My toddler drew on the wall so I Stickerscape-d it

I increasingly consider myself a lifestyle blogger, but I’m not sure I really qualify. Because lifestyle bloggers are supposed to have beautiful homes, right? And I don’t. We moved into this house over 10 years ago now and have never painted the walls in the lounge.

We were so busy working and socialising before we had kids that we didn’t really think interior decorating was a priority. Now that we do have kids, who force us to stay in staring at our walls, we are wishing we could spruce them up a bit. But it is utterly pointless. The other day, my toddler took a dry erase marker to the wall. And dry erase markers do not erase off of walls.

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Here is his masterpiece. What do you think it is? Maybe an expressionist jellyfish.

I find decorating to be annoying and expensive, and the last thing I want to do is go through all that just to have my freshly-painted wall drawn on by a 2 year old. So when Stickerscape contacted me to ask if I’d like to review one of their Thomas and Friends wall stickers, I had a lightbulb moment …

I could use the sticker to cover up my toddler’s wall drawing!

Thus improving the general ambience of the room without having to do any actual decorating. And he is Thomas-mad so I figured he’d be pleased with my scheme.

I chose one that had pictures of all the different Thomas and Friends trains with their names underneath. I thought it might help me keep track of which is which, as I’m a horrible mother who doesn’t know my Gordon from my Percy. It’s also good because you can either use the stickers all in one sheet as they come, or cut them out and put them on different places according to your preference. I decided to go with the former, because otherwise I would put them on all wonky.

The sticker comes rolled up in a poster tube, and then wrapped rather attractively in crepe paper. You unroll it and there are some instructions included. Wall sticker instructions.jpg

The stickers have a plastic backing and transfer paper on the front. So you have to stick them to the wall carefully as you peel off the backing, let them rest for 5 minutes, and then carefully remove the transfer paper. Before and after you stick it, you need to use a plastic card to push the stickers into the transfer paper and then onto the wall. Luckily, I recently lost my Oyster card and then found it after I’d already gotten a new one. So I had a spare card just lying around.

Sticking the sticker

Now, I have to tell you … I have really poor motor skills and am extremely impatient. My husband tells me off because I can’t open the Cheerios box properly – I always rip part of the box lid despite trying not to. Bad things happen to most of the packaging I encounter.

So I can assure you that even the most cack-handed among us can apply one of these wall stickers successfully. I was sure I would end up with at least one bit sort of ripped in the middle, or for the whole thing to go pear-shaped. But it didn’t. It’s really quite good.

And if you have a wall you actually care about, the stickers peel right off without damaging it as well.

Because of the sort of sticker I chose, it doesn’t totally cover up my toddler’s drawing. Some might argue it draws attention to it. But for me, it just makes a dingy wall into a cheerful happy little playspace. And my little one was so chuffed with it that he stood still and looked like a little angel for the picture.

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I should also add that we have used wall stickers from other companies before in the kids’ bedrooms. Stickerscape is definitely better than the ones we used before, for two reasons. First of all, the licensed content. Not all sticker companies have the likes of Thomas, Peppa Pig and In the Night Garden stickers available. Secondly, the price. The smaller wall stickers all come in less than £20, and in my experience that is very good value  – especially for recognisable characters.

So, if you’re doing up a nursery or child’s room, or you just want to cover something up, take a look at Stickerscape. They should definitely be your first point of call for wall stickers.

Stickerscape is currently offering 20% off on their new Thomas & Friends collection. Use Thomas20 at checkout. Expires 4 June 2017.

Disclosure: I received the sticker free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Tammymum

What we’re reading: A horrible boy and a slightly annoying elephant

A round-up review of our current children’s library books

I am a complete bookworm (in my “spare time” I work in publishing), and my favourite part of the day is reading to my children and definitely not when I drink wine after bedtime. However, there are so many children’s books out there that it’s hard to know which to buy, or even to decide which to grab at the library. So I decided to start sharing short reviews of all the library books we check out, in case you, dear reader, may find it useful. And also because I just want to.

This crop is what I’m reading to my 4-year-old now. Other times I might include the ones I read to the 1-year-old, but tonight I can’t because the books are in his room and I will NOT risk waking him up.

The Slightly Annoying Elephant (David Walliams)

I was really excited when we checked this out as I’m a big fan of David Walliams. I’d heard good things about his longer books for older children but I wasn’t sure if he did any for younger children. We came across this one entirely by accident. The story stars an unrealistically polite little boy who receives an unwanted “slightly annoying elephant” as a houseguest. I think the elephant is more “extremely rude” than “slightly annoying”. It’s sort of a modern elephant version of The Tiger Who Came to Tea. But unlike the girl in the Tiger book, this poor boy is just home alone, wondering when his mother will return from the shops.

The verdict: Besides the fact that someone is probably going to call social services on the boy’s mum, it’s a pretty funny book. The “punchline” at the end of the book – which I won’t give away so that you have something to live for – doesn’t really hit the mark for me, but my son seemed to enjoy it.

Topsy and Tim go for Gold (Jean and Gareth Adamson)

I have to admit to being a fan of Topsy and Tim books. They keep it simple but it’s not all flowers and rainbows. And they address matter of fact things in a matter of fact way. I rather love the classic Topsy and Tim have Itchy Heads which taught me things I never knew about head lice. This one teaches the reader about what to expect on a sports day, with the usual moral about how it’s the taking part, not the winning, that’s important.

The verdict: I recommend it. Especially if your child is feeling apprehensive about a forthcoming sports day, as it will show them what to expect.

Edwardo: The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World

I really rather like this one. It almost seems like it’s more for the parents than for the kids. Edwardo does standard things that children do which are somewhat naughty, and various people tell him he’s absolutely horrible for doing them. Under the lens of such criticism, he gets more and more horrible. But when people start giving him more positive feedback, he starts to clean up his act. It’s a reminder about how if you put someone down enough, they will start to believe it, but if you build them up, they will try to live up to the praise.

The verdict: My son seemed sort of confused by this book, like he didn’t really understand the point. I would say that’s because it seems to be more for the parents. But worth getting for your own sake.

Not Now, Bernard (David McKee)

This is officially a family favourite now as we’ve checked it out several times. It tells the story of a boy who tries to tell his parents that a monster is about to eat him. The monster eventually does eat him and then takes Bernard’s place in the house, eating his dinner and sleeping in his bed, but his parents never notice.

The verdict: My son thinks this story is hilarious, probably because he relates to it (Not Now, Honey, Mummy has a new Twitter follower). And I like it because it reminds me not to ignore my kids. Also, it’s nice and short so I can get back to my smartphone. Definitely recommended.

Jack and Nancy (Quentin Blake)

I have to admit that I had previously thought Quentin Blake was only an illustrator and not a children’s writer in his own right. It appears that he’s actually written quite a few books of his own. This story is about a brother and sister who long for adventure and eventually get it when they are blown out to sea whilst holding onto a large umbrella, Mary Poppins-style. They end up chillin’ on a desert island until some sailors rescue them and bring them home. I personally have trouble suspending my disbelief that the umbrella landed them on a tiny island instead of the middle of the ocean.

The verdict: My son has asked to read this several times over so he must like it. If I’m honest, I find the story to be a bit dull. But, of course, the illustrations are fantastic.

Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure (Thomas & Friends)

This is a long one (32pp split into 4 chapters) so it’s not for those short of attention span (or patience). My son loves Thomas and seems to enjoy the story, and the writing isn’t as cringeworthy as most children’s books that are based on a film. From what I remember when I paid attention (rather than daydreaming about something else while reading on autopilot), it’s about Thomas finding some lost treasure. Then some other dude tries to steal it but it all turns out all right in the end. And Thomas crashes a lot. I bet he’s still on time more often than Southern Trains though.

The verdict: I’d say the book is not a bad choice if your little one is a big Thomas fan, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to pick it up.