♡ Barneby Gates
I have just come across Barneby Gates (thank you Instagram) and I want to plaster EVERY wall and surface we have with their beautiful wallpapers, fabrics and cushions.
Barneby Gates was set up by two super stylish ladies – one being an ex Vogue editor, Vanessa Barneby, and the other, Alice Gates, an artist whose work has featured in various publications including Vogue and Tatler, as well as collaborating with one of my favourite dress designers, Libelula. The intricate wallpapers are created using traditional surface and flexographic printing techniques, in one of the few remaining print works in the UK.
I love the All Star fabric and think that it would look amazing in any lucky child’s room, and the matching cushions are so sweet. I can only say that I have fallen so in love with ‘Pineapple 02‘ and ‘Marrakech Palm 01′, that I have ordered samples of them in order to gaze at them, and dream of where to put them…
See below for my favourites.
I am still continuing my love affair with pinterest. I really enjoy pinning away dream rooms, garden ideas and general inspiration. I have boards dedicated to wallpaper, food, quotes I love, children’s room ideas, children’s clothes and even dogs (though I took my friend’s GORGEOUS new puppy for a walk the other day, and realised quite quickly that it might be best if I stick to Pinterest than reality). While browsing someone else’s board the other day I came across Loaf, and had a peek at their brilliant website.
I love the neutral colours used in the majority of their products and can imagine creating such lovely warm, cosy rooms. Their kids’ range is lovely too, and I am very tempted by their Churnies (pictured below) – perfect for storing all the pens, crayons and paint brushes that we have accumulated over the years.
♡ Fun Storage Ideas
I’m always on the hunt for fun storage ideas and have become somewhat preoccupied with trying to tidy our house and rid us of unnecessary clutter. See below for some of my favourite storage ideas.
Mstr M has no interest whatsoever in soft baby toys and rattles anymore, so these are all going to the local charity shop. He is, however, very into his older brother’s trucks and fire station, which really doesn’t go down very well with Mstr L.
I’m trying to teach him the notion of sharing, but this doesn’t always work. I can also empathise with him because they really were his toys originally, and it is probably annoying to have his baby brother chewing away on his favourite fireman figure.
My friend recently forwarded me this article with regards to children sharing and I think that it is really interesting. We’ve all had that awkward moment on a playdate when your child grabs his/her friend’s toy (or vice versa) and an angry, tear filled scene unfolds.
I normally tell my boy to hand over the toy and share (even though he may have only just picked it up, which really isn’t fair of me), and the other mother tells her child to play with something else, desperately waving another toy in their face. Both children then look at their mothers in bewilderment as the advice is conflicting. Then comes the tears. Both mothers then mumble some sort of apology along the lines of “no, no. He/She HAS to learn!”. Basically they’ve learnt nothing except that their mothers are confusing creatures.
This article suggests that we should teach our children to say “You can have it when I’ve finished”, showing positive assertiveness. So no more sharing in our house. It’s turn-taking time, and I’m definitely going to give it a shot.
♡ Little Carousel Gallery – Children’s Art
If you are looking for some art work for children, then you should definitely check out Little Carousel Gallery. All pieces are hand made by British art school graduates and are personally chosen by LCG for their potential, making them great investment pieces.
I particularly love the work by Hwa Seon Yang and Alice Stallard and think that they would make such special Christening or newborn presents. I love the idea of buying a piece that would look just as lovely hung on the wall when the child is grown up – something they can treasure forever. See below for my favourites:
♡ ‘Claire On Cloud 9′ Cushions and Mobiles
We had a little excitement last week when having some work done in the garden. I asked the workmen if they wouldn’t mind removing our old broken barbecue, along with its attached canister of propane gas. A fairly innocuous task … so I thought.
While in the process of feeding both boys, I looked outside to see all three men hopping about looking panicked. The men then rushed inside, while simultaneously calling the fire brigade, and ushering us out of the house. Somehow the pipe of the canister had been cut and foul smelling gas was literally pouring into the (very enclosed) garden.
Five minutes later there were two fire engines outside, sirens blazing, and approximately twenty firemen. I would have counted properly but was too busy dying of embarrassment in the corner. Mstr M, who was still seated in his highchair, eating al fresco, was loving the spectacle and Mstr L couldn’t have been more excited if he tried – of course.
The lovely fireman in charge sat him in one of the fire engines and gave him a little tour, making one very happy (and strangely mute) boy. After many profuse apologies and offers of tea, they were gone.
Mstr L still jumps for joy when he sees a fire engine whizz by and assumes (shouts to all that will listen) that it is coming to our house to rescue mummy from gas.
In other news, I’ve recently come across these amazing cushions and mobiles by Claire on Cloud 9. Claire Halson set up this very cool company from her home in South Oxfordshire, where she makes each item by hand.
All of her gorgeous cushions and mobiles would make the loveliest addition to any nursery and would be brilliant presents for both boys and girls.
See below for my favourites – I am particularly tempted by the lightning bolt cushion (£25).
♡ Amy Kent Bespoke Rugs
I’ve been hunting around for a rug for Mstr M’s room for a while now, and there really aren’t that many inspiring choices out there. It wasn’t until I came across Amy Kent‘s bespoke rugs that I changed my mind.
All of the bespoke rugs are individually hand knotted on looms in a cottage industry near Varanasi, India. They can be customised according to material, shape and colour and the designs are so incredibly beautiful.
I am particularly drawn to the rugs inspired by nature, for example the birds and fish designs below and those that have architectural qualities such as the Pimlico Arches, also below.
Here are a selection of my favourites, all of which can be ordered here.
♡ Ruff & Huddle
We are currently undergoing a huge Spring clean and I am desperately trying to de clutter. Easier said than done. The very professional and efficient guys at ‘Fabulous Cleaners‘ are working their magic and cleaning our carpets as I type. This is not a pleasant job as they are puke covered, courtesy of the lovely sick bug we have all had of late.
One particular gem (that for once was not bug related) involved Mr A. He was so overcome by a spectacularly pungent nappy that before he knew it, he was projectile vomiting into the loo. Mstr L then walked in on his Daddy puking, and proceeded to himself projectile vomit all over the sitting room floor. Yes. It’s always fun in our house. Combine this with a few splashings of calpol, milk, mud and play doh, the task evidently requires some hard core cleaning equipment.
We are also slowly but surely sorting out the garden and are in the process of booking Easigrass. Adding some Easigrass to our garden will not only brighten it up but will make it perfect for those little feet come Summer.
See below for this amazing brand Ruff & Huddle. This ultra cool brand was set up by two young parents who were tired of the clothes available for children. The AW ’13 collection was designed by Zakee Shariff and you can see his influence running throughout the range. See below for my faves, in particular the ‘Full of Beans’ T shirts.
♡ Scout & Co
Mstr L is really starting to outgrow his ‘Strider’ balance bike and the time has come for him to get a Big Boy’s Bike. Mr A and I have been deliberating over whether to wait for until his birthday (July) or just bite the bullet now. The seat cannot go up anymore, so we are going to go for it.
He is very excited about this prospect and is adamant that it will “NOT HAVE STABISERS!” (sic). The idea of the balance bike is that they get used to balancing right from the start therefore making the transition to BBB much easier. Watch this space.
I have just found out about Scout & Co and am totally in love with everything they have. Gorgeous design led products, clothes, interiors, cards, arts and crafts and more. See below for my favourites (I particularly love the alphabet melamine sets).
♡ Little Pop Studio
I am totally in love with Mstr L’s new ‘Batboy’s Watercolour Print’ by the lovely and talented Bianca at Little Pop Studio. Bianca creates these awesome watercolour prints from her home in New Zealand, as well as taking commissions turning your photos into art. I love the simplicity of the Batboys and Batkids’ Watercolour Prints and they look SO cool hung on the wall.
♡ Famille Summerbelle
When I was pregnant with Mstr L, one of the first things I bought for his nursery was a London print from Famille Summerbelle. I had the beautiful red print framed in a simple white wooden frame, and it currently hangs on his wall next to his bed.
I love that it shows where we live and shows little people going about their everyday lives (amusingly a mother pushing a pram in our area. Nappy valley extraordinaire).
This lovely family run business designs and sells an array of colourful map paper cuts and prints of the World, London, New York, Paris and San Francisco. They also have very cool wallpaper depicting New York and Paris scenery, as well as various other lovely items. See below for my favourites, all of which can be found here.
♡ Emily Bond
Half term has begun. Oh yes it has. Finding things to do with both boys (when it’s miserable outside) is going to be difficult.
We will undoubtedly be found traipsing between the library, Eddie Catz, my favourite new coffee shop, ‘Shot Espresso‘, in Fulham (delicious strong coffee, lovely staff and my current addiction) and back home for playdates, puzzles and Play Doh fun. It is not fun when multiple children are involved though, and it goes everywhere. Roll on Summer. I am seriously craving some sunny, fun park time.
A friend of mine is a massive dachshund lover, so I thought I’d have a peek at Emily Bond and see what lovely things they have on offer. Everything is gorgeous and I’m stuck choosing a gift.
Their fabrics are beautiful and I love all of their cushions (in particular the pom pom trimmed ones). The wallpaper range is fantastic too.
They currently have lots of items on sale at the moment. See below for my favourites.
Homeware and fabric (on sale)
♡ Bonnie & Bell
I was browsing Not On The High Street last week and came across this lovely shop called Bonnie & Bell.
They have the prettiest glass vases that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The heart one is beautiful and would look amazing holding a few stems of hyacinths or peonies (my favourites). The spiked one is very cool too and I love idea of putting loose change into the pear vase.
It was Mstr M’s first birthday yesterday and we all had a really lovely time. The red velvet cake went down a treat (Mstr L did the decorating) and the boys loved having all the family over. The lucky little boy received some really cool presents including a few mushroom (his nickname) themed goodies that you can see below.
♡ Cox & Cox
I have pretty much done most of our Christmas present shopping and just have a few bits n bobs to get. I was browsing the lovely Cox & Cox last week and spotted some personalised rubber stamps for £16.50 that would make great presents for kids. I’m also loving the jewel coloured teaspoons below (£22 for six), giant wall mounted safety pins (£30) and the cork world map (£25) is just awesome. The site is full of amazing goodies for the home, garden and in particular children and is well worth a visit.
So Mstr L’s Christmas concert was a tear jerking success and he played his part as a tree very well. I blamed my tears last year on being heavily pregnant, but this year I had no excuse. Watching him desperately try to find us in the audience and then wave every few minutes made me burst with pride. I also welled up when all the children started disco dancing half way through. Mstr L’s oh so serious face was just too much to take.
One thing that I did notice in this crazy dance off was that he has very much inherited my lack of co-ordination. I’m not being unkind and am pretty sure that this can be rectified. Mstr L’s Godmother Jo will never forget the day we went to a gym class together and I was the ONLY person to go entirely the wrong way. Every. Single. Time.
It’s something to do with having to copy the instructor in the mirror. I found/still find it spatially confusing and am pretty sure there is an actual medical term for my condition. To my utter mortification I discovered at the end of this gruelling session that the entire class had been recorded. How Godmother Jo laughed.
Anyway, moving on. Since the concert, it’s been an exciting flutter of children’s parties, Father Christmas visits, sugar laden treats, mince pies and occasional (sugar induced) tantrums and I can’t believe Christmas is nearly here…
I have recently come across the loveliest artist Alice Peto and wish that I had come across her sooner.
Alice previously studied art in Florence and then taught art for seven years. She then went on to dedicate herself to art and designing a range of china. Alice Peto is the website that showcases her amazing table and ovenware.
I adore the flamingo and guinea plates and will definitely be upgrading to these one day. The bright blue penguin oven dish has caught my eye and is so reasonably priced at £35.
What I particularly love about her china is that you can imagine it sitting on the side of an ultra modern kitchen or a classic country kitchen too – complete with Aga, cat and a dog.
Painted By Alice is the website for her lovely illustrations, invitations, prints, personalised stationery and commissions. The alphabet drawing below is so cool and would look amazing in any child’s room. I also adore the tiger print. Mstr L is a massive fan of ‘The Tiger Who Came For Tea’ so would really love this one.
♡ Graham and Green
I am currently obsessed with Pinterest, and have boards dedicated to my dream rooms, house and garden. I even have a ‘dog’ board (one day we WILL be getting a Havanese puppy).
Predominantly featuring on my ‘home’ board are various items from the amazing Graham and Green. Everyone knows about Graham and Green and I must confess to being totally in love with pretty much everything on their site.
Mstr M has on his wall the rabbit bouncing on a trampoline tea towel (below for £10), which we ironed and had framed. I am also loving the schwings below (£12) for the boys and the bright red lobster iron trivet (£12.95) – which I think would look amazing in a white kitchen.
I have tried to narrow down some of my favourites below – the list before I edited it was double in length. This is how much I love Graham and Green.
♡ The Oak and Rope Company
Mstr M was lucky enough to receive from one of his lovely Godmothers the most gorgeous solid oak tree swing by The Oak and Rope Company. We absolutely love it, and think that it is such a unique and clever present.
All of the Oak and Rope products are hand carved and engraved in their Kentish workshop, and it is very hard choosing just one present, as everything is so lovely.
I think that they would make such special Christmas presents for men in particular – who, let’s face it, are flipping impossible to buy for.
Here are some of my favourites:
♡ Lullabuy and The Conran Shop
I have recently come across this incredible website called Lullabuy, that sells the most unique and coolest nursery products. Think animal heads, funky wall stickers, modern wardrobes, crazy little cars, space age prams… Everything on the website is drool worthy, and completely awe inspiring. A great place to look for a really special Christmas present for a child.
Also amazing is The Conran Shop. The children’s section is just incredible, and I love every crocheted item by Ann-Claire Petit.
Mstr L’s room is pretty much complete, and I have gone for a sky/space theme (hot air balloons and astronauts). He has a lovely Belle and Boo hot air balloon wall sticker, a collection of hanging miniature hot air balloon models that I found on ebay, a teepee from Habitat, his mini kitchen, striped GLTC rug and his Aspace white bed, with the duvet set shown below.
I wish I could say he loves going to bed, but alas this is just not the case (and yes, we have one of those Gro clocks, and we tell him every night that he is not allowed to get out of bed until the sun comes up. He just ignores it/us, and prefers to stick to the real sun).
He loves his room though, and whenever friends come over for a play date, he immediately takes them up there (and subsequently trashes it).
Mstr M’s room, however, is very much a work in progress. I initially went down the obligatory bunny themed route, but now want to lose the baby tones. Items from Lullabuy that have caught my attention are:
I love the idea of putting a collection of little cars or lego people in this house below (which can be attached to the wall)
These cushions by Fern Living are gorgeous, and add a perfect splash of colour to any room:
I’ve also noticed that they stock these didicars, one of which we have – and are the best fun (they can take adult weight as well). Needless to say, we probably have more fun on them than the boys.
From The Conran Shop are these beautiful finds:
We are definitely going to get this crocheted one below (Mstr M’s nick name is Mushroom!)
This nightlight is just too sweet…
A good friend of mine has this map on her son’s wall, and it looks amazing:
This rug is pretty damn lovely too…
♡ Win Green play houses
We went on a lovely play date yesterday, and Mstr L was in complete awe of his little lady friend’s Win Green play house. He has actually not stopped talking about it since.
Win Green have been around since 2001 and make the most beautiful, 100% cotton, hand-woven and hand-dyed (using traditional Indian weaving and dying techniques) play houses and accessories. They have a play house to suit all tastes: Princess Castle, Fairy Cottage, Toy Shop, Garage, Fire Station, Gingerbread Cottage, Pirate Shack and more.
As I have two boys, I am particularly fond of the Pirate Shack, and can see it already in my (dream) play room. The large size (134cm long x 110cm wide x 165cm high) is perfect (if you have the space) as it can fit quite a few children in. You could fit in their little kitchen (that all kids seem to have) very easily too. On the other hand, the small size (110cm long x 74cm wide x 110cm high) is also great if you want to put it in your child’s bedroom.
What I particularly love about them is that they are real heirloom toys, which is the massive appeal. I can definitely see one of these gorgeous play houses being handed down from generation to generation, and it would make the most perfect and special Christmas present.
I can already see the boys having sleepovers in theirs, armed with torches, midnight feasts and no sleep being had.
♡ Quentin Blake
My favourite books in the world are by far Roald Dahl’s. I grew up on them, and have such fond memories of my parents reading them to me when I was little.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Danny the Champion of the World, The Witches and George’s Marvellous Medicine were particular favourites. Quentin Blake’s illustrations have been firmly etched on my mind, and I would decorate my entire house in Osborne and Little’s Blake wallpaper and fabric if I could (though it could be a slight overkill!).
I bought some of the cockatoo fabric a few year’s ago, and had some cushions made up with the material – they are such fun, and add great colour to any room. We also have the accompanying book, which Mstr L adores (he has hysterics every time he sees the naughty cockatoos’ faces as they hide from Monsieur Dupont!).
We are also deliberating over which wallpaper to decorate Mstr M’s room in, and the ABC 123 print is a real contender at the moment. In my dream playroom (which only exists in my dream house, on pinterest, along with the hugest tree house, in our dream garden) I would go for the awesome black ABC 123 wallpaper. Just amazing.
We have very kindly been given the coolest Quentin Blake print for Mstr M’s christening from his Uncle (Mstr P), which already has pride of place on his wall.
Lucky Mstr M also has this fab ‘Ten Frogs’ book too – so I am getting him accustomed to a bit of Quentin Blake, before I plaster his room entirely in the print.
On a side note, this umbrella would make such a cool Christmas present (Uncle P?…)
♡ H&M Home
H&M is just brilliant. Not only is it amazing value, but some of the baby clothes I have bought there have lasted really well. It is perfect for basic baby vests, all in ones and cool little superhero adorned tops!
I only recently came across their Home section in High Street Kensington, and immediately snapped up this T Rex duvet (made from organic cotton), and all for the incredibly reasonable price of £14.99. Bargain.
I am also very tempted by the below…
Elephant wall decoration, £14.99
Play tent, £24.99
Rabbit shaped rug, £12.99