Category Archives: Children

How to build a Georgian dolls house

This is a post I have been meaning to write for a while.  I wanted to buy my daughters a Georgian dolls house, but I couldn’t find any that I liked.  Most dolls houses were too small, too pink, too plastic, too expensive and aimed at collectors (rather than enthusiastic children).

So, I ordered this MDF flat packed house from eBay (£47) and built the dolls house that I wanted:

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The colour scheme I had in mind was this:

It took hours, and was quite fiddly (I’m not gifted at DIY or craft).  However, I am delighted with the result, and its a big, open dolls house that the girls play with a lot.  Here are the photos showing how it turned out:

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Those damned ponies – when will it end?!  Anyway, after some trial and error, the paints that I used were:

Exterior roof: Dulux Urban Obsession

Exterior yellow: Dulux Soft Vanilla (I think!)  The first yellow I used was Ivory from Little Greene and was far too dark.  I kept it for the attic, and chose a paler primrose for the exterior.

Exterior white trim and interior ceilings and hall ways: Dulux Timeless

Yellow room (attic): Little Greene Ivory

Pink room: Little Greene Pink Slip

Blue room: Little Greene Drizzle

Green room: Little Greene Eau de Nil

For the floors, I used a pale wood sticky backed plastic.  The furniture you see is Melissa & Doug doll house 1/12th furniture.

Overall, I aimed to keep the dolls house as light and open as possible, and I didn’t decorate or trim it any more than necessary.  The girls can freely play with it, without reminders not to touch bits etc, and I painted it in colours I wouldn’t cringe at, so we are all happy.  Especially the ponies.

A beautiful jacket for kids

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I always forget to look at Monsoon when I’m shopping for my kids. I’m lucky my pal Rachel WornOut has a keener eye and spotted this gem of a jacket for La Bambina. I get asked where it’s from almost every day. It’s lightly padded, 100% cotton, great over a tshirt on warmer days or with a cardigan underneath. I’ve removed the labels inside to make it reversible and love the blue tile print inside even more.

It’s reduced to £26 at the moment.

Party hearty

I’ve been a bit AWOL lately, because I was planning the Littlest Bolters 3rd birthday party! Amazing that my babies are now 3.  Anyway, the party was lovely, so here are the highlights of what we had made the party so good (and my life easier!).

Decorations: the girls are mad about jungle animals, so we always have a jungle theme.  I ordered plates, cups,party bags, colour in masks and banners from this eBay seller.  They arrived quickly and are the best ones I have had so far, with a vibrant print of nice looking animals.  Also, the items are good quality, and not flimsy.


 

I also ordered a few plastic table covers from here, and they also arrived quickly and were big (137 x 259 cm) and bright.  Another good jungle party purchase.

Normally we also have helium filled supersized foil animal balloons, but didn’t do that this year.  These balloons are a huge hit with children, but are pricey, so if you are looking for the cheapest way to source them, this ebay seller, sells 100 for £150, so you can buy in bulk and use them over successive parties.  I have bought from Seamus a few times, and he is very helpful and couriers the balloons to you.  They do cost about £3 to fill with helium, at a party shop, though, so you need to factor that in  We were giving them away instead of party bags, but the children are getting older and so have now moved to party bags.

Our party bags contained various things, including colouring books, the masks I mentioned above, chocolate Freddo frogs and these fun finger LED torches that the children love (and you may be familiar with if you go to rave parties!)

The year we had a bouncy castle for the first time, and it was one of the best things about the party.  Wonderful way to wear the children out, and they were having so much fun on it.  You can see the bouncy castle we hired from Bouncy Castle Hire for £75, below, and I really recommend the company as the guys dropped it off and picked it up exactly on time, as well as being very sweet.

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You can also see from the photo that we had an entertainer (no, that was not me in in a lycra cheerleader outfit).  Oh my God, if you can get an entertainer, do.  Normally I am running around, entertaining them, keeping them happy.  This year, we had Ashlie from Party Belles, and she was perfect.  Really kind and gentle, but energetic and fun.  The children were far more engaged by her than they have been by me!  She did balloon animals, bubbles, pom pom dances, glitter tattoos, disco dancing.  Both the boys and the girls loved her, and the parents actually got to stand, talk and relax.

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Every birthday party, our girls choose their birthday cake, and this time one birthday girl chose a pink giraffe and the other chose a monkey.  I won’t lie – I bake them, but my husband is the one who decorates them.  Its all quite easy for me as I use Marks & Spencer cake mix and order all the other supplies, including kilos of coloured ready to roll icing, from The Craft Company (cheapest source of cake supplies I have found and they are very helpful).

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Hope this helps planning any parties you have coming up, that little bit easier!

Catching up

I spent my summer in an internet free zone. It was tough but I read a lot more books and baked more cakes that I would otherwise have done. We only went for 3 weeks but ended up staying for 2 months, and it’s lucky I couldn’t blog because I would have been sharing my frustrations at the process of buying and selling houses and my (very dark) thoughts about solicitors! It wasn’t all bad though….here are my boys hanging out in granny’s front garden. My children had a ball – climbing trees, making dens and building bridges, having friends to stay and playing football at twilight. I was a beautiful summer which is good to remember on a chilly grey day like today.

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And it was all worth it, and we are now living by the sea which was a childhood dream of mine. It is so lovely here…

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Anyway, on to shopping and when I got back to town my mission was to track down the M&S pink coat. I had my heart set on it, and with the help of Rachel Worn Out, it was mine.

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Not for long though, as it was just all wrong for me. I can’t do oversized, I look like I’m wearing something from the dressing up box, so back it went and I bought the Massimo Dutti red coat instead. This is much more my style although it needs some tweaking too, the sleeves need to be shortened and the buttons moved. It is not the warmest coat, but I love the colour and it’s perfect for days when I am in and out of the car and don’t need a heavy duty coat (that’ll be most days so). Apologies for the dusty mirror and packing boxes. This is my life now!

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In other shopping news, I nabbed these Celinealike leopard print pony skin trainers in Gap.

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They’re not online but are still in my local branch so it’s worth a phone call if you like them. I went for the blue as they go better with my wardrobe. They also come in black. These are the Celine ones.

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I also love this warehouse top I got last week, the print is gorgeous, again I can’t find it online, sorry!

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Despite my failure with the pink coat, my daughter is rocking the trend these days, in the Stella McCartney coat I got her last winter. This is the child’s equivalent of a ‘car to bar’ coat as it has no warmth in it at all, so it is purely for days when she is being chauffeur driven! I love the sweatshirt from M&S, and the gold high tops from Mini Boden.

IMG_0521 And the really good news chez Emma is that after 6 weeks of living in chaos with no proper cooker and boxes everywhere, the builders are starting next week and soon we will be living in our dream house. It’s all going to go really smoothly, no glitches or arguments, isn’t it?! I’ll keep you posted!

Clothes for kids pt 2

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I had to share this red and grey girl’s Cos dress. Only a size 1-2 is left on line but I’m assured they have other sizes in store.
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My toddler has this red lambswool cardigan to go with it.

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I also got her this forest green jersey Cos dress. It is a lovely colour and looks great with the red lambswool cardigan. Beautiful kids clothes and not a hero character or sparkly pony in sight!

While I’m on the subject of kids and Cos I must mention their adult cashmere scarves (again, sorry). At £59 they’re a fair bit cheaper than many of the cashmere baby blankets on the market but they’re fantastic and a much better shape for babies / toddlers than the traditional blanket shape.

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I’ve been a bit disappointed by Polarn O. Pyret (POP) lately but this yellow and black fine knit baby dress is brilliant. I love kids in black and will put this with a pair of black Next leggings and a black t shirt.

Little Legs has a fair amount of Mini Boden in her wardrobe this season.
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This grey dress with neon spots is lovely (I’d like one too!) The Boden website is down at the moment so I can’t link but their site is pretty easy to find things on.

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We get one of these fleece lined hoodies every other year (they fit for 2 years in our experience) – especially good for kids who don’t want to put their proper coats on.

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I’ve been disappointed with the Boden hi-tops which looked so promising. Little Legs usually wears Nikes but these were just too tempting (so tempting we bought two colour ways). I’m hoping the initial soreness and blisters they’ve given her beautiful feet will pass soon. I am also not so impressed with the Mini Boden logo peeling off the back on the 2nd wear either really though she hasn’t noticed.

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These beautiful Startrite boots are on their way to us now. Tracey WornOut has them (for her LO) and says they look as lovely in real life.

Finally, has anyone tried the kids’ Uniqlo Heattech range yet? I am so hopeful that it is as good as the grown up range and have ordered a range of colours for both my girls.

Have a happy Monday.