Mini style

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A baby’s first Christmas is to treasure forever. Today I’m collaborating with Mamas & Papas and remembering last Christmas when Babylish was newborn. It was such a magical time…

My darling,

This time last year I was very, very pregnant. I spent every day in ugg boots and my ever faithful maternity breton striped top. Everyone I met asked me when I was going to pop, if I was sure I only had one in there and hedged their bets that today would be the day.

In fact it wasn’t until a few weeks, on December 18th that you arrived into the world. Sleepy and content with a mop of soft dark hair and two dark almond eyes.

Wanting to feed non stop all night while I lay in the hospital listening to the silence and muffled cries of other babies discovering their worlds. You didn’t cry, you simply fed and slept peacefully in my arms. Seemingly so content and at peace with being born.

After what seemed like forever in the hospital, the day came that we could take you home. Daddy and I were so unbelievably excited and full of total adoration for you. I was captivated, mesmerised by your every move and my heart swelled with so much love it felt like it could burst out of me.

As we drove home in the dark evening lit with the twinkle of Christmas lights. I remember thinking you were the best Christmas present ever.

We spent the next week cocooned in our own little world. As you were born by csection, mummy needed to rest which meant lots of snuggles in bed. We ate mince pies from M&S and watched Christmas movies in bed with your Daddy and sister. It was the most perfect of Christmases.

This Christmas you will be one. You’ve grown into such a cheeky, funny little girl with the sparkliest of personalities. Keeping me constantly on my toes, you are quite demanding for one so small. You love to climb, always looking for mischief and adventure at every chance. Turning to look at me with those twinkly eyes and cheeky grin before you are off on the hunt for some more trouble. Your sister and dog are your very best of friends and I love watching you interact with them with such joy.

I can’t wait to watch you and your sister open your presents, eat your first Christmas dinner and spend fun and happy times with our little family. Thank you for bringing such joy into our lives in your own unique, cheeky way. We love you dearly, our little Christmas baby.

Love always, your Mummy x

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Do you have a Christmas baby? Or are you expecting a special arrival before santa comes to visit? There are some very beautiful items over on the Mamas & Papas website perfect for adorable little people at my favourite time of year.

We treated ourselves to some lovely Christmas pyjamas and a cute santa teddy! The Liberty print dress is all ready and waiting to be worn at her 1st birthday party.

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Mamas & Papas thank you for collaborating with Lish Concepts, for sending us a gift voucher to treat ourselves and for reminding me of this special time last year.

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happy-room

When it comes to decorating your little ones room how much of a say do you let your child have?

Interestingly three quarters of parents DON’T actually involve their children at all, because they believe it is quicker and easier to make the design decision themselves. They also admitted they liked to match the bedroom to the style of the rest of their house and their own personal tastes, rather than the wishes of their child.

I totally get where these parents are coming from because children have some crazy ideas about what they would like in their bedrooms… treehouses, slides, trapdoors, glass ceilings, oh my!

treehouse bedroom

But according to a recent study by Dulux there are infact many benefits of getting your child involved in the decorating process and the impact this can have on their development is actually really quite important. Developmental Psychologist Dr Sam Weiss explains…

Children typically create little things, but the bedroom is the first real, permanent thing that they can influence. Involving a child helps them to establish their own inner space and the image that they want to project to others. And for parents, having a chance to work together with their children can really help to establish a stable, respectful relationship. Children, when given a chance to be in charge of their bedrooms, respond positively: they feel a sense of pride, they spend more time in their bedroom, and they become more inclined to keep it tidy to show it off to their friends. For these reasons, and more, I think it would be wonderful if more parents involved their children when decorating their bedroom.

The research asked 2,000 families their thoughts on decorating children’s rooms and it turns out it’s a really big deal for kids. In fact when asked about their most important life milestone, kids say that decorating their bedroom is the second most important thing they have ever done, just behind hosting a birthday party and above their first day at school, and losing their first tooth.

When it came to Littlelish’s room I knew she would want to get involved in the design process. She loves colour and design and has such a clear idea of what she likes and doesn’t like, that I knew she would want to provide her input. With our house being somewhat chaotic during the renovation I really wanted somewhere lovely for her to retreat to. Kids are amazingly resilient little things and she has been so great despite the massive turmoil jobs like rewiring and plastering seem to create. I wanted her and Babylish to be the first to have their rooms decorated so that they have a space to call their own and enjoy, away from the madness.

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She had chosen her bedroom colour as soon as we moved into the house, at age six and three quarters she has moved away from the pink and now her favourite colour is a very cool minty greeny blue colour. We’d found that Dulux had the perfect shade of mint macaroon for her walls but what else did she want in her room?

I could only imagine one problem with involving Littlelish, a huge fan of the Dengineers (who create wild and wacky rooms for children on tv), she has a wild imagination which meant we were potentially going to have to create a feat of engineering in her bedroom or find a magician! Did you know that the number one thing most children want in their bedroom is a treehouse? Littlelish was in fact no exception to this…

What do children most want in their bedroom?

1, Treehouse  2. Slide  3. Narnia style wardrobe  4. Swing  5. Trap door  6. Glass ceiling  7. A stage  8. Jungle  9. Space rocket  10. Pirate ship

Littlelish and I brainstormed themes, there was some great inspiration on children’s bedroom themes on the Dulux site as well as tutorials for some amazing techniques for creatiing an impressive wow factor! The videos have been designed around kids’ passion points, from avid bookworms looking for a place to spark their imagination to would-be astronauts looking to jet off to galaxies beyond. The storybook themed bedroom appealed to my little bookworm as did mermaids and a sport themed room, but then just as I was all excited about going into mermaid overdrive (I love mermaids!), much to my surprise she decided she didn’t really want a themed room after all! Back to the drawing board we went…

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Dulux storybook themed room

So I asked her what I’d ask anyone when designing a room – What is important to you and how do you want to feel in the room? I often find that is a good place to start, it gets you thinking about the function of the room and how you want the room to make you feel when you are in it. We use rooms for very different purposes and it is really worth thinking about this when considering the decor. She knew very clearly that she wanted a room she felt happy in so I asked her what it was that made her happy…. and the answer was icecream and sweets, sunshine and ice lollies, smiles and hugs. So that is what we decided to go for! A room where she feels joyful, inspired and loved surrounded by icecream colours, sunshine and cute fun details.

I made her a moodboard (see above) so she could get an idea of the colours we could use with the mint green and we looked online together for decoration details and shops that we could find them in. This made her very excited and she really felt part of the process, choosing what she liked and didn’t like for her room.

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Inspiration for our happy room – kawaii!

Before we could get painting we had to replaster the room, sand the floors and paint all the wood work. It required a lot of patience from all of us! But after a week or two we were ready to go. We decided to use the Dulux Endurance+ paint which is 20 times tougher than standard emulsion and the perfect choice for kids rooms and playrooms as it is wipe clean! Actually we could do with using this paint in the rest of our house thanks to Buddy our Labrador who likes to make a mess just about everywhere!!

As it was the first time we had used Dulux Endurance+ we didn’t really know what to expect but I’m pleased to tell you that it painted like a dream. I could quite possibly go as far as to say it was the best paint I’ve ever used for ease of application and coverage. The colour is absolutely beautiful, a really soft, yet warm colour, like a warm sea breeze on a summers day, if I was being poetic! So the room is all ready and now it is just a case of adding the furniture and finishing decor touches. Will you check back to see the finished room very soon?

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If you have children under the age of 13, chances are you’ve seen the Disney film Frozen that came out in the UK last Christmas. Littlelish watched it back in January with her bestie and 5 months later it is still mentioned on average about 5 times a day in our house. Whether it is singing the songs, watching the DVD or generally just disecting the plot, Frozen is the first film that has absolutely captivated Littlelish. I mean she loves watching movies but has never been the kind of child that watches the same movie twice in a row… until now.

She joins the many 5 year olds of the world who can sing the entire soundtrack word for word. Heck she can even remember the exact actions and words at any given point of the film and goodness forbid you should get them wrong while reenacting ‘Do you wanna build a snowman?’ Yes, we have serious Frozen mania in our house and it doesn’t look like it is waning any time soon.

This Sunday saw the event of the year for Littlelish as her bestie turned 5 and threw a Frozen birthday party! It was mummy’s job to create the fancy dress outfit and seen as Littlelish was adamant that she wanted to go as Elsa and the official Elsa dress from Disney sold out months ago, it was time to get creative.

A sudden wave of panic hit me as I remembered this on Friday, rushing to the shops to stock up on all things blue and sparkly. I quickly selected some lovely blue dress silk, a greenish coloured net for the bodice and some sheer organza (of sorts) for Elsa’s magical cape. I also stocked up on glittery snowflakes, assorted blue and silver gems and some silver fabric paint.

Now all this sounds like a had a clue what I was doing, like I’ve made plenty of dresses in my time. But I haven’t and I kind of winged it so I can’t even share the official design with you! I will try and talk you through what I did for any of those brave / mad enough to want to make one.

First things first I took one of Littlelish’s simple A line dresses and drew around it on the fabric, remembering to make it a couple of centimetres larger than the actually dress to give the seams and hem some room to be sewn. The dress wasn’t long enough for the Elsa dress so I extended the bottom line out to make a longer dress.

So finally I had a shape, I chopped off the top strap part to make it a boob tube style dress as Elsa’s dress has a sheer top and sleeves. It also has a greenish type bodice so I took the green net I had bought, cut out a bodice shape and used the sewing machine to attach it to the sides of the dress shape. I then took the dress shape and drew around this again to make a back part to attach to the front. A quick go on the sewing machine and I had a basic dress with a green net bodice at the front. So that part was easy…. then came the floaty train which was causing me to worry! I cut out a large piece of the floaty fabric, twice as long as the dress and twice as wide and hand sewed it to the top of the dress.

I was pleased as it started to resemble something but the dress also needed to stay up and be sturdy enough for a childs party, eeek! After much deliberating I decided the seethrough arms were too much of a faff so I bought a teeny crop top for 5 year olds (!) and hand sewed it into the top part of the dress. We had straps! Littlelish tried it on, it fit, it stayed up and it was comfortable! Woooooo.

I then decided to cover up my shoddy sewing work ‘decorate the dress’ ( by attaching a line of blue sequins to the top of the bodice and a line of white sequins to the side of the train. I knew I wouldn’t get away with a plain train (no mummy, Elsa’s train has snowflakes on it!) so I hand painted a few snowflake patterns (thanks google) with silver fabric paint. We stuck a few gems on with my glue gun and hey presto we had a DIY Elsa dress and all for less than 1o pounds.

One french plait later with some pretty snowflake decorations and we had a real life Elsa walking round. Littlelish was literally OVER. THE. MOON which made all the hard work worth it. It felt so good to see that beaming smile, she felt so proud.

So far Elsa’s dress has also been worn by several of her little friends this week  and it has even survived the playdates which I am pretty chuffed with. Let me know if any of you give it a go or have any questions, just pop me an email and I will try and help :)

 

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