Le Caddie

orla.jpgBefore I came to Paris I thought that shopping trolleys (known in France as a ‘Caddie’) strictly existed for the over 70 market, and you would not have been able to pay me to be seen in public with one. When we got here I spotted someone close to my age with a caddie who was fairly normally dressed; I thought they were being ironic, but then I spotted another and another… everybody had one!!

The Caddie has had a revival in Paris and it makes complete sense! It is impossible to drive to the supermarket here, so why risk cutting off your circulation with plastic bag handles when you can load all your groceries into a trolley and gracefully pull them along behind you. It has also really cut down on the use of plastic bags; shopkeepers are now checking whether you have your caddies with you before bagging your groceries! The bigger supermarkets like Monoprix even loan out caddies if you happen to have bought more than you had planned for. (more…)

Aerolatte milk frother

Aerolatte Milk FrotherI am starting to be known for serving a good cappuccino: good, strong coffee with perfectly foamed milk on top. The coffee comes from Illy, and the foam is the quick work of a handy little gadget called the Aerolatte milk frother (another kitchen tool my mom bought for me)! It’s so brilliant that I always assume everyone must own one, but then I’ll have a friend come over who’s amazed by the foamy milk…

The Aerolatte is small, so it fits perfectly into the utensil drawer. It starts with one simple switch and takes about 2-3 minutes to froth the milk. (I use a stainless steal container to heat the milk on the stove.)
At-home cappuccinos have never been so easy.

Available through Amazon in the UK or US .



unstuffed-pockaboo.JPGAlmost every time I sit down to breastfeed the telephone rings, and I can almost guarantee that it is lying on the other side of the flat. So I am running around following the ring, and the poor little thing is not really having a very enjoyable time, as running and feeding a newborn are not compatible, at least in my opinion.

This is where I have discovered the nifty little thing called a Pockaboo – a sort of tool belt for new moms. It is made out of 3 pockets in which you can stash all of your little bits and pieces. The pockets are big enough to store small water bottles, mobile phones etc., but also small enough that things cannot get lost at the bottom of the bag. The pockets are attached to a belt, so you can do a multitude of things with it: swing it round your waist, hang it from the back of a chair or a cot, or even when you (eventually) manage to get out, you can hang it from the back of your pram.

Ingenious, I think! Trust two moms to come up with the idea after they realized that there actually is a way out of the chaos of having a baby!

– Emilie

Hook ‘n’ Stroll

Happy HookSometimes the most useful things are also the simplest. These Happy Mummy Hook ‘n’ Stroll pram hooks belong to that category.
They have Velcro straps (so they will fit any pushchair bar), the big hook rotates, and they can hold up to 10kg… what else can you ask for?
I bought my set in London and am always stopped in Milan by other mums, and even shop owners, asking where to to get them. Unfortunately they are not yet for sale in Italy, but many websites carry them and some do not have high international shipping fees.
Just do not overload your stroller now!


Trainer chopsticks

Chopstick KidsMy friend, Amanda, called yesterday and asked if I had any good recommendations for trainer chopsticks. I didn’t have any, but I figured Jenna from Babygadget would be the expert… after all, she is a trusted kiddie product reviewer, is in the food business, has two kids herself, AND is Korean. If that’s not expertise, I don’t know what is!

A search on Babygadget came up with a few different options. It seems the Edison Chopsticks are the best because the positioning loops help your kids know where to place their fingers. But because they are sourced directly from Korea, they’re apparently hard to get your hands on! The Chopstick Kids trainer chopsticks (pictured) are pretty cute and are made of dishwasher-safe, food grade silicone. And the Combi Trainers are good because they allow for a three-step training process. (more…)

Shopping made easier

bag.jpg bag2.jpg To save on labour costs, many Italian supermarkets now allow regular customers to use a bar-code reader while shopping to scan their groceries. Once the shopping is done you return the reader to a dedicated till and pay. This helps reduce queues at the till and shopping trips become faster.

This whole process is made even easier, if you use the easyshopping bag from Reisenthel. This useful bag stretches across the entire width of the shopping trolley and hooks on both sides. After filling the bag with groceries you just un-hook it, shut the aluminium bars and carry it away!
They also come in different colours so you can easily separate your shopping while still in the supermarket. How cool is that?
They have many retailers all over the world and the Reisenthel online shop ships internationally.


Trolley Dolly

Trolley Dolly

Sometimes someone comes up with a new concept that feels so logical and natural that it’s hard to imagine you ever lived without it…
This is how I felt yesterday when I first went grocery shopping with the Trolley Dolly. Invented by the clever Zoe of ZPM (Courtney wrote about her smart weekender bags before), the Trolley Dolly is basically a little bag holding loads of super strong and lightweight, nylon shopping bags. The purpose of this bag is solely to reduce the amount of plastic bags in the grocery shopping system, and thus on earth. (more…)


stroll1.jpgIf you are like me and own way too many strollers compared to your floor space, then you are going to love StrollAway.
It’s a sleek steel hanger which fits on every door and holds any type of stroller (it even folds flush on the wall when not in use). It seems like a smart way to keep your flat tidy by using that empty space behind your closet door. I found out about this brilliant and simple idea on cool mom picks, and I’m thinking I should get one immediately (they plan to have retailers in Europe by mid July).

The days of tripping over the stroller when entering our flat may soon be over!



driinn3.jpgHave you ever kicked, stepped on, or hit your mobile phone (or PDA or ipod) while it was charging? I bet you have — it has happened to me way too many times. So I was quite happy when I saw Driinn in a bookshop the other day. It’s a plastic support that hangs between the charger and the wall socket, giving storage to the phone and its cord. Such a clever idea, and it looks nice too! driinn.jpg
It is 11cm high, it weighs only 26 grams and it is made of a special mix of plastic and rubber. Driinn is the product of a successful joint venture between an Italian firm (design and production) and a Dutch one (sales and marketing) and it’s now retailed all over Europe, in the US, Australia and New Zealand. But you can also buy it from the main website and they will ship it all over the world.


A Car Litter Bag please!

Car Litter BagWe just came back from visiting my parents in the South of France. It’s about a 12 hour drive from Amsterdam and, with two toddlers in the back, we decided to divide our journey into two stretches. On the way to, we stayed in a chateau near Orléans and on the way back we stayed in a budget hotel south of Paris (unfortunately Emilie was out of town). It was a big price difference between the two, but I actually liked both!

You might be able to imagine what my car looks like now that we’re back. Yes… A battlefield! The car-seat of my one-year-old is completely covered in banana (I said completely)!  In fact, I think the whole car is covered in banana: my son tends to throw his banana away with force when he decides he has had enough thankyouverymuch.
And at some point, the only thing I could do to keep the children quiet – after they slept, read books, listened to audio CD’s and sang songs – is to feed them snacks. (Does that make me a bad mum?)
Of course I tried to maintain order in the small space by removing chunks of banana from windows and other places and by gathering empty water bottles, juice cartoons, biscuit wrappings, pieces of sandwich etc. as well as possible. But at some point the litter bags were overflowing and all the small trash unavoidably ended up on the floor.

My next road trip with kids will definitely have to be more organized.
I will have a washable cover for the car seat, I will possibly (depending on finances) have portable DVD players on both head rests, and I will DEFINITELY have a Car Litter Bag by The Mod Mobile. (more…)

Magical wand

Menu Propeller TrivetThis nifty little gadget is one of those things in my (small) kitchen that I use every day and LOVE!

This ‘magical’ wand by Danish designer, Jakob Wagner, unfolds (like a fan) into a trivet, protecting your table or counter-tops from heat, cold or liquids. And when you’re finished, it folds back effortlessly into a small stick that fits into your cutlery drawer!

It’s small, space-saving, and like most Danish designs — cool looking. You can buy it online from Scandinavian Design Center, or you can pay a visit to Skandium on Marylebone High Street here in London, where you’ll find loads of other Scandinavian design goods!


(Not just) Weekender Bags

ZPM Weekender BagOur first year in London (before children) we travelled everywhere. We were literally away almost every weekend making the most of our proximity to the rest of Europe. It seemed like we were always unpacking our suitcases only to pack them up again!

Travelling like that is obviously a luxury, but it gets a bit annoying to pack and unpack your cosmetic bag over and over again, making sure not to forget any little beauty or medical item you just might need while away.

I decided that what I needed was a cosmetic bag that would keep all my essentials in it at all times, travelling or not! The solution? The ZPM Weekender Bag. It’s big enough to hold everything, folds down small enough to fit into my suitcase or my bathroom cupboard, and when unfolded can hang from a hook with everything on display. (more…)

A little organization (and a lot of cool)!

Nokia N95 PhoneDoes anyone else feel like they’re losing their mind? I mean, I could have sworn I was much more ‘sharp’ back in the days BC (before children)…

Yesterday I put my 2-year-old’s underpants on the baby and without a second thought, walked away into the kitchen to cook dinner. The other day I left the house without a bra (and also forgot to brush my teeth!) and didn’t even realize it until I went to take it off at night! And the worst one (which was actually quite funny) was this weekend when I strapped a bib onto my husband at breakfast! He literally looked up at me with “are you insane?” in his eyes.

Well, possibly yes. But I just have too many things going on in my brain so the simple (and sane) things are slipping…

I wonder how my mom raised FIVE kids?!! (And without a fancy new mobile phone with a built-in calendar that sends reminders)…


Pen obsessed…

I have a very strange addiction: pens.

I must have over a hundred pens, and every time I enter a stationer shop I can’t help myself: I have to buy another one.
Of course I have my profession to blame (I am an ARCHITECT! I have to have MORE PENS!!), but secretly I totally admit that it must be some sort of mental problem.
They do take up quite a lot of space by now (not to mention the hassle of moving them over and over again), and I do confess that I don’t really use them on a daily basis.
Thus, my husband wants me to throw them away (what a silly idea!) or store them in the basement (what use would they have there??). But, sorry to say, I can’t part from them.

The crown on my extensive pen collection is a present that my husband gave me about 4 years ago: a beautiful Mont Blanc fountain pen, made of black resin and with platinum-plated details.

Mont blanc


V.I.P. (very intelligent pocket)

VIP purse pocketsWhile my husband thinks I have too many handbags, I own way fewer than I would actually like to. (Husbands don’t really get the whole handbag-per-season idea)! Still I do not switch bags very often because of the hassle of moving all my paraphernalia from one to the other.

Now I might have found the solution: VIP (very intelligent pockets) by Tintamar.

Nine pockets to help you find all your things with your eyes closed. All in a stylish and VIP pockts hard-wearing material that’s washable in soapy water. You move it from one bag to the other, making bag change quick and stress-free. They come in many colours and have a business version (larger, to fit in briefcases) and a men’s one too. Another excuse to buy a new handbag!


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