Thursday, 8 May 2014

Monument Valley

My iPad is full of games which the children have inevitably persuaded me to download for them, some educational and imaginative like the fabulous Toca Bocca apps, but mostly mindless games that I regret downloading the moment I lose them to the screen.

If there is one game that you should download this year it is Monument Valley. Created by the super talented designers ustwo, this is by far the most beautiful game I have ever seen. Not only is it beautifully designed but it encourages children (and adults) to use their brains and has a wonderful calming influence on them!

Inspired by Escher's optical illusions, this is a puzzle in which you have to guide a silent princess, 'Ida' through a series of architectural monuments by uncovering hidden paths and platforms whilst avoiding the 'bothersome crow people'. 

There is nothing sinister or fast-paced about this game, you don't have to run or jump or jab your finger at the screen, nor do you die and have to start again…how refreshing! Just touch a point and Ida will walk smoothly towards it, past waterfalls, through doorways, up or down stairways, and if you get stuck you simply turn round and try another way, turning platforms and pressing switches as you navigate the surreal architecture. The process is both calming and incredibly addictive. Dax (7) has completed all 10 levels, helping both Dizzy and I when we got stuck, and Arlo (4) loves it too! We are all waiting in anticipation for new levels to be released.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

World Book Day

It's World Book Day again and I realised that I never got round to posting pictures of last years efforts. Dax wanted to be the Gruffalo's child and rather than buy an overpriced ready-made costume, I decided to make one for him. I found a brown hoody in a charity shop and then used felt and pipe cleaners to make ears, horns, eyes and purple purple prickles. We then made him a 'Stick Man' to complete the outfit. Arlo and Darcey were much more simple and went as classics, 'Hairy Maclary' and 'Mog'.

This year I was able to recycle the Gruffalo costume for Darcey which although a little on the big side, still made a very cute little outfit.

Rather than having to dress up for book day this year, the boy's school ran a competition to dress up a potato as a character from a book. Dax dressed his as Mr Tickle and Arlo, after a little persuasion, made a Hungry Caterpillar.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Back to School

We have been back at school for a few weeks now but I have been meaning to post pictures of my littlest boy on his first day at big school. I snapped lots of lovely photos of Arlo on the doorstep only to find out when I sat down at my computer to download the pictures, that the memory card wasn't in the camera! So I then had to persuade everyone to repeat the whole exercise on day 2 which was greeted with a resounding 'Do we have to?' Needless to say I didn't manage to get such a lovely array of photos but at least I have a couple to mark the occasion.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Father's Day Peggies

For Father's day I finally got round to having a go at painting my own peggies. I have blogged about personalised wooden peg dolls before (see post) having commissioned other people to do them and have always fancied having a go myself. Father's day was the perfect excuse to try and capture Dax, Arlo and Darcey in miniature form. I really enjoyed painting them and Dizzy loved his new set of mini Dezilles.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Of Mice and Clowns

I am utterly smitten with the latest family of adorable mice and from Maileg and I know a two and a half year old who will be too! The circus mice, animals and their beautiful tent are just so whimsical and beautifully detailed that I can't resist buying the whole collection for Darcey.

For her 2nd birthday Darcey was given several of the Maileg little mice in their matchbox beds and accessories like the little stove, the pram and the teepee. She loves them and literally spends hours and hours tucking them in and out of their beds and giving them cups of tea! The little matchbox mice make perfect presents as they are so beautifully made and appeal to all ages. It's not just little girls that they appeal to either, Arlo is often found playing with them too.

I think my favourite mouse from the circus family is the strong man but I also love the clown on stilts and think that the animals are very cute too. You can buy Maileg mice from one of my favourite shops, Sisters Guild, who stock a huge selection of their products (amongst lots of other lovely toys and clothes). That's Darcey's 3rd birthday sorted then and its still 6 months away!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Darcey starts nursery

Life has been ridiculously busy over the last month and a half, we have squeezed in two skiing holidays and lots more besides. I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to blog about and simply haven't had any time to sit down at my computer. However, it is a new school term and Darcey has now started nursery three mornings a week. My little baby is now such an independent little girl who has to do everything herself, including putting on her shoes and doing up the buckles! It is very quiet without her around and I miss her constant chatter but it does mean that I might have a little more time to devote to my blog....we'll see.

Monday, 11 February 2013

"I want a bunk bed!"

The first thing that Darcey says when she wakes up in the morning at the moment is, "I want a bunk bed like the boys!" Since she started hurling herself out of her cot in the middle of the night (a few months ago now), we took the sides off, to create a toddler bed. Inevitably as soon as she was in a 'big girl's bed' she started to envy the boys getting into their cool bunk bed every night and has been obsessed ever since!

When I designed Darcey's bedroom my plan was always to buy her a lovely double bed. I really like the Angelica from Perfect, I thought, for when she is a bit older and wants her friends to have sleepovers. I had visions of the grey wool version strewn with loads of lovely Ferm living cushions, mixed with cool bedlinen.
The wonderful Room 39 are just about to launch a double duvet in pale grey/natural which would be perfect. Both Dizzy and I have been trying to convince her that a really big bed would be SO much better than a bunk bed but fear we are fighting a losing this space.

Rain Room at the Barbican

Last week I escaped the small people for a few hours and ventured into town to experience the Rain Room at the Barbican, an amazing installation by Random International which invites you to experience what it is like to control the rain. It was a miserable rainy day, so it seemed somewhat ironic to be queueing (for an hour) to go and stand in a rainy room! However it was well worth the wait to experience walking into a torrential downpour that literally stopped raining on you as you moved through the space. The room was essentially dark but with a harsh floodlight that lights the water and silhouettes the figures walking through it. It created a very striking visual effect, enhanced by the sound of the rain drumming on the ground and I loved every minute of it. It is on until 3rd March and is free so I would highly recommend going if you can. Do get there early, 10ish, as it opens at 11am but they only let 5 people in at a time.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A Potteresque Birthday

It has been ages since my last blog, mainly because I have been without a computer since the beginning of November but also because December is such a busy month what with Dax's birthday, school nativities, christmas do's etc and of course Christmas itself. I do now, however, have a beautiful shiny new iMac, (thank you Dizzy), so where do I start....

For Dax's 6th birthday we took him to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour. It was absolutely brilliant and well worth the hideous journey to Leavesdon! The kids loved it, especially being able to fly on a broom, but I think we will definitely go back when they are older and have seen all the films as I know they will appreciate all the detail much more. So to celebrate the birthday in true Harry Potter style,  I made 'Golden Snitch' cake pops. I made the wings out of yellow Squires modelling paste dusted with gold shimmer which worked a treat. The balls were dipped in yellow candy melts, piped to give detail and then also dusted with gold shimmer. The trickiest bit was attaching the wings but I was really pleased with the result.

I also continued the theme with a 'Hedwig' owl cake. This was improvised, using a scalloped circle cutter to make feathers out of white sugar paste. Dax loved it.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Angry Bird Cake Pops

It was the school cake sale in aid of Children in Need last week and I had planned to make more 'Pudsey Pops'. My balls were all rolled and chilled ready to start dipping when disaster yellow candy melts simply would't melt! I have had the packet for almost a year, so perhaps they don't keep that long. In a panic I wracked my brain to think of something to use the leftover red and white candy from Darcey's toadstools and came up with these Angry Bird pops. I dipped the entire cake firstly in white and then again in red, leaving a white area underneath. I then used yellow Smarties cut in half for the beak and piped my own eyes and coxcomb. They took me ALL evening but the kids loved them.