Doodle Nest

September 30, 2016

If you have children, especially if they are pre-school age, then you will be very familiar with the "art issue", or more importantly, what to do with it all. In our little London flat, there’s only so many art and craft creations we can stash into drawers and onto the front of the fridge - but who has the heart to throw it away? All those precious little hand prints, first experiments with colour, hilarious stick figures and fantastical stories. No way, I'll clear another drawer... somewhere.

So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled upon Doodle Nest, art saviour extraordinaires. Founded by fellow mothers Constanza Mardones and Andrea Lee, Doodle Nest takes all your kid’s art – or rather your/their own edit of it – and transforms it all into stunning perfect bound books. And suddenly, the world is a better place!

When it comes to getting these priceless works of art from your over-flowing drawers to their impressive London studio, Doodle Nest have thought of everything. Simply fill a clever pre-ordered box with your little one's precious creations, send it off to Doodle Nest and they look after the rest! And these are no ordinary art books; professional photography and editing, carefully considered compositions and premium quality printing and materials, make these more like an impressive coffee table book of beautiful graphic collections than a scrap book of first scribblings. 

My eldest son, who has always been quite the prolific artist, was so excited to select his "best" artworks for publishing, and when I presented him with the finished product, he poured over it for hours, marvelling at how he had "his own book!". I doubt any of us would ever have the patience, or the inclination, to rifle through a heaving drawer of artworks and marvel at them in the same way. For the small-spacer, the hopeless sentimental, the eternally organised or even the doting grandparent, Doodle Nest is, quite simply, genius.

My son loved revisiting his collection of artworks, selecting his very favourite pieces, and placing them in the box, ready to be sent off for publishing.
The finished product! A superb quality, curated book to treasure forever.

Boys Bunk Room Makeover

December 21, 2015

We moved house several months ago and while our new home has many things we love (wooden floors, a private entrance, a garden!) we did compromise on space. The boys room in particular is small and we knew a bunk bed was the only way to make their new space work. But the idea of a cosy bunk room, filled with cushions and soft textiles, along with the opportunity to pare back to the essentials (less toys!!) and create a smart space, really appealed to me. And the best part? The boys LOVE it.

1. Bunk Bed; 2. Quilted Blanket; 3. Bespoke Knit Blanket;
4. Hot Water Bottle; 5. Bespoke Knit Cushion;
6. House Cushions; 7. Knit Doll; 8. Bolga Basket.

GIFTS: For the Young & Young at Heart

December 6, 2015

'Tis the season! Already?! So here it is folks, this year's line-up of my most favouritest things from around the world wide web, perfect for littles and not-so-littles alike, ready to fill stockings and stow under trees;

1. These slipper shoes from Collegien are just about the coolest/smartest things a parent could hope for at home for the winter months, and beyond! With all the comfort of a cozy sock, without all the slippy, slidey, "don't you dare go outside!" hassle. There are so many cute designs, It took me about three days to make a decision, so best get cracking asap! Their range of cashmere socks (for wearing with actual shoes) are also lovely.

2. I stumbled upon the stunning range of children's bedding by Camomile London purely by chance and have been an avid fan ever since. These guys really get colour. The whole range is beyond beautiful, but these house cushions have been making my days ever since they arrived. Oh, and good luck getting out from under one of their hand-quilted blankets. SO cozy!

3. I'm a long-standing fan of the beautiful illustrated city maps by The New Voyager, and their newly released Paris map is no exception. Such a lovely way to get kids learning about, planning and exploring a new city. We hear Brooklyn is in the works too (squeal!). A beautiful gift for kids and big kids alike, we've gone ahead and framed ours.

4. I buy a "special" Christmas ornament for each of my children every year and this Paris bauble was a fast purchase. I mean, have you ever seen anything so lovely? I found this delight at The Cross, along with many other Christmas wonders.

5. This Miffy lamp has been on my wishlist for a long time and I finally caved. It's big enough to be impressive, but doesn't give off so much light that the whole room is lit-up beyond sleepability. Also, it's Miffy's birthday this year (she's 60!) so she's officially a collectable and definitely deserves some love.

6. I'm a sentimental soul, especially when it comes to my family, and I always jump at the chance to have anything bespoke made for my home. The most talented Caitlin Whitehouse makes these bespoke paper-cut scenes with her own bare hands (and a tiny pair of scissors!). We have two now, and they're probably the most precious things in our home. You can contact Caitlin to commission your very own.

7. See above re: my obsession with everything bespoke and you'll understand why I'll take one of everything over at Mamy Factory. A Paris-based boutique, offering the most divine range of hand-knit items for babies and children, all the products are knitted with love and care by real French Grandmothers, aged 59 to 91 years old! Add a child's name onto rugs, cushions and knitted teddies for the gift that keeps on giving. J'adore.

8. I love a house shoe, especially as the winter months close in, and these Norwegian felted wool slippers by A. Andreassen had me at hello. Beautifully made and so cozy you'll dread swapping them out for shoes. The range for kids is also to die for (hello dark blue!).

I hope this list has given you some 'light bulbs' for you and yours. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas! x

{Image Credits: 1; 2; 5. All other images by Maurice & King}

A Summer in Provence

November 3, 2015

As winter sets in here in the northern hemisphere, it feels like a good time to reminisce on the summer that was - and probably start planning the next! We spent two weeks in Provence (Langeudoc-Roussillon if we're getting out the compass), although, as a reknown book will testify, a year probably would have been a better option.

We stayed in this stunning home we found on Homelidays and boy was it a good one. We wanted to move in here. Permanently. Everything was beautiful. The house, the garden, the furniture, the plates! No stone was left unturned and it made for a truly beautiful holiday experience. My notebook was full.

Just a 10 minute drive from the beautiful village of Uzès, about a half hour's drive from Avignon, we had heard great things from friends, and read excellent reviews online, and this charming, sun-drenched town definitely lived-up to its reputation.

I'd be lying if I said we didn't spend most of our time lounging by the pool at our villa, but we did venture into Uzès a few times to soak-up Provencal life. The food market at Place Aux Herbes (Wednesdays and Saturdays) is reknown across France and a must-see, but get there early to beat the crowds - and the heat! Shopping in Uzès is also excellent and I was surprised at how many wonderful interiors stores were on offer, selling that particular brand of chic Provencal style we all want to emulate. Les Affaires Etrangerès was my pick of the bunch, with an eclectic selection of ethnic and artisanal homewares and decor. I wanted one of everything. There were also many fabulous Brocante (Antique/Bric-A-Brac stores) in and around Uzès, where many a French vintage treasure can be found. Sadly, few had websites, but you will inevitably stroll past them on your wanderings.

If you're holidaying with kids and looking for a day trip in the area, La Bambouseraie (a sort of Botanical Garden of bamboo) and Pont du Gard (a spectacular ancient Roman aqueduct) are both wonderful.

So there it is, friends. A perfect summer in Provence that now seems like a distant memory, but will be in our memories forever.

Did you stay anywhere amazing this Summer past? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

{ All photographs by Kate Paillat for Maurice & King }

Five Lovely Things

May 23, 2015

Summer is upon us here in London, and with it comes all the lovely things we've been dreaming of throughout the long Winter months. Fewer (and lighter!) layers, bright homewares, holidays in warm places, spring clean-ups and new blooms. Here are five things that have passed me by this last month, putting a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

1. The beautiful people at Archery Collections have branched out into gorgeous new homewares to compliment their stunning range of handmade jewellery. This Mexican Flokati Rug had me at hello. This Lambswool Rug is on my NEED list too.

2. These city maps for little adventurers by The New Voyager are my idea of parenting perfection. Inspired by their family's travels around the world, the maps are designed for children to read and navigate themselves. Handcrafted and beautifully illustrated, by the very talented Keiko Brodeur of Small Adventure, we're also assured all the recommended spots are very "parent-friendly".

3. After a long winter with black and various shades of grey wool on high rotation, this perfectly pink ensemble has me jumping for summery joy. Dress, Velvet by Graham & Spencer; Bag, Pomandere; Scarf, Dosa - all available at The Cross.

4. I'll admit, I let out a very uncool squeal when I saw this pom pom storage basket by Rose in April. But seriously, pom poms?! And in navy, no less. If you're surrounded by boys, as I am, then you'll understand how sweet this victory really is.

5. I ask you, is there anywhere more lovely than London in Spring? The city is burgeoning with greenery and new blooms, and the smell of jasmine is on the breeze. I pass this brightly coloured doorway everyday, and every time I swear it gets prettier.

{Photo credit: 1. Archery Collections, 2-5. Maurice & King}
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