Monday, 27 April 2015

three












We couldn't have asked for better weather for Daisy's birthday; we didn't do anything particularly thrilling or out-of-the-ordinary - we asked her what she wanted to do and she replied, "go to the park!" 

So off we went. Hours of racing around with the wind in her hair followed by pasta at Jamie's Italian, a Minion birthday cake (not even homemade, and there wasn't any bunting on top either - bad blogger!) and being made to feel like the Queen for a day all meant she was asleep in my arms by 6.30pm. 

Happy birthday baby girl, we couldn't love you more.
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Thursday, 23 April 2015

lego and scarves and unicorns, oh my



It seems like only yesterday that I was writing up the post announcing my second pregnancy; I remember I wrote something about all the things we'd been doing lately, then snuck a picture of me with a very visible twelve-week bump on the end. That little bump is now a superbly robust, funny, adorable, adventurous, clever three-year-old, who has a passion for climbing, running, jumping, dancing and drawing, and has already developed a taste for clothes with wild patterns and colours (no idea where she gets that from.... ahem....)

I've got a separate post coming up about the day itself, but I wanted to write a bit about the presents we bought her; everyone knows I have serious issues with gender specific clothing and toys, but at the same time I don't agree with trying to coerce, shape or restrict children into what you think they should be. Which meant that when she asked for a princess dress, sparkly sneakers and a Barbie-type doll, I had to grit my teeth, suck it up and get on with it. I literally couldn't bring myself to buy her an actual Barbie, so I opted for a Lottie doll instead; the premise is the same, except Lottie is child-appropriate with realistic proportions, and rather than a selection of outfits in various shades of pink, there are clothes for a superhero (with amazing winged gold boots!), a butterfly conservationist, a pirate and a schoolgirl. 'Now,' I thought as I loaded up my online shopping basket, 'this is a doll I can get down with.' 

Apart from Lottie, there was a unicorn head, some Lego, some cars, the sparkly sneakers and several books. I had grand ambitions to make loads of stuff (I even made a list!), but only had time to get one finished - a suitably loudly printed triangle scarf, complete with blue pompom trim. I made it from an old IKEA pillow case, and it all started rather well - I even made a template from paper first - but soon descended into raw-edge-hell. Still, once the trim was on (look how straight and even it is! Look!), it looked pretty good, and she seemed suitably pleased with it. Although you wouldn't know it from the only picture I managed to get..... 
 

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Thursday, 16 April 2015

the ideal home show 2015 with ekornes




A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the Ideal Home Show at Kensington Olympia by Ekornes, so the Husband and I shuffled the kiddos off to the Grandparents and set off for a day packed full of interiors and homewares. Heaven! (Although possibly not for the Husband, who thinks than more than one cushion is too many. Pah.)

I love, love, LOVE getting the train to London, and even though we're only a couple of hours away, I don't go all that often - childcare and school runs and train fares all get in the way a bit too much. The journey is half the fun for me; two hours worth of crocheting, reading and watching the countryside zip past is ace - the best way to start any trip! The best thing was that the overground train took us straight there, so there was no need to go on the Underground - I have absolute Tube-Fear, and always avoid it if I possibly can - and we got the BEST pretzels ever at Clapham Junction station. There would have been a picture, except I was too busy shovelling it into my mouth. Blogger fail.





When we arrived, I found the Ekornes stand straight away; I've never really been familiar with the concept of ergonomic chairs, but the helpful staff explained that the Stressless chairs are designed to adjust to the movement of your body, meaning that you constantly receive the correct support in all the right places. The lumber support and adjustable height basically make them the perfect chairs for naps / watching Walking Dead episodes back-to-back / sitting up at your desk and doing lots of work, and most excitingly for me, they've just released a new design in Petrol. That's right folks, they do a chair in TEAL. You all know I love a bit of mustard and teal, so when I saw this display, I almost felt it was like they knew I was coming:


Once I'd had a good sit down look around the Ekornes stand, we decided to wander around some of the other exhibits; my hands down favourite were the real-life homes, where you queued up outside and then got to nosy round a styled house, Through-the-Keyhole-stylee. We went in the Home for Life produced by House Beautiful, and the Future Proof House, which was built by Trivselhus by Esh, and I can honestly say that I would have been happy to stay in either one forever; geometrics, colours, wood, white and mid-century styling all had me drooling like mad.










The rest of the Ideal Home Show was dedicated to food (waaaaay too much choice - the Husbands face lit up when we got upstairs!) and the marketplace where you could buy things to take home. We had a wander, but didn't have time to stop as we had to get back for the kiddos - any other day and I would have been sampling food and getting my nails done faster than you can say 'interiors'.





As well as kindly supplying my tickets for the Ideal Home Show, Ekornes have also generously donated the prize of £100 worth of vouchers for online Scandinavian store Cloudberry Living for one lucky reader. If you're not familiar with Cloudberry, pop across to the site and you'll find beautiful homewares from brands such as Ferm Living, Markimekko and Sagaform - be prepared to want everything!


To enter, simply complete any of the options below, and you'll automatically be entered into the competition. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Huge thanks to Ekornes Stressless for their generosity and for collaborating with The Owl and the Accordion.
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Monday, 13 April 2015

march in pictures








March was a bit of a nothing month, to be honest. I had quite a lot of deadlines, and was trying to get everything for Daisy's third birthday sorted out, so we didn't get out and about all that much - the weather wasn't great either, which didn't help.

I went through my fair share of flowers though; I always get excited when I see stocks starting to appear in the shops because they just smell SO GOOD, and I love how the scent just creeps into every room in the house. We've also had carnations, daffodils, gypsophila and the most beautiful pink tulips which clashed just the right amount with my turquoise jug - March is so good for flowers, and the best thing is knowing that there are months and months of the same to come. Lavender and sweetpeas and pinks, oh my!

I spent a bit of time trying to cram in some (non-work related!) crafting in as well; I made Daisy a simple triangle scarf from an old pillowcase and then edged it with some pompom trim, and finally finished her knitted scarf as well (better late than never!) which I'll probably keep for the winter now. I also made some geometric coloured mini-pinboards from IKEA pan stands - they were meant for the kitchen, but I've got a feeling they might end up in the kiddos room!

I kept forgetting to take pictures, so I've picked my favourites from my Instagram feed for March as well - it's just so much easier to whip out a phone than a full size DSLR!


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Friday, 10 April 2015

frugal friday: a thrift-tastic second-hand haul


If you follow me on Instagram (*looks over to the right hand side of the page*), you'll know that I've had some pretty good luck with the old charity shops and eBay lately; I've brought home so many different colours, prints and patterns, and I LOVE them all. During the winter I tend to hibernate inside my jumpers and giant parka, but spring and summer are the months I start to get excited about clothes again. Skirts! Sandals! Pumps! Jackets! Cardigans! Printed trousers! Market bags and printed totes! *Dissolves into an excited heap*

I thought that as I'd found so many good things, I'd make a little video rather than just photographing it all - hopefully it'll be a bit more fun to watch and you can get a better look at my second-hand loveliness in all it's 3D, technicolour glory. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

made: diy woven spring basket with harveys




A couple of weeks ago, the lovely folks at Harveys got in touch and challenged me to come up with a crafty project to keep the kiddos entertained over the Easter holidays; it had to be fun, it had to be simple and it had to be lounge-friendly, and so the easy-peasy cheats woven basket was born. It looks fancy and intricate, but actually, it's soooo simple and works well for children of all ages (and adults!)


You will need:

Different coloured card, or printed scrapbook papers – mine are from online boutique StickyTiger
Haberdashery and trimmings, such as ribbons, pompom trim and ric-rac braid
An empty milk carton, whatever size you like
A selection of decorative tapes
Strong glue
A glue gun and glue sticks
Sharp scissors
A craft knife (optional, but handy!)

1. Start by preparing your craft area; you’ll need a hard surface, so a dining table or coffee table works well – this is a perfect project to do cosied up in the lounge on a rainy day. Cover the table in a plastic tablecloth or newspaper, and make sure there are plenty of paper towels and wipes to hand!


2. Wash and rinse your milk carton well, then remove the label and cut the top off so you have a fairly short container. I used a craft knife, but if you’re working with really small children, scissors work just as well.

3. Decide which paper or card you want to use as your base, then measure the height of your milk carton. Cut a strip of card large enough to cover the carton completely, with a good overlap at the back.

4. Place your strip of card face down on the table, then measure 1cm from the end, and draw a line. You then need to decide how wide you want your weaving to be – I did 1cm, but you can make it bigger if you like – and mark the distances. You should end up with something that looks like this: 


5. Cut along the lines using the craft knife or scissors, so you end up with what looks like a piece of fringing.


6. Make the contrasting strips by sticking lengths of decorative tape to a piece of card, then cutting along the edge. This is way quicker and easier than measuring and drawing loads of lines – and there are some really great tapes around as well!


7. Once you’ve cut out all of your card strips, start weaving them into the main panel; either create the standard checkerboard pattern like I did, or experiment by alternating where you place your strips to make different patterns. If you find they move about, hold them in place with a small blob of glue on each end.

8. Once you get to the end of your piece of card, cut out another strip and glue it down to seal the ends in place. Trim any excess card, and leave to dry.


9. To make the handle, take two of your card strips and glue them together with the right sides facing outwards. Attach them to the sides of the milk carton using a glue gun – your basket won’t be holding anything too heavy, so this should be strong enough.

10. Using the glue gun again, join your woven panel to the back of the milk carton, then slowly wrap it around, gluing as you go, until you reach the back again.


11. Take your haberdashery and decorations, and glue them to the basket to finish off. You’re finished – ta da!

Variations

  • This is a really versatile project that works with children of all ages; younger family members with little hands can join in with wider lengths of card to make it less fiddly, while older children and teenagers can try narrower ones, and adding in more patterns.
  • Rather than using patterned or plain paper, you could get the kids to decorate card with painted patterns and colours and use this instead.
  • Experiment with different size and shape bottles; fizzy drink bottles and squash bottles are great for round baskets, and you could even make miniature oval baskets using washing-up  liquid bottles.
We love a bit of crafting and mess in our house, although admittedly both Ben and Daisy tend to get bored fairly quickly; I hate cleaning up afterwards, especially if they've abandoned their project halfway through, but find that baby wipes get pretty much any stain out of any surface or fabric - and if they don't, a baking soda and white vinegar mixture will do the trick. There are heaps more cleaning tips from other Mums on the Harveys website, and they've also helpfully come up with some specialist guides for getting those pesky marks off of fabric and upholstery and leather furniture, and even for removing scratches from glass.

There are some other great crafty tutorials over here, including a fabulous rocket backpack (such an amazing idea!) and a beautiful spring mobile; most excitingly of all though, Harveys have teamed up with Not on the High Street to give away an incredible children's den.


All you have to do is upload pictures of your childrens crafty projects to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, adding the #HarveysHandmade hashtag and you'll automatically be entered in to the competition. What are you waiting for? Get crafting!

Huge thanks to Harveys for partnering with The Owl and the Accordion.
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