Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas Past

Christmas has almost passed and whilst we are all still wrestling with the remnants of leftover turkey and mince pies, arguing over who has to eat the lonely Quality Streets left languishing in the tin(in our house, the green triangles), Little Swans are taking a moment to reflect on a peaceful and happy holiday period.

In a nod to this season's "Christmas Jumper" trend, Milo was decked out in his reindeer jumper (courtesy of cousin Ruby) and coordinating Little Swans bib.  In the image above, Milo is bidding farewell to his seasonal friend, Mr Polar Bear, who lives at the Osterley Garden Centre.  He will be much missed.  To be honest, with Milo's increasing mobility I think it's for the best.  He is inches away from mounting Mr Polar Bear and attempting to ride him around the indoor plant section.

Continuing the festive tradition of novelty jumpers, is the need felt by many parents to dress your child in fancy dress.  Whilst I love the idea of fancy dress, the reality of it always leaves me running for the nearest super market.  In this instance, the "orange" one.  There are better pictures of him in the whole outfit, but I'd like him to still talk to me when he's older...(P.S. He was a star).

Well, at least for now, he still has a smile on his face.  I'm sure he loves it really...

Love from,

Little Swans

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Winter Blues

This week we're all experiencing the start of the winter weather at its worst. Cold, rainy and blustery. Perfect for a day spent inside by the fire (or central heating). We've spent our rainy days baking cookies, painting christmas canvasses for gifts and finishing our felt stockings.

To warm your cockles, here are a few of our favourite "winter blues" Little Swans of London waterproof-backed bibs and toy catchers, all made in Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabric.

All of our bibs and toy catchers are available to buy on, priced at £12.75 ($20) for bib and toycatcher.  Gift wrapping is included for all Little Swans of London items.

Love from,

Little Swans

Swans Sympathising with Santa

As Christmas Eve approaches, spare a thought for the big guy...If those lovely Louboutins don't appear under the christmas tree, not to mention a beautiful Bayswater, don't feel resentful, look at what the poor fella has to contend with:

Milo with Father Christmas at Osterley Garden Centre

"Merry" Christmas Everyone!

Love from,

Little Swans

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Cookies

Being stuck for ideas for the Christmas gifts for friends and family, this week I enlisted the help of my one year old in the kitchen to make Christmas Cookies for all to enjoy.  The "nicely browned" cookies were neatly diguised with some effective icing!

Merry Christmas!

Love from,

Little Swans

Sunday, 11 December 2011

What Lovely (Nor)Folk!

Going back to my roots this week with a visit to my birthplace of Norwich, Norfolk.  Whenever we visit the area, we have a wonderful sense of homecoming.  The opportunity to shop in relative peace in the fantastic Chapelfield Shopping Centre and even better are the ludicrously tempting Lanes, which house myriad independent retailers, selling high fashion items, art, jewellery, shoes, cameras and the best fish and chips this side of Anstruther!  Indeed Norwich truly is a "fine city".
Just outside of Norwich, lies the village of Taverham.  Here lies a hidden secret amongst crafters: Taverham Garden and Crafts Centre.  (  The garden centre is wonder enough, chocked to the rafters with every garden implement imaginable.  As my father noted whilst there "That's the best selection of bird feeders I've ever seen!".  Now, if ornithology's your thing it's clearly the place to be!
On the same site as the Garden Centre is a treasure trove of other craft shops.  At the front of the site (with its own dedicated carpark - parking is in abundance here) is Saffire Chocolate.  I was won over by the smell, the innovative chocolate designs, the ludicrously reasonable prices and most of all the warmth of the welcome we received in the shop.  All of the chocolates are made on site and production was stopped for baby M to have a sample (which he licked and promptly rejected and I, most benevolently, helped him out...).  An armchair sits in the shop encouraging you to settle down and enjoy the ambiance of the shop, or perhaps make your purchase and have a few "testers" before leaving.  I obliged.  Well, it would've been rude not to...  For more information contact Saffire on:

If you know me, chances are you'll be enjoying saffire chocolates for Christmas.  You lucky things...  (We fell for the 16cm diameter Happy Holiday chocolate wreath, boxed, for £6.50.)
Round the corner, dotted around the carpark (as I said, lots of parking) are the main craft shops.  Sew Simple offers a world of sewing related products, from crochet to knitting, to quilting, to ribbons, to threads, to buttons, to other bits.  If you can sknitch it, you can buy it here!

Next are the two shops that were my undoing.  Firstly a visit to The Kitchenary Ltd left me much lighter of pocket, but also full of dreams that indeed I am able to master any of Nigella's christmas recipes.  In fact, what the heck, I should actually write my own recipe book!  Why not, I have all of the tools!  (Thankfully, whilst I am delightedly working my way through all of my goodies, I have also regained a sense of normality and aware of my limitations).  The Kitchenary housed more cake decorating goodies than I had EVER seen.  Every shade under the sun!  I also loved the fact that you can hire out cake tins.  What a fantastic idea!  The ladies of The Kitchenary are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and will spend time ensuring that you are able to access the correct products enabling you to become the next Delia, or Nigella.
The Kitchenary are the suppliers of the Little Swans of London "Swan" cookie cutters that are included in the Little Swans of London "Cook Together Sets".  For more information on The Kitchenary, contact them on:
Next door is Country Corner.  I'm sure I've mentioned before that ribbon is my weakness, particularly grosgrain ribbon.  No idea why.  I just love it.  I also love East of India's ribbon.  Imagine my reaction, therefore at finding a shop that housed nothing but East of India products.  Amazing.  The shop is beautifully presented and the pricing is, once again, incredibly reasonable.  If an East of India product that you desire isn't currenlty available, they will allow you to have a nosey through the suppliers catalogue and will order the item in especially for you.  Outstanding service!  Whilst there, I stocked up on cards for various occasions that may, possibly, happen in the coming years...
So, if you are in the area, fancy a day out, or love ribbon/ chocolate/ ornithology as much as me, check out Taverham.

Now, where did I put those Saffire chocolates...

Love from,

Little Swans

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Little Swans of London on Sale!

Little Swans of London are delighted to announce (to the sounds of trumpets!) that our Little Swans items, made using Liberty of London fabric are now on sale at

Whilst we are just about resisting the urge to splurge on our own products, we have been incredibly impressed by the ease which with we were able to register with and just how fantastic this website is for Crafters and Cottage Industrialists everywhere. 

I must thank my Twitterati @peggycollection and @lucyaliceporter for their "virtual" and encouragement in getting online with

See the link below for a quick link to Little Swans items for sale at

We currently have two styles of bibs with toycatchers, and our "Heavenly Headbands" for sale.  We will be listing more items in the next few days.

Love from,

Little Swans


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Pink To Make The Boys Wink

We weren't sure if we'd shared these fabrics with you all before...They're worth seeing twice :) all images are of Little Swans products made using Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabrics.

The reverse of our bib, showing the waterproof lining and metal popper fastening.
Note also, the hidden seams.  Seamless... ;)

P.S. At our 2011 Craft Fairs, our Liberty of London waterproof bandana bibs will be on special offer at £9. each.  Bargaintastic! 


Little Swans

Hair Today, Gone...Never!

Trying to find an innovative, individual, gorgeous and stylish stocking filler...that won't be cast aside by Boxing Day?! Then Little Swans may have the answer!

Heavenly hairbands, fully covered with Liberty of London Tana Lawn purple or red and green "Pepper".  Our headband covers are sewn, not glued, and all seams are completely hidden.  The bands are adorned with a mini Gaga-esque bow.
For those of you with longer hair, we also have a range of hair bobbles, covered with Liberty of London fabrics.  The bobbles are displayed on a greetings card, ideal for sending at Christmas, for birthdays or as an innovative Valentine's Card, to show you really care!

Email us for more details and to order.  Headbands are £7 and "Bobble cards" are £5.


Little Swans

Monday, 28 November 2011

Little Swans Are Busy Bees

Making the most of family time is at the heart of the Little Swans' ethos.  This may mean we have to sacrifice quality time with the sofa, but it does mean we can share with you some of the fun we've enjoyed together this week.
Milo in his JoJoMamanBebe Coat (sleeves rolled up) and hat (gift from Aunty Mel and Uncle Richard)

Stocked up on canvasses from Tiger, Little Swans set about creating a masterpiece.  Using a chubby paint brush, his hands, and elbows to cover cover the canvas.  With a glint in his eye, Milo looked straight at me, dipped his paintbrush in the blue paint and popped it straight in his mouth.  Reminiscent of an 80s Culture Club tribute act, he appeared to enjoy the taste and seemed very pleased with himself.  We have proudly displayed the final product on our hallway wall.  Milo was clearly so encouraged by this, he continued his creation along the walls, sadly minus the canvas...

Creating a masterpiece and eating paint
Making the most of the final days of autumn, we visited Cliveden House for a walk in the grounds and lunch in the Orangery.  In our pre-baby days we enjoyed afternoon tea in the House.  Sadly, bone china tea services and one year old boys do not mix and we had a wonderfully relaxing lunch far from precious antiques!  Our walk in the gardens allowed us the chance to forage for fallen foliage for the christmas Women's Institute wreath making workshop we are looking forward to this coming week. 
Milo and Daddy walking on the autumn carpet at Cliveden House

The week also afforded Milo and I precious time to visit one of our favourite singing groups at the local baptist church.  Hullabaloo takes place each Friday and, whilst the seemingly endless supply of cake and coffee is reason enough to attend, I'm always taken aback by the warmth of the welcome that the volunteers extend; not to mention the warmth of the hall on a cold and blustery day. 

Baby M has been rather poorly this week, so our crafty time has been somewhat limited.  However, we have made the time to continue our preparations for the upcoming Craft Fairs in Norwich and Richmond. 

Special Offer at the Craft Fairs: Waterproof Liberty of London Bibs: £9. each

We've also realise that we've been indulging in the perks of the job a little too freely as we realised, walking up the stairs, that we've been wracking up the Liberty of London scarves!
Now, we must leave you to tend to the family we've enjoyed so many outings and experiences with this week.  We wish you well until the next time!


Little Swans

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Autumn Days Are Almost Over

Milo, today, wearing one of our Liberty of London Tana Lawn "Chive" waterproof bandana bibs.

As we hurtle towards Winter and begin preparations for the festive period (some of us have already begun!) we look back at the autumn that paved the way...
Weather wise, we're all enjoying a particularly mild autumn.  My husband and I were musing this week that the end of November last year saw snow in many parts of England, yet this year we've barely begun glove season! 
Little Swans have enjoyed an autumn that has seen us developing innovative items to add to our 2012 catalogue.  We have enjoyed visits the length and breadth of the country, from Lancashire to Essex, looking for new materials and inspiration for our products.  We have taken great pleasure in the launch of our blog and have made many new friends via Twitter.  (Are you following us yet? @littleswans_)
We have been as busy as the bears stocking up for hibernation, as we build our supplies for the coming Christmas Craft Fairs.  Our Richmond Fair (Christ's School, Richmond, Thursday 15th December 3:30pm -6:30pm), looks to the best yet, with stalls stocking a variety of products from jewellery, to knitware to baked goods, not to mention stunning art work and Christmas Cards.
For the New Year, Little Swans hope to bring you an online catalogue of products, to enable friends of Little Swans to purchase and order bespoke items online.
In the meantime, if you would like further information on any of our products, or would like to order items to be delivered to the lucky recipients in time for Christmas, please email us at:

We look forward to hearing from you,


Little Swans

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String...

Little Swans of London take the greatest care to ensure that all of our packages are beautifully presented, hinting at the luxury beneath...

The package above, wrapped in Cath Kidston red spot wrapping paper, was destined for a yummy mummy-to-be on the day of her Baby Shower.  Enshrined within, was a Little Swans of London 'On The Go' change bag and mat in Cath Kidston red spot and cowboy, with coordinating waterproof bandana bib and toy catcher.  Perfect for a scrummy mummy who never sits still, off to the park to walk the dog, or nipping into town to meet friends for a quick coffee.

We have a limited number of 'On The Go' bags in Laura Ashley duck-egg blue spot and also in Union Jack oil cloth.  Please contact us via email for details of pricing.


Little Swans

Don't forget...Christmas Fairs, December - Norwich and Richmond, Surrey.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Little Swans in London

Little Swans set off exploring London this weekend, with a whistlestop tour of the Transport Museum in Covent Garden.  We began our tour in the cafe (to make a coffee pitstop) and were so impressed with the fact that, firstly, the cafe was empty, secondly there were high chairs and thirdly, there were baby change facilities.  Perhaps I should give London tourist attractions more credit!
Milo loved exploring the various vehicles in the museum, from old Routemasters to new Routemasters, the Museum was busy with young children all keen for the chance to drive a London Bus (queuing behind the Dads keen for the chance too!).  Even at twelve months old, Milo had a fantastic time watching the trains, the tube and the trams, not to mention crawling from bus to bus.  In honour of the transport theme for the day, Milo was decked out in his Little Swans tractor bib.  Perhaps we need to source some fabric with Routemasters, or the tube map?!

After the Transport Museum, we made our way past Leicester Square to Carnaby Street, enjoying the troop of Mods on Vespas (not a cliche, there were about 50 vespas!) and made a bee-line for the third floor of Liberty of London.  The Haberdashery department is now housed next to the Liberty of London department, which has a fresh selection of items all perfectly displayed for the Christmas shopper in a variety of the most beautiful Liberty of London fabrics.  I loved spotting all of the Little Swans favourites, from Pepper to Eloise.  I was very excited to see a new colour of the Pepper fabric in stock...Sadly for him, Milo missed a browse of the ribbons in Liberty, as he was tucked away in the land of nod behind his Little Swans pram blackout, completely oblivious to the haberdashery heaven on the other side!

We ended our day sitting in St Paul's churchyard, in Covent Garden, sipping on a latte and munching on a red velvet cupcake from Sweet Couture, Covent Garden.  Laden with buttercream icing, with the perfect hint of vanilla and chocolatey loveliness, it was the icing on the cake of a perfect family day out! 


Little Swans

PS Less than a month until the Norwich Craft Fair at St Andrew's Hall (10/12/11).  See our earlier blogs for more details!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Liberty of London Loveliness

Loving Liberty and Little Swans

Liberty of London has long been a favourite hidey-hole of our's just off London's Carnaby Street.  The trademark tudor black and white beams, bowed staircases and intricately carved wooden lifts welcome you into a world of luxury.  Housing a gluttony of designers, sadly far out of my post-baby pocket, we can waste many an hour in the top floor Haberdashery.  From buttons to ribbons to fat quarters...we fall in love.  Therefore, when it came to designing accessories for Milo, we relished in the opportunity to flaunt the florals! 

Find images below of some of our 2011 fabrics, which are currently in stock.  We will be selling these items at our Craft Fairs, as well as taking orders via email.

Our drawstring bags and bibs are lined with waterproof fabric and our bibs fasten with metal poppers.  Our toy catchers faster with velcro to enable a swift swap from toy to toy.  Having both worked with young people and children throughout our careers, we feel duty-bound to add that babies and young children must not be left unattended at any point with a toy catcher.

We welcome your feedback on all of our products and look forward to receiving your emails requesting more information.

NB We use a 'Vignette Blur' effect on some of our images.  Our fabric is not blurred.

We look hearing from you.


Little Swans

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

On The Go Change Bags

'On The Go' Changing Bags in oil cloth Fabric

After Milo was born, we struggled leaving the house with bags sized to take the kitchen sink.  We found that the bigger the bag, the more we took!  Having a trendy changing bag with a variety of compartments and cool bags, not to mention mobile phone holders and cappucino cup holders, is great in theory and ideal for being at someone's home, but a quick walk around the park doesn't usually necessitate a wheely bag with a fortnight's change of clothing! 

From here our 'On The Go' Changing bags were born.  Made in stylish and durable oil cloth fabrics, we also offer a limited edition range in either duckegg blue spot, or Union Jack oil cloth.

We needed bags that were wipe clean, shower proof and sized for a change mat, couple of nappies, wipes and all the bare necessities a carer on the go requires!  Worn across the body, so that access to the bag was much easier and less strenuous on the shoulders, the bags look fashionable and don't scream "Mummy on the Move"!

See our images below for the 'On The Go' bags in Union Jack oilskin, lined with a matching canvas.

On The Go Change Bag, £20.
Please email us at: for more information about any of our products, or check out our online shop, follow the link to the Little Swans Little Shop!

Are you following us on twitter yet?  @littleswans_


Little Swans

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Autumn Days...

Yet another wonderfully indulgent craftacular of a weekend afternoon, spent making autumnal wreaths after a supermarket sweep of Lavenders of London, Isleworth, fuelled by mugs of hot tea and flapjack.


Little Swans

We Made Here!

Look what we made here, at We Make Here in Ealing!

Hidden away in leafy residential Ealing lies the studio of artist and teacher Claire Palfreyman.  In addition to the locations in Fulham and Open Ealing (Ealing Broadway), Claire's Ealing studio provides the base for both day and afternoon workshops in craft.  Claire also runs 6-week courses in craft, from screen printing to lino printing.  If, like us, you're not able to commit to a long-term course but still have a desire to learn new skills you can choose from paper cutting (think Rob Ryan), fabric printing, cross stitch and much more... Let's cut to the most important part here though...the afternoon courses include the most delicious of afternoon teas! 
Arriving at Claire's studio, we immediately felt comfortable and welcome and after being given a walk-through of how to achieve the fabric printing process, we were given time and inspiration to conceive our own creations. 
Both my friend and I being Mothers to babies, we relished the chance to have some uninterrupted time to indulge in our love of craftiness.  We were greatly relieved by Claire's tongue-in-cheek attitude to craft, banish from your mind any ideas of ladies sitting around making doilies or macrame hats, here we are encouraged to embrace an ironic approach to craft.
Claire's afternoon courses start at £40. which (especially as they include a scrumptious homemade afternoon tea) are an absolute steal.  Classes are a maximum of 6 and are ideal for christmas gifts, mothers' day, fathers' day, birthdays, baby showers and (a pole-free) Hen party!

Find out more details at or tweet Claire @wemake here


Little Swans