An (attempt at an) organised entrance way

With 6 people in the house, we have to deal with a lot of coats, scarfs, hats, shoes and boots in our tiny little entrance area. It’s so difficult to keep this area in some sort of order! This is how we organise our entrance at the moment (suggestions are welcome of course!):

  • A coat rack installed on kid’s height — so they can hang their own coats.
  • A second coat rack installed above coat rack number one, with 4 baskets hanging from it. One for each child — for (sun)hats, scarfs, mittens, shinguards, helmets etc.
  • Underneath the coats — pull out shoe storage.
  • On the wall — chalkboard wall stickers with the children’s sports and music classes
  • I keep sunscreen and umbrellas next to the door as well as a mental reminder to bring them if necessary

xxx Esther

Wool Fabrique

Toward the very end of our day at Playtime, as we were frantically running out of the building to catch our taxi (late, as usual!), we stumbled upon the Wool Fabrique stand… and we literally stopped in our tracks! The taxi could wait — these gorgeous goodies were too good not to check out.

Wool Fabrique was started by artist/designer Maya Bekto, a mum of two. Her designs come to life on wool carpets, baskets, and cushions using the traditional techniques of the loom. I love the bold colours and the colour combinations she uses. Everything was really SO so cool. She doesn’t yet have an online shop, but if you’re interested in purchasing something she said she’s happy to take personal orders if you get in touch with her (contact details here). I think I might just order everything… (I wish!)

x Courtney

Tin Trunks from Toast


I must have a thing for trunks. We have a few scattered around the house storing all sorts of things: dress-up clothes, toys, my knitting supplies, winter scarves and hats, etc. I like that you can use them as decor (they look cool just placed on the floor!), but they’re also handy for storage. I stumbled upon these tin trunks on the Toast website this week and just thought I would share my find. They’re available to pre-order, and I have a feeling they will sell out quickly.

-Courtney

Boon Frog Pod

Have you recently taken a close look at your baths toys? My husband is mostly the one bathing our kids, but last week I happened to be the one scooping the toys out of the bath. Two comments:
1. Where does that black residue on and in the bath toys comes from? Is that mould???
2. How come my husband doesn’t take notice of the fact that the toys are dirty when he’s the one storing them away every evening? (Let’s just ignore this point.)
Time for action. I carefully washed the toys that could be saved, and tossed the ones that couldn’t. Then I got myself a Boon Frog Pod, partly because I always thought it looked so cool, and partly because (I hope) it is now easier for my husband to rinse all of the toys after bath time.

So far, so good. The frog is super easy to install, and looks super cool in our bathroom. It stores away all of the toys, and it also has a very handy shelf for the baby bubbles and shampoo. And no mould yet!

xxx Esther

PS Do you have tips on good bath toys? I think our kids’ favourite ones are the old-fashioned stacking cups!

Smart bags


Have you seen the Envirosax yet? Pretty clever, these foldable bags, and such fun designs too! I really, really loathe plastic bags these days. It’s just such a waste, all of that plastic, and so unnecessarily destructive for our environment. If you read these facts, you probably won’t touch another plastic bag ever again! In the Netherlands, more and more shops keep a ‘bag bubble‘ in their shop, where customers can leave plastic bags for others to re-use, which is such a clever initiative. I personally make an effort to keep a little shopping bag rolled up in my handbag at all times (loving the green robot bag from the Kids Series). And for my weekly shopping, my Trolley Dolly is still going strong! What do you do for the fight against plastic?

xxx Esther

PS Fun fact: the founder of the Envirosax company, Belinda David-Tooze, lives in one of the most innovative, totally sustainable eco houses in Australia together with her husband and three small children. So amazing!

Everything in its place…

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.

-Dina

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…)

On the move

moving-houseWe’re moving. This weekend. To a tiny little house in the same neighbourhood. We’ve been in an apartment for the last few years, so we’re super excited to have a garden, even though it will be teeny tiny!
Although we’ve moved a couple of times before, from country to country, and even with kids, it seems like we have never had so much STUFF to move as we have now!!  When my husband (then boyfriend) and I moved to NYC 9 years ago, (and moved in together for the first time), our ‘things’ consisted of 8 boxes.  It seems like we must have around 80 now!
Last week, in a faint attempt to get organized, I decided to go through all of the old baby and kids clothes that I’d gathered in big garbage bags in our basement…  Ouch.  Who knew that two children (admittedly of different sex) could have gone through so many clothes?
Now that I know I’m having a girl, I could at least give away most of the baby boy clothes.  But of course we have kept the girly things, the baby bath, the tummy tub, the bath seat, the Bumbo seat, the activity mat, the moving music mobile, the play pen, the toddler bed…  I think we’ll need a moving van by itself just for the kids stuff!
Did you move house with children before? Any tips?? Tell me, is there any secret that I should know about that will make the transition as easy as possible?  (And please don’t tell me I should have been preparing for weeks already!)

xxx Esther

Multitasking homewares

tub trugsThe time has finally come to stop washing Little C in the bathroom sink. He’s 15 months old now (how did that happen?!) and we almost have to oil him to get him out of the teeny tiny basin. In our new apartment we don’t have a bath, and I don’t really want to buy a baby bath – after all, what on earth do I do with it once he’s finished with that! Space is at too much of premium to just store things. So I’ve taken the plunge and bought a Tubtrug from the Australian storage mecca of Howards Storage World. I know some of you probably have a Tubtrug already to store toys, but I was won over by the new shallow design (and that sunny yellow). It kind of reminded me of the paddling pools I had as a child and thought it would make the perfect bath… and washing basket, and toy storage…

-Natalie

Toy bags (or so)

LidanI love these hand-made Lidan bags from Ikea. I discovered them by accident in the bathroom section when I needed soft toy storage for the few wooden toys belonging to my first baby (how things can change), and have used them ever since for all sorts of purposes around the house. As toy storage like I said, but also in the bathroom, in the cupboard, in the garden, etc. They come two in a pack, have a loop for hanging and are very, very kind on the wallet. Best of all? Washable at 40°.

xxx Esther

Ikea hacking

ikeahack.jpgWe all love Ikea, don’t we? It’s pretty cool, modern and most of the things are practical and durable. But the planetary success of this furniture maker means that homes all over the world are filled with the same pieces. I don’t mind so much if everyone else has the ivar bookcase, or the benno cd storage unit or the expedit storage system. But you might, and so do other people. That is why a new branch of DIY was invented, and it’s called ‘Ikea hacking’.

I discovered Ikea Hacker a few months ago while browsing the internet and I have been following its updates regularly. The site collects the ideas and projects of people who have found new ways of using Ikea pieces. Some are simple, just different ways of using a product, while some are serious DIY projects.  But they’re all interesting to look at — it’s amazing what people can come up with for a benno cd tower, or an expedit or the ivar! (more…)

StrollAway

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!

-Michela

Gumhooks

Gumhooks Aren’t these gumhooks cool?  These soft, silicone hooks are perfect for a kid’s room because there are no sharp edges. I like the idea of hanging them at a level your kids can reach so they can hang their own coat up without worrying about tearing or damaging the clothes.

Plus, I just think they look cool. Each hook is sold separately so you can choose which colors you want (broccoli, carrot, pumpkin, eggplant).
Actually… forget the kids. These would look cool in any entryway, hallway or closet! And who doesn’t need more hooks in their home?

-Courtney

Three little monkeys

Monkey Door HangersI had seen these cute over-the-door hooks before, but I just went to my friend, Kim’s, house and saw them on display in her son’s room… and now I’m hooked! (Pardon the pun).

No need to put holes in your walls, these cute monkey door hooks just hang over the door (or cupboard, or drawer). It makes perfect use of that hidden storage behind doors– great for city living where spaces are small and storage is limited.

They’re cute AND functional, and I love the bright green! (more…)

Too many toys?

NorreboAt some point there is no escape possible. You need extra storage for your kids’ toys…

This Norrebo storage bench from Ikea does the job wonderfully. What I really like about it is the fact that, unlike conventional toy chests that have a flip-up top, it works as a huge drawer. Because of that, the top stays closed and can be used as a bench for sitting, or to display more toys on top. In our case it houses my daughter’s kitchen!

It’s solid birch wood, and having said that I think the price is very reasonable. The simple design of it makes it easy to blend into any interior.

xxx Esther

PS. If you happen to be living in the U.S. and have a great storage solution, you can enter it in the ‘Now you see it, now you don’t’ children storage contest from Ohdeedoh!

Better than a bean bag…

Karmameju CushionsSince we all live in relatively small spaces in big, expensive cities, storage is constantly an issue. We certainly don’t have enough storage space in our flat, so we’ve really had to be innovative…

One of the most clever (and cool) storage options in our home is the Karmameju Storage Cushion. It is essentially a fabric cover meant to store your spare duvet or extra pillows. When stuffed, it is a stylish lounge cushion (or bean-bag) to place anywhere in your house. My kids lie on it when watching movies, but even when it’s not being used, it just looks cool sitting there. (more…)