Exciting raffle prize (in support of mothers2mothers)

ShopUp raffle 5
Passported raffle Prize for the ShopUP
Passported St. Lucia prize for the ShopUp

St. Lucia hotel prize

Our NY ShopUp event is now less than three weeks away and we couldn’t be more excited! All the planning and organising is now well under way, and we’ve been excitedly spending the last few days booking tickets and planning our own journeys to NYC. How fun it will be to finally be there after all the months of planning!

We are thrilled to announce that we have teamed up with the wonderful new family travel site, Passported, to host a raffle prize in support of our charity partner, mothers2mothers. Passported has teamed up with Capella Hotels to donate a family trip to St. Lucia’s luxury Capella Marigot Bay hotel (pictured above). The prize includes a 3-night stay in a Capella Suite (with space for two adults and two children), daily breakfast, one dinner, one rainforest ranger experience and complimentary airport transfers. It is such an amazing prize!

We’ll be selling raffle tickets during the ShopUp in NYC, but we wanted to open it up to all of our readers so that people can enter the raffle from anywhere, even if you’re an ocean away. So… you can now donate $5 to mothers2mothers now to be entered into the raffle. Click here to donate and enter to win.

Thank you, Passported and Capella, for the generous prize. And we look forward to seeing many of you at the ShopUp in just a few week’s time!

Courtney x

Introducing mothers2mothers, our new charity partner

m2m VIII
m2m III

m2m II

m2m VI

m2m I

We are incredibly excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with mothers2mothers as our chosen charity partner for the coming year. After several meetings with the European director, Emma France, and her team, we are so inspired by their work and are looking forward to partnering with mothers2mothers during our upcoming ShopUp events (and other opportunities) to help raise awareness and donations for this wonderful cause.

What I love about this charity is that they are empowering mothers to help other mothers. They do this by training and employing mothers living with HIV to bring health and hope to other mothers, their families, and communities. Another thing I really like about the charity is that their goal of eliminating paediatric aids is entirely achievable. In fact, the results are there to prove it. By donating to mothers2mothers, you know your money goes to saving a baby from being born with aids. As little as $10 is all that’s needed to save one baby’s life.

Rather than banging on about why we really believe in this charity, we thought we would list some key facts below (and you can also watch this inspiring video):

  • 240,000 children acquired HIV in 2013. That’s 1 new infection every 2 minutes.
  • Each day, almost 600 children are infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and without treatment, approximately half of these children will die before age two.
  • The transmission of the HIV virus from a mother to her baby is almost entirely preventable!!
  • The babies that have been born HIV negative through the 1.3 million plus women mothers2mothers has reached is proof of this.
  • Simple and inexpensive medicines are available, and with the right support that mothers2mothers provides transmission rates of the virus can be reduced from 40% to 2%.
  • Engaging women in care at all stages of pregnancy and motherhood is critical to protecting both her health and that of her baby.
  • HIV positive women, ‘Mentor Mothers’, are trained, employed and empowered to work side by side with doctors and nurses in understaffed health centres as members of the healthcare team.
  • Deploying mothers as frontline healthcare workers creates stronger health systems and healthier communities.
  • Employing Mentor Mothers helps them gain economic security for themselves and their children.

We are excited to introduce you to this wonderful charity and look forward to working with them over the coming year. Thank you in advance for your support.

Pink ribbon, and breast cancer awareness month

My mother died of breast cancer. Emilie’s mother died of breast cancer. Steph’s mother died of breast cancer. I have a friend, a mum of 2 small children, who’s fighting breast cancer. The stories of breast cancer that surround us are raw and real. One in eight women will get breast cancer — some stories end happily, some end sadly. Breast cancer gives us scars — if not on our bodies, then in our lives.

What can we do? First of all — we all know that early detection is the best protection. So make sure you check yourself regularly. Next to that, be supportive of friends and relatives who are diagnosed with breast cancer, and their friends and family. Also: donate. There is still a lot to learn about breast cancer and how to cure it. Money is needed for research and awareness, and much needed support. You’ve probably heard of Pink Ribbon: you can donate from their website here using PayPal. It’s easy and 100% safe.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month — donate NOW! I just did.

xxx Esther

P.S. And of course this weeks Top Ten is perfectly pink for the occasion!

New Charity: Hope By Twelve

We are super excited to highlight another wonderful charity here on Babyccino Kids. This one was founded and is run by one of our good friends, Molly Pitts, whom we greatly admire for her dedication and work toward building a better world for everyone. Her charity is called Hope By Twelve and we are thrilled to introduce Molly and her story behind the charity….

Thank you Babyccino Kids for allowing me to share a story with you today. I have to admit I started out on a journey to empower women around the world in hopes that they will better the lives of themselves, their kids and the community they live in. The more I dug around for projects and tried to just get things done, I realized that this is actually a huge task to take on and one that cannot be done just because you have a good heart. Then, I came across The Girl Effect….and that’s when everything changed. GIRLS, they are the answer to all the world’s problems: empower a girl and the world transforms! One thing led to another and I started Hope by Twelve.  Although it’s a young organization, it all moved so fast and we are anxious to keep growing at a fast rate. We truly believe that when girls are given a chance to invest in their community, a ripple effect happens that will travel throughout that community and from one generation to the next.

Just how do we help these girls? Through the ideas, creativity and help of GIRLS. Our very own girlpods are the backbone of hope by twelve. Groups of girls come together (boys are welcome too) to brainstorm, plan and carry out a fundraiser for one of the organizations/projects we partner with. They can also choose their own project to raise money for as long as it’s directly helping an adolescent girl in poverty and we approve the organization. It’s simple: girls helping girls.

One of the projects we’ve partnered with right now is Mudula Water which is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to deliver clean water to Mudula, a town of 10,000 people in Ethiopia. Right now, with the drought being so bad, it’s so important our financial goal is met soon. Girls spend hours every day, sometimes multiple times every day fetching water which holds them back from getting an education. If we can give them clean water, water-borne illnesses and deaths will be dramatically decreased and these girls will be given a chance to go to school. And the cycle continues, economically transforming entire communities.

We have until Friday to help Mudula Water win a fundraiser and receive an extra $8,000. You are more then welcome to donate, BUT, we’d be happy to do it for you. Go to Facebook and “like” our page, then tell your friends to do the same. For each person who likes (follows) us, we’ll donate $1 to Mudula water through Friday, September 30. If you’re interested in helping girls (ages 7 and up work best) form a girlpod, let me know and I’ll guide you through it. We also love mompods, boypods, mixedpods-anything works! Thanks so much for reading this and helping to change the world we live in.


Silver Jungle Books

If you didn’t know the name of Lisa Jones, you’d recognise the style of her studio’s illustrations — influenced by 1950’s design they are wonderfully vibrant and optomistic.  And now Lisa and her partner Edward Underwood have collaborated with Joanna Skipwith of Silver Jungle Books to produce 2 delightful little books about animals for little ones. I’d Chew Yew and I Choose You.

All the books published by Silver Jungle have the ambition to share enthusiasm and concern for wildlife and each one therefore helps raise money for chosen charitable conservation projects.  Sales of I’d Chew Yew will help plant Aspen and Silver Birch in the Caledonian Forest in Scotland, which hopes to help the reintroduction of Beavers into Britain, extinct since the 18th Century. I Choose You supports CERCOPAN, which aims to protect monkeys in the wild.

Aside from the fantastic work they support, Silver Jungle Books are all beautifully produced and illustrated — I really love the look of the books for older children (9+) – Rhino: Animals in Art and Tiger: Animals in Art. A great way to start getting our kids aware of protecting the world they live in.

Big Blue Cuddle

I love webshops that are cute and have an ethos behind them. Check out Big, Blue Cuddle — a webshop with a conscience and a really interesting idea behind it. Lara, the founder, buys the surpluses from children’s labels she loves and sells them on her webshop. She then donates 15 – 50% of the profits to children’s charities.

She has really researched charities and decided to sponsor some she really felt deserved support. They are smaller charities, which don’t have the massive marketing budget of some of the internationally known charities. It is such a great business model and on top of that, the clothes sold on Big Blue Cuddle are really cute. Look at this cute dress and little sleeping outfit!


Babyccino Kids Charity — Ickle Pickles

After the Angawandi ProjectSally Test and a select group of charities in Haiti, here is another small, but incredibly important charity we would like to proudly support. In our aim to support smaller charities that don’t have the massive publicity budgets of the bigger organisations, but still achieve incredible things… we would like to introduce you to Ickle Pickles, which provides care and equipment for premature babies.

Rachael, the founder of Ickle Pickles has taken the saying “turning a negative into a positive” to the extreme. Her son Charlie was born pre-mature and had to spend the first 12 weeks of his life in a hospital, something that would turn everyone’s life upside down. Based on this experience, Racheal and her husband founded the Ickle Pickles Children’s Chairty. Here she explains her experience and a bit about the charity:

My husband and I founded the Ickle Pickle Children’s charity following the premature birth of our son Charlie in March 2008. He was born 12 weeks prematurely weighing just 2lb 4oz (1.1 kg) and he spent 34 days in Intensive Care, 9 days in High Dependency and 40 days in Special Care.

We have no idea why Charlie came so early and our lives went on hold for the entire time he was in hospital. Each week had its challenges including a problem with closing a heart valve, bleeds on his brain and issues with him regulating his temperature. However, he got through it all and was discharged from St. George’s hospital, Tooting, London on 17th June 2008, one day before his original due date and today is a thriving, happy boy who charms everyone he meets (like most parents I am maybe a little biased).

The Ickle Pickles charity aims to give every newborn a chance. We do this through the provision of new and much needed equipment for Neonatal Units, to be used in the provision of primary care for premature and sick babies. The equipment is sourced in collaboration with individual NNUs & NHS trusts to ensure that the donations meet a real and tangible need and have an immediate impact.
All donations are made in the form of restricted grants to ensure that the funds are not diverted elsewhere.

Our immense gratitude to the staff at St George’s Neonatal unit in London and admiration for the work of all Neonatal Units has inspired us to do something, however small, on behalf of all Ickle Pickles out there. In the last two years we have raised over £120,000 which has purchased much needed equipment for neonatal units across the UK including Tunbridge Wells, Sheffield, London, Portsmouth & Worthing. As a charity we are continuing to grow nationally but are focusing on working at a local level to help the parents, families and friends of premature and sick babies make a tangible difference to the neonatal unit that helped save their child.

The name of the charity was inspired by one of the Neonatal nurses who called our son her ‘Ickle Pickle’ as we were so flustered it took us a long time before we settled on Charlie! If you are interested in getting involved or would just like to learn more about what we have done to date please visit Ickle Pickles or contact rachael@icklepickles.org. And you can click here to see a photo of Charlie today!

PS – You can click here to read about the other charities we support.

Sally Test

Here is, at long last, the new Babyccino Kids Charity (so sorry it has taken me so long to post about it). As you may remember we want to bring attention to smaller charities which don’t have the marketing budget of the bigger ones, but also need support, as they make a huge different in people’s lives. Justyn Strother and fellow blogger and talented photographer lives in Kenya with her husband and four children. She introduced us to Sally Test, a pediatrics centre in Western Kenya. Here she will explain all about it… (more…)

The Angawandi Project

At long last we have decided to move on to a new Babyccino Kids Charity. Thank you so much to all the people who gave generously and who got in touch about the project  —  every little bit helps! Here’s an update on the Angawandi Project — the charity we chose as our first Babyccino charity.

The Angawandi Project helps build pre-schools for children in the Gudjurat state of India. Jodie, an Australian interior furnishing designer and founder of the fabulous brand Bholu, has worked a lot in Gudjurat and developed a strong bond with the country and its people. She realised the desperate need for a decent environment for children to come to and thrive in every day. With the help of volunteers and generous donations — both local and foreign — she has now managed to open 8 schools.

Here are a few words from Jodie, and a few photos to show you where all her hard work as gone: (more…)


Haitians-line-up-for-food-012I am sure everyone has heard about the horrible, horrible situation in Haiti brought along by the earthquake.
We asked our friend Fionnuala, a Paris mum who adopted two kids from Haiti 2.5 years ago, to write about Haiti and the small charities that are currently doing their best to help alongside the big, international organizations.

Here’s her story:

When I told my kids I was going to send money to Haiti, their faces fell.  “But Mama, “ my son said, “will we have enough left for us?”
Before you leap to conclusions about the little monsters I’m raising, let me add one thing.  My six and seven year olds know what life is like in Haiti, and have some awareness of how much it will take to bring standards there anywhere near normal.  Two and a half years ago, they lived in an orphanage in Port au Prince.  Before that, they slept on the streets in one of the city’s worst slums.

Babyccino Charity – The Anganwadi Project

Anganwadi project1Welcome to a new Babyccino feature: the Babyccino Charity. We’ve been thinking a lot about how very lucky we are in this world, and about how our ‘everyday’ problems pale in comparison to the huge challenges that many other moms and children face. So we’ve decided to shed light on some lesser known charities that are close to our hearts, hoping to bring much-needed attention to some organizations which are doing a lot of good.

Our first charity is the The Anganwadi Project, founded by my dear friend Jodie. Jodie is the owner of Bholu, a fantastic interior furnishing company based in Australia. She started The Anganwadi Project when she was visiting Gujarat in India and saw the urgent need for safe, clean pre-schools (locally called ‘anganwadis’). This being Jodie, an energetic girl to say the least, she did not hang around too long musing about it. Within 3 weeks the first of 66 new pre-schools was built…

Here is her story: (more…)