For a while now we’ve been writing regular Tuesday Tips posts — posts in which we share little parenting insights, tips and things that we’ve learned or picked up over the years. We enjoy these posts a lot, both writing them and reading them, and especially the tips and tricks that our readers leave in the comments section (or sent by email).
But sometimes we just want to share a thought, a question, or an insecurity. Something we don’t know the answer to, but something we want to talk about and hear your thoughts on. So we’re going to start a new series called ‘Thursday Thoughts’, and we hope you will enjoy and join in (and we hope we will learn and grow from it)!
Sara is now 10 years old, and the inevitable question has come up — when does she get a cell phone? Some of her friends (including her best friend) have been given a cell phone for their 10th birthday, and apparently about a third of the children in her class now have of a phone of their own.
We are not big screen-users in our family. It seems that there are roughly two routes to take when you are raising children — you are either relaxed or restrictive about screens — we lean toward the latter. Our kids do not have an Ipad or Ipod, and hardly watch television (they do watch the occasional dvd though). But, when we are having dinner and one of the kids has an interesting question or insight that we can’t respond to accurately, we tell them to search for the Ipad and look up the answer. And, now that it’s getting colder and wetter and it’s dark early, we sometimes like to cosy up in the living room and watch a fun film together. So I guess we don’t ban out screens completely, we’re relaxed restrictive about them.
With that in mind, I always thought the age of 12 would be a good age to give my children a mobile phone. They are then in the last year of primary school, and they will have started to cycle to their school, their friends and their after-school activities by themselves. An age, I imagine, when they will need (and get) more independence, and a mobile phone might make sense. They are hopefully responsible enough by then, plus, it could come in handy at times.
As a child, I had to cycle 8 kilometers to secondary school every morning, and back every afternoon. ‘Through rain and wind’, as we say here in the Netherlands. On a few occasions, cycling was impossible — a lot of snow on the way, or a flat tyre, for example — and I would have to find a house on the way, ring the bell, and ask kindly if I could make a phone call to my mum so she could come and pick me up. I sometimes wonder, do children nowadays have a chance to develop the (social) skills to deal with these sorts of little problems in life, when they get a mobile phone at such an early age?
A friend of mine has 3 children, 2 teenage boys and a tween girl. His wife passed away a few years ago, so he has the tough job to raise his kids all alone. He has always been extremely relaxed about screens; he feels that they are such an integral part of our lives, that it’s only natural to let children grow up with them. He gave his daughter a cell phone (no smart phone though) when she was seven, so they could reach each other on the days that he was working outside the city. When she was ten she got a smart phone, and he says it’s all good.
I was talking with Courtney about this (who has even stricter views on electronics) and she nearly fainted (half joking) when I mentioned it might be time to give Sara a phone. She said that this is a parenting decision that is still so far away for her, that she hasn’t really even thought about it yet, but she guessed it would definitely not happen before her kids were 16, and then certainly no smart phone!
So many parents, so many opinions.
But I think I might have to reconsider mine. I wonder if maybe the age of 12 is a bit late in our Amsterdam way-of-life. If, next year, most if not all of the children in Sara’s class have a phone, should I still keep her from getting one? Even if we wouldn’t allow her to bring her phone to school yet, she could still join the class WhatsApp group, and send messages to her friends, and use it on occasions after school?
It’s a difficult decision to make, and I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about it to help me shape my own!
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Pepa & Co is a London based online boutique, offering a collection of beautifully designed fashion, all sustainably made in, and sourced from Spain. The collection is handpicked by Pepa, the lovely owner, who has an eye for selecting a nice mix of classic and contemporary pieces — all so stylish and charming!
A highlight in Pepa & Co’s winter collection this year are the long-sleeved, organic shirts and onesies with darling Liberty collars. They are available from size 3 months to 8 years, and are so sweet, soft and cosy — and so effortlessly stylish! Baby Orla is wearing a onesie with a basic blue collar, isn’t she just divine?
I love how sweet and simple they are, and it is such a great layering piece — perfect combined with that adorable knitted all-in-one piece!
Last but not least, how sweet are those moccasins? Keeping tiny feet warm and adding the most adorable touch to little baby legs in teeny tiny tights… So cute!
PS This post is sponsored by Pepa & Co, a company we love and respect and a long-time member of our shopping portal.
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It’s autumn and the streets are lined with the most beautiful leaves. They’re just too pretty not to be picked up! So for this The Little Things post, we decided to make use of what is so readily available in nature: we’re making beautiful leaf lanterns with Casper and his friend Mees.
For this project, we need semi-dry leaves (just put leaves in a heavy book and leave for a few days to keep them from curling — it’s best to use paper kitchen towel sheets if you want to avoid stains on the pages of the book). It’s fun to use leaves in different shapes, colours and sizes (don’t forget to collect some tiny ones too). You also need a few clean glass jars, and decoupage glue like Décopatch or Mod Podge.
What a fun little project — so easy with such pretty results. Now that the evenings are getting darker and colder, we love lighting candles in our homes to bring in warmth… And our little boys are super proud to see their creations on the table of course!
PS – This is the newest post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking these beautiful photos and for letting us use your beautiful new house! Casper’s reversible vest is from Nieva, his pants are from Macarons and the shirt is from Mabo Kids.
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Last year at the ShopUp, a sweet lady came up to me, presenting me her beautiful business card and telling me about the brand she was setting up, a collection of luxury children’s fashion and knitwear called Omibia. She told me she hoped that next year she could join us for the ShopUp, and I told her I most certainly hoped so too! And now I’m so happy to say that indeed Omibia (and that sweet lady called Mercedes) will be there, with their first beautiful collection.
Omibia aims to create beautiful baby and children’s clothing of the highest quality and style, but without compromising the manufacturing process, which is respectful to the people, places and the natural processes involved. All items are made entirely from certified organic and natural fibres, like luxuriant baby alpacas, or soft cottons. I personally love the beautiful colours, patterns and detailing of the knitwear collection — Mercedes kindly sent us some samples to test over the year, and the quality of those knits is truly amazing and the fit is superb.
I can’t wait to meet Mercedes again in London next month, and this time with a collection worthy to be discovered!
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Remember I posted about our new Babyccino baby? Team member Helen gave birth to Orla 3 months ago, and she’s just the most adorable baby. Helen brought her over the other day (we Babyccino girls tend to work with our babies in tow), and I had so much fun with that little lady. And, I’m proud to say that I had a first — Orla was laughing out loud, a milestone! (I’m not sure if she thought I was so hilarious or my glasses were, but I don’t care — she laughed and it was absolutely delightful. And contagious too!)
Also — how beautiful are those socks and blanket/scarf from Finish brand Nieva? Nieva is a new children’s brand from Finland, producing high quality and warm — yet lightweight — knitwear. Designer Aino, a mum of two little boys herself, aims to combine timeless and practical Nordic design with the best natural materials she can source. She works with small workshops in Finland, Portugal and Bolivia, with people who work in an honest and dedicated manner and who love what they do.
The Nieva collection is perfect to layer, and often have clever touches — the baby blanket above becomes a scarf when baby gets bigger, and this sweet alpaca striped vest is double-sided knit and can be reversed for a different look. The detailing is really beautiful, and the knits are ever so soft and strong. A special gift!
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When we were vacationing in Morocco last week, we met a lovely British lady in a hotel who was staying there with her 7-year-old identical twin girls. We ended up following a cooking course together (tajines!) and while we were preparing the different delicious veggies and herbs, we were chatting about so many different things, amongst which how it is to raise twins. One of the things she mentioned really stuck with me, a very interesting insight that she got from a stranger on the streets of London when the girls were still babies.
She told me that a man stopped her when she was pushing her double buggy about, and said that he himself is one of a twin, and asked if he could share a piece of advice with her. He told her that if she possibly could, she shouldn’t share with her girls which one of the two in fact was the oldest. The amazing phenomenon of twins of course, is that they really are the same age, except for maybe those few minutes between the birth of the first one and that of the second. It is true that we all have a place in our families, you’re either the oldest, or the youngest, or a middle child (or an only child, like me). But with twins, there should’t really rest a position on their shoulders — they should simply be the same age.
So my new friend decided to follow the advice of this stranger, and never mentioned to her girls who was pulled out of her belly first when they were delivered by c-section. She said that at some point, when the specifics of delivering babies would occur to them and they would maybe ask, she would tell them of course, but until now the question had never come up, so she simply had never discussed it. So interesting! She also told me, that what she found fascinating, is that when the girls were immersed in roll playing and an imaginary world, they would naturally take on the roles of the ‘oldest’ and ‘youngest’ — according to how it really is! This could, of course, be accidental, but it is interesting to mention nevertheless.
Friends of ours in Amsterdam had identical twin girls this year who are now 8 months old (their 4th and 5th children!), so I mentioned my story to them and they also shared a piece of advice they got from an adult twin man — this friend of theirs told them never to speak about ‘the twins’ but to always stress the individuality of the girls by mentioning them by their own names. I can so see his point!
Raising twins is definitely different at times, and I would love to hear more interesting insights — maybe you are one of a twin, or maybe you have twins? Please share your tips and thoughts!
PS The cute photos are of my dad’s little twin brothers, dating from the 1940s. Casper looks just like them I think!
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We’ve been loving the beautiful products at Mamma Couture for a while now. You might remember the sweet bag of fabric vegetables, the cute rag dolls that come with different outfits, or the customisable dolls that we have shared with you in the past year — all lovingly handmade with the utmost attention to detail and safety.
Eva very recently launched a new series of products that she designed in cooperation with the talented illustrator Laura Doff, and I just love how pretty and poetic they are. The enchanted creatures collection exists of three stick animals: a horse, a unicorn and a dragon. They are all made out of organic cotton and dipped wooden sticks, and put together by hand by Eva, who does that with so much care and love.
Eva was so sweet to send us a stick unicorn last week just to see how we like it, and oh boy — we like it! The kids have totally adopted it as a part of their adventures in the last days. (Eva included some beautiful crowns, which are so darling and easy to wear with their elasticated ribbons). Also, the unicorn is such a good-looking toy, with that beautifully drawn head and the white dipped stick; I like having it in a corner of our living room as a fun design element!
Eva was one of the participating shops at our ShopUp event last year, and I’m so excited that she will be joining us again this year — with a whole lot of stick animals and other beautiful products of course!
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Our friend Annie (from the lovely Brimful shop) recently introduced me to Willaby, a fairly new American brand with the most darling fashion. Willaby is the brainchild of Kim, an artist/designer from Georgia and mother of one, with a great sense of style. Collections are produced locally, ethically and in small quantities, and are just beautifully simple and timeless, while still being decidedly different in their designs and detailing.
I love her approach to fashion (she has some beautiful tops for ladies too — I can recommend the denim dolman, a shirt I love!). Here are some photos of Ava and Casper in the Atlas mountains in Morocco last week, wearing the blue bonnet and the checked gauze shirt, that looks absolutely darling and is the right mix between relaxed and dressy for little boys.
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Today I’m so happy to introduce you to my friend Lara Brehm, who is sharing a wonderful place in Paris with you (together with beautiful, inspiring photos and gorgeous bookplates/gift-tags that she especially designed for us!) xxx Esther
Hello friends, I’m Lara, a German graphic designer based in Paris, France. I met Esther by pure coincidence, walking into her at a groceries store in Le Marais here in Paris. While exchanging a few e-mails afterwards she suggested I could contribute to Babyccino Kids Blog with an article of my choice, I felt very honored and today I’m happy to be writing a few lines for this blog I love.
I would like to share a little part of my city with you: the greenhouses located in the South of the 16th arrondissement and their park. Called “Les Serres d’Auteuil” in French (the greenhouses of Auteuil), it is a truly special place for me, very dear to my heart.
I grew up in the district of Auteuil so since I was little I have walked many times through the alleys of the greenhouses and their gardens making it a childhood memory but also a place I still love to get lost in.
No matter from which entrance you arrive from, as soon as you set foot in the gardens you will spot the biggest greenhouse in the middle of the park and you will be probably be quite impressed by it’s huge turquoise cast iron construction.
Once you enter it, you will immediately feel like you’re on a tropical island: the heat, the humidity, the huge variety of tropical plants and the twittering and singing of all kind of birds take you far far away from Paris… If you are passionate about botanicals, you will find the name of each and every plant written on small labels beside them. They are impossible to remember for me though as they are quite complex! But wether being a connoisseur or not, it really is an amazing place for everyone.
My husband and I often take a walk there on our weekends and each time it brings me endless inspiration for my illustration projects. In this greenhouse you will find a few white iron tables and chairs dispatched along the way where you can sit down to read, write, draw or just rest and it is delightful to take in the environment and feel like being part of this dreamy magic.
You will also find a beautiful big white birdhouse and a river-like fishpond in it, adding a little interest to the place for your little ones.
As we usually arrive to the gardens from the back entrance we start our visit with the big greenhouse and continue with the gardens but if you arrive through the main entrance you will walk through the gardens first, enjoying the beautifully arranged flowers, lawns and trees. There are also a lot of benches around where you can stop for a while or enjoy a good book on a sunny day.
On each side of the main lawn there are several alleys with quite a few other smaller greenhouses – not all of which are open to the public but some of them are real highlights like the cacti greenhouse for example. Be sure to look out for it!
If you plan a visit to Paris soon you should definitely stop by Les Serres d’Auteuil, even if it is located a bit far away from the center of the city and the main attractions, it is truly worth a visit. Another positive point if you come with your children is the rather reasonable size of the gardens, making the walk shorter and leaving you more time to enjoy the inside of the greenhouses. Your kids will be kept entertained and won’t get tired too quickly.
Right now there are intense discussions going on here in Paris because the city agreed on giving a part of the place away to extend the Rolland Garros tennis courts. Nobody really knows how exactly this issue will be handled but I truly hope that even if they have to take away a part of it — which would be sad enough already — they keep the wide airy lawns and their flowers and all the beautiful constructions, statues and greenhouses.
My pictures reflect my personal inspiration during my last walk through the Serres d’Auteuil but I left a lot of amazing details out of my selection so you still have some beautiful surprises when you go! Have a wonderful visit and maybe we’ll walk into each other over there!
I told you every visit gets my creative energies flowing and this time was no different from my other walks in the park: I have designed a few bookplates inspired by the greenhouses for you to download, print out and paste into your favorite books. I hope you like them and that they make you dream of your next visit to Paris and to the Serres d’Auteuil!
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I’m a big fan of muslin blankets — they are so great for all kinds of purposes: swaddling little babies, drying them, keeping them warm (or keeping them shaded from the sun), as a breastfeeding cover, or as a play mat. My kids still use them as towels, throws, play blankets — or we use them as scarfs. I always throw one in a bag if we’re going somewhere, you never know!
When I was in NY for the ShopUp a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist picking up this beauty from the wonderful Brimful shop stand. It is just SO gorgeous! I love the poem on it, in that beautiful handwriting. Such a sweet message that makes this everyday item so much more meaningful!
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I recently was asked by Ladida to select autumn outfits from their amazing collections for each of my kids — a task I took upon me with pride and pleasure! Autumn is such a beautiful season, the colours of nature are so, so pretty and the low, warm sunlight makes everything even more stunning.
I selected outfits for each of my kids that reflects their personal style and character, but I also made sure they go well together as a ‘set’ — without matching them exactly! Here goes:
For Casper (3 since yesterday!):
- This Navy Alien tee by Paul Smith is just too cute. The mouth/zipper opens and there’s a tongue inside!
- Cute stripy hat and scarf by Dutch label Kidscase. So fun and so cosy!
- Beautiful slim fitting cords by Bonton – just love that mustard colour.
- Sweet socks with the signature Paul Smith stripes.
For Ava (5):
- Stripy hat and scarf by Kidscase to match her little brother.
- Pretty teal blue corduroy Bonton dress, super adorable!
For Pim (8):
- Fun glasses hat by Emile et Ida
- A bow-tie, of course, for Pim! (This specific one by Milk & Soda is sold out, but here’s another cool one).
- Stripy Paul Smith socks to complete the look!
- Mustard yellow slim Bonton cords, just like his little brother.
- Absolutely gorgeous gauze shirt in an amazing teal blue, by Bonton.
For Sara (10):
- Fox skirt by Emile et Ida — which tween girl wouldn’t love this?
- This blue Neige shirt has a subtile black polka dot, very pretty.
- Bonton mustard yellow panda shoulder bag.
Today I’m taking over the Ladida Instagram account, where you can see my kids dressed in the outfits above. I hope you enjoy!
PS Ladida ships worldwide, and it’s free on bigger orders!
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The beautiful Spanish/British brand La Coqueta recently asked me to make a selection of my favourite pieces of their new winter collection, to share on their blog and newsletter. The entire new collection is really adorable, so it was pretty difficult to narrow my choice down to only a few pieces!
Casper’s favourite game has been football (or ‘kickball’, as he calls it) since he was a tiny baby. He would crawl after any ball he saw, stand up, kick, etc — until he found out that walking was a more efficient way to play. So we thought it would be nice to take some shots of him playing kickball (in his new La Coqueta outfit, of course!) to go alongside my picks.
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There’s a new stroller in the land — have you heard of the Greentom Upp yet? Designed here in the Netherlands, it is cool, hip and functional, but also very innovative: it is completely, 100% green.
Casper and I have spent the last month or so test-riding the Greentom Upp Classic, and I’m impressed. It is a really comfortable-to-ride pushchair: it’s super light and easy to manoeuvre. It is also very strong: I asked Pim (8) to assemble the pushchair when it arrived here in parts, and he did that so quickly — I was upstairs doing laundry, and when I came downstairs 20 minutes later he was sitting in it himself and racing through our living room with it!
I love how basic the stroller is, eliminating all the unnecessary little tidbits and bringing it back to the essence of stroller design. I also love that the Greentom is so sustainable — it is entirely made out of recycled parts! The frame is made of 100% recycled polypropene and bioplastic, and the fabrics are entirely made out of recycled drinking bottles (for example, there are 58 PET-bottles used for the fabric of the Upp Classic that we have). Assembly takes place all over the world, limiting the impact of shipping and stimulating local economies. And, as I read on the website: when your children start asking for skate boards, the products can be returned to Greentom who will re-use or recycle all of the parts. How cool is that?
There are three varieties for different stages — the carrycot for newborns, the reversible for bigger babies, and the classic for pre-schoolers (which we have). You can purchase all the different parts separately, or as a set, and I think that for a stroller of such quality the prices are very reasonable.
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Fables, fairytales, historic tales, poems, myths, stories from around the world — my kids love them all and so do I. On weekend mornings, often one child after the other comes crawling into our big bed (if they weren’t in there already!), and we all snuggle up together, like a big pile of baby mice around their mama. Then I read stories for them, for as long as they can convince me to stay in bed.
Have you heard of Storytime Magazine yet? (You might very well have, as Courtney introduced the concept on the blog before here.) It is a subscription based magazine, full of all sorts of wonderful stories as mentioned above: fables, fairytales, historic tales, poems, myths, stories from around the world… Because our children range in age (2 – 10), Storytime Magazine is the perfect family read for us — the way the stories are chosen, written and illustrated, makes that they appeal to everyone (mama included)! They are the perfect length, and, what makes it extra fun, is that there are lots of little educational tips included throughout the magazine. There’s relevant (historical) background information, there are cute counting and colour exercises, fun suggestions for recipes to make or games to play, etc. Also, there are pages with sweet activities, puzzles and quizzes, all tying in to the stories that are told in the magazine — encouraging readers to flip back through the magazine and once again look at what was told before.
Storytime Magazine is celebrating their first birthday this month (happy birthday, Storytime!), so they are now offering Babyccino Kids readers a wonderful introductionary discount — a good opportunity to try out the subscription for a really low price. If you’re interested, you can check out the details here.
This post is sponsored by Storytime Magazine, a company we personally use and recommend! Storytime Magazine has been a longtime member of our shopping portal.
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Here in Amsterdam the first leaves are colouring, and temperatures are slowly dropping. I love this time of year, nature is so beautiful and every ray of sun is so magical! October is rapidly approaching, but you still have time to enter in our September give-aways, which are spectacular as always. Here goes:
Babyshower are giving away a beautiful maternity bag including a portable changing mat and a fleece blanket. So gorgeous — a must-have for every (new) mama!
Molly & The Wolf offer 3 subsciptions to their craft-club: over the course of 3 months, a personally addressed, top secret parcel containing a brand new craft kit will be received in your mailbox. How fun (and perfect for rainy October days)!
Lollipop are giving away one complete back to school bundle with all of their different planners, notebooks and tape, plus a moon & stars platter! So functional (and sooo wantable)!
This month MORI are offering one lucky winner a store wide credit of £100 worth, to be spent on their durable, soft, high quality and deliciously darling baby essentials.
To read more about the individual give-aways (and to enter each or all of them), visit our win page now! Good luck!
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I’ve written about Kapla before, and they are also on the list of evergreen toys we published for a Tuesday Tips in the beginning of the year. Kapla is such a beautiful and extremely creative toy — the simplicity of the wooden blocks, with their perfect dimensions, makes it possible to build all sorts of structures over and over again.
My kids have had the basic set for quite some years, but a friend of mine recently gave them a set of colourful blocks, ‘Kapla Octocolor‘. The same blocks, but in 8 beautiful, natural colours. A perfect addition, as it really gives another dimension to their play!
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Personal shopping — it sounds expensive and luxurious, doesn’t it? It makes me think of those slightly hidden areas on the top floors of high-end department stores. Luxurious… and definitely mysterious.
But fact is: parents are busy. Very busy. Although we love (virtual) shopping and browsing, we don’t always find the time to scout the high streets (or the internet) for the best buys and coolest finds… even though new outfits for the children are desperately needed. Wouldn’t it be ever so handy to have someone (with great taste, obviously!) doing most of the work for you? Who would suggest a few outfits for your child, narrowing down the endless amount of items available to some great quality pieces that you can actually see and feel, and even try on? With no strings attached? Enter Shortstitch — a personal shopping service for busy parents.
Shortstitch recently asked me to test their service, and I was intrigued by the concept and impressed by their cool, clean and professional looking website. So yes, sure! (Please!) Since Shortstitch focus their service on children aged 4 to 10 year, we decided to ‘pretend’ shop for Ava, who is 5 years old, and is developing quite a fun personal style.
After answering some inquiries on the website sign-in, I received a prompt email with a request to put a time in the agenda for a style consultation over the telephone. I was asked a range of specific questions about Ava — are there any particular items she is in need of this season? Does she practise any sports? Are there other occasions she needs clothes for? We also discussed sizing, colours and general style preferences. The consultation took around 10 minutes, and was quite fun (don’t all mothers love talking about their children?).
Within 2 days I got a notification that my ‘box of YAY!’ was on the way. And how fun it was to receive a big package on my doorstep shortly after!
Inside, there was a gorgeous selection of clothes, shoes and accessories, all put together with the utmost care in separate packages and carefully wrapped in tissue paper. There was an accompanying personal letter, written full of enthusiasm and confidence, explaining the selections and suggesting combinations that could work for an array of occasions: ‘The navy skirt with the brick polo neck and brown boots will be a great everyday staple for school.’ ‘The leggings are quite versatile too. She will look super stylish arriving at swim class in those.’
There were jackets to choose from, a pair of gorgeous shoes and sturdy boots, adorable tights and socks, hair accessories, and then, of course, a selection of clothes for different occasions. All of exquisite quality, all beautiful, fun and unique, and quite daring — as daring as one could get away with within the ‘style boundaries’ I had set (timeless pieces, muted colours, tasteful patterns, no logos, etc.). I would say, definitely more adventurous than I would have selected myself — which makes it actually really special!
The luxury of getting to see and feel the garments, trying them on, and returning them to the Shortstitch box if it’s a ‘no keep’ is truly great. Unwanted items can be returned to the box which will be collected by a courier by appointment and free of charge. (However, I can already tell you that it will be quite difficult to return anything in the box!).
Now… of course one wonders, what does this fabulous service cost? Well: nothing! Nothing extra, that is — you only pay (recommended retail prices) for the items you want to keep. The styling service, the delivery and collection are all on Shortstitch. Nothing mysterious about it. How cool is that?
This post is sponsored by Shortstitch, a personal shopping service I tested and loved.
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Aren’t these origami napkins from Lollipop design the cutest? And so clever and fun too! We always use cloth napkins for our meals — for environmental reasons, but also because I simply like the look of them. These napkins are so brilliant because they look so super cute, giving a really special touch to the table — plus, they serve some entertainment for on the table as well!
My kids have each adopted an animal, and love folding and unfolding the pattern at the table. (Which, I must admit, they are so much better in than I am!) Unfolded, they are just like a normal napkin — with a really nice, interesting colour-block pattern.
I think these napkins would make such a sweet present too, maybe to bring to a dinner party? (I also have already marked them on my holiday list — can you believe that we have to start thinking of Christmas soon?)
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With six people in a house, I am constantly tidying up. There’s no end to it! Once I have one room in order, I turn around to see the next in a state of explosion. Totally normal of course, and just the way it should be — imagine a house with little children living in it where there is no mess. That’s a house with no soul!
Regardless of the soul, I do like some sort of order around me. Especially since I’m working from home; I seem to be able to concentrate better when the house is in some sort of organised state. So I tidy up, constantly, and ask (hmm, urge) my kids to help me to do that. To make this job easier, I have assigned specific spaces to specific items — I have invested in clever and fun storage solutions over time, like old suitcases holding the yarn, market baskets for the Schleich animals, a big army crate for the marble track, fruit crates for books, etc…
And, I recently got these beautiful storage baskets from Petit Pehr — I love how pretty they are! I now, finally, have a place for the blankets in our living room, for the dolls in the girls’ room, for the lego in the boys’ room — even for the laundry in the laundry room! (Which, BTW, is another never-ending affair in our household!) There are many sizes of hampers and baskets at Petit Pehr — and so many great designs too. They all perfectly mix and match, making storage solutions a integral part of the room design; just the way I like it.
Petit Pehr is one of the awesome shops that is joining us for the ShopUp in NYC this Sunday and Monday. I’m so excited to have them there — they will be bringing loads of wonderful products (in addition to storage baskets, they have so many more beautiful home and kids room accessories!) — I’ll be sure to fill my suitcase with some of them!
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No matter how early we get up, school mornings always seem to end up rushed for us. They start out relaxed and slow (there’s no other way for me!), but as the clock ticks forward, the stress levels increase drastically. At the end, there’s always that moment where everybody is running around like a headless chicken. I’m brushing and braiding hair at the last minute, while quickly spot-cleaning the faces I see in front of me. The kids are running up and down the stairs looking for their gym clothes, or are frantically trying to tie their shoelaces (that is, if they are even able to find a matching pair of shoes in the shoe basket). I get annoyed, voices are raised, the chaos is complete.
Until… a (clearly very clever!) friend of mine gave me the golden tip yesterday. She told me about their brilliant system: at 8AM their Sonos music system automatically starts playing a song. When that happens, all family members know it’s drill time: they have exactly 3 minutes (or however long the song lasts) to make sure they are ready in the hallway, coats on, shoes on, school and gym bags ready, etc. How clever (and fun!) is that? I can just imagine their family, dancing and singing and happily getting ready in the morning, laughing while making sure to be ready before the song ends!
My friend also told me, that all family members get to choose their favourite song one day of the week. Apparently it is possible to program specific music at specific times in the Sonos system, so for instance on Monday at 8AM dad’s song of choice sounds through the house, on Tuesday it’s the daughter’s favourite song, etc. So fun!
I thought this is such a clever idea! Tonight at dinnertime I’m going to ask my kids to each choose a song — let’s see if this is the magic solution for a smooth morning routine! (At least it will be fun to try!)
PS As always, I’m happy to hear any tips or tricks that might help making our mornings more relaxed!
PPS Before you think otherwise — this photo was taken on a weekend morning. A totally different vibe altogether!