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

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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!

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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

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?

lacoqueta

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!

ladida

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

Our trip to Venice

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grand canal, Venice
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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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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

Arcachon

IMG_5146As the leaves on the trees here in Paris are slowly turning red, yellow and brown and summer is becoming a bit of a distant memory, I wanted to quickly jot down some notes about an area of France we discovered and completely fell in love with this summer. It is the Atlantic coast of the South West of France, just south of Arcachon.  A group of friends and us decided to go camping in an amazing campsite set in the middle of a pine forest with a view of the sea and Europe’s biggest sand dune, la Dune du Pyla. It was so beautiful and simple. I am not an avid camper and our little tent without any accessories looked a bit ridiculous compared to most people’s set up, but it was so much fun, no one cared (we often used the car as an extra room, picnic area and extra seating area).

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I picked up one of these little gas stoves and pots and we came up with some of quite successful one pot meals.
(The grown ups did sometimes go pick up a little tray of oysters and a cheeky little bottle of cold rosé to enjoy after the kids had passed out, so we were not really roughing it).

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Here are a few of the things we did: We stayed at the camping Panorama du Pyla, which is great with the most amazing view of the sand dune and the Atlantic. The bathrooms are spotless and there are a lovely couple of swimming pools and a little water slide. It is all very low key.

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We took a little boat over the water to the seaside resort of Cap Ferret and explored the Atlantic beaches and the still waters of the basin. We paddled around on these amazing little inflatable body boards we picked up at the local sports store.

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Finally we braved the big, though mellow waves down the road in Biscarosse and had some surf lessons with a nice guy called Paul. Even the youngest kids loved it. They looked so cute and felt like super heroes in their little wetsuits!

Surfers We will be back next year!

- Emilie

PS. my top tip for camping? Bring an eye mask! I think it made the difference between me being a very grumpy maman to someone waking up with a smile on my face!

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DIY: London Bus Piggy Bank

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Hi there, remember me? The SHOPUP is coming up soon (are you coming?) and I thought I’d help out these three super busy bees a little bit by contributing a few posts. Hope you don’t mind.

I got an inspiration for this one last summer in Slovenia in a cute toy shop Vanila Park. The owner has this cardboard London Bus that she made together with her daughter on display and I immediately thought about doing a piggy bank similar to it. I love how it turned out and I thought you might like it too.

Like all my crafts it’s super easy and done in under an hour – Tila can’t stay still for longer.

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The things you’ll need are:

Cardboard box (mine was size 17,5 cm x 12 cm)
Some extra cardboard
Glue
Scissors
Craft knife (optional)
Ruler
Red, black, white and yellow acrylic paint

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First measure and cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside the bottom of the box to make it more sturdy (those coins can get really heavy).

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Cut an opening in the top of the box big enough to fit the widest coin (for 2 Euros a 2,5 cm x 0,5 cm opening should do) and paint the whole box bright red.

Now cut out four circles about 5 cm in diameter for the wheels (black), two with 2 cm in diameter for the lights (yellow), two 4-centimetre squares and one 9cm x 4 cm rectangle for the windows and paint the pieces (white).

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Glue them on like in the photo above and start saving.  ; )

-Polona

To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Custom watercolour portraits from Sophie & Lili

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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.

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

 

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.)

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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

What kids around the world eat for breakfast

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I am sure a lot of you have come across this article in the New York Times but I still wanted to post it, as I think it is so interesting to see how differently children eat. At my flat we are so used to eating sweet things in the morning, be it cereal, porridge (very unusual for France) or tartines – the idea of  miso soup and soy sauce for breakfast would not even cross our mind. And yet it would feel completely natural somewhere else…

I remember Esther staying with me one day and telling one of her kids off for having grabbed something sweet to eat before eating something savoury. Only then did she realise that there was nothing savoury on the table! It is funny how we all have our breakfast traditions. I think it is the meal that we are the least adventurous about, possibly because adventure is the last thing on our mind when we are still waking up.

I also love the photos in this post, the children look so cute, still sleepy with ruffled hair and preparing themselves for the day.

- Emilie

My First Opinel

h23143003-1My grandfather once told me that every good French woman had a pen knife in her handbag. Now, that might have been a slight exaggeration, but a lot of us do have a couple of Opinels, the ubiquitous French pen knife. I have a small one to slip into my handbag to slice apples and divide cakes for snacks. I also have a bigger one for picnics!

I think it is so cute that Opinel is now doing a pen knife for kids, with a rounded blade. It not a toy but a fully functioning knife that is relatively sharp and can be used to help out at picnics and possibly cut down a couple of twigs. I guess I am teaching my kids how to become good French woman from a young age. My grandfather would be proud. ; )

- Emile

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

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

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