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William’s 1st Birthday Party & Christening

William’s 1st Birthday Party & Christening

With Florence’s 3rd birthday coming up next week, it dawned on me that I hadn’t written up William’s first birthday party. Considering he turned one in February, it would appear I’ve been slacking a bit! I think probably a combination of chaos in the lead […]

The Yellow Fields

The Yellow Fields

I’ve lived in this town my entire life. I spent my childhood playing out with friends in the fields and the cul de sacs. I know the secret path ways, the short cuts, the hidden quiet spots. And yet earlier this week we stumbled upon […]

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. 

How we Potty Trained Florence in 7 Days

How we Potty Trained Florence in 7 Days

We ventured onto the Potty Train about 8 weeks ago and while it started off okay, we ended up putting on the brakes as Florence was just getting super stressed out and I figured she just wasn’t ready. This time around I took a bit […]

Recipe: Gruffalo Cupcakess

Recipe: Gruffalo Cupcakess

As I type this, we are on the road to a little weekend away. It’s been such a long time since we went away just us, and it’s the first time we’ve ever taken William so I’m hoping for a truly special weekend of making […]

Cloth Nappy Diaries : Going full time Fluff

Cloth Nappy Diaries : Going full time Fluff

Back when I ordered those first three newborn nappies from Baba + Boo I had all the best intentions but if I’m being totally honest, I didn’t think I’d stick with the whole reusable nappy idea. The constant need for washing and reported long drying times just seemed too much for a busy mum of two demanding small children. Little did I realise what a kick I’d get out of reaching for a cloth nappy over a ‘disposable’ each time William needed changing. I had no idea the satisfaction I would feel every time I filled our washing line up with pretty patterned pockets and freshly cleaned inserts knowing that simply using those the day before meant that I’d saved a bunch of nappies ending up in landfill and clogging up our planet.

I am now the proud owner of 12 BTP (Birth to Potty) nappies from a combination of brands – Baba + Boo, Bambino Mio & Cloth Baby Bums (Gifted). Most I’ve had brand new, but I’ve also got a couple of second hand ones too. While it means washing a bunch every day until I complete my stash, William is more or less in cloth full time with the occasional disposable saving the day when we run out. Over the next few months I’m hoping to build my stash to around 25 nappies which will mean I can get down to washing every 2nd / 3rd day but all the time the sun is shining I don’t mind washing over night and drying during the day. And because I can pop them in with a normal wash load I’m not really increasing my workload – just keeping more on top of the laundry than I ever did before!

We seem to have the current fit sussed now so we have very few leaks etc and they just seem so much comfier than single use ones and I’ve been teaming them with just a T-shirt in this hot weather to keep William cool. Even Sean – who was such a sceptic! – has come around to the idea now he’s seen that even the poop really isn’t a big deal.

I’ve had so many people comment on William’s nappies and how lovely they are. They’ve opened up so many conversations about the impact single use nappies have on our planet, not to mention our bank balances in the long run! A couple of friends have even asked if they could borrow one to try out before they make the commitment to buying their own which I’m always happy to help with. After all, every wear of a reusable nappy means one less ‘disposable’ being chucked out and impacting our environment!

The whole switch from single use nappies (which by the way are made from about 50% plastic!) to cloth has been way easier and rewarding than I imagined it would be and I’m so glad I made the change.

Are you using cloth nappies with your little one? Or are you just not sure?

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Florence, Now you are TWO

Florence, Now you are TWO

Hey little girl, It seems like Mama’s fallen a bit behind on all the birthday bits on here. I can only say that it’s because we’ve been super busy celebrating you turning two over the last few weeks and I just haven’t had a second […]

All Aboard the Potty Train! : Day one of potty training

All Aboard the Potty Train! : Day one of potty training

There we have it, day one of potty training complete. It wasn’t planned but when we woke up to yet another day of rain keeping us indoors it seemed like a sensible time to do it. And so we did. I started the day making […]