Tag Archives: Homemade

Collecting for Dexter’s new nursery


With an imminent house move, I’ve been out shopping for knick-knacks for Dexter’s new nursery. He hasn’t had much use of the one here in our current house as he’s been sleeping in our room. On the date we move, Dexter will be almost 20 weeks and we feel it’ll be time to introduce him to his very own room.

His new nursery isn’t huge, it’s a single room that will take his cot, a chest of drawers and a small wardrobe. Most of his larger toys (his playmat, his bouncer, tummy-time toys and sit-me-up cosy) will be housed downstairs in a toy chest as this is all open plan with plenty of room for the coexistence of adult spaces and ‘Dexter spaces’. We therefore need to make his nursery as comfortable and exciting as possible so he enjoys being in there.

What child wouldn’t want to sleep here?! From Nanny McPhee

I really love the look of toy-filled nurseries with there being something unique and special in every corner. Children’s rooms should be uncoordinated, cluttered and personalised in my opinion. Think the bedroom’s in Nanny McPhee and Horrid Henry. Their rooms are their own space and should reflect their growing personalities. It should provide a sensory experience for a baby /child with plenty to see and do to help them develop. Ultimately, I want Dexter to feel proud of his room so he’s learns to value his possessions and respect them.

I know, I know, Dexter is only 4 months old. But I want to kick off this creation so he can add to it as his tastes develop.  I’m a massive fan of Kath Kidston, Laura Ashley, patchwork and gingham – but I this isn’t my room and I don’t want to thrust my style on him (plus Craig would kill me if he saw flowered fabric in there). So instead we’re going for a homemade shabby look with the odd infusion of new technology. I only hope Dexter doesn’t grow up to be a minimalist and hate it!

Still from the Horrid Henry film – most mums would have a heart attack – I love it!

A week ago I tweeted that I wanted to find some UK retailers that specialised in homemade and handcrafted toys and soft furnishings. I got loads of responses from fellow mummy bloggers directing me to various Facebook shops, Etsy shops and websites. The choice was overwhelming so I’ve started cautiously. I’m certainly under no illusion that this project is work in progress and might never get finished.

So far, these are a few of my favourite things!

A competition win provided me with this personalised memory box. It’s entirely handcrafted and hand painted from a fellow blogger’s (Chloe from A Twenty Something Mum) Facebook business Daisy Days Designs. It is quite honestly, gorgeous. The level of detail that has gone into it is extraordinary; Dexter’s name has been embellished with sequins jewels and the little animals have felt detailing. I chose to leave the design up to Chloe as I fell in love with a box from her photo gallery on Facebook, but she also makes these to order for weddings, and other special events. In my opinion she also has the best handmade wooden block lettering which we’ll be buying soon. Full pricing and ordering information is available on her Facebook. Thanks Chloe for such a gorgeous prize xx

I also love this owl cushion from Knot Just Jigs. Currently priced at a very reasonable £13.99 without personalisation, £16.99 with, he’s a mixture of lots of different textiles and soooo soft Dexter can relax on him or cuddle him. I love the mix of muted blues and vibrant greens – it’s so irresistibly boyish and a fun addition to his bedroom. Knot Just Jigs also do other homemade designs which are equally scrumptious and have that vintage feel. Also available are a number of retro wooden toys, puppets, musical instruments and other goodies which are a distinct nod back to my own childhood. When Dexter is old enough for instruments – I’ll be revisiting this website in a heartbeat as I’m very keen to support UK businesses and love the idea of him playing with toys similar to those I had when I was growing up.

I also have these cute little car neon lights purchased from eBay. I’m under no illusion these are probably mass manufactured but I’m more than a little in love with them. I have this little fantasy that Dexter will ask for them to be put on at night-time whilst he falls asleep. If he’s been a good boy we’ll probably indulge him as they look so beautiful and provide a nice soft glow in his room (even though they’ll hike up the electricity bill considerably!).

Then there’s my embarrassingly large collection of wicker and wooden hearts and stars bought from my local antique shop in Reading – Fanny’s Antiques. I love this place to death! OH has banned me from visiting too often as I have a tendency to invent space to house new furniture.

I also want to build a photo canvas wall full of various sized prints, frame depths and orientations. I bought my first one from Photobox a few days ago and have been impressed by the price, speed of delivery and quality.  Not a day goes by without me getting some kind of deal delivered to my inbox from Photobox so it’s easy to do this inexpensively and it’ll be lovely for Dexter and us to have such special memories forever captured in print. This one was free with just a £7.50 p&p – this was due to it being my first order but a Canvas Lite will ordinarily cost from £24.99.

Finally, there’s Dexter’s memory box. I suspect every parent does this! We’ve collected newspapers from the day he was born, special edition magazines from the year (Hello! and OK! have done fabulous Jubilee and Olympics specials this year), photos, cards, gift tags, letters, and toys – all for Dexter to enjoy when he’s older. This box is enormous and has plenty of room for our collection. We got this from HomeSense in Reading, but as they continually rotate their stock, I don’t think it’ll be available anymore. Craigy and I love these stores though as the prices are great (60% off RRP) and there are some really great unique finds from all over the world.

So that’s it – a mega post by anyone’s standards! I know nothing matches and this would be a clash of styles for some – but he’s child, and children should be messy and colourful!

If you have any other suggestions of sites for me to explore, or own a UK business and think you have some items that might fit in with my little collection – please do leave a comment below.


Loving this… Dexter’s new sock monkey, Charlie


I don’t usually get very excited about stuffed animals – Dex has very few as, quite frankly, they creep me out. However, when stumbling through the internet reading some other mummy blogs, I came across a competition to win a sock monkey. Nothing to get too excited about there then. Since having Dexter I have been known to enter the odd holiday competition but wouldn’t have ordinarily entered this one – the e-forms are fiddly and I don’t have the time to be typing away entering details when Dex is still such a handful. But a  few clicks later and I was hooked on these gorgeous homemade sock monkeys and had to have one.

Karen’s Crafty Sock Monkeys is a little known Facebook business. Karen doesn’t have a fancy website, does the whole operation on her own, and is the sewing / craft goddess none of us have the time to be. I love the imperfection of all things homemade and shabby chic and Dex’s room is a bit of a homage to this; toys and decorations have been carefully sourced from charity shops, baby boutiques, antique shops and (inevitably) eBay… therefore Karen’s little Facebook page called out to me instantly.

I love championing mums who have that little bit of entrepreneurial spirit; its tough being a mum but you ‘make do’ and make your money honestly. I would rather spend my money here, buying something truly unique, than spend the equivalent in The Disney Store on something pathetic and garish. I don’t know Karen’s situation but I have this little vision of her patiently sewing in front of Eastenders with a glass of wine in hand. She could be me if I had any bloody talent to speak of.

Needless to say I didn’t win the competition but was so taken with the novelty, I have since adopted Charlie. He was a miniscule £8.95 all in (p&p included) and just how he is that cheap, I’ll never know.

Smiles with Charlie!

The premise behind Karen’s sock monkeys is simple:

  • You browse all the sock choices from her photo album and pick your own colour scheme and material – you can stake your claim on these socks by commenting on the photo you have chosen
  • You browse all the different animals Karen has in her repertoire (again there is a Facebook album to flick through
  • You send her a message and let her know your choices, she’ll price it up for you
  • When your little buddy is ready, she’ll post a picture on her wall for you to check him / her over
  • You can either pick your new friend up from her in Kent, or pay by PayPal and she’ll send to your home address – Charlie arrived in a matter of days.

Dex is smitten with Charlie and the two are in separable. He’s perfectly safe for babies as he’s lightweight and has no scratchy labels or ‘hard bits’; he’s just sock, cotton and stuffing. He can’t fall on Dex’s face as Charlie is so skinny, he’ll just roll off. He’s a perfect car seat / moses basket companion as he sits snugly in next to Dexter and can squeeze in the tiniest of places. Not only this, but he fits in with Dexter’s other toys beautifully – as I picked Charlie’s colours I could match him to the paint in his room, the colour of his duvet and the colour of Dex’s favourite outfit – simply put, he looks the part!

Cuddling Charlie in his sleep xx

We get so many comments on Charlie, I’d recommend him in a heartbeat and will most probably build a collection of other monkeys for Dex to enjoy.

You can get yours here… http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karens-Crafty-Sock-Monkeys/213366432076674


Imperfect perfectness!