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!


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?


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!


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!).


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

Meet Vanessa!


We’re so happy to introduce Vanessa Gerbrandy to you, a friend of us with whom we’ve worked before (behind the scenes of our shopping portal). Vanessa is British and married to a Dutchman and together they have been moving around the world in rapid speed (since we met Vanessa three years ago she has lived in South Africa, Texas, London and now she just moved to Scotland)! Together they have two darling girls, Helena and Florence.

We’ve gotten to know Vanessa as a lovely and thoughtful friend and a dedicated mum, who with her background as a teacher always knows where to find the best educational toys and most wonderful books. She’s also (like me) fond of foraging and the basics of cooking and food preserving — one of the things we love to talk together about are things like stinging nettle quiche or the best strawberry jam recipe!

Vanessa recently agreed to contribute content for Babyccino Kids on a regular basis , which is really the best of news. She will be writing about books, recipes, crafts and toys or whatever she would like to inspire us with – -we can’t wait to find out. Look out for Vanessa’s first posts here soon!

xxx Esther

Our newest YouTube video is now live!

Babyccino Kids YouTube channel Babyccino Kids YouTube Babyccino Kids YouTube

Come join us over at YouTube where we’re sharing our newest video — a delicious and super quick and easy-to-make dessert that everyone is going to love. Maybe something to prepare this weekend??


xxx Esther

PS If you’re not subscribed to our channel yet, you can do that here.

Welcome sweet baby Orla!


Our lovely team member Helen gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter yesterday, named Orla Rae. Isn’t she just perfect? We’re so proud and happy! Enjoy these precious moments with your new baby and your family sweet Helen!

xxx Esther

The beautiful new La Coqueta collections…



La Coqueta AW15 collection

Sweet Celia of La Coqueta just sent over some shots of her beautiful new collection, and despite the fact that I’m not quite ready to wave summer goodbye, these stunning shots still made me secretly look forward to crackling fires, hot chocolate in big mugs, stews on the stove, and long wintery walks wrapped up in warm woollens…




I love the old school fashion with the rock-chic sleepy hair in these scenes. (And seriously, how gorgeous is that wallpaper?)






Such adorable outfits — so sweet and pretty and easy to wear. Perfect for school days or lazy weekends. You can find this collection online now!

xxx Esther

The beautiful creations of Masami Akatsuka of Cocon

cocon placematsMasami Akatsuka is a Japanese mama living in the south of France, and creator of the most delightful objects. Her artful collection, called Cocon, is entirely handmade by Masami herself, and the way she uses colour, material and detail is absolutely wonderful. There’s just so much character in all of her makings!

cocon placemats cocon placemats

I’m a serious fan of Masami’s work. We have a few of her products at home, like the placemats in these photos, and I love seeing them around me. They make everyday rituals just that extra bit delightful!

cocon bird mustard

This little bird on our sideboard is another silent reminder of Masami’s amazing craftsmanship. It’s so perfectly pretty (and sturdy and stable) and has so much expression in its little face — like a tiny piece of art.

Cocon is a very inspirational collection — I’m nowhere near as artistic as Masami, but I did put my sewing machine on the table this afternoon. A quilt is in the making! : )

xxx Esther

Pretty stamps from Felicette

Felicette stampsMy love for stamps has seriously rubbed off on my children. We have quite a collection of them and can’t stop discovering more desirable ones. (BTW, I have this same problem with pens — I never seem to have quite enough of them. It drives my husband crazy, but I’m hooked!)

Felicette stampsWe recently discovered the stamp collection by Felicette, and oh, they’re so pretty and cool! I love the one with the glasses pictured — they’re just so Sara. She’s been using them for everything lately.

Felicette3 Felicette stamps  library stamp ex libris
Felicette also offers custom name stamps, which are perfect for the children to personalise stationary, for instance. And I love the library stamps (I still have my own childhood books and many of them still have an ex libris with my name in my childish handwriting — I love this!).

xxx Esther

A dolls’ garden party for Ava’s 5th birthday!

dolls garden party dolls party

Ava recently turned 5 — the age where a birthday party really, really matters. We had family and friends over on the day of her birthday (the so-called ‘family party’), but she was also really looking forward to the party for her little friends.

dolls_party_9 dolls_party_18 dolls garden party Babyccino Kids

I had been really, really busy with work and all sorts of end-of-school activities, so I didn’t have the energy or time to prepare anything before the day of her party. But it was all fine — that Sunday morning, the warm sun came up (familiar?), so we transformed our back yard into a big dolls’ house.

dolls_party_21 dolls garden party Babyccino Kids dolls_party_6

We put up the playhouse and the wigwam, and also created some other spaces using sticks and fabric. We made a dolls’ hospital, a dolls’ kitchen (using our wooden toy kitchen), a dolls’ dressing room and bedroom (we used baskets and baby blankets to make extra beds), a dolls’ play area with miniature dolls — we even had a dolls’ bathroom (the old baby bathtub and hooded baby towels came in handy here!).

dolls garden party babyccino kids dolls_party_3 dolls garden party Babyccino Kids dolls_party_8

It was really fun and easy to set up, and so adorable once finished! I asked all of Ava’s little invitees (4 girls plus her 3 siblings of course) to bring their favourite doll, and that was all it took, really. They took over the garden immediately and had such fun.

dolls_party_16 dolls_party_20 dolls_party_11 dolls_party_19 dolls_party_13We were lucky to have the garden that day, but of course such an idea would also work perfectly indoors. Definitely a recommendation if you have little ones who love dolls!

xxx Esther

Visit Greece! Camping at Serifos


This is Pepi‘s second post about family friendly destinations in Greece (see her first post about beautiful Sifnos here).

By the time you have children, your priorities, and therefore the criteria you choose your travel destinations change. And although each family’s choices and preferences may be different, there are some basic facts such the children’s amusement, comfort and of course safety that you cannot really ignore as a parent.

Since we had a baby, we try not to give up our favorite destinations like the Cyclades but always seek for new places or why not some different vacation mode such as camping for our holidays. So if you are planning summer family vacations and you need stunning weather, magical beaches, healthy and tasty food, and most of all welcoming people then Cyclades is a great destination.

Especially now after the Greece’s Economic Drama that peaked the last 3 weeks, travelling to Greece is more vital for us the greek people than ever. The yearning for stability, in monetary and emotional terms is essential. And tourism is liquidity. And although Banks were out of function for 3 whole weeks after the Capital Controls were reinforced, now we are almost back to normal since they are open and ready to service the customers – which means that ATM will not be queued.

People are even more welcoming and more grateful than ever. And prices are significantly cheaper BUT the places and the smiles, remain as wonderful as always.

For relaxation: Camping Coral – Serifos

Serifos has a very friendly and a very well equipped camping, ideal for families – the CORALI. Only five minutes away the port on the famous beach of Livadakia. Coralli camping caters to even the most demanding camper, offering a combination of nature at its best and top notch camping facilities. Plenty of shade is provided by the tamarisk trees and the atmosphere around is really laid – back.

Your kids will be close to nature, at a safe environment so that you can also have some time to relax.

travel_6In this picture: Camping Coralli

For accommodation you can choose between Bungalow and Apartments, which, however, I recommend you to avoid as they are farther from the center of the camping and sea and their interior is not the most suitable especially for young children. (more…)

Visit Greece! Sifnos, a wonderful family destination

sifnos_tavern argiris_where to eat

Our friend Pepi from Athens is the driving force behind one of the biggest online children’s boutiques in Greece, Alice on Board. She’s a wonderful mama and sweet friend, and we were super happy when she offered to write up some family friendly destinations in her beautiful country. Greece is one of my favourite travel destinations, I love the amazing culture, the friendliness of the people, the yummy food… but I’ve never been with my family. After reading what Pepi wrote though, I was investigating flights to Greece immediately. : ) Here’s Pepi’s introduction of the beautiful island of Sifnos, and there will be another post following about camping at Serifos too. Thanks so much, Pepi! xxx

If you are looking for summer family vacations and you need stunning weather, magical beaches, healthy and tasty food, and most of all welcoming people, then Cyclades is a destination I suggest you should consider. Especially now after the Greek economic drama that peaked the last 3 weeks, travelling to Greece is more vital for us Greek people than ever. The yearning for stability, in monetary and emotional terms is essential. And tourism is liquidity. And although banks were out of function for 3 whole weeks after the capital controls were reinforced, now we are almost back to normal since they are open and ready to service the customers – which means that ATM will not be queued.

People are even more welcoming and more grateful than ever. And prices are significantly cheaper BUT the places and the smiles, remain as wonderful as always!

For the Cyclades lovers – Sifnos
We initially visited Sifnos in our earliest year (no kids) and although it may initially seems as an ideal island for bachelors, trust me this is a myth. What we actually adore in Sifnos is the variety offered in terms of activities, if of course you are not one of those that only need a beach to stay all day long.

sifnos_profitis elias 1000In the picture: Profitis Elias

Every time we visit Sifnos we prefer to stay in Ag. Marina in a nice hotel close to the sea, Alkyonis Villas, which offers spacious rooms, especially for big families, terrace overlooking the sea – very important since in the evening you can enjoy and a glass of wine by yourself.  (more…)

Needle (or dry) felting

needle felting

My kids (and I) have a new hobby: needle (dry) felting. We really love it! It’s incredibly easy to do, and so fun. Relaxing too — the rhythmic movement of poking the needle in the wool is actually really nice.



For needle felting you need just a few supplies: a sponge (a simple kitchen sponge works fine), some felting wool and some special, barbed felting needles. That’s all you need for making all sorts of shapes! An easy start, I thought, is to felt on top of wool felt sheets, and make pretty wool ‘paintings’ like this. Pim made a really sweet book marker as an end-of year gift for his teacher this way.

conscious craft needle felting
Or, you can use cookie cutters as a mould and create independent shapes. Ava and Sara made really sweet hairbands — first they made little felt blossoms and hearts, then they felted them to elastic hair bands (using a piece of wool felt to ‘glue’ the hair band to the shape). It entertained them for a an afternoon and their hair bands turned out really sweet!

Conscious Craft has a perfect selection of felting supplies, and you can also buy a blossom hair bands kit here. Fun!

xxx Esther

Dream Car, by Huzi

dreamcar_3 Dream Car by Huzi

It’s always so great when children’s toys are not only great toys (encouraging kids to create, learn and be imaginative), but also when they look so good you’d rather display it on a shelf in the living room than hide it at the bottom of the toy box.

dreamcar_1 dreamcar_2 Dream Car by Huzi

The Dream Car, designed by Mike Mak for Huzi, is such a toy. Handcrafted from natural wood and finished with mat chalkboard paint, the dream car is certainly extremely handsome to look at. But it’s a clever toy too! It can be assembled and disassembled because of little magnets that make a fun clicking sound. It can also be drawn on — a pretty little box with chalk (and a clever eraser in the lid) comes with the car.

dreamcar_8 dreamcar_7

Everything is packed in a beautifully designed gift box, proof of the designer’s eye for detail. A lovely toy, which will be played with for years and is sturdy enough to be passed down as a heirloom toy. It makes a wonderful gift, too!

xxx Esther

PS Casper’s PJs are from The Bright Company.

Tuesday Tips: breathe first!

breathe first tuesday tips

I’m not sure if I can state this generally, but I have the gut feeling I can speak for all mothers here: mamas, we do not take enough time for ourselves. (Speaking for myself, I definitely don’t.)

Isn’t it so easy for us mothers to forget about ourselves, to always put our children and family before ourselves? Aren’t we reprogrammed, the moment we give birth, to dedicate every second of the rest of our lives to the wellbeing of our babies?

It’s of course a very logical natural phenomenon, and it all perfectly makes sense out of an evolutionary point of view: we’re just another mammal mother fighting for the survival of our offspring.

However, never taking time for ourselves doesn’t, in the end, make us a better mum. It makes us stressed, unhappy, and tired. We need time to unwind, to feel good about ourselves, to be happy and loving and patient.

I recently thought about the safety procedures in an airplane. I always specifically notice (probably because it is so counter-intuitive) the phrase ‘please put on your own oxygen mask before helping your child’. I would always think of my babies first! But it makes sense, doesn’t it — we need to be able to breathe first, before we can help our children to breathe. It’s so perfectly simple: we need to look after ourselves in order to be able to look after our children. We need to breathe first. We need to clear out our busy minds. Because there’s no way we can look after them well if we don’t look after ourselves!

xxx Esther

PS dresses from Smokks

The Furoshiki, a Japanese wrapping cloth

Have you heard of furoshikis? They are square fabric cloths used in Japan to wrap everything from lunch, presents, picnics, pillows, groceries, you name it! Made from gorgeous printed cotton fabric, furoshikis are as beautiful as everything coming from Japan.

furoshikis japanese wrapping clothBesides the primary use of a wrap, furoshikis are also great to be used as scarfs, napkins, picnic blankets, table cloths… The biggest size can even be used as a beach bag and once on the beach, it doubles as a perfect beach sheet. The uses really are endless!

Furoshiki japanese wrap cloth
You can find a lovely range of gorgeous furoshikis in different sizes at Musubi London, and here you can learn about the different wrapping techniques. (Don’t you love the wine wrap? What an awesome present to bring to a dinner party!)

xxx Esther

Foraging (or collecting edible weeds)


Have you ever gone to your local park, forest or garden to collect edible weeds? My kids and I love to go out and pick our dinner in ‘the wild’. It’s fun, and I think it teaches them something about food and nature. Also, it motivates them to help prepare dinner (and eat it).

edible weeds, foraging, stinging nettle

We’ve been making quiches from stinging nettles, salad from dandelion leaves and wild rocket, pesto from nasturtium, we’ve picked and eaten chickweed and wild garlic. All of which we’ve picked in the park, forest, or uncultivated parts of the garden. Isn’t it intriguing how much of the plants and flowers growing around us (and are considered weeds) we can actually eat?



Our biggest discovery this year has been the bishop’s weed (elder) in the the garden of my parents-in-law. It’s absolutely delicious in a quiche or stir fried with some (wild) garlic. Do you know of any other delicious weeds you can eat, or maybe you have a good recipe to share?

xxx Esther

Tuesday Tips: Keeping a children’s travel journal

Kids travel journal
When I was in Paris last weekend, Emilie and I each bought travel journals for our kids in her local art store. Travel journals are such a fun and educational way to encourage children to contemplate what they have experienced whilst traveling. They’re also great for their language skills and artistic development — when working in their journals, kids are stimulated to express themselves in a creative way: they practise their creative writing, their drawing, they can try techniques like collage, etc. (Courtney’s children are going to keep travel journals on their big trip as an essential part of their homeschooling that year. She’s told me that she’s going to share some bits and pieces every now and then with us — I can’t wait!)

The travel journals we bought are just plain notebooks (I prefer my children to create their own content as opposed to the ‘pre filled’ travel journals). At home, we assembled a pencil case with good quality coloured pencils, a few waterproof black pens , masking tape, a small pair of scissors, glue and a small box of watercolours . This way they can write, draw and paint, they can stick or glue (entrance tickets of museums, sugar bags, clipped mementos, postcards, stamps, pressed flowers, feathers, etc.), they can make collages, etc.

In the back of the book, we wrote down a list with inspirational questions, helping them to contemplate and write about their day. (They don’t need to answer these questions, but the idea is that these questions help them come up with ideas for their travel journal content.)

Here’s the list we wrote down:

  • The date today. The location of today.
  • People I was with, or new friends I met today.
  • Where did we stay today?
  • What did we do today? Where did we go?
  • My favourite and least favourite part of the day.
  • What did we eat today? Did I taste or smell anything special?
  • What was the weather like today?
  • Special plants, people, animals or architecture I saw today.
  • Something I learned today.
  • Something I laughed about today, something that made me sad today.
  • Special souvenirs that we found or bought today.
  • A nice book I’m reading, or cool music I’ve listened to.

Once we set off for France next week, I will copy a map of the area we’re traveling in, so they can have a sense of where we are, and where we are heading to. They can mark the roads we’re driving on, and mark our destinations. (This will also help them to get an understanding of the length of the journey, as Andrea suggested in the comments of our latest Tuesday Tips post.)

Kids travel journal
Also, and this is of course a totally redundant gadget but I thought it would be fun to give it a try — I invested in a tiny portable printer. I never really print photos anymore, and I thought it would be so fun to use a photo as a story starter in their journal every now and then. I think I will let them print a special photo every few days (of a beautiful building, special tiles, beach treasures, of fun friends… whatever they think is most special).

I have shown my children some examples of travel journals on the internet (the image above was found here), showing them how mixing different techniques can give great results. They’re super inspired and are already sitting down a few times every day to work in their books. In fact, I have just bought a travel journal for myself too, as I am now totally inspired myself as well!

xxx Esther

Some photos of the three of us :)

Babyccino Kids girls
Babyccino girls

So last week Emilie and Courtney came to Amsterdam for a super quick visit. The reason (besides the fact that we love to hang out together for as much and as often as possible), is that we thought it might be a fun idea to try to make some little videos. So we talked, we cooked, we laughed and danced on over 5 hours of video. (And hopefully a few minutes of that is worth sharing with you, so stay tuned!)

Since we don’t manage to get together as often as we would like, we asked the talented Christina Schumacher to come by and take some shots of the three of us as well. I’m so happy with these photos of us — I feel it’s so rare to be together, and when we are, it’s not often someone remembers to take photos. So thanks, Christina!!

babyccino kids girls

It was a busy, busy day, but so, so fun (like always with these crazy girls).

xxx Esther

Ice pops!

ice pops
ice pops

We’ve been enjoying some tropical heat here in Europe so all the tricks to keep cool are coming out of our sleeves. The other day, Sara made some delicious ice pops, and they were really so super good I thought to share the recipe (which she found in the booklet that came with our pop molds).

ice pops

Here’s the recipe that Sara used (although I think she used more strawberries and three bananas):

  • 6 cups fresh strawberries (she left the green hat bit)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • juice of 1-2 lemons
  • 3 tbs honey

Puree everything in the blender and pour into your pop molds. Freeze overnight, or until frozen.

Stay cool!

xxx Esther

Tuesday tips: Surviving long car journeys with children

Tuesday Tips car journeys with kidsOK, the title of this Tuesday Tips might be slightly exaggerated, but really — I’m not the biggest fan of long car journeys. And especially not with children! I feel like a snack service, entertainment centre and traffic control centre all in one, and that for a very. long. time.

Soon we’ll have another lengthy car journey ahead of us — we’ll be driving to the Loire Valley in France for a fun week of camping with Emilie and her girls, and afterwards we’ll continue our trip to the Cantal as usual. So not a bad time to pen down some tips to make long car journeys with children as pleasurable as possible! (And of course, I’m hoping for your added tips and tricks to make our journey easier…) Here goes!

  • With smaller children, it’s a good idea to plan (part of) your journey during their nap time.
  • Bring baby wipes for sticky hands and faces etc (preferably non-scented ones if you’re sensitive to smells with regards to car sickness)
  • Bring some plastic bags for trash.
  • Bring plenty of water in refillable bottles. I like to give each of my kids their own bottle.
  • Bring enough snacks (nuts, easy-to-eat fruits like grapes, and a few little sandwiches).
  • Bring audio books on Ipods with headphones. My kids are happily entertained for hours with these. You can also think about making a playlist for the whole family to enjoy — we love sing-alongs to kill the time in our car!
  • Bring (chapter) books for who reads, but only if they don’t get car sick (my kids are ok to read on straight highways)
  • Bring notebooks with pens, or a travel journal to work in on the road. These  are great too.
  • Bring neck pillows and thin sheets — great to use as blankets or as a sun shade.
  • For the last few hours, you can maybe play a fun film on an Ipad or car video set (with headphones).
  • For my own entertainment during the hours I’m not driving myself, I like to bring some crochet or knitting.

That’s it!! Wish me luck for in a few weeks… ; ) And as always, all tips and tricks are very, very welcome!

xxx Esther

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