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.

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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

 

Five second rule

In my house, one of the first rules my children will quote is the famous ‘five second rule’. It is the rule that, if any food has fallen on the floor in the kitchen, it can possibly still be eaten f it is picked up very quickly.  (They learned very quickly that the five second rule did not apply to the lovely streets and boulevards of Paris!)

I always thought the five second rule was a complete myth and just a good excuse for tired parents not to have to go fetch yet another cookie or throw away a sandwich with just one bite in it, but turns out I was possibly wrong. Scientist at a British University have found proof that the five second rule could actually be true! I love it!

Now I am wondering, is the five second rule just a European thing? Or even maybe just an English thing?

– Emilie

Playtime Paris standout: April Eleven

Every gorgeous object in the stand of April Eleven is not only designed, but also entirely handmade by the sweet owner and designer Charline herself. We loved the no-nonsense design, the usability of the objects, the beautiful fabrics, and above all, that gorgeous little baby swing.

xxx Esther

The Little Things… an easy-to-sew child’s apron made from a dish towel!

For this week’s The Little Things, I’m showing you how to make a super sweet, and super easy-to-make child’s apron out of a dish towel! No kidding, if you have a sewing machine (or know someone who does!), you can make this apron.

One simple dish towel and two (shoe) laces is everything you need to get started!

The sweet image above (drawn by Sara Musch) shows you exactly how to do it. Click here for your free download! And yes — it is really that easy. You only need to sew seven straight lines! Two for the arm holes, and five for the pockets…


My mum taught me to use a safety pin to easily thread a ribbon through a channel. It works really well!


The end result is cute as a button. And what a sweet gift for the holidays!

Enjoy making this… (And please share the result in the comments below!)

xxx Esther

PS  This is the third post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking the beautiful photos, and Sara Musch for the sweet download! I used an apron and shoelaces from Hema, and Ava’s shirt is from Nils & Happy to see you.

Landmade, for simple household items from France


One of the many advantages of living in a relatively small flat in Paris is that my storage space is limited, which in turn means that I  don’t accumulate a lot of useless stuff. (BTW, this actually goes completely against my nature, so it has been an ‘interesting’ learning curve — to learn to think hard before buying!). Basically I have been trying to stick to quality rather than quantity.

I love, love, love this French website I discovered recently as it sells simple household items that have been around for generations and have one thing in common: quality. Most of the items are French-made or from neighbouring countries. Every single thing on the website has a story and is guaranteed to be useful for a very long time. Here are some of my favourites: the great Duralex glasses I wrote about a while ago, the cast iron “cocotte“, the swipping pan that actually looks nice just hanging in the kitchen.

My other favourite is the chestnut chair which is made in my region, the Limousin, so I have a little sentimental attachement to it! Unfortunately the website is only in French at the moment, but it is pretty easy to navigate, especially with google translator.

– Emilie

Sigg Bottles


Summer means drinking a lot of water. I read somewhere that a grown-up should drink at least 1.5 litres of fluids a day. I tried it once and it did make me feel great, but it actually took a huge amount of effort and I have not done it since! One of my pet peeves are all the plastic bottles we use. Partly because they must be the worst thing for the environment and also because I can’t help thinking of all the plastic nastiness that must be seeping into the water itself (BTW I might be completely paranoid, as I don’t have any scientific evidence to prove said plastic nastiness).

Anyway, this brings me to my newest item I cannot live without: my Sigg bottle, a light-weight metal bottle that I fill up wherever I go. I have the 60 ml version, the kids each have the smaller version. Taking our bottles with us has so much become part of our routine now, that we rarely need to buy bottles while we are out and about. Hopefully this is a little helpful for the environment, to our health and also to my wallet!

- Emilie

Enamel love!


I recently picked up some enamel pieces — I love enamel! I like the clean look of it and the timelessness of the pieces. Enamel is in fact metal with a thin layer of paint and glass over it. It is perfect for children, as it won’t scatter in pieces when it falls, but pieces of the glass and paint may chip off (showing the black metal underneath). When that happens don’t worry — the metal will naturally oxidise and is still safe to use. Enamel is also oven proof — I love the enamel oven dishes!

Here are where I found the above pieces:

1. Big jug (or vase) from Ikea
2. Tumblers from Falcon
3. Red measuring jug from De Emaillekeizer
4. Oven dish from De Emaillekeizer

xxx Esther

Cachette — wonderful finds!!

Cachette is a new Anglo-French lifestyle concept store that has recently launched, and it is selling a gorgeous selection of homewares and children’s products. I love the artisan quality of it all, the simplicity which has a directness and honesty to it that reminds me of other times, without it being antique or scruffy at all — it’s a super fresh collection! All the finds are totally up my alley, and I’m pretty sure will be up yours as well…

xxx Esther

Duralex Glasses


In a household of 3 clumsy girls (I can bank for the fact that clumsiness is indeed genetic), we need hardened utensils, that can survive a lot of rough and tumble. Thus, I am a big fan of Duralex, famous for making the same iconic hardened glasses for the last 60 years at least.

Have you ever been served a coffee in a little glass in a French café? Probably a Duralex Gigogne glass. Show any French person a Duralex Picardie glass and it will take them back to their school cantine days, where everyone got to drink out of Duralex glasses. I love their utilitarian chic and the fact that they are almost unbreakable (I say almost, as I will never forget my mother trying to demonstrate how unbreakable these glasses are by hurling one on the floor, where it smashed into a thousand pieces, much to her embarrasment!). They are perfect for families with young kids, especially if you are getting a bit tired of colourful plastic cups.

I picked my glasses up at Merci, but I also found them on this website which deliver internationally. Alternatively, you can find them in most French hardware shops. For our readers on the other side of the Atlantic there is a dedicated USA Duralex website!

-Emilie

Sweet summer bowls


We’re vacationing in France at the moment, and I came across these adorable bowls in a store yesterday. Of course I just couldn’t resist — thinking they would just be perfect for breakfast in the garden, or for serving summery dishes like blackberry cobbler! They are available online through the online store of Comptoir de Famille, or in the UK at Divertimenti.

xxx Esther

Dinosaur Cookies (fun boys activity)

My son Pim just started school (here in the Netherlands school starts at the age of four), and he’s still getting used to the whole ordeal. He’s really exhausted when he gets home in the afternoon, and I can see (and imagine!) that the whole thing is a big change for him. Getting used to the bigger boys, making new friends, learning to learn and behave…
Anyway, he needed a bit of special attention so he and I made fun dinosaur cookies when his big sister was away on a play date the other day. We got these cute dinosaur cookie shapes for him when we were in London last month, and we made and ate a whole batch of them. I used the sand-cookie recipe that I’ve written about earlier, and which is great because it’s easy and children can be very involved in the process. Similar cookie cutters are available on Amazon (UK or US)…

xxx Esther

TG Green Special Edition Mugs


Some people spend their life searching for the holy grail. I spend my life searching for the perfect mug. I was brought up with the belief that a cup of tea is a remedy to anything from a common cold to a broken heart. All the politicians out there take note: sitting down with a good cup of tea will pretty much solve the world’s problems!

So as you might be able to guess, I have tea making down to a fine art and I reckon the receptacle of the tea is almost as important as the tea itself! I don’t like fussy, little china cups or mugs with silly logos on them. My mugs need to be substantial but not too big — the result is cold tea. Check out these mugs from TG Green: Perfect! I love the colour twist on the classic cornish blue pottery. I think having a good cup of tea out of the bright yellow strippy mug is going to make me happy!

-Emilie

Dala Baking Tins from Ikea


I have visited Ikea quite a bit recently — something I both love & hate.  I love that you can fill a trolley, spend a £100 and really feel like you’re getting your home in order.  I hate that every time I go I lose someone (last time I lost my Mum for 45 minutes — imagine, if you will, a thirty-something woman approaching the info-desk with the words “I’ve lost my Mum!”).

Anyway, are they stepping up their bakeware or am I just slow on the uptake?  I was really impressed with their baking accessories, cupcake papers and doilies.  I couldn’t resist these Dala horse (Mama & Baby) bake tins – so cute! I baked Courtney’s famous carrot cake in them over the weekend, which has become a favourite recipe in our household.  However, my only problem was getting the cake out in the end — does anyone have a great cake recipe that is meant to be baked in a tin like this and therefore slips out?

-Mo. x

The Lunchbox

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Unlike the UK and France, where I’ve been told kids get a warm and nutritious lunch at school, here in the Netherlands we send our children to school with the traditional lunchbox. Every morning I find myself in the kitchen preparing sandwiches for Pim and Sara, with some cold sides like fruit, cheese or vegetables (or whatever I find in the fridge). We don’t traditionally eat warm lunches here, and anyway there’s no means to warm up food in the school.

Because I’m quite often stuck in the morning for original ideas to fill the boxes, I’m thinking of creating a (printable) list of ‘ideas for the lunchbox’. Now I only have 10 minutes for this in the morning, so creating fresh sushi or sandwiches in the shape of an octopus is not for me (yes I know, my poor children). Do you have tips for me? Whether food items, easy recipes, good lunch boxes or shopping tips, I’m interested to hear. To be continued.

xxx Esther

PS Unbreakable stainless steel Eco Lunchbox from GreenJump.nl

Retro-inspired Personalized Lunchboxes

These gorgeous personalised lunchboxes by Feterie are high on my birthday list for my children this year. With a bit of a retro-cool vibe, they are of lightweight tin construction and as functional as they are stylish. I think they’d be great for toting around paper and coloured pencils too, or whatever knick-knacks it is kids love to drag around (footy cards in my son’s case).  I can also imagine them being great for keeping all my daughter’s hair paraphernaila together — those elastics, clips and ribbons crop up all over the house, yet when we need to tie her hair each morning for school, there’s never one to be found! Feterie ship world-wide.

- Sara

Snowden Flood Mugs


I often get nostalgic for London — I spent 10 years there and it is one of my favourite cities in the world. I also like the look of London — it may not be as beautiful as Paris, but it’s much more interesting with so many different buildings from so many different eras.  Paris is very homogenous, whilst London can surprise you at every corner you turn.

I found these mugs at the great shop Loulou Addict and could not resist getting a couple. They are designed by talented British designer Snowden Flood. I love the look of them — they are perfect for my morning coffee… and if I can’t come to London at least a tiny bit of London can come to me!

- Emilie

A quick word on Baker’s Twine

I have a bit of an obsession with baker’s twine.  I ordered 4 huge spools of it a few months ago and I am looking around for more. Now I’m no crafty, but even I can think of a million uses. In fact, we seem to be using it in some shape or form at least once a day (yesterday my daughter used it to make some bunting for her dolls house). Great for gift wrapping instead of ribbon, just team with brown butcher paper… It is also beautiful for wrapping baked goods. It adds a nostalgic, rustic look that is simple and classic. Traditional red and white baker’s twine is perfect but I am totally smitten with these delicious, eye-popping colors from The Twinery.

- Sara

Lark in Dayelsford

One place I always recommend (sometimes even insist!) our visitors to Melbourne see is the picturesque town of Dayelsford. Dayelsford is a village in rural Victoria in the heart of the Wombat Forest; so pretty, so quaint, peaceful & dignified, just as a spar town should be, but with the hippest cafes, shops and restaurants you can imagine! There are several things you must do when visiting this adorable town — have  your tarot read, take in the local markets, stroll through the forest, visit the mineral spas (the Shire boasts the highest concentration of mineral springs in the country together with an equally large array of therapists) AND stop by Lark to indulge in some retail therapy! (more…)

MadeIt for unique handmade finds

madeit_header72dpi-newPacked to the rafters with local designers and craftspeople, MadeIt is a virtual craft market containing a wealth of handmade housewares and goodies. It is my go-to source when I want something unique, affordable and hand-crafted. It is similar to Etsy but supports only local Australian talent.

What I love about the site, apart from the fact that everything is handmade and local, is that it brings you, in one spot, everything you can’t buy at your local shopping mall. It takes the legwork out of shopping for those unique, handmade goodies which I  love to buy but can take me forever to look for.  And of course there is something gratifying about buying a locally made gift, supporting your local economy. (more…)

Third Drawer Down

DAM_BROMLEY_PRINT_mediumI do appreciate a nice tea towel… and I’m fussy with mine. Perhaps it relates to my textile obsession.  Nonetheless, I like them to be made of good quality linen, aesthetically pleasing… and generally I find, the more use they get, the better they look. Now, because of this ‘pseudo fetish’, much to my husband’s amusement, and at times sheer frustration, I am always scouring the shops for tea towels.

Recently looking out of the car window at the lovely window shop display, waiting for the traffic lights to change…

Me in passenger seat: ‘Wow, is that…are they…my goodness I think they are tea towels!’
Husband in driver seat: ‘No, no darling, that’s just a painting…’
Me: ‘No husband, I really don’t think so… they look like linen… I’m sure they are tea towels. Yes, yes they ARE tea towels! Quick…STOP! I’ll be really quick!’
Husband rolls eyes and pulls over. And that was how I came to acquire 3 tea towels from Third Drawer Down(more…)

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