DIY Play shop.

A couple of months ago, my list of possible Christmas gifts to the girls in hand, I came across the cutest Play shop for sale, it was basically a small uinit, with a shop sign attached. and they wanted £120 for it. Now don’t get me wrong, if something is quality craftsmanship, by all means you charge your worth. But this, was just so…. So flimsy. And so I did what I always do. I planned to make my own.

I sketched a fairly simple design that looked  a little like this…

 

Measurement wise, it had to fit in a quite small corner of their room, so I just worked with that to decide how big I wanted it. It ended being 120cm High x 70cm wide x 80cm length. So altogether not a massive build.

First up I needed to gather my supplies. For this I used MDF from Savoy timber, 2 cans of Novasol pinty plus chalk paint in broken white and one can in Rose petal. I also got to try a new product, the Blackboard spray (amazingly easy to use by the way!).

 

Once everything had arrived, it was all about getting it put together. I started it out by spray painting the backing and the shop sign. No real reason to start there, I just wanted to see how those colours looked.

 

Then I moved onto the important stuff, the actually build. I’m not going to start rambling on about specifics (although if you would like to know more details, you can always pop me an email.) But I started by putting the main front unit together, then adding the side worktop and giving it all a good paint. I decided on keeping it simple with white.

 

Next up was building that large frame to go round the top – and ultimately to hold the roof fabric. These where obviously all pre-cut but the tricky part came with the painting. I have only had 2 hours childfree each weekday morning to work on this (it is after all a secret Christmas present for the girls.) So I needed paint to be dried fast, so it could all be packed away before Izzy came home from nursery. To avoid having to paint each side, leave it to dry and then turn to do the rest, Sam came up with this. it took me three whole minutes to spray everything, I gave a quick re-coat of Pinty plus (Broken White) after half an hour and it was all good to be packed up in time.

 

So, the next day, when work could start again, the frame went up. Fairly easily actually. I wanted it to be higher at the back, than it was at the front. This was so the fabric could slope down.. it’ll make sense when you see it.

 

Once the main frame was done, it was time to get excited and do all the fun bits. Like adding the fabric roof – I decided on this gorgeous traditional-esque canvas cotton

 

And most fun of all, the writing the shop sign on the chalk board – I used this fail safe method for perfect handwriting.

 

All of a sudden, the project was nearly finished!

 

All, that was left was to add all those little bits I had collected over the past month, wooden food for the shelves, mini baskets, a sweetie shop container and of course a till!

 

The final result, is pretty fab! The girls have just entered that make believe play land, everything is pretend at the minute and I want to encourage that completely. The great thing about this build, is it can become anything they want. A restaurant, a bakery, a sweetie shop. The creative possibilities are endless!

 

So, price wise. I mentioned earlier about the shop I say that inspired this entire build, the one that cost a fortune for next to nothing in .. here’s a breakdown of cost for this project.

MDF – £21

Roof fabric – £22

Chalk paint – £0

Till – £13

wooden food -£19.98

mini baskets – £3.97

Sweetie holder – £3.99

White chalk pen – £2.50

Total cost- 82.47

 

Its not “cheap” but its not £120 for something that won’t last a month. I’m totally in love in the new addition to their room, Now I’ve just got to keep it hidden from them until the big day!!

Handmade really is best! I’ll be sure to put a picture up once they’ve seen it on Christmas Day. How on earth is that only two day away?!

I’m going to try and hop back on to the blog before Christmas, but if I’m too busy with festiveness I hope you all have a happy Christmas, and I’ll definitely be back next week with some New Years posts – one of which is a NYE dessert recipe involving a whole lot of caramel and some edible glitter. YUM.

Merry Christmas!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

Christmas Traditions.

Like most families, we have our own Christmas traditions. Ours mainly centres around Christmas eve. Christmas day is jam packed with family and so Christmas eve is our night, just the four of us. This is why every year, we (I) prepare a christmas eve box. I’ve seen just how popular these have become, and so I thought I’d share whats in mine this year.

 

  • New Pyjamas. Obviously. – All matching, not always a necessity, but OMG so adorable!
  • Something to eat, a little Chocolate, popcorn,  general snacks for the evening.
  • Something to watch. x2 A film to watch with the children and then something for Sam and myself to watch once they’ve gone to bed. I haven’t put ours in the box because we already own it. Love actually. Its always our Christmas eve movie.
  • Something to play. This year… Buckaroo!
  • Lush Christmas Bath bomb. The girls love a lush bath.
  • Hot chocolate supplies. You can find everything you would need for the best hot chocolate here.

 

Christmas eve is our time, we play games, watch movies, snack to our hearts content, as well as taking our annual Christmas eve family photo. I’m really looking forward to this years photo, my skills have grown so much since last year, so I’m expecting a clear & cosy photo.

On Christmas Day we start off the same way. Stockings poured out over the bed, downstairs for breakfast and straight into present opening. I usually put the Turkey in to Slow roast round about 9 am, and the rest of the morning is spent wading through packaging and trying to find the 80+ batteries needed for toys. Ha. Round about Mid- day the In-laws come round, we share more presents and spend the afternoon full of festive cheer before a very hearty Christmas dinner and once dinner is over I almost cry actual tears of joy at the sight of a crisp, cool glass of Rose.

The evening is very relaxed, a combination of tiredness and fullness, we’ll catch up on some Christmas specials TV and revel in the Christmas cheer.

 

Boxing Day. Ah Boxing Day. This is the day I get to rock up to my dads house, hand out gifts, I get to eat without having to cook, I get to drink wine whilst my family watch the girls. Boxing Day is a very special day. This year will be no different. On the 26th you’ll be able to find me lounging around in my dads house, glass of wine in one hand, plate of turkey sandwiches in the other.

That. Is what Christmas is all about.

I’m intrigued to know what your Christmas traditions are? Is there something you just have to do every year?

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Our handmade Christmas tree.

I am very particular about my christmas tree, i’d love to be one of these mums that turns the dressing of the christmas tree into a family event, but no. Just no. I cant cope with the cluster of baubles, the uneven-ness of decorations. I like it orderly. So, last year I thought i’d let my kids have there very own Handmade christmas tree to do as they please with, this included making up their very own decorations for it too!

 

It worked out great for me, all those little bits they bring home from school and after school clubs have somewhere to go, They get to pick out a couple of their own baubles as well (This year we’ve added a rainbow & a carousel horse) And this year Mischa made up her very own angel to sit at the top. It is all a bit adorable!

 

We did try last week to make up another batch of handmade decorations for it, but I ended up having a bit of a Pinterest fail… What was supposed to turn out like this….

 

Ended up turning out like this…..

 

Not really sure where we wrong to be honest. Ha ha. Anyway, some decorations that I can actually do are the Salt dough baubles. Thats what we started with last year, and seen as I didn’t post anything about them, i’d thought I’d share a quick ‘how to’ here…

You’ll need:

  • 125g Plain flour – You cant substitute self raising here, your decorations will actually rise!
  • 1/3 cup of salt
  • 1/3 cup of water – maybe a tiny bit more.

 

Simply pour all your ingredients into a bowl and mix, I used an electric mixer, its just easier, but if you dont have one dont worry.

You want your dough to be completely combined into one large ball, slightly sticky and soft.

Now flour a surface, place your dough down and roll out, you want it to be about 1/2 an inch thick.

Using cookie cutters you can make your salt dough decorations in any shape you want. Mischa & izzy choose a few star shapes, christmas trees and a gingerbread man shape. Using a kebab skewer or something similar pop a hole through the top of your cut out. This will be the hole that you’ll thread string or wire through.

Place your dough cut outs on a baking sheet lined tray and pop them in the oven for at least 2 hours. It is a while, but you need to bake out all that moisture, any moisture and your decorations will just crack & crumble apart.

You’ll know they’re done when they are rock solid and almost white in colour.

Leave to completely cool before decorating.

 

Easy as that!

 

There are loads of possible handmade trinkets to adorn your tree, I’ve popped a few of the best tutorials I could find below.

 

Paper baubles – Stephanie Lynne

 

Twig Christmas tree – Michelle made me. 

 

Dried fruit baubles – Simply Notable

Wool wrapped stars – Live Laugh Rowe.

Lots of ideas for you there if you want to get a little bit crafty in the run up to Christmas. I’m interested to know how many others have a handmade tree?

 

 

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

The home life project- December Edition.

How is the end of 2016 already?! How did this year fly by so quickly?! Well technically its not the end of the year just yet, but this is the final HLP post of 2016! I’ve heard from Clare (the host of this awesome project) that The home life project will be back in 2017! yay. So fear not, Brand new year, brand new HLP. If you fancy having a go next month would be the perfect time to start, It isn’t a contest, it isn’t for professional photographers. Its just a fun little project to document candid family life a day (or weekend) each month -I’m going to do a full run down of my favourites at the end of the month. Anyway, back to this months edition.

I’ve been so excited for this one, fairy lights make for a beautiful backdrop to any photo’s, this weekend I’m documenting our Sunday, Saturday was a bit of a write off since Friday night we attended Sam’s grandma’s 80th Birthday party, lets just say the wine was flowing a little too well. So Sunday, it was typical in how our Sunday’s go, slow. We eased through the day, not really achieving much, but savouring the last day of the weekend.

Perfect.

 

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

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Decking our halls.

Its official. Its Christmas!!! December 1st (or maybe a few days before – it takes me that long now!) is the day our house is trimmed up with all that glitters. Every year, round about the second week of November i’m having to fight an ongoing battle not become one of *those* people that puts their decorations up so early. Some years, i’ve given in and had the up earlier, but It ruins the Christmas spirit and I’m usually in a rush to get them all down a couple of days after Christmas. No, I like my Christmas spirit condensed.

The twinkling of the fairy lights on a cold winter night, gives me that tickle of contentment in my stomach. That is what Christmas is all about, and why its one of my favourite times of the year. This year, i’ve gone a bit mad on new decorations, in my absolute defence this year we also built the giant new TV unit – that needed decorations, we also overhauled the kitchen – so that obviously needed a boost of Christmas spirit too! Here’s how its all lookin….

 

 

So thats it. The festive season is finally upon us. Its now all about christmas crafts, a glass of wine and present wrapping, christmas songs and so much excitement as the big day nears. Happy 1st December!!!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Christmas decoration Inspo.

ONE MONTH TODAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS. I REPEAT, ONE MONTH TODAY!

I’ve been fighting an ongoing battle with myself for the last fortnight. Its still too early to put up the Christmas decorations, but I WANT TOO! It started with the christmas adverts, then the present buying, the films are slowly starting to filter onto the TV & now the christmas songs. There’s so much temptation to get those decorations out. I won’t do it though, I will remain strong until the 1st December.

Having said that, I can still plan and shop for christmas decorations. This year we have done a whole lot of house updates, from the giant new TV unit, to the full kitchen makeover, theres lots of new spots to be decorated this year, which means of course I need to get planning.

I figured a lot of you would be in the same position, wanting to out-do last years decorations, wanting to create the perfectly decorated backdrop to your family Christmas? well, I’ve put together a little collection of mood boards especially for you, hopefully it’ll help give you some ideas on how you want to decorate this year.

 

Naturals:

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The natural look is always a firm favourite of mine, bringing the beauty of wintery nature indoors. Beautiful.

1- Hello Nancy.                              4- Dear lillie blog.                                      7- Star ornament £4 (Matalan)

2- indeed decor.                            5- Pine cone garland £12 (Ebay)

3- decoration love.                       6- Natural lantern £27.99 (Wayfair)

 

 

Bright & Quirky. 

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Fancy something a little more quirky? Bright, colourful, a little bit different. This is the perfect style to add a little fun to your Christmas.

1- Disfunctional designs.                     4- Pinapple bauble £9 (Lisa angel.)

2- Red online.                                        5- Fenton & fenton. 

3- Selina lake.                                        6- Festoon lights £34.95 (internet gardener.)

Scandi modern.

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Simple and oh so sophisticated. Monochrome with a little metallic is the perfect way to channel your inner Scandi-modern Christmas.

1- Faux antler wreath £25 (cox and cox)      4- Planate deco

2- Forever love.                                                 5- Pinterest. 

3- Copper baubles (NOTHS)                          6-  Monica wants it. 

Dark & Moody

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One of my favourite styles this year. This style is also the perfect way to pay homage to the original start of Christmas decorations in the UK, the victorians started off our love for festive decor, they where also known for there love of moody interiors. – Little history lesson for you there – Go classic this Christmas.

1- Homify                                        4- Tesco.

2- Style Juicer.                               5- Dust jacket – attic. 

3- House to home.                        6- Brown dress with white dots.

Traditional.

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Nothing really beats a traditional Christmas look, its one that will fill us all with warm memories and excitement, bring out your inner child with these old classics.

1- Perpetually Christmas.                           4- One kind design

2- Eat well 101.                                             5-  Nutcracker £20 (Christmas time uk)

3- Decoration love.                                      6- John lewis. 

This post has just pushed my excitement through the roof, so much so I might have to ditch my decor date and start putting up some little bits this weekend. is it Christmas yet?!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Home life project – November edition.

This months Home life project, was all but forgotten about, until 11am on Sunday morning, I was slogging it out at the gym when i realised. Ooops. In my absolute defence though Izzy picked up some sort of Sickness bug on Friday, so the entire weekend has been spent cradling her and trying to get her to nibble on toast and sip water. Not really HLP worthy.

Anyway, I did manage to grab a few images, but not enough to actually link up to the home life project linky. But I thought i’d post them anyway. There’s only four.

 

So there we are. Not my best HLP. But I WILL do better next month, especially since the Christmas decorations will be up… Hello twinkly light backgrounds!

Here’s the link for Novembers Home life project, here you can find people that actually remembered to have a go this month.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

Home life project- October.

For the past two months, i’ve skipped The home life project. Not without having a go first though, I just either got caught up in other stuff, or just didn’t like the photos I had produced. A lot has happened in the past two months, I seemed to have developed a real passion for photography. I now attend an evening course in Level 3 Photography, and in complete honesty, I  can’t remember the last day I didn’t pick up my camera. I haven’t yet been through my photos from earlier home life projects. But I think at the end of the year, when I do. This months will show a noticeable difference.

This month I feel like I really ‘got’ The home life project. Every single photo on todays post was completely organic, no posing, no planning. Just following the girls round with my camera for the day. There is quite a lot I missed out, We did actually take a trip into town on Saturday, but it seemed there was about 10,000 people with the same idea, it was far too a stressful experience for me to even think about taking out my camera. Our day really can be summed up as ‘relaxed’ (apart from the trip to town.) And I think one of my favourite photographs from todays post is Mischa sat on the sofa playing on her Nintendo DS.

Anyway, here are my photographs.

 

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And thats it for another month of The home life project!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

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#acosyhome

It was a month or so ago now I first decided to start my own hashtag. Anyone that knows me, reads my blog, follows my Insta or Facebook, knows i’m all about creating a comfortable, well presented, well fed household. I’m a homemaker through and through with the main goal being to create #acosyhome So it all kind of made sense really. I haven’t been overly active with it, but we are now in September, as of next week its officially Autumn, which everyone knows is all about the cosiness.

#acosyhome is for anything and everything that gives you that little buzz off contentment. Your favourite smelly candle, a pretty little corner of your house, your kids being bundled up under a blanket on a rainy Saturday afternoon and of course those delicious comfort foods.

Joining in with this hashtag is really simple, its all hosted on Instagram, you can follow me over on here to keep updated on my examples. #acosyhome revolves around three main subjects: Interiors, Food & Family life. I’ve popped some of my favourite examples so far below.

 

Interiors:

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Food:

Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 16 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 23 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 59 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 57 11

 

Family life:Photo 06-09-2016, 09 57 07 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 58 48 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 59 27

And thats really it. Its as simple as that. And following on from from the hoards of beautiful insta hashtags around, I’ll be creating a cosy photo grid and tagging my favourites fortnightly.

So get tagging, #acosyhome

Let the cosiness of Autumn commence.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

A quarter of a decade. – A blogworthy birthday.

I mentioned in my Full skirt tutorial last Tuesday, that last week was my birthday!! As of 17th I am 25 years old. Thats a real adult age, i’m a fully fledged grown up now!! I’m actually okay with it, getting older doesn’t freak me out like it used too, with every new year comes age… but it also brings a whole loads of other things, knowledge, contentment, acceptance. Things that make me appreciate getting older. Anyway, last year I started a new years resolution post, not on New years, but on my birthday… I thought it would be a way better time to reflect on the past year, on my goals, on my achievements, on my personal growth.

Last year, I had three goals for the following 12 months. You’ll be pleased to know, i’ve achieved none of them. Aha. Well, I mean I kind of have. but here they are.

  1. Pass my driving test – Now, this also included passing my Theory, which last year stood at a 4th time fail. This year I passed my theory (YAAY!, 5th time lucky!) I also started up my driving lessons again and am on track to take my first (and hopefully only) test this coming winter.
  2. Finish a novel – I haven’t done this, But I have been trying. On new years eve I started a story, one that I have worked a lot on. Turns out its quite a complicated adventure, and determined not to sack it off because its complicated, its been a long journey of trying to iron out those crinkles. I haven’t been as dedicated to it as i should have been, however i won’t be too hard on my self, i’m only one person and my days are jam packed as it is. I’ll pick it up once the girls go back to school.
  3. Take regular breaks from the internet. – I have kind of done this a couple of times, but right now I have a perfect balance between the online & offline world. I think that should have been my resolution, to find that.

 

So that was it, my only goals for the last twelve months. Time to set some more.

  1. Pass my driving test. I’m gunna’ get it done this year.
  2. Maintain the perfect online/offline balance.
  3. Stop finding reasons NOT to pitch potential articles to local newspapers/magazines. Just do it.
  4. Build that vegetable patch.
  5. Continue along the path of inner peace and contentment. Kind of a joke, but also kind of not. I used to be all about the rage… i’m pretty zen these days… unless I’m hungry, or tired. Ha ha

 

I think five is enough for a year, really.

Anyway, my birthday was pretty AMAZING! We planned a trip to London back in June, and by 8am on Wednesday morning we were on the M6 heading down, by 8.30am. We arrived at the gorgeous St Pancras renaissance hotel around mid-day.

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After a lovely walk in the Sunshine, we stopped off for lunch (and wine) on a terrace overlooking kings cross.

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And after a quick refresh we headed off to the Harry potter studio tour. I took about 500 photos of the tour, obviously I don’t want to share them ALL here, so I’ve narrowed it down to my top 15. Just enough to show it truly was incredible, without ruining it for anyone who may not have been.

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The harry potter tour is fairly long, (we started it at 4pm and only finished at 6.45) So after heading back to the hotel for a shower and change, we took a cab to our reservation the highly raved about Hawksmoor seven dials. I can confirm the steak is AMAZING!! Seriously, I have never tasted a steak so soft, so full of flavour, so melt in the mouth delicious. However, the other stuff to me, just wasn’t worth the price tag. It was nice, the bone marrow gravy I thought was nice, the triple cooked chips, again nice. But I felt slightly robbed of £90 for a meal that was just nice. p.s Also, NEVER order a lemonade from there. It tasted like a slightly lemon-y tonic water. bleurgh. But the hostess, on seeing that I hadn’t drank it, did take it off our bill, which I thought was very nice of her.

We stopped off for a nightcap at The booking office, which is the very cosmopolitan bar attached to the hotel. Sam gave me a list of possible place to go, to which I turned them all down, in favour of being in bed at 10pm, watching first dates. – Turning 25 in my true old soul fashion.

On thursday morning we woke bright an early, completely hangover free. And after a full breakfast down in the booking office (which was delicious. Freshly squeezed orange juice, an array of pastries, crumpets, breads, cheeses, cereals, yoghurts, as well as the cooked stuff. which was of a super high quality.) We explored the hotel a little more, before stumbling across the spa. which held the most incredible pool. I wish we had sacked off our dinner reservations, to spend the night in here, treatments, sauna, swimming, followed by room service dinner. That will be the plan for next time.

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I even managed to get a selfie on the very famous stairs held within the hotel before we checked out.

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Before starting the four hour drive home, we took a little tour around the city, being in the car I obviously didn’t manage to get many good photos. But we visited Trafalgar square, big ben, Buckingham palace, piccadilly circus, before stopping off for afternoon tea in Chelsea.

 

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And that was our very busy 36 hours in London. It was beyond incredible.

The perfect way to bring in my 25th year.

Here’s to another one.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.