Velveteen, a pretty collection and now on sale!

Velveteen
Velveteen is a brand we’ve known and loved for a long time. Each season we make sure to check out their upcoming collections at Playtime, and we’ve enjoyed watching this brand grow over the last few years, getting better and better each season. Their current Spring/Summer collection is definitely our favourite one yet! How pretty are all the colours and fabrics?! I love that the boys’ collection is just as nice as the girls’, with cute shorts and tees that are both simple and stylish.

I’ve just noticed that the Velveteen summer sale has started and all the pieces are now 40% off! A perfect excuse to pick up some summer pieces for the warm months ahead.

Courtney x

Hand embroidered beauties from Cabbages & Kings

Cabbages & Kings 2 copy
Cabbages & Kings shoes
Cabbages & Kings romper

Cabbages & Kings skirt

Cabbages and Kings
How dreamy are all of these images from Cabbages & Kings? Summertime sweetness right there: bare feet, tan little limbs, happy children, long grass, and whimsical pieces so perfect for this time of year.

I am such a fan of all the colourful Mexican embroidery and unique patterns, and love that the pieces are handmade and one-of-a-kind. Cabbages & Kings works with skilled artisans from communities in Mexico and Peru, supporting fair trade and ethical craftsmanship.

The dresses and skirts are so, so pretty, aren’t they? And the little shoes and bibs would make the perfect new baby gifts. Cabbages & Kings are currently offering Babyccino readers a 22% discount on their entire collection. Click over to their profile page on our portal for details and promo code. Hooray for summer!

Courtney x

Birthday gifts for a 10-year-old boy

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easton reading comics

I still can’t believe my baby is TEN!! It’s been an emotional year as I anticipated his birthday and reflected on the past decade, but then when the day finally arrived, it was happy and joyous (and I didn’t even shed a tear)! We celebrated our big boy with pancakes for breakfast, an afternoon spent at the school’s summer fair, pizza dinner with friends and then a sleepover party that evening. It was a happy day!

Following on from my post about what to buy a 6-year-old birthday girl, I’d love to share some of Easton’s favourite gifts he received last week. I’ll admit that I was really, really stumped for what to get him. And the sweet boy didn’t make it any easier, insisting he didn’t really need anything.

We only bought him a few small gifts, and the rest came from friends and grandparents. He ended up with the handsome selection of gifts below:

gifts for a 10-year-old boy

1. A simple Swiss Army Knife for carving sticks on the beach this summer.
2. A sweatshirt to celebrate double digits!!!
3. A subscription renewal of the Phoenix Comic magazine, because he SO looks forward to Fridays when his weekly comic magazine arrives.
4. A football from his favourite team
5. Adventure logs to encourage him to jot down all of his crazy outdoor adventures
6. A Swatch Watch!
7. A pack of playing cards because he’s really into playing cards right now (Crazy Eights, War, Go Fish, Concentration, etc.)
8. The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs, a comic book by the author of one of his current favourite books. (He’s really into comic books right now and I’m just happy he’s reading, so I’m going with it.)
9. A pair of swim trunks for the summer!

 

Please share in the comments below any other suggestions for what to buy a 10-year-old. I’m sure other readers would appreciate the tips!

Courtney x

Tuesday Tips: Traveling in Paris with kids

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Summer here and I thought it was high time to write down some random tips of what to do in my lovely city with kids. Paris is such a great place to visit and so easy to get around that it is a great destination with children, even young ones. But there are a couple of things that might be good to know:

  • Hilariously my very first tip actually has very little to do with kids and has everything to do with coffee and bars! Basically if you want to save a cent or two always order and drink a coffee at the bar in a Parisian café, not on the terrace. The price on a terrace can be more that double than the one if you sit by the bar. The same goes for most drinks. (By the way: a café is an espresso, a noisette is a macchiato and a crème is a cappuccino roughly speaking).
  • All neighbourhoods in Paris have little squares with play equipment (like place des Vosges on the photo above). They are simple, easy going and a nice way to get away from the crowds. If you are looking for a real park, go a bit further afield and head over to the Buttes de Chaumont, which is super French and has grassy areas, so a good place to go and kick a ball around.
  • My favourite Parisian street food is good old-fashioned crepes, and you can still find a lot of little hole-in-the-wall crepes stands that will throw together a “jambon-fromage-champions” (my personal favourite). My kids absolutely love them.
  • In restaurants do ask for a kids menu, even if it is not advertised. Especially less touristy places will often happily make a smaller plate for kids.
  • If you have the time to teach your kids just a few words in French, it is totally worth it. I have seen the sternest French waiter melt when he had been addressed in French by a little foreign tourist. Even “Bonjour”, “Merci” and “S’il vous plait” is enough.
  • When you ask for anything, be it a baguette in a boulangerie or directions on the street, start with “Bonjour” not “Excuse me”. It just the way we start a conversation over here. If not you might finish with your questions just to have a pointed “Bonjour” thrown back at you.
  • For me the best way to get around Paris, if you have a bit of time, is by bus. They use the same tickets as the metro, but are so much more pleasant and such a great way to see the city. The free public transport app is unfortunately only in French at the moment, but it is so easy to use that I think you could use it with even the smallest knowledge of French.
  • If you have even more time then the very, very best way of getting around Paris is to walk! Paris is much smaller than London and New York so it is actually easy to walk from one attraction to the next. On the left bank of the Seine a lot of the quays are closed to cars and are a lovely way to discover Paris. On Sundays the right bank of the Seine is also closed to cars.
  • As we now all know, French Kids don’t throw food 😉 which is actually only partly correct of course. But it is true that people expect children to behave in restaurants and will ask the waiter to ask you to be a bit quieter. Do not take it personally as it happens to French parents as much as it does to foreigners. I try to smile and apologise and that normally does the trick.

As I mentioned, this is a bit of a random list, but these are some of my top tips to visiting Paris. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them!

– Emilie

Bikinis. Yes or no?

Little Creative Factory swimsuits
Marlow and Ivy in Little Creative Factory swimsuits
I think I might be raising a bit of a controversial topic, one that could possibly split many of us down the middle, but I would love to know where you stand on little girls wearing bikinis? Is it completely normal and fun and innocent, or do you think it sexualises innocent little girls?

One of my earliest childhood memories is from my 4th birthday, receiving my first bikini. I remember how excited I was to wear it to the beach for the first time. I felt so grown up! I absolutely loved that thing. Yet even with this happy memory of mine, I still can not bring myself to let my own girls wear a bikini.

Why? I’m not entirely sure (even my own mother thinks I’m being unreasonable!). I just feel like a bikini top sexualises and highlights something that doesn’t exist. There is nothing sexual about a little girl’s chest, so when you put a bikini top on it, it draws unnecessary attention. In a way, I feel like a simple French-style bloomer (without a top) is more appropriate than a 2-piece suit. Not to mention, a separate top is so impractical and difficult to keep in place when swimming, etc. (But then again, I suppose it’s trickier to use the toilet in a one-piece!)

So where do you stand? Am I overthinking things?

Courtney x

p.s. The pretty vintage-style swimsuits the girls are wearing in the photos above are from Little Creative Factory who have a stunning collection of swimwear for both boys and girls (including bikinis as well!).

Edible Gluten-Free Play Dough

Edible Play Dough dough

My 1.5-year-old absolutely adores playdough but he also loves to put it in his mouth so as I tried to find edible playdough I came across this recipe and it’s amazing. It’s not only edible but also gluten free! How great is that? The only thing about it is that it only keeps for about a week (refrigerated in a sealed container). But the fact that I don’t have to worry about our little one eating it is worth it. And also I used natural organic food coloring so the colors were not as pretty and as vibrant as I wanted, and I didn’t get as much variety as I wished for (the blue one turned its back on me and became greenish – how weird is that?) but the kids loved it anyway. It’s done super quick and if you have a toddler at home you almost surely have all the ingredients already in your kitchen. Let’s see:

Edible Play Dough Ingredients

You’ll need:

2 cups of Baby Rice Cereal
2 cups Corn Starch
1 cup unsweetened Apple Sauce
6 TBSP Vegetable Oil
Food Coloring

Edible Play Dough

All you need to do is throw these ingredients together, mix well and knead into a smooth, pliable dough. In case your dough is sticky gradually add more rice cereal and in the opposite case (if the dough is dry and cracking) just water your hands and knead on and if necessary repeat. Finally divide your dough into as many pieces as you wish and add food coloring to each one, knead.

Voila! That is it.

-Polona

To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Hair style: the low flip ponytail


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This hair tutorial is extremely easy. Just brush your child’s hair, and make a low ponytail using an elastic band. Pull back the elastic band slightly to make room. Then, separate the hair approximately in the middle, creating a gap. Then, flip the hair over and pull through the gap.

sara_hair_4 sara_hair_3 sara_hair_5 Voila! Such an easy hairstyle, with such a pretty and elegant result!

Sara_hair_2xxx Esther

PS All pretty photos by Maud Fontein!

Exclusive Macarons Flash Sale!

macarons flash sale

Macarons is a German-based fashion brand which we have always admired for their innovative way of thinking about fabrics and their never-ending enthusiasm to transform the fashion industry — for the better. Their perseverance to ensure that their collections are 100% produced according the GOTS guidelines, vouching for a strictly ecological, sustainable and fair manufacturing chain is truly admirable.

The Macarons collection are so, so adorable. The pieces are always special, made of the finest fabrics and finished in the most detailed way, with contrasting stitching or a coloured button here or there — details that prove the care and thought that the Macarons team puts in every item. I have passed down Macarons pieces from my bigger to smaller children, and once they outgrow them, my friends’ babies enjoy them and they still are like new. The quality is just so good.

So — we’re super excited to announce that Macarons is offering Babyccino Kids readers a hefty 30% off their entire collection*! This is really awesome — what a perfect opportunity to get to know this beautiful brand if you didn’t already — or to pick up some sweet summer pieces you had your eye on… (For instance — I love the stripy pinafore dress and baggy pants I got for Ava and Casper a little while ago, and if you have a toddler, this bubble suit is so, so adorable! And our babies have seriously lived in these overalls the first years — so practical!)

To redeem your discount, just check out using discount code BKSALE30. Enjoy!! (I just ordered these cool pants Pliso for Pim, he’s going to love them!)

xxx Esther

* Gift vouchers and cfm (cecile for macarons) items can not be included in the sale but all the other items are included.

Birthday gifts for a six-year-old girl

Ivy colouring chalk blocks

chalk blocks

Birthday season has just come to an end in our family, which consists of five birthdays in quick succession. Marlow is our odd one out with a birthday in November, but the rest of us all have birthdays in the springtime. Our birthday bunting literally goes up and down and up and down from April to June. It’s quite fun, but I’m always so relieved when it’s over.

Since it’s all fresh in my mind, I thought it might be useful to write down some of the favourite gifts each of my children received for their birthdays (not just gifts from us, but from friends and family too).  I’ll start with Ivy, who turned six in May, and who only asked for a compass for her birthday. : )

Gifts for a six-year-old

1. A pretty journal for writing down thoughts and discoveries (the same one her mama uses)
2. Cat ears headband — a fun accessory
3. A flower press to preserve her first 4-leaf clover and other pretty flowers and plants (a thoughtful gift from my sister!)
4. Eco-crayons that draw on paper AND glass! So fun!
5. A brass compass in its own leather pouch to learn her directions
6. An intricate and beautiful ‘Colour Therapy‘ colouring book
7. The ‘Little House on the Prairie‘ books because I remember how much I loved them when I was young (we also bought her audio books because she’s really into listening to stories while we’re in the car)
8. A blackboard blocks and chalk set to create her own houses, towers and towns

 

Please feel free to share other gift suggestions if you can think of them! (And obviously many of these gifts are great for boys too — I only specified a gender because it felt appropriate for some of the gifts.)

Courtney x

Muddy Puddles — an exciting competition!

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Muddy Puddles rain gear
Muddle Puddles rain coat

My friend, Natasha, is a busy mum of three, an entrepreneur and also the managing director at Muddy Puddles. She runs the entire business out of her London home and has spent the past couple years completely revamping the brand, creating a range of outdoor clothing for kids that is both stylish, protective and functional (not an easy feat!). Their mission at Muddy Puddles is to encourage children to get outside and play, to explore the great outdoors whatever the weather…. because playing outdoors leads to bigger imaginations, better concentration, amazing memories and healthier bodies. Which is so true, true, true!

I’m a big fan of Muddy Puddles and their great collection (how handy are the pac-a-mac raincoats featured above? perfect for summertime travels and outdoor adventures!), and I love that Natasha has re-designed many of the pieces to be gender neutral and timeless, so items can be handed down from one child to the next.

MuddyPuddles pack-a-mac

Over the past few months Natasha has spearheaded a Virgin Media’s ‘Pitch to Rich’ campaign, and has battled through to be one of 10 companies shortlisted in the ‘Grow’ category. There have been thousands of entries, but the finalists have been whittled down and Muddy Puddles is now in the final stages to qualify to win a grant of £250,000 to roll out their “Get Outdoors” campaign for children across the UK. Super exciting possibilities for this wonderful, small business!

To encourage people to vote, Muddy Puddles is offering the chance to win a luxury outdoor holiday for 10 for a week & an entire year’s supply of waterproofs & a Go Ape Family Pass. Such a cool prize to win!

To enter:
• Vote here
• Click the Facebook button on pitch page and tag 5 friends you’d take on the holiday if you won
• Let them know you’ve entered and tagged, either on Facebook, or by email to marketing@muddypuddles.com.

If you can spare a moment, please go vote. It would be amazing for this wonderful, small business to win such a big campaign and prize!

Courtney x

Smallprint — an independent bookstore with a neighbourhood feel, but online!

Small Print independent online bookstore

I have a confession to make: I’m not the biggest fan of playgrounds. I love watching my kids enjoying themselves (preferably in the company of a good friend and with a cappuccino in my hand) but I don’t get an enormous amount of fulfilment from pushing the swing 100 times or baking sand cakes for half an hour…
I do, however, love reading to my kids. And they love being read to, over and over and over again — so I hope that makes up for my lack of interest in playgrounds.

Small Print Independent Online Bookstore SmallPrint3

I love books and I have always loved reading. I love bookshops, too. Especially the slightly old-fashioned, independent bookshop, the one you find (or used to find, at least) around the corner, with a passionate owner who knows every book in his or her store and can recommend to you, as no other, what you need to read or gift. So I am really happy to have recently discovered Smallprint — a gem of an independent bookshop, aimed at small children… and entirely online! Smallprint offers the most wonderful curation of children’s books — some I already know (and love), but many are new to me, and very promising.

Smallprint online independent bookstore
Small Print online bookshop Small Print independent bookshop
I asked Jenny, the owner of Smallprint, to make a recommendation for each of my kids, and this is what she suggested. For Sara, she chose Yellow Square, an amazing pop-up book full of  ‘paper architecture’. For Pim she thought of Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet Poster Book, an excellent choice — he loves the cool ABC posters (and we’ll be decorating the boys’ bedroom walls with these). For Ava, she recommended The Bear Song, a beautifully illustrated book (and already a family favourite!) about Papa Bear following little bear, who is following a bee, hopefully leading him towards some precious honey. For Casper she picked Oh No!, a funny book with acetate pages that cleverly change the situation drawn on each page.

Smallprint online independent bookshop Smallprint independent online bookstoreI’m so happy to see that people like Jenny start beautifully curated bookshops that are meaningful, and offer a personal touch and service that you won’t find in the enormous online bookstores we all know. She’s so good in selecting wonderful books for the right age, and her recommendations are terrific. A gem, for every book loving mama!

xxx Esther

 

Pala Mino

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I now have a 9 year old who “hates” girly stuff. Now the problem is that it is very hard to understand what that actually means. When questioned the answer is: “Well, you know…. girly stuff!!!!”

What I have concluded is that it means pink and frills and nothing that is considered “not comfy”. The rest can be negotiated, like in politics.

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We recently were sent this dress by Pala Mino and to both mine and Coco’s relief it is on the thin cross-over line between what we both love. I love the beautiful cut and fabric and the fact that it is locally made in Britain. Coco loves it for the simple reason that it is, as mentioned before “comfy” and also funky.

Here are a couple photos of my Coco wearing her lovely Pala Mino Grecian Dress out and about in Marrakesh earlier this month.

– Emilie

Muny — comfortable and contemporary clothing from Brooklyn

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When we were in Le Touquet a few weeks ago we had such luck with the weather… It was seriously warm and wonderful that day. The kids were running around through the pretty parks and over the beach, there was no rush, in fact we had all the time in the world to spend with dear friends… Weekends like that will be treasured forever.

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That Sunday Casper and Ava were wearing pieces from Muny, a clothing brand from Brooklyn, and they were just perfect for the occasion — comfortable, easy, and lovely. Aren’t Casper’s Khadi pants pretty? They are so well made with a full lining, and I love the pocket detail on the back. Ava is wearing the Olivia dress, an easy piece for beach, playground or birthday party alike. All of Muny’s pieces are made from natural fabrics which are made by various textile artisans in India, using ancient techniques of wood block printing, handloom weaving and hand dyeing. Very nice!

xxx Esther

PS Shoes are from Amy & Ivor, we love them! Casper’s jumper is from Waddler (on sale now!).

PPS Muny is offering an exclusive 20% deal for Babyccino readers this month — check out our deals here.

Duck, Death and the Tulip, by Wolf Erlbruch

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It was a difficult choice to write about this book – you see my aim is to write about books that not only I love but ones my kids love too. My kids DO NOT love this book. You see this book tackles the scariest subject in all of our lives … death. There really is no way to make this topic ‘nice’ but I can’t think of a book which comes nearer.

You may remember Wolf Erlbruch for the wonderful tale of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of his Business. Whilst that book captured all of our hearts (especially kids who, let’s face it, love a mention of poo) this story of Duck, Death and the Tulip is, understandably harder for kids to love but I really, really love it.

Duck is going to die – we know that because Death has started to hang around – he is anxious and scared but as time goes on he gets used to Death. He wants to understand what will happen after he dies, he’s heard stories but wants to really know – Death can’t help but even so Duck starts to find him quite good company and when the time comes death is graceful, tender and gentle. Death is moved as he says his final Goodbye to Duck – but he straightens himself up, he is just doing his job – “that’s life” after all.

I really like this pragmatic approach – I, personally, found it comforting and it has been carefully interjected with spots of humour. I read the book with my children when there was no other theme of ‘death’ in our lives but I wonder if they might have felt differently about it if we’d read it together when someone we loved had died or was likely to die – maybe a relative or a pet? The book is available to buy from Amazon (UK and US).

-Mo x

Booboos’ Bonnets

booboos baby bonnets
booboos bonnets
booboo's bonnets
I received the sweetest email last month from Sophie McCurley, a mother of three and a maker of bonnets. She wrote to introduce me to her beautiful collection of handmade bonnets and I’m so glad she did. Aren’t they beautiful? I love the simple, classic styles and the gorgeous fabrics.

I ended up ordering one for Marlow and she wore it all last week when we were in Italy. I find that hats with ties are so handy for young children because they can’t just toss their hat off easily (and they don’t blow off if you’re on a boat, etc.). Not to mention, they are so adorable — Marlow looked deceivingly sweet all week. ; )

Courtney x

DIY: Hairclips

Hairclips

Esther and her lovely Hair Style posts inspired me for this craft. Apparently someone’s eating Tila’s hair clips at our home because a week doesn’t go by that we don’t lose at least (!) one. Usually even more. So instead of buying them again I decided to make a few instead. And they turned out great! Like always I tried to find the simplest way and these are literally done in minutes – the thing that takes the longest is actually the drying of the glue.

Hairclips

So, the things you need are:

Some fabric leftovers
Scissors
Glue
Glitter and furry pom poms (optional)
Hair Clips (I got mine from Ebay)

Hairclips

Draw a shape (a star, a heart, a cloud etc.) on the back side of fabric and cut it out.

Hairclips

If you want to make it glittery, first cover the front side with glue and sprinkle generously. Let it dry for about an hour or so and shake off the excess. You’ll do yourself a big favor if you do this outside or you’ll have glitter everywhere like I do!

Hairclips

The bow is also really easy to do. First cut two strips about 6 and 4 centimetres long and one 1.5 cm wide and the other one half thinner. It’s even better if you have ribbons because they won’t fray on edges in time. Now glue both ends of the thicker strip together like on the second photo above. Fold in half and wrap the thinner strip around (begin and finish at the part where the thicker strip is glued together), glue in place and strip away the excess.

Hairclips

Done!

Hairclips

I also did one with pompoms where you only need to glue the three together but there are endless possibilities. Now all there’s left to do is glue the little embellishments on hair clips. So easy.

-Polona

To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

The sweetest nightlight from Tulipop

Tulipop bubble lamp nightlight
Ava needed a new lamp for her bedside table and when I saw the new product of Signy and Helga, the two beautiful fiends behind Icelandic brand Tulipop, I knew she would absolutely love it. How sweet is this Bubble lamp? It’s just prefect for her, so soft and sweet. Very comforting for a little girl that just turned five!

tulipop bubble lamp nightlight

xxx Esther

Wee Gallery, 32 ways to dress a…

wee_gallery_2 wee_gallery_3 wee_gallery_4My children were each given a mini activity book from Wee Gallery recently and they’ve been a big success. With a very simple concept (dress the cat / bunny / fox etc), these sweet little books appeal to different ages, and make the cutest little presents.

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I also think they are great for traveling, or to take to restaurants, for instance. Just pop a few in your handbag for instant entertainment!

xxx Esther

Father and son swimwear from Tom & Teddy

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Tracking down nice-looking swimwear for boys is surprisingly more difficult than you would think! Especially rash tops — they always seem to have some crazy text or logos and end up clashing with the swim trunks my boys wear. Which is why I was excited when Tom & Teddy announced their new collection of simple rash tops (without any text!) to compliment their stylish collection of swim trunks. Problem solved.

The Tom & Teddy UPF50+ rash tops are not only stylish and sensible, they’re also extremely durable. Unlike traditional surfing tops which are made for saltwater swimming and not chlorinated pools, these rash tops won’t break down in chlorine water, so they really do last a long time! You can feel the quality when you hold them in your hands – they’re slightly thicker and more matte in finish than normal rash shirts.

What’s more, they offer rash tops and trunks for men — so dads can match their sons. A perfect Father’s Day gift perhaps?

Courtney x

This post was sponsored by Tom & Teddy, a long-time member of our shopping portal and a brand we have worked with for many years. All views expressed in this review are 100% my own.

Topsy Turvy World, By Atak

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As soon as you pick up this book you know you are not dealing with your average kids book.  Atak is a German folksy illustrator and this book is like turning pages of an art piece – each page thickly covered with colour and detail. This book , with no words, just uses pictures to play the typical kids game ‘Verkehrte Welt’ (direct translation – wrong way round the World). The mice chase the cat, the baby spoon-feeds the mama, cars fly and airplanes float, firemen have fire coming out of their hoses and the Punk gives the Banker money on the street. This absurd and fantastical World is not only funny but thought provoking – when we see things the wrong way round we can question if the ‘right-way’ is really right after all? This particularly strikes me on the front cover as the Circus Lion holds up a flaming hoop for the clown to jump through. Kids of all ages (and by that I mean grown-ups too!) will really enjoy staring into this book and looking at this Topsy Turvy World .

The book is available from Amazon (UK and US), and from Flying Eye Books.

-Mo x

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