Friday 27 March 2015

Spring Greens

Spring styling should be fresh, innovative, and, most importantly, fun. Three very different Bubble brands show us how it's done...

New to Bubble this season, Room Seven's clothing strikes a perfect balance between elegance and playfulness. Think bold colourways, show-stopping prints, and exquisite details - like the Mexican-inspired embroidery and tassels in its latest S/S collection. 

The German brand also creates bedding, nightwear and accessories - and has even designed a range of wallpapers based on its unique fabrics. We love its multi-purpose patchwork quilts.

Luxury label Sand Dollar specialises in UV swimwear for children aged 5 - 12. 

As a mum-of-four, its founder, Maureen, was keen to create stylish, sun-safe garments that little ones would want to wear. 

Her beautifully-designed pieces - from shorts and tops, to elegant swimsets - are made from fast-drying, breathable fabric. Parents will love the brand's sun-safe credentials, while style-conscious kids won't be able to resist its cool prints and colours. 


No one does Scandi-chic quite like Danefae. The Bubble brand creates children's clothing in irresistibly fun colours and graphic prints, taking inspiration from Danish myths and landscapes. 

Mermaids, swans and Vikings all figure heavily in its current S/S collection, which is designed for children aged 0 - 10. 

Catch Room Seven, Sand Dollar Swim and Danefae at Bubble London in July...

Thursday 26 March 2015

Discover...Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Earlier this month, Bubble and Speak set out on a whistle-stop tour of Yorkshire's best family attractions, events and eateries. Salts Mill was our first port of call - and, after all that coffee and cake, we decided to get some fresh air at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park. 

Outdoor art gallery YSP plays host to an ever-changing programme of exhibitions. Based in the grounds of Bretton Hall, Wakefield, it's currently home to works by Henry Moore, Ai Weiwei, Barbara Hepworth and Anthony Caro. 

There are over 500 acres of rolling countryside to explore, and many of the estate's original features - including a deer shelter, chapel and camellia house - have been restored and repurposed. 

YSP also boasts several indoor art-spaces - the largest of which, The Underground Gallery, is currently showing a selection of Henry Moore's sculptures and drawings. 

Families can enjoy a picnic in the grounds - but, on the rainy afternoon we visited, its fantastic café and restaurant seemed like a safer bet. After a brisk half-hour walk, we felt as though we'd earned a hot chocolate and vanilla latte...

The restaurant is situated on the second floor of YPS's award-winning visitor centre, and affords diners panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Downstairs, there's an independent shop selling art books, children's toys, and gifts and jewellery by local designers. 

The park regularly hosts family-friendly events (from sculpture workshops, to heron watching and after-hours gallery evenings) - but children will be just as happy exploring its fields and woodland. 

So, what do you think? Does YSP sounds like your idea of a great family day out? Let us know...

Monday 23 March 2015

Spring Signings

Spring has arrived, bringing with it longer days, warmer weather, and - most excitingly - a raft of new Bubble brands. We couldn't wait to introduce our latest signings, Dotty Dungarees and Bakker Made With Love...

After struggling to find stylish, practical childrenswear that would fit for longer than a month, new mums Alice Rothschild and Georgina Parr came up with a brilliantly simple solution. 

The duo created a range of adjustable dungarees, which can be lengthened at the shoulder, or rolled up to reveal a distinctive, spotty lining. 

Designed to fit both girls and boys, the dungarees last for a year - and are tested by Alice and Georgie's children, Dolly and Otto, before going on sale.

Bakker Made With Love

Founded by David and Valerie Bakker, Bakker Made With Love is a chic lifestyle brand with adventure and discovery at its heart. 

After running a chain of furniture stores in France, creatives David and Valerie turned their attention to childrenswear. The pair moved to Bali with their young family, seeking out gifted artisans and creating an inaugural range of clothing, accessories and interiors products. 

Inspired by the family's travels, each Bakker Made With Love collection marries understated French elegance with Indonesian craftsmanship and colour. 

Discover Bakker Made With Love and Dotty Dungarees at the next edition of Bubble London, which takes place on 12 and 13 July, 2015. 

Saturday 21 March 2015

This Week's Best Bits

What have you been reading on the web this week? Our news feed was dominated by reactions to the 2015 Budget - and CWB Magazine ran through the key points (including a 'radical review of business rates') here

Elsewhere, The Lullaby Trust launched 'Safer Sleep Week', a campaign to make parents aware of the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Former Bubble brand Magnus and Mouse shared this list of safe sleep tips on its blog. 

To mark the 75th anniversary of iconic children's book Pat the Bunny, über-mum Julia Restoin-Roitfield has curated a 14-piece collection with Bonpoint, Charlotte Olimpia, and Bubble's own aden + anais. Suzanne Peters introduced some of the bunny-inspired pieces - from pumps and rompers, to limited edition swaddles - over at Kid Style Junkie. 

Finally, with Easter just around the corner, The Guardian's Zoe Williams tried her hand at making a sweet family favourite. Cue lots of messy fun with chocolate, fondant and pallete knives...we'll definitely be giving it a go! 

Have a lovely weekend...

Saturday 14 March 2015

Mother's Day Memories

It's nearly Mother's Day - and, to mark the occasion, Team Bubble have been telling us about their all-time favourite memories and gifts. Hankies at the ready! 

Marketing Director Stephanie Parker is mum to two boys:

"My favourite memory is from my first ever Mother's Day, just two weeks after Charlie was born. It really sunk in that I was mum to this precious little boy; it's a feeling difficult to put into words, but it made me feel like the most special person in the world.

My favourite gift...well, this is naughty as it's for Sunday, but nursery had to give it to me on Thursday - so I had a peek. Tom has planted a flower seed/bulb in a welly boot, and it has a lollipop stick in it holding a card, with a poem about what the flower means to him for me. It's all very sweet!"

Operations Manager Terryanne Dyson has a grown-up son and daughter:

"As a child, I loved the excitement of secretly planning to take my mum breakfast in bed with dad. Mum always showed such surprise, and said that she hadn't expected such a treat on Mothering Sunday. 

My favourite flowers are daffodils - and, as a mum, Mother's Day was always the perfect time to fill my vases. My children never disappointed! They loved to make their own cards and always tried to draw daffodils. They didn't always look like beautiful yellow flowers they are, but that didn't matter! 

When my children were young, Sunday morning breakfast in bed on this day was always something to treasure, as we managed to make time stand still for a while and just enjoy the cuddles."

Event Director and reluctant baker Lindsay Hoyes is a mum-of-one.

"My favourite Mother's Day memory is of baking and decorating cupcakes (badly) with my son, in preparation for Mother's day Sunday lunch cooked by my husband."

Events and Sales Administrator Rachael Henry is mum to two boys and a girl - not to mention new addition Kevin, the pug/Jack Russell cross!

"My favourite mother's day presents are always the handmade ones, as the kids are so excited for you to receive them and to tell you how they were made. It's usually on the Friday after school before Mother's Day. 

I loved Arthur's present last year, which was a card made from his hand-prints and hand painted, with a little poem about not rushing to grow up!"

Have you got a favourite Mother's Day memory? We'd love to hear it!

Thursday 12 March 2015

Five Pointers on Shopper Psychology

Meet Eve Reid, director of Metamorphosis, former Bubble speaker, and all-round visual retail expert. 

What Eve doesn't know about visual merchandising, branding and retail performance isn't worth knowing - and, when she offered to tell B&S more about the ten trends that will shape 2015's retail landscape, we grabbed our notebooks and settled down for a lesson in shopper psychology. Here are the first five; take it away, Eve!

5 Pointers on the Shopper Psychology that will shape the retail landscape this year: Part 1

1. Generational Crossover 

There are more than 20 million people over the age of 50 living in the UK today, yet retailers are still obsessively focused on young people. As we are down ageing, this new ageless society creates many trends that have impacted on the retail landscape. Consumers have been nostalgic for carefree childhoods and have found comfort in familiar pursuits and products from their youth. Plus, we have really started to appreciate being alive, leading to a
greater awareness that good health extends longevity and leads to a new way of life. In 2015, if you want to flourish you need to consider the generational crossover and the implications of this demographic shift.

2. Eve-olution

Women are the biggest market on earth but they are largely ignored because most of the world is run by men. Given that women buy 65% of cars and make 81% of financial decisions, this is retail suicide. In 2015, if you want to survive you need to understand how to market to women. You need to get women to join your brand by building lasting, meaningful relationships with them and recognising their needs, both personally and professionally.

3. Here, there and everywhere

Life is too fast paced, we have too little time and we have been forced to assume multiple roles. In 2015 we are still leading increasingly hectic lives, but a significant amount of people are cashing out – questioning personal and career satisfaction and goals, and opting for simpler living. This has impacted on the way we shop – we are looking for easier ways. Retailers need to give customers the ability to interact and complete transactions on their terms. If a customer wants to view an item online, purchase it using their phone and
return it by dropping it in store, they should be able to do so in a smooth and seamless way. In 2015 retailers must understand the new role of physical channels and adjust store sizes, layouts, assortments, fixture arrangement and entertainment factors accordingly to deliver the brand experience.

4. Experience, not product

Consumers are looking for something new and exciting. This coupled by the fact that a significant number of (lucky) people have got all the stuff they need, in 2015 consumers will be looking out for experiences not product, and research suggests that this is especially true for women. This trend has had a big impact on the retail landscape. We have started to see very blurred lines; bookshops now sell coffee, supermarkets now sell loans, water companies now sell gas, Ralph Lauren even sells white paint. But how far can you stretch a brand these days before it snaps? This trend really works when retailers effectively show their values and specialism through a service or activity that engages customers and makes their life nicer, easier or richer. The Adidas Runbase in Tokyo is a great example. It has been designed to accommodate lockers and a shower room so that runners can drop into the base, rent a locker and then have a shower after their run.

5. Luxury Vs Commodity 

The past years have led stressed-out consumers to indulge in affordable luxuries as a way of rewarding themselves. Now, thanks to incredibly clever marketing, luxury is moving fast towards commoditisation. It is our expectations as a society that have led us to act as if we should all have and do — regardless of income — what was once reserved for the rich. What started out as a rare luxury for the wealthy is slipping quickly into an affluent commodity. 

As a moving target, luxury requires a quick response. You need to move away from mainstream; nothing says luxury better than custom made. Chances are, there is a story to your product – who makes it, the process they go through, where it is made — and that story has value. Each of these elements will give your product a distinction.

To read Eve's final five pointers on shopper psychology in 2015 - along with more information on how you can sign up to her one day retail school master-class at a specially discounted rate - click here

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Comic Relief 2015

Friday 13 March is Red Nose Day 2015, the highlight of Comic Relief's biennial fundraising campaign. 

As ever, it's set to be a star-studded event - and some of fashion's most celebrated designers have been doing their bit for charity, too. 

This year, Comic Relief's official t-shirts have been created by a host of style heavyweights - including Karl Lagerfeld, Diane Von Furstenberg and Matthew Williamson.

These children's t-shirts - which feature quotes from famous humourists - are the work of British designers Henry Holland and Anya Hindmarch

Profits from the sale of each t-shirt go to Comic Relief, which is raising money for causes in Africa and the UK. Since 2013's Red Nose Day, the charity has helped over 12 million people in need

What do you think? Will you be donning a red nose this Friday? 

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Spring Blooms from Poppy

The sun is shining here at Bubble & Speak HQ - and, when we spotted these images of Poppy's latest collection, we knew Spring must be on its way!

Inspired by a new Poppy storybook - in which the eponymous heroine visits Kew Gardens - it features new characters, botanical prints and fun colourways. 

Discover the whole Kew Gardens collection here

Friday 6 March 2015

Bugaboo + Van Gogh

We loved Bugaboo's Andy Warhol-inspired collections - but its new Van Gogh range might just be our favourite to date. 

Designed in collaboration with The Van Gogh Museum, it features this limited edition Bugaboo Bee 3. 

The stroller's sun-canopy is covered in artwork from iconic Van Gogh masterpiece 'Almond Blossom', while a coated green chassis and blue seat fabric complement its vibrant colour palette. 

Dubbed 'Bugaboo + Van Gogh: Where Dutch Originals Meet', the collection also features a Bassinet Tailored Fabric Set and Footmuff. 

The perfect stroller for spring? We think so! 

The Bugaboo + Van Gogh collection will be available from April 2015. 

Monday 2 March 2015

Discover...Salts Mill

While you can't take the London out of Bubble, regular readers will know that we've also got a Northern Headquarters. Team B&S are lucky enough to be based there - and we thought it was high time we shared our picturesque corner of the country with you!

So, without further ado, here's the first in a series of posts about things to see and do in West Yorkshire. First stop: Salts Mill, an art gallery and shopping complex based in historic Saltaire, Bradford. 

Built by industrialist Sir Titus Salt, Saltaire is a wonderfully preserved Victorian model village - and well worth a visit in its own right. 

Salts Mill was once the largest industrial building in the world - but, today, it's home to independent shops, galleries, and an impressive collection of works by local artist David Hockney

A selection of his paintings and drawings are on display in the 1853 Gallery, where you can also pick up beautiful stationery and art supplies. 

You could spend hours browsing in the mill's second-floor Bookshop, which has a fantastic children's section - and a quiet reading area for little ones. We even spotted the latest issue of Bubble favourite Anorak Magazine on its shelves. 

Salts Mill's interiors shop, The Home, is brimming with unique pieces - from ultra-stylish tea pots, to Eames lounge chairs. 

There's even a café, espresso bar and child-friendly diner, where we stopped for coffee and cake. We loved the Salts Diner crockery, which is decorated with a sketch of Hockney's beloved sausage dog. 

It's worth setting aside several hours to explore the whole mill, which also boasts antiques, music and cycle shops. Two new permanent exhibitions - People and Process: A History of Salts Mill and The Arrival of Spring by David Hockney - have just opened on its 3rd floor. 

And how about you? Did you go somewhere exciting this weekend? We'd love to hear all about it...