Special Days and Birthdays

Birthdays and special days which are landmarks in our young children’s lives.

10 Tips to Survive Christmas

The weeks of preparation are finally behind us, and Christmas is here! I’m sure lots of people love Christmas, but for many it can be a time of stress, worry and exhaustion! For my final post before the big day, I thought I’d share some very simple tips to help you survive Christmas… Here goes…

Christmas CAN be fun!

 

10 Tips to Survive Christmas

  1. Forget ‘perfect’ and focus instead on ‘good enough’. Expectations run high at this time of year, and we unnecessarily put ourselves under immense pressure to be ‘perfect’ and have the perfect Christmas.
  2. Don’t be fooled by social media, pictures of everyone else having a marvellous Christmas are not always what they seem!
  3. Go for a walk, sometimes getting out of the house and exercising is all that’s needed to relieve stress.
  4. Get plenty of sleep – tiredness does nothing other than fray nerves and leave you feeling overwhelmed.
  5. Look ahead – if things are getting tense and difficult, focus on planning a lovely treat for the new year. Set an objective or goal to get you through!
  6. Monitor how much alcohol you drink! It’s lovely to have a festive drink or two, but alcohol can easily affect your mood and inhibitions.
  7. Delegate! Even delegating the simplest tasks can take some of the burden off you!
  8. Take a few minutes out and take time to breathe. Just a few minutes away from the noise and chat can do wonders to recharge batteries. Power naps of 10-15 minutes are great too!
  9. Try to see the funny side – better to laugh than to cry!
  10. Keep everything in perspective, it’s just one day of the year!

Some of these might work better for you than others, but I hope that whatever happens over the next few days, you’ll have a very ‘Merry Christmas’… See you the other side!

Signature Fonts

Little Silver Leaf

Well, the Christmas shopping is well underway! Presents are being bought (and hidden!) and cards are being written. We’re writing lots of lists to make sure we don’t forget anything – or anyone! I love this time of year, especially shopping for something special for family and friends.

I’m a stationery addict, and this extends to Christmas cards and gift wrap! So many colours, styles and designs to choose from – it really can be a bit bewildering! Sometimes I think it helps to go with a theme each year, and work to that as a guide. This year ‘handmade’ is a part of my theme, and I’ve extended it to those all-important Christmas cards!

Little Silver Leaf

A couple of months ago I came across Little Silver Leaf, and the designs caught my eye immediately.

Handmade Christmas Cards

 

Little Silver Leaf is a hand-crafted stationery business based in central Scotland, with a focus on individuality, creativity, and quality. The owner, Karen, is a self-taught designer and maker. From her little studio in central Scotland she produces a growing range of original paper goods, including greetings cards.

I love that she prefers to work with recycled card and paper wherever possible, and her work features her own illustrated embellishments, and hand-painted designs and lettering.

I love all her Christmas cards, the ‘Scottie’ is a real favourite of mine – totally impossible to resist! I’d go so far as to say it’s my favourite card of the year!

Do pop over and take a look at Karen’s new website, it’s full of lots of lovely designs for all those special occasions – not just Christmas!

Signature Fonts

 

Christmas Colour with Kali Stileman

With Christmas fast approaching (yes, I’m finally blogging about Christmas!), my thoughts are turning to Christmas cards. This year I’ve fallen in love with the gorgeous range of Christmas cards by Kali Stileman! I have long been a fan of Kali’s work, I love her bold and fun use of colour, and her distinctive style which sets her apart from so many other designers.

In her varied career Kali has illustrated for the Body Shop, painted murals, taught primary aged children, painted botanical images for a ceramics company and then (when her son began full time school), she started up The Square Card Company which later became Kali Stileman Publishing.

Snowflake

 

Kali’s children are her greatest inspiration and her fiercest critics, and they have come up with lots of ideas for her over the years!

In recent years Kali has been writing and illustrating books for Random House, designing calendars and family planners for a German company, bag and wrap designs for Glick, a range of wall stickers with Stickerscape, and cushions for ‘We Love Cushions’.

Christmas Colour with Kali Stileman

Kali has a wonderful range of Christmas cards, all fun and brightly coloured – and full of festive cheer! My children love her designs and have recently ‘acquired’ quite a few from my collection which they want to give to family, friends and teachers this Christmas! I think even the annual chore of card writing might be a little more fun for them this year as a result of these lovely designs!

We loved the mini Christmas cards, especially the snowflake and angels designs. Kali also has personalised cards available too, where you can personalise the bubble above the illustration on each card – such a clever idea! You can write your own message, or get Kali’s company to print them out for you!

Personalised Cards

 

Kali sells her designs through shops, her website and her Not On The High Street shop!

If that wasn’t enough festive fun, she also has some super cool and colourful wrapping paper too!

Happy shopping!

Signature Fonts

Brown Paper Christmas Gift Wrap Ideas

I do love buying presents for other people! I know it can sound a bit corny, but there really is a lot of pleasure to be gained by finding the right present for the right person. For me, part of the fun is also wrapping the present so that it looks really beautiful when handed over…

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Super gift wrap ideas…

 

I think sometimes the simplest wrapping looks the best, so I have been collecting ideas for a while on Pinterest and thought I would share them with you… They are all simple and effective and don’t need lots of expensive accessories either as I’m a great believer that sometimes less is more! This really is a case of brown paper packages, tied up with string…

Brown Paper Christmas Gift Wrap Ideas

1. A lovely idea for using brown paper, twine and either red Candy Canes or Lollipops to create a splash of colour on a very simply wrapped gift. Idea from Kotipalapeli blog.

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Lollipop love…

 

2. Source some coloured ribbon and some sparkly wands in either silver or gold and you can add a little bling to your brown paper package! Idea from the Etsy shop of Ghirlandadi Popcorn.

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Sparkly loveliness…

 

3. Super cute Reindeer Print gift wrap idea from Splash of Something.

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Reindeer rocks…

 

4. Twine and a tag and small decorative peg is all that’s needed… I love this simple yet oh so elegant design from Style Logistics.

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Simply elegant twine…

 

5. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous then maybe this post on printing your own Christmas gift wrap will inspire you to get creative! Great tutorial from The Pretty Blog.

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Printed patterns…

 

6. A statement ribbon and a spring of evergreen loveliness, this idea from Satori Design for Living ticks all the boxes!

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Evergreen elegance…

 

You can see lots of other examples for gift wrapping (and not just for Christmas!) on my Wrap Pinterest board too.

Follow Muff and Teacake’s board W r a p on Pinterest.
 

Signature Fonts

The Square Card Company

As many of you will already know, I’m a huge fan of all things stationery and design related! I’m never happier than when I’m shopping for gift wrap or birthday and occasion cards, I can literally spend hours choosing and browsing through designs!

At the same time, as a busy Mum I do opt for favourite designers and companies (to speed things up!), especially as both my children are school age and seem to have a never ending list of birthday parties to attend!

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Boys Cards

 

The Square Card Company

I recently came across the wonderful The Square Card Company, and fell in love with their designs. It was clear that there was a strong artistic influence at work, and that was when I became aware of talented designer Kali Stileman!

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Boys Cards

After completing a degree in 3D design at Brighton Poly, Kali illustrated for the Body Shop, painted murals and then changed tack and taught primary aged children until the birth of her daughter. She moved to Bermuda for 3 years where she sold collages and paintings through local art galleries.

When she returned to the UK, she painted botanical images for a ceramics company and then when her son began full time school, she started up The Square Card Company. She hasn’t looked back since!

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Girls Cards

There are so many wonderful cards and designs, I really can’t feature them all and do them justice in one post! So for this post I’ve focussed on those all-important age related cards.

Every child gets excited about their next ‘number’ birthday, and these cards are just perfect! Great quality and I love the glittery numbers on some of the designs too! Kali introduces new ranges frequently too, as her ideas constantly evolve!

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Lucy’s Animals – New Range May 2015

I’ll be back with some more posts on Kali’s work, but in the meantime you can see plenty of examples from her ranges of cards over on her website!

Signature Fonts

 

A Narnia Inspired Bloom and Wild Christmas

Today I’m lucky enough to be writing about several of my favourite things – Christmas, C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – and flowers!

My lovely friends over at Bloom & Wild sent me one of their new Christmas bouquets – The Lucy, a beautiful collection of flowers with a sophisticated touch of winter sparkle.

A Narnia Inspired Bloom and Wild Christmas

Inspired by the snowy forests of Narnia, The Lucy arrangement (named after the character Lucy Pevensie) combines a stunning collection of white bloom chrystanthemums, eryngium orion, fir, hypericum berries and gorgeous snowy birchwood!

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The Lucy

It is a beautiful collection, with the fir, pine and eucalyptus creating a great base for the arrangement, interspersed with berries. The birchwood twigs create spearkly height and the chrystanthemums give the ‘wow factor’!

I love Bloom & Wild, their Letterbox concept is just brilliant when you want to send the gift of fresh flowers, beautifully presented in a bespoke box and delivered straight through the recipients door!

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Letterbox Delivery

I’d definitely recommend taking a peep at their website – their other Christmas bouquet ‘The Beatrix’ is also lovely – Velvety petals and festive fragrances combine with a hint of Victorian Christmas featuring burgundy carnations, rosemary, cinnamon and fir.

In the meantime, if you want to create your own Narnia inspired Christmas I’d suggest keeping things very natural and rustic, but also add a touch of silver and white for a little wintery Snow Queen glamour! You can find lots more inspiration on my Narnia Pinterest board.

Follow Muff and Teacake’s board Narnia Christmas on Pinterest.
 

Signature Fonts

 

Hello Autumn

I do love a change of season, it always feels like a fresh start! The change from summer to autumn is always one of my favourite times of the year, especially if we have a long warm and sunny autumn…

Hello Autumn

The light is lovely at this time of year, perfect for photography! The colours are changing rapidly and berries are everywhere… All of which makes it just a little easier to say ‘Goodbye‘ to summer!

I will be posting lots of autumn pictures on my Instagram feed, so do take a look!

I’ve also decided to make an autumn ‘wish list’ this year, just so we as a family can create and share some happy families!

My children had some lovely ideas (predictably related to Halloween!) and I’ve added a few myself!

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Autumn Wish List 2014

What would be on your autumn ‘wish list’? I’d love to hear from you!

If you are looking for some ideas and inspiration, pop over to Pinterest, there’s plenty of ideas there too!

Follow Muff and Teacake’s board Autumn on Pinterest.

Carol x

 

Magic and Mystery of The Tooth Fairy

Following on from my earlier post on the infamous Tooth Fairy, I can now confirm that she has made a couple of appearances in our house, with at least another three imminent! I think it’s going to be a very busy autumn for her!

Magic and Mystery of The Tooth Fairy

Our routine is pretty much organised now… We have special personalised Tooth Fairy bags (beautifully made by Tillie MInt), ready to put under pillows at night time…

Bedrooms also have to be tidied just before her appearance – apparently she doesn’t like messy rooms!

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Tooth Fairy Bags

My children are also currently obsessed with what they look like when asleep, and so they’ve been treated to some new warm and cosy pyjamas from House of Fraser, perfect for autumn and for creating a good impression when she arrives!

The ‘Fabric Flavours’ range is really good quality, with lots of popular branded designs!

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House of Fraser Pyjamas

Both my children are curious about her and I am often bombarded with questions…

Why can’t they open her special little door in the wall? What does she do with all the teeth she collects? Does she ever leave teeth behind? Where does her money come from?

My personal favourite has to be – What happens when the tooth fairy looses her own teeth? Who collects them?

A couple of wonderful story books have certainly helped here, we love The Night Before The Tooth Fairy, a funny story my son loved about a stubborn tooth which just won’t come out! Dear Tooth Fairy is also a beautiful book with fold-out letters and real gifts from the Tooth Fairy, a real winner with my daughter!

So many special things to keep the magic and mystery alive!

Carol x

 

Perfect Parties With Rigby & Mac!

Winning any kind of competition is an almost unheard of experience for me, so you can imagine my excitement when I won a competition launched on one of my favourite blogs, Emily Quinton’s Makelight! I have long admired Emily and her wonderful sense of style, and she has always provided enormous inspiration to me, both photographically (via her courses) and as a blogger/writer. Rigby & Mac also have the most stylish website, and a reputation for eclectic and unusual products… so their competition collaboration seemed a match made in blogger heaven!

Perfect Parties With Rigby & Mac!

An award winning family business, the three shops so unique to Rigby & Mac were founded by Penny Tomlinson. Now her son, Dan Rigby and daughter-in-law, Katharine Maclaverty (Rigby & Mac!) continue the winning formula of personal service, product knowledge and trusted advice.

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Rigby & Mac Partyware

Rigby & Mac aims to echo the different styles of the three shops and provide an interesting and inspiring experience online. The Dulwich Trader at No.9 combines country style with a touch of glamour. Tomlinson’s at No.89 has a feminine, vintage feel and proves that pale is definitely interesting. Ed at No.41 is a modern and quirky fusion of Scandinavian design and global influences. Their partyware is just lovely – with bright, bold and happy colours! It was wonderful to receive such a lovely box of items, including party bags, plates, cups, straws, napkins and decorations too! I have quite a few a few parties and events lined up and I can’t wait to use them all and share a few ideas with you! I will keep you posted, but in the meantime thank you so much Emily and Rigby & Mac!

Carol x

Treat Bags From Talking Tables

With Easter just around the corner I’ve been making up some gift bags for my children, family and friends.

I recently discovered the wonderful Talking Tables website, packed with lots of gorgeous design-led party items including some lovely paper treat bags in different colours and patterns!I love the yellow chevron yellow bag (great for spring and Easter!) and the striped pale blue, pink and green bags! There’s something slightly retro about them which I like!

Treat Bags From Talking Tables
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Easter Gift Bags!

I must admit I’m not particularly ‘arty’ so any crafts I do have to be fairly straightforward, and that’s the beauty of these gift bags. They come with co-ordinating sticker strips with stickers which can be used to decorate the front or seal the bag.

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Treat Bags and Stickers

If you feel a little more adventurous you could add other stickers, mini patterned pegs and coloured ribbon – all available from Talking Tables too!

My Easter gift bags will be containing different items (depending on the recipient!) including mini chocolate eggs, Lindt Chocolate Rabbits and some cute rabbit tins I found in good old M&S!

I’ve got some bags left over and will be using these as gift bags, party bags, goody bags – the options are endless, and they come with matching striped straws too! I’ll keep you posted!

Carol x

 

Easter Decoration Ideas

I was recently sent some really pretty paper chain strips from The Party Pirate which I want to use with my children to make decorations, and they got me thinking about the recent boom in Easter decorations!

Easter Paper Chains
Easter Paper Chains by The Party Pirate
Easter Decoration Ideas

I really love the Easter wreaths which have appeared over the past few years, a beautiful way to welcome guests to your home and spring!

You don’t have to put them on your front door (especially if you are worried about the weather!) as they look lovely on mantelpieces, fireplaces, in windows and hung on internal walls. Gisela Graham has a lovely collection this year!

Easter Decoration Ideas Easter Wreaths
Easter Wreaths From Gisela Graham

Other simple ideas for Easter decorations including bunting, either traditional pendant ‘triangle’ bunting in lovely fabrics or pastel papers or you could opt for fun bunny, chick and carrot bunting! There are lots of designs to choose from, and lots of websites have free downloadable and printable bunting if you want to do a little DIY!

Easter Decoration Ideas
Easter Decoration Ideas

Bowls of chocolate eggs look lovely on tables and shelves, and there’s lots of free downloadable and printable cards and subway art prints (very popular!) which you can print and use as a poster or frame…

Easter trees are really popular, you can either buy them from shops such as John Lewis or collect some twigs, place them in a large jug or vase and hang your own Easter decorations from them.

Whatever you decide to do this Easter – have fun!

Carol x

 

Tooth Fairy Gift Ideas

It won’t be long before The Tooth Fairy makes her first visit to our house, and I have a feeling it will be a momentous visit! It’s quite a landmark event in a child’s life and thanks to ‘Peppa Pig’ I already have two children who are more than clued up for her visit!

I’ve been sourcing creative ideas for keeping the magic of the occasion alive as we wait for her arrival! All of these items would make great gifts too!

The Tooth Fairy Gift Ideas
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Tooth Fairy Door by Hollyanna

Tooth Fairy doors are great displayed in a child’s bedroom, either on a skirting board or propped up on a shelf or cupboard… I love the doors designed by Hollyanna! I like the fact that the door is locked, as only the tooth fairy can open it!

Our door arrived beautifully packaged from Hollyanna, and is now strategically attached to the wall just above a skirting board.

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Essential Tooth Fairy Apparatus from Hollyanna!

Tooth Fairy cushions look great hanging on a child’s bedpost. We loved these ones by Anne-Marie at Heavenly Hearts. They are available in pink, blue, red or green gingham fabrics.

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Tooth Fairy Cushion from Heavenly Hearts

There is a little card in the pocket which says:

“Dear Tooth Fairy, My tooth came out when I tried to bite. Please little tooth fairy visit tonight! Love from…” (and a space for the child to write their name).

As an alternative, these personalised Tooth Fairy bags are great too! I have just received one from Tillie Mint for my son, and am about to order for my daughter too! The bag is just the right size to keep any little tooth safe but more importantly, big enough for the reward!

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Tooth Fairy Bags from Tilly Mint

Everything is ready for the arrival of the tooth fairy (whenever that might be!) and I am hoping these extra touches will lead to a few big (toothless!) smiles…

Carol x