When Esther and I were in NYC last month, we stopped into the super stylish HATCH studio in Soho for a meeting with the impressively chic founder/designer, Ariane Goldman. She gave us a piece-by-piece tour through their collection, showing us the swanky new spring/summer items. Stylish, chic, swanky: three words that sum up the HATCH brand. Need I say more? Well… only to say that the clothing is truly meant for before, during and after pregnancy. The pieces are designed to be worn whether you’re pregnant or not. So, even though Esther and I will not ever be pregnant again (we promise!), we were still tempted by the weekend shorts, the boyfriend dress, the jumper and pretty much everything else!
Do your children know the difference between left and right yet? My kids really don’t. Even Sara, who’s nearly eight, can’t seem to get in into her head. This is why I love these shoelaces by Little Name. Such a cute and clever idea! And hopefully it will help her to finally master her left and right… (If it does, I should get them for my husband too!)
How beautiful are these works by Dutch illustrator Lieke van der Vorst? They have something so innocent about them, and at the same time they are so incredibly wise. They would be perfect for a nursery, a kids’ room, any room in the house, really. The third picture above is an illustration Lieke designed for a birth announcement last year. So, so sweet!
If you’re interested in Lieke’s work, you can her purchase postcards and prints via her webshop, or the bear postcards are available through BijzonderMooi as well.
Last year we had some friends over for Easter with us at home. It was an especially rainy one, so we did some crafts. We loved doing this ones with newspaper.
Great fun we had! And quite easy and cheap!!!
There’s something so contradictory about the first weeks after giving birth. Of course there is that wonderful, magical feeling of bliss — the birth, that beautiful, earthy smell, seeing and holding your baby for the first time, admiring every detail of him (her), spending your days on the couch, in bed, being so proud, feeling the love, the connection between your loved ones, changing miniscule nappies, dressing that tiny wrinkly newborn in those tiny little outfits you so carefully piled in anticipation for the big day, hearing him, smelling him, learning everything once again. Amazing.
And then there’s the part no one ever really talks about. The pain! Piles of enormous pads between your legs. Walking as if you’ve been horse riding for 3 weeks straight!
Being so tired, so drained. Being angry, being sad, being emotional. The tears! The confusion! The frustration. Endless hours of breastfeeding, every 3 hours, every 2 hours, every hour. Cracked nipples, strong afterbirth pains that make you cringe, the thirst, the sweat, and then, the engorgement. Boobs the size of melons, so big, so hard, and so painful.
I wish I had these Relief Pads from Boob Design when I was suffering from engorgement after the birth of my children. Especially after Ava it was pretty bad! It took a whole week — my boobs were huge, painful, hot, they were red and white and purple and I had to ’sleep’ sitting up which wasn’t so agreeable to start with! I SO needed these pads. Made out of 100% organic cotton and filled with natural flax seed, the Boob Relief Pads can be chilled in the freezer to soothe or heal tender and swollen breasts, or help relieve blocked ducts. They can also be warmed in the microwave or oven to warm up your breast before nursing, stimulate milk flow and prevent blocked ducts. And, they have a healing effect when breasts are inflamed or if you have mastitis.
Boob Design gave me a pair when we met at the Playtime fair, and even though my boobs are now doing fine, I still like to warm my pads in the micro and stick them in to my bra every now and then. It’s just so soft, warm and comfortable! They can also be used to pre-warm baby’s bed or push chair, or to stick around your neck for some relief after carrying a baby around for too long. All in all, if you’re (planning on) breastfeeding, I definitely recommend getting a pair!
When Esther and I were in NYC this past weekend we had the enormous pleasure of meeting the lovely Kirsten Lombardi, founder and creator of Manimal. We fell so in love with her moccasins that we immediately bought a matching pair of baby moccasins for Marlow and Casper, and then just couldn’t resist buying matching moccasins for ourselves! (Because friends who wear matching moccasins together stay together, I guess!) : )
Manimal was started in 2004 after Kirsten’s first visit to the American Southwest. Inspired by the traditional costumes and accessories of the area, Kristen developed a deep appreciation for the almost forgotten world of artisan crafts and craftsmanship. She went on to create a line of handmade leather moccasins and accessories for women, followed by the most adorable line for babies and children. All the products are handmade by craftspeople in Brooklyn, NY and other parts of New England.
It’s a good thing Kristen didn’t have any of her gorgeous tote bags with her when we saw her because I’m pretty sure I would have been tempted to buy one of those too! And then I might have risked divorce from my husband for having spent all our money in NYC! Ha!
The Playtime trade show is always such an inspiring event. So much talent, creativity, and entrepreneurialism all in one place. You would think that after visiting Playtime Paris just two months ago we would have seen it all… but the New York show offered up a whole new vibe, new designers and of course an excuse to catch up with some of our favourite brands. Here’s a recap in photos…
1. In addition to the cool neon reversible crowns we already know and love, Noe & Zoe are making Indian headdresses now! OMG! 2. Cute, colourful hairclips & accessories by Everbloom. 3. Drum roll please… Herschel is coming out with children’s backpacks and they are cool!! 4. Belle&Beanzer is a new baby brand with super soft Pima cotton baby basics and sweet little stripes.
1. Beautiful block-printed Indian fabrics make the dresses at Ode always so special. 2. We wanted to take home every single one of the adorable Hazel Village stuffed animals! 3. We loved meeting Alexis from Little Name and seeing all her great products in one place. 4. Of course this big green balloon was our favourite balloon at the show! : )
1. We loved discovering Radish Moon and their beautiful watercolour creations. We especially loved the round porcelain children’s dishes which remind us of our childhood! 2. Misha Lulu offers up something really fun and unique! 3. A cool collection from the Spanish brand Little Creative Factory. 4. Esther admires the sustainable kidswear brand KaLLio which creates cool children’s pieces from pre-loved men’s shirts.
1. The Oeuf NYC stand was really fun. It’s hard to not fall in love with everything they do! 2. We love the new pillows and all the prints at Mini & Maximus. 3. The highlight of the show was meeting these women: Celina Bailey from Petit à Petit and Family blog, Lindsey from Darling Clementine and Amanda from Coos & Ahhs blog. It’s really such a pity we don’t all live in the same city because I think we would all have a lot of fun together! 4. The lovely Celina Bailey snapping photos of the gorgeous Jess Brown dolls.
1. That Tootsa MacGinty bear jumper!!!! One of our favourite things we saw at the show! 2. Art installation which caught our eye. 3. At the entrance to the show with Celina Bailey. 4. Meeting the lovely Maria from Shop Belle!
1. The adorable little Lief, the inspiration behind the Little Lief brand keeping busy at the show. 2. Loved the organic colour-block pieces at Noch Mini. Keep your eye out for the hooded jacket. Very cool. 3. Another great Boy + Girl collection. 4. Pretty pieces and a fun time had at the Little Lief stand.
I have to confess, I have a strange addiction to note books. Now, I know I should have moved on to some paperless device, but my handbag feels empty without a notebook where I can write down lists, plan my future and try to sketch ideas for projects!
The problem is that often when I have a notebook and have written all of these important things in it, I promptly mislay it. I then get a new one, start a new list and lose that one too. At some point or another, I might get a fourth notebook just because it looks so lovely, write down an essential recipe in it and then that one disappears as well! Only to find one of the old ones back. In the end I usually have 4-5 notebooks on the go and have no idea where that world changing lemon cake recipe might be, or the pattern for a beanbag I tried to sketch, or the random ideas for Babyccino posts I might have jotted down….
Nice notebooks will always stay one of my favourite things and here are some I really like: The simple kraft covered booklets from Muiji, the famous Moleskine, the colourful Leuchtturm and the cute little Field Notes Booklets pictured above.
Mikodesign is a small Dutch label owned by the lovely Erika Harberts. Erika lives in Rotterdam with her husband and two darling daughters (who have inherited 100% of their mother’s good taste and creativity!), in a beautifully decorated flat with a little studio space in which she creates all of her amazing dolls, DIY kits, and other cute accessories.
Erika is one of the most creative women I have ever met. She designs and screen prints her own fabrics (look at this gorgeous onesie she made for Casper — it has an Amsterdam skyline on it; bakfiets included!), she keeps a beautiful and extremely inspiring blog, even designed and made an adorable play house in the garden a few years ago. The birthday parties she organises for her two girls are simply AMAZING — I think my favourite must be the Magritte detective party, but this Frida party is fantastic as well (and evolved in a line of beautiful Frida dolls and DIY kits). What an amazing, creative woman! (Who also happens to be super kind and sweet and pretty!)
The other day I was riding the bus with Ivy when she pointed out another passing bus. “There’s the C11 bus,” she said, “The C is a letter and the 11 is a number”. I was so impressed she knew the difference between letters and numbers, that I nearly fell out of my bus seat! And then I realised that I have been so bad at sitting down with her to work on her letters and numbers. I have completely relied on her nursery school to teach her those things. And the fact that I didn’t know she was able to tell letters from numbers is really a testament to how un-involved I have become. Sigh.
With my first child, I remember teaching him his colours, numbers and letters at such an early age. I would sit with him for hours and do puzzles, read books, play with letter games and practice flash cards. He knew every letter by the time he was 18 months! And here I am… four children later… and my 3½-year-old doesn’t even know all her letters.
I know this is probably a very common parenting issue, the difference between parenting your first child and your third, but I totally remember thinking I would never be that mum who runs out of time to devote to all her kids. I suppose the reality is… there is simply not enough time in the day. And also, I’ve realised that if Ivy doesn’t know all her letters yet, she will learn them when she starts school next year. And that all kids eventually learn to read and write, so it doesn’t really matter if they learn them when they’re 18 months or when they are four. Right? Or have I become one of those mums?
p.s. Alphabet Flash Cards available here.
Capturing Childhood is an online film and photography school offering online courses for getting to know your camera and improving your photography skills. Their courses are meant to inspire and educate, to encourage parents to capture the everyday moments with our children.
I recently enrolled in their Manual Overdrive course with the hope of learning how to use my camera in manual mode (are you like me? do you also have a fancy DSLR camera but have no idea how to use it properly?! I was desperate for some simple tips!). I had never taken an e-course before (!) and was slightly intimidated at first… but after just the first lesson, I realised how cool an e-course can be! The lessons are emailed over to you with a link to the course website. You can work at your own pace, choose when to devote some time to the lessons, participate in the online community boards, and get as involved with the ‘homework’ as you wish to be. I found the lessons to be straightforward and easy to follow. The teachers (Kat Goldin and Kat Molesworth) speak to you with the ease and familiarity of a ‘real’ conversation, making the online lessons more relatable, more personal.
Despite being an admittedly poor student, I did pick up some handy tips for using my camera, and I feel inspired to take more photos! Do take a peek at the Capturing Childhood site. I’ve just spotted they also now offer a ‘Shooting Stories‘ course about making movies!
(Photo from Capturing Childhood)
These Glisten Up! glitter tattoos have been a huge success in our house lately. We got them for Pim’s recent disco party, and the entire family — grandmothers included! — now is adorned with these glitter designs. They work a bit different than the usual tattoos: first you transfer the sticky design on to the skin, then brush on the glitter (three colours are provided) with the brush that comes in the package. It’s very, very easy to do, and the results are super cool!
Available through Amazon (UK or US).
Today I would like to share the tree hanger I made for my son’s room. I did it myself a few years ago and I remember it was much easier than I had expected! I made it with palet wood and it looks great in Nico’s room!
We decorate it acording to the time of the year and the season! It is fun! (Inspired by the great great Camille Soulayrol.)
Hope you like it and hope you give it a go. It looks good in many parts of the house, as long as you have a free wall!!
Finish company Lovi makes gorgeous birch-plywood postcards that can be sent as little presents and assembled as beautiful 3D puzzles by the lucky receiver — without the need of any tools or glue. All designed by Anne Paso and 100% produced in Finland by the family owned company, these cards appeal to all ages, and make beautiful little decor pieces in the house. So great to stock up on a few to send out as birthday presents, holiday cards, or these sweet bunnies as Easter gifts!
We love the spanish paper magazine, Kireei. Not only is it really nice to “touch”, with an amazing quality in the edition, but the contents are very very interesting. We have been reading it since the beginning. This number makes the third and it is dedicated to “living slow”. Articles about slow parenting, and living, crafts, inspiring decor and much more. We have ours at home and we enjoy spending some time with it!
Have a look at these awesome real life animal wall stickers by Amsterdam company KEK — how cool are they? I love the giant bear and the XL owl, but also adore the tiny hummingbird (which is flying around in Sara and Pim’s room) and this cute hedgehog. Wall stickers are such a quick and easy way to spice up a room, aren’t they? I also have been eyeing these fabulous tree trunks (I unfortunately don’t have any wall space left in our tiny house!).
This weekend Violette was invited for a sleep over so Coco and I were all alone. We ran some errands, grabbed a cup of tea together, she had a friend over, we talked a bit about school and life, we then did some crafting and went out for some food. Nothing extraordinary… but at some point in the middle of this, she turned to me and said: “You know mommy, it is quite nice to be just the two of us”, and she was absolutely right. Though I obviously love her little sister, it is really nice to spend one and one time with my big girl and I really don’t do it often enough.
The thing is, Coco and Violette get on very well and the three of us have a really good rhythm going on, so I have suddenly realised I have the tendency to regard them as a unit. Doh! (as Bart Simpson would say)! So this is my new resolution: trying to sometimes take a day with each kid individually. It a good resolution and hopefully I can stick to it! I am actually curious, do you manage to spend one-on-one time with each of your children?
PS The photo above of Coco and me was taken by Esther when we visited her in the Auvergne last summer. Happy Times!
Fashion designer Anja Schwerbrock is originally from Germany, and after spending some years in Japan (designing for Comme des Garçons!) she moved to Antwerp with her Danish husband to established her own fashion label. Quite an international affair! I loved meeting Anja over the weekend when I was in Antwerp. She’s such a fun, clever and pretty young woman. And obviously very talented — her fashion is amazing, and I hope one day I’ll be able to squeeze myself into one of her creations.
Last year, following the birth of her little boy, Anja started a baby fashion collection called ‘Treehouse‘ which is in one word adorable. I love the simple shapes, the dark colours, the natural fabrics. Most of the pieces are made so they can be worn for a long time: sleeves can be rolled and trousers can hang low and gradually become more fitted. The little outfit Casper is wearing here is from Treehouse, and it’s just perfect! I also had a little peak at the summer collection — with linen overalls and layered dresses. Swoon!