5 Things | What #littlebirdbyjools Means To Me

May 2018

It is fast approaching 5 years since I bought my first piece of Little Bird By Jools clothing. I was with my mum in Mothercare Oxford and it was an broderie anglaise dress with flowery pants - little was I to know what this simple action was going to lead to over the next few years and I couldn't be happier that it did. With the shock announcement that Mothercare will be capping their clothing ranges at 4-5 from next season, signalling the beginning of the end of new Little Bird for Ivy, I felt it was the right time to jot down my feelings on the clothing, community and closure. Little Bird has been a very big and very special part of my life - at every birthday, every christmas, every holiday, every hospital stay, captured 'firsts', Ted's gender announcement and endless other important moments over the last 5 years, there is one huge common factor.

Here are 5 Things that summarise the importance of Little Bird By Jools to me:

1. Hope
Even this very first piece began to form the foundation of the sentimental value that we would attach to the brand. This outfit was bought in 6-9 months to stash for the following summer but by this stage, I already knew there was a chance Ivy would not make it to then. That dress allowed me to dare to believe she would be in it - just the same as the countless fans who found themselves at the Little Bird stands, buying for their own rainbow babies after heartbreaking losses. From that very instance, this becomes far more than 'just clothes' and the emotional support these teeny garments have provided for the most vunerable of parents is astronomical.

2. Let Kids Be Kids
In a world where the high street seems to think all girls must wear pink, boys blue and 8 year olds need to dress like adults, Little Bird have always been the leading brand in changing this. Despite all the other bright designers that have come onto the market since, Little Bird has remained at the forefront for colourful, retro children's clothes with that all importance unisex feel with no other high street store even beginning to match the brand's ethos. There are plenty of parents who do not believe in these frankly weird and creepy social 'norms' (glittery hotpants in Ivy's size are not ok Primark) that have been budgeted out of the indie/Scandi alternatives and Little Bird have been the only way to access the clothes they want their children to wear. With a previous background in fashion, this was a very important part of parenting to me, however superficial that sounds, as I have always cared very deeply about the confidence clothing has given me in every element of my life.

3. Sense of Identity
This in turn has lead to these children owning this brand. Ivy, as well as other superfans are known for her wardrobe in the real and a virtual world - she recieves endless compliments on the way she is dressed and I would never want that to be taken away from her. Her personality outshines any outfit I could ever put her in but I love her true colours being visible from the instant you meet her. I know one day soon she may not want to dress like this but from an early age she has had a say in what she puts on each morning and even now she's old enough to dress herself, she is still reaching for Little Bird every day and I genuinely believe she loves the way she looks. We have a comfortable stash of bigger sizes, which doesn't seem so crazy anymore! but it won't be the same as letting her pick new season outfits out for herself.

It has also become a strong part of my personality too. I, like others, am known as 'the Little Bird lady' in store and online (with a new found local friend realising she had read my Little Bird blogs long before we had the chance to meet!) Little Bird goes hand in hand with what's become my own 'brand' as it were, being centered around our love of all things bright and beautiful, though to me this is just normal life. The obsession with rainbows came long before Little Bird and the obsession with Little Bird came long before our online presence but it has provided me with the majority of our following. I never intended our blog to be anything but an online diary and yet Little Bird has been the catalyst to take this space on the internet to places I'd never even dreamt of and the opportunities that have arisen from it since are owed to you all.

4. 2017
The best and worst year of my life - I birthed by beautiful boy (who was in LB from day one of course) and my heart trebled in size at the same time it was being totally and utterly crushed by the uncertainty of Ivy's crippling illness, PLE. At some of the most traumatic moments of my life, Little Bird was there to keep me afloat. The day before one of Ivy's many surgeries over the year, I somehow found myself in Jools Oliver's house. What better a distraction from the agonising anxiety I felt in the lead up to hospital admissions than swanning around a Highgate house, scoffing sausage rolls, celebrating something I genuinely love. When Ivy was at her most poorly and looking far from the daughter I knew, she was personally chosen to feature in the Christmas campaign and out-shone every professional model there. Looking back at those photos fills me with so many overwhelming emotions but the greatest one is love. Behind that steroid ridden face, to me and the brand, she was still the beautiful little girl we knew and adored and was one of the most special days of the year - a day filled of fun with a team I had been lucky enough to befriend over our time blogging each collection.

5. Life-Long Bonds
When I first uploaded to the tag, there were very few of us regularly posting - @theoollie, @rosiegui, @ringlets_and_rainbows  to name a few - all of who I remain in contact with now, especially Kerrie who has become one of my closest and most treasured friends, all because of LB. I have seen both Facebook and Instagram communities grow to such great heights since then and it is magic to see how many friendships have formed and the kindness shown between one another is like nothing I have seen in any other groups I am a part of. In a world where parenting can be pretty intense and finding like-minded mamas in the real world is almost non-exsistent, it has created a safe space in the world for mamas to be themselves and not feel ostracised for it. It takes minutes to see that we all have far more in common than clothing preferences and it has become more of a life-line to more people than you could ever believe, myself included.

A couple of years later, I was lucky enough to cross my love for the brand as a customer with my blogging work where even more community doors were opened up to me and I was able to meet people face to face at press days and form tight-knit relationships with the team themselves. They are the last people that want to see the significant change in the brand and very much knew the impact this would have on the LB community. They fought for us - but sadly the decision was made by individuals that just don't know, and quite possibly do not care. At this point, all I can do is thank George, Jools, Lucy, Kate, Claire, Abi and Noella for giving us Little Bird in the first place. I know the news has upset so many and trust me, I am devastated more than anyone but sadly, all good things do have to come to an end. I've come around to realising the amount I have gained since that first purchase means so much more to me than a couple more years of new garments and those things that are more important will last with me forever x