Elias & Grace Treat Week (and early bird discount!)

Elias&Grace_AW Looks2

Each season Elias & Grace puts together the most stylish selection of children’s brands, offering key pieces which have been carefully considered from each collection to ensure that everything in store is so effortlessly stylish, easy to wear and perfect for every occasion. In short, Elias & Grace has done the hard work so that you can easily shop for your children. There’s even a ‘bestsellers‘ page on their website where you could pretty much shop blindfolded and still pick out cute items!

Elias&Grace_AW looks

I love popping into the Primrose Hill boutique every season — to check out new trends, gather inspiration and pick up a few cute seasonal staples for my kids. And I love it even more when they run the occasional ‘treat week’ with a generous 20% discount. Yesssss!

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The Elias & Grace ‘treat week’ begins on Monday but we’ve managed to secure an early bird discount just for our readers so you can scoop up the pieces before they fly off the shelves! The discount starts today and will run until the 10th. Use the code: TREATBC14 at check-out. Now get going!

Courtney x

Our trip to Venice

gondola ride in the grand canal
grand canal, Venice
rialto bridge
Venice has always been at the top of my holiday wish-list, and yet, in the 11 years we’ve lived in London, we’ve never managed to go. It’s either spring/summer when it’s too touristy and overcrowded, or late summer when it’s too hot and smelly, or winter when it’s apparently quite foggy and cold (although I’ve heard it’s quite magical like this). So… when it came time to book our October halfterm holiday, we decided it had to be Venice! And oh my gosh, it did not disappoint! I think this holiday might be one of my very favourites, which says a lot coming from a girl who likes a beach holiday more than anything. : )

The kids were absolutely intrigued by the concept of a city floating in water — that the buses and taxis (even ambulances!) are all boats, and that you’re completely surrounded by water at all times (even dead-end streets lead you straight into a canal!). I was so impressed by the beauty and colours of Venice — for some reason I didn’t expect it to be so colourful! I always pictured it to be quite grey, like the famous Canaletto paintings of Venice in the National Gallery. How naive was I?

Like I said in my previous post, the thing that impressed us the most is the fact that there are no cars. It makes it such a kid-friendly city, to be able to walk freely in the streets and play in the squares. At one point we were sitting at a sunny table at a pizzeria, finishing our glass of wine while Easton was playing football with a local Italian boy, Ivy and Quin were drawing with chalk in the street next to our table, and Marlow was sitting in the middle of the square playing with a little spinning top. All of them within eyesight, all of them completely safe to play in the street. Michael and I kept pinching ourselves.

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venice boats

venice laundry
venice canal
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Anyway, here are a few photos (okay, loads! sorry! I hope you don’t mind?) and a list of some of the highlights…  (more…)

Liberty print sweetness (and knee patches!) from Milou & Pilou

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We’ve just gotten home from a little trip to Venice, and I really can’t wait to share photos and a summary of our trip. I just looked through all of our photos on our camera (precisely 589 of them!) and don’t know how on earth I will ever narrow down a selection to share. That city is a photographer’s dream!

Quickly though, I wanted to share some photos of the girls wearing their little matching outfits from Milou & Pilou. They looked so sweet roaming the streets of Venice together, and I just can’t get over Marlow’s little knee patches. Adorable!

The best thing about Venice is that it’s completely car-free, which means kids can walk the streets, play in the squares, join other kids for a game of football, or colour the paving stones with chalk.  My kids had so much fun playing in the quiet streets — I wish London was like that!

More Venice photos to come…

Courtney xx

Custom watercolour portraits from Sophie & Lili

Sophie and Lili painting
sophie and lili custom watercolor portraits
Artist Jennifer Vallez from Sophie & Lili recently sent over these sweet watercolour portraits of my little family, and I love them so much. I love that she captured my children’s personalities so well, and all of it based on a couple Instagram photos I have recently posted. My kids are especially fond of them — Ivy has already asked to frame them and put them up in her room. So sweet.

Sophie & Lili offer a custom watercolour portrait service so if you would like her to paint your family, she’s your girl. I just love that she managed to capture my family at this special time when all my babies are still babies. What a wonderful keepsake!

Courtney x

p.s. Photos above are taken from the Sophie & Lili Instagram feed.

Advent Calendars. Time to start planning!

Ferm Living advent calnedar

December is still six weeks away, and I’m refusing to start thinking about Christmas just yet (I saw the Christmas decorations up on Oxford street earlier this week and it didn’t seem possible! Can it really be that time of year already?!). But… I do love Advent calendars — it’s one of my favourite Christmas traditions.

I saw this cool Ferm Living advent calendar (above) at Cissy Wears earlier this week and love it! (It’s actually what has inspired this post.)

Maileg advent calendar

We have the Maileg advent calendar (as shown above) and it’s a similar concept with little pockets for presents on each day. I start collecting little gifts and knick knacks around this time of year, and then come December 1st, the kids take turn unwrapping each day. It’s such a fun and exciting way to celebrate the run-up to Christmas.

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I also love the idea Meta wrote about, with little paper bags hanging along the stair railing. So fun and festive!

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And lastly, there’s the wonderful idea from Mo who wraps up christmas-themed books every year for a Christmas book Advent Calendar. Such a great idea!

Anyway, I thought I would share all these ideas now… before it’s too late to prepare. The next six weeks will zip by I’m sure!

Courtney x

Adorable Halloween costumes from Thumbelina

©Maya Havkin- Photographer
©Maya Havkin- Photographer
©Maya Havkin- Photographer
Halloween is around the corner, and I’m as unprepared as ever. Hmmm. !! I was feeling guilty about my tired stash of three-times worn Halloween costume options for Marlow and was needing a bit of inspiration… and these adorable costumes from Thumbelina have done the trick. How perfect are they?!  I love a good fleecey zip-up costume that is as cosy as it is cute.

Now… what to do for the bigger kids?!

Courtney x

 

Handmade baby moccasins from Pepa & Co.

Baby moccasins from Pepa & Co

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Is it pouring down rain where you are too? Oh my gosh, the weather in London has been soooo grim! (Though I did sneak a peak at a fellow passenger’s newspaper on the tube yesterday and it did say that we’re getting another mini heat wave next week. So don’t get out your hats and scarves just yet!)

Anyway, here’s something to brighten up your grey day. How adorable are these handmade baby moccasins from Pepa & Co. I ordered the biggest size for Marlow and they were sadly too small. I guess that means she’s no longer a baby… sniff!  Instead of pouting about it, I’m going to focus on all the baby gift-giving I can do and I think these beauties would make the perfect present.

Courtney x

Smallish Magazine

Smallish and the ShopUp

I know it’s a bit of old news by now, but did you see that Baby & Me Magazine got a cool new name? Our favourite London-based magazine has relaunched and is now called Smallish.  No longer focused just on pregnancy and birth, the new magazine will include beautiful fashion shoots, issue-led features, inspiring parents, glossy interiors, up-and-coming brands and the best scoop on what’s new and cool for kids (and their parents). You can pick up a copy of the magazine at newsagents across the country, or download the digital version here.

And… best news for last….we’re really excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Smallish Magazine for our big ShopUp event this December. Visitors to the event will be able to pick up their own copy of the magazine and discover the monthly goodness for themselves. They’ll also be helping us promote the event, ensuring this year’s ShopUp is a big, fat success. !! We could not be more excited! Have you marked your diaries yet?

Courtney xx

New merino wool muslin products from Aden + Anais

Aden+Anais wool sleeping bag
Aden+Anais wool swaddle
aden and anais merino wool blankets

I’m a huge fan (but really, who isn’t?!) of the Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blankets and sleeping bags and was excited to learn that they’ve created an innovative new range of merino wool muslin products. What’s cool about this new range is that it’s not just an ordinary merino wool blanket or another merino wool sleeping bag, but rather a merino wool muslin blanket and sleeping bag. It’s a new fabric that took years to perfect, one that combines the cosy, breathable qualities of merino wool with the stretchy & soft muslin fabric everyone loves, two simple luxuries woven into one.

I was invited to the UK launch event last week and it was so lovely to meet Raegan Moya-Jones, the founder (she’s adorable!) and also to see and feel all the new products in person. I asked Raegan how easy it is to wash these new wool products, and she answered like the experienced mama she is: all the Aden + Anais products are 100% machine washable and can also be tumble dried, because what new mother has time to hand wash her baby’s blankets?!

The new Aden + Anais merino wool collection is available online here and in stores soon! Perfect for the colder winter months ahead… (sigh).

Courtney x

Atlas of Adventures, our new favourite book!

boys reading Atlas of Adventures
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Remember the lists of my children’s favourite books I posted earlier this year? Well, Easton and Quin just told me that they have a new favourite to top their lists. Atlas of Adventures is a brand new book out this week, and is every bit worthy of their praise. The book offers a ‘collection of wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe’. What I love about the book is that is doesn’t just show you a picture of a city or place, but it allows the reader to experience what it would be like to be there, to join the Carnival in Brazil, to river raft down the Grand Canyon, to visit the penguins in Antarctica, steer a gondola in Venice and a whole host of other fun activities. It’s also filled with fun and engaging illustrations and interesting facts about every destination.

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Atlas of Adventures
Atlas of Adventures is the first book out from a new imprint called Wide Eyed Editions which we are really excited about.  They create non-fiction books for children and believe books should encourage curiosity about the world we live in. So great! Wide Eyed Editions has signed on to be our bookseller at this year’s ShopUp event, and we’re thrilled to help them promote their first selection of books. (We’ve had a sneak peak at their new titles, and we just know you’re going to love them all!)

You can buy Atlas of Adventures from Amazon here . Hurry before they sell out!

Courtney x

Desert boots from De Vries

quin wearing De Vries shoes

I was rearranging our shoe shelf the other day, putting away summery sandals and bringing out our shoes for Autumn, and I realised I have a real thing for desert boots. I love them! Both for girls and for boys (and even for myself!). What I love about desert boots is that they’re gender neutral, so they can be passed down from one sibling to the next regardless of gender. (Last year, Ivy wore a pair that were passed down from her brothers!) This year I’ve gotten the boys new boots from De Vries, and we’re loving them. The quality is really great and I love the selection of colours and styles.

Devries Shoes
I got Quin these traditional ones (and I think they suit him so well!), but they also have ones with yellow or red laces which are really fun too.

Courtney x

p.s. Quin’s cute outfit comes from Caramel Baby. How cool are the trousers?! 

The Bee who Spoke

the bee who spoke
ivy reading a bee who spoke
Our friend, Al MacCuish (who we’ve mentioned before here and here), has recently released his second children’s book, and this past weekend we finally got the chance to read it.  The Bee Who Spoke  is a beautifully illustrated story of a girl named Belle and her adventures in the French countryside, where she meets a talking bee and is introduced to the wonders of nature. Not only is it a charming and engaging story, but one that is educational and inspiring too.

I sat down on the sofa to read the story to Ivy, but a few pages in, I was surrounded by all four kids who had nudged their way into our story-telling session. And not only that, but the boys were so inspired by the story, they set out to make drawings of flowers using their spirographs (see below).

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It’s a true sign of a great children’s book when it inspires a good drawing session after you read it. Don’t you think?

Courtney x

Cool new products from Muddy Puddles

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A few years ago a Swedish friend told me: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. That year I ran out and invested in a big, warm, waterproof parka, and I swear it changed my entire outlook on winter. Having proper outdoor clothing is really essential to making the most of the harsher wintery weather. (Can you tell I’m really trying to psych myself up?)

Muddy Puddles completely embraces the great outdoors, no matter the weather. They ensure that kids can be properly dressed for every outdoor adventure, come rain or shine or even snow! I’m loving their new collection of gender-neutral outdoor wear, and I’m so impressed with all the handy features like zip-out fleece inserts in jackets (no need to buy a rain coat AND a warm winter jacket!). And how great is that 3-in-1 waterproof suit? Perfect for rain or snow, and seriously cute with the pointy pixie hood. I picked one up for Marlow and I just know she’ll get so much use out of it in the coming months.

Muddy Puddles is one of 30 shops who will take part in this year’s ShopUp event. A great opportunity to check out all their great products in person!

x Courtney

A fun way to use all those conkers your kids have collected

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My friend, AC, is one of those wild outdoorsy types (in the coolest of ways, of course) who embraces the outdoors, no matter the weather, and comes up with the most creative and fun ways to entertain her kids. She’s such a fun mama, and I’m really hoping she’ll rub off on me a bit in the coming colder months when we all start to get a bit stir crazy sitting indoors!

Anyway, I’m loving her recent idea for what to do with all those conkers the kids have collected. Fill up a pair of tights and create your own ‘massage octopus’ as she calls it. How fun is that? You can read her blog post here and find lots of other inspiration and activities on her blog here.

x Courtney

New Autumn/Winter collection at Caramel Baby & Child

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Caramel Baby & Child was one of the very first children’s labels I discovered when I became pregnant with my first baby back in 2004. I used to sneak into their little boutique just to hold the beautiful baby clothes in my hands… and always walked out feeling extra excited for my baby to arrive!

Ten years later, the clothes at Caramel still excite me. Season after season, they come out with a collection that is more beautiful than the next. I always pop in to Caramel if I need a unique baby gift or to find an outfit for a special occassion.

How gorgeous is their new collection? As always, it is timeless and beautiful with charming details and a modern feel. Just perfect. I’ve chosen to share photos of the children’s collection, because my gosh – how beautiful are the little models?!, but their baby collection is equally stunning.

x Courtney

P.S. We’re excited to welcome Caramel Baby & Child to this year’s ShopUp event. If you came to last year’s event, you’ll remember how gorgeous their booth was! Mark your diaries (December 3rd & 4th) and look out for them there.

A big giveaway just for moms over at Puj!

moms are beautiful

The lovely team over at Puj have just announced an inspiring Moms are Beautiful campaign and a big giveaway just for moms! They recently asked a few mothers to take part by submitting a quote about motherhood to help to share the ‘moms are beautiful’ love. I was thrilled to be asked and so happy to take part! (Celebrating mothers is something we should all do more often, no?)

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I sent over the above quote because it’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a mother, and something I continue to remind myself at different stages of my parenting path. It can sometimes feel like we mothers are constantly inundated with information and tips, whether it’s from the latest how-to books or whether it’s the advice we hear from other mums on the playground. (I, myself, am guilty of passing on advice and sharing opinions. I have also found myself on the receiving end of it too.) In any case, I think it’s important that we mothers give ourselves a bit more credit and that we trust our intuitions and be assured that we really do know what’s best for our children.

You can click over to Puj to read other quotes about motherhood, check out the great prizes to win and enter the giveaway here.

x Courtney

Peanut butter cookies dipped in chocolate

peanut butter cookies and chocolate
marlow making peanut butter cookies
chocolate covered peanut butter cookies
Remember the super easy peanut butter cookies I blogged about a few months ago? The recipe with only three ingredients?! Well, last week I decided to add one more ingredient… and oh my goodness it was a good decision! I melted down some dark chocolate and dipped the cookies half way in. Yummmm !!

x Courtney

p.s. Marlow’s cute skirt is from Lalé. Available here.

Smallable’s 6th Birthday! (And discounts to celebrate!)

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I remember when Smallable announced their launch six years ago! It was an exciting time in children’s shopping — an online department store with hundreds of the best brands of children’s clothing, toys and decorations all in one place. It was one of the first shops to offer such a stylish, curated selection of brands, making it easy to find unique products for your kids. In fact, six years later, it remains one of the very best still.

It’s been really exciting to watch the growth of Smallable over the years — they started at a time when we were also quite new, so it feels a bit like we’ve grown together. We are thrilled to wish them a happy 6th birthday!

To celebrate, Smallable is offering some exciting discounts this week (see below) and are offering a free candle to the first 200 orders of £160 or more.

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The perfect excuse to do a little back-to-school shopping! (The selection of winter coats and accessories have me (almost) excited for colder weather!)

xx Courtney

Bamboo baby clothing from Panda and the Sparrow

panda and the sparrow
We’ve moved Marlow out of her cot and into the big bed with Ivy. The girls started sleeping together this summer after Marlow started refusing to sleep in her travel cot, and it was working well so we decided to let them continue once we returned to London. It’s funny because I was excited to take the cot down and create more play space in their room, but once it was down and the space was cleared, I suddenly realised… that’s it! my baby is no longer a baby! Gosh it went so quickly. (Remember when she was sleeping in our bed?)

I don’t know if it’s her personality or if it’s because she has three older siblings to mimic, but Marlow seems to have skipped a few months of her babyhood. No more cot, no more diapers, no more sippy cups. I’m just waiting for her to hand over her dummies and tell me she’s too big for those as well. : )

Thank goodness she still fits into her little all-in-one baby pyjama from Panda and the Sparrow. I love a baby in a one-piece suit. So snuggly and sweet! The baby clothes from Panda and the Sparrow are made from bamboo and organic cotton, making them extra soft, hypoallergenic, breathable and thermal regulating. Not to mention, I love the stripy designs and great colours!

Panda and the Sparrow is a new brand created by two mothers earlier this year and we’re excited to welcome them to the ShopUp event in December. Mark your diaries (December 3rd & 4th) and look out for them there.

x Courtney

p.s. A previous post with my thoughts about bed sharing.

Amy & Ivor handmade moccasins

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Amy & Ivor moccasins
leather moccasins

I’ve gotten moccasins for the kids before, but never ones this soft and supple! The moccasins from Amy & Ivor must be the closest thing to walking barefoot — perfect for babies and beginner walkers… and even busy toddlers who never sit still (as tested by Marlow).

Amy & Ivor moccasins are handmade to order and are made in England by a small team using high quality chrome-free and vegetable tanned leathers. The result is a wonderfully soft and absolutely beautiful shoe. (My size, please!)

x Courtney

p.s. Amy & Ivor is one of 25 amazing shops lined up to take part in this year’s ShopUp event here in London. Mark your diaries and look out for them there!

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