Hokolo is a London-based design label started by Jen Taylor, who has set out to create a brand that represents the style of her two favourite cities: Hong Kong and London (hence the brand name). Her collection features a blend of iconic British objects with a bright & modern design aesthetic.
I love the English Breakfast collection which plays on strong graphic qualities of fried eggs, tomatoes, blueberries and orange slices set against colourful backdrops and gingham-inspired patterns. The designs are bright, modern and playful and can be found on soft, lambswool blankets, placemats and coasters, cotton tea towels and other homewares.
Jen is offering Babyccino readers 15% off the entire Hokolo collection. Click here for details.
The lovely Odette Williams sent over a couple of her cute apron sets for my kids and they arrived just in time for some brownie baking over the weekend. I managed to snap a couple photos of my little helpers and thought I would share.
If you haven’t yet discovered the Smitten Kitchen brownie recipe, you should do so immediately. It’s my go-to recipe! And if your kids need some aprons to encourage them to help you in the kitchen, you should check out these great sets. (They also make good gifts I think!)
It was Pim’s 7th birthday last Monday so I’m planning a little birthday party for him, and I realised that I never posted about the cooking party we had for Sara’s birthday last year!
Sara has enjoyed food since she was a baby, and she loves helping me in the kitchen. So it was no surprise when she asked for a cooking party for her 8th birthday! She invited 8 of her girl friends, and like always, party preparations took place the day before the party (let’s just say, I’m at my best the very last minute).
I bought a huge pile of cheap, unbleached cotton at the market, and together with my mother-in-law sewed 11 aprons out of it (of course Pim and Ava were invited too). I also bought cutting boards, knives, notebooks and pencils. I made a triangular stamp out of a simple eraser, and decorated everything with triangles. I also stamped the children’s names on all of the items.
We set the table with the different veggies and toppings needed for the healthy Vietnamese Style Rice Paper Rolls I blogged about earlier. The children loved cutting everything on their own cutting boards, and writing down the ingredients and recipe in their little notebook. And even very picky eaters found ingredients on the table that they loved!
Afterwards, the notebooks and pencils came in handy for the treasure hunt we had organised in the neighbourhood. And of course, they could all take home a little party bag with the items we had made for them. It was a really fun party!
I am a huge, long-standing fan of Famille Summerbelle as I really do admire the craft and hard work that goes into making each one of their beautiful pieces. (Remember this video?)
Famille Summerbelle has just brought out a new range of mugs and trays and I am very partial toward the Paris designs. I love giving people nice souvenirs of my beautiful city and nice souvenirs like these are really not easy to come by.
Colourful Dove creates fine bone china tableware sets for children that are really fun and different. There are four designs, each featuring their own animal, in a fresh bright colour. Each set consists of a little mug, perfectly sized for a child’s hand, and a bowl and plate.
Ava owns a Colourful Dove set (the lion!), and I’m so impressed by the quality. The porcelain is beautiful and thin, but at the same time it’s incredibly strong. I also like the clean and modern graphics of the items!
Each set comes in a beautiful gift box — a good holiday present, maybe?
For this week’s The Little Things, I’m showing you how to make a super sweet, and super easy-to-make child’s apron out of a dish towel! No kidding, if you have a sewing machine (or know someone who does!), you can make this apron.
The sweet image above (drawn by Sara Musch) shows you exactly how to do it. Click here for your free download! And yes — it is really that easy. You only need to sew seven straight lines! Two for the arm holes, and five for the pockets…
Enjoy making this… (And please share the result in the comments below!)
PS This is the third post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking the beautiful photos, and Sara Musch for the sweet download! I used an apron and shoelaces from Hema, and Ava’s shirt is from Nils & Happy to see you.
Some kids are already back at school, others will start next week. And of course, young ones are still home or will be starting at nursery. In any case, casual summer lunches are over and set lunchtimes will soon be happening in either a home or school setting. This week we’ve rounded up ten great products to make lunchtime a more stylish, eco, and efficient affair! Check out our selection here.
I’m one of those (unorganised) mums who doesn’t carry around a baby bag. I usually just tote around a canvas bag with my wallet, phone, snacks, toys (and various junk!) and a few spare nappies and wipes. Nothing is ordered or separated and when I need to change Marlow, I usually end up stressfully digging in my bag for that loose nappy at the bottom.
Thankfully, Helen from Messy Me just sent me one of her oilcloth clutch bags which is just the thing I needed to keep nappies and wipes in their own little designated place within my everyday tote. The bag also includes a wipe-clean oilcloth mat for changing babies on the go. Simple, but perfectly functional!
Messy Me has a great selection of oilcloth products, including bibs, tunics, highchair covers, mats, and tablecloths, perfect for messy meals and messy art projects, etc. I love the fun star designs, and how pretty is the floral design too? All the products are available to purchase on the Messy Me site.
We are big fans of the Beaba Babycook! In fact, I gave ours away a couple years ago, thinking I wasn’t going to have any more babies (whoops!) … but now that Marlow is eating solids and I’m making food for her, I just had to get a new one. It saves time, eliminates mess, and makes the whole weaning process so much easier.
The Babycook is a 4-in-1 product that steam cooks, blends, defrosts and reheats. In the initial weaning stages you can steam veggies (carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes broccoli, courgettes, etc.) and fruits (apples, pears, and anything else that needs to be steamed before blending) and then easily blend it all in the same contraption. You can also use it to make little smoothies from fruits and veggies like strawberries, blueberries, mango, banana, spinach, etc. Now that Marlow is eating fish and chicken, I’ve also been adding that to steamed veggies and blending it all up for protein meals. Easy peasy.
The Babycook is available from VUP Baby, along with other great Beaba products (I love their spoons and storage pots!) And when you’re finished weaning, it’s wise not to give it away (!!) because you can also use it as a little mini-prep for sauces, or smaller smoothies, etc.
p.s. The VUP Baby sale is now on! With up to 60% off! So definitely pop over to browse their sale section.
Did you know that last week was National Picnic Week here in the UK? It’s an initiative to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. (With this lousy weather we’re having, it’s true we all need a bit of encouragement! Blaaah!)
I love, love these little water bottles that I discovered today at the Noeuf Pop Up Shop, which happens to be just around the corner from where I work (If you happen to be in the rue des Petits Ecuries in the 10th arrondissement in Paris until the 22nd of June, do pop in!).
We use these types of water bottles a lot, as I try to keep our use of plastic bottles to a minimum. Often they are practical but not very pretty, so it is nice to see some pretty, colourful designs on something we use almost every day!
A few days back I took a photo of the porringer I had as a baby, and which I still use daily for my children. It is just the perfect size and shape, shallow with a ridge, so it’s easy to scoop out the purees or soup. The thick stoneware ensures the food quickly cools down a little, but also keeps the food naturally lukewarm afterwards. I love that porringer, and I still remember eating from it as a child! (On Instagram, there were a few people who told me they had exactly the same porringer as a child, and many of them still have them! Do you still have yours?)
I really treasure these old relics from my childhood, and I love it when I visit friends or family from my parents’ generation, and they pull out the stoneware dishes and silverware they used as a child and still have and use for their grandchildren.
Sarah Nicholas Williams of Radish Moon recognised the beauty and practicality of those vintage dishes, and started producing a series of handmade stoneware porringers adorned with her gorgeous, whimsical watercolour illustrations. And they are absolutely beautiful! They are dishwasher and microwave safe, so practical for families, and have a similar shape and thickness to my vintage Peter Rabbit dish (which I’ve tried and tested for long enough to know it is perfect)! I have already placed my order, hoping that one day, my children can pull out a Radish Moon porringer for their grandchildren.
Do your kids love eggs so much too? Ava, our 2 year old, is especially a total egg addict — she could eat 5 eggs a day if I let her! My mum used to say that eating more than 3 eggs a week was bad for your health, it would be bad for your cholesterol level (and thus blamed for an increased risk of heart disease). Nowadays, thoughts about eggs are quite different — apparently they are great sources of protein and vitamins, and eating one egg a day has positive effects on health and cholesterol levels rather than negative ones. Good for Ava (and good for the Easter bunny)!
It’s hard to resist these insta-cute packaged Easter party decorations by Meri Meri. From paper plates to egg hunt bags to dressing up bunny ears! Everything you need for a festive Easter holiday! (Of course I had to pick up the bunny ears to bring with me when we visit Esther and family over Easter. Stay tuned for photos of all our kids dressed as bunnies!) And how fun are these cupcake kits?!
Meri Meri takes the hard work out of party prepping by offering coordinating themed party wear, all in the sweetest, most festive designs. Gotta love that. Available from Little Baby Company.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have already seen the photo above. When these clever collapsible water bottles arrived, we were all so impressed with them that I had to immediately take a photo! Isn’t it such a cool concept? It’s a water bottle that collapses down to itty bitty pocket size. Which means you can easily take them out in your handbag and fill them up when you get thirsty. So much better than buying a bottle of water and contributing to the masses of plastic bottles piling up in landfills!
Take the cake pops maker, which my girls were given for Christmas. It will definitely not be used daily, but it is great to have for rainy afternoons and birthday parties. It’s actually a great alternative to cupcakes.
I know cake pops have been around a while now in the US and the UK, but they have not arrived in Paris yet, so I am looking forward to introducing them to Paris, one cake pops at a time!
It actually makes sense to wear an apron when cooking, cleaning and crafting. In fact, an apron is a great idea! The amount of tops and sweaters I have ruined by splattering sauce and oil on, is too depressing to think about. So this weekend I wandered into Muji and picked up a great big apron that will hopefully protect me for years to come. I like this one a lot, it is completely without frills and gives great coverage. There is a also similar one at Merci made out of linen, in case you ever are in Paris.
Above a photo of Violette and me making brownies to celebrate my new purchase! The photo was taken by Coco, who loved being the on set photographer.
Have you ever thought about making your own yoghurt? We’ve been doing it since we visited friends in France a few years ago and they served cute little jars for dessert filled with their own homemade yoghurt. And it was the best yoghurt we ever had! We purchased a ‘yoghurt maker’ (similar to these, UK /US ), and have been making our own yoghurt regularly ever since. It’s so easy — just mix milk with some left-over natural yoghurt (or use a bag of yoghurt culture), pour in jars, leave in the machine for about 10 hours (the machine makes sure the temperature is even at about 27 degrees C), and presto! Your own yoghurt. You can vary by adding vanilla, a bit of compote, etc. We love to eat our yoghurt with homemade granola for breakfast!!
One of the many advantages of living in a relatively small flat in Paris is that my storage space is limited, which in turn means that I don’t accumulate a lot of useless stuff. (BTW, this actually goes completely against my nature, so it has been an ‘interesting’ learning curve — to learn to think hard before buying!). Basically I have been trying to stick to quality rather than quantity.
I love, love, love this French website I discovered recently as it sells simple household items that have been around for generations and have one thing in common: quality. Most of the items are French-made or from neighbouring countries. Every single thing on the website has a story and is guaranteed to be useful for a very long time. Here are some of my favourites: the great Duralex glasses I wrote about a while ago, the cast iron “cocotte“, the swipping pan that actually looks nice just hanging in the kitchen.
My other favourite is the chestnut chair which is made in my region, the Limousin, so I have a little sentimental attachement to it! Unfortunately the website is only in French at the moment, but it is pretty easy to navigate, especially with google translator.
I had never given Hello Kitty a second thought… until one day, shortly before my daughter’s third birthday, she announced at the dinner table that her favourite colour was pink and she loved Hello Kitty! I nearly did a double take! Could she really be announcing a new obsession with pink?!! And Hello Kitty? Yes and yes.
Anyway, five months later and we’re still deep in the Hello Kitty phase. So I was pretty excited when I found these cute Hello Kitty SIGG water bottles. My daughter needs a water bottle for her lunchbox, and this could not be more perfect. I found them at AlexandAlexa, who have a great selection of fun back-to-school supplies. Have you seen their Lego lunch boxes and water bottles? Fun!