In a recent parent-teacher meeting at my girls’ school, the teachers brought up some interesting points. They were not worried about the lack of support coming from parents, but interestingly were more concerned that, in the last few years, it appears parents want to be friends with their children rather than an authority figure. In short: parents just want to be liked by their children! While it makes sense to want your child to like you, the teachers were noticing that discipline was becoming less important to parents than being the child’s buddy. One example they gave was a parent dropping her child off inappropriately dressed for the weather. When the teacher mentioned this to the parent, the answer was: “But she really didn’t want to wear a coat, so….”. Another example was a kid throwing sand into another kid’s face. When the teacher mentioned this to the parent, the comment was: “But he really likes to throw sand”.
Courtney and I were talking about this a few days ago and we starting wondering: are parents of our generation getting a bit too soft on our children and is it getting harder and harder for us to use the dreaded word “no”? If so, what is the affect this is having on our children and the way they interact with others and respond to their teachers?
This is just a personal observation, but I am interested to hear if you have experienced this too, especially in other countries? I am not feeling in any way nostalgic towards the good old days when discipline was enforced with a ruler and a dunce cap, but I do believe there is a happy medium, where children don’t consider parents their equal but know which line not to cross.
PS Above are a couple of very old photos of Violette’s reaction when I once told her “No”. She did not take it too well!
Karin Stenmarck is a Swedish designer living in Switzerland, who makes her collection of Sture & Folke blankets entirely by hand, using only the most high quality materials like Liberty fabrics, cotton velvet and natural linen. Her blankets are really beautiful; they are the kind of baby product that you just love to keep around in your house — baby, or not! The toddler comforter has a wonderful, generous size (I use it as a lap blanket myself all the time), and the different little ribbons on the front are not only stylish decoration, they are also great for babies who love to play with them.
We’re really excited to announce a new partnership with Baby&Me magazine which has us contributing a little column in their magazine each month and rounding up a selection of cute products to fit our topic. Baby&Me is a super stylish, monthly glossy which keeps London parents updated on all the latest news, fashion, design and other interesting lifestyle topics. We are thrilled to be contributing each month and thought it would be fun to share our selection here with you as well.
In this month’s issue I wrote about getting out in our garden with the kids, sowing vegetable seeds and enjoying the onset of spring. I also rounded up some cute fruit & veg products I’m loving right now. Here they are:
- This cheerful Tomato Poster by Fine Little Day, available at Abacus Kids (I already have the ‘Pear‘ poster in Ivy’s room, but think I might need to get this one too!)
- The origami notepaper sets from Lollipop are SO fun! The new fruit-themed ones are especially cute.
- Giant crochet cherries to make a cheerful statement in any children’s space.
- Baby’s first foods: soft vegetable rattles of course!
I’m already excited for next month’s contribution! Stay tuned…
Photographer and stylist, Emma Donnelly, sent over some photos from her recent photoshoot with Hucklebones and I think they perfectly capture how pretty the spring has been here in England with all the beautiful cherry blossoms, budding tulips and little girls in pretty dresses and bare legs!! Such gorgeous photos!
Of course you can’t go wrong when photographing Hucklebones clothing. It is just such a beautiful, timeless brand. And goodness, how cute is that little chambray romper?! There is something about Hucklebones that reminds me of springtime (and especially Easter!), and I think these photos capture both so perfectly.
You know that feeling you get when you look over at your daughter and she suddenly looks bigger? Like she must have grown a couple inches over night? Well that happened this weekend. I swear she went from squishy little toddler to tall young lady in the matter of seconds. My heart!!!
I have felt this way with the boys as well, but it seems especially quick with Ivy. Maybe it’s because she IS actually growing quickly — she’s one of the tallest in her class despite being one of the youngest, she was the first in her class to lose a tooth, and because she has older brothers she’s always playing with the big kids. (Such a contrast to me as a young girl — I was the oldest child in my family so I was incredibly naive and was always a late bloomer both emotionally and physically.) Ivy will turn five next month and those five years have sped by. I can’t believe it!
Is it just me, or does time seem to move more quickly with each passing year?! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just slow it down a notch?
We’ve known the talented French designer Virginie Dreyer for a while now. She has set up a few wonderful creative initiatives, for instance the charity project Tiny-Us, where you can download a selection of darling stationary. Virginie’s newest adventure is her most ambitious and wonderful to date : Tiny-Om, a gorgeous and meaningful line of precious jewellery.
Virginie’s unique designs, available in 18 carat rose or white gold, are all designed around her love for yoga. In her first Tiny-Om collection, she’s interpreting the lotus flower, which represents the seven chakras (the energy points within each person), aiming to create a link between worldly matters and the poetry of the soul. This results in a collection of fine designs, ranging from necklaces to earrings, in which each piece is provided with a protective nature.
The collection is made by hand with the utmost detail and care in the workshops of one of the most famous and celebrated jewellers of the Middle East, the Al Zain jewellery house in Virginie’s adoptive country, Bahrain. The level of craftsmanship of the pieces is remarkable — Virginie very kindly sent me a necklace to see by myself and I can witness — it is just so beautifully made. The level of detail is impressive! The presentation of the necklace is also admirable — it came in a specially made wooden box, amazing!
With Tiny-Om, Virginie is again giving a helping hand to ‘Présence’, a French charity helping handicapped adults and children, with varying degrees of developmental disabilities.
Luez Design and Play is a small New York-based design agency which is all about fun and simple design. The designer, Laura Rodriguez, creates products that appeal to both children and adults, and that will continue to add character to your home as your family grows. I love this little House Wall Hook, an adorable little decor piece by itself, but a useful hook at the same time. It is available in three pretty colours, and comes beautifully wrapped in a cardboard box, which includes screws and plugs to hang it. It would make such a cute gift (for a housewarming maybe?).
All items from Luez Design and Play are designed with love in New York City, and made with love in the USA.
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?
This is not your average Babyccino post but I wanted to speak openly about a topic I feel really passionate about. I want to talk about electronics and the way they are affecting our children.
I recently went on a school field trip with my 9-year-old son’s class to see the Vikings Exhibition at the British Museum. What lucky children to live in a city where they can take a short subway journey to one of the world’s best museums (and I must say, the Vikings Exhibit was incredible)! While in the museum, I noticed that some of the children had brought a Nintendo DS. The more I looked around, the more children I noticed who were playing games on iPhones, Nintendos and various other devices. I think my jaw must have touched the floor; I was absolutely shocked! Here we were, on a once-in-a-life time school field trip, in one of the world’s most fascinating museums, and these children were completely unengaged and uninterested in their surroundings. Some were sitting down against a wall with their little thumbs pounding against their device, others played as they walked around, bumping into people because they were so focused on the little machine in the palm of their hands.
When I asked the teachers if this was allowed, I was told that they weren’t supposed to be playing games, but that they were allowed to bring cameras on the field trip. It seems that nowadays iPhones and Nintendos are considered cameras because they all have photo-taking capabilities. So, the line between cameras and video games has become blurred, and to my astonishment, we now have children going on field trips with their video games in tow.
And not only this, but I am increasingly aware of young children sitting in restaurants with an iPhone, playing video games on the bus, watching DVDs on every car journey no matter how long. It seems children aren’t being given the chance to be bored, they aren’t being encouraged to create their own fun or to be present in the moment. What ever happened to good old-fashioned conversation? Talking to our children over dinner? Encouraging them to talk to each other? Or just waiting patiently to eat? What ever happened to observation? Taking in your surroundings on the bus? Experiencing exhibits in a museum? Asking questions, sharing observations, making memories?
In a few weeks my eldest will be going on a 4-day school camping trip. In a meeting this week to brief the parents, I asked if electronics would be allowed. And I opened a big can of worms! The teachers explained that the children would be allowed to bring electronics because it ‘keeps them quiet while on the journey.’ Another teacher explained that he thinks it’s good for children to embrace modern technology and to learn how to use electronics from an early age.
This is rubbish, and I feel compelled to say so.
We did not have iPhones or iPads when we were young, but miraculously we all know how to use them. Even my technologically impaired father uses a laptop and an iPhone with ease. Is there really any advantage to be gained by letting our children play games on our iphones? No. And with regards to ‘keeping the children quiet on the bus’… Really?! Shouldn’t they be singing songs, chatting to each other, looking out their windows, making silly faces to the people in the cars they’re passing? That’s what we did when we were kids and the bus ride was often one of the best parts of school trips. Why would we give them a sedative dose of Nintendo?
Our children are only little for such a short time. The window for imaginative adventures and play is so small. They have the rest of their lives to be attached to a device. Why start now?
p.s. I very rarely share my parenting views on this blog. I am generally quite open minded about the decisions other parents make, and I know that I am by no means an expert. But for some reason, this feels different to me. I hope you too will share your thoughts and comments, in favour or against my view. I would love for this to become an open dialogue between us all. xx
(Image above found here)
A few weeks ago Esther and I met up in Brussels to go to the new Little Fashion Week trade fair. One of the absolute highlights was meeting the super talented Italian designer Eloise Morandi. Esther had been following her and her brand Nina and the Little Things for a few years and I got to discover it for the first time. Such a treat!
Nina is a little girl who wears a red hat and a red dress, and who wanders around thinking about Little Things. Around this world Eloise has created cards, art, games, rag books, flip books and bags which you can have a look at in the online shop. I am sure there is much more to come! Have a peek at Eloise’s blog – it is so fun to see a designer having a great time playing around with her creations!
One of the things I love about our job, is the wonderfully supportive online community in which we work, and the amazing friendships we have developed over the years. Bloggers (and professionals working in the children’s retail world) are such a friendly, supporting group of people, I feel it makes such a difference from the often competitive and political atmosphere in other fields of business.
One of the friends we have made over the years, is the lovely Pepi Nikolopoulou from the Greek online boutique and blog Alice on Board. Pepi wrote a Weekend Getaway about her beautiful city, Athens, a few years ago, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.
Pepi is one of the five talented women who are organising the “Digital Neighborhood” event which will take place for the second time this year in Athens this coming Friday and Saturday. (She’s the cute blonde girl in the photo above!) The concept of this year’s event is “Growing towards the Future”, and it is open to everyone who is interested in creating a blog, would like to improve their existing blog, strengthen their Social Media presence, or is simply looking for inspiration. There will be tons of professionals walking around, like photographers, Social Media experts, journalists, portal owners, and bloggers of course, who will be there to offer knowledge, to exchange ideas, and to inspire with their success stories.
I’m so excited to be representing Babyccino Kids at the Digital Neighbourhood event this Saturday! I will be talking about how Babyccino Kids evolved from a friendship, to a blog, and then to an international business. I’ll speak about our growth, the structure of our business, our roles within the company, and our plans for the future. It will be so fun to share our story, and I’m so excited to meet some of our Greek readers and to learn from the other professionals at the event. And of course, I’m extremely thrilled at the prospect of hanging out with Pepi this weekend in her lovely city of Athens!
I was invited to try out the new Birdie London pop-up photo booth at Liberty last weekend, so the girls and I went over to check it out. We spent an hour in a pretty little private room in Liberty, playing dress up while they snapped some photos. It was such a fun time, and even Ivy (who hates having her photo taken) enjoyed it! I just got the photos back, and I LOVE them! I hope you don’t mind me sharing some with you? My favourite is the one where Marlow is crying! Such a perfect, imperfect photo! : )
Birdie London will be running pop-up photo booths in Liberty throughout the year, so it’s definitely worth checking their site and signing up for news on future dates. They offer one-hour photo sessions for £300, and then after the session they email you all the photos (for free) and you get to keep them, print them and use the files as you wish.
I’m definitely going to print some of these photos and hang them up in our house. And I’m already looking forward to the next session so I can get some photos with all my children!
I get confused every year by all the different dates for Mother’s Day. I’ve never understood why the UK celebrates Mother’s Day in March, when the rest of Europe and America celebrate in May! I looked it up, and here’s the rule: while the majority of the world (including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, China and the rest of Europe) celebrates Mother’s Day on the 2nd Sunday in May, the UK and Ireland celebrate on the 4th sunday in Lent, which is believed to go back to the 16th century when Christians would visit their ‘mother church’ annually, a day most mothers would be reunited with their children. Here in the UK, it’s also called ‘Mothering Sunday’. So… there you have it. The reason for all the confusion!
Anyway, a very happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers, grandmothers and mothers-to-be here in the UK and Ireland. Hope you’re having a wonderful, happy day surrounded by family and adoring children! xx
Montreal based company Sur Ton Mur offers a lovely collection of affordable art prints by some of Quebec’s best children’s books illustrators. The selection is carefully curated, of high quality, and very diverse thanks to the different techniques and styles of the illustrators.
All Sur Ton Mur artwork is signed (and, if applicable, numbered) by the artist. So if you like the prints above, make sure you pick them up quickly!
They would make wonderful additions to any little kid’s room, wouldn’t they? (Plus, there’s a great selection of prints for adults too!)
Because yesterday was the (official) first day of spring, I finally finished a little project I have been working on… Pillows! I used mixed techniques to put words on them — embroidery, appliqué, and painting with textile paint. I especially enjoyed the embroidery work — it’s been a long time since I did embroidery, and I forgot how much fun it is!
Happy spring everyone!!
We are big fans of the beautiful paper-cut maps of Famille Summerbelle, so we can only love this new line of notebooks that were released today. Featuring the famous World Map and the cities of London, Paris, New York City and San Francisco, they are just perfect to plan your next city trip, or use as a stylish destination for your daily scribbles. Just lovely!
I recently ordered a book of Marlow’s first year – an entire book of her photos from the day she was born until the day she turned one — and it just arrived! Oh my gosh, you should see the way Marlow carries around this book!! She loves it! She keeps pointing to all her baby photos and saying ‘baby’ and kissing every page.
Making the books is super easy. You just have to sync your Instagram account to your account on Blurb and it automatically fills in the pages with photos. If you don’t want to use the autofill feature, you can select your own photos from Instagram and then place them onto each page. So easy! I’m definitely going to order more!
Sycamore Street Press is a family run paper company that you might remember from the exquisite Baby Milestones Cards I reviewed a while ago. It is run by husband and wife team Eva and Kirk Jorgensen, who raise their two gorgeous kids together and come up with the most beautiful letter-pressed and printed designs. I love their original birthday card collection — so playful and fun!
Sycamore Street Press is giving away a $100 gift voucher to the winner of our second gigantic give-away. What a great prize to win, together with 15 other awesome prizes! You can enter this give-away HERE. (If I were the winner, I know what I would choose from Sycamore Street Press: the citron, poire and pomme letterpress art prints — so pretty!)
Happy Valentines Day! Our kids woke us up with the sweetest handmade Valentines cards this morning… But I had nothing prepared! So I quickly made these ‘lovebirds’, by folding a piece of paper in half and cutting it in a heart shape. A piece of masking tape keeps it closed and forms the beak. Inside I wrote little love message and poems. So when the kids come home from school they will have a little surprise waiting for them!