Back To School

Back to School


And breathe… the children are back at school! For most of us the holidays are over and we’re back to routine, whatever that is? However our neighbors are still away on holiday and we are looking after their hamster, which I always find extremely traumatic. Actually our 9 year old daughter is in charge, which scares me even more. I have discovered that hamsters really don’t do an awful lot except keep you up at night with their whirling and twirling and gnawing at bars. This particular hamster is something of a Houdini so I’m determined he won’t escape whilst in my care, not on my watch. Our main aim is to keep Harry (the hamster) away from the dog, which would eat him for sure. Labradors are not mean, they are just always hungry, so at all cost, they must be kept apart. Only one more day to go before we hand him back in one piece.


Crate of 6 of the cutest milk bottles on £9.95, click here to buy!

For me, the return to school also signals the return of the dreaded packed lunch which I can honestly say is high on my list of pet hates. I struggle to offer the balance of variety and healthy menus and I can’t/don’t bake, so unlike many other more talented and practical mothers, I can’t offer homemade fairy cakes or other tempting pastries in their lunchbox. I am a great fan of wraps which can make any kind of messy combination look relatively acceptable & my daughter could live off pesto pasta which is a godsend. At least my children don’t have to put up with the free milk that arrived in glass milk bottles and sat in the sun until curdled. Of course, we now sell these fabulous retro bottles and I use them for drinks, flowers or as an alternative for a milk jug.

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Individual milk bottles that take you back to your school days!

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Guest Blog From Our Inspirational Artisan Brandnative

Here are we are proud to feature some guest blogs from our artisans.   Kicking off we feature Brandnative, who make the most divine handmade bags and accessories of the BEST quality.

Fashion Revolution Week – The story of the Wayuu women
April 18 2016, 0 Comments

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This week is Fashion Revolution week! A week to ask the question “who made my clothes” and celebrate the beautiful makers and artisans around the world who work so hard to produce the items we wear!

brandnative wants to use this week as an opportunity to celebrate the beautiful Wayuu women we work with, who produce the amazing bags and accessories you see on our website.

Last time I visit Colombia I documented my trip and would love for you to read the incredible insight in to how these women work and live!

Wayuu women in a new shelter

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The Wayuu women of the Guajira Peninsula in the North of Colombia are the most inspirational women I have ever met, they work so hard in poor conditions and always have a positive attitude to life. The products they create are so beautiful and unique that it has inspired me to create a strong company, which can support them and inspires other women to embrace the colours, vibrancy and happiness of the Colombian culture.

The Wayuu is one of the largest indigenous communities in Colombia.

I went back to visit the Wayuu in Colombia in December 2015 and met more amazing women who work tirelessly for their families in poor living conditions with very little, but still have the most amazing positive attitude to life, smiling and laughing and always seeing the positive in every situation.

A typical day for the Wayuu ladies starts very early; they wake around 4am and begin their daily routine. Once up, they’re first job is to organize the coffee and breakfast for the whole family. As they do not have electricity, everything is cooked over a large fire, which burns throughout the day. It is the husband’s job to get up and collect wood and water for the day. As their culture is matriarchal, the women are responsible for handing down their skills, traditions and way of life to their children. The family name and responsibility for the children’s education is passed down the mother’s line rather than the father’s. The Male role in these communities is to support the women and provide them with everything they need in order to work hard and provide for the household.

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In order to take advantage of the daylight hours, following breakfast, changing and cleaning the children and general household duties the women begin work on the mochila bags. The particular skill the Wayuu women use is weaving and crocheting. The beautiful women produce incredible Mochila bags, belts and bracelets all made by hand, in wonderful colours and bold patterns – the patterns are called ‘kanas’ and each community has its own kanas inspired by the natural world where they live. The men also help make the straps, called ‘gaza’ and bracelets.

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One of the special ladies I always visit when in Colombia is Celina Ipuna. At 54 Celina is one of the oldest “leaders” she has 3 children, Jose Francisco (27), Ana (23) and Maria (16) who she supports with the sale of the mochila bags. As a leader she has built a strong relationship with many of the women who help produce the bags; a fantastic, beautiful inspiration and role model, working with the less advantaged Wayuu, coordinating the production of the bags across Guajira. Being a “leader”, Celina is one of the lucky ones, with the determination to work hard and provide for her family she has been able to raise enough money to send one of her daughters, Ana to a Santander College in the local town to study psychology. This is a great privilege for her as many of the children of Wayuu women can not go to school and spend the days helping the family at the home, the younger girls learning the traditions and techniques of the mochila bag making that has been passed down from generation to generation.

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At the end of our first day of visiting the tribe the people celebrated us being with them, by dressing in their special red dresses in honour of the occasion. They performed traditional dances and shared their food – ‘friche’ and ‘chivo’ (roast dinner and goat) offering a traditional homemade drink ‘chicha de maiz’ – a powerful drink made from water, sugar and corn. This kind generosity was so humbling to see, for people that have so little they are more than happy to share what they have in a kind and openhanded way. They also allowed us to stay with them, sleeping in hammocks called ‘chinchorros’.

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Every time I visit these communities I am filled with a new passion and energy to help them by distributing their bags throughout Europe, America and more recently Dubai, in order to help them build a better life. Although the individual mochila bags do not bring in a lot of income, the consistency of the orders means they are able to make a small livelihood from making multiple bags every week. It is this determination that enthuses me to develop a strong business that will support these beautiful women for years to come.

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Really hope that you enjoy our first guest blog, please do look out for     more Brandnative products coming to

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Puppy Tails


Please extend a warm welcome to Humphrey our new puppy!


Humphrey  catching a nap!

Humphrey is a wire haired miniature dachshund, in black and tan.  He is so adorable and already very much at home with his family and at, although he is proving to be something of a distraction at the moment as he’s too cute to leave alone and very pickable upable!   3pm is scrambled egg time and he cannot wait for that!  As well as welcoming a puppy we celebrated the 13 th birthday of Kenco the Golden Labrador this week, a much loved oldie.

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We have a few dogs between us at here at, & we are fortunate to have some lovely walks on our doorstep in breathtaking Oxfordshire. Rather than a dash to the gym at lunchtime we tend to down tools and head off for a walk with the pack. We have had some wonderful sunny days recently and the surrounding countryside is stunning. Although our wellies have been put to good use this winter we have had some of the most beautiful sunny days to break up the grey.



Doggie ‘All Star’ Bandana by keylimedesigns.  Let your dog cut a dash!
If you are a regular to the website you will have gathered that we have been bumping up our dog products recently. Dog cushions, dog mugs, plates, jugs and accessories and more to come.  Take a look, we are sure that you will like what you see and hopefully will find our pet inspired gifts too hard to resist.


Handy poo bag holders with clip, available in pale pink, pale blue and white.




Fabulous long dog fine bone china mug by dash&found.  Whose made the cake?