Room to Grow

Room to grow

Cuddling Harry has suddenly become like wrestling a small giraffe.  Every limb has to be  folded, origami-style, into place, and no sooner is one contained than the others spring free.  I am at a loss to explain how my tiny swaddled newborn has become this dashing mini-man with wild, untameable hair and views and opinions of his very own.  It can only have happened whilst I was asleep, although heaven knows there’s been a lot less sleep these past five years than in those that came before.

When he was four, Harry helpfully explained to me how you grow up.  It went like this;

‘First you’re a baby;

Then you’re a toddler;

Then you’re a person;

Then you’re a ninja;

Then you’re a grownup’.

(I love it that you only get to be an actual person once you’ve made it through the toddler years… and that teenagers are so indescribably cool that they are in fact  ninjas).

Either way, whether I have been paying close attention or not the progression to ninja-hood has undoubtedly begun, and all things babyish are being cast aside at a rate of knots.  Harry’s bedroom, that sweet domain of early childhood, is scheduled for a grown-up makeover.  The charming alphabet poster will be consigned to the loft I am sure, and anything soft and fluffy will come under very intense, 5yr old scrutiny.  ’I think this room needs to be more boyish‘ said Harry firmly, as he viewed it with a critical eye.  ’Maybe with more swords and things’ .

Consider this post therefore an act of historical preservation, and allow me a quick final tour…

I  shared a pic of the room once before when we papered the wall in this fun fox wallpaper;

Boys bedroom in progress

I later added a blackout blind in the same colourway, and made curtains to pull around Harry’s treehouse bed, making a useful den in which to hide torches, books, snacks, oversized dogs and friends you are trying to kidnap so they don’t ever have to go home..

boy bedroom

Harry adores his bed (an eBay find; they were once sold by British store Next, now sadly no longer available).  It did present challenges for bedtime stories though, so we invested in this lovely Story Stool on which we perch each night, in order to deliver fantastical tales through the treehouse window…

Bedtime story chair

Whilst Lola the bunny is seldom invited into the Treehouse these days, Wilberforce the polar bear retains his position at the head of the bed, as the longest-serving member of The Boys, Harry’s troop of animals.  The monogram canvas was a gorgeous gift from Harry’s godparents, from here.

gorgeous graffitti

When we redecorated Harry’s room in early 2014 we ripped out an old, broken fireplace and added a simple oak beam in its place.  We thought the chimney was sealed, but obviously not because one day, Alfred the dinosaur flew down it and got trapped….

Alfred and the chimney

I made Alfred by mounting one of these fun animal heads onto an old mirror frame, and made a sign for his neck.  Alfred, we decided, is a vegetarian dinosaur, so we added a carrot from Harry’s play kitchen so stop him from feeling hungry.  We have to be careful with feeding Alfred though, if we’re ever going to get him unstuck.  I made Alfred’s tail out of felt and faux leather (see a similar tutorial here), and stuffed it before hanging on a nail inside the chimney breast.


Alfred will survive Harry’s room makeover I’m sure, but this beautiful alphabet wall poster from will be rehomed elsewhere in the house.. isn’t it lovely?

Alphabet print

Also at risk is this watercolour sketch (below) I did for Harry when he was a baby of his favourite book, Orange Pear Apple Bear… he adored that book; it was the first thing that ever made him laugh, so I drew a picture of the bear in homage to Emily Gravett’s beautiful illustrations, and stuck it to his cot.  I later framed it, and it’s hung in his room ever since…

Orange Apple Pear Bear

The puppet theatre may once again revert to being a bookcase and shelf for boyish treasures, though I’m sure it will be brought back into life every now and then for a few curtain-call performances…

play theatre


Whilst there’s a poignancy to the continual evolution of what began as the bedroom of a toddler, there’s also something very lovely about planning the next update together, with a small boy who is very much now a person by his own definition, and has magical if wholly impractical ideas for what we should add (‘a roof that lifts off! …A slide down to the garden!…A button that delivers a snack!…’).

Wish me luck with that…

handbag logo

Home Harvest

Hello again, after a brief hiatus; I’ve been travelling with work to San Diego – a beautiful if fleeting visit, spent mostly in hotel meeting rooms but with the occasional, wonderful foray outdoors. One evening we caught the night ferry across the bay for dinner – those 20 minutes on the water, watching the lights of the city skyline and feeling the mist of the water spray, were a highlight of the trip.

I like …
Continue Reading

How To Look Manly In An Apron (or: Impress Your Friends With a Tea Towel DIY)

DIY Tea-Towel Cafe Apron

Successful marriage requires compromise, as we all know.  The hurly-burly of give and take is what bonds you as a couple and cements your union.  Sometimes it means making sacrifices for the other, such as when your wife whips up a homemade apron and then realises that she has no-one to model it, and …
Continue Reading

Toy Passports! (Or, how to take the entire family on holiday…)

Pet Passports!

Last month we set off for Provence laden with just about everything you would possibly need for a short break in the French countryside, and many things you wouldn’t.  We are masters at packing random exotica and hopeless at remembering necessities; this time we were determined not to leave anything behind.

We left before dawn one chilly July morning and had got as far as …
Continue Reading

Strawberry baskets, and a picnic of Lavender..

Lavender in Bike Basket

How are you, and how has your week been?  I have the day off work today and am brewing up to hosting our annual family reunion; the kitchen is an explosion of pots, pans, sticky spoons and odd streaks decorate every surface (passata? chocolate?? let’s hope so..).  The windows are steamed up which is helpful, hiding as it does the fact that …
Continue Reading

The Cartographer’s Guide to Dress-Making

Paper Dress made from maps

I live in a small village which is blessed with not one but three – three – second-hand bookshops.  Amongst the shelves of nearly-new thrillers and bodice-rippers, travel guides and cookbooks there is a large, open-fronted cupboard marked ‘Ephemera: Misc’.  It’s here I gravitate towards and where I’ve found a myriad of wild and wonderful books, maps, charts and music scores …
Continue Reading

Painted Pots!

DIY Painted Pots from katescreativespace

Earlier in June the sun broke through the grey British skies and we had three magnificent weeks of an early taste of summer. We spent most of our free hours outside; building dens, bringing the garden back to life, practising football skills and planting up pots for some summer-long colour.  I have a HUGE supply of pots but most are modern, …
Continue Reading

Allez,Les Mouseketeers! (Or: how to make a giant papier-mâché hot air balloon..)


Welcome back!  It’s been a wonderful, chaotic few weeks here with the end of term (and graduation from Reception class, so soon!), endless sunshine and record-breaking temperatures, ice-cream, tennis, splash pools and a new job for me… possibly the busiest June ever.  Amidst all the fun and general mayhem, we found time for a few craft projects, like …
Continue Reading

TED Women 2015: Momentum!

A rather different kind of post this time, as I return from an extraordinary week at the global TED Women meeting in Monterey, California… an amazing experience that I’m still digesting and processing several days on.  The theme was ‘Momentum’ and it drew hundreds of women from 200 countries together to listen to talks and ideas from those who are kickstarting transformational change in the world, whether big or small.

Have you ever …
Continue Reading