l’Asticot waterproof coats

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I’ve been looking for a winter coat for Pim, and it’s not the easiest job. Plenty of cool choices around, sure… but I do have a little list of requirements.

Children here in the Netherlands are often exposed to rain — not only because of our wet climate, but also because (despite that wet climate) the Dutch like to cycle a lot. So when I’m looking for winter coats, I look for waterproof coats. Other characteristics I look for in the winter coats for my kids are: a simple silhouette, a neutral colour (so it can be passed down to siblings), warmth (obviously, but without being overly thick or puffy so it doesn’t restrict children in their movements), natural materials, and practicality. Also, the coat needs to be strong and durable (I bought a new winter coat for Pim last year and it’s full of holes already!), and, well, it has to have a certain ‘cool’ to it — of course!

Casper has already been wearing the above l’Asticot waterproof winter coat for a few weeks, and I really love it. It meets the above characteristics easily: it’s made of 100% organic materials, it’s warm (lined with organic polar fleece, and with a longer back, warm cuffs and high collar and hood), it’s not puffy, it’s machine washable, it’s durable, and it’s cool, with the contrasting stitching and lining. So… I actually just ordered Pim the exact same coat!

Now, I’m not saying it can now start raining (or snowing) here in Amsterdam, but if it does, the boys are ready for it!

xxx Esther

Wool and the Gang, cool knitting kits

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I’ve been feeling so much like knitting lately, so the Wool and the Gang kit I ordered came right in time! I’m going to be knitting the Mini Tartan Hula Hoop for Sara, and if I hurry a little I might just be able to finish it before Christmas.

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Do you know Wool and the Gang? It’s a super hip company, providing über cool knitting kits with everything one might need for one project — wool, needles, the pattern, and very easy-to-follow instructions. (If you love the Wool and the Gang designs but are not so into knitting, you can also purchase a ready-made piece, knit with love by one of the ‘Gangstas’, a global-wide team of knitters.)

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I love their branding, the quality of their materials, and their belief in handmade and sustainable fashion. Knitting their projects is so fun!

In spring, I made the Sailor Jumper (modeled by Pim below, after a rough and dirty game of football!) and I love how easy it was to knit that jumper and how nice it turned out when it was finished.

pim_WATGThe Wool and the Gang knitting kits make really great presents too — everything comes wrapped in a cool paper bag, and anyone who has an interest in knitting (even if they’ve never knit before!) I’m sure would love to receive a kit like this.

xxx Esther

Stay warm with cosy knitwear from Miou

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Brrr… It’s so cold all of a sudden! No snow yet here in London, but we’re waking up to a frosty lawn every morning and I’m sending the kids off to school layered in knits!

How gorgeous is the knitwear from Miou? The colours are so rich and the baby alpaca wool soooo soft! I got this coat for Marlow which she wore as an outer layer during the Autumn and is now wearing under her jacket as an extra layer of warmth. It’s so perfect. Plus, how adorable are the hats? My favourite is this one with not one, but two pompoms!

And oh my goodness, that little snuggly baby suit!! Scrumptious.

Courtney x

Soor Ploom, a beautiful brand for girls

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Last month, the talented photographer, Sarah Winborn, came all the way from Berlin for a little photoshoot at our house.  She took photos of our home and family for an interview I did with the Little Years blog. You can read the interview here — I answered questions about work and family, including my least favourite bits about motherhood… and also my favourite thing too! Of all the interviews I’ve done, I think this one offers a really honest reflection of my thoughts on parenting. Also, that top photo Sarah took of Marlow — it melts my heart.

In these photos the girls are wearing outfits from Soor Ploom and I wanted to include a mention of this brand because it’s one of my very favourites. That suspender skirt Ivy is wearing might be my absolute favourite thing she’s ever worn. I LOVE it (and so does she!). You can find Soor Ploom at these stockists.

Courtney x

Cosy house suits for my boys from Shampoodle

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It’s getting so chilly here in Amsterdam… It’s been warmer than usual for this time of year, but this weekend it was definitely time to get all of the woollens out of the storage boxes. Our house has big steel windows — very cool (but also very literally so)!

Speaking of staying warm… I recently ordered our boys each a Shampoodle ‘Home’ suit — a sweater and pants made of warm, organic knit cotton to keep them cosy and warm in the winter months. And they’ve been living in them! I have a lot of trouble convincing them to take them off for a wash. (My husband wondered if I could order him such a suit as well. A lot of the Shampoodle styles come in adult sizes, but sadly not these Home suits… I would have, otherwise!)

Shampoodle is a socially aware Swedish brand known for their comfortable clothes which are equally perfect for boys or girls, young and old. The clothes are are designed for an urban life style and are perfect for playing, inside or out.

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And of course… I couldn’t resist ordering this adorable teal coloured friendly Ghost romper for Casper — that was a given, right?? ; )

xxx Esther

 

Casper, potty training (and a sweet onesie from Piupia)

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Unlike his girlfriend Marlow, who basically potty trained herself when she was 1 ½ year old, Casper isn’t into the potty thing at all. When his daycare decided a few weeks ago that now that he’s 2, the time is ripe for him to be potty trained, I agreed to give it a go. We’ve potty trained all of our children between the age of 2 and 2 ½ so it sounded like the natural thing to do. But he clearly wasn’t ready — he hated the idea and didn’t like the potty at all! So we decided to try again in a little while…

Advantage of it all, is that I can dress my ‘baby’ in bodysuits just a little bit longer. I just love those skinny little boy’s legs sticking out of those nappy filled onesies!

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Piupia_4Here are a few photos that I took of Casper wearing his fox body from Piupia. Super soft and cosy, and made entirely out of certified organic cotton. And here’s a photo of Casper in a Piupia onesie a year ago. Sigh — what’s the deal with our babies growing up so quickly?

xxx Esther

LileSADi, cool products with attitude

LileSadi_2 Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 15.25.46I recently discover Lile SADi, a Dutch (Rotterdam based) label with super cool and contemporary products. Founded by Dinah and Sarah a few years ago, Lile SADi’s collections cover graphic wallpapers and prints and wonderful kitchen and home accessories.  All products are manufactured here in Europe to keep craftsmanship and individuality alive.

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Dinah and Sarah recently came out with a children’s collection and I so like all of the wonderful patterns and prints! So pretty and detailed and fun, and still so in style with their other work. How cute are those rabbit leggings? (Ava loves them!!)

xxx Esther

 

Cute crochet friends from Leggybuddy

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Leggybuddy is a Swiss company started by designer Suzanna Pezo Sommerfeld. She’s a mother of a little boy and co-owner of a young and very cool looking design agency in Zurich. As if that is not enough to keep someone busy, she recently launched Leggybuddy, a line of adorable hand-crochet animal characters with, as the name implies, beautiful long legs!

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Suzanne designs and makes all of the product samples herself in her Zurich-based studio, and then they’re hand-crocheted in Europe using all natural materials like cotton and wool. Leggybuddies come in a small and large size, and are often wearing adorable little costumes so they can be dressed and undressed. Outfits are also available separately, and they’re all beautifully hand-crocheted as well, with sweet details like contrasting stripes and little pockets.

leggybuddy_3 leggybuddy_5Casper and Ava love their Leggybudies — I find it so sweet that Dorian the mouse is easily transformed into a beautiful Christmas princess just by changing his cool crochet dungarees (with pocket) into a little red party dress with matching booties. There’s also a bottle (impressively crocheted as well!) and I’m also impressed by the amount of patience Ava is displaying towards feeding Prince Froggy and Dorian — she’ll be a good mama one day!

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It’s obvious my kids love their Leggybudies. And I really like to have them around too — they’re such cool looking toys to have on display in our living room!

xxx Esther

This post is sponsored by Leggybuddy, a wonderful European brand and also a member of our shopping portal. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our blog!

My adventurous children (for the Waddler photography competition)

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Waddler has been one of our favourite children’s clothing brands — Philip and Marina started their brand after a wonderful stay (of a few years!) in South America, and they have put all of their sense of adventure, respect and amazement of the world around them, and their love for life in general, in Waddler.

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Courtney already shared the photography competition Waddler is holding in cooperation with Plan South America and in which they are challenging parents to photograph their children (dressed in Waddler) and show their individuality and adventurous nature. I accepted the challenge, especially since I’ve never been to South America and would love to go!

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Here are the photos I took of Casper and Ava having fun in the forest last week , and discovering the little wonders of this natural playground around them. What a joyful time we had! Of course I hope we win the competition, but in any case, I’m happy with these photos and the memories we created while making them.

xxx Esther

 

Blurb photo books

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I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. Most of the time I love it and find the community there so wonderful and supportive and inspiring, but you know… there are days… ! : )

One of the biggest reasons why I do love it is how easy it is to make Instagram books over at Blurb.  You literally just sign in with your Instagram account and the photos in your feed will be automatically uploaded, making it super easy to pick and choose your photos for your book. Unlike some of the more complex systems where you have to download the book-making software to your computer, these little Instagram photo books can be made in less than five minutes! Nothing intimidating about it.

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We have a little collection of Instagram books from the past couple years and I’m currently in the process of creating one from our recent trip to Venice. It’s such a great way of documenting your travels or a special occasion and so fun to look at them and remember those happy family moments. My boys took the books to bed with them the other night and I found them scattered around inside their bed the next morning!

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Last month I created a ‘Summer 2014′ photo book and it makes me so happy to look at those sunny summery photos! (Fast-forward to next summer, please!) I’m not sure if it’s a new feature, but I realised when I made this one that you can even add extra pages, so this book is a bit thicker than our others, and definitely one of our favourites.

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Blurb doesn’t just do Instagram books — they offer all sorts of wonderful book-making tools and different types of photo book options. You can even create your own magazine. How cool is that?! And I love their suggestion of making baby photo books and adding captions and comments to create a special book all about your baby. The possibilities are endless!

Courtney x

 

p.s. This post was sponsored by Blurb, a company I’ve used and trusted for a long time, and a new member of our shopping portal. 

Waddler photo competition

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I don’t normally enter photo competitions, but here is one that I just can’t pass up. The prize is just too good! The chance to win a£1,000 shopping spree at Waddler plus a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South America?! I’m in. You too? Just look at that beautiful landscape above…

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Waddler is one of my very favourite children’s brands. Their fair trade collection is produced in Bolivia from 100% baby alpaca wool, one of nature’s finest natural fibers, and is incredibly soft. The pieces have something very sweet and simple about them, yet they are wild and adventurous. And the colours are so gorgeously rich and soft at the same time.

Waddler has teamed up with PlanSouthAmerica, a British-owned and operated travel company with offices in London and Buenos Aires, to offer a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South America, the birthplace of Waddler and the inspiration for their designs. They’re offering one very lucky winner the chance to £1,000 worth of beautiful clothes and £1,000 towards an amazing family holiday in South America.

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To enter, all you have to do is take a photo of your children wearing their Waddller clothing and mail it to serena@wadler.co.uk or upload them to Instagram using the hashtag #waddlercompetition by January 25th, 2015. (You can read more about the competition here.) I took this photo of my silly girls (above) when we were in Soho last weekend. Those little outfits are just too cute!

Courtney x
p.s. Waddler is one of 40 wonderful brands setting up shop at this year’s ShopUp event in December.  So if your kids don’t already have a piece from the collection, you’ll be able to shop their collection there!

p.p.s. This post was sponsored by Waddler, a brand we have loved for years and a longtime member of our shopping portal.

Sweet alpaca pixie hat from Nuvola Baby

Marlow in pixie hat from Nuvola Baby
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And just like that… it’s hat weather! Did you also find yourself rifling through boxes in your basement this week, looking for all of your scarves and hats and winter coats? I guess we’ve been lucky with all the mild weather we’ve had all Autumn, so much so that I was a bit caught off guard. It’s suddenly dark and cold, and there is no denying that winter is coming. Sigh.

Speaking of hats, how sweet is this vintage-inspired pixie hat from Nuvola Baby? Adorable. And not only super cute, but each hat sold will buy 10 nutritious meals for a malnourished baby in Burkina Faso. Nuvola Baby are donating 2 euros from every sale to the Dr. Elvire Engel Foundation, a Luxembourg based NGO that cares for women and children in need in Burkina Faso (you can read more about the campaign here).

Nuvola Baby is one of the 40 wonderful shops taking part in this year’s ShopUp event next month, so you can check them out in person then. I can’t wait to pay a little visit to their booth. Such cosy products!

Courtney x

SipSnap drinking lids

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Leave it to a duo of mums to come up with something so simple yet so useful. After launching the hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, two mums, Sativa Turner and Michelle Ivankovic, have come out with a range of BPA-free, spill-proof lids that fit any cup, any time. The SipSnap drinking lids are to be used at home so you can clear out all the plastic kiddie cups taking up valuable space in your kitchen cupboards, or to be used on-the-go so you always have a sippy cup with you at restaurants or friends’ houses, etc. So smart!

There are two types of lids — the SipSnap TOT with a sippy lid or the SipSnap KID with a hole that fits any sized straw. All the lids are dishwasher safe, fit over any sized cup, come with a handy case so you can easily throw in your handbag, and come in a variety of fun colours.

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We tested out the SipSnap lids at Esther’s house last week and they worked perfectly. I loved that we could just slip on a lid over any of Esther’s normal drinking glasses, and my kids were safe to drink away without spilling all over her beautiful new house. : )

Courtney x

Dressable rag dolls from Mamma Couture

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How cute are these rag dolls from Mamma Couture? They’re completely handmade and the faces are hand painted, giving them such sweet expressions on their little doll faces. All the dolls come with a few super sweet clothes, that can be combined in different ways to create cute outfits. They are also machine washable (practical!).

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Mamma Couture is one of the fabulous shops that will join us at the ShopUp this December 3rd and 4th. I can’t wait to discover her newest creations (and I think I will pick some stuff up for my kids for Christmas!).

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Also… Yesterday we mentioned the great give-aways we’re running over on our shopping portal, but did you know that we’re also having some great prizes to win over on our new ShopUp Instagram account? Right now, you can still enter to win one of these fabulous rag dolls from Mamma Couture (hurry, hurry!!), and there will be more fabulous prize to win soon. Check out the ShopUp Instagram account for details!

xxx Esther

Liberty print sweetness (and knee patches!) from Milou & Pilou

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We’ve just gotten home from a little trip to Venice, and I really can’t wait to share photos and a summary of our trip. I just looked through all of our photos on our camera (precisely 589 of them!) and don’t know how on earth I will ever narrow down a selection to share. That city is a photographer’s dream!

Quickly though, I wanted to share some photos of the girls wearing their little matching outfits from Milou & Pilou. They looked so sweet roaming the streets of Venice together, and I just can’t get over Marlow’s little knee patches. Adorable!

The best thing about Venice is that it’s completely car-free, which means kids can walk the streets, play in the squares, join other kids for a game of football, or colour the paving stones with chalk.  My kids had so much fun playing in the quiet streets — I wish London was like that!

More Venice photos to come…

Courtney xx

Handmade baby moccasins from Pepa & Co.

Baby moccasins from Pepa & Co

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Is it pouring down rain where you are too? Oh my gosh, the weather in London has been soooo grim! (Though I did sneak a peak at a fellow passenger’s newspaper on the tube yesterday and it did say that we’re getting another mini heat wave next week. So don’t get out your hats and scarves just yet!)

Anyway, here’s something to brighten up your grey day. How adorable are these handmade baby moccasins from Pepa & Co. I ordered the biggest size for Marlow and they were sadly too small. I guess that means she’s no longer a baby… sniff!  Instead of pouting about it, I’m going to focus on all the baby gift-giving I can do and I think these beauties would make the perfect present.

Courtney x

Smallish Magazine

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I know it’s a bit of old news by now, but did you see that Baby & Me Magazine got a cool new name? Our favourite London-based magazine has relaunched and is now called Smallish.  No longer focused just on pregnancy and birth, the new magazine will include beautiful fashion shoots, issue-led features, inspiring parents, glossy interiors, up-and-coming brands and the best scoop on what’s new and cool for kids (and their parents). You can pick up a copy of the magazine at newsagents across the country, or download the digital version here.

And… best news for last….we’re really excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Smallish Magazine for our big ShopUp event this December. Visitors to the event will be able to pick up their own copy of the magazine and discover the monthly goodness for themselves. They’ll also be helping us promote the event, ensuring this year’s ShopUp is a big, fat success. !! We could not be more excited! Have you marked your diaries yet?

Courtney xx

Indestructables, chew proof, rip proof… and machine washable!!

indestructables_baby_booksKate Merritt, an English illustrator living in Paris, recently emailed us about a range of books she’s been working on for Workman publishers in the US, called Indestructibles. I was sent a few of these books, and I’m really amazed by the innovation of them. Printed on a nontoxic paper-like, soft material, these books have the look and feel of ‘normal’ books, but… they are waterproof, tear-resistant, and completely machine washable! (I was a bit reluctant at first, throwing these books in the machine, but I did and they came out as if nothing had happened to them — except that they were wet! I tried the dishwasher as well — same story!)

I love how thin and light these books are, and the sweet and simple illustrations. They don’t take up any space in your bag, so are easy to bring along when you’re on the road. And they would make a cute little baby present as well!

Available on Amazon in the UK  and the US  (just look for indestructibles for more titles).

xxx Esther

New merino wool muslin products from Aden + Anais

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I’m a huge fan (but really, who isn’t?!) of the Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blankets and sleeping bags and was excited to learn that they’ve created an innovative new range of merino wool muslin products. What’s cool about this new range is that it’s not just an ordinary merino wool blanket or another merino wool sleeping bag, but rather a merino wool muslin blanket and sleeping bag. It’s a new fabric that took years to perfect, one that combines the cosy, breathable qualities of merino wool with the stretchy & soft muslin fabric everyone loves, two simple luxuries woven into one.

I was invited to the UK launch event last week and it was so lovely to meet Raegan Moya-Jones, the founder (she’s adorable!) and also to see and feel all the new products in person. I asked Raegan how easy it is to wash these new wool products, and she answered like the experienced mama she is: all the Aden + Anais products are 100% machine washable and can also be tumble dried, because what new mother has time to hand wash her baby’s blankets?!

The new Aden + Anais merino wool collection is available online here and in stores soon! Perfect for the colder winter months ahead… (sigh).

Courtney x

Toto Knits, with a darling new Capsule Collection

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Slowly but steadily autumn is upon us here in Amsterdam. We’ve been super lucky with the weather so far (I’ve heard it’s been the same in other parts of the world), but leaves are falling and mushrooms are appearing. So it’s time to get ready for the cold season! I’ve been ordering socks and tights, shoes and boots, hats and scarfs. These cuties just arrived from Toto Knits, all the way from Africa, and even though I ordered them for Casper, Ava has been wearing them, aptly on top of her Indian summer dress!

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Toto Knits is a Kenya-based label, founded by Erin Brennan Allan, and offering a line of fun and funky knitwear, all handmade of organic cotton and dyed with bio-friendly dyes. Designs are always super cute (the Safari and Farm Animal Sweaters are so sweet!) and all of the products are ethically made by a group of single mothers in Kenya. I love this concept, encouraging trade not aid, and find it clever how Erin pays the knitters by the piece, so that they can decide how much they work, allowing them to make time for their families as much as needed. When a product is finished, the knitters sign the piece (the above hat and the scarf were made by Lucy and Serah), which is so nice — for the knitters because they can truly ‘sign’ their work and be proud of it, and for the client because every piece comes with a story behind it.

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Erin’s newest Capsule Collection, called Heart and Habit, is so stylish and with the muted colours so perfect for this time of year. Beautiful charcoal grey combined with burgundy red, emerald green and cream white are the basis for these pretty pieces. (Pim is wearing a cool Toto Knits striped hoodie in the photos above.) Even though we’re enjoying the favourable temperatures for as long as we can, it won’t be long before we’re all curled up on the couch!

xxx Esther

PS This post is sponsored by Toto Knits, a brand we highly respect and recommend and a longtime member of our shopping portal. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our blog!

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