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About Tidy Books

  • Kid’s furniture that’s got style

    When I started Tidy Books 13 years ago, I remember a huge truck turned up outside my house in Walthamstow, East London, with a delivery of pallets. The truck was so big it blocked the whole street and it stayed there for hours while everything was unloaded. I was mortified, but thankfully my lovely neighbours were very understanding – and patient!

    The incident made me realise how lucky I was to live and work in such a great area, and as Tidy Books has grown into an international business I still feel incredibly fortunate to be here.

    I was reminded of this a while ago when I was launching a new colour range and needed somewhere local for a photo shoot. Through a friend of a friend I found just what I was looking for – a house that had an open-plan design with kitchen, living room and kids’ play area.

    The reason I Iaunched the new colours – soft white, pale grey and dark grey – was so that my children’s furniture, while still functional, would look stylish in any room. At the shoot, I was delighted to see how beautifully and seamlessly the colour range blended into the family’s living space (and they seemed to love it too).

    Open-plan living is an ongoing trend and I love the idea of families sharing their living space rather than children playing separately in their bedrooms. It feels like a nice way of being together yet still having a sense of autonomy and the space to do your own thing. It’s what Tidy Books is all about – encouraging children to become independent as they learn and grow.

    The products aren’t designed just for open-plan living, though. I ensure all my children’s furniture is robust without being bulky so it can fit into small rooms and tiny spaces. As a mum of two, I know how important it is for kids’ furniture to work in the home. And now, with the new colour range, Tidy Book’s furniture can come out of the closet – or, rather, the kids’ bedrooms – and be a stylish addition to any room in your house.

    *How do you organise the kid's stuff?

  • My apron love...

    It’s funny what you pick up from your childhood and bring into your adult life. Growing up, I remember my mother and grandmother always wearing an apron around the house – and now that’s exactly what I do.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of 1950s-style housewife wafting around the house with a duster. I simply like hanging out in an apron, preferably a nice, big industrial-style one. My aprons have to have pockets, though. It means I can put my mobile phone and headphones in them so whatever I’m doing I can chat with my friends in France (trust me, these are long conversations so multi-tasking is essential!).

    As soon as I get home from work I head straight for the kitchen where my apron is hanging up on my ForgetMeNot family organiser. Actually, I have two organisers, side by side, because I find them so useful. There are letters and appointment cards stuck to the magnetic board, keys hung on the hooks plus pens, my glasses, the cat’s favourite toy and some kitchen bits on the shelf.

    Those organisers are the central hub of my house. Rather than having things scattered around all over the place, everything is in one area. Honestly, it saves so much time – not to mention stress – knowing exactly where I can find things. And, of course, my trusty apron is always there waiting for me.

    Sadly, my husband and two children haven’t adopted my love of wearing aprons yet. Still, if they ever do, I know just the place where they can hang theirs...

    P.S. Use promo code APRON25 at the checkout to get 25% off The Tidy Books ForgetMeNot in White.

  • International Book Giving Day

    I’ve just read an incredibly sad statistic. Almost one in eight children in the UK has never received a book as a present, according to the National Literacy Trust. It’s upsetting to know that, for whatever reason, so many kids could be missing out on such a wonderful gift.

    As a parent, I’ve always bought books as presents for my kids. Over the years, giving them books has given me a great deal of joy as I’ve watched them unwrap their gift and excitedly open their new book. I’ve loved seeing them with their head buried in the pages, soaking up the pictures and words as they’ve got lost in the story.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all children could be given the gift of a book to encourage and nourish their love of reading? Well, one fantastic initiative is working to help make that happen. Held every year on 14th February, International Book Giving Day was set up with the aim of getting a book to as many children as possible.

    What’s great is that it’s really easy to get involved. You can donate kids’ books to a charity, children’s hospital, hospice or refuge. You could pop one round to your neighbours’ kids. Or you might want to leave a book somewhere a child might find it, like a dentist’s waiting room. You could even make the gift really special by wrapping it up and adding a note.

    I love this idea – but of course, you don’t have to contain your book-giving to Valentine’s Day! Here at Tidy Books, we’re passionate about getting books to kids all year round, which is why on the first Friday of each month you can donate your quality books to us. We then pass on the books to the charity Give a Book, who give them to school breakfast clubs. If you live in the area why not pop your kids’ books into us – we’re at 10 Hatherley Mews, Walthamstow, London E17 4QP.

    * Are you giving someone a book this Valentine’s? Why not drop me a line and tell me about it. I’m excited about every single child that gets to experience the magic of books.

  • Emile’s book-buying adventure

    I’ve always loved buying books and it seems my 12-year-old son, Emile, has caught the bug, too. One day last week he went straight from school to spend some of his Christmas money at the local book shop. He took along a couple of his mates to help him choose and when he got home he proudly showed me the two Japanese Manga books he’d bought.

    Emile’s book-buying adventure made me smile. I loved the independence of him picking the books that he wanted without having an adult around. And the fact that he wanted to share the experience with his mates was very endearing – I could just picture them all in their school uniform browsing the bookshelves.

    Emile loves his new books and they’ve inspired him to get back into reading – something that, I hate to admit, had recently taken a backseat to his Playstation.

    For younger children, too, choosing their own books is a great way to foster independence and encourage reading. When I used to take Emile to the library I’d let him look at the shelves and pick his own books. I’d ask him what made him choose a particular book – was it because it had a colourful cover or featured his favourite animal or had a funny title. I found that understanding what he liked helped me to steer him towards similar books as well as encourage him to try different books to widen his reading.

    Of course I kept an eye on the books’ reading levels, but I wasn’t worried if the book seemed a little bit below or above his level. Even if a picture book was a bit easy it was still great for sparking his imagination and if it was a bit too hard for him then I’d read it to him or we’d read it together.  

    I think there’s something about children choosing their own books that gives them a real sense of independence. And independence was also something I really wanted to nurture with my Tidy Books bookcase. I designed the bookcase with front-facing shelves to make it really easy for small children to pick and choose their own books and put them back themselves. It was about giving kids ownership of their own little library and the confidence to use it.   

    The Tidy Books Children's Bookcase

    Judging by Emile’s book-buying trip, it seems that growing up with a Tidy Books bookcase helped to instil confidence and independence as well as a love of books. Mind you, having a bookaholic mum who’s always designing new products to encourage kids’ reading may also have had something to do with it!

    * What was the first book your child chose independently – and why? Drop me a line to let me know.

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