Jools Oliver's blog: Spring birthdays
Design meetings, living in LA, tarantula's and cups of tea
It’s March, one of my favourite months of the year. The weather is already getting warmer and our window boxes at home are scattered with beautiful little snowdrops. I can’t believe how fast this year has passed. This time last year we were living in Los Angles as Jamie was working out there. It was a wonderful experience with very happy memories made even more exciting when the team at Mothercare sent me over a package – it was a book to kick start our portfolio of ideas for the range. It was obviously important that we were all on the same page with our inspirations and designs and I do remember feeling so incredibly nervous when I pulled apart the ribbon to the beautiful book they had sent me. It’s amazing how just a year later we have the whole launch range almost complete and now when I look back I see just how many changes and transformations we have made to get to our finished products.
I really love our twice-monthly meetings that take place where we thrash out all our opinions, design ideas colour palettes and drink copious amounts of tea. I sit back and listen intently to the girls discuss the importance of texture, for example. I never knew there was such a material called ‘slub’ another one of my favourites is ‘intarsia’ a knitting technique that is used to incorporate areas of colour into your garment. (Phew I have learnt something!) Having loved all aspects of fashion and design it has been a real privilege and honour to be part of these meetings and to learn so much about what we are creating.
It’s been great to share these experiences and pearls of wisdom with my family; my Mum being the most interested due to her background in fashion and modelling during the 60’s. We talk at least three times a day so it’s fantastic to analyse, divulge, discuss and scrutinise everything with her. It has obviously rubbed off on my daughters, as my little fashionista Daisyboo is already talking the talk and practically walking the walk of fashion. It’s scary now that she is nearly nine and has started to choose her own clothes. I noticed it last year when we were in LA, when she started accessorising with hats and little neckerchiefs and her colour coordination was awesome if not a little busy. It’s very funny to watch the differences between Poppy and Daisy and their individuality - Pops loves nothing more than dungarees, welly boots and camping in a tree whilst reading her books, whereas Daisy is all about the glittery nail varnish and borrowing my little military jacket and making it work with her denim shorts!!! It’s a definite improvement on her first attempt of raiding the dressing up box and wanting to wear the hideous stone washed denim cropped jacket with Barbie emblazoned on the back in bright pink which we had been sent as a freebie with her ballet tutu. But she loves attending the Mothercare meetings when she can where she sits quietly in the corner soaking up all the excited chatter and chipping in when she absolutely ‘loves’ something!
I also love spring as it incorporates 3 of our children’s birthdays - my official busiest time of the year. The girls have been having joint birthday parties together since they were little and we have cherished every single birthday each with their own unique memories. Especially remembering when their granny held a tarantula in front of 50 pairs of beady eyes, (very brave) receiving her ultimate cool granny status!!! Last year they decided to share it with their baby sister Petal; it was so cute watching them blow out their candles together. I always have a lump in my throat when we all sing happy birthday and I present them with the cake - such a poignant reminder of time passing. This year, as with every year, I make them their birthday crowns - it’s a little thing I started when Poppy was 3… it’s nothing too special, made of coloured card and decorated with glitter, feathers, little jewels, pipe cleaners and ribbons - very Blue Peter! But they love them, as each one is different.
They have kept them all lined up on their shelves in their bedroom. Each year I try and better the last as I am genuinely rubbish at art. This is no mean feat, I still marvel at how I managed to get my butterfly to stay on the top on Daisy’s crown last year, it’s nothing short of a miracle!! Hopefully in my next blog I will have some pictures to show you of my handy work!! And some snippets from the girls’ wild birthday party, from pass the parcel to the hits of Katie Perry - so very 2012!!!
Love Jools x
Next month, find out all about our Oliver family Easter Traditions, and take a sneak peak at my girls’ latest Birthday crowns, glitter, glue and all!