Dress Up Days

As many people share photos of their children heading out to schools and nurseries in fancy dress to raise money for “Children In Need” today, a piece I wrote a few years back resonates. It was originally published here in answer to the question:
Are we letting our little girls down by dressing them in pink?

It was dress-up day recently at my two-year-old daughter’s nursery and the children were asked to come in a costume of their choosing.

Most mornings I deliver her just in time to enjoy a second serving of breakfast and as the table of toddlers begin to tuck into bowls of cereal many stop, mid-spoonful, to stare up at us whilst I struggle to take off her coat. It’s an amusing sight. But as I pushed open the door to the pre-school room that morning it was an amusing vision made all the more so with the addition of fancy dress. With spoons held aloft sat a fireman, a monster, a couple of policemen, a teddy bear and a Bumble-bee. And then I noticed the girls. Each one in the same shiny frilly polyester dress in varying shades of pastel pink and purple, most with a sparkly tiara-shaped hair band.

I left the Hawaiian surfer to tuck into her cereal and headed to the office, my head buzzing with determination. It wasn’t the fact the girls wore frilly dresses and sparkly headbands which irked me, it was that each one was dressed identically.

Ruby Guises

Some of Ruby’s many guises!

It saddened me to think that whilst the boys in my child’s playgroup that day pretended to be a variety of fun characters, the girls got to play just one role – a princess. Situations like those were why I took the decision last year to shift from designing womenswear and accessories to childrenswear and begin my own unisex label.

As a new mother who had moved to Britain after living more than a decade in France, I was shocked at the segregated aisles I found in most of the UK’s toy and clothes shops. Much emphasis seemed to be placed dangerously on a girl’s appearance whilst boy’s stuff encouraged action and valued toughness, the rainbow now divided up according to male or female.

The idea that a colour is synonymous with gender seems odd to me. I’m sure the sole reason is as an attempt by the manufacturers to squeeze more money from us and as a result, toy brands actively no longer encourage boys and girls to play together. Girls now learn from an increasingly early age that the pink stuff is for them, and dividing up the goods in this way means more sales.

The parents now deciding to raise their child as “gender-neutral” are no doubt responding to and challenging these stereotypes.
I don’t believe in hiding a child’s gender and what I do isn’t about rendering children genderless – nor is it about forbidding girls to wear dresses, or outlawing pink. It’s about not wishing our children to be defined or restricted by their gender.

Clothes for children should be built for sturdier purposes than the changing vagaries of style – to be passed from sibling to sibling, or friend to friend regardless of gender.

Many were shocked by the news of parents choosing to conceal their child’s gender. More worrying for me is what led the parents to make such a decision.

Although all parents need to think beyond the messages marketed and give their children a well-rounded childhood I believe ultimately responsibility lies with the manufacturers, designers, government and society as a whole. If we continue to force stereotypes then there will be consequences such as parents who feel the need to hide their child’s gender.

We should be providing our children with a childhood void of limitation, free from restrictions and full of opportunity.

By Kate Pietrasik | Tootsa MacGinty Founder / Designer.

Nov 13, 2015 | Category: Blog | | Leave a comment

Halloween | + Free Printable Owl Mask

Halloween is here again! We love this time of year – there is so much fun to be had dressing up, decorating pumpkins, and baking delicious treats.

Did you know Trick-or-Treating began in Scotland? The Scottish tradition of ‘Guising’ was first recorded in 1895, where masqueraders, in disguise as spirits of the dead, would carry lanterns made from scooped out turnips and visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.

If you’re looking for your own original and cosy Halloween outfit for Trick-Or-Treat night then why not consider our cheeky Pumpkin and Day of the Dead sweatshirts?
Or how about a greedy Owl jumper? ….team it with the printable owl mask below!


Rust Pumpkin Sweatshirt // Day Of The Dead Halloween Sweatshirt // Navy Owl Sweatshirt

Last Halloween we brought you the Tootsa Day of the Dead Printable Mask and this year (due to popular demand) there is a brand new mask to print, colour, and wear…. a  Spooky OwlPrint, get creative and hey presto, your “Guising” costume is well on its way!
Share your finished masks on social media with the hashtags #TootsaMacGintyComp and #OwlMask and on October 31st we will select 3 masks at random to be sent an owl sweatshirt. Good luck!


When it comes to decorating the house and getting creative for Halloween there are so many ideas out there. We have chosen our 8 favourite Halloween products and DIY crafting + baking options:


1 Meri Meri Wicked Party Flag Set | 2 Spooky Bat Pegs  | 3 Spiderweb Florentines | 4 No Carve Pumpkin Decoration DIY | 5 Broken Window Sticker | 6 Monster Drinkware DIY | 7 Ghost On A Stick DIY | 8 Day Of The Dead Marshmallow Pops |

Have a spooooooookkkyyy time!

Written by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Oct 17, 2015 | Category: Blog | | Leave a comment

Walk To School | Tootsa Printables

This month we welcome the return of annual International Walk to School Month (IWALK). Created by the Active & Safe Routes to School program, it is a mass celebration of ‘active transportation’, with over 40 countries encouraging primary school kids and parents to ditch the car and instead walk or wheel to school.


How do your kids get to school? For many families the car has become the main mode of transport for getting children to school, resulting in a decline in the numbers of kids walking and wheeling on a regular basis. Although it may seem more convenient to just jump in the car, IWALK raises some important themes that should be taken into consideration when choosing how to travel.

walk to school blog

(visit iwalktoschool.org and the International Walk to School Facebook page for more information)

Convinced? Good! Well we wanted to make your walk to school even more fun and so we’ve created the Tootsa Printable Walk To School activity sheet for you to download.

Activity Sheet

This collection we have the very popular ESK 3-Way Reversible Jacket available in Ivy Green (below), and Loch Blue. This is a great option for school walks with the bright rainbow colour blocking on the back, and reflective piping and panel ensuring children stay warm, dry, and easily visible on those dark winter’s evenings.

Keep toasty with our beautiful hand knitted Fox Hats, Scarves and Mittens. Hand knitted in the UK from the softest blend of organically dyed, British farmed Corriedale, Merino and Alpaca, choose from Marmalade or Grey.

Walk to School

 Stay safe + warm, and enjoy the walking!

Written by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Oct 14, 2015 | Category: Blog | | Leave a comment

Autumn Crafting | Toucan Box Competition

There is something lovely when the air loses its warmth and instead turns crisp and fresh. As we begin October, it’s fun to find cosy jumpers and socks, and start cooking more hearty, wholesome, and comforting dinners.

The changing of seasons is a great time to get kids interested in nature and wildlife – discovering tiny acorns, big shiny conkers and beautiful leaves in all shapes and sizes. There is so much to learn about from the science behind the changing colours of the trees, to the migration of the birds, and not forgetting our more sleepy friends heading into hibernation.

Autumn can also inspire lots of gorgeous crafting possibilities and, as the days grow shorter, it’s a perfect way to keep kids (and adults) busy in the evenings!

So to encourage your kids to get crafty, we’ve teamed up with toucanBox to give you the chance to win a three month Petite subscription! That’s a total of 6 toucanBoxes, delivered through your letterbox every fortnight.


toucanBox was founded by mother of two Virginie, who realised that sometimes “simply using household items” for projects was a little bit more tricky than it sounded – “I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if I could get a tailor made selection of materials and activities delivered to my door? A monthly treasure trove with educational and fun themes to keep the kids entertained in a productive way – all in one handy Box.” 

Every craft comes equipped with all the materials needed for a fun educational project, a set of illustrated easy-to-follow instructions, as well as exclusive access to lots of extra content to help parents plan for further creative activities. It’s never been easier to create and play.


To enter and be in with a chance of winning, here’s what you have to do:

1. Follow us on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

2. Finish the sentence – We Love Autumn Because … 

3. And share it using the hashtag #TootsaMacGintyComp

The winner will be chosen on Wednesday 14th October 2015.

I can very clearly remember collecting twigs, leaves, and pinecones as a child. I’m not quite sure what exactly I did with them, but these crafting ideas are pretty cool:

Autumn Crafts kids

1 Get your paints out and create these colourful acorn tops (Hello Hydrangea)

2 Every Forest King and Queen needs one of these beautiful leaf crowns (Varpunen)

3 This Fall Felt Leaf Wreath is one that can make an appearance every year (Nest of Posies)

4 You won’t mind these 8 legged beauties in your house! Chestnut / Conker spiders (Lille Nord)

5 Kids have a way of collecting lots of bits and bobs in their pockets after a walk – why not create something gorgeous with them? Leaf and Berry Animals (Modern Parents Messy Kids)

6 Twigs have never looked so lovely! Rainbow Stick Heart (Noted List)

7 Fancy your chances in the kitchen? These Leaf Cookies look delicious (Sweetopia)

8 We love these Ombre Pinecones from (Whimzeecal)

9  Be inspired by Gabee Meyers Painted Leaves and create your own beauties!

Enjoy and good luck!

Written by Lisa Dwyer Hogg 

Oct 02, 2015 | Category: Blog | | Leave a comment

Maths Is Beautiful

So, the kids are officially back to school. Hopefully they are happy about that and looking forward to being back in the classroom. Perhaps though the prospect of some subjects don’t fill your child with much joy? When I was at school, maths and science were the dreaded two – they always seemed unreachable, and certainly not enjoyable! I was a smart kid and got good grades but I could never really connect to, what seemed to me, very dull concepts – there was absolutely no creativity attached to subjects like Maths or Science.

Although there is still a long way to go, thankfully the approach to the teaching of STEM subjects has undergone some refreshing changes in recent times. If you are finding it tough to inspire your children we have highlighted some of Tootsa’s favourite fun, artistic, and exciting ways to engage in STEM.

There are tonnes of Mathematic Art Projects for kids out there to get them learning through colour and fun. The utterly fantastic blog What Do We Do All Day written by stay a home mum Erica is a great resource. Check out her activities for Pi Skyline, creating a colourful cityscape by graphing the numbers in Pi, Parabolic Curves, and Tessellations.

Earlier this year New York teacher Anna Weltman released This Is Not A Maths Book which is full of fun drawing challenges with a mathematical basis.  “Amazing patterns with a mathematical essence will be revealed as you follow the simple activity instructions”.

Maths 1

Kiwi Crate is a company devoted to getting kids curious and creative. They make three different boxes / kits that you can order online: Koala for 3-4 year olds, Kiwi for 4-8 year olds, and Tinker Crate for 9 – 16 year olds. The Tinker box concentrates on science and engineering and is a fantastic way to get your kids fired up. Their manifesto:

maths 3
This month, author of award winning Alex’s Adventures in Numberland,  Alex Bellos will be at the Barbican delivering one of their Open Salon sessions entitled Maths is Beautiful.

Combining art and maths is, of course, not a new concept. Throughout history, artists, scientists, and philosophers have been fascinated by the relationship. The ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks employed mathematics to plan monuments including the Great Pyramid, the Parthenon, and the Colosseum, using constructs like the 3-4-5 triangle. In the Italian Renaissance Luca Pacioli wrote the influential treatise De Divina Proportione (1509), illustrated with woodcuts by Leonardo da Vinci, on the use of proportion in art. Another Italian painter, Piero della Francesca, made pioneering use of mathematics for perspective, developing ideas first put forward in Euclid‘s Optics in treatises such as De Prospectiva Pingendi, and applying this knowledge in his paintings.

In his Barbican talk Alex Bellos promises to “reveal the patterns in our universe and explore the beauty and wonder of maths in an imaginative, stimulating and completely undaunting way.”   In his latest book, Snowflake, Seashell, Star – A Colouring Adventure in Numberland  (available on 24th September), he worked with his mathematical artist friend Edmund Hariss to produce a fantastic series of patterns first to colour, and then to create, using simple mathematical rules.

maths 4
Talking about the release he said: “This book has been incredibly fun and exciting to create. The patterns I’ve chosen are all doubly enjoyable – they are gorgeous to look at and colour in, but they also unlock hidden mathematical ideas.”

Fibonacci is another fantastic way to learn how to apply maths in art and a good way to introduce maths games for kids. The Rabbit Problem, by children’s author and illustrator Emily Gravett, is a great reference book for the theory – “How does 1+1 = 288? A family of rabbits soon supplies the answer! Hop along to Fibonacci’s Field and follow Lonely and Chalk Rabbit through a year as they try to cope with their fast expanding brood and handle a different seasonal challenge each month.”

The Rabbit Problem Maths Book

The wonderful thing about all of the learning resources we have featured is that if you didn’t particularly enjoy STEM subjects when you were at school, you can re-learn too. So, when you are buying your geometric items from Hay, you’ll actually know the true maths behind that beauty!

maths 2
1 Triangle Ruler + 2 Organic Cotton Zip Case from Design Museum Shop / 3 Tetrahedron Gold Mug from Southbank Centre Shop / 4 Off The Wall Clipboard / 5 Tootsa MacGinty Stirling Geometric knit Jumper in Ivy Green / 6 Reflections Necklace, Wolf & Moon / 7 Tiger Storage Boxes / 8 Side Table from Bricknell Collection / 9 Hay Dot Carpet

written by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Sep 08, 2015 | Category: Blog | | Leave a comment

Back to School

With the days getting a little shorter and the weather … not so desirable … we are determined not to lose the colour of summer. So as Autumn and Back To School approach we want to bring the bright with us.

This season we introduce our fantastic colourful ESK 3-Way Reversible Jacket available in Loch Blue (below) and Ivy Green. It’s waterproof body, bright rainbow colour blocking on the back, and reflective piping and panel will ensure children stay warm, dry, and easily visible as the evenings get darker. With a warm woollen tartan and faux sheepskin lining, the jacket features removable sleeves that can be zipped off transforming it into a fabulous reversible gilet. 3 coats in 1!


To compliment the jackets colourful stripes, we have found a few more items for Back To School that will ensure there is a rainbow in every day.

Back To School Rainbow Stripes

Herschel Heritage Malibu Backpack / 2 ESK 3-Way Reversible Jacket in Loch Blue / 3 Mini Markers from Hema / 4 Colour Me Fun Pixel Pencil Case / 5 Cheerful Pencil Set by Doodlebugz / 6 Nutcase Rainbow Stripe Skate Helmet / 7 Rainbow Stripe Happy Socks / 8 Molo Sejer Wellington Boots from Alex and Alexa / 9 Multi Stripe Gift Paper from Hema

Over at Common Sense Media they have some great suggestions for books to ease children back into the academic year. We love these ones chosen for 2-6 year olds -

Screen shot 2015-08-27 at 15.33.40

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! by Elise Parsley - “a delightfully offbeat cautionary tale narrated by main character Magnolia, who warns readers not to make the mistake she did — because it landed her in the principal’s office. The art is hilarious and captures the resulting mayhem when Magnolia brings an alligator in for show-and-tell.”

Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown - “soothes preschoolers’ worries about starting kindergarten. Monkey isn’t sure he’ll make new friends, like the snacks, or find the bathroom, but one by one his fears are assuaged as he realizes he’s perfectly ready to transition to the experience.”

Dory and the Real True Friend, by Abby Hanlon – “the sequel to Dory Fantasmagory and stars a wildly imaginative 6-year-old. Dory is starting first grade and and has to leave her imaginary friend Mary behind. At school, she meets equally imaginative Rosabelle, and the two have exciting adventures, many featuring the imaginary friends and foes from Book 1.”

by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Aug 30, 2015 | Category: Blog | | Leave a comment

Poolside Madness

This month Dr. Rebecca Hains, author of The Princess Problem, wrote about an incident that, although shocking, is unfortunately all too familiar for many parents. Whilst at their local YMCA swimming pool, a mother was told by staff that her one year old daughter had to cover up and wear a swimming top.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 14.19.10

Tootsa’s unisex swim shorts – featured in Wildling Magazine, 08/15

Dr. Hains raises two important points as a result of this incident. Firstly, why would any adult think it necessary for a girl’s undeveloped chest to be covered? And secondly, at such an young age it is often difficult to know the gender of a child, so this type of rule clearly discriminates against what people may perceive to be feminine coloured swimming attire. If your one year old daughter was wearing blue swimming shorts, would she avoid the attention of over zealous staff? Similarly, what if your son wore pink swimming shorts? The gender discrimination is hard to miss.

Commenting on this incident professor of psychology Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker says, “Through this kind of behaviour as adults, we are teaching little girls that their bodies are sexual objects … Because culturally, we believe a female body is a sexual object for the pleasure of others. We have got to stop this nonsense. It’s teaching our girls very harmful messages about where their social power comes from, and about what makes them valuable as a human being.”

In a similar event occurred last month in Ontario; an 8 year old girl, who had taken off her t-shirt to join her brothers in the local wading pool, was told that she had to cover up. The policy was that girls over 4 years old had to wear a top. Her father later commented “She was so embarrassed and really nervous and scared because it appeared she was in trouble … You hope that never happens, but you know it’s going to eventually. Basically she’s eight years old, and she’s been sexualized by a stranger.” At such an early age we see how society teaches this little girl that there is something wrong with her body and that it needs to be covered up.

The City of Guelph subsequently released a statement apologising and announcing that it would review it’s policies. In support of the family, Change.org began a petition entitled “Change your discriminating policy regarding ‘dress-codes’ at enclosed pools and splash pad facilities.”

Tackling these types of unacceptable policies head on is so important because not only do they sexualise young girls, they very directly feed into the wider issue of what we now know as ‘body shaming’. And there are many examples of how this concept effects children from an increasinlgy younger age. You may remember back in April the “I hate my thighs” baby grow which was swiftly taken off the shelves due to a massive outcry on social media.


Employee Jason Evans took a picture of the purple baby grow hanging next to a blue one with the slogan ‘I’m Super’ in New York University’s Bookstore. He shared the image on Facebook saying: “I had a very difficult time not raging out about this in the college store. These are onesies…for infants…guess which one is for girls and which one is for boys? THIS is the problem.”

Earlier this year Children’s advocacy group Common Sense Media released a report about the media’s unrealistic beauty standards and its effect on kids self esteem.

Jennifer Swann of TakePart commented on the report – “The findings showed that 80 percent of the country’s 10-year-old girls have been on a diet, and more than half of girls even younger report not being as thin as they’d like to be. Boys also overwhelmingly say their weight causes the most dissatisfaction with their body. Many of them grew up playing with action figures, whose measurements now exceed those of even the biggest bodybuilders.”

Common Sense Media Infographic

Common Sense Media Infographic

Along with many others, here at Tootsa MacGinty we feel very passionately that we should #letclothesbeclothes and allow children to be children. We believe the unisex aspect of our clothing allows kids to just enjoy the fun and colourful side of clothes, rather than informing who they are, defining them by their gender and conforming to how they “should” look.

Why burden children with concepts such as gender identity when they have their whole lives ahead of them to discover who they would really like to be?

Written By Lisa Dwyer Hogg 


Aug 23, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make A Splash! | Affordable Fun In The Sun

With the summer holidays well and truly here (and the sun to go with them!), it’s nice to have a few activities planned that don’t cost the earth or are, preferably, free.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 20.39.47

(Hanging by the pool in some Tootsa MacGinty Swim Shorts)

The sun is lots of fun but of course we have to stay safe, and keep our skin protected. Here are a few essential + stylish items to keep the kids both happy and colourful in the sun:

Pool Collage
1 Dry off in style with this ice-cream cone towel poncho from It’s I Magical // 2 These Sons + Daughters ‘Honey’ shades (available in 8 different colours) are pretty poolside-rock-star // 3 Educational and fun! The Mega Inflatable Globe from John Lewis // 4 New this season, the Tootsa MacGinty unisex swim shorts in blue (also available in red) // 5 Keep their head covered in this mutil coloured hat from Zara Kids // 6 The easiest way to keep their skin safe, this Sun Sense roll-on SPF 50 cream is ideal for the wriggly toddler (ever met one of those?!) from The Sun Care Shop // 7 Make your own healthy versions! Rocket ice lolly moulds // 8 Perfect for the beginner this frog snorkel set will get them comfortable exploring the water // 9 This Roller Wheel from the Science Museum is perfect for long summer days in the garden or on the beach … Just make sure you aren’t in their path!

When the sun has got its hat on, lidos are always a great hit. There are so many across the UK dating back to the 1930s. Though many have been updated and refurbished, quite a few still exhibit that art deco charm. Although not all of them are free, family day passes are affordable and you can usually bring your own picnic.

Here are a few of our UK recommendations:

Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool, Aberdeen, Scotland 

Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool

Opened in 1934, this colourful olympic sized pool contains heated filtered sea water. Late night swimmers can visit 10pm – midnight on Wednesdays during the summer!

Tinside Lido, Plymouth, England

Tinside Lido

This semi-circular waterfront sea water pool was built in 1935 and has lots of lovely art deco features. Fountains, ‘inflatable fun sessions’, and a sunbathing terrace. Picnics are allowed!

Pontypridd Lido, Wales

pontypridd lido

Due to have its grand re-opening this summer, this Grade II listed lido was built in 1927. With three heated pools, a cafe and a state-of-the-art dry play area, it will be the National Lido of Wales.

Granary Square Fountains, Kings Cross, London

Granary Square

Ok, not quite a lido … But we have had hours of fun in the water here. The square is animated with 1,000 choreographed fountains that squirt and splash in patterns – a massive hit with kids – and beautiful at night. Bring a picnic, grab some deck chairs and your afternoon is sorted – and totally free! (Adults, grab a coffee-to-go from Caravan – top notch!)

London Fields LidoHackney, London


Perfect if you don’t like the cold water, this 50 metre pool is heated. Very popular and can get packed on a warm day, but a whole lot of fun! Cafe, sun deck and sunbathing area all available.

Have fun!

by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Jul 13, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loved By Parents Award – Vote for Tootsa MacGinty!

Calling all customers: We need your help!

LBP Award 2014 Logo MASTER

We are delighted to announce that Tootsa MacGinty has been shortlisted for no less than 3 categories in the Loved By Parents Awards 2015 – the “ultimate seal of approval for parents”.

Best Baby Fashion Brand

Best Toddler Fashion Brand

Best Junior Fashion Brand

LovedByParents.com is a fantastic online parenting magazine with features, reviews, and advice for family living, so it really is an honour to have been shortlisted.

These awards are very special because they are voted for by people like YOU – the loyal customers who have helped Tootsa MacGinty get to where we are today.

So, if you love the clothes we make for babies, toddlers and juniors, please vote for us by clicking here, entering the category and our brand name. Voting closes at midnight on 10th July 2015.

Vote For Us!

Summer Collection 2015

Thank you so much!

by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Jun 26, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Father’s Day | Interview with James Ross

With Father’s Day this Sunday, we chat to father and primary school teacher James Ross.

We ask him about education, the challenges and rewards of working with kids, and his experience of raising a little girl.

Jameses web

Tootsa: What or who inspired you to become a teacher?

James: My dad used to be a teacher, and I think that a passion for sharing knowledge runs in my family. But it wasn’t until my daughter, Evie, was born – and the fact that she doesn’t live with me – that I realised how many children go through their early years without a day-to-day male role model. I thought through primary teaching I could help, and decided to pursue teaching as a career.

Tootsa: Working in education certainly has its challenges. What is it about the job that you love and find rewarding?

James: The only real challenge is the bureaucracy surrounding the school system in the UK that can stifle so many good teachers! Of course some children can be difficult, but it’s getting through to them, and getting them to engage with and make progress in their education that makes the job so rewarding. For me there is nothing better than hearing children discuss in the playground what they have read or heard in a lesson, or coming back the next day with questions about something they have learnt.

Tootsa: Do you have any activities for parents of children already in primary school who are finding reading or writing challenging?

James: Be positive and enthusiastic yourself! Children are like sponges: if you delight in reading with/to your children (or at least for their sake pretend that you do!) it will be a fun experience for you both. Children love stories, so try to weave them into everything they see and do. Make sure that they enjoy reading and writing and don’t see it as a chore.  Praise them for effort… and persevere!

If you have a really reluctant reader, don’t think of books as the only option. Put subtitles on when they watch films; comics or simple worded picture books work too. Find a format and context that works for your child.


Tootsa: Do you have any fun ways to introduce pre-school children to maths?

James: Blimey! Well, sums in themselves are a pretty abstract concept, and numbers still confuse me at times! But whatever you do, make it easy to relate to. Use things they are familiar with, don’t talk too much and let them ‘do’. Practical maths where children can touch, feel and move objects is a vital way to gain an understanding. Do activities together, and make them entertaining!

Tootsa: These days some children are able to use iPads and laptops before they can even talk! Can you recommend any fun educational apps or websites for children? 

James: There is a wealth of choice on the market these days, and different formats work for different children. The secret is for the children to be learning without realising it… there is a series of ‘games’ called Toca Boca which my daughter absolutely loves. They are simple, informative and gentle; children can play at being a chef, a vet, a fashion designer… and it helps hand-eye co-ordination whilst being fun at the same time.


For slightly older children I would recommend ‘Mathletics’. It is suitable for all primary school children, and combines exercises on all aspects of maths, has fun challenges, and they can even play games against other children from all over the world. There is a useful tool that enables you to track their progress, and helps pick the most suitable activities for them.


Tootsa: You have a 3 year old daughter. What do you recognise as the challenges for a father bringing up a little girl? 

James: My biggest challenge is ensuring I can maintain a strong influence in her life. It’s great now she is old enough to ‘FaceTime’ when we are apart so we can interact more naturally, although this does involve long periods looking at her ceiling as she draws me a picture or bounces on her bed! I have all of my holidays with her and we have a very strong bond, but dealing with the time apart doesn’t get any easier.

Other than that I have two main issues… PINK and PRINCESSES! Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with either in moderation, but the gender-stereotyping that surrounds our children is horrifying. I am pleased to say that Evie loves to dress as IRONMAN and is obsessed with cars. But try to find either of these things on the high street, and – guess what? – we have to go the ‘boys’ section!

Tootsa: What are your favourite places to take your daughter which are great for learning as well? 

James: What I love about being with children is that they learn wherever they are! Be it at the supermarket, in the park, at the breakfast table, or on the train. They have a natural curiosity that should be nurtured. My favourite outings with Evie are walks in the woods, and we both love castles! There is nothing better than dashing around them, making up stories or, if granddad is there, being told what really happened… which is usually just as exciting!

Tootsa: With father’s day this week, what advice have you received from the male figures in your life that you will pass on?

James: My dad would always say, “It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you have done your best.” It didn’t sit well with me as a teenager, but growing up and then becoming a dad I realise just how true it is. As a parent, so long as you do the best job you can, putting your child’s happiness and well-being first, no one could ask more of you.

Want to learn more? We highly recommend Goods Ideas: How to Be Your Child’s (and Your Own) Best Teacher by former children’s laureate Michael Rosen

“Learning should be much more fun and former children’s laureate, million-selling author, broadcaster, father of five and all-round national treasure, Michael Rosen wants to show you how. Forget lists, passing tests and ticking boxes, the world outside the classroom can’t be contained within the limits of any kind of curriculum – and it’s all the better for it.

Long car journeys, poems about farting, cake baking, even shouting at the TV can teach lessons that will last a lifetime. Packed with enough practical tips, stories and games to inspire a legion of anxious parents and bored children, Good Ideas shows that the best kind of education really does start at home.”

We have gathered together a few gifts for all those fathers out there. If they weren’t daddy cool before, they certainly will be after receiving one of these!

Father's Day Gift Guide

1 The Original Man from The Hambledon // 2 Anatomy Of A Bike by David Sparshott // 3 Bose Wireless Soundlink Headphones // 4 Vans Foldable Wayfarer Sunglasses // 5 Polka Dot Hankerchief from Hymn // 6 Fjallraven Kanken backpack // 7 Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera // 8 Kiels White Eagle Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream // 9 Danner Orange Laces //

If you fancy getting crafty (and impressing everyone) check out this “Shrinky Dink Father’s Day Gift” tutorial from the ever wonderful Oh Happy Day.

Shrinky Dink

Happy Father’s Day!

by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Jun 18, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Five-A-Day

Fruit and fashion go together like, well, apples and pears. We love the slices of fruity delights popping up at the moment. It all started back in 2012 – Prada featured Bananas, Stella McCartney had the Citrus, and Moschino brought the Apples – and, ever since, the fruit salad has been here to stay.

So, there’s no excuse for not having your 5 a day – especially when you can wear it on your face, in your hair and on your feet …

Fruit fashions

1 Watermelon Light from BONTON // 2 Rad + Refined What’s Cookin’ Shades // 3 Sliced Lemon Ice-Cube Tray from Suntek Store // 4 Sunnylife Pineapple Candle in Radiant Orchid // 5 Beach Bag from H&M // 6 Watermelon Cup + 7 Fruit Hair Clips from BONTON // 8 Hansel From Basel Mini Strawberry Crew Socks // 9 Leather Pineapple Keychain from Kate Spade

Last month in our This Yellow Ain’t Mellow blog post we featured the most gorgeous pineapple Shoes from Ba-Na-Na. They also have equally delightful watermelon and strawberry ones too.

Ba-Na-Na Fruit Shoes

We are in love!

If you fancy getting a little fruity with your DIY, here are a couple of colourful tutorials that we love:

Screen shot 2015-06-08 at 15.55.46

1 Fruit Slice Umbrellas from Studio DIY + 2. The House That Lars Built DIY Fruit Slice Mat

The summer holidays are just around the corner, so why not make up a batch of delicious and healthy fruit popsicles / ice lollies. The perfect hot day snack and a fantastic way to get fruit into the kids diet. We can guarantee there will be no complaints!

Here are three minimal effort recipes we have discovered:

Fresh Fruit Lollies For Kids

Whole Fruit Popsicles from The View From Great Island // 2 Jamie Oliver’s Smoothie Ice Lollies // 3 Mango Lime Pops from Love and Lemons 

Here is the recipe for the Mango Lime Pops from the Love and Lemons website:

You will need :

2 ripe mangos, chopped

2 limes, juiced

1/4 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup of water

9 plastic 3oz cups / popsicle moulds

Small wooden craft sticks

How to :

In a blender, puree all the ingredients. Taste and adjust.

Pour into cups / molds and freeze for a least 4 hours. After the first 2 hours, place the sticks into the partially frozen pops.

Jun 11, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kids Summer Espadrilles from Tootsa MacGinty

Introducing our first ever range of Espadrilles.
Handcrafted on the Landaise Coast in South West France, these bright and colourful summer shoes have proved to be a great hit with both the kids and their parents!

Tootsa MacGinty SS 2015

Whether on the beach, in the garden, or off on an adventure, we think they are the perfect throw-on summer shoe for kids. Made from 100% cotton, with a jute inner and a natural Spanish rubber outer sole, they will be comfortable enough for children to wear all day long – ideal for the fast approaching summer holidays.

tootsa macginty espadrilles

At only £15, our six styles are now available at the Tootsa MacGinty shop, sizes 22 – 32 (subject to availability):

Sun // Red Stripe // Red // Multi Stripe // Blue // Blue Stripe

The history of the ‘humble’ Espadrille is a colourful and exciting one. In the thirteenth century Basque mine workers, Pyrenean priests, and even the King of Aragon’s infantry wore the easy-to-wear shoe. Espadrilles with ribbon ties (known as ‘Espardenya’) were worn by the Sardana dancers of Catalan’s national dance. The name itself originates from the species of plant ‘Esparto’ that was braided to create the infamous, coiled jute, Espadrille sole.

Popular with both men and women in France and Spain, it was not long before the footwear spread across the whole of Europe. By the 1940s and 50s they began appearing on the feet of Hollywood style icons across the Atlantic!

Espadrilles on Famous Feet

Clockwise – Humphrey Bogart, Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth and Salvador Dali.

In the 1970s the shoe really came into its own when Yves Saint Laurent introduced the famous wedge Espadrille. Since then they have featured in just about every Spring / Summer season, in many different shapes and guises!

Our kids Espadrilles have been made by Mr and Mrs Arauzo in their small, family run factory (featured in the video below) since 1960. As well as developing mechanical techniques, they also very much preserve the “traditional and indispensable” hand-stitched methods.

There are so many gorgeous, on-trend Espadrille options available at the moment. The age old issue of comfortable summer shoes that are also stylish seems to have been solved.

Here are a few of our favourites -

Summer Espadrilles

1 Lace up flamingo print espadrilles from H&M // 2 Studio Pollini Striped Platform Espadrilles // 3 OAS Pina Pina Espadrille // 4 Kurt Geiger Milo Black Sequin Flatform Espadrilles // 5 Derby Aritzia Bubbles Espadrilles from Soludos // 6 Aldo Rolli lace up espadrille trainers // 7 Dolce & Gabbana Gerani Silk Brocade Espadrilles / 8 Gaimo for Office Coral Black Suede Leather Espadrilles // 9 Topshop Kangeroo Espadrilles

Last week talented artist and illustrator Jennifer Vallez of Sophie and Lili posted a new watercolour story on her instagram. We were delighted to spy Tootsa MacGinty’s very own Blue Stripe Espadrilles featured. Thanks Jennifer!

Jennifer Vallez Illustration

Here’s to happy feet this summer!

by Lisa Dwyer Hogg 

Jun 04, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Won! | UKFT Best Childrenswear Award

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Tootsa MacGinty took home the childrenswear award at the prestigious UK Fashion & Textile Awards.


The awards recognise the best of British brands with a judging panel including fashion luminaries Henry Holland, Colin McDowell, Anita Barr, and Melanie Rickey.

The glamourous evening was hosted by the gorgeous Amber Le Bon and Jack Guinness -

ukft awards

Taking place at Tobacco Docks, London, the event was attended by many names in the business, including Mary Portas (doesn’t she look great!), UKFT patron HRH Princess Anne, the ever dapper Henry Holland, and witty George Lamb.

UKFT 2015 Red Carpet

The Childrenswear Award was presented by musician and mother Sophie Ellis Bextor who, we are delighted to say, added that Tootsa MacGinty was her “personal favourite”!!

UKFT Collage

A very proud Kate and James with HRH Princess Anne, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Amber Le Bon, and Jack Guinness -

UKFT Best Childrenswear Brand Award Tootsa MacGinty

“I am absolutely thrilled Tootsa MacGinty is now recognised alongside some of the best brands in the UK. To be chosen for this award by some of the finest in the fashion industry proves that age appropriate, unisex clothing for children can be done with style, creativity and colour” – Kate (Tootsa MacGinty founder/designer).

Kate and Award

We want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of our loyal, faithful customers. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for your continued commitment and support.

Thank You Tootsa

by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

May 30, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plant life | An Interview with Sophy Lennon

It has never been so fashionable to have green fingers. We have certainly been inspired by the recent surge of terrariums, planters and colourful accessories available. And, for those of us who are garden-less, the stylish options for bringing the green indoors are endless.

Plant Life Inspiration by Tootsa MacGinty

Clockwise from top left: 1 Hanging Pots // 2 Vertical Succulent Planter // 3 Ferm Living SS15 featuring Urban Jungle Bloggers // 4 Grit Table // 5 A collection of ceramics by Jungalow // 6 + 7 house plant shoot for Casa de Valentina

So we wanted to speak to someone who knows her stuff when it comes to plant life and gardening tips.

Sophy Lennon lives in London and is a freelance garden designer. She is mother to three children, 9, 7 and 5 years old.

Today we ask her how to get kids excited about the outside, and some advice on making our lives a little more green.

Sophy Lennon & kids

Sophy Lennon & her children

Tootsa: When did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in garden design?

Sophy: Plants, planting and re-design have always been a favourite pastime, but it was only when I designed a garden for a friend as a favour that I realised I could make a career change. Last summer I finished a three year diploma in Garden Design and I am now enjoying designing gardens for a living.

Tootsa: What are your earliest memories of gardening?

Sophy: From an early age I helped in the garden. I used to have my own flowerbed, which I re-designed when I was seven. My grandfather loved growing vegetables and flowers. I have fond memories of sewing seeds, tying canes and picking sweetpeas. It was always fun to visit and see how they were doing. Spelling was never my strong point, but my granny insisted I learn the Latin for each plant in her garden. I thought she was eccentric but it has helped enormously.

Sophy's Kids & Sunflowers

Sophy’s children cutting sunflowers

Tootsa: Do you garden with your children?

Sophy: My children love being in the garden but they are young and want quick results. They grow herbs, strawberries, sweetpeas, sunflowers and lots of bulbs. My daughter grew beans last year and my son made wigwams with bamboo sticks for them to grow on. They also enjoy visiting gardens, picking and pressing flowers, as well as fruit picking.

Tootsa: What type of activities would you suggest an adult could enjoy with young children to get them involved in plant life? 

Sophy: Children love looking, exploring and collecting. I-spy and nature spotting books can get them thinking about plants as well as insects and birds. Kew Gardens, The National Trust and RHS have a good selection of activities for children. When gardening with children, the main rule is; don’t be too precious, experiment and have fun. Keep a diary. If it doesn’t work out hypothesise why and try it another way. If you have space, a child might like his or her own border or a large pot to create a fairy or troll garden. Try sunflowers, calendula, poppy, coriander, chives, sweet basil, carrots and beans.

National Trust Kids Garden

The National Trust Community Garden section of Trengwainton

Tootsa: At this time of year what should we be planting that are easy to maintain?

Sophy: Now it’s getting warmer, you can plant many things directly outside, for example: sunflowers, nasturtiums, poppies, cornflowers, nigella, lettuce, carrots, peas, runner beans, chives and coriander. Check you plant them in the right place and don’t forget to water them.

Tootsa: Terrariums and succulent planters have become increasingly popular recently, what would your advice be when buying these? 

Sophy: I have seen some beautiful terrariums and succulent planters lately. They look great all year round as long as they are in a sunny, sheltered location and watered sparingly. They don’t like wet feet, so good drainage is key. A straggly plant is probably reaching out for better light conditions.

Tootsa: For those of us with no garden, what tips do you have for window boxes and maximizing the green in our lives?

Sophy: I am a strong believer in choosing the right plant for the right place. Think about whether the box will sit in the sun or shade, a windy or sheltered site, and choose plants that will thrive in that position. You can have a lot of fun putting different plant combinations together, but don’t forget watering is a must!

Tootsa: Where are your favourite places to buy garden furniture and accessories? 

Sophy: I am a fan of bespoke seating with storage and cushions made in a fabric of choice. I also love the Cacoon hanging chair. It is fun for adults and children, reasonably priced and looks good in a modern garden. Go Modern and Habitat are also in my address book!

Tootsa: We know your kids are fans of Tootsa MacGinty, do they have any favorites from the Spring Summer collection?

They love the bright colours. My daughter loves the dresses with big pockets so she can collect flowers and shells.

Need some activities for kids in the garden? We have sourced a few child friendly garden items that are sure to add a bit of excitement and fun to the idea of spending time outside -

Children in the Garden

1 Host a few creepy crawlies with the Little Thoughtful Gardener Insect Hotel | Wild & Wolf // 2 Tootsa MacGinty Light Denim Smock Dress – with big pockets to collect those flowers and shells! // 3 Watch them grow with the Deluxe Root Viewer from Fat Brain Toys // 4 Leopard Sleeve T-Shirt in Apple Green from Tootsa MacGinty // 5 Bring on the butterflies with this ButterflyBom from Ohh Deer. Contains a wildflower mix loved by butterflies – throw it and grow it! // 6 The perfect summer throw on, Tootsa MacGinty’s Multi – Stripe Espadrilles // 7 From your garden to your kitchen – Kids Veggie Patch Kit from Eco Toys // 8 Summer sun chino shorts from Tootsa MacGinty // 9 The Bonsai chair from Cacoon – the perfect hang out for kids! //

And for the adults – whether inside or out, you can grow plants with style and colour!

Plant Life

1 Hex Spora from Light + Ladder – “Organic form finds stillness in geometric order” perfect for small succulents // 2 Create a garden anywhere with the Living Wall Planter from Woolly Pocket // 3 The Tripod Terrarium from Fort Standard is the stylish gardener’s must have // 4 Inspired by the faithful coffee pot, this Lungo Watering Pot from TwentyTwentyOne is a perfect garden accessory // 5 Make your own gorgeous Mini Face Planters with this DIY from Sugar and Cloth // 6 Display in style with Urban Outfitter’s Metal Plant Stand // 7 These Thoughtful Gardener Tools come with turquoise painted wooden handles and hanging loops // 8 Brighten up a window with this Leon yellow and green metal planter box from Habitat // 9 Mollie Makes will teach you how to make this colourful plant hanger //

If you missed the Chelsea Flower show last week, then get yourself to Hampstead Heath, London for the contemporary garden fair Grow London 19-21 June 2015.


Returning to Hampstead Heath, GROW London is an inspiring day out bursting with ideas on how to transform your outside space, no matter how large or small.”

Happy planting!

by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

May 25, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colourful African Prints

The popular Tootsa MacGinty Spring Summer collection The Kids Go Wild is inspired by the beautiful animals and bright colourful textiles of Africa.

Across our collection you will find three different types of colour popping goodness in the finer details of trims and lining.

African Print textiles Tootsa MacGinty SS15

The geometric print comes in both orange and turquoise, and features on our denim harem trousers (classic blue & light blue), comfy shorts (red gingham, classic blue denim & light blue denim), denim smock dress and pop-up lion sweatshirt. The fun, multi-coloured elephant parade trims the inside of our classic chino shorts (sandy yellow & denim stripe) and slim fit jeans (striped denim, sandy yellow & apple green).

A source of endless colourful joy, African textiles inspire designers across the board. We have selected a few items that do just that –

colourful African print homewares fashion

1 Bold and beautiful handmade papier-mache bowls inspired by the Congo // 2 Joyaux Marisol ‘Olabisi – Joy Increases’ umbrella // 3 Tata Naka African Inspired Collection // 4 Kakura African print earrings handmade from Edanso // 5 African Handmade Shoes in humpback whale print // 6 African block print bow tie from Atelier 412 New York // 7 Anthropologie Crackled Batik Quilt // 8 Bespoke Binny “Feel Good Furnishings with an African Twist” cushion // 9 Fairtrade handmade Bolgatanga shopping baskets from The African Fabric Shop

africa-utopia southbank centre

And one for your diaries – African Utopia is on at London’s Southbank Centre 11-13 September 2015.

“Africa Utopia returns for its third year in 2015. The festival looks at what can be learnt and celebrated from Africa and the African diaspora.

We explore how African art and ideas can change the world for the better: how Africa can lead the way in thinking about culture, community, technology, fashion, sustainability and ethical wealth creation.

Some of the continent’s most iconic musicians and artists appear at the festival and take part in the debates alongside experts, entrepreneurs and activists.

Highlights from last year included performances from the godfather of ethio-jazz, Mulatu Astatke, and Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra, the extraordinary self-taught orchestra and chorus from Kinshasa, who performed in London for the first time.”

by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

May 19, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Interview With Babesta’s Jenn Cattaui

Tootsa MacGinty stockist Jenn Cattaui founded children’s wear shop Babesta in 2004. As well as the online store (Babesta.com), she now has three stores in New York – two in Tribeca and the most recent at Brookfield Place. She was Chief Editor at Earnshaw’s Magazine, and has been executive editor at several fashion magazines. She is mother to two daughters, Amina and Camille.Jennifer Cattaui Babesta

Today, we chat Mother’s Day, New York and career changes …

Tootsa: You have described your career trajectory as “atypical”, from studying law to running two children’s wear boutiques, via journalism. How did you go from law to specialising in children’s wear journalism?

Jenn: It was over some time, but I graduated law school and then worked for Ernst & Young in their tax law consulting practice. I thoroughly enjoyed that but then had the opportunity to move to Paris and couldn’t pass that up! I ended up moving out of tax law (I had focused on state and local tax law, not so relevant in Paris!) and ended up working at the Institute of World Business Law. While in Paris, I was freelance writing for different magazines on the side for fun. In 2001 I moved back to NYC and bought a place in Tribeca. It was right before September 11th and I had been interviewing in various legal/finance related positions. After 9/11, like many people, I re-evaluated what I was doing and what I wanted to do. It made you think about your career in a different way. I ended up pursuing journalism on a full time basis. I worked at a range of magazines focused on celebrities, pets, women’s fashion,  and NYC lifestyle. I met some really inspirational entrepreneurs which definitely made a lasting impact. My last mag was an edgy fashion mag and, when I was pregnant, I started looking into edgy fashion for kids. It was the beginning of a movement of niching up the kids’ industry and I found that really compelling. Babesta started online in 2004 as a side project while I was still in media, but it grew into a full time business and ultimately where I hope to make a mark!

Tootsa: What inspired you to open a children’s wear boutique?

Jenn: I had been selling cool rock & roll and pop culture based clothing online since 2004. Then, in 2007, I stumbled upon a location that I thought would be perfect for a brick and mortar store. Everything came together and I went for it. It has been a tremendous adventure and learning experience and I’ve loved this exciting challenge.

Jennifer Cattaui

Tootsa: You have opened a second boutique in New York. Are there any more Babesta boutiques planned and would you like to bring the store to other cities?

Jenn: We actually just opened our third, at Brookfield Place. We have two boutiques in Tribeca – one dedicated to clothing and accessories, and the other dedicated to furniture and gear.  We’ll see where we go for now. Short term, I’m focusing on this new shop at Brookfield, but am open to opportunities in places that could use and appreciate a fresh baby & kids scene!

Tootsa: Since you started working in the children’s wear industry, what changes have you seen in terms of what clothes parents are buying for their children? 

Jenn: I think that parents take more risks and have fun with the clothes. Boys styles are definitely changing and there are many more choices and cooler, less traditional things happening there. There are fewer gender rules which I love.

Jennifer Cattaui

Tootsa: Being a parent and running your own business is a very demanding schedule! What do you do to relax?

Jenn: Go for a jog, play tennis and binge watch Netflix, Showtime & HBO. Read in a sunspot and research fun places to travel next.

Tootsa: Mother’s Day in the US is fast approaching, what is on your gift wish list? 

Jenn: We love our “Word to Yo Mama” tees that we have made for the occasion! We do a sort of Jersey Shore meets downtown hipster in our shop with our heat press tees and that’s our latest exclusive design for all the moms out there!

Jennifer Cattaui

Tootsa: What advice have you received from the women in your life that you will pass on to your two daughters?

Jenn: Be bold, be kind and have fun. Never think “I can’t”. Go for it.

Tootsa: What are your favourite family New York destinations?

Jenn: I love being out along the water in NYC! Battery Park City and up the Hudson River – there are a bunch of parks to visit, stretches of lawn, all looking over the water. The girls love the parks there because of the sprinklers in the summer and all of the lawn games. I love hitting the marina when it’s packed with mega yachts and grabbing a picnic lunch from Hudson Eats with the family on a lazy Sunday. There’s also a restaurant that docks during the summer called Grand Banks that we love going to – it’s  a boat where you can have a drink and a bite literally on the water.

I love the MET and the MOMA – both have great programming for kids and I’m totally looking forward to the new Whitney in Meatpacking! Someday we will do that sleepover at the Natural History Museum – its always intrigued me. We often hit the 2-fer booth down at the Seaport to grab inexpensive tickets to shows we haven’t seen. I always need my NY culture fix!

Family Day Out NYC

Tootsa: Babesta has been selling Tootsa MacGinty for 3 seasons now. What are your favourite picks from the SS15 collection?

Jenn: I always love the Tootsa line – it’s so much fun, great colors and the knits are out of this world. I love the knit hippo sweater and the leopard harem pants (great shape!!!) but I think hands down one of my favorite Spring Summer musts is the uber-retro super cool quilted sunrise jacket. We’ve had both girls and boys buy it and rock it! It’s simply awesome!

Tootsa MacGinty featured in the Spring Summer 2015 Babesta Beat online magazine -

babesta beat tootsa macginty picks

Shop them at the Tootsa MacGinty shop – Leopard Harem Trousers / Cross Stitch Leopard Sweatshirt / Hippo Striped Jacquard Jumper / Red Snake Striped T-Shirt / Sunrise Quilted Cotton Jacket

With only a few days left to find a gift for the stylish woman you look up to, here are our Mother’s Day picks:

Mother's Day Picks

1 You Taught Me To Fly Mother’s Day Card by Papyrus // 2 Brass Triangle Stand from Ferm Living //  3 Home Style By City available at Anthropologie // 4 Inspired by Rome’s streets, the Confetti Bronze Portofino Pouch by Lee Coren // 5 & Other Stories angular Stone Stud Earrings // 6 Aesop Jet Set Travel Essentials // 7 Colourful Beach Blanket Throws from Spartan Shop // 8 Mint + Wood Geometric Succulent Planter from Greatly

Happy Mother’s Day!

by Lisa Dwyer Hogg 

May 05, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Yellow Ain’t Mellow

Today we embrace all things yellow.

The colour of sunshine that, like our sweatshirt below (no. 5), instantly puts a smile on your face.

This Yellow Ain't Mellow

Ways to Walk in London : Hidden Places and New Perspectives – a collection of notes, walks and artwork by Alice Stevenson | 2 Rachel Powell Mini-Me Screen Print  | 3 Hicks Yellow Planter from Darkroom London| 4 Petites Pattes Kids Socks from Archie’s Boutique | 5 Tootsa MacGinty’s Sun Smile Sweatshirt | 6 & Other Stories Chandelier Yellow Nail Polish and Lemon Daydream Hand Cream | 7 H&M Patterned Canvas Bag | 8 Pineapple Flat Shoes from Ba-Na-Na | 9 Hand Painted Goyescas Bulls Head by Gandia Blasco

Feeling inspired? Then look no further than the Tootsa MacGinty shop to bring some fun filled sun to your kid’s wardrobes –

Tootsa MacGinty Sun Yellow

Sunrise Quilted Cotton Jacket Chameleon Sun Stripe T-Shirt / Sun Bear Sweatshirt / Sandy Yellow Classic Chino Shorts / African Safari Printed Sweatshirt / Sun Handmade Espadrilles / Sun Leopard Raglan Sleeve T-Shirt / Rabbit Fairisle Cushion / Sun Lion Animal Sleeve T-Shirt


Even our Porter Colline for Tootsa MacGinty fox peg wants to be part of the gang –

Porter Colline for Tootsa MacGinty Animal Pegs

Visit our shop to buy your exclusive fox and bear pair.

Enjoy the sun!

posted by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Apr 27, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Interview With Kate Carter

Kate Carter is life and style editor at the Guardian, and also edits the Running Blog. She has run two marathons and is training for two more this year – London and Berlin. She has two daughters, Lily, six, and Rosalie, three. Rosalie is the family fashionista, and would prefer that everyone wear Tootsa McGinty, preferably accessorised with welly boots and ear muffs at all times. Including heat-waves!

Today we ask her about how running has become so key to her life, and how on earth she fits it all in!

Kate Carter and Haile Gebrselassie

Kate Carter and Haile Gebrselassie

Tootsa: Who or what inspired you to start running?

Kate: To be honest, I’d love to say I had some great inspirational moment – and I’ve certainly always loved watching running and athletics generally – but to be honest it was just practical! I was on maternity leave with my youngest daughter, wanted to get a bit fitter and healthier again, and running was the most efficient way to do that! If you have 20 minutes, you can do a 20 minute run. Any other sport requires getting somewhere else, changing.. all that faff! With running you can put on your shoes and go.

Tootsa: You’re a busy working Mum – are you able to run regularly?

Kate: Yes I run six days a week. You do have to be pretty determined sometimes, when it’s 6am on a winter morning and you are knackered! But in the week, I often run to work, or home from work, or at lunchtime. At the weekend I train with my running club on Saturday mornings, then do my long run very early on Sundays.

Kate Carter and her daughter Lily

Kate Carter and her daughter Lily

Tootsa: Why is running important to you?

Kate: Oh, so many reasons. I value the time by myself of course. But I just love running. Before I started, I would have thought all runs are much the same, but every one is different. Whether it’s different distance, weather, terrain … sometimes I hate it, and feel awful – but then feel even better when I’ve finished. I don’t think I’ve ever regretted going for a run; well, apart from the one the other day where I got completely lost in some road diversions and was late back …

Tootsa: You ran the London Marathon – what tips would you give a beginner thinking about training for a marathon?

Kate: I’d say two things: respect the distance, but also, enjoy it! When it comes to training, find a really good plan (unfortunately there are some rubbish ones out there) and stick to it. When you start having to do the long runs, don’t worry if they are really, really hard. You might do 18 or 19 miles and feel utterly broken and think “how on earth can I do 26.2?” – but you will! The training is harder than the race. On race day, just enjoy it. And every day for the next week or so you will wake up thinking “I RAN A MARATHON. I ROCK”.

Tootsa: What do you eat in preparation for a marathon?  

Kate: For breakfast that day? Just normal – I always have a bagel or toast. One bit with peanut butter, one with marmalade. I know, wildly exciting, right? For dinner the night before a bit of a carb-load but that just really means one big bowl of pasta or pizza or something. Unfortunately, carb-loading doesn’t mean eating every bit of bread, pasta or potato in sight. I wish.

Kate Carter cross country running

Kate Carter cross country running

Tootsa: What’s in your running kit?

Kate: Ha, well my husband would probably say, “What ISN’T?” I do have a lot of kit. Clothing depends on the weather of course, but things I will never be without are good running shoes (I race in Asics but usually do long runs in Nikes) and my Garmin 620. That tells me pace, distance, cadence.. pretty much does everything except run for me. I listen to music when I run too so an iPod shuffle is always in the bag. I love Nike clothes, and Lululemon is a new obsession. There’s some really great small brands too, doing gorgeous premium stuff, like Ashmei or Iffley Road

Tootsa: Do you encourage your children to do sport?

Kate: Yes, absolutely. Just to try and show them all the options, give them a love of it early on. Lily, who is six, does Junior Parkrun with me sometimes – but I am careful never to pressure her, only if she feels like it. I don’t want her to think of it as a chore, just fun. I certainly don’t want her to care about times or speed or anything. Her little sister, who is just three, does Small Sports at nursery and loves it. She’s pretty good at rugby tackling me to the ground, too …

Tootsa: How else do you like to unwind?

Kate: Drawing – if I ever get the time. Reading. Or lying in bed, reading for about 30 seconds before passing out with my book on my face.

Rosalie Carter wearing Tootsa MacGinty

Kate’s daughter Rosalie wearing Tootsa MacGinty

Tootsa: Being a working parent is tricky but also rewarding – how do you manage your work/life balance?

Kate: Probably badly! It always feels like fire-fighting, rather than planning, but we scramble through somehow! It’d be a darn site easier if I had a PA, a butler and a chauffeur, mind.

Tootsa: What do you enjoy doing with your family at the weekends?

Kate: The girls always seem to have something on – a birthday party, or play date with friends. I wish I had their social life! When we do have some free time they love doing crafty things, or “arts and crafts” as they rather more grandly put it. Also, making cakes is always a favourite (as is eating them afterwards, obviously) and going to the local park to play.

Tootsa: Finally, we know you are a Tootsa MacGinty fan, what are your favourites from Tootsa MacGinty’s new SS15 collection?

Kate: Oh I am a sucker for animals so I love it all. I’ve already bought the denim smock dress for Lily, and I love all the shorts. Then I love the Peekaboo lion sweatshirt – and the cross stitch ones. Basically all of it. The last collection was amazing too – I am a panda-holic so it could not have been more appealing to me!

Kate’s Spring / Summer Tootsa MacGinty picks:

Kate Carter's Tootsa MacGinty SS15 picks

Shop all items HERE

Feeling inspired? Kate has given us her top 6 websites and apps for runners to use:

C25K: How I started, and millions like me! Simple programme to get you from the sofa to running 5k, non stop, in eight weeks. It works.

Guardian Beginners and Intermediate Podcasts – I’m obviously biased but these are really good, honest. The first is equivalent of C25K, the second getting you up to 10k and perhaps a bit speedier.

Hal Higdon’s Training Plans: For marathons, these are tried and tested by thousands of runners

Strava: Great way to share runs, race yourself over previous times on the same run, set ‘segments’ to race with friends and so on

Endomondo: Good for basic run logging: will tell you rough distance, time and so on.

Weekend debrief: Come and tell me about how you are getting on! Every Monday we have a group discussion/ moan about woes/ talk about the best post-run cake

Our running wish list …

running products

Nike Flex Run Trainers / 2 Falke Ergonomic Sport System Shell Jacket / 3 Race To Place Run hat from Lulu Lemon / 4 Lucas Hugh leggings / 5 Adidas Originals City London t-shirt  / 6 Like The Wind Running Magazine

Good luck on the 26th Kate!

posted by Lisa Dwyer Hogg 

Apr 20, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Porter Colline for Tootsa MacGinty Pegs | An Interview with Carrie Hill

… Drumroll please …

Today we are delighted to launch our limited edition hand painted Porter Colline for Tootsa MacGinty Pegs! Wearing Tootsa MacGinty jumpers, this fashionable pair will bring instant colour and joy to your home. They are the perfect gift to yourself, or, if you’re very selfless, someone else.

porter colline tootsa macginty bear and fox pegs

Porter Colline for Toosa MacGinty Pegs

Exclusively available at the Tootsa MacGinty shop you will have to be mighty quick if you want some! Click HERE to get yours.

So, to celebrate their arrival, we chatted to the busy artist herself – the very talented Carrie Hill. We talk pegs, China Town, inspiration, and Instagram.

Carrie Hill + Son

(Carrie Hill and her son)

TootsaWe are really excited to be selling your beautiful and unique peg characters. How did you come up with the idea?

Carrie: My first batch of pegs were borne of a random find in Camden Passage Market. I was making a promo for the TV company I was working for at the time, and was on the desperate hunt for vintage kid’s alphabet blocks, but found none.  I saw the blank pegs and bought them with no clue what I was going to do with them, and indeed did absolutely nothing with them for years. One day I had them on my desk at the same time as some paints, and decided I’d dress them!  A few friends said they liked them and one of those friends was Tootsa MacGinty’s Kate, who used them, and other props, for your SS13 photo shoot (see below). She then borrowed them to dress her London trade show stand where Molly Meg spotted them. The rest is history.

Surfers Against Sewage Tootsa MacGinty Porter Colline

Porter Colline props

Tootsa: Following the arrival of your son you had a change of career. Was this something you had always wanted to do?

Carrie: Hmm, yes and no. I’ve always made things, I can’t remember a time I didn’t. But, never for sale, and never so publicly. I had always thought that it would change how I felt about making things if I had to work to deadlines. I also didn’t know if I had it in me to be creative on demand, or indeed consistently.. I had always imagined I’d go back to work in TV. I still never say never, but I had never imagined how much I’d enjoy painting tiny peg folk and seeing them disappear off around the world.

Tootsa: Working for yourself has so many benefits, but how do you stay disciplined and focussed? 

Carrie: With a 4 yr old only in nursery for 3 hours a day, and a partner that travels frequently for work, I have to say, it’s a challenge. Looming deadlines are an amazing motivator! Truth be told it’s a ‘work when you can, where you can’ scenario. Very often I’m to be found at my desk, dinner by my side, working when my son is asleep. And my top tip is podcasts. It feels less like work with a fascinating podcast, a cup of tea and the rest of the household asleep!

Porter Colline for Molly Meg

Tootsa: Where do you gather inspiration?

Carrie: I follow over 4000 Instagram accounts, it’s insane. I adore looking at lots of Japanese accounts, vintage homeware accounts, interiors, clothing, pattern and colour enthusiasts and find so much inspiration there.

I’m a self-confessed internet addict, I love all the usuals, Pinterest of course, and Flickr also has fantastic photo pools of people with amazing collections. I love vintage advertising annuals, children’s books and second hand bookstores I cannot so much as pass without quickly having a look at old covers and colourways. I love found objects, and am constantly looking at the ground, picking up glittery bits and papers for future use. I have desktop folders brimming with images I’ve saved since the dawn of the internet, and real life paper folders full of cuttings from before that!

Tootsa: Are there specific places that you like go to?

Carrie: Hands-down in every single city I’ve ever lived in, Chinatown. The colour, the packaging, the food, the oddities in the over-stuffed shops have always and always will delight and inspire me.

Tootsa: How do you strike a balance between work and family? 

Carrie: Ooh, sore point. I don’t. My son starts school in September and as much as I will never wish away these precious days with him, I am looking forward to having the week days to devote to Porter Colline. An Etsy shop is long overdue and I have no fewer than 8 overstuffed Moleskines with sketches and ideas waiting to be realised “when I have more time!”

Porter Colline for Boden

Tootsa: As well as being commissioned by us you have worked with Boden (images above) and have created items for Molly Meg, can you let us in on what exciting projects you are working on at the moment?

Carrie: Right now I’m concentrating on custom peg orders. Families, wedding pegs, anniversary pegs, place settings, party bags, on and on. I’m forever inspired by the ideas others have for me to realise. Instagram really has changed my life and I make pegs for people all around the world. I love the custom orders as they involve such a lovely exchange. I get photos and stories sent to me to work with, and it’s a slower more experimental process. It just so happens that it’s also a perfect way of maximising these last precious months before I send my little boy off into the world of full-time school as I can take longer on each commission. I’m very lucky and grateful for the ability to tailor this little business to my real life.

Carrie Hill Instagram Food

Tootsa: We love seeing what delights you are eating via Instagram (see above). What favourite quick and healthy recipe can you share with us?

Carrie: I’m going to cheat a bit here and give you the recipe for my favourite dressing. It’s such a multi-purpose winner. I put it on courgette noodles with chicken or smoked tofu, on salads, brown rice, raw and cooked vegetables, even drizzled on avocado on toast. I make up a batch and keep it in a jam jar in the fridge- it keeps for a week, though never lasts that long. It’s uber simple.

Carrie’s Favourite Dressing

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 Tbsp sweet white miso (I use Clearspring)

2 Tbsp tahini paste

3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar for the health benefits, but not as popular with young tastebuds)

Pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients together and then slowly add a small amount of water until it’s at the desired consistency. You can also loosen the mix with more vinegar if you like a sharper dressing. I do!

But taste, adjust, taste, adjust.. My motto for all my cooking!

I’ve been known to add cayenne, sesame seeds, Japanese Furikake seasoning and coriander when the mood takes me. Though I do remove a portion for the tiny one before I go tarting it up too much.

P.S My favourite way to have it is in a salad of grated carrot, grated firm green pear, cubed avocado and sesame seeds, which I then wrap up like a sushi roll in toasted nori (seaweed) sheets. Don’t make the dressing too runny in this instance or it will be a soggy roll!

Tootsa: What does a nice day out look like for your family?

Carrie: Without fail, a quick trip to Planet Organic for our family’s current obsession, a hot almond cacao. I rarely start a day out without a cup of this in my hand at the moment. And I’d say that at the age my boisterous boy is, it’s park life all the way. Hampstead Heath, Highgate Woods, Trent Park, Crystal Palace Dinosaur Park, or my personal favourite Golders Hill Park (mostly because I can usually convince the team that a trip to Atari-Ya sushi shop is in order as it’s on the way) I like to eat! I’m attempting to cultivate that love in my son at every available opportunity. So if there’s food and a park, we’re all happy. And I really do subscribe to the adage that if the parents are happy the kids are happy. If everyone gets a wish fulfilled, the day is usually a good one.

Tootsa: We know that your son is a fan of Tootsa MacGinty – what are his top picks for SS15? 

Carrie: He was immediately drawn to the sunrise jacket, but who wouldn’t be! And the animal print intarsia knit. And very sweetly the denim shorts announcing ‘I’d choose those for Lois’ – a friend of the family!

Keep up to date with Carrie’s work on her website / instagram / twitter

and snap up your Tootsa-wearing pegs right HERE.

Porter Colline for Tootsa MacGinty Animal Pegs

posted by Lisa Dwyer Hogg 

Apr 02, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weather Watch | Cloud Spotting

It feels a little like the weather is taking a bit of time to catch up with our Spring feelings – most frustrating.

So, as we will the winter chill away, we have our eyes on some clouds. But not just in the sky of course – we also like some clouds in our home and on our clothes!


1 Cloud Diamond Ring by Bibi van der Velden / 2 Gola x Cath Kidston Mini Clouds Trainers / 3 The Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney / 4 Rainy Pot Plant Watering Filter / 5 Valorie Sunny Glitter Pouch by Anya Hindmarch / 6 Tatty Devine April Showers Cloud Necklace / 7 Cloud Nine Coaster Chopping Board from House of Rym / 8 Sunrise Quilted Cotton Jacket from Tootsa MacGinty / 9 The White Pepper Company Cloud Print Leggings

This week the wonderful illustrator Jenna Kunnas posted a picture on her Instagram (TinyLooksIllustration) that we just had to share with you. Mainly featuring her own child, Jenna describes the account as “illustrated tiny fashion pictures”. How delighted we were when she featured our very own Sunrise Quilted Jacket!

Jenna Kunnas Tootsa MacGinty Sunrise Quilted Jacket Illustration

Check out more of Jenna’s wonderful work on her website / tiny looks website / instagram

Did you know there is a Cloud Appreciation Society?

Gavin Pretor-Piney (the author of The Cloud Spotter’s Guide) is the founder and in this video he urges us to step off our digital treadmill, and take a moment to look up at the sky.

He says, “Clouds bring a beauty and drama to our lives, and the abstraction of them gives us time to develop new ideas.”


And lastly if you are feeling a bit crafty, why not make your very own cloud and rainbow?

We love this diy tutorial over at Meet The Dubiens. Sure to make you smile!

Happy Cloud and Rainbow DIY tutorial

posted by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Mar 26, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mary Temperley Interview | “Make” Mother’s Day Giveaway

Previously the Commercial Director at Temperley London where she worked alongside her sister Alice, Mary Temperley has recently launched Make Skincare - her own range of natural skincare for face and body.

Following the birth of her second son three years ago, Mary decided to leave Temperley London and move to South Somerset with her husband so they could focus on their family. Always interested in the properties of skincare, she dedicated several years to training and researching natural methods of developing products. Initial batches were given to family and friends and with positive feedback and knowledge gathered, Make Skincare was born.

Mary is now mother to three boys, Phoenix 6yrs, Rufus 3yrs, and Flynn 9 months old.

We had a chat with Mary to find out more about her exciting new range and, very generously, she has given us a box of products worth over £100 for one lucky winner – perfect timing for Mother’s Day!

Simply add the #TootsaMacGintyComp and share this post on Facebook or Twitter to win.

Mary Temperley Make Skincare Gift Set

Top Row:  MAKE Hands Soft – Vanilla, Ylang Ylang and Black Pepper Hand Cream with Avocado, Jojoba and Vitamin E; MAKE Body Tone – Pink Grapefruit Body Oil with Avocado, Apricot, Kiwi Seed and Vitamin E. Bottom Row: MAKE Feet Revive – Lime, Lemon and Lavender Foot Cream with Apricot, Avocado and Beeswax; MAKE Face Glow – Moringa and Rosehip Face Oil with Rose, Sandalwood and Lavender

Mary & Rufus Temperley

(Mary and Flynn)

Tootsa: What inspired you to launch Make Skincare?

Mary: I was inspired to launch Make after discovering what some of our cosmetics contain and being horrified that we are often so ignorant about what is in the products we use every day. I wanted to know what I was putting on just as I like to know what I eat. The best way to guarantee this was to make it myself, so I knew that I was using the best and most natural ingredients possible.  I also wanted to create something that looks pretty on bathroom shelves with no need to hide away in cupboards.

Tootsa: How do you choose the scents and ingredients?

Mary: Ingredients are chosen based on their function – ensuring they are the most beneficial for the specific area of the body they are used on. The scents are only from essential oils – I never use any artificial perfume – and chosen for their actions so rose is great for the face for instance whereas citrus oils and lavender are suited to the feet. Avocado is one of the best, most nutrient rich oils for the body so is in our body products. Of course, they have to also smell delicious as well as being beneficial so it’s about striking the right balance. I have spent years playing around with recipes before I settled on the current range.

Tootsa: The packaging is also exquisite and unusual– who designed that for you?

Mary: I always wanted to create a colourful range and chose my glass jars years ago-matching colour to the essential oils so pink for rose etc. I came up with the concept and drew all the illustrations, working with a graphic designer friend who realised my ideas. She is one half of the company “Sibling and Rival” along with my brother Henry.

Tootsa: There are plans for launching a children’s range – can you tell us anything more about this? 

Mary: I always wanted to do a baby range of gentle oils, body washes and moisturisers. I make products for my children and know they work but need to find the time to launch this, probably not until next year.

Tootsa: You used to work as the commercial director of Temperley, your sisters successful fashion label, what are the benefits of working for a family business?

Mary: I worked with Alice from the inception of Temperley, launched in 2001, when there were just three of us until about three years ago when I had my second son and moved to Somerset.  The benefit of working together is that you know each other so well, your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes etc. There was an unspoken knowing which you get between siblings, understanding what each other was thinking was very helpful. We were able to support each other during the difficult moments and there is of course, an implicit trust you generally only have with family.

Tootsa: Being a working parent is tricky but also rewarding – how do you manage your work/life balance?

Mary: Being a mum of three boys 6 and under is a challenge while trying to balance a business and a husband working away.  It’s amazing what you can cram into a day if you have to but somehow it works. I have an amazing mum who helps me out and I work odd hours, often when the children are in bed. As a mother, I think you tap into previously unknown strengths to cope with that old cliché of being a multi-tasker. It’s not easy but somehow it works for now.

Tootsa: What do you enjoy doing with your family at the weekends?

Mary: We often go to the South Dorset coast with the boys-Lyme Regis is one of our favourites.  My mum has a horse and cart which we go out on if the weather’s good. You can’t live in Somerset without appreciating the beautiful countryside so we spend as much time as we can outside roaming around trying to burn off the endless amounts of energy our little boys have!

Tootsa: You live in glorious Somerset – a beautiful place to have a holiday, where would you recommend a family visited if on a vacation there?

Mary: I’m biased but I love South Somerset as it somehow feels tucked away and unspoilt but within easy reach of other areas. We have the Somerset Levels where you can walk for miles across wetlands rich with amazing wildlife, lots of pretty villages and interesting places to explore. It is especially good if you are a foodie as there are lots of amazing producers to visit. We are also within half an hour of the gorgeous south Dorset coast or the wilds of Exmoor.

Tootsa: Your parents own a cider farm and distillery called Somerset Cider Brandy Company and Burrow Hill Cider. Do you have a quick recipe you could share with us using cider?

Mary: Cider is a wonderful thing to cook with. A very quick but effective recipe is to smear a chicken with English mustard all over, sprinkle with dried herbs and pour an inch and a half of cider around it. Put in the oven and cook until ready – and you will end up with the most delicious, intensely flavoured  liquid which can be used as a sauce.  Sometimes I thicken it but it is good on its own too.

Tootsa: What would be your perfect gift for Mother’s Day?

Mary: A full body massage would be lovely, a night away or any sort of pampering!

Tootsa: Finally, we know you are a fan of our knitwear but what are your favourites from Tootsa MacGinty’s new SS15 collection?

Mary: I love the African animal jumpers and sweat shirts and the striped denim shorts are adorable!

Here are some of Mary’s favourite Tootsa MacGinty pieces -


 Shop all items HERE!

And, don’t forget to share this blog post using the hashtag #TootsaMacGintyComp to be in with a chance of winning a box full of “MAKE” goodies!

posted by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Mar 12, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Happy Birthday Dr Seuss

Tootsa MacGinty Animals

Today is the fantastic Dr. Seuss’ 111th birthday (born this day 1904) and, also, this Thursday just happens to be World Book Day!

We think Dr Seuss is the perfect source for a character. Last year we put together some outfits – take a look.

Just like Dr. Seuss Tootsa MacGinty loves animals – whether hidden in pockets or on shoulders, they’re always to be found somewhere.

Our new Spring / Summer collection “The Kids Go Wild” is inspired by the wilds of Africa, so expect to find lots of animals and bold, bright, safari themed prints!

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Dr Seuss

posted by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Mar 03, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Kids Go Wild

Tootsa MacGinty’s new Summer collection The Kids Go Wild will be arriving in a matter of days!
Inspired by the wild animals, vivid colours, prints and textiles of Africa.
It is bold, colourful and, most of all, fun! 
Take a look through the catalogue ….


SS15 Tootsa MacGinty outfits

To celebrate the launch we have found some products that fit right in to the look.

Animal print has found a whole new lease of vibrant life!



1 Globe Blazer skateboard / 2 Limited Animal Print Kids Booties by Vevian / 3 Sabre Zebra Cutlery set from Amara / 4 Just Artifacts washi tape / 5 Tootsa MacGinty Mixed Print Jumper / 6 Happy Socks Leopard Print / 7 See Spot Run pillow from All Modern / 8 Teal Animal Print Headphone Skins for your Beats / 9 Oh Squirrel Print Pouch


posted by Lisa Dwyer Hogg


Feb 09, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clean Lines

Happy New Year and a warm welcome to 2015!

And now cue the massive post-Christmas clear outs and never ending trips to the charity shop – yes?

It’s always good to de-clutter and create space to start the new year on the right foot, and right now
we are all about the bright, clean lines and stripped back approach.

So, we’ve chosen a few items to achieve just that.
Updating furniture and shelving can add a whole new lease of life to tired corners and proper storage
will make life that little bit more manageable.

Start as you mean to go on!


1 Nama 2015 Calendar / 2 Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint / 3 Wall Stirrup Shelf Brackets from Quarter Twenty / 4 Pot De Cuisine from Hema / 5 Gosto Copper Storage Baskets / 6 Bisley Red Orange Filing Cabinet / 7 Colour Block Planner from Poketo / 8 Slim Touch Tables from Clippings 



posted by Lisa Dwyer Hogg

Jan 08, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Loved Paddington Bear


We were very excited indeed that Paddington finally arrived on the big screen!

My five year old daughter and I went to see this last weekend and we both absolutely adored it. It’s a beautifully produced film with truly stunning animation.
And I was much relieved to discover the plot unraveled at a manageably slower pace than the other kid’s film releases we’ve been to see recently.
The simple story line and engaging characters make this a real treat for all the family. Go and see it!

Did you know? – The origins of Paddington Bear date back almost 60 years. His creator, Michael Bond, bought a small bear from Selfridges on Christmas Eve 1956, as a present for his wife, and named him after the nearest railway station to which they lived!

But Paddington is not the only hat wearing bear from Peru with a liking for marmalade.

Check out our own adorable Peruvian bear on our Marmalade knit jumper and Raglan Sleeve T-Shirt.
He’s wearing an authentic chullo to keep his head warm …. it gets very cold up in the Andes!childrens jumper bright colourful boys girls bear

unisex raglan sleeve Tibet tshirt sun yellow bear boys girls
+ Bear Treats!
Come shopping with us in the next few weeks and you’ll notice we are giving away packs of “Bear” Nibbles  with every order (whilst supplies last!).
Bear are a great, like minded company with profits donated to some fabulous charities.
Find their range of delicious treats in your local supermarket or on their fun website here.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 17.07.28

Dec 10, 2014 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , | Leave a comment

DIY Christmas and Winter Festival Fun


Now that it’s actually December and advent has officially begun, we feel we’re allowed to get the decorations out.

So, we’ve chosen 11 different colourful ones for you, and 5 of those are DIY – so you have plenty of hours to get making in time to hang them on the tree!

Xmas Decorations

1 Mr Printables DIY geometric sewing card decorations / 2 multicoloured glass Peacock from Liberty / 3 fun and fruity DIY Christmas baubles from My Poppet / 4 ‘Love From Ginger’ DIY Christmas Pinata Wreath / 5 Craftspring’s handmade Eskimo Tale Princess / 6 Lulu Lucky for Poppytalk matchbox advent calendar / 7 felt woodland animals from Hema / 8 & 10 glass car and novelty bauble by Carolyn Donnelly / 9 Heal’s animal puppet crackers / 11 Oh Happy Day! DIY mini present garland 

And if 5 DIY projects aren’t enough to keep you occupied, pop over to the amazing Sweet Paul Magazine Website for lots more inspiration …


London’s Southbank Centre has a jammed packed programme for its Winter Festival

If you’re in the city over the next month here are a couple of activities not to be missed –



Southbank Centre invites you to help knit blankets for older people at Christmas.
Following great success last year, the Get Your Knit On! project is back.

Complete beginners and experienced knitters are welcome to learn to knit squares and how to sew them together to make blankets. You will need to bring your own wool and needles – ideally double knitting wool (DK) and 4mm needles.

The Get Your Knit On! project is in partnership with Age UK Lambeth who we are working with to distribute these blankets to vulnerable older people who need help keeping warm this winter.

Join in the group sessions at the Southbank Centre, or send in your squares from home! Free, all info HERE.



Intrude at Southbank Centre Winter Festival

Intrude at Southbank Centre Winter Festival

“Australian artist Amanda Parer‘s edgy and ephemeral artworks explore the natural world, its fragility and our role within it. 

Intrude sees startlingly beautiful creatures enlarged and frozen within our Winter Festival habitat. 

Parer is an artist originally from Sydney but now resides in Tasmania where her work has been acquired by both public and private collections. She has been selected four times for the Blake Prize, as well as for the Glover Prize in 2008, 2012 and 2013. 

Amanda’s major public art installation Intrude was the prominent work in the 2014 Vivid Festival in Sydney.”

Free, all info HERE.



Slava's Snowshow at Southbank Centre Winter Festival

Slava’s Snowshow at Southbank Centre Winter Festival

“Slava’s Snowshow returns to Royal Festival Hall for a fourth magical year.

The multi-international award-winning hit is now established as London’s leading Christmas show, having delighted theatregoers around the world for 20 years.

Slava’s Snowshow is theatre like you’ve never seen before. Fun for the whole family, this incredible show sees Royal Festival Hall filled with a heart-stopping blizzard of snow. Featuring breath-taking visual effects, it has been described by The Sunday Times as ‘theatrical brilliance’.

Recommended for ages 8+. Unfortunately, no children under 3 can be admitted.

‘Unmissable – a classic show of rare theatrical beauty.'( The Times)
‘Simply thrilling. An unforgettable comedy masterpiece.’ (The Independent)”

All info and tickets HERE.

Also, be sure to check out the Gift Of Giving pop up charity shop and the chocolate festival.


posted by lisadwyerhogg

Dec 01, 2014 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Brilliant Nadia Shireen

In our last post we revealed the new Tootsa MacGinty Christmas jumper, in aid of charity Refuge, with the funny little penguin designed by author illustrator Nadia Shireen.

Today we are delighted to have her here on the blog to find out about her process, her inspiration and memories of Christmas.

Nadia Shireen

Nadia Shireen

Nadia originally studied law and then worked as a magazine journalist, but her childhood memories of creating homemade magazines and comics never left her. Throughout these years she continued her sketching and creating . After years of “doodling in the sidelines” she finally took the plunge and did an MA in Children’s Book illustration. It was at her final degree show where she presented her first book – Good Little Wolf – which was immediately picked up and published by Random House in 2011. Nadia is also the author of Hey Presto! and Yeti And The Bird.

Nadia has been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. She lives in London.
We caught up with her for a quick chat:

Tootsa: From when you first have an image or figure in your head, what is the process of bringing that character to life on the page?

Nadia: I grab the nearest pen or pencil and doodle it on paper. Then I keep doodling obsessively for quite a long time. Then I lose those bits of paper, start about three separate notebooks with the same idea, and hop between them. I don’t work in an organised fashion.

Tootsa: How do you think yourself into a child’s perspective? And how do you think children see the world?

Nadia: I find it very easy to take myself to back to that place, probably because I feel much the same now! It’s the upside of being quite over sensitive, I suppose. I try and remember the feelings of powerlessness but also curiosity of being a kid.

Tootsa: What children’s books did you enjoy as a child?

Nadia: Picture books are hard to remember as I didn’t own any – we just went to the library every week. The Meg and Mog books stick in my mind, and I’m enjoying them again now with my son. I was a Roald Dahl devotee and got quite annoyed when I realised he was really famous and *everyone* was into him. I was also obsessed with all the Enid Blyton jolly hockey sticks books.

Hey Presto! by Nadia Shireen

Hey Presto! by Nadia Shireen

Tootsa: Our families are massive fans of your beautiful books – have you got any new books or projects up your creative sleeve?

Nadia: Thank you very much. I’m just finishing up the artwork for my next picture book. It’s very silly. I try and make myself laugh when I draw. If I can do that, it’s usually a good sign.

Tootsa: The penguin you created for the Tootsa MacGinty jumper in aid of Refuge makes us laugh with its bemused look! We would love to meet him and find out what he is thinking! Do you have a favourite character from your books who you would like to hang out with?

Nadia: I’d like to hang out with all of them! I think the Big Bad Wolf from ‘Good Little Wolf’ would be good for a night out. Presto from ‘Hey, Presto!’ would be great at bringing me cups of tea and being bossed around. And I’d like to cuddle the Yeti.

Yeti And The Bird by Nadia Shireen

Yeti And The Bird by Nadia Shireen

Tootsa: As a former music journalist, are there any bands/artists/albums that you are listening to at the moment that you can recommend to our readers?

Nadia: I’m enjoying Sharon Van Etten’s latest album and also a band called The War On Drugs.

Tootsa: What books have you enjoyed reading recently?

Nadia: I’ve not been able to read much recently really – erm, home decorating magazines and parenting books that both conspire to make you feel inadequate.

Tootsa: Christmas is fast approaching so we have a few Christmassy questions … firstly and most importantly what are you planning on eating on Christmas day?!

Nadia: Turkey that I’ve brined for ages in loads of cosmic spices, and all the usual stuff. I like to cook in general so it’s always fun doing the Christmas meal. Potatoes are very important.

Tootsa: Do you have a favourite childhood memory of Christmas?

Nadia: My family is Pakistani so Christmas was never a huge deal in our house. My dad was a GP and he always offered to work that day so the other doctors could be with their families. We always had a nice time hanging out with family too, but it was all very casual.

Tootsa: Is there something you would love for Christmas?

Nadia: Aside from the health and happiness of my friends and family… A piano! Or a cat. Or a cat on a piano.

Tootsa: Finally, why did you choose to work with the charity Refuge?

Nadia: Refuge work with not only women in abusive relationships, but also the children who are all too often caught up in some really terrible situations. In my line of work my biggest objective is to entertain and connect with children. So it made perfect sense to me.

Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shireen

Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shireen

Buy your very own Nadia Shireen jumper and support the national domestic violence charity Refuge HERE.

Tootsa MacGInty and Nadia Shireen Christmas Jumper in aid of Refuge

Tootsa MacGInty and Nadia Shireen Christmas Jumper in aid of Refuge

To find out more about the charity and the amazing work they do visit their website.

Nov 19, 2014 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nadia Shireen for Tootsa MacGinty – in aid of Refuge



This Christmas, we wanted to support the fantastic work that Refuge (the national domestic violence charity) do for women and children, and give you the opportunity to do the same.

The talented, award winning illustrator and author Nadia Shireen (you will know her books Hey Presto!, Good Little Wolf  & Yeti and the Bird) has designed a fun party penguin jumper for Tootsa MacGinty.

Nadia Shireen

The jumper will be sold exclusively by Selfridges and from the Tootsa MacGinty website to raise money for Refuge. A cool Christmas gift, Nadia Shireen’s rather bemused penguin will make kids giggle, but with 100% of profits going to Refuge the jumper will also help thousands of women and children who experience domestic violence.
Made from Tootsa MacGinty’s signature pre-washed cashmere blend yarn, the jumper is built to last and can be thrown into a washing machine time and time again. The penguin knit is part of Tootsa MacGinty’s New Christmas jumper range which also includes a Christmas tree and a Christmas pudding jumper.

Tootsa MacGInty and Nadia Shireen Christmas Jumper in aid of Refuge

Since 1971, Refuge has been providing life-saving and life-changing support for women and children escaping domestic violence. On any given day the country’s largest single provider of specialist services helps 3,000 women and children. The statistics cannot fail to highlight how vital this charity is -

· One in four women is abused during her lifetime
· One in nine is severely physically abused each year
· Two women are killed each week by a current or former partner

Refuge is committed to a world where domestic violence is not tolerated and where women and children can live in safety.
We aim to empower women and children to rebuild their lives, free from violence and fear.
We provide a range of life-saving and life-changing services, and a voice for the voiceless.

As well as safe accommodation, Refuge provides the necessary emotional and practical support so that women can have the opportunity to make decisions about their future and rebuild their lives. The charity’s Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy service provides guidance for those at the very highest risk of serious harm or homicide, helping them to stay safe whilst navigating the criminal justice system.

For many reasons some women choose not to leave their homes. The Refuge outreach service means that workers can meet with women at safe times in their own homes or in discreet places in the community. They help women to draw up safety plans, progress housing applications and also provide vital emotional support.

As is often the case, it is the children that get caught in the crossfire. Two thirds of Refuge’s residents are pre-school age children. Refuge’s team of child support workers work one-to-one and in group sessions with children to nurture their basic developmental skills. Their sessions include arts and crafts, story-telling, singing, cooking, gardening and play activities. They explore issues such as friendship, kindness and respect, and organise outings for mothers and children to explore community resources such as libraries, play groups and leisure centres.

One of Refuge’s child support workers explains how she worked with one family:

Janice and her three-year-old daughter Charlotte arrived at the refuge after Janice’s partner had abused her and attempted to abduct Charlotte. They were both painfully shy and very introverted. Charlotte would hide behind her mother’s clothes, not speaking or making eye contact with anyone. When activities were planned she refused to join in, or would only join in if her mother was also involved. She had also reverted to having a comfort blanket with her at
all times, and using a baby bottle at night. I worked with Janice to help lessen Charlotte’s separation anxiety, advising her to take small steps towards increasing Charlotte’s independence. For example, Janice would leave Charlotte with me at the table whilst she went to sit on the sofa or into the garden – still staying in eyesight. Reward charts were encouraged to recognise small steps forward and we devised a game called ‘Can Mummy be back before we count to 3, 4, 5 etc’.

Gradually Charlotte began to trust me and her separation anxiety began to diminish. She started to join in activities with the other children. A breakthrough came five months after they had moved in, when Charlotte asked if she could stay with me to make a Mother’s Day card whilst her mother was upstairs. It has now been seven months since they moved into the refuge, and Charlotte is going to nursery. She leaves her comfort blanket on the peg before joining in activities with other children, and has positive interactions with other adults. She is going from strength to strength every day.

For more information on Refuge, and with details of how you can get involved with the charity, please visit their website.

Keep posted for our interview with the very talented Nadia – coming very soon!

Nov 01, 2014 | Category: Blog | Tags:, , , , , | Leave a comment

Tootsa MacGinty Tapestry Stitch Cushions by Valy Levy Debussy

With the launch of our beautiful new homeware range we are delighted to announce our latest exciting collaboration
with talented French textile designer Valy Lévy-Debussy.

Valy has created a collection of tapestry stitch cushions bursting with colour, inspired by our signature unisex knitwear.


Valy’s cushions are a playful and original combination of shapes and colours created on traditional canvas, hand
“tapestry stitch” embroidered with pure lambswool and backed in a beautiful soft cotton velvet.

Each cushion is entirely made by hand in Valy’s studio. The process, from start to completion,
takes 8 hours with each piece beautifully finished. The “atelier” is nestled inside her beautiful cliff top house
which over looks the Basque coast in South West France,  close to Biarritz, where she has lived for over 13 years.


“As a designer I have always closely followed fashion. The design of the 1920s era has particularly fascinated me.
I love the graphic painter Sonia Delaunay, Mark Rothko’s use of colour, Art Deco jewelry, paintings by the South African
Ndebele women, and the sculptures of Lalanne.

I’m an only child, and have, since childhood, always enjoyed working with my hands; be it drawing, collage, sewing, jewelry or beading.
I made it into theEcole des Beaux-Arts” in Berlin and after graduation worked for 20 years as a textile and fashion designer in France.

I’ve loved embroidery for as long as I can remember, especially cross stitch which I used to do as a child.
One day I discovered an old tapestry stitch cushion embroidered with wool
and this big idea came to me to recreate the same technique with modern, colourful, original designs.”

- Valy Levy-Debussy

The cushions are priced at £90 and available exclusively on the Tootsa MacGinty website.

Valy’s own collection of cushions and decorative, customisable, pillows can be found here.

Oct 27, 2014 | Category: Blog | | Leave a comment