Category Archives: mums at work

All the fun. Of the Fair

So balancing kids and running a business is a brave move for any working parent. I am sure that there are more woman diving into this venture than men, and that is why I am under no illusion that we must all be mental! Or up for a challenge at the very least.

I am sure that your life is exactly the same, but the down time that I inevitably try to plan for the family always seem to get seductively swallowed up by some time worm. Before we know it our quiet weekend of doing nothing ( yes I do put doing nothing in the diary at least every six weeks) end up being busier than ever.

A few weekends ago was prime example, It was the BURYfields festival in Chesham, Bucks on the Saturday, a family day out and then the amazing Big Fish Little Fish on the Sunday where we set up our photo booth stand and sell a few of our clothes at the same time. Of course we had to fit in the usual stuff that weekends bring. Like swimming clubs and sleepovers, homework and birthday parties, you know the normal weekend activities and chores that are far to boring to even write about.

Anyway, so I had collected my son Fred from school on Friday and out he comes, grin the size of his head, with the school teddy bear or in our case the school teddy badger in his hand, utterly delighted that it was his time to bring home Barry. I know you are going to accuse me of being an utter kill joy, but if you have ever had to bring one of these stuffed animals into your life for the weekend, you will soon realise that is actually just a whole load more work for Mum to do. Basically what you do is to keep a diary of all the things that Barry did over the weekend with your family and take photos. Then the child has to write down the events as a daily diary in Barry’s book. I do believe that it’s a secret conspiracy for the school to spy into your home and see what type of parents you are! Although I have to admit that it is quite interesting to see what every one else’s kids are up to! I always feel like I need to be naughty and make up a load of stuff up like “Saturday and we went to visit all the pubs in Soho and Mammy got really drunk. Here is a picture of her throwing up on the train, and on Sunday we went out for a day trip. Here is Barry visiting Daddy in prison.”

Anyway I think it that all I really have to do is take a few pics – ok so that’s ok no problem, but it’s just printing them out and then getting your child to write about it. It really feels like an extra load of homework that you have to bribe your kids to do on top of the main homework that has been set. Anyway, it just leads to more moaning in my house and as you have to do the stuff first before you can write about it and by then everyone is knackered. The writing it down in the usually a Sunday night scramble that I could really do without. See, I told you I was a kill joy.

In all honesty it wasn’t that bad in the end, we took Barry and the kids to BURYfields, which was super compact festival packed into a small space but had such a great festival vibe it was cool. We saw some cool bands that I had never heard of, the FOXTALES, electric guitars and pysch-folk, THE LOTTERY WINNERS who that had me in stitches as did TWO WAYS HOME and SKINNY LISTER who blew me away with their energy and shanty band antics on stage – well worth a google. They even handed out a flagon of grog into the audience to pass round – which was as original as they come.

Barry got his own wrist band which was a bit of a result (and very sweet of the staff to humour us) and I remembered to take a few pictures and be careful we didn’t loose him, Barry that is not Fred. So job done. Saturday done! (BIG TICK)

We did actually forget to take Barry on the Sunday though when we packed the car to the brim with kids and clothes and cameras and took off for what turned out to be a two hour drive to Balham. Not leaving enough time to negotiate the London traffic was not a smart idea and thinking that we could squeeze in swimming before hand too was an Emma ( I can do it all ) special, I’ll never learn. We turned up at the Big Fish Little Fish event with 20 minutes to set up and so started the whole affair in a it of a panic. Believe me Barry was the furthest thing from my mind.

We needn’t to have worried though as the two and a half our kids rave went like a dream. Simon was mobbed with the Outer space photography booth that we designed for Big Fish, my kids handed out glow sticks and donned tattoos to every limb that passed their way and everyone had a great time. We wrote in the diary that Barry spent all day in bed recovering because he was tired out from partying hard with the bands the night before! Rock’n Roll !

And so we leaf from one type of fair to another as the first weekend of July we set up our trade fair stand in Solihull. It was the first time that we had done the INDX fair so we decided to launch our new Originals name with a bang and brought along an Elvis impersonator.

As you may well know one of our best selling baby garments is the little Elvis suits and so it we wanted to advertise it ROCKABYE style. So Elvis rocked up and rocked out a couple of songs and although we had to keep it short as it was trade fair and people were there to work (It was Elvis’s shortest ever gig) We had loads of people happy to be entertained for ten minutes while Elvis roared our a few favourites and brought a twinkle to the day.

Naturally I got in on the act and struck a pose or two with the King. It was funny way to launch our new collection of the Black and Gold BLING range, and the new SS17 which will be revealed next year. So if you have a shop to website and would like to know more about the new collections feel free to drop us alone and we can fill you in. I will share the pictures with this post but it really got us some attention. We also had a lovely little competition to win tickets to see BEN PORTSMOUTH the UK’s best ELvis Impersonator. He is playing at the Barclay card arena on the 3rd September and it is sure to be amazing, one of our lucky customers will be winning two tickets soon.

We also met the Hayley and Callum ay INDX who introduced us to the coolest ruck sacks that I have seen in ages, made by the German company their reps in the UK are WilliamTurner . We were lucky enough to product test and Fred my seven year old thinks his red dragon bag is awesome. Not only is it super ergonomically designed, it has all the German engineering of a mountaineers back pack. It had hidden pockets and the animal’s little arms can velcro into several places to make a peeka boo too– a brilliant piece of playfulness in design that gets the big thumbs up from us both.

So finally I have to try and sell you some of our fab clothes – as much as I love to write, I would swear a lot more if this wasn’t my kids brand blog! So I will remind that our Cool kids clothes sale is now on.
I’m not sure if you have seen it yet but our very first advert was sent out last month which we are really pleased with. It’s an in house production, ( which means it was shot and edited on my phone!) and happened completely by chance when we’re on a beach in Dorset last Summer.

We were camping and as usual it rained most of the time! But we did get one day on the beach where the kids went wild. There is something about sand and kids that is always fascinating to observe. It’s the land equivalent of being in the swimming pool – kids just seem to love it.
At some point in the day after swimming in the bloody freezing waters of the English Channel, eating a sandy sandwich – the true meaning of the snack is realised, we decide to bury Scarlet in the sand (as you do). Then using the huge bucket that we always take to build humungous sand castles we suddenly had an idea to make a video.

It took ten minutes and Fred’s laugh just cracks me up all the time. If you get to see the outtakes they are hilarious. I didn’t realize that we were actually on a nudist beach and if you look closely … well. Let’s just say thank goodness that we had a big bucket to hide things that might not be deemed suitable for a kids and baby company!

Well that’s it from me for now all I can say is have a good summer with your kids, remember to take time in your diary to do nothing, it really is the best way to spend a weekend. Maybe even better than hanging out with the guy in the big white suit, well just about.

Have a great August xx love and antics
Emma

The art of the Original

Well you may well have guessed, as we missed May’s blog (sorry) that we have been a bit busy here at Rockabye. For the past few months we have been right in the middle of rebranding and as you can see we have dropped the baby (not really that would be cruel, or damn right clumsy to say the least!) yep we’ve dropped baby and added the lovely new word ORIGINALS firmly in its place!

I have to say it’s a lot to live up to adding a word with such prowess as it has, but we have our reasons. The first being that a few years ago we had some copyright issues with our name. It was basically horrible, we couldn’t trade with our neighbours in the U.S. I lost a lot of sleep worrying and could see that this was going to get too expensive for a small independent designer like me.

I came to the decision that if I won or lost the copyright issue it was the clothes and the design that was what people were buying right? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet (and all that). Plus to add insult to injury, we noticed that in the last ten years (yes it really has been ten years since we started), there are about 20 zillion ROCKABYE-babies out there, some doing baby sitting services and some doing funnily enough exactly the same thing as us!

So we thought we’d stop this confusion once and for all, change our name and be done with it! Nothing else has changed, our quality and our sense of style and fun and funky baby clothes are still the same and we still believe that kids rock, ethical manufacturing rocks and value for money rules. So don’t worry kids or mums and dads, we’re the same just more well… Original.

The other thing about the change is we’re so old now that we are almost RETRO! We are THE ORIGINAL kids clothing brand that put music, babies and kids clothes together (and bundled them oh so nicely in a record sleeve). When we started back in 2005 and got our first ten samples together, there really was no one doing the rock n’ roll funky kids stuff that was a bit hard core. Nowadays there are hundreds!! Many of them doing it well, and some hitting the style chords in awesome measures and we salute you.

BUT…. we were there first, we were the original and we salute ourselves too. In that sense we had to move on out and move on up and making it Original just seemed the right thing to do.
So drum role please…. it is with great pleasure that we introduce ROCKABYE ORIGINALS to you. Our first mini movie campaign launches this month with a few fabulous little films that show just how awesome kids and babies are. We think every kid is an individual and we need to glory in our very things that make us different, BECAUSE that’s what makes us cool!

OUR MANIFESTO:
FOR KIDS ABOUT TO ROCK, WE SALUTE YOU.
EVERY GORGEOUS, MAD ONE OF YOU IS A TOTAL ORIGINAL.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO WEAR FUNKY FASHION AND GREAT STYLE.
DEMAND COOL, EMBRACE DIFFERENT.
STAY ORIGINAL.

We want to champion all the great kids we know that really are ORIGINALS. You will meet 7 year old Miles first and then meet other Original kids’ through the campaigns, we hope you love our little original films as much as we do. In fact we are hoping the Original campaign will inspire you to send in phone video clips of your own ORIGINAL kids and we’ve launched a competition to win a limited edition outfit and also the winner will be the face (and body) of the next advert. So send in your vid clips to our Face Book pageface book

If you have a baby that can clap his hands like no one else, or a kid that is just super talented at drawing pigs, or spinning on their head, or has a super special skill that makes her a true individual. Keep an eye on our FB page for the details and enter the comp – we can’t wait to see your kids vids.

Our official launch is going to be at the UK kids trade fair INDX in Birmingham on the 3rd and 4th July 16. We will set up our photo booth to take pics of anyone who wants to shake their funky stuff. We Also will have a super surprise and a fabulous chance to win tickets to an Original Night out!! Watch the FB page for more information. If you have a store and would like an invite to view the three new collections and our classics range we have designed then get in touch and we will invite you along.

We will also have a local launch event in London and Berkhamsted but this won’t be until October. We want to invite as many ROCKABYE FANS as we can. We’ll have activities for the kids, music, and of course something bubbly for you, and I don’t mean a bubble machine (although to be honest we probably will have one of those as well). DM us though Facebook if you would like to come, bring your friends and join the party. We’ll send you an invite once we have confirmed dates.

And finally I wanted to pay my respects to another couple of true originals. I wanted to post this ages ago, I was just so busy reading everyone else’s thoughts that it was nice for some time to pass, so six months after Bowies death, and weeks after the untimely death of Prince (two of my all time musical heroes). I guess we’ve all had time to think about these men and the legacy of work they left behind. Not only was the ‘Ginger Genius’ and the ‘Purple Pop-tart’ true originals in every sense of the word, but they were focused completely on cutting their own groove, something that is always hard to do and something we should celebrate.

Doing their own thing, and making your own path is never the easiest of choices for the creative soul. It made me realise, that as far as creative role models are concerned we, as the quirky breed of people that make their living in the creative world have very few ambassadors for creativity that makes things wonderful.
The ability to be creative and original to put ourselves out there in our different personas and say “Hello, this is me and this is how I am, this is who I am”, is a great attribute not only to the brave individual but to us as a nation. It is a fabulous display of our cool acceptance of our quirky differences. Our creativity is what us Brits do well, it is part of our identity and we do it amazingly, and we export it even better. So go us!

I saw this amazing Bowie badge last summer in Toronto and my neat little sister bought it for me. Little did I know what a poignant symbol it would become. Since his death I have been wearing it with pride and it is amazing the number of people who comment on it. It got me thinking that as a nation we have days to remember, Rabbie Burns night, Remembrance Sunday, we all wear our poppies with pride and I think we should have a creative day and wear Bowie badges. To celebrate the artists that make our lives so colourful. I think we should have a national day of celebrating creativity. If Japan can take a day off work to view the blossom, surely we can take a day to make, absorb or support ART. So like Bowie we can all be heroes, even if it is just for one day. A good legacy to leave to our kids!

On that note, make today an original day, and be happy for being you. No one else sees the world like you do, and that’s important, so let’s embrace it.
Have a great month and see you next blog.
Emma x
[BOYSINDX INVITEback of tee rockabye Originals

Easter Rocks

A month has flown past and here I am blogging again and Easter is just around the corner. If you are looking for an alternative to a chocolate egg for an Easter gift we have some great suggestions. All Rockabye Originals of course! Why not try a guitar cushion – great for a rock and roll pillow fight!

It’s that funny time of year when the days become longer and the spring flowers seem to pop their heads up and say “Hello”, (although I had some daffodils in my garden that said hello in December and are dead now, but hey we can’t have everything can we?). Anyway this is the optimists favourite time of year when we can say goodbye to the cold dark winter and say hello to brighter days and thoughts of summer.

Our Mellow Yellow collection is perfect for this season made from a medium weight jersey fabric it is just perfect for layering up when you are never quite sure what the weather will do. With our stripey greys offset with the bright bursts of yellow and pink,it is a perfect spring collection. Have a look at our site and use the 30% off voucher if you fancy an Easter purchase. Use SPREADTHELOVE at the check out page and happy shopping. Valid on all sales until the 24th March. SHOP NOWSHOP NOW

We also have an offer that if you spend £40 online from now until after the Easter holidays you will get a free guitar toy/cushion (worth £16). Who doesn’t love a freebee?

So the clocks SPRING FORWARD (fall back) on the 26th and we have that extra hour of day light, and with two weeks off school trying to entertain the kids, run a business and just trying to keep on top of all the general crap that mums deal with, I have put together The Rockabye Original top 10 Easter kids activities just for you.

Before I do I just want to tell you about me being out and about in the community last week. In our quest to spread the love, I spend an afternoon with a group of the year ten textile students at the lovely #ashlynsschool in Berkhamsted Hertfordshire. The tutor Miss Kerr has set a great brief for the students to create a couple of outfits for Rockabye Originals.I went in to speak to them, get their brains in motion and review their designs so far.
It was a pleasure to share my experience and time and to see the students moving out of their comfort zone and into areas new. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they develop and what they come up with.

The project will be completed after Easter and I will keep you updated with this talented lot of young designers. You never know they might even let me share the designs with you too. If they are really good I might even make them as a charity collection. Watch this space.

So now back to keeping those kids busy, and if they are anything like my kids trying to keep their little heads from looking at a screen is a challenge in itself.
I tried and tested most of these with my kid’s last weekend – when like a mentalist that I am, had 10 seven year old boys and 2 girls in my house for Fred’s birthday party. It was two hours of madness and an hour of tidying up. PS never vacuum in the dark you will only have to do it again the next day.

Original top10 Easter kids activities

1) Make sock bean bags from old socks.
This is no doubt a double whammy activity on all accounts and is made bloody brilliant by the fact that you can use up all those odd socks and gloves that have been lying around form months.
Basically you take an old sock, or glove, and half fill it will either yellow split peas or lentils and some lavender if you have some in the garden (or left over from the summer). Tie a know in the end and stick some googlie eyes on that I bought at the art shop and what do ya know you have your very own sock worm or glove spider – basically a pet that needs no feeding or cleaning ( but might need new eyes once in a while after you see the next activity).

I have to say that I did envisage that the kids wouldn’t get into this, I mean how can anold sock and some split peas live up to the high intestity and superior graphics that modern video games have? I was wrong, the kids loved it. They named them and we even had tears when one got lost behind the sofa, we found it though, all was well.

The best thing about these pets, apart from that you canput themin themicrowave for 1minute and use it as muscle comforter if you have pulled a muscle in your neck, no thebest thing is that they can be thrown around and really hard to be destroyed.

Which leads me nicely into the second activity
2) Make boxes into targets
It doesn’t get any easier than getting a few boxes cutting a hole in the front and then making a number on the front to show how many points that hole is worth. I did this with three boxes, a small triangle worth 50 points, an oval worth 20 points and quite a big circle worth 10. We then took turns to see who could get the highest number in 5 goes.
The winners took a step backward until there were five kids left then it was miss it and you are out until a winner was found.
It really is very addictive and we played this inside although this would be perfect in the garden or park.

3) Easter egg hunt with chocolate coins
I was in a department store the other day and noticed that they were selling all their chocolate coins off so I took two bags of silver coins and two bags of gold ones and I think it cost me £2 for them all.
I later hid them all in the party and split the kids up into team silver and team gold and made the hunt into a competition as to who could collect the most of their colour. Set a time limit of say 5 minutes- and see what happens. You can see if they stick to their own colour or get into a game of sabotage!

4) Make rock legend egg heads
If you’re a bit like me and are constantly dismayed by your kids taste in music then its time to educate your kids as to who the legends are. What better way to do it than with an egg head/cress head. So crack your egg and use middle as you like to, either in cakes or lunch then rise out the egg being carful not to smash its face in ( no not saying anything). Then google your favourite pop/ rock stars mug shot for reference and create their faces on the egg.

I used sharpies (that come in hundreds of colours and thickness- yes I do get very excited about things like that) Then listen to your favourite track whist you get creative with your pens. Pop in a bit of tissue or cotton wool water into the shell so it is damp but not flooded and sew some seeds. I’ve used mustard and cress as it’s fast growing and you can see results in days, but you could also try beans or salad leaves. Maybe get creative and thing which plant best represents your heroes hair do – wheat grass for Sid vicious? oh the irony of wheat grass and Sid Vicious in the same sentence.

This was great fun by the way – make sure you make one for yourself too.
Send us your finished rock legend egg heads into our Face book page https://www.facebook.com/RockabyeOriginals/

5) Planting tulips and daffs in funky shapes
Ok so its not really the time of year to plant bulbs as it will be a year before you get any results but I had the idea of planting bulbs in the letters of your kids names. It’s really easy to do as you just have to make a small hole in the lawn pop in a bulb every 5-8 cm away from the last bulb until you have the spelled out the name.

The grass will really soon grow over and you will for get all about it until next year when they will pop up and remind you. If you don’t have much of a garden then try planting them in pots and maybe just mapping out an initial or two.

6) Make the Easter bunny out of Lego
Nothing like a great big Lego session to get the creative juices going, so clear a space on the living room floor and build. We did this last holiday and built a city, then pretended the dog was Dogzilla and watched as he trashed it! Great fun.

7) make your living room into a disco
Discus who will be the DJ and what type of music it will be – buy a set of £10 plug in disco lights from the internet and think of a theme. Make tickets and sell them (or give them) to your friends, sort out the refreshments and turn up the music and boogie.

8) Jam Jar tea lights
Take old jam jars and what ever old bits of paint you can find lying in the shed and paint the inside of the clean jar. Let it dry and then paint faces on the outside with those Fab Sharpie pens. You can be all traditional and paint chick and bunny rabbit faces or continue the rock legends theme like with number 4)

9) Make chocolate egg papier mache balloons.
Ok so this is a bit of a faff about, but the results are great. Take a balloon and pop chocolate eggs into the hole so they fill the belly of the balloon. Blow it up to what ever size you want. Keeping it small is cool as it takes less time. Then dip bits of string into PVA glue and wrap them around the balloon so they make the shape but have a few gaps so you can still see the balloon in places. Leave to dry sitting upright on a cup or cereal bowl. When completely dry pop the balloon and you have a wire shell of an egg with eggs inside – very cool.

10 have a pillow fight
Great for getting all that unwanted aggression out of your boys and as long as you put a five or ten minute timer on so it doesn’t get out of control and end in tears. Then it is a great release of energy and fun besides. You could try it with the guitar cushion toy too, but its not mandatory! but just incase you do click here

Send us your pics of your kids eggheads designs and we’ll share the best on FB and send Easter prizes too.

Oh and one last thing if you are following us at RockabyeLondon please can you switch to RockabyeOriginals as we are going to delete the LONDON one soon. And if you are not yet following us on Instagram please do so now!

That’s it from me for now, and catch up with you next month.
Happy Easter
Love Emma and the Rockabye Originals team. x

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Oh for the LOVE of Kids

So being the month of Lurve I really want to think about this strange concept. We all know in our hearts (ha ha) that St Valentine’s day is a marketing opportunity intended like many things for us to part with our hard earned cash and feel good. And I’m cool with that. Its fine, feel free to give me chocolate hearts wrapped in red foil and take me out for dinner, only not on Valentines day please, not with all the other couples either eating each others faces instead of their starter, or staring at each other trying to find something to talk about. (or am I just being synical?).

No matter how much we love or lust our partners, there really is nothing that compares to the love you have for your kids. I remember the breaking dam of new emotions that flooded into my very soul when my first child was born. I am sure the mums amongst us will share this with me, but there was nothing quite like it. I loved my partner yeah, but God this was something else, I loved my baby so much more.

And then when baby number two came nearly five years later, I was actually worried that I couldn’t love this child as much as the first, and what if I didn’t? But you do, you just do. You find your life filled with more smiles and tears , but more love too, it just grows. Anyway this wasn’t a trip down memory lane and I don’t really do all that mushy mummy stuff, it’s just not my style. Kids are fab, you love them, but at times you hate them too. Right?

The best thing about kids is that they constantly crack me up with the things they say and do. When you ask them about Love though it’s a very serious issue. My six year old has had about four relationships this year. Planned to get married to two girls from his class but currently has a girlfriend called Summer who is The One. I have already planned their marriage on a mountain with a bouncy castle. They liked that idea.

The thing is though, although I do jest at their mini class room love in, in Fred’s little head it is deadly serious. It reminds me of that advert for McCain Oven Chips from the 90’s that you might remember. Daddy or chips. It still makes me smile I think it’s the sincerity of the kids that they really had to think about who they loved the most. You have to love kids for that.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHA4-5N5AzA
It was this thought that made me have the idea of asking our followers kids what three things do they love the most.
So this month we are holding a competition called ‘LOVE originals’. Ask your kids “ what three things do they love the most? ”. The more ORIGINAL the better.
So get your phone
Film your kids
Post it on our Face Book page

Keep an eye out each day for that days favourite and the winner will be chosen on the 29th where you will win an outfit of your choice. We might even throw in a chocolate heart too.
If your kids are shy just ask them to write it down or make a poem.

So back to love and kids. In our house we used to say love you Scarlet, “Goodnight Scarlet, love you forever”, and she would sweetly reply “love you forever”. Then when Fred was old enough to understand we’d say “Goodnight Fred, love you forever”, and on this occasion he spouts back with “Love you Mummy, Love you ‘til your dead”. It’s actually really sad but well I just ended up in stitches – yep Fred that’s a very philosophical way at looking at it, and in all honesty you probably will.

On that note I’ll let you get back to reserving that romantic dinner and ordering those chocolate hearts – you don’t want them to sell out now do you.
I heartily look forward to seeing all your kids vids and spreading some original love this February.
Love you loads
as always Emma

Halloween fun and games

Don’t know if its just me wanting any old excuse to get dressed up and have a party, but this year I am just so into Halloween! I am loving the fact that year on year it’s getting bigger than the last. With less than a week to go to the night of fright I thought I’d have some fun, do some making with the kids and put some spooky special offers on the website for anyone who loves a good deal or wants to do some early present buying or what not.

If you have read the blog before or know me, I guess you’ll have a fair idea that I love love love to make things -usually a mess- but the very idea of making something out of nothing is a great way to inspire the kids and let out my eternal need to use my hands and do stuff.

Having a day’s warning that there was an inset day at my son’s school (how did I miss that? I am normally Mrs Organised) last week , I thought I had better get Fred in on the act to make some stylish goodies to use in the photoshoot for the Rockabye kids clothes I wanted to shoot on the Saturday.

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So get ready for gingerbread skeletons. Pipe cleaner spiders and Origami bats. The first of which came from a brief email from my mum who surprised me by pinning me Pinterest pics of cool Halloween stuff- Amazeballs!! I really didn’t know my mum had it in her – and now she is showing me up with her techno coolness. So courtasy of my lovely Mum and www.totalbristol.com/eating-and-drinking/halloween-baking/#VjDcTP5OfiE and with my Nan’s old BERO baking book, we set out to trash the kitchen and make some skeleton gingerbreads. How is that for a bit of retro cooking?

Basically the feeling that you are having a family moment of #greatparenting when cooking with kids is usually balanced out by them either giving up half way though and going upstairs, or them creating so much mess you think – no way this is not worth it and get in the car and go to Marks and Spencers!

Anyway my six year old, decided that it would be better to sieve the flour through his hair rather than onto the table to roll out the dough. This of course he had to do whilst looking in the mirror, eating the dough that was ready to be rolled and checking that his hair had indeed gone the correct shade of grey. The that fact that we made anything at all was an added bonus.

The gingerbreads turned out awesome and even though the nozzle on the icing bag was really too big for detail, Scarlet and I had a great time bringing them to life – thank God for daughters that balance out the madness of sons.
You can see the fruit of our effort on the emails that have been going out to the VIP members that are signed up to the
www.rockabye-baby.com
website this week and if you are not signed up for my special offers why not? sign up now if you like. The little ginger bread men had tags tied to their arms for prices and actually were delicious. I had to stop myself eating all the props but I have to say I had such fun, even if I did feel a bit sick whilst taking the pictures.

The piper cleaner spiders were so easy to make it is ridiculous. So take 2 pipe cleaners the same colour and cut one into 4 equal lengths. Put the 4 lengths together in a bundle and line them up together. Take the other pipe cleaner and wrap it round the centre of the bundle. Bend out the 4 legs on either side and you have a spider.
The best of these can be seen on the baby on tour body suit (now £7 from £20- how is that for a bit of mindless sales pushing) but the spiders are cool. Anyone can make them.

My last props to make were all origami and I searched ‘tinternet (nope, not a miss spelling – just a Northern accent) for origami bats, skulls and pumpkins. I am pretty dexterous with my old digits but I have to tell you that the Pumpkin (that I will post) had me beat – spending the evening folding and refolding and making what looked like a really rubbish orange fan, I gave up and stuck to skulls and bats. Bats were used in the guitar sleep suit shot so you can have a look for yourself below.

All the special offers, recipes and origami instructions (including the bad ass pumpkin) I will post on our Rockabye facebook page. There are some great offers on line too and many lines are down to £5 so why not support a local British business, make some skeletons with the kids put flour in your hair and get yourself a bargain.
Bye for now Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween.
Emma
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rockabye lips tee

rockabye lips tee

Rockabye Halloween offers

Rockabye Halloween offers

New baby new business -talk to new parents 18.10.14

So why would you want to set up your own business?
Yes indeed, why would anyone and why do you feel the need to do it after recently becoming a parent? You must be mad?
Well not necessarily there may be many reasons.

It might be:

• You have always wanted to be your own boss and now is a good a time as any.
• As much as you love your baby you feel you will go mad if this is all you do
• You have a unique business idea and now is the perfect time to implement it
• You are wanting more work life balance with your child and your work.
or it could be as simple as
• You just need to do something for you!

I think it is really important that you have “something for you” – I think I felt that having a child or two I just went from being Emma, a senior art director handling big budgets and people listening to what I thought to “Mummy Emma” wiping bums and snotty noses and nobody listening to anything I said.

When I first went into business and met other start ups I could not believe the number of women I spoke to who used the word CONFIDENCE or lack of it. It was like an aliment had popped out when your baby does ( regardless of a natural birth or C section) but many MANY strong , independently minded women after having a baby felt cursed by lack of confidence. This is why I think it is cool to have some thing for you.

I would love to say that having your business and taking it out into the world that you receive a magic want from HMRC that takes the Lack of confidence away. But it’s not true. You just have to work through it. The more you do the better you feel, I think we all feel like a fraud sometimes, and it’s not just women either. I guess you just have to pretend that you are the person you want to be go out and be ballsy, put on a smile and get on with it.

I digress, so you have your baby and a fab business idea, what do you now do and when do you do it?
The first thing you do is learn how to manage your time. I can not stress how important this is. And the best time is when baby sleeps you can get on and focus.
If your baby doesn’t sleep – well that could be a problem – I remember having Fred in a bouncy chair at my feet and I was bouncing him to sleep with my left foot asthough he were the pedal on an old singer sewing machine. It wasn’t ideal but it did allow me to get on the computer for an hour at the kitchen table. Result
I really wouldn’t recommend sitting at the computer, baby in one hand, typing with the other – it will just get both of you frustrated. He/she will cry which will make you want to cry. The best time to seriously think and work is when your baby is happy. The DVD Baby Einstein was played quite a bit when Scarlet was little I have to admit it and I know my friends owe some of their success to cbeebies, but we did find time for music class and the park. So have time with baby and have time to you.
If you have toddlers or preschool kids then sort out something and if you can make it regular.
You can always pay – put them in nursery for a day or so but that is expensive. Try a kid swap with someone from your anti natal class. Have two kids one after noon each week etc. it might be a mental but it could also be nice too . I can’t stress enough if you’re serious about what you do, you will do it better if you are not feeling guilty about spending time with your nippa.

So in the best case scenario, baby is asleep or round a friends and you have two maybe three hours to yourself so USE THIS TIME WELL.
I know how tempting it can be to just put a wash on or do the washing up. If you have toddlers your house is probably a mess- leave it. Don’t tidy up or think you will spend ten minutes doing your online grocery shop – it will inevitably take longer than you think and before you know it you have checked a few emails clocked in to see what your neighbour is up to on Face book and the time will have flitted away.

Make a list or a mental note of things you can do when baby is awake and what is best to do at night. If you work form home you need to be disciplined. Move to a room where you won’t be tempted to do other things.

So to the helpful stuff
• Plan your time – we do things that are we can split up tasks: things we need to do and things that we would like to do. It is important that we spend time doing tasks that are relevant and need to be done straight away. Guess what we tend to spend the most time doing? Precisely.

Keep a work diary along side your family diary so you can plan time around what is happening with your kids – I know this sounds basic but as your kids get bigger they will be doing more and more activities and it is always good to know which hours are yours.
Then:

• Research you market
Look for others with similar ides and trial them
What makes your idea better?
Get to know your market and your audience .
If there is a similar product or idea out there already – admire them- follow them on face book and twitter and then find a point of difference that you can do but they do not.

• Are you selling a product or a service?
• Ask yourself do I need qualifications of certifications testing ?– How do you get them do you need insurance? conform to EU or British standards – look into it, and work out the cost and the time it will take to acquire them.

• Do a SWOT test on your bus idea Strengths , Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I can talk about this another time but it is a really simple way of assessing things.

• Get some one else a close friend you have share your business thoughts with to do it for you too. It will be interesting what good things they see in you that you don’t see in yourself.

• Friends and family are great for sound boarding a new idea, but they can also be the worst as they love you and are proud of you so they will always say they think it’s great.

• Ask yourself what you want from your business?

How much time do you want to spend on it? What do you expect to get back from it, how much money do you want to earn?
• Set yourself a goal. It can be a monthly one, or a five year plan.

You might to earn enough money to go on holiday once a year and that is fine.
You might have the best idea for a non alcoholic margeritta and want to sell it to Coco Cola in 5 years time – what ever you want from your business is your choice. You don’t need to have a million pound company to be happy – just do what you want to do.
BUT DO WRITE IT DOWN. Or summarise it in a picture and print it or draw it and pin it to your wall to remind you.

I have to say that I say all these things in full knowledge that these were things I never did at the beginning and I wish I knew what I do now – I basically jumped in at the deep and treaded water – which is one way of doing it but really I think not the best.

• So all these sorted you need to think MONEY
How much will you need to set up? How are you going to make what you expect to and when will you get it? So really do what I never did at the beginning and build a business plan and start to think about cash flow- don’t just throw a load of money at it and hope for the best! Hu hum.

I have to say that there are lots of government schemes for start ups
https://www.gov.uk/start-up-loans
Where you can get up to 15K if I remember rightly and also have access to a load of advice.

Virgin offer a Start up loans scheme and give you a free mentor too which is fantastic A mentor Is a great idea.

There is also the SEIS, Seed Enterprise, Investment, Scheme where you can raise up to £150 K, get tax back or is tax exempt and it is backed by the government which means there is less risk to the investor.

The princes trust
and Federation of Small Business where last year 70% of their members got funding and investments.

• Trade Mark your product and name, logo?
Your probably all ready have a super catchy name – so find a good IP lawyer and trade mark it. Believe me if you are serious about your company or brand a few hundred pound spent here will save you hours of messing around later on! You might think you have the most innovate name that no one will ever have it – you will be surprised! There is a company own it www.own-it.org/ that can help in these situaltions

• Give your company a mission statement
Rockabye-Baby have a manifesto which is “ enough if the mainstream cute we want bright and bold colours that reflect the joy and creativity with in every child and their rock star qualities too”.

• Summarise what you stand for in three words
We stand for FUN FASHION and ATTITUDE.

• Have your 1 minute elevator pitch
“We design and make cool baby clothes that have a musical theme and are made to make parents smile. They are from 0-10 years and loud and proud and come packed in record sleeves.” You never know who you might bump into in a lift.

• Think of WHY you do or make, not what you do or MAKE – it will give people a reason to support you and share these WHY reasons with you to become loyal customers.

One of my favourite brands is Tom’s shoes that found a village in India where children can only go to school if they have shoes. The majority are too poor so with Tom’s shoes every time you buy a pair they donate a pair to a child in the village.

• Write all this down.
In six months or six years time so much will have happened you will forget. Document why you are doing this and what you want and where you are going.

Then armed with these missions and plans forget your lack of confidence, shu away your inhibitions and get out there and do it.
You may need a plethora of things, staff, investment, a desk but what you need first and foremost is a positive out look an true self belief. It works wonders.

and if you are still eager for info read this 8 top tips from Rob Law founder of Trunki.
https://www.enterprisenation.com/blog/posts/8-tips-from-trunki-founder-on-how-to-succeed-in-business
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Where did the Summer go?

Blimey oh Riley it’s been a while since I last blogged – what a busy Summer. The last time I was tapping away at the keyboard we were in the thick of it on the countdown to the HOUSE OF FRASER competition, and that was back in May! As you can probably tell, (as the posts stopped) it all got too much to blog daily and work an 11 hour stint every day for a fortnight. I moved over to Face Book for the updates and no doubt you saw the news there but for any one who didn’t it was a brilliant experience. We sold lots of our lovely clothes and met great people. It was a ride – and although we didn’t win the top super dooper prize we did win “THE PEOPLE”S CHOICE AWARD”. Yippee.
To celebrate we had a small gathering of everyone who helped, including all the kids and parents who came down to hold the mini protest in Oxford street – The only time they would be allowed to shout and scream their way around a London Department store. With a “what do we want ? Rockabye-baby – when do we want it? Now” Super Fun with knobs on!!!

Summer came and went in a blink of a sunshaded eye, and here we are mid way through September already. You might remember in February we had a meeting with River Island well…….. last week we supplied them their very first order and it is now up online and looking good. riverisland.website We are hoping its going to go really well and we are delighted with this new relationship and hope it goes from strength to strength. So far they are stocked only online but who knows maybe they will be on a high street near you soon.

Another great relationship was made over the summer as we supplied Baby Brands direct they were voted the “BEST RETAILER” in the NURSERY INDUSTRY AWARDS and we supplied them with their new line in baby apparel. So we are hoping this will introduce our range to a whole new audience , let us hope they love it as much as we do.

We also took our brand back to it’s Dutch Roots and supplied a new shop in the Netherlands Hip and Klein if you have a moment have a look at their site it is really cool.
They were one of the first suppliers of the new Who’s your daddy Tees and the rocktastic range with the re-issued “Drums” and “Anarchy” etc which are going down a storm and, as you requested now go up to a size 8-10 years so there is no excuses for your older kids not looking as cool as your wee nippers. check out the range here

We were at the alternative trade Fair London Edge last week with the new range and met some great new people and brands including Freddies of pinewood super demin with a fab 50’s Theme. Nicky Rockets does a great range of tee’s for curvy women that come with a free eyepatch – coolio. If you are looking for retro cosmetics look no more my love as we met the lovely girls at Le Keux Cosmetics with their vintage lip Paint and Eye Liner and finally we just have to mention the Pin up Academy where you can pop in for a pin up style makeover – if that’s your thing then this will be too.

Summer also had us a tweet from Cherry Healey and we made a new addition to our packaging with an alliance with Tuck Tuck retro sweets and the ever so lovely Lisa cherry Lips Gomm. Now whenever you order an item from our site you will get a free packet of retro sweets. It’s sweet to be nice.

As you may well know Rockabye was inspired by my first baby Scarlet Tallula, she is the little baby with a safety pin on every garment, well two weeks ago my muse turned ten! We had a great treasure hunt party hiding clues, (and finding them) in Bread rolls in the local Darvells bakers and in packets of loom bands in the art shop and all over town before heading home to eat a Monster High Doll Birthday cake. See the picture below – its not a great piece of art but hey I am a busy lady and I didn’t know that you couldn’t paint with food colouring did I?
If you want the clues for your own Berko Treasure hunt I will happily send them to you too.

Date for your Diary 18th October where I will be having a stall in Carmenta life in Berkhamsted if you want to pop by and see our lovely stuff and maybe buy a gift or two.
Bye for now and keep on Rockin’ Emma

Progressive preschool

Progressive preschool

emma cufflin

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Emma with on award on her boob. what else?

Emma with on award on her boob. what else?

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COUNTDOWN TO HOF – the madness is levelled

Day 13 and all is good – I’ve been out of the office all day at HOF in Oxford Street London for our day of staff training. I was away from the madness of the office and the never ending to do list and I actually had a really nice time. All positive vibes, and I am sending them out to you. So the track for today is Petula Clark – with Downtown, or DOON TOON as any good Gordie would tell you. (Although I am not a Geordie, I’m from up the road in Middlesbrough, but still its a great pronunciation non the less).

“Petula Clark Down Town”>PETULA CLARK DOWN TOWN

TO VIEW THE VIDEO DIARY CLICK ON THS LINKMovie on 2014-04-29 at 18.24

COUNTDOWN TO H.O.F the madness begins

Well another week passes and I am still alive – just.
Last week was utterly bonkers as we count down to the House of Fraser experience things get a little crazy.
For the next 14 days I am going to leave you a song for the day which sums my state of mind and the general well being of the office. So prepare for some action.

Last week was testing and things can only get better, Monday being a bank holiday weekend we started to tear up the garden and partially build a gazebo – only the weather wasn’t kind and we ran out of time – so hence we are living and working in a bit more mess than is normal – not to worry.
My husband flew off on business for 6 days leaving me with no child care for the weekend which was the Baby and Toddler show in Blue Water Kent.

The Great retail Revival and House of Fraser POP At HOF was kicking off with a whole lot of paperwork. With staff rotas, training days, stock to be sorted etc etc. Plus we have marketing events to plan and book, anyway enough work to keep us out of trouble, plus there is the rest of the business to run and we have the amazing whos’s your Daddy tee’s in production which needs over seeing too. (but they will be worth it)
I spent Monday evening planning the weeks work and allocating tasks only on Tuesday morning to have both my staff call in sick (and one is on holiday). At the beginning of four weddings and a funeral the film starts with the’ F’ word repeated about 10 times – that was my verbal start to Tuesday.

All worked out well though, the marketing plan that I had been mulling over on twenty bits of paper materialised into a plan (thanks Rach my lovely neighbour for your help). Staff rota was written, hair stylist booked. Simon Sparks hairstylist to the Berkhamsted stars is going to be creating Rock and Roll hair do’s for kids in store over the two weeks and we have some other suprises too but I am keeping those secret for now!!!
Wednesday we sorted stock for HOF and for the Baby and Toddler Show in Kent, packed the car only for the battery to be dead on Thursday morning when I was about to drive to KENT. I got going but two miles down the M25 found out my bonnet was flapping and had to stop to shut it properly and on the way back after setting up in super speedy time I got caught in a five hour Traffic jam.

Friday at the B&T show trading was great and I met loads of people and told them all about HOF and people got very excited and promised to blog about Rockabye and POP at HOF – so don’t forget. Saturday was weird as metal pole in the stand opposite me fell down and all I saw was a four year old girl and a bloody head so I stepped in with my newly acquired first aid skills and kept her calm until the medic came – which took forever. She was absolutely fine, but her parents were shook up – not a good way to end the day, So Sunday evening 9pm kids are collected from friends houses where they had been living over the weekend and all is well if not a little pooped.

Today in the office we have boxes galore and cars to be unloaded and xls sheets that should have gone out last week mounting up and life well is a little crazy – what a perfect link to my “14 days to HOF and 14 songs” to sum up the feeling. So please put your hands together as we embrace the madness together with Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd2B6SjMh_w
and if you want to see the video diary Movie on 2014-04-28 at 15.05
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