty was tiny.
Most certainly replicates her energy and cheekiness!! Even now she is saying AGAIN MUMMY as she flings and spins herself round the room!

Perfect songs to capture perfect moments.

Because, happy tears are important!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Monday Mentor...Google Analytics!

OK those of you not running a business on the web or for whom the background information on the web is all 'geek' I advise you to look away now.

For those of us who love the web as an effective tool, I give you today's Monday mentor. The free but all powerful Google Analytics!

I believe that the internet is a MUST HAVE tool for businesses. I recently saw a request from Jane at Mumsclub.co.uk for any women still using 'traditional' methods of business to get in touch as a  broadsheet newspaper was looking for women who had shunned the internet and it's marketing power for those who still used paper & networking to promote their business. I smiled to myself as I saw this request on what is arguably the largest online social media site (and previous mentor) - Facebook. If you had shunned the internet as a business why would you be signed up to mumsclub.co.uk's newsfeed updates on your Facebook page!! I digress.

Google analytics provides us website builders and social media users the power to understand the value of our internet actions. For free. It's not often anything in business comes for free and provides as much valuable feedback for business owners, so if you are not already using Google Analytics then I urge you sign up now!

The new and standard reports available allow you to view where visitors to your website came from, how they found you, where they went on your site, how they travelled through your site, how much time they spent on each page... a whole wealth of information that shows you what adds the most value to your site and how to improve it for your visitors.

A must have tool for any business with an online presence.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Finding a perfect Home 2

A lovely new home for our beautiful Shuktara blanket.

This blanket has a very very new owner.
This beauty has the very new baby Elsie to snuggle up with every day and night. When she is freshly out of the bath the cotton layers keep her warm.

Sitting beside the vintage curtains, the mobile her mummy made her and the Vintage Care Bear, I am sure this blanket will be well loved and well used. Elsie already is rarely seen without it!

Ssshhhh......the very lucky lady, Elsie P also got a single bed size blanket as a  special treat from her Aunty A. A blanket big enough to sleep with when she is a teenager, take to her first flat and remind her of home and then put over her knees when she is a old lady as she drinks her tea and does the crossword just like her Daddy. But thats another story altogether ...

To read a little about what makes these blankets so special please click here.
Take a peek at www.unikgifts.co.uk to see more blankets.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


It’s that scary time of year again when while we are ALL still waiting for summer to begin, the world of marketing guru's and some very super organised consumers, are thinking about Christmas.
July is the time the Christmas gift guides are being drawn up for all long lead press publications. Last year we were lucky enough to be included in the Christmas stocking guide in the Saturday Telegraph  with our little Festive paper animals friends. Meet Delores the Donkey, Piper the Penguin, Santa Paws the Cat, Timothy Turkey and Blixen the Reindeer.

If you are the organised type, the type (like me) to slowly chew over their options, or like to leave it to the last minute but "research" in advance, take a peak at some of our gifts perfect for little ones.
Many you won’t find anywhere else, they are made to last, will give hours of entertainment, won't break the bank and grow even more beautiful with age.

Wise Folk- Paper Animals

Snapping Crocodile
Hand Crochet Booties

Swarovski crystal rainbow maker

Loopy Larry Lamb

Mr Moose Coat Rack

So, while you all muse over tempting u-ni-k gifts and treats for your little ones, I'm off to write up our Christmas press release!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Monday mentor.... Jason Lee

As readers of the blog know my project this year is to improve my photography skills. I've covered the basics in earlier blogs and I'm practicing everyday. However I am many years away from the skill of this creative Dad.

You've probably seen one of his photo's posted as a 'Friday Funny' or as an email sent around to other weary parents. This is because Jason Lee's photography of his two Daughters is staged in such a way that the humour of being a parent and sibling is the story of the photo!

I think this is the iconic photograph of his Daughters we have all seen:

Although my favourite has to be:

Jason Lee is actually a wedding photographer, the photos of his Daughters is part of his blog and Flickr stream. He lives in the USA and travels all over the states taking beautiful drawings.

I heartily recommend following Kristina&Kyla on Facebook, Jason on Flickr and taking a look at JWL Photography's website. Jason is a very talented artist that would inspire anyone, especially a parent with a camera.

Jason on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jwlphotography/
Kristina&Kyla on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/kristinandkayla
The Blog - http://kristinandkayla.blogspot.co.uk/

JWL Photography - http://jwlphotography.com/

Hope you've enjoyed the talents of Jason Lee.


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Walkabout Wednesday, my little routine!

Anna and I are often asked how we manage to run u-ni-k while keeping up with active toddlers, houses with building work going on, and wild gardens that need tending to!

Well as well as the loving support of our friends and family; we also have a routine. Now while the bed, brush, book, and bed routine for the toddlers is steadfast - the routine that helps us out the most is more to do with us rather than the kiddies.

Finding time for a personal routine is key, but only if you manage to keep it!

Wednesday's are Anna and I's 'routine day'. For Anna it's meeting up with other Mummies at a toddler's play group; letting The Naughty play with her friends while Anna has a much needed chat with a cup of coffee.

While for DangerBaby and I, Wednesday is our Wisley day or walking day. No matter the weather we head on outside for some fresh air and run around! We see lots of plants and animals on our walk around and DangerBaby can now moo, quack, buzz, jump and approach wild insects & animals with care.

See if you know some of the creatures we see on our walks:


At the moment our favourite creatures are spiders, bees and ducks. We see a lot of bees and ducks but yesterday we saw something else... and it had it's own babies.

We know what it is... do you?

Answers in the comments later!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Introducing Elsie Prudence

Meet Elsie.

To the prettiest little button, 
The sweetest little E . P
The newest addition to the Howard/Matthews family.
The most beautiful dot you've ever seen.

May the sun always shine for you Elsie
I can't wait to watch you grow from a pretty petal into a  beautiful flower.
And the Naughties can't wait for you to join the naughty gang. 
Ssshhhh, don't tell your Mum!

Love and cuddles

Aunty A

Kisses on the bottom  from you know who X

Elsie Prudence, born 27th June, 9lb 1

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Conundrum

Rude Mummies.

If your a Mum or Dad you'll have to face it at sometime, if you haven't already.
This is the Conundrum I was put in yesterday.

The little naughty is happily in his the pushchair scoffing a sandwich.
The Big Naughty is happily playing in the park. Up and down the slide, happily entertaining herself with Mr Elephant. I'm hovering between the two.
Another child starts shoving the Big Naughty. After a few shoves no Mummy tells him off so I do. I simply tell him to stop it and thats it's naughty. I didn't shout, I barely raised my voice. I simply stopped him shoving my daughter.

Rude Mummy intervenes and tells off her son and then tells me off! Apparently I was supposed to stand by and let her son pick on my daughter while she missed the whole incident. Only she tells her son off! Then her friend rudely calls me names that are highly inappropriate.

I know every child will do this at some point. And I know that Mummies, despite trying, cannot and do not have eyes in the backs of their heads.
However I'd like to think that when my two do kick/shove/hit another child, if I do miss the incident in question, that despite being mortified that someone else has had to chastise my child, that I would scold my child, make my child apologise to the injured child and I would then apologise to the other mother.

I understand us Mummies are protective and sometimes highly sensitive when it comes to our offspring and their welfare. We can sometimes over react.  However I will not allow, and nor would I expect anyone else to watch their own child being hurt. I will intervene and I will stop a child being hurt.

Notes on a postcard on your thoughts and advice about Rude Mummies and Conundrums with children.

Rant over

Monday, 2 July 2012

Monday Mentor- THANK YOU Shuktara

Thirteen years ago yesterday - 1st July 1999 - The Shuktara charity began with Anna and Sunil. 
David with Bapi and Rekha at Howrah Station in 2000. 
Today, the charity has helped house and educate many children with various disabilities and let these children smile again. David Earp and his caring team have made a difference to many children's lives and today I would like to say thank you to them for giving these children a reason to smile. Not every child is as lucky as our own.

Thank you!
Every child is important.
Every child deserves to smile.

Photo by Paula Harrowing

If you would like to know a little more about David's work with his charity, Shuktara , click here.
To say thank you with a donation click here for Shuktara's Just Giving page.
A few pounds go a long way!
To see the beautiful blankets that David makes for us click here. 10% of the proceeds goes to the Shuktara charity.