Families of Instagram #8: Coral Atkinson

“I’m the opposite of a hoarder and regularly have clear outs. I love nothing more than grabbing a charity bag, a bin bag and the Dyson and purging our dressing room.” Coral Atkinson (@coral.atkinson) on mornings, fashion and creativity…

Coral Atkinson, 34, is a designer and founder of Velveteen Babies – selling beautiful, contemporary children’s room decorations. She lives with her husband Chris (a furniture designer), their two boys: Felix, five, and Barney, two, and their very newborn baby girl Willa (congratulations!) in Harrogate, north Yorkshire. 

Our mornings are … Organised to the n-th degree. We make the boys get dressed first, while one of us showers, then make a conveyor belt of different breakfast requests. I get ten minutes to pour coffee down my neck and munch on toast (thanks to trashy kids morning TV as a distraction) before we head out on the school run.

I usually head to my parents’ with Barney so that I can begin my working day in their dining room. Our Victorian terraced house is not an ideal workplace and we’ve outgrown it, so plan to move to a more suitable place next year with room for a studio for my business. Currently I have boxes and bags stowed everywhere.

My kids mainly wear … I totally get that some mothers could never justify spending lots of money on kids’ clothes as they wreck them/ grow out of them too quickly. However, I really love sourcing clothes for the boys. I grew up with a mother who taught pattern cutting and dress making and she always made me beautiful clothes so I blame her.


I think boys get a rum deal in general from the high street, so I tend to mix pieces from Zara or H+M with Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses and Beau Loves. The boys get so many positive comments on their appearance when we are out and it’s nice to show the world that the male species can enjoy fashion and don’t want to wear predictable sludge from the majority of retailers on the high street.

I’ve been storing away quality knits and organic cotton separates for the baby – pieces from Gray Label, MarMar Copenhagen and Belle Enfant. They are supreme quality and for girls they lack the sickly factor whilst also having some pretty details. It seems indulgent at times but there’s a great resale market on Instagram and I’d rather buy a few quality pieces rather than drawers full of cheap throwaway items.

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I cope with clutter by … I’m the opposite of a hoarder and regularly have clear outs. I love nothing more than grabbing a charity bag, a bin bag and the Dyson and purging our dressing room where keep most things, including the kids’ clothes as I’m too lazy to climb up the extra flight of stairs to their bedroom each time I need anything (!).

I invested in toy storage that I could actually bear to look at for our living room (our home is quite teeny with regards to living space) so Ferm Living storage bags came to the rescue. Like all homes I still have a cupboard of doom or two, and I am guilty of throwing things in there that I can’t be bothered to deal with.

I never leave the house without … Generally the kids, my iPhone, Chanel lipgloss (which I rarely actually get chance to put on), purse, baby wipes and a Tiba and Marl rucksack generally full of useless ‘stuff’. Soon I’ll be carrying a tonne of baby paraphernalia once again …

When no one’s looking I … Raid the fridge in search of forgotten chocolate, or browse the Zara iPhone app; it’s weirdly therapeutic.

I encourage creativity by … We make a mess! We head outdoors each weekend and go on adventures when possible. I obviously do a creative job, as does Chris, so they are surrounded by it at all times. I love seeing them create things that they’ve thought of themselves and their enthusiasm.

I’ll never be able to part with … My disgusting blanket ‘FB’ (favourite blanket) which still lives in my bed, the boys first sleepsuits, all the cards the boys have made me over the past few years, and photos which are all piled in a box from the days before social media and memory cards.

When all else fails we … Get in the car and drive somewhere, often in search of ice-cream or hot chocolate depending on the season.

Follow Coral Atkinson on Instagram: @coral.atkinson

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