Miss Alice’s Nursery Tour: The Result of the Nesting Phase

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In pregnancy there are so many phases that you go through as the trimesters tick on – the sickness phase, the uncontrollable-rage-followed-by-uncontrollable-sobbing phase, the please-don't-leave-me-I-just-want-to-be-cuddled clingy phase to name a few fun memories. These are all amplified further by the constant surge of hormones and lack of sleep that comes from being the size and density of an Orca whale with a small human being bouncing about on your insides as if they were their own personal trampolines. Yet one of the more enjoyable phases is the Nesting Phase. The phase that have all the partners try to run away from, as their weekends get absorbed into an endless list of DIY demands from their future child's incubator. My nesting phase seemed to kick in from the moment we moved into our new house when I was two months pregnant and I wanted the entire house to be re-designed in preparation for Alice's arrival. Granted, at that point it was more directed at re-modelling the kitchen and bathroom, where I would climb onto the kitchen sides, precariously balanced to paint cupboards as my husband looked on in horror. By the time we had reached the end of my second trimester, all I could think about was getting the nursery sorted, and my Pinterest board began to get more and more filled with ideas, with the months remaining until bub came out spent bringing these ideas to life. With the nursery, we chose a soft grey so that the room was quite neutral for when we planned to move house in future and also allowing me to create whatever colour scheme I would like for the room without it clashing against the walls.

Furniture: The main pieces of furniture in the nursery are actually antiques from my grandmother's house that I upcycled once on maternity leave. The chest of drawers and the miniature wardrobe were originally a dark oak, but as I decided the colour scheme for the nursery to be grey, pink, white and gold, that wouldn't really fit with it. Instead, I painted the main frames of the furniture white with the doors and drawers then painted in Champagne Pink for a pop of colour (with some much needed assistance from my parents). I also added some cute white button handles from Amazon to tie it all together. What I loved about upcycling these pieces of furniture (although I cursed them constantly whilst doing it with a large beach ball attached to the front of me, covered in paint and sweating from the manual labour my body is clearly not designed for), was that it means my grandmother, who passed away, has been incorporated into Alice's living space. Similarly, the rocking Ikea chair was my grandmother's as well (though I'm in the process of convincing the husband to upgrade it to a wingback armchair… You know, to help support my back with feeding and such, not at all because it's pretty and I want it).

Cotbed: I really loved the Sleigh style of cotbeds that seemed to be about when we were nursery shopping, and I wanted a cotbed rather than just a cot so that it would last longer (especially as she's sleeping in our room in her Next To Me until she either A) cannot fit in it anymore or B) when I can actually stand being separated from her). We found this one in John Lewis and it ticked all our criteria of having storage underneath, different heights for the mattress, and protected slotted sides that Alice couldn't gnaw her way through during teething. The rabbit bedsheets and blanket are also from John Lewis (Who could not want rabbit prints?!). The pillows are one of the many ways that I am subliminally indoctrinating Alice into the world of Disney and Harry Potter.

Changing Area/Bookcases: Both my husband and I grew up loving to read, and this was something that we both really wanted to do with Alice, so it was a no-brainer to have a corner of her room dedicated to housing all the books we loved as children and a few more bought just for her. The shelves are actually photo ledges from Ikea that meant I could stock more books on them than with regular bookshelves. We also had it put near the changing area so that we can easily reach up and grab one quickly to distract her when she begins to get grumpy with having her nappy changed. One of her favourites at the moment is just looking at her black and white animal book, particularly the elephant who always seems to make her smile. I also have two crinkly toys from the Sleepyhead Arch that I hang off the shelves for her to look at as she loves the sound they make when squeezed and can normally trick her out of a full blown temper tantrum. The changing mat itself is a 101 Dalmatian design with an Aden + Anais Winnie The Pooh Swaddle over the top so when she has her usual poonados or stress peeing, I can quickly change the muslin without having to wash the entire thing down.

Clothing Rail: Thanks to Pinterest tips, the rails where I hang up most of Alice's dresses for her age range are actually made from Ikea spice racks turned upside down. They did come in pine, but I painted the shelves white with the rails in the same champagne pink that the chest of drawers and wardrobe are. These are one of my favourite parts of her nursery as it has two uses: 1) to make it easy to grab her dresses, t-shirts or cardigans for the day without having to fight through the wardrobe and all the different sizes in there (it's like the wardrobe to Narnia with the sheer amount of clothing in there), and 2) to display all of her soft toys above it.

Window Sill: I spent hours trawling the web trying to find curtains that would match the colour scheme of her room whilst having a black out lining and not costing the earth. Finally I found these beauties at Dunelm and loved the floral ditsy pattern that it used in a patchwork design. On the windowsill itself, I have Alice's memory boxes that are filled with keepsakes from our baby shower where we had our friends write letters to her and mementos from Alice's first few months such as her newborn going home outfit and newspapers from the day she was born. There's also some Disney artwork in frames, including the movie poster of Alice in Wonderland, and a large fluffy dog that looks like my parents' Golden Retriever who Alice adores followed by a cuddly Nemo (Yep, we are still regularly watching Finding Dory, not getting sick of it at all…). The newest addition to the window sill is Alice's own copy of the 20th Anniversary re-print of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone that was bought for her by one of her godmothers in celebration of the year she was born. It is the Gryffindor design, but we are going to wait until she is older and can be sorted by the Hat before fully deciding what House she belongs to.

Artwork & Decor: I always knew I wanted to fill her room with prints and artwork that would surround her with positive messages. The four prints above her cotbed I designed & printed myself with quotes from Disney and Harry Potter that had a significance to us (such as the quote from the song Baby Mine as I used to sing this to her when she was in utero). I also created the pink and gold dot garland that hangs above it, to add a bit more colour to the wall. The Alice in Wonderland canvas is a Thomas Kinkade painting that my parents bought Alice as a welcome home present, and it's one of my favourite pieces in the room. There are two pieces from Letterbox Lane bought by one of my best friends, one to inspire Alice to 'Dream Big' and the other being my favourite Roald Dahl quote from The Twits. There is also a large canvas of the original Cinderella movie poster and a 'Happily Ever After' sign that we used at our wedding. In terms of toys, we have some owls and a Pygmy Puff from Harry Potter watching over her, Paddington Bear, some well-loved Disney figures (including a figurine of Marie bought by my best friend/her Auntie and uncle) and some more rabbits. There are also a couple of penguins (not including the lifesize emperor penguin that we have in our room) as my husband loves penguins and Alice seems to have inherited this fascination with them as well.

S.

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