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Cultivating Gratitude: How noticing the good things can make you happier

Posted on January 20, 2016 by Rebecca Hendry

Knitted kids clothing 

It seems like common sense that if you focus on the positive, you will be a more joyful person. While having a sunny outlook is something we may strive for, sometimes it can feel challenging to notice the good. When your teething toddler is having tantrums every five minutes and you’re battling a cold and your husband is away on business, it can seem impossible to be grateful.

 

And yet, it could be the most helpful thing you do for yourself.

 

It is exactly in these dark times that it’s important to focus on gratitude. In fact, there is scientific proof that it will benefit you to look on the bright side and give thanks for the wonderful things in your life.

 

According to the Harvard Medical School online journal, two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California and Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done a lot of research on gratitude.

 

In one study, they asked a group of people to write about things they were grateful for during a one-week period. Another group wrote about things that bothered or irritated them. A third group just wrote the facts about their day-to-day lives, without a negative or positive spin.  

 

They found, not surprisingly, that at the end of the study, the group that wrote down what they were grateful for every day felt happier and more optimistic. They were taking better care of themselves and exercising more than other groups as well.

 

So how can you cultivate gratitude in your life?

 

1. Take metal note of the people in your lives who love you and support you.

This can be as simple as noticing when a friend sends a sweet text asking you to go for a tea, or your child tells you she loves you, or your mother-in-law comes over to let you have a nap.

 

2. Look around you at the “things” that make up your daily life.

Notice that every single thing in the room has been made by someone else. Just for you! The chair you are sitting on was made by people, even if they were operating a machine in the factory. People transported it to a store, where other people unpacked it and displayed it. The salad you’re eating has vegetables that were grown by people, watered, picked, packed and trucked to the store for you to buy. The clothing you wear had people involved in all the steps between taking the cotton off the plant to the sweater that is now keeping you warm. In the case of handmade clothing like Miou’s, you can think about the woman who sat and knitted the clothing with her own two hands, checking the stitches, trimming the wool. This will help remind you that we are being help up and supported in invisible ways all the times.

 

3. Say thank you 

Is there anyone you can think of who you could express gratitude to for something they have done for you? Do it! Sometimes just writing down how much you appreciate someone can make you feel happy

 

4. Meditate

Focussing on the present moment without judging it or clinging to negative thoughts can help cultivate gratitude for just being alive. If you become flooded with anger or bitterness or self-pity, try to let those thoughts dissipate, even for a moment.

 

Gratitude can become a practice, just like any other habit. Noticing what is wonderful about your life will help push aside the other, less positive feelings we all get. As parents, showing our children how to walk through their lives counting their blessings instead of focussing on their hardships will give them a gift that lasts them their whole lives.  

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The power to change: How to set intentions and actually follow through

Posted on January 05, 2016 by Rebecca Hendry

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

 

The busy, joyful and sometimes stressful holiday season is over. Children are back to school, and many of us are stepping into our usual routines. The start of a new year is often a time to reflect on what we've achieved, and also on which areas of our lives we might like to change. This is a natural thing to do--it's actually coded into our genes. Making New Year's resolutions reportedly began when Babylonians made promises to the gods to improve their behaviour and actions so they could receive good favour. 4000 years later, we’re still keeping the tradition alive.

 

But is changing our actions, thoughts or habits as easy as just…wanting to?

 

Some of us make resolutions only to find that within a week or two things are right back where they were before. A resolution to eat less sugar might work for a few days, but then during a difficult afternoon at the office it becomes impossible to resist sneaking cookies from the break room. A resolution to run a mile a day could be going fine until that dark, dreary morning when the skies open up while you’re jogging through the park, sending you back to the warmth of your bed. A resolution to be more patient with your children can dissolve instantly after a sleepless night with a restless toddler who demands every ounce of your attention the next day. Often after feeling we have failed to keep our own expectations, we give up and go back to our old ways.

 

Lately there have been many blogs and articles about the value of setting intentions instead of resolutions. A resolution sounds binding; something you must do. It’s a fact of being human that some of us will rise up against ourselves when faced with something we feel we must do, not unlike a defiant child. An intention is gentler, calmer. Not something that has to be done, but something you would like to do. You could intend to be kinder to your cranky neighbour, or intend to do more charity work.

 

But do intentions work any better than resolutions? Not if you don’t put in some real effort. Forming new habits is not as simple as just wanting to, at least not for most of us.

 

There is a wonderful article written by Dr. Sarah McKay for the Chopra Centre about the neuroscience behind how we form and break habits. According to her, when we have negative thoughts like “I always give in to my sugar cravings,” or “I’ll never get fit and healthy” or “I’m just impatient by nature. I can't change,” and we think those thoughts on a regular basis, our neurons keep firing until they create a circuit. Eventually our brain wires itself to accept those beliefs. 

 

Just like that, our thoughts become habit. Now, whenever we are triggered by something like a tiring day at the office, a rainy morning or a tough night with the kids, our brain goes into default and accesses the place where the negative thoughts are stored, allowing us to continue our undesired habits.

 

The good news is, if we know that bad thoughts are wired into our brains by repetition, it goes without saying that good thoughts are too. According to Dr. McKay, if you learn to recognize your triggers, you can wire in a healthy habit. The trick is to be mindful of what leads you down a path you don’t want to be on, and to tell yourself different stories, over and over again, until you override the old habits.

 

So how long will it take?

 

One study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology examined the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period.  The researchers analyzed the data and discovered that, on average, it takes more than 2 months and up to 8 months before a new behavior becomes automatic, depending on the person and the circumstances.

 

So if you want to form new habits and have them stick, be patient and kind with yourself. If you slip up and revert to an old, unwanted behaviour, remember that it’s not a failure on your part. It just takes awhile, but it will be well worth the wait. 

 

Here’s to a brand-new year filled with light, love and all the positive change you desire!

 

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Gorgeous Handmade Christening Gowns from England

Posted on November 17, 2015 by Rebecca Hendry

 

Here at  Miou we're always excited when we find out about another children’s wear company that shares our own dedication to quality craftsmanship. That’s why we were so thrilled to discover Mandy at First Blessings Christening Wear.

Mandy designs and creates exquisite christening and baptism wear for children, as well as formal clothing for weddings and other special occasions. She began the company when she couldn’t find quality traditional clothing for her own sons’ baptisms and decided to make their outfits herself. It turns out many other parents are looking for the same thing she was. First Blessing is now in its ninth year and growing stronger all the time. She makes every stunning, one-of-a-kind piece in her own workshop in Dorset.

Mandy's gown, suit and accessory designs are steeped in the classic styles of European history, so you can buy a christening gown inspired by royalty or a baptism romper inspired by the Victorian age. These pieces are truly meant to be cherished, not only as the clothes your child wears for that special day, but as heirlooms that can be passed down and beloved through the generations.

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Meet Our Knitters!

Posted on November 03, 2015 by Rebecca Hendry

 

Miou's talented knitters from Peru are the heart of our company, because each bonnet, sweater, dress, booty and accessory has been created patiently and lovingly by their hands. Many of them come from impoverished areas where parents can't afford to send their children to school, and steady work from Miou at a fair wage is crucial to their families' health and well-being.

 

But we aren't just making a difference in their lives; they're making a difference in ours too. The art of knitting is passed down from mother to daughter in Peru, so each item of Miou clothing holds in its stitches the knowledge and attention to detail of generations of skilled artisans.

 

Warm thanks to all of our knitters. We couldn't do it without you! We're excited to introduce you to a few of them here: 

 

Lourdes, aged 50

 

Delia, aged 31

 

Gregoria, aged 78

 

Lucrecia, aged 42

 

Luz, aged 26

 

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Gentle sleep tips for attachment parents

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Rebecca Hendry

 

There is nothing quite as blissful and fulfilling as parenting. But it would be hard to argue that it isn’t challenging at times. Our all-encompassing love for our child can bring with it worry that we’re making the right choices and doing the right things to nurture and raise our kids to be the best they can be.

 

Many of us opt for an attachment style of parenting because we believe it will strengthen our bond with our child and create healthy development. The principles of attachment parenting are based on theories in development psychology that point to lifelong feelings of security if children are raised in an environment of love and nurturing and aren’t left to their own devices to create “independence” before they are ready for it.

 

One of the biggest issues for some parents is sleep. And it’s a big one. The attachment style gravitates toward comforting a child in the night, breastfeeding at will and co-sleeping. There are other camps that believe this only creates a dependence in the child and that kids really need to just learn to sleep on their own. Exhausted parents of kids with chronic night-waking can become confused and start to question whether the attachment style is working, or if it’s worth all the sleepless nights.

 

 But it’s not an either/or. You can absolutely be an attachment parent and a co-sleeping parent and still help your child find ways to have a healthier sleep. Sleep is vital to our sense of well-being and health. If you have a child who is waking all through the night and you can’t get any sleep, it’s not good for either of you.

 Here are some gentle ways you can help your child sleep better…so you can sleep better too.

 

Consistent Bedtime

 Consistency is key with most aspects of parenting. Kids respond well when they know what to expect from their day to day life. Trying to get them to sleep at the same time every night, whenever possible, can really help their internal clocks adjust and make them more likely to be sleepy at the same times. Make sure you aim for a reasonable time that’s not too late; when kids are overtired it’s a lot harder for them to get to sleep and stay asleep.

 

Nightly routine

Having a simple routine every night can help too. This will be slightly different for every family, but it could look something like: snack, brush teeth (for older kids), put pyjamas on, cuddle time, story and then time to sleep. This helps remind your child’s body that it’s time for bed.

 

A healthy diet

Sugary treats can wreak havoc on good sleep, causing spikes in blood sugar that can keep your child waking all through the night. Even a glass of fruit juice can cause some night waking. Try high-protein snacks before bed, like whole-wheat toast with cheese or nut butter.

 

Co-sleeping

If you don’t already sleep with your child, but you find that she keeps waking in the night, try letting her bunk in with you and see if it makes a difference. She might just need some added comfort when she wakes up, and this will eliminate you having to wake up fully and get out of bed every time she calls.

 

Sleep when your child sleeps

This is a big one, especially for new moms with infants. If you had a rough night but your baby finally goes down for a long nap in the afternoon, don’t use that time to clean out the fridge or vacuum the stairs. Your sleep is more important that a sparkly clean house. Just lie down with your child and get the rest you need.

 

Like all phases of parenting, this too shall pass. Before you know it, your child will be sleeping through the night. Just remind yourself that one day you will be the mother of a teenager that you will need to drag out of bed every morning. But that’s a whole other story☺

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Teaching kids to give back

Posted on October 07, 2015 by Rebecca Hendry

 

 

As parents, many of us want our children to grow up with compassion for those less fortunate. We might also want them to care about protecting the environment and not leave a heavy footprint on the Earth. So how do we instill these values in them?

One of the best ways is simply by living well ourselves.

Our children watch our every move. Think of a toddler demanding a chair to stand on while Dad is shaving, insisting on putting shaving cream on his own face.  Or a young girl teetering around on Mom’s high heels in front of the mirror, or pacing the living room floor pretending to talk on a cell phone like Dad on a business call.

Likewise, kids will learn by example how to walk through the world with integrity and kindness.

If you buy organic food and make healthy meals, or if you make sure the lights are turned off when you leave a room to conserve power, or you drive a fuel-efficient car, or you buy your Christmas gifts from local stores instead of big-box chains, you are already showing your child what matters to you as a family without having to say a word.

And if  you make a point of donating to charities or volunteering with local organizations, your child will see this as the norm. There are many things you can do as a family to nurture a sense of awareness and empathy for others in your child. Here are a few easy ways you can involve even very young children in the process of giving a helping hand.

  1. Donate to the food bank

Set a budget that works for your income, even if it’s only $10, and go to the grocery store with your kids. Let them help you pick out some items and explain to them where it’s going and how it will help people who don’t have money for food. You can look up your local food bank and give them a call for a list of most desired items.

  1. Bring clothing and blankets to a shelter

You can bring some gently used coats and blankets to a local shelter when the weather gets cold. There is also often a need for personal care items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, hairbrushes, deodorant etc, which your child can help pick out.

  1. Fundraise for a charity of your choice

Choose a cause that’s close to your family’s heart. Maybe you lost a loved one to cancer, or maybe your child adores animals and wants to donate to the animal rescue society. You can help older children organize a lemonade stand or bake sale in your front yard, or go door to door to collect bottles. You could also have a family garage sale and donate all your proceeds to the charity. Bring your child when you go deliver the money so they can get that sense of satisfaction from having worked hard to make a difference. 

With very little effort and cost, you can help foster a sense of loving care in your child that will serve them and their communities for the rest of their lives. 

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Busy mamas: Gentle ways to nurture yourself

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Rebecca Hendry

 

Becoming a parent is the greatest gift life can bring. Nothing compares to those feelings of pure unconditional love a mother feels for her child. But as fulfilling, exciting and heartwarming as it can be, it’s also exhausting. The early years can bring with them countless sleepless nights, and the demand on your attention is unrelenting.

 

Some mothers feel like it’s selfish to take time away from their children, but the truth is, caring  for yourself and fulfilling your own needs can only help you feel healthier and more whole. You are not an endless fountain of energy; it has to come from somewhere! Even half an hour a day doing something that relaxes you or recharges you and gets you in touch with who you are can do wonders.

 

 

What do YOU need?

Most parenting blogs and articles out there seem to agree it’s important for mothers to carve out time for themselves. But every mother is unique, and each one of you will have a different idea about what self-care means for you.

If you used to be a social butterfly who loved spending time with friends before you had kids, then taking a quiet bubble bath with some herbal tea every night might not actually be what you need. Perhaps you need to plan a girl’s night out and go dancing instead.

 

Maybe your idea of a good time is going for a walk by yourself every night when your partner comes home from work. Or maybe it’s hauling out your old acrylic paints from the closet and painting for an hour. Maybe it’s simply wrapping yourself in your favourite old sweater and daydreaming while you look out your kitchen window without interruption for twenty minutes.

No matter what it is, it’s important to find a way to make it happen so you can continue to care for your loved ones without becoming depleted and worn out.

 

 

Asking for help

In order to get a break, you will need to ask for help. This can be very difficult for some mothers, and some might even feel they don’t really WANT to be away from their baby, especially if they have an infant. But it really doesn’t matter if you leave the home or not. Some of you might feel perfectly comfortable going to a coffee shop or out to a movie, but if not, that’s  fine.

If you would prefer to be within hearing range of your baby, you could ask your partner or a friend or family member to come hold your baby or amuse your toddler while you take some time for yourself. If you don’t have a partner, consider finding a mother’s helper who can come over for an hour a few times a week. You can also swap childcare with a friend; you can watch her baby one day and she can watch yours another day.

The possibilities are endless, and you will be amazed at how spending even a short amount of time doing something for yourself every day can make a big difference. Remembering who you were as a woman and taking the time to honour that part of you and care for it can go great lengths to helping you parent, and will benefit the whole family in the long run.

 

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Amelia Hambrook: Capturing the essence of Miou Kids

Posted on May 13, 2015 by Rebecca Hendry

Like any growing business, Miou has talented people who help us achieve our goal of being a unique company with a style all its own. One of those people is fine art photographer extraordinaire Amelia Hambrook, a British mother of three now based in Nashville, Tennessee. 

We have had the great fortune to work with Amelia and have her capture the true spirit of childhood curiosity and innocence in her photographs for Miou.

 

She also makes beautiful movies, as you will see in this delightful video of three of our sweet Miou kids enjoying a  tea party out in nature.

Check out more of Amelia's gorgeous work here!

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Miou featured on Australian website Babyology!

Posted on January 21, 2015 by Rebecca Hendry

 

Miou clothing was called “seriously stunning handmade goodness” by Babyology, a fantastic online resource for Australian parents looking for the latest in high-quality, innovative designer clothing and products for kids. They publish three articles a day with suggestions and reviews, and they offer a forum for parents to discuss the products or ask questions from experts.This site does the hard work for busy parents by weeding through all the options out there and finding only the best clothing, toys and accessories for your child, and we were thrilled to be included!

 

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The gift of style - Miou Kids knits for babies and children

Posted on November 25, 2014 by Rebecca Hendry

Photo by Amelia Hambrook

 

It’s the holiday season once again and Miou has everything you need to envelop that special child in your life in the warmth of our hand-knitted, European-inspired clothing and accessories. From charming sweaters to feminine dresses just right for parties and formal dinners, you’re sure to find a one-of-a-kind gift that’s perfect for your loved one.


Miou wants to make your holiday shopping experience as stress-free as possible. To make sure you get your order on time, we now offer a variety of shipping options like expedited or express worldwide, which means you can receive your order in as little as two days, check out our shipping schedule here:

 

 

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