29 June 2015

Styled Canvas Challenge: Breakfast in Bed

Would you look at that? Almost July already, which means it has been nearly 30 days since I first started umming and ahhing over whether to take part in Styled Canvas's new monthly styling challenge. You already know that I love watching home makeover shows like The Block franchise and if you follow me on Instagram, you'll see that I've enjoyed putting together a few scenes for the 7 vignettes series that is run by Jen from Interiors Addict. One of the criteria for this particular styling challenge was to borrow at least three items from businesses, friends or acquaintances to use in the photos. Part of me was excited about the concept (I even had a list of places here in Wellington to approach) but most of me was intimidated by the thought. Would homewares stores be happy to lend me some of their products? Expensive products. To little old me. A jandal-wearing, messy up-do non-stylist driving a car with a dent in it. Would I have to wear makeup to go and see them? Would I have to hide the car? It was too much for me to cope with. Mel's whole idea is to push people out of their comfort zones so I may be brave to approach businesses next time. Unless it's laundries, because no-one deserves to see the shambles that is where we wash our clothes. So, I was quite relieved to find that Mel had relaxed her criteria which made the decision easier to join in for this month's Breakfast in Bed theme with items I already own or borrowed from other parts of the house.
The theme Breakfast in Bed has been taken to mean breakfast pillows, in part because I wanted to do something a little different from a scene of enjoying breakfast in bed. I tend not to have hot drinks anyway so this probably a better reflection of what a relaxing Sunday morning would look like for me. I read blogs and spend time on my own one. I have also been going through some photos and thought they'd be a good prop.
I've never shown my bedroom to you before, it's quite a personal space after all. Or in my case,  generally very untidy and just a bit grim. That charcoal duvet cover is so old and sunfaded now and really needs replacing but you'd never know in these photos. We don't usually have that many pillows on the bed either, I borrowed some from the lounge and then wrapped up another pillow from Sienna's room in some of my favourite Leanne Culy rata fabric for this photo. Photo styling hack 101.

It's quite a grey wintery day here at the moment, and there is nothing better than being snuggled up in those flannelette sheets when the weather is cold. Red is one of my favourite colours so you'll often find it sneaking in somewhere in the rooms of our home. The woven bag on the floor was a gift from my husband. It had been laying forgotten in the wardrobe and that book has been sitting on my nightstand for a while, gathering dust. My favourite item in the room is the Infratherm lamp that my husband bought me many years ago. I love industrial pieces and the warmth of timber together.
Usually, the space above our bed is empty because I am still waiting for the money fairies to deposit great lumps of cash under my pillow so we can go and buy a Julie Heffernan or Jane Mogensen artwork but here in the real world, we just put up a fabric map of Europe with packaging tape. I plan to turn that fabric into a floor cushion one day.

So, there is your little peek into my bedroom, taken from angles that hide the floral mattress base, all the cardboard boxes of children's art and old schoolbooks stored under the bed and deftly ignoring the other side of the room that looks like a student flat. Don't forget to check out the other entries for this month and maybe I have given you some courage to have a go interpreting next month's theme when it is revealed, or if you're quick you can join in for the Breakfast in Bed challenge. Entries close tomorrow.

16 June 2015

Travels of an Extraordinary Hamster

Hamster lives in the woods with his friends Mole, Snail, Hedgehog and Rabbit. When Hamster announces that he wants to visit his cousins on the moon, his woodland friends persuade him to go on a trip to the North Pole instead. What follows is a series of encounters and unlikely friendships with penguins (let's just overlook this geographical inaccuracy), a polar bear and even a whale.

Hamster is selfish and often insensitive and forthright. When I read the story with all three of my children, they immediately noticed his boorish behaviour towards his friends and understood that his inappropriateness was part of the book's appeal. In Hamster, I couldn't help but recognise one or two people I have met throughout my life, but at the same time, he is funny and my daughters and I giggled all the way through his adventures with his friends at the North Pole.
The story is told through beautiful colour illustrations offset with dialogue in speech bubbles. The chapters are short and punchy and set out in a way that would appeal to even the most reluctant of readers. In fact, we read this book in one sitting, simply because we were all eager to turn the page to look at the next series of images.
French author Astrid Desbordes has teamed up with illustrator Pauline Martin before to write an earlier book about Hamster called Reflections of a Solitary Hamster, and we will be looking that title up after falling in love with this character.

Thank you to Gecko Press for sending my family a copy of Travels of an Extraordinary Hamster to review.

Reading level: 7+
RRP: $24.99
Released: June 2015