The beautiful Milou and Pilou…

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I am always looking for timeless, classic pieces for both Daisy and Bobby and Milou and Pilou have to be one of my favourite finds. Daisy has been wearing the skirts for nearly 3 years now and they are still going strong! I am so happy that they go all the way up to age 10, as the bigger Daisy gets it seems to be harder and harder to find beautiful pieces to fit.

Milou & Pilou is a Spanish childrens vintage-flavour brand, based in Barcelona, created by Felip and Alicia (brother and sister), both born in Spain to a French mother (that’s why the name might sound French). They launched the brand nearly three years ago, and the brand is named after Alicia’s daughters’ nicknames.

  1. When and how did you 1st come up with the idea of Milou and Pilou?

Milou and Pilou started nearly three years ago and, honestly, it was more a decision from people around us than anything else, as I was a little bit scared to enter that crazy children fashion world.

I started designing dresses when I became a mother, I made pieces for my two daughters. I grew up in a family where the grandmothers and mothers used to design clothes, so I guess it came naturally. Very soon other mothers started ordering from me the same little dresses; they liked the vintage style with lots of Liberty prints. Most of the times they were asking me to design the same pieces they used to wear when they were children, that’s how the idea came about. With the help of my brother Felip, and a small young team around me, we decided to launch the brand and that’s it until now!

2.What were you doing before Milou and Pilou?

I am a Psychologist and I have been working for many years in the healthcare industry. It seems that my creative self was buried under an 8 to 5 job! My brother comes from the fashion and clothing industry, so it was much more natural for him.

3.How do you juggle family life with working at Milou and Pilou? Any tips for my readers.

Ha! that’s the million-dollar-question! I think running a family business makes the whole family involved so that’s a good point. My daughters spend most of the afternoons at our Atelier (where we design, pack and ship), doing their homework and my other half is also involved, so that helps. Tips? After dinner time is where the best ideas come from, preferably with a glass of rosé.

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

I would say that running your own business is like raising a baby, there is the challenge to do it right, to make it work, to see it grow and the excitement of “what’s next”.  It is definitively worth it. They also say that once business starts rolling a bit, usually you can kick back and enjoy life a bit more, but we haven’t reached that point yet…ha!

5. And the worst?

Well, the stress and multi-tasking. We are lucky to be a small family company and we get on very well together, but at the same time we have stressful periods during the year, when we are launching new collections for example, that are crazy. We are getting there, but still we need to have a better planning system.

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

Be patient and persuasive, don’t give up. Try to get someone on board, loneliness can be the worst enemy.

7. Which are your 3 favourite items on your site?

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Dark Denim Skirt

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Denim Skirt

Denim skirt, definitely our best-selling piece,

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Amy Cord Skirt

Amy Cord Skirt too (we re-launch it every year) and I have a big crush on our new Red Breton Jumper

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Red Breton Jumper

The fabulous Milou and Pilou are offering a lucky reader a 40 euro voucher, for details on how to enter, head on over to my Instagram.

Shelley x

The White Company…

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Chambray Spot Dress

The beautiful White Company. Always classy, always chic and always very good quality. Daisy and Bob have been wearing their pyjamas since being tiny as they are truly the best and wash so well. Here is a selection of their children’s clothing I am loving at the minute.

Shelley x

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Shelley Loves’ girls shop

Shelley Loves’ boys shop

Sandal love…

Shelley x

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New sandals

Shelley Loves’ ladies shop

One for the boys…

It’s unfair to leave the boys out of my spring event selections at Marks and Spencer’s, so I’ve done a round up of my favourites for them as well!

Shelley x

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Shelley Love’s boys shop

Spring event at Marks and Spencer’s…

Marks and Spencer’s favourites at the minute.

Shelley x

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Shelley Loves’ ladies shop

New now…

Mango has to be one of my favourite stores at the minute. It just keeps getting better and better, for both woman and children. The quality is amzing and it is always bang on trend. Beautiful details at really reasonable prices. I LOVE the rock tee and would pair with jeans and sandals for the summer. Come winter it will be just as cool with a khaki jacket and boots!

Shelley x

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Tassel Loafers

A short sleeve stripe top

The beautiful Nellie Quats…

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Nellie Quats is one of my new favourite brands for beautiful, good quality clothing for Daisy. I first discovered them last year, but unfortunely then their sizes stopped at age 8. However, undeterred, I wrote to them and asked if they were going to do bigger sizes and the lovely Elinor (founder) wrote back and said she would make a bigger size in whichever design I wanted. I put in my order and have followed them ever since growing from strength to strength. Elinor gets the designs just right, traditional but with a modern twist. Think Liberty print, pinafores and Peter Pan collars and to my excitement they now go all the way up to age 10 in some of the designs.

I have had the joy of meeting Elinor at the two Shop Up events in London and she is every bit as charming and beautiful as she comes across in her Instagram feed. Below is a recent interview.

When and how did you 1st come up with the idea of Nellie Quats?

I started designing and making my own clothes at about the age of 10 and had always wanted to do something in fashion. Even though I studied photography at University, I still felt drawn to fashion. After spending a lot of time with children at work, I was inspired to create clothing for them that allowed them to be their fun, energetic selves, whilst still looking stylish!

My parents have always run their own business so it only felt natural to do the same. So I came up with the idea of starting Nellie Quats in the summer of 2015.

What were you doing before Nellie Quats?

I was working at a sewing studio/shop for a year teaching children and adults to sew.

How do you juggle family life with working at Nellie Quats? Any tips for my readers?

As I am in my mid 20’s, I don’t have children yet (probably pretty rare for a childrenswear company!) I have serious admiration for parents who run their own businesses and have a family too. I can only hope one day I can successfully juggle it all!

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

 Being tagged on Instagram in photos of children wearing my pieces that I created, each one is just as exciting as the first ever tag. Also getting emails saying how much someone loves a piece you have made and how much their children enjoy it is just an amazing feeling.

And the worst?

Before I began self-employment, I assumed one of the perks would be to be able to take a day off if you need it, but it turns out that’s not really how it works! I currently work 7 days a week pretty much every hour of the day (and sometimes night too), and when I’m not working on it, I’m thinking about it. It’s a huge challenge to find balance in your life and time for anything other than the business.

What advice to you have for people wanting to launch their own career?

If you want to do it, just go for it. As challenging as it is, it’s incredibly rewarding. All you need is a clear idea and to be prepared to put in the hard work.

What are your five favourite items from the new collection?

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Marbles Pinafore – pink stripe

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Jumping Jack Jumpsuit – grey linen

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Hide and Seek Playsuit – red john

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Kiss-Chase Dress – mauve line

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Duck, Duck Goose Blouse – white line

Nellie Quats has kindly offered Shelley Loves readers 10% of until Sunday (14th May 2017) with the code shelleyloves.

Shelley x

Baby and toddler girl dresses…

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Smock dress and Knickers £18-£19.

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Smock Dress £13-£14.

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Smock Dress and Knickers £17-£18.

Has summer finally arrived? Can we wear beautiful summer clothes yet and not feel freezing? If we can, you can’t beat a summer dress on our gorgeous little ladies! Whilst looking for this post I also loved this one  and this one.

Shelley x

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Girls summer dresses

Beach wear for our little ladies

The fabulous Cotton Twist…

AC and Alexis, founders of Cotton Twist, photographed on location in Kew Gardens.

Today on the blog I have two fabulous ladies, Alexis and Anne-Clare, the brains behind Cotton Twist,

an inspiration for parties & play, we pride ourselves on making activities & decorations you’ll love to give, & children will love to receive. Nostalgic, chic, simple & inherently satisfying. Crafts are carefully designed to spark learning & play in a fun & imaginative way. Activities are perfect for party bags, stocking fillers, wedding day activities, travelling & rainy days.

Daisy and Bobby recieved the unicorn wand kit, the carnival mask kit, the superhero mission kit and the walkie talkie kit and they enjoyed every minute of it.

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To quote Daisy, ‘these are epic’ and they really are. Such a fabulous idea for our little people. They were superbly put together with everything needed in the bag and the instructions were very straightforward and easy to follow. I contacted them to ask them a few questions to find out more about the brand and to spread the love of their beautiful products. Their party invitations are to die for!

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1. When and how did you 1st come up with 
the idea of Cotton Twist?
I had spotted some party bag fillers (made by Alexis) at a friend’s house & was captivated by how they involved activities for the child rather than the usual plastic. There was a bracelet kit with enchanting instructions, & a poppy head with details on how to sow the seeds. I suppose the seed for Cotton Twist was (unconsciously at this point) sewn in my mind & I started experimenting with the idea for my eldest child’s birthday party. At the same time, Alexis and I were introduced, & over the coming months Cotton Twist evolved organically.
2. What were you doing before Cotton Twist?

I was a partner in a small jewellery company, & Alexis was working for a large retailer. We were both back & forth between various maternity leaves, but after Alexis had Henry (number 2) and I had Marni (number 3) we never returned to our ‘9-5’ roles.

3. How do you juggle work life and family? Any tips for my readers.

Ha ha – the endless juggle! The business is still run from our homes for now, so the lines can be incredibly blurred between work and home. Our children are totally accustomed to it & they love to get involved sorting beads, counting components, or making prototypes. They come out with all sorts of funny questions like, ‘are there other Cotton Twists in the world mummy, or is it just this one?’ and ‘why are you doing party bags for someone else’s party, do you know them?’. Overall though, I think they warm to the entrepreneurial side of things & we often catch Coco & Saskia setting up their mini businesses. So on the plus side, we’re around our homes, we have flexibility & can usually manage to juggle sick days, assemblies, & school concerts with relative ease.
Holidays are a bit more challenging, but we’ve come a long way, & it might mean a few more late night working sessions than normal…(if that’s possible?!)
In terms of tips, I think gauging the appropriate times to mix work life with home life is key. Sometimes I do more menial tasks around the children, like writing a couple of emails or preparing orders around them & it works out just fine. Other times, for the sake of all of us, the business needs to be put firmly to the side. Running your own business is addictive, but time out is also essential.
4. What's the best bit of running your own business?
 I love so many elements: the creative side, the ability to make things happen, & the flexibility of having multiple roles and swapping between them. The excitement of generating sales off the back of our own marketing, together with great feedback from clients is the ultimate high.
5. And the worst?
On the down side, just like any job, there are tough days when it feels like we have multiple obstacles in our path, & that our hard work isn’t paying off. I think you can feel those lows more acutely in your own business, it can feel like personal rejection. Luckily though, the passion & addiction carry you through, & there are usually brighter more positive events on the horizon. If anything, these tricky days are the ones which make me work even harder. They make me realise that I don’t want to give up & be beaten by some silly annoyances in our path.
6. What advice do you have for people wanting to launch their own business?
In terms of advice, I would say that having your own business is like having another child! It’s rewarding, exciting, & energy sapping all rolled into one, so know what you’re getting yourself into!
7. What are your 5 favourite things on your site?
Personalised Tropical Invitations:
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I’m a definite subscriber to the latest tropical trend, & am considering using these invites for my 40th birthday party! The children love adding the stickers to the invites, it really helps to make them feel part of the build up to their big day. We have 11 themes in this range – from superheroes, to pirates, to dinosaurs, princesses, unicorns & fairies.
Make Your Own Walkie Talkie kit:
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This is one of our latest packs in our pocket money / party bag filler category & it’s one of my favourites. The box is satisfying to make, & then I love love love the sticker. Children can have fun decorating it with gems & making the antenna.
Personalised bunting banner with balloon!
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This is also a new product. A lovely way to send birthday greetings in a different format to a card.
The banner itself & the label on the outside of the gift tin can all be personalised.
Personalised Princess Bracelet Gift Kit
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A really sweet little gift for a girl. This beautiful personalised gift tin comes with elastics and wooden beads to create a heart bracelet fit for a little princess. Great for a present, a party bag filler or a bridesmaid gift, there are plenty of occasions to snap up one of these. This range also includes a keyring for the boys, & fairy or woodland offerings for the girls.
Go On A Stegosaurus Spike Hunt
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I can’t resist this dinky stegosaurus. Perfect for the younger age groups, this activity also includes a treasure hunt component. Children need to find the wooden pegs before they make their dinosaur, & then they’ll be rewarded with their chocolate coin.
The ladies have kindly offered a prize of a £50 voucher for you to choose whatever items you would like. This may be the personalised party invitations, the party bag fillers or the making kits, it’s your choice. To be in with a chance of winning hop on over to my instagram and follow the instructions.
You can find the ladies on instagram here.
Shelley x