Musgrove the Nanny of Notting Hill

I’ve discovered a few cute children’s books lately and I’m excited to start sharing them with you. The first is a recommendation from one of our readers, Sufi Sadigh, a fellow London-based mama. She wrote to share some of her favourite kiddie products, and of course I jumped on the book recommendations and immediately placed an Amazon order.

Musgrove the Nanny of Notting Hill is the sweetest little book about a girl called Hermione and her nanny rat, Musgrove. Musgrove wears giant green galoshes and reads out-of-date newspapers and together they hang around Notting Hill, go to the park, drink hot chocolate in the cafés and walk home along Kensington Park Road. Ivy and I love the silly little things they do, and I especially love that the whole thing is taking place in my very favourite London neighbourhood. : )

This is the first book in a series of other ‘Musgrove the Nanny’ books. I can’t wait to get the others! Thank you, Sufi, for the tip!

xx Courtney

Nina and the Little Things

A few weeks ago Esther and I met up in Brussels to go to the new Little Fashion Week trade fair. One of the absolute highlights was meeting the super talented Italian designer Eloise Morandi. Esther had been following her and her brand Nina and the Little Things for a few years and I got to discover it for the first time. Such a treat!

Nina is a little girl who wears a red hat and a red dress, and who wanders around thinking about Little Things. Around this world Eloise has created cards, art, games, rag books, flip books and bags which you can have a look at in the online shop. I am sure there is much more to come! Have a peek at Eloise’s blog – it is so fun to see a designer having a great time playing around with her creations!

- Emilie

Wreck This Journal!

My son came home from a play date at a friend’s house the other day and all he could talk about was how his friend had a super cool journal that you are meant to wreck (!!) with funny things to do on each page!! Luckily we tracked it down in our local art store, and now he’s the extremely proud owner of his very own copy. He loves it so much, he has taken it everywhere with him for the past week, and of course my younger son became so envious of his journal that we had to go back and get him one as well!

Wreck This Journal is the coolest arts & crafts book I think I’ve ever seen!  Author Keri Smith encourages kids to engage in “destructive” acts like poking holes through pages, adding photos and defacing them, painting with coffee, colouring outside the lines, sticking fruit stickers to a page, and loads of other funny and creative activities. My boys think they’re being so ‘naughty’ by following the book’s rules. It is hilarious!

I’m definitely ordering a whole bunch more for birthday gifts, and I’ve just seen that Keri Smith has loads of other similar type books as well.

x Courtney

New notebooks from Famille Summerbelle

We are big fans of the beautiful paper-cut maps of Famille Summerbelle, so we can only love this new line of notebooks that were released today. Featuring the famous World Map and the cities of LondonParisNew York City and San Francisco, they are just perfect to plan your next city trip, or use as a stylish destination for your daily scribbles. Just lovely!

xxx Esther

Mix & match sketchbook by DEUZ

My kids (and I!) have had the best of fun this last week with the clever mix & match sketchbook by DEUZ. Basically this is an ordinary blank sketchbook, but the centre of the page is perforated so you can easily ‘cut’ your drawing in half, and thus create your own crazy animal combinations. What a great idea!

There are two varieties to choose from: ‘Wolf‘, or ‘Characters‘. We’ve been drawing up horse-fish, pig-birds, dino-ants, and more fantastic animals in the ‘Wolf’ sketchbook. So cool! I’m definitely going to order more for gifts.
(A little tip: it helps to indicate the ‘thickness’ of the animal beforehand, so your doodles line up once separated.)

xxx Esther

Instagram books from Blurb

I ordered a couple Instagram books from Blurb last year, and they’re so fun to have! The kids love looking through them, and it’s such a nice way to turn my Instagram photos into something ‘real’.

I recently ordered a book of Marlow’s first year – an entire book of her photos from the day she was born until the day she turned one — and it just arrived! Oh my gosh, you should see the way Marlow carries around this book!! She loves it! She keeps pointing to all her baby photos and saying ‘baby’ and kissing every page.

Making the books is super easy. You just have to sync your Instagram account to your account on Blurb and it automatically fills in the pages with photos. If you don’t want to use the autofill feature, you can select your own photos from Instagram and then place them onto each page. So easy! I’m definitely going to order more!

x Courtney

Sycamore Street Press birthday cards

Sycamore Street Press is a family run paper company that you might remember from the exquisite Baby Milestones Cards I reviewed a while ago. It is run by husband and wife team Eva and Kirk Jorgensen, who raise their two gorgeous kids together and come up with the most beautiful letter-pressed and printed designs. I love their original birthday card collection — so playful and fun!

Sycamore Street Press is giving away a $100 gift voucher to the winner of our second gigantic give-away. What a great prize to win, together with 15 other awesome prizes! You can enter this give-away HERE. (If I were the winner, I know what I would choose from Sycamore Street Press: the citron, poire and pomme letterpress art prints — so pretty!)
xxx Esther

Rosie Revere, engineer

My kids (and I) love the book Iggy Peck, architect, so when Andrea Beaty wrote a sequence called Rosie Revere, engineer, expectations in our household were high. And Rosie did not disappoint! The main character, Rosie Revere, dreams of becoming an engineer, but is very insecure and practises her skills in secret in the attic. Until one day her great, great aunt Rose comes for a visit, a clever lady who used to build airplanes a long time ago. Together, they overcome Rosie’s insecurities…

Like Iggy Peck, architect, Rosie Revere, engineer is written in a fast-paced rhyme scheme, and is beautifully illustrated by David Roberts.

xxx Esther

Blog2Print Photobook

As you might have noticed Esther, Courtney and I quite like to blog. In fact, it was Courtney who introduced me to the concept of blogging way back when our eldest kids where only a couple of months old. Since then, we started Babyccino, but have also continued our personal blogs documenting all major events in our family lives for about 8 years now. It’s fun to browse through our personal blog, but I suddenly realised the other day that, though I had spent a lot of time documenting our lives, there was no physical photos for my kids to look at. Everything was virtually kept on the world wide web. What happens if suddenly blogspot ceases to exist? I literally would have nothing!

I did a bit of research and found that you can now print your blog and make it into a book, in my case all 8 years worth of photos. It was the best Christmas present for my children! They have spent hours looking through the book and discovering themselves as babies. The photos are not the greatest quality and I cringe at the silly little sentences I wrote to go with the blog posts,  but this book really is special.

- Emilie

Heart Origami notepaper from Lollipop

As a young child, growing up in America, we would hand out Valentine cards to every child in our class. We used to create our own Valentine’s Day letterboxes and tape them to our desks and everyone would go around sticking the Valentine cards into them. I remember taking home all of my Valentines cards and reading them at home (and eating the candy too!).  I was talking to my husband about this and he also used to do this in class, so I’m assuming it’s an American thing? Children here in the UK (or at least in my children’s school) don’t do this. In fact, I don’t think my kids have ever gotten a Valentine’s Day card from one of their classmates?!

When I saw these Heart Origami Notes from Lollipop it reminded me all about this. And I think it’s a fun tradition to bring back for my kids. Maybe not to all their classmates at school, but to special friends or family members they might want to send some hearts to!

xx Courtney

‘The Odd One Out’ and other new titles by Big Picture Press

The publishers at Big Picture Press sent over a few of their not-yet-released titles, and I am so excited about these new books! I feel so privileged to have gotten a sneak peek at them and am beyond excited to tell you about them. (I swear, these guys at Big Picture Press can’t turn out a bad book! Remember the MAPS book?!)

Ivy’s favourite is The Odd One Out by Britta Teckentrup, a beautiful search-and-find spotting book with sweet rhyming text. On each page they tell you about the group of animals featured and then ask you to find the odd one out – the bird who has caught a worm, the turtle hiding his head, the camel with just one hump instead of two. Ivy loves it so much she carried it with her all weekend!

Marlow (14 months) loves the Little Tree book by Jenny Bowers, which follows a little seed as it grows through the seasons to become a beautiful fruit tree. It has 25 flaps revealing hidden objects beneath, and she just loves the ‘peek-a-boo’ effect of lifting the flaps.

Lastly, the boys, aged 6 and 8, are really enjoying reading all about the human body in the new Infographics: Human Body book by Peter Grundy which explains how the human body works using stylish infographics and lots of interesting facts that appeal to children.

For a sneak peak into each of the books, you can watch this little video here. The books will be released in early spring and are available to pre-order on Amazon UK and US. I love pre-ordering books because it’s always so fun to be surprised when the postman delivers a new book you forgot you had ordered!

x Courtney

Madame Pamplemousse and her Incredible Edibles

Sometimes I have slight nostalgia pangs to the days when my children were cute, cuddly little babies, but I do love seeing them grow up and start discovering new things all the time; books being one of them. We did a huge tidy up in the kids room over the holidays and gifted all the Peppa Pigs to my goddaughter and we’re now advancing onwards and upwards to chapter books.

Coco has really caught the reading bug and is plowing through books. It has been great discovering with her some new authors, one of them being Rupert Kingfisher and his book Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles, the first of a series of books. It tells the story of Madeleine who meets Madame Pamplemousse, the best cook in Paris and together they work to stop her evil uncle Monsieur Lard. Seriously fun to read, even for Mamas!

- Emilie

Little Nye, books by Lerryn Korda

Lerryn Korda is the mum of a girl in Ivy’s class, and she very casually let it slip the other day that she’s also an author/illustrator! I went home and googled her name and found that she’s much more established and published than I was expecting! She’s written and illustrated a whole host of books, all of which look so cute!

She handed me a couple of her books before the Christmas holiday, and the kids are crazy for them. There is something about the Little Nye character and his friends and their adventures that really appeal to little kids. Not just the adorable illustrations, but the simple, childlike text too. We have Into the Wild and Rocket to the Moon and they both feature the sweet adventures of Little Nye and his friends. Ivy keeps asking me to read the stories to her, and she’s starting to pick up on the story and read me little bits.

Lerryn has a new book coming out next month and it looks so cute. You can read about it and see images of her works in progress on her blog here. Her studio looks so inspiring — I hope one day she’ll let me pop in!!

xx Courtney

OMY Colouring poster

There are not many better things to do on a rainy day than some colouring! It has been grey and miserable a lot lately here in Paris, so we have had a couple of weekends where we have spent most of the day in our pyjamas, drinking tea (me!) and crafting. One massive success project is the OMY Colouring poster that I have hung up in our hallway. (I wrote about these a long time ago, but since I did, many more versions have been added). All day long when we walk past it, we stop and colour a little part in. Funnily enough grown ups (me!) seem to find it as mesmerising as children do.

We have the Giant Atlas Poster which has the added bonus that the kids are learning a little bit about which country is where, but I also love the Map of Paris which could be an excellent introduction to the city if you were planning a visit!

- Emilie

Sweet paper goods from Ekaterina Trukhan

I’ve written about her books before (here), but Ekaterina Trukhan recently got in touch to let us know about her new range of stationery and paper products in her newly launched shop. I love her sweet and cheery designs and think they really appeal both to kids and grown-ups alike. I love the new 2014 Calendar which features illustrated children appropriately dressed for the seasons of each month.

x Courtney

Tutti Confetti, charming illustrations

I am so completely in love with the spanish ilustrator Tutti Confetti. I think they are not only lovely but the overall warmth and feel of them is just amazing.

Sooo nice. But my favourite are the personalized ilustrations she makes. You send her a picture and she does the most beautiful drawing full of emotions!  Nico and I already have ours. And I cannot stop looking at it.

Congratulations Tutti Confetti!!


p.s. To read more from Maria, visit her lovely blog here.

Friendship Book from Pleased to Meet

Tila got her first Friendship Book to fill out last week from one of her girlfriends in kindergarten and you should have seen how proud she was first to receive it and then when she gave it back with all the information about her and the drawing she made and she even got to glue in a picture of herself! It was all she talked about for days.

I had one when I was little too so it is definitely something she needs to have as well, to remember her little friends when she gets older. And being a family that never knows when and where we’re going to move it’s even that much more important to keep those kinds of mementos.

I found just the perfect one not that far away – in Germany. Isn’t it gorgeous with its linen and silver stamped covers? And that sweet pompom bookmark? I was immediately sold.

Pleased to Meet is a sweet little online boutique full of stationery goodies founded by a German couple Daniela and Marcel who actually met in New York. They give a great deal of attention to important details like using only finest ecologically sound paper and a guarantee on high standard local production and hand assembly of products.

My eyes are set on much, much more than just this gorgeous Friendship Book for Tila (which by the way comes in English and German) but I think it would take too much space to share it here. I can only say I’m glad that holidays are just around the corner.


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

Olive and the Bad Mood

Olive and the Bad Mood has become Ivy’s new favourite book! She even brought the book into school last week and asked the teacher to read it to her class at story time. I then sat down with her this weekend and realised she’s had it read to her so many times, she has managed to memorise the entire book word for word!

It is really such a sweet book with the cutest illustrations. It’s a silly story about a cat called Olive who’s bad mood puts all of her friends in a bad mood as well… until thankfully candy jelly worms save the day!

The book is written and illustrated by Tor Freeman and published by Templar Publishing where it is available to buy online. (It’s also available from Amazon UK and USA.)

x Courtney

p.s. This is just one of the many wonderful books that will be available to purchase at The ShopUp event this Sunday and Monday. Templar Publishing and one of their imprint publishing companies, Big Picture Press, will be there with a lovely selection of books for children to read and for parents to purchase. They’re also bringing in some of their illustrators to offer fun craft sessions for the kiddos! We can’t wait!

MAPS, by Big Picture Press

I picked up this beautiful new MAPS book from my local bookstore a few weeks ago and we took it with us on our recent road trip to Belgium and The Netherlands, and I’m so glad we did! It was an enormous hit with all the children – there were so many instances where we found children curled up together on the sofa, hidden behind this big book, pointing out all the little details of each map. It was also good timing because we were traveling, and the kids were able to look at the different countries we had driven through, and of course the landmarks and curiosities of Belgium.

MAPS is a new book out from Big Picture Press. It is a celebration of the world, from its immense mountains to its tiny insects – and everything in between. And it features 52 different maps filled with endearing illustrated details. It’s one of those books that you can return to over and over again and still find something new on each page.

Since our return back to London, I have found this book hidden in the covers of my boys’ bed every single morning when I make their bed. I’m pretty sure they are staying up late every night discovering new countries around the world. They told me this morning that last night they ‘travelled to New Zealand and Poland and then back to London’. So sweet!

The book is available to buy from good book stores, or online from Amazon.

x Courtney

p.s. I’m really excited to announce that Big Picture Press will be attending our ShopUp event this December, and will be setting up a reading nook for children and selling their wonderful books!

Giant colouring picture from KEK Amsterdam

Last week, when we were spending the week together in the Belgian Ardennes, the kids had a lot of fun with the giant colouring picture from KEK Amsterdam. These super sized colouring pictures (91.4 x 150 cm, or 3′ x 5′) come in three varieties: ‘In the Forest’ with beautiful images of trees, birdhouses and hummingbirds, ‘In the City’ with many facades, roofs, traffic and signs, and ‘To the Stars’ with robots and space ships and tons of technical details.

Even though we were so, so lucky with the weather last week (at times it felt like summer, and we even had two barbecues!), the kids spent countless hours around their colouring poster, sometimes by themselves, sometimes all together (see photo below).

These posters are such a great present idea, I’m sure they will definitely keep a lot of kids entertained in the cold and dark months to come! (Also, they come folded and sealed in A4 size, so they’re super easy to send as presents by post).

xxx Esther

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