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    The Crafty Hen Baby Showers

    The Crafty Hen Baby Showers

    Baby showers can be tricky to organise, especially if you’re arranging a surprise party for a mum-to-be.

    So we thought we’d ask the experts at The Crafty Hen for some ideas and inspiration for spring baby showers (and beyond). They help organise fun crafty party workshops for groups to get together and celebrate a special occasion. From baby showers to hen dos, birthdays to team building days, Christmas parties to…. well, any excuse to get crafty is OK with them!

    1) What is The Crafty Hen and what do you do?
    We offer a wide range of sessions, all available nationwide, where groups can work together to collaborate on a special keepsake for the Mum or Bride To Be to treasure forever. Or individually make things to wear such as stylish jewellery, fascinators, flower crowns and lots more. Discovering a few new skills along the way!



    2) Why do you think baby showers are becoming more popular?
    Baby showers are a great excuse to gather all your closest friends and family to share in a special experience, really spoil the Mum To Be and show her that everyone is excitedly behind her very step of the way.

    3) What are your most asked-for baby shower crafts?
    That’s a tricky one! It can really depend on the type of group. Our baby mobile making workshop was a rather popular choice last year. Perfect for adding that finishing touch to Baby’s new bedroom. We work with our groups in the run up to the party to make sure the mobile is completely tailored to match any colour scheme, and even incorporate the parents’ interest and hobbies, so it really is a unique item for the new baby to grow up looking at.

    On the other hand our Baby Grow Customisation parties are a good laugh for a more light-hearted baby shower activity. Some groups turn it into a competition to design the best baby grow. Some of the results are hilarious, so it really puts everyone into a good mood. Plus, one thing is for sure; the Mum To Be won’t be short of clothes for the little one for a long time!



    4) What suggestions would you have for a springtime baby shower craft?
    At the moment, we have lots of interest in our Baby Quilt Making workshop. With every guest contributing, each and every patchwork square is so personal that it’s a beautiful practical keepsake, and family heirloom to pass on down the line!



    5) Do guests tend to have any favourite colour themes at this time of year?
    With all our parties, we really notice changes in colour schemes throughout the year. For hen parties, the colour schemes really chop and change depending on the season and also what is trending that year (at the moment purple, dusky pink and gold are popular requests). But with baby showers, the colour schemes tend to stick around a little longer and can be quite traditional. There is always the pink for a girl, or blue for a boy. But yellow is a very popular choice for a fun, vibrant and gender-neutral colour scheme, and an ideal colour for a Spring baby too!



    6) Have you run any baby shower parties that really stick in your mind as being memorable (for the right reasons!)
    They are always memorable for the right reasons! Generally, it’s just lovely to see the themes that groups opt for and discovering what they consider to be important about them, that they want to share with their new baby. From mobiles themed to the seaside town where the Dad grew up, to quilts that set out an impromptu family tree of sorts. It’s great to see everyone come together and get involved on something important to the new parents.



    7) What advice would you give to somebody who's organising a baby shower this springtime?
    Don’t leave everything till the last minute! Baby showers can be such big celebrations these days. But even co-ordinating a low-key party can be more work that people expect! Getting all the guests around to your home at the same time, along with organising games or group activities to break the ice and make it a memorable experience takes some planning! From our point of view, our workshops can book up in advance too. We usually advise booking with 4+ weeks notice to avoid missing out - we never like to disappoint our Crafty Hens!

    Thank you to the Crafty Hen!

    Easter without the sugar rush

    Easter without the sugar rush

    If you are anything like me you dread the part of Easter where your children turn into little hyperactive monsters, due to the over consumption of chocolate! It’s unavoidable and I don’t stop grandparents or godparents buying them Easter eggs, but I do always make sure I buy them something which isn’t chocolate to try to strike a balance.

    I have been doing my own research into lovely chocolate alternatives and we also sell some lovely bits online to:

    • An Easter Bunny 

    I am obsessed with the Jellycat cuddly toys and the bunny is the sweetest little thing. They must be the softest cuddly toys I have ever set my hands on. Summer has a little bunny, which she got when she was born and it’s still one of her favourite toys. 

    • Bunny hair pins 

    When searching for new products for our #littlespringedit I came across these gorgeous bunny hair pins from Meri Meri. They are super cute, cheaper than most Easter eggs and the perfect Easter gift for a little girl. Shop now while stock last.

     

    • Easter Pyjamas

    I love buying the twins new pyjamas and they always get a pair at Christmas, so this year I am going to continue the tradition into spring!  I have been having a little hunt and found these gorgeous ones from Mini Boden. I just need to find some for my little boy now!

    • Easter themed imaginary play toys 

    These Easter themed finger puppets are also a fun chocolate alternative for your little ones. Inspire their imaginary play this Easter. 

    • ‘We’re Going on an Egg Hunt’ book by Laura Hughes

    This beautifully written and illustrated book is about a little group of Easter bunnies who set off on an exciting lift-the-flap Easter egg hunt.  There are 10 eggs to find and count along the way and I have already ordered a copy. 

    • Stickers 

    My twins love stickers. They stick them on everything and anything and will spend hours creating pictures and sticker scenes together. If you are looking for something a little bit special this Easter, we have just starting stocking these sweet unicorn stickers. I know one little girl who will really like these.  

    • Bunny dress up 

    Every child loves to dress up, especially at Easter. We always go on an Easter egg hunt and do other Easter themed days out over half term. These little bunny dress up ears and tail sets are adorable. Available on online now. Stock limited!

     

    Top Tips to help you Declutter and Organise your Childs Room

    Top Tips to help you Declutter and Organise your Childs Room

    For those of you who haven’t read Vicky Silverthorn’s fantastic book ‘Start With Your Sock Draw’, you really should.  It’s amazing!  I wanted to share with you some of the key take outs from chapter 6 which is all about Toy Storage and Children Rooms.

    Vicky says that according to psychologists our children are increasingly stressed and anxious and she believes that part of this problem is the chaos in their bedrooms or playrooms.

    I’d never really thought about it like that, but it’s true. Kids today have so much ‘stuff’ that it must be pretty overwhelming. 

    It made me think of a recent school trip I went on with my twins to a toy museum, where they learnt all about toys and children in the olden days . The guide told us that in the olden days the children would be lucky to have 1 toy and many had to create their own toys from everyday items they could find around the house, such as wooden spoon puppets like these wooden spoon puppets.  

    Vicky says that by streamlining children's bedrooms, playrooms and toy storage areas we can help children to reclaim control of their spaces and allow them to play and grow, free from the anxiety caused by sensory overload. 

    Tim Seldin, President of the Montessori Foundation said:

    ‘If children are taught where things belong, and how to return them correctly when they finish using them, they internalise this sense of order, and carry it with them for the rest of their lives… Most of us can be overwhelmed by the chaos that quickly develops around the house if we leave things lying around. Children are particularly sensitive to this.’

    I know one of the biggest triggers of anxiety for me is when I don’t feel in control of the house. I hate the feeling of being disorganised with clutter building up. It really stresses me out.  This is the same for children; a cluttered and disorganised space can lead them to feeling as overwhelmed.  

    In short, Vicky’s top tips for organising and decluttering your child’s rooms are:

    • Have bags for rubbish and bags for the charity shop ready.
    • Consider if each toy is age appropriate and don’t hang on to toys which your child has grown out of.
    • Pick up all the random parts and bits of plastic that are lying around. If by the end of the declutter they still don’t belong to anything then throw them away.
    • Avoid duplication. This can happen if your child is brought the same gift twice. Keep the new gift but give it to someone else. Or keep the new one and pass the other one on to a charity shop or a play school who will really appreciate it.
    • If there are toys you really don’t want to get rid of then try doing a toy rotation. Pack some toys away in a box under the stairs for a few weeks and then swap them over.

    Once you have completed the declutter Vicky then goes on to tell you how to organise the toys you are left with:

    • Organise toys in simple storage cubes, baskets or tubs and keep them in a storage unit.
    • Make sure heavy toys are not high up to avoid your child pulling them down on top of themselves.
    • Keep items that you want to restrict the use of like games consoles or tablets out of sight to avoid temptation. This also includes things that you will want to supervise like glue and paints.
    • Encourage your child to help tidy up. Make it fun and praise them for doing it.

    One thing I do to help keep on top of the clutter is by encouraging the twins to only get a couple of things out at a time. I hate it when they decide to empty all the boxes and we end up with lego in the doll’s house, Playmobil mixed in with the Sylvanian Families and pencils in with the tea set! I also have a monthly clear out and throw away sticker books which have been completed and any toys which have come free with magazines, Kinder Eggs or in party bags. 

    If you want to be in with the chance to win this book, then don't forget to enter our competition currently running on Instagram. 

    Happy organising. x

    Interview with Vicky Silverthorn

    Interview with Vicky Silverthorn

    We were delighted when Vicky Silverthorn agreed to be interviewed by us for our blog.

    Vicky is a professional organiser and runs a business called 'You Need a Vicky', helping to clear your space, life and mind. Vicky is also the successful author of the book ‘Start with your Sock Draw’, which we think is life changing!

    1. If someone wants to declutter but is overwhelmed by the idea, how would you get them motivated?

    I would start by having a brief conversation with them to see what was bothering them and where their mind set was. Do they need more space, do they find it hard getting rid of items, or are they simply in need of a good declutter because life has taken over?

    It’s always great for me to get a good idea of how people are thinking.

    The key point to remember when feeling overwhelmed by the idea is breaking it down. Stop looking at it as a giant task and start breaking their home down into smaller and more manageable areas. WHO would want to start something that could take days of hard work to finish?

    Instead start small and always complete the area you have started. Never take on too big an area. That feeling of completion is what will spur you on to start another area. From there the feelings it becomes addictive….you don’t want to stop!

    2. You have a special service for families. Why did you decide to focus on children's rooms?


    It’s not so much a special service, more pinpointing that we work a lot with families shows people that we are very used to the challenges that come with a growing family therefore growing amounts of stuff in the home.

    Rewiring the way people think is part of what we do i.e obviously you need a lot more stuff when you start a family but how much? Coping with Christmas and Birthdays and getting out of the habit of buying too much is a big part of our family days.

    Not having enough is something parents worry about when it comes to their children – when I explain that children get overwhelmed as much as adults do with endless toys and games they understand that limiting the choices children have can sometimes be kinder than showering them with more and more.

    3. How does decluttering a child's room differ to working on other areas of the house?

    Children have many ‘bits’, much of the time even more so than adults. Controlling them is an art, and definitely a challenge.

    One of the most important things to think about with kids rooms is that you need a system that means it’s easy to tidy away so even if the room becomes chaos after a playdate you don’t panic and a sweep round can be done as efficiently as possible.

    In addition, everything needs a home. If it doesn’t then a home must be found. If there’s no space then more than likely there is too much stuff in relation to the space you have available (this principle works with every room within the home.)

    Children should at least be able to start a tidy up themselves which means really simplistic storage and furniture.

    4. Without doing a huge revamp, are there any little things you can do to spruce up a nursery or bedroom?

    Absolutely. First, as always make sure everything has a home so it looks and feels organised. If something doesn’t have a home make it one and always be sure to check if you have too much within the room itself whether its furniture or contents.

    Anything that’s been grown out of should be removed from your ‘daily space’ and stored elsewhere (for future kiddies?) making sure to be realistic about quantities and qualities that are being saved.

    5. How does a tidy, clutter-free home enhance your wellbeing?

    It can help keep stress levels and anxiety down – life is so full of hurdles so not letting your own home be one of those is a wonderful feeling.

    Knowing where everything you own belongs helps the feeling of being in control of your life.

    The less you own, the easier it is to keep control of where everything is.

    Life is also full of choices and decisions – for me personally work takes up my allowance of decision making so when I am in my home I need straight forward choices and I have found this makes an enormous difference to my headspace.

    I don’t’ care enough about the colour socks I wear or the style of the notebook I use. I don’t waste my headspace on decisions in the morning that make getting ready so much harder so it’s been an invaluable journey to separate where I do need to make important choices and where I don’t.

    6. How is a clean, tidy nursery, bedroom or playroom beneficial for a child?

    In the same way that we feel overwhelmed when we feel we have nothing to wear, or if we have too much choice in our wardrobes children can get overwhelmed with their everyday choices. It’s important to understand though that they can’t verbalise or digest this in the same way we can.

    Children not only stop seeing the choices they have because there are too many but they can feel inner anxiety. There have been interesting studies proving this. It’s a pretty fascinating subject and to think we may be doing more harm than good by bombarding our children with everything we think will make them happy is a pretty interesting topic.

    Order is part of life and children learn from our behaviour, so I believe giving them a good start in life regarding being organised, by keeping everything in its place can only be a good thing. It’s important to say I am talking about a nice friendly level of organisation and not utter panic if something is out of place or in the wrong location.

    7. We'd love to hear if any of our #littlepsringedit products have caught your eye.

    I’m utterly obsessed with the Mighty Mouse pillow case (as I’m sure many adults also are let alone the kids!).

    When I was a nanny I was always also taught about the importance of learning through play, so the UK wall map is a must for any kids room!

    Lastly, and most obviously I love the storage tubs and rainbow storage cases. The yellow feather baskets are perfect for organising toys during a spring clean and the larger wicker belly baskets would be ideal for soft toys.

    8. What spurred you on to launch your business?

    I wanted to make sure I spent my work life doing something that I absolutely love doing and that always ends positively. I feel lucky that I found out about this career as I feel it suits me perfectly.

    I’d seen a fantastic fashion stylist organising a wardrobe and was in ore and I thought I could do that, what a difference it would make to do that to the whole home and not just on clothes.

    I couldn’t believe it was an actual career. After much research and seeing how popular it was in the US I knew I had found what I wanted to do. When I started the business 8 years ago it was relatively unheard of – I love a challenge so this added to the overall excitement. There was no way I was going to let the idea be a failure.

    9. Do you have any words of advice for women who have an idea for a business but lack the confidence to take the plunge?

    We get one chance at life and for me I would have regretted not trying but feel confident that I will never regret trying!

    I think growing a business organically and trusting it what you’re offering is key as well as getting to the point where you just know it’s not going to fail. Believing that is a big part of it. You can’t have doubts - you have to push them aside. When you get to that point there’s no stopping you.

    Doing a mass of research is key too – and asking any other business owners for a coffee, pick their brains and get as much info out of people as possible.

    For me writing a business plan would have stalled me in starting the business so although many think it’s wrong I didn’t actually write one. Sometimes you know more than anyone what works for you….

    Thank you so much Vicky. 

    To find out more about Vicky, her events, services and fantastic book please visit: www.youneedavicky.com      

    7 Ways February Can Inspire You

    7 Ways February Can Inspire You

    We often think of February as being the most dull and dismal month of the year. Just as we’re beginning to look forward to some spring sunshine, it seems to get even colder, darker and wetter. But don’t despair; here are 7 sources of inspiration that you can take from February.

    1) 3rd February is ‘Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast’ day. Yes, you read that right. If your children are anything like mine, suggesting ice cream for breakfast once could mean morning arguments for ever more. But ‘nice cream’ is healthy and delicious. Blend up frozen bananas with your natural flavour of choice, such as unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla or peppermint extract, mixed berries or mango. Et voila! A naughty-tasting treat without the E numbers. Why not use this opportunity to shake up some of your other favourite recipes? We love Harry Eastwood's great recipe book ‘Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache’, which is jam-packed with natural cake ideas.



    2) February is the month of love. Depending on your circumstances, Valentine’s Day can feel a little bit rubbish. But showing love for anyone, be that your cat, dog, mum, gran or child can only be a positive thing. Maybe you could use February as a prompt to get in touch with a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while. Compliment a stranger on the bus. Give yourself a break and prioritise a bit of self-care.

    3) Gorgeous spring flowers are beginning to emerge. This month we’ll see Primroses, Crocuses and Sweet Violets. Pantone’s 2018 colour of the year is ‘Ultra Violet’ and purple tones are emerging amongst new nursery products. If you come across some new blooms that you love the colour of, take a quick snap and refer back to the image to inspire your interior design.



    4) The light is improving. There is more opportunity to experience daylight in the mornings and after work as we move towards next month’s clock change. Not only can this lift your mood, but inspire lighter, brighter interiors. Natural wood Scandi pieces can make your children’s rooms feel clean, uncluttered and lighter.

    5) It’s awards season. With the BAFTAs and Oscars fast approaching, we can’t help but look forward to ogling the new season’s fashion trends. Vogue predicts, “Clothes to party in – sparkles, tassels, feathers,” with staples “souped up via ingenious hems and washes and embellishments’. Why not use your favourite styles to inspire a couple of bling-tastic additions to your children’s rooms?



    6) February showers create rainbows. We’re seeing a lot of rainbow motifs from our favourite designers’ products, so keep a look out for those in our #littlespringedit. If your little one is keen to see a rainbow, they’re most common in the UK in the late afternoon and early evening when the sun is in the west. Look away from the sun and towards the rain to witness the magic.

              

    7) Have a think about your favourite books. It’s World Book Day on 1st March and it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some calm, quality time with the kids. As part of the international event, parents are getting ready to #ShareAStory - their family’s favourite read - across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to snuggle up with your own favourite book once the little ones are in bed.