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.
We discovered Jamie Oliver’s vegetarian chili recipe a couple months ago, and have made it nearly once a week since. It’s so yummy, and so easy to make. And it’s one of those meals you can make at the end of the week when your fridge is empty and you can’t think of anything else to make. Most of the ingredients are canned ingredients you’ll have in your pantry, or spices you’ll probably have in the cupboard. The fresh ingredients you’ll need are sweet potatoes, peppers, chillis and coriander (unless, like us, you have a stash of frozen coriander in your freezer). Give this recipe a go — I’m certain you’ll love it too!
Image taken from the Jamie Oliver website.
We have been long-time fans of Gabriela Pardo and her cool guitar pillows… so when she emailed to let us know about her new necklaces, we knew we’d love those too. She sent this one with bells and feathers for Ivy, and of course Ivy loves it. Such a fun, vibrant way to accessorise any outfit whether for normal wear or for dress-up.
My oldest has a birthday coming up. Eight! It sounds so big to me! He’s at that tender age where he is no longer a little kid in a needy way, but yet he’s still so naive and blissfully unaware of ‘cool’. Still happy to hold my hand as we walk into his classroom and kiss me when I pick him up. So sweet. I want to pickle him and keep him like this forever!
Anyway, I’m slightly stumped as to what to buy him for his birthday. (Don’t you find that the older they get, the trickier it is to buy them things? Or is it just me?!) I picked up this How To Build A Human Body book/kit the other day and I think he’s really going to love it!
The set includes a 32-page book full of colorful illustrations and intriguing facts about the human body along with 66 slotted pieces to build a 3-D skeleton. Cool, no?
ps – If you have other tips for what to buy an 8-year-old, please share!
I have been a fan of the H-Luv fabrications since I first saw them and met the designer, Heidi Iverson, at Playtime NYC years ago. The little mushroom men are sooo cute! So full of character with their little hand-stitched faces. I also love the little trees – how the trunks are weighted with polybeads so they stand upright wherever you put them. And the little dolls (below) are so sweet.
When I was at Sweet William in NYC this past March, I picked up one of the H-Luv cloud mobiles to hang above Marlow’s bed. I love the bright colours and the little rain pompoms hanging down. So fun.
Do you see Marlow’s hands reaching out of her cot in the photo above? I’m pretty sure she’s trying to say she likes the cloud mobile too! : )
Elizabeth from The Littlest blog (and our lovely LA-based contributor) has started up a wonderful new series on her blog called ‘As They Grow’ which features a different mother & baby duo to highlight the monthly stages of a baby’s development from birth up to 24 months. Each mother will describe how they engage with their baby – how they play with their baby, what songs they sing, what games they play, etc. She asked me to describe the third month in a baby’s development and Esther to describe the fourth month.
Take a peek at The Littlest blog to see our contributions and to see what other mums say about the different months. We’re excited to read about the coming months (months five, six, seven, eight, etc.) in anticipation of our own babies being at that stage. It’s always nice to hear ideas for how to engage and play with your baby at the different stages.
I recently discovered the Naef brand of baby toys at the TwentyTwentyOne shop in Islington and I was so drawn to the simplicity of the toys. Simple, but so beautiful at the same time. And all the wood is so smooth, the shapes are so perfect for little baby hands, and the sounds the toys make when you move them are so naturally pleasant. I bought this ringl-ring-rattle for Marlow and it’s one of her favourite toys, fitting so perfectly into her hands and entertaining her with the way the rings naturally fall from side to side of the circular ring.
I love the bright colours and bold prints on the tunics at Emerald August. Such happy pieces little girls will love to wear! (Laura from Emerald August sent this tunic dress for Ivy and you should have seen the excitement in opening the package – pink, purple and butterflies!! It doesn’t get better than that!!!).
Emerald August is an Atlanta-based company and each article of clothing is designed by Laura and made locally in the USA. You’ll find tunic tops, dresses and a collection of sweet graphic tees for the summer.
I met up with my friend Lindsey from Urban Mums recently and she was telling me about (and showing me) her baby’s terrible eczema. Eczema so bad that his skin, at times, became infected and needed medical treatment. Poor little baby boy. It turns out he is allergic to dairy and gluten, and that feeding him a specially formulated baby milk free from these allergens will keep his eczema at bay. His eczema has thankfully mostly cleared up… but still, Lindsay has to be really picky about the clothing and fabrics her son wears so that his sensitive skin is never irritated. Enter Silver Sense clothing.
Silver Sense specialises in clothing which helps to ease the itching, inflammation and distress caused by eczema and other skin conditions in a natural way. Their clothes are made from soft cotton fabrics which are blended with real, natural silver fibres. I had no idea… but apparently silver fibres have powerful antimicrobial properties that help fight the symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions! How cool is that? (You can read more about it here.)
I love all their cute products, both for babies and children up to 8 years. Lots of fun stripes, and cute colour combos. And Lindsey says the products are really great in person, super cute and nice fitting… and yes, soothing on her baby’s skin. Brilliant!
I popped into Elias & Grace the other day for a ‘just to browse, not to shop’ kind of thing, and ended up walking out with a couple new spring dresses for Ivy. I couldn’t help it — the sun was shining (finally!) so spring was in the air, and the dresses were too cute to pass up. I thought this simple white cotton dress by Miller was the perfect thing for summer. Is there anything sweeter than a little girl in a white dress on a summer’s day? No way.
Now let’s hope the sun stays out and this long, cold winter is over!