Are your children obsessed too? We have Frozen mania in this house like you’ve never seen (or probably you have…?!). We bought Ivy this Disney Frozen book for her birthday recently and she takes it to bed with her every night. So it was obviously her first answer when I asked her to tell me her favourite books. : )
We went through the little bookcase next to her bed and she picked out some of her other favourites. Here are the ones she chose:
1. Disney Frozen , as mentioned above.
2. Hector and Christina : This is a used book we found online, and I don’t think it’s in print anymore. But we love all of the books by husband and wife team, Roger Duvoisin and Louise Fatio, for their sweet stories as well as the charming illustrations. (The Happy Lion is one of our family favourites!)
3. Petunia : This is another Duvoisin/Fatio book about a silly goose who thinks she is very wise and goes around the farmyard telling all the animals false facts.
4. Corduroy : A classic! A story about a bear named Corduroy who has been sitting on the shelf of a department store for a long time, hoping for someone to take him home. I think Ivy likes the idea that stuffed animals can have feelings and can come alive when nobody is looking.
5. Olive and the Big Secret : This is another book about Olive (Ivy loves both of them!). In this story, Olive the cat is told a big secret and can’t help but tell a friend, so she tells Joe who tells Matt who tells Lola… and the secret gets out! It’s another silly story, but one that really appeals to Ivy (and actually all of my kids).
7. Sick Day for Amos McGee : I was so glad Ivy chose this one because it’s one of my favourites too. The illustrations are so beautiful, and the story is just so heartwarming. It’s about a zoo keeper named Amos who has special animal friends in the zoo. One day, when Amos is home sick and doesn’t turn up at the zoo, the animals hop on the bus and pay him a visit at home. So sweet!
There are so many others we love, but as promised I am only listing the ones Ivy chose (maybe at the end of this series I should share MY favourites, just so they don’t get overlooked?!). Feel free to share your children’s favourites for this age range.
Our friend, Jodie Fried, who longtime readers might remember from the Angawandi Charity Project or even before that, from the Bholu brand of quirky soft toys, is a woman of many talents (and apparently many successful business ideas!). She recently started a new company called Armadillo & Co which offers a stylish selection of handmade, natural rugs. She works with traditional artisans in India who specialise in varying weaving techniques, and they only use natural fibres like wool, jute, cotton and hemp. Being a mother, she not only offers a gorgeous selection of rugs for your home, but also a lovely and vibrant children’s collection as well.
She very kindly sent me one of her rugs for the girls’ bedroom so that we could see and feel the quality of the rugs, and it is the perfect addition to their bedroom. The colours are perfect in there (see photos of their room below)! Don’t you think it looks like it should be paired with the print on the fireplace mantel, the print on the left?
I just received this edible little sunsuit for Marlow after pre-ordering it months and months ago, and I am in love!! (both with the baby and the sunsuit). Oooh 18 months is my most favourite age — I have always said so. They are still squishy babies, still so snuggly and needy at times, but then so wonderfully independent and determined. And they learn and advance so quickly at this age – Marlow is talking up a storm and impressing us every day with her new words, and even singing lines of ‘Frozen’ songs! So funny.
And while she is adventurous and wild at times, she is still so sensitive. She’ll ask to ‘walk, walk’ when I’m holding her, and then two minutes later she’ll hear an airplane (a noise that scares her) and she’ll be back in my arms with her little head resting in my neck. Oh, I could just eat her up. Especially in that Strawberry Sunsuit from Misha and Puff. Delicious!
I thought it could be fun (and hopefully helpful) to post the favourite books of each of my children. Not the books I think are the best — the ones with the pretty illustrations or the beautiful classics we all grew up with — but the ones that really appeal to my children, the books they ask for time and time again. Sharing each of my children’s favourites will hopefully help define an appropriate age range for each book.
I’ll go in order from youngest to oldest, so let’s start with Marlow (aged 18 months)! Her favourite books are quite typical ones, the books my other children also liked at this age. Her attention span is short, so she likes books with little text that engage her with lift-the-flap features and vibrant colours, or most importantly, books with animals (we like to make animal sounds as we read!).
We’ve been reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear lately (my copy from when I was her age!) and it’s a good one for teaching colours (and animals). This was my favourite book when I was little, and it’s been so fun for me to read it to all of my kids. Here are six of her other favourites (which I think would appeal to children aged 0 to 3):
1. The Very Busy Spider : Another Eric Carle favourite! A spider lands on a fence post in a farm yard and starts to spin a web. She is visited by all the farm animals, and Marlow loves making all the animal sounds.
2. Goodnight Moon : A magical bedtime favourite of all of my children at this age. I can read this book by heart! A must-buy for any young child.
3. I Am a Bunny : Marlow loves the little bunny named Nicholas, and when he goes into his tree at the end of the book to hibernate for the winter, she always says ‘shhhhhhh’ and pretends to also go to sleep.
4. Dear Zoo : Another favourite of all my children when they were this age. There are flaps to lift on every page to reveal different animals.
5. Where Is My Baby? : Another book with flaps to lift and animals hiding underneath. Plus, we love helping the mama animals find their babies.
6. My First ABC : This is a great book for teaching babies their words. We play the game where I ask her to point to all the things in the book, and I’m always surprised by how many words she knows.
What are your toddlers’ favourite books? Please share!
I discovered the Ace & Jig women’s line about two years ago, and it has since become my favourite brand. I especially love their easy-to-wear dresses — I layer them over and under other pieces depending on the weather, and they’re as comfortable as they are effortlessly pretty. Aren’t the fabrics so beautiful? I love every piece in the collection!
So I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I adore their children’s collection as well. I recently got Ivy her first Ace & Jig dress and when I showed it to her she immediately recognised it as being ‘like mama’s dresses!’. So sweet. We snapped some photos on our recent holiday in Positano last week and I couldn’t help but share.
If you know anything about my family, you probably know we take our pancakes very seriously. On Saturdays we make ‘skinny pancakes’ (aka crepes) and on Sundays we make ‘fat pancakes’ (the fluffy American kind). Sometimes we mix it up and make oatmeal pancakes or aebleskivers, but it’s always some form of pancake for breakfast on the weekends. So obviously my friend Sally knew we would love this book when she sent it to us. : )
Pancakes for Breakfast is a sweet little book which tells the story through pictures, no words. It’s become one of Marlow’s favourite books recently, and I think it’s because we really read it together, looking at all the images and pointing out all the funny details (and of course making all the animal sounds). It’s interesting how a book without words forces you to really tell the story in an active and engaging way that appeals to children. It’s also fun because Ivy can read the story too, without struggling over words.
The story is about a little old lady who wakes up one wintery morning and craves a stack of pancakes for breakfast. She sets out to make them, and along the way realises she doesn’t have all the ingredients so she has to go out to the hen house to collect eggs and then back out to the barn to milk the cow and then over to her neighbour to buy some maple syrup, etc. The illustrations are really endearing – we love the cheeky cat who eyes the milk and the clumsy dog who always gets in the way. A sweet book for babies and children up to reading age. Available from Amazon (UK and US ).
Tom & Teddy is an Australian brand that specialises in stylish swim shorts for boys and men. They have a great range of bold and contemporary designs, including their newly launched ‘Vintage‘ range which includes iconic scooters, speedboats and airplanes, all featured on their signature quick-drying, UV-protective microfibre fabric. All of their styles are offered in both boy’s and dad sizes and thus is the perfect brand to offer a Father’s Day giveaway! Click here to enter to win three different father-and-son sets of swim shorts (a value of more than £250!). The winner can choose their favourite styles and sizes — how fun are the scooters (featured below)?!
P.S. If you would like to order swim shorts for Father’s Day, please order by June 4th in order to receive your package in time!
I recently ordered some custom return address stamps from Sycamore Street Press and I am in love — both with the stamps and with the fact that I no longer have to write out my address! (How did I not do this sooner? What a time saver!) I just got around to (finally) sending thank you notes from my birthday, and I felt so special stamping the back of every envelope with my own personal address stamp.
I also love their custom monogram stamps which can be used for all sorts of things — you can stamp it onto any blank notecard, inside a book cover, or onto a gift tag, etc. I’m leaving my new stamps out on my desk and can’t wait to put them to use!
Little Hanbury had a one-week pop-up shop in London a couple weeks ago and I scooped up some great clothes for the boys for summer. I bought these shorts for Quin (love the relaxed fit!), some great tees and hoodies by Nico Nico, and I also scored some cute items from the sales bucket! The entire selection at Little Hanbury is so stylish, you really can’t go wrong. And not only that, but they’re currently offering Babyccino readers an exclusive 20% discount on everything in store! Click here for details.
My mom is visiting for a few weeks and it’s so nice to have an extra set of hands to help with the kids. She started a tradition a fews years ago of reading chapter books to the kids when she comes to visit. They’ve read a few of the Harry Potter books, all of the Pippi Longstocking books, and a few other individual stories. She usually reads to them while I make their dinner and then again for 20 minutes before bedtime, and it’s SO nice that she keeps them all quiet and calm during what is normally a very stressful (and loud) time in our house. Not to mention, my kids love it!
My mom remembered a book series she read to my brothers when they were little called My Father’s Dragon , and she’s been reading the stories to the kids this week. (She bought the 50th Anniversary Edition which includes the three tales in one book.) The kids are loving it! The stories, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett in the 1940s, are about the adventures of a boy named Elmer Elevator who runs away to Wild Island, a jungle island inhabited by wild beasts, to rescue a baby flying dragon. The book includes loads of sweet black-and-white illustrations to help younger children interpret the stories (Ivy still likes books to have pictures), and the stories are short enough to keep them all interested from beginning to end. This is a great way to introduce beginning readers to chapter books — had my mom not read it to the kids, I think it would have been the perfect first chapter book for Quin (aged 7).
p.s. A previous post about books for bigger kids with lots of suggestions from readers in the comments section
p.p.s. I’m always up for discovering new books, so feel free to share your favourites below!
This month’s issue of Baby&Me Magazine is all about travel, which of course is a topic that excites us all! You’ll find a selection of family-friendly holiday destinations to kick-start your summer holiday planning, plus stylish travel essentials, holiday packing ideas and a fashionable photoshoot in sunny Palm Springs!
In this month’s issue we’ve rounded up five of our favourite travel games that are both easy to pack and guaranteed to entertain. Click over to the Baby&Me website to see our picks, or you can read the full digital version here.
I realise I’ve been posting more girl’s clothing than boy’s recently, and I promise to start paying more attention to boys! But first, I just wanted to share a couple weekend photos of my girls in their sweet little outfits from Soor Ploom. This Brooklyn-based American label is one of my favourites for little girls – the pieces are so pretty in their simplicity, with easy-to-wear shapes and beautiful fabrics. I adore everything in the collection! Esther and I had the pleasure of meeting Marissa, the designer, when we were in NYC earlier this year, and she is lovely. You can read more about her label here and you can see a list of stockists here.
p.s. My girls are really starting to play together now and it’s so sweet! Marlow goes around the house all day saying Ivy’s name and following her around. They sleep in the same room and every morning I walk in to find Ivy in Marlow’s cot with her, and the look on Marlow’s face is pure pride. And when Ivy’s at school, she walks around pointing out Ivy’s shoes and Ivy’s dolls and Ivy’s toys, etc. So cute! I was worried my girls wouldn’t be as close as my boys because of the bigger age gap between them, but hopefully (fingers crossed) their friendship will only strengthen as Marlow gets older.
I saw an image of iced watermelon lollies on Pinterest last week and thought that was about the best idea ever! How simple and perfect for summer. Since we’re having a ‘mini’ heat wave here in London this week, I decided to make them for the kids as an after-school snack. The kids agree — best idea ever!
p.s. I love how 22° qualifies as a heat wave in England : )
p.p.s. Come join us on Pinterest! We’re addicted — so much inspiration all in one place!
It was Ivy’ 5th birthday on Tuesday and I think (hope) the day really lived up to her expectations. She started talking about her birthday about three months ago and together we counted down the days every day for the past 60-something days! (Not sure if it’s a girl thing… but she was more excited for her birthday than either of my boys have ever been. I remember being the same when I was little!)
Here is a little re-cap of her day…
We have a little tradition in our family of hanging up bunting and wrapping presents the night before a birthday, so when the birthday girl/boy wakes up, they walk into a happy kitchen with bunting and balloons and presents to open! We made Aebelskiver pancakes for Ivy (her choice), she opened presents, and then we brought her to school wearing her birthday crown.
I made ‘flower fairy’ carrot cake cupcakes (again, her choice) and brought them into her classroom so all her classmates could sing happy birthday.
Ivy was allowed to invite five friends over after school for a little ‘Flower Fairy’ party. We played the Frozen soundtrack on repeat (will it ever get old?!), the kids danced and played dress-up (mostly fairies, although we had a couple superheroes too), and then we played pass-the-parcel. The kids ate dinner, followed by a dance party, and then we had icecream cake from Ruby Violet! It was so fun! Even I was dressed as a flower fairy with a crown and a tutu (I will spare you the photos).
The lovely Charlotte from The Carousel Show got in touch before Ivy’s birthday. When I told her Ivy wanted a Flower Fairy themed party, she told me she had the perfect decorations and tableware for the party. She generously sent over a boxed set containing everything I needed for the party: plates, cups, straws, napkins, confetti, balloons, candies, baggies for the goody bags, etc. Literally everything I needed! Even cute toys like fairy gliders and fairy wands. It was SO nice to have everything sorted for the party; all I had to do was set it all up (which is the fun part!). I’ve decided that ordering party kits is the way of the future!!
Thank you Charlotte for the pretty party! Ivy was a happy girl!
p.s. Remember Ivy’s Fairy Princess party last year? I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since then!
Don’t these pretty photos just make you long for summer?! (I am already counting down the days!). Anna Teisen, the London-based designer behind the children’s brand, Annaliv, sent over these photos of her gorgeous new ‘Scandinavian Summer’ collection, and I’m loving the look of everything. Until now, Annaliv specialised in blazers, bibs, and rucksacks, all mostly for boys. I’m really excited to see her new collection expand to include more pieces for both boys and girls, still featuring her beautiful in-house designed prints and fabrics.
The new Annaliv collection is inspired by traditional cross stitch & embroidery, Danish blue seas & long open beaches. The storytelling print of the season, as featured in the first two photos, is made from sea chart maps of Annas favourite Danish islands where she spent her summers as a child (I love that!). Extra detail is brought into the collection from traditionally woven ribbon from Sweden & printed handmade embroidered designs, as featured in the last two photos.
Everything in the collection is made here in Britain in traditional tailoring factories and printing mills. I love that while it’s inspired by Scandinavian summers, the collection still feels very British. And while the pieces are quite traditional in style, they’ve been given a modern twist perfect for our modern kiddos.
p.s. All photos by Nicola Hippisley
Little Lelia was started in 2013 by two sisters with a shared knowledge of design and a passion for beautiful textiles. Having grown up in Mexico, Spain and Germany, the sisters were influenced by this multicultural background, combining the vibrancy of a Latin lifestyle with the attention to detail typical of German design. I love stories like this! I’m always secretly jealous when sisters get to work together in this capacity. I wish my sister and I could do the same!
Their wonderful children’s line is all about beautiful, patterned textiles and easy-to-wear pieces. Beautiful but also pragmatic, designed to grow with your child and be suitable for every day play or for more special occasions. I got the Moon Playsuit for Marlow and it’s so adorable (you can see a photo of Marlow and her chunky little legs here). I’m also impressed with the quality, which I suppose should come as no surprise, as all the pieces are handmade by discerning manufacturers in Germany.
I’ve recently discovered this sweet range of handmade hairclips and accessories from The Littles. I love the bright colours and beautiful materials like pompoms, leather and tulle, and I like that they are simple in design but bursting with fun! Also, they’re incredibly well made with leather lining around the clip to prevent slipping and extra thread to secure everything. Ivy has even slept in the hairclips and they’ve stayed in place and survived the pillow thrashing.
All hairclips are designed and made by hand in a little studio in Brooklyn, NY. Accessories designer, Kirsten Yadouga-Schwinn, created the range after searching for hairclips for her own daughter that were super cute and super cool… but not super embellished with little beads, sparkles and rhinestones. The result is a wonderful selection of bright and fun accessories which are non-toxic and safe for babies and children.
p.s. Ivy’s wearing one of the hairclips in the photo of her in yesterday’s Peanut Butter Cookie post.
I love the easy breezy, beautiful girls’ fashion from Robe of Feathers. So perfect for laid back summers and bare feet! I love that it’s relaxed but also so pretty with all the special details.
Ivy has the Rabbit Dress, which she wore on our recent holiday, and it’s SO sweet with the knotted ties at the shoulder. I know I’ve already shared so many photos from our holiday, but here are a couple more (I promise this is the last of them!).
Robe of Feathers is based in Germany where everything is designed and made with love in limited quantities.
I’m sure, by now, you’ve heard of Blogtacular — the super cool blogging conference taking place in London next weekend?! With talented and inspiring speakers like Joy Cho, Natalie Lue and many others, it’s shaping up to be a really informative, inspiring and FUN event. I’m really looking forward to it!
I am also thrilled to announce that I will be speaking alongside other successful bloggers (Joy Cho, Allison Sadler and Annabelle Beeforth), discussing the ins and outs of the blogging business. I am beyond excited to meet these women, and feel so honoured to share a panel with them! We’re speaking on the Saturday at 1:30 (you can see the full Blogtacular schedule here) and would love for you to come!
Tickets for the conference are still available if you haven’t signed up yet. The event takes place next Friday and Saturday the 9th and 10th at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. I would love to see you there! (Let me know in the comments below if you’re coming so we can try to meet up!)