My friend Lindsey from the London-based Urban Mums blog had the ingenious idea of creating a business to help families get settled when moving to London. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from other mums who are planning a move to London. These mums have so many questions (as I’m sure I would if I were moving our family to a new city!). Questions about neighbourhoods, schools, renting a home/flat, finding childcare, learning about healthcare, shopping, dining, etc. I have always answered those questions as best as I can… but I’m not an expert. And here is where Lindsey comes in handy.
She has created Urban Living, a relocation service to help ex-pats navigate life in London. Whether you’re visiting London to explore the idea of moving here, or whether you’ve moved here and would love a local’s tips and expertise, she has created tailored services for individual needs. Plus, she is such a sweet, hip, energetic woman (and mama to three!), that even I am thinking about booking her services just to get to the spend the day with her. : )
If you, or anyone you know, are moving or have recently moved to London, definitely get in touch with Lindsey!
Last week my friend Maud Fontein took some photos of my kids… And I thought she did such a great job! I love the sweet set-up she made, with the trunk and the cloud on the wall — so simple yet so effective.
Maud is amazing with kids (she has two little ones herself) — she puts them to ease within seconds and is able to take a series of beautiful photos before they even get enough of it. (It’s just impossible for me to take photos of my 4 children in which they all look nice, so I’m so impressed by her talent!).
Maud also takes beautiful photos of newborn babies and pregnant mamas — for bookings, you can contact Maud here.
As I mentioned in this post, I took my first yoga class when I was pregnant with Marlow and after just one class I knew it would become an important part of my life from then on. I don’t know what took me so long to start up yoga, but I am so thankful I finally did. I loved taking pregnancy yoga classes when I was pregnant, and I am so convinced it helped prepare me mentally and physically for the birthing experience I had always longed for.
When Marlow was 8 weeks old we started taking yoga classes together. Once a week the two of us hop on a bus and head over to Triyoga in Primrose Hill for the Mummy & Me yoga class with Nadia Narain. It is always a highlight of the week for both of us! I love that I get to practice yoga even though I have a little baby who still can’t be left with a sitter, I love that every Wednesday I wake up and my muscles are slightly sore from the previous day’s work out, I love being surrounded by other mums with young babies and chatting to them about motherhood and baby stages, and I love ending the class with a little dance with Marlow – a special time for the two of us to share with each other. Marlow loves the bit at the end when we sing songs (Incy Wincy Spider is her favourite!), and she loves checking out all the other sweet babies in the room — I’m certain that she loves our yoga class as much as I do.
p.s. Marlow’s romper in the photo above is from Marie Puce.
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)
I had never done yoga before… until I found myself at 32 weeks pregnant with a breech baby. A good friend (and fellow pregnant mama) recommended I try yoga, both for the physical benefit as well as to calm my mind and find a sense of peace with my pregnancy and baby. I figured I would give it a go… if, for nothing else, just to have the quiet time to myself and to dedicate a small portion of my busy day to the baby inside me.
Anyone who’s ever taken a pregnancy yoga class at Triyoga will, no doubt, be familiar with Nadia Narain. Her name is practically synonymous with yoga. I can’t tell you how many people recommended Nadia’s pregnancy yoga classes to me before I even took my first step into her class. ‘You want yoga? Oh you must speak to Nadia’.
One pregnancy yoga class with Nadia and I was a changed woman. I felt so empowered by her words, so comforted by her support, and, for the first time in my life, so prepared for my impending labour. I really believe it is thanks to her (and this book!) that I was able to achieve the labour and delivery I had always wished for. I still remember hearing her words in my head as I entered the final stages of labour. ’Relax your body, relax your mouth, slow down your breathing…’.
It is a subject I almost find difficult to write about. You know the feeling where you have so much to say, you don’t know where to begin? Where your thoughts get so jumbled up in a rush to be spoken?! I feel this way when I think about the transformation that took place in the final weeks before Marlow was born. I just want to stand on a big soapbox and preach the benefits of yoga, to sing the praises of Nadia, and to tell every pregnant woman to read this book.
Instead, I will simply say that if you live in London, you should definitely take one of Nadia’s classes. If you don’t live in London, you can buy her pregnancy yoga CD which is awesome (and nearly as good as the real deal!) as well as her gorgeous aromatherapy candles… so that, no matter where you live or how busy you are, you can still benefit from her yoga and her teachings.
Jumping down from my soapbox now. : )
There is nothing like the impending birth of a baby to give you the incentive you need to finally tackle your long list of to-dos. Ever since our Around-The-World trip we took a couple years ago, I’ve been meaning to create a photo book with all the photos from our big trip. (This has been at the top of my to-do list for more than two years now! Always at the back of my mind when I think of things I really want to accomplish. Isn’t it crazy how years can go by like that and we never sit down to actually do it?)
So… finally… my husband and I made it a priority and created our book! My friend Mo (remember our past contributor?) recommended Bob Books. She’s made and ordered three different books from Bob Books and really sang their praises. So, I downloaded the Bob Books software and started uploading photos. Easy peasy!
Our book just arrived (in the nick of time, before the baby!) and I love it. It’s so fun to have, to look through, to remember that special time in our lives. The kids are especially fond of the book, and it’s so nice for them to remember all the things we did and saw on our trip.
The quality of the book is really good, and the lay-flat feature is quite ingenious — you can open the book completely without pages flipping over, and it means you can have full-page images without losing any of the image in the crease.
Now I’m a little bit hooked and want to make more books! I’m thinking it would be fun to have a different photo book from every year. Bob Books is offering Babyccino Kids readers a 15% discount… so there’s even more incentive for us all to do so. Click here for discount details.
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Antwerp
I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with the lovely team from i-escape which happens to be one of our very favourite travel sites for boutique accommodation. They have recently launched a new kids collection which features over 700 kid-friendly hotels and self-catering properties around the world — hotels which warmly welcome children and yet still offer the wow factor for parents. Their new collection offers everything from city apartments where you can live like a local to far-flung beach retreats with babysitting options. To narrow down some hotel options, we asked them to suggest ten of their favourite kid-friendly hotels in Europe. Here is their inspiring list (which is your favourite?):
We all know that choosing family holidays is tricky; you want to relax but the kids need to be entertained, and trying to find somewhere that achieves both can seem impossible. Which is why we’ve done the hard work for you, and selected the best of our Family Collection in Europe! With endless outdoor activities, beautiful beaches and kids’ clubs for all ages, these boutique offerings might just be that nirvana you’ve been searching for…
Ammos Hotel, Crete, Greece:
You’ll find style with a big smile at this chic beachfront hotel. With sheltered, shallow waters, a sandy beach and a kids’ pool, it’s particularly suited to babies and toddlers, and there’s a kids’ room with a climbing frame and drawing equipment. Parents can enjoy delicious food and panoramic views on the gorgeous dining terrace, and each room has a kitchenette so you can whip up meals for little’uns. Best of all, it’s not too expensive. (more…)
Want to know what I thought about the London Eye? You can read my review on Gogobot here.
Gogobot is a newly launched social travel site which offers personalised travel tips and recommendations via your social network. It works like this: you sign up and then add all your Facebook and Twitter pals to join your network, and then you can share and read travel tips from all your friends… which means that you’ll get the kind of advice and reviews you can trust, rather than something written by a stranger far, far away. Not only is it a great way to get travel tips and plan your next journey, it’s also an easy way to keep a log of your travels so you remember where to go the next time you visit. We’ve already signed up and written more than 80 reviews on more than 25 cities!
Check out our profile here. And if you sign up to Gogobot by Friday, October 7th, and start following us, you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes to win £150! Just sign up and start following us (that’s it!)… and you could be the lucky winner!
Knuffels à la Carte is a web-boutique specialising in… soft creatures! The Dutch word ‘knuffel’ means both a ‘cuddle’ and a ’special soft animal’ (like ‘doudou’ in French) — it’s a very cute and important word when you have kids in the Netherlands. So Knuffels à la Carte specialises in the second meaning of the word (resulting in lots of the first), and does so in a very cool way! The webshop is so cute — I love the graphics — and the selection of designer knuffels is amazing. I love how all of the creatures are so special — you just know that all of those little characters are sitting there, waiting to be picked up from their virtual shelves and sent off to their new best friend. Knuffels a la Carte also has a very cool gift service — just choose a knuffel, a card and wrapping paper and you can be assured that a perfect present will be sent off to that special friend who’s desperately in need of a knuffel.
We’re dying with nerves here. In just a few hours, our new website will go live! Like we said last week, Babyccino Kids will become a shopping portal with a selection of the world’s best and most interesting children’s boutiques.
We’re starting out with a little over 100 wonderful shops, and we hope that we’ll be adding more gems very regularly. Of course we’ll also keep working on our wonderful blog — you can still expect two inspirational posts a day!
Please wish us luck — and please let us know what you think when you check back in tomorrow. Oh, and DO tell all your friends and family about this — think twitter, facebook, email, write (you know, with a pen), fax, post pigeon… Actually, also tell people you don’t know about it; we’re sure every busy mum is dying to find out! Wouldn’t it be great if we can make this a big success together?
Thanks so much for your support!
xxx C, E & E
We have something exciting to tell you… No, no-one is pregnant, but it did take about 9 months to develop! Next week, on the first of June, we’re launching a new website. It will be a shopping portal, where we’ll present to you a selection of our favourite online children’s boutiques!
We feel that the last year or so, online shopping has become so much better. Payment systems are easy and trustable, shipments (usually) arrive, and the variety of shops is great. And it is just so easy for us, busy mums, to sit down behind our computers after the kids are in bed and to browse our favourite boutiques for some fun (and necessary) shopping!
It can however be a bit tricky to find the best boutiques. Search engines don’t select quality, just quantity, and sometimes the best boutiques are hidden under pages and pages of, well, less interesting choices. Over the past years we have been working with loads of great boutiques, and we’ve invited them to become a member of our portal. Of course it will be a work in progress — we will be adding new and exciting shops all the time, but we’re starting out with a very handsome selection already. We’re already addicted!
So… stay tuned. We’re finishing everything up in the coming week, and next week on Wednesday… We’ll go shopping together!
Esther, Courtney and Emilie
P.S. Don’t worry — we’ll keep the blog, it won’t change it all!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Capturing your baby’s hands and feet
• Sweet for Baby: Super soft, stripy Mini McGee blanket
A friend just passed along this website to me and I am thrilled to see that someone took the time to put this together! ReCrib is essentially a “Craigslist” for all things child related — a place to buy and sell cribs, baby gear, strollers and all the other wonderful and time-limited things that come along with having children. It looks like the website is only catering to New York and New Jersey right now but I am sure once it gets rolling it will be everywhere! The site offers high-end products from the likes of DucDuc, Stokke and Netto all for a fraction of their retail costs. While I always prefer to donate bygone items to friends or local charities there is something to be said about recouping some cash to purchase the next needed items coming down the pipeline (ie: this crib for this toddler bed).
There are no words for the devastation in Japan. So, so, so sad and horrible and frightening… We just wanted to share that it’s easy, very easy to donate through PayPal. 100% of the donations will go directly to non-profit organizations like Save the Children or the Red Cross (or others of your choice). Just click here to make a donation. We just did.
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Bastida — clever clothes that grow with your child
Now, here is an I-Phone app that actually makes sense and is definitely more practical than Angry Birds. Seriously, who did not panic when it came to weaning their first child? If you are anything like me you spent hours trying to figure out if you should first feed the baby broccoli or a banana. I finally bought a library worth of books, one or several of which were by Annabel Karmel, the UK guru on weaning and cooking for infants and toddlers.
Annabel Karmel has now brought out her first iphone application, full of recipes from 6 months to toddler stage, a meal planner and a shopping list tool. I love the way the shopping list is automatically saved on your phone. I personally have the tendency to write up a list and then promptly forget it at home, so this type of tool is a life saver for me.
My kids have outgrown the toddler stage so sadly the Annabel Karmel app is not so useful for me anymore. I do have the Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson apps which are great for inspiration, mostly when I am in the supermarket and trying to come up with something different than pesto pasta for dinner.
I am not sure if the phenomenon exists in other parts of the world but here in the States, if you use your credit card, especially on-line, you will 100% start to get random cataloges in the mail. For years and years I have been meaning to call to unsubscribe from all the junk that fills up our mailbox but it’s just such a headache and I keep thinking that they will go away. But they don’t. In fact, last week I got a giant magazine filled with ‘Boating and Fishing Supplies’ and I just had to put my foot down. That’s when my web-savvy husband discovered Cataloge Choice to take care of the issue once and for all. It’s free, simple to use, and best of all you can always update it when needed. With a few clicks you can unsubscribe from all the junk and there is a running-log that gives you status updates that your name has been removed from the lists.
(Image found here)
The arrival of my children triggered an obsession with capturing every important (and not so important) moment with my digital camera. My amateur photography skills have developed, though perhaps not at the same speed as my little ones. I still haven’t quite mastered the understated photographic style I’ve always loved in my favorite design and European kids magazines.
When I saw the work of children’s photographer Emily Ulmer, I was so impressed by photographs that captured the innocence of childhood, but with the added sophistication of an editorial layout. These are no Sears Portraits– no forced smiles here. Emily’s style captures the thoughtful and pensive moments as well as the sweet and silly ones.
I owe my sanity to the wise women of Soho Parenting. It was not so long ago that I basically crawled through the door of their downtown office for some much needed guidance on setting up a new sleep schedule for my 9-month-old twins. I must admit, the first visit was not easy for me as I have always prided myself on being a mom who relied on her gut instinct to power though the ups and downs and never one to read a parenting book. After months of sleep-deprivation and general feelings of being overwhelmed however, it was time to reach out to a professional — so glad I did. (more…)
I know it seems like that new baby phase (i.e. sleepless nights, spit-up on every shirt you own, messy house, baby brain, etc.) drags on and on… But I swear, you blink your eyes and then that baby is an active toddler. Babies just grow so, so quickly. Which is why I love the idea of capturing their tiny little feet… because they’ll never be that small again. Image Casting is a London-based company which creates the most beautiful bronze and silver casts of your baby’s hands and feet. I got my daughter’s feet casted when she was a baby, and I now have her little feet sitting on my desk… a daily reminder of how tiny she once was (memories of her baby-hood only cheery, of course)!
In addition to their beautiful casts, Image Casting does a really nice job of framing the pieces. Simple but beautiful, with emphasis on the casts. You can pop into their London Bridge studio, or the team will come out to your house if you live within the M25 in London (home visit included in the price). Check their website for more details.
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Friends of a Feather
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week in the U.S. — a movement that aims to raise awareness about how infertility impacts more than 7.3 million people in this country alone (that we know of). Not even sure what the worldwide figures are. This week, a website called Stirrup Queens is hosting a blogging event called Project IF…the “IF” standing for both “infertility” as well as posing the question (IF?) which asks women who have faced the challenges of infertility to contribute the answers to the big “what ifs” in their lives. Although the website is a bit overwhelming and clunky to navigate, there are a lot of links to very personal tales of the journey towards motherhood – many answering some tough questions and revealing a lot of brutally honest emotion. It also links into a list infertility blogs. I wish I had more time to read it all. I know many of us have been either personally affected by a bumpy journey towards motherhood or know someone who has and I think this blog event is a great way to share what women often feel, but rarely say.
For more information on National Infertility Awareness week please check out the Resolve website for other things that might be going on in your area.