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International Women’s Day & what it means to me

International Women’s Day March 8th 2018

I was recently asked to write an article for a local baby magazine on the importance of IWD and what it means to me so here goes, I hope you enjoy xx

February 6th this year marked 100 years since the representation of the people act was brought to law, which allowed women a vote for the first time. It was a heavily restricted vote but nonetheless it was a start. Fast forward ten years and women finally received the right to vote in the same way as men.  So being asked to write this article on such a poignant year for another landmark date in women’s history gave me a great sense of honour and pride. Whatever small contribution I can make to mark the celebrations is to me an absolute privilege.

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world each year on the 8th March and dates back as far as the early 1900’s. The first day of its kind was held in New York in 1909 and on March 8, 1911, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office, they also protested against employment sex discrimination.  By 1914, 8th March was marked as the official IWD worldwide.

The day celebrates women’s achievements from political to social, while continuing to call for gender equality.

Female empowerment and what it means to be a woman have always been hugely important to me and as a mother to three boys and one girl I feel a great responsibility to teach my daughter what to expect and demand as a female and my sons the importance of gender equality and the appropriate treatment of women.

Finding myself a single mum the first time round meant needing a resource to support me and my family, which came in the form of my first ‘real’ business Tikkity Boo. I set this business up whilst pregnant with my second child and opened the doors with him strapped to me on a baby sling. It was a crazy time but so worth all the effort.

I was very fortunate to enjoy seven amazing years running the business and achieved great success but unfortunately the journey was cut short by an armed robbery at my store.

Getting over the feeling of vulnerability and just feeling scared all of the time meant I lost the confidence to run the business and had to close. Its taken me seven years and a change in circumstance to step back out there and set up a new one, even though those feelings will always be there, buried under the surface.

The idea and strength for the business came from me, again finding myself alone, only this time with four children, two of which were tiny babies. I felt like I had something to prove and was desperate for my independence so set up my new store Barney & Beau.

Barney & Beau was born out of my frustration at the lack of unique and exciting products available locally for my two babies and having to always shop online which as a mum has its convenience but also that desire to sometimes just be able to go take a look and feel before buying.

We’re a kids lifestyle store stocking design led, modern products for both kids and the home. Our core values are around the empowerment and support of our fellow female and a very high percentage of our suppliers are fellow mums/women, owning and running their own businesses.  If theres a suitable product for the store I will always favour the brand that is run by a fellow mum/women and actively seek out such brands.

Named after my two youngest boys makes it even more special and having my older teens involved helping out at the shop makes it a real family affair.

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far and want to show others, even when you reach the bottom, with hard work, passion and perseverance you can start making that journey upwards.

My children are the reason I do what I do, its my job to show them all whatever life throws at you, you stand tall, strong and undefeated and you get out there and reach for the stars!  I’m very lucky to have an amazing role model in my mother who taught me to have a positive work ethic, and manage difficult situations with dignity and strength regardless how hard they are.

Happy International Women’s day to all the Super Women out there xx

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Can I sleep now please?!

When I get asked how I do it with four kids and single motherhood I just reply with ‘I honestly don’t know’ which, genuinely is the honest answer.

Some days I wonder how I get my head off the pillow to get up and start the day, (pic with eye bags included!!) never mind building the business and making sure the children all have what they need.  But, what makes it all worthwhile besides the smiles on my beautiful small peoples faces is the absolute satisfaction I feel when something I have worked on so hard finally takes shape and then goes live to the world.

It’s weird, I keep looking at the website and saying to myself… ‘this is mine’ , ‘I did this’ (with the help of my amazing web design team) in disbelief. I really hope you love it as much as I do. 🙂

What we’ve done…

  • Added as many of our very fabulous, handpicked items to the website to give you a wide variety of gorgeous modern picks for kids and the home and have loads more to add so make sure you’re connected to our mailing list & social pages for updates.
  • Worked super hard to simplify your shopping experience by adding categories and sub categories to help you easily navigate your way round the site.
  • Helped you ensure your friends always get you the gifts you really want, with an awesome gift list registry which enables you to set up a wishlist of items you’d really like ahead of an occasion like new baby arrival or birthday.
  • Added a ‘click & collect’ option for our local customers to give you the ease of shopping anytime during the day or night and collecting pretty much instantly during open hours; the importance of building and maintaining relationships locally is hugely important to us as well as welcoming new customers nationwide.

Still to come…

  • Super exciting ‘pick n mix’ gift box facility, designed to allow you to pick and mix items from our website for us to transform into a perfect box of goodies for your most favourite recipients!!
  • Awesome new Furniture and cots from global brand Bloom including the recent favourite Fresco Highchair, posted all over Instagram by none other than Mumma Kardashian, Kris Jenner!  As well as a whole lot more design led products to compliment the modern home
  • Instagram Shop Facility – Very soon you’ll be able to seamlessly shop our Instagram page directly from our website, so if you love the look of one of our pics and just have to have one of the items, no worries, we’ve got it covered!

We hope you find the shopping experience easy and enjoyable and would always welcome feedback if you feel we are missing something and look forward to hearing all your reviews in the future.

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Barney & Beau welcomes StellaR Baby for brand new baby massage courses

I was recently approached by the very lovely Stella Lancey to join forces in offering her expertise in baby massage at our store and couldn’t say no as it was such a great idea and collaboration for us.

As a store we not only offer beautiful products to purchase but would also like to serve the baby/parent community with extras that we feel would be of benefit and this is indeed one of them.

Stella has been trained in massage for over ten years and has also been, and is an active swimming teacher so is very experienced in dealing with small people.

The courses will run for 8 weeks starting on the 16th October. The course cost is £100 which includes all oils and equipment required. There will also be a take home pack available to purchase at an extra cost of £30 which will include 2 x bottles of oil, a baby mat, 2 x towels, wet wipes, certificate and all handouts with course literature to ensure you are getting the most out of your classes.

To sign up for the course or for even more information please get in touch. Email us at babymassage@barneyandbeau.com

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Returning to work after maternity leave can be tough

Couldn’t have been happier last week when I was approached by a reporter from Wales Online. To have a chance to contribute to an article so close to home for me was fantastic, I am extremely passionate about women and particularly Mums having the support to both return to work and start their own businesses so it meant a lot.

Read the full article here.

Hope you enjoy.
Mia xx

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Having a baby doesn’t mean compromising on style and design

Some really cool products have arrived at Barney & Beau this week – here are some of our favourites:

Ooh Noo Toddler Rocking Horse – £230

This beautiful piece of design provides fun, safety and comfort in the shape of a well cushioned, sturdy rocking horse. It absolutely challenges convention and is a truly modern take on the traditional rocking horse.
Suitable for ages 1.5 – 4 years.

Cam Cam Dolls Cot – £95

This dolls baby cot is as close to the real thing as any child could wish for. Designed with beautiful harlequin cross detail and finished to the highest quality, it really is perfect to be passed down through generations. Available in Grey, Rose and White with mattress and bedding as added extras.

Misioo Ball Pit – £110


Dare I say this could be the pick of the year for us!

Made form high quality, durable foam, these super stylish ball pits come with 200 balls and a washable, removable cover. In a choice of colours from grey with pale pink to simple black and white balls the scandi design is just perfect for the modern home. Safe, stylish and comfortable with endless hours of fun for baby and toddler… What more could you wish for?
Suitable for babies 12 mths +

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Aaaaarrrghh… we’re open!

So its happened, we are officially open. Its hard to believe from sitting in my hair salon and learning of their relocating that the idea for Barney & Beau was born and many months later here we are.

Its been lots of hard work and as a single mummy to four children sometimes very exhausting, but as I sit here in the shop all finished and looking very beautiful it’s worth every minute.

So a bit about who we are and what we do…

We are a nursery & lifestyle store for babies and kids. I’ve worked tirelessly researching to find the perfect brand matches and the most beautiful, design led products with functionality that look fabulous. The brands are a mix of well established European power houses to independent British businesses run by women and particularly mums.

We are extremely passionate about supporting fellow women/mums in business and wherever possible will always opt for these suppliers.

Whether you’re looking to plan your nursery, design a play space or simply purchase a beautiful gift for someone we can help.

Brands include… Sleepyhead, Ferm Living, Liewood, Wee Gallery, A Lovely Little Company, Noodoll, Storksak, Jellycat, Ooh Not, Tobias & The Bear, Cam Cam Copenhagen, Moccstars & many more.