Christmas Gift Guide 2016 – Toddler

A selection of gorgeous gifts for your growing babes, the ones that are now crawling, cruising, or walking! I have tried where possible to shop small as by shopping small you are supporting a family, couple or entrepreneur living their dream!  Let’s support them this Christmas.

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Christmas Gift Guides – Threenager

Some fabulous gift ideas for your threenager ahem, three year old! They seem to grow up so quickly these days and here are some fun gifts to educate and entertain.

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Toy of the month – September 2015

September is always a wonderfully special month here in Australia, as we celebrate Father’s Day. This Father’s Day, we gave our Papa ( a throw back still from Germany)  a lie in, breakfast in bed and cooked him a yummy late brunch. Plus he was spoilt with lots of tools, handmade cards and chocolates!

We also presented him with 2 awesome toys that he could share with the boys, “Buildme wooden toys“. He was blown away by the “Build Me” boxes he received and a week or two later we had a chance on a rainy Spring afternoon, to construct them.

Buildme Wooden toys toys are an awesome brand established in Melbourne and started by a dad, Darryl Thompson, whose past experience as a shipwright in the Royal Australian Navy and later as a graphic designer, has enabled him to develop the wooden toys from concept and design through to production. I adore that he is trying to bring back some time honoured traditions and to teach children life long skills especially in this techy age.

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The Smallest Tribe

 

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If you are a regular reader here, then you will know I am a HUGE supporter of Kickstarter and helping people realise their dreams. I get emails almost weekly from FAB upstarts and wish I had the time to blog about all of them, as ALL of them have done such a brilliant job in getting themselves a campaign going and fingers crossed success!

It was with serious excitement the other week that I find out via email that “The Smallest Tribe”, an inspiring Australian kids fashion label which I discovered at Finders Keepers last year in Sydney, had a Kickstarter campaign starting.

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Toy of the month – April 2015

It has been a hectic month here in the KGT household with townhouse renovations, Master J’s 6th birthday and his Superhero party which went off with a Kapow, Bang and Zoom (photos to follow)!!

But in the midst of it all, I received a fabulous package of Darwin and Penn Kompakt cameras which I ordered in their sale last month. I had completely forgotten I had ordered them ( does this happen to anyone else?) and squealed when I opened up the package.

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Pay It Forward 2015- Cream Empire

Today I am so excited and honoured to bring you the first in my “Pay it Forward” 2015 initiative and to let you know more about the divine kids linen and decor range from Cream Empire!

I have been following Cream Empire for quite a while now on my Instagram account and I adored Carolina’s monochrome bedding as soon as I laid eyes on it. It is so refreshing, so modern yet utterly classic. I would love to buy each and every piece as each design is so appealing and it is easy to mix and match with other kids linen and decor.

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Born and raised in Melbourne, arguably Australia’s fashion capital, you can see that the city and its style has certainly influenced Carolina’s designs. I read recently that Melbourne woman only wear black, I am not sure that is exactly true, but black and white at least is definitely Carolina’s colour of choice.

Having only been in business less than a year, with a science degree already under her belt and fluent in Spanish, Carolina is one clever, talented and brainy mama with an eye for design and a head for business. Cream Empire has gone from strength to strength in such a short space of time and Carolina has branched out to designing and making cushions, pillowcases and cot/stroller blankets on top of  her cot sheets & duvet/quilt covers. All of which are made from 100% cotton.

You can choose from custom designs like batman, clouds, hot air balloons, grid, icecreams and stripes for cot bedding or even bassinets and then mix and match it with fun pillowcases that Carolina has designed herself like Wonderwoman and Batman. She has created so many gorgeous designs in a timeless style that they can go with more Cream Empire decor, or other children’s bed linen you may already own. It is fantastically versatile and it won’t date especially if you need it for baby no 2 or 3!

With her signature style in monochrome, Carolina has recently added pops of colour, but her heart lies with black and white and in particular designing and creating cushions.

I am so thrilled to have been able to get to know a little more about Carolina, her brand, and her motivation to start this business.

Meet the Maker: Carolina Leyton and baby Javier

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1. You design and create some seriously gorgeous nursery linen which all began because you couldn’t find linen for your own son’s nursery. How did you go about sourcing your own fabric in Australia and creating your own designs from scratch? Is your background in design or textiles? Have you always loved to sew?

When I first started my brand cream empire, I used fabrics from fabrics stores but I found this to be very limiting as I could never find exactly what I was looking for. I decided after much research and many bumps in the road that I had to start designing my own fabrics. I’ve always had a passion for designing and graphic design. Before cream empire was made I wanted to start a prints and wedding invitation brand as I had so much fun designing and making our wedding invites. This idea didn’t flourish as I was too busy in my ‘real’ job at that time as a research scientist and finishing my masters in science. When my little man was born and I was home, I thought this was the time to start off my dream of a small business. 

To help me designing, I have completed an art and graphic design short course and will continue to take up new courses in this area as I love learning new things. I’m even considering going back to uni… Ahhh!! 

Since a little girl I loved making things, my grandma taught me how to sew and knit. I never thought that this skill would help be in the future.

It was such a challenge finding fabrics to print on in Australia that I had to source fabric overseas. After endless emails with fabric wholesalers I found a printing company that could do what I was looking for. In June 2014 I launched my own designed products and launched my new and improved range.  

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2. What is the process around the design for your fabrics? Where do you find inspiration for the each new design?

My inspiration for each design comes from my love of fashion, beautiful things and my everyday life. Of course my little man is a huge part of my inspiration as well.

 

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3. As a mother of a young baby, it seems a crazy idea to start up a new business whilst looking after a new born but so many mothers do it and make a huge success out of it, like yourself. How do you find the work/life balance of taking care of your son and starting up a new business? And all those sleepless nights? Would you have ever imagined doing this before having kids?

It’s hard, it’s very challenging but I would not have it any other way. When my son was younger it was easier to sew in between his naps but now it harder as he is a toddler and sleeps less. Due to this, I had to hire a helping hand as I was finding it very difficult to balance the workload. Now it’s perfect and feeling like this is what I am meant to be doing. 

4. Being a handmade local business based in Melbourne and a one woman show, how hard did you find it to ask for help recently? Do you think as woman and mother’s we don’t ask for enough help?

We definitely do not ask for help. This is such a terrible thing. So many mothers out there including myself always think we can do it all, but really we can’t. It’s such a hard thing to ask for that extra helping hand, I don’t know why but it must be in our genes. To able to recognize that we need help is such a big step.

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5. As a new business you started out creating monochrome designs and you have now added colourful prints like your cloud and gelato linen, what are your customer’s favourite?  What are yours?

I  think I will always be a monochrome style type of brand. I love black and white in home decor. My customer’s favs are definitely the grid. This would have to be my favourite as well.

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6. You have created some gorgeous new designs recently including my beloved grid design, what plans are afoot for 2015 for Cream Empire? Where do you see the baby/kids linen industry heading as there are new players start up?

There are definitely many more competitors out there now than when I started. I find this to be very motivating for me.  It’s fantastic that there are so any creative talented mummas out there!

For my brand, we have many more new things on the cards, I can’t wait to share what we have coming. We have our new A/W15 collection that will be launched soon. I’m so excited!

batman grid stroller blanket

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With new designs and plans to add single bed linen to her range soon (yes!), Cream Empire is an exciting, refreshing and modern brand that oozes quality and just the right amount of style for your children’s room. I am loving all her designs and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for this gorgeous kids linen company this year! Check them out here.

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