***Update: Since this post was written this morning the Avoca site has been taken down for an update! So apologies that the links below aren’t working at the moment!***

When a company combines scrumptious design with cute slogans I cannot help myself but want to drown a little in their brand. And so it is with Avoca.

I first happened across their pretty little lifestyle brand while walking around Burford Garden Centre with my sister Helen and she, well accustomed to my gasps of ecstacy when I happen across something scrumptious, left me to it while she shepherded our little boys out of the way of all manner of expensive breakables.

Avoca is an Irish company that has been in existence since 1723. Yep, you read that right. In one form or another Avoca has been trading since 1723, achieving international fame in the 1930’s when the designer Elsa Shaparelli used Avoca tweed in one of her collections. Today the company sells clothes, homeware, soft furnings, lifestyle gifts and a truly scrumptious collection of cookbooks, and the collection I browsed included some gorgeous candles, tea-towels and aprons from the rosebud and polka- dotted Spick and Span Range, (clearly designed to appeal to the much beloved Cath Kidston market), perfume that I doused my poor sister in, hot water bottles, pretty corsages, the cosiest blankets you have ever rather daftly wrapped yourself in on a hot Summers day in a garden centre (just to weigh up the snuggily factor), and some seriously snazzy wellies. In short everything that we have come to expect from a company looking to seduce the wannabe yummy mummy vintage housekeeping cupcake eating, tea drinking  domestic goddesses we secretly hope we are.

So much, so Cath Kidston. So Greengate. So Rice.dk. Etc, etc.

Except for the fact that Avoca tugs on the heart strings with all its encumbent history, it’s quirky Irish take on craftmanship and in my world at least, tiny little slogans that planted Avoca firmly in my mind and add an element of scrumptiousness I can hardly resist: From “Have A Lovely day Sweetie” printed on a label on a cosy red wool blanket, and “Weaving A Hug” on the care label of another, to the advice printed on the back of  a promotional postcard I picked up, which read, “Always be kinder than necessary…

Always be kinder than necessary. I love that because kindness matters doesn’t it? In fact I sometimes think it is all there is. When I was internet dating my little advert read “..seeking intelligence, creativity and above all else, kindness” which led many a ludicrous man to enquire what exactly he needed to be kind about: an unfortunate disposition? An unusually large head? Perhaps a speech impediment or seven toes on each foot? Was I seeking financial compensation? Generosity? A gift delivered at every turn?

(All of which only goes to prove it was necessary to insist upon some degree of intelligence before quota’s of integral kindness could even begin to be assessed..!)

Kindness matters. It is all I want Finn to know. I don’t care whether he writes backwards or fails to understand long division. I don’t give  a hoot whether he is rubbish at football or hasn’t an ambitious bone in his body. I want him to be kind. I want to know that I have taught him to be kind. To know why it matters, because as Kurt Vonnegat says, there really is only one rule:

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

You’ve got to be kind. I know it, Finn knows it and blessed be their little Irish hearts, Avoca knows it and more than that uses it’s age old success to communicate a truly lovely truth and for that I think we could all be grateful…

Have a lovely day Sweeties!