Ginger Bisquite

Lifestyle, DIY, Family & Food

Personalising a playhouse #mywaltonsplayhouse

August 31, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

waltons playhouse challengeOver the next few weeks they’ll be plenty of playhouse updates, as I’ve taken up the Waltons Playhouse Challenge, to decorate a playhouse for just £50.

You may have noticed from my media feeds that I have been going a little playhouse crazy and now you know why.  (Not that I ever need any more of an excuse to while away many an hour on Pinterest.)  This happens to be the second playhouse I’ve painted in the last few months, as we recently bought and assembled one for Nye’s pre school.   Thankfully this time, I have the pleasure of keeping the playhouse though.

After already painting a cute cottage playhouse for Pre School, I wanted to do something totally different for our garden.  So, in the end we decided to go for a beach hut theme.  I have already had so much fun, thinking up thrifty ideas and you can see an amalgamation of all my plans and inspiration on my Playhouse Beach Hut board below.

Follow Ginger Bisquite’s board playhouse beach hut on Pinterest.

Making a start

I learnt from my previous playhouse painting experience that once the paint is dry it develops a slightly plastic quality which means once you’ve started painting you can’t easily paint over the top.  So personally I start with the painting, especially any specific design work I want to include.

To go with my beach hut theme, I decided to paint an anchor onto the front of the playhouse.  To do this I simply found a simple anchor clip art, then enlarged it to fit on one side of A4.  I then held this in place and used a biro to trace round the outline, leaving a clear mark on the surface of the wood.  Once completed, I could then fill in the outlined shape with my paint.

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Once the anchor section was done, I continued to paint the other panels in cream.  I’ve used a lot of garden paint this year but discovered when researching colours that, B&Q, Homebase and Wickes now do their own brand of garden paint which is cheaper than the normal brands.  We already had a little blue paint left, but I bought the cream from Wickes for £15.99.  I’ve now painted the whole house, and only have touch ups to do, and 2.5litres has been the perfect amount to do two coats all over.

You can now see the progress I have made so far, with the blue and white colours coming together and the anchor taking shape.  Another thing I learnt from the last playhouse is that there is sticky back plastic on the windows so there’s no need to worry about neat edges as they will clean up perfectly when it’s all finished.

And finally here’s a quick breakdown of what I’ve spent so far.  My next challenge is to find as much sand as possible to create a beach for the front and start making the finishing touches that will bring it all together, including a palette sofa, curtains, DIY beach mobile and a fishing net hack.

gb.waltonsplayhouse. (4 of 6)-2.text.

Disclosure: Post in collaboration with Waltons, all thoughts, words and opinions my own.

Back to Pre School with Debenhams

August 30, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 1 Comment

Nye starts back at Pre School next week.  I’m kind of excited, I like the feeling of prepping for a new start.  However, I’m not really looking forward to Neil returning to work as September rolls on in. It’s been a lovely six weeks together, full of trips to family and friends, then topped off by our holiday to the Isle of Wight.
This weekend we’re busy trying to get all the odd jobs around the house done whilst we have a few more days.  I’m busy packing bags, and filling the fridge with things suitable for a packed lunch.  I saw this Debenhams back to school competition on Mellow Mummy‘s blog and loved the idea of picking things which would be perfect for as a Back to School kit.  I was just talking to a friend today who was saying she had picked out a pre school uniform set, ready for Pre School’s paint and mud.

back to school with debenhams

We started by looking at T-shirts, there were so many to choose from that it was really hard but Nye really loved the stripes on this Gruffalo one, paired with the green trousers its fun, comfy and practical as they won’t show up dirty marks.

And for Nye, a perfect Back to School look has to include layers to put on and off depending on the weather.  Waterproof overalls to keep dry outside, and then wellies that are easy to pull on and off. Then we finished off the look with a spare hoodie to throw on and a very cute pair of converse, perfect for exploring indoors.

Got any back to school staples? Why not have a go at designing your perfect back to school outfit too.  You can enter on Brummy Mummy or Mellow Mummy until 31st August.

Our First Family Holiday in the Isle of Wight

August 28, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

first family holiday
Do you remember the first family holiday you took?

Our first family holiday after Nye was born, was to Center Parcs when he was just one year old.  It seems like such a long time ago now, but it was memorable in so many ways.

I remember the build up, once the booking was confirmed, dreaming about all the things we’d do together, relaxing nights around the fire and days splashing about in the pool.  Even though it was January I remember the crisp weather that the beginning of the year brings and how lovely it was just to get away for a few days.

Roll on a year and we are preparing to take our first family holiday with Evie.  She will be 9 months old as we venture to the ever so exotic Isle of Wight. (We’re a tad behind on the whole passport ordering).

How to travel in the car with under 3′s.

  • When we travel we tend to plan things so that the majority of the journey is taken up with the children’s naps.  It’s only an hour and a half to Southampton ferry port from our house, so as long as we leave after the children have had a busy morning we should be close to stopping.
  • We then factor in some out of car time, before the second leg.  Food, movement and fresh air all seem to help!  Now Nye is older, when he does wake up we can usually get by, taking song requests and just chatting about what we can see out of the window.
  • We also like to pack a small bag with a colouring book, crayons and snacks for when we are travelling with our toddler.  This also works well in cafe’s and restaurants to keep them entertained.  We like Pink Lining ones, especially the exceedingly cute Robbie the Robot Mini Rucksacks which are the perfect lining

Family Activities in the Isle of Wight

  • Dinosaur Isle
  • Blackgang Chine
  • The Chocolate Apothecary, Ryde
  • The Garlic Farm, Newchurch
  • Catch, Fish and Chip Shop, Yarmouth
  • Ventnor Haven Fishery
  • Stockbridge Farm Shop, PO36 0QA

 Anyone got any tips for things to do with a 9 month old and a 2 1/2 year old in the Isle of Wight?

Post in collaboration with Pink Lining, all thoughts words and opinions my own.

Vida Sensor Bin Review

August 22, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 1 Comment

vida sensor bin

I was recently sent the Vida Sensor Bin to Review.  I know you may well be thinking. “Really we need to hear about your bin!?”  But, hang on in there, this is a pretty cool bin, and a gadget that does come in handy.

Things I like about the Vida Sensor Bin:

  • The bin itself holds 50L so it’s got enough space for a family of 4 to fill in a week, if you are good recyclers.
  • The automatic opening works well and keeps the bin lid free of dirty fingerprints and helps you avoid touching the bin.
  • It comes with a removable inner bucket which you can take out to the bin, and stops you having to carry bin bags through the house.
  • It was also a good choice for us because all the appliances in our kitchen are black so it fits in well with the decor.

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The only points to consider are that the bin requires 4 x D type batteries, and if you overfill it, it is difficult to get the bin bag out.  We managed to pick the batteries up at the supermarket pretty easily and overall are really happy with it’s usability.

Disclosure:  I was sent to bin free of charge for the purpose of this review, all thoughts, words and photography my (1 of 1)-7

A new look bedroom

August 21, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

new look bedroom
Our bedroom has looked like the definition of chaos for far too long. After moving into our house last October, whilst heavily pregnant, our bedroom became the house dumping ground. Piles of clean washing waiting to be folded, unopened packing boxes, baby paraphanlia and anything else going.

When the beginning of the summer holiday rolled around, we asked whether Neil’s parents could look after Nye for the weekend.  We were then able to  crack on with choosing bedroom decor and then getting to it.

With no real plans, we headed into the shops to see what was there and headed out of TK Maxx, B&Q and Ikea, laden with bits and bobs.  We returned home, emptied our wardrobes and tried to move them to the other side of the room, only to discover that our carpet is ‘fitted’ around them. Well, with all the clothes piled high on our bed, it at least gave us a chance to have a good clear out.

In the end we went for a grey/purpley/blue, from dulux called, Pressed Thistle and matched it with a vibrant limey green.  We spotted the  colour combination when we picked up some glazed door handles in TK Maxx, (but these are yet to make it into the bedroom.)  We did however, use them to ‘colour match’ some eggshell paint which I have used to repaint our mirror and add a vibrant shot to a plain plant pot.

The lighting has also been a big change, finally bringing in some mood lighting with the lights from Cable & Cotton creating a tranquil and peaceful glow with their muted colour palette.

We’re not quite 100% there yet but it’s look a lot better than the previous dirty white walls and cream curtains.  I’ve still some photos to upload of the newly repainted mirror and plant pot for a start.  But *sigh* just a bit of a de-clutter and paint makes SO much difference.

Shopping List:

Wardrobe Storage Boxes – Ikea
Emulsion Paint – B&Q
Vase – C/O Habitat
FloralBed Linen – Ikea
Spotty Bed Spread – TK Maxx
Curtains – John Lewis (place holders from our old house)
String Lighting – Glow C/O Cable and Cotton

Living Arrows 31 + 32/52

August 8, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 2 Comments

My two little monkeys messing around as usual.  More and more you are able to play games together, and I just love the way you say ‘Evie Funeee’ and giggle.  On this occasion, we were bouncing on the bed and singing songs.  I do worry that someone will get hurt but the more you bounce the more Evie laughs.  These silly moments fill our days as I try to get jobs done.aag. (1 of 1)eag. (1 of 1)A family wedding created lots of beautiful photo opportunities in the lovely Lincolnshire countryside.  We were so proud of how well behaved you both were, which made for a relaxed weekend. (Helped enormously by the fact that you, my little 2 and a half year old fell asleep on my lap before the bride even arrived!)  It was a tad windy, and your hair in this photo makes me (1 of 1) (1 of 1)Darling Evie, oh boy are you finding your feet and your voice and basically everything! You crawl, pull up, sit up, chatter and are even starting to throw strops.   Aside from that you are happy and busy and growing into a child in front of my eyes. Those hairs on your head grow ever longer, they are strawberry blonde when they catch the light.

living arrows

Reorganising a cluttered wardrobe

August 6, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

 reorganising a cluttered wardrobe

Does your bedroom look like this? Oh good, maybe I’m not the only one then!

I am pleased to say we are finally decorating our bedroom and the first job was to clear out the wardrobes.  Here are my top tips for doing the same, and some great storage and shelving ideas for how to keep it tidy.

Step 1.

Remove everything from your wardrobes and sort through it into piles. Of the stuff you don’t want, you probably don’t just want to throw it all in the bin.  Some of my stuff was too small, some I didn’t like it and some had holes in it. To sort through it efficiently I made 4 piles.

  • Sell (Ebay, Car boot etc.)
  • Give to a charity shop
  • Stuff to give to rag bag collection (i.e not good enough for charity shop, stains, holes etc.)
  • Rubbish

I suggest you have a think about this before you start so that you are not having to go through clothes multiple times.  Divide in advance and remember anything you have to sell won’t be leaving the house as quickly as you might like as it takes time to list and sell things.  Try to be as brutal as you can.  If you find things you had forgotten you even owned then you probably have too much stuff.

Step 2.

Think about what you have left.
What do you need to access on a regular basis?
Are there things that regularly end up on the floor?
Are the spaces in your wardrobe well divided?
Can you always find what you are looking for?

Once you have answered these questions you can work out what extra storage you might need to help solve these problems.

My problem areas:

  • Clothes falling off shelf onto wardrobe floor
  • Can’t reach back of shelf
  • Space to organise scarves

For us, our wardrobes have 1 large shelf and a hanging rail, so it was helpful to divide the spaces up into smaller areas.  Interestingly, although my husband and I have the same wardrobe, we each did this differently to suit our own use.  I think this shows how there are lots of different options and that everyone uses space differently.

To divide up my space I used three baskets to divide up the top shelf, into an area for T-shirts, Jumpers and Cardigans, and skirts and shorts.  Then an accessory hanger for scarves and necklaces to keep them all in one place.

3 of the best storage baskets
Step 3
PUT IT AWAYPut away what’s left, thinking about what you need and use on a daily basis. For example, I like to have pajamas in the most accessible place so I can grab them as I drag myself into bed exhausted each night!

Disclosure: Post in collaboration with homebase, all thoughts, words and opinions my own.


Wet Room Ideas for a Small Bathroom

August 4, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

wet room ideas

A few weeks ago I accidentally flooded our bathroom.

After a long day, I started running a bath as soon as the children were tucked into bed for the night.  Before I knew it, I heard a dripping sound in our hallway and suddenly it dawned on me.  I chased up the stairs, observing the water seeping through every available crevice in the bathroom floor.  It was totally careless, but a symptom of family life.  There is so much to get done and the last thing on my mind is some R&R.  So, if our bathroom didn’t need a rethink before, it certainly does now!

In this hot weather, thankfully it only took a few days to dry out, but we are left with a few water marks here and there and the knowledge that it could easily happen again.  This is why the idea of a wet room seems so appealing, not having to worry about the splashes from the bath and shower on a day to day basis and avoiding the drama of a big accident.

With this in mind, here are my wet room ideas for a small bathroom:

Creating Space Our bathroom is small like most bathrooms, with just enough room for a bath, a sink and a toilet.  The great thing about a wet room from My Bathrooms UK is that you are using all the space you have. No confined shower cubicles, to take up yet more space or need to worry about wonky walls and cramped corners.

A sense of luxury I’ve stayed in some lovely hotels and the best of them have had beautiful wet rooms, giving you something extra special for while you’re away.  But why should a wet room only be for a special occasion, especially as a wet room is practical too.   To top the luxury look off you’ll need some accessories, starting with some thick and fluffy towels.  I love the beautiful quality and simplicity of The White Company‘s collection.

A modern design We’ve all had such similar bathrooms for such a long time, a few tiles, the same old sanitary wear.  A wet room gives you the chance to create a striking space.  They give a truly modern streamlined look that should outlast more traditional styles and add value to your house.

Follow Ginger Bisquite’s board Wet Room Ideas on Pinterest.

p.s If you’re interested in some more home inspiration, you can take a peek at our living room feature wall.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post, all thoughts words and opinions are my own.

Living Arrows 30/52

July 28, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

living arrowsThose two big blue eyes are commented on every day when we go out.  You are intrigued by the world, always watching, eyes wide open.  Forever learning and analysing how things work and drawing us in. You are using your hands to manipulate things, shaking, grabbing and banging things together and this week I even let you lick the spoon.  You are a sneaky, determined one, you want to stay up and party late into the night, especially when away from home.  Thankfully we are back now and you are settling back into some sort of bed time routine.eag.livingarrows.30.52 (1 of 1)aag.livingarrows.30.52 (1 of 1)A few days away from home gave us an opportunity to explore grandad’s farm yard, just like I did when I was your age.  Throwing stones, climbing in trailers and jumping up and down just for the hell of it.  Your face just lit up when you got a chance to sit in grandad’s teleporter and turn the big wheel and survey the views from on high.

living arrows

living arrows 28 & 29/52

July 21, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 2 Comments

living arrowsYour determination and spirit make me so proud.  You have a thirst for learning, taking everything in with all your senses, you do nothing by halves.  You can pull up to standing and drag yourself across a room, just with the strength in your arms.  It was a bit of a killer last week, as you have only taken cat naps before wanting to explore more.  You fall asleep in my arms full to the brim with milk, I wait and carefully transplant you to your cot before I exhale.  Then, as I quietly race down the stairs and turn to the kitchen, I place my fingers on the kettle. I hear your call and return back to my place on the sofa where you promptly fall asleep, I remain stuck underneath you.  Sometimes it makes me frustrated, there are just so many things to be done, but other times I just stare down at you knowing that tomorrow your hair will be longer, your eyes will be bigger and I won’t be able to get yesterday arrows.28 (1 of 1)-3living arrowsWe laugh daily at your theatrical nature, recounting your version of events with your eyes, words and body.  I cherish our little chats, especially as you start to remember friends and family and understanding the passing of time.  I told you the story of little red riding hood from my memory a few weeks ago and you often ask ‘story mummy’.  The story has changed quite a lot now, but the current version involves Nye, who is bringing a buzzby cake to his grandma, the wolf steals it, Grandad says ‘shoo away wolf’, then he says sorry and has tea and cake. When not chatting, you are ‘making cakes’ in the mud outside, offering out stones and rolling out play dough.  It’s safe to say you like cake!
aag.livingarrows. (1 of 1)Water plays a major part in our life, it is always such a great way of keeping you happy.  You make up your own games and sing songs, making up tunes and words if you can’t quite remember them.  You love to splash yourself and shock yourself with the cold water, screaming out with joy.  Today you sang humpty dumpty like we do at your swimming lessons and jumped into the bucket.  You so want to splash that you jump in when you sing ‘wall’ because you can’t wait for the ‘fall’.  eag.livingarrows. (1 of 1)-2A blissful moment of silence in what has been an exhausting week.  I barely dared to press the shutter to capture you,  terrified that I would disturb you.  You continue to grow up, strong, enquiring and happy (when you’re not causing havoc by refusing to settle in your cot).  You are most vocal at the dinner table.  When the food runs out, or others are eating without you, you crumple your nose up and inhale and exhale deeply to show your dissatisfaction with the situation.  You do it so often now that Nye does impressions of you, laughing to himself saying ‘Evie talking’.

living arrows