Leo & Grace Introduces: Toddlekind - Prettier Playmats

As parents we make a lot of compromises, but I believe we shouldn´t compromise on the stylish interiors of our homes. After being disappointed with the choice available on the market, I sought to create a range of playmats that would exceed in safety and quality for baby, but also appeal to stylish parents. Our playmats deliver on practicality, beauty and safety.
— Samantha Brueckner, Toddlekind
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I could not agree more with the words of Toddlekind founder and mum of two Samantha Brueckner. I have always loved interiors, and when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was so excited at the prospect of decorating his nursery, only to be brought back down to the ground with a bump when I saw the appalling choice of decor available on the high street. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that my own home is decorated in shades of grey and inky blues, with pale natural woods and scandi-boho details. The last thing I wanted was to fill it with clashing primary colours and plastic toys.

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After many months of research, I discovered lots of small independent brands, who were filling this gap in the market. Many of these were mums and dads looking to carve out a more flexible way of working for their families. This inspired me to start my own children’s interior design business, and one of the areas of my business I am most passionate about is introducing my clients to small independent brands they wouldn’t necessarily find themselves.

I was therefore thrilled to discover Samantha Brueckner’s new baby interiors brand Toddlekind. Samantha is a British mum of two living in Germany who decided to address a gap in the market for stylish playmats and developed their Prettier Playmats - a range of playmats that fit into the beautiful design of your home.

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Samantha has poured so much of herself into her brand, from the name itself which reflects her family’s dual nationality (‘kind’ is German for child) to the style of her playmats which are inspired by both her Persian heritage and the Nordic interiors that are so popular in her home in Northern Europe.

Toddlekind playmats are made up of 60x60cm foam puzzle pieces which can be interlinked seamlessly to create exactly the right sized mat for your space. They are available in three sizes- standard 120x180cm (6 piece mat), large 180x240cm(12 piece mat) and playroom size 240x360cm (24 piece mat).

The brand launched in November 2018 with two collections: the contemporary Nordic Collection is inspired by the clean geometric lines so often seen in Scandinavian interiors, and is available in four colours: pebble, petroleum, vintage nude and neo matcha.

In contrast the Persian Collection is reminiscent of a faded shabby chic Persian rug, also available in four colours: smoke, sand, blossom and sea-spray.

Aesthetically, Toddlekind playmats will work beautifully in any family space in lieu of a rug and the beauty is that you won’t want to hide it away once your child goes to bed.

But it’s not just about style, the mats are also incredibly practical. Toddlekind have sourced non-toxic, odourless foam which has been rigorously tested by an independent laboratory in Germany to exceed EU and US safety standards. The mats provide a safe, soft and padded surface for babies learning to explore, are easy to wipe down and keep clean, and equally suitable as a softer surface for older ones to play on.

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My 2 year old daughter has balance and coordination difficulties and it gives me great peace of mind knowing that if she falls we have a soft surface to protect her. By contrast my 4 year old loves to use the mat for gymnastics practice and again it gives me comfort knowing he is doing this safely. Even I can use it for my pilates, on the rare occasion I get some precious time to myself!

I hope you all love Samantha’s designs as much as I do. You can read lots more over at www.toddlekind.com

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This blog post is a paid partnership with Toddlekind, but all words and opinions shared are very much my own.

Room Tour: Neve's Pretty Scandinavian Nursery

Take your time and invest in a good nursing chair! We bought the basic furniture and a few accessories, but the majority of accessories and artwork has come over time as I started to learn about Neve’s personality.
— Ruth, Neve's Mummy

Continuing my series of blog posts showcasing rooms designed by talented mums and dads, I’m delighted to share baby Neve’s nursery with you. This precious Scandi-inspired room was designed by her clever mummy Ruth.

What I love most is that Ruth has expertly designed a room for Neve that complements the rest of their home, without compromising on her own style and tastes. She has cleverly picked up on colours used throughout their home so that this beautiful room fits seamlessly, and she has designed a room that takes into account her own needs as well as Neve’s, something that parents often naively overlook, for example a comfortable chair to nurse in, a day bed for sleepless nights, and finer details like hanging a mobile over the changing table to keep Neve entertained.

If you love Ruth’s style as much as I do, you can see more of their beautiful home over on Instagram.

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Please introduce yourself and tell me a bit more about your family?

I'm Ruth and I live in Twickenham with my husband Alex and our 8-month-old baby girl, Neve. I'm currently on mat leave from Disney, where I've worked in various marketing roles for pretty much my whole career.  Working for Disney is a dream job, but nothing beats being a mum! This year has also given me some extra time to focus on the house, and decorating Neve's room in particular has been the highlight!

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How would you describe your home interiors style?

I'm obsessed with Scandinavian design! I love the simplicity and practicality of Scandi interiors. I have a busy mind but have found over the years that bright, simple surroundings make me feel more relaxed and calm. I also seem to be on a mission to use every shade of Farrow & Ball grey paint in our home! For Neve's nursery, I chose Dimpse as it's a delicate cool grey that made the room feel really light and happy. It wasn't my first choice though! I'd originally gone for warmer greys as I thought they'd be quite cosy, but once they were on the wall they just didn't feel right for a baby girl's nursery. It's so important to invest in tester pots!!

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What was your starting point when planning Neve’s room?

The furniture - I found the Oliver Furniture cot bed when I was scouring Pinterest and completely fell in love with it! It was quite expensive so I spent hours looking for something similar but nothing compared! Plus, the room is located in the eves and an awkward shape so I needed quite a low wardrobe and Oliver Furniture had a gorgeous matching cupboard that was a perfect fit for the space. The furniture was definitely an investment, but it's incredibly solid and well-made and will last a very long time (until she's around 9!). I then pulled together a mood board with some key accessories I found, along with my preferred colour scheme and it went from there!

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What do you love most about Neve’s room?

We also invested in a quality nursing chair and footstool from Olli Ella. It's probably my favourite thing in Neve's room. It really supports my back and makes feeding so comfortable, which has helped us have some really important bonding time over the last few months.

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What does Neve love most about her room?

Her rainbow and swan mobiles! From the day she was born, we've had her musical rainbow mobile above her changing mat and she literally smiles and giggles every time we pull the cord! It's made changing time a joy as opposed to a chore. She also loves watching the swans dance above her in her cot.

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One of the things I love most about Neve’s room is that you’ve planned a room that will last and chosen furniture that will grow with her.  Do you anticipate making any changes as she gets older?

We currently have a day bed in the room so when Neve's cot needs to extend we will remove that and replace with her longer cotbed. At that point I'd love to create a cosy reading corner with a canopy or teepee and loads of cushions.

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What advice would you give to other new mums when planning their baby’s first nursery?

Take your time and invest in a good nursing chair! We bought the basic furniture and a few accessories, but the majority of accessories and artwork has come over time as I started to learn about Neve's personality. I'm still constantly adding bits now and I love it! Pinterest's great for inspiration but Instagram is also amazing!

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Could you please share some of your favourite brands for decorating a baby’s room?

My go-to websites are The Modern Nursery, Scandiborn and Kidly. I also love Oliver Furniture for furniture; Olli Ella for nursing chairs and other cute accessories; Cam Cam Copenhagen for beautiful and really good quality accessories - from mobiles and cushions to muslins and changing mats; and Mrs Mighetto for stunning limited-edition prints.

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Room Tour: Edith and Maggie's Contemporary Heritage Rooms

Our home isn’t minimal, but it’s important to me that everything has its place.
— Helen, Edith & Maggie's Mum

Continuing my series of blog posts celebrating rooms designed by creative mums and dads, I'm delighted to share two really unique girls' rooms on the blog both designed by their talented mum Helen, wonderfully showcasing how heritage pieces such as old school desks and chairs and other unique pieces can work beautifully alongside more contemporary design. 

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Tell me more about your family and the business?

We are Helen and John Shaw and we live in a small village called Ewhurst in the Surrey Hills with our two daughters Edith (7) and Maggie (5).  Just over four years ago, we started our business Blue Ticking which is an interiors brand specialising in restoring and celebrating heritage pieces.

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We sell unique, individual, heritage pieces such as desks, chairs and storage, but also have a range of more contemporary products including peg boards and prints by brands including Wonder & Rah, Ingrid Petrie and Gayle Mansfield.

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What prompted the redecoration of your girls' rooms? 

We recently converted our loft to gain a new en-suite master bedroom, which also required us to update all of the ceilings on the floor below to bring them up to required fire safety standards.  This meant that those bedrooms also needed redecorating, so we took the opportunity to move Maggie into our old bedroom and redecorate both of the girls' rooms.

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Where did you get your ideas and inspiration for the girls' rooms?

Whilst planning our loft conversion I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and I also use Instagram a lot for our business.  I became drawn to the dark side and knew I wanted to do something quite dramatic with one of the girls' rooms.  I found an image on Pinterest that had dark blue walls with pops of neon pink and this gave me the idea for Edith's room to go for Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue on the walls, with the pink wall stickers around her bed.  

Edith has recently developed a passion for reading but she didn't really have anywhere to sit and read, so I created a book corner in her room with shelves made by husband John (the other half of Blue Ticking) to display all her books, and a Love Frankie beanbag.  Both the girls love spending time there flicking through their favourite books.

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With Maggie's room, I knew I wanted to use a half-wall painted effect but wasn't too sure on colours.  I didn't want it to be too young for her and in the end I chose Farrow and Ball Green-Blue which is a lovely soft warm colour and perfect in her south-facing room.  I knew I wanted to use the Ham Rabbit wall sticker in her room and the half-painted wall is a perfect backdrop for it.

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We already had most of their furniture so didn't change too much, but added lots of storage and places for them both to display their trinkets and treasures in a fun and stylish way.

Do you have any tips for toy storage throughout the home?

Storage is so important, our home isn't minimal but everything has its place and it's important to me to tidy everything away at the end of the day.  

We use concealed storage such as our Blue Ticking "Maggie" stools, vintage enamel pots with bespoke ticking seating pads, to hide away toys we don't particularly want to be looking at.  Edith has one in her room for her Barbie dolls and we also use one in the kitchen for their hats, scarves and gloves.  

We use fun, colourful wire baskets, pegs and wall shelves to maximise storage.  Toy storage needs to be practical and it's got to work so they can access the things they want to play with, but also know where to tidy them at the end of the day.  Both Edith and Maggie also have little boxes for all their special things.

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We absolutely love our Maggie stool, we use ours to store all the kids' shoes and it also doubles up as our naughty step!  How does Edith feel about the fact her little sister has a product named after her?

She's really not very happy about it!  She reminds me nearly every day that I still need to name something after her and I do feel guilty but it has to be the right product, it's definitely on my to-do list! 

How did your collaboration with Gayle Mansfield come about?

I'm a big fan of Gayle's work, and I wanted to add some individual prints to our shop that reflected things our girls say all the time, and that would also resonate with our customers and fit with Gayle's brand too.  We went with "Treats" and "It wasn't me" as they're favourite phrases in our house.  

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How do you achieve the right balance of modern and vintage in a kids' bedroom?

My advice would be to not overthink it.  If I love something, I go for it.  I would suggest choosing 2-3 statement heritage pieces, for example a school desk and chair and maybe a chest of drawers and then adding more modern bed linen and prints on the walls and build it up from there until you're happy with it.  

I am forever changing things around in the girls' rooms, adding new prints and moving things.  We need new carpets, and Maggie's room still hasn't got any curtains.  She also needs a bigger desk now but that's the beauty of kids' rooms you can change them up as they grow older.

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Which are your favourite brands for kids decor?

One of my favourites is Love Frankie for bedding, cushions and Edith has a bean bag from there too.  I also love This Modern Life and both of the girls have a shelf in their rooms from Molly Meg.

Thank you so much to Helen for allowing me to share Edith and Maggie's rooms.  

If you want to see more of Helen's gorgeous home including her stunning studio space, head over to her page @blueticking and if you're after any heritage pieces to give a really unique and personal touch to your child's room her website is www.blueticking.co.uk

 

Room Tour: Delilah and Orla's Vintage Scandinavian Room

I love so many different styles but I try not to jump on trends and remind myself what interior style makes me feel happy, and what suits our family home.
— Kelly, Delilah and Orla's Mum

I'm often asked where my inspiration for kids' room design comes from, and increasingly it's from social media, particularly Pinterest and Instagram.  I spend many hours looking at rooms from all around the world many of which are designed and decorated by talented mums and dads who want to create a magical space for their kids to enjoy and to create lasting memories of their childhood.  

This sparked an idea for a series of blogs in which I want to showcase some of these rooms and hopefully give you all some ideas, inspiration and the confidence to create something special for your own little ones.

The first room I'm delighted to be sharing with you is a stunning shared girls' room belonging to 5 and a half year old twins Delilah and Orla, designed by their mum Kelly who runs her own business Lala Loves Decor selling children's wall decor as well as managing @thisismyhomestyle on Instagram:

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Tell me a bit about yourself and the girls? 

I'm Kelly and I run my business Lala Loves Decor from my home in Brighton.  I have twin girls who are 5 and a half, Delilah and Orla, aka the lala girls as both of their names end in a 'la' sound. 
They are the constant source of inspiration for my brand, they have to try out everything in their room first, saying 'one each please Mama'!

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How would you describe your style when it comes to interiors? 

I love so many different styles but I try not to jump on trends and remind myself what interior style makes me feel happy, and what suits our family home.  I'm definitely influenced by Scandinavian design, but with a bit of a boho vibe and some vintage finds thrown in!  I always come back to light rooms and muted pastels. 

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What was your starting point and inspiration for the girls’ room? 

The bunk bed from made.com was the starting point, that was the first purchase, I love the mix of white with natural wood and the simple Scandi influenced design.  I became obsessed with Pinterest and created a mood board to really hone down the look of the room.  I wanted to include lots of Instagram small business finds in their room because there are so many amazing brands out there: Wonder and Rah, Never Perfect Studio, Ella and the Roo, Velveteen Babies, and Marjorie Minnie are some of my favourites.  Instagram and Pinterest were the biggest source of inspiration for the look of the room.  The more I looked at other kids' rooms the more I realised I loved Scandinavian design and vintage finds, and decided to merge the two looks.

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What was on the girls’ wish lists for their new room and do they have similar taste?

They really wanted a canopy which I managed to squeeze into the corner and they were very excited about the bunk beds!  They also requested a gold flower mirror from my shop.  They have very similar tastes but they also try and be different from each other, they'll often like the same things but will choose a different colour.

What do they love most about their room?

The canopy area.  I've added fairy lights and cushions, it's an enchanting space for them to play fairies and read stories. 

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How did you decide who has the top and bottom bunks?

They argued at first so we did a trial, they had a week each on the top and then swapped.  Delilah always wanted the top but after the first swap Orla wasn't bothered and wanted the bottom, we call it the cosy cave to sound more appealing! 

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Do you have any advice for anyone about to decorate a shared bedroom? 

Work out what kind of bed will suit the space and the children first.  If the girls bedroom had been big enough, I probably would have bought two single beds instead of bunk beds as I was concerned about them fighting over the top bunk.  Luckily for me, they have been fine and they love the bunk bed and climb in each others bed in the morning!

After the bed(s) have been chosen, work out what furniture you would like and where you think it will go.  I measured areas in their room and used masking tape on the floor to get a sense of space.  I also recommend creating some kind of mood board because it really helps to see how the room will come together.

Thank you so much to Kelly for allowing me to share Delilah and Orla's room. If you want to see more of Kelly's gorgeous home please head over to her page @thisismyhomestyle and if you're looking for gorgeous wall decor her website is www.lalalovesdecor.com 

Room Reveal: Georgia's Room

Those of you who have been following me for a little while will know that we bought our forever home last August, and have been busy making changes over the last 6 months.  It's a 5-bedroom semi-detached Victorian property and whilst the previous owners had refurbished it throughout it was a buy-to-let property so the house was crying out for some personal touches.  

We have two young children, Thomas Leo (3) and Georgia Grace (2), and since our house move was all about building a better life for them (schools, location etc.) it seemed only right that the first rooms to be completed should be their bedrooms.  I am excited to finally be able to reveal their new rooms, starting with Georgia's.

Here's the all important BEFORE photo:

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Georgia might be the smallest member of our family, and have the smallest room but she is by no means small in character.  She's incredibly strong-willed and at two she already knows what she likes and doesn't like.  She loves pandas and penguins so I should probably have gone for a monochrome room, but instead my inspiration for her room came from her beloved Maileg mouse, a present from her Granny and her room is decorated in blush pink with ivory and gold touches.

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Georgia's room is south-facing and has the most stunning light.  I searched high and low for the perfect blush pink colour for the walls, and finally found it in Edward Bulmer's Natural Paint range which is made entirely from natural ingredients, and with no nasty chemicals or plastics it was the perfect choice for a nursery.  The colour is Cuisse de Nymphe Emue and I love that it's not too pink and girly.  I then chose a wallpaper by Kate Spade called Confetti in ivory covered with gold dots which bounce the light around the room.

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Georgia will soon transition into a big girl bed but for now we've decided to keep her cot bed set, with the matching wardrobe and changing unit.  I'm not usually a fan of matchy nursery furniture but wanted to show you that it's still possible to create a gorgeous and unique nursery using high-street furniture paired with more individual accessories.  I've used soft furnishings to disguise the hard lines of the furniture.  The canopy is by Liewood and the cot bumper and cushions are by CamCam Copenhagen, both from Scandiborn.   

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The Swoon Editions chair is the perfect spot for bedtime milk and stories, the pocket String shelves house all her treasured possessions, and pride of place on the wall is her stunning Bora Miri bunny which I had customised especially for Georgia's room with gold details and gold dots on the fabric ruffle to match the wallpaper.

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Georgia is totally in love with her new room and I hope you all love it too.

Room Design:  Leo & Grace

Photography:  Siobhan H Photography 

Source List:

Paint - Edward Bulmer Natural Paint

Wallpaper - Kate Spade Confetti by Kravet

Bayswater Cotbed, Changing Unit & Wardrobe - Mothercare

Chair - Swoon Editions

Canopy - Liewood at Scandiborn

Cot Bumper & Cushions - Cam Cam Copenhagen at Scandiborn

Shelves - String at Scandiborn

Joseph Bunny Lamp - Rose in April at Bobby Rabbit

Sheepskin - IKEA

Rabbit Trophy Head - Bora Miri

Basket - Rose in April at Smallable

Quilt - Dilly Grey

Toy Cot - Small Stuff at This Modern Life

Wall Hook - Mimi'Lou at Ginger and May

Shelf Decor:

Penguin Print - Ingrid Petrie Design

Ice-Cream Garland and Cloud Hanging - Velveteen Babies

Maileg Guardian Angel Mouse in Suitcase - Maileg at Liberty London

Tea Set - Moulin Roty at Bobby Rabbit

Gold Wand and Crown - Fable Heart

Georgia Wire Name Sign - Little Cloud

Wooden Pram Decorations - Pinch Toys at Scandiborn

Wooden Cat and Bear Toys - Ella and Frederik at Sarah Bendrix Kids

Fairy Soft Toy - Alimrose at Lily and Fred

Unicorn Soft Toy - Konges Slojd at Scandiborn