Author: ami elizabeth

Florence & William’s Christmas Photo Shoot – 2019

Florence & William’s Christmas Photo Shoot – 2019

It has become a bit of a tradition here to have a little mini Christmas photo shoot in December. This year is William’s first Christmas, so as well as some festive photographs of ecah of them, I got to capture some sibling shots which have […]

Dinner at The Horsehoes  {#AD – Gifted for Review}

Dinner at The Horsehoes {#AD – Gifted for Review}

Last week we were lucky enough to be invited to the press night of the Horseshoes relaunch. The country pub, set in the charming village of East Farleigh has had an extensive makeover and has been transformed into a stylish & chic haven with luxurious […]

Our Activity Advent – 33 things to do as a family during Advent

Our Activity Advent – 33 things to do as a family during Advent

I was talking on instagram stories he other day about out family advent calendar for this year and I how instead of just toys & chocolate we were going to be filling it with activities to do in the lead up to Christmas. I really want our Advent this year to be full of magic and sparkle and to make some memories our little family will treasure forever and this felt like a really lovely way to do it. I have made an advent calendar using an over the door shoe hanger and some gold stickers and filled each of the pockets with places to go or things to do. They range from making Christmas cards and movie days to visiting Father Christmas and trips to some our local festive attractions. And because some of them will likely happen on the same day, I’ve added a few more than 24 to fill it out.  I also want to teach Florence the importance of giving and of helping those less fortunate than us so as well as crafts and days out, I’ve added some acts of kindness to our activity advent too.

Traditions

Decorate the Christmas tree

Have a Christmas Photo Shoot – See Florence’s first Christmas photo shoot here 

Write & send Christmas Cards

Wrap presents together

Days out

Visit Father Christmas

Christmas at Bedgebury

Leeds Castle Christmas Market

Christmas at Kent Life

A trip to see the Reindeer at Knole Park

See Frozen II at the cinema

Christmas shopping day

Go on a Christmas Light Hunt

See a Christmas show / pantomime

Go to the Church Nativity

Days in

Have a pyjama day

Set up a home Christmas Cinema with popcorn & treats

Build a blanket den and decorate it with fairy lights

Crafts

Snowman paper plate

Decorate a Christmas tree cone

Christmas Crackers

Salt dough tree decoration

Do you wanna build a Snowman? Play dough

Make gifts for friends

Make a Christmas collage

Bakes

Reindeer Biscuits – Recipe here! 

Christmas tree cupcakes

Festive jam tarts

Decorate some festive biscuits

Christmas mallow pops

Acts of kindness

Donate a toy to a giving tree

Buy an extra Christmas dinner for a local family

Pay a visit to a local nursing home to spread some Christmas cheer

Donate to the local children’s ward

We’re only on day 2 and our Activity Advent calendar has gone down a treat with Florence already. She can’t wait to wake up and find out what we are all up to tomorrow.  Follow me: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Recipe: Rudolph the Reindeer biscuits

Recipe: Rudolph the Reindeer biscuits

I’m back with another festive bake this week and this time I am revisiting an idea I first made a number of years ago. Florence has been asking to make biscuits a lot lately and frankly I’m not all that good at making them but […]

Recipe: Cranberry & Rosemary Camembert Sharing Wreath

Recipe: Cranberry & Rosemary Camembert Sharing Wreath

Forgive me if you’re not quite ready to think about Christmas just yet, but I’ve found myself feeling particularly festive over the last week or so. So much so that I’ve already started teaching Florence Christmas songs and watching Christmas movies each afternoon. The tree […]

Some exciting news for Dotty Fish (Please vote for them!)

Some exciting news for Dotty Fish (Please vote for them!)

I am really excited to be able to share this news with you today. You all know how much I champion independent brands and I am thrilled to announce that one of our favourite small baby brands has been shortlisted in the Amazon Small Business Awards. Dotty Fish is a small family run business founded by mum of two, Helen who along with her dedicated team designs and makes beautiful soft leather baby shoes and lightweight rubber soled shoes for toddlers. We are huge fans of Dotty Fish here and over the last couple of years have built up quite a collection of their shoes. Florence’s first ever shoes were these adorable daisy shoes (see my review here) and William made his Dotty Fish debut in perhaps my favourite design they’ve ever made – the rainbows!

I am honoured to have had the opportunity to not only showcase some of the beautiful designs right here on my blog in the past but to also to be able to share with you the Dotty Fish story through my interview with Helen today.

Tell me a little bit about the yourself & the Dotty Fish team. 

We’re a family run business with an amazing team. We design and make soft leather baby shoes and now lightweight rubber soled shoes for young children.  We are passionate about babies and toddlers wearing shoes that are not only beneficial for their foot health but are also affordable! Our shoes are developed with growing little feet in mind and are the next best thing to bare feet. Made with soft suede soles, they help feet develop naturally.Image preview

Where did the inspiration for Dotty Fish come from?

When my son Joshua was under a year old, he was given a pair of leather baby shoes as a gift, I wanted to buy him some more as I loved them, but they were very expensive. I couldn’t find anything like them at a reasonable price. I decided to do some research to see if I could come up with a more affordable shoe! It all started in January of 2006 when “ShimmyShoes”, my first ever range of baby shoes was born!  I got a piece of paper out and started drawing some simple flowers and stars. These became our first shoes. Perfect Pansy is still very much based on one of my original designs. Cheeky monkey is one that has been around from the start as has King of the Jungle – I have photos of Josh wearing them all those years ago! This then developed into “My Twinkle Toe” shoes, then finally settled on rebranding as Dotty Fish. 

I’d love to know more about the journey Dotty Fish has been on to get from those first initial ideas to where you’re at now

I started off as a one-woman team running my small business from my home whilst being a mum, I turned my dining room into a stock room and started selling my shoes on eBay. The business then boomed, and my dining room was getting too small, there was stock everywhere!

I then turned my garage into a little warehouse, but even that wasn’t quite cutting it as we were growing so quickly… I purchased my first office space and started hiring staff, there’s now 11 of us working at Dotty Fish and we’re a little family. A slightly dotty office who drinks too much coffee and eats too much cake!

What does being nominated for this award mean to you?

As a small business, this award means so much to not only myself but all 11 of my colleagues as a company. We work hard and being shortlisted as a finalist for this award is a real big pat on the back, saying well done for all your hard work! It’s an honour to be a finalist, to know that a huge company like Amazon are recognizing our customer focus is such a compliment. We couldn’t have done it without the support of all our customers, this has been such a journey and we are so excited about what the future holds for Dotty Fish

If like me, you’re left swooning over their beautiful children’s shoes and have been inspired by Helen’s Dotty Fish story, you can vote for Dotty Fish in the Amazon Exporting Small Business Awards here

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JUST SO YOU KNOW…

I have previously worked with Dotty Fish to review some of their products on my blog & social media channels, however I am also a lover of the brand and own many purchased pairs of Dotty Fish shoes too. All opinions in this blog post are my own and I have received no payment (monetary or product) in return for this post. I really am just backing a brand I love. 

Hallowe’en memories & passing the magic on to my children

Hallowe’en memories & passing the magic on to my children

Hallowe’en. It is the marmite holiday of our time and people seem to either love it or hate it. Personally I love it as for me, it signifies the start of my favourite time of year. These magical few months It’s always been a big […]

5 Room on the Broom inspired play ideas

5 Room on the Broom inspired play ideas

After a pretty magical Halloween with my littles, I’m back with yet another Room on the Broom inspired post – this time I’m sharing some of our favourite ways to play out our favourite story. Dress up Florence dressed up as the Witch for her […]