"Reach for the sky, it's not as high as it seems.
Just follow your heart, go as far as your dreams..."
Ever since John and I first spoke about having children, I began daydreaming of how I would recreate the wonderful childhood that my brother and I were so very fortunate to have. When I say fortunate I don't mean that we were rich but our home was full to the brim of positivity & optimism, imagination, creativity, fun and most important of all... love.
We would be at our happiest when playing out in the street pretending to be this, that or the other. Kyle a Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtle, me a singer/dancer in a twirly skirt with a repertoire of only two Belinda Carlisle songs. The highlight of our weekend would be going to "Suzy's" (a cafe in the next town) for soup and a roll with Dad, followed by a short walk to Woolworth's for pick 'n' mix and a Top10 Music Video VHS (this was before the days of TMF and The Hits), while Mum spent an hour or two getting the house back to immaculate... and immaculate it was! We'd return home to the smell of polish and Shake 'n' Vac and demolish our chocolate jazzies and roll-up bubble tape sat in front of Prefab Sprout singing about hotdogs and jumping frogs. Just remembering these little things gives me a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy!
We discovered the oh so exciting news that we were expecting back in July 2014, since then it's been so important to John and I that those five things are apparent in all aspects of our little one's childhood and so we thought– where better to introduce them than the nursery?
Positivity & Optimism
When we began work on the small box room we were half way through an uncertain/rocky pregnancy. One thing that helped get us through the 9 months was not finding out whether our baby was to be a girl or a boy and despite endless scans and so many did-the-sonographer-just-give-something-away-then moments, we managed to keep it a surprise, right up until that final push! So we wanted to decorate the nursery fairly neutral.
The thing is, John and I aren't particularly neutral people - we like colour. Not loads of it, just splashes here and there. We're not really fond of creams and the shades of brown that are typically your not-finding-out colours of choice in many baby stores. We'd actually rather everything be completely white than have a colour scheme of cream and taupe in a room. We like to aim for fresh and uplifting.
One day we were compiling a playlist of birthing songs that are calming and optimistic with a general theme of childhood - for personal reasons it was so important to us that our little one was surrounded by positivity from the moment he/she was born. John added Randy Newman's "You've got a friend in me" from Toy Story, which made us both think... a wall of fluffy white clouds against a clear blue sky! And from that moment, we had a theme!
I drew and cut out a few simple cloud shapes from large pieces of card and we stencilled through them with a large sponge to apply white and also a very pale blue paint in areas (for added depth). It all started to come together. I added sugary lemon raindrops beneath a few of the clouds (which I would later add another colour to once the baby was born). I like to think that even raindrops can be of the happy & fun kind.
We painted adjoining walls in white to begin with, but have since changed these to a very pale pink from the Dulux Light and Space range to give the feeling of added space in what is essentially a very small room.
I believe that imagination is the best toy a child can have and how better to encourage imagination than through books? It was so important that there was a cosy chair that we could snuggle up on for story time, so our John Lewis Dylan armchair that we originally had in our living room was brought back out of the garage and into the nursery. I found a huge heavy vintage crocheted blanket on eBay to drape over the chair (which is actually a bright mustard colour, but you wouldn't know!) and we continued the cloud theme through the shape of the cot and furniture that we chose. All have scalloped edges that add to the soft, dream-like feel of the room. The curtains were from IKEA and fit perfect, we draw both to one side to add extra volume... they're sheer but full and I think they really add to the whole marshmallowy loveliness of the room!
We hung a little mini bucket that we found in a craft shop from a left over paper lantern from our wedding decor, popped a couple of bears in it and suddenly we had a hot air balloon. I've since seen that similar light fittings are available to buy, I did consider updating it, but I love that we made this one and I like the simplicity of it too.
It wouldn't be a room in my home if it didn't have a pom pom of sorts in it... whether the of the paper or wool or knitted variety, I just LOVE pom moms! The obsession started around the time we were planning our wedding (I'm digressing again, so I'll tell you more about that some other time). Anyway, there were pom poms present at little M's first birthday (of course!) and so I kept two aside to pop up in the corner of her room.
Pretty bunting hangs from the window - the paper letters came inside a beautiful card from my friend Deborah and the cotton flags were a beautiful gift for Milly's first birthday from her friend Arthur (handmade by his lovely mummy Laura). I do love a bit of bunting - it's so cheerful don't you think?!
A great big soft bear that my Mum and Dad gave to me for passing my 11+ sits happily in the corner of the room. He was missing stuffing from his right arm (my pet hamster had stolen it to use as bedding in 1998!) so my Mum added some new wadding and made him a lovely patch with stitching to match his eyebrows and belly button. He looks good as new.
The three bears in the hot air balloon had also been in our family for many years and were given a little clean and pretty new bows.
I think we've achieved what we set out to create. A soft, cosy, tactile space that also feels light, fresh and airy. It's my favourite room in our home and I've really enjoyed sharing it with you - I hope you've enjoyed reading. I'd also love to show you how we've made the most of our space and storage, plus some more IKEA hacks that we've done in this room... but I will save that for another day.
I hope you have a lovely weekend!
Love Mika x