Friday, 31 August 2012

Friday Funny...

Husbands, please take note us Mummies need a little space for our morning coffee. Especially if we've been up all night with a poorly / whingy little one.

Please just give us the time it takes to have one cup of coffee.


Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Unique Christening

I’ve been invited to a family Christening.
Being a Proprietor for a bespoke baby gift website has put me under pressure to produce the best, most unique and extremely exquisitely personal Christening gift for the baby.

So, tick tick tick…. my mind races and thinks, what do I buy?
I think back to my blog of last year when I looked at Traditional Christening gifts. I am sure the silver money box, silver spoons etc will be covered by the many guests and family members who have been invited.

I want to give something special that is delicate like baby, super personal and replicates the size and fragility that is so quickly lost forever. Something very special but still being a little traditional. Ummmmmmm…..

Wow, what a task I have set myself.

Then, My Eureka moment!!


In Ida’s memory box sits the perfect thing amongst the Champagne cork we celebrated her birth with, her first shoes and her hospital tag.

A treasure that’s special for me, as a Mum as it’s a moment captured, and something that can be worn and treasured or simply kept special and hidden as a reminder of when baby was tiny and delicate. Something the child can keep and treasure forever.

A beautiful delicate silver charm capturing babies smudged fingerprint dent.

A treasure for Mum and baby.


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Finding a perfect HAPPY home, with Winifred

Winnies Story

Winifred has used her Shuktara blankets from the moment she came home from the hospital; to make any place cosy and beautiful.
Even in an old wheelbarrow!  
They are most often found in her cot for her to sleep under as they keep her just the right temperature, but they always come with her when we go away and on special outings. We love them.

They will be cherished forever.

Thank you A. xxx 

You all met Winifred Judy Rose in my little blog of last year. Her Mummy Lucy and Daddy Gregor happily shared this little picture of her, snuggled under her new Shuktara blanket when she was a few weeks old.  If you missed it have a read here. Today, Winfred and her Mum have lovingly shared these lovely pictures of Winnie using her blankets through her very first year.

When choosing a blanket for Lucy, one of my dearest friends, I couldn't quite decide which floral or colour to choose. Lucy and Gregor had decided to keep the gender of little Winnie a surprise so I was in a little conundrum as to which flower would suit new baby.
So I decided the only thing to do was to describe both new Mum and Dad to be to David of Shuktara, the guru of flowers, and ask him to make a blanket for both Mum and Dad. Hoping baby boy or girl would be a little reflection of their Mum and Dad.
As always, David managed to choose the floral's perfectly.

Winnie's Mum is a magical seamstress with a passion for all that is vintage. She has combined her love of vintage with her wonderful talent of sewing and together with her new passion, Winfred, she has made exquisite 1950's baby painting smocks that work perfectly as little dresses for little ones.

Luckily for us she has agreed to make some extra special things for us, under her "made in Somerset by Lucy Lichfield" label...coming soon!


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Dream products....

Anna and I are always searching for beautiful, handmade, unique gifts made from natural & sustainable products that can be enjoyed by children for years to come. No small task I assure you, as there are many people out there who make beautiful creations but not all are suitable for children.

We were approached by a jewellery maker who made lovely sparkly pieces of jewellery aimed at younger people. However these beaded creations provided us with a conundrum - would they survive the onslaught of a toddler? would they still be around for the next generation to cherish? Since the answer to both these questions was - probably not... we had to inform the jewellery maker that although her pieces were beautiful they weren't quite within the ethos of u-ni-k.

Not to sound too fussy but we try to keep to our word. Our gifts should be unique, responsible (made from natural or sustainable material), and able to be treasured by this generation and the next. In addition to this we demand the highest quality for our customers, which with our makers is easy as they believe passionately in their products and always produce pieces that are of outstanding quality. I'm happy to say we still have 100% customer satisfaction after 18months of business!

However, sometimes there are products we'd love to sell to you all but we haven't as yet found them! Here are my top 5 dream products:

1. Husband / Baby Remote Control
    Just give me the ability to pause my family once in a while. Just for a little while, 5mins or so.

2. Mind Controlled Coffee Machine
    Please I need to be able to make a cup of coffee just via my mind. OK I only need to be able to think, coffee machine on when I hear baby shout 'MuuuummmmmmAAAAA!' at 6am in the morning.

3. Traffic Budger
   When we're stuck on the road to the grandparents and everyone has had enough of being in the car. People are starting to pick on each other, kick the back of the car seat in front of them.... Like the Night Bus in Harry Potter I need to be able to squeeze through traffic safely.

4. InstaFine
  Some kind of ticketing machine that allows all Mums searching for a Mother&Baby parking space the ability to fine all those men in big cars with no kids that have parked in the last Mother&Baby parking space because they don't have the skill to park their big cars in a normal parking spot! Multiple Mother's with baby's trying to do the weekly shop will be allowed to fine the same car. One Mother&Baby one ticket - several Mother & Baby's later and that fella with the big car would have a minimum of £180 to pay for parking there! Soon we'd have the Mother & Baby spots to park in!!

5. Dinner-A-Matic
 A machine that could produce a healthy, balanced, delicious meal within minutes. We could restrict it to just once a week, but give Mum a break by producing a dinner for those days when she's just had enough but wants to lose the baby belly and eat healthy (sometimes that take away does us no favours).

I'd set up a "Especially for Mums" part of the website for products like these! In the meantime we'll just keep selling our lovely baby gifts... go and take a look at

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

I can see a rainbow... see a rainbow... can't I?

Anna and I take many of our product photos ourselves, we find it not only helps to keep our overheads down but also we can try to show our products through the eyes of someone who loves them.

Taking product photos is difficult, sometimes you have one strong light source (like a window) and sometimes you have 'helpers' that want to play with the object you're trying to photograph!

Then comes the really difficult bit that no one tells you about - colour management! 

You have a fairly decent camera, you're working on a laptop / PC that shows the photo you've taken in wonderful colours, and you have a photo printer that prints out beautiful photos of your summer holiday. Easy peasy eh? No not quite.

Colours are hard. In fact they are very hard. Imagine all the colours of the rainbow, each and every shade, hue and pitch of them as crayons. You've lined them all up on the sports hall floor (because there are thousands of them you'd not be able to fit them all in your lounge floor). Don't they look lovely!

Now your camera can't see all these colours, oh it tries, it really does... but it's just not as good as the naked eye (note I don't use human eye here because we can't see all the colours of nature either). So the camera makers have assigned it a colour profile - RGB (Red Green Blue - it uses the 'pure colours' to make all the other colours). Since there's only so many combinations you can have of these colours the digital wizardry that is a digital camera uses an RGB profile that has 255 of each colour. So R 255 G255 B255 is WHITE to our eyes (all colours on full), adversely R0 G0 B0 is BLACK. Any combination of the three will make a colour. The u-ni-k brown is R544 G444 B444, which is the closest I could get to the chocolate smear Dangerbaby made on our white internal door!

So you can take nearly all those crayons on the Sports Hall floor away. We're only using the main colours (open up any photo / graphic / painting application on your computer and you'll see the square of colour we have left).

So everyone uses the RGB colour profile? Nope. I have a Canon camera and a Canon printer but inbetween the taking and printing process is my lovely MacBook Pro. Since I use Adobe's photoshop as my main photo editing tool I have an array of colour profile choices. To make matters worse, for the internet I have to consider those people who are using Internet Explorer. These poor people have their internet colours further reduced by their buddies at Microsoft & HP who created a reduced colour spectrum for their users (well we are after all only human, who needs to see all the colours of the rainbow?).

To cut a very long story short, in order for us to show you on the web how beautiful some of our u-ni-k gifts are we have a very long process of working with exposure, composition, colour management and then of course reducing the image quality for the web so that it will not take 30 seconds to load.

You can just hear me sigh when Anna sends me some of her images and tells me they look 'kinda yellow' once I've put them up on the test website. This one observation means I have to go back to the original image she emailed me and start again.

Our pursuit of perfection is in everything we do, our gifts, our packaging and our website. We aim to bring the highest quality to you our friends and customers!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Memories to be cherished, in a box or a book!

This week we've launched Anna's beautifully decoupaged memory boxes; made from sustainable wood and hand finished by the talented Anna they make the perfect gift for any new baby!

All parents collect momentos of their baby's childhood: the hospital name tag, first shoes, a lock of baby hair, a ticket stub of their first journey... just about anything that will bring back memories of that first special moment that baby did something for the first time.

Anna keeps The Naughties pieces in their own boxes, Ida's box (seen here) has been decorated in a woodland theme as Ida is very much an outside girl with an impish (or faerie) zest for life. Her beautiful box incorporates all the essential elements of a british woodland and if you look carefully a special selection of cherished family photos of her grandparents. A wonderful treasure box that she'll love to go through and ask her parents all about the stories associated with the treasured keepsakes. Find out more about the memory boxes and buy one for your little one here!

I however keep a baby book, probably because my parents kept a baby book for both my siblings and me. Mine shows a number of special moments captured forever within this precious time capsule. I've tried to keep the tradition going with Kathryn and her book sits proudly alongside mine waiting for more pieces.

Here's a few pictures of my baby book!

I looked everywhere for a lovely brightly coloured baby book that reflected the one from my childhood but couldn't find one anywhere... So I've pasted pieces of Kathryn's childhood so far over the book I bought for her...

About 12months after starting Kathryn's we have discovered the Fill and Tell - My Best Book About Me. This is a wonderful baby book that is full of bright colours and pieces that make the story all about baby!

So however you want to cherish those baby first moments, with a book or a box - we have selected the best of each and they're available to buy at u-ni-k gifts.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Quite simply a Mammoth Monday Mummy Mentor!

Joanne Dewberry 

As a Mum of 2, under 3, I am in total admiration of Joanne.

Joanne Dewberry is a Mum to Charlie (b.2007), Megan (b.2008) and Olive (b.2011).
She started her little business just before the birth of her second child Megan in 2008. No mean feat I promise you! Being a Mum is a Full time job in itself.
Joanne decided to quit her profession of Childcare  and stay at home and look after her children. What’s the point of looking after someone else’s children when someone else is looking after yours? But 6 months into being a Mum Joanne was missing the mental stimulation of her managerial role her previous job gave her.

Surrounded by the world of toddlers and disheartened by the party bags that Charlie her son had received at parties filled with too much chocolate and ill-aged appropriate toys, she decided she could do better and so Charlie Moo's was born.
Not a natural crafter and with no sewing skills to add to her list of skills, Joanne soon discovered how therapeutic sewing could be. Along the way she has learnt many new business skills, which she is passionate about sharing with small business owners and in particular mums. With 3 children under 5 years herself, Joanne understands the constraints on mums in business. Her passion and dedication earned her the title of Dorset Business Mum of the Year 2010 along with numerous other business accolades in the past 3 years.

Along the way, while building her thriving business, Joanne has helped and supported small business grow with her mentoring, advice pamphlets, her blog where she provides small business training, advice, networking in areas of social media, marketing and juggling children and business. Now to add to her successful portfolio, she has written and had a book published.  

Crafting a Successful Small Business is designed to help talented crafters take that step from hobby into manufacturer. Joanne shares her knowledge and skills she has gained throughout starting and successfully running Charlie Moo’s- named after her son Charlie and first daughter Megan (named Moo as a baby).
Her simply written guide to starting a business from your crafting hobby is a MUST have for all crafters wanting to know how to make it happen. The transition from a hobby to making a business is a scary one. Most aesthetic crafters are tremendously talented in their art or craft but hopeless at running a business (from my experience anyway). So this logical step by step guide that covers how to sell your products on and off line, how to correctly price your product for your market (often one of the hardest bits to do-Pricing your own products), how to develop your unique brand, how to visually merchandise your products to fit your brand and how to use social media to market your product.

Joanne looks closely at a variety of very different crafts and how each small business deals with the above questions. With snippets and case studies from the likes of - Viv Smith from, Laura Renton from, Jamie Fry from and Andrea Palluch from .Through her love of social media, she has also gained input through many crafters and other social media participants. What I loved about Joanne’s book was her honesty at pointing out where she felt certain crafters were going wrong. What’s the point of selling your wares for pocket money? You simply make crafters who sell their wares at properly priced margins, priced out of the market. A lose lose for everyone!

As well as the bible of knowledge, Joanne has also added craft activities to this happy book. All crafters like to delve into another craft after all.

WOW!!!! She certainly deserves to be our Monday Mentor! And Joanne’s book will certainly be given as a Christmas gift to all my aesthetic friends who make beautiful products.

What makes it even better, is we feature in Page 64!
Quite simply WOW!!
You’ll find us in the “Where to sell” section of the book.

To purchase your copy click here.

 So, Joanne, firstly thank you for creating such lovely, unique party bags that our little ones love. And secondly, thank you for being an inspirational Mummy and for caring enough to share your skill and business skills with us all. Your no-nonsense plain English book is essential reading for anyone thinking of starting a successful craft business! And thank you for including our small successful business u-ni-k. 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Friday Funnies- Baby names

Especially for Sarah and Kev

A homage to Thursdays blog just for you.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


The post war baby names are making a come back with Harry topping the 2012 most popular baby boys name this year.

Names like Elsie, Primrose, Ava, Florence, Evie, Jack, Alfie, Archie and Henry have been slowly making a come back over the past few years. With celebrities naming their children Ethel (Lily Allen) Betsy (Denise Van Outen) and Pearl (Jack Osbourne) all following the trend choosing pretty post war names for their new babies. My eldest is an Ida Lillian Rosalie, all names being a little granny. Her middle names were chosen after her late Grandma, Nanny and Nan. Her forename was chosen due to it's antique feeling and simplicity. 

We are all born followers! When Kylie Minogue graced our screens as Charlene in Neighbours the late 1980’s, the name Kylie shot to the top of the most popular name list. It seams we are continuing to follow with Amelia and Harry topping the baby names this year. Perhaps a homage to X Factor!?

Certain names, however, are just not seaming to appeal to the birthing generation.

If we don’t act soon, names like Derek and Maureen will soon be disappearing from the baby naming books. 
In 1934 Derek was the 14th most popular baby name for little boys in England and Wales. Three decades ago Maureen was the second most popular baby name. But have you heard of a new baby recently being called Derek or Maureen? Apparently last year only 22 babies born were named Derek, 11 were named Malcolm and only 13 Trevor.

So, do we follow a trend and name our new babies after the Jessica’s and Mo’s (Ennis and Farah) that have recently raced and jumped across our screen or do we opt for a more individual name?

Pregnant Mummies, think about saving the Barbara’s, Joyce’s, Phyllis, Reginald and Boris’s from extinction.
Italian Stallion’s Mummy- baby boy 2 would be a perfect contender for Derek or perhaps Reginald?! No?

So with this new found knowledge of the name George and Bella becoming more popular, I propose we start a new following, with-

Save the name- name your baby Derek today!!

Any takers??

•As always, thanking Shaun Keaveney of 6music radio for the inspiration of my blog today. His two boys are called Wilfred and Arther by the way!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Wordless Wednesday....

Yesterday was not a good day for our website & email domain hosts...

As an apology for a lack of availability we'd like to offer a 10% discount on all sales for the next week!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Jason Manford's blog...

This morning one of my friend's posted a link to Jason Manford's Facebook Blog. He's responded to internet trolls (remember them? we blogged about them a while back when they picked on Anna see here for our blog on trolls).

Well four unlucky trolls decided to pick on a comment left by Jason Manford's Facebook page. Boy did they pick on the wrong person. He's written a full response to these thoughtless and senseless comments defending Gary Barlow's recent appearance at the Olympic Closing Ceremony so soon after  his recent tragedy.

I'm going to repeat the end of his blog here, as it's a beautiful piece written by someone who has been through this kind of tragedy:

 I suppose it goes back to the argument of when does life begin? I personally think it begins when you and your partner decide that you want this child. And that is when love starts too. I mean it’s obvious that for a mother, the bonding process starts sooner than for a father. The mother goes through all the emotions, the cravings, the pains, the sickness, the worry, she feels the kicks, the pressure on her bladder, her swollen feet, her baby brain, her body changing, her mind changing, the nesting, the tears and the laughs that come during the 38 weeks. She is the one who can’t get comfortable in the night, who is cold when everyone else is hot and hot when everyone else is cold, who is trying not to waddle, who is still doing too much when she should be resting, who is doing her pelvic floor exercises and who just wants a healthy baby at the end of it.

But the Dad is bonding too all this while. He is scared, he is worried, both for his baby and his wife. From the moment his wife comes in with the ClearBlue, he is on it. He is thinking about the extra mouth that needs feeding, he is wondering where he is going to get the energy from to go through it all again, he is wondering how long he can afford to take off work, he is worried for his wife, he wants to keep her happy, but she’s crying and throwing up and keeps leaving the key in the door, and he comes home from work and she’s up some step ladders, 7 months pregnant putting up some curtains and he shouts, scared that he could lose them both at any moment. He goes to the hospital with her, he hears the heartbeat and his eyes fill with tears, partly with relief but also with ultimate pride, that this woman has done this for him, has given her body, and mind and maybe even her career so that they can, together, bring a child into the world. 

He rubs her feet, he makes her tea, he does his job and then comes home to look after his family, he holds her hair whilst she is sick, and he tells her that she doesn’t look fat even though she obviously does because there’s a baby in her womb! He kisses her tummy while she sleeps and he sings songs to this huge bump with his baby inside. And all the time he worries. About the future. Will he be a good Dad, will the child be healthy, will he do the right things and set good examples, will he be as good as his Dad and will the child love him as much as he loves the child.

And together the future parents plan. They paint rooms, Blue or Pink, or keep it neutral because they want the surprise on the day. They buy cots, and clothes, and bedding and nappies and cotton wool balls and one time he’s out and he sees an outfit that says “Been inside for 9 months” and he buys it because it makes him smile, and he knows his wife will smile too. They go to the hospital and they see the baby on the screen and they hold each other’s hand and smile and he tells her how brilliant she is and she says she couldn’t do it without him. 

They discuss names and she makes lists, they buy a buggy and a car seat and then the big day comes, and she shouts him from the other room, or calls him at work and says ‘it’s happening’. And even though he’s prepared, even though the bag has been packed for weeks and he’s worked the quickest four routes to the hospital, his mind goes blank and he doesn’t know where he is for a minute. Then she helps him, they do it together. 

They get to the hospital, they’re way too early but the contractions have started, and they will go on for the next few hours. She can’t get comfortable, she walks, she sits, she kneels, she perches. He paces and he watches, and he rubs her back and he holds her hand. The contractions get closer, the midwife tells them both that the baby is on the way and then they’re off, after 9 months of waiting they’re finally going to get to meet their new baby. He gets dressed up like George Clooney in ER, and she smiles even though she is in the most pain she has ever been in her life. They go in together, the excitement is tearing through his body, as the pain tears through hers. 

And then the moment comes, they’re both waiting to find out if they’ve had a little boy or girl. They’re waiting to find out who they need to look after for the rest of their lives, who will one day look after them when they can no longer. They’re waiting, hoping, praying that this little tiny helpless human being, will keep them awake for the next few months, will cry in the night and will need changing every 5 minutes. They wait for the cry and for the midwives and doctors to turn to them and say “here’s your baby guys, well done......"

And then, nothing.

Nothing. For the longest time. Nothing.

His full blog post can be read here.

Well written Mr. Mansford. We take our hats off to you for standing up for parents that have suffered a tragic loss of a child and for standing up against internet bullies.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Monday Mentor...Sure Start Centres!

Today's Monday Mentor is a lifeline for many parents; Sure Start Centres!

These centres provide classes and support to parents and children alike. My local centre has organised first aid classes (aimed at teaching parents a little about first aid for children rather than first aid of adults), computer classes, sewing classes, fitness classes that are Mummy and Baby friendly, and a whole host of toddler mornings / afternoons.

Sure Start centres are run by people who understand how life changing having a baby is. All of their activities are baby friendly; or at least have a crèche where baby can play happily while Mummy or Daddy concentrates on her class.

Sure Start centres not only provide events & classes for parents and their little ones they also provide services such as toy libraries, equipment hire, and a chance for people to gain a qualification such as GNVQ English or basic computer course. A much needed and helpful resource for parents who need to retrain or refresh their post baby CVs for going back to work after the maternity break.

The staff at the centre are friendly and approachable, so find your local Sure Start centre and see what they can offer you!

Thursday, 9 August 2012


If like me, you prefer to steer away from gender influenced items when baby shopping, here are a few things I think you should see.

Reasons to shop gender neutral

-Sex of baby may not be known till birth.
-We Mums sometimes like to see our babies face before we decide what suits them.
-A dislike to Pretty Pink and Baby Blue pastels in baby wear and products that seam readily available everywhere but with no other choice.
-It saves money when baby 2, 3, 4 comes along!
-Your prefer a simple palette.
-A dislike to gooey "baby" things.
-Wanting to keep your baby un-influenced by gender related products.

Personally, I can't think of anything nicer then simple clothes and things that can be worn and used by everyone. It makes life like a hell of a lot simpler.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A lot can happen in a year!

Today I celebrate my little boy Samson’s
(aka BIG Boy Bump, SamSam, Tsar, BamBam and naughty number 2)  
first Birthday.

The BIG 1

A lot can happen in one year. For starter’s my little boy has grown into a fully fledged coal eating, mud cramming in mouth and scattering round my house, walking, sort of talking, charming sweet little boy. He’s shocked me into the world of little boys. He throws, he chews, he bangs and he eats EVERYTHING!!! Literally everything. Cardboard, dirt,  bugs, you name it he’ll try it. And enjoy it and have it again. A delicacy! 
Such a lot of growing to make something so small turn into something so BIG and charming. He has a gorgeous sense of humour, a very cheeky personality and most certainly knows his own mind. And he’s such a BIG handsome boy! And i think looking like my Dad, his Granddad Allan everyday.

In the same way, little u-ni-k has grown. In the year that Sam has been around, u-ni-k has flourished and grown into a beautiful international company. Yes we have clients in Australia don’t you know!

Here is a little of what has happened in Sam’s first year.

Our cheeky paper friends featured in The Telegraph’s Christmas gift guide as well as our baby blankets in The Telegraphs S T Kids.

Our beautiful baby blankets featured in the beautiful Selvedge magazine.

Samson himself and u-ni-k had a little preview in Baby Surrey’s Welcome to the World feature.

Our beautiful newly designed Website has grown and become something wonderful. I am very proud of its look and the coverage it and our beautiful gifts have achieved. The website is all Sarah’s handy work may I say! Sarah you make beautiful ideas come to life. Thank you for being the women “who knows” with website stuff. Without Sarah’s know how u-ni-k would not be! 

We’ve been shortlisted for a Mumpreneur award and managed to wangle ourselves a #WOW award from Jacqueline Gold herself!  Whoop Whoop!

Lily Allen’s little baby Ethel has a Shuktara baby blanket to snuggle up to at night.
And lots of lovely other babies and children get to treasure their u-ni-k gifts everyday.

We have new beautiful makers added to the website, like the beautiful patchwork blankets made from your babies old baby grows and muslins made by the lovely Susan. What Mum can throw away those tiny little baby grows!?? The perfect Keepsake for Mum and baby!

So what’s in line for u-ni-k's next year?

New suppliers in the pipeline…. beautiful new things to share with you all.

Most certainly weird and wonderful tales and musing from Sarah and I.

Plenty more Friday funnies….we always have plenty of humour !

A Theo Paphitis #SBS award perhaps?

A mention in a book?

And new babies ??

Who knows!