The Little House Shop…

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I am so excited about today’s post. I would like you to meet Jenny from The Little House Shop. An online home and lifestyle store based very near to where I live in Cheshire. This is a shop I have bought many a home item from. Jenny picks some of the coolest pieces around. I asked for some of her time to answer some questions for me.

1. When and how did you 1st come up with the idea of The Little House Shop?

I have always had a passion for homewares and interiors since I was younger but never quite knew what path to go in. My university degree was in printed textiles so interiors was always going to be surrounding me whatever I choose to do. I thought owning my own shop was a pipe dream but when I met Guy and after numerous jobs in retail and visual merchandising we decided to take the plunge and instead of doing what most people would do and buy a house we decided to invest in a business and thats how HOUSE INTERIORS AND GIFTS/ THE LITTLE HOUSE SHOP first started. It was a bricks and mortar store (the real thing) We traded in Knutsford, in Cheshire for 5 years. It was quite a testing time as we opened in the recession so customers were very savvy with their spending. Knowing this we opted for a low-mid pricing range, still offering quality product but without the large price tag. We were very trend led and looking back now at past photos it really is a million miles away from what we offer now. Unfortunately our store had a large fire which completely gutted the shop. We shut for quite a while but did manage to re-open offering the customer a more personalised store and selling products that I felt was a reflection of us. From then we opened for about a year and after some lengthy talks we decided to close and become a online store. Which offered me better opportunities for both developing the brand and my working life.

2.What were you doing before The Little House Shop?

I was actually working for another homewares store. Before that I was working in retail as a sales advisor. I was always going to work with people, I’m definately a people person.

3. How do you juggle family life with working at The Little House Shop? Any tips for my readers.

For many years its been just the two of us, well unless you can count the cat and the dog? However this year things are about to get real as we are expecting our first child in June! So maybe come back to me this time next year and we can see how we are getting on!

4. What’s the best bit of running your own business?

Being my own boss and making decisions. Also being able to work from home is a massive bonus although it can be testing. It’s not for everyone.I also love chatting and making lots of friend on social media. Instagram has been a great way into peoples home lives and although it can be very daunting working for yourself, I simply have to go on instagram to remind myself of why I do this. Seeing customers tag you in their homes with their latest purchases makes me smile everytime.

5. And the worst?

Mmm maybe its actually working from home! Ha ha. Endless cardboard boxes in every room. We may have to move into the neighbours house at this rate. Also on days when its really grim outside you really have to dust yourself off as the British weather really can alter your productivity.

6. What advice do you have for people wanting to launch their own business?

Start small, really think about what it is you want to sell. Don’t try and please everyone, you cant sell everything.

7. What are your 5 favourite things on your site?

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So details, Where can they find you?
You can shop online with us at www.thelittlehouseshop.co.uk

The lovely Jenny has offered all Shelley Loves readers 20% off with the code HOUSE20

Shelley x

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Shelley Loves’interiors

The prettiest dinner set…

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Whilst searching for Mother’s day gift ideas (see tomorrow’s blog post) I came across this beautiful, beautiful dinner service. How gorgeous?  So pretty and reminds me of my grandma’s sets from when I was a  little girl.

Shelley x

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Meet Lucy from Acorn and Pip…

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Today I have an exciting guest on my blog, lovely Lucy, the founder of Acorn & Pip, an online kids’ concept store based in the UK.  She is a  busy mum, business owner and absolutely everything in between, as we all are. I first came across Acorn and Pip when I visited Altrincham Market last year and then quickly followed them on Instagram as I was so impressed with their beautiful range of products. I asked Lucy if she would answer a few questions for me so we could get to know more about her and her business.

  1. When and how did you 1st come up with the idea of Acorn and Pip?

I started Acorn & Pip when I had Eden, my 20 months old daughter. I had the desire to have a personal project that I could grow and manage as my life evolved. I have always had a love for design and retail. Inspired by motherhood, I launched Acorn & Pip –  a carefully curated world of unique and stylish wares for the little ones in your life. I am dedicated to offering sustainable, organic and design-led products such as toys, clothing, nursery decor and gifts for mums. My main focus is to choose from the best and most beautiful organic and sustainable brands around the world for babies and children aged 0-4 years, but as the business grows we are incorporating more sizes.

2.What were you doing before Acorn and Pip?

Before Acorn & Pip, I was a languages teacher in an all girls High School. I loved my job and absolutely loved teaching young girls. However, I found the job to be all consuming and it was on maternity leave that I was able to really sit and think about what I wanted to do. I left university and BAM the recession hit so I just had to get a job and I had never really given much thought to what I could do. It was more a case of QUICK, PANIC, GET A JOB. So when I was on mat leave, I found that for the first time in my life I could really re-group my thoughts.

  1. How do you juggle family life with working at Acorn and Pip? Any tips for my readers.

Gosh, how does anyone make it work? I look back on the last 12 months and I cannot think where the energy has come from, mainly because I see the past year as a haze of sleep deprivation, missed showers, late nights and early mornings. Maybe my local coffee retailer can take all the thanks for getting my butt in gear! I think for most parents, the hardest part of parenthood is the sleep deprivation. Eden was a terrible sleeper and some days were pretty hard, but at 12 months old she slowly snapped out of it and I was managing to get 5, 6, 7, 8 hours sleep again. Praise to the sleep Gods.Nowadays, I have my routine down to fine point. I work all day when Eden is in childcare, when she naps or when she goes to sleep. All other time I try to be focused on her, so I have to be away from my phone otherwise I get side tracked. Monday is our only family day off so we always try to do something fun and have a roast dinner!

  1. What’s the best bit of running your own business?

The best thing about running your own business is without a doubt the freedom to dictate your day, have the radio on, lunch when you want it, work in your PJs if you must. Starting Acorn & Pip has shown me what I’m capable of and really opened up a lot of other interests and skills that I would have never found out about!

  1. And the worst?

The worst part is definitely the financial side as it’s always a risk depending on yourself to pay the bills. Also, at times it can be quite lonely working from home and then staying at home at night to tend to the children and the home, cabin fever rears it ugly head now and then!

  1. What advice do you have for people wanting to launch their own business?

The best advice that I got was through my hypnobirthing instructor and that was to trust your body. Your body knows best. The most incredible part of being a mother is childbirth. It’s an experience so intense and so powerful that there is nothing you can do except trust your body. I feel like this affirmation has crept in to my brain since then, on days where I have been running on 3 hours sleep or I have felt like crying for no reason. Trust your body, go with it and you’ll come out the other side just fine. Also, i’ve used this affirmation when I’ve faced hurdles with my business; trust my body, trust my decisions and if in major doubt still: GOOGLE IT! Also, there are so many fabulous network groups in Manchester that can really inspire you take the plunge or just have a natter about your ideas. Talking things through with completely impartial people is invaluable!

  1. What are your 5 favourite things on your site that you would love to recieve for Mothers Day?

I love Mother’s day because it means I get to spoil my mum and then get a gift from my little one too! Mother’s day for me has always been about letting my mum know that she is awesome and that I’m terribly sorry for being a brat when I was growing up. My top picks would be our brand new HYP candles,

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made right here in the UK by a local lass and absolute gem. The Buddy + Bear YAY tray is so cute and is the perfect tray on which to serve cakes, nibbles or prosecco.

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I would definitely recommend our new range of wicker baskets. They make the ideal storage solution with hints of colour as a nod to the warmer days coming!

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For a new mum, our monochrome milestone cards are super popular and the perfect way to document the craziness of the first year!

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And finally what could be better than giving a gift that keeps giving… our teething jewellry range is stylish and practical. These are always amongst our best sellers!

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I think my favourite pieces have to be the beautuful luggy baskets. Seriously gorgeous. I know a little lady (actually who am I kidding Bob would love these) who will definitely want one.

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I also love these pom pom baskets. Fabulous for toy storage around the home.

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As well as the on-line store Lucy does weekly pop-ups at Altrincham Market on Saturdays and Sundays. You really much go and visit her.

Lucy has agreed to give Shelley Loves’ readers 15% off with the code shelleyloves till Monday 13th March.

Shelley x

P.S; We are running a little competition over on Instagram, so pop on over for full details.

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Denim jumpsuit…

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1. La Redoute Denim Jumpsuit 

2. La Redoute Stripe Blazer

3. Stan Smiths 

4. Accessorize Camera Bag

I love the above look, totally casual, but smartened up with a tailored blazer.  Other items I love include this coat (in both the khaki and navy), this beautiful cape, this reefer jacket, these boots and this gorgeous blouse (perfect with jeans). Cam we also just take a minute to love their home collections, especially the children’s section. I am absolutely loving these metal trunks and this Liberty bedding for girls.

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This underbed drawer, this bedside table and finally this vintage school desk and chair. Just remember to add BIG40 at the checkout.

Shelley x

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I’m back

Play and Go…

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Play and Go Storage Bag £26

I love that the kids love toys and I love that they play with them, but I hate that they are all around my house! Everywhere! I have baskets full of toy animals, trays full of train track and Lego under beds/sofas. This is where the Play and Go play mat comes in. It is amazing, honestly, it’s a play mat that turns into a bag in one swift movement (well maybe a few in Daisy’s case) and can be put away quickly.

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My Play and Go mat was from My Little Red who stock new and established brands from around the UK and Europe. They sell beautiful clothing for boys and girls (including Frugi and Toby Tiger), shoes, gifts and hair accessories. They also stock fabulous home wares and bedding. Definitely a site to have a look around, their pieces are ones to be passed on to siblings or friends as they are such great quality.

My Little Red have kindly offered Shelley Loves readers 15% discount on all stock till the end of the month with the code SHELLEYLOVES.

Happy shopping…

Shelley x

Valentines…

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1. Bella Freud Candle £40

2. Not On The High Street Love Print £35

3. Bloom and Wild Letterbox Flowers 

4.  Acqua Di Parma Colonia Club from £60

5. Mac Lady Danger Lipstick £15.50

6. John Lewis Love Mug £10

Yes it’s that time of year again. The day of love is fast approaching. The Acqua Di Parma above I am considering for Mark as a change from this version he always wears (the smell of summer in a bottle). He smelt it in Bon Marche when we were in Paris recently and has given me lots of hints that he would like it! This women’s version is also amazing. Such clean and classy smells. I’ve added the lipstick for the Valentines date night. I believe every woman should own Lady Danger by Mac. It suits all skin colours and just makes the whole face look alive. If you haven’t heard of Bloom and Wild where have you been? I mentioned it on the Mothers day post last year and think it is such a good concept with the prettiest of arrangements. Choose the bouquet you wish to send and it will be posted through their letterbox. Obviously for Valentines you need to be making sure your love one knows about it and leaving a picture of the bunch you want open on their laptop! They have special flower arrangements for February 14th. Candles are always a good present for me. I now have them all around the house. I’m also loving the smell of this White Company one. As well as the above LOVE print I think this print is fab. Other items I will be hinting for include this magnificent bracelet from Monica Vinader, this necklace and this one from ASOS, this book, Love x Style x Life and this truly beautiful book This Is For You. For the men other ideas include this wallet, this bracelet (with a message of your choice) and this tie clip from J Crew.

Shelley x

P.S; For the little ones how about these gorgeous books Guess How Much I Love You,
Little Master Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet: A BabyLit Counting Primer (BabyLit Books)The I Love You BookPlant a Kiss Board Book, and I Carry Your Heart With Me

All fabulous.

My Christmas wish list…

my wish list1. Boden Velvet slippers £21.75

2. Hush Fig and Blackberry Diffuser £30

3. Marks and Spencer’s Leaf Print Throw £69

4. Marks and Spencer’s Pyjamas £24.50

5. Olympus Camera from £449.95

6. John Lewis Coffee Mug £6

7. The White Company Pomegranate Candle £20

This is my wish list for Christmas. I’ve noticed as I get older I ask for less and less but love buying for others and watching their faces as they open their gifts. At the minute I seem to be going through a grey stage so the throw and mugs would go perfectly in my house. I love a candle, I have The White Company Christmas one so would love this one for the new year. The Hush diffusers are fabulous and this one is the perfect scent for this time of year, it has a spicy smell to it which makes the house feel like Christmas. The pyjamas I am getting from my mother-in-law but also have my  eye on these ones, I do love stars. I have a  fabulous Nikon D3100, but it is so big to take everywhere with me so would love this as it would fit into my handbag a lot easier. Finally I love a cashmere jumper and this one is now reduced. This is a total bargain for cashmere.  Hint hint Mark!

Shelley x

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Advent calendar ideas…

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Last year I bought some little envelopes and made up this advent calendar for Daisy and Bobby. In each little envelope I had written an activity that we all had to do together that day. They loved it and were more excited about this every morning than they were opening their chocolate ones from grandma. So this year I have just ordered some new envelopes, these ones and these ones to see which I like best ( I’ll end up keeping both!) and will do this activity again. Other similar advent calendars I’m loving are these, these and these. 

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Here are some of the activities I included within my envelopes:-

-Let’s read and sing The 12 Days of Christmas together

-Let’s take a walk and look for wintry items to decorate the house (branches/holly for a vase, ivy/berries for greenery)

-Let’s read The Night Before Christmas together

-Let’s talk about what makes us happy and what we are thankful for

-Let’s have a family games night

-Today let’s all sing our favourite Christmas carols together

-Today let’s have dinner in a restaurant

-Let’s play Christmas music and all dance together after dinner

-Let’s make home made pizza for dinner and all watch a Christmas movie together

-Tonight at dinner let’s say 3 things about each family member that we love about him or her

-Today let’s go for a drive/walk around the neighbourhood and look at all the Christmas lights

-Let’s go for a long walk together and take bread for the ducks/food for the animals

-Let’s decorate the tree today

-Let’s have a picnic around the Christmas tree

-Let’s collect some books and toys and donate them to those in need

-Let’s drink hot chocolate and read Christmas books in bed together

-Tonight let’s get our torches and go for a walk in the dark

-Let’s make a Christmas card for someone very special

-Let’s bake some Christmas cookies and give them out to our neighbours in pretty packaging

-Let’s cut out paper snowflakes and decorate your bedrooms with them

-Let’s talk about charities, pick one and make a donation

-Write down our names on paper, fold them up and put them in a bowl. Everyone pick a name and make something special for him/her for under the Christmas tree

-Let’s draw Christmas pictures for people we love

Shelley x

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Pineapples…

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Pineapple Table Light

Pineapples seem to be everywhere this summer and I have very much bought into this craze. I posted the above pineapple lamp on Instagram the other day and had a lot of questions about it, so I thought I would show you all things pineapple that I have bought or have my eye on. I already have this Marks and Spencer’s Pineapple Candle (on offer) and posted this picture the other day. Finally how good is this night light? LOVE it.

Shelley  x