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If you pop into your local corner shop today and happen to pick up a copy of Tatler, head to page 216. You may see a familiar face.

There he is – a five month old version of my little chunk in his Didi and Bud sleepsuit and hat. It was back in the day when he slept on our bed and I didn’t worry about him launching himself off. He would fall asleep anywhere, and I would take photos!

I love that sleepsuit. I got it out again the other day. It looks so tiny now. And the hat – admittedly it was always a bit tight on Ralphie’s generously sized head – is just the cutest.

Because I’m feeling all nostalgic (did I mention that Ralphie turns one in two weeks?), here are a few more of the tiny squidger – hat and all.image

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Operation sleep: the giveaway!

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It’s funny how a plan comes together. I’ve been organising this bedtime giveaway for a while, but it seems to be fate that the week I’m all ready to go is the week Ralphie finally gets his head around sleeping through the night. Cheers all round!

I wanted to do this giveaway as I believe that the bedtime routine is so important. After a lovely day together, you need that time in the evening as a mum to switch off and chill, even if it’s only for a few minutes before you fall asleep! We didn’t really have a good bedtime routine for the first six months of Ralphie’s life. We cuddled him well into the evening and he usually ended up going to bed when we were ready to go upstairs too. I don’t regret one bit of what we did, but now our baby’s in bed by around 7.30pm every night, and it has transformed our evenings for the better. We’ve got our ‘us time’ back and we can eat our dinner in peace. Bliss!

So, to celebrate the greatness of bedtime, I’ve teamed up with some amazing small businesses to bring you all the essentials you need to help your little ones drift off to the land of nod without a tear in sight! To enter, all you need to do is head to my Instagram page and read the super simple instructions on my giveaway post. In addition to liking the post and following all six businesses involved in the giveaway, I would love to hear about your baby’s bedtime routine. What special things do you do before tucking them up in bed? Do you have any tips or tricks you would like to share? We’ll be picking our favourites, and six lucky winners will get their hands on some goodies. I’ll also be featuring some of the best comments in a follow-up blog post next week.

Before you go, here’s a bit more about the businesses behind the giveaway and what you can win:

A Little Bit Milo

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This online children’s fashion and homeware store only launched at the end of last year, but is already making a name for itself as a stockist of some of the best independent brands going.

One of the newest items to join their ever-growing range is Guess Who!, a clues-and-answers set of three books from London-based children’s book publisher Owl & Dog Playbooks. What makes it cool is that it can be opened and read in different ways, without affecting the rhythm and rhyme. I definitely need to get this for Ralphie (I’m a massive fan of quirky books and I hope he will be too!). If you enter the competition, this is up for grabs along with a pear night light. The perfect bedtime combo!

Didi and Bud

Every baby needs a cute, comfy sleepsuit and Didi and Bud do the best, in my humble opinion. If you’ve been following me for a while, you will know that I’m a big fan. Super soft cotton, cool prints – what’s not to love? Didi and Bud’s debut collection includes four patterns – penny farthing, top hats, lace umbrella and vintage bicycle in black, blue, pink and grey, respectively. One lucky winner will get their hands on a sleepsuit in the size and pattern of their choice.

Kokoso Baby

I hadn’t heard of this baby skincare brand until recently when I was looking around for something to treat Ralphie’s eczema. We’ve been to the doctors numerous times and got various potions and steroid creams, but what I really wanted was a long-term natural remedy. We’ve been using the organic coconut oil for a couple of months now and I’m really impressed. The redness on Ralphie’s face has cleared up completely and it’s my first point of call for any flare ups. Plus, it feels lovely to put on. Buttery soft, yet surprisingly not greasy. But you don’t have to take my word for it. If you win, you’ll get a pot to try yourself.

Mama Designs

With its removable inner layer, the Babasac is the perfect year-round baby sleeping bag. And it looks really cool too. We’re currently using ours on ‘summer mode’ without the warm lining, and it keeps Ralphie just the right temperature at night. It’s a great investment piece, as I know it will last through the colder months too. Mama Designs has kindly offered up the green apple Babasac in a size of your choice for this giveaway.

Megan Illustrations

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I know I will sound biased as she is my sister, but Megan is one super talented lady! She has just graduated from the Winchester School of Art with a first-class honours degree in Fine Art and is now taking design and illustration commissions, as well as selling prints and artwork. One of her first jobs has been a collaboration with Cribstar to create a bespoke emoji design, which is being used across a wide range of baby clothing – I cannot wait to see the full collection, which will be available to buy soon. We’re lucky enough to have an amazing piece of artwork in Ralphie’s room. If you win, you’ll get to have your own too!

Milk Moustache

This clothing brand has some of the coolest prints going. Teepees, spots, ice creams, doughnuts – if you haven’t checked them out yet, then you must. We’ve got a few rompers and tops, but when I go back to work and bring in some more money, I’m going to have to try and stop myself from buying the entire range! Milk Moustache is best known for its baby clothing range, but did you know they do cot sheets too? The sleeping eye sheet could be yours, and if you really wanted you could even buy the leggings and top to match. Ultimate camouflage!

Remember, head to my Instagram page to enter. And good luck!

 

Tea with Didi and Bud

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If you follow Becky Hodges on Instagram (@just_another_instamum), you will know that she’s partial to a good brew. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such pretty cups of tea! But in between sipping on a strong Assam with a drop or two of honey (her personal favourite), holding down a part-time job, being wife to Dean, and mum to Monty (nearly three) and Willow (17 months), Becky has also been busy creating her own baby sleepwear line. I don’t know where she finds the time!

Launching next month, Didi and Bud is an English homegrown brand with a focus on design-led, minimalist sleepsuits. Everything, from the sleepsuit patterns to the beautiful prints are Becky’s creation, with a little help from her nearest and dearest. The top hat pattern, for instance, was designed by her and then drawn by her dad.

Named after her two children – Didi is the name affectionately given to Willow by her big brother, and Bud comes from “little buddy”, something Becky has always called her son – Didi and Bud is all about bringing a classic yet modern twist to baby sleepwear.

Fresh and minimalist

“I wanted to create something different – something with a minimalist feel and a real focus on the design element,” Becky says. “I’ve always loved the babies looking little and being comfy, but I wanted to see more grown-up designs. Yes, these sleepsuits are for babies, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be adorned with bright colours, teddy bears and Disney characters.”

Becky’s debut collection takes on a quintessentially English, mini gent and little woman theme. “English fashion is very much about ladies and gentlemen at the moment, and I wanted to translate that to babywear too,” she says.

To start with, there will be four different patterns you can get your hands on – the penny farthing, top hats, lace umbrella and the vintage bicycle, in black, blue, pink and grey, respectively. While proud of them all, she admits that the penny farthing is probably her stand-out piece. “I’ve got a big monochrome crush, and I’m so pleased with how this one turned out. I hope it will be popular with all the other monochrome lovers out there too.”

Made in England

Aside from the aesthetic, Becky has also been determined to produce her sleepsuits locally and has paid a great deal of attention to sourcing her materials. “From the start, my aim has been to create safe and comfortable clothing which I am ethically and socially proud of,” she says. “I was keen to support British makers, but it was also important to have absolute confidence in the materials I was choosing.”

Months and months of preparation have got Becky to where she is today. Last week she unveiled Didi and Bud on Instagram, and from 1 June she’ll be taking her first orders.

“I don’t know if I will make a success of this. But I feel like I owe it to myself and my littlies to give it a go,” she says. “As a new mum who’s recently stepped away from my career and then stepped back again, I realised that I wanted to be in control of my work/life balance. I don’t want to be a commute away from my children.

“Like many mothers, when on maternity leave, I found myself feeling more creative. I couldn’t turn my back on that,” she adds. “I hope this new venture will teach me a lot about the creative world and what it takes to be a mumpreneur.”

Different is good

To anyone else thinking of setting up their own business, Becky has a tip or two. “I guess I’d say, trust your gut instinct. And make sure your ideas are your own; have faith in what you’re doing. My babygrows are meant to be a little bit different, so I completely understand that they won’t appeal to everyone. I’m just following my own ideas and what feels right for my designs, similarly to the way I am with my children.”

And finally, Becky says that you should always prepare yourself for the odd setback. “It will happen, but it’s about figuring out how to bounce back. Oh and buy lots of teabags!”

You can find Didi and Bud on Instagram. The website is coming soon.

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