hello dolly

Ragtales Molly Rag Doll
This is Molly, and she in one stylish dolly. So stylish in fact, that she is stocked at Liberty no less! Now a stylish doll is definitely not easy to come by (I recently succumbed to buying ‘Tanya’, Italy’s answer to Barbie at Pisa airport as a ‘guilty working mum present’ for Tabitha, but she was wearing a rather cool Pucci-esque shift dress…), so I was rather excited to discover her. How cute is her outfit? A stripe, a floral, and even a hint of a tulle underskirt. And she also comes with her own stylish little cotton bag with her name embroidered on the front. And she is really lovely and soft (not always the case with the more well dressed dolls…).  And what I love most of all, is that that she actually looks like a proper ‘little girl’s doll’, not some spooky incarnation of a lap dancer (sorry Tanya). Tabitha will definitely be unwrapping a Molly on Christmas day…
£30.00   BUY NOW

teepee with style

Win Green Striped Wigwam
I was obsessed with finding the perfect teepee for Tabarlow before Christmas. Obsessed! It had to be cool and tasteful, and ideally in a ticking stripe (I know, I know…). In a nutshell, I wanted one that looked great (and it did, in the middle of the living room for a while…), but was obviously still fun for the twins to hide and play in (and large enough to house two small people comfortably of course). And believe me when I say that no stone was left unturned in my quest. Now this one was definitely not the cheapest, but it was definitely the nicest. It is pretty big though (I tend to forgot to check measurements of anything I buy online, which has got me into all kinds of scrapes with all manor of things, which I won’t bore you all with now…), so check out the dimensions on the website. You can also buy the matching quilt for the floor of the teepee, which although an extra cost, was a really lovely finishing touch. But to be honest, you could just lay a few mismatched quilts and blankets down for an equally lovely, cosy effect. There is currently a waiting list for this one, but you can pre-order now, which I would definitely recommend. And if you’ve already started searching for the perfect teepee yourself, you can call it off…
£120.00  wingreen.co.uk

the chicest of shops

Howa Wooden Shop
This is one of the best presents Tabarlow have ever received. It’s nothing short of amazing (thank you Granny and Connie). And I think it’s safe to say that I enjoy playing with it as much as they do. Possibly more so. It is definitely one of the most stylish kids’ toy shops I’ve seen (loving that chic striped awning). It doesn’t come with any of the food – you need to stock the shop (this is the bit where I went a bit mad – more of that later…), but I can point you in the right direction (it was a bit hit and miss in terms of scale and proportion, so learn from my mistakes of oversized oranges and miniture milk bottles). Anyway, it’s not just me who loves it, it’s proven to be a big hit with any kids that come to our house (of both sexes and various ages), and has turned out to be a great play-date ice-breaker (I’ve even managed to hold a whole conversation with another mum whilst four kids played happily together with it). You do need quite a bit of stuff to fill it, but it doesn’t take long, and I would recommend doing it gradually, or (like me) you will lose track of what you ordered, and get carried away (who knew wooden food could be so addictive?), and before you know it you have more wooden cupcakes than you know what to do with. After Christmas I went a little crazy, and our poor postman was knocking on our front door every day for weeks with a new mountain of boxes. Anyway, here are a few of my favourite things to get you started: the ice cream lolly stand, the tray of muffins, and the set of juice cartons, but there are plenty more where they came from. I would suggest buying the shop for a birthday present, then asking various friends and relatives to buy things to fill it (there are so many cute things to choose from, all at various prices). I have been known to spend a good 40 minutes re-merchandising the shop after Tabarlow have gone to bed (it’s strangely therapeutic actually). I’m telling you, Mary Portas has nothing on me…
£64.99  amazon.co.uk

ps: I’m so sorry for anyone who tried unsuccessfully to buy the (reduced) Caramel baby coat in my last post. For some reason, once my I had published my post, the coat then went back to it’s original, non-sale price. I have no idea why, but obviously this is incredibly frustrating. I will keep an eye on it though, and let you know if/when it gets reduced again.

the best bunny

Jellycats ‘Slackajack’ Bunny (small)
This is one of my all-time favourite soft toys for babies (with Jellycats ‘Slackajack Monkey’ and large ’Bashful Bunny’ close behind). This particular bunny comes in two different sizes (this is the smaller of the two). Tabarlow have had them since they were born, and love them (something about the way they feel…). I have bought them for so many babies over the years I might as well have bought them in bulk and stashed them under the bed! It’s hard to explain, it’s just the perfect bunny – looks so cute, is lovely and soft and cuddly, sits up unaided when required (how many other soft toys can say the same?), and frankly, just looks lovely in a baby’s cot. I also think Jellycats are great value for money, so you can easily start building a gorgeous little collection of them (most of them come in lovely, soft neutral colours, so they all look good together). You will also often see a lone Slackajack bunny residing in various Bonpoint stores, just looking cool and stylish, proving that he may be great value but he’s just as at home at the luxury end of the kids’ market too (he can work the whole ‘high/low’ thing…). If you’re stuck for a newborn baby gift (for a boy or a girl), Slackajack is your bunny. Trust me.
£14.99  trotters.co.uk 

happy birthday tabarlow!

Mulberry Bush Wooden Birthday Cake
It is safe to say that I am now completely obsessed (yes two obsessions in as many posts) with wooden play food. Tabitha got the most beautiful shop (complete with stylish striped awning) from her New York Granny for Christmas (I will post it soon – it’s currently out of stock), and I cannot stop buying things to put in it. In fact, I’m actually starting to dread the postman coming, because the shelves are now literally groaning with lovely produce, and I fear there is still more to come… Anyway, it’s Tabitha and Marlow’s third birthday today, so here’s a cake (that I haven’t ordered) to celebrate…
£11.99  mulberrybush.co.uk 

two in one

H&M 2 Pack Rattles
I love a bit of H&M Home (have you checked it out yet – a lot of people still don’t even know it exists…), and they have started doing some really cute baby/kids’ things too. I bought two grey cable knit blankets for Tabs and Marlow the other week that are just gorgeous (and super-cosy). How sweet are these ‘his and hers’ bunny jersey rattles? And they come in this adorable little drawstring bag (and they are machine washable). What a cute present (with an an incredible price tag!).
£7.99  hm.com 

stripy snake

Pebble Knitted Snake Rattle
I love these hand knitted toys from Pebble. They are just so cute and totally individual. This striped snake (sounds a bit like Whitesnake!) is a great stocking filler, and a gift that will be loved equally by the recipient and the parents thanks to the simple, tasteful design. I love the colours. And if you aren’t familiar with Pebble, all their toys are handmade by women in rural areas of Bangledesh. They create jobs that are fairly paid, flexible and fair. So by buying Pebble toys and gifts, you are actually helping create employment opportunites for artisans that are within a 5-10 minute walk from their homes. Cute, quirky, and ethically made. What’s not to love about that?
£10.00  10littlebirds.com 

pull-along deer

Sebra Pull-Along Deer
Tabarlow each had the elephant version of this (previously posted back in April), and honestly, they were two of the best things I have ever bought them. In fact, I passed on Marlow’s (blue one) just yesterday to a friend’s baby, and as he spotted it in the bag, he suddenly had a renewed interest in it (naturally!). Now they are almost three, I think they are perhaps a little old for them (but then I do run a very tight ship when it comes to the overall volume of toys in the house at any given time, and was having a clear-out). Anyway, they absolutely loved their elephants, and they really did encourage them with their walking. And they also happen to be super-stylish and gorgeous (crocheted, wooden platform and wheels…), so as I have mentioned in the past, I don’t mind them hanging around the house as much! Anyway, I know this is perhaps a little early to be making Christmas present suggestions, but I know from past experience that these will sell out fast, so I would recommend buying early for a gift. And the perfect gift it will make (just ask Tabs and Marlow!).
£41.00  reddirect.co.uk

animals in suitcases

Cath Kidston Suitcase And Set of 8 Zoo Animals
Tabarlow’s dad bought them this a while ago (he’s a child psychologist, so he does know a thing or two about what will appeal to kids, and consequently does end up policing most of their toys) and it was a big hit. I love the simplicity – no flashing lights or headache-inducing music or sirens (thank God). They (Marlow in particular) just love to sit and play with the animals for ages… I love the sweet little suitcase that they come in too. A really lovely, inexpensive gift for a boy or a girl.
£16.00  cathkidston.co.uk 

pram chic

Red Direct Dolls Pram
I bought this for Tabitha for Christmas last year when she was just about to turn two. I saw it when I was buying some other things from Red Direct, and instantly knew I had to get it (in fact, I think as I have mentioned before, I bought most of Tabarlow’s Christmas and birthday presents from there). It’s really sturdy (and doesn’t tip), so it’s easy for Tabs to push around, and holds quite a few dolls at once. And as you can see for yourself, it’s so cute. She does of course, have the inevitable cheap and nasty (Barbie pink) plastic dolls buggy that she also loves (Marlow has one too actually), but she definitely uses this one as much (which isn’t usually the case with the tacky vs tasteful dilemma where kids’ toys are concerned). Admittedly, the cheap one lives at Grandad and Grandma’s house… Anyway, this one looks great, so I don’t mind it hanging around in the living room once all the toys are tidied away. And she hasn’t grown tired of it yet. And even when she does, as she gets a little older, I will probably still keep because it looks so lovely just storing her dolls and teddies. And it’s now in the sale for just £37.50. It would make the loveliest gift.
£37.50 (was £47.00)  redirect.co.uk 

soldier or fireman?

Imajo Crochet Soft Toys
How sweet are these? I always love crocheted toys for little ones (there’s just something about the simplicity of them…). They look so cute, and babies/kids love the way they feel. I couldn’t choose between the soldier and the fireman, so had to show you both! They are made by a co-operative in Thailand that works to support the local community, so not only do they look lovely, but you can give something back when you shop. They would make such a lovely (and original) baby present too.
£18.00  reddirect.co.uk 

ps: still having a lovely time in Cornwall (and still driving to Carbis Bay Hotel to post every evening – I’m so dedicated to the cause!). Poured with rain all morning, so Kerry and I left the boys and the kids with a giant train set, and hit the shops. We found a Next and an M&S a couple of miles away and both ended up buying some great things for the kids. I got a fab navy star print smock-top for Tabs and some cobalt blue trousers (they sound a bit questionable I know, but honestly they are really cool) for Marlow in Next; and a really pretty floral print smock-top for Tabs in M&S that I love. Not bad for a rainy morning’s work. In fact, we ended up on the beach at the end of the day, and Tabs wore her M&S top and it’s really gorgeous on her. Check out Twitter for pics of all my purchases.

knitted pull-along elephant

Reddirect Pull-Along Elephant
As far as I’m concerned, this is the perfect toy (and gift). It looks gorgeous and kids love it! What more could you ask for? I bought Tabitha (coral) and Marlow (turquoise) one each for Christmas and they instantly loved them. But amazingly, they are still loving them (and regularly playing with them) now. In fact, they have started insisting on taking them with them on various outings, which is not always particularly practical (but admittedly very cute). Today, on the way home from the park (as Tabarlow walked along, happily pulling their respective elephants behind them), we were literally chased down the street by a man, wanting to know where we got them from (I kid you not)! It’s handmade from 100% cotton, and sits on a wooded base. It’s pretty sturdy too, as I’ve discovered from these recent outings on pavements, cobbles and grass! I know they are selling out fast (sorry – only the coral one featured here is available now), so get clicking!
£36.00  reddirect.co.uk

ethical teddies

Pebble Knitted Floppy Bears
How cute are these? I discovered Pebble when I bought my friend, KP’s little boy, Carter a knitted octopus, which he loves apparently. They do such sweet things. These bears (choose from Freddie, Harry and Nancy) are 23cm high, machine washable and made from 100% organic cotton. A lovely quirky gift if you’re looking for something a little different that’s not only ethical, but cute and stylish too. Love!
£10.50 each  littlehathi.co.uk