Creating A Magical Space For Your Children

With lots of creativity and imagination, you can transform your child’s bedroom into something magical. We thought we’d share our favourite tips for organising and designing a playful, inspiring kid’s room for parents on a budget. We fully believe re-vamping a room, any room, doesn’t have to break the bank with a little thought and careful planning; keep things interchangeable and temporary and always aim to keep the big stuff the same. So it’s definitely worth investing in a bed, lighting, neutral wall paint and flooring. From there, you can adapt sort furnishings and accessories to suit your child’s style as they grow up.

Here’s our top tips for creating an enchanting space for your little ones:

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1)      Create a continuous art station where your child can experiment with their creativity. You can easily pick up wooden tables from second-hand furniture shops or markets and re-vamp if needed. Ensure there’s plenty of space for pens, paintbrushes, paint, scrapbooks, sketchbooks and storage for paper and card. If there is space available on the wall behind, mount a chalk board so your child can keep track of all their creative projects and pin them up once completed. Compliment the space with a chair designed in a similar style to the table – and if wooden – encourage your child to help you design a cushion to place on the chair.

2)      Be sure to decorate your kid’s bedroom with multiple kinds of lighting. Overall lighting is a necessity but reading lights and other hot-spots will require additional lighting. Ask your child to help you design lampshades in various fabrics – don’t be afraid to mix and match colours and patterns. Patchwork shades are really simple to make and cost effective if you have scraps of fabric lying around.

3)      Removable wall stickers are becoming ever more affordable and open up opportunities for your children to put their stamp on a restricted area of the bedroom that is usually a target for paint or pen attacks. To keep the room balanced, try placing wall stickers on a wall where the bedroom is less busy. So if you create an art station as per above, make sure the stickers are at the other side of the bedroom. Your child’s room needs at least one area where the atmosphere is calm and soothing. With temporary wall stickers you can have peace of mind knowing you don’t have to fix your child’s DIY decorating at a later date!     

4)       Bookcases and wardrobes really are essential furniture features in a child’s bedroom. Again, this type of furniture can be picked up at markets and reinvented to look the part in the room. Ask your child to help paint the furniture and suggest they personalise them with handprints and fingerprints. Or, paint a snazzy design on the outer edges of the bookcase or on the doors of the wardrobe.  

5)      Naturally, children are collectors. To make this pastime easy try hanging pictures, artwork and postcards from string in front of a window or clip them to string and hang just below the ceiling to create interactive bunting. If you or your child would prefer more traditional bunting, create some triangular templates for your child to draw or paint on then decorate further with fabric or glitter.

6)      Finally, to help keep your kids organised make sure all furniture and accessories are within their reach. Closet storage, coat racks, chairs, benches and toy boxes should all be accessible so you can encourage them to keep tidy. Load up with storage boxes where possible so areas of the bedroom like the art station can be tidied up after a day’s creativity.

We hope you find our tips helpful! Do let us know if you have any further tips or would like to share your own redecorating projects. 

Nursery Furniture That Grows With Them

We want to share with you today this beautiful new nursery range from Danish company Leander. It adapts to children's needs as they grow, it's made from sustainable European Beech Wood, and it looks absolutely stunning.

 Photo by www.mortenfauerby.dk
�mortenfauerby 2010 - all rights reserved

High Chair, £159.

The wooden high chairs are designed to support your child’s back and aid their posture during mealtimes. It has a steady balance yet weighs just 5.1kg so is easy to move around and a matching safety bar (sold separately) can be added and adjusted as required. In true Leander multi-functional style, the high chairs are fully adjustable and grow with your child to become a normal adult chair.

Hanging Baby Cradle, £208; Tripod Stand, £99; Tepee Play Tent, £130.

This beautiful, pure cotton hanging cradle, offers an enclosed, safe space to soothe and relax newborn babies. The slight motion of the cradle replicates the feeling of being in the womb and encourages the development of your child’s sense of balance and motor skills. The cradle can be suspended from a ceiling, or purchased with Leander’s tripod to create a freestanding unit. A separate tepee play tent can also be used to convert the tripod into a fun playtime accessory once the cradle is outgrown! 

Changing Table, £649.

The changing table comes complete with changing mat, storage drawer and a moveable shelf, meaning you can place everything you need within easy reach, and adjust the height to be suitable for mum, dad, grandma, and any other lucky nappy-changer! When no longer required, it can be transformed into a stylish desk for older children.

All of the Leander range is available from Cuckooland.

Introducing the Kids to Your Brand New Kitchen

Installing a brand new kitchen is exciting! For you, it’s an investment that makes cooking and entertaining a pleasure, but as a parent, a new kitchen is an investment in family life. Great recipes are like heirlooms, they travel down the generations and your new kitchen is an opportunity to continue a family tradition or start a new one of your own.

Here are a few tips on how to introduce little ones to your new kitchen and a love of all things food:

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Personalised children's baking set from Notonthehighstreet.

Trigger the Imagination

Getting kids interested in cooking means getting them excited about it. When planning a new kitchen, allow some cupboard space in the overall design that’s just for them.

Invest in a new apron, chef’s hat or some personalised cooking equipment that matches your own and before you’ve even lifted your first chocolate chip, you’ve encouraged them to take ownership of their cooking experience and look after utensils too.

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Put Them in Charge

Before trying any recipes, give them a tour of your new equipment and explain what they do. Let them help you set the clock on your new oven, decide where things should be kept in your new cupboards and what recipe you will cook together first.

Any recipe by Annabel Karmel is usually healthy and easy enough but for little chefs who are reluctant, any snack from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes or the Shrek Cookbook is usually enough to get them involved.

Remember that Everything is a Learning Opportunity

Children want to know ‘why.’ Why do you sift flour? Why do you have to separate the egg? Through each stage of the recipe, explain to your child what you’re doing and why it’s important.

On top of that, cooking is a great way to teach them other life skills.

Giving them a shopping budget or letting them count the number of cherry tomatoes in a salad helps with maths. Instructions or packaging labels improve reading ability and writing shopping lists helps with spelling and writing.

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Be Willing to Get Messy!

When you have a pristine new kitchen it can be disheartening to see your shiny new floor tiles, your brand new hob, your worktops or cupboard doors get splattered with ingredients, but the clean-up is a small price to pay for their enjoyment.

For more advice or information on planning a new kitchen that you can inspire your children to cook in, contact the experts at LWK Kitchens who can help you right through the planning, design and installation process.

Secret Garden Wallpaper from Hibou Home

Step into a whimsical world and create an enchanting space for children to enjoy by decorating their rooms with the new and exclusive illustrated ‘Secret Garden’ wallpaper from Hibou Home. Hibou Home Secret Garden 0

Designed and made in England, this charmingly pretty print is perfect for nurseries and children’s rooms alike with its versatile, beautifully muted colour palette capturing a fanciful feel.

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Inspired by dreamy childhood memories the Secret Garden design features a gathering of friendly garden creatures including birds, butterflies and rabbits, perched on foliage and bounded by dainty flowers and toadstools.

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Available in three gorgeous pastel shades; Blush Pink; Water Lily and Moonbeam, with iridescent hints of metallic detailing in the Moonbeam colourway.  Priced at £70.00 per roll based on: Roll width: 52cm, Roll length: 10 metres. Pattern repeat: 64cm quarter drop.

Children's spaces the Ferm Living way

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Now that the new Royal baby is here, there will no doubt be countless opinions on what makes a suitable nursery for a future king. However, bearing in mind that all little ones are princes or princesses in their parent's eyes (most of the time), how do you set about the daunting task of designing a space for your children that is both functional and practical, yet stylish and dare I say it, a place that you yourself may like to dwell in at the same time? Enter the style savvy folks at Ferm Living who completed a stunning children's bedroom make over for some lucky competition winners.

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The use of a simple colour theme of soft grey hues for the walls and floors allows for more striking details to be added through the children's toys, which means that the room can be easily changed and adapted as the children grow older.

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You can see more of this makeover - including the 'before photographs' - on the Ferm Living blog.

Images via Ferm Living

For 'Royal' Babies Everywhere

Simply because every single baby born is a 'prince' or 'princess' to someone.  And every nursery has the potential to look like a mini palace.  Here are just a few of the products that had us all broody in the current issue of Heart Home magazine. royal babies

Macedonia Luxury Cradle, Bambizi

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1.Love from Rosie, 2. Vertbaudet, 3. Letterfest, 4. Cotswold Trading.

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1. Bambizi, 2. White Rabbit England, 3. Iapetus, 4. Sweetpea and Willow.

Royal Babies 3

1. Nubie, 2. Vertbaudet, 3. Red Candy, 4. Mothercare.

For more fabulous products selected by Kate Baxter visit the magazine page 31.

 

 

Introducing... Esther Cox

Esther Cox is a freelance surface pattern designer and illustrator based in Brighton, UK. She originally trained in embroidery design and has recently turned her hand to creating patterns and illustrations for print. Esther Cox Kiosks print

In her own words, she is inspired by all manner of strange things, but has a particular love for mid century art and design. Her love of drawing shows in her work, which is full of energy and quirky details.

Creatures and critters print Esther Cox

Esther has launched a range of art prints and greetings cards which are available from her etsy store. You can see more of her portfolio on her website, and also follow her creative process on her new tumblr page. The prints have a great playfulness and spontaneity, and would be perfect for kids' bedrooms, and adults with a sense of style and fun.

Rooftops print Esther Cox

 

 

New Ferm Living for Kids

Ferm Living always get it spot on when it comes to kids rooms.  I was delighted to see that their wonderful new Spring/Summer Catalogue is out now, so if you like a beautiful, playful look, that's Scandi Chic, but not too minimal -  have a flick through and see what lovely products you can pick up for your children's rooms... FermLiving1

they really do know how to make kids rooms fun, inspiring, imaginative and bright - just as they should be -

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Choose from lovely toys, wallpaper, soft bed linen, to Wall stickers, to lamps and more -  they are sure to have something you and your children will love -

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I particularly like these cushions - they have a some great colours and designs which would look equally great in a boys or girls bedroom or in your kids playroom -

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There's  lots of loveliness on their online shop and in their new catalogue for Grown up's too!   I hope you love the new products as much as I do!

 

Displaying kids Artwork

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Well it’s that time of year when your kids start to bring home more than a few tree’s worth of art work from their school classroom. Most of it finds it’s way into their school bag and subsequently onto your already over crowded fridge door! Time to stop buying magnets and free your fridge – why not invest in a couple of these wonderful Art display cabinets from My Little Davinci?

 

 

My Li'l DaVinci. art cabinets are a revolutionary way to instantly and professionally frame your child's works of art. With an easy access latch on the side these wooden glassed frames allow you to simply open and insert a new painting on top of the current one on display My Li'l DaVinci can store up to fifty drawings simultaneously so switching, updating and even archiving your child's work of art has never been so simple. The frames also provide perfect safe-keeping for all those precious masterpieces your children make at school. Clear the clutter from your fridge door and display their latest work of art in style.

• High quality wood and glass picture frame

• Display 1 & Store 50 kids A4 Size Art

• Front-opening photo cabinet with latch

• Ultra-thin profile (just over 1 inch thick)

• Single bevel cut acid-free mat

• Securely mount to the wall (hardware included)

• Hang vertically or horizontally

• H37cm W28.5cm D4.5cm

• Available in Black

A Great ego boost for your kids when they see their artwork proudly displayed – they also help reduce clutter in the home, which can’t be a bad thing with Christmas fast approaching!

Off to the Circus...

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Whether you are renovating the nursery for a new arrival or sprucing up your children's  bedrooms  Home & Kids’ new range of circus-inspired cushions are  just the thing for new season decorating. The soft, pastel colours are perfect for spring, and children will love the whimsical animal prints.  

Kids and grown-ups alike will delight in the whimsical circus print and soft fabric. Available in three pastel shades of polka dot, they make the perfect spring update to your little one’s bedroom or playroom.

With three possible animals and colours, even the most discerning little eyes will find something to please. Choose between Simone the elephant, Marcel the lion or Gertrude the seal, all with their own colour of charming polka dot print. The pattern is printed onto 100% linen, with a two-button enclosure on the back.

Prices Simone, Marcel and Gertrude are all priced at £36

check out the   Home & Kids’ website for other lovely accessories and products!

 

Stunning new fabric range from Hibou Home

Hibou Home Fabric Enchanted Wood

Luxury British children’s brand, Hibou Home, have just unveiled their debut collection of inspiring woven designer fabrics. As an extension of the fun and fabulous existing wallpaper range, the coordinating collection features three playful prints packed with personality to spark every child’s imagination. From illustrated cowboys on horseback with lassos at the ready to whimsical woodland folk and stylish silhouettes of jumping horses and riders, each quality fabric takes its inspiration from design themes that children know and love. Designed and made in England, the new range is perfect for children’s rooms with its soft handle and wonderful drape. Its refined colour palette of chalky muted hues gives a subtle nod to Scandinavian style, bringing play spaces up to date with a chic contemporary twist to suit today’s modern home.

 

Enchanted wood

Taking inspiration from a cornucopia of delightful childhood memories, this magical narrative design features enchanting silhouettes of whimsical woodland folk guaranteed to entice the imagination further into the forest.

Available in Peony Pink/White, Duck Egg Blue/White, Lilac/Aubergine PRICE: £48.00 per metre

Cactus Cowboy

Classic cowboys have been given a contemporary twist in a design that subtly references the adventures of the Wild West; action packed escapades set to spark every child’s imagination. Fun-fuelled and riveting, Cactus Cowboy features fabulous silhouetted cowboys on horseback with lassos at the ready, galloping through cacti filled landscapes.

Available in Grey/Green Blue PRICE: £48.00 per metre

Gymkhana

With its sophisticated equestrian theme, Gymkhana is every horse and pony lovers dream. The print features stylish silhouettes of jumping horses and riders, rosettes and trophies as well as saddles, riding crops and bits in muted block colours. Packed with personality to give any room a hint of individuality, its horsey design imparts a softer feel to this wild and wonderful style.

Available in Lilac/Fuchsia and Sand/Coral Pink PRICE: £48.00 per metre

 

 

Check out www.hibouhome.com for more lovely fabrics and their coordinating range of beautiful wallpapers.

 

Cool clothes to keep kids cosy this Autumn

There are so many cool clothes available for kids this Autumn.  I think they often end up better kitted out than us parents!  Many great value stylish items are available in the high street stores and if you can’t face getting out in the cold then you can order everything online!  

Here’s my pick of the on trend, but still practical outfits for kids this season…

Try this warm but trendy number for your tween girl…

Gorgeous No 9 top and Ralph Lauren leggings from AlexandAlexa.com

 

 

Team it with a Ralph Lauren beret or for a more purse friendly option try Matalan, they have some great products that are budget conscious and good quality.

If it’s really chilly, add a coat, perhaps this nice gilet from Zara:

 

These mid top glitter toe  shoes will add the bling your tween girl will love! They are gorgeous and available at a budget friendly price from Tesco Clothing online or in store.

And if you have a boy…

Check out Javari for great designer shoes at affordable prices, like these timberland boots:

 

Skinny chino’s are bang on trend right now (and not just the one’s parents drink to cope with the kids)…

Tesco and Matalan have a great range that are really affordable like these cuff trousers :

Matalan have a great range of hats and co-ordinating scarves too, like this adorable beanie:

And try Next for this padded gilet and check shirt to complete the look for your boy :

 

 

now go get them outside to rake up all those crunchy Autumn leaves for you !

Time for Bed

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Deciding when to move your toddler from their cot into a bed can be a challenge, but there are plenty of lovely beds available to make that transition easier and an exciting event for both of you!  Here’s my pick of some of the loveliest beds to take your toddler to tween and have them loving their big bed!

The White company have lots of lovely kids furniture including little wardrobes as well as gorgeous beds that won’t break the bank, and will keep your kids safe while they are getting used to sleeping in a bed.

Try this Milford cot bed to make the transition to a big bed easier.

 

There’s also a lovely little wardrobe and plenty of beautiful bedding.

Or perhaps your little one would prefer a stunning bed from Chic Shack,

Their lovely Baltazar bed is a stylish sleigh version with the added bonus of a bit of height on the sides - which should help to prevent your little one falling out.

Or try these stunning Hampton bunks, again they have sides to prevent falls and look equally good as separate twin beds.

 

Opting for white is a great move as will go well with any décor you already have and it won’t date, so these beds will last your little ones into their tween years.

 

Everyone Loves Lego!

Handmade Re-cycled Building Brick Lego Cuff Links

Kids love Lego!  In fact, lots of adults love it too, and there are many products available - so here are some great ideas (mainly for the children) for family fun - featuring Lego… If you have a grown up Lego fan, why not treat them to some lovely Lego jewellery ?

The Lego man in your life will love these handmade recycled Lego building brick cufflinks,

 

and the Lego lady will love this best friend Lego heart pendant - available here

 

And if you want to throw a Lego party for your kids there are some superb ideas and tutorials available here, including some hand made lego man soaps and even some Lego head cake pops, cookies, and party bags!

 

 

Finally, when you want to tidy your Lego away, try one of these large or small Lego heads with sorting trays to ‘sieve’ the smallest pieces through to the bottom – they are also great centrepieces for parties!   You can buy them at many stores including here in small and large sizes.

 

 

Crafty ideas for Kids

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Keeping the kids entertained can be tricky.  Mine love making things, whatever the time of year – and with Christmas fast approaching there are some great new products available at dotcomgiftshop. I love their new paper craft kits – there’s a pink Rabbit, A kitten, A Geisha Girl, Captain Jack Pirate, Babushka doll and a Grenadier Guard !

 

Not only are they simple to make, and very colourful, each one comes with a corrugated box that the character attaches to, so the kids can keep their trinkets in them!   There are helpful illustrated instructions and no cutting involved, just push out shapes, and all you need is a glue stick - so even the littlies can make their own fabulous creation.  Little kids love role play too, so they will have hours of fun playing with the characters after they’ve made them!

They even have Christmas craft kits to get everyone feeling festive,  - I love this little Christmas cottage,

and there's an Angel for the top of the tree too!  Once the kids finish making them they make great gifts too! - they will get a great deal of fun from seeing others receive their home made creations.

There’s a whole array of other fabulous gifts available, including some great stocking fillers – and, they’re not just for the kids – so grab a cuppa, and start your online christmas shopping!

 

Great days out with the kids

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It can be hard to find a venue for a great day out with the kids, which, as a parent, you want to hang out at too. I love getting my kids out in the fresh air, and on a recent trip to Herefordshire, found the perfect place to spend a few hours together.  I got to enjoy a delicious lunch in a beautiful café overlooking the idyllic acreage surrounding a medieval castle, and there was so much for the kids to do.

 

We visited Hampton Court Castle. A superb place to visit with your children. The 15th century Castle is surrounded by 1000 acres of stunning parkland, pasture and woodlands with the river Lugg running alongside and predates Hampton Court Palace by some 80 years.

The Castle itself is beautiful and you can take a fascinating tour around some of the rooms with the child friendly guide. My kids got to run about in the huge ballroom and look at all the suits of armour and weaponry,  and then be the stars of the tour, when the friendly guide let them push a bookcase in the library to open a secret passage. They were delighted that they could run through the books and reappear a minute later to applause from their audience.

The castle itself is surrounded by stunning gardens, it’s great to visit in Summer as we did when there’s an abundance of flowers to see. The children won’t mind you dragging them round all the gardens as they can get to run between all the flowers and play hide and seek.

There’s a fort the children can play on and even an amazing Yew tree maze that takes a while to navigate to reveal a hidden Tower in the middle.  Beneath the tower lies a dark and spooky tunnel that leads to a beautiful sunken garden with a waterfall at the centre that they can stand underneath if they wish to get wet!

The grounds were voted top 50 best gardens in The Independent and it’s easy to see why.

A Fresh Idea for Children’s parties

It can be hard to find interesting ideas for kids parties – especially when the grown ups want to have fun and relax at them too! That’s what I adore about these cupcake parties from LULABELLES– the camperlicious catering company. The kids and the grown ups get to have fun (and there’s even coffee  for the Mums and Dads, yay!).

 

LULABELLE is a pretty pink and white vintage VW Campervan.  She gets to spend her time helping out at vintage tea parties and kids cupcake decorating parties - isn’t she gorgeous ?

What a wonderful idea her owner Cathy had to make her over into a stylish little home, from the pretty pastel pink paint work and bunting, to the lovely shaker style white kitchen and the pretty floral wallpaper on her ceiling.  As well as being able to book lovely Lulabelle for your kids party, you can also have her all to yourself for your very own girly Vintage Tea party! What Bliss!

I can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny afternoon outside, relaxing while you sip tea from vintage tea cups, and eat fluffy freshly baked cakes, as your little ones have fun decorating their own cupcakes, (which are all homemade from lovely locally sourced produce).

I love that each child is also given a pretty presentation box to take home 4 of their hand decorated cupcakes after the party – isn't that much nicer than party bags?

Stunning Children's furniture from Little Lucy Willow

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Finding beautiful furniture for your child’s bedroom can be tricky – you want something that they will love, and something that will last and look stylish in your home. Little Lucy Willow, the luxury children’s furniture and accessory company, is an expert in designing unique bedrooms that help to create a magical childhood. I love their new Martha Butterfly range (named after the founders’ youngest daughter). My little three year old girl squealed with delight when I showed her the bed!

Your Daughter will love this Stunning Butterfly Bed

This Bed makes lovely focal point in the room, it’s  Hand-carved from mahogany, with a head and footboard shaped like butterflies and finished in Ivory White. The Martha Butterfly Bed is available as a single bed (3ft), small double (4ft) and double size (4ft 6”).

You can also get a matching Dressing Table & Mirror, Chair, Stool and Bedside Table – each piece is delicately hand-carved with butterflies and flowers. I love the antique bronze handles that are shaped like pretty butterflies, so beautiful.

Little Lucy Willow’s outstanding collection includes beautiful beds, bunks, classic cabin beds and timeless bedroom accessories that you and your children will love.

They have a great range of furniture suitable for your boy too! And all the pieces are available in stunning paint colours such as Seaside Blue, Ballerina Pink, Cool Grey, Angel White and Cream bun.

There’s a superb range of co-ordinating bedding and accessories too, so you can create a really stylish haven for your little ones!