We stocked up on random materials over the months leading up to Christmas and were over the moon when we stumbled upon the (pretty horrendous) 1970s bedside table that would turn out to be the ideal toy kitchen, in a charity shop. Ben always planned to get it painted over his Christmas holidays from work, but then everything happened with my Dad.
Josephine, of course, didn't notice that her only birthday present from us was her lion necklace, and that her main present sat in the corner, untouched, for three months. But we really wanted to get it all sorted before Baby's arrival so a couple of weeks ago we got stuck in and had so much fun designing it together.
The hardware store in the local market in town was brilliant for the bits and pieces, including the gingham vinyl worktop, the enamel washing-up bowl, the hooks and the curtain rail, while the haberdashery supplied the quintessential 1950s-style fabric for the curtains. For the rest - well, you can't beat Ikea. The cooker knobs, fruit and veg baskets, saucepans, crockery (Josephine's birthday present from my best friend) and all the storage pots were courtesy of the kitchen department. Finally, you can always count on my Grandparents to have something like an old tap buried in the shed, and having something authentic like that really makes the kitchen, I think.
As for the fruit, veg, cakes and toaster etc - I was lucky enough to pop into our local charity shop and find a massive storage box packed with toy kitchen pieces for just £4 a few months back. Perfect!
When we presented Josephine with her kitchen last weekend, her face was a picture. It was utter disbelief, wonder and excitement all rolled into one, and she hasn't stopped playing with it for a second. We love that she adores something we made her, so so much. And the little phrases she comes up with while she's 'cooking' are the best. She is a carbon copy of Ben in the kitchen and it makes us both smile so big to see her playing with it so happily.
Here's to many more Mama and Daddy-made birthday presents :)