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!
I recently picked up some enamel pieces — I love enamel! I like the clean look of it and the timelessness of the pieces. Enamel is in fact metal with a thin layer of paint and glass over it. It is perfect for children, as it won’t scatter in pieces when it falls, but pieces of the glass and paint may chip off (showing the black metal underneath). When that happens don’t worry — the metal will naturally oxidise and is still safe to use. Enamel is also oven proof — I love the enamel oven dishes!
Here are where I found the above pieces:
I went back to full-time study a few weeks back and life has been hectic to say the least. After my first week it became clear that my family could not live on fish and chips and spagetti on toast everynight of the week. So I went out last weekend and bought a slow cooker (also known as a crockpot). I have to say this new kitchen appliance is a life saver! I can put my evening meal in it at breakfast time and by the time I come home my house smells of a lovely home cooked meal and all I need to do is dish it up. Not only does it cook casseroles, you can put whole chickens in there too! If you struggle to get a meal on the table in the evening I recommend this appliance even if you use it only a couple of nights a week.
I have just discovered Lunchbots! Do you know them yet? They’re little stainless steel food containers which are completely BPA-free and eco friendly and eliminate the need for plastic baggies and other waste. They come in different sizes and with different divisions, so they’re handy for littler snacks or for a bigger meal. Great for inside lunch boxes, for after school snacks, for car rides or airplane journeys, etc. And the best part is that they’re dishwasher safe, so easy to clean! They’re available in the UK from Little Acorns To Mighty Oaks.
Aren’t these wooden utensils so fun? They’re perfect for school lunches, birthdays, ice cream parties… you name it. There are loads of cute designs and themes to choose from, and you can even customise your own. There’s even ice cream paddles and chopsticks! All available from the Sucre & Spice Etsy shop.
Ava is now 18 months old, and she’s quite a little character. She knows exactly what she wants and is incredibly clever in communicating it. One of the things she’s adamant about, is that she wants to eat her own food, and (attempt to) drink from her own cup. Preferred tableware: plastic. However, most plastics have a risk of leaching BPA and phthalates, and shouldn’t go in the dishwasher because of this. So I’m extremely pleased to discover zoë b’s newest product, the fantastic anti-plastic dishes: the world’s only dishwasher-safe dishes entirely made from corn! Safe for our kids (entirely BPA and phthalates free), safe for our environment (these dishes are completely compostable), and best of all: kind to the parents (who dislike washing up).
I am a big fan of French beachside resorts and also of all the things that go with them. Sun (sometimes), sand, smurf-blue and bubble-gum pink ice-cream, crazy looking postcards and gift shops with a huge selection of tacky, cheap gifts in them, etc. In short, French beach resorts are heaven for kids.
In the gift shops you will almost certainly find these Breton bowls with first names written on the side, which have been ubiquitous with French seaside resorts, at least since I was a kid. I remember my grandmother coming back from a trip with one of these bowls for each grandchild. At that time, we still drank our milk out of a bowl in the morning, so it must have looked really cute having all of us sitting around the table draining our bowls.
Why were we draining our bowls? Because inside the bowl is the little iconic image of the Breton farmer and his wife and we needed to finish every bit of milk to make it appear! Last year, on a seaside holiday, I got a pair of these bowls for my girls. Partly for sentimental reasons and partly because I just think they are cute and very français!
Leave it to a mum to design something so simple, so durable, so innovative as these brilliant Swoop Bags! Aren’t they so clever? Each Swoop Bag is a playmat and toy bag in one, making tidying up toys quick and easy. As the name suggests, you can throw all the toys (legos, playmobile, blocks, cars, etc.) onto the playmat and then ’swoop’ them all up with an easy pull of the draw-string. And then, my favourite bit, you can just hang the bag up on a hook for easy toy storage. I’m thinking about buying several colours and then colour-coding the toys…. or am I going a bit too far now? Either way, I’m so happy to have discovered them!
We’re vacationing in France at the moment, and I came across these adorable bowls in a store yesterday. Of course I just couldn’t resist — thinking they would just be perfect for breakfast in the garden, or for serving summery dishes like blackberry cobbler! They are available online through the online store of Comptoir de Famille, or in the UK at Divertimenti.
Loving these chic bibs from New York-based company NestPrep. There are three designs, all in lovely, great quality fabrics and with a convenient terry liner to wipe clean you baby’s face or absorb the drool. They look really adorable on — you might want to leave them on all day. A lovely present for a newborn too.
Olive Loves Alfie is one of my favourite children’s boutiques in London. I always know I can pick up a unique birthday gift, a great new children’s book, or something cute for the home whenever I stop in. Ashlyn, the owner, has such a great eye for design… and every time I leave her shop I feel full of design inspiration!
Olive Loves Alfie has now launched a new, spruced-up website and it is gorgeous — just as inspiring as the shop itself! And to celebrate the launch of their new site, Olive Loves Alfie is now offering our readers a 10% discount. Just enter code: MOLIVELOVES at check-out (offer good until 31st of May). I have my eyes on that cool miffy light. What about you?