Mamas & Papas X Niki Jones

When I was pregnant I didn't have any firm ideas about how I'd like to decorate Talitha's nursery, save for the fact I didn't really fancy incorporating the more traditional elements of pink/blue and soft toys everywhere. I was also reluctant to get too into decorating for her as she doesn't really have her own room. It's still a bit of a work in progress, and in fact she's in a room which is a hybrid of a home office for B, a guest room and a nursery. That said, it's worked out pretty well and she has one side of the room, while everything else is fairly well contained on the other side. Having the room as a multi-purpose space has meant that I haven't injected as much colour as I perhaps would if she was in her own little nursery. Instead, I've focused on making her side of the room cosy, with soft pinks and greys that blend into the room's existing scheme.

As someone who loves a new homeware item or two, I was delighted to hear about the new Mamas & Papas collection, designed by the brilliant Niki Jones. (I was even more delighted when they offered to send me a few pieces to try out!) Straight away I could see how the capsule collection was sympathetic to nurseries while not being too 'babyish'. Since becoming parents both B and I have marvelled at the sheer amount of stuff that has built up around our home. Even though we've tried to stick to the essentials it all seems to pile up - and much of it has only been needed for a short season. With this is mind I wanted to create a nursery with items that would last well beyond the first year and would make a nice hand-me-down for future children. (No, I'm not pregnant again before you ask!) 

Safety Note :-

I just want to preface all this by pointing out that Talitha is now one, so we feel a bit more comfortable putting the odd item in her cot. Before this we kept it super simple with her sleeping in a sleeping bag, with nothing else in her cot at all. I've styled the coverlet in her cot, but I think it's also perfectly suited to being used on a chair, on the floor, over your lap... anywhere!

With regards to the bumper, opinion on them is divided but we actually use ours outside the cot bars - not to protect from knocks and bumps - but rather to shield Tal when she lies down in the cot. According to Mamas & Papas the critical element is to remove them when the child can push up on hands and knees/sit unaided around 6 months of age. (I think/hope we're ok as the bumper sits outside the bars on Tal's cot!) 

Yes, yes - the cot bumper usually would go inside the cot. But we don't usually use a cot bumper to stop bumps and knocks, instead we just use it to block off the end where Tal lies down to reduce distractions when she's falling asleep!

The soft colours in the capsule collection are what appealed to me first of all. The soft grey and pink tones, combined with the more fun pops of warmer colours like the mustard yellow are gorgeous. The geometric design also feel contemporary and add interest. Each piece feels really considered and wouldn't just be restricted to use in a nursery. In fact, the coverlet is now a staple in our living room. It's so cosy to wrap up under, but makes a handy quilt to pop on the floor when any friends with little babies visit.

The collaboration with Niki Jones is such a smart way to bring fresh inspiration to a much-loved brand. Quite aside from Mamas & Papas, her work is inspiring, especially her use of colour and extra detailing such as appliqué and patchworks. The Mamas & Papas vibe is all about products 'designed for parents, by parents' and this collection embodies it beautifully. 

Mamas & Papas X Niki Jones - Gathered Cheer blog
Mamas & Papas X Niki Jones - Gathered Cheer blog

How cute is that moon cushion? I have to admit, I usually play my interiors very safe and stick to soft / muted tones. But this yellow is absolutely beaut and creates just the right amount of interest without being too much.

Mamas & Papas X Niki Jones - Gathered Cheer blog

The detailing on the pieces is stunning too. Who doesn't love a pom pom? Can you spot Tallie in the cot image below getting to grips with the pom poms coverlet? Too cute! There are four other pieces in the collection that are not pictured here: a lampshade, a gorgeous sleeping bag, a sweet house cushion and a beautiful 'Lotus' rug. They all sit alongside each other so well but they'd work really well on their own, complementing an existing nursery scheme. 

Mamas & Papas X Niki Jones - Gathered Cheer blog
Mamas & Papas X Niki Jones - Gathered Cheer blog
Mamas & Papas X Niki Jones - Gathered Cheer blog

Moon cushion | Coverlet |

Cot bumper | Cot sheets (note, these are a larger size, so I tucked them under Tal's matress)

What do you think? It's been so fun styling these new pieces in Tallie's room - I'm pretty sure she loves them too!

Niki Jones X mamas and papas.jpg

The Niki Jones collection is in stores now.

Disclosure - Mamas & Papas gave me the products mentioned in this post for styling and review purposes. All opinions are my own. 


Our Nursery Nook

As I shared in my last post, we're currently sharing our bedroom with Tallie. Truth be told we're working on moving her into her own room now, but before we do I wanted to share her little corner with you as I've so loved it these past six months. General advice is that you room share for around six months but (as with anything parenting related) it's all so subjective and down to preference and I know friends who have room shared with their little people for shorter or longer periods. We're definitely ready for her to move rooms now, but having her right by our bed in the early days with all the frequent night feeds was wonderful. That said, I actually switched sides with my husband as I couldn't sleep right by the cot. Every single snuffle or wriggle had me waking up and it was so silly. So now my husband sleeps next to Tal's cot and I'm on the other side - even that little distance helps so well. 

Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog

We're fortunate that our room is a fairly good size, but even so when planning the nook I prioritised a few key elements: 

COT

For us, we wanted to go down the sidecar cot route. Bed-sharing sounded lovely but I just didn't feel confident enough with it, and so having her cot with its side down right by us was the best of both worlds. It also meant feeding times were easy as I didn't have to step foot out of bed. We chose the Chicco next to me cot, but the Snüzpod is so lovely too. (Have you seen the new Snüzkot? It's beautiful!) Naturally, we chose the grey cot so it would fit in nicely with our bedroom colours.

Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog

CHANGING STATION

A changing station of some sort is pretty handy in a nursery nook for all the many nappy changes but it honestly doesn't have to be fancy. We opted to put a changing mat (this wedge from John Lewis) on top of a chest of drawers, but a mat on the floor would have sufficed just as well. Since it is on top of the drawers we use the top drawer for all the nappy changing essentials, it keeps them close at hand without cluttering up the space. Plus, now she's so grabby and fidgety during changes we need to keep the decks clear! On top of the unit we also have the Gro Egg. Our bedroom temperature is a bit of a nightmare - one minute it is too hot and the next it's freezing. So with a new baby we were super cautious and wanted to keep a close eye on things so we could dress her appropriately. It also acts as a gentle nightlight, which is lovely. 

*I must add a little note about safety here. We attached the changing wedge to the chest of drawers with command strips to stop it sliding all over the place. We didn't attach the chest of drawers to the wall for stability as is recommended, so I'm super careful anytime we use it. I never leave Tallie unattended on the mat - especially now she's prone to attempting to roll over on it.*

Can you tell I shot this back when England was 'enjoying' a heat wave? I wasn't kidding about the fluctuating temperature in our room!

Can you tell I shot this back when England was 'enjoying' a heat wave? I wasn't kidding about the fluctuating temperature in our room!

STORAGE

We soon learnt that having a baby meant the amount of stuff we owned seemed to multiply dramatically, despite me trying to buy only the essentials. We use the chest of drawers for her clothes, and I'm forever going through them to clear out the outgrown pieces! (It happens far too often...) We have managed without a hanging rail as so many of her clothes are simple babygros or leggings but when we move her out to her room I'd love one just so we can hang up special outfits.

LIGHTING

I so often forget about lighting in a room, but it's so important. For our nursery nook we opted to put a light inside our wardrobe. Handily it's a large space and even has a plug socket inside. This means that we can leave the light on in there overnight, and when we need to do a nappy change we just slide open the door a fraction. If we didn't have this option, I'd have chosen add a dimmable switch to our table lamp. The last thing you want in the middle of the night is a blazing bright light! 

Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog

CURTAINS

The curtains we have are meant to be blackout, but sadly in adjusting them (trimming off the bottom) they don't fit the windows brilliantly and so let in a lot of light. Not only does this seem to affect Tallie's sleep, but it wakes us too so we needed a solution. This is one of those 'make do and mend' solutions, as we're currently using a Gro blind. These aren't really meant for everyday use, but we've adapted ours slightly by using adhesive velcro to stick it literally to our window frame. (Cheapy UPVC windows, so hoping it comes off fairly cleanly when needed). This means they fit the frame snugly and it's easier to open, rather than using the window suckers it comes with which are a little fiddlier to keep unsticking and resticking.

DECORATION

For me the most fun part in any room is the decoration. It's where you can really let your personality speak by choosing prints for the wall and other accessories that mean something to you. With it being a nook, we didn't have all that much space to stand any objects so instead we decided to add a little interest above Tallie's nappy change area. A simple string of lights (which light softly at night), a really precious print and a happy sun all set off the cheery corner. The sun too has become a favourite with Tallie, as she loves to stare at it during changing time. I so love our picture ledge and cloud hook, as kindly given to me by Margarita at Chocolate Creative. Marga joined me on a Gathered Cheer social in Faversham last year and then I saw her at a lovely market hosted by Papermash. Marga makes such beautiful pieces and I'm so chuffed to be able to look at these everyday. The print too has so much meaning and was kindly given to me by the super talented designer Liz Mosely after I commented on how much I loved it on a photo she posted on Instagram. Amazingly, the print arrived about three weeks before I found out I was pregnant and given the verse on it, it felt way more meaningful and prophetic than being simply a happy coincidence! "Your eyes saw my unborn body - all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139: 16)

Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog | Photo by Emily Quinton
Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog
Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog | Photo by Emily Quinton

I've so enjoyed adapting our room to make room for our little bird and it's lovely that it wasn't a tricky task - it was more a case of getting a few key pieces of furniture and having a bit of a shift around. Also, it shouldn't be too tricky to rearrange when she moves out and we put our room back as it was. Although her nursery space will be a somewhat bigger task. We've finally ordered her cot and we're planning on having a big sort out in our spare room. It's a room that is going to have to work very hard as it'll be a combination of a nursery, a guest room and work space for B. That's a lot of areas to squeeze into one place! I'll let you know how we get on...

PLUS to celebrate Tallie turning six whole months next week, I'm planning lots more baby fun content. There are a few things I've kept meaning to share but I've been so slack, so I figure we'll do one week of baby heavy posts and then after that things will calm down and I'll be back to sharing book reviews / interiors pieces / DIYs etc.

Post to come next week include:

  • A little peek at my baby shower - with a handy shopping edit
  • What I packed in my hospital bag
  • The things we've loved and actually used in the past six months
  • The launch of something fun and exciting which I can't reveal just yet...!

-x-

All photos shot and styled by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer with the exception of the close up of the bunny rabbit and the close up of the picture ledge and cloud hook which were taken by the lovely Emily Quinton.

I was given a few items that I've mentioned in this post, including the print (Liz Mosely), the lights (Cox & Cox), the picture ledge and cloud hook (Chocolate Creative). All opinions are of course my own!


Five Ways To Make Your Room Kid Friendly (without sacrificing style!)

I've always been a homebody, but since having Tallie I've spent more time in one room than I ever have - our bedroom. In those early fuzzy days (which incidentally I'm already forgetting - how quickly do those blurry days slip by?!) we snuggled into bed as we got to know one another, and my word, those moments were precious. Fraught sometimes, yes. Scattered with tears and frustrations, certainly. But oh so wondrous. Since then, I still spend a fair bit of time in our room, as I shush and pat. And shush and pat. And sometimes even manage to sleep myself. As one who has always found comfort in a tidy and cosy home our new mini addition has added a new dimension to our decor. Suddenly practicality seeks to rule over pretty. Substance over style. Certain fabrics and colours seem off limits. But thankfully, I don't think you need to totally give into these practicalities. Instead I think there are a few things you can bear in mind to balance out your bedroom's style and kid-friendly nature.

 

OPT FOR NO FUSS FABRICS

Linen is perfect. It is literally a no fuss fabric. Straight out of the washing machine, dried however is easiest (chucked over the bannister in our home...) and then straight onto the duvet cover. Crumples add to the life of the sheets, making them extra cosy and lived in. Who really has time to iron their sheets anyway? As an added bonus, linen has a beautiful way of helping you keep your cool. Especially when you're smack bang in the middle of the breastfeeding night sweats. I love my soft grey linen sheets from Soak & Sleep as they feel so cool and fresh, even on hot summer nights, and the lighter shade of grey is very forgiving on spillages and stains! 

                         Bed  |  Fitted Sheet  |  Pillow cases  |  Duvet cover  |  Rug  |  Bedside stool  |  Basket  |  Candle  |  Lamp  |  Slippers  |  Balloon

                        Bed | Fitted Sheet | Pillow cases | Duvet cover | Rug | Bedside stool | Basket | Candle | Lamp | Slippers | Balloon

PILE UP THE CUSHIONS

Happily ticking both the practical and pretty boxes are cushions and pillows. And lots of them. If you're going to spend days on end in bed, or nights sat up with only a restless babe and your iPhone light for company you might as well be comfy. We recently swapped our bed for this beaut, which even has a handy shelf sort of headboard (on non shoot days anything can be found there, from empty baby bottles (hers) and phone chargers (his) to muslin cloths (her again) and water bottles (mine). Even with it's padded headboard I find myself stacking up the pillows to prop myself up, whether I'm feeding or rocking or shushing or snuggling. A bad back is not a mama's best friend.

RELISH IN THE DETAILS

While the crawling and walking days are still a way off for us (although if the days continue to fly by they'll be here before I know it!) my mind has already turned to that of baby-proofing our home. As a fan of minimalism and clutter free interiors, I'm hoping this might be a little easier for us, as I don't have umpteen knick-knacks around the place. But if you do love little mementoes and accessories, why not opt for hanging items instead? Not only will they be out of reach of little hands, but they'll also brighten up a nursery nook or otherwise plain white wall, adding character and life. I made the little embroidered hoop (with hidden night lights) following along with a Mum Made box. I'm pretty chuffed with the results! 

LAYER UP A BEDSPREAD

It stands to reason that if you have little people, they will most likely end up in your bed at some point. And even if you have the pretty and practical bed linen as mentioned above, you might want to try and keep it clean to save you sticking it in the wash every day. This is where throws and blankets come into their own. Not only do they add warmth to a bed, but they're also super handy for putting on top of bed linen, to keep spills and stains at bay. Your little one will probably love the extra cosy feel too! I added this kid's bedspread to our bed, and for snuggle or play time I pop Tallie on it and then when the inevitable sick ups happen, I feel less precious about the sheets getting ruined!

Keep essentials handy

When your bedroom becomes your kitchen, living and dining room it's natural for 'stuff' to accumulate. There are certain bedside essentials I won't be without - namely a water bottle, breast pads, iPhone (and charger), headphones, a ton of muslin cloths, handcream and Calpol. But if these are all out on display I can get a little twitchy, so the basket is my friend. Keeping everything close on hand, but hidden out of view baskets are a super handy addition to your bedside area. 

So there are some of my tips for making your room baby friendly, without sacrificing your style. How about you? Do share any of your tips in the comments, or find me over on Instagram and let me know there!

-x-

All photos shot and styled by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer

This post was written in collaboration with Soak and Sleep, and for it I was given the lovely bed linen featured. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Gathered Cheer going. 


Getting Festive with MK Design and Occipinti

With Christmas just days away, I'm delighted to share a few tips and tricks I learnt at a recent Christmas workshop, hosted by Mathilde from MK Design and Ashley from Occipinti, with florist Tom from Agent.F. The afternoon was packed full of inspiration, all focused on setting a beautiful table - incorporating festive foliage and pretty name and place settings. 

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

Mathilde and Ashley have a wealth of styling experience and so seeing the tables that they had set was wonderful. We worked our way around the gorgeous Republic of Fritz Hansen store, looking at the different scenes they'd set using all the scandi pretty - including the Georg Jensen table, below.

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

Both Mathilde and Ashley shared their top tips for creating an eye-catching and festive tablescape. So if you're looking for last minute inspiration ahead of Sunday, look no further! 

  • Limit yourself to two colours - this will keep the table looking elegant and professional. 
  • Add in greenery - whether you use herbs (such as rosemary sprigs) or foliage (such as eucalyptus), greenery will bring your table to life. Plus it often smells amazing too!
  • Bring in colour with your textiles - to make it easy to switch up your colour scheme as and when you fancy, try sticking with neutral crockery and use the napkins and table cloth to inject colour. 
  • Get crafty with name settings - these look impressive but are so easy to do. Fold a little piece of card in half, hole punch on each side and add a sprig of rosemary to achieve the place setting seen below right. Or roll out a little air dry clay and use stamps to personalise a setting for each guest, seen below. 
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

Not content with showing us how to style up a beautiful setting with napkins and name tags, florist Tom from Agent Fwas then on hand to guide us in the making of an incredible festive centrepiece - in the shape of a foliage, herb and succulent arrangement. 

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

A mess was made as we all descended on the various foliage stems - from spruce and eucalyptus, to rosemary and lavender. To see a full step-by-step guide have a peek at Melanie Lissack's blog - it's definitely a centrepiece well worth having a go at creating yourself. I was amazed how quickly our arrangements came together, as we layered different types of greenery around and into our oasis block. The crowning glory came with the prettiest gold dipped sprigs of magnolia and eucalyptus and the lush addition of succulents. I don't have a finished photo of my own creation, but it's still alive and looking as happy as the day it was made. Now I just need to see if I can transport it safely to the south coast for our Christmas lunch! 

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

I must also mention the amazing food and drink that was on offer during the workshop too - my goodness, it was good. The raspberry and turmeric tea was warming and refreshing and the refined sugar-free brownies made by Cake + Cucumber were delicious. I think I went back for thirds... 

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

What a perfect way to spend an afternoon - sipping Glögg, eating brownies, getting creative with foliage and learning the art of creating a beautiful tablescape - all the while nattering with a bunch of lovely likeminded folks. What's more, the goodie bag was an extra special treat, it was like Christmas came early! Big thanks to the goodie bag sponsors:

- JollySmith, Nuori, Iris Hantverk, À L'aise, Kay Bojesen, Tom Pigeon, Haws, Mind the Cork, Ola Jewellery, Muubs, The Nomad Society - 

Mathilde and Ashley will be back with more workshops in 2017, so be sure to follow them on Instagram to make sure you are first to hear when the dates are announced! (Mathilde + Ashley)

-x-

Photo credits //

All by Ruth for Gathered Cheer

I was invited along to the workshop with a complimentary ticket, but all opinions and excellent foliage styling are my own!


Book Review: House of Plants

Another week, another lovely book to review - this time it's the turn of House of Plants, by Caro Langton and Rose Ray, with photographs by the brilliant Erika Rax. It's the most beautiful book, and one that I'd happily have on my coffee table to admire every day. Add to this the fact that it's full of super helpful and inspiring tips about caring for your succulent, air plant and cacti friends and you soon see that it's more than a pretty face. And since living with plant babies is growing ever more popular, this book has arrived at the perfect time. If you're anything like me you love the idea of having plants in every room of your house, but then find it much harder than expected to keep them happy and healthy. (Honestly, the number of plants I've killed is reaching epic proportions...) 

Book Review - House of Plants | Gathered Cheer blog

Now a fully fledged botanical styling duo - Caro and Rose's company Ro Co sells plants, holders and host workhops in their Tufnell Park shop, alongside their plant styling service. How awesome would it be to hire them to style up a wedding or party with all their botanical know-how? Knowing how far they've come, it was a treat to read more about how they began their journey, the story behind Ro Co and their philosophy that underpins it all. 

Book Review - House of Plants | Gathered Cheer blog / Photography © Erika Raxworthy

The book is a wonderful guide, filled with all the information you could need on caring for cacti, air plants, succulents and tropical plants - from pruning and watering to propagating and common ailments. All the guidance is clear but thorough, and I can see myself dipping in and out of the book as I learn more about the plants I have at home (and those I buy in the future). 

Alongside all the helpful hints and tips are stunning photographs taken by Erika Rax. These range from beautifully clear step-by-step shots (showing how to grow an avocado from its pit, for example), to beautiful images of plants around the home (a few of my favourites are featured in this post). As with any beautiful imagery, they really serve to bring the words to life and make all the advice so much clearer and easy to follow. I must also mention the illustrations by Alicia Galer. These are so lovely and add yet another dimension to the book.

Book Review - House of Plants | Gathered Cheer blog / Photography © Erika Raxworth

In addition to the no fuss advice that's on offer, the book also includes some simple but effective creative DIYs for readers to try. I quite fancy having a go at making my own coir and concrete plant pot, or perhaps a perfectly on trend macrame hanging planter. 

Book Review - House of Plants | Gathered Cheer blog / Photography © Erika Raxworth

A handy feature too, is the fairly long list of plant varieties that have their own information page. I immediately turned to the fiddle leaf fig page as we have our in our sitting room which seems happy enough, but I do constantly worry that I am over or under watering it. Reading clear advice on the best light, temperature, watering, feeding and repotting for it gave me some much needed reassurance. So far so good - maybe this plant is a keeper!

Book Review - House of Plants | Gathered Cheer blog / Photography © Erika Raxworth

A delight to read, this botanical book is as pretty as it is inspiring. Packed with advice on how to best encourage your plant friends to thrive, I know it'll help me as I tend to my own (ever growing) house of plants.

-x-

Copy and Photo credits //

Top photo is by Ruth for Gathered Cheer

House of Plants by Caro Langton & Rose Ray is published by Frances Lincoln (£20). All photography © Erika Raxworthy.