Tag Archives: Nursery

Who is the Boss in your house?

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This weekend I skulked around Dexter’s nursery watching my Craig settle Dexter to sleep. I wasn’t spying I was having a ‘mummy moment’ and watching my boys having a cuddle. Dexter was fighting sleep and crying and Craig was soothing him. In response to Dexter’s whinging, Craig joked:

Come on mate. You’re not the boss of this house. There’s only one boss here and that’s mummy. She’s makes all the decisions, then it’s daddy’s job to pay for them

I grimaced. I know Craig was joking as he’s so rarely serious. He’s unoffical king of the one-liners and it’s one of the reasons I fell in love with him. But this one made me stop and think. I snuck away and mulled it over. It made me contemplate my role in our household

I really don’t see myself as bossy. I’m independent, strong-minded and occasionally sharp-tongued, but I’m mostly fair. I don’t make most of the decisions either. The truth is both of us are dire at making decisions. If we have to pick a restaurant, excursion or holiday, we both spend more time deciding than enjoying the actual treat. He surely wasn’t referring to this.

But then I glanced over to Dexter’s toy box and it struck me. Most of the the toys in that box, were chosen by me. The ELC sit-me-up cosy I was so insistent upon, but is rarely used; the Lamaze Spin and Explore that I was so convinced Dexter would enjoy. To the side of the sofa is Dexter’s Christmas box – it’s full to the brim with little bargains I’ve spotted online.

Then there’s his nursery. I chose and bought all the bedding and decorations without even consulting Craig. Even the canvasses on the wall. I bought them, chose the pictures, and hung them when Craig was at work to surprise him. In fact, I seem to have had a hand in every design / purchase decision in this house.

I’m not saying I buy everything – Far from it! Craig manages our household bills and keeps a roof over our head. He’s the only one with an Amazon account (which is probably a good thing) and I’m constantly sending him links of things to buy. He’s also forever running out in the van to collect something I’ve purchased locally from eBaby. If it’s a ‘big’purchase (furniture etc), we always sit down and talk about it – but the final choice is usually mine.

I will admit to being a ‘marketer’s dream’. I’m known to read magazines and put post it’s on pages with sites to check out, things to buy, and inspiration. Similarly, If I see anything innovative that appears to solve a parenting problem, I have to have it. Having said that I usually pay for these things myself so Craig doesn’t know a thing about it until it’s in the cupboard / toybox. I’m not a spendaholic though as I’m also quite disciplined. I have a ‘wish list’ of things I’m coveting but can’t afford. I know one day I’ll get them. It’s just a case of prioritising and waiting for the January sales. To be honest – with all the fantastic discount codes around, I can’t remember the last time I paid the full price for anything!

So I guess you could say, I am a boss of sorts. Far from being sad about this realisation. I’m actually quite comforted by it. Craig’s little quip is actually quite ‘telling’. He sees me as homemaker and avid parent ‘researcher’. He trusts my decisions and is happy to make the expensive ones happen financially. I’d go so far as to say that Craig enjoys providing us with things when budget allows. He is also a nurturing and loving daddy. If I’ve suggested a toy that claims to “promote motor skills and hand / eye coordination”, he won’t question it, we’ll buy it and both get on our hands and knees on the floor to help Dexter get the most out if it.

I don’t often think too deeply about my role in the home. I tend to just get on with it. Craig’s role is much more defined and structured – he’s the glue that keeps us all together. If he likes to see me as the boss, I don’t feel that’s a bad thing. All in all – we are quite the team.

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Why we love Sundays!

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With daddy home, we get to dress up and mess about with the camera! I bought this cute little hat weeks ago and couldn’t wait to shoot you in it.

We get to do bits and pieces in your room too. Daddy is nice and tall so can help me pin up decorations. I’ve wanted to put up this heart garland from Butterflies and Ballerinas for months and months but I’m a tiddly 5ft 4 and couldn’t reach far enough up the nursery wall. We also had some bunting to put up. Your room is now my favourite in the house and I love being in there.

Sunday is also Fun-day, we can get messy and paint knowing that daddy will be on hand with baby wipes when we’ve finished! I’ve been meaning to do your paw prints for ages but suspected you’d furl up and we wouldn’t get a print out of you. This was definitely a three person job and I’m glad we managed it before your 6 month birthday on Friday. We’ve decided to do these every 6 months now so we can see how much you’ve grown.

Finally – I get to wrap up Christmas presents – my favourite way to relax. Yes, it’s early November and I’m nearly done!

Giggles, gymnastics and posing at 4 months

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I can’t believe how quickly you’re growing! Looking back through photos of you laying next to your earliest cuddly toys, you seemed dwarfed by some of them! Now, you’re able to grab and chew them with ease.

Your little personality is coming into its own now. You’re cheerful and endearing, sweet-tempered and loving. A tearful tantrum is always followed by a smile and you’re able to calm yourself down now without mummy. You’re also an avid chit-chatterer and each day you’ll make a new sound. Giggles are now prolonged and more frequent and just when mummy thought she couldn’t love you any more, she finds a little bit of extra room in her heart with every laugh you give.

Your legs are now super strong. Everyday you’ll come into mummy’s bed in the morning after daddy has gone to work. You’ll finish your long sleep with mummy then wake us up at 8am by kicking off the bed sheets and giggling beside me. You also love to stand up. After changing your nappy on your mat, you’ll stretch out your arms towards me and I’ll pull you up by your arms into an upright position. Standing there smiling in your sleepsuit you look like a mini gymnast after a world-class floor routine.

How much did mummy and daddy struggle getting a shot of you on your legs?!

You continue to take such stunning photographs and seem to enjoy posing. Mummy and daddy both have photos of you set as the background on their laptops and you seem to recognise yourself whenever you catch a glimpse of our screens.

We have had the odd bad day. You gave your dad a fright a few weeks ago when you screamed for 2 hours whilst mummy was having a few drinks with her friend, and yesterday you refused to let me put you down all day. We put these outbursts down to you feeling a bit tired or a bit unwell. They are always short-lived and never a problem.

We’ve had just one accident so far when mummy dropped an iPhone on your head. You sustained a tiny cut on your eyebrow and mummy stayed up all night crying. I’m sure this is the first of many knocks and scrapes but I could do without another for a few months as I was devastated.

Rolling still seems a long way off, but your sitting is progressing well and its only a matter of time before you can do this unaided.

This next month will be a big one for you. We have the challenge of introducing you to ‘grown up’ food, you’ll be going swimming for the first time ever with daddy on holiday, and I suspect we might get a ”mama” or “dada” out of you. We’re also moving house and moving you into your own room, and mummy is going back to work. These are massive things for us both to deal with and I’ve had lots of tears myself as I’ll really miss being with you during the day. Daddy will be with you from 10am – 3pm and I know you’ll make him as happy as you’ve made me with lots of giggles and little milestones. Just don’t forget mummy please, and save some smiles for me in the early evening.

Collecting for Dexter’s new nursery

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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

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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!

 

Weekend update, by Daddy Cool !!!!

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This weekend we went to a baby and mother fayre to pick up some cute baby stuff for you. This gave us lots of ideas about how to make your arrival a special one. There was lots of toys and innovative things to make things easier for mummy and me, and life more comfy for you. I suspect mummy will drag me to far more shows now and your nursery will look like backstage at Dragon’s Den.

Trunkies - laughed off Dragon's Den but now a UK best seller

Trunkies - laughed off Dragon's Den but now a UK best seller

Your mummy has been on eBay again picking up some fabulous stuff for you. We collected 2 more moses baskets to lay your little head in and as we can’t decide which one to use for you, we’ll probably end up keeping them all!!!!  Your new bedroom is coming along and is stocked up with loads of stuff and is growing by the day. We have lots of booties, baby grows and little jump suits for you to look cute in.

We also had a visit to nanny and grandad’s this weekend for a lovely dinner. Mummy got to see lots of photos of daddy when he was a baby, just like you!!! Daddy was a cute baby (more cuter than mummy) so I’m hoping you take after me.

Mummy is getting bigger by the day with you inside, and we’re beginning to think you might already be playing with a sibling! As daddy’s mummy’s mummy was a twin, it’s possible that you might be one too. It’s true that mummy is going slightly mad with you inside, and I need you to hurry up and arrive so you can help me look after her!

Until next time, Daddy xx

Handmade goodness

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My dream nursery - I love pretty much everything about this room especially the colours and the purposeful mess

We’re officially “nesting” at the moment in the Mill’s household. I’m really keen to have the nursery ready early so I can wander in every night from work and daydream about the day baby comes home. I’ve seen some gorgeous nurseries online and I want ours to be just as special. The idea is to have the ‘bones’ in place (furniture) by next month, then we’ll just add little bits to it over time. By the time our tiny one is in, it’ll be the most gorgeous room in the house; stuffed with little trinkets and features.

So where are we right now?

We have a Moses basket and a baby bouncer, a cot tidy, a mobile, and have made a start on the stuffed toy collection – hardly the impressive start I wanted! I’m a massive vintage fan and love hings with a past. This extends to pre-loved things that other babies have enjoyed. I plan on sourcing unique and pretty bits from eBay, Gumtree, independent baby shops, craft fairs and boot sales…  I’m hoping to find the odd thing I know no one else will have and we’ll keep for future babies to come (that’s right Craig – I’m thinking 3). What I can’t find, I’m likely to make (or buy homemade)  – and I’m loving all the tiny knitted booties and mittens on eBay. I really love the thought that someone makes them as a barely profitable mini business as they sell for £1.99 +p&p – they must  just love being thrifty and making things! Every item is unique with miniature ribbons and bows.

 
 
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Baby booties on eBay - these are so cute and intricate!

I’d ideally like for the dresser drawers to already be filled with blankets, socks, baby grows, bibs etc, when baby comes home. Anything else we receive as gifts will be bonuses. I’m less fussy about these. We’ll probably know whether we’re having a boy or a girl in a few months but most early clothing is gender neutral so this collection can start right away. I don’t see the point in spending a great deal of money on this. Baby will have some expensive one-off outfits for special occasions, but otherwise they’ll be perfectly happy in hand-me-downs and bargains sourced in high street sales. Babies don’t stay tiny enough to make use of one outfit for more than a few months, and they can be messy too. I’d be heartbroken if I spent hundreds of pennies on things that get ruined in 5 minutes; baby won’t be aware if his / her baby grow costs £20 or £2,50.
Facebook - Mummies Club
Facebook – Mummies Club

 

Speaking of money I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a Mummies Club. The idea is to connect with other new mummies in the area and donate old outgrown items to those mothers with children younger than your own. I have two ideas at the moment; a ‘bring and buy’ bi-monthly event, or a strange twist on secret santa. Obviously option 2 would be far more exciting but it would be a logistical nightmare! I floated both ideas on Facebook last week and people seemed to think it was a good idea. I may well run with this later on in the pregnancy. We’re in recession and every penny counts at the moment, for everyone, not just us. It would be so nice to help  each other out and make money at the same time. I’d love to hear peoples thoughts xx