Little Miss I Want

Little Miss I Want Blog post Written by Fiona

A new arrival

Well you can only imagine my excitement when I felt it was the right time to start shopping for our new arrival, this was a whole new shopping world to me!

I left buying items for the baby until I was over the half way mark, I’d been caught out before and this time I didn’t want to jinx anything. The first thing I did was research everything and I mean everything even muslin cloths! I consulted my girlfriends and asked them what they had bought and what they found useful and what was a waste of money. Now you’d think I’d be in my element with my shopaholic tendencies but actually I felt like a rabbit in the head lights and totally out of my depth! So strange I never thought I’d have been so bamboozled with everything but the reality is there are a million things out there to buy and some of them are big purchases and you want to make sure you buy the right thing for your precious cargo your carrying.

A helping hand

I went with my good friend Sally to John Lewis in Birmingham and had a good look at the prams, car seats, furniture and other items I’d need and started to feel like I was a little more informed. The staff at John Lewis were fantastic and really patient with me especially when I wasn’t 100% sure of what I wanted. The one thing I found terribly frustrating in the whole process was that you couldn’t test out the pram, as in you are not allowed to put the pram up/down so you can see how it works. Obviously health & safety comes into it when you are eight months pregnant, which I totally understand but it was a big thing for me knowing if it would be easy to get in and out of the car. 

I’m a big fan of The White Company and bought a few things for the nursery from there. They have a section online in The Little White Company where you could download a Baby Checklist and this is what I used to make sure I was getting everything I needed and to keep me on the right track. I’ll put the link below for you. I spent hours and hours online looking at various options and finding the cheapest deals, you really feel like your constantly spending when getting ready for a baby.

I will write about what I bought for the nursery and other big purchases later in the blog but I wanted to focus on what I really used and LOVED during my first month’s with Rufus and finding my feet as a new mummy.

Aden + Anais Classic Swaddles

I knew I wanted to try this brand when I started researching into what to buy for the baby. This American brand is so popular, I do believe it’s used by Kate & Will’s for their little bundles of joy! These 100% muslin swaddles are such great quality, breathable, versatile and super soft to touch. I’ve also been able to use them in various ways too such as a tummy time blanket for Rufus, a pram cover when I’ve needed him to sleep when out, a burp cloth, nursing cover (the first few days) and of course I used them to swaddle Rufus in this moses basket. Fourteen months on they are still going strong and looking good, definitely worth the money.

Shnuggle Bath

One of my favourite purchases. This was so great to use with a new baby. Bath time was daunting enough in the early days so this was wonderful to use knowing he was safe and secure in his little Shnuggle. There’s a foam back rest that keeps your baby comfortable and cosy. A bum bump and anti-slip surface helps to secure the baby making bath time much more enjoyable for you. The clever shape fully supports new born babies and allows older babies to sit up and play.  I was so sad when he grew out of it!

Philips Avent digital dual purpose bath and room thermometer

Such a great thermometer to have both in the bathroom or nursery and looks cute too. This thermometer gives a reliable measurement every time, and is even safe for babies and children of any age to play with when they’re in the bath, which is good as it often ends up in Rufus’s mouth most days. 

Kit & Kin Eco Friendly Nappies & Wipes

If you are looking for echo friendly disposable nappies these award winning nappies are a must. I have used them from day one. Not only do I feel less guilty about what damage I’m doing to the environment (Did you know a normal nappy can take 500 years to decompose? Shocking isn’t it?!) I know that buying their nappies they are giving back to The World Land Trust so I feel like I’m contributing in my own small way. They also offer a subscription service which I’ve always used, I have found it so easy to use online. They are however now stocked in Tesco and Boots since I’ve started using them and have an array of other products including pull-ups which is great now Rufus is older. Also they have the cutest designs, who doesn’t love a baby with a bear bum?

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine

As I couldn’t breast feed Rufus after the first week I had to give him bottles of milk. I spent those hazy early week’s boiling the kettle, then sticking the bottle in cold water to get it to the right temperature and worrying that it wasn’t the right temperature. Not great at 3am in the morning. My husband came home one day with this prep machine and it was a revelation, I never had to boil a kettle again! I cannot recommend this enough to help out new mum’s, it makes your life so much easier. I’ve just recently loaned mine to my friend who is now expecting her 2nd child so she has one downstairs in the kitchen and one upstairs!

Calico Clouds Blankets

I found this little independent company on instagram and fell in love with them. All the blankets and fabrics of products looked so soft and cosy. As I was having my little boy in December I wanted to get him a lovely warm blanket for his pram. Leah who runs Calico Clouds is just wonderful, she makes all of these beautiful luxury blankets by hand and offers a bespoke service too. I have bought a couple for Rufus and his friends and they have been so versatile. I have used our blankets all year round, they have come with us to baby yoga, picnics, used for tummy time and taken on road trips. Not only can you find these wonderful blankets but Leah now stocks lots of other goodies on her website, I urge you to check them out.

Ewan The Dream Sheep

We love Ewan in our house. He has been a permanent fixture in the nursery or when we have been away. Ewan the Sheep is a soft cuddly toy with light and sound features, including actual womb and heartbeat recordings. We have used this since birth with Rufus and each night Ewan is turned on when Rufus is placed in his cot so he know’s its bed time. 

Braun Thermoscan 7 IRT6520 Thermometer

No question you have to have a thermometer. I have used this so much and so glad I had it. What I like about this product is that it has a colour coded display of green, orange and red so you know when the temperature is dangerously high. Unfortunately I’ve experienced this many times with Rufus, so I’m so glad I had this. 

Motorola MBP50 Video Baby Monitor with Large 5-inch Full Colour Curved Parent Display Unit 

So many monitors on the market to choose from but I ended up with this Motorola 5-inch. I loved that the monitor was so large so I got a good clear view of the cot and the baby. Other features include a remote pan, tilt and zoom providing a 270 degree view of your nursery in real time via the parent display unit. I found that this is also great to use at night with the infrared night vision capability. We also use the two way audio communication. This is also great so you can speak to your baby and they can hear your voice too! 

The Little Green Sheep Sleeping Bag

Another one of my firm favourites is this company. They specialise in providing natural and organic materials creating beautiful, long-lasting products that are free from chemicals. I have bought their sleeping bags, bedding and sleepwear for Rufus so he is always snug and cosy at night. They also make fantastic gifts too. The whole range is super soft and created with 100% organic brushed cotton, so its ideal for baby’s delicate skin. I just love them. You’ll also find a whole range of products for the baby and nursery on their website.

H&M Leggings

My friend told me about these and I need to share the love! These are so handy for your new baby. I bought so many of them over the first few months with Rufus and he looked super cute in them too. Easy to get on and off which we know is important! They come in a pack of 3 in various colours, a must buy.

Aden + Anais Serenity Star

Another fab product from Aden + Anais. This is a multi-tasking electronic sleep and feeding system. I originally bought it just for the time and to check the temperature of the nursery but found the feeding diary really useful in the early days. The unique feeding diary simplifies bottle feeding and nursing by allowing you to record the time feeding started and when nursing, to easily recall which side you last fed from. It also has a soothing sound machine and nightlight. I especially love the star design as it looks fabulous in our nursery.

5 Eco Friendly Baby Gifts

The 2019 spotlight is firmly on Eco friendly products so we decided to put together a little guide to try and help navigate the sea of plastic products. We are only just starting to see the devastating effect of the plastic boom we have created over the passed 50 years. It’s shocking reading articles educating us on how long most of these plastics take to degrade, some items over 200 years.

We have made a concerted effort where possible to start using Eco friendly materials in our products and packaging. We care about the environment and are making conscious efforts to reduce our plastic use, and recycle where possible.

We have put together a quick Eco friendly gift guild for some great ethically sourced, organic, non toxic gifts from some super small brands. (Not just our products!)

These are organic cotton handmade rattles, Crocheted  from organic soft cotton yarn then filled with ethically sourced wool.

The rattle has a ‘parent friendly’ sounding rattle inside. This adorable rattle will be great for teething babies and toddlers. Its bright colours, soft touch and rattle are great stimulant to help develop your babies motor skills. Fully washable, and chill in the refrigerator when damp to soothe sore gums. They also make great photo props!

Fairytale time just got real with this pretty Liberty fabric wand. You can even buy a matching crown. Thoughtful sustainable gifts made with 100% cotton fabric, and Beech wooden stems this biodegradable gift is Eco friendly and pretty cool. You can even choose a  hand embroidered initial.  Handmade in the Uk by Helen at The Little Red Fox. Each wand is finished with soft satin ribbons that help sprinkle magic as its waved around in the air.

This beautiful wooden stacking toy is a stylish Eco friendly gift. It’s a learning toy where little fingers will familiarise themselves with the texture of the wood and build and re-build the tower of rings. It’s a super sustainable gift made by Happy Little Folk Shop, and coated in a non toxic paint.

Who doesn’t want a portable wooden house, made from sustainable Birch wood and fastened with a vegan leather handle? Olli Ella have done it again making this gorgeous Eco friendly gift for little people, something that can be enjoyed for a long time. We have linked the image to We Are Pop which has a beautifully curated store, definitely worth a look.

Bursting with colours and sustainability is the beautiful Rainbow clouds mobile. Handmade in the UK by Little Nest box using wood, felt and cotton this little mobile is a super eco friendly find, and we think its utterly adorable.

My story

Hello, I’m Leah a mid 30’s middle England dweller, who started Calico Clouds officially a year ago. For the past 14 years I’ve been climbing the blue chip ladder in sales then business development. It’s been a blast, I earned a lot of money, spent some, travelled the world,  got married… then divorced… then 6 years ago my life took an unexpected twist, I was 29, at the start of a new relationship & over the festive month of December I lost track of opening my post, I finally got around to it on the 29th Dec only to find that I’d missed an urgent letter from the women’s hospital telling me to go to the hospital on the 21st Dec following my smear test results. Id opened my letter 2 weeks too late. I’d never had a call back from my doctors never mind a hospital visit, but as someone who takes health pretty seriously, I called them straight away. They said all the right things (giving very little away) and said ‘Leah, we have booked you in for 8.30am on the 4th Jan, that’s our first day back’ being pretty relaxed I didn’t over think it, after speaking to my best friend and Mum they both reassured that most women get a changeable cell thing and not to worry. Which of course I didn’t, I continued my New Year’s Eve party plans with my new boyfriend.


The 4th came around pretty quickly, I didn’t think twice racing out the door piece of toast in my mouth wondering how quickly I could get in and out of the hospital and back to work. My mum had given moral support and offered to come with me, but I had muttered something about being a grown up and it would all be fine.

I remember snatching a ticket from the machine at 8.22am, finally found a parking space and ran up to the towering big grey block building, thinking it looked more like a women’s prison than a hospital! but reminded myself its a happy place where babies are born. Whizzing inside finding the floor and room, I felt relieved sitting in the the waiting room at 8.29am tapping my foot promising myself that I would never be late again (again). I was called in promptly still slightly out of breath. I met the Doctor who explained who he was, and thanked me for coming in as early as possible, It didn’t really dawn on me the opening times of the gynaecology department, there weren’t any other people in the waiting room. The doctor then said ‘ The smear results weren’t very good, and they had found cancerous cells’. He used words like ‘this is very serious’, and ‘they are going to have a closer look at the lesion’ ‘But it’s ok we caught it early’. To be honest, I heard no words after cancerous cells, All the words after that just jumbled around inside my head like worms. I felt a pang at the back of my throat, and hot tears hit my cheeks. Was I going to loose my hair? Had it spread? Was I going to die? How has this happened? What is going on? I could see he was trying to explain but my ears weren’t working.  

The next thing I felt was the nurse put her hand on my arm and she pointed at the door confused I asked why and she replied back with sympathetic eyes and a soft voice that said ‘go change into a gown, the Dr just needs to have a look’. 

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I pulled off my clothes, my eyes were totally shot, and my chest and neck bright red, I just told myself they have made a mistake, I am totally healthy. I went over to the chair, and lay down, they put my legs up on those weird rests and I closed my eyes. 

The strangest part of the next 45 minute ordeal was that the Dr addressed the nurse with all his instructions and she then relayed them to me. It was as if he was speaking a foreign language and she was his translator! He tried to direct me to watch on the screen, but I just looked at the nurse when ever I could open my eyes, the pools of warm salty tears swirling in my sockets, mixing with Mascara to create a little more sting, but it nothing compared to the what he was doing. After fiddling and poking he said ‘Nurse there it is, do you see it?’ I blinked at her and watched her wince and then force a smile ‘It will be ok, your doing great’ she reassured. The Dr then announced ‘We are going to have to do a womb biopsy’ I knew then it was bad, he had obviously seen something, I just sobbed then for the next 40 mins, The womb biopsy with no sedative, the iodine rinse, the adrenaline with local anaesthetic which made my legs shake uncontrollably and my heart race, then the loop wire. I was given a pad to wear, and told to not have sex for 2-4 weeks, they would be in touch with the results. 

I left the room and called my mum, she told me very clearly to go straight home and she would meet me there. I don’t remember driving home. My mum found me curled in the dogs bed sobbing, she made me Tea, and gave me some pain killers and put me to bed. I think I woke about 2 hours later and explained what I had heard, Mum called the hospital and she they confirmed what I had told her and she booked another appointment for me (which I hadn’t done) 2 weeks away. 

In those 2 weeks, after initially telling the new boyfriend I had cervical cancer I didn’t hear from or see him, I blocked him out, I knew after he hadn’t rushed to see me after delivering the awful news he wasn’t a keeper. I later found out his mum (a nurse) had told him that I wouldn’t be able to have kids after having cervical cancer… so that was obviously over. I had been back to work, eat, sleep and repeat until the 14th day. 

Mum & I sat in the waiting room waiting for the doctor, we shuffled in, he repeated what he had seen, a small lesion on the outer side of my cervix, and that the cells from my smear had shown both skin and gland cells affected. He advised the next best course of treatment would be a cone biopsy, this would remove the area effected. As he wasn’t satisfied that the first treatment had removed them. He said that the results from the womb biopsy were fine, it hadn’t spread. He then asked when I would like the next operation, I looked at my mum and replied “tomorrow” he laughed and said “the next appointment was 3 weeks away” so I took it. I remember feeling like what ever this bad stuff inside me was, I just wanted it out. 

Three weeks later I was back, nervous, and relieved at the same time. The procedure was over in an hour and due to some complications during surgery I was kept in over night. I made all the ladies on my ward laugh, I was the youngest by about 15 years, it’s suitable to say I was totally mothered! The next morning after I’d come down from the drugs, I was told the surgery was a success, and that I’d need to go back in 6 months.

Since then I have had Smears at the hospital every 3-6 months. I’ve had 3 totally clear results in 6 years and dozens of inconclusive (which is my least favourite word!) if only one person goes and gets a life saving smear test after reading my story then it’s worth sharing. 

When I’m brave enough, I’ll talk about the aftermath, and baby plans… but for now I’ll leave it there. Thanks for reading Leah x

Monochrome Milk

The monochrome ensemble is upon us, seemingly timeless yet always relevant.  Design houses have reinvented the monochrome look in 2017 through simple contrasts and bold prints, finding power in the purity of strict black and white. So why not in our house decor!

Pick up a Monochrome milk blanket here at Calico Clouds, print credit goes to the wonderful Andrea Lauren, and the blankets are hand made in our studio here in the heart of Bournville.


Calico Clouds life in a lens

It has been a little while since I posted a blog entry, It gets very busy woking a full time job and finding time to start Calico Clouds, I manage the marketing, making and am the person reply to all the lovely requests, reviews and comments. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when people tell me they love their products from us. We found time recently to have a photo shoot of some of our products, we crammed it into a weekend, and the results were fantastic, I have added some of the pictures in.

I follow an account called Joy_of_plants on Instagram, and it made me pick this beautiful material and it has been greatly received by our customers, so thanks for the inspirations! Blanket Joy of Plants Succulent.

An absolutely huge thank you to Roger Shafi for his hard work, I truly learnt the saying about working with children was hard work!

Organic rattle and teething

What makes our organic rattle Organic?

We wanted to explain what makes our organic rattles so special and helps with teething

Parents love our organic rattle because they are made from organic materials, We wanted to explain what that actually means.

The organic rattle is handmade using a crochet technique, the yarn that we use while crocheting is 100% Organic. The organic rattle has a parent friendly shaker and is surrounded by organic lambs wool. We are very proud of our organic rattles they are each crocheted by hand.

We encourage parents to wash their organic rattles on a low wash cycle to avoid colour fade. We have even placed the damp clean organic rattle in the refrigerator so when in comes into contact with the sore gums its has a cooling soothing effect.

The Carrot organic rattle was a great photo prop for our family Easter photo shoot with baby George. Thanks – Clare (Norfolk)

Alfie loves chewing his pear rattle, and the rattle doesn’t annoy us either! – Lucy (London)

Custom Sizes

We have added custom sizes to the store. At the request of many, we can now make the blankets double the size. This has made some grown ups quite happy! Thanks for the picture Yolanda 🙂 enjoy Panda Panda!

New Fabrics

Just a quick update to let everyone know we have some wonderful new very soft fabrics in stock, Origami Bear, Pink Flamingos, Navy Clouds and Panda Panda are fantastic new editions to our range.

Pom Poms storm Rowheath craft fair

Not many things in life are guaranteed, But if you are a UK resident, you will concur that every year we boost our spirits high for sunshine on our last summer bank holiday weekend, only to be disappointed with rain!

The Rain however didn’t manage to damper our Spirits at Rowheath Pavilion Craft Fair. With copious cups of Tea, and a lovely live choir we raised the roof on Monday at Rowheath Pavilion in Bournville. It was a pleasure to meet some nice new faces. It was the first time we have launched the Pom Poms garlands, and were pleased to sell out on the day! They are proving a new trend and each pom poms garland can be custom made, available colours are Royal Blue, Turquoise, Emerald Green, Lime Green, Grey, Raspberry, Ruby Red, Mustard yellow and Purple, There are many colourful combinations to be made!

Woodland Friends blanket and Curious Mr Fox were amongst other popular sellers. Anyone familiar with the bournville traditions will know that trees are a familiar feature in the community. A lot of the local road names are after trees, like Oak Tree Lane, Acacia Road, Mulberry Road, and Beech Road. The Acorn and Oak leaf are also common features in sign posts and decorations around the village. As soon as I found the woodlands print, and saw the little acorns I knew that it would fit perfectly in the Bournville setting. I hope the Bournville babies enjoy their woodland blankets as much as I enjoy making them, and finding the materials. I always endeavour to select organic, water based inks, to minimise the impact on the environment, and maximise the quality and luxury to our consumer.

I will have to get my thinking hat on for Christmas ideas. We have some beautiful fabrics incoming for Christmas Stockings so keep a look our for our seasonal section!

Baby Checklist

Nine months may seem like a long time to get ready for a baby, but with all the excitement & panic! Sometimes we forget about the less practical things.

After enlisting some Mummies, we have completed a check list to make sure we covered everything you might need before your bundle of joy arrives!