Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Party wear launch party online goodie bag

Celebrate the ilovegorgeous party wear launch party weekend with our online goodie bag full of offers!

It's our party wear launch party all weekend and to celebrate we are giving FREE UK standard delivery and FREE UK returns on all ilovegorgeous online orders this weekend from 9am tomorrow until 9am Monday morning.

What's more, we would love to give you something from other fun companies that we love. If you can't join us in person, we don't want you to miss out, so we have collected some special offers for you to enjoy online all weekend too (and some you can enjoy for even longer)...

Little Puggle

Little Puggle are a fantastic arts and crafts company for children that we wrote a blog about last week.

They are offering all ilovegorgeous customers 20% off your first craft box. Simply enter the offer code: 'Puggle09' at the checkout to claim this offer.*

*This offer ends 31st October 2012 and the discount does not apply to Little Puggle boxes sent in subsequent months.

Little BU nail polish

Beautiful water-based nail polish for little girls in gorgeous colours that go perfectly with our autumn/winter collection. Little BU are running a competition to win a Little BU trio. All you have to do is email with the subject line: "Little BU competition", together with your address and a contact telephone number to enter. Competition ends 9am on Monday 1st October 2012.

Childs Farm

Childs Farm make lovely skin and hair products for children that are 'as natural at the countryside'. Their products are mild and gentle and free from parabens, mineral oils and artificial colours.

All ilovegorgeous customers can receive 20% off their orders until 15th October 2012 when you enter the offer code: 'LOVE'

Toyella offer gorgeous and unique toys and games from around the world for children up to the age of 8 that focus on traditional play and interaction. Winners of the Junior Design Awards 2012 and set up by Carl Shaw, father of 3 young children, they understand what children love. Their toys are beautifully designed and built to last for generations. 

Toyella are giving all ilovegorgeous customers 10% off everything - simply enter the offer code: 'ELOVE' at the checkout. Offer ends 31st October 2012.

Indulge in some me-time! The lovely ladies at Cowshed are giving away one of their signature 60-minute pedicures at their Clarendon Cross Spa in London to one lucky parent.

Simply send an email with the subject line "Cowshed competition" to with your postal address and a contact telephone number. Competition ends 9am Monday 1st October.

Please note, your details will be passed to Cowshed for them to add to their newsletter database. If you do not wish to receive their newsletter, please state NO NEWSLETTER in your competition entry email. The prize must be redeemed by Wednesday 31st October 2012.

We hope you enjoy some of the things in our online goodie bag and enjoy shopping from the ilovegorgeous autumn/winter collection too with free UK delivery and returns all weekend.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Gorgeous cupcakes from Crumbs and Doilies

Having your own cupcake shop sounds like a dream job to us, although we would probably find it very hard not to eat them all! 

We asked Jemma Wilson, co-creator and creative director at Crumbs and Doilies about life and cupcakes...

What inspired you to start Crumbs and Doilies? 

After getting into baking as a hobby I got myself a job as a cook at Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market, baking and cooking in the small cafe. As much as I loved it there, I knew that I couldn't go any further up the ranks as it was such as small team and by that time, aged 27,  I really wanted to be working for myself. So I set up a market stall in Brick Lane's Sunday UpMarket and began selling cakes, cookies, brownies, tray bakes and cupcakes. This was in 2006, when cupcakes were a relative novelty, so people tended to favour the cupcakes over everything else so eventually I stopped baking everything that wasn't a cupcake and Crumbs and Doilies was born. The name came to me while sorting my room out and I came across the hand crocheted doilies my mum's great aunt had made and I was suddenly struck with an image of the remains of a cake all over them - Crumbs and Doilies!

What's a typical day in the life of Crumbs and Doilies? 

Everyone gets in very early to start baking for the day ahead. Masses of buttercream gets made, lots of cupcakes get baked and decorated. Everything is boxed up and sent out for delivery and then there is usually more baking to do for big celebration and wedding cakes, or large orders which need very early delivery the next day and for any latecomers that slip in at the last minute. Then everything gets cleaned and tidied, which is obviously the worst bit!

What are your favourite flavour cupcakes?  

My personal triumph is our Cinnamon Toast and our Buttered Popcorn flavours, both of which I dreamed up and managed to make taste exactly as I had dreamed them. The Cinnamon Toast flavour actually has toast crumbs in it! And the Buttered Popcorn as real popcorn on top. They look and taste amazing!

What's your secret to creating the perfect cupcakes? 

Practice! All ovens are different, all equipment, ingredients and methods will produce different results. So it's really important to play around and write things down! I really believe that the better quality your ingredients, the better your cupcakes will be. Which isn't to say that you should always buy expensive or organic, though many of our ingredients are both of these things, but rather to know that your ingredients are good quality by finding out how and where they are made and then experimenting with them to see if they make a great cake, not just an ok one.

Where did cupcakes originate from? 

They are definitely from the US though we did have our own version back in the day, the fairy cake, which is less decadent, shallower and has less icing on top. 

What's the most unusual/exciting cupcake request you've ever had? 

It would have to be to produce 10,000 hand iced cupcakes in very specific colours to eventually create a mosaic image of a cherry blossom tree. It was all filmed for a Japanese TV show and was displayed at a shopping centre in Leeds.

There was also an order for 1000 pieces of cake which we had to make look like sushi. We delivered them in sushi boxes complete with chopsticks!

What would you have been in another life?

I always wanted to be a singer or an actress or a TV presenter. But instead I went to art school, dropped out to focus on being a bartender (even though I am tee-total!), discovered a love of baking and just dived head first into a world of cupcakes. These days, karaoke is enough to satisfy my performance craving. That and working on the market stalls.

Crumbs and Doilies will be providing some of their delicious cupcakes for everyone coming to the ilovegorgeous party wear launch party this weekend, so you can try them for yourself. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Our favourite jam tart recipe

This is our favourite jam tart recipe - we hope your gorgeous girls love them. Let us know how they go... 

Ingredients - makes 12 tarts: 
175 g plain flour
80g butter
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
approx 50ml water
Jam (US:jelly) any flavour
Icing sugar to decorate

1. Mix together flour, salt, sugar and butter (cut into small pieces). Rub the mixture between your fingers till the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs.
2. Add the water (bit by bit) and knead the pastry gently, forming into a ball. Pop it in the fridge for about 1 hour.
3. Grease a 12 hole shallow tart tin. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface (about 3-4 mm thick).
4. Using a large cup or pastry cutter, cut out circles and place into the tart tins.
5. Fill each tart with about 2 heaped tsps of jam.
6. Bake in a pre-heated over at 200C for about 15-20 mins.
7. Allow to cool then sprinkle with a little icing sugar.

Decoration ideas: 
Why not try cutting out small hearts from left over pastry and placing on top of the jam before cooking or sprinkle icing sugar through a heart shaped stencil once cooled.

Tarts should ideally be eaten by gorgeous girls whilst wearing our Queen of Hearts dress

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The creative people at Little Puggle

Little Puggle is a subscription service, which delivers direct to your door an exciting box full of high quality arts and craft kits and fun activities for children aged between 3 and 7 years. Little Puggle was founded by busy working London mums, Karen Chu and Rox Holohan. We asked them to tell us a bit more about themselves and the things they love...

What inspired you to start Little Puggle?

As busy working mums we often experience frustrations trying to balance work with being hands on, active mums to small children. We both love spending time with our kids doing creative activities but found we didn’t have the time to shop for inspiring, good quality arts and craft kits.

After listening to each other’s grumbles and those of fellow mums we were inspired to start Little Puggle which would take the hard work out of finding top notch arts and craft kits for kids.

 What's a typical day in the life of Little Puggle?

We have different themed boxes, from princesses to transport and animals, so we spend time sourcing exciting, new, fun and creative products from around the world. We are fussy so this can be time consuming especially when we are searching for niche, unusual products.

Our products are road tested by little testers so we talk to them or their parents to find out how they’ve got on.

One of our favourite parts of the day is developing new activity themes for our Little Puggle boxes. We are currently working on a superhero and Halloween box.

A crucial part of the day is overseeing all the packing and posting of our little Puggle boxes, each one is packed to meet each child's preferences – it’s almost a bespoke service so we have to get it right.  

What's your favourite craft activity?

Anything with lots of colours or sparkle is sure to brighten up our day! We also like sand art and we’ll often blog about our favourite activities. A current winner is Carddies, it’s hand drawn scenes to colour in – delightful.

What are your top tips for creating with little ones?

Keep it simple, let them take the lead sometimes and don’t meddle too much. It doesn’t matter if your end product looks nothing like the picture on the packet.

Children learn so much through creating and will talk about it for days so try and give them a free rein.

Invest in a plastic tray to keep everything in one place.

What's your favourite thing to do when you're not working?

Karen - Right now, looking after a newborn whilst renovating our home, seemed like a good idea at the time!

Rox – Watching my sister on the trapeze, going to a gig and having a great day on the common with my family.

What would you have done in another life?

Karen and Rox both agree…

Become a mother earlier!

Listened to our mothers more!

Little Puggle will be providing fun things for our goodie bags at the party wear launch party next weekend and they will also be offering ilovegorgeous customers a discount on all online orders over that weekend too. We will feature all the party weekend offers in a blog next week - there are still some tickets left, so make sure you book yours soon and join us for a fun day.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The story of Little BU

We asked Patricia Haimes, founder of Little BU nail polish to tell us a bit about what inspires her, what her typical day looks like and a few of her favourite things.  

What inspired you to start Little BU?
As a true city girl growing up in New York, manis and pedis were always a weekly ritual to relax and catch up with friends. On one occasion, I started to realize there was an influx of sweet girls having their nails painted with traditional nail salon polishes. Their faces would light up when their colour was applied, and I thought I could replicate this experience with a safe, non-toxic alternative that also offered them lots of fun and trendy colours.

What's a day in the life of Little BU?
As a new mum I’ve learned how to organize my personal and professional life so I can enjoy both. On a typical day, I’m greeted by my son’s beautiful smile at 7:00am and I get him ready for his day. By 8:30am I’m already working until I take a break to exercise and clear my mind to manage stress. The day takes many turns but there are typically vendor meetings to review the latest product developments, sales calls to secure retail outlets and creative meetings to brainstorm new ideas. By the end of the day I make sure I have some special time with Grayson before he goes to bed. Then I do a bit more work in the evening.

What's your favourite Little BU nail polish colour?
I love Little BU in Sofia, a rich purple with a touch of magenta shimmer, which is a part of the debut collection. I also have a soft spot for it because it was named after my eldest niece! 

What's your secret to choosing the colours of polish?
The creation of our Little BU colours is based on the seasonal runway trend reports coupled with instinct. I’ve worked in the beauty industry for over fifteen years and I’ve had a tremendous amount of experience with colour forecasting. However, the most important ingredient to our creation is that each shade has to be reviewed and approved by the girl it’s named after!

What's your favourite thing to do when you're not working?
I’ve always been a kid at heart, and since the birth of my son, Grayson, I’ve been able to tap back into the little girl inside. When I’m not working, just spending time with him playing, exploring and going on adventures is such a pleasure!

What would you have done in another life?
I’m already happily living another life as leaving New York three years ago and moving to London wasn’t on the original life path I had planned! Now I have a life I hadn’t initially dreamt which includes my main focuses: my husband, Grayson, and Little BU. I’m just excited to see how it all further develops!

Little Bu will be providing polishes for our party wear launch party goodie bags and we will be running an online competition with them that weekend to win a 'Little Bu trio' for ilovegorgeous customers. We will let you know more about that very soon... 

Don't forget to book your free tickets to our launch party weekend for you and your gorgeous girl soon as they are going fast. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Junior Magazine's top picks from our autumn/winter collection

We asked Linda McLean, Fashion Director at the children's style bible Junior Magazine, for her favourites from our new collection and here are some of the pieces she picked out. 

You can see all her top picks in our Junior Loves section.

"ilovegorgeous really come into their own for the Christmas season with all the parties and events that happen. 

Firstly, there are all their gorgeous coats which really make a statement and fur collars to add for great party styling like the red fur collar below.

Every little girl will love these party dresses to dance and twirl round in and will want to be wearing them all the time. The shapes are flowing and the fabrics have shimmer and shine.

The neon pink jeans are also a great buy as neon is one of the top colours for the coming summer season and they're perfect for a more tomboy party girl. I also love the new satchel in pink to accessorise with them."

We are running a competition with Junior Magazine to give away five free subscriptions. All you have to do is post a photo of your gorgeous girl wearing something from our new Autumn collection on our Facebook page by next Saturday 15th September. Five photos will be selected at random to win a free subscription.

If you're not one of the lucky winners, they are also offering all ilovegorgeous customers a special subscription offer of 3 issues for £1.