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!

Odette Williams new collection

Odette Williams basics and children's clothing

We met Odette Williams in New York a few years ago, when she was just starting her line with adorable kids aprons and cooking sets. We’ve since remained in touch as she is such a lovely lady, and her products are so beautiful and well made, and really capture the essence and innocence of childhood.

Odette Williams basics and children's clothing Odette Williams basics and children's clothing

Odette just launched a whole new product line: a collection of the softest ever, organic children’s clothing. The pieces are mostly unisex, very simple in design but as such just perfect — so sweet and oh, so comfortable.

Odette Williams basics and children's clothing Odette Williams basics and children's clothingI love the baby onesies (one even has hand drawn flowers, delicately silkscreened with gold foil — so pretty), the beautiful chambray dress, the easy pieces for babies and bigger kids. Odette send my kids some tanks and shorts to try, and since they arrived, they have refused to take them off. That’s how comfy they are!

xxx Esther

 

Quiche on my mind…

Quiche1It’s spring, and my mind is set on quiche. I’m not exactly sure why — is it the combination of the flaky puff pastry crust with the creamy filling and the salty cheese melted on top? Is it the fact that it is so easy to prepare? Or is it just because it’s the perfect dish for these warmer days, when it doesn’t really matter what time you eat, or where you eat…

Quiche can be served hot, luke warm, or cold, and it’s so informal — it’s lunch, it’s dinner, it’s a picnic, it’s a left-over… it’s whatever.

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I always have puff pastry in the freezer, and usually have eggs, cream, cheese and bacon in the fridge as well. A quiche is quickly made. Many different fillings are possible — rucola, spinach, mushrooms, watercress, endive, peas, peppers, asparagus, courgette — you name it! Combine with grated gouda or cheddar or be more creative with goat cheese, ricotta, or camembert. As a basis, for the creamy bit, and depending on the size of your dish, I like to stick to 2 to 4 eggs per quiche, in combination with about 50 to 100 ml crème fraîche or double cream. Actually, the exact amounts can be played with — it’s always a bit different!

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The other day, I preheated the oven to 200°C and buttered three quiche dishes and lined them with puff pastry. Using a fork, I pricked little holes in the bottom of the quiches and set them aside while I made three different fillings.

Quiche one became a ‘quiche lorraine style’ onion/leek quiche. My kids’ favourite. Here’s the how-to:

Gently fry 100 g bacon in it’s own fat. Once brown, add two large onions (diced) and one leek in thin slices. Sauté gently until soft. Divide the mixture over the prepared pastry. Beat eggs with crème fraîche and some freshly ground black pepper. Divide egg mixture over onion mixture, and sprinkle with 100 g of grated cheese. (This is my smaller dish, so I used two eggs and 60 ml of cream.)

Quiche two became a broccoli quiche. Here’s what I did:

Cook the florets of one head of broccoli in salty water for about 5 minutes. Drain well and divide over the prepared pastry. Divide approximately 150 g unsalted cashew nuts over the broccoli. Cut a 250 g camembert cheese in slices and spread over the broccoli. Prepare egg mixture (I mixed 4 eggs and 100 ml of crème fraîche with some salt and pepper) and divide over the quiche.

The third quiche is an old favourite — tuna quiche.

Drain 2 tins of tuna. Prepare egg mixture (4 eggs, 100 ml cream), and mix the tuna and 100 g grated gouda (or cheddar) with the egg mixture. Pour the tuna / egg mixture in the prepared pastry dish. I like to put cherry tomatoes on top — I love the taste of roasted tomatoes and it looks so pretty!

The three quiches bake for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and brown on top and the pastry is cooked. Eat hot, warm, or cold, for lunch, dinner, tea, or whatever.

Quiche4Bon appétit!

xxx Esther

PS Tarte à la tomate et à la moutardeis also deliciously easy!

Hair style: messy side buns

buns_7This hairstyle is so sweet, and also a fast one once you get the hang of the technique. I like the crazy, messy look!

buns_5 buns_1 buns_6 buns_3 buns_2Have two elastic bands handy. Brush and part the hair. A messy parting is fine! Form a side pony tail with your left hand. With the other hand, pull the tail through the elastic band until halfway, so it loops. Don’t pull it through completely! Depending on the length of the hair, you can now secure the elastic band, or pull the hair through to form a second little loop.

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Easy!!

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And this final photo is one of my favourites ever from Ava. Isn’t Maud the most talented photographer?

xxx Esther

PS All photos by my friend Maud Fontein.

Colouring-in fairytales from Caroline Ellerbeck

CE3Fairytales never bore, do they? I can read them over and over again, my kids can dream them and so can I, but they are always exciting and scary and they always end with a happily-ever-after.

Dutch illustrator Caroline Ellerbeck has designed a beautiful ‘colouring-in fairytale’ of some of the most famous fairytales (Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White), and they are now also available in English, French and German. I really love the sweet illustrations and how cute is the idea to personalise your own fairytale?

CE@ CE1You can find international retailers here (Scout & Co sells the English version of Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood).

xxx Esther

 

Hair style: double pinned-up braids

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This is a hairstyle that I remember from my early childhood. My mum would pin up my braids for festive days, and I would feel so, so special the entire day. (Again, my friend Maud has taken all of the photos.)

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I started with Julie’s hair. Julie is Maud’s daughter and Ava’s little friend, you might know her from our The Little Things series.
Just brush the hair and divide in two — I never like the parting to be too straight so I work with how the hair falls naturally on the top of the head and just use my fingers at the back. Make two braids — they can be a little loose in the beginning so they’re easier to pin up later. Keep braiding for as long as possible, and secure with a miniature elastic band in the colour to the hair.

flower_girl_23 flower_girl_18 Then I used bobby pins to pin the hair up. (I like the non-slip bobby pins, they stay put for much longer than the regular ones.)

flower_girls_14 flower_girls_16 flower_girl_19 Isn’t Julie’s hair so pretty with all those different shades?

flower_girl_20 As a finishing touch, I stuck some tiny branches of Baby’s Breath in the braids. Just to make it extra special.


flower_girls_7 When she saw Julie’s hair, Ava wanted the same treatment — of course! (more…)

Tuesday Tips: photographing your children

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Over the 10 years (!!) that we’ve been blogging, the quality of our photography has improved quite a bit. Cameras have gotten cheaper and better (can you believe there were no iPhones when we started blogging?), easy-to-use editing programs are readily available, and we may or may not have instinctively picked up a thing or two about photography.

Taking photos of our children is always a bit of a challenge though. There’s always someone who doesn’t want to sit still, who is not interested in smiling nicely (or not willing to look into the camera all together). Our friend Maud, a wonderful children’s photographer, has an amazing talent to set everyone at ease quickly and professionally, and take the most beautiful children’s portraits just like that! (Or so it seems.) So we thought we’d ask Maud to share her tips and tricks today. I really love these tips — fun and so easy to use:

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When capturing my own children in everyday life, I always ask myself: 1. Would I like to frame this scene just the way it is? Think about them playing together (without fighting!) and you actually don’t want to interrupt the scene. OR 2: Is this a beautiful setting and light and would I like to use this opportunity to get some nice portraits of my children in this nice scenery? Think about the beach, on vacation etc.

Scenario 1: uninterrupted scene.

When you’d just like to snap the scene, here are some tips to get some more exciting pictures than just you standing up with your camera/phone and clicking the scene from your point of view:
Get down on your knees. Get at the same level as where your kids are playing. This gives a much more interesting point of view. You can even lie down on your belly; get some floor/ grass in the foreground to create depth.
• Take a chair and take the picture from above. Sometimes the Babyccino ladies post pictures where it looks like they were floating above the scene – I love those photos.
• Snap just some details of their play. It’s very easy to just stay where you are and take a photo, but it’s much more interesting if you focus on a little hand trying to build a tower of blocks, or the hand writing their first words.

get to their level

details of play

So it’s all about YOU moving around and not kids! You change the point of view by moving around, making the photo more interesting AND move to get no disturbing elements in the picture.
• Always check your frame before clicking. Just a super quick check along the edges of the frame to see what will be in the photo. So you won’t regret the pile of laundry in the corner of the room later. Or when the kids are playing at the beach and the is a nice bright coloured litterbin behind them, YOU move to get the shot from another angle, without the bin. NEVER ask the kids to move, because than you disturb their play and they probable start acting weird around the camera!
• Also check the light. Where does it come from? Move around to get the best light. Close to a window, sun from behind (yes! Because otherwise they’ll squeeze their eyes and get big shadows under their eyes and noses, chin etc.).

Scenario 2: portraits

When you’re at a nice location and like to snap some photo’s of your kids, you preferably want them to act nice, listen to you and smile happily (dream on). Well, that almost never happens when a camera is around and a parent is the photographer. So here are some tips to let them have a good time while you click away.

light from behind
look mini mouse is my lens
• Try to look for something they can sit on. This way you won’t get weird height differences or the little ones start wondering off. To NOT let them pose you can try different fun things.
Play peek-a-boo: let them all cover their eyes with their hands and you’ll count 1-2-3. When you get to 3 they can remove their hands a scream peek-a-boo! You’ll have a cute photo of them covering their eyes + after peek-a-boo screaming, they all look happy cause it’s fun.
• Let them whisper a naughty word in the other ones ear. Giggles guaranteed! This also works really well when snapping a photo of the other parent with the child. Ask them to whisper ‘*naughty English word*’ in the parent’s ear and real smiles will follow!
• That’s also where the third person comes in: it’s super easy to get real smiles if someone stands next to the photographer doing silly dances, shaking their buts etc. Laughs for sure.
• If a child is fussy, propose to sing their favourite song. They almost all like that. But when singing you change a key word. So for example: marry had a little ELEPHANT. The kid will be surprised and starts laughing and say ‘nooooo not an elephant!’ and you say ‘oh I’m sorry! I know, mary had a little dog, right?’. And so on! The same you can apply by asking what animals live at a farm. After cow, chicken, sheep, you’ll say ‘and I know one: a giraffe!’. They love it!
• I love photos with bubbles in it. BUT be aware: little kids will always want to hold the blow thing themselves… so better not bring it or have them well instructed they can blow after daddy or someone else did.
• If you’d like to get a nice close-up of your child; get really close to them and keep the camera at your level and get them looking up a bit. Tell them peppa pig / spiderman / their fav character lives in your camera and they will stare straight in to your lens to look for it! To make sure they don’t look to serious or surprised tell them to look closely and listen good, because the character might let a fart (or something like that) and you do ‘pfffrrttff’. Haha I start laughing all ready writing this down!

 

The tips above are more general tips. We’ll share more technical camera tips in a follow-up post later. 

Delicious Cantuccini (or almond biscotti)

cantuccini

My friend Erika from Mikodesign brought me a jar of homemade Cantuccini cookies recently, and they didn’t last longer than a day. They are SO good! She told me they are super easy to make, so I asked her for the recipe which thankfully she was happy to share. Here goes:

350 gram flour
3 eggs
200 gram castor sugar
2 t.sp. vanilla (or two sachets of vanilla sugar)
250 gram nuts and almonds (no peanuts), unsalted and not roasted
1 t.sp. baking powder
1/2 t.sp. salt
1/2 t.sp. baking soda
1 table sp. grated orange peel
2 table sp. liqueur, f.e. Grand Marnier

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Sift and mix the flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, vanilla, the grated orange peel and the liqueur together with the eggs until slightly foamy.
Combine the dry and the wet ingredients to a heavy, sticky dough. Knead in the nuts.

Shape the dough into two logs and place them on the baking tray. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and still a little soft.
Take the logs of the baking tray and allow to cool (minimal 2 hours — it’s important for the logs to be cold enough in order to be able to slice them well!).

Now preheat the oven to 150°C. Cut the logs with a good bread-knife in 1 cm thick slices. Lay on an oven rack and dry for another 8-10 minutes until golden-brown.

You can (try to) keep these cookies in a closed jar for up to 3 to 4 weeks.

xxx Esther

PS this recipe originates from the Foods and Photos blog (in Dutch).

April give-aways!

April is nearly over but you’re still in time to enter to win the fabulous give-aways we have this month. These are really good, so give it a go if you haven’t done so already : )!

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Famille Summerbelle are offering one lucky winner both their choice of a paper cut map worth £80 (so beautiful!) AND a NYC birch wood tray worth £25.

little concept MR HR

Little Concept is offering a £100 voucher to spend on the cool new collection of one of their favourite brands – Mini Rodini! Enter below to win!

moccisHR

Moccis slippers are made in Sweden using traditional craftsmanship, and this month they are giving away a family pack (2 adult and 2 children’s pairs) of funky, comfy moccasins! Will you match or will you each choose your own designs?

beaba-with-logo-HR

VUPbaby are giving away a Beaba Babycook Solo to one lucky winner! This award winning 4-in-1 product steam cooks, blends, defrosts or reheats baby food – it’s an absolute favourite product for many, many parents!

For your chance to win, click over to our giveaway page to enter.

Hair style: twisties

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Twisties (or side buns) have been my super-quick hairdo solution for my girls since Sara started to have hair long enough to work with (and that took years). They’re just so quick and easy and always look cute, even when they’re completely crooked (I actually like them better that way).

twisties_3 twisties_4 They’re so quick and easy to make. Just brush and divide the hair roughly in two (I personally don’t like the parting to be too straight). Then, start twisting the hair until it automatically starts to roll up.

twisties_5 twisties_6 twisites_8 Keep twisting and rolling up the hair until the ends. Secure with an elastic band. Same procedure for the other side, and voila!

twisties_2 twisties_1 It’s cute to add little clips with ribbons (the ones in Ava’s hair are from Analiv), or tie ribbons around the buns. If you have the time, of course.

xxx Esther

PS All the photos are taken by my talented friend Maud Fontein!

 

Oli&Carol natural rubber bath toys

Oli&Carol natural rubber bath toys Over the years I’ve learned that bath toys should not have a hole. Even though you’re a clean person (which you are, of course), there will eventually grow a nasty, black substance inside that toy. Also, independent of their age it seems, children love to put everything they find in the bath into their mouth. So bath toys are best made of a natural rubber.

Enter the new label Oli&Carol, launched by two sisters from Barcelona aged 15 and 20 (15 and 20!!!), which offers the most darling rubber toys, without a hole, and made from 100% pure latex and painted with food grade, non-toxic dyes.

oli&carol natural rubber bath toys Oli&Carol natural rubber bath toys I really love the sweet, retro designs that the girls came up with — simple ‘paper’ boats, cool beetle cars, fruity teething rings, the original rubber ducks, etc. My personal favourites are the red toadstools — I love the look of them in our bathroom (and my kids love playing with them!).

xxx Esther

Aether Cone, a Thinking Music Player

Cone Thinking Music PlayerI’m sure every family is the same, but we love a bit of a swing in ours. Very often, after breakfast or dinner, we turn up the volume and dance in our living room. It’s crazy! We all join in, and it’s just so much fun. And very often, we end up with a big fat group hug in the end.

Also, sometimes when I’ve had a busy and difficult day, and I feel stressed and tired and my patience is low, it helps to get up and move, to be crazy, and sing along. Music surely is medication for the soul.

casper dancing on cone music player dancing children

It has recently become much easier for our children to initiate their own dancing because the awesome Aether Cone entered our house. The Aether Cone is not only a striking music player (in fact the most beautiful looking one I’ve ever seen), it’s also incredibly easy to understand and to work. Not only easy for me (too many buttons and screens put me off completely), but really handy for the kids as well! The only thing they need to do, is press the center button and ask out loud for any artist, song, or radio. Within seconds, the Cone will be playing their choice and our family will be in full swing!

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And last weekend, my dad was here, and he just had the best of times with the Cone as well. He kept thinking of song and artists from his childhood (the early sixties), and voila — the Cone followed his commands without fail. Just to indicate how simple and fun it is to work with!

I’ve also understood that the more we use the Cone, the better it will get at playing the songs we love. I’m currently writing this with some lovely random background music in the background — I just took the Cone into my office (it’s portable with an 8-hour rechargeable battery). On the associated app on my phone I read that right now I’m listening to Isobel Campbell, a Scottish singer-songwriter. Nice suggestion, I must say!

xxx Esther

PS This post is sponored by Aether, a company we respect for making beautifully crafted products that use powerful technology and simple, natural controls to make everyday moments nicer.

Sweet Smokks Summer Dresses (for mama and daughter)

smokks summer dresses

There’s something a little bit cheesy about matching mums and daughters outfits, but also something incredibly cute. Definitely cute. And especially these dresses from NYC based label Smokks. : )

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Hallie started Smokks a few years ago, after her husband dressed their daughter in her pyjamas for a ballet graduation, while she was away on vacation — because, as he said, he couldn’t deal with all of the buttons, zips and otherwise complicated dresses in his daughter’s wardrobe. I must say this sounds very familiar; my husband would totally do the same thing (or maybe, he would simply dress her in her jeans like he always does). Anyway — Hallie figured there was a market for effortless girls’  clothing: no zips, no buttons, no ribbons. Just a very cute and simple dress, a uniform, almost.

Smokks are, as the name implies, old-fashionedly smocked, but definitely have a modern feel to them. They are, as said, simple, but not actually as simple as it seems. I can tell that a lot of thought went into these dresses! There are deep pockets for treasures. The neckline is wide and comfortable, but flattering. The length (with royal hem) and the low arm hole means these dresses can be worn for years — layered with legging or tights and a cardigan for colder days. They are totally cute for everyday wear and play, but can definitely also be used for more formal occasions.

Hallie messengered over some dresses for our girls to try when we were in NY a few weeks ago. Since her biggest girls’ size is a size 9, she sent over a women’s size S for Sara, which is still a bit big on her… Haha, lucky me! I love it! : )

xxx Esther

PS I love Ava’s curled toes in the photos above. The photos were taken by Sara, by the way — roles reversed!

Vriendenboek (A Friends’ Book)

Esther van de Paal vriendenboek Snor vriendenboek Esther van de Paal Julie Summerbelle Snor(All photo credits: Yvonne Eijkenduijn of Yvestown)

I’m super proud to announce a little project I’ve been working on with my friend Julie Marabelle (the super talented lady behind the well known brand Famille Summerbelle) and Snor, the coolest publishers here in the Netherlands: we made a Friends’ Book!

vriendenboek Esther van de PaalNow, if you’re not Dutch (or Belgian, or German) you probably have no idea what a Friends’ Book is… Our ‘Vriendenboek‘ (Friends’ Book) consists of 31 double pages with pre-printed questions — one to be filled out by the owner of the book (the ‘This is me’ section), the rest is meant for 30 friends and/or classmates. There are passport-like questions (like name, address, length, hobbies, sort hair, favourite school subject, etc), but also more creative questions such as ‘What is the nicest thing you and I did together’, ‘Draw your dream house’ or ‘This is what my bed looks like’. There’s  space for a photo, which is carried by a character in underwear that can be dressed with the cool clothes stickers that come with the book.

vriendenboek Esther van de PaalThe book is typically aimed at children of the age of 4 to 12 (primary school age), and the idea is that it’s a record of a specific year in your childhood, a record of your friends, but also of the zeitgeist of a specific era. My dad just emptied out his basement and he dropped of some boxes of stuff my mum had kept for me, and coincidentally I found my own friends’ book from 1984/85. It’s just brilliant reading the answers! Some examples: best film: Annie, E.T., Ghost Busters, First Blood (!). Best pop group: Wham, Duran Duran, UB40. What I want to be: Farmer, Housewife, Truckdriver, Horse Stall Cleaner. And goes on. So good! I wonder what has become of all of those childhood friends. I hope they are living their dreams! : )

vriendenboek friend's book vriendenboek06 vriendenboek friends' bookJulie and I have been brainstorming and designing to come up with a modern, cool and good-looking friendship book filled with fun and interesting questions, and it is finally here. And I’m so happy with how it turned out! The way the paper feels, the way the colours turned out, the quality of the stickers in the back — it’s all beautiful!

vriendenboek13 vriendenboek friends bookAt the moment, the Friends’ Book is only available in Dutch… You can get it here for shipment in the Netherlands, or here for international deliveries. And hopefully it will soon be available in English, and other languages as well!

xxx Esther

PS All the beautiful photos above are by my friend Yvonne from Yvestown. Thank you Yvonne (and your neighbours Josefien and Pauline, such sweet models)! And a big thank you to my Dutch blogging friends Bubbelmint, Oh Marie!, Moodkids and UrbanMoms for their lovely reviews. Julie also wrote a nice blogpost about our book, with great photos, here.

Tuesday Tips: how to survive the first months of pregnancy

how to survive the first months of pregnancyI’ve been very lucky during my pregnancies — they have always been fairly easy. I was (of course?) extremely tired in the first months, and feeling nauseous here and there (especially when brushing my teeth or when I smelled the exhausts of cars), but overall, I have actually always really enjoyed those nine months.

But it’s not so easy for all of us — over half of the pregnant women suffer from worse pregnancy sickness. Feeling nauseous during the entire day, vomiting even. (And then there’s Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a rare but extreme form of morning sickness, characterised by uncontrollable nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.)

Our lovely Helen, who runs the Babyccino Kids Shopping Portal, is currently 21 weeks pregnant with her third baby, a little girl. (See photo above!) I’m so excited to have a little baby joining our Babyccino Kids team this summer!

Helen did suffer from pregnancy sickness until a few weeks ago, so I asked her to share her experiences and tips to cope below. (I would love for you to share your advice in the comment field below as well — it’s always so helpful to know that you’re not alone!) So here goes:

– For me, the mornings were the best. Around 10ish the nausea would kick in, getting worse through the day to a peak in the evening. Everyone is difference but ‘morning’ can be a bit of a misconception. If you do suffer the classic symptoms in the morning, apparently having some crackers on the bedside table, ready to eat before you rise, is the way forward.

– For me morning sickness lasted past the first trimester, until week 17/18, but many people feel relief as they get to the second trimester. If you really struggling, finding you can’t cope and especially if you’re vomiting often, don’t suffer in silence and don’t be afraid to go to the doctor.

Eating little and often. Plain, not too oily and definitely not too sugary. Lots of plain carbs seem to be what the body wants — bananas, avocado on toast, plain toast.

Fresh air

Rest (!)

Drink a lot. Helps avoid headaches too.

Ginger. Specifically fresh ginger and lemon tea helped me. (Peel and thinly slice ginger, pour boiling water over and add some slices of lemon.) Ginger beer or ale is a perfect treat, especially if you do manage to make it out to a social function and don’t fancy ordering mineral water all night. And although some can find it a bit much, but I found that mint tea helped to settle my stomach.

– For me the biggest challenge of the first few months – especially when it’s not your first – is getting dinner on the table. Thinking about food is awful. And then you have to eat it! Make life easier for yourself with services that provide you and your family with healthy food options – be it a service providing home-cooked meals or visits to your local deli.

Floradix (http://www.salusuk.com/products/floradix.html). It could be a coincidence but I have suffered less from exhaustion this time (and I discovered floradix after I had my second baby).

– If you are working mum and IF you feel comfortable with it – you could tell your employer in confidence in these early days. Often we don’t want to tell before 12 weeks because what if it goes wrong? What then? With the knowledge of your situation your employer can help make sure you don’t get any additional concerns in those first tough few months and frankly, if things don’t end up happening as you hoped, you’ll probably need to tell them at that point anyway!

Thank you, Helen!

xxx Esther

So Awesome Wallet cards

So Awesome wallet flash cards so awesome alphabet cards These So Awesome wallet cards don’t just looks beautiful, they’re also super practical. A selection of cards the size of a credit card, made from durable, easy-to-clean, biodegradable and kid-safe (non-toxic, food-safe) plastic, are kept together by a re-closable ring. The size makes them super easy to throw in your handbag or nappy bag. They can be kept together and read as a book, or they can also be played with individually. So fun! I have found them especially handy when we’re traveling, or in restaurants. Casper and I like to play with the Color and Shape cards — I ask, what colour, and he says ‘blue’. For all the colours. ; )

xxx Esther

 

 

Sweet summer dresses by Neige, from Ladida.com

Sweet summer dresses, Neige at Ladida.com Sweet summer dresses by Neige, from Ladida.com

When we were in NYC a few weeks ago we met up for drinks with Rebecca, the owner of the exquisite (and extensive) webshop, Ladida, and it was such a fun evening. Rebecca really rocks! She’s fun, honest and interesting, plus, a clever and inspiring business woman. She runs a gigantic online children’s fashion emporium, offering a well curated collection of the best high-end brands of the world. Also worth mentioning is that she has 5 small children (the littlest one is only a few months old!).

I brought back a few presents for my kids from NY, of course, and amongst them were these two matching Neige dresses for my girls that I got from Ladida.com. The sweetness! (I’ve been getting matching things from Rebecca for the past few years — remember these cute pointy hat winter coats? Or last year’s matching summer dresses?)

Sweet summer dresses by Neige, from Ladida Sweet summer dresses by Neige, from ladida.com

My girls love to match. And I love to see those two sweet sisters, tall and small, being so cute and excited together! (Of course they had to immediately try their new dresses, inside the house because it’s still way too cold outside. A prelude to warm summer evenings and impromptu garden parties!)

xxx Esther

A LEGO party for Pim’s 8th birthday

Lego Party decoration (Babyccino Kids)Birthdays are a big deal for children, and we like to celebrate it appropriately. We make a big deal out of it. Our children get a party for family and close family friends (the ‘family party’), and then they get to invite a few classmates for another party (the ‘friends’ party). For his 8th ‘friends’  birthday party, Pim had decided he wanted a LEGO party.

I honestly admit that I was a bit at a loss what to do with this theme. I mean, a strawberry high tea, a cooking party, or a disco party — I didn’t have to think long with coming up with some fun activities and decoration for those. And in the end, the interpretation of the adventurous treasure hunt of Pim’s party last year was quite straightforward as well, once the concept was there. But Lego?

And then I thought — the best thing about Lego, is Lego. We don’t need to provide anything else, than lots and lots of Lego! So we went to Ebay, and bought two second-hand batches of Lego bricks. We got loads!

Lego-party-cups Lego-Party-centerpiece Lego-Party_boat Lego_Party_decorationTable decoration was kept simple. I drew Lego faces on little glas jars, and poured orange juice inside. Pim made the center setting for the table, his name in giant 3D letters! And above the table, we strung yellow balloons, again, with Lego faces on them.

Lego birthday party - babyccinokids.com Lego-Party Lego-Party-Lego-Brick-Cake

We served rectangular carrot cake with M&M’s on them to resemble Lego bricks.

Lego Party cracker with cheese (babyccinokids.com)

And later, I prepared some ‘Lego’ cheese crackers, with cheese dots on them.

LegoParty tower babyccinokids.comAnd then, we dunked all of the Lego on the floor and the kids could play! We gave them two ‘missions’ — the first one was to build the highest tower in three groups of three (which were properly measured afterwards of course). Simple but super exciting! And then, we asked one group to make a vehicle for the land, one group for the sea, and one group for the air. After 10 minutes we rotated the groups, and again a bit later.

Lego_party_cleanupIt was a really fun afternoon! And a perfect party for the lousy weather as well — it was raining outside the entire time, but cheerful and bright inside!

xxx Esther

New adorable collection at Macarons

Macarons SS15 collection

The new spring/summer Macarons collection is online and it is so sweet! I love the timeless but at the same time modern design of the pieces.

Macarons SS15 collection

I especially love this stripy pinafore dress. Pinafore dresses are so versatile — they work great for this colder time of year, layered over a long-sleeved shirt and tights, but can also be worn with a short-sleeved tee or vest and leggings for when it gets warmer, or just as is for when we’re at the height of summer.

The denim Dora dress is another great evergreen dress. It looks absolutely adorable on, and can also be warn all year long, layered with tights and a cardigan. Oh, and this sweet overall Ola (I’m so bummed that Ava has outgrown the Macarons sizing for it! But Courtney got it for Marlow — I can’t wait to see it on her).

Macarons SS15 collection

Other pieces I love in the new Macarons collection are the Piroz pants that Casper is wearing in the photo above (with the super comfy pullover Paula).  It’s super sweet and can grow with him for a few years, it will just gradually become more cropped.  And — I’m a big fan of cardigans for my kids — cool cardy Clara is great for both Ava as Casper (in fact, they share one — I got it for Casper but Ava keeps stealing it). Like all Macarons pieces, it is made in such a clever way that one size fits more years.

xxx Esther

Design Mom’s book ‘How to live with Kids: A room-by-room guide’

Design Mom book How to live with kids

A few months ago my friend Gabrielle Blair, the famous Design Mom, asked me to share some photos of our home, for the use in the book she was working on. I was super flattered to be asked, because I have been a Design Mom fan from the moment we started blogging. Gabrielle is so incredibly talented, so entrepreneurial, so creative, so stylish, and so real. I love her down-to-earth style, her guts, and her drive to connect people. Also — I love how she shares her successes, as well as her difficulties. So you can imagine that for months I’ve been awaiting the highly anticipated launch of her book, and this week a preview copy of the book landed on my doormat… and it’s even better than I could have imagined!

Design Mom book How to live with kids
Design Mom book How to live with kids

‘How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide’  is a family lifestyle book full of inspiration, with beautiful photos of real homes. It’s full of useful tips stemming from real life experience with 6 children. Gabrielle shares easy decor tips and doable DIY projects, lovely family traditions and sweet tips. (Like: keep a box of Band-Aids within children’s reach in the bathroom, to make children feel in control when they have an owie, plus, when a little friend needs a band-aid, your child can help and get a positive experience with empathy. Or, one of my favourite phrases from the book: ‘Ugly couches can make beautiful childhoods’. So true!)

Sometimes parenting, interior or DIY books can be so terribly overwhelming. What I like best about Design Mom’s ‘How to live with Kids’ is that’s it’s all so approachable, so doable and so real. Gabby shows us that it’s no about what to buy, it’s about working with what your already have, to make your house happy, and wonderful.

The book is available for pre-order on Amazon (US or UK ).

xxx Esther

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