I’m sure, by now, you’ve heard of Blogtacular — the super cool blogging conference taking place in London next weekend?! With talented and inspiring speakers like Joy Cho, Natalie Lue and many others, it’s shaping up to be a really informative, inspiring and FUN event. I’m really looking forward to it!
I am also thrilled to announce that I will be speaking alongside other successful bloggers (Joy Cho, Allison Sadler and Annabelle Beeforth), discussing the ins and outs of the blogging business. I am beyond excited to meet these women, and feel so honoured to share a panel with them! We’re speaking on the Saturday at 1:30 (you can see the full Blogtacular schedule here) and would love for you to come!
Tickets for the conference are still available if you haven’t signed up yet. The event takes place next Friday and Saturday the 9th and 10th at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. I would love to see you there! (Let me know in the comments below if you’re coming so we can try to meet up!)
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…
It’s a joke! We swear! We promise we don’t actually feel this way! But really… please come like us on Facebook. We are just 100 likes shy of reaching our big goal of 10,000 likes. So close! And we promise, when we get there, we have an ENORMOUS giveaway up our sleeves! We can’t wait to announce it and tell you all the great prizes up for grabs (a total value of more than £5,000). So please, if you haven’t already, come and like our Facebook page.
p.s. Image/joke found here.
The lovely Lauren from Houzz asked to pop over a few weeks ago to take some photos of our home and do a little interview about our house renovation project. She and photographer, Noah Darnell, stopped by just as we were serving pancakes, the kiddos still in their pyjamas. They snapped these photos before taking photos of the rest of the house, and I love that they captured the Saturday pancake ritual in our home. (Usually I am in my pyjamas too, of course! But still!)
If you would like to see photos of our home on Houzz and read about our renovation, you can click here. Thank you Houzz for the feature!
(All photos by Noah Darnell)
Remember last week when I told you about our little family photo session in the park with Vanessa Berberian? And how I was so worried she wouldn’t get any cute photos because my children wouldn’t cooperate/sit still/smile/behave… etc. Well, she just sent over the photos and I’m so so impressed with her! She managed to do it! And she also snuck in some really cute candid photos when we weren’t paying attention. My heart literally bursts when I see the photos of Marlow giving me kisses! Oh, I could just eat her up. I’m so happy to have this sweet phase of hers captured. And I love the photos of my husband with the children. And… she even managed to get a photo of all six of us looking at the camera, all mostly smiling! Miracle I’m telling you.
Vanessa is a super experienced photographer who has worked in all areas of photography, from environmental portraiture to travel and food. She is now focusing her work on intimate documentary portraiture and family photography in and around the London area. (You can read more about her here.) If you’re also looking for family portraits or photos of your children, I highly recommend getting in touch with her. Her website is also super easy to use — she will upload your photos onto a gallery on her site and you’ll be able to download them easily onto your computer to use and to print. So handy!
Thank you Vanessa for taking these sweet photos!
The ShopUp is now less than 3 weeks away and we’re in the final countdown. Esther came to London last week and we spent two days ironing out all the details and making final preparations. We spent nearly an entire day at the venue going over all the logistics and getting super excited as we planned everything out. It’s really going to be a great event — we can’t wait to fill that space with all of our amazing shops, and of course all of our wonderful visitors!!
The tote bags have also arrived! What do you think? Aren’t they cool? We’ll be handing one out for every visitor who attends the event. So come and get yours on December 1st and 2nd!
p.s. We ordered the totes from BIDBI and they have been really great to work with, and we’re really pleased with the final result. BIDBI offers eco-friendly, fairly traded cotton and canvas bags. We got the Deluxe Canvas Bags and they’re nice and thick with long straps, and they’re spacious enough to fill with lots of great gifts and goodies. (We can’t wait to fill our own totes!)
Whoop whoop!! We’re SO excited about all of these fabulous shops and brands that are joining us at the ShopUp! (For those of you who missed the announcement — we’re organising our first ever live shopping event in London at the beginning of December!) In addition to the great shopping, we’ll have superb entertainment to keep the little ones busy… mini family photo-shoots… little bits to eat and drink… and there’s a raffle with a fantastic prize! It will be a such a fun day out, and such a perfectly easy way to buy sweet presents for all of the little lovelies in your life!
We can’t wait to go shopping at the ShopUp ourselves!! So… mark your diaries, tell your friends, invite your family, and we look forward to seeing you all there!!
xxx Courtney and Esther
I am really, super excited about the recent launch of Kid & Coe, a vacation rental website featuring stylish family homes all over the world. Imagine travelling to New York, Paris, San Francisco, Copenhagen… Mexico even (!) and being able to stay in a family home, complete with child-sized beds, toys for your kids, a proper kitchen to cook meals, and other family-friendly features to really make you feel at home wherever you go.
Each Kid & Coe listing offers a great description of the property as well as a ‘good to know’ section of family-friendly considerations (closest parks, baby proof safety measures, dishwasher and washing machines, etc.). You can also read a description of the neighbourhood and surrounding area, and of course view loads of great photos of each property (truthfully, it’s like viewing the pages of Elle Decor – some of these homes are so beautiful and inspiring – it’s worth travelling just for the chance to stay in them!).
Not only is it a great place to find stylish family rentals, but you can also list your home with Kid & Coe if you’re interested in renting it out while you’re away. Registering your home is really easy, and the team at Kid & Coe is extremely helpful. It’s easy to enter the dates you’ll be away and manage your property listing and information. I know because I recently signed us up our home and it was really a piece of cake. I’m excited to see the process of booking and renting out our home… and I’m even more excited to stay in some of the other amazing homes around the world. I definitely have the travel bug just looking at this site!
p.s. Here’s the link for the beautiful London-based home featured in these photos. (Don’t you just want to move straight in?!!)
The wonderfully kind and thoughtful Gabrielle from Design Mom has featured my home, and an interview about our family life, in her Living With Kids blog series today. What I love about this series is that she asks such thought provoking questions — she really tries to draw out the kind of answers that give a genuine glimpse of each family’s day to day life. She goes beyond the usual ‘where did you buy that sofa’ type of question and really delves deep. (I nearly had tears in my eyes as I typed my answers out!)
I am extremely flattered to have been invited for the interview and to be included among so many other great families and homes in this series. You can see the photos of my home and read my answers here. Thank you Gabrielle!
We are really, really excited to announce some BIG news: we are organising our first ever LIVE shopping event!! The ShopUp will be held in London this coming December and will bring together a selection of the finest shops and brands all under one roof! We’re thrilled to offer the chance to shop the good ‘old-fashioned’ way — to see and feel the products in person and fill up your shopping bag with wonderful gifts and goodies!
The ShopUp will take place on Sunday the 1st and Monday the 2nd of December, just in time for the holidays! The event will be held at the Cecil Sharp House in the trendy, family-friendly neighbourhood of Primrose Hill (a very short walk from the park, the London Zoo and the buzzing high street) — the perfect setting for a fun, family day out! We are especially excited about the wonderful shops we’ve lined up so far! (You can see a list of the participating shops here.) We just can’t wait to go shopping ourselves!
We will also be offering a whole host of fun activities for children, and there is also a charming café located downstairs with a selection of hot drinks, snacks and nibbles. Shops will be offering discounts, prizes will be available to win, and canvas tote bags will be handed out to all visitors. So come shopping with us — we can’t wait to see you there!
I’ve been away all summer… and while I am so sad that summer is slowly coming to an end, I will admit that I am a little bit ready to be back in my home, back in my office, back to a bit of organisation and routine.
Elizabeth from Babiekins Magazine recently asked me to share photos of my home office. Looking at these photos makes me actually miss it a little. : )
You can see the photos and read a little interview on the Babiekins blog here. Thanks, Elizabeth, for featuring me!
CultureBaby is a global children’s boutique which offers a darling selection of children’s products from all over the world. I love their search feature which allows you to shop by region so you can find cute goodies from Africa, India, South America, Asia, etc.
Each month on their blog they feature a new ‘CultureBaby mum’ – a global mum raising kids in a different part of the world. I was so thrilled to be asked to answer a few questions for this interesting series. You can see my interview here and read other great interviews here.
The three of us (plus two babies!) met up in Paris last weekend to attend another Playtime tradeshow. It was a beautiful, sunny (hot even!) weekend and the three of us had so much fun together. On Saturday we walked around Paris until the sun went down and the babies got tired. It was the perfect summery day in Paris! On Sunday we attended Playtime and, as usual, we were so inspired by the many great brands we saw — lots of old favourites, and a few new discoveries too! Here’s a brief recap in photos:
- Aymara – Beautiful knitwear in a rainbow of cool colours!
- Nobodinoz – A vibrant collection of toys, cushions, decorations and really cool animal backpacks.
- Seesaw – A new-to-us brand featuring geometric designs and easy-to-wear silhouettes.
- Shusha Toys – Such wonderful wooden toys from Russia – we want to buy every toy in their collection!
- L’Asticot – We loved the fabrics in this collection. The little squid and the fish prints – so cute!
- Sunchild – A great collection of brightly coloured swim trunks, nice and short – perfect for little legs!
- Coq en Pâte – Bold graphics and colours. And we love the collection of beach toys made from seaweed – Fun!
- Garbo and Friends – We love the illustrations and soft colours.
- Picnik – Gorgeous, bold geometric patterns.
- ESPno1 A great collection as always, and we especially loved this awesome playsuit!
- It was so hot in there – the only place Marlow wanted to be was on the cold cement floor!
- Sprout by Grow – A beautiful collection for big and small girls.
- Aravore -We love the new collection, and how sweet is that little floral romper?!
- Indikidual -Original cuts and patterns set this collection apart. The Jellyfish trousers are a highlight!
- Biobu by Ekobo – A collection of dishes which are beautiful, natural and completely biodegradable!
- Maa — Awesome, hipster trainers! We want these for ourselves!
- More Shusha Toys – We love these wooden facial parts to create different faces. So fun!
- Macarons – Beautiful textured fabrics. We loved the Ikat skirt!
- Poco Nido – Fun high and low boots and cute baby shoes.
- INspiRaTiOns by la Girafe – A beautiful stand with fresh flowers from the garden.
- Corby Tindersticks – So fun and creative!
- Moon et Miel – Cool basics in wonderful, rich colours.
- More Garbo and Friends – beautiful illustrations.
- My Name is Simone – We love these funky guys — so much character!
- Finishing off the day with a lounge in the park! The babies were so happy to be outside again.
- Le Petit Lucas de Tertre – Beautiful patterns, clothes and bedding. A favourite as always.
We’ve teamed up with the fabulous travel site i-escape which offers a well curated selection of stylish travel destinations along with an easy-to-use booking service. They’ve kindly agreed to scour their collection of chic family friendly hotels, villas & apartments to narrow down 10 of their favourite stylish seaside escapes. Perfect for summer holiday planning! Both Esther and I have previously booked holidays with i-escape and they were some of our favourite family vacations, so we are especially excited to discover their suggestions. Take a look at these ten great seaside escapes all hand-picked from their dedicated Kids Collection:
1.) Almyra, Paphos, Cyprus
Stressed-out parents can fully recharge their batteries on the beach, by the pool or in the spa, safe in the knowledge that the little ones are having the time of their life! This unpretentious design hotel’s superb kids’ club caters for all ages up to 17, with activities ranging from t-shirt painting, treasure hunts and tennis lessons, to banana-boating excursions and snorkelling for teens. Added to that, the staff are super-friendly and the sun shines here over 300 days a year!
2.) Fiskardo Cottages, Kefalonia, Greece
Set in a gloriously peaceful location, within walking distance of 2 unspoilt beaches, these charming whitewashed cottages (sleeping 2-6) are the perfect rural retreat and great for older kids. Head for the hills and hike through dramatic scenery, sail, snorkel, scuba dive or just play in the shared pool. The slick modern kitchens mean self-catering is a pleasure or you can walk to the nearby village tavernas for delicious local dishes and fresh seafood.
3.) The Rosevine, Cornwall, UK
This chic apartment-hotel has a wonderfully casual vibe making it a haven for families. Designed with kids in mind, they have heaps of baby paraphernalia to borrow (less to pack!) and kids will be kept well-entertained by a toy-laden playroom, indoor pool and playground in the garden. The restaurant has a kids’ menu, and at night its candlelit – pack your baby monitor and ‘dine out’. But the best bit? It’s a just a short stroll from wide, sandy Porthcurnick beach and the hotel has buckets, spades and fishing nets to borrow for rock-pooling.
4.) Txai, Bahia, Brazil
Rustic simplicity meets style and luxury at this eco-friendly estate on Bahia’s undeveloped Cacoa Coast. With an emphasis on nature, tranquility and beauty, make the most of vast unspoilt white-sand beaches and hill-top Shamash spa, take surfing lessons or go horse riding or hiking along one of the stunning trails. There are plenty of grassy areas for children to play on and our reviewer found it near-impossible to extract his young daughter from the fab kids’ pool.
5.) Azur, near Antalya, Turkey
If you’re after beachside bliss on a budget, Azur Hotel’s simple wooden cabins are the ones for you. Despite having no formal crèche, it’s a great place for kids with safe lawned gardens and hidden hammocks, a child-friendly pool, lovely staff who know each child by name and boat and jeep trips for adventurous day trips. Nearby Cirali beach, one of Europe’s loveliest, has wonderfully clear blue waters for swimming and snorkelling.
6.) Hell Bay, Bryher, Isles of Scilly, UK
Set on Bryher – the smallest inhabited island of Scilly and many people’s favourite – this 25-room hotel allows you to stay in style and comfort and its restaurant is billed as the best on these isles. Owned by Tresco’s Dorrien-Smith family you can expect solid and dependable service and rooms with a distinct New England style. Couples will revel in being somewhere so unique, so far out. But it also has special appeal for families thanks to sandy beaches, a heated pool, games room and local farm chickens which little ones can feed.
7.) Jashita, near Tulum, Mexico
Laid-back beach sophistication and a dreamy Zen style are the order of the day at Jashita. Uniquely secluded, it’s the only hotel on this pristine beach with shallow aquamarine waters that’s sheltered by its own coral reef. Families will love Villa Jasmine, a beach house for 10 that offers independence and the opportunity to self-cater, along with the use of the hotel’s facilities and restaurant. Kids will love the beach and boat trips and there are adventure parks nearby.
8.) Onar, Andros, Greece
Walking through the river from this collection of simple stone cottages (sleeping 2-7) to the beach is the sort of thing fantastic family memories are made of. The atmosphere here is secluded but the communal meals and effervescent host ensure that you’ll never feel lonely. Kids will love the natural swimming pool nearby and the small playground, while sun, sea, delicious fresh food and stylishly simple décor will reinvigorate even the most jaded workaholics.
9.) Esplendido, Puerto Soller, Mallorca
One of our most popular hotels for families in Spain, there will be lots of new friends for your kids to play with at this hip hotel in picturesque Puerto Soller. Occupying the top position in the middle of the bay, the proximity of the beach is a godsend with energetic youngsters, and means you can hear the waves lapping below from the sea view terraces. And don’t underestimate the excitement provided by the many ice-cream shops and the tram to Soller!
10.) Marari Villas, Kerala, India
Within a whisper of the sea on a white-sand beach, these boutique villas (sleeping 2-6) are great for families as they combine the privacy of a villa with room service and a private chef. Each villa offers a secluded haven (your own living space, your own garden, some with a pool) with all the luxuries of a larger resort, but they are closer to nature, more intimate and better value. There’s plenty of kit for kids (toys, books, inflatable toys, cricket kits) and babies (pushchair, backpack, car seat, sunshades), so you can pack light(er!).
We have teamed up with i-escape and Sunuva to give-away a whopping £500 summer prize! The prize includes a £200 gift certificate to use towards a stay at one of i-escapes family escapes as well as a £300 gift voucher at Sunuva to stock up on adorable and UV-protective beachwear! Click here to enter to win!
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!
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!