Thursday, 31 January 2013

Meet our newest friend





Here's a little Pigeon on a mission. 
Meet our newest Paper friend, Mr Pigeon Voyageur!
Maybe he wants to tell your nearest or dearest that your new baby has arrived. Or perhaps say a BIG thank you for your little ones lovely Birthday presents. Or a perfect way to say how much you love your nearest and dearest. Or perhaps he wants to say sorry on your behalf for that unfortunate faux pas, or maybe he'll be your go between in a fledgling romance? 
In this day of instant communication, there is an alternative way of getting your message across, 
ie: assembling a pigeon dressed as a French postman, writing a tiny note, 
popping it in his beak and sending him off on his way. 

Lovely!
The Pigeon stands at a proud 9cm (inc hat) when made and comes with mini notelet cards, an envelope and a little box. 
Designed by Madeleine Rogers for Mibo. 
Printed on 100% recycled 200gsm card. 
Made in the UK.
Pre-order now at sales@unikgifts.co.uk. 
Only £4.50 plus Standard Royal Mail Postage costs




Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Monday, 28 January 2013

Teacup Tuesday... Stock taking, spreadsheets etc


Well this week we've been thinking about Valentines day and a little further ahead to Easter! I know I know, we've only just celebrated my birthday but these things creep up on us before we know it.

We've done a quick stock check and ordered some pieces for our upcoming craft fairs.

[We're at the Love What We Do event on 8th Feb, so if you're in the area stop by and say hello. We'll have some of our new makers pieces there for you to fall in love with!]








So February is the month of love. With this in mind, Anna's produced these lovely things about what we love:


(you'd guessed bunnies already hadn't you?!)

The other thing we've been chatting about is family, and how it's important. So take sometime out this week to show some love to your family.

Heart rainbow maker
Don't forget Daddy too!


Silver cufflinks for Daddy


Friday, 25 January 2013

Friday Funny...

I used to think that an iPhone was the ultimate Mummy gadget. After this week, I may change my mind to this....



(For more Mummy humour pop over to our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/unikgifts )

Thursday, 24 January 2013

8 days & counting!

Only 8 days and counting till the end of the u-ni-k sale.





DON'T MISS OUT!


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Teacup tuesday, DINNER TIME!


I am not an expert, a guru or a Pro. 
I’m a Mum of two and an Auntie of three.
I had no idea as a new Mum about what to do or expect as a new Mum and learnt a lot on the job. I didn’t have a friend who had a baby I could “practice” with. I probably would have run a mile if I did! To be honest, I was happily pregnant but horribly fearful of babies.
How would I know what to do?
How would I know what was wanted and needed of me?

I read plenty of books, discussed and absorbed advice and asked some questions when needed. I didn’t follow one set book or guide to babies. I absorbed the bits I liked and followed my daughter’s lead. She was very much the boss. But she was a very easy baby. I was lucky.

I know all babies are unique and not one guide fixes all problems. There is no one help guide that works for all babies. I love sharing what worked with my lovely Mummy friends and exchanging news on the grapevine of new ideas and recommendations that we’ve all stumbled upon. 

When weaning popped up with my eldest I was at a total loss. I had had a hard time breast-feeding and had only just come to terms that it’s just not always possible for some Mums.  Suddenly I realised friends had their puree’s pots and plastic spoons at the ready. I was still happy in my newly settled world of teats, milk and sterilising.

Arghhhhhhhhh!!!

So again I read, You tubed, read some more and discussed with my partner how we should par-take in our newest editions feeding regime. I am a Baby Led Weaning Mummy. I swear by it.  But then again I didn’t try anything else. So my tips are based around my own little system.

So here are my tips to a stress free start to feeding, from one Mum to another.

  • Introduce one meal at a time. I found lunchtime best, as baby wasn’t too tired. We planned it slap bang in the middle of milk feeds so that baby wasn’t cranky and hungry.
  • Don’t expect baby to eat much to start. Even at all.
  • Introduce one food at a time. We started with steamed courgette. And then introduced other steamed vegetables.
  • If BLWing cut food into BIG chunks. Bigger then you think. If baby holds the end with their clumsy hand it needs to be twice as long as that or their hands will be covering all the food. 
  • Be ready for mess! From experience everything will become covered in food. Including you!
  • I know it is difficult but encourage baby to play with their food.  Let them squelch, press and mush as much as they like. I mean with hands AND mouth!
  • If baby pulls a face while eating it does not mean she doesn’t like it. They have had the same flavour milk forever so the funny expression on their face is them simply a surprised face by the texture and taste.
  • If baby doesn’t like it one day doesn’t mean they won’t like it the day after, or the day after that! They may just be having an off day.
  • Baby only wants one thing in front of them at a time. Anything else will be too much to understand and he/she will probably reject it off the plate or highchair. So edit back to offer minimal amounts and then when they have eaten/squashed that offer more. Always have more to offer.
  • I personally never make my children have “just one more mouthful”. If they are done then who I am to tell them to eat more. I read somewhere children are the best judges of knowing when they are full. 
  • Every Mum worries about gagging and choking. If you let your baby feed themselves there is less risk of gagging as baby is in control. Be brave. The gag reflex is there is protect a baby from choking. When you first start weaning a babies gag reflex is towards the front of the month so gagging will happen. It gradually moves back as baby gets older. 
  • Try and let baby be in charge. We wouldn't like to have food put in our mouths without knowing if it is too hot or cold, bitter or sweet. It's the same for baby. 
  • AND MOST importantly make dinnertime social. Eat with baby. And eat something similar to baby. How will they learn how to chew, swallow, and actually put the food in their mouth if they don’t have someone to copy! Use it as a special time to interact with baby. A time to chat and be together and learn a new skill together. 


*Our meal boards really help make meal times stress free. They are heavier then weaning plates and therefore harder to throw on the floor. There is a little hole a perfect size to fit a dippy egg.
They come in lots of cheeky animals. Come and take a peek! 

unikgifts.co.uk




Monday, 21 January 2013

Making it Personal


We are unique. 
By that I don’t mean our company. I mean us as individual people.
Even as tiny newborn babies, we are unique with our own personalities and agendas.
I still can’t quite believe how polar opposites my two children are.
I have a Wam Bam SamSam who climbs, runs, isn’t affected by new people or places and generally never sits still and causes chaos, whilst constantly saying “mummy cuddle plz”
Whereas my eldest is a babbling bossy boots, who reminds me a lot of my nattering Grandma. She draws, colours, scribbles and never stops talking but put her in a public space and she becomes mute, sweet and angelic…. she constantly tells me “I’m too busy Mummy!"

Every  baby born  has a personality. A “theme tune” so to speak. Then we give them their very own personal name to define them a little more. The newness of the name makes us smile, every time it is spoken. Then slowly, day-by-day the name is comes familiar and fitting.

Every child is unique. So we embrace that by trying our hardest to find things that are as different as every Mum and every baby. Something you haven’t seen before on the high street. Something that is totally unique and one of a kind. Something that will be treasured and kept forever. Something that grows with age just like our little ones do.

Finding makers that understand and believe in the same ethos as us is hard. But we dig deep and wait till we have that sudden lovely rush of excitement, or tremor of tears when seeing that perfect thing.

Our makers are just as unique and special as the babies they make for.
Their signature invisible cashmere seaming.
Their wobbles of whimsical porcelain.
Their beauty of the hand drawn line.
A uniquely hand forged heritage piece of silver.
Wonderfully cheeky stitches to capture a softie's new face.
The unique signature of letterpress print.
A sweetly hand stitched sari.
A perfectly printed fingerprint in a piece of silver.
A charming captured expression carved into wood.

These captured hand strokes, whether it be with knitting needles, pencil, pen, potters wheel or hand stitched are what make them unique. Keeping them precious and real.
Keeping them wholesome.
Wabi sabi.
 
Support handmade in 2013!
Keep the little crafty people busy.

Make sure you see our Monday maker’s blogs throughout the year, capturing the personalities of our makers and how they personalise what they make. Making personal things to capture smiles & personalities. 

#Supporthandmade  

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Come & show us the love this February

As you know we have some new makers and new products for this year. We'll be launching them soon on the website, but you can come and see them for yourselves at the Love What We Do event in early February!




So why not pop along to the Cornerstone Centre in West Byfleet to pick up
some lovely things in the month of love!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Wordless Wednesday

News yesterday that the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge's baby is due in July.

Do you think they'll call her Victoria after a famous ancestor?

Our famous Victoria is available at www.unikgifts.co.uk

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Teacup tuesday, Entrepreneurial Mums



It’s Tuesday, and in our new 2013 blog format it’s the day we share what we talk about over a cuppa.
Today I share a little thought I’ve been continually having with myself since I had my babies.
Before I became a Mum I was totally unaware of all the Mummy makers, Mummy run businesses and Mumpreneurs out there! 
Then BANG...suddenly my world was filled with talented business women, wonderfully gifted makers and incredibly brave Mums. 

Don't get me wrong, every Mum deserves a BIG medal. We are great! Dads too!
But what is it that makes Mums in their busiest times of their lives, after giving birth and juggling Mummy hood and a new family structure,  suddenly go totally  MAD and decide to do it alone and start something brand new and scary.
Surely, We have no time!?
We have hardly any energy on bad days!?
We already have to multi multi task with our babies!
Our worlds have already been turned backwards and round the wrong way.
We have no spare hands.
And our brains have turned to mush.

So why? Is it really our Baby brains being scrambled that are to blame?
I have met so many talented Mummies and Daddies who have decided to go it alone.

Are we Insane to add to the mania?
Are we Crazy to add to our endless to do lists?
Do we really wish no sleep upon ourselves!?

For me it wasn’t really about juggling childcare needs or a need to be at home with my babies.
For me it was a need to do something for myself as well as for my children. I didn’t want to spend time working for someone else. I wanted to be responsible for my time and my own life.
I couldn’t spend any time that was taken from my children doing something I didn’t believe in. It was time wasted that I just couldn’t justify allocating time to if i didn't believe in it 100%. I suddenly felt sure and focused. My baby brain was most certainly mush but the other part was alive and ticking and needing satisfying. It was about my new responsibilities of becoming a Mum. And a need to nurture and look after. Looking after myself as well as my beautiful babies.

But sometimes  I do wonder why we all do it!?

For one I know I thoroughly enjoy the challenge. The responsibility of being my own boss. The need to satisfy only me and my business partner. I am lucky. I have a tremendously supportive partner and Mum and incredibly wonderful children. And Sarah and I work well together and alone. We feed each other brain food! And it seams to feed me. I Love it!

Surely with all the Mummy run , Mumpreneurs, Mummy crafters businesses I know and feel proud of knowing, we'll be taking over the world before you know it! That and all  the small independent businesses that put quality, originality and service before counting the big bucks at the end of the day!

Hurrah!


*If you've done something similar,  Let me know what were your reasoning's. 
*Good luck to all Mums starting something new...it's brave and wonderful! Do it!  

Monday, 14 January 2013

We have a PLAN!



With the start of 2013, we have a plan!

  • To launch new lovely makers.
  • To launch new Mummy made (Sarah and I made) products.
  • To plan new exciting blogs to entice and explain who we are, who we love & what we do.
  • To introduce you to our maker friends. We don’t like to say Suppliers, as our makers are actually our friends!
  • To show you how wonderful our makers are, and how beautiful their processes of making are. 
  • To ensure we always stay fresh and true to or roots.


Our clipboards are at the ready. 
Our staplers and ink pens are full.
So...

We have new lovely makers to launch very soon.
Sarah and I are busy cutting, stitching and snapping.
Our weekly blogging plan has been set and with the start of February on the horizon, it marks the beginning of our Monday Monthly Makers. Each month we choose a maker have a chat and gossip, delve in their workplace and understand what makes them special to unik.

We start off with Sarah and I and our crazy lives of juggling running a business, being Mums to crazy toddlers and crafting when we can.

But before all that starts I wanted to explain what makes us different from all the other baby gifts websites. 
We don’t sell nappy cakes. We don’t sell fleece blankets with embroidered names. 
We only sell unique things. 
Things to excite. 
Things to make the gift buyer just as excited as the receiver. 
We choose gifts to cherish, and be past from generation to generation.
We like to think we do all the hard work for you by selecting only gifts with the WOW factor.

We are u-ni-k and therefore many of our makers are just that too.
What we choose to showcase mostly cannot be found anywhere else.
We have become great friends with our makers,  establishing a strong friendship that has sprung new ideas and products.  Meaning we can bring extra special things that no other baby website has. Things that will be as unique as the baby you are buying for.

We are keeping true to our roots. We are very picky ladies. We are not like Notonthehighstreet. 
We don’t stay YES to every maker out there that approaches us. 
We want to make the buying experience as easy as possible. So, we whittle down to the bare minimum and only select the best.
 
We have plenty of things we are always searching for.
We wish for the perfect Non scary dolly. Unisex, soft and lovely.
We dream of a quick and easy Wendy house for everyone to play in.
We need the PERFECT teddy!
Our list is long and we are always looking for new & exciting things.

So mark Monday’s in the diary to meet our makers from February.
Monday will no longer be Monday mentor.
They have become Monday Monthly maker.


Friday, 11 January 2013

Friday Funny....



My new year's resolution. 
Loose weight and getting fit by running & skipping
I've even bought running shoes, so I'm deadly serious.
When I discussed this with my sister, "You've had two babies, what about your pelvic floor?! "
Gosh, I hadn't thought about that!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We welcomed news of the drop in temperature and the chance of snow in u-ni-k IT HQ. I'm a winter baby and love the snow, but I understand that I am in the minority as most people here in the UK don't like snow.

So for those Mummies that want to stay inside with the little ones and leave the cold white stuff to those of us who are crazy enough to be out playing in it. Here's a few items that will keep little ones amused inside!

Bobbing bunny or snappy crocodile!
These lovely toys can be pulled about to produce a lovely snappy snap or a hoppity hop that delights children of all ages. These toys are often walked about the craft fayres we visit, finding new homes with those that can't be parted from them.


For those a little more sedate (or not walking about yet) we have a selection of beautiful vehicles. Smaller hands prefer our cars while those with active imaginations love our horse and cart and the train  keeps many boys (young and old) happy for hours.




Really little ones enjoy squeezing, chewing and bashing our softies and mice.


For a more peaceful pursuit try reading our exciting tale  Insectissimo!

For the more arty and crafty amongst you there's hours of fun in making our Mibo characters.




We post by Special Delivery so your toys will be with you by the next day





Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Wordless Wednesday

There's still a few items left in the u-ni-k sale, visit www.unikgifts.co.uk to pick up a gorgeous gift

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tuesday's Tea Cup chat...


So this week's chat has been - trying to keep the accounts up to date while managing a poorly house and ratty children!

Yep there's something about 1st Jan that focuses the mind towards admin! Anna and I have been pulling together a spreadsheet that automatically adds up things based upon month and criteria (for those who are doing the same thing, SUMPRODUCT is your best friend!!). Exciting eh?!

Now this was challenging when we were pre children, trying to remember formula and make sure the right ranges are focused and making sure that we don't miss any expenses / offline sale information was the kind of job we used to be paid for!

Doing this while there's a screaming 2year old in the background is near impossible! It's dead glamourous being a Mum; if you can afford a maid, a nanny, a cook and a West Wing in which to house all the staff and kids. In reality your kids drive you mad while you are madly in love with them and Daddy has man flu when you need him the most! A moment's peace and quiet to concentrate on accounts is much needed!

BUT we must find the time to do this, as we just learnt that doing our tax return isn't enough. Nope, Companies House want our balance sheet as well. In fact, the online companies house records for u-ni-k gifts showed a big green tick telling us we were up to date while they sent us a letter saying we were overdue sending in our annual returns. A call today showed that as well as the annual tax return we need to send them our balance sheet.

Costly lesson. £150 costly.

So mainly over a cup of tea / coffee this week we're swearing about accounts and systems that give you big green ticks when actually you're not done. Oh and poorly husbands.


Monday, 7 January 2013

Makers on a Monday?

Anna and I have had a long chat, via email rather than the usual coffee/tea chat as I've been very poorly over the Christmas period :(, and we've decided that it's time to change the blog a little!

We'd like to introduce you to our fabulous makers and give you a sneak peek behind the scenes of how some of our fabulous gifts are made.

So Monday blogs will become a little peek behind the curtains to see some of your old favourite makers and some new exciting editions to the family!

Let us know who you'd like us to start with? Me and my little knitted creations:




 

Or Anna and her beautiful Memory Boxes?







All of the products featured can be found at www.unikgifts.co.uk

Leave a comment here or pop over to Facebook to vote!


Friday, 4 January 2013

A Friday Funny....Naughty Mummy!



Unfortunately this Christmas, my BIG naughty learnt a "NAUGHTY MUMMY WORD" that is too naughty to repeat.
Very Naughty Mummy!

Sorry naughties. I have learnt my lesson. Not funny :(

unikgifts.co.uk
*The u-ni-k gifts sale is now on!*

Thursday, 3 January 2013

A little bit of Press...

In Casa Facile's,  Junior supplement we spotted our WILD BUNCH paper friends amongst the zoo inspired goodies!




*Gabriella Giraffe, Mick the Monkey, Ella Elephant & Roary the Lion.


























Our paper animals are designed by Madeleine Rogers for Mibo
Printed with vegetable inks onto recycled card
When finished, the pets range from 8cm-14cm high.
A perfect post-able gift for little one, and a kid-dult alike!
Also a great nursery decoration and Birthday Card alternative.
These Wild Bunch friends are one of our best sellers!