15 July 2016

An apple dress made by Nanny - Toddler OOTD #40

When I was little my Nanny made me lots of clothes. Practically my whole pre-school wardrobe was made by her. There is one particular item I still remember fondly. It was a knitted bright pink pullover, with a horse at the front. The horse was white with black Dalmatian-like spots - it was from the book Pippi Longstocking. The best thing about the horse was its freely flowing hair and tail. You could pet them and plat them. For a five year old girl that was the coolest thing ever.

homemade red and white apple dress

This apple dress was also made by a grandmother - made for my daughter by her Nanny. I wonder if in the future she will remember this apple dress as fondly as I remember my pink pullover. I wonder if she will remember the apple shaped pocket, and the way the skirt would fly up when wind caught it. And I wonder if she will look back at the pictures and giggle how much the puffy shoulders make her look like a miniature 50's housewife.

nanny plaiting toddler girl hair

apple shaped pocket on a toddler dress

She has lots of dresses made by Nanny, many more. There are beach dresses, going-out dresses, casual dresses, colourful dresses, in fact, all kinda of dresses and she revels in them. She is a real girly girl who loves nothing more than donning on a dress, grabbing her mummy's purse pretending to be 'little mummy' and pinching my Clinique Chubby Stick to dab herself a 'pink mouth'. Like I said, a real girly girl.

And a lucky girl too, isn't she, getting beautiful unique dresses made just for her?

6 July 2016

How to: 3 easy birthday card crafts to do with toddlers

In collaboration with The Works

I am not a crafty mum. I don't like the mess and I am often too busy for the prep. However, as my daughter loves crafting with mummy I came up with these really easy card crafts - all you need is white card, coloured paper, scissors, a glue stick and about 15 minutes of time. I've done three very simple birthday card designs which are: a birthday cake, a party hat and a bouquet of flowers - craft away!

I chose to do birthday cards as we recently hosted a kids birthday party ourselves and received homemade cards from some of our small guests - they were just the sweetest so I wanted to share the love.

3 easy birthday card crafts to do with toddlers

crafting paper and supplies for cards

For these you will need:

birthday cake card design for toddler crafts

toddler crafting with mummy

showing a toddler craft birthday card design

My favourite is the birthday cake card. All you need is to is cut some shapes like in the above picture, number of the candles optional! Glue the cake layer shapes on top of each other, then the candle sticks, an finally the yellow and orange triangles for flames. We were going to birthday party for a three year old so we did three candles.

party hat birthday card design for toddler crafting

The party hat was the easiest, especially for little toddler hands. With just one big triangle and lots of little circles to glue she got the gist of it straight away.

mummy and toddler daughter crafting birthday cards together

flower bouquet birthday card toddler craft

The flower bouquet is simple, but effective, and I think this would work on lots of other occasions too, such as for a Mother's Day card, or perhaps a Thank You card. 

It was fun making these. My daughter loved it, and with a bit of gentle direction she managed to glue the right bits roughly in the right places, making the cards look more like a real birthday card and less like a modern art project. I was also chuffed that she understood what these were meant to be - pretty much as soon as we got half way through she exclaimed loudly that she was making a cake (or a party hat, or flowers). And bless, she started singing "Happy birthday to you" while making the cake. On a personal note, the snob in me thinks these look quite good for toddler crafts.  

3 easy birthday card designs to craft with toddlers

There are a few further ideas I think I might use to spice up our card crafting next time. I found glitter glue sticks online which might make it a bit more festive. And I might even go for some 3D-creations with this huge kids craft set from The Works

What did you think of these cards? 

29 June 2016

Being a EU-UK family post-referendum: How do I feel?


6AM on the day of the voting results we were lazying in bed, expecting it to be a close call for 'Remain'. After glancing at the count we were shocked. And stunned. And concerned.

You were more likely to vote to Leave if you were old, a northerner and/or educated to a GCSE level. You were more likely to vote Remain if you were young, based in the south and a graduate. Most of our friends are in the latter categories. Our social media bubbles loudly proclaimed the message of remaining and the benefits of belonging to something bigger than your national country. But 51.9% of the voters in United Kingdom thought differently.

The reasons for voting 'Leave' range from xenophobic knee-jerk reactions to hearing too much Polish in your neighbourhood to complex considerations of national identity and the ideology of sovereignty. It seems too easy to condemn the vote to leave just as a representation of xenophobia, and I don't really want to believe it can be that simplistic. But so many of the televised debates, the conversations overheard on the streets, the countless newspaper articles I've been ploughing through have arrived that ugly undertone. Let alone the racist and xenophobic incidents that have resurfaced in the immediate days after the vote. It feels like the question posed and answered at the referendum was primarily immigration. And as an immigrant that makes me feel unwelcome.

I am not welcomed in this country.

Our family is not welcomed in this country.

Not anymore, not after the vote to leave.

When I look around my European friends I see highly educated, highly paid, multilingual, multinational cosmopolitans. Who are free to really go anywhere they want, but choose to be in United Kingdom. When I see a Polish plumber, or a Romanian construction worker I don't see a drain on the British society. I see someone who upped their sticks, works hard and tries to improve their lot. I see people that give more than they take. The message I hear from my European friends is the same across the board. We are not welcome here. Maybe we should go. Is this really what United Kingdom voted for? Because if it is, it is hurtful. 

Oh I am not overly concerned for our personal situation. Yes, it might be more expensive for us now to visit my home country, and yes, at worst I might have to go through a time-consuming and expensive naturalisation process. Our children are entitled to both European Union and United Kingdom passports. It is not like we physically will need to go anywhere, unless we want to of course. But I am worried about what this will mean for United Kingdom, the British society and the children that will grow up in it. 

I am old enough to remember my country joining the European Union. Not that I had a vote on the matter, I was still a kid, but I grew up to feel European. My identity is first and foremost European. I travelled, studied, lived and loved in Europe. And I feel sad the Europe and the opportunities it offers have become smaller. We don't know yet what the future will bring, but it will be our children that will have to live with the consequences.

And I sincerely hope the adults of United Kingdom made the right choice. 

24 June 2016

Colourful kids fashion previews for spring and summer 2017 from Bubble London

Kids clothes usually divide into two broad camps - the preppy camp and the colourful camp. I love both really, but at a recent children's wear trade show I specifically checked on the colourful camp. I got to see and photograph (some) new bright and fun spring and summer 2017 children's wear collections hitting the shops in January. Last year I went to the same show and did an update on a few of my favourite up and coming  British children's fashion designers

Collectively, walking around and looking at the collections you could see that colour was going to be again a big thing. Unsurprisingly nautical motives, sea creatures, and all that you often associate with spring and summer were there. There was plenty of bright primary colours, however, it almost seemed like there was a bit of a muted edge to the primary colours with a bit of toning down. Pastels were also looking like they are again up and coming. Organic is again really popular, with many brands being certified by GOTS to be of the highest standards. 

So here are a few of my pictures from Bubble London. 

Olly & Arya - a totally NEW brand, launching in 2016. Stylised photographs digitally printed on bamboo, tencel and cotton fabrics, and some simple and homely knitwear. I thought this brand was lovely, they had some very unique clothing, and I especially loved the dinosaur jersey and I think any kid would go nuts for it. I seem to remember the original photograph is from the film Jurassic Park!

Olly & Arya t rex dinosaur shirt

Olly & Arya flower skirt

Olly & Arya knit wear

Småfolk - Danish brand that I have also associated with strong retro colours is going a lot more pastel this time around. They were especially proud of the fact that they are now certified by GOTS, as organic textiles is something they feel strongly about. Pastel and prints - I like it! 

småfolk ss17 pastel colour collection

småfolk ss17 spring summer 2017 collection

Lilly + Sid - such a huge favourite here in UK, they do just the cutest designs, for both girls and boys. Usually the stuff available for boys is a bit bland, but not at Lilly + Sid - they have really fun designs for both genders. I picked up that there were a fair bit of mermaids for girls and octopi for boys this coming summer. 

lilly + sid ss17 collection

lilly + sid mermaid girls collection spring summer 2017 ss17

lilly + sid octopus boys collection spring summer 2017 ss17

Tiny Trolls of Norway - I am a big fan of Scandinavian brands and they do the practical outer wear the best. Like they say in pretty much everywhere in Scnadinavia, there is no bad weather, just bad clothes. Tiny Trolls of Norway do lots of high-quality winter suits, overalls and rainwear, plus of course fleeces and proper outdoorsy gloves for kids, and are now moving to make it big here in UK too. I especially loved the dusty pink and dusty purple rain suits - gorgeous colours. 

tiny trolls of norway outdoor wear collection

tiny trolls of norway rain suits for girls

tiny trolls of norway outdoor accessories for girls

Toby tiger - I have to confess, I had never heard of this brand even if they are quite established, but I loved the colours so was drawn to their stand. Still bold primary colours, but also pastel edge to them. I loved the colourful elephant prints that remind me of Elmer the Elephant. 

toby tiger ss17 spring summer 2017 collection

toby tiger ss17 colourful spring summer 2017 collection

Unfortunately I didn't have time to pop by down all the stalls, and some stalls I did pop down didn't want any pictures of their closely guarded designs published ahead of embargo, but I can tell you, it is looking nice and colourful out there in spring! A few other nice colourful brands I saw were Kite, Hatley, Frugi and mini Melissa, but for one reason or another didn't have a chance to photograph their stuff. 

What did you think of the collections? Looking forward to the spring and summer fashion for kids?

13 June 2016

Funny things my 3 year old daughter has been saying lately

In the last month or so my daughter has been having lots of proper conversations with us. I am loving her chatty nature, and oh gosh, is she getting talkative! Every day it seems she learns some new words, and every day it seems she is getting better and better at expressing herself. She is quite humorous too, making little jokes. Sometimes, when we scold her for behaving naughty she gets quite cross too, and tells us to "leave me alone" or "stop behaving like that".

Here are a few of the priceless conversations we have had with our daughter recently.

While in town:
Hubby took our three year old daughter to town the other day. While there, she played with another little girl who had her baby sister with her. As they walked back, she started a conversation.
"Girl had a baby sister."
"Yes, she did, that was nice wasn't it?"
On the toilet:
"I did a daddy poo. 
Daddy poo is BIG and very stinky. Ha ha!
Daddy poo is so stinky it needs a shower.
It has three eyes. "

When daddy asked what she does with mummy:
"We go on the bus, we lick ice cream, we dance."

Talking about parental differences:
"Daddy has a little bottom. I have a little bottom. Mummy has a BIG bottom. Ha ha!"

(Yes, well, thank you. Suppose that's what taking the bus does to you. Like they say, out of the mouths of babes... )

What funny things have your kids said?

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