Liniment Oleo Calcaire

I am a total French pharmacy groupie. And I really thought that I knew every product available and then, recently, I stumbled upon yet another French wonder product! Linement Oleo Calcaire (I guess this translates to oil and calcium ointment) consists of only two ingredients: olive oil and calcium. The most common use for it is cleaning babies bottoms with it — instead of wipes. It cleans fantastically well and leaves a film of oil to stop irritations. Lots of people over here use it at home instead of wipes — so much cheaper and better for the baby and the environment — a no brainer!

And there is more: it’s also good to wash dry skin or skin prone to ecxma, massage, use on sunburns and minor burns and also as a make-up remover. It must be the most multi-functional product in the world! You can buy the ointment ready made at most pharmacies in France or the pharmacist should be able to mix up a bottle for you. Alternatively you can get it online here in France and here in the  UK and the USA.


Organic goodies from BabyBearShop

Oh, I’m in love with the cute packaging of the BabyBearShop products. So adorable! This line of organic products is maybe not extensive but it is absolutely enough for what I need. Loving the cheeky baby butter that I’m using for Ava! The lip balms are delicious too (and they come in the cutest packaging), and how cute is the soap with the bird (and again, how beautiful is the packaging with the nest drawn on it and the little holes in egg shape). All available through BabyBearShop.

xxx Esther

Tiny People, Byron Bay

If only my daughter still let me dress her!  Isn’t this little jumpsuit totally gorgeous? It is by sweet Aussie brand fabric from a shop called TinyPeople .  Tiny People is in the eclectic town of Byron Bay on the far north coast of NSW.  Byron Bay is quite a hippie little town. Think ‘bohemian cool’ … locals wearing tie-dye sarongs, frangipani sandals and wooden beads, organic produce markets every Thursday, and tempeh, veggie and chickpea burgers — a Byron Bay fast food staple. Unfortunately, I don’t get to visit Byron as often as I’d like to (it is a good 2 hour plane trip from Melbourne), but when I am there I always pop into this very cool little store. Not only do they carry some of my favourite local brands like Little Horn, Munster, Coco & Ginger, Paper Wings, Gaia, Polka and mamapapa… they also carry a small but well edited selection of imports — Wovenplay, Pop Up Shop and Mini Rodini just to name a few — lovely hand-made one-off objects and a beautiful selection of books and toys. Definitely worth a visit if you are anywhere in the vicinity!  And if not, Tiny People have a great website with worldwide shipping available. (more…)

Some MOR pampering please!

Ok, I  admit to a shameless obsession with beautiful packaging, even for the most mundane of items. There is an Australian brand, MOR cosmetics, which causes me to positively swoon… though there is nothing mundane about these decadent products. Inspired by traditional apothecary and the blending of age-old and contemporary ingredients, MOR’s lotions, aromatic oils and candles make up an exquisite range of pampering goodies, enjoying a cult following around the globe.  Not only do they look amazing gracing the bathroom counter (trust me, you will be loathe to use them) but they are deliciously scented (kale and watercress, marshmallow, pistachio, kumquat…) and feel so indulgent to use. I think that their Little Luxuries collection make the sweetest stocking fillers — the marshmallow lip nectar and belladonna soapette are my favorites (check out the gorgeous re-usable tins!). For some serious eye-candy, have a look at MOR’s recently revamped website here . Good news too — they ship world-wide!

– Sara

Win! Inlight spoil-yourself-package

Remember my write up on the 100% organic INLIGHT Nyp Balm? I love that cream and the fact that it’s so multi-purpose. Recently, I’ve also been using the INLIGHT Restorative Body Butter — very nice, and since I’m still breastfeeding also a very safe choice. INLIGHT, the 100% organic skin care brand, was created by Dr Mariano Spiezia, medical doctor, homeopath and herbalist, and contains only the highest quality plant-based organic ingredients. The best raw, food-grade ingredients that nature has to offer — oils, herbs and flowers– are taken to give your skin power-packed nourishment in its purest, most unadulterated form. You can really eat the whole skincare line, might you feel the urge.
INLIGHT is giving away a spoil-yourself package consisting of the Organic Face Cleanser, the Organic Floral Face Tonic and the Restorative Body Butter (RRP £78.40) to one lucky Babyccino reader. Interested? Then please leave one comment below by Friday, September 17th and we’ll pick one lucky reader at random. Good luck!

xxx Esther

P.S. Inlight is also offering a 20% discount on the whole range until the 17th!

This give-away is now closed!

Dear Avocado…Thank you.

The summer in New York City has been brutal.  I’ve heard that it was the hottest July on record but August was pretty unbearable as well.  Meanwhile, I have been outdoors most of the time, forgetting to re-apply sunscreen and definitely not taking care of my hair which now is the consistency of straw.   So… the other day while sitting around making guacamole with a friend, she suggested I mash up an avocado, mush it around with an egg yolk and put it in my hair.  So next thing I know I am massaging in the green goop and wrapping my head in saran wrap (sexy!) and after sitting with it for 45 minutes I was shocked!  It really did give my hair a noticeable boost as it felt suddenly thicker and healthier.  I am going to do it with the kids because I think they would love it — especially after a summer of chlorinated pools!!!  I also hear that Mayo works well — I will try that next and let you know.
Just to recap: mash up avocado, mix in egg yolk,  apply to hair (more at the roots), sit for a bit, rinse it, done.

(Image from For The Birds)

Planter’s Crema Riparatrice

A true discovery this summer has been the Viso Mani Corpo repairing cream from Planter’s. Made from all natural ingredients, and with a delicious, gentle smell, this cream is equally suitable to put on your body, hands and face. Perfect for when you’re traveling!
It’s lovely for after bath or shower and rich enough to give nutrition to dry skin. And good for children’s cheeks too! A summer favourite, but this cream will from now on live in our house the whole year around. Available in Europe through Soap.
xxx Esther

Sidewalk Shoe Survival Balm

Rejoice!  Summer is here in full force and with the clunky boots now tossed to the back of the closet it’s time to break out the cute sandals and flats. But oh my… ouch… so uncool… breaking in the new shoes for the new season also means blisters and sore feet!

A very good friend of mine from college has been working on this product for years now and just recently rolled it out. She is a mama herself and one that always looks amazing and stylish. In her pre-mommy days she used to do all sorts of healthy San Francisco-ish things like ironman’s and triathalon’s and as a result was always looking for a lady-like product to ease her sore feet.   Sidewalk Survival Balm was born out of her love for comfort and high fashion and her organic foot-saver is a god-send that smells incredible.  After taking it for a bunch of test runs, I can attest that it really works. Basically, it’s a protective balm for feet, almost like a chapstick,  and I keep one in my bag to offer instant relief from rubbing shoes.   I am even going to use it on my kids as they break in their new summer sandals.  She will ship internationally if you contact her directly and is offering Babyccino readers a discount of 20% off till the end of July. Just use promo code: babyccino.


Original Sprout Hair Care for Kids

One of my twin daughters has stick-straight blond hair while the other is a brunette with a thick mane of curly ringlets.  During the morning routine the blond is pretty easy — a quick comb through and she is good to go.  The curly brunette however, takes a little more work to get camera ready and I have learned that the easiest (and least painful) way to brush her hair is to use a gentle leave-in conditioning agent.

I recently picked up a bottle of Original Sprout Detangler and it works like a charm!  It was developed by a mom and is 100% vegan and made of all natural ingredients and free from all ammonia and chemicals.  It also smells absolutely amazing!  If you have a curly little one at home you might want to check it out.  I am off to order some of their other all natural hair care products.  Will keep you posted.


Get Your Glow On

When I was pregnant it came to me that what was going on my body was also going in my body. I was conscientiously eating organic food while I paid very little attention to the ingredients in my cosmetic products.
After my daughter, baby #2, was born, I figured make-up could be a quick fix for a life that was short on sleep. I wanted to appear composed and rested (how about beautiful — would that be too much to ask?) and at the same time I was determined to be healthy. I began to search for natural cosmetic products. The make-up shelf at the natural food store was a start, but I was far from convinced that the ‘naturalness’ behind the products justified the cost.
Enter Josie Maran Cosmetics. Josie Maran, eco-activist, Los Angeles-based model and mother came up with a line of natural cosmetics, free of petrochemicals and toxins found in most commercial brands. I came across her line at a launch party for a cool women’s “green” website that offered complimentary mini makeovers using Josie’s make-up. I felt great about the company’s commitment to the environment, and I felt great about their commitment to a fabulous product. I went home that night with a sample of JMC Organic Argan Oil in my goody bag. I had never heard of Argan oil, and there was a mini education in that product alone. Argan is a light, nourishing oil from the Moroccan Argan tree’s seed, believed to have potent anti-aging properties – a plus for us “mature” mamas! All Argan sold today is produced by a women’s cooperative that shares the profits among women of the Berber tribe. (more…)

Liz Earle, natural skincare

I’ve been on the look-out for skincare that works for a while now. I have my requirements, of course: it should be gentle, natural, affordable and smell really good. It should also be simple and straightforward — what I don’t like are those brands which offer a million products to be used on top of each other depending on your specific skin type, age, mood, and financial situation. I mean, I’m never sure of my skin type, nor of my age, not even of my mood and surely not of my financial situation. I’d rather not know! Lastly, they should be available on my doormat. I’ve tried some French brands that I liked but had so much trouble finding them outside France, it was a disaster!
I recently discovered Liz Earle Natural Skincare, and I must say I’m a fan! Her face essentials line is as easy as 1,2,3 — clean (cleanser), boost (tonic) and repair (moisturiser). The cleansing part is done with the mulim cloths provided, and it does the trick wonderfully well, exfoliating at the same time!  Oh, and the smell of the moisturiser is divine!
The products come with very clear instructions on how to use them, they are very affordable, all natural, locally sourced and as organic as possible, and best of all, they smell really good.  They can be ordered on-line, and shipped worldwide. Easy does it!

xxx Esther

Coola Sun Care

Is there anything more mentally taxing then applying sunscreen to small kids? I love the summer and all, but the one thing that really causes anxiety during the morning routine is when we have to apply sunscreen to the family. I hate it.  The chase….The begging them to stand still…The sudden jerky movements while you try to rub the pasty lotion back to the color of skin tone.   I am sure you have all been there.

In the past I have opted for the spray-on kind but I have found that they are very drying and don’t protect nearly as well as the thicker lotions.  A friend of mine from home had told me about Coola Sun Care and I decided to pick some up before heading out on vacation this year… and so glad I did! It’s a lotion but it is not greasy and it rubs in very quickly! It’s also made with 100% organic ingredients but it’s not holier-than-thou about it. I really like the simple sleek packaging and they carry a full line for the body, face and lips. So far it’s the best sunscreen that I have come across and I am definitely loading up on it for the summer months!


Safe to be polished, with Priti Princess

priti polishThings change when you become a mum.  You start behaving differently — you suddenly do things that you’ve previously thought you’d never do.  Like changing a nappy in public. Or buying loads of pink for your little girl.  Or letting them sleep in your bed. Or letting them use make-up.
I think if you had told me 3 years ago that I would allow my nearly-5-year-old girl to use nail polish, I would have fainted.  How vulgar!


At least the nail polish my daughter has is completely non-toxic and safe for children, and the nail polish remover I use on her tiny nails is completely soy and corn based (infused with coconut, soybean esters, and essential lemongrass oils).  No nasty aceton, no petroleum… And 100% biodegradable!
Both are from Priti NYC, a NY-based company that aims to decrease the amount of chemicals poisoning the earth and supports organic farmers. Check it out, they also have over 100 colours of grown-up nail polish available.

Through fabulous eco-boutique Shak Shuka (ships worldwide).

xxx Esther

A possible saviour called Cupcake

Cupcake 8-044My friend calls winter ‘soft-play-season’ and she dreads it every year.  Year one of having children I thought she was just being miserable, and I loved watching my baby boy smile as some slightly clownish adults sang nursery rhymes to him in a church hall.  In Year two I was too preoccupied with the new baby in our lives to care much where we were or what we were doing. Now in Year 3, with two children and myself desperate to leave the house on these typical English drizzly days, I am pulling my hair out about where to go and dread the inevitable soft-play options.  It is true — the kids have fun, but at the sacrifice of my sanity.  I find myself looking around wondering sometimes what has happened to my life?  I know that I’m lucky to be hanging out with these two brilliant people, but is it a requisite that places for children should totally alienate adults? I realise I’m sounding grumpy (seriously … if you could see the weather!) but do not fret, here I come to the good bit…

Since moving South I have often heard of the place ‘Cupcake’ (in Putney and Wandsworth) in association with descriptors such as ‘haven’ and ‘God-send’.  And so last week I asked whether it was OK to come and check it out (Cupcake is a members only club and I’m not a member …. yet!).  The minute I walked in I felt a sort of happiness come over me. This didn’t feel loud (from noise or from an interiors-carnage) — no this felt like being in a (stylish) friend’s living room… only a bit bigger and with a bar to order lattes, brownies, babyccinos or something for lunch — perfect! (more…)

Papaw ointment — an Australian treasure

lucas papaw ointmentI’m probably not winning any points for originality with our Australian  readers, but before coming to  Australia I had never heard of Lucas’ Papaw Ointment and it has since become our favourite Australian discovery. This natural remedy, made from an enzyme in papaya fruit, can be used on burns, boils, cuts, insect bites, open wounds, chapped lips, haemorrhoids, and the list goes on. And it is definitely the best treatment for nappy rash I’ve ever used.

After stockpiling these little tubes to take back to London with me, I discovered you can actually buy it in London (the creator was, in fact, British)! Dr. Lucas formulated the papaw ointment more than 100 years ago in Australia after leaving London for a warmer climate. Its natural antiseptic quality is great for preventing infection in wounds, it’s totally safe to use on babies and children, and it is so natural it can also be taken internally to aid digestion. It also smells nice — an added bonus!


What I can’t leave the house without …

kiehls creme silk groom hair style-thumb-300x460-74006Anyone who knows me will find it somewhat hysterical that I would be writing about my favourite ‘beauty’ product.  I’m one of those girls who considers mascara and lip-balm “dolling myself up”.  I’m pretty useless in that whole arena and since having kids even worse.

The only ‘area’ that I did try and spend a bit of time on was my hair — not because I love it all styled but because (as if being born with ‘mousy’ coloured hair wasn’t enough) the World at large also decided I should have that kind of hair that is neither straight nor curly — so, even after spending hours with the dryer and the straightener, it only needs to smell rain to turn to frizz.  Great!

After having a baby I realised life was seriously too short to waste time with a hair-dryer so I cut off all my hair and attempted to go for a Meg Ryan-esque quirky messy look.  It helped a bit but I still had my frizz problem — until my very good friend Caroline introduced me to Kiehl’s Silk Groom.  I get out of the shower, scrunch some into my hair and go.  I haven’t used a hair dryer or straighteners for 3 years and it is solely down to this little bottle of goodness that calms my hair down on a daily basis.  It would now be the one thing I’d save from a burning wash bag (yes – even before my tooth-brush!).


Something for the mommies….Lollia Bubble Bath

10rr_lgBubble Baths are considered a real treat at our house.  Lately, my girls seem to go suddenly deaf when I call them to come in for an evening bath, but when I mention that bubbles will be present… it’s party time!   That being said, I have spent countless dollars trying all sorts of “organic” and “all-natural” products from Whole Foods and the like… but to be honest, I really don’t like any of them.   The bubbles are totally lame, they don’t smell all that great and they are expensive to boot!  Look, my thought is… if you are going to take a bubble bath then you just have to make the commitment.  Mr. Bubble didn’t kill any of us and it’s all going to be ok.  I received this Lollia Bubble Bath as a gift and I absolutely love it — I mean, how cool that it’s in a wine bottle! A small quantity makes a ton of bubbles, it smells great without being too overpowering and my girls don’t come out covered in hives.  I would give this to a mommy in need in a heartbeat as it is great for the whole family and even better as a housewarming gift for a new mom!


Invisible Zinc

invisiblezincjuniorAll those scorching Australian summers that I spent oiling myself with ‘Hawaiian Tropic’ –- how it makes me cringe! If only this product was around when I was in my late teens… okay, who am I kidding, I still would have ignored the facts, all for a deep bronze tan that didn’t ever last. The fact is that the sun ages your skin prematurely and causes cancer. Whilst I did come to my senses long ago,  I am sure that I still wear the damage of those early reckless years. These days, I don’t leave home without having applied Invisible Zinc to each and every member of my family (husband excluded here, he is not partial to me assaulting him with ‘goo’ every morning — not for want of trying, mind you).

The concept behind Invisible Zinc is technology that provides a physical (not chemical) barrier between you and the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. They use a world patented form of Zinc Oxide that has been milled down so that it is no longer visible to the naked eye …fortunately you can banish all images of the white zinc-nosed, speedo-clad Aussie lifeguard, not quite the look I favor either when I head for the beach!  Zinc Oxide is a natural sunscreen agent that sits on the skin reflecting dangerous UVA and UVB rays without unnecessary chemical sun-filters (incidentally, most chemical sunscreens offer little or no protection against UVA rays).

So Courtney, take note!  This Aussie product is a must-have for you and your family over the coming months… and for those of you shivering in the Northern Hemisphere, as strange as it may seem, summer is just around the corner! (-:


Removeez — remove with ease!

removeezHere’s a product that deserves a place in every family’s first-aid cabinet…  Removeez is a natural solution which removes everything from sticky tar and sap to permanent marker, tattoos, bandages, chewing gum, etc. One little bottle with many different uses. (Have you ever had to get chewing gum out of your hair? It’s not fun –I still have nightmares!)

Designed by California beach parents, Removeez is 100% natural and dermatologist tested. It’s made from a blend of citrus oils and plant extracts, and  naturally removes anything sticky or messy.  I even used it yesterday on myself after a painting project left my hands a mess. And I gave it the ultimate test when I used it to take a temporary tattoo off my son’s arm.  Works like a charm!


Aesop — an Aussie classic!

Aesop-703788I thrash my hands.  Hot water, cleaning products, using my fingernails as tools… you name it… most mothers will understand! As a result, my hands are often flaky and dry — not unlike sandpaper. Over the years I have tried dozens of hand lotions, but none have worked their magic like a potion from Australian skin care range Aesop. The lotion is called Aesop Ressurection Aromatique Hand Balm and I honestly think it is the holy grail of all hand creams.

I first discovered Aesop several years ago in the restroom of a local Melbourne restaurant. It smelled and felt so intoxicatingly good that I kept going back for more (really!), and I have been hooked ever since. It soaks in, leaving no greasy residue and you can literally smell the botanical and fruity ingredients permeating your skin (rosemary, mandarin and cedarwood……delicious). In our dry Australian climate it’s no wonder this product has become somewhat of an Aussie cult favorite.

The hand cream can be purchased online but Aesop also have lovely signature stores in London, Paris, Zurich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and across Australia and these are definitely worth a visit.

– Sara

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