The new issue of Smallish Magazine, and a feature on the ShopUp!

Smallish Mag December cover
Have you seen the gorgeous new December issue of Smallish Magazine? Admittedly, I’m a bit biased because it includes the most amazing double-page feature on the ShopUp, but all that aside, this might be my favourite issue yet.  What’s not to love about a festive issue filled with inspiring gift guides, exciting interviews about Christmas traditions, behind-the-scenes photos at the Royal Ballet and loads of stylish suggestions for the holiday season?

And… just look at this wonderful feature (!!!):

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Seeing all those pretty products on one page has me even more excited for our ShopUp event next week! Are you coming? It’s going to be SO good! We’ve lined up more than 40 beautiful, one-of-a-kind boutiques and a sweet selection of activities to keep your little ones entertained as well. If you’re looking for me there, I’ll be the one pushing around a giant trolley. My shopping list is long!

Also, if you haven’t yet seen this new issue of Smallish, you’ll be able to pick up a copy at the ShopUp. We’ll be giving away copies to the first visitors to arrive each day. So hurry on over (and bring a trolley!). ; )

Courtney x

Beautiful watercolour clutches from Rajovilla

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I’ve had my Rajovilla clutch since this past summer and I have been meaning to share about these pretty pieces for the past few months (how is it November already?). Thankfully I managed to get a couple photos with my clutch last week, and I’m so happy to share them with you. Check out these gorgeous clutches! Aren’t the prints so beautiful? And the colours! So good. The clutches are all handmade by designer, Joya Logue, and feature her original watercolor paintings inspired by her Indian heritage.

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Joya is an Instagram friend of mine who inspires me as much with her creative parenting as she does with her artistic talent and style. She’s one of those people who pours her heart and soul into her projects, and  even as an ‘outsider’ Instagram observer it’s evident. Don’t you love how we can have friends across the world whom we have never actually met, living in cities we’ve never actually been to, and yet these people are such an inspiring part of our lives? This is undeniably what I love most about Instagram!

Hopefully some day I’ll meet Joya and her sweet family. In the meantime, I’ll cherish my pretty clutch and, of course, will continue to be inspired by her work from afar.

Courtney x

p.s. Top two photos by my friend, Lesley Colvin. Thank you Lesley! x

The Little Things… A Doll Hospital!

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids)

For this post in the The Little Things series, we made something I think every little boy or girl will love: a doll hospital!

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This is such a fun project to make, and it’s really quite simple. Also, most of the materials we’ve used are recycled!

A trip to the local greengrocer provided us with the (future) hospital beds. With simple white paint (I used primer which was left over from our house renovation) I painted the vegetable boxes, and with red acrylic paint from the children’s craft box, I made a red cross on each bed.

From old pillowcases I made white mattresses, sheets and pillows for the beds. And I couldn’t resist painting a red cross on the sheets with fabric paint.



Nurse-cap (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) Prescriptions for Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids)

And then — how ADORABLE are these free downloads for a DIY nurse cap and doctor’s prescriptions? Sara from SakaDesign made them for us again. She’s so talented!

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I painted a similar red cross on a simple white suitcase (which we bought), to create a doctor’s case. And, of course, every respectable doctor’s case needs some serious doctor’s necessities!

The pharmacy around the corner kindly gave us a syringe, some plastic containers, a measuring spoon and cup. The simple bandages and plasters came from our first aid kit. We glued a strip of paper in the lid of the doctor’s case to hold the prescriptions, and filled the plastic containers with colourful ‘pills’ (M&Ms!!). We also put a thermometer, a scissors and a stethoscope in the case.

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And here are Doctor Ava and Doctor Juul, ready to heal some very sick baby dolls! As you can see, they take their task rather seriously. ; )

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The girls played for hours with the doll hospital. It was such a huge succes! (And I’m thinking, wouldn’t it make a very sweet holiday gift as well?)

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xxx Esther

PS –  This is the newest post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking these beautiful photos, and Sara Musch for the adorable download. The girls’ outfits are from Mabo Kids!

 

Ace & Jig coming to Liberty of London!

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I feel a bit silly telling you to head over to A Cup of Jo, because surely you’ve already been, right? Most likely it was the first blog you visited today because it’s your favourite (it’s definitely  mine!).

Anyway, I was beyond flattered when Joanna asked me to share my four fall outfits and I’m sooo excited to be up on her blog today, sharing not only my fall outfits but my (somewhat embarrassing) fashion philosophy and getting-dressed tips.

Ace and Jig Coverlet dress
Ace and Jig dress

Of course an obvious outfit choice for me was this pretty dress from Ace & Jig. It’s no secret how much I love this brand and the talented designers behind it. I think everything they do is just so, so good. Their passion for textiles, their beautiful designs and pretty patterns, and their combination of earthy, rich colours… it’s all so effortlessly beautiful, and most importantly, comfortable.  More than any other brand, I feel most like myself wearing Ace & Jig — it unleashes my inner hippie while still being feminine and stylish.

Designers, Cary and Jenna, have just told me that Ace & Jig will be coming to Liberty at the end of this month and I am so excited that my favourite brand will soon be available in one of my favourite London shops! Perfect, right? Keep an eye out for their pieces to start arriving, including this dress and some other new pieces! I know Cary and Jenna are super excited to be stocked at Liberty, and secretly I’m hoping this means they’ll be making more trips to London (I’m dying to meet them in person!).

Courtney x

p.s. These photos were taken by my friend, Lesley Colvin, who is one of the nicest, most genuine people I know. She also happens to be a super talented photographer and one of the only people who makes me feel comfortable in front of a camera.  (More on her very soon!) xx

New house storage boxes from Famille Summerbelle

PinkMustardHouseBoxesInsituSide BlackBlue2BoxesInsitu 4BoxesFamille Summerbelle just came out with these adorable house storage boxes. I just love how clever and decorative they are. Yes please for my office, which is in need of organisation!

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Plus — a perfect present for the holidays, don’t you think?

xxx Esther

New in at Donna Wilson!

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I’m not very adventurous with tableware — I think it’s my OCD qualities (!) that likes my kitchen cupboards to be filled with big stacks of matching plates, bowls, mugs, etc. My kids use the same tableware as we do (this range from Ikea!), that way we don’t clutter up our cupboards with different stuff for the kids.

But… I just couldn’t resist these beautiful ceramic plates from Donna Wilson! I can’t decide whether to let the kids use them for meals (and hope they don’t break them!) or to hang them on the wall like in the photo below. Don’t they look so pretty like that?

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I love everything in the new Autumn collection at Donna Wilson: beautiful scarves and bags (how fun is this coin purse?), colourful lambswool cushions, and a whole range of playful items for kids.

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Donna Wilson scarves
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I love how the Donna Wilson products always have an element of playfulness about them. They’re always beautiful, but also quite quirky and fun too.

Courtney x

Are We There Yet?

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Have you been following the Rosetta mission on the news lately?  I have been a bit obsessed in the last few days to see if the mission of landing an unmanned space craft on a comet that is about 6bn kilometres away from earth was going to work, so improbably and yet, somehow it landed! It took the space craft 10 years to reach its destination; insane, right?

As we were listening to an update on the radio in the morning, my kids were asking probing questions about the mission, which I have actually been at a loss to answer. Because, how do you explain comets, space crafts, 6bn kilometres and the universe to a 6-year-old over a bowl of cereal at 8 am in the morning? Not my strong point, and many of the questions, I have to admit, I actually could not answer.  So I discovered this little animated video  called “Are We There Yet” made by the European Space Agency. It is super cute and very informative, even for adults!

– Emilie

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!

Summer 2014 instagram book
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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summer 2014 instagram book2

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. 

Sézane, a new label crush

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It is official, we are now heading into winter and I left home this morning with a wooly beanie on my head, yikes! For a couple of weeks now I have been obsessed with finding cozy kits and comfy coats — basically items to start hibernating in — and my latest label crush is the French online designer Sézane. They are starting to become a bit of a cult label over here in Paris.

 

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Austin boots

Have you heard of them? I love the simple designs and quality of the clothing. There are 4 collections per year (Autumn was launched in September and Winter will follow in December) and every week a couple of new pieces are added to the collection until the whole collection is available on the website. There is also Essential collection that is available all year round.

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If you happen to be in the USA I noticed that Sézane is doing a collaboration with Madewell, which looks amazing, but unfortunately it is not available in Europe!

– Emilie

Happy Holidays shoot by Maud Fontein (again at the ShopUp!)

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Here are my four babies photographed by Maud Fontein for this year’s Happy Holidays shoot. They’ve grown a bit since last year, haven’t they? I’m always impressed by how Maud can take such sweet photos of all my kids — she is so wonderful, makes children so quickly at ease. My kids actually look forward to going over to Maud’s — they know they’ll be in for a laugh (which does have to do with the fact that Maud lets me sit on a whoopee cushion!).

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Maud also (very quickly!) took some portraits of the kids individually. So sweet. I love how their personalities show so well, Sara already getting so big…

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Maud will be joining us this year again for the ShopUp, and she’s already taking bookings for her happy holidays shoots. I love this year’s theme! So if you’re in London on December 3rd or 4th, you can have your babies photographed this way as well. : )

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Also — Maud will again be bringing these great Christmas Cards Toolkits (designed by Vivian from de Liefdesfabriek) to London. Filled with 20 cards, black envelopes, masking tape, stickers and a white pen — everything you need to turn your photos into a beautiful holiday card. As you can see, I already started mine!

xxx Esther

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery

Keihl's midnight recovery syrum
kiehl's midnight recovery
When it comes to the world of beauty products, I’ve been living on planet Mars. If you read my beauty uniform post on A Cup of Jo, you’ll already know that most of the beauty products I use are ones that I’ve used since I was a teenager. I hardly ever try anything new. So boring, I know.

But when I was staying at Esther’s house last week, I discovered this pretty blue glass bottle of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery sitting on her bathroom counter and I decided to test it out. The bottle promises ‘younger looking skin by morning’. I mean, even a Martian alien would be intrigued by that. Right?

I loved the feeling of the essential oils on my skin (a bit oily, but not greasy or heavy) and the smell was so soothing and calming for bedtime. I’m sure it’s a bit of a placebo effect, but I woke up feeling like my skin was happier and healthier looking. I’m ordering my own bottle right now!

Courtney x

Your house on Kid&Coe!

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Founded by Zoie Kingsbery Coe a few years ago, Kid&Coe is a booking service that lets families rent out their house when they are away, so that other families can have the convenience of traveling to interesting places while staying in a local family home. Instead of going though the trouble of booking an expensive hotel room, or (if you have several children) facing the difficulty of finding hotel rooms with connecting doors, Kid&Coe offers you the opportunity to stay in a family house with children’s beds, toys, books, a kitchen filled with everything a family needs, highchairs, washing machines, etc. It’s SO much more fun to stay in a family house than in an impersonal hotel room, and it is SO much more practical as well!

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We’ve written about Kid&Coe before here at Babyccino Kids, but I wanted to tell you how great it is to list your house there too. Our previous home was listed on the Kid&Coe website, and last May we had an inquiry from a family from Singapore who came to visit Amsterdam and was interested in renting our house during the spring break. We decided to rent out our house and make a little trip to Germany for those days, to visit our friends from Macarons and some other cool destinations along the way. It was a really great trip and we discovered so many wonderful places. And… the best thing — the money we made from renting out our house paid for our little holiday! When we came back, it was so nice to find a sweet letter from the family who stayed in our house, telling us how much they had enjoyed our house and how their little girl had loved playing with Ava’s toys.

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Listing your property on the Kid&Coe website is super easy to do. The application process is straight forward, and the Kid&Coe team is so great to work with. They write great things about your house, and make sure the photos look fantastic.

Because we just moved house our current place is not listed on the website, but this is the flat we always visit in Antwerp when we go there for a very important work weekend ; ). I really recommend listing your house with Kid&Coe — it’s so easy to do, and so worth it!

xxx Esther

PS The first five people to list their property on the Kid&Coe website though Babyccino Kids will get FREE professional photography!! 

PPS We’re excited for Kid&Coe to be the main sponsor of our ShopUp event in London this December — we look forward to seeing you there and if you have any questions about listing your property on the Kid&Coe website, their team will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

A sweet sheep alarm clock

slaaptrainer-samThis cute little sheep SAM is not only an alarm clock and a nightlight, it is also a very cute and clever sleep trainer. Apparently, young children don’t have a sense of time like us adults — for them, the day starts when they open their eyes in the morning, and it ends when they are put to bed. Simple!

When you have a little child who persistently gets up way too early and then refuses to go to sleep until way too late, this sheep can help your child (and you) to get used to a more grown-up idea of time. SAM goes to sleep when your little one goes to bed. He will actually close his eyes and his screen will become blue, meaning ‘it is time to sleep’. Half an hour before get-up time he will open his eyes and the colour of his screen will turn green, meaning ‘it’s nearly time to get up’, and 12 stars on the screen will disappear one by one, counting down the 30 remaining minutes. By the time it is OK to get out of bed, SAM will open his eyes and his screen will become white, and the child will know that it is now ok to wake his parents up!

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Ava has had SAM the sheep in her bedroom for a while now, and especially now that she’s at ‘big school’, she’s totally in love with it. It’s truly her little friend, sitting at her nightstand next to her little bed!

xxx Esther

Custom watercolour portraits from Sophie & Lili

Sophie and Lili painting
sophie and lili custom watercolor portraits
Artist Jennifer Vallez from Sophie & Lili recently sent over these sweet watercolour portraits of my little family, and I love them so much. I love that she captured my children’s personalities so well, and all of it based on a couple Instagram photos I have recently posted. My kids are especially fond of them — Ivy has already asked to frame them and put them up in her room. So sweet.

Sophie & Lili offer a custom watercolour portrait service so if you would like her to paint your family, she’s your girl. I just love that she managed to capture my family at this special time when all my babies are still babies. What a wonderful keepsake!

Courtney x

p.s. Photos above are taken from the Sophie & Lili Instagram feed.

Advent Calendars. Time to start planning!

Ferm Living advent calnedar

December is still six weeks away, and I’m refusing to start thinking about Christmas just yet (I saw the Christmas decorations up on Oxford street earlier this week and it didn’t seem possible! Can it really be that time of year already?!). But… I do love Advent calendars — it’s one of my favourite Christmas traditions.

I saw this cool Ferm Living advent calendar (above) at Cissy Wears earlier this week and love it! (It’s actually what has inspired this post.)

Maileg advent calendar

We have the Maileg advent calendar (as shown above) and it’s a similar concept with little pockets for presents on each day. I start collecting little gifts and knick knacks around this time of year, and then come December 1st, the kids take turn unwrapping each day. It’s such a fun and exciting way to celebrate the run-up to Christmas.

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I also love the idea Meta wrote about, with little paper bags hanging along the stair railing. So fun and festive!

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And lastly, there’s the wonderful idea from Mo who wraps up christmas-themed books every year for a Christmas book Advent Calendar. Such a great idea!

Anyway, I thought I would share all these ideas now… before it’s too late to prepare. The next six weeks will zip by I’m sure!

Courtney x

What kids around the world eat for breakfast

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I am sure a lot of you have come across this article in the New York Times but I still wanted to post it, as I think it is so interesting to see how differently children eat. At my flat we are so used to eating sweet things in the morning, be it cereal, porridge (very unusual for France) or tartines – the idea of  miso soup and soy sauce for breakfast would not even cross our mind. And yet it would feel completely natural somewhere else…

I remember Esther staying with me one day and telling one of her kids off for having grabbed something sweet to eat before eating something savoury. Only then did she realise that there was nothing savoury on the table! It is funny how we all have our breakfast traditions. I think it is the meal that we are the least adventurous about, possibly because adventure is the last thing on our mind when we are still waking up.

I also love the photos in this post, the children look so cute, still sleepy with ruffled hair and preparing themselves for the day.

– Emilie

Smallish Magazine

Smallish and the ShopUp

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

The Little Square Gallery — sweet snapshots in a cool frame

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I’m not very organised when it comes to using my digital photos — I just take a photo, post it to Instagram, and then it disappears in a virtual cloud somewhere. Actually, it wasn’t very different back when I took analog photos — instead of a virtual cloud, photos would disappear in a dusty box, waiting to be organised and glued into albums…

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Friends of my parents, whose house I visited often when I was little, used to frame a selection of their photos in big collages once every year. They would choose photos of birthdays, vacations, and life in general, photos of their family, mixed with dear friends. They cut out parts of photos, circles, triangles — whatever worked — and glued them without any order or organisation. But the collages looked so cool and I loved looking at them (and finding myself in the sea of faces)!

lsg3I recently commissioned Natalie from The Little Square Gallery to print a selection of my Instagram photos.  To create a moment in time, six months of snapshots, as a visual reminder of the things that happened and made us happy. The frame arrived a little while ago, and it is sitting on our new landing waiting for it’s final spot. And we love it! I see it many times a day, and am reminded of those sweet moments. The children love looking at it as well. Casper is especially intrigued — every day he studies the photos and calls out all of the names of his siblings… sweet boy!


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Working with Natalie was such a pleasure. She helped me pick the best photos, worked on them to make them perfect in colour, balancing light and contrast, and created a truly wonderful collage, framed beautifully in a solid wood frame. The photos are giclée printed on thick, cotton-rag fine art paper, creating a really cool floating effect that sets this collage apart! I will definitely work with Natalie again, creating more of these compilations — because I definitely like these moments in time much better in a frame, than in a virtual cloud!

xxx Esther

The importance of handwriting

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There are a lot of things I like about my kids schooling in France —  there are also a lot of things I criticise. Compared to the children of my Anglo-Saxon friends, school seems to be so rigid over here.

One of the things I found unnecessarily strict here is the importance placed on handwriting. Children learn how to write in cursive script and are given bad grades if this is not done well. I never understood, how, in 2014, this made any sense and have been quite vocal about this to the teachers and other parents (who must roll their eyes at yet another foreigner lecturing them about their archaic teaching methods).

But the other day Violette’s teacher (who has been teaching for 34 years) made a very interesting point. Apparently 15 years ago the national curriculum had stopped the emphasis on handwriting, as it was thought that the use of keyboards was going to eliminate the need for writing by hand. They have now completely revised this stance based on a lot of research, as it seems that students taking notes by hand remember and analyse the material they are being lectured on a lot more than people typing notes. If you type notes, you have a tendency to write down the lecture word for word. If you write it down by hand, you are already analysing and interpreting the lecture, which in turn makes it a lot easier to remember it and learn from it. I thought that was so interesting! I found this article about a similar study here.

This is actually the saving grace behind the French education system: there is almost always some kind of theory behind the madness, even if it does not always seem obvious to a bystander!

– Emilie

PS. The above photo is of Coco’s homework, who is in the equivalent of 3rd grade. They are now starting to write with a fountain pen (I did not even know those things still existed!)

A big giveaway just for moms over at Puj!

moms are beautiful

The lovely team over at Puj have just announced an inspiring Moms are Beautiful campaign and a big giveaway just for moms! They recently asked a few mothers to take part by submitting a quote about motherhood to help to share the ‘moms are beautiful’ love. I was thrilled to be asked and so happy to take part! (Celebrating mothers is something we should all do more often, no?)

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I sent over the above quote because it’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a mother, and something I continue to remind myself at different stages of my parenting path. It can sometimes feel like we mothers are constantly inundated with information and tips, whether it’s from the latest how-to books or whether it’s the advice we hear from other mums on the playground. (I, myself, am guilty of passing on advice and sharing opinions. I have also found myself on the receiving end of it too.) In any case, I think it’s important that we mothers give ourselves a bit more credit and that we trust our intuitions and be assured that we really do know what’s best for our children.

You can click over to Puj to read other quotes about motherhood, check out the great prizes to win and enter the giveaway here.

x Courtney

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