Win! This month’s give-aways

It’s nearly the end of June, and I just wanted to remind you of the wonderful give-aways we have lined up… Did you enter yet??

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EllieFunDay offer a gorgeous range of baby blankets handcrafted from natural and organic materials. Each blanket features four layers of super soft organic cotton muslin sewn together and hand-embroidered with darling designs. This month, EllieFunDay is giving away a £100 gift certificate to their sweet shop!

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Each season, Poppy designs and prints their own delightful fabrics, featuring the tales of the adventures of Poppy and her dog Fred, and uses them to make adorable children’s clothing. So adorable! This month, Poppy is giving away a complete Little Boats set to one very lucky winner, consisting of a Martha red boats dress, a contrasting yellow petticoat and a floats bow clip. So sweet!

SOY winStuck on You is the answer to all your labeling needs, offering a wide and great selection of labels for all labeling eventualities. Need a personalised lunch box? Want personlised cups for your kid’s birthday? Enter: Stuck on You. This month, Stuck on You is offering two winners £50 each to spend on their site – no more lost items for these lucky people!

lupus-in-fabula-HRLupus in fabula is a range of babies and children’s clothing made exclusively from the highest quality, 100% natural fibres. We just love the cheerful palette and the smart, yet easy-wear nature of the collection! This month Lupus in fabula is giving away a £100 voucher to spend on their site!

You can enter to win these fabulous give-aways here. Good luck!

 

Cordials from Belvoir Fruit Farm

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Do you know the fruit cordials from Belvoir Fruit Farm? We have recently discovered them and are all hooked! We love the interesting, grown-up taste combinations, like spiced apple & ginger, rhubarb & strawberry, elderflower & rose, raspberry & lemon…

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I try to give my children water or tea for as much as possible, but in the afternoon I’m ok to give them a glass of juice. These ones from Belvoir are so nice, and not overly sweet. We all love them — the ginger cordial is my personal favourite. Super fresh!

xxx Esther

PS I’ll be making my own rhubarb cordial this week, so easy and another lovely fresh drink, especially in combination with sparkling water.

Mori baby essentials (and parcel service)

Mori baby essentialsOur wonderful team member Helen is heavily pregnant with a little girl, so once again, we have babies on our minds here at Babyccino!

We were recently introduced to Mori, a new and unique parcel service that delivers baby essentials straight to your door, making a new mum’s life so much easier. The team at Mori (existing of three cool guys!) sent Helen their Welcome to the World Newborn Set to try, and we were both squeaking with delight, holding those little pieces in our hands. Made from a soft cotton and bamboo mix, these pieces are so incredibly sweet and soft!

Mori sends out a parcel of gorgeous baby essentials every six weeks, just when your baby is about to enter the next phase. Parcels include 5 must-have items, such as bodysuits, sleepsuits and milk bibs, although you can choose to replace specific items if you wish. The pre-mentioned (extremely soft!) cotton/bamboo mix that all the pieces are made from has natural thermo-regulating properties, perfect to keep baby warmer in winter and cool in summer. Pieces come in neutral colours, and are durable and of high quality — designed to be passed on!

xxx Esther

PS Mori is now offering a great opportunity exclusive to Babyccino Kids readers, to now try out their service for the introduction price of just £10 with code BabyccinoMORI (valid until July 31st 2015).

Hair style: the low flip ponytail


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This hair tutorial is extremely easy. Just brush your child’s hair, and make a low ponytail using an elastic band. Pull back the elastic band slightly to make room. Then, separate the hair approximately in the middle, creating a gap. Then, flip the hair over and pull through the gap.

sara_hair_4 sara_hair_3 sara_hair_5 Voila! Such an easy hairstyle, with such a pretty and elegant result!

Sara_hair_2xxx Esther

PS All pretty photos by Maud Fontein!

Tuesday tips: Traveling light (with children)

Tuesday Tips Traveling Light with children

Summer vacations are around the corner for us and we have lots of exciting travels coming up that we’ll be sharing with you soon. In the meantime, we have been thinking about packing tips — isn’t packing suitcases for a family the biggest job ever? Personally, when I’m packing, I prefer my kids to be out of the house, so I can prepare in total focus and with ultimate concentration. It usually takes me almost a full day to pack — and then I’m not even counting the prep work of washing, folding, and sorting beforehand!

The biggest challenge when I’m packing, is to pack as little as possible. We mostly travel by car, and with the 6 of us stowed in the car already there is not a lot of room for luggage. Or, if we fly, we usually try to pack in small, carry-on suitcases. So here are some tips for packing practical and light — please do share your tips as well (I need them)!!

Layering: I like bringing some cardigans or hoodies to layer over t-shirts and summer dresses. A few pairs of knee socks keep feet and lower legs warm. Leggings are great layering pieces as well.

Footwear: Saltwater sandals, Crocs or Natives are waterproof, easily cleaned, and can be worn over above mentioned knee socks if necessary. Flip flops are so easy and small to pack. (I try to avoid taking wellies but for some trips they’re mandatory…)

Pac-a-mac foldable raincoats: the kind of raincoat that fold up inside a pocket and can be strapped around your middle. We have one for each member of the family, and they keep us warm and dry when needed. We take no other coats than these. (Added bonus — we have bright coloured macs in one colour — great to keep an eye on the kids in busy places!) You can find them here, here or here, for example.

Turkish towels: so much smaller to pack and quicker to dry than terry towels. They double up perfectly as picnic blankets or sheets, by the way. (Available here.)

Personal backpack: each child carries a small backpack with a notebook and a pencil-case, a sunhat, sunglasses, a thin and royal sized square scarf (doubles as a blanket, play mat or sun screen), one favourite doll or stuffed animal, a little pouch with some tiny toys for imaginary play (like Schleich animals, Playmobil characters, cars or trains), and some small games (a deck of cards, Uno, Dobble or memory are good examples and fun to play as a family).

A small umbrella stroller (and/or small carrier): even though for city living I prefer a bigger, more comfortable stroller, for traveling we prefer the lighter, smaller type of buggy. (We have an old MacLaren Volo for this purpose. I recently saw the Babyzen YoYo on a trade fair and it also looked really cool, and small!) If your child is big enough, you could think of taking a Micro Scooter instead of a stroller (ok, this is maybe not packing ultra light, but they’re great to take if you can!).

Argan oil and Shea Butter: I love argan oil when I’m traveling — I put it on my face, body, and hair. One bottle for everything — less is more! Shea butter is also lovely for face, lips, hands, dry patches of skin, hair even.

Shampoo and samples: a little bottle of shampoo doesn’t just wash hair, body and hands, it’s also great to use as laundry detergent — to quickly hand-wash some underwear or t-shirts when on the road. Also, I was just talking to Courtney, and she mentioned taking samples for toiletries instead of the big bottles — so save up the little sample bags that are given to you in the beauty department!

That’s what I came up with… Again — please share your tips for light packing. I can use them, I promise!

xxx Esther

Exclusive Macarons Flash Sale!

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Macarons is a German-based fashion brand which we have always admired for their innovative way of thinking about fabrics and their never-ending enthusiasm to transform the fashion industry — for the better. Their perseverance to ensure that their collections are 100% produced according the GOTS guidelines, vouching for a strictly ecological, sustainable and fair manufacturing chain is truly admirable.

The Macarons collection are so, so adorable. The pieces are always special, made of the finest fabrics and finished in the most detailed way, with contrasting stitching or a coloured button here or there — details that prove the care and thought that the Macarons team puts in every item. I have passed down Macarons pieces from my bigger to smaller children, and once they outgrow them, my friends’ babies enjoy them and they still are like new. The quality is just so good.

So — we’re super excited to announce that Macarons is offering Babyccino Kids readers a hefty 30% off their entire collection*! This is really awesome — what a perfect opportunity to get to know this beautiful brand if you didn’t already — or to pick up some sweet summer pieces you had your eye on… (For instance — I love the stripy pinafore dress and baggy pants I got for Ava and Casper a little while ago, and if you have a toddler, this bubble suit is so, so adorable! And our babies have seriously lived in these overalls the first years — so practical!)

To redeem your discount, just check out using discount code BKSALE30. Enjoy!! (I just ordered these cool pants Pliso for Pim, he’s going to love them!)

xxx Esther

* Gift vouchers and cfm (cecile for macarons) items can not be included in the sale but all the other items are included.

Some photos and an interview with Little Years blog

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A few weeks ago the lovely French/German photographer Christina Schumacher came over to our house to take some informal photos for an interview with the beautiful German blog Little Years, and I really love the way she captured our family. I thought it would be fun to share some photos here (well, more than some — it was too hard to choose!) but you’d better head over to the Little Years blog to read the interview here. It is the kind of interview that makes you step back and look at your life as an outsider, and then step back in and realise how lucky and entirely happy you are, with everything in your life — the joy, the sadness, the little things. Life is a journey, and a beautiful one.

xxx Esther

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Smallprint — an independent bookstore with a neighbourhood feel, but online!

Small Print independent online bookstore

I have a confession to make: I’m not the biggest fan of playgrounds. I love watching my kids enjoying themselves (preferably in the company of a good friend and with a cappuccino in my hand) but I don’t get an enormous amount of fulfilment from pushing the swing 100 times or baking sand cakes for half an hour…
I do, however, love reading to my kids. And they love being read to, over and over and over again — so I hope that makes up for my lack of interest in playgrounds.

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I love books and I have always loved reading. I love bookshops, too. Especially the slightly old-fashioned, independent bookshop, the one you find (or used to find, at least) around the corner, with a passionate owner who knows every book in his or her store and can recommend to you, as no other, what you need to read or gift. So I am really happy to have recently discovered Smallprint — a gem of an independent bookshop, aimed at small children… and entirely online! Smallprint offers the most wonderful curation of children’s books — some I already know (and love), but many are new to me, and very promising.

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Small Print online bookshop Small Print independent bookshop
I asked Jenny, the owner of Smallprint, to make a recommendation for each of my kids, and this is what she suggested. For Sara, she chose Yellow Square, an amazing pop-up book full of  ‘paper architecture’. For Pim she thought of Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet Poster Book, an excellent choice — he loves the cool ABC posters (and we’ll be decorating the boys’ bedroom walls with these). For Ava, she recommended The Bear Song, a beautifully illustrated book (and already a family favourite!) about Papa Bear following little bear, who is following a bee, hopefully leading him towards some precious honey. For Casper she picked Oh No!, a funny book with acetate pages that cleverly change the situation drawn on each page.

Smallprint online independent bookshop Smallprint independent online bookstoreI’m so happy to see that people like Jenny start beautifully curated bookshops that are meaningful, and offer a personal touch and service that you won’t find in the enormous online bookstores we all know. She’s so good in selecting wonderful books for the right age, and her recommendations are terrific. A gem, for every book loving mama!

xxx Esther

 

Muny — comfortable and contemporary clothing from Brooklyn

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When we were in Le Touquet a few weeks ago we had such luck with the weather… It was seriously warm and wonderful that day. The kids were running around through the pretty parks and over the beach, there was no rush, in fact we had all the time in the world to spend with dear friends… Weekends like that will be treasured forever.

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That Sunday Casper and Ava were wearing pieces from Muny, a clothing brand from Brooklyn, and they were just perfect for the occasion — comfortable, easy, and lovely. Aren’t Casper’s Khadi pants pretty? They are so well made with a full lining, and I love the pocket detail on the back. Ava is wearing the Olivia dress, an easy piece for beach, playground or birthday party alike. All of Muny’s pieces are made from natural fabrics which are made by various textile artisans in India, using ancient techniques of wood block printing, handloom weaving and hand dyeing. Very nice!

xxx Esther

PS Shoes are from Amy & Ivor, we love them! Casper’s jumper is from Waddler (on sale now!).

PPS Muny is offering an exclusive 20% deal for Babyccino readers this month — check out our deals here.

A weekend at the Opal Coast in France

BoulogneSurMer_kidsWe’ve discovered that the Côte d’Opale (Opal Coast) in the upper North-west corner of France is aptly located for a Babyccino Kids meet-up — it’s only a few hours drive from Paris and Antwerp (where my dad lives), and it’s also just a 20 minute drive from Calais, where the channel tunnel connects France directly to the UK. So it’s pretty much on the doorstep from London as well!

A few weekends ago Emilie and I got to spend some quality time together and discover this pretty region of coastal France with our families in tow. A visit of only two days but absolutely jam-packed with activities!

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Tuesday Tips: about Middle Childhood, and discovering and nurturing passions

tuesday tips middle childhoodA few weeks ago I was talking to one of my friends, a psychologist, and she was mentioning that her oldest, who just turned 11, is nearing the end of her middle childhood. Intrigued by the term middle childhood, which was new to me, she explained that it is the timespan roughly between the age of 6 and 12. It is the period when children start to develop their independence and are discovering the context of the society outside the family home, but in which we, parents, still have an opportunity to connect and influence them. When puberty kicks in around the age of 12, our children will start to become physically mature and they will naturally distance themselves from our parental influence, seeking more independence and autonomy.

Intrigued about the concept of middle childhood, I started to think about this period, especially since I apparently have two children in this phase (Pim is now 8 and Sara 10). My friend told me that it is important to offer children in their middle childhood some handles to make their puberty easier and to positively develop their sense of self esteem.

Apparently it is super important to give children enough chances to develop interests and abilities in different fields inside, but especially also outside the house and the school. Organised after-school activities (like art, sports, or music) can help them to discover what they love and/or are good at, and compare it to other skills they are maybe less competent in. This will help them grow their self esteem and feel stronger towards areas in which they possibly not excel (perhaps they have disappointing school results). They will learn to understand that they can grow to get better in things, that if they fail at doing something at first they can actually train and develop to get better and eventually be successful — a valuable lesson for later in life. Also, they can find a positive place-to-be outside the family home, develop relationships with other children and teachers/trainers  — it is nice for them to have a safe place to go when they feel the need to escape the house later in puberty.

All in all, it is healthy and important for our middle childhood kiddos to start to expedite their surroundings, to discover what their passions are and to start nurturing those. I feel it is a super interesting phase, and although one part of me feels a bit sad that my kids will be flying out of our nest in just a few years time, I also feel excited for them to start exploring life, to learn and to fail, and to be happy and successful.

Just wondering, what are your thoughts on this subject? Do you have tips or experiences you can share? As always, I would love to hear!

xxx Esther

 

The sweetest nightlight from Tulipop

Tulipop bubble lamp nightlight
Ava needed a new lamp for her bedside table and when I saw the new product of Signy and Helga, the two beautiful fiends behind Icelandic brand Tulipop, I knew she would absolutely love it. How sweet is this Bubble lamp? It’s just prefect for her, so soft and sweet. Very comforting for a little girl that just turned five!

tulipop bubble lamp nightlight

xxx Esther

Wee Gallery, 32 ways to dress a…

wee_gallery_2 wee_gallery_3 wee_gallery_4My children were each given a mini activity book from Wee Gallery recently and they’ve been a big success. With a very simple concept (dress the cat / bunny / fox etc), these sweet little books appeal to different ages, and make the cutest little presents.

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I also think they are great for traveling, or to take to restaurants, for instance. Just pop a few in your handbag for instant entertainment!

xxx Esther

To win this month!

The end of the month is near (and so is summer!), so I just wanted to remind you of the great (great!!) give-aways we have lined up. Here goes:

Emi Nell Teepee
Emi & Nell brings you fresh, individual style clothing and accessories, cool gifts, plus amazing additions to transform your space. Emi & Nell are offering one lucky winner a Nununu Teepee!

Showler-Showler-Mr-PenguinShowler and Showler create beautifully illustrated, bright, fun art prints — a great addition to frankly any room looking for a smile and some colour. This month one lucky winner will be offered a voucher for £100 to spend on prints!

miss-haideeMiss Haidee is the sweetest Australian line of vintage-inspired clothing for boys and girls from birth to 12 years. The pieces are beautifully and ethically made from quality fabrics with love by Australian mothers and grandmothers. A wonderful £100 voucher to be spent on their site can be yours!

Mayprize_piupiaPiupia offer a charming collection of organic cotton baby clothes featuring simple, colourful designs. This month Piupia are offering one lucky baby £100 worth of lovely products – the lucky winner can take their pick in this cute online store.

You can enter to win these fabulous give-aways here. Good luck!

xxx Esther

Hair style: a messy top-knot

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This hairstyle is one of my favourites for Sara — I think it reflects her style really well (plus, it suits her face). It’s easy, but the technique is a bit tricky to explain. I’ll do my best, and I think the photos help!

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Have an elastic band handy. First, brush the hair up high (high!) and form a pony tail with your left hand. Then, with your other hand, start bringing the elastic band around the hair, while you make a small loop around your right thumb with the hair. Don’t pull the hair through the band! Take the elastic band in your left hand.

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Twist the elastic band to secure the loop of hair, and keep holding it (together with the loop) with your left hand. Now with the right hand, twist the remaining hair around the loop (underneath the elastic band).

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Add the twist of remaining hair to your left hand and with the right one, secure the elastic band around the knot.

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Gently pull the knot a little to loosen it up, and voila!

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xxx Esther

All photos by my friend Maud Fontein

Yvestown in the Kitchen

Yvestown in the kitchen

Do you ever take cookbooks to bed? I do! I just love food — eating it, preparing it, looking at it, and yes, even reading about it.
Yvestown in the Kitchen,  written by Yvonne of the beautiful blog Yvestown, is the kind of cookbook which is just the perfect read. It is the combination of a cookbook, a portfolio of beautiful food styling and photography, and it shows the most gorgeous interiors of some of the writer’s enormously creative friends.


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Yvestown in the Kitchen was first published in Dutch but has recently been translated to English, so if you’re looking for a nice present for a food-loving friend (or for your food-loving self!), you can now pick up a copy on Amazon (UK or US) .

xxx Esther

WalkyTalkies — talking socks

walkytalkies hand-puppet socks

In essence, WalkyTalkies are simply socks — albeit fun and good-quality ones. But that’s not all… WalkyTalkies offer an extra little bit of great usability to make them really awesome: the socks double up as hand-puppets!

hand puppetsI just love this clever idea from a Dutch mum (and so do my kids). Aren’t the best ideas often the simplest ones?

xxx Esther

 

Stitch ‘n Kids: the braid star

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I saw this braid star at my friend Elke’s house and went to buy one for my children as I’m always interested in these kind of simple crafting tools. And it has become an instant hit in our household! Simply a wooden disc with 8 slots, it’s the perfect entertainment for children aged 4 (depending on their motor skills) and up.

When we were visiting Courtney and co in London last April, I brought braiding stars for all of the kids. They all made each other friendship bracelets and it kept them busy and calm at the same time (exceptional!!).

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With the summer holiday rapidly approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to mention the braid star as it is such a perfect item to bring along while traveling. Small enough to keep in your handbag, and it will keep children perfectly entertained on an airplane, in the back of a car, on a train, etc. Plus — they can make presents for all the little friends they meet on their travels!

I picked up our braid stars at De Zaailing in Amsterdam, but I found similar items on Etsy, and here, in case you’re interested.

xxx Esther

PS I really like the thought of asking my children to weave their own colourful shoe laces with the braid star!

Big news! The ShopUp this September in NYC!!

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We have exciting news to share: after the success of the previous events in London, we’re now organising a ShopUp event in New York City!! Coming September, the 13th and 14th to be precise, we’ll be hosting a 2-day shopping fair in the incredibly cool 501 Union building (at the hub of five distinctly stylish and über hip Brooklyn neighbourhoods Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boreum Hill, Gowanus, and Park Slope). We will bring together more than 25 fabulous brands and boutiques all under one roof — plus there will be sweet activities for children and yummy drinks & nibbles from food trucks as well.

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We’ve already lined up a really great selection of amazing shops and activities, with many more to come. We can’t wait to shop with you on September 13th and 14th — it will be so much fun and the atmosphere will be so good. We can’t wait to see you there!! : )

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xxx Esther

Tuesday Tips: how to deal with toddler tantrums?

How to deal with toddler tantrums

Last week we got an email from one of our readers, asking for a post on the topic of toddler tantrums. Her two-year-old is just starting to have some bouts and tantrums and she said she’s desperate for advice from fellow mums.

I think this is a bit of a tricky topic, because it is so dependent on one’s personal parenting style and, ahum, patience. For me, the most important advice regarding tantrums, is that it is crucial not to indulge the child’s demands… (not easy!) — because if you do, throwing a tantrum will become a means of getting his way!

I also believe that often, if not always, a tantrum is just some kind of act of desperation. When Casper has a tantrum, which does happen every now and then, I often feel he is just hungry, tired, or hurt. He has difficulties recognising these feelings of unease, and even if he could, he would have difficulties expressing himself because he is still so little. He still needs help to communicate his feelings.

So he doesn’t feel well — and doesn’t know/recognise it — so he gets really, really angry because I don’t let him watch Miffy on the tv ; ). But in reality, he might just need a banana! Truth is, I get cranky too when I forget to eat, or when I don’t sleep well, and I am not the nicest person to have around. And even for me, it is sometimes difficult to recognise that I’m in such a bad mood because I’m simply hungry! (My husband knows me better than I do, and gives me something to eat! Haha!)

So here’s what I do when Casper is having a fit. First, I ask if he’s hungry/tired/hurt. (Do you want a banana? Some water? Does your tummy hurt? Are you very tired? Do you need a hug?) If that doesn’t help, and he keeps on going, and a distraction doesn’t work, and he won’t stop after I’ve asked him a few times, I will actually put him in the hallway. Sometimes I feel you just have to be strict, break through the tantrum. Do something sudden. Raise your voice. Show them you don’t approve of this behaviour. In my case this always helps, but I can be a little strict sometimes… This really depends on your personal parenting style!

So my personal strategy is: first, ask if there is a problem. If there is, give food/ put to bed / give hugs etc. If that doesn’t help, ask him to stop. Then, the hallway (or in any case, I show that I’m displeased about this behaviour). I also like to remember that this is just a phase, and once the child will grow to be able to express feelings better, things will get easier.

Now please share — what are your thought on tantrums, and techniques to deal with them? I would love to hear!

xxx Esther

PS Photo taken last year, when Courtney visited us in Amsterdam and Casper threw tantrums all the time!

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