Project Nursery Part 2…Oscar’s Yellow and Grey Chevron Nursery Reveal

After months of planning, moving house and some lessons in painting (read my blog here), I am finally ready to reveal Oscar’s Yellow & Grey Chevron Themed Nursery.

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This nursery has been a complete labour of love and I am absolutely thrilled with the end result. I cannot actually remember how I decided on the yellow and grey colour scheme, and I certainly had no idea that Chevron was going to be such a massive trend when I chose it for the soft furnishings.

I started collecting pieces for the nursery while I was pregnant with Oscar, even though we were still living in our two bedroom apartment with no prospect of a nursery to decorate. I carried on stockpiling throughout the remainder of the pregnancy and luckily we bought our new house a month after Oscar was born, so at least I had somewhere to put everything!

I eventually found the time to paint the nursery and I chose a lovely shade of grey called ‘Silver Princess’ for three of the four walls. I kept one wall white and painted a single grey chevron stripe as I thought it would create a good contrast against the solid grey walls.

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I also removed the ugly brass door handles and ripped out the old shelving from the built-in wardrobe. They were replaced with lovely chrome door handles and some brand new melamine shelving.

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Nursery Furniture

Oscar has inherited Sebastian’s Boori Country Classic Cot and Change Table.  I also needed some additional storage for Oscar’s clothes and thought that a chest of drawers would be the best solution.  It took me about 5 hours to assemble the eight-drawer unit and I am in no hurry to build another chest of drawers any time soon!

The final piece of furniture in the nursery is the IKEA Poang Chair which I had originally used in Sebastian’s nursery.  I wanted to give it a new lease of life so I ordered a slipcover from Bemz in a fabric called ‘A Paler Shade of Grey’.  The chair looks fantastic and it was definitely money well spent.  I have the Poang foot stool as well, and I had bought a new slipcover for that too, but it is just too cramped to have it in Oscar’s nursery so it is redundant for the time being!

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Soft Furnishings

I got the lovely Liz at Dezignz by Liz to make some fitted cot sheets in yellow chevron and grey chevron fabrics.  She made the fantastic change-mat cover with a panel of soft grey minky fabric down the centre, and also the yellow chevron crib rail cover.

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The very talented Shannon from Milly Molly Mandy made me a custom fleece-lined cot blanket and koala softie in a combination of grey chevron fabric, yellow striped fabric and navy polka-dot fabric.  They are both absolutely lovely and I am taking monthly photos of Oscar with his koala!

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I bought a beautiful Monogrammed Yellow Chevron Pillow Cover from nest2impress and a Personalised Yellow Chevron Decorative Sham Pillow from Pottery Barn Kids.

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My biggest indulgence in Oscar’s nursery was the Lemon Yellow Chevron Rug but I really think it completes the overall theme.  I must admit that it was a little smaller than I expected and Mr G nearly choked when I told him how much it cost!

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My very clever Mum made some gorgeous eyelet curtains in a Cornflower Yellow fabric with blackout lining.  I also put up a simple matchstick blind as we have floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the house and it adds some privacy whilst still letting light in.

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Wall Art

I absolutely love choosing wall art and there was no shortage of gorgeous prints to choose from.  The focal piece in the nursery is the framed birth announcement hanging above the chest of drawers.  I ordered the set of three prints from A Drop of Golden Sun and then displayed them in a thick white wooden frame.

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I could not resist this ‘A Little Man Sleeps Here’ print and I also chose a lovely Monogrammed Print with Chevron Background.

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I then have four different sized pictures arranged randomly on the smallest wall.

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The Welcome Heart Map Print is by May & Belle and I chose the Mottled Grey colour.  I also have a beautiful Owl Lullaby Lino Print which Dawn printed for me in a slightly metallic silver ink.

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The other prints are a commemorative birth certificate and a larger version of the custom whale birth announcement that was designed for us by Sheridan Original Prints (see my blog here).

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I have also used some Wall Stickers in the nursery and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to apply!

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I had these gorgeous chevron fabric letters made by Nicole at Cheekee Monkeez and I am thrilled with how they turned out.

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Finishing Touches

I applied a Personalised Whale Door Sticker to the nursery door.

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I completely fell in love with the Zachary Hunter Fabric Lantern by Kate Lauren as it matches the nursery theme perfectly.

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Hanging above the change table is a custom-made Felt Whale Mobile.  It has been beautifully made and Oscar absolutely loves looking up at it when I am getting him changed.

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I bought these Grey Harper Canvas Pop Up Totes (Chevron and Solid Grey) from Pottery Barn Kids and had them embroidered with ‘Explore’, ‘Dream’, ‘Create’ and ‘Imagine’.

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I found this fantastic 3 Sprouts Goat Laundry Hamper which coordinates with the colour scheme of the nursery and has plenty of space for all of Oscar’s laundry!

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This gorgeous Zuny Ida the Giraffe Yellow Bookend looks great sitting on top of the chest of drawers and can also be used as a doorstop or bookend.

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One of the first things I bought when I was planning the nursery was this gorgeous Diaper Caddy from Baffin Bags in yellow chevron with grey lining.  I can fit an entire pack of nappies in it and it just looks fantastic sitting on the change table.  I also have a smaller Fabric Storage Basket in grey elephant fabric with yellow lining which I use to store baby wipes.

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The final piece in the nursery is my beloved ubbi Diaper Pail which is the best nappy disposal system that I have come across, and it also looks super stylish.

I absolutely loved creating Oscar’s nursery and my love of all things Chevron shows no signs of waning!  My next project is to finish Sebastian’s toddler bedroom makeover and then both of my boys will have bedrooms to be proud of!

Project Nursery Part 1…My First Attempt at Painting a Room

I absolutely love our new house but it does need a little bit of love and attention in some places.  At the top of my list of jobs to do was painting Oscar’s bedroom and setting up the nursery.  I had never painted a room before and, after years of renting, it is so nice to finally be able to put my stamp on the interior and paint the walls whatever colour I want!

I started doing some internet research on how to go about painting a room and came up with a list of equipment I needed to buy on my next trip to Bunnings.

  • Canvas Drop Cloth
  • Spakfilla
  • Sanding Sponge
  • Sugar Soap
  • Masking Tape
  • Caulk
  • White Emulsion (for ceiling and one of the walls)
  • Grey Emulsion (for the rest of the walls)
  • Primer (for woodwork)
  • White Gloss Paint (for woodwork)
  • Roller & Paint Tray
  • Roller with Extension Pole
  • Angled Brush
  • Blue Painters Tape
  • Mini Roller

I then cleared out everything from Oscar’s bedroom, except for his Boori cot which is too wide to fit through the door without dismantling it.  The ceiling had clearly not been painted for a very long time and had a yellowish tinge to it, plus the walls were covered in holes that needed to be filled.

Nursery Before Shot

My first job was to fill all of the holes in the walls with Spakfilla and then sand the walls flat with a sanding sponge.  I then put some sugar soap in a spray bottle and washed all of the walls and woodwork to remove dirt and grease.  I used masking tape to cover the light switches and power socket, and then I taped off the carpet by pushing masking tape right under the skirting board (I resorted to using a cheese slicer as it was the closest thing I had to a flat instrument!).

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I had read about “Caulking” where you fill in the gap between the skirting board and the walls with decorators’ caulk to get a really neat finish.  I bought a cheap caulking gun but totally failed in my attempts to use it, so it was a big relief when I discovered that Bunnings sold a ‘Press N Go’ tube of caulk that could be used without a caulking gun.  I used my finger to smooth the caulk down and was amazed at how easy it was to get such a professional look.  I also decided to apply caulk to the gap between the ceiling alcove and the walls.

Our house has very old-fashioned door handles throughout and I am on a mission to replace them all with chrome fixtures.  I looked up how to remove a door handle and it turned out to be extremely straightforward, it just meant that I could no longer shut the door on my extremely inquisitive toddler!  I also removed the window latches and the wardrobe door handle before priming all of the woodwork.

Finally I was ready to begin painting after what seemed like hours of preparation.  My arms got quite a workout from painting the ceiling and the transformation from yellow to white was dramatic to say the least.  I painted one of the walls white at the same time and waited for it to dry before painting the rest of the walls grey.  After much deliberation, I settled on a shade called “Silver Princess” much to the dismay of Mr G who thought it sounded far too feminine for his son’s bedroom!

Nursery Ceiling

I taped off the edges of the white walls with blue painters tape and then applied the grey paint.  The colour looks fantastic and I am really pleased that I decided to keep one wall white as it is nice to see the contrast between the white and the grey.

I used blue painters tape and a mini roller to create a chevron feature wall after being inspired by House 36.  I decided to paint a single chevron pattern but may decide to do the whole wall later on.

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The final job was to paint all of the woodwork with gloss paint and I must admit that I found “cutting-in” to the walls extremely challenging.  It certainly requires a steady hand and next time I would be tempted to tape off the walls before painting the trim to get a sharper line.  Once everything was dry I had the pleasure of removing all of the masking tape and standing back to admire my hard work!

Our regular handyman was able to complete the finishing touches and put on a new door handle and wardrobe handle, as well as fix white safety window locks.  He also ripped out the existing shelves in the wardrobe and fitted some new white melamine shelves.  The door handles look perfect and really add a modern look to the nursery…I just cannot wait to replace the rest of the door handles now!

Nursery Door Before_After

It probably took me over a week to paint Oscar’s bedroom but I was only able to do a few hours each day when the boys were napping or after they had gone to bed.  It was not ideal that I did the majority of the painting in the evening as the lighting was poor and I fell victim to a couple of unforseen Moth attacks!  It took far longer to paint the woodwork than I had thought and I was up until midnight doing the priming alone.  In spite of all the sleep that I have lost to get the nursery painted, I am so pleased that I did it and feel such a sense of satisfaction every time I walk into Oscar’s room.

I am almost ready to reveal the completed nursery to you all, I am just waiting on some handmade blackout curtains and a couple of other finishing touches!

7 Days of Slow Cooking…

Mr G bought me a Slow Cooker a few months ago and it had been sitting unopened in the corner of the pantry for far too long!  So I set myself the challenge of using my Slow Cooker every day for 7 consecutive days in an attempt to embrace this new style of cooking.

I found a great blog by Hello Little House and chose 7 recipes for my week of slow cooking.

Day 1 – Beef Casserole

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I kicked off on Monday with a Slow Cooker Beef Casserole which we had with some mashed potato.  I really enjoyed this and it is a great winter warmer.  I used blade steak and it was lovely and tender, but next time I would add even more vegetables at the request of Mr G!

Day 2 – Parmesan Garlic Chicken

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On Tuesday I made Slow Cooker Parmesan Garlic Chicken.  I had marinated the chicken overnight and just popped it in the Slow Cooker in the morning.  I shredded the cooked chicken and stirred it through some cous cous, and we had some steamed broccoli on the side.

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Although I really liked the flavour of the chicken, it was a little dry and next time I would serve it with a yoghurt dressing to add some moistness to the dish.

Day 3 – Slow Cooked Meatballs

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On Day 3 I made Slow Cooker Meatballs and I had so much mince mixture that I made some burgers to go in the freezer.  The meatballs were nice but we concluded that we prefer my regular Bill Granger recipe.  We cooked some of the burgers last week though, and they were absolutely delicious and so juicy.  The grated carrot really adds something and I will definitely be using this mince mixture from now on.

Day 4 – Chicken Tikka Masala

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On the menu for Thursday was Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala and I was really pleased with how it turned out.  I loved the taste of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the greek yoghurt.  I will definitely be trying out some more Slow Cooker curry recipes as the long cooking time really brings out the flavours of the spices.

Day 5 – Lemon & Blueberry Blondies

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On Day 5 I experimented with baking in the Slow Cooker and made Lemon & Blueberry Blondies.  I was a bit sceptical about this recipe but they turned out so delicious!  The blondies were lovely and moist and the whole house smelt amazing while they were cooking.  I cooked mine on low for approximately 3 hours.

Day 6 – Bolognese Sauce

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It was Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce on Saturday.  I had to find this recipe on a different blog site as it did not feature in the Little House Love ’31 Days of Slow Cooking’.  Spaghetti Bolognese is a firm favourite in our house and I wanted to see how Slow Cooker Bolognese sauce compared with my usual recipe.  The sauce was delicious and the mince was so tender that it just melted in the mouth.  I have definitely been converted on this one and will only be making slow cooked Bolognese sauce from now on!

Day 7 – Baked Potato

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I ended the 7 day challenge with an easy Slow Cooker Baked Potato.  This is a great thing to pop on in the morning so that you have something quick and easy ready for lunch.

It was certainly an interesting week and I loved walking into the house during the day and smelling the delicious cooking aromas.  The Slow Cooker is a great piece of equipment and it means you can be out all day but still have a hot meal waiting when you get home.  I will be trying lots more Slow Cooker recipes over the coming months…first on the list is Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake!

Salt Dough Footprint Paperweight…

I came across this lovely idea for creating a Salt Dough Footprint Keepsake and thought that it would be a lovely birthday present for my Dad.

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Making the salt dough was extremely easy and I had a willing volunteer ready to provide a tiny footprint!

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I took half of the salt dough mixture and moulded into the desired shape on a piece of greaseproof paper.  I then pushed Oscar’s foot down into the dough and lifted it out relatively quickly to keep the footprint as defined as possible.

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I baked my salt dough paperweight in the oven for approximately 4 hours on a low heat, turning it over half-way through the cooking time.

Once my salt dough had cooled it was time to paint it.  I chose a bright yellow acrylic paint which was really easy to apply and dried in a couple of hours.

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I was so pleased with the finished product and placed it inside a tissue-paper lined box ready to be posted back to the UK.

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I also wrote a little birthday message on the back of the paperweight with a permanent marker.

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I used a white liquid-ink pen to decorate the box.  I absolutely love these black cardboard gift boxes, which come in a variety of sizes, as they are so easy to decorate and it really adds a special touch.

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I would like to make some salt dough handprint and footprint keepsakes for both boys but I think I will struggle to get Sebastian to participate!  They are so simple and cheap to make, and are a lovely reminder of how tiny your children’s feet once were.  I might even try to make some more this week as a Father’s Day present for Mr G!

Inspiration Series…Alfresco Play Ideas

Now that we have a front garden and a back garden (or “Yard” as the Australians would call it), I am really keen to create an exciting and inviting outdoor play area for the boys.

I opted against getting a swing set as Seb loves going on the swing whenever we go to a park and it might lose its novelty if we have one at home.  There are also lots of miniature plastic slides designed for young children but I think the boys would outgrow something like that very quickly.

I have been totally inspired by the ideas I have found on the internet and thought I would share some of my favourites.

Miniature Herb Garden

I have always liked the idea of getting the boys gardening early on, even if Mr G and I are not green fingered at all!  I have chosen to create a herb garden as I can plant the herbs that I regularly use in my cooking, and it should be relatively low maintenance.  I will get Seb his own little watering can and shovel so that he can help me look after the herb garden, and if he enjoys it we may even consider Making an Organic Vegetable Garden.

I am also planning on getting Seb his own plastic lawnmower and wheelbarrow as he is obsessed with pushing things around!

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Wooden Sandpit with Trucks

A common feature of every playgroup that we go to is a large wooden sandpit filled with trucks…absolute heaven for any little boy!  I think it is worth spending a bit more to get a wooden sandpit as opposed to a plastic one, and I will make sure I get one with a cover to keep all the nasties out.

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Willow Playhouse

It would be such a fun project to build a Willow Playhouse and it would look fantastic in our front garden.  The great thing about it is that you can decorate the willow framework to create different themes.  It would also be lovely to attach some outdoor fairy lights to the inside to create a magical hideaway.

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Unfortunately, willow seems to be hard to come by in Australia so I have found an alternative…the Runner Bean Teepee.

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Music Station

Sebastian loves playing musical instruments and this is a fantastic idea for creating a Recycled Outdoor Music Station using old tin cans and jingle bells.

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Pebble Feet

I absolutely love these and think they would look so cute in the flower beds next to our decking area.  I am planning to do make 4 pebble feet, one for each member of the family, and then attach them to a large slate tile.

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Cubby House

The boys are too young for this at the moment but I did come across some of the most amazing cubby houses.  This was my absolute favourite on Dos Family.

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Creating Nature Lovers

I recently read an article on how to ‘Raise a kid who loves nature’ and it suggested creating a scrapbook of photos and crafts made with things from the garden.  Seb loves looking at photos of himself and it would be lovely to create a miniature photo album of Seb gardening and playing outdoors.

Outdoor Toy Storage

I also found some great ideas for storing outdoor toys and I am planning to devote one of our outdoor sheds to the boys’ toys.  I particularly liked this set-up by Here’s What’s Cooking.

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Now I just need to decide which idea to tackle first!

My First Week Flying Solo…

My in-laws headed back to the UK last a couple of weeks ago having spent almost 3 months in Australia.  They were originally meant to leave at the end of June but we convinced them to stay on for an extra month to help us move to the new house.  It was such a relief to push out their departure date as it bought me some extra time to mentally prepare myself for looking after Sebastian and Oscar on my own.  Of course, I was only delaying the inevitable and it is impossible to prepare yourself for something as unpredictable as a toddler and a newborn baby!

I got off to a really good start on Monday and we ventured out in the car to a local playgroup.  I had totally underestimated just how long it takes to get out of the house with two young children and loading up the car is now a monumental task, not to mention the time it takes to pack the baby bags!  I was amazed at how patient Seb was while I loaded up Oscar and all of our baggage.  He really is just the most lovely natured little boy and he completely adores his little brother.  Oscar slept for the whole time we were at playgroup so I could give Seb my full attention, although he was far more interested in pushing trucks and walkers around the play area!  Seb fell asleep on the very short car journey home and proceeded to have a two-hour nap, so I was able to feed Oscar and get myself some lunch before he woke up.  The afternoon passed without incident and I thoroughly enjoyed having the boys all to myself for the first time since Oscar was born.  I mentally high-fived myself for surviving my first day and rewarded myself with a well-earned glass of wine.

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Tuesday did not start out as well with Seb deciding to wake up at 4.15am.  Poor Mr G got up with him as I had already been awake feeding Oscar at midnight and 4am.  Oscar and I went back to sleep until just after 6am and I seized the opportunity to grab a quick shower while Oscar was waking up.  Mr G and Seb were in the living room having a ‘Dora the Explorer’ marathon, but my lovely husband still found time to make me a cup of tea and some breakfast (he worries that I will skip breakfast unless he makes it for me!).  Seb was suffering with his first ever episode of nappy rash and screaming his head off at every nappy change, which was not helped by the fact that his bowels were working overtime and his nappy needed to be changed every couple of hours.  Nappy rash aside, we had a good day and both boys were tucked up in bed by 7pm.

30 July

Seb had another 4am start on Wednesday and we set off for our first walk of the day at 7.30am.  Seb was asleep by 8am and I got to sit down in a local coffee shop while both boys slept in the stroller.  We headed to the zoo mid-morning after I had prepared packed lunches, bottles and snacks.  Seb was so well behaved from start to finish and I think he will really enjoy weekly trips to Taronga Zoo now that we have invested in an annual membership.  Oscar was a complete angel all day as usual, but he does appear to have a slight aversion to the car which means I often have to pull over at the side of the road to settle him.  I swear I have done myself some serious damage with all of the awkward stretching into the back of the car!

31 July

Another 4am wake-up on Thursday and another early nap for Sebastian, but it meant that we could spend the afternoon at the beach.  Mr G finished work early and it was an unexpected surprise to see him when we got home.  No sooner did we step into the house than both boys decided to have a melt-down so it was great to have Mr G there to organise Seb’s dinner while I bathed Oscar.  The end of the week was now in sight and it was such a struggle to stay wake for Oscar’s 10pm dream feed!

1 August

Seb managed a 5am start on Friday and he had an hour nap in the stroller before my Mothers’ Group meeting at 10am.  It was our last formal session and they had arranged a morning tea for everyone.  Seb was slightly overwhelmed but thankfully I had brought along a beaker of milk to put him in a better mood!  We enjoyed lunch together on the deck and then drove to Manly in the afternoon with the intention of having a walk by the sea.  As it turned out, Seb fell asleep as I entered the car park and I spent 40 minutes trying to settle a very distressed Oscar outside of the car at the same time as a group of young boys started skateboarding very loudly!  We drove back as soon as I had got Oscar to sleep and it was an eerily quiet car journey home.  I have concluded that late afternoon trips out are a bad idea and that I am better off staying local before Seb has his dinner.  It will just be great when Seb starts waking up at a more reasonable and predictable hour as I will be able to plan outings for the morning without worrying that Seb will be asleep by the time we arrive at our destination.

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So I made it through my first week relatively unscathed, albeit completely and utterly shattered.  I have to walk up a monumentally steep hill every day to get to the local shopping centre for my morning coffee, and it does not seem to be getting any easier the more I do it.  But at least it will keep me fit and a takeaway coffee definitely incentivizes me to keep pushing through the pain!

I know that I am very lucky to have two easy-going sons who fill my days with laughter and cuddles.  I also have a fantastic husband who supports me as much as he can during the working week and lets me have a bit of a lie-in on the weekend.  The transition from one child to two is certainly challenging but we are falling into our own little routine that works for us.  The best thing of all is watching the boys interact with each other and seeing how much Seb loves his baby brother!

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Creating a Play Space for Oscar…

I was totally inspired by a blog I read several months ago on The Imagination Tree about creating a Reggio Inspired Play Space. Despite only being 5 months pregnant, I frantically started searching the internet for a BabyDan Felix Wooden Playpen so that I could create my own baby play space for Oscar. I managed to find one on Amazon that could be shipped to Australia within a few days, and I managed to convince Mr G that I just had to buy it straight away in case they sold out before Oscar was born! Even though the Playpen stayed in its box up until a few weeks ago, I would not have been able to stop thinking about it until it was safely in my possession!

The great thing about the Playpen is the elevated base which means that Oscar can play without the risk of his big brother accidentally dropping a toy truck on him. The base can be lowered once Oscar is older and better able to defend himself from Sebastian!

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At the same time as buying the Playpen, I also bought a couple of the other items suggested in the blog.  The Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile features several hanging black-and-white and brightly coloured images.  It is designed to stimulate early visual development and pre-reaching movement, and the hanging distance can be gradually increased through the removal of plastic links as Oscar gets older.

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The Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson 3-in-1 Triangle Activity Mat is also a great developmental toy and has multiple uses.  It can be used as a tummy time mat, hung on the side of the Playpen, or folded into a triangle wedge for exploration.  It features a mirror, crinkle flaps, a squeaker, peek-a-boo flaps and ribbon attachments.  This is a really compact toy that is ideal for packing in the baby bag to keep Oscar entertained when we are out and about.

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The Manhattan Toy Skwish is a gorgeous award-winning wooden toy that provides visual stimulation and helps develop motor skills.  Babies can squish the web of brightly coloured web of rods and beads and watch it bounce back to its original shape.  I am really keen to buy wooden toys over plastic ones wherever possible as they provide more opportunities for open-ended play and have a much longer life-span.

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I bought a couple of lovely handmade toys on Madeit from Unleash Designs.  The Soft Fabric Block Rattle with Mirror Panel and Ribbon Tags is a great tactile toy, and I just could not resist the Surf Van Soft Toy with Squeaky Horn and Ribbon Tags!

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Other toys in the Playpen are a wooden rattle, a small wooden maraca and a fabric black-and-white book.  I also have a lovely fabric basket from Baffin Bags which I use to store toys in the Playpen.

I had a reversible base mat custom-made by Dezignz by Liz in a lovely combination of complementary orange fabrics.  I am also using Sebastian’s Very Hungry Caterpillar blanket inside the playpen which has lovely ribbon tags all around the edge.

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I am so pleased with the BabyDan Playpen and it is great for Oscar to have a safe place to play and explore while his big brother bull-dozes his way around the house!

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