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Airline Blankets

Just before my Expat friends head home for the summer holidays, I thought I would share with you some of the ways that we have used the free blankets that airlines give to children on long haul flights.

My daughter made two very simple cuddly toys, a dog and a chick.  She drew a picture of her favourite animals, which we then used as a template to cut out two fabric shapes.  We pinned them, sewed them and stuffed them.  Super easy!  Afterwards we stitched on buttons and beads to give the chick eyes and a beak.

My daughter also decorated a blanket for her little cousin, Lois.  She cut out felt shapes and letters. We pinned the felt shapes onto the airline blanket and gently sewed around them using the sewing machine.  She worked especially hard to perfect this gift and was very proud to give it to her cousin.


So, my best advice for the summer is to hold onto those airline blankets!!

The bright coloured fabric makes a great substitute for felt as it’s easy to cut and sew.  In my opinion, it makes a much nicer cuddly toy than felt because it is so soft.

I find that shop bought cuddly toy stuffing is pretty pricey.  Buying a cheap pillow or cushion and using the stuffing is much less expensive and does an equally good job.

Have fun!




Displaying Keepsakes

I love a house that speaks of its inhabitants. Real homes that reflect the characters, personalities and interests of the family who live there. That being said, I struggle to enjoy clutter. I want to see and enjoy the special stuff, not lose it in a dusty pile.

A friend recently asked me for some ideas to display her son’s sporting treasures.  I couldn’t resist having a look for some clever and creative options. I found some lovely ideas and products that I would like to share with you. had this fantastic idea for creating a sporting memorabilia shadow box (A box frame that is hinged so that the front opens.  You can take out or rearrange the special belongings) The shadow box allows you to put special things on display, it protects them but they are not locked away for ever. had this great idea for a frame that acts a little like a money box. You ‘post’ tickets in the top of the frame and admire the random collection that accumulates. It’s a great way to make sure little pieces of paper don’t get lost. The glass backing means that this frame will fit in anywhere in the house, no matter what colour the walls.

Interior design website had a lovely idea of putting up a sports memorabilia shelf for displaying trophies, and attaching frames underneath for photos, certificates and tickets.


In Dubai, we are lucky enough to have team of creative framers who are happy to take on bespoke, quirky projects. It is well worth visiting

We have recently had some of our keepsakes framed, to display and also to preserve them.

Today I visited Art House with some charming old pocket watches that once belonged to my husband’s late grandfather. I can’t wait to see how Art House will preserve these treasures for us.

As well as bespoke options, I found that there are a huge range of ‘off the shelf’ products on the market for treasured belongings. Below are a couple of great products that I found on


I hope that these ideas have helped inspire you to display and celebrate your sentimental stuff!


Embarrassing Dad Jokes

Last Christmas my girls bought the Very Embarrassing Book of Dad’s Jokes by Ian Allen for their own very embarrassing Dad.  It was a really successful gift.

Embarrassing Dad

For this Fathers’ Day we have craftily D.I.Y.ed the idea and made our own joke book.  We used a pack of coloured envelopes, coloured paper, a hole punch, ribbon and a pack of pens.  It was very easy and good fun to make.

If you need some inspiration, try the knock knock jokes on

Alternatively, you could make a book of Peace and Quiet vouchers for Dad’s to cash in as required


Home Made Pinatas

Why spend money on something that children will only smash up?

Here are some of our home made pinatas.


This one was made from a cereal box, masking tape, a couple of layers of paper mache and a lick of paint.


This piñata was made from a couple of boxes, a few loo rolls, masking tape, paper mache, a lick of paint, a bit of fabric and string.

Piñata (3)

This Spy Party Sweet Bomb was made by papier mache-ing around a balloon.  The handle was made from pipe cleaners.

Piñata (1)


Airline Eye Masks

I love the eye masks that airlines give out to passengers… for free.

I had a poorly, home-from-school girl the other week.  Here’s what we did with some felt and fabric glue.