Beautiful fashion and knitwear from Omibia

omibia_1

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_2

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!

xxx Esther

Sweet baby Orla (in cosy knits from Nieva)

nieva knitwear

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.

Nieva collection

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!

xxx Esther

Tuesday Tips: on twins

twins_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.

Twin babyccinokids

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!

xxx Esther

PS The cute photos are of my dad’s little twin brothers, dating from the 1940s. Casper looks just like them I think!

Mamma Couture, and the enchanted creatures

mamma couture

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.

mamma couture stickhorse mamma couture stick horse

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.

Mama couture mamma couture unicorn stick horse

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!

xxx Esther

Willaby

willaby, kids fashion

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.

willaby, kids fashion
Willaby_2

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.

Willaby is definitely a brand worth having on your radar (thanks, Annie!). Also, check out their lookbook here for some stunning photos.

xxx Esther

The greenhouses of Auteuil

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

JARDIN DES SERRES D'AUTEUIL Les Serres d’Auteuil
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.

IMG_4223 IMG_4191 Les Serres d’AuteuilOnce 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.

IMG_4247 IMG_4200
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.

IMG_4047 Les Serres d’AuteuilAs 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.

IMG_4029 IMG_4019
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.

JARDIN DES SERRES D'AUTEUIL

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!

SerresdAuteuilBookplates

 

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!

– Lara

A beautiful (and meaningful) baby blanket

brimful_coveted_things

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!

xxx Esther

A day with Ladida

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:

Ladida (by Babyccino Kids)

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.

Ladida (by Babyccino Kids)

For Ava (5):

  • Stripy hat and scarf by Kidscase to match her little brother.
  • Pretty teal blue corduroy Bonton dress, super adorable!

Ladida (by Babyccino Kids)

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.

 

Ladida (by Babyccino Kids)

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!

Ladida (Babyccino Kids)

xxx Esther

PS Ladida ships worldwide, and it’s free on bigger orders!

On Casper, kickball, and La Coqueta

La Coqueta CasperThe 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!

La Coqueta CasperCasper’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.

La Coqueta CasperThank you La Coqueta, for having me!

xxx Esther

Greentom, a 100% green stroller

Greentom strollerThere’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.

xxx Esther

The wonderful world of Storytime magazine

StorytimeMagazine_1

StorytimeMagazine_2

StorytimeMagazine_5

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.

StorytimeMagazine_8

StorytimeMagazine_6

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.

StorytimeMagazine_7

StorytimeMagazine_4

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.

xxx Esther

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.

This month’s awesome give-aways

Win! September 2015 Babyccino Kids

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!

xxx Esther

Colourful Kapla

Colourful Kapla

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.

Colourful Kapla

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!

xxx Esther

Shortstitch, a personal shopping service

Shortstitch -- personal shopping service

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 personal shopping service

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?).

Shortstitch personal shopping service

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.’

Shortstitch personal shopping service

Shortstitch personal shopping service

Shortstitch personal shopping service

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!

Shortstitch personal shopping service

Shortstitch, personal shopping serviceOK, it’s clear that I was impressed with Shortstitch so far, but, most importantly — Ava absolutely loved what Shortstitch had picked for her as well.

Shortstitch personal shopping service Shortstitch personal shopping service Shortstitch personal shopping service

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?

xxx Esther

This post is sponsored by Shortstitch, a personal shopping service I tested and loved.

Origami napkins! (by Lollipop Design)

lollipop_1

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!

Origami napkin by Lollipop Design (photo Babyccino Kids)
Origami Napkins by Lollipop Design

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.

Origami Napkins by Lollipop Design

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?)

xxx Esther

Petit Pehr: Storage baskets that make rooms look neat

PetitPehr_2a

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!

Petit_Pehr_1

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…

Petit Pehr storage baskets (photo by Babyccino Kids)

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_4

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!

xxx Esther

Tuesday Tips: The 3-minute morning music routine

TuesdayTips_morning_music_routine

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!)

xxx Esther

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!

Atissu: tissue boxes that you will not want to hide

Atissu animal tissue boxes

I’m not ready for autumn just yet — I would love to enjoy a few more warm weekends with picnics in the park and barely dressed children running around on their bare feet… And then, yes then (maybe) I’ll agree to bring on the layers of cosy woollens, the hot chocolates in front of the fire place, the film nights with pizza under piles of blankets, and all those sorts of agreeable things. (And I’ll have to accept the colds and runny noses as part of the deal, I suppose!)

Atissu cool tissue boxes

Atissu is a new British lifestyle brand offering perfectly functional everyday products that have been designed to actually become cool looking, contemporary design staples in your house. Their launch collection consists of wonderful looking tissue boxes, of which the animal boxes look really sweet in my children’s bedrooms. I suppose, if we have to blow our noses anyway, we might as well do it in style : ).

xxx Esther

Back to school with Young Soles

Young Soles back-to-school

It’s back-to-school time! We have started exceptionally early here in Amsterdam — our kids have been in school since mid-August already. The Netherlands is divided into three ‘zones’ — each zone starts their summer vacation one week later than the others (with the aim to spread out vacation traffic etc). Our zone was the first to start their 6 week summer vacation, and thus are the first to be back in school this year…

So here we are, after weeks and weeks of walking around on bare feet or flip-flops. This is the time that the kids are sitting on the floor of the hallway again, looking for their leather school shoes, stuck somewhere on the bottom of the shoe basket… only to realise their feet have grown an inch or so over the summer!

young soles school shoes

So, we are shopping for new shoes. Ones that are sturdy, easy to clean, comfortable, and, preferably, cool looking too. Enter the shoes of British brand Young Soles. I am so impressed with the designs of this young East-London shoe company: these shoes are fun! They are such a good mix between tradition and fashion. For instance, you will find heritage style brogues, chelsea boots and mary janes, all combined with the Young Soles‘ signature lightweight sole, making the shoes look classic in essence, but with a wink: the thicker sole ads a level of contemporary cool your kids will love.

Young soles shoes, back to school

But there’s more — Young Soles shoes are made of the highest quality materials, ensuring they are durable and comfortable. The soles are made of an exceptionally lightweight and flexible material, and combined with leather, they are stitched through following traditional detailing. Lining and upper materials are made from soft leather as well. Ava tells me her Young Soles brogues are just the most wonderful to wear!

young_soles_sandals

Casper has been wearing his Young Soles fisherman sandals all summer, and combined with cute knee socks, I’m hoping he will get even more wear out of them in the next weeks. I have said this before, but I  just love little boys with knee socks and sandals! : )

young soles fisherman sandals

xxx Esther

This post has been sponsored by Young Soles. Young Soles have been a member of our shopping portal since they launched their beautiful brand last year (and have also joined us for the ShopUp). It is a company we truly love and recommend from personal experience!

What’s your child’s sleeping routine like?

Louis_le_sec_4

I was recently chatting to a girlfriend about our children’s sleeping routines, and I though it was interesting to hear how different they are. You see, my children have never had mid-day naps, but have always taken morning naps instead.

I think this originated from when I was a new mum, and Sara had just been born. Totally unexperienced and needing a guideline to follow, I briefly practised Gina Ford ‘s schedule. It didn’t take long (her book with super strict schedules made me a completely stressed out mum) but the accidental result was that Sara ended up having a longer morning nap instead of the more general mid-day nap.

I liked the practicality of the morning nap — while my baby was sleeping, I could shower, get dressed, do laundry and some cleaning, and then by the time she woke up we would be ready for lunch and to go out of the house. (When she was little she would have a second brief nap around 4PM, but she would be happy to have this nap in her pram or pushchair, so it wouldn’t restrict me from going out of the house.) When Pim was born not so long after, I naturally followed the same schedule, which worked great for him too. And I have been doing the same with my other children as well — they all have had longer morning naps instead of the midday nap!

Louis_le_sec_2

Casper still sleeps in the mornings. We usually put him to bed somewhere between 9 and 10, and he usually sleeps for an hour to an hour and a half. At the end of the day, around 7:30, 8PM, he’s ready to go to bed again —  we usually put him to bed before his bigger siblings, allowing us some quiet reading time with the older children (who are supposed to be in bed around 8:30, but if I’m honest, it’s often later, especially now that it’s summer and warm and light till late!).

Louis_le_sec_3

I thought it was interesting to bring up this subject, as I know that most people let their child sleep after lunch. I guess you just tweak your schedule to what works best for your family! I would love to know, what kind of sleeping schedule do (or did) you follow with your children? Are you very strict with your routines, or more flexible?

xxx Esther

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »