Polona is born and bread in a tiny chicken-shaped country situated in Central Europe: Slovenia. Together with her husband and their daughter Tila she lived in Denmark and France, before moving to Germany where they are currently located. But they might be moving again this summer… What an adventurous lifestyle!
We’ve been following Polona’s wonderful blog Baby Jungle for a while now. She has such a fun and honest style, and the photos she takes of Tila are so adorable. Not to mention her fun craft projects — so do-able, and so inspirational!
So, we’re super to announce our newest contributor, whose first post will go up today, and let me tell you — it’s a super fun DIY project.
Welcome, Polona — we’re thrilled to have you over here!
This post is actually written for some of my favourite ladies, Courtney and Esther, who have a favourite shop here in Paris. They literally go there every time they come. In fact, I sometimes suspect that they might be visiting me just as an excuse to visit Merci, the fantastic concept shop which happens to be very close to my flat.
And now they might never come visit again, as Merci has (finally) started an international online shop, full of amazing linens, the Merci clothes line, wall paper, these cool picnic napkins and many other bits and pieces.
Merci was started by the same people who founded Bonpoint many moons ago. It actually functions as a very stylish charity shop: all the proceeds of the shop are invested in educational projects in Madagascar (but certainly does not look like any charity shop I have ever seen before). Hopefully the online Merci is not the end to a wonderful friendship
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.
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)
Right around the time Elizabeth started contributing to Babyccino, she became pregnant with baby number two. She and I quickly discovered that we were both pregnant and due on the same day! It was so fun for me to share a due date with someone, and to bond over similar pregnancy milestones together (morning sickness, 12-week scans, breech babies, etc.). I’ve never actually met Elizabeth, but it turns out we share so much in common, the pregnancy being a big one.
Elizabeth welcomed her beautiful baby girl, Francesca, on October 30th, one week early. I loved reading about Francesca’s birth on Elizabeth’s blog (her breech baby never did turn around and she ended up having a beautiful, peaceful c-section birth) and I can’t get enough of all the photos of that sweet baby on her Instagram feed. What a beautiful family she has, what an inspiring mother is, and what a thoughtful friend she has become. I hope to someday meet Elizabeth and to introduce our babies to each other!
Congratulations Elizabeth, and welcome little Francesca!
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
Here’s a new concept in children’s clothing: Shoukie offers an easy-to-use website service which allows you (and your kids if they’re interested!) to pick your children’s clothing and then customise the details. So… you pick your pattern and then you can choose the fabric, colours, ribbons, hems, buttons, etc. The step-by-step process is easy to use and the finished product (made using all natural, organic fabrics from Italy!) is impressive.
I played around with the site for a while and then decided on creating a long-sleeved dress shirt for my 5-year-old son. It was so much fun to pick the details. I can imagine if my daughter was older, she would really be into the picking and choosing… so it might also be fun for older girls to design their special piece of clothing.
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Win! 100 CAN dollar gift certificate to Clara de Paris
Over the past few months I have gotten to ‘know’ Meta over email. I was first introduced to her when she got in touch before an upcoming trip to London asking for my favourite children’s shopping spots in the city. I sent her my list, and the following month she sent me a link to her new blog, showing the photos she took in London and the shops she visited. Gorgeous! Take one look at her blog, One More Mushroom, and it’s clear that Meta is a talented photographer with an adept eye for interior decoration and a love of vintage books and toys. I love her thrift shop finds and DIY tips and the way she captures everything in photos, often featuring her stylish home and beautiful children. We are thrilled to welcome her to our team as our newest contributor. (You can read more about her on our bio page and I’m sure it won’t take long before you too feel like you know her, just reading her blog posts and seeing her gorgeous photography.)
About a year ago, Maria emailed me to tell me about the stick horse she had made for her cute son Nico (remember this post?), and since then, I’ve been a great fan and regular (visual) follower of Maria’s wonderful blog escarabajos bichos y mariposas. (Unfortunately I don’t read a word of Spanish, but I like to believe that the images tell me all I need to know!)
Maria has such an amazing eye for style — I love her loose and effortless way of putting things together: nothing is over-styled and the joy of life can be found in each image she puts up. Besides that, she is so creative, loves crafting and cooking, takes beautiful pictures, and is a wonderful mummy to her sweet boy. She greatly inspires me!
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…
This weekend we had such a treat: one day without rain and even (yes!) a few rays of sunshine!! Hurray for May! Seriously, the weather has been so lousy here in Amsterdam, we’re in much need of sun. Anyway, we decided it was time to spend a day in our little garden to plant all the seedlings we’d grown in the windowsill of the kid’s room the last weeks: tomato, pumpkin, courgette, sunflowers, nasturtiums, sweet pea… They had by now grown into little puppy plants so it was time for them to hit the rough Amsterdam climate outside.
Carrots, radishes, salad and rocket are best sewn in the full ground (outside). If you don’t have a garden or balcony, you can also easily grow these vegetables on your window sill. Just one word of advice (we keep doing this wrong!) — don’t sew the seeds too close together, or the carrots, radishes etc don’t have room to grow! Plain salad and rocket are also super easy to grow (even in the windowsill), and you can keep cutting their leaves for a long time.
Of course we set the children to work immediately. They love gardening! Obviously the small scale of our vegetable garden-to-be will far from feed our entire family, but it’s a real pleasure to harvest our own grows, little as it may be, and it’s educational for the children. Here are some really fun ideas for gardening with kids:
Sara received this super cute Gardening Giftbox (from French brand Moulin Roty) as a gift and it comes filled with little pots, compost, seeds, a watering can and gardening tools — all packed in an adorable little suitcase. So cool! Sara and her friend spent hours working in the garden, preparing the soil, sewing their seeds, watering the plants, etc.
I got some bags of seeds at the Balcony Gardener. These bags are really pretty and also make gorgeous gifts (I just ordered a few more of them!). They also sell beautiful quality kid’s sized gardening tools which we love.
Finally, if you live in the Netherlands or Belgium (or speak Dutch), this little Moestuinkabouterpakket is such fun and so very, very cute. It comes with seeds, bags to sew them in, labels, a little book about the garden gnomes that will help you to look after the seedlings (provided you make sure their hat and coat is hanging ready for them to wear!).
Last week I was so caught up with my sewing projects I forgot to write a post for you — so sorry! For my last project I decided to sew up some one-piece pajamas for the kids from some organic cotton I had. The kids and I collaborated — the kids got to choose the fabric color and an animal for the all over print, and then we created a potato stamp together.
As my daughter napped, my son and I got to work; we printed the all over pattern on the pajama fabric and it was so much fun we even stamped on a t-shirt. It was only later I had the idea to add little bow ties with a green sharpie pen.
If you are looking for a potato stamp tutorial, here’s one from one of my favourite blogs — Llevo el Invernio or here is a really easy tutorial by Homemade Serenity which uses cookie cutters. Careful it’s addictive — I had so much fun, and I now want to print everything in my home…
And if you are curious and would like to see what else I put together last week, everything is on my flickr.
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…)
I was first introduced to Elizabeth Antonia when I discovered her blog about a year ago (perhaps you remember this blog post, which was inspired by a post she wrote!). I have since become enamoured with her life in LA, her relationship with her gorgeous daughter, the traveling she does, and the refreshing take on life she has.
I am extremely excited to say that she will now be our newest contributor, writing from LA and sharing a bit of her life with us! Hooray, hooray! Stay tuned for her first post today…
(Bottom image taken by Lou Mora)
A friend of mine recently referred to the way my 3-year-old daughter speaks as Creole. It a great way of describing it: she speaks an absolute mixture of French and English. Phrases like “Can you s’il te please tirer my culotte” (please pull up my undies) are very normal in our household and it is so cute I don’t want it to change! But it won’t last; she is quickly learning to differentiate her two languages.
In our household I try to only speak English at home and the children are exposed to French at school and with their friends. I myself grew up with a French mother, and an Irish father but spent my childhood in Germany, so I grew up speaking English, French and German. I actually now have a bit of an accent in every language I speak! As a child I really did not enjoy coming from a multi-lingual family as I felt I was different from my friends. My girls have the great advantage of going to an inner-city Paris school where a huge amount of the kids speak at least two languages, if not more.
So now that I am trying to bring up my kids bi-lingually myself, I have done a bit of research. I am not an expect in anyway, but here are some of the facts I thought were interesting:
- Being bi-lingual or tri-lingual has nothing to do with intelligence, people of different levels of intelligence are multi-lingual.
- Children start differentiating between languages around the ages of 2-3.
- Bi-lingual children do not usually learn to speak later because of learning different languages, as previously thought.
- One of the simplest approaches towards having bilingual children seems to be the one-parent/one-language approach. It is easier for a child to differentiate a language if one person speaks one language consistently to them.
Voila! I am really interested to hear if anyone else has tips and ideas on how to bring up kids with several languages!
Are you familiar with Gilt?! It is THE place to go for great daily bargains and discounts on top designer brands and products. Their Baby & Kids section offers fab discounts on children’s fashion, accessories, toys, and other really cool things you suddenly want to buy the minute you spot them. It’s absolutely addictive and exciting, this bargain hunting (especially for children’s products!) — I could easily spend hours on that site just snatching up deal after deal!
Anyway, we’ve teamed up with the fantastic US-based children’s shopping portal, Tada! Shop, and Gilt to offer a $1,000 shopping spree at Gilt Kids. That’s $1,000 to spend on already discounted products. Just imagine how far that money will go!! Enter to win here. Good luck!
Have you heard of the live polar bear cam? My girls and I are obsessed. I read about this on the BBC website and we spent the entire evening last night watching a few polar bears play around with each other — in real time via webstream.
A web camera observing polar bears was set up on the edge of the Hudson Bay, close to the town of Churchhill, in a spot where polar bears are waiting for the ice to form on the Hudson Bay so that they can travel further North. The Polar Bear Cam delivers a live feed and is being watched in schools all over Canada and by anyone who wants to watch.
My mind can’t quite get round the fact that, while I am drinking my cup of tea in Paris… half a dozen polar bears in the tundra of the far North of Canada are hanging out and playing with each other, and I am watching it live!
We were recently asked by Caos Magazine to create a list of tips for decorating children’s rooms… and while we certainly aren’t experts, we felt we had a few good ideas up our sleeves. Check out our ten tips here. And please feel free to leave us comments with any other good tips we may have forgotten!
(Image is from Esther’s daughter’s bedroom. Tip #6 — use your child’s clothing as decoration!)
A friend recently told me about this amazing feature of video blogs on Redbook called “The Truth About Trying“. I thought it was a fantastic way to personalize and put a face to the issues that many women silently face. Whether you have ten children, one child, or in the midst of trying for your first – the struggle to conceive is a difficult and emotionally taxing journey when it does not work out as planned. Thought I would pass along and give praise to Redbook for helping to bring light to an often closely guarded subject.
(Image from Redbook)