Guest Post: WOOL IN SUMMER

Anne from The Wool Life gives us her view of wearing wool in the Summer months...

Warmer temperatures and longer days do not mean it is time to put your child’s merino wool into storage. It may sound illogical but merino wool is one of the best fibers for children of all ages in the summer. Here are my favorite reasons why:

  1. Temperature regulating: In warmer weather the wool fibers take moisture from the body and release it as heat, for a natural cooling and dry effect.  This makes it perfect for everything from sleep wear to active wear.
  2. UV Resistant:  Merino wool is naturally UV resistant with a SPF of 30+.  I am thankful for any reason to avoid lathering my child in sunscreen.
  3. Odor Resistant: Because merino wool wicks moisture away from the skin, is fast drying, and is naturally antimicrobial is does not allow odor to develop. That means it can be worn often with fewer washings.
  4. Comfortable: A lightweight merino layer (17-18 microns) is lighter than a cotton t-shirt and super soft for sensitive, delicate skin.
  5. Easy to wash: Although it does not require as much washing as other fibers it is easy to machine wash or hand wash and dries quickly.

Merino wool keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold; it is the perfect year-round staple! So whether your taking your newborn for their first outings, spending your days at the beach or in the mountains, or just running errands around town merino is the perfect choice!

 

 

Read more →

Dadding it...

In honour of Fathers Day, We thoughts we'd ask some of our Favourite Smalls Dads to sum up Dadding it ...Happy Fathers Day! 

Russ, Father of three Daughters...and Smalls 

Being the dad of three girls is a gift I could never have imagined. Their love of family, life and fun is infectious and constantly amazes me. Today is Fathers Day - every other day of the year for me is Daughters Day!

 

Will Greenwood, Sky Sports Presenter, Rugby Legend and Father of three 

Dadding it for me is all encompassing.  My time on the Rugby field and in the commentary box has certainly been easier than wrangling my three beautiful and charismatic children. Becoming a Father for me was a heart-aching journey. “We lost Freddie 6 months into Caro’s pregnancy, we wouldn’t have met Professor Mark Johnson if not. Archie wouldn’t be here without Mark, fact. We made a vow to support him in any way we could when he arrived. Mark founded Borne and asked for our help. We did not need asking twice.”

 Since then dadding it for me has been full of belly laughs, Sunday sport, bedtime cuddles, and climbing the odd mountain for Mark Johnson.  Without doubt my biggest teacher has been Matilda.  She’s’ connected me to what it means to be a parent, and now with my wife Caro launching her blog to raise awareness for her needs as a child with what has been described to us as a “spikey profile”, I am bursting at the seams with pride. 

 

Richard, Dad of twins, CEO and founder of Surrogacy with confidence.

EJ asked me to write about dadding-it in honour of father's day.  Who would have thought that I would be a dad! Definitely not me!  As a gay man living in London for many years it was the furthest thing from my mind and yet here I am, celebrating our 4th Fathers' day with our twins.

To me Fathers day is all about recongising how much my life has changed and the journey that I have been on to get to this point.  Having that responsibility is huge but actually recognising it is even bigger. 

I mostly feel that I have no idea what I'm doing when dadding-it.  I look at so many other parents and wonder how they've got it all together, but then again maybe they're all thinking the same thing!!

What I do know is that I have two amazing children, who every day make me smile. They're funny, actually, they're really really funny, how can a 4 year old just have such a wicked sense of humour - especially when they've done something or seen something that just tickles them and the belly-laugh comes out.  Just makes me smile thinking about it.  Listening to them talking every night after lights-out about stuff is frustrating as they should be asleep, and yet it's amazing!  

I always remember my son one night when we drove home late, he woke up as we got him out to the car and he looked up and just said "stars".  He'd only ever seen them on the TV or read about them in books - never seen them in person.  It made me realise how much we start viewing the world again through new eyes.  Things we take for granted on a daily basis are things that they have never encountered and how we then frame that moment can form their assumption on it for life.  So I make sure I grab that moment and make them love it.

I'm not the rough and tumble kind of dad my husband is the one who gets muddy, hangs out in the sandpit or just is the "fun dad" but, do you know what, I'm ok with that; I'm the one that sets the boundaries and has the frameworks, the one who castigates but also cuddles.  I tell them every single day that I love them to the moon and back.  I always ask them how much do I love you and their reply of "so much" or "as big as a mountain" just bursts my heart and I want them to always remember they are loved beyond words.  Being a dad has taught me unconditional love, they really can do nothing that will make me love them any less.  I don't really think I can say that about anyone or anything else in my life.

Making the decision to go through the rollercoaster of surrogacy was the best decision I have ever made as frankly being a dad is the best thing EVER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more →

SPRING SKIING: PACKING TIPS

Originally written for Little London Magazine;  By EJ Adam 

We have three ski bunnies’ ages 13, 11 and 8. They are all better than me!

Of course with our eldest, we were out on the slopes with him as soon as we thought possible…which was obviously way too soon, because we were clueless over eager first time parents!  Trying to teach a two year old to ski in plastic skis with a scary clown printed on them is generally not advisable!

We have since become more sensible with each child as they reach the right age to ski. 

Max (13) and Ben (11) started off having private lessons when they were really little (3-4). However, Grace has never had a private lesson and has subsequently learnt to ski in the ski school groups from the age of 4.  We realise 3 was probably a little too soon to be out on the baby slopes. Max is however quite the demon skier now! 

As far as where to ski, everyone has a favorite place and ours is Lech in Austria. Despite having tried out many ski resorts (lucky us!), Lech arguably has the best ski school in Europe and is a fantastic place for kiddies to learn to ski (…and me when I was 25).  It is also stunningly beautiful!  Most of the people I know that have been there always go back…we’ve been going back for over fifteen years!

 My husband even dragged us over there when Grace (our youngest) was just 9 weeks old.  To this day she is still the hotels’ youngest ever guest!

Our Favourite Hotels in Lech

Knappaboda

Rotewand

Plattenhof

Auriga

 Top Tips:

I think my top tip overall would be packing…with three kids I am slightly obsessed with travelling as light as possible and we still look like we are moving house when we go skiing!

  • Two pairs of ski mittens are essential because they always get one wet within 30secs of going out in the snow. I say mittens because they are much warmer, you can also add merino liners for extra warmth.
  • Base layers – of course our superfine non-itchy merino Smalls are the perfect moisture wicking base layer for skiing…our kids live in them when we are away (and when were not!) – they even wear them to bed…. and they don’t get smelly, promise!
  • I try and pack one t-shirt for every two days (and the same for socks ) then one Smalls merino base layer for every five/seven days– that way you’re not laden down with gear
  • Also in the evenings they don’t need much, even for going out to dinner, but try and take a spare coat for going out at night so the ski one can dry overnight.
  • Bright coloured ski outfit so they are easy to identify on busy slopes
  • Sunscreen
  • Lucas’ Papaw ointment for chapped lips
  • Hire your skis the night before…. its chaos in the morning - this is my husbands most important piece of advice
  • Use the ski schools because the kiddies can make friends, and it’s also a little bit of safety in numbers
  • The physical dressing of your little ones
    • I do a Smalls base layer, long sleeve for winter or Raglan for Spring skiing or both if its extra cold!
    • Then fleece if needed, then ski-jacket, because they do end up standing around a lot when they are little. That’s why merino is so wonderful, it regulates your body temperature, whether you’re inside or out, drawing moisture away from the skin to stop you getting cold when standing still.
    • I try and put a bandana around their neck as they are good for just about everything – but my older two now usually pull them off!
    • Smalls 24 Trouser obviously essential! They can wear these on the slopes, then run around in the hotel THEN sleep in them…I know this to be true, because my son Ben did exactly this for ten days straight one year!
    • Merino socks are amazing as well because they don’t smell and are ultra warm (I wore mine to the summit of Kilimanjaro!)
    • Helmet and liner, our Smalls snood is actually the perfect liner, you pull ti up over their head creating the perfect all over liner and snood – I wear also wear a helmet and Smalls snood, its more about people skiing around you not how good you are
    • Goggles - whatever you want, we usually go cheaper because they always lose them or stand on them with their ski boots!
    • Hats are more for the evenings as they are always in a helmet during the day.
  • Kids pocket essentials – sweets, lip salve, sunscreen, tissues and the obligatory 10euros for lunch, which will always be unhealthy.
  • Always try and spend some time skiing with your kiddies, regardless of how painful it is for your lower back…they will be forever grateful and it makes for great memories.

 

 

Read more →

Sleep Like a Baby in Wool

 

There is a myriad of information out there for parents, we are especially bombarded with products that will help our babies sleep/eat/possibly even make them brainer (!!)...well....after six kids (that's three each) and having tested out numerous products, Cat and I can easily sort out the marketing gumpf from the real deal. 

...and when it comes to sleep...theres NOTHING better than wool...and it is scientifically proven!  This article from @campaignforwool sums it up perfectly.

Source:  Campaign for Wool

Well, it looks like science has finally proven what wool aficionados have been saying for years! Wool really does make for a better night’s sleep! Read on and find out why wool is perfect for newborns and children.

Studies undertaken by the University of Sydney monitored the temperatures, restfulness, and total sleep time of 8 volunteers using wool, cotton and synthetic bedding in a long term investigation over 3 years. Sleepers were found to sleep significantly longer with wool, waking up less frequently in both hot and cold environments. In fact, all the sleepers preferred wool – only 30% of babies cried when sleeping on wool, compared with 67% on cotton.

What exactly is it about wool that is so beneficial to sleep quality? The consensus seems to be related to the way wool adapts to temperature and moisture. Unlike cotton or synthetic textiles, wool fibres naturally form pockets of air, which allow it to act as an insulator without sacrificing breathability – that is how the same fabric is used to wrap up warm for winter, but also by Bedouins in the Sahara desert to keep cool in the searing heat. This makes wool ideal for babies to snuggle in without getting too hot!

This same structure also allows wool to still act as great insulation when wet – in fact, wool can absorb 30% of its own weight in moisture without even feeling damp! This is great for your baby, and quite nice for you as well! By naturally wicking moisture away from the skin, wool keeps babies dry and comfortable through the night, promoting a long, restful sleep.

There are a handful of other incidental benefits to sleeping on wool. The texture of the fabric offers an inherent softness that you don’t have to be a baby to appreciate. As well as making it cosy and comfy, the use of wool and sheepskin underlay was also found to reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers by more than half!

As if that wasn’t enough reason to tuck your little one into wool tonight, the textile has been found to be naturally hypoallergenic – meaning that its structure is resistant to bacteria, mould and mildew, vastly reducing the risk of illness.

All Smalls are perfect for sleeping in, we know because thats exactly what our own children do every single night of the year! I have recently bought a wool duvet from Marks and Spencer and some amazing pillows from The Wool Room - I have actually slept better, being a hot bodied sleeper (!)  Ive found I am not overheating at night at all anymore.  There you go - the proofs in the pudding.

Shop our swaddles for the perfect newborn sleep solution.

 

Read more →

OUR SUSTAINABILITY STORY IS OUR STORY

“It’s all about changing traditional perceptions of wool and the way we wear it...also, about buying less and choosing well, to quote Vivienne Westwood!”
Cat Pharo, co-founder, Smalls

SMALLS launched in Selfridges July 2014 with a mission to make wool cool for kids again. But that wasn’t our only mission. How we made Smalls, and the values behind it were and remain as important to us as the finished article.

‘Slow Fashion’ is at the heart of everything Smalls do. ‘Slow’ to us means buying less and choosing well. We create gender neutral merino garments that have genuine longevity and traceable provenance, all the dots carefully joined, from farm to fashion.

In 2015 and 2016, our passion for wool, its sustainable benefits, and the brand we are building has been increasingly lauded, with Smalls winning:

  • Smallish Magazine Awards Best Eco Brand 2015, 2016

  • Little London Awards Best Product, 2015

  • Junior Magazine Best Activewear. 2015, 2016

  •  Angels & Urchins Runner Up Best Nightwear/Underwear 2016 

Subsequently, with the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales and the ‘Campaign for Wool’, Smalls was honored to be named 2015 ‘Incrediwools’.

www.campaignforwool.org/2015/09/02/say-hello-to-the-incrediwools

When we say our ‘sustainability story’ is our story, we don’t say it lightly. Here’s three happy reasons why:

1. SMALLS ARE RESOURCEFUL

Smalls are made to last, to be handed down. Merino only gets better with age so what you wear on top can change season to season but as a stylish basic Smalls can take you through years of wear.

Kids Style Junkie Suzanne Peters believes “...every great outfit starts with Smalls” Karen Walker leading international designer says of her Smalls “we’re loving them

and using them daily!”

What’s more after years of use, if you do end up retiring them, they are fully biodegradable in weeks.

“Smalls really are multipurpose garments that replace a lot in your child’s wardrobe. The subtle pops of colour make it perfect as a base layer as much as a stand-alone garment.”

Emma-Jane, co-founder, Smalls

2. SMALLS ARE RESPECTFUL

We only make Smalls from the wool of “happy sheep”. That way, those happy sheep keep on growing their lovely woolly goodness.

Smalls therefore use only ZqueTM 'ethical wool.' Zque is a distinctive merino wool fiber category that includes a sustainability accreditation.

To earn certified ZqueTM qualification, the start-to-finish production cycle is assessed on equal merit with quality of the wool. This includes: stewardship of the sheep herds, traceability to the source, environmentally responsible practices, and socially progressive mandates.

Smalls ZqueTM Merino comes from New Zealand and Australia.

Zque Animal Welfare: Surpassing the minimum standards set down by the New Zealand Animal Welfare Act of 1999, providers of ZqueTM wool must demonstrate a long-range plan that seeks to enhance the health, welfare and productive capacity of their sheep.

3. SMALLS ARE RE-IMAGINING

There’s never only one way to approach the production chain. But because there’s a right way, Smalls are made in Fiji.

We strive to support smaller communities and countries that produce high quality garments in excellent working conditions. Be it in Europe or the South Pacific, we can trace our merino right the way back to the farms where it’s produced. We can identify which sheep herd we have to thank for the Smalls keeping our little ones snug.

Our Zque wool providers must promote the social and economic welfare of their employees and their communities. This includes working collaboratively for a stable and sustainable pricing structure.

Smalls – Happy underneath it all

Thanks for listening.

Read more →