A place to play, Penrice Birth Centre.

The rejuvenation project at Penrice is an ongoing thing, done on voluntary time and so it isn’t always possible to just bosh out an idea, crack on and get it done and dusted as quickly as we’d all like, it takes time, discussions, group decisions…and a lot of patience, I’m not very good at this patience thing, you may have noticed! It’s quite likely we won’t be able to do many of the things on our wish list, such is the way when you’re extremely tight on funds, time and in an environment that is so controlled by strict rules. Furnishings need to be wipeable, no nooks and crannies for juices fluids to run into, window dressings, the choice is….well, really there is no choice, apparently. Holes/ screws in walls for pictures to hang from have to be drilled by a specific person, who will need to be booked in, after we’ve marked on the walls where all the beautiful artwork, donated by Eloise Renouf, will go, cross referencing with the frames so the right thing goes in the right place if the special handyman/ woman turns up when we/ I’m not around.

Eloise Renouf Alice in Scandiland

Everyone is trying their best to keep everyone else happy, to create the environment we all want for future families.

But progress has been made in the Family Room. We wanted to create an area specifically for children, to define their zone within quite a large room that seems a bit barren. Once the location was decided upon, not too close to the doors as small people have a nasty habit of taking themselves off for a wander, I then had to work out how to try and avoid all the various light switches and sockets and buttons that seem to adorn every surface in hospitals.. A place to play, Penrice Birth Centre.

You can’t go more than half a metre without bumping into yet another obstacle, definitely a lot trickier than working in the comfort of your own home. Add into the mix the fact it was possibly the hottest day of the year so far and at points through out the day an audience of expectant mothers/ family and the challenge level certainly went up somewhat! I had to concentrate really hard to pass off looking like I knew what the hell I was doing!!

A place to play, Penrice Birth Centre.
Stage 1. Mark out shape using string and a spirit level Stage 2. Drawer your lines in pencil, use the edge of the spirit level as your ruler so you can check you’re keeping straight.      Stage 3. Use Foggy Tape to mask out the edges, make sure you smooth out the tape well so the edge is totally stuck down. Stage 4. Paint. I used black matt emulsion by Valspar. Leave to dry. Apply at least 2 coats. Stage 5. Remove the tape once completely dry and admire.


I decided that the silhouette of a house would be a nice way to define the space, zone it from the rest of the room but still keep things quite simple and contemporary. So many things change in public spaces like this one, the furniture moves around, it can quite often be a bit of a mish mash of various colours, things can start to feel a bit fussy and disjointed so I opted for black as this wouldn’t clash with any changes that may occur in the future. I know it was a bit of a leap of faith for many of the staff but I hope by the end they will be convinced it was the right choice. My reasoning for going with a basic silhouette was because we need any changes we make now to stand the test of time, a more fussy, intricately detailed version wouldn’t wear as well, would need more touching up and I like the concept of allowing children to fill in some of the story themselves, to use their imagination.


A place to play, Penrice Birth Centre.

Toy storage was an issue, for years everything has been kept in 2 big plastic boxes, which invariably get upended by overly…eager little people, in search of the little toy car at the bottom and not always tidied away as you would hope. Ikea Trofast storage can divide people in terms of looks, personally I’m not sure I would want it in my home, simply because space is at such a premium I need to love every piece of furniture for all reasons, practicality and looks, but there is no denying it is a fantastic was to compartmentalise the chaos that comes with children and their accessories. Absolutely perfect for here, a place to store things away, but also display certain pieces, an invitation to play.

A place to play, Penrice Birth Centre

Nancy popped up with me earlier this afternoon as she wanted to see what Mummy had been working on and she got stuck straight in, grabbing a book and seemingly settling in for a long stay, she was quite disappointed when we had to leave. The beautiful little vintage stools were already there and they really add a lovely touch, perfect for tired pregnant ladies feet or children’s bottoms.

I’m not quite finished yet, I would love a few pieces of artwork to add some bursts of colour in the area, we’re reliant on donations for these (hint, hint!) but I thought I would share some of our progress with you now, as I can’t be sure when the next phase will happen.

Penrice now has charity status so if anyone would like to help towards this project then please get in touch, thank you.

Today my first baby had her last day at Preschool, I can’t believe she’s old enough to be going to ‘big girl’s school’ in September, it feels like only yesterday that she arrived in our life, here at Penrice.

We made bouquets for her teachers using flowers from my Mother-in-law’s garden, low budget but made with love.

Thanks for stopping by x

A place to play, Penrice Birth Centre. Alice in Scandiland

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