How to decorate a kids play room

We moved from our beloved Dubai Marina into a new villa in the summer and decided to have a dedicated playroom for the children to play at their own content, where they could read books, play for hours and that would give them the right environment to be creative when doing their arts and crafts. It is almost complete now, but it is one of those rooms that a lot of times parents do not really know how to tackle and just ends up being a room with lots toys in it.

After recently seeing the fabulous work that Karen Wandrag of Design K had done at a friend's house, I could not resist asking her if she would agree on writing a piece for the blog on how to decorate a children's playroom. So these were Karen's suggestions:

 

A designated space in your home that kids can call their own is the ultimate enjoyment for a playroom. From the toys, to the unlimited supply of interactive games and supplies, the playroom is a sanctuary for kids!

You can definitely go all out with the design, as there are so many amazing design inspirations, however if you follow a few basic steps, by including the standard items required you can really design the most beautiful play area which are functional as well as practical.

Things to consider when planning a kid’s playroom:

  1. Firstly, create designated areas in the room:

Open Floor Area: Provide an area where they can spread out toys, roll around and have fun. Place an area carpet in this area and house larger toys adjacent in a closet where there is easy access.

Reading Area: This area can consist of a small table, chairs next to bookshelves, puzzles and other ‘quiet’ time activities. Quiet areas should have an area for colouring, craft projects or other activities that requires children to sit down.

Play Area: This area can be adjacent to the open floor space area. Small push toys and noisy activities should have toy baskets close by in which kids can access on their own.

2. I believe in starting off with neutral colours and then adding some colour with accent pieces and accessories, which always provides a more elegant, yet playful design. By coordinate matching colours to area rugs and window treatments will pull the play area together beautifully. A specific theme can also be selected and designed accordingly. The walls can be painted creatively and one wall can be done in a beautiful wall paper, so many options….

3. Sufficient storage is a must, as this will prevent the area from becoming messy easily.

4. There are so many creative design ideas, which won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and combined creatively will make a huge difference on the final room design. The colour selection and the furniture layout is also an important factor to keep in mind. Space planning is important, as this enhances the flow of the room.

For instance, the beautiful black writing board shaped as a house is such a stunning piece, which adds a beautiful feature on the wall and has practical use, and not expensive to produce.

Even a normal open storage box from IKEA can be transformed into a beautiful wall feature.

This is so easy to do by only adding yellow washi tape around it shaped as a house. Wooden storage boxes can be made with graphic stickers with castor wheels, which is movable and practical. These type of pieces really adds something unique to a space.

To add something even more special to either girl or boy’s playrooms teepee tents and the latest craze, wooden frame houses, always bring a magical element to the room. This is where the kids can just escape into their own little cocoon, to read and relax. These can be accessorised as much as you want. Garlands are an inexpensive accessory that add something playful and colourful into the room.

These beautiful kitchen areas can also be used in a playroom to provide hours of pretend play.

And you want to add some totally innovative items, how about an indoor swing or a wall climbing ladder (perhaps add a large cushion below for safety).

 

Thank you so much Karen for sharing your clever tips!!!

Karen is not just a specialist interior designer for children's spaces but also a photographer and an artist. Do visit her website Design K for more on her fabulous work!

 

 

 

 

How to get your kids to model - A tale of two brothers

 

Many mums I know, including myself, half-secretly believe their little muchkin(s) could be a model and perhaps, Mum and Dad could retire early. And why not? But with the ethnic mix that we have in Dubai, there is a serious cuteness overload and competition is fierce!

During the Kids Fashion Fest at the Dubai Mall this summer I spotted Cameron, aged 4, modelling with true personality, walking and posing with a real model attitude, all whilst charming the audience as he played Peekaboo with us, so obviously, he caught everyone’s eye. Cameron is not the only one in the family that moves in the modelling spheres - his little brother Taylor, who is a year younger, is a model too and actually won the GapKids Casting Call Contest 2015 where thousands of entries from around the UAE and the GCC were submitted. You might also have seen his pictures on the display windows at the Gap stores, and the Emirates Woman Mini magazine, sporting the Gap winter collection.

I spoke to their mum Carly, to try and get tips from someone with the know-how on to get your little munchkin to become a model, besides passing the genes of gorgeousness onto them.

Photo: The Studio

1. Start early on

Carly first contemplated her son Cameron modelling from a very young age, as he was very confident then already.

When out and about, she and baby Cameron would get stopped by random people, to tell her how cute he was, and asking her if they could take a photo with him, which of course, he loved! So that led her to making the decision to try and to get him into modeling at 18 months old.

Then, she would take her youngest son Taylor, a baby then, with them to the castings for Cameron, and was asked if she wanted him to model too. He was not as confident as his elder brother but when he turned two and a half, he started asking if he could have his photo taken at the castings, and so voilà, another model was born!

2. Contact a modelling agency

If you Google ‘modelling agencies in Dubai’, you will find quite a few good results. Carly had heard about Bareface numerous times and after visiting their website to see what type of work they do and which brands they work with, decided they seemed like a reputable agency and so she made forwarded them the photos of her boys, and they promptly responded asking her to pop along for a meeting and discuss in further detail.

3. Organise a professional photoshoot

Impeccable presentation and professional photos will increase the chances of your child being chosen for castings. Carly’s sons had their portfolio done with The Studio in Al Quoz who she says were excellent. ‘I wanted to keep every single photo that they took! If you register your children with Bareface, you also receive a discounted rate with The Studio so that you can put together their portfolio, which is fab!’

4. Let them be themselves

Some children may feel a little overwhelmed by the lights, the props and the camera, and some even more so when the person behind the camera is not mummy or daddy. But after a little ice-breaker, you will see how they will quickly feel comfortable.

Carly says: ‘During the photoshoot, let them be themselves. Do not interfere telling them how to behave or how to pose. The photographer wants to capture the images as they truly are, relaxed and natural.'

'Although the boys love seeing their photos in magazines, and in window displays they actually act quite shy if people come up to them and tell them that they are cute etc. However once on a catwalk or in front of a camera they turn into a different person! With them both still being so young, they still don't quite understand the concept of modelling and attention. They are both very down to earth and humble boys, and I hope as they grow they will continue with the same attitudes.'

'Cameron is very confident. He is very much a boy and his favourite pretend play is superhero! He also tries every trick to make people laugh, and so definitely enjoys being the little entertainer!'

Photos: The Studio

'Taylor is very unique! At first instance he seems very innocent and shy, however he is actually a little Tasmanian Devil! He is very boisterous, extremely independent and a cheeky little boy.'

Photos: The Studio

Whether confident or shy, cheeky or little angel, we love them both, their styles and charm. Well done Mummy! xx

5 Out-of-the-box Venue Ideas for Kids Birthday Parties in Dubai

Emma Riedel, Managing Director of me&riley contemporary events runs one of the most seasoned kids party organisers in Dubai. We adore their set-ups and her concepts: always contemporary, super classy and a lot of fun! Emma has shared with me their current top venues for kids birthday parties - something us mums always struggle with when it comes to doing something different every year; and according to Emma, it's the hardest part of their job too!

 

Black Palace Beach

A.K.A. the 'Secret Beach' (not such a well-kept secret after all!). This beach is super popular with photographers for their family and maternity photo shoots for a reason: clean, always uncrowded and gorgeous views. Tick, tick, tick: birthday party venue. Plus it has tons (!) of parking space.

Zaabeel Park

A lot of us are familiar with the park from the Friday Ripe Markets in the winter months, so we know it is a fabulous spot with lots of areas to organise games and for the kids to run wild. Why not use it for a birthday party too?

Apple Seeds Play Centre

If your child's birthday is in the summer (my son is an April baby, so borderline summer), you might feel like you are always limited for options but this bright and airy centre had been specifically designed for kids and quite naturally, they just love it.

Al Wasl Park

Al Wasl Park is a small park and might be less known amongst the families not living in the area - it's off Al Wasl Road, behind the Iranian Hospital. It is pretty and cosy and has plenty of shaded seating areas. Weekdays (Saturday to Wednesday) it is ladies and kids only.

Cartoon Art Gallery

Uber-cool venue at the address of the moment - everybody seems to be wanting to move to or open their business in Al Quoz! And quite frankly, we do not mind that at all - quite the opposite!

Images source: me&riley

Note: For parties in the parks, permission needs to be sought from the management companies a while in advance. 

So there you have it, half the job done. All you need to do now is pick a theme and/or give the team at me&riley a call and they will help you plan and hold the best celebration for your kids!

The me&riley team can be contacted on: 

me&riley T. +971 55 285 1861 info@meandriley.com www.meandriley.com

End of Season Sale - ZARA Kids

After having spent two weeks at home by the Med, although not entirely a leisure trip this time around, I have come back full of kids style inspo. Nothing says summer more than the surfer-dude look (staying true to one half of his heritage, my son’s favourite), the oh-so-Mediterranean nautical stripes, and the refreshing tropical patterns.

This season Zara rocks these exact looks which we managed to stock up on quite nicely while in the homeland. With the current end-of-season sale in the UAE too, this is a great opportunity to bag a bargain before the Back-to-school craze starts. Because let us be honest: as much as we like to dig out our sweaters and boots from the back of our wardrobes as soon as the temperature is no longer 40C, we could easily wear summer outfits year round, or at least almost year round… aren’t we lucky?

Here are our picks for girls:

And for boys:

Now hurry! It's selling fast! Lots of items gone since we last checked their website earlier on in the week.

Happy shopping xx