Your house on Kid&Coe!

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Founded by Zoie Kingsbery Coe a few years ago, Kid&Coe is a booking service that lets families rent out their house when they are away, so that other families can have the convenience of traveling to interesting places while staying in a local family home. Instead of going though the trouble of booking an expensive hotel room, or (if you have several children) facing the difficulty of finding hotel rooms with connecting doors, Kid&Coe offers you the opportunity to stay in a family house with children’s beds, toys, books, a kitchen filled with everything a family needs, highchairs, washing machines, etc. It’s SO much more fun to stay in a family house than in an impersonal hotel room, and it is SO much more practical as well!

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We’ve written about Kid&Coe before here at Babyccino Kids, but I wanted to tell you how great it is to list your house there too. Our previous home was listed on the Kid&Coe website, and last May we had an inquiry from a family from Singapore who came to visit Amsterdam and was interested in renting our house during the spring break. We decided to rent out our house and make a little trip to Germany for those days, to visit our friends from Macarons and some other cool destinations along the way. It was a really great trip and we discovered so many wonderful places. And… the best thing — the money we made from renting out our house paid for our little holiday! When we came back, it was so nice to find a sweet letter from the family who stayed in our house, telling us how much they had enjoyed our house and how their little girl had loved playing with Ava’s toys.

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Listing your property on the Kid&Coe website is super easy to do. The application process is straight forward, and the Kid&Coe team is so great to work with. They write great things about your house, and make sure the photos look fantastic.

Because we just moved house our current place is not listed on the website, but this is the flat we always visit in Antwerp when we go there for a very important work weekend ; ). I really recommend listing your house with Kid&Coe — it’s so easy to do, and so worth it!

xxx Esther

PS The first five people to list their property on the Kid&Coe website though Babyccino Kids will get FREE professional photography!! 

PPS We’re excited for Kid&Coe to be the main sponsor of our ShopUp event in London this December — we look forward to seeing you there and if you have any questions about listing your property on the Kid&Coe website, their team will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Dressable rag dolls from Mamma Couture

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How cute are these rag dolls from Mamma Couture? They’re completely handmade and the faces are hand painted, giving them such sweet expressions on their little doll faces. All the dolls come with a few super sweet clothes, that can be combined in different ways to create cute outfits. They are also machine washable (practical!).

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Mamma Couture is one of the fabulous shops that will join us at the ShopUp this December 3rd and 4th. I can’t wait to discover her newest creations (and I think I will pick some stuff up for my kids for Christmas!).

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Also… Yesterday we mentioned the great give-aways we’re running over on our shopping portal, but did you know that we’re also having some great prizes to win over on our new ShopUp Instagram account? Right now, you can still enter to win one of these fabulous rag dolls from Mamma Couture (hurry, hurry!!), and there will be more fabulous prize to win soon. Check out the ShopUp Instagram account for details!

xxx Esther

This month’s very cool items to win!

We again have a few fabulous prizes to win this month! Have you entered yet?

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La Coqueta offer timeless, vintage-inspired and high-quality clothing, shoes and accessories, covering newborns up to age 7 and proudly designed & manufactured in Spain. This month, La Coqueta is offering an amazing prize: one winter coat PLUS a pair of shoes: one lucky winner may choose between the Arrieta coat for girls and the Nardo coat for boys, AND have the pick of the sweet shoe selection! Enter now!

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Ladida is an American shop carrying the coolest and most stylish brands from all over the world. You’ll find such a wide range of styles and brands here (covering newborns up to children aged 14) — surely the lucky winner of the $165 gift voucher won’t have an issue picking out some cool items from this great shop! Enter now to be the one with all this choice!

louislesecLouis Le Sec offer adorable, comfortable and highly functional bedlinen that keeps your child’s bedding safe and dry. The waterproof, soundless and breathable protection is not only a protection against liquids, but also a barrier against dust mites — perfect in case of allergies! This month, Louis le Sec is offering TWO winners a £50 voucher each to spend on the item of their choice. Enter here!

Sycamore Street PressSycamore Street Press was started by husband and wife duo, Eva and Kirk, in their studio tucked in the picturesque mountains of Utah. Eva and Kirk love the craft of letterpress, and create the most beautiful letterpress cards, art prints, gift wrap, and other pretty things. They love working with materials and techniques that are sustainable and good for us. This month, Sycamore Street Press are offering one lucky winner a £100 credit to spend in their superb shop. Click here to share the love and win!

Good luck!!!

A sweet sheep alarm clock

slaaptrainer-samThis cute little sheep SAM is not only an alarm clock and a nightlight, it is also a very cute and clever sleep trainer. Apparently, young children don’t have a sense of time like us adults – for them, the day starts when they open their eyes in the morning, and it ends when they are put to bed. Simple!

When you have a little child who persistently gets up way too early and then refuses to go to sleep until way too late, this sheep can help your child (and you) to get used to a more grown-up idea of time. SAM goes to sleep when your little one goes to bed. He will actually close his eyes and his screen will become blue, meaning ‘it is time to sleep’. Half an hour before get-up time he will open his eyes and the colour of his screen will turn green, meaning ‘it’s nearly time to get up’, and 12 stars on the screen will disappear one by one, counting down the 30 remaining minutes. By the time it is OK to get out of bed, SAM will open his eyes and his screen will become white, and the child will know that it is now ok to wake his parents up!

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Ava has had SAM the sheep in her bedroom for a while now, and especially now that she’s at ‘big school’, she’s totally in love with it. It’s truly her little friend, sitting at her nightstand next to her little bed!

xxx Esther

Gorgeous fall fashion from Wee Mondine

wee_mondine_1Fall is happening here in Amsterdam and tights are back on! Ava was wearing these adorable Emile et Ida Cat Tights today which I got from the super stylish shop Wee Mondine, and I just had to take a few snapshots. How cute are those embroidered cats on her knees?

wee_mondine_2The gorgeous chambray skirt is from Nico Nico, and the blue checked blouse is from Makie — both from Wee Mondine as well. I love this combination which I’m sure Ava is going to wear so much this fall (and beyond)!

xxx Esther

 

Darling, handmade Waldorf dolls by Stellabyrosa

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When I was giving the pillowcase stamping workshop at the Yvestown Fair / Snor Festival a few weeks ago, my eyes kept wandering away to the Stellabyrosa stall next to me, full of the most delicate and wonderful Waldorf dolls. Rosa, the creator of the dolls, told me about how she couldn’t find the right kind of ‘natural’ dolls when her girls were little, and how she started making her own. I just completely fell in love with each and every doll at her stand — they are all so full of character!

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You can see how much work and love Rosa puts in to each doll. They come fully dressed and are made from 100% Dutch cotton jersey in the traditional Waldorf style. Eyes and mouths are hand embroidered, the hair is made of soft mohair and the doll is stuffed with cleaned and carded organic Dutch sheepwool. Cheeks are coloured with beeswax crayon. They have movable arms and legs, and come fully dressed (all the clothes are beautiful and handmade by Rosa). One doll takes her three days to make!

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I fell so deeply in love with the dolls, that I got one for each of my girls. I also couldn’t resist the beautiful dolls bed, which is made by hand by Rosa’s father and is dressed in gorgeous bedlinen and pillows made by by Rosa. It is all so perfect! My girls love their dolls, and Casper does too, so I just ordered one for him as well (he’s turing 2 on Tuesday!).

xxx Esther

 

Indestructables, chew proof, rip proof… and machine washable!!

indestructables_baby_booksKate Merritt, an English illustrator living in Paris, recently emailed us about a range of books she’s been working on for Workman publishers in the US, called Indestructibles. I was sent a few of these books, and I’m really amazed by the innovation of them. Printed on a nontoxic paper-like, soft material, these books have the look and feel of ‘normal’ books, but… they are waterproof, tear-resistant, and completely machine washable! (I was a bit reluctant at first, throwing these books in the machine, but I did and they came out as if nothing had happened to them — except that they were wet! I tried the dishwasher as well — same story!)

I love how thin and light these books are, and the sweet and simple illustrations. They don’t take up any space in your bag, so are easy to bring along when you’re on the road. And they would make a cute little baby present as well!

Available on Amazon in the UK  and the US  (just look for indestructibles for more titles).

xxx Esther

The Little Square Gallery — sweet snapshots in a cool frame

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I’m not very organised when it comes to using my digital photos – I just take a photo, post it to Instagram, and then it disappears in a virtual cloud somewhere. Actually, it wasn’t very different back when I took analog photos — instead of a virtual cloud, photos would disappear in a dusty box, waiting to be organised and glued into albums…

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Friends of my parents, whose house I visited often when I was little, used to frame a selection of their photos in big collages once every year. They would choose photos of birthdays, vacations, and life in general, photos of their family, mixed with dear friends. They cut out parts of photos, circles, triangles — whatever worked — and glued them without any order or organisation. But the collages looked so cool and I loved looking at them (and finding myself in the sea of faces)!

lsg3I recently commissioned Natalie from The Little Square Gallery to print a selection of my Instagram photos.  To create a moment in time, six months of snapshots, as a visual reminder of the things that happened and made us happy. The frame arrived a little while ago, and it is sitting on our new landing waiting for it’s final spot. And we love it! I see it many times a day, and am reminded of those sweet moments. The children love looking at it as well. Casper is especially intrigued — every day he studies the photos and calls out all of the names of his siblings… sweet boy!


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Working with Natalie was such a pleasure. She helped me pick the best photos, worked on them to make them perfect in colour, balancing light and contrast, and created a truly wonderful collage, framed beautifully in a solid wood frame. The photos are giclée printed on thick, cotton-rag fine art paper, creating a really cool floating effect that sets this collage apart! I will definitely work with Natalie again, creating more of these compilations — because I definitely like these moments in time much better in a frame, than in a virtual cloud!

xxx Esther

Toto Knits, with a darling new Capsule Collection

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Slowly but steadily autumn is upon us here in Amsterdam. We’ve been super lucky with the weather so far (I’ve heard it’s been the same in other parts of the world), but leaves are falling and mushrooms are appearing. So it’s time to get ready for the cold season! I’ve been ordering socks and tights, shoes and boots, hats and scarfs. These cuties just arrived from Toto Knits, all the way from Africa, and even though I ordered them for Casper, Ava has been wearing them, aptly on top of her Indian summer dress!

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Toto Knits is a Kenya-based label, founded by Erin Brennan Allan, and offering a line of fun and funky knitwear, all handmade of organic cotton and dyed with bio-friendly dyes. Designs are always super cute (the Safari and Farm Animal Sweaters are so sweet!) and all of the products are ethically made by a group of single mothers in Kenya. I love this concept, encouraging trade not aid, and find it clever how Erin pays the knitters by the piece, so that they can decide how much they work, allowing them to make time for their families as much as needed. When a product is finished, the knitters sign the piece (the above hat and the scarf were made by Lucy and Serah), which is so nice — for the knitters because they can truly ‘sign’ their work and be proud of it, and for the client because every piece comes with a story behind it.

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Erin’s newest Capsule Collection, called Heart and Habit, is so stylish and with the muted colours so perfect for this time of year. Beautiful charcoal grey combined with burgundy red, emerald green and cream white are the basis for these pretty pieces. (Pim is wearing a cool Toto Knits striped hoodie in the photos above.) Even though we’re enjoying the favourable temperatures for as long as we can, it won’t be long before we’re all curled up on the couch!

xxx Esther

PS This post is sponsored by Toto Knits, a brand we highly respect and recommend and a longtime member of our shopping portal. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our blog!

Scones!

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Last week I was thinking of something new for breakfast (the children had a few days off from school), and suddenly the idea of scones came to mind. Scones are not a traditional Dutch dish, but I’ve learned to appreciate a good scone in the years I lived in London. Here’s the recipe I used (this BBC Good Food recipe but with a few modifications). A grand recipe, we all agreed on! (And it makes your kitchen smell heavenly, if anything!)

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Ingredients:

  • 350g flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 85g butter (cut into cubes — didn’t bother)
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 175ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • beaten egg, to glaze

Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix. Add the butter, use your fingers to rub the butter in the mix until it looks like fine crumbs.
Put the buttermilk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 secs until warm. Add the vanilla and sugar, stir, then set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet in the oven.
Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and combine it quickly with your hands – it will seem pretty (really!) wet at first. Scatter a royal amount of flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round about 3 to 4 cm deep.
Take a 5cm cutter and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four to six scones. By this point you’ll probably need to press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four. Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.
Bake for 10 to 15 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream (or butter).

Bon Appetite!

xxx Esther

 

Unusual Creatures, a fascinating book

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Unusual Creatures  is a super cool book, written by Michael Hearst and published by Chronicle Kids. It carries the intriguing subtitle ‘A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth’s Strangest Animals’, which is totally applicable because the fifty amazingly special animals which are described in the book are truly fascinating!

Did you know that the Humpback Anglerfish, which lives in the dark and cold ocean deeps, carries luminescent lanterns on his head to attract their prey (which they then devour with their long and sharp teeth)? Or have you heard of the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, which averages one meter (3 feet) in length but has been found as long as 6,5 meters (22 feet)!!! A worm! The Tardigrade on the other hand is tiny; it’s a microscopic animal which lives in water all over the planet and is considered one of the world’s toughest animals. It can survive 1000 times more radiation than any other animal as well as temperatures of over 150ºC (300ºF) and under -240ºC (400ºF). It even survived a 10 day trip in outer space, without spacesuit of course — in which it even managed to lay eggs!

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If you love trivial facts like these as much as we do (Pim is especially captivated by this book!), then this book is for you. Oh, and the Unusual Creatures website is also very cool. Have a look!

The book is available through Amazon UK  and US .

xxx Esther

Pillow stamping at the Snor Festival & Yvestown Fair this weekend!

pillow2I’ve known the fabulous Yvonne from Yvestown for a few years now and I just love everything she does. Her wonderful blog, her beautiful book, and her inspiring Yvestown Fair. Together with the wonderful girls from Snor Publishers (remember these cool activity books I blogged about), they’re organising a fun event this Sunday, and when they invited Babyccino Kids to join, of course we said yes!

pillow3 pillow4 Processed with VSCOcam with p5 presetI will be there, offering the opportunity to stamp pillow cases like these ones I made with my kids. Such a fun activity (and I love the results!!).

Snor_festivalI really hope to see you there if you have the opportunity to come? I have a limited amount of pillowcases with me, so if you want me to reserve a pillow-stamping-placement for you, just send me an email and I will save you one!

xxx Esther

 

In løv with this tea!

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When I was in Paris a while back I noticed this supercool shop in Le Marais, filled with beautiful candy-coloured tins filled with… tea! Løv Organic is a French tea brand, and offers beautiful tins filled with amazing tea blends, all certified organic.

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I’ve gotten so into this tea lately – the flavours are so exquisite and it’s just such a pleasure to go through the tea making ritual with such a beautiful product.

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We love the Apple Cinnamon Fruit Tea, the Vanilla Rooibos, the Løvely Night, and the Wild Berry Fruit Tea. The great thing about these teas is that they are tannin-free, so my kids can enjoy them safely — they really love drinking tea! Plus — these teas make wonderful iced tea too. Perfect for this time of year, when some days are cold and some days are hot!

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So, now back to work with a nice cup of Spicy Citrus Fruit Tea… : )

xxx Esther

This post was kindly sponsored by Løv Tea, a brand we have always loved and respected.

Cool 10 IS shoes

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My Little Square teamed up with cool shoe brand 10 IS and is offering these exclusive, limited edition (and super stylish!) velour shoes, printed with a patchwork of old persian rugs. I got a pair for Sara and she loves them!! Handy detail is that they open with a little zipper at the side of the shoe, so need to tie up all the laces every time. Snatch these great shoes up while you still can — they’re only going to be available for another two weeks, exclusively at My Little Square!

xxx Esther

Glasses for Sara!

sara_glassesWith two very nearsighted parents, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Sara started to complain about not being able to read the letters on the digiboard very well from the back of the classroom. So I took her to an optometrist, and sure thing: he measured a 1.25 nearsightedness.

I remember very well, that when I was about 10 years old, I had so much trouble reading the blackboard and the subtitles on the television that my mum scheduled an appointment with the schoolnurse for me. Admittedly, the whole aspect of having to wear glasses was appalling to me at the time — gosh, how I disliked that poor schoolnurse when she told me that I very much needed a pair of glasses. Glasses were definitely not as cool then as they are nowadays!

Thankfully, glasses are considered to be very fashionable and stylish these days and Sara was beyond excited when she was told she could pick out a pair. So we got her this darling purple beauty, which I think look so, so good on her. (But which also make her look so, so much more grown-up!)

When we picked up her glasses from the store last week and she put them on her nose for the very first time, she experienced that feeling that I remember so very well – the revelation! So much light, colour and detail to be seen! To be able to read the street signs! The pavement looks so much bigger! A whole new world! So sweet. Next day, she was so proud to show her glasses to her class, her teachers and her girlfriends. And I’m so very proud of her!

xxx Esther

The Dopper bottle

SONY DSCIn the Netherlands, schools don’t provide a cooked lunch so my children leave the house every day with a backpack with a packed lunch and a bottle of water. Recently, Sara has been complaining about her current water bottle making funny sounds when she drinks, so I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement. And I found it! The Dopper is a Dutch design water bottle, with an ingenious 2-in-1 function of bottle and cup: the cap becomes a cup when you turm it upside down.

The design and idea of the Dopper stems from the growing frustration of the founder of Dopper, Merijn Everaarts, with the enormous amounts of plastic waste (the ‘plastic soup’, floating in the ocean). Merijn organised a design competition and the clever idea of Rinke van Remortel was the rightful winner. The Dopper is produced following the principles of the Cradle to Cradle philosophy and consists of no harmful substances. It can easily be cleaned, and is dishwasher safe.

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Also – 10% of Dopper sales goes to the Dopper Foundation, which invests half of its proceeds in water projects in Nepal and the other half goes to water and plastic waste education projects.

An admirable bottle, don’t you think?

xxx Esther

Petit Bateau Rain Cape

PetitBateau_raincapeOh my, how adorable is this little Petit Bateau rain cape? And so practical for the coming months! We are a huge fan of the well known yellow rain coats (we have them for all of our kids!), and this new rain coat is just the perfect translation of this classic for any sweet little baby. (Do you think Casper would still fit in?)

xxx Esther

A market in France

market_viewWhen we stay in our house in France, we always make sure to make the trip to the local market which takes place in Maurs, every Thursday morning. The ride by itself is worth it — the beautiful hills with the fog still hanging over the valleys…

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The market is a ‘farmers market’ in the true sense of the word — there still are farmers who will come to town, display their wares on the grounds in front of the medieval church and sell their beautiful products like eggs, vegetables, flowers and tools made from wicker or carved out of wood.

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market_avaProduce are fresh and abundant, and local. We love all the different cheeses and sausages, the artisanal bread, the wonderful fruit and vegetables… There’s even a woman with a giant water bucket full of trouts — she will catch the one of your liking and, uhm, clean it on the spot (the kids find this especially intriguing)!

market_garlicAnd every summer, I stock up on purple garlic that lasts almost a full year!

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market_fountainThe market is very much a social affair as well — people come to town to buy fresh produce, but also meet up with friends and family in one of the cafés (and drink café au lait of course).

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market_mandelaMarket day is a busy cay, because back home, we have a great lunch, a productive afternoon… and a delicious dinner! ; ) Ah, summer holidays — I can’t wait until next year!

xxx Esther

PS Yummy Puy lentil salad

The Sticker Club

sticker_clubSara and Pim are really into ‘clubs’ recently. They have a Club with their neighbour friends, in which (according to the minutes of their last meeting) they set out to ‘make loom bands’, ‘find insects’, ‘write letters’ and ‘build huts’. They also have clubs with their class mates, varying from the ‘Lunchtime Break Football Club’ to the ‘We Love Nature Club’. So cute!

I guess all kids love clubs. There’s something so magically exciting about it! I remember that as a child, I was a member of all sorts of clubs — some of them were so secret I hid the club paperwork underneath the carpet in my room!

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Tapping into the Kids love Clubs idea, The Sticker Club is a new business idea launched by two creative dads who share 5 kids between them. The concept is simple — upon joining The Sticker Club, your child will receive a really cool looking parcel, addressed to them personally, on the doorstop each week, retaining 9 different sticker sheets designed by different up-and-coming, hip designers. Pim has been a member for a few weeks now, and he LOVES receiving his stickers every week!

The sheets are made from high-quality paper with non-toxic inks and non-marking glue, and are really happy and fun. You can subscribe to the club here — there are also some gift options available which is a super good idea!

xxx Esther

 

PS The secret ‘White Lion Club‘ for Pim’s 7th birthday party, and a chain letter Sticker Club.

New Hatch collection online!

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Every season here at Babyccino Kids we’re eager to see the new Hatch collection — just because we know it will be stylish, trendy, and oh so comfortable. I’ve first gotten to know Hatch when I was pregnant with Casper, and I’ve kept all their pieces after his birth and am still wearing them to this day. In fact, I even got some new pieces this spring (and I’m not pregnant nor planning to be!). I just love the relaxed style and fit of the collection – pregnant or not.
hatchAW14_2Anyway, just thought to share some of my favourites from the new collection. Like the 100% wool, collarless Hudson Shirt in plaid above. Adorable! (And BTW — I want those glasses!) And that perfectly little black Mercer Dress, so versatile. Great for during the day, but easy to dress up as evening wear as well.

hatch4 hatch5 hatch6How cute is this plaid Pull-Over? Just by itself or paired with that gorgeous long Ultimate Cardigan? And I love the denim leggings — such a handy staple in every (pregnant) girl’s wardrobe. (Oh, and that black Blazer is one of the Hatch items I actually have in my closet…)

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This gorgeous oversized Waffle Turtleneck jumper is one of my favourites! And how cool does it look paired with the Tuxedo Legging?

hatchAW14_3 hatchAW_1OK, last but not least: coats! The short Montagne is such an easy and handy throw-on and would be perfect on the bike here in Amsterdam. But the sculptural shape of the Topper Coat really appeals to me as well…

There are many more cute styles to be found on the Hatch website. So very tempting!

xxx Esther

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