Usually I write about cute clothes, darling shoes, best toys, I even throw in a few recipes and some fun DIYs here and there but today I’d like to talk about something a little more boring but far more important than all that – about choosing the right type of sunscreen. The sunny days that finally arrived already call for good sun protection (Spring apparently doesn’t really exist anymore). But there’s a catch about them which I didn’t know for a very long time. I only took care that the sunscreen doesn’t contain any parabens and has the highest SPF filter possible but that is actually not enough:
There are two types of sunscreens – the ones with Physical UV filters (good!) and the ones with Chemical ones (very bad!). The main problem about Chemical Filters is that they penetrate the skin and absorb the UV light from there until they eventually release free radicals which can be even more damaging than the rays themselves! They can cause not only greater skin ageing but also skin cancer! Yes, sunscreen itself can cause the things we always thought (or at least I did) only the sun can! While Physical Filters (also Mineral Screens) stay on the skin and don’t absorb but reflect the UV light! They act as a barrier between the skin and light. So be careful and look for the sun protection with Physical Filters like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Dioxide.
I tried a few different ones already and some of them were really awful – they were just impossible to spread and left white or even yellow marks on clothes that never got washed off but I finally found two I really like. UVbio is the best sunscreen I have ever tried by far but it’s quite expensive and the other one I also like is from Lavera and it’s a lot more budget friendly.
I met up with my friend Lindsey from Urban Mums recently and she was telling me about (and showing me) her baby’s terrible eczema. Eczema so bad that his skin, at times, became infected and needed medical treatment. Poor little baby boy. It turns out he is allergic to dairy and gluten, and that feeding him a specially formulated baby milk free from these allergens will keep his eczema at bay. His eczema has thankfully mostly cleared up… but still, Lindsay has to be really picky about the clothing and fabrics her son wears so that his sensitive skin is never irritated. Enter Silver Sense clothing.
Silver Sense specialises in clothing which helps to ease the itching, inflammation and distress caused by eczema and other skin conditions in a natural way. Their clothes are made from soft cotton fabrics which are blended with real, natural silver fibres. I had no idea… but apparently silver fibres have powerful antimicrobial properties that help fight the symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions! How cool is that? (You can read more about it here.)
I love all their cute products, both for babies and children up to 8 years. Lots of fun stripes, and cute colour combos. And Lindsey says the products are really great in person, super cute and nice fitting… and yes, soothing on her baby’s skin. Brilliant!
We have recently discovered the Childs Farm range of children’s toiletries, and the kids and I are both happy we did. Ivy thinks the shampoo smells like lollipops and that the conditioner has magical powers because it makes the tangles go away (we’ve never used conditioner before, so she’s especially impressed). The Childs Farm products are paraben-free and all made in the UK with natural and organic ingredients, and they really do smell good. You can buy the products directly from their shop, or you can see here for stockists.
Update: Joanna from Childs Farm just wrote to say that any of our readers can receive a 20% discount on the Childs Farm products from now until the end of January. Just enter code BABYKIDS at check-out.
Are you ready for school to start? I am soooo not ready. I’m still lamenting the end of summer and slow, lazy days! But… these cute back-to-school images from Zoobug are rather inspiring and fun. (I’m sure my kids will feel like that girl in the top photo on their first day back! It’s always hard to get back into the swing of things after a long break!)
My kids have been greatly enjoying the Yoga Pretzels cards they got from their babysitter for Christmas. It’s so cute to see them bend in all sorts of curves, or trying to keep their balance. There are 50 cards, each of them giving a suggestion for a pose. There are, for instance, balance poses, stretch poses, stand and bend poses, and, most popular with my children, the partner poses (they need each other to perform the pose!). There are also cards that give breathing or relax exercises, or suggestions for games that enhance teamwork and creativity. It’s great fun, and especially 6-year-old Sara has been able to really relax after her yoga. Pim (almost 5) loves it too, his favourite pose, of course, is the ‘Warrior’.
Yoga Pretzels is available through Amazon (UK or US).
We are enjoying lovely hot sunny days here in New Zealand and as much as I love the sun I am so over applying sunscreen to my children’s pale white skin. I am paranoid that they are going to get sunburnt and if it wasn’t for me applying copious amounts of sunblock throughout the day they would easily burn in the harsh New Zealand sun. So I was very relieved to find a new sunblock on the market. This stuff is amazing — you can spray it on your kids even when they have just stepped out of the swimming pool dripping wet. I especially like to use it when we are at the beach and I can just spray the kids while they are still playing in the sand without trying to get all the sand off them first. Its making my life so much easier!
If you’re looking for sunglasses for your kids this summer, the ones to opt for are the Zoobug sunglasses. Not only do they have loads of cool styles (I love the Daisy sunglasses for girls and the Wayfarers for boys!), the sunglasses are UV-protective and many of the styles have adjustable rubber tips to ensure the glasses fit your child’s face. They’re also virtually unbreakable, as they should be if they’re meant for children. Zoobug also now makes optical glasses for kids which have all the same great qualities and cuteness!
I am a total French pharmacy groupie. And I really thought that I knew every product available and then, recently, I stumbled upon yet another French wonder product! Linement Oleo Calcaire (I guess this translates to oil and calcium ointment) consists of only two ingredients: olive oil and calcium. The most common use for it is cleaning babies bottoms with it — instead of wipes. It cleans fantastically well and leaves a film of oil to stop irritations. Lots of people over here use it at home instead of wipes — so much cheaper and better for the baby and the environment — a no brainer!
And there is more: it’s also good to wash dry skin or skin prone to ecxma, massage, use on sunburns and minor burns and also as a make-up remover. It must be the most multi-functional product in the world! You can buy the ointment ready made at most pharmacies in France or the pharmacist should be able to mix up a bottle for you. Alternatively you can get it online here in France and here in the UK and the USA.
It’s funny how medical care can be so different from country to country. When I lived in London and asked the pharmacist for some suppositories to give to my sick baby, he literally looked at me as if I was asking him to stand on his head and sing the ABCs. Whereas here in Amsterdam, suppositories are the norm, and liquid paracetamol doesn’t seem to exist at all! Fact is (at least in my experience), that for small, nappy wearing babies, suppositories really work best, but for older children I definitely prefer liquid paracetamol.
For taking temperatures it seems to be the same story: in the Netherlands, temperatures are supposed to be taken rectally, whereas in the UK I think it is considered child molestation to use anything else than an ear thermometer. I must say that I’ve warmed up to the UK method here — especially since we own the Vicks Gentle Touch, which accurately measures the temperature behind the ear within a second, and it’s colour coded so you immediately see if your child is running a temperature or not (and can finish his dinner).
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Win! Inke’s Beautiful Wallpaper Birds
I have had one of those months, and the truth be told, I am feeling a little bit run down. The days are getting shorter, the leaves are falling off the trees, my girls and I have all had colds and it has been one of those periods where nothing really goes to plan. I feel like I’ve been running late on everything — do you know that feeling? So I decided it was time to do some damage limitation and spoil myself a little, and this is how:
1) A big, long, hot bath with some good bath salts (my favorites are the Neals Yard Lavander Bath Salts).
2) An episode of Mad Men (it is my absolute favourite show at the moment and there is nothing better than zoning out to a good TV show) and watching it while I am soaking in the hot bath with a face mask on.
3) A hot drink: my favourite is freshly pressed lemon juice, hot water, honey and a splash of whiskey (the whiskey is optional).
4) Going to bed early in a freshly made bed.
What about you? What is your quick fix when you are feeling run down?
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Make your own lovely holiday angels!!
Rejoice! Summer is here in full force and with the clunky boots now tossed to the back of the closet it’s time to break out the cute sandals and flats. But oh my… ouch… so uncool… breaking in the new shoes for the new season also means blisters and sore feet!
A very good friend of mine from college has been working on this product for years now and just recently rolled it out. She is a mama herself and one that always looks amazing and stylish. In her pre-mommy days she used to do all sorts of healthy San Francisco-ish things like ironman’s and triathalon’s and as a result was always looking for a lady-like product to ease her sore feet. Sidewalk Survival Balm was born out of her love for comfort and high fashion and her organic foot-saver is a god-send that smells incredible. After taking it for a bunch of test runs, I can attest that it really works. Basically, it’s a protective balm for feet, almost like a chapstick, and I keep one in my bag to offer instant relief from rubbing shoes. I am even going to use it on my kids as they break in their new summer sandals. She will ship internationally if you contact her directly and is offering Babyccino readers a discount of 20% off till the end of July. Just use promo code: babyccino.
The third time around, breastfeeding was easy. I knew exactly what to do, and the baby also got it immediately — she was breastfeeding within minutes after she was born, as if we both had been doing nothing else for years. Life is beautiful.
I also knew exactly what to expect a few days after the birth. Painful boobs the size of melons, hard, hot and with red blotches. Sleeping sitting up. Sore, cracked nipples, feeding bra size 100Z (too small). Have you ever had to pull a cracked nipple sticking to your bra? Ouch. Life is a bitch.
Enter Inlight Nyp Balm. A natural, 100% organic, wonderful smelling soothing balm that does the trick. Before birth, it’s used to help stretch the skin and prevent stretch-marks. After the birth it soothes and heals sore nipples. And, what I possibly like best about it is that now that I don’t need the Nyp Balm myself anymore (yay), I can use the rest for my baby’s bum. No spills! Because it also calms red and irritated baby bottoms wonderfully well.
All ingredients in Nyp Balm (like moisturising olive and coconut oil, protective beeswax, anti-inflammatory lavender and restorative rosehip oil) do not alter the flavour of the maternal milk and are easily tolerated by babies.
I can spot a new kids snack a mile off — it’s like I smell something new in the air as soon as I enter the supermarket. I spotted Bear yo-yos last year and immediately my fruit-loving daughter was a fan. Now we are all fans of the Bear snacks (I especially love the Cocoa Cherry Pie nibbles). They are not just for children — their selection of nibbles are delicious combinations of fruit and granola and come in bags that are all under 100cals — so perfect for my 4pm sugar-fix.
Bear was started by personal trainer, Hayley, last year in an attempt to find a tasty alternative to chocolate, biscuits and treats — clearly a lady with my needs in mind! She chose the name ‘Bear’ after she read an article which said that bears who had found their way into cities and therefore foraged for foods in bins behind fast-food joints ended up being 30% fatter and 30% less active then their wild counter-parts. They also died younger.
So Bear produce all their nibbles as nature intended — no fiddling, no air-freight fruit and fairly-traded. You can buy Bear goodies through Ocado.
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Velib’
For some reason, we do not have good luck when it comes to toothbrushes. The toothbrush, in our house, is like the dental equivalent of a pair of socks. I buy two, I loose one immediately. I put five in a cup on Monday – and have only one left on Friday. I don’t know how or why it happens but it just does.
Anyway, after a visit to the kids’ dentist last week we left with the usual parting bag of goods and waved goodbye with promises to brush and floss daily….but this time I noticed that there was something different about the toothbrush – there was a suction cup on the bottom of the handle. Hummmm…I thought…if all goes according to plan, after they bush they can stick it right back on the edge of the sink or on the mirror and not chuck it somewhere and/or force it to live in one of those crusty cups full of who-knows what — this is genius! The Plak Smacker comes in fun colors with a larger grip handle (easy to spot if they are hurled under a bed or behind a dresser) and the quality is exactly the same as the other ones you find in the store. In my limited web research I found that it really is primarily sold to dental practices but there are a few places to find them on-line at cheap and cheerful pricing. I plan to buy 20 immediately as I know I will loose at least some of them regardless. The also sell these cute little suction cup sand timers.
May is here — we can officially start the count-down to Summer (which I have been doing since 1st Jan but now the goal is in sight!). With May comes the start of some of my favourite Summer activities (eating outside, picnics, French cricket, boules, paddling in pools to name but a few). The best of these has to be ‘picking your own’. The very brilliant Garsons Farm in Esher (Surrey) opens up for ‘pick your own’ this month and the season continues until October. Over the next 6 months there will be 42 different crops, in a total of 106 different varieties, available for picking. Whether you are in the mood for gooseberries or cucumbers, cherries or cabbages, Garsons can accommodate (seasonally dependent of course). It is such a fun day out — all the kids getting their own punnets and picking which crop to collect… with the occasional cheeky fruit ’scrumped’ (picked and eaten) on the way round the fields. (more…)
Here in the UK we get free dental care when we are pregnant and for a year after the baby is born. I knew when I was pregnant with my second child that there was something wrong with one of my teeth and I was right — I needed a root-canal. Scary! It had to happen after the baby was born and took 6 (yes that is S-I-X!) sessions to complete. Now I think the dentist did a good job but the experience was pretty shocking. The place was like a flashback to the dentists I went to as a child in the early eighties — the same furniture, the same smell, the same vinyl coated weird chair to sit on, the same bright lighting, the same ‘trying to be all smiley and friendly’ posters telling me to brush my teeth. I could not imagine taking my tiny children to a place like this to check their teeth; they would immediately know something was up — this is not a place where good things happen. Definitely not.
Is there anything more mentally taxing then applying sunscreen to small kids? I love the summer and all, but the one thing that really causes anxiety during the morning routine is when we have to apply sunscreen to the family. I hate it. The chase….The begging them to stand still…The sudden jerky movements while you try to rub the pasty lotion back to the color of skin tone. I am sure you have all been there.
In the past I have opted for the spray-on kind but I have found that they are very drying and don’t protect nearly as well as the thicker lotions. A friend of mine from home had told me about Coola Sun Care and I decided to pick some up before heading out on vacation this year… and so glad I did! It’s a lotion but it is not greasy and it rubs in very quickly! It’s also made with 100% organic ingredients but it’s not holier-than-thou about it. I really like the simple sleek packaging and they carry a full line for the body, face and lips. So far it’s the best sunscreen that I have come across and I am definitely loading up on it for the summer months!
Soul Cycle just opened an amazing new space in Tribeca and while I totally TOTALLY dread working out I decided to just suck it up and force myself to go. After all, as mentioned before, the only cardio routine I have these days is courtesy of the Dancey Dance segments from Yo Gabba Gabba.
So anyway– Soul Cycle has had a following for quite some time in other areas of the city and I was nervous as hell to go. I had never done a “spin class” before and I was pretty confident that I was going to die on the bike and make a total scene. As I stood in the lobby waiting for class to start I tried my best to look like a pro but when I saw the sweat drenched people emerge from the prior class I started to panic. (more…)
I’m probably not winning any points for originality with our Australian readers, but before coming to Australia I had never heard of Lucas’ Papaw Ointment and it has since become our favourite Australian discovery. This natural remedy, made from an enzyme in papaya fruit, can be used on burns, boils, cuts, insect bites, open wounds, chapped lips, haemorrhoids, and the list goes on. And it is definitely the best treatment for nappy rash I’ve ever used.
After stockpiling these little tubes to take back to London with me, I discovered you can actually buy it in London (the creator was, in fact, British)! Dr. Lucas formulated the papaw ointment more than 100 years ago in Australia after leaving London for a warmer climate. Its natural antiseptic quality is great for preventing infection in wounds, it’s totally safe to use on babies and children, and it is so natural it can also be taken internally to aid digestion. It also smells nice — an added bonus!
Before we moved to a new house a few weeks ago, we used to live in an apartment building. Parking in the basement, large elevator, and the rooms conveniently laid-out on one single level. Disadvantage: no garden. Advantage: no stairs.
Last week I came home from work and found my 4-year-old daughter sitting on the sofa with a package of frozen red cabbage wrapped in a tea towel, pressed to her forehead. A bump the size of an egg was slowly developing. You guessed it, she fell from the stairs (or, as she stated, her little brother pushed her, but I’m not sure how much of a truth there is in that). Poor girl.
Now I’m not against red cabbage, (we prepare it with a little sugar and apples — truly delicious with good sausage or game), but don’t you think this cute little elephant from Goodies of Desire would do a much better job at soothing a little (or bigger) owie? I do, and thus, from now on, I keep one in the freezer compartment of my fridge for cases of emergencies. Good to have around.
The friendly elephant is filled with cherry pits and the label says that in addition to the usual bumps and bruises it can also be useful for ‘Kopfenschmerzen & Kater’ (headache & hang-over) or ‘Milchstau’ (engorgement). VERY good to have around. (more…)