Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Two Half Term Ideas - Journey to Space and Trash Robots

It's half term for most people this week, and seeing as the great British weather has taken a nose-dive I think that it is the perfect time for this post.

Going Out:

If you live in or near London and have kids then make a bee-line to Discover - Children's Story Centre in Stratford E15. It is a complete gem!

I blogged about it here at the start of last year and I still cannot recommend Discover enough - there are things to climb on and slide down, puppets to play with, outfits to dress up in, and somewhere to make and draw things too. And that's just on the ground floor! The outdoor playground is brilliant and although there is a small on-site cafe (that serves good coffee) there are tables and chairs for you to eat your own food if you wish. Other 'family friendly' places take note!

Downstairs they have a programme of changing visiting exhibitions; at the moment it is 'Journey to Space'. The children get to put on space suits, go in a 'spaceship' to a unknown planet and search for the missing Major Tom. Wiss loved it!

He made a paper rocket at the craft tables, which he played with all afternoon and the next day too. In fact, it's still in pride of place on his window ledge.

We booked into one of the (free) storytelling sessions to end our day. 'Where on Earth is the Moon?' was read aloud by one of the Story Builders while the kids sat on big cushions on the floor and were encouraged to help bring the book to life by using musical instruments. The beautiful illustrations were projected on the wall in front of us. The final stop on the way out has to be at the brilliant bookshop - they have a fabulous selection of some classics, some really original but all very cool books.

Staying In:

If you can't make it along to Discover then how about making something at home instead? Wiss was given this Trash Robot kit for his birthday but we saved it for a rainy day (!)

You get eyes, wheels and plenty of stickers to make at least two robots using whatever recycled packaging you have. As you can see we used a milk carton, and a shampoo bottle - it's a great way to start talking about recycling with kids. I had to help Wiss with the arms as they are made from folded paper but he enjoyed putting the stickers on himself. We then spent the afternoon racing our robots up and down the dining room, and perfecting our robotic voices!

Whatever you get up to this half term, I hope you have fun regardless of the weather! And if you go anywhere that you'd like to recommend then please let me know with a comment or link... Enjoy!

Mum's Quilt

I blogged a little while ago about the quilt that I'd made for my mum (Life is Hard, Sewing is Easy)

I was in such a hurry to give it to her I forgot to take any pictures of it. But this weekend we went up to stay with her, and the sun was shining so I was able to get some better shots.

The quilt was made from two charm packs of Winter Memories by Tilda, and the muted colours are perfect for my mums room. The back is made from a brushed cotton sheet which was also wrapped round to make the binding. The over all size of this lap quilt is 1m x 1.25m, so it will fit on a single bed, or be perfect for on the sofa.

I quilted it with simple straight lines about 1cm away from the seams. I much prefer this than 'stitching in the ditch' as you get to see all the quilting properly.

I finished the quilt with a little message for mum, to remind her always.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

I'm going to BritMums Live!

BritMums Live! 2013

In just over a months time I am heading off to BritMums Live 2013. I booked my ticket the day after last years event because I was so impressed by everything that I read and saw about it. It seemed so far in the future then but it's nearly time. And I can't wait!
Tickets are all sold out for this year but you can check their website for information, and follow them on Twitter @BritMums for live updates over the weekend of 21-22 June.
One thing I am most looking forward to is meeting a whole variety of new people, and so it is only polite to introduce myself too. I've cut and pasted these questions from the BritMums meme on their linky; if you're going too then make sure you say hello! This is me...
Name: Angela Tobin
Twitter ID: @thisiswiss
Height: 5' 9"
Hair colour: brown(ish)
Eyes: green/grey
Is this your first blogging conference? Yes! I am really looking forward to it and just hope I can cram in as much as possible in the two days.
Are you attending both days? Yes. As I live in London it would be silly not to. I've taken the day off work on Friday and my husband will be looking after Wiss on Saturday so I will have no other commitments other than to make the most of what's on offer.
What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2013? There is a great line up of speakers and I'm particularly keen to hear Katie Piper. I'm also looking forward to having two days of 'me' time!
What will you be wearing? Probably some brightly coloured jeans and a stripy top (my usual attire!) although I may wear something fancier on Friday for the party.
What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2013? I hope that I will get some great tips and inspiration for my blog, especially with taking great photos. I still feel like I am very much feeling my way in the blog world and would like to gain more confidence.
Tell us one thing about you that not everyone knows: I got my tongue stuck to a freezer in Bejams, aged 6. I had to be defrosted off!
See you at BritMums Live! 2013


Monday, 20 May 2013

Kid's Bedroom Makeover Challenge!

We moved house at the end of the summer last year, and although one of the reasons we liked this house is that it didn't need any DIY doing to it, it is a bit of a white box. Well, a white and magnolia box. A white and magnolia box with stained pine woodwork. Grrrr!

Now I don't mean to offend anyone who likes magnolia or wood finishes, but it's really not for us. So I've had 'decorate entire house' on my To Do list for a while now! We've obviously put our furniture in, and (nearly) unpacked all the boxes. The dining room had a mini-makeover but we've not got round to some real decorating. Until now!

Wiss has been asking for a yellow bedroom since we moved in. He loves yellow. And getting up early! We have had enough of early morning calls (pre-6am, sometimes pre-5am!) so we thought that if we gave Wiss a 'big boys' bedroom then he may stay in his bed like a 'big boy'. Yes, we are that desperate!

Wiss went off to Nanny and Grandad's for the weekend on Saturday morning and the secret Changing Rooms challenge began! This is how the room looked before:
Nothing that awful but generally very bland, nothing exciting and too many toys! Our requirements were: yellow, more storage, less toys out, and just generally cooler! I also wanted to use things that we had already if possible, rather than buying more stuff. Lots of things that Wiss had in his nursery at the old house had been in storage so we rediscovered those, along with old shelves we no longer needed.

On Saturday we cleared the room and painted. The woodwork had two coats of undercoat and a top coat of white gloss. This made me so happy! The magnolia walls were repainted white :) and then the chimney breast became the feature wall (Crown Funky range 'Taxi'). Sunday was spent attaching the new light fittings. (I guess we/you should use a qualified electrician to do tricky stuff like this. We didn't though.) Then we had to put up all the shelves for storage before putting the room back together and adding the finishing touches.

I tweeted pictures and updates as we went along using the hashtag 'changingrooms' and I received so many lovely comments, and questions about certain things I thought I'd detail everything here. Just in case you were interested too.

This is what the room looks like now:

  • Kids chair and road rug (hung over radiator) from Ikea
  • Grey Blackout blind from Ikea too
  • Inside of window recess painted dark grey (Urban Obsession from Dulux)
  • 'Buzz' moon pendant light from Habitat (bought about 5 years ago)
  • Metal Bus Eireann sign from Crystal Palace Antiques
  • Perspex storage unit (on the wall) from Ardingly Antiques Fair (think it's from an old sweet shop originally)
  • 'Star' wall light fitting from John Lewis, painted to match wall
  • Vintage school desks from Ardingly bought for £20
    • Brilliant Lego storage head from Amazon 
    • Patchwork quilt made by me (with help from Ray Stitch)
    • Red bunting made by my mum for Wiss's birth
  • Perspex Rocket on wall (I hope Wiss will make some flames to add to this)
  • Multi-Storey Doll's House (which will have a blog post of it's own soon!)
  • Robot Wall sticker around the light switch from Not on the High Street
  • Unseen, but I covered the ceiling in 100 Glow in the Dark stars too
    We were exhausted after a very busy couple of days, but couldn't wait to see Wiss's reaction. He was truly amazed and it was so sweet to see his face as he ran around the room looking at each bit in turn. It really did make it all worthwhile.

    And I'm happy to report that on the first night in his 'big boy's room' Wiss stayed in his own bed all night and woke up at 7.05am! He could just have been exhausted by Grandad or maybe (fingers crossed) it may have worked. We'll see.....!

    Thursday, 2 May 2013

    Open House - Handmade Gifts in South London. This Saturday!

    Spring is finally here and the city is a wonderful place once again! I don't know if everyone feels this, or if its just because us Brits get so little sunshine, but life is just better in the sun!

    I'm hoping that it will continue into the Bank Holiday weekend so everyone can really enjoy the extra day off. If you're in South London and are looking for a great way to start your weekend, then how about popping along to this Open House in Herne Hill on Saturday morning...?

    There is a wide variety of products on offer, most of them handmade by local designers, plus there will be coffee, cake and other refreshments available while you browse and chat.
    Naomi Purkiss Boutique makes clutches and handbags, along with Kindle cases, purses and accesories all from gorgeous vintage-style fabric.
    Jo Hill designs and hand makes her fabulous range of jewellery which has a modern and edgy style. You will find earrings and necklaces made from charms, bone, oxidised metal and gold filled, to name a few.
    This is Wiss (me!) will be there selling a range of handmade toys and other baby and child essentials. I have used some new summery fabrics for the popular changing mats and waterproof bags, as well as some bright Bobby horses. I have been busy making felt crowns as these have become best sellers recently. I will also be taking custom orders so if there is something you would like in a particular colour or style then I am happy to make it especially for you.
    You will also be able to buy handmade soaps and candles from 'Light & Bubbly', great Aloe Vera skin products from 'Forever Living' and stock up on gift cards and wrapping from 'Pheonix Trading'.
    Above all, come along have a drink and a nose around, and meet some of your creative neighbours! Sounds like a pretty nice way to start your long weekend, doesn't it?