I love it when I find a brand that really *gets* kids designs. Especially for The Boy. I can’t stand cartoon characters, cheesy clothing, I want my kids to look cool, but still look like kids! I still struggle with stuff for GG, I think it’s always going to be a battle to find her clothes to fit that aren’t designed for teenagers.
The collection is built around prints and fabrics. A heavy weight oxford canvas printed with camo for dungarees and a coaches jacket. A light weight poplin printed with a black and white checker board for a short sleeve shirt and shorts combo. They’re bright without being garish, they’re fun for kids but stylish to look at.
The collection has developed from the success of AW13 of all over print twosie’s, tie dye and fun captivating graphics created by friends of the brand. Standout pieces include the London Sports Jacket and some safe options like the Cats n Dogs Rain Coat. I am *obsessed* with the bones sets, I can see TB in both versions. It’s his birthday in 2 weeks, so I might invest in one, trying to decide which colour way to go with!
Ruff and Huddle is now available at Selfridges, after starting off selling tees at Spitlefields Market in 2012. At its core are 2 young parents who were tired of the clothes available for kids and wanted to start something new that would appeal to other parents like them with their own identities who didn’t want to dress their kids in the same gear as everyone else.
“When we design we look to make product that isn’t available for children… our brand is advanced basics, we play on trends that are present in the menswear and high fashion – such as our MA1, cuddle and ragamuffin tee shirts which have a team sports look to them and are printed on tie dye and the all over print tracksuits.”
Ruff and Huddle is establishing itself as a brand known for its quality, style and authenticity. The collection sums up being small in size but large in character, fearless and totally loveable.
I was recently sent a *gorgeous* handmade cushion with a quote from me stitched on the front, you may have seen it on my Instagram page. Even though my ‘babies’ are 11 and almost 5, they’re still my babies and they always will be. I loved the whole sentiment behind the power of soft, this poem! Don’t read if you’re feeling hormonal! *sniff*
They carried out a survey across mums and these are their key results:
Almost 60% spent at least a quarter of their entire day cuddling their new born
74% of new parents most savoured “cuddle time” over any other moment in the day.
15% of parents with a baby aged 0-6 months found only an hour or less a day between chores and other pressures to enjoy cuddle time
The number one piece of advice from more experienced parents to new mothers was to “forget the little things because time flies and you can’t get it back”.
70% of parents with babies 9 months+ said that the one thing they would have done differently as a new parent was spending more time cuddling their baby.
More than two thirds of parents say the one thing they would have done differently is spend more time cuddling
70% of parents wish their child would stay new born for longer
With the power of hindsight, the number one piece of advice from parents with children 9 months+ was to forget the little things, such as staying on top of the housework, because time with your new born soon flies and you can’t get it back.
Other top advice to new mums from the Mumsnet survey, included:
1. Mummy knows best even when she thinks she doesn’t
2. Try not to be super mum
3. You can’t spoil your baby with cuddles
4. Sleep when the baby does
5. Housework can wait
6. Take a ‘baby moon’
7. Don’t compare yourself to other mothers – every baby is different
8. Trust your instincts
9. Treasure every moment
10. If you thought you were in love before you had a baby – wait till you meet your baby!
Most kids hate the bathroom. It’s not as fun as their bedroom. There’s no CBeebies in it, like there is in the living room. They can’t make a giant mess, like they can in the kitchen.
Parents across the globe face a daily battle to make their kids brush their teeth, have a bath or shower or generally do anything hygienic. This is because the average child’s brain filters information by asking one simple question: ‘is it fun?’ If the answer is no, then forget about it.
But winning the bathroom battle is definitely not about erasing this mindset; the blissful days of childhood should be full of fun and laughter. Instead, we should all work on making our bathrooms a bit more fun for our little tykes. Here are a few ideas.
Invent some games
As mentioned before, any activity proposed to a child first needs to pass through their fun filter. The best way to bypass this filter (although it should be mentioned that this is by no means an exact science) is to make everything boring into a game.
You can turn anything into a game – brushing teeth, having a bath or *ahem* doing your business. The theme of the game is up to you, but it needs to fit 2 criteria: it needs to be fun, and it needs to give your child a sense of achievement.
For example, brushing your teeth – I used to hate it as a kid. It wasn’t fun and it tasted weird. That was until I was introduced to General Plaque and his army of minions.
General Plaque was an enemy invented by my mother, and he could only be defeated by brushing my teeth. My enterprising mum put together a sticker chart to map our progress against the evil general – every time we both brushed our teeth, we put a sticker on the chart. A missed day meant that General Plaque got stronger – in my child-mind, at least.
The game, if a tiny bit scary, was fun and the sticker chart gave me a sense of achievement. A full sticker chart was a victory, and brushing my teeth was the route to victory.
As long as it’s fun and carries a sense of achievement, your imagination is the limit when it comes to devising games!
Make your bathroom child-friendly
The bathroom is undoubtedly the least child-friendly of all the rooms in a home. It has neutral shades, it’s cold and the surfaces are tough. There’s no visual stimulation to be had, making it particularly boring for children.
Now, it’s important not to design your entire home around your children – they grow up quickly and you’ll be changing bits every 5 minutes – but adding a few new features to your bathroom can improve the time your child does spend in there.
Adding a bit of colour to a single wall, for example, can make the bathroom more appealing to a child’s eye. Child-specific accessories, such as removable shower screen stickers, can make taking a bath or showering more fun. Even something designed specifically for adults, like an illuminated mirror, can distract a child with pretty lights long enough to brush their teeth without throwing a tantrum!
Let’s be honest: having a bath is boring. Okay, so it’s good to soak away stress but after 10 minutes or so? Nah, I’m bored.
And I say that as a fully grown adult – how must a child feel?
Entertaining your child while they bathe is difficult in this era of iPads and Moshi Monsters but there’s plenty to be said for the range of bath toys on the market.
For younger kids, Tomy’s Octopals are pretty great; it’s a big, engaging toy with cute little octopus characters that – take a deep breath – squirt water. Great fun, but remember to put up a screen before hand!
I don’t think there is much cooler than this Aquafun Pirate Ship (yes, it also squirts water – I apologise for the wet floors in advance). Team up a couple of these and you’ll have your kids engaging in epic naval warfare while you wash their hair. With any luck, they won’t even notice you’re doing it.
There are plenty of cool bath toys out there, and the key is finding one that suits your own child’s interests and that can be used in some kind of game.
In all honesty, no amount of fun and games is going to turn kids into well-behaved bathroom-loving angels but that doesn’t mean you can’t make things easier for yourself and maybe have a bit of fun yourself along the way.
If you’ve got any tips you’d like to add, let us know in the comments!
Chris is a writer who is incredibly jealous of kids who get to play with pirate ships in the bath. He writes for a range of publications, and works closely with a number of companies.
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.
For the first time in ages, this weekend, we had a whole two days where we were all together rather than one or two of us off doing different things, just meeting up in the evening for dinner and flopping on the sofa knackered. The sun was shining (at last!!) so we decided we to make the whole of Saturday as bright as possible, The Boy had a party to go to so he decided balloons, sweets and cakes were going to be his bright thing, GG had her luminous blue uggs on and I was rocking a bright pink lippie, and with the help of Vitamin Water, we added a fab bright craft into the day as well!
The first stop off was Waitrose to grab some drinks, obviously we wanted them to be as colourful as possible, I went with Sunshine by Vitamin Water naturally! I was hugely tempted by the gorgeous flowers they had at the front of the store, as much as I love winter, even I’m sick of it now, my garden is calling me for the first time ever and all the bright blooms were screaming ‘buy me, buy me’ Maybe I’ll go back next week…!
We then made our way to the local art shop. I have to admit, it might have been sunny but it was still flipping freezing. Can’t have it all I suppose! Anyway! We decided that we wanted to make some canvas prints, actually, I lie, the first idea was to head into the garden and throw some powder paint around, making ‘natural art’ only it’s got to be specific powder paint, it stains everything, it’s expensive and, well, that was enough to put me off! Canvas it was! The kids love painting and getting messy but they’ve both got short attention spans, so anything that gets too technical and longwinded is a no no, which is why this was a GREAT art project for them to do.
With a canvas each and four bright acrylic paints purchased, we made our way back home to turn the garden into our own little outside studio, covering the patio with a plastic sheet, even though I was very tempted to add some permanent colour to it, the husband said it probably wasn’t a good idea!
Because of the style of the painting, non-technical term ‘flicking’ – the paint needed to be quite watery, so we needed to thin it out quite a bit, which we did just by adding water to a big blob of paint and mixing it well. They grabbed a paintbrush each, and we were ready to go!
It was literally a case of grab your brush, load it up with colour and flick it across the canvas. The best way I can describe it is as if you’re getting rid of excess water on a paintbrush after washing it. See, I could totally do this type of thing for a living….! We also sectioned off a little part of the blank canvas so we could do a silhouette drawing after. The original idea was an umbrella holding off the ‘rain’ but because ours didn’t end up in that style, we found some other ideas, with The Boy going for a bird on a branch and GG going for a cat. I was more nervous about ruining their pictures with my drawing than I was about the whole craft! Thankfully they turned out ok, we think!
We only went with four colours but we chose really bright ones so they would stand out individually, The Boy got the hang of the whole ‘less is more’ concept but GG is a typical tweenage girl, she wanted to keep going and we practically had to drag the brush out of her hand before it ended up as a one big, blended coloured canvas! We also learnt that too much water makes it mix a little too well on the actual canvas, so I think when we do it next time (I want my own canvas thank you very much) she’ll use less water on the brush!
Once they were dry and I had added the silhouette part, we hung them up proudly in the hallway. The kids are *very* proud of their masterpieces, and I am itching to have another go! The plan is a bigger, flatter canvas covered in the flicked paint entirely.
Do you really know what your kids are up to online? It’s hard to police their Internet use without seeming like an over-anxious parent, but with a study from online information hub Know the Net (www.knowthenet.org.uk) revealing that 52% of children admitted to signing up to Facebook when they were under age, and a frightening 43% confessing to having messaged strangers online, having that ‘social media chat’ with your kids is something you need to plan at a much younger age than you may have thought.
Most kids are online whether we like it or not, and are accessing basic social media at an early age. The age they really start to take an interest, not just with Facebook but with other networks like BBM and Snapchat, is about 11. It’s a scary thought – most children of that age are blissfully unaware of the dangers of sending negative messages, talking to strangers and ‘sexting’, despite outward appearances of being streetwise.
So, how do you keep your kids safe without going overboard? Banning social media use altogether is a draconian measure, destined to fail whilst inevitably making the allure of Facebook and Twitter even stronger.
Savvy parents should get familiar with the range of social media networks that are on offer; finding out what children are using, and how they use it. We’ve all heard of the most popular sites, but new ones are springing up constantly, and online chatting opportunities crop up in the most unexpected places. For example, did you know that you can chat to complete strangers while using Xbox Live?
Educate yourself about the potential pitfalls for kids on social media. It’s not just about an online reiteration of the old ‘don’t talk to strangers’ advice, you need to be up to speed on all the latest trends, and know how to keep your kids’ profiles secure. Younger kids could benefit from having a parent as a friend on Facebook (although try to hold back from posting any embarrassing comments) just to keep an eye on things, while older children will demand an element of trust when they are interacting online. Drum into them that if they come across anything inappropriate, they should report it and/or tell you about it.
Most kids just don’t want to be left out, and want to use social media to chat to their friends, rather than anything that could get them into trouble, but they do need to be reminded of the risks. Let them know that you’re always on hand to give them advice if they come across something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Even if you have what you think are strict parental controls in place at home, some things can slip through then net, so be vigilant. Even with the tightest controls, locked down security and passwords to everything, you won’t be able to stop your kids seeing things they might not understand when they are at school or a friend’s house.
Vigilance, common sense and communication are the most important things when you’re trying to protect your kids on social media.
My little GG is growing up before my eyes. She’s obsessed with make up, an instagram addict, and she was practically heartbroken when she read on Wednesday, that The Wanted were splitting up for a ‘while’ – it was like Take That all over again!
While I know how exciting it is growing up and all the things she’s looking forward to, I’m still screaming internally SLOW DOWN!
We’re on countdown at the moment, waiting to find out what senior school we’ve been given. It was a choice of two for us, and she’s desperate for the first choice. Not all of her friends are going there, but one of her best friends is and it’s a great school, I feel like they’ll nurture her and push her in the right direction, but at the same time, I don’t want her to go to senior school at all! The hormones, the bitchiness, the competition between girls, I remember it like it was yesterday! She’s not quite got to the stage of deciding what she wants to do when she grows up, it varies between beauty, being a vet, an actress, a writer, we’re all over the place, but she has said she wants to go to sixth form, college and maybe uni. I think that’s probably down to me, telling her I wish I’d gone onto uni and stayed a student for as long as possible, college was some of the best years of my life! Duff Miller is an independent sixth form, but there are so many option out there for her.
Because she loves learning, I’m going to make sure she keeps on enjoying it. I don’t agree with homework for little kids, because I think they do enough during the day, but once she gets to senior school, I’m all for it! I used to love doing homework (geek I know) but even now, I still have a thing about making it look neat, and well presented! When GG gets awards for her homework I’m doubly proud, because she’s a smart cookie, and because I helped!
It’s scary, sending your child off to a new school, no matter how confident they, or you, are, starting somewhere new, where you will start to grow into who you’ll be as an adult, it’s a major step. I still don’t feel old enough to have a senior school daughter, I’m not sure I ever will! We’re very close, and I’d like to think we’re good friends as well as mother and daughter, something that will stick around forever, but I’m not silly, I know there will be moments that she hates me, no matter how much a good girl she is! I’m preparing myself for tantrums and hissy fits already, I can see the spark of hormones kicking in recently, and they’re just going to sky rocket soon enough. Her darling little brother doesn’t help matters much either!
Then we have the whole walking to school on her own thing, and I don’t think I’ll EVER be ok with that! I might have two kids in two different schools but I will still be dropping off and picking up both of them, at least until she refuses to get in the car with me, and even then I might just throw her in! She’s already told me it’s embarrassing when I beep at her mates as we drive to school, god knows what it will be like once the peer pressure starts coming to life.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just keep them all as they are, without having to send them off into the big bad world? I want them to grow up, but I want them to be little. I want them to learn everything, but I want to protect them from everything. Being a new parent is hard work, but being a parent to a child growing up is even harder!
Sponsored content but, as usual, all true and all my own thoughts!