Some favourites from Couverture & the Garbstore


Living in London, I was often asked to share a list of my favourite shops in the city. Couverture was always at the top of my list. It’s been a favourite store for as long as I can remember, and even if I didn’t end up buying anything, I always loved popping into the shop for inspiration. They have a well-curated collection of women’s wear, including many of my favourite brands, and one of the best selection of children’s clothes and toys in London. They also have a really great selection of pretty homewares and accessories with brands you can’t find anywhere else in the UK.

I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my favourite brands and products in store at Couverture, starting with the women’s collection. For one, Couverture is one of the few stockists of Ace & Jig in the UK, and I love the pretty tops in this current collection. (Who am I kidding? I love everything by Ace & Jig.)  I’m also a huge fan of the Steven Alan collection, and this jumpsuit is so good! I discovered the new UK brand, Sideline, last winter and I’m so excited to see them stocked here, and lastly, these Rachel Comey clogs are so cool!


For girls, I love this Morley top, this yellow and white wool beanie, and how cute are the handmade wooden animal friends by Japanese designer, T-Lab?!! I think they make the perfect little birthday gift or stocking stuffer.


For boys, I always love the Penfield collection of coats, fleeces and vests.  I love this little Hansel doll of the Hansel & Gretel fairytale (and dolls for boys! yay!), and the elvish bonnets from Cecilie Telle, available in several different colours. Couverture is also one of the biggest stockists of Bellerose, one of my favourite brands for my boys.


Lastly, I love the baskets as well as all the Hay products in the homewares collection. And that vase! So pretty.

Couverture has recently launched a new website, which is good news for those not living in London, and they are now offering Babyccino readers an exclusive 15% discount, valid now until November 12th. A perfect excuse to get some holiday (dare I say it) shopping done early! Enter code BC15 for a 15% discount at check-out.

Courtney x

This post was sponsored by Couverture. All views expressed are my own, as well as my picks and preferences. I’ve been a longtime fan of this shop (since 2008 when it opened!) and am happy to be able to support them as they continue to grow. 

Origami napkins! (by Lollipop Design)


Aren’t these origami napkins from Lollipop design the cutest? And so clever and fun too! We always use cloth napkins for our meals — for environmental reasons, but also because I simply like the look of them. These napkins are so brilliant because they look so super cute, giving a really special touch to the table — plus, they serve some entertainment for on the table as well!

Origami napkin by Lollipop Design (photo Babyccino Kids)
Origami Napkins by Lollipop Design

My kids have each adopted an animal, and love folding and unfolding the pattern at the table. (Which, I must admit, they are so much better in than I am!) Unfolded, they are just like a normal napkin — with a really nice, interesting colour-block pattern.

Origami Napkins by Lollipop Design

I think these napkins would make such a sweet present too, maybe to bring to a dinner party? (I also have already marked them on my holiday list — can you believe that we have to start thinking of Christmas soon?)

xxx Esther

Petit Pehr: Storage baskets that make rooms look neat


With six people in a house, I am constantly tidying up. There’s no end to it! Once I have one room in order, I turn around to see the next in a state of explosion. Totally normal of course, and just the way it should be — imagine a house with little children living in it where there is no mess. That’s a house with no soul!


Regardless of the soul, I do like some sort of order around me. Especially since I’m working from home; I seem to be able to concentrate better when the house is in some sort of organised state. So I tidy up, constantly, and ask (hmm, urge) my kids to help me to do that. To make this job easier, I have assigned specific spaces to specific items — I have invested in clever and fun storage solutions over time, like old suitcases holding the yarn, market baskets for the Schleich animals, a big army crate for the marble track, fruit crates for books, etc…

Petit Pehr storage baskets (photo by Babyccino Kids)

And, I recently got these beautiful storage baskets from Petit Pehr — I love how pretty they are! I now, finally, have a place for the blankets in our living room, for the dolls in the girls’ room, for the lego in the boys’ room — even for the laundry in the laundry room! (Which, BTW, is another never-ending affair in our household!) There are many sizes of hampers and baskets at Petit Pehr — and so many great designs too. They all perfectly mix and match, making storage solutions a integral part of the room design; just the way I like it.


Petit Pehr is one of the awesome shops that is joining us for the ShopUp in NYC this Sunday and Monday. I’m so excited to have them there — they will be bringing loads of wonderful products (in addition to storage baskets, they have so many more beautiful home and kids room accessories!) — I’ll be sure to fill my suitcase with some of them!

xxx Esther

The beautiful creations of Masami Akatsuka of Cocon

cocon placematsMasami Akatsuka is a Japanese mama living in the south of France, and creator of the most delightful objects. Her artful collection, called Cocon, is entirely handmade by Masami herself, and the way she uses colour, material and detail is absolutely wonderful. There’s just so much character in all of her makings!

cocon placemats cocon placemats

I’m a serious fan of Masami’s work. We have a few of her products at home, like the placemats in these photos, and I love seeing them around me. They make everyday rituals just that extra bit delightful!

cocon bird mustard

This little bird on our sideboard is another silent reminder of Masami’s amazing craftsmanship. It’s so perfectly pretty (and sturdy and stable) and has so much expression in its little face — like a tiny piece of art.

Cocon is a very inspirational collection — I’m nowhere near as artistic as Masami, but I did put my sewing machine on the table this afternoon. A quilt is in the making! : )

xxx Esther

DIY: Seashell Mobiles

shell mobiles DIY
shell mobiles
Ivy making shell mobile
Ivy making mobile
making shell mobiles
Ivy's shell mobile
Happy Monday everyone! We’re back to regular posting this week. Thank you for all your sweet comments last week and for bearing with us while we enjoyed a blogging break.

The kids and I spent the week (hardly getting out of pyjamas!) in our little beach house on Bainbridge Island. We went for long beach walks, carefully observing the sea and beach life all around us. We watched eagles swoop down to catch salmon right in front of us, we watched seals bob their heads in the sea, we chased sea otters off our raft, we caught crabs and fish, and we collected seashells and sand dollars and all sorts of beach treasures.  At one point I asked Easton where his shoes were and he told me they had been up in the car for the past four days! I suppose it’s a sign of a good holiday when your kids spend all day barefoot and in their pyjamas.

During the week, we spent lots of time in search of seashells with holes in them so we could make mobiles. We occasionally found the odd clam shell with a perfectly symmetrical hole in them — so perfect for our little project. (I have always wondered how this hole is created in the shells and then someone on Instagram told me why, and it’s fascinating!!!) After we collected a big enough collection of these perfect shells, we then sat down to create simple seashell mobiles using string and driftwood. Ivy created her mobile all by herself, simply by tying knots in the string and threading the string through the seashells.

She was so proud of the end result (and so was I!) that we hung it up on the wall behind our bed. Such perfect decoration for our beach house (along with the dreamcatchers we made a couple years ago!).

Courtney x

The Furoshiki, a Japanese wrapping cloth

Have you heard of furoshikis? They are square fabric cloths used in Japan to wrap everything from lunch, presents, picnics, pillows, groceries, you name it! Made from gorgeous printed cotton fabric, furoshikis are as beautiful as everything coming from Japan.

furoshikis japanese wrapping clothBesides the primary use of a wrap, furoshikis are also great to be used as scarfs, napkins, picnic blankets, table cloths… The biggest size can even be used as a beach bag and once on the beach, it doubles as a perfect beach sheet. The uses really are endless!

Furoshiki japanese wrap cloth
You can find a lovely range of gorgeous furoshikis in different sizes at Musubi London, and here you can learn about the different wrapping techniques. (Don’t you love the wine wrap? What an awesome present to bring to a dinner party!)

xxx Esther

DIY: Printed Cardboard Box

Printed Cardboard Box DIY

I had a few items like socks, a hat, sunscreen, a lost toy, a diaper, probably also the pacifier etc. stacked in an ugly cardboard box in Talan’s part of the entrance way. I couldn’t look at it anymore but I also didn’t get a chance to find and buy a decent wooden box so I decided to make the best of it and painted and printed the existing one. I thought it couldn’t hurt and in the worst case I’d be finally pushed to buy one. But to my luck (and even more to my husband’s luck) it turned out kind of great. So naturally I thought I’d share this project with you 😉

Printed Cardboard Box DIY

If you haven’t guessed it already it’s super simple! You’ll only need:
-A cardboard box (the thicker the cardboard the better)
-Acrylic Paint (at least two colors)
-Sealant or Varnish
-A stamp or simple stickers (like triangles, dots or something these Tad Lapin Cats from Molly Meg)

Printed Cardboard Box DIY

First paint the inside of the box at least twice and wait between coats to dry completely. Then do the same with the outside of the box. I used two different colors – the grey one for the inside and the white one on the outside part of the box.

Printed Cardboard Box DIY

After the outside it completely dry (wait at least two hours) stamp the surface (I used a rubber stamp I did after this stamp DIY from Esther – Tila drew the image but you can also use potato or a pencil rubber or even stickers!). After you’re done with this step wait again for the prints to dry completely and apply two coats of sealant or varnish. I also used sealant on the inner side so the box will (hopefully) last longer.

So easy, isn’t it?


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Some photos and an interview with Little Years blog


A few weeks ago the lovely French/German photographer Christina Schumacher came over to our house to take some informal photos for an interview with the beautiful German blog Little Years, and I really love the way she captured our family. I thought it would be fun to share some photos here (well, more than some — it was too hard to choose!) but you’d better head over to the Little Years blog to read the interview here. It is the kind of interview that makes you step back and look at your life as an outsider, and then step back in and realise how lucky and entirely happy you are, with everything in your life — the joy, the sadness, the little things. Life is a journey, and a beautiful one.

xxx Esther


The sweetest nightlight from Tulipop

Tulipop bubble lamp nightlight
Ava needed a new lamp for her bedside table and when I saw the new product of Signy and Helga, the two beautiful fiends behind Icelandic brand Tulipop, I knew she would absolutely love it. How sweet is this Bubble lamp? It’s just prefect for her, so soft and sweet. Very comforting for a little girl that just turned five!

tulipop bubble lamp nightlight

xxx Esther

Aether Cone, a Thinking Music Player

Cone Thinking Music PlayerI’m sure every family is the same, but we love a bit of a swing in ours. Very often, after breakfast or dinner, we turn up the volume and dance in our living room. It’s crazy! We all join in, and it’s just so much fun. And very often, we end up with a big fat group hug in the end.

Also, sometimes when I’ve had a busy and difficult day, and I feel stressed and tired and my patience is low, it helps to get up and move, to be crazy, and sing along. Music surely is medication for the soul.

casper dancing on cone music player dancing children

It has recently become much easier for our children to initiate their own dancing because the awesome Aether Cone entered our house. The Aether Cone is not only a striking music player (in fact the most beautiful looking one I’ve ever seen), it’s also incredibly easy to understand and to work. Not only easy for me (too many buttons and screens put me off completely), but really handy for the kids as well! The only thing they need to do, is press the center button and ask out loud for any artist, song, or radio. Within seconds, the Cone will be playing their choice and our family will be in full swing!

dance2 dance3

And last weekend, my dad was here, and he just had the best of times with the Cone as well. He kept thinking of song and artists from his childhood (the early sixties), and voila — the Cone followed his commands without fail. Just to indicate how simple and fun it is to work with!

I’ve also understood that the more we use the Cone, the better it will get at playing the songs we love. I’m currently writing this with some lovely random background music in the background — I just took the Cone into my office (it’s portable with an 8-hour rechargeable battery). On the associated app on my phone I read that right now I’m listening to Isobel Campbell, a Scottish singer-songwriter. Nice suggestion, I must say!

xxx Esther

PS This post is sponsored by Aether, a company we respect for making beautifully crafted products that use powerful technology and simple, natural controls to make everyday moments nicer.

DIY: Dipped Wooden Spoons

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

I’ve been eyeing the dipped wooden spoons for a while now and the penny pincher in me decided to make something similar on her own instead of buying them. And they turned out great, plus the feeling of making something with my own two hands is priceless (when it succeeds anyway).

This project is also one of the easiest but it takes a little more drying time. You can use some old wooden spoons lying around the kitchen already or buy new (I got a bunch of them from IKEA).

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

The items you need are:

Wooden Spoons
Tape (I used Washi Tape)
Medium (optional)

I wanted the make the paint as durable as possible so I used both the medium and the sealer. The medium I used is for textile and it worked great!

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

1. Tape the line with a tape (I use washi tape because it’s the easiest to work with)

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY
2. Mix the paint with the medium (if you decided to use one) in 1:1 ratio and paint two coats (decide on weather you want to also paint the round end of the spoon) then wait for about 5 minutes and take the tape off before the second coat is completely dry – that prevents the paint to chip while taking off the tape!

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

You can use a low jar or a glass to dry them in but put the spoon face down!

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

3. Let them dry for a couple hours, put the tape on again and paint a coat or even two of sealer. And if you want the color to be really durable set the oven to about 150C and “bake” them for about 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and take them out only after the oven gets cold. Leave them rest over night before use.

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

4. I decided to give the spoons a little facial as well and made them Beeswax Wood Polish after this recipe. That made all the difference! You simply rub on warm conditioner, let it sit for about an hour and wipe off the excess. You also don’t need to complicate as much as I tend to do and just buy one.

You can also do some stripes, dots, heart or other embellishments. I wanted to keep my first batch simple but will definitely play around more with the second one. Maybe a little bronze ends?


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Design Mom’s book ‘How to live with Kids: A room-by-room guide’

Design Mom book How to live with kids

A few months ago my friend Gabrielle Blair, the famous Design Mom, asked me to share some photos of our home, for the use in the book she was working on. I was super flattered to be asked, because I have been a Design Mom fan from the moment we started blogging. Gabrielle is so incredibly talented, so entrepreneurial, so creative, so stylish, and so real. I love her down-to-earth style, her guts, and her drive to connect people. Also — I love how she shares her successes, as well as her difficulties. So you can imagine that for months I’ve been awaiting the highly anticipated launch of her book, and this week a preview copy of the book landed on my doormat… and it’s even better than I could have imagined!

Design Mom book How to live with kids
Design Mom book How to live with kids

‘How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide’  is a family lifestyle book full of inspiration, with beautiful photos of real homes. It’s full of useful tips stemming from real life experience with 6 children. Gabrielle shares easy decor tips and doable DIY projects, lovely family traditions and sweet tips. (Like: keep a box of Band-Aids within children’s reach in the bathroom, to make children feel in control when they have an owie, plus, when a little friend needs a band-aid, your child can help and get a positive experience with empathy. Or, one of my favourite phrases from the book: ‘Ugly couches can make beautiful childhoods’. So true!)

Sometimes parenting, interior or DIY books can be so terribly overwhelming. What I like best about Design Mom’s ‘How to live with Kids’ is that’s it’s all so approachable, so doable and so real. Gabby shows us that it’s no about what to buy, it’s about working with what your already have, to make your house happy, and wonderful.

The book is available for pre-order on Amazon (US or UK ).

xxx Esther

Hattie the elephant (from Four Monkeys)


When Pim was 2 years old, he pulled over a marble sculpture that my mum had made as our wedding gift and it broke in half. Thankfully we were able to restore it, but — better safe than sorry — we now keep our delicate sculptures in storage until our children are bigger. And I’ve been missing something cool on our floor ever since!

But then, I was browsing the super well curated collection of the awesome Austrian e-store Four Monkeys and my eye fell on Hattie the Elephant. And I couldn’t resist. Here we have a sculpture, a piece of art really, that is absolutely fine to display on the floor, within children’s reach, for children to play with, even. Because it is designed as a toy!

How cool is that?

Hattie the Elephant, heirloom toy from Four Monkeys (via Babyccino Kids) Hattie_3

Hattie the Elephant is made from beech wood and really royal in size, and it can be placed in different poses due to the elastic-band muscles, making it a fun and interesting toy that children will keep coming back to to play with. It is absolutely beautifully made and it is such a cool design element! (I also saw it on display in one of the world’s coolest shops, Hay House, when I was in Copenhagen recently.) Also, it is an extremely sturdy and durable sculpture, which makes the (steep) investment worth it, because this sculpture will survive generations of play in our living room. It probably will survive me! ; )

xxx Esther

DIY: Brown Paper Flower Pots

Paper Flower Pots
A couple of weeks ago I spotted these cute flower pots (that were really brown paper bags) neatly set down the stairs in front of some shop in Stuttgart and I loved it so much I went to buy craft paper bags and a few flower the same day!
This is such a simple and inexpensive DIY perfect for this time of the year.
I need to say am the worst when it comes to flowers, herbs or any kind of plants in general – my husband even calls me “the plant serial killer” and I’m afraid he’s not that far from the truth! How do you people do it? I always either water too much or I forget they exist for a few days too many. But I don’t and won’t give up – one day I’ll get it. Right? But until I do I’m buying the least expensive kinds, like the ones on the photo – don’t know their names, I just know they smell good. Or at least they did for two more days after entering my house. But the good news is they are still alive!

Anyhow, the steps for making these cute paper pots are super easy and you only need three items:
Brown Craft Paper Bags (mine are 12 cm wide)
Plants (mine are in 10 cm pots)
Pot Trays

Paper Flower Pots
First fold the top of the bag down a few times (put the pot beside the bag to see how far down).

Paper Flower Pots
Now fold the edges backwards along the fold lines and insert the tray first, then the flower.

That simple!


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Nursery idea: rug on the wall

yellow cot with rug on wall
My friend Mo, who owns Pipsticks and whom I’ve written about before (here), is expecting a baby girl (her fourth baby!) any day now. I was over at her house last week and asked to see her baby’s nursery… because honestly, isn’t there something so magical and exciting about a newly prepared little space for a baby? The perfectly clean sheets, the soft blankets, the miniature baby diapers… all just waiting for a baby to arrive! Oooh the anticipation!

I love the way Mo decorated the space, and I especially love her idea of hanging a colourful rug up on the wall above the cot.


rug hanging on wall
rug wall hanging


Mo told me she used a big yarn needle to loop pieces of chunky, grey yarn through the rug to attach it to a cheap, unfinished wooden dowel (which she picked up at her local DIY store). She spaced the yarn evenly, starting from the center, and made about 4 loops around the dowel at each spot. She then hung the dowel from the wall with nails. The whole thing took her only 15 minutes and instantly transformed the space. How clever is that?!

She bought the rug from Oliver Bonas which has a small, but nice selection of rugs. I love the vintage feel of the one she chose and think it looks so perfect above that yellow cot!

Courtney x

Photos by the talented Lesley Colvin

Pim’s bed, and wonderful Jim Flora wallpaper



Last weekend, my husband and I did something new for both of us: we wallpapered a wall. We learned a lot about measuring, cutting, and patience, and got to deeply respect the skills of professional wallpaperers. But after hard labour I’m proud to present the results: the wall behind Pim’s bed is covered in gorgeous blue wallpaper! Pim picked this design, featuring original drawings by the late Jim Flora, because he loves music and plays the trumpet. So it’s perfect.


I love the quirkiness and originality of the wallpaper design, and the dark colour makes his bed really stand out. The bed is made of brass and antique, we found it in France last summer, stuck in a corner somewhere at a ‘Vide Grenier’. The plexiglass Star Wars sign was found on the street when we lived in New York 13 years ago, before we were married and had children. We stored it all this time, until we had sons who would appreciate it in their room! I found the bedside table on the streets here in Amsterdam, and it displays all of Pim’s little treasures. (He is such a hoarder!) The house shelves were an investment I made a few years ago for the old room, and we still love them. The badger rug is from Molly & the Wolf.

xxx Esther

LileSADi, cool products with attitude

LileSadi_2 Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 15.25.46I recently discover Lile SADi, a Dutch (Rotterdam based) label with super cool and contemporary products. Founded by Dinah and Sarah a few years ago, Lile SADi’s collections cover graphic wallpapers and prints and wonderful kitchen and home accessories.  All products are manufactured here in Europe to keep craftsmanship and individuality alive.



Dinah and Sarah recently came out with a children’s collection and I so like all of the wonderful patterns and prints! So pretty and detailed and fun, and still so in style with their other work. How cute are those rabbit leggings? (Ava loves them!!)

xxx Esther


Last minute advent activity calendar

adventTomorrow is the start of advent — only 25 days to go ’til Christmas! We do have an advent tradition in our family — my mum always had an advent wreath on the table with 4 candles in a circle, and one candle was lit on every Sunday in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and then a fifth candle in the centre was lit on Christmas day. But we’re not accustomed to the advent calendar, the countdown calendar with 24 pockets filled with little presents or candy, counting down to Christmas day. I think this might have to do with Sinterklaas, who’s in the country till the 5th, overlapping the first days of advent and overdoing, possibly, the idea of giving.

Where I love the idea of getting ready for Christmas, slowing down and focussing on togetherness and goodness, I don’t really want to overflow our children with goodies after the feasts of St. Maarten (candy) and St. Nicolas (candy and presents). But I want them to experience extra warmth, fun, and also to comprehend the fact that they have a lucky position in the world.


Yesterday I spent some time working on a super last-minute advent calendar without gifts, but with ideas for fun, sweet, and genuine activities to make the weeks before Christmas extra special. I printed everything on grey card stock paper, folded and closed them with round sticky dots on which I rubbed transfer numbers beforehand. It’s nothing super fancy or special at all, but the simplicity reflects what I would like our advent to be!


Maybe you would like to play along? I’ve made the file I used into an advent activity calendar PDF. There are 29 activities, so you can choose the ones you like best. Just download, print, cut and fold, put a number on them and hang on the wall.

Enjoy, and happy first day of advent for tomorrow!

xxx Esther


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!


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

xxx Esther

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.


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


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

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