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Ella Loves Local – Louise from Two Little Ducks

Ella Loves Local – Louise from Two Little Ducks

As the Mother of a girly, little girl it is a no brainer that we love hair clips. Sparkly, bows, bright colours. We have so many of them, and over the last three years have spent a small fortune. I probably need to admit that I have a secret love of them myself, and whilst I don’t normally wear them anymore, you can bet that if you come knocking on my door you may find me with a few bows in my hair after a dress up session with Ella.

That said, bows can be expensive. Really, really expensive. I love Ella wearing gorgeous things but there is a line that I won’t cross in terms of affordability and practicality. That is when I stumbled across Two Little Ducks on Instagram. They have recently launched their new range of gorgeous bows in a range of colours for an amazing $4 each. Yep $4. They also sell other beautiful products – childrenswear and decor. Here are some of our favs…

This beautiful tutu…

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These divine baby blankets from Jolie Petite Chose..

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These colourful and affordable bows..

 

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It was with great delight then, that I met Louise, the Mother hen behind the brand (not that Hens and ducks are related…wink, wink). With a background in childrenswear and buying it was always going to be a sure thing that Louise, also a Mother, was going to do well and connect with her followers.

Louise is one of those people who you want to do well. She is just lovely and genuinely wants to help other Mums purchase affordable clothing for their little ones. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her as you read how she came to start her business….

1. What inspired you to start Two Little Ducks

Starting an online business had been a dream in the making for some time. I love fashion and of course baby and childrenswear. I am a Mum of 2 children, Lucas & Grace, hence the name “two little ducks”.

After the birth of my 2nd baby, I decided that there was no better time than the present to jump in head first! Grace was born in July 2014, and shortly after this I started buying my stock (mostly while she slept!). It took several months to get the website and everything up and running, and by November 2014 Two Little Ducks was live!

I have worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years as a Fashion Buyer and Developer. I wanted to utilise the buying skills I had to source lovely product for Mums, babies and toddlers that were both affordable and not too mainstream. I also wanted to try my hardest to support local, small Australian businesses where I could.

Despite being a relatively new business (only 4 months old), Two Little Ducks has really moved forward, and I have just had to employ my first person to help with the packing and distribution of stock!

2. How do you juggle business and family?

When you have your own business, it is very hard to switch off at times. I do most of my work while my baby sleeps, or at night after the children have gone to bed. My husband is a wonderful help to me as well. It is great to bounce ideas off him and get his opinion. Some days it is crazy though!!

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

My proudest moment was when I received my first order! It was a little doll, and was sent to Canberra. It’s a time I will never forget, as at the time all I could think was “I’ve just spent all the money I saved for my maternity leave, what the HELL am I doing????!”

I also feel really proud when I receive lovely emails and photo’s from customers telling me how happy they are with their Two Little Ducks product and service.

4. What has been your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was trying to get my business up and running, and do everything by myself with a newborn baby, no sleep and a VERY energetic 3 year old boy!

There were definitely some long, stressful days wondering if I had made the right decision. What product would I buy? Would people like it? What if no-one bought anything? What am I going to do with all this stuff?!! I invested most of my maternity leave savings into the business which was exciting, but stressful at the same time!

5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?

When my business first went live, I was so nervous, wondering how it would go. I remember reading a quote from Emma Watson on one of the days were I was really doubting what I was doing.

She was quoted saying “In my moments of doubt, I’ve told myself firmly: If not me, who? If not now, when?”. It was like it was meant to be! So I made the decision to jump in head first and worry about the rest later!

I think it is important to get out of your comfort zone.

6. Three words that describe Two Little Ducks…

Classic, Unique, Affordable

7. What’s your favourite current product in your line?

I love our leather moccasins which are handmade in Brisbane by a label Mosov. I try where possible to support Australian, local businesses. They are made with the softest, beautiful leather and made entirely by hand.

Our Lulu & Milly collection is also just gorgeous. Lulu & Milly is an Australian small business run by 2 friends, Amanda and Jasmine,. They are based in Melbourne. I hope they do a boys line soon!

I feel really lucky to be one of the stockists of these lovely labels.

8. Pay it forward to another local business. Two Little Ducks loves…

Jolie Petite Chose is a beautiful Melbourne label run by Mum of one, Jodie Baud. We stock their divine baby blankets which are not only soft and snuggly, but perfectly on trend and affordable for those stylish Mums and bubs out there. We can’t keep up the orders, with many people buying them as gifts for new babys, or for baby shower gifts.

Jodie also hand makes beautiful baby mobiles, which are the most amazing keepsake. I was lucky enough to be given one of these mobiles as a gift when Lucas was born, and I hope to pass it down to my grandchildren one day.

As you can see, her passion is palpable. Get on over to her store to buy something for your child, or for a special gift for a loved one. Here is my Ella, loving her navy bow. It looks divine with her gorgeous red hair!

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Remember to #shoplocal and #supportsmallbusiness

kate

Ella Loves Local: Angelique from Howi

Ella Loves Local: Angelique from Howi

Final-1_03It’s with pleasure and pride that this week’s ‘Ella Loves Local’ profile focuses on a new, up and coming kids’ clothing brand, Howi. Created by Angelique, a local Melbourne Mum, whom I have also known in my ‘other life’ as a Primary Teacher. I simply love it when new Mums find a gap in the market, and take the plunge to fill it themselves. Angelique’s enthusiasm is palpable in the way she has tackled this new venture, and I really think she has hit the mark when it comes to her ideas.  For those of you who, like me, love to trawl through Instagram and discover fabulous ideas for dressing their little ones, you will be rewarded by following her and the unique ideas and innovative designs.

Here are a few snaps from her new range…

Introducing the ‘flip’ pants. Two sides, two patterns. Simply genius…these Sky High flips are my fave…

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and these ‘Rock Out’ flips are pretty cool too…

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These crew jumpers are ‘way cool’…

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and you’ve gotta love a snapback..

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So here is Angelique’s story. A stylish Mum, wish a new, stylish brand!

1. What inspired you to start Howi?

Having two children myself, a boy aged 1 and a girl aged 3, I found it hard to find stylish clothes for my children that fitted 3 criteria that matter to me. That they be unisex, affordable and most importantly ethically made. And so Howi was born! I have so many talented friends that have their own business so i thought with my love of fashion and my determined nature, why not start my own business too! It was a long process to get it off the ground and there were many times I was going to give up but being a strong role model for my children and showing them you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it inspired me to keep going.

2. How do you juggle your business and family life? 

I have a ‘no technology’ rule when I’m around my children. This makes it hard but it’s so important to me that they know they come first and don’t loose their mum to a phone or ipad! When they have their naps or have gone to bed at night it’s my time to focus on Howi.
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3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

I would have to say my first sale. When I got the email to say I had just made a sale I opened a bottle of champagne with my husband! Just to have that confirmation that others were appreciating what we were doing was so uplifting. I was lucky enough to also receive some fantastic feedback from the same customer the moment she received her new clothes (and yes, another glass of champagne was had at that moment too!)

4. What has been your biggest challenge?

Balancing my family life with my business life. With two small children it is very hard to get much done when they’re awake so I found myself designing, labelling, tagging, packing etc till all hours of the morning, usually until my youngest woke for a feed! It was then that I had to use my primary teacher skills and plan my days better so I had allocated time for everything!

5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and trust in what you’re doing. I found so many times I would look at someone else’s range and start doubting myself but I think it’s important to remember that if you love what you are producing then someone else will too!

6. Three words that describe Howi…

Original, fun, edgy

7. What’s your current favourite product in your line up?

I would have to say our ‘sky high’ flips. They’re reversible pants with a cloud print on one side and plain navy on the other. I absolutely love the print and the fabric is so soft. They are a perfect fit and they are a great trans seasonal piece. I love that both my son and daughter can wear them too!

8. Pay it forward. Howi loves…

Inkah Art Gallery. Jacqui is a local Melbourne artist and her artwork is absolutely beautiful. Really worth checking her out!

I just love her idea so much….here is my Ella rocking the Sky High Flips! I can’t take them off her!


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So get on board, support local and check her out her range via the website, Facebook and Instagram!

kate

Ella Loves Local: Andrea from Kapow Kids

Ella Loves Local: Andrea from Kapow Kids

This week I’m super thrilled to share the story of Andrea from Kapow Kids. I’m proud to say that I have been an avid follower and supporter of Kapow Kids right from the start. I’ve even been told by Andrea that Happy Ella After was the first to blog about the amazing behind her range, almost two years ago! Andrea defines what it means to be a local, talented Mum who has taken a chance to pursue her dream. She saw a need in the market, put her skills to good work and has put in endless hours of time and effort to produce beautiful kidswear and a business that has graced the pages of many parenting magazines, and blogs. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, here are some of my favourites from her range…

The famous Dribs (a dribble bib)! Her print range is infamous…

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Her amazing range of tees and leggings…I’ve bought the grey ‘Bat Crazy’ tee for Hudson waaayyyyy before he is big enough to even fit into it!

 

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handmade details…

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her new range of cloud pillows. I also got this one for Hudson’s room a while back. I’ve received so many compliments I’ve lost count!..

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It is my absolute pleasure to share the amazing woman behind this local business…

1. What inspired you to start Kapow Kids?

I was working part time in architecture after having a baby, but on my days home I needed something to stimulate my brain. So I decided to start an Etsy store with some kids clothing and accessories, as a hobby. A lot of my friends in architecture had Etsy stores selling jewellery or art so I thought it was about time I started a shop too. I never expected to be where I am today! We are now off Etsy and have a webshop but Etsy was a great place to start.

2. How do you juggle business and family?

We don’t have much outside help as Flynn’s grandparents work full time or are interstate.  When they do come over though, they often take care of Flynn so that we can pack orders. Having a home studio makes the juggle much easier as Flynn can play with his toys while I work on my computer or packing orders. My husband is really supportive of the business so he helps out a lot with the daycare drop offs and pick ups, grocery shopping and things like that.

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

Being invited to The Little Runway – Kids Fashion week. We’ve never ever done a runway show before, and never ever thought we’d be doing one, so its pretty exciting.

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4. What has been your biggest challenge?

Production. Its such a struggle. Trying to make enough stock to meet the demand has been really difficult. We have some lovely sewers (mums) helping us to produce garments but soon we are going to need a reliable manufacturer. Finding that manufacturer is the hard part. We love making everything here in Australia, but it seems like the next step will have to be overseas manufacture. We are having trouble finding someone here who can do what we need.

5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?

Im always advising other mums to start their own business from home. Its a great way to stay close to your children and be there for them, but still fulfil your own drive, creativity and ambition. My number one tip would be to master social media. Its a fun, easy and free way to show off your stuff and make lots of friends a long the way.

6. Three words that describe Kapow Kids..

FUN. BRIGHT. DIFFERENT

7. What’s your favourite current product in your line?

Ummm, the Bat Crazy Pillow case. I’m so in love with this bat that illustrator, Andrea Lauren designed for us. He’s so cool! A cool pillowcase is a great and easy way to make any kids room look cool.

8. Pay it forward to another local business. Kapow Kid loves….

Paperkrane! Im so in love with Paperkrane boots. Kate who designs them is such a lovely mum and her creativity shines through her shoes. So much love and care goes into the making of these boots, and they are really different, there’s nothing else like them out there.

So to view her range, support local and purchase yourself some super stylish threads for your kids, head over to Kapow Kids right now! I’m also running a giveaway to win two tickets to the Little Fashion Week Runway Show…simply head to Instagram and follow @happyellaafter for details on how to enter!

*Stay tuned next week for my profile on Talo Interiors

kate

Ella Loves Local: The Little Runway – Kids Fashion Week

Ella Loves Local: The Little Runway – Kids Fashion Week


If you follow Happy Ella After, then you know that I’m passionate about supporting local. Local businesses, local jobs, local ideas, local talent. There are so many amazing people , many of them Mums and Dads who have found their passions and talents and are taking a punt by sharing them with the world. The least we can do is support them. And so, Happy Ella After is starting a new venture – ‘Ella Loves Local’. This series will focus on just that. Supporting and showcasing local talent. Established and inspiring businesses and those just starting out. It’s my way of paying it forward, and giving a big old shout out to those people who are working their little buts off so that we may enjoy the fruits of their labour.
This week, I’m starting with ‘The Little Runway – Kids Fashion Week’.The Little Runway by Kids Fashion Week Limited, creates a platform where emerging and established local designers, industry creatives, fashion bloggers, retailers,buyers and fashion savvy parents can come together to celebrate the Australian children’s fashion and retail industries. This is an opportunity for brands to show their latest collections, to create brand awareness and to elevate the Australian Kids fashion scene into the spotlight.
The Little Runway has been designed to celebrate all things Kids Fashion with a strong emphasis on Australian designers and supporting local business. It is the first live fashion event focused exclusively on the children’s market in Australia, and is a celebration of kids fashion.
dan_1bI spent some time interviewing Danielle Larche, to get a glimpse into the ideas, hard work and passion that will celebrate local designers of childrens’ wear on September 10 this year….
1. What inspired you launch ‘The Little Runway – Kids Fashion Week’?
There are so many great kids labels in Australia – the designers in Australia have such strong collections here and are quite often given more recognition overseas than they are here. Kids Fashion Week’s have been running in New York and Europe and they receive a great response, and it is such a great event. Australia definitely needs a Kids Fashion Week of its own, to create a platform for children’s designers and creatives and to show the country – and the world the great collections we produce.
2. How are you all juggling family and planning such a mammoth event??
Thank goodness the event has AMAZING partners who share the workload! (they are so great they get capitals!) The Little Runway is partnered with the super talented Aver & Line photography – if you haven’t seen their work, look them up atwww.averandline.com.au! ,Along with Material Girl Pr, Ikonic Agency, Kerr Events and Bonnie Kay styling, who are all amazing and have done so much to bring their expertise to the event to make it a one of a kind.
We are all lucky to have amazing supportive families! I have a 7 year old and a 2.5 year old and they are quite often ‘helping’!
3. What has been your proudest moment so far?
I have just come back from Thailand with children’s charity Project Dovetail where we were working with some children and families who live in the slums and have little or no way to earn an income, which often means the children work to help the family live. We visited the families on Thai mothers day and gave them a washing machine and supplies so that they could start their own little business providing washing service for the tourists which will help them to provide for their family, so that the children do not need to work and they can concentrate on their education. The families were gifted a big tub of essentials and some educational equipment to help with the children’s schooling. The look on the families faces was priceless, and it is hard to believe that such a small gift can change the lives of a child and their entire family – really puts everything into perspective.I am really proud that through The Little Runway – Kids Fashion Week, that proceeds from ticked sales is being donated to Project Dovetail, and the support from brands with this is just amazing. Looking forward to being able to put more smiles on kiddies faces!
4. What has been / will be your biggest challenge?
The hardest thing when launching an event or a project like this is the initial launching stage. I have been watching similar events overseas for years and have watched their success and the wonderful things they do for people in the children’s creative industries and I know that it would be great here in Australia, but even still taking the initial step to go through all of the setting up process always makes you second guess yourself!
5. Three words that describe ”The Little Runway – Kids Fashion Week’?
one of-a kind!
6. What can we expect to see?
Nothing like you have ever seen before!
7. Pay it forward…who is on your ‘watch’ list?
My watch list is huge! There are so many amazing designers, creatives and creators around! I know you love to focus on local Melbourne so I will keep my list to Melbourne! (in no particular order!)
A Little Pocket – a young Melbourne designer who designs and makes her range in Melbourne
Chalk and Cheese – they have the most beautiful jackets – also designed and made in Melbourne
Kapow Kids – those prints – need I say more?! (Melbourne designed and made)
Tik Tok Junior – very cool clothes for kiddies (Melbourne designed and made)
Sunday the label (Melbourne designed and made)
Candles by Nikoletta – (Melbourne designed and made) – ok so these are not kids clothes, but they are amazing soy candles that smell amazing! I love candles!There are so many great brands that are designed and made locally. It is great to visit markets to uncover all of these gems! I admire everyone who has a passion and works hard to make the dream a reality.
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And with that, the Little Runway was born. It all takes place on September 10 in Melbourne. I’m thrilled to be attending, and even more thrilled to be able to give two tickets away so that someone and their chosen friend can enjoy a fabulous night out. To enter, you need to head over to Instagram and follow @happyellaafter.Thanks to Danielle for giving us an insight into Kids’ Fashion Week. We hope that it is a raving success! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the link here.
Stay tuned for another Ella Loves Local feature next week – the gorgeous girls from Talo Interiors.

kate

 

 

 

 

*Images courtesy of ‘The Little Runway Kids Fashion Week’

Friday Find: Target new kids’ range sale!

Friday Find: Target new kids’ range sale!

In the last few days, the temperature has cooled down significantly in Melbourne and that means getting out the warmer clothes. As we dressed Ella for day care a couple of days ago, we felt pretty bad as the jumper that fit her a month ago, now seemed a little snug. Same went for the other long sleeve tops in her drawers and we sent her off looking very fashionable in 3/4 sleeves.

So the day before her Birthday celebration, I set off to Target to find her some stylish clothes at a reasonable price. Target never fails to please as I not only found a new range in store, but they currently have 20% off kids and babies clothing and sleepwear. Score!

Here are a few things I picked up…

At $5 each, these neon stripe basics look super cute and will wear well!

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Ella is growing so tall, and these skinny jeans were a steal at $10

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This peach long tee with owl appliqué was gorgeous at $12..

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And finally, my favourite…for her birthday tomorrow this beautiful gold and white tea with ruffle heart. At $15 it is just beautiful!

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All together with the discount, this loot came to $42. A great investment for winter!

Get into Target for their sale today. You can find more information about the sale by clicking on the image below.

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Happy winter shopping!

kate

 

Friday Finds: KaPow Kids

Friday Finds: KaPow Kids

photo 4-2For the last few months, I’ve been following a gorgeous brand of childrens’ wear on Instagram! KaPow Kids have created colourful, bright and vibrant designs for funky girls and boys. Their use of simple shapes, unique patterns and durable fabrics have caught my eye, and with each photo they post, it makes me want to make an order! I contacted KaPow Kids to ask them about their products, and invited them to share their story with Happy Ella After readers.

Andrea Goulding  started KaPow in June 2013 as a bit of a hobby after becoming a Mum working part time. A lot of her friends had little creative handmade businesses on the side and she wanted to be a part of it too. She loves fashion, and dressing her son up in cool outfits, so she thought it would be a fun way to make a little bit of extra money. She enjoys using social media platforms, including Instagram and Facebook to showcase the KaPow products to fellow Mums. She does all the work in her home studio in Melbourne in between working as an architect. What a busy Mum!

In terms of the ‘KaPow’ name, she wanted something edgy that matched the style and branding of her products. Something fun and not too serious or cute. She loved comics and superheroes as a little girl (she was a tomboy). Hence KaPow! She says that people always smile when she tell them the name.

For the KaPow customised line – she begins with a few sketches and ideas of what the silhouette might look like. The drawing might be of something cool like a big bat, a cloud or a skull and crossbones. She then draws it in photoshop and prints out the stencil.  She chooses bright fun fabrics (in particular animal and geometric prints) and makes a prototype by appliqueing it onto a tshirt or leggings and chooses a coordinating embroidery thread to stitch it down. It takes some tweaking to get it right, and when she is happy, throws it into the wash to check it is durable. She then gets her 2 year old son, Flynn to wear it for a few days to see if its toddler proof!

Andrea says that she really likes the look of the embroidery thread (her mother in law gave me the idea – thanks Mary!), as it gives it a unique edge to other mass produced style applique tees and comes in such a beautiful range of bright colours. it is a long process but the final result looks beautiful. The fabric is pre-shrunk to avoid any issues when machine washing but as it is handmade, she always recommends customers handle their KaPow with care and use the gentle cool setting on their machine. She only make a few in each style so all the KaPow products are limited edition and have been selling out quite quickly.  This is something that I really love about KaPow. Your child will be wearing one (or two) of a kind!

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Andrea makes clothes that she would love to wear and that would like to see her son Flynn wear.  She has struggled to find clothes that are affordable, without labels plastered all over the front.  Girlswear is easier to find at a good price but she wanted to make clothes with a range of colours and patterns.  She loves bright funky geometric prints, so applies this same style to baby and childrens’ clothes. She often gets asked if she can make the clothes in mum sizes!

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I just love watching her range evolve, and seeing her creations each week. My favourite has to be the leggings with knee patches, and big heart on the bottom! That red jumper with the geometric heart, is also beautiful, and a great alternative to pinks and frills. KaPow is certainly a brand to look out for. Best of all, purchasing these products will mean that you are supporting a Mum who is trying to build a small business of her own!

To purchase clothes from the KaPow range, you can visit her Etsy shop here:

www.etsy.com/shop/kapowkids

You can also keep updated on Facebook: www.facebook.com/kapowclothing

And follow on Instagram by searching for @Kapowkids

kate

*Images are linked to the KaPow Kids Facebook Page!

Friday Find: Down That Little Lane

Friday Find: Down That Little Lane

This week’s Friday Find comes from a gorgeous company that keeps popping up in my Instagram Feed. It’s amazing how visuals catch your eye, the  beautiful homewares and clothes that Down That Little Lane  have been posting recently has certainly caught my attention.

According to their website, Down that Little Lane (DTLL) was created after Tessa White gathered unusual gifts and home décor and her friends were always asking for recommendations. She had lots of mini fist pump moments when they then bought those suggested products or someone asked her where she got the present that she bought their child as they wanted to buy one for someone else. She realised there wasn’t a one-stop shop to guarantee finding delightful gifts or home wares. Using the treasured places she spent many years sourcing, she gathered them all in one place where you can shop from all sorts of different stores and checkout in one easy payment. After becoming a Mum, my love of online shopping has exploded, and it’s even better to know that there is a great shop where you can purchase gifts for yourself, or for another friend or child!

Here is a selection of gorgeous items that have caught my eye…

A gorgeous bedroom with pops of colour…

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Always got to love a pom pom rug…

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Funky wall art and matching mobile…

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Another bedroom, am obsessed with that pillow…

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And finally my favourite. Possibly the cutest girl’s dress I’ve ever seen!

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All of these items are available for purchase and delivery from their website. My only warning to you is to give yourself some time to look through their beautiful products. There are so many!

Stay connected with Down That Little Lane through:

Their website: http://blog.downthatlittlelane.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Down.that.Little.Lane

Twitter: https://twitter.com/downlittlelane

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/downlittlelane/

& Instagram: http://instagram.com/downthatlittlelaneshop

kate

*Unfortunately at the time of this post, some of the above items are unavailable. Items that are available have the photo linked to the site available for purchase.