I’m sure I’m not the only woman who ‘has a thing about bags’, am I? Anyway, I was pleased to discover Junikit, at the Kleine Fabriek last month. Junikit is a company run by the two stylish sisters Katja and Sidney, who aim to produce classy changing bags and accessories for the modern, trend-conscious parent (or non-parent!). I was immediately taken by the beautiful illustrations featuring animals from different continents, the lovely selection of matching scarves, and, smart find — the little emergency first-aid kit (just perfect to pop in a bag or in the car’s glove compartment). Stylish indeed! Also nice: the bags are made from water-resistant coated cotton on the outside (all PVC and phthalates free), and nylon on the inside, so they’re super easy to clean and look after.
If you’re also a little bit of a bag junkie, then take note: Junikit is now giving away an emergency first-aid kit in the Australia print to three lucky readers, so quickly head over to our Facebook page and leave a comment for your chance to win!
The first line of the The Good Flock website reads: ‘The products we make can be buried in your backyard’. Which I think is such a daring first sentence, and is proof of the innovative and fun nature of Nikki and Marco, the people behind The Good Flock. Their belief is to use wholesome materials (from living sources or eco-systems that are able to regenerate themselves), work with a conscience (real craftspeople, responsible manufacturing), and design with minimal waste (use only what we need). I’ve been thinking — it sounds a bit like how I like to cook our food! But then applied to product design. An interesting slide can be found here, where the difference between the creation of a plastic iPad case is compared to the creation of a Good Flock IWooly.
Reason enough to purchase The Good Flock products, but there’s more: the products are really, really beautiful. Gorgeous vegetable tanned leather, domestic waxed canvas, patterned wool and buttons made from sustainable harvested tagua nuts are the main materials that are used to create simple but stylish bags, covers and wallets. The Good Flock has also created a Baby Papoose, a warm and wonderful baby wrap, made from their beautiful materials and just perfect to keep your baby cozy in his Bugaboo (works for the Frog, Chameleon but also very well for the Bee).
Looking for a lovely, personal gift for one of your best friends, you mother (in law) or your spouse? I thought I would recommend these three great ideas that I love and know would make the most perfect and personal presents:
- What about a personalised iPhone cover, featuring a photo of the (grand) children? I love my iPhone cover with a photo of my kids! It’s super-easy to order through Giant Sparrows. The only thing you need is a sweet photo!
- I think a personalised notebook would make a great gift for anyone. Mine is from Sloane Stationary, and it’s gorgeous! (We now have an exclusive promotion running on the shopping portal where you get a free mini notebook with every notebook order from Sloane Stationary!)
I had a look through my handbag today. The amount of rubbish I carry around with me is unbelievable. No wonder I have an achy back! But between all the rubbish are some essential items that just need to be in my handbag 24/7. There is lip balm, some tissues and my wallet. There is also my very trusted Swiss Army knife, which I could not live without. I reckon every mom should have one!
I use the knife and the scissors all the time, to cut and peel fruit, to make sandwiches and to snip off everything and anything while I am on the go. I have been hailed a hero on more than one occasion for having a bottle opener on me and finally there is a nifty pair of little tweezers hidden in the knife, that has been used many a time to tug off a previously unnoticed stray eyebrow hair…
How many tools can do all of the above and fold away neatly into a handbag? Not many!
Last winter I was in a knitting frenzy! I think I knit about 20 different little scarves for all the children in my life. The thing is, my knitting skills are super basic (hence the scarves), so this year I’m really hoping to teach myself a few new tricks.
And what can be a more perfect way to start than with this Baby Knitting Kit from The Toft Alpaca Shop? The kit comes with the necessary yarn and easy-to-read instructions for how to make a little hat, baby mittens, booties and leg warmers. If I could manage it, this set would be a great gift for a new baby this winter.
I always see these silly quotes from Anne Taintor in novelty shops in NYC and they always make me smile. I saw these two refrigerator magnets the other day and immediately made an impulse purchase and they have worked wonders to keep me mentally intact when I hear one of my kids break into a “yodel-style” whine for something. Part of me would love to get a giant size poster to hang on my wall, in fact, I am going to look into that asap – maybe I should even look into wallpaper. Here is a link to some of their favorite quotes but there are a ton to browse through so enjoy hard-working mothers of the world!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Scrabble letters and my sanity
I don’t know about you but my i-phone is becoming an increasingly important tool in retaining my sanity as a parent. It now holds a dozen or so children’s Apps which get us through those boring, frustrating daily-life melt-down moments. As boredom levels peak whilst my 2-year-old is pushed around in the Supermarket trolley, I whip it out and let her paint pictures, guess the animals (in Peekaboo Barn or Peekaboo Wild which we wrote about here) or just blow up some balloons with the fabulous Balloonimals.
These games are perfect entertainment… but can a book work as an App? I guess you all know by now that I love children’s books and don’t mind telling you I was a touch conservative about the idea of a book being on my phone or i-pad. However Nosy Crow’s Three Little Pigs App has totally converted me and I’m now so excited what new technology can bring to brilliant stories. (more…)
Beautiful, this nappy bag by new company Rubizu! Rubizu is formed by two sisters Roba and Azza and together they design and produce a series of exquisite nappy bags that are not only beautiful and luxurious but also very practical indeed. It works as follows: the pretty turquoise insert pops out completely. The ‘empty’ bag can be used independently from the interior compartment as it has its own side pockets and is beautiful as is. The interior compartment can be easily organised once out of the bag. Very soon, a laptop insert will be available too which transforms the bag from mummy bag to business bag in a few seconds! (I’m particularly excited about this feature because my laptop bag is such an embarrassment — I think my husband got it for free at a conference about 15 years ago. It’s gross.) All in all, these Rubizu bags are pretty amazing. For available styles and more info on the functionality, check the Rubizu website. The pretty leather bag featured here is available through Blossom Mother and Child.
I know it is gimicky but I just loved it… and so now my son has this as his water-bottle at Kindergarten. He feels so cool — like a real fireman!
Available online here.
Another cool spotting on the streets of Tribeca! While walking my girls back from swim class last night (all of us tired, hungry and cranky as could be) a man on a bike whizzed past us with two kids sitting snugly on the back. Immediately one of my daughter started screaming “I WANT THAT NOWWWWWWWWW!!!!! and I looked at her and said “ME TOOOOOOO!!!”
A few blocks later and I found it parked on the street and we all went to investigate. Turns out there is a company in California called Yuba that makes them and it is way cool. The Mundo Cargo Bike is essentially a utility bicycle that is made with the intent of hauling heavier loads. It’s not much longer than a traditional bicycle and has a long sturdy plank on the back, and because it doesn’t have a large basket like a Bakfiets, it’s more city friendly. True, it is a bit of an investment, but the way I see it it would have saved me a lot of stress about making it to school on time. New York is becoming more and more bike friendly these days with separate paved lanes and ample bike parking cropping up everywhere so we will probably start to see more Mundos as time goes on. Sad I missed the boat on this one….
We’re all big fans of the Micro Steps here at Babyccino (I think we all have them for our children) — Mo was the last one to rave about them here. So, about time to understand what the kids are talking about and try out the grown-up Micro White myself! And… although a little bit scary at first (I could hardly keep up with my kids) I did quite enjoy myself! It’s still a bit cold here in Amsterdam, but I’m thinking I will use mine loads as soon as it gets a bit warmer — such a great way to keep in shape and a welcome change from the (here in Amsterdam) ubiquitous bicycle!
It’s funny how medical care can be so different from country to country. When I lived in London and asked the pharmacist for some suppositories to give to my sick baby, he literally looked at me as if I was asking him to stand on his head and sing the ABCs. Whereas here in Amsterdam, suppositories are the norm, and liquid paracetamol doesn’t seem to exist at all! Fact is (at least in my experience), that for small, nappy wearing babies, suppositories really work best, but for older children I definitely prefer liquid paracetamol.
For taking temperatures it seems to be the same story: in the Netherlands, temperatures are supposed to be taken rectally, whereas in the UK I think it is considered child molestation to use anything else than an ear thermometer. I must say that I’ve warmed up to the UK method here — especially since we own the Vicks Gentle Touch, which accurately measures the temperature behind the ear within a second, and it’s colour coded so you immediately see if your child is running a temperature or not (and can finish his dinner).
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Win! Inke’s Beautiful Wallpaper Birds
Now, here is an I-Phone app that actually makes sense and is definitely more practical than Angry Birds. Seriously, who did not panic when it came to weaning their first child? If you are anything like me you spent hours trying to figure out if you should first feed the baby broccoli or a banana. I finally bought a library worth of books, one or several of which were by Annabel Karmel, the UK guru on weaning and cooking for infants and toddlers.
Annabel Karmel has now brought out her first iphone application, full of recipes from 6 months to toddler stage, a meal planner and a shopping list tool. I love the way the shopping list is automatically saved on your phone. I personally have the tendency to write up a list and then promptly forget it at home, so this type of tool is a life saver for me.
My kids have outgrown the toddler stage so sadly the Annabel Karmel app is not so useful for me anymore. I do have the Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson apps which are great for inspiration, mostly when I am in the supermarket and trying to come up with something different than pesto pasta for dinner.
Yesterday I got home late from a day in the park to a pile of seemingly boring bills on the floor. However, there hiding in the pile was a hand-written, slightly bulging envelope (oh! how I love real post). There inside was a little gift from my friend Marisa, this gorgeous hand-made key-ring with a picture of my son on one side and my daughter on the other. I was so moved to receive something from a friend in the post but also how lovely to have such a personalised gift. (more…)
I have a real love/hate relationship with technology and I am absolutely TERRIBLE when it comes to keeping things charged. It’s a problem worthy of an intervention. When I go to use my Ipod there is generally enough power to get me through only one or two songs, and rare is the day when my digital camera does not immediately flash “low battery” the minute I snap a picture. My mother – sensing my distress and also noticing that my cell phone rarely worked — bought the following charging station for our house and it has served as a gentle reminder to keep things “juiced” and has solved the issue of keeping everything in a neat and tidy space. As many of you know, I am on a mission to get organized and this whimsical grass caddy looks great on the counter. Kikkerland has tons of silly things for the home so do check out the rest of the website.
I bought a Digital SLR camera (Nikon D80) shortly after my first child was born as I realised that this most beautiful of subjects had to be captured in every conceivable pose possible. However, for two years I wasn’t quite sure how to use the camera. Not much of a manual-reader, I pottered along happily with the pictures I was taking on the auto-modes. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to finally learn how to use it and so I have been going to an evening class to learn. I love it and look forward to it every week — I can’t wait to get the home-work so I can go out and play.
A couple of weeks ago my tutor taught us how to do light-painting. I came home and tested it on the family and now it is one of the kid’s favourite games — and makes for some really interesting family portraits. It may seem complicated to do written down but once you’ve done it it’s really easy and only takes a few minutes to set up. So let me see if I can give you a simple how-to guide …. (more…)
Clearly I have been living under some sort of rock. Am I the only person who didn’t know this thing existed!?!? I mean, “technically”, I suppose I knew it was out there but I never actually owned one and nobody ever mentioned it to me before. I am totally and completely devastated that I have lived so long with so many pilled sweaters and even more cashmere baby sweaters and blankets that I have tossed over the years. You know what I am talking about right? Those little balls of fluff that gather within minutes of wearing a new sweater. Anyway I went to Amazon — read the reviews — and the Izumi Sweater Shaver came in the mail the other day. Needless to say, I could not put the thing down. I figured it would work wonders on kids sweaters and baby blankets, so I just wanted to share as clearly people were holding out on me! It’s made in Japan so it looks pretty cool, if not a bit sinister. So if like me, you are sick of all the nice things you buy looking beat up so quickly – this might be the answer to your prayers. It really does work.
After putting the kids to bed and sitting down with a good, warm cup of tea (you just cannot take the Irish out of a gal, even when living in Paris), I grabbed my computer to sit down and write some blog posts. I was suddenly inspired not to write yet another post about great things for kids but, for a change, something about some great things for mums!
So here is one of my latest discoveries — the lovely UK webshop Plümo full of beautiful trinkets, clothes, shoes and furniture. Whomever the person is who sources the items, they have fabulous taste and I want to get almost everything… And the best thing about it? At the moment they still have a sale going on!
You see, this is my way of thinking: if you have daughters, like I do, everything you get for yourself will have a second life in the future. The girls will steal things out of your cupboard, wear them and call them vintage. So if you shop now, all you are really doing is investing in the future…
In the Netherlands, it’s quite normal to reuse your shopping bags. Plastic bags are available at the supermarkets, but you have to pay for them them and they’re not even that cheap! For as long as I can remember, I have brought my own bags to the supermarkets, and even as a little girl I recall my grandma and mum bringing their big canvas shopping bags on their weekly trips to the supermarket.
Imagine my surprise when I first went to the States as a teenager, and there were people at the end of the conveyor belt packing our groceries in an endless stream of plastic bags! Not only didn’t we have to bring our own canvas bags, we also were spared the trouble of packing everything! Such luxury, I thought!
Looking back, now that our world is overflowing with plastic bags, our Dutch system of bring-your-own-bags isn’t too bad. Although I wouldn’t mind the help at the end of the conveyor belt, especially now that those cashiers or so SUPER fast — I can’t keep up with them, it’s seriously stressful!! (more…)