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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.