Autumn descends …….

Since last writing the days are getting shorter here in the U.K. Beautiful Autumn sunshine shines down and the nights are getting chillier every as we approach November.  Jazkids has put summer stock away and winter fleeces are back in stock and on show on our website.

My thoughts recently have been with my family out in Thailand.  The first floods of  winter have hit Chiangmai and Bangkok.  These floods were caused by rising rivers and to make matters worst 2 large dams burst.  What a resilient race the Thai people are.  Looking at the photos sent by my son it is immediately apparent that no matter what disaster befalls them they stand together against all problems and efficiently get on with solving the situation as best they can.  We in the West could learn so much from their ideals.  The more I work with Thai people and mix with them I find myself wanting to learn so much more about their philosophy.  Somehow in the West it is difficult to come to terms with our way of life when we put so much value on things.  Maybe the present recession can turn our thoughts around to valuing each other more.

However – back in the world of retail !  We are gearing up for the Christmas extravaganza which grips our nation every year.  Jazkids is launching a new product on lst November with the party season specifically in mind.  A new t-shirt design with flashing motifs on the front panel.  A must for all discos and Christmas parties.  It had its first showing at my grandaughter’s school disco and went down a storm with children of all ages.

Orders off the website are progressing well and the signs are good for Jazkids.  It has been an interesting year for us and we hope we can continue to grow.  My original statement on my very first website was to design and provide childrens clothing made with children in mind.  I am pleased to see that at last even the big supermarkets are questioning their childrens fashion styles and are now offering childrens underwear suitable for small children and not the mini-adult styles so often on display.

Thankyou for all your lovely comments on our blogs – we love to hear from our customers and followers.

 

 

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On The Road With Jazkids

Over the years Jazkids has been to many events up and down the country.  One of the perks of being on the road is that we get to stay in some interesting and memorable hotels and guest houses.  What a variety of experiences we have shared on our treks around the U.K

How could I forget the warm hospitality and amazing food at the guest house near the Bath and West Showground.  We stayed there twice and each time came away feeling like turkeys that were being fattened up for Christmas.  Mine hosts stood in the entrance of the kitchen beaming at us as we sat with huge plates of food in front of us. We could hardly do it justice.  A couple of hours baling hay or ploughing the fields could have possibly set you up with an appetite to match the food on offer!  All I can say is that their ancient spaniel who sat under our table was very rounded around the girth when we left! What a wonderful memory.

Jazkids has visited Harrogate.  What a beautiful place that is.  We stayed in a lovely apartment just down the road from the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms.  Another gastronomic feast.  I would not want you to think our trips are centred around how much food we can eat but it just seems to happen that way!

For several years we have attended Henley Regatta.  Here we stayed in a bed and breakfast near Ascot.  Our host was a lovely friendly Spanish girl whose property was adjacent to a stables where Arab polo ponies were trained.  Imagine our amazement at seeing a helicopter arrive every morning carrying the head trainer.  The place was immaculate with cobbled courtyard, beautiful hanging baskets outside each stable.  Yet again the food was memorable.  Our Spanish host wished to give us a “surprise” meal every day for breakfast.  Who could forget the spanish interpretation of Devils on Horseback !

Gatcombe Park has been a wonderful venue for the annual horse trials and here we have experienced hospitality in various establishments.  Who can imagine staying in a village where the only mobile phone reception to be had is either standing on a  bench in the church graveyard or perching on the only small roundabout in the place where local youths repeatedly dice with death on their motorbikes. Our landlady was a most welcoming person who seemed to have cornered the market with bottled pickles and chutneys which adorned the shelves in the bar. Most evenings delicious home-cooked ham and chips was the dish of the day. The “special” board offered ham and chips with either peas or pineapple.  Another gastronomic memory was at a small bed and breakfast near the Horse Trials.  The owner was most welcoming and supplied breakfast that took us through to mid-afternoon! We felt like part of the family and were entranced by the owners dog who had his own bib which was regularly worn at meal times.  It was in this part of the world we came across The Ragged Cott Inn.  Head chef here at the time had worked with Gordon Ramsey.  Our profits dwindled down somewhat as we decided to eat here for two consecutive nights – the raspberry sorbet was the best I have ever tasted.

This is just a small snippet of our travels around the U.K.  Shortly we will be setting off to one of our best events of the year. Spirit of Christmas Our home from home here is a wonderful house in Hammersmith called  very aptly A Better Place to Stay. Our hosts Vicky and Edmund Sixsmith, not forgetting Tiger the dog, always give us a lovely welcome.

Come and see us at Spirit of Christmas at Stand D1.

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Jazkids Summer News

Jazkids Summer News

Summer seems to changing into Autumn early this year.  The acers in my garden are tinged with red and the evenings are getting chilly.  No Indian summer this year !

Jazkids went on the road for our summer events.  Our trip to Hampton Court Flower Show was as usual wonderful.  Gardeners and designers descend on Hampton Court Palace every July to witness the incredible spectacle which is held in the grounds of the Palace.  We had a stand in the Country Living Marquee which is always packed with high-end goods and quality food stuffs.  My thanks to Lucy at Craven Court Apartments for her hospitality.  A wonderful place to stay.

Jazkids then moved on to Gatcombe Horse Trials held at Gatcombe House near Minchinhampton.  What a great venue this is.  Many of the top riders were there competing for a place in next year’s Olympic team.  We stayed in nearby Tetbury in a lovely Goergian style town house. Following a successful 3 days we returned to Devon in time for our next venue.

Dartmouth Royal Regatta is always a favourite with Jazkids as it is on our doorstep and we meet up with many old friends and family descend on us to enjoy this wonderful event.  Sadly this year we did not have the thrill of the Red Arrows display due to the sad death of one of their pilots in a previous display.

Our thoughts now turn to our pre-Christmas events starting with a one day event at Micklefield Hall in Hertfordshire which is held in support of the NSPCC and Child Line.  This will be on the 5th October and we hope you will come and see us and support us.

Spirit of Christmas is always a great event in November and we will be there to meet many of our returning customers and meet new ones.

Please see our new website www.jazkids.com to see our diary of events in the news section.

 

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See Venice And…..

For years I have heard many differing opinions of this city. Some express the view they never want to go there again and some say it is the most fascinating place and a never to be forgotten experience. I am firmly on the side of the latter! A chance conversation with some old friends about birthday outings led me to this place in Northern Italy and as you know I am always on the search for inspiration for our Jazkids designs. Where better to go than Italy. Shops abound with exquisite leather goods and exclusive fashion items. I for one will be happy to “shop till I drop” !

The airport just outside of Venice is a fairly nondescript building and the approach by ferry appears disappointing until it dawns on me that Venice is just one of many small islands in the midst of a large lagoon on the edge of the Adriatic Sea. Usually I research where I am going but for some reason I embarked on this journey fairly ignorant of the geography of Venice. Maybe it was that ignorance that led me to the discovery that I had entered a place which filled me with a sense of amazement and wonder. The ferry makes its way to several islands where many Venetians live as not many actually live in the city itself. The price of everything is jaw-dropping from a cup of coffee to entry into the many museums and galleries.

We eventually get glimpses of the church spires and the domed shape of the Basilica and as we get nearer to the city I am overwhelmed with a feeling of pure amazement. There in front of us was the sight of ancient shabby buildings, bustling waterways and thousands of tourists! This is probably what is so incongruous about Venice. For me the jostling and at times pushy tourists could not take away the sheer sense of history which is Venice.

Our hotel overlooks the lagoon and is directly behind the famous St. Marks Square. All through the day and night the church bells can be heard resonating all over the city. The hotel itself is an old Venetian palace once lived in by wealthy merchants and renovated some years ago. Very little structurally has been altered and I felt as if I had stepped into a scene from Romeo and Juliet. The flooring was made from large flagstones and the walls were adorned with ancient paintings. Enormous Venetian glass chandeliers hung from the ceilings. Beautiful wood panelling completed this wonderful ambience and I could hardly wait to get to our room. I was not to be disappointed. The room was full of antique furnishings with nothing matching which added to its charm. As I opened the shutters and looked out I could see down to a narrow canal along which gondoliers were gently steering their crafts towards the entrance to the lagoon. This was all I imagined Venice to be. I could hardly wait to get out and explore ! Something inside told me I had discovered a place which was in its way timeless.

After a surprisingly good night’s sleep I awoke refreshed to the busy sounds of the city as workers made their way to work. But unlike any other city the workers take to the water using an astounding variety of boats. Our breakfast was taken in the roof-top restaurant with yet another heart-stopping view of the city. Just to the side of the hotel was the infamous Bridge of Sighs. It looked fairly incongruous as it was covered in modern garish blue boarding as it was being repainted but one could still imagine the feelings of the desperate prisoners who trudged over it to enter the prison all those centuries ago.

As our time was limited we decided to waste no time that morning and purchased tickets to take the ferry which made its way up the Grand Canal. The extraordinary fact about this city is that you cannot help but come across a place which has cropped up in tedious history lessons at school or names from a Shakespearian play which had to be painstakingly learnt for exams . Imagine my thoughts when there, spanning the Grand Canal, was the sight of the Rialto bridge. Scenes from the Merchant of Venice come flooding back. Even the ever-present crowds of tourists could not take away the charm of this ancient bridge. A bustling market takes place on the bridge every day which in itself is fascinating to see as just about everything is on sale from trinkets to cheeses! Noisy vendors shout to one another and tourists cram the bridge to barter for presents to take home. One sight I will keep in my memory for ever is the incredible view of the bridge lit up at night and the many outdoor restaurants along the sides of the Grand Canal. A magical scene.

My next day was spent browsing along the numerous winding alleyways gazing at the shop windows. Everything was there from exquisite designer fashion to Venetian curios. Getting lost in these alleys is a frequent occurrence and I eventually found the famous chocolate shop where one can buy beautifully crafted Venetian masks made from delicious Italian chocolate. It was next to this shop I spied the most adorably chic baby shoes and exquisite bootee socks. Italian designs for children’s clothing are legendary. The sight of these little shoes and socks inspired me to search for footwear to add to our collections for Jazkids.

I regretfully had to leave Venice the next day and as we crossed over the lagoon I looked back at the spires of the city and felt as if I was leaving a dear friend. I promised myself that I would return as soon as I could. Memories of that wonderful place will remain with me but my wish to see and learn more about that ancient and fascinating place will not diminish. My task to source baby socks and bootees has been successful and we have an exciting new range that can now be viewed on our new website www.jazkids.com

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MORE TRAVEL TALES WITH JAZKIDS

MORE  TRAVEL TALES WITH JAZKIDS.

 

It has been sometime since I last wrote but the launch of our new website has prompted me to set about writing down some experiences we have had this year.

 I took my annual business trip to Thailand in February with some members of the family.  This year for the first time my granddaughter was able to meet her Thai cousins in Chiangmai which was a wonderful experience for everyone.  We did the usual trips to the night markets, the tiger kingdom, orchid farms and elephant centres. A new adventure for me was the excursion to the area where the Long-neck tribes live and work. Their farming practices were an amazing study in organic methods and the craft skills were incredible to witness. It was in this small settlement of Burmese refugees that I saw a product which I had endlessly searched for in the U.K. Imagine my amazement at seeing these people patiently spinning the very yarn that had proved such an impossible task back home. 

We decided this year after numerous requests to launch a new knitwear range for our Jazkids customers.  A chance meeting at one of our promotional events had bought me into contact with a lovely lady called Kasia and it was she who offered to knit for us a new range of cotton knitwear.  The yarn we used was a denim yarn which was the colour of indigo blue which gave an attractive flecked appearance.  I tried to source more of the yarn but found it virtually impossible as the company who supplied her had gone and it seemed that our new venture would fail before we had even begun. 

The sight of the Long-neck women working with this yarn was a small miracle.  The tell-tale sign of indigo dye on this yarn is that before it is washed several times the blue colour stains the hands.  A problem that Kasia had explained to me only a few months previously.  Here I was thousands of miles away from home watching as the workers weaved and spun with the very same blue dye seeping onto their hands! Who would have thought that my yearly trip to Northern Thailand would bring the answer to my problem. 

Our new range is now available to on the website.  We have now introduced another yarn which is made from bamboo wool which follows our ideal to make our collections with natural substances whenever possible. 

I look forward to my next trip to that wonderful country to see what else I can discover.

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ROSIE COLLECTION AND OTHER SUMMER NEWS

ROSIE COLLECTION AND OTHER SUMMER NEWS

Last time I wrote my blog I was sitting in the stifling heat of Northern Thailand amongst the tropical trees and plants in the lovely gardens of the Amari Rincombe Hotel in Chiangmai.  Now I am sitting in the lovely heat of an early English summer.  My garden is full of scented lilacs and fragrant clematis.  From my workshop I can see the shimmering waters of the River Dart which winds its way down from Dartmoor to the Dartmouth estuary.  As the summer progresses more and more boats arrive.  Small workmanlike boats for fishing and some sleek larger vessels, some of these will have sailed from different parts of the globe.  Sailors do say that the entrance to the River Dart is one of the most spectacular sights in the world.
These two places are inspirational in my search for our collections for JAZKIDS.
Our newest summer collections are no exception.
We have used a wonderful bamboo denim fabric sourced from Far East Asia to make our crop shorts and shirts for little boys.  This fabric has properties that make it great to use for children.  Non-allergenic and anti-bacterial makes it a particularly suitable cloth against young skins.
Our new range for girls includes dresses, skirts and culottes made with creamy soft white cotton. These are all enhanced with stunning little red roses making a unique and stylish little outfit for those special summer days.
Images of this collection can be viewed on our website www.jazkids.com  I must now say thanks to my young model the lovely Lily who is always great fun to work with. She will be 6 this year!
Also thanks to the Amari Rincombe Hotel who allowed us to use their hotel for the photoshoot.

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Welcome to Jazkids

Welcome to Jazkids

Welcome to the world of Jazkids. A world of exciting colours, unique designs, stylish clothing designed for fun-loving children from all over the world.

The company of Jazkids was created when part of our family went to live in Thailand. A  country full of dramatic scenery .From the beautiful lush green jungles in the north to the fabulous golden beaches in the south this truly is the Land of Smiles.

Some of the inspiration for our designs come from our visits to the colourful markets. All over Thailand, if you are prepared to struggle out of bed at 4 in the morning, you can witness the wonderful sights and smells of the vendors selling their food, fabrics, jewellery and ceramics. The list is endless but the experience is truly memorable. The skill and creativity of these traders never ceases to amaze us. The use of many varied textiles combine to give us an amazing scope with which to design our childrens clothing.

Our newest venture is working with bamboo fabric. This is a natural textile made from the pulp of bamboo grass.  Highly sustainable it is light and strong and has excellent wicking properties. I was extemely fortunate enough to be in Chiangmai in Northern Thailand last November where there was a conference taking place researching the use of organic and more sustainable textiles. It was here I met the Assistant Manager of the Institute for Science and Technology Research and Development based at Chiangmai university. Our subsequent visit to first organic cotton plantation in Thailand was a wonderful  experience and is a story I shall return to at a later date!

Our clothing is designed for children. We try wherever possible to combine quality of fabric with exciting and innovative designs to capture the imagination of small boys and girls. Many parents have expressed their delight that they have been able to find clothing where designs and styles are especially suitable for young children. Our age range is 0 – 8 years.

We will be continuing with the story of Jazkids as our company has many exciting new ventures to come. Our Autumn/Winter collections will be launched on our website in the next couple of months.

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