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He’s cute, he’s third in line to the throne and he turns one tomorrow. Baby George (aka Prince George of Cambridge) has already got accustomed to round-the-world travel, having completed his first royal tour of Australia and New Zealand.

For royal parents Will and Kate, the trip down under was not the daunting experience it would have been for most: nannies, personal assistants, a chef, a chauffeur and cooing dignitaries would have all helped to lighten the load. And don’t forget the private jet!

But you don’t have to be a royal for a stress-free holiday with babies and toddlers. Holiday Lettings reveals how.

Pick a place with all the essentials

A steriliser, food processor, highchair, pushchair and cot. Together with the bottles, nappies, toys and baby monitors, there’s a seemingly endless list of essentials that need to be crammed into your car, or – if you’re flying – your suitcase.

These days there are lots of self-catering holiday homes that will roll out the red carpet for parents with babies. You’ll find that many of them provide all the baby-related equipment and gadgets you’d need. This means you don’t have to take a limo’s worth of stuff and lets you quickly relax into your holiday.

There are even some places that offer babysitting services so you can at least take a night off for yourselves. Perfect!

Stay close to home

It might seem obvious, but not straying too far from home means you’re less likely to mess-up any routines and spend the journey trying to settle your little cherub.

In the UK we’re blessed with a variety of different places on our doorstep: Wales, Cornwall, Somerset, the Cotswolds, Scotland, the Lakes and the Peaks. Think of somewhere close by to limit your travel time – no more than a couple of hours is ideal.

Ok, so Brighton is not quite the same as the Bahamas. But you could book a place with a Jacuzzi to squeeze in some real relaxation time. Your kids will love it too.

Don’t be afraid to fly

If you fancy something more exotic than the Yorkshire Dales, don’t be put off flying with your baby. Children younger than two fly for free with most airlines (if they sit on your knee) and it’s likely that you’ll be given the royal treatment when on board.

When booking your tickets, ask if you can have a bulkhead seat (a row without seats in front) for extra space and comfort. For long haul flights, a carrycot may even be a available.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the crew, especially if you need hot water or for them to warm-up the baby food. Remember to pack everything you need for the flight in your hand luggage – nappies, baby food, milk and a change of clothes. You’ll be relieved to hear that the liquid restrictions don’t apply to babies: it’s safe to pack expressed breast milk, formula, cow’s milk and food for the flight.

Your baby will need a passport if you’re flying out of the country, so be sure to apply for one well in advance.

Go in a group

Having more hands on deck means you can get a few hours to yourself here and there. Most family members and friends will be more than happy to lend a hand (if the holiday is pitched to them in the right way!).

Going away in a group will save you all money too: most self-catering villas and cottages work out much less per person. Ask friends with babies if they also fancy a break. For the best babysitters around, you could even ask the grandparents!

*Disclosure: This is a PR collaboration

 

The second installment of ‘handmade with love’ introduces Jo, the talented lady behind Jota Creations.

Jo creates beautiful, original fabric and mixed media canvases which are truly unique and make the most amazing presents (if you can bare to part with them yourself!)

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Name: Jo Adshead

Company: Jota Creations

Tell me a little bit more about yourself: I have always lived in Stockport, apart from my time at Uni when I lived in Liverpool where I did a Fashion & Textile degree. I am married with 2 young boys aged 8 and 3. My work life has been quite varied from Freelance Surface Pattern Designer to Manager of an interior design shop to Admin work. Even when my work hasn’t involved creating I would be working on my home’s interior, making cushions or pieces of artwork etc – it is something that has been a constant in my life.

Describe your business in one sentence: Bespoke, unique and personalised art work.

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When did you start your business and why? After I had my first son, I went back to work 4 days a week in admin. When I was on my maternity leave with my second son, my husband had a promotion which required him to be away more and so my old working hours just didn’t fit anymore with meeting the needs of my family and I couldn’t reduce my hours any further. I was able to stay on with the company working from home as and when I was needed. Over this transition I had limited funds so when 3 close friends’ birthdays were coming up I wanted to buy them something special but just didn’t have the finances to do so. I decided on making them canvases and from those three initial creations, several other friends asked if I could create something for them and each early order resulted in a new order. The growth was very organic and without making a conscious decision to do so, I suddenly had my own business opportunity that I knew I had to grab and give my best shot.

Did you face any challenges setting up your company? The natural start to my business was a blessing really. I never sat and thought to myself that I wanted to set up my own business, it just gradually grew for me. I think if I’d made the decision beforehand and thought about all the possible barriers, I may not have had the confidence to go for it. There were very few initial overheads as I already owned all the raw materials and equipment  (sewing machine, fabrics, paper, wood etc) which I have accumulated over the years from my art background.
A year on, there are more challenges but not the actual design or production, that’s easy. The main challenge now is taking my business to the next level. My youngest son is about to start school and I am ready to increase my profile and take on a higher number of commissions. I know that the wonderful world of online offers me an open door to sell my creations to a wider audience – but I’m far more confident on a sewing machine than on a laptop! I have decided to get some help with this side of my business as it’s one area I find intimidating and I feel the best use of my time is creating brilliant work, not spending hours trying to get my head around promotion.

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What is a typical work day for you? I tend to get up early to make the most of the peace before my boys awake! I tend to use this time to get organised and set myself up for the day. I then step into my ‘mum shoes’ for the morning. Breakfast and the school run is followed by morning activities with my youngest son. I drop him at pre-school after lunch and then rush home to make the most of the precious few hours that lie ahead. The afternoons fly by in a frenzy of designing, templating, cutting and stitching. It’s bliss.
I’m then back into mum-mode; pick ups, drop offs, dinner, homework, breaking up arguments, bath, stories then bed. Once they are asleep, it’s back to my desk to finish off what I started.

Describe your creative space: Luckily our loft space has been converted and it’s a lovely space to work in. I have gone from working on the floor (agony on the knees!) to a make-shift desk to a proper working space that includes sets of drawers, an ironing board and a couple of desks; one where I sit and design and the other for my sewing machine. Ironing is an essential part of my production process and I spent months running up and down the stairs before I realised how much time I was wasting!
I like my space to be organised and tidy. The drawers were a brilliant addition as they house all of my fabrics, templates and bits & bobs. Again, it’s a time-saver knowing where everything is.
In addition to the loft, you’ll also find me in our garage where I make the frames. in the past, my dad and father-in-law helped me out with these but I like to do everything I can so the majority are now made by me.

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What and who inspires you?  This is really hard to answer succinctly as I just love colour, design, furniture and architecture. I see things that inspire me all around. I read LivingEtc every month from cover to cover and have done for over 5+ years. My husband asked me to get rid of the old back issues as he was worried about the weight in the loft!
I have recently discovered the illustrator/artist Charles Harper as my son was learning about him in school. His work is gorgeous – the colours and stylised images are really inspirational. Others artists I love are Mark Rothko, Joseph Albers, Richard Diebenkorn and Jong Ro who I have recently discovered on Pinterest. The list could go on and on as I am a bit like a scrapbook, pulling inspiration from here, there and everywhere, but the main thread throughout is colour.

What has been your biggest achievement so far? I think just having confidence in myself and accepting that people like my work and are willing to pay for it! Due to the fact that I didn’t set out for this venture to grow into a profitable business, it has taken me a while to have the self belief that this is something that could actually work.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Will you ask me this again in a years time? I know that I am going to learn a lot over the coming months about managing a growing business and I am really excited about that.
My husbands advice is always “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” and we hope to instil this into our boys. Although we are not religious, I think it is a good code to live and work by.

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What is your favourite product and why? This changes all the time as I am constantly growing my portfolio and introducing new designs. I work closely with each customer and aim to add something individual to each piece I create. If you pushed me to pick one, I would have to chose my family trees. They were the start of this adventure and I love how unique and personal they are.

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Have you always been creatively driven? Always. As a little girl I gave my Sindy house interior makeovers and spent hours on my Fashion Wheel pretending to be a fashion designer. Throughout school and 6th Form College I knew I wanted to do an Art degree despite some teachers trying to steer me towards maths and science. I wouldn’t have done anything else.

What projects are you working on at the moment? I have a few really exciting projects live at the moment – all of them are new designs to meet specific requests from my clients. One is a Turkish themed canvas for a client whose mother lives in Turkey. Another is a new design I have created for the arrival of new babies using a stork motif. I am also having fun at the moment with lettering – either on individual letter blocks or a wedding gift I am currently designing for a new Mr and Mrs.

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What has been the most interesting or exciting project you’ve worked on? Every time I get a new order I get really excited as every commission is different, the template may be the same but how it is made up is unique to the customer and their requirements. During the design process, I work closely with the customer to add in personal details and I love that I never know where each order will lead.

In terms of your work what couldn’t you live without? My beloved sewing machine.

What do you love most about what you do? I just love messing around with colours and shapes and seeing them come together to create something original and beautiful. I love the feedback I’ve had about how happy my work has made people. It’s lovely that my work enables my customers to show someone just how special they are to them. That makes me very happy!

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What are your business dreams? Once I have settled my youngest son into school in September I am ready to step things up a gear. I’m starting to have the self confidence to believe that my work has wide appeal and just needs wider exposure. Things high on my “to do” list are to create a beautiful website and a successful Etsy page. Beyond that, I’d love to see my work featured in LivingEtc – then I’d know that I’ve really made it!

When are you happiest? From a work point of view, I’m happiest when I am sat at my desk with the radio on knowing that I have a couple of hours to immerse myself in my work without any interruptions.
Outside of work, nothing is more important to me than the happiness of my family and friends. If they are alright then I am happy.

How beautiful is Jo’s work?! Not only are her canvases amazing, she also creates bespoke greetings cards and we were lucky enough to receive a personalised one for Phoebe recently from a mutual friend – it is so beautiful and such a lovely keepsake I’m going to get it framed!

If you’d like to keep up to date with Jo’s news or buy any of her beautiful canvases, you can find her on facebook and twitter.

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For your chance to win, comment on this blog post and then enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Full Ts&Cs are below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions:

  1. Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Hello Baby Blog or Jota Creations.
  2. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  3. The prize draw starts at 9.00am GMT on 14th July 2014 and closes at 11.59pm GMT on 31st July 2014.
  4. Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post and filling in the Rafflecopter widget. Entrants can gain bonus entries by following Hello Baby on facebook,  @hellobabyblog on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, following Jota Creations on facebook, @jotacreations on Twitter and then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
  5. The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
  6. Hello Baby Blog’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
  7. By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
  8. Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
  9. Once the winner has been selected at random using Rafflecopter, I will inform Jota Creations of the winner’s name and address, they will then send on the prize. I’m sure this won’t happen but I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post or arriving late.

*** Jo is also offering Hello Baby readers the opportunity to purchase any of her 12cm x 12cm blocks for a bargainous £10 until the end of July.  To take advantage of this amazing offer use the discount code ‘butterfly10′ when ordering. Happy Shopping! ***

  • Tracey PeachJuly 14, 2014 - 1:49 pm

    If I was the lucky winner I would display the beautiful butterfly canvas in the bedroom above my bedReplyCancel

  • Tracy NixonJuly 14, 2014 - 2:24 pm

    I would display it on my landing between the girl’s room and the playroom! Thank you xReplyCancel

  • Natasha MairsJuly 14, 2014 - 7:55 pm

    love this and if I won I would have in my bedroom
    Natasha Mairs recently posted…Lovely Jubbly Ice Lollies Review + Giveaway (win a years supply!)My ProfileReplyCancel

  • iain maciverJuly 15, 2014 - 1:15 pm

    in the hallReplyCancel

  • emma falviJuly 15, 2014 - 3:02 pm

    in my hallReplyCancel

  • Katherine TeffJuly 15, 2014 - 6:32 pm

    In my little girls room- a piece of art that she can grow up with and take on to her own home.ReplyCancel

  • clair duttonJuly 15, 2014 - 8:10 pm

    in my hallwayReplyCancel

  • Jo welshJuly 15, 2014 - 8:16 pm

    I would have it either on my landing it would certainly brighten it up or my daughter may well claim it for her room!ReplyCancel

  • Angie HoggettJuly 16, 2014 - 6:15 am

    in my living roomReplyCancel

  • frances hopkinsJuly 16, 2014 - 6:50 am

    In my living room xReplyCancel

  • Cheryl KeanJuly 16, 2014 - 7:27 am

    I would display it in my conservatory.ReplyCancel

  • Samantha AthertonJuly 16, 2014 - 3:25 pm

    On the shelves in my little girls room.ReplyCancel

  • claire woodsJuly 16, 2014 - 8:52 pm

    in my loungeReplyCancel

  • claire griffithsJuly 16, 2014 - 11:00 pm

    i would display it on the wall going up my stairsReplyCancel

  • Sheila EvansJuly 17, 2014 - 12:35 am

    Pride of place in my bedroom which is purple and pink – lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Ruth HarwoodJuly 18, 2014 - 7:55 am

    I’d hang it in the hallway – a lovely piece that visitors can look at and admire, asking who the artist is and where I got it :) ReplyCancel

  • Laura PritchardJuly 18, 2014 - 6:20 pm

    In my bedroom over the bedReplyCancel

  • ghostwritermummyJuly 20, 2014 - 7:43 am

    Wow. This stuff is amazing!
    xReplyCancel

  • Rachel CraigJuly 20, 2014 - 1:42 pm

    In the living room, as it is pretty and colourful.ReplyCancel

  • Michael RattrayJuly 20, 2014 - 7:05 pm

    BedroomReplyCancel

  • Polly WJuly 21, 2014 - 11:08 am

    I would hang it in my bedroomReplyCancel

You may have noticed a distinct lack of posts around here recently but there has been a very good reason – we have a new addition to our little family!

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We are absolutely over the moon to introduce Phoebe Willow to the world and life as a family of four is pretty amazing ( if a little chaotic!). It goes without saying that some piccies of the little lady will follow very shortly, but for now I’m going to get some sleep! Night all x

 

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This week (23rd – 29th June) is Child Safety Week; an annual campaign by the Child Accident Prevention Trust to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented.

Did you know that around one million children aged under fifteen are being taken to A&E following household accidents every year? Alarming isn’t it! Especially as most of them could easily be prevented if we ensure that our homes are safe and potential risks that can cause harm to our babies and children are removed.

This is why the campaign’s work to raise awareness about the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented is crucial. I’m working in partnership with Betta Living to help publicise this campaign as it is obviously a vital one and can ultimately save lives.

In the run up to Child Safety Week, Betta Living have been on a quest to see just how safe people’s homes are.  Surveying adults across the UK, they wanted to see whether there were any patterns in our attitudes to safety, and whether we can improve when it comes to creating a safe environment, for both ourselves and our children.

So what did they discover?

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Click here to see the full results.

In a nutshell it would seem that a large number of us are somewhat complacent when it comes to child safety or perhaps our busy day-to-day lives stop us from using the safety equipment we have, and therefore a vast majority of the aforementioned one million accidents in the home could be prevented.

In response to the results, Betta Living have created a fun interactive quiz to see how aware we are of the dangers lurking in the kitchen, so how safety conscious are you?? (I’ll be honest and admit I actually only got 8 out of 10!)

Betta Living have also compiled their Top Tips for Child Safety in the home which is definitely worth a read.

Although Child Safety Week is a great way to raise awareness and encourage people to be more considerate of everyday dangers, many of you will have never heard of it before reading this post ( I know I hadn’t before writing it!) so please help to spread the word amongst your family and friends and lets minimise the risk of accidents that could occur in our homes. A few little changes can make a vast difference.

The Child Safety Week website has some great resources and there are also two competitions for you to enter; a ‘design a poster’ competition for your little ones and a wordsearch competition for adults.

*Disclosure: This has been written in conjunction with Betta Living

With the imminent arrival of #2 (he/she was due on Saturday and I’m still waiting!), we have had the exciting task of decorating and furnishing the nursery in preparation.

I adore beautiful prints to brighten up the walls and below I have picked my favourite prints for your little one’s nursery.

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1 // Animal Alphabet Print - This gorgeous A3 print from Little Ink features a fun collection of animals representing the letters of the alphabet. I adore it and it is currently adorning the walls in our nursery (thank you Deco Baby!) and it has already proven to be a big hit with the little man who loves to show off his animal knowledge most days!

2 // Dream Big Little One Print-  A beautiful, simple print by Freya Art with a lovely sentiment for your little one. Slightly on the pricey side but totally worth it if you can afford it. Alternatively you could do what we have done in our nursery and purchase a number of Freya Art greetings cards and frame them (they fit perfectly in these IKEA Ribba frames)!

3 // Personalised Birth Date Print - This personalised print with its eye catching fonts and colours captures those special details of birth and is the perfect artwork to hang on a nursery wall. (There is also 20% off at the moment so get purchasing!)

4 // Ingela Arrhenius Mr Lion Poster - Ingela’s quirky illustrations make me smile. Charming and witty with a hint of 1950′s nostalgia, Ingela’s poster designs have universal appeal that are loved by both adults and children alike.

5 // Happy Panda Screen Print -  I am a huge fan of Jane Foster Designs (see my interview with her here) and I love this happy panda print. It is a fun, jolly print perfect for adorning your nursery walls.

6 // Smile Print - I love Seventy Tree Prints and this A3, retro camera print with its huge smiley flash is guaranteed to brighten up the nursery walls.

  • MaxineJune 27, 2014 - 1:19 pm

    Is it wrong that I don’t have a nursery but I totally want these prints?! No. 2 and 6 are my favourites.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyJune 28, 2014 - 11:48 am

      No way, they would look fab anywhere, not just a nursery! xReplyCancel

  • ghostwritermummyJuly 1, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    Ah, I love the smile print! So much fun. We’re wanting to decorate the nursery this time as it was last done 4 years ago so thanks for sharing. Now hurry up baby!
    x x
    ghostwritermummy recently posted…Inspiring art with Works of Heart (review)My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyJuly 3, 2014 - 2:26 pm

      Can’t wait to hear your news!! He/She will be here before you know it xReplyCancel