DIY water xylophone

With all this rain going on here in the UK, we’ve been spending lots of time indoors.  While I love watching the rain when I’m inside and dry, I can’t say that Anya feels the same.  She is restless.  So we’ve been having a few play dates, more tv than we should 😉 and lots of DIY and crafting time.  Of all the stuff we’ve made, Anya has most enjoyed making this DIY water xylophone that she spotted on Cbeebies. 

DIY water xylophone

It’s such an easy and pretty DIY that I thought I would share it here.  Simply let your kids fill 6-8 plastic or glass bottles with different amounts of water.  Mix in some paint, in the colours of your choice, and your musical instrument is ready.  Tap with a spoon or similar to explore the different musical sounds.  Anya made her water xylophone in a pastel palette which I thought was so pretty!

The mini milk bottles we used are from the gorgeous Pretty Little Party Shop.

What is is about polka dots that is so appealing?  I adore them and they are going to be a big part of decorating my new home.  Polka dots on clothes are fab but they’re also so fun as decorations for any room in the house.  You can use a few or lots, big ones or small ones, colourful or monochrome – they just work.  There is no room that can’t benefit with polka dotted decor but I especially love them for a kids room – both for boys and girls.  Decorating with polka dots is an inexpensive way to add a bit of fun and lots of style to a room and polka dots are so easy to decorate with as they go with any kind of decor.  Here are 7 inspiring rooms that show us just how to make polka dots work:

polka dot decorations for a bedroom

Big, black polka dot stickers decorate one side of this adorable room.  The dots are just randomly stuck on to the walls – not in any pattern – making them even more interesting.  And they also make the prints and the big round rug stand out more.

polka dot bedding kids

From big, black polka dots on the wall to bold polka dot bedding.  I love this shared boys room which mixes different graphic shapes and bold colours so well.  The black polka dot bedding really pops against those bright yellow shelves.

decorating with polka dots ideas

If you prefer having a little colour in the room, polka dots are great for doing just that.  Like in this little boy’s nursery above, a few bright dots can add a splash of colour to a room and also these dots really make that cute toy shelf stand out. 

polka dot wall decals for kids room

Big and colourful polka dots work just as well for a bolder statement.  Instead of a headboard this simple washi tape house shape is brought to life with those multi-coloured dots.  I love how the dots have been added to the chair as well to complete the playful look.

black polka dot wallpaper

I love the clutter and chaos of this room – after all kids never keep their rooms looking perfect, do they?  Here, among all the many toys, shapes and wall decorations they’ve gone for one simple wall of small polka dots.  Even though there is so much happening in this room, the dots make a little statement of their own and totally add to the look of this room.  Love it!

gold polka dot wall decals

Gold is a colour so under-used for a kids room, especially a little girls room.  One of the best ways to add a touch of gold is by using gold polka dot wall decals like they’ve done in the room above.  The gold doesn’t take over but instead looks chic and stylish. 

decorating with polka dots

Even the most minimal of rooms can benefit with some polka dots like this minimal nursery.  I love that they’ve used two different sized polka dots to make even more of an impact.  This idea of using different sized dots can be brought to life in so many ways.

The best thing about decorating with polka dots is that there are no rules and no age limits.  You can go as minimal or as full on as you like.  Polka dots work with any decor and they’re such a simple way of adding a little chic, playful style to any room especially a kids room. 

Image credits: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |

black mary jane school shoe online

Is it already back to school time?  I can’t believe how quickly this Summer has whizzed by. It’s time to think school uniforms, school shoes, labeling stuff and all the rest that a new school year brings with it. I wish I could claim to be one of those super organized mums who have all this stuff sorted well in time, but no. I dread it all so I keep putting it off!  My biggest dread of all though is those never ending queues to buy school shoes.  Oh, the nightmares we’ve had in the past dragging ourselves from shop to shop, waiting to be served for ages only to find that they don’t even have our size. On to the next shop to do the same all over again.  Not fun, especially with an impatient, hungry and whining child in tow.

black school shoes for kids online

Because everybody sensibly buys their school shoes at the end of the Summer, it’s always meant enduring those soul destroying shopping crowds. But not anymore.  I have now started to buy school shoes online and what a huge relief that has become.  I feel like I’ve stumbled upon a secret that no knowing parent ever tells you. Initially I was hesitant about buying online because what if the shoe doesn’t fit. But when I learned about Pisamonas who have a free delivery, exchange and return policy it felt like there was no reason not to. Pisamonas also have a really handy size guide to help you in case you’re unsure.  If you’ve tried their shoes you’ll know that they offer fantastic value for money and they fit really well.  They have a selection of more formal black school shoes but also many other styles that can work as school shoes – just depends on how strict or not your school is.

black school shoes buy online cheap school shoes online

Anya wears the more formal Mary Jane school shoes in black and the fit has been perfect even though Anya has narrow feet.  She also wears the matching grey knee high school socks which come in a range of school uniform colours and the socks actually stay up (yay!).  Pisamonas have an offer where you automatically get 10% off any accessories when bought with a pair of shoes.  So not only have we got great fitting shoes and socks but we’ve avoided the dreaded crowds by shopping from the comfort of our sofa.

ebabee-likes-FP

*marble background is Ferm Living wallpaper

Minimal and monochrome

August 19, 2015

black and white decor for kids rooms

How can anybody not get excited looking at beautiful, monochrome, minimal kids room decor like this or is it just me?  Do kids really need to have colour in their lives 😉  This stuff is so playful for a small child’s room yet stylish enough for them to hold on to for years.  What’s not to love?!  Here’s where you’ll find it all:

1. striped snake | 2. crochet light decoration | 3. teardrop coat hooks | 4. peeking bunny cushion | 5. mouse silhouette poster | 6. circular striped rug

handmade wooden toy eggs

I am very partial to toys that allow kids to play with them using their imaginations.  I have pretty much stopped buying toys for Anya but I do make exceptions for toys that let the child make up different games and allow them to play without any rules, especially wooden toys.  So when I came across these beautiful handmade wooden toys from Hungary, many of which are games, I knew that these are the kind of toys that I like to encourage in my home.  When the ladies behind these toys offered to send Anya one, I wasn’t going to say no.

handmade wooden toys gamesimaginative wooden toys gameshandmade wooden toys for imaginative play

All the toys in Eperfa’s collection are inspired by nature and childhood games.  The three mums who started this collection are from Hungary and were inspired by the Hungarian countryside where they grew up, played and had many adventures as children. 

handmade wooden toy fish

What I love most about the toys is their simplicity and because of it,  the amount of endless imaginative play they offer.  Take these wooden eggs that are a rolling game – you put the smallest egg on the floor, stand some distance away and roll the other eggs towards it.  The player who gets closest to the smallest egg wins.  We’ve had fun playing this game but Anya has also used these eggs for so many other things like making breakfast, egg hunts, drawing eggs – the list goes on.  I also love that the eggs come beautifully packaged in a box full of hay, adding to the endless ways in which it can be played with.  Similarly the fish puzzle in their collection is a beautiful puzzle of joining up the fish but the fish can be used to play with in so many ways.

I am all for wooden toys like these but sometimes they can cost ten times as much as the plastic ones.  Luckily Eperfa’s wooden toys don’t cost the earth.  They are very fairly priced especially as they are all handmade and hand painted.  And for me, it’s always quality over quantity.  Are you a fan of wooden toys?

captain coconut and the case of the missing bananas

One of my favourite places to discover new and unusual kids books is in museum shops especially here in the UK and in the US.  You can find real gems that you wouldn’t easily come across elsewhere.  Last week we visited Tate Modern and after admiring the art I made a beeline for the shop.  I barely glanced at the adult collections, knowing that I was here to check out the kids books which didn’t disappoint.  There were loads of fabulous books some of which I had already come across but many others that I was delighted to discover.  I could have bought about 20 books but I had to hold back.  There was one though that I couldn’t resist and that was Captain Coconut & the case of the missing bananas.

funny books for 6 year oldsCaptain Coconut and the Case of the Missing Bananas is such a fun kids book – full of laugh out loud humour that kids (and adults) will love.  Captain Coconut is a detective who is called in to solve the mind-boggling case of the missing bananas.  But Captain Coconut is no ordinary dectective – he has a brain as fast as lightening or so he thinks.  Mrs Y is distraught as she bought 14 bananas and 4 of these were eaten by her and her family.  The next morning, instead of finding 10 bananas, there were only 6!  Where have those 4 missing bananas gone?  So Captain Coconut arrives and goes about solving the mystery with lots of silliness, fun and entertainment for the reader.  Beyond the fun there are also some simple maths puzzles (about the disappearing bananas) that kids will enjoy solving with Captain Coconut.  The graphic illustrations are so artistic and colourful using collage style art and there are lots of them so there’s plenty to look at on each page too.

best books for 6 year olds

Anya adored this book and after we had read it together, she went off to read it by herself.  Every so often I would hear her laughing out loud.  It’s a book that is ideal to read to younger kids and but also great for slightly older kids to read by themselves – like around 6-7 years.  Captain Coconut and the Case of the Missing Bananas is the first book in this series but there are more cases coming soon – I can’t wait.  This book is such a joy so if you are looking for something fun and a little bit different, then do check it out.

Wear your veggies!

August 12, 2015

cutest ever baby knitscute knit baby hatscutest knit hats for kidsbaby alpaca knits for babieshand knitted baby clothes

Things do not get much cuter than these new veggie inspired hand knitted clothes from Oeuf.  While your fussy eaters may not eat their veggies, you’ll have no trouble convincing your kids to wear them!  All knitted in  100% baby alpaca wool, this adorable clothing collection couldn’t be more delicious!  There are also some gorgeous matching veggie pillows in case you can’t get enough of your greens.  But if it’s the proteins you’re missing, the fried egg hat is the one for you!  Just too cute – I mean look at that aubergine baby – so cute it hurts!

I’ve decided to take a few days off to spend in the sunshine with my family and of course my little one so I will see you back here next week.  In the meantime, if you feel like more reading here are some past popular posts of mine that you might enjoy:

Can’t think of what to cook tonight?  This yummy chicken is a firm family favourite here.  Or for something quicker, these healthy soba noodles are my go to dish for a last minute dinner.

If you’re still to take your family Summer holiday, these long haul travel tips might help.

Looking for ways to keep the kids busy?  Here are some of the best fruity Summer crafts.  For even more fruit inspiration, here are some fun and fruity party decoration ideas.

We adore our books here and I often recommend our best finds.  This is probably one of the most popular of all the books I’ve recommended – a must have in any kids library.

If you want to improve your photography and take better pictures this Summer, then here are some great tips on taking better iphone photos and some more on how to photograph kids on the move. 

Have a great rest of the week and weekend! x

best high street skin care productsWhile I do love a bit of a beauty splurge, there are some high-street skincare products that I cannot live without.  I’ve always envied the Americans because they have such a great range of drugstore skincare and beauty products that don’t cost the earth.  We may not have quite the same variety here but we do have some gems that I swear by.  I’m not normally brand loyal when it comes to skincare but I can definitely say that these five products have been a part of my life for years and will be for many more years to come.  You may have come across some of them but I thought I would still share them here and tell you what I love each one most for:

1. Soap & Glory Hand Dream – If you can overlook the bright pink packaging then this is the best hand cream I have used.  I have tried many, many, many and most have been far more expensive.  I have found that most hand creams are either too greasy or the non-greasy ones don’t moisturise effectively enough.  But this Hand Dream cream does both – moisturises really well and you have none of that greasy film on your hands after.

2.  Carmex moisture-plus lip balm – This lip balm is a lip balm with a hint of colour.  You can get sheer peach, sheer pink or berry.  This lives in my handbag as it’s not only a great little lip moisturiser but it also adds that hint of colour to your lips when you don’t want to wear full on lipstick.  It’s my go to subtle lip colour especially for the school run.  Also, I prefer lip balms like this one that you apply like lipstick – no sticky fingers!

3.  Bio Oil – I’m sure bio oil isn’t new to many of you but I still wanted to include it because I think it’s such a useful oil for so many reasons.  A friend recommended bio oil to me when I was pregnant and I used it religiously on my tummy – I didn’t get a single stretch mark.  It could be luck but I swear by it.  I also love it for any really dry patches of skin especially in the Winter months and it even makes a great face moisturiser, again when the weather is particularly dry and harsh.

4.  Tea tree oil – tea tree oil is a great natural anti-septic with so many uses.  What I love it most for though is acne.  While I don’t suffer from adult acne, I do get the odd spot.  As soon as I can feel it coming, I put a little tea tree oil on it a few times a day and before I know it the spot goes away and never really appears.  I’ve also heard that it’s great for naturally preventing lice in kids – all you have to do is add a couple of drops to the shampoo and then shampoo as normal.  We’ve only recently started doing this and no lice so far.  (Always remember to buy 100% pure tea tree oil.)

5.  Vaseline lip therapy – for the best lip balm that works, nothing beats these little tins of vaseline.  But I especially love it as a base for my lipstick.  It just makes my lipstick go on smoother and it looks better applied and I also find it makes my lipstick last longer.  These tins come in five flavours – cocoa butter, aloe vera, rose, original and they also have a sun protection lip balm.  The cocoa butter one is my favourite.

All of these skincare products cost less than a tenner but they really deliver great results.  I couldn’t live without them!  Do you have some high-street skin care favourites?  Please do share.

cooking with kids

Do you cook with your kids?  There are so many benefits of cooking with kids and involving them in the kitchen.  I am on a mission to involve Anya in the kitchen as much as I can.  Everyday when I cook dinner I get her to join me and help.  I give her tasks like making marinades, peeling garlic, getting all the ingredients together or anything else that doesn’t involve knives or heat.  What I love most about this time is our chats.   We have lots of fun conversations where she tells me stuff about school, about her friends and I’ve found she chats to me much more during our cooking time than if I sat down and asked her lots of questions.  Similarly on weekends, Richard loves cooking and I can see what a great father/daughter bonding time this has become.

how to get kids involved in cooking

So, when Abel & Cole offered to send us their kids Summer boxes, I agreed.  I tend to make more complex food on a regular basis so while I involve Anya, it is me who is very much in charge.  But these boxes contain recipes that are super easy to follow, allowing kids to read the instructions and take the lead.  Most of the recipes have 3-4 ingredients like this vanilla ice cream Anya made – just honey, vanilla pod seeds, cream and egg yolks.  This box also contained ingredients to make a strawberry sauce and banana ice-cream which we will try over the weekend. 

The recipes are very simple and so your kids aren’t likely to make you the most delicious meal you ever ate but what I love about them is that kids around 5 and older can totally be in charge and you are there just as a helper.  We’ve had a few boxes now and Anya is so excited when a new box arrives as she thinks of it as hers and can’t wait to see what she’ll be cooking next.  I also love the convenience of pulling out a box and knowing I have all the ingredients to get started.  Abel & Cole are doing kids boxes throughout the Summer with different recipes each week so if you’re in need of ideas, check it out.  Also it’s a fun way way to keep kids occupied over the Summer holidays.

how to involve kids in everyday cooking

Here are some simple tips to help get kids involved in the kitchen:

1.  Start involving them by making foods they love – maybe baking some cookies or muffins.  One of Anya’s favourite things to make is pizza which would be fun for any kid to be involved in making even for kids as young as 2 or 3.

2.  Go food shopping together and once in a while let them choose what meal they would like to make or if you can, go to a pick your own fruit/veg place and they will be so keen to cook and eat what they’ve picked.

3.  Make a very simple recipe where they can be in charge – this can bring such a sense of pride and achievement as I saw when Anya made this simple ice-cream.  Kids love to help especially with adult tasks as this makes them feel good and appreciated.

4.  Even if you’re making an involved meal, give them small tasks like stirring or measuring ingredients.

5.  Involve the kids in the cooking when you have time.  Everything takes longer with kids so as long as you’re relaxed they’ll enjoy it much more.

Above all make it fun.  Play some music, be silly and if you’re anything like me don’t worry about the mess like I used to – it used to actually put me off cooking with Anya but I’ve learned to put my fear of mess asisde 😉   It takes a few extra minutes to clean up but it’s so worth it.  Do you cook with your kids?

P.S. I moved all my kitchen clutter to one side when I took these pics – my kitchen doesn’t normally look this tidy even though I wish it did! 😀

{All photos by ebabee.  Anya wears frankie fox print shirt from the ebabee shop}

Confession time.  My 6.5 year old can’t tie her shoelaces.  How bad is that?  I’ve just let that little life skill slip and I’ve forgotten to teach her.  It doesn’t help that nearly all kids shoes come with buckles or velcro fasteners so the need to tie shoelaces hasn’t really arisen.  But that’s no excuse, every kid should be able to tie their shoelaces right?  Hands up who else is in the same boat – I’m not the only slacking parent, am I?  I did a bit of a google search to make sure I wasn’t the only one and I found that many children learn to tie their shoe laces a lot later these days.  There is no set age but kids should be able to tie their shoelaces by around age 5.

how to teach children to tie their shoelaces

A little while ago Anya got a pair of shoes with laces and I had tried to teach her on those but it was proving too tricky to learn on the shoes themselves even though she tried quite hard.  Anya ended up getting really frustrated that she couldn’t do it so we kind of gave up and forgot about it for a while but it recently dawned on me that she should really be able to tie her laces.  So instead of learning on the shoes, together we made this very simple cardboard shoe cutout for her to learn on.  Using a board like this is a much easier way to teach children how to tie their shoelaces.

easy way to teach kids to tie shoelacesAnya’s only had a handful of goes at tying and she has already nearly learned how to do it.  She too says it much easier learning on this board than on actual shoes.  Once she has perfected it on here, we will move back on to the shoes.  I’m haven’t given you any step by step instructions on how to make this board as it’s pretty obvious form the pictures.  But if you do want some instructions there are loads of tutorials out there like this one that inspired me to make my own.  I will add that let the kids make this shoelace board themselves and they’ll enjoy learning on it even more.

Can your kids tie their shoelaces?  Do you have an easy method to teach children how to tie their shoelaces?  Please do share in the comments.

P.S. Here’s a short video on a very easy method of tying shoelaces, not the two ears method.  A good idea to make it even easier for younger kids.

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