Tales from the studio – Storksak on balancing work and baby

Melanie recently bumped into a friend who had to give up her job as a scientist as she couldn’t reconcile family life with the demands of her career. This got Suzi and Melanie thinking back to when they came up with the idea of Storksak bags over 12 years ago, of how they wanted to build a business that could be a success without them having to sacrifice too much precious family time.

Woman doing yoga, canon 1Ds mark III

A decade on it’s not straightforward – and it’s definitely still a juggle and a struggle – but they have been able to support staff members who want to work irregular hours from home and some studio staff work part time to allow them to do the school run.

Forget about having it all, it’s all about having a life.

Having a baby takes parents on a joyful and scary roller-coaster of emotions; throw in a job with a 45 minute commute at either end of the day after a night of broken sleep with a fractious baby, and it’s not difficult to see how our mid 30’s can be one of the most stressful times of life.

So what we can do is surround ourselves with a network of people who make our lives that little bit better: a supportive partner, close family, friends with shared experiences and, hopefully, a sympathetic employer. This is our ‘Clan of Care’. The people who support and allow us to work, to enjoy our family and simply to be.
We strive to put quality, care and thoughtfulness into each Storksak product and we extend that same courtesy to our staff so that you can be secure in the knowledge that your Storksak bag is gorgeous – inside and out!

Win a ping pong set from the game’s creators, Jaques!

Jaques of London Logo Hi ResWe have a rather special prize for today’s competition – a set of Original Ping Pong as it was when it was invented by Jaques of London!

Ping Pong was invented in 1901 by John Jaques III, and the current generation of the family are still making beautiful, traditional toys and games today. Established in 1795, Jaques of London is the oldest sports and games manufacturer in the world. Throughout their long and distinguished history Jaques has been responsible for inventing some of the world’s most popular sports and family games including Croquet, Ping Pong, Ludo, Tiddledy Winks and Happy Families. The company is still owned and run by direct descendants of the original company founder Thomas Jaques.

Jaques of London has relaunched Original Ping Pong for Christmas 2014, recreating Ping Pong as it was when it was first invented. This is set to be one of the most original and timeless games of the season.

The set, which includes two bats, three balls and one net with posts and clamps, made to fit all tables, is an exact replica of the original hand-crafted Ping Pong set launched in 1901. The two steam-bent bats have solid wooden frames and handles and are covered with the finest grade vellum, which is glued and hand-stitched into place. The vellum creates a drum effect, which produces a very satisfactory “ping pong” sound. The antique-finished wooden posts incorporate two solid brass clamps. The net, hand-made from natural cotton, can be adjusted in size simply by wrapping it around the posts.

Original Ping Pong isn’t just great for kids, but is also the ideal after dinner party game. It is designed to be played on any table – including dining room tables! Once supper has been served, drinks have been quaffed and coffee cups have been cleared, simply attach the net to the posts, screw the solid brass clamps (both cushioned by soft foam pads to avoid table damage) onto the table and let the games begin.

Original Ping Pong is available to buy now from Jaques of London’s website for £59.99.

Jaques ping pong setThere are still two days of our ’12 days of Christmas’ competition left. Visit our Facebook page at 10am tomorrow for our next riddle, to be in with a chance of winning the 11th day’s wonderful prize!

 

 

Win a personalised gift from Olivia Sticks with Layla

Today’s prize is a beautiful personalised placemat and coaster set from ‘Olivia Sticks with Layla’ an up-and-coming, beautifully classic British brand.

This London-based brand was founded and is run by Claire Summery. She creates children’s wall art and personalised gifts for little ones including a children’s illustration range of art for kids rooms, greeting cards, cushion covers, stationery and many more products to be launched soon. All of Claire’s lovely products are created in a classic children’s storybook style.ballerina-placemat-LS-lucyClaire loves drawing, and is a trained illustrator with a degree in design, winning design graduate of the year in 2005.

Claire previously worked in the fashion illustration industry and has completed commission work for many high-street brands featured on TV and in shops and has had work published in illustration books. She was inspired to create the brand after she had her two young children.

Today’s lovely giveaway set includes an ‘Olivia sticks with Layla’ placemat and coaster, personalised to include your child’s name. The pretty ballerina set is perfect for a girly girl’s Christmas gift, and might even encourage fussy eaters to stay at the table a little while longer!

We will announce all competition winners on the 13th December. The ’12 Days of Christmas’ competition is open to UK residents only. The competition is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Facebook.

 

Nature’s Purest

Lovely baby brand ‘Natures Purest’ have been very kind in offering a beautiful range of organic cotton knitwear for our ’12 days of Christmas’, all in a neutral cream, perfect for a baby boy or girl!

Natures Purest create a beautiful range of sensitive natural products comfortable for baby’s skin. The brand was founded back in 2006 by Jane Albon, and is now stocked in 46 countries around the world, offering 14 ranges and more than 240 products!

natures knits cardigan packagingProducts now carry both the ‘Oeko-Tex 100′ and the fabulous ‘Garments Without Guilt’ certification. The cotton is naturally coloured and 100% free from pollution-causing fertilisers, as well as harmful pesticides and chemicals.

Baby’s skin is far more delicate and susceptible to harmful chemicals and substances than adult’s. In their first year of life, babies spend around 16 hours a day sleeping, and a lot of time playing in their room. For this reason Nature’s Purest recognise how important it is for babies to be surrounded by healthy, natural products.

max knit hat1The giveaway set includes the Cream Organic Cotton Knitted Hat & Mitts Set 0-6M – RRP15.00, Cream Organic Cotton Knitted Hooded Cardigan 3-6M – RRP £26.00 and Cream Organic Cotton Cable Blanket 75 x 100cm – RRP £28.00, for a total value of £69.00.

We will announce all competition winners on the 13th December. The ’12 Days of Christmas’ competition is open to UK residents only. The competition is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Facebook.

 

Win a Discoveroo Rocket Toy

Today’s prize is a lovely wooden rocket toy from Australian brand Discoveroo, which not only looks stylish displayed on a shelf but can be played with as a stacker and a rocket toy, providing hours of fun for kids!
Discoveroo is an Australian brand of Educational Toys and Games, who offer a unique range of products for early learners, pre-school and primary school children, all made from 100% eco friendly, sustainable, plantation wood.
Perfect for developing motor skills and pretend play, the toy is made up of eight pieces which slot in together via magnets. It includes a spaceman, alien and monkey. This leaves the child to explore the possibilities and develop their mind.
 Magnetic Rocket New Colours Final 300dpi
For young children, seeing how a toy works is an important part of understanding the world. The natural materials stimulate the senses in a way that processed materials cannot.The team at Discoveroo are committed to providing high quality products which last and also the safety of the children who use them.
Only certified manufacturers that can meet strict criteria are selected. Products meet and exceed the safety standards in the countries where they are sold.All products are certified by independent testing laboratories. Because all aspects of Discoveroo products are tested, not just the coatings, you can be sure they are completely safe for small children. And because they are abuse tested against the toughest standards, you know they will last.

Discoveroo is stocked by ‘Ginny 1 Two Kids’ in the UK, who are also original UK stockists of Sophie the Giraffe. Read more about the family brand here.

The ‘12 days of Christmas’ competition is open to UK residents over the age of 18 only. It is not in any way affiliated with, or endorsed by, Facebook. All competition winners will be announced on December 13th via our Facebook page.

 

Remember precious moments with Milestone baby cards

If you answered today’s question correctly you could be in with a chance of winning a lovely set of Milestone cards; the perfect way to commemorate all of baby’s special moments as he or she grows up.

The beautifully illustrated Milestone Baby Cards are produced in the Netherlands. The cards and box are printed on FSC certified paper that is acid and chlorine-free. The printer uses the Vega-Fast ink: a Dutch printing ink based on vegetable oils.

MBC_PACKSHOT_BOX1 (2)Milestone Baby Cards enable you to capture and remember baby’s first smile and steps as years go by, or create cute updates to send to family and friends.

Simply fill in the date and take a picture of your baby together with the card.

This set contains 30 cards with all the major milestones, the perfect gift for new parents!

MBC_SOLIDFOOD (2) Milestone cards are stocked by family company ‘Ginny 1 Two Kids‘, founded back in 2008.

Originally the first UK stockists of Sophie the Giraffe, the company has made it their mission to search out other fantastic products and are very proud to be exclusive distributors for Sophie la GIrafe, Discoveroo, Milestone Cards, Tutim NYC and many more.

1 Two Kids work with more than 500 quality retailers across the UK and Ireland, providing unique and exclusive products that can’t always be found on the high street.

We will announce all competition winners on the 13th December. The ’12 Days of Christmas’ competition is open to UK residents only. The competition is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Facebook.

Win a teether from legendary French brand Sophie the Giraffe

Today’s competition prize is French design classic and baby essential Sophie the Giraffe teether, the ideal Christmas present for a new baby.

Sophie the Giraffe was invented by Monsieur Rampeau in France in the 1960s, who was an expert in transforming sap from the hevea tree using the rotational 616324 avec stickermoulding of rubber as a toy-making concept. He came up with the idea of designing a giraffe as the exotic wildlife figure would be a first on the market, and her size and shape is perfect for a baby’s small hands to grasp.

Sophie the Giraffe looked exactly the same then as she does today, and went into production on Thursday 25th May 1961. The toy quickly became an essential new baby gift in France, but wouldn’t become widely used around the rest of the world until recent years.

Sophie the Giraffe Hi ResWhat makes this particular teething toy so special is a combination of appealing looks and squeaky noise, safe and healthy natural rubber and dyes, and the shape, colour and texture that helps baby grip and relieve the pain of their gums. All sensory simulation is covered with Sophie – hearing, taste, touch, smell and sight.

Give the gift that combines practicality and fun for babies this Christmas with Sophie the Giraffe!

We will announce all competition winners on the 13th December. The ’12 Days of Christmas’ competition is open to UK residents only. The competition is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Facebook.

 

Win with luxury favourite Aden+Anais

The right answer to today’s quiz will win you a pretty special gift in our Christmas competition – a beautiful set from popular luxury baby brand Aden+Anais.

smaller aden + anais New Beginnings gift set twinkle £64.95 in boxAden + Anais, the baby brand widely known for its iconic muslin swaddling, sleeping, feeding and bath time products, is giving away a ‘New Beginnings’ gift set worth £64.95 in a festive twinkle print.

The beautiful products made using Aden + Anais’ signature cotton muslin, it’s everything mummy and baby will need to stay comfy, cosy and have a little fun too! The gift set includes two swaddles, burpy bib, musy mate, lovely comforter and musy.

Aden+Anais was co-founded by Raegan Moya-Jones in 2006. After moving from her native Australia to the United States, the news in 2003 that Raegan was expecting her first baby triggered many mixed emotions. Although her family was half way around the world, Aussie motherhood traditions were always with her. On the top of her list were muslin wraps that Australian mum’s use to swaddle their babies. It was to her surprise when she went looking for them in New York that they were nowhere to be found.
After scouring stores across the U.S. for the soft, breathable wraps used by mothers everywhere in Australia she was disappointed – there was nothing quite right for swaddling her new baby girl, Anais. Before she knew it Raegen was a new mum and entrepreneur!  In July 2006, Aden + Anais® was born and can now be found in thousands of stores across 63 countries, worldwide today.

aden + anais New Beginnings gift set twinkle £64.95 no box

 We will announce all competition winners on the 13th December. The ’12 Days of Christmas’ competition is open to UK residents only. The competition is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Facebook.

Win a beautiful princess gown from Rachel Riley

We have a rather special gift to give on the third day of Christmas; a stunning girl’s dress from a fellow luxury London-based brand, Rachel Riley.

This beautiful brand has been creating adorable, traditional children’s clothes for the past twenty years, however they are particularly on everybody’s radar since Prince George was pictured wearing their sailboat smocked dungarees on his first official engagement in spring this year.

RR princess dress lifestyle

Rachel Riley is an award-winning brand based in Marylebone. Rachel’s design philosophy is rooted in her traditional lifestyle and draws inspiration from the forties, fifties and sixties with fine tailoring, beautiful hand smocking, hand embroidery and vintage-inspired prints designed by and exclusive to the brand.

RRThe company designs, manufactures and retails clothing and accessory collections four times a year for boys, girls, babies and ladies. The exquisite party slippers are hand-made in Rachel’s own workshop in France.

The brand has two stores in London and a store on Madison Avenue in New York, as well as being stocked in department and independent stores all over the world, including Selfridges and Harrods, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue in the USA and Takashimaya in Japan.

Today’s prize is the perfect Christmas gift for a little girl who loves to dress up – the beautiful ‘Dress up Princess Gown’ is RRP £139, and is made with layers of ivory net, with a silver ribbon at the waist, and cream and silver heart shaped buttons to fasten at the back. We all would have loved to have had a dress this pretty when we were children!

The ‘12 days of Christmas’ competition is open to UK residents over the age of 18 only. It is not in any way affiliated with, or endorsed by, Facebook. All competition winners will be announced on December 13th via our Facebook page.

 

 

Win beautiful kid’s shoes from ‘Hug and Hatch’

Beautiful baby shoes that are created to support and be comfortable are difficult to find, so when Hug and Hatch told us that they had a gorgeous pair of kid’s shoes to give away for our ’12 days of Christmas’ competition we knew you would all be delighted!

Hug and Hatch is a ‘home-grown’ British brand designed by Laura and Lisa, both footwear designers and mums. After years of struggling to find styles that were individual but had the quality they were looking for at an affordable price they decided to start ‘Hug and Hatch’.

Hug & Hatch Hugo silver £60

 

Hug & Hatch, the British toddler and kids footwear brand, puts passion and quality at the heart of its designs. The shoes not only look adorable but are designed to provide the best possible support for children’s feet.

We are offering the lucky winner of today’s competition a beautiful pair of Hugo silver ankle boots from Hug and Hatch, worth RRP £68. The crepe effect sole boot is designed to provide support for baby’s delicate feet and there is a pewter suede upper with silver suede toe cap and pink spotted elastic. Thoughtful features include the balloon trim back loop, there to help you put the shoe on your child. The sole also features a Hug and Hatch balloon emboss.

The ’12 days of Christmas’ competition is open to UK residents over the age of 18 only. It is not in any way affiliated with, or endorsed by, Facebook. All competition winners will be announced on December 13th, via our Facebook page.