Do you recognise that baby in the photographs?! Yes, she’s mine!!! : ) I was so flattered to be asked by Belle Enfant to ‘borrow’ Marlow for their recent fashion shoot. Belle Enfant is a gorgeous brand, started by two of the sweetest women (and childhood friends), and it was so fun to dress Marlow up in all their luxurious little pieces for the shoot: this silk blouse with the matching silk bloomers (pictured), and all their super soft cashmere pieces. Wow!
Belle Enfant recently won the Junior Design Award in the best designer baby fashion category… and that is such a well-deserved award. Having been given a behind-the-scenes glimpse, I can really attest to how much work has gone into creating this beautiful brand. Attention to detail to the nth degree!! Well done girls!
This is a post I have been thinking about in my head for months now! It’s a post I have wanted to write, then changed my mind and thought I shouldn’t write, and then have come back to it again. I want to talk about sleeping with your baby. Not because it’s what I think you should do… but because it’s what works for us.
I have always slept with my babies, usually from birth until around 10 or 12 months when they start to sleep through the night. It’s not that I feel strongly one way or the other about co-sleeping, it’s just what has always felt more natural, and frankly more easy, to me. In fact, with every pregnancy I would set up the moses basket before the birth thinking that’s where the baby would sleep… but once the baby was born, I just never felt comfortable putting them into their own bed. My husband and I both felt more at ease having the baby in our bed, close to us, to be in tune with their little bodies and sleeping rhythm. (I’m a very light sleeper and wake at the teensiest sound or smell or touch.) Also, I just find it easier to nurse my baby in bed, often in a hazy half sleep/half awake state — I find it less disruptive to my sleep than getting up out of bed to feed and put the baby back into her own bed. Perhaps sleeping with my babies has come out of pure laziness!?!
The funny thing is, that while it feels completely normal and natural to me, it doesn’t seem to be common practice, at least not amongst my friends or the other mums at my children’s school. I remember when Marlow was a baby, even just a few weeks old, I was constantly asked ‘how is she sleeping?’ or ‘is she waking in the night?’ or even ‘does she sleep through?’. (It must be one of the most common questions a new mother is asked!) When I told people that she sleeps with me and that I feed on demand sometimes up to four times a night, I would get such shocked replies. For a while I even started to doubt our co-sleeping ways! But then I read this post about co-sleeping on A Cup Of Jo, and I also read this guest post on The Littlest blog by James from Bleubird where she shares how she sleeps with her baby. It made me feel comforted to know that other mothers do the same… and it made me wonder if perhaps it’s not really so rare?
Marlow is 7 months old (today!) and she’s still sleeping in bed with us. I usually put her to bed in her own bed around 7pm and she goes to bed willingly. Around midnight (sometimes even 1 or 2!) she will wake and I will bring her into our bed. She usually feeds a couple times through the rest of the night and then we usually wake up together around 7am. Of course I would love to have a full night of uninterrupted sleep, and some days I really do feel so tired… but I love waking up with Marlow in my arms, and I love nursing her in bed, and the way our bodies fit perfectly together like a puzzle piece. Some day… we won’t fit together as easily, and when that day comes, I will miss these wonderful sleep-deprived nights.
So anyway… I would love to hear from all of you. How goes it in your family? Do (did) you sleep with your baby? Or does your baby sleep in his own bed (or even bedroom)? What works for you? Please do share!
Our lovely contributor, Meta, has recently designed and is now selling this beautiful and perfectly child-friendly-yet-super-stylish children’s bed. Isn’t it perfect? I wish I was in the market for a new bed for my children. I would opt for this one for sure!
Meta, an Interior Designer/blogger, designed the Henrik Bed for her son’s fifth Birthday after searching for quite some time and not being able to find exactly what she was looking for. She wanted something modern and simple, yet with a retro feel. She teamed up with a master craftsman who has been building furniture for over thirty years and together they created the perfect bed.
The bed is a twin bed fitting a standard twin mattress and is made from locally sourced Maple wood. The headboard measures 40″ high, the footboard measures 30″ high, and the bed is 42″ wide. The prices are as follows: solid wood natural finish–$800, painted white–$850, the dip (pictured)–$875.
If you’re interested in purchasing the bed, please get in touch with Meta at email@example.com. You can also visit her blog for more details.
I got Ivy one of these paper flower crowns from the Spanish webshop, Kids Me, and she just loves it! It’s a sweet little accessory for her princess dress-up days… but also something she can wear on special occasions too. And I think it would be so pretty on little bridesmaids or flower girls. (We chose this one, but there are many others to choose from.)
Kids Me has a wide selection of great products from many of our favourite brands. They stock the Fun*Das covers, the sweet Spanish brands Mon Marcel and LötieKids, and the great Spanish toy brand Lonji… all of which we have recently blogged about here!
p.s. Ivy’s dress is from Tutu du Monde and she hardly ever takes it off!
We’ve just returned from a little half-term holiday in Positano, Italy. Apart from a few rainy days (and some jelly fish stings!) we had a really lovely, relaxing time. I will sit down later this week and write up a little guide for Positano (this was our 9th time visiting – it has become almost like a second home for us!) … but in the meantime, I wanted to share these photos of my boys (both my children and my husband!) wearing their matching Tom & Teddy swim trunks.
Tom & Teddy was started by two former Sydney residents and parents of two little boys. They were inspired by their fond memories of sand and surf and wanted to create a line of cute and vibrant swim trunks for boys, big and little. The swim trunks are made with a quick-drying, UV protected microfibre fabric which is salt water and chlorine resistant. And they come in a variety of fun colours and patterns. So cute!
Tom & Teddy are now celebrating Father’s Day with a whopping 20% discount on all swimwear! Click here for details.
My friend, Mo, gives the best presents. I told her recently that I’m going to consult her from now on before giving gifts because she always nails it, both for kids and for adults. For Ivy’s recent birthday, she gave her this musical jewellery box and I thought it was such a sweet little gift, so perfect for a 4-year-old girl. Of course Ivy LOVES it!
When you open the lid of the jewellery box a twirling ballerina dances to the music. There are also three little drawers to store treasures. So sweet. (There are many similar optioins on Amazon, but I like that this one is not pink and princessy.)
Did you know that a new aspen tree is not started from a single seed like other trees, but as a root sucker generated from other existing roots beneath the ground? And that, because of this, aspens grow in groves where they are all related (clones) of each other with intertwining generations (grandparents and great grandparents) of roots underground. Fascinating! The things you can learn from a children’s book!!
Aspen’s Roots is a touching new book, written by Paul Sullivan and beautifully illustrated by Pamela Gillette. It tells the story of a young sapling in a grove of aspen trees, growing and discovering her roots as the seasons change around her. I love the connection the author draws between the tree’s roots and the concept of one’s family tree, not with branches which grow upward, but with roots of generations which come before us, supporting us from under the surface.
It was interesting reading the book to my children and the different depths of understanding each one had. My daughter (aged 4) really liked the story of the sapling tree, and felt for it as it endured the different seasons (she was so sad when its leaves fell off!). While my older children were able to grasp the concept of roots beneath the surface of the tree, and the concept that we as humans have similar roots.
Culture Baby is a new web boutique selling a range of beautiful, specialty products from different corners of the globe. They’ve set out to offer an international selection of gorgeous goodies which have a unique, cultural story behind them. One such product are these beautiful leather baby booties which are hand sewn by expert leather artisans in Rabat, Morocco.
The booties are made from soft leather and lined with decorative cotton. And apart from the obvious beautiful aesthetics, the booties have such an interesting story behind them which you can read here. The ladies at Culture Baby kindly sent a pair for Marlow, and I can’t wait for them to fit her. In the meantime, they’re sitting pretty on a shelf just waiting to be worn and cherished…
I know I’m a bit late to be announcing it here, especially as the collection is now in its second season, but… Jools Oliver, the gorgeous mother of four and wife of the fabulous Jamie Oliver, has collaborated with the UK high street shop, Mothercare, to create a really wonderful, sweet collection called Little Bird.
Jools recently sent over some Little Bird pieces for the girls, and I’m in love with everything! The vintage feeling of the pieces, the fun, bright colours, the sweet little details… The collection reminds me of my own childhood – retro and innocent.
I love the timeless baby collection (how cute is this gingham bubble bodysuit?! Marlow is wearing it in the photo above!) and the colourful boys and girls collections. And I must point out, it’s all very affordably priced as well! Go, Jools Oliver, go!!
Little Bird is sold exclusively for Mothercare, available in store or online here.
Esther has already raved about Sylvanian Families, but I thought it was worth mentioning the Sylvanian Families Campervan. I gave it to Ivy for her birthday last week and it has since become the most fought over toy in our house!! All of my children think it is just the coolest thing. (Can you blame them?! Even I am secretly sneaking in a little playtime with it!)
Coincidentally, one of her friends also gave her the Camping Set, which goes perfectly with the Campervan. So cute!
I love the idea of this new hospital box from maternity label, Hatch. It’s a box of luxurious hospital necessities for new mothers to wear after they’ve given birth. The box contains a knee-length nightgown designed to feel like your softest t-shirt, as well as a grey jersey robe, a pair of Cosabella black briefs (full coverage, but still pretty), and a pair of luxurious grey cashmere socks.
I think it would make for a lovely gift to give yourself as you’re gearing up for labour… or for your husband to give to you! I don’t know about anyone else, but the outfit I wore after giving birth was always the last thing I thought about before I went into labour, and I often ended up snatching my husband’s t-shirt and throwing back on the outfit I wore into the hospital. There was nothing special about it at all. I sort of like the idea of adding a bit of luxurious comfort to the equation, and feeling that bit more elegant in the special first days after your baby is born. (Not that I will be doing it ever again! But still!)
We recently hung a bird feeder in the apple tree right outside our kitchen window, and it has been so much fun to watch all the garden birds help themselves to the birdseed. There are moments where we can spot three or four different birds taking turns flying up to our bird feeder, meanwhile pigeons (and squirrels!) help themselves to the seeds which fall onto the ground. The kids love pointing out the different birds we spot in the garden, which is why I knew they would love this new British Garden Birds Poster from Finch and Robin. The poster details 10 different garden birds, and we’ve hung it right on the wall by our kitchen table so that we can reference it every time we spot them.
I also like that £2 per poster is being donated to the RSPB Scotland to help save wildlife.
How cute are these espadrilles from the Spanish brand, Slowers!! Ivy and I recently got a pair of matching ones (see photo) in the mosaic print and they are so fun — I’m not sure which one of us loves them more!
I like that they’ve taken the traditional Spanish espadrilles and have given them a bit of a modern twist with the fun prints and colours…
Slowers is a small brand inspired by slow and rural life. They believe in creating shoes which are both natural, cool and comfortable, ideal for long summer walks in nature. They make espadrilles for men, women and children, and they’re all handcrafted in Spain and made from organic cotton and 100% natural jute fibres. (If you’re interested, you can read some interesting bits about the history of espadrilles here.)
Whenever we go on a beach holiday, I like to pack turkish towels instead of normal beach towels because they take up less space in your suitcase, they’re less heavy when wet after a long day at the beach, they dry more quickly… and they’re super cute!
Yesterday I was in the Conran Shop with my mom and we stumbled on these large linen bath towels by FB Collection from Frescobol Carioca, and I couldn’t resist picking up the cute pink and white striped one. I love how multipurpose they are — they can be used as a scarf, a shawl, a sarong, a blanket or a beach towel. The perfect thing to have at the beach! (Can you tell I am desperate for a sunny, beach holiday? Desperate!!!).
It was Ivy’s birthday yesterday and she had a few friends over after school to help her celebrate. I have decided to embrace the girly princess stage she’s in right now, and so we had a proper Fairy Princess Party complete with lots of princess dresses, pink balloons… and fairy wings!
I didn’t plan any games for them to play — I simply let them dress up and run around the garden. It’s amazing what fun they can have with some simple balloons and some imaginative play. (And it helps that the weather was nice enough for them to be outside.)
The fairy wings were a big success! The girls loved ‘flying’ around the garden with them, and it was a special thing for them to take home from the party (rather than a goodie bag or party favours).
You can buy the fairy wings from Belle Enfant — they are handmade in metallic gold fabric and have soft elastic straps to keep them in place. So cute and really such a big hit with the 4-year-old girls!
La Coqueta is a new London-based boutique with a gorgeous collection of clothing and shoes from Spain. I stopped into the boutique last week and was blown away by all the lovely details of the shop (see the clever window display below!) and of course the beautiful, timeless pieces in the collection. From the sweet cotton knitwear collection for babies to the adorable smock dresses for girls, and the smart shirts for boys to the colourful range of shoes.
I picked up the most gorgeous little outfit for Marlow (see below) as well as this sweet dress for Ivy. What struck me most was the price point – quite reasonable considering how elegant everything is. I suppose, in that regard, it’s in keeping with traditional Spanish clothing: it is affordable, timeless clothing kids can wear to a party as well as to the playground. Because, from what I know from my travels to Spain, there is no distinction between playground and party wear. Spanish children are always well dressed.
When you live in the UK, rain boots are serious business. They aren’t just an accessory for the odd rainy day, but a necessity year round. Even at the children’s schools they’re required to have a pair of wellies on hand for wet, rainy days… which means that all of my children have a pair of wellies at home and a pair at school. I even have a few extra pairs in the back of our car! And of course my husband and I each have a pair as well.
Over the years I have bought many different pairs of wellies from many different brands and I’ve come to the conclusion that the Hunter boots are the best bang for your buck. They’re not the cheapest but the quality is really good. And unlike other boots which quickly get holes in the toes or soles, the Hunter boots have nice thick soles which are sturdy and which also provide good traction for slippery surfaces. Boots you can pass down from one child to the next!
Hunter recently sent a few pairs of boots for the kids from their colourful festival range, and as you can imagine – the kids love the fun, bright colours. (Ivy hasn’t taken her pink pair off in three days!) I keep catching a glimpse of the colourful boots in our back hall and it really does brighten things up around here.
When I was in Amsterdam with Esther last month, we sat down one evening to make some cute stripy skirts for the girls. (I should clarify – I did a bit of ironing, and Esther did everything else!!). She whipped up three skirts in one evening and I was so super impressed with how quickly you can have results! The girls were wearing their new skirts the following day! Esther explained the simple steps to me… but of course, like with anything else, you can’t fully learn how to do something unless you really sit down and do it yourself. So I was determined to come back to London, buy some cute fabric and learn by doing.
My mom is here visiting us so I figured it was the perfect timing to do so. Together we set up my sewing machine and sat down one evening for a little sewing session. It is surprisingly easy! And I must say, quite addictive!
I thought I would share the steps for how to make a super simple elastic waistband skirt (taught to me by Esther). My sewing lingo is very basic, so I’m not even sure if I can properly explain it… but I figured my basic steps might be helpful for other beginner sewers.
- Cut the length of fabric you think will be suitable for your child’s height. (I’ve made a few skirts now for Ivy and I think my favourite length began with a 46cm length of fabric. The length of the pink skirt in the photo below is longer, roughly 52cm). Remember to wash the fabric first so you know how much it is going to shrink (or allow for shrinkage if you don’t wash it first).
- The width of the fabric will become the waist/width of the skirt (the elastic will determine the size of the waist, determining how much fabric gets scrunched by the elastic). Widths of fabric differ – the wider the fabric, the fuller the skirt will be. (The floral Liberty print skirt pictured above has a 135cm or 54″ width.)
- Fold your fabric width-wise with the inside of the fabric on the outside, matching up the two outside edges. Sew a basic seam along this edge (about 1.5cm from the edge). Now you will have a loop of fabric with one seam. (You can iron the flaps of the seam down so they are flat against the fabric – this help keeps things looking tidy and also helps when sewing the hem and waistband over the seam.)
- Create a hem at the bottom by folding the bottom edge up (about 1cm) once and then folding again (about 2.5cm) to create a neat hem (where you don’t see any of the unfinished edge). Iron the folds, and pin the folding down so that it stays straight and in place. (You can measure while you do this to ensure the hem is straight and remains the same thickness all along the bottom). Then sew the hem in place.
- Create a waist band by doing roughly the same thing as the bottom hem (only it can be thinner, about half the width of the hem). I’ve been using elastic which is 9mm wide, so I just need to make sure the waistband is wide enough for the 9mm elastic to fit through easily). Iron the folds and pin down so that it stays straight when you sew it. Sew it together, leaving a small gap at the seam of the skirt for you to get the elastic band into the waist.
- Insert the elastic into the waistband using a safety pin pinned to the end of the elastic. Work the elastic all the way around the waistband and cinch up to your desired waist size (make sure the elastic doesn’t get twisted). Sew the elastic together so that it makes a loop within the waistband.
- Finish the skirt by sewing shut the gap of the waistband.
And that’s it! It’s so basic. The skirt consists of one seam, one hem and one elastic waistband. Easy peasy! I hope my instructions haven’t confused you. If you have any questions, just ask in the comments section below.
Angulus is a luxury Danish shoe brand I have become familiar with in the past few years. I’ve spotted the brand at some of my favourite children’s shops in London — Hop Like A Bunny, Notsobig and Kidsen — but I’ve never bought a pair of the shoes… until recently. I got Ivy a pair of sandals (these ones) and they’re really great, both cute and comfortable. (Angulus shoes are said to be as durable as they are trendy!)
I noticed they also make women’s shoes, and I’m in love with all the pretty sandals. I might just have to buy a pair of sandals to match Ivy (or is that really cheesy?! maybe I won’t match her exactly!).
As I mentioned in this post, I took my first yoga class when I was pregnant with Marlow and after just one class I knew it would become an important part of my life from then on. I don’t know what took me so long to start up yoga, but I am so thankful I finally did. I loved taking pregnancy yoga classes when I was pregnant, and I am so convinced it helped prepare me mentally and physically for the birthing experience I had always longed for.
When Marlow was 8 weeks old we started taking yoga classes together. Once a week the two of us hop on a bus and head over to Triyoga in Primrose Hill for the Mummy & Me yoga class with Nadia Narain. It is always a highlight of the week for both of us! I love that I get to practice yoga even though I have a little baby who still can’t be left with a sitter, I love that every Wednesday I wake up and my muscles are slightly sore from the previous day’s work out, I love being surrounded by other mums with young babies and chatting to them about motherhood and baby stages, and I love ending the class with a little dance with Marlow – a special time for the two of us to share with each other. Marlow loves the bit at the end when we sing songs (Incy Wincy Spider is her favourite!), and she loves checking out all the other sweet babies in the room — I’m certain that she loves our yoga class as much as I do.
p.s. Marlow’s romper in the photo above is from Marie Puce.