Messy Play for Matilda Mae – Minecraft gem art

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a Messy Play for Matilda Mae activity – and just as long since we’ve done one! Today, with two weeks left of the “Summer” holidays and flagging slightly on this grey day, we’re indoors painting and gluing, using up the left over gems from the crafting table at Gabi’s Minecraft Birthday Party.

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We don’t have a lot of paints left, mostly just green, so the minecraft theme comes in handy.

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Gabi is using the plastic “gems” which we bought from Oscar’s Den party shop – but I’m pretty sure you can get from most art shops – to label different blocks and ores found in minecraft (his favourite game in the world which he plays, talks, dreams about non-stop).

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We also love these foam letters from London Art shop on the Finchley 5They’re not cheap but they’re really durable and amazing for home-made cards. The boys love them and have used them for my mother’s day and birthday cards (courtesy of Daddy) and school teacher’s end of year cards. They do shapes too.

I just left them for 15 minutes unattended to write this blog, working away happily – or so I thought – and have just gone back in to find Gabi has drawn on himself, albeit very beautifully, in permanent pen…

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and Luci has done this… Oh God.

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So, I guess our next Messy Play activity will be a little more structured and supervised. But at least it’s kept them quiet for a while. Right, I’m off out to buy more paint… Click on the badge below to read more about Messy Play for Matilda Mae and link up your own messy play posts!



Messy play for Matilda Mae – Butterfly Sun-catchers


I’m not sure how messy this was, but we definitely thought of Matilda Mae while making them! I like to think she’s in not only the rain but the sun shining on us and the first time I ever played the violin in her name, at a Classical Babies concert, a huge ray of sun shone through the stained-glass window of the church we were playing in, lighting up only my music stand and only for the movement that I dedicated to her, before disappearing for the rest of the concert at the last line of the piece. I felt that she was coming to say hello and I do associate her with sunshine still now. So stained-glass effect, beautiful, coloured sun-catcher butterflies just had Baby Tilda written all over them for me!

I saw this idea on pinterest yesterday and it’s not like me to actually do any of the things I pin so I feel pretty proud of myself! I’m also proud of myself because today is not going very well, parenting-wise and I need a break from my kids so bad! – just for a couple of hours – so brownie points to me for persevering with trying to turn a bad day good (if only to balance out the points I lost by shouting and drinking wine before 5pm…)

The idea itself is pretty simple but some of the steps are quite fiddly to execute, especially cutting out the holes in the template. I don’t know what I was thinking when I imagined Lucian would be joining in with this! We put Peppa Pig on for him to watch and he happily left us to it. So Gabs and I got on with it. To start I printed, onto the black card, the butterfly template from and drew around the outline in white pencil so Gabi could see well enough to cut it out himself (with his cute giraffe safety scissors which he loves!)

Apart from clipping the top off one of the wings and me doing the antennae for him I thought he did a great job. While I was cutting mine he got bored and drew around one of the other templates with the white pencil, also pretty neatly for a three year old.


Then he had to hand over to me to use the craft knife and the cutting board. This was the fiddly, slightly time-consuming bit. Gabs got bored and watched TV. I wasn’t amazing at this to start with (and figured it best to start with his so it merged better with his wobblier outline – it did look like a three year old did it to begin with!) but by the time I got to mine I’d got steadier.


The most fun part, from Gabs’ point of view was putting the glue on the template and sticking the strips of coloured tissue paper on in a rainbow-pattern. Then we had to wait patiently for the glue to dry which gave him time to get sent to bed for more naughtiness, whatever it was… there have been that many things today, I can’t remember.

After dinner, probably the best bit… we cut round the butterfly outline to get rid of the excess tissue paper and voilà: beautiful butterflies!! Gabs was delighted with them, especially once we strung them up to hang and twirl at the window and catch what little light there is today. Can’t wait to see them when the sun comes out, hopefully tomorrow!


Coffee Art in Cornwall

One of my favourite things about holidays at my parents’ in Cornwall is the ritual of one my Dad’s coffees. Nobody makes a cappuccino like my Dad. He has his own coffee grinder, experiments with different beans etc. and really takes his time over each one. He’d never be able to run a coffee shop at that pace, but that’s what makes each cup special! He’s totally Zen about it.

The best thing about his coffees, apart from the taste – and the fact I get to drink each one after a lie-in, with my feet up on the sun-trap balcony looking out to the hills and the sea – is wondering what coffee art I’m going to get. Sometimes it’s a picture, sometimes my name, a nickname or an in-joke. Here are a few below:

Hello London!

So we’re back from Paris and I have to say, I didn’t miss the boys like I thought I would! I feel so guilty about that but it’s like the second I tasted a bit of sleep and that gorgeous, melting feeling of “free-arms” I forgot all about them….Is that terrible?! My God, I enjoyed it so much, I must have needed it. The fact that it snowed and so we did very little except walk a bit, eat and drink in little brasseries (wine for lunch followed by a nap, anyone??) made it even more perfect and we agreed next time we don’t need to go anywhere as glamorous but just out of London a bit to a spa hotel where we can hole ourselves up in a room with a DVD player, a big bed and lots of alcohol! I would feel guilty about being so lazy and uncultured in my holiday-ing style, but we are violinists and I’m studying acting so I think that’s enough Art anyway. If I was really going away to enrich my normal life somehow, I ought to go to a maths camp or something.

It was LOVELY to come home to my two boys though. Look what greeted us!



They had a wonderful time with Nana Pip and Grandad. They were well slept, well behaved (the boys too :P) ALL my washing was done and the place was clean and dinner was cooking. My Mum is unbelievable and I don’t deserve her at all.

It’s lovely to be back. Paris was lovely, but home is better.