She lays out three pots of Rimmel 60 Seconds nail varnish in a row — fuchsia, mint green and purple — summons her ever-helpful assistant Faye, aged four, and the two of them make a start.
One by one, Faye holds three sets of pink wriggling toes and coos into three chubby, smiling faces, while Karen very carefully paints three sets of teeny toenails three different colours and gives them a quick squirt with a rapid-drying spray.
And then everyone can relax. Because for another couple of days, Karen, 33, husband Ian, 35, and Faye can tell apart the one-year-old identical triplets Ffion (fuchsia), Maddison (mint green) and Paige (purple), if only by their nail colour.
‘They’re identical, even to us,’ says Karen. ‘We’ve never been able to tell them apart.’
They’ve tried everything. First, it was hospital bracelets on their hands and feet, replaced every few weeks as they became tighter.
‘Then Karen had a brainwave — one day I came home and she was doing all their nails,’ says Ian. ‘And it’s just stuck.’
The triplets are the same size and weight, with cheeky brown eyes, squishy pink skin and a scattering of auburn hair.
They don’t have any birthmarks, squints, crooked smiles, cuts, grazes, cradle cap, spots, eczema, blotchy cheeks. They’re just perfect.
And right now, in their matching pink romper suits, they are extremely active: playing with the remote control, wallowing in their inflatable ball pit or making a dash for the kitchen.
‘It’s like a game show,’ says Ian. ‘They see an open door and they’re off. You grab one and bring her back and another one’s off to the stairs. It’s like herding cats. And unless we check their toes, we never know which is which.’