l’Asticot waterproof coats

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I’ve been looking for a winter coat for Pim, and it’s not the easiest job. Plenty of cool choices around, sure… but I do have a little list of requirements.

Children here in the Netherlands are often exposed to rain — not only because of our wet climate, but also because (despite that wet climate) the Dutch like to cycle a lot. So when I’m looking for winter coats, I look for waterproof coats. Other characteristics I look for in the winter coats for my kids are: a simple silhouette, a neutral colour (so it can be passed down to siblings), warmth (obviously, but without being overly thick or puffy so it doesn’t restrict children in their movements), natural materials, and practicality. Also, the coat needs to be strong and durable (I bought a new winter coat for Pim last year and it’s full of holes already!), and, well, it has to have a certain ‘cool’ to it — of course!

Casper has already been wearing the above l’Asticot waterproof winter coat for a few weeks, and I really love it. It meets the above characteristics easily: it’s made of 100% organic materials, it’s warm (lined with organic polar fleece, and with a longer back, warm cuffs and high collar and hood), it’s not puffy, it’s machine washable, it’s durable, and it’s cool, with the contrasting stitching and lining. So… I actually just ordered Pim the exact same coat!

Now, I’m not saying it can now start raining (or snowing) here in Amsterdam, but if it does, the boys are ready for it!

xxx Esther

Merino wool basics from Smalls

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I was just thinking the other day how nice it would be to find thin, stretchy merino wool tanks for the kids to wear under their clothing as an extra layer of warmth on these cold winter days… and literally the next day I discovered the range from Smalls. It could not be better timing.

Smalls is a new British company started by two kiwi mums now living in the UK. They’ve created a range of the softest, non-itchy New Zealand merino wool base layers perfect for this time of year. Their merino shirts and tanks are thin and naturally stretchy, easy to layer under other clothes for extra warmth. Equally, they’re stylish enough to wear on their own — the colours are all so nice.  And as if that’s not enough, Smalls supermerino is machine washable, naturally breathable, flame retardant, anti-allergy and itchy label free!

The range is designed for kids aged 2-12 years old. I’m thinking of getting one for each of my kids!

Courtney x

Wool and the Gang, cool knitting kits

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I’ve been feeling so much like knitting lately, so the Wool and the Gang kit I ordered came right in time! I’m going to be knitting the Mini Tartan Hula Hoop for Sara, and if I hurry a little I might just be able to finish it before Christmas.

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Do you know Wool and the Gang? It’s a super hip company, providing über cool knitting kits with everything one might need for one project — wool, needles, the pattern, and very easy-to-follow instructions. (If you love the Wool and the Gang designs but are not so into knitting, you can also purchase a ready-made piece, knit with love by one of the ‘Gangstas’, a global-wide team of knitters.)

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I love their branding, the quality of their materials, and their belief in handmade and sustainable fashion. Knitting their projects is so fun!

In spring, I made the Sailor Jumper (modeled by Pim below, after a rough and dirty game of football!) and I love how easy it was to knit that jumper and how nice it turned out when it was finished.

pim_WATGThe Wool and the Gang knitting kits make really great presents too — everything comes wrapped in a cool paper bag, and anyone who has an interest in knitting (even if they’ve never knit before!) I’m sure would love to receive a kit like this.

xxx Esther

Stay warm with cosy knitwear from Miou

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Brrr… It’s so cold all of a sudden! No snow yet here in London, but we’re waking up to a frosty lawn every morning and I’m sending the kids off to school layered in knits!

How gorgeous is the knitwear from Miou? The colours are so rich and the baby alpaca wool soooo soft! I got this coat for Marlow which she wore as an outer layer during the Autumn and is now wearing under her jacket as an extra layer of warmth. It’s so perfect. Plus, how adorable are the hats? My favourite is this one with not one, but two pompoms!

And oh my goodness, that little snuggly baby suit!! Scrumptious.

Courtney x

Soor Ploom, a beautiful brand for girls

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Last month, the talented photographer, Sarah Winborn, came all the way from Berlin for a little photoshoot at our house.  She took photos of our home and family for an interview I did with the Little Years blog. You can read the interview here — I answered questions about work and family, including my least favourite bits about motherhood… and also my favourite thing too! Of all the interviews I’ve done, I think this one offers a really honest reflection of my thoughts on parenting. Also, that top photo Sarah took of Marlow — it melts my heart.

In these photos the girls are wearing outfits from Soor Ploom and I wanted to include a mention of this brand because it’s one of my very favourites. That suspender skirt Ivy is wearing might be my absolute favourite thing she’s ever worn. I LOVE it (and so does she!). You can find Soor Ploom at these stockists.

Courtney x

Cosy house suits for my boys from Shampoodle

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It’s getting so chilly here in Amsterdam… It’s been warmer than usual for this time of year, but this weekend it was definitely time to get all of the woollens out of the storage boxes. Our house has big steel windows — very cool (but also very literally so)!

Speaking of staying warm… I recently ordered our boys each a Shampoodle ‘Home’ suit — a sweater and pants made of warm, organic knit cotton to keep them cosy and warm in the winter months. And they’ve been living in them! I have a lot of trouble convincing them to take them off for a wash. (My husband wondered if I could order him such a suit as well. A lot of the Shampoodle styles come in adult sizes, but sadly not these Home suits… I would have, otherwise!)

Shampoodle is a socially aware Swedish brand known for their comfortable clothes which are equally perfect for boys or girls, young and old. The clothes are are designed for an urban life style and are perfect for playing, inside or out.

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And of course… I couldn’t resist ordering this adorable teal coloured friendly Ghost romper for Casper — that was a given, right?? ; )

xxx Esther

 

Pim, in ABC123me

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When we were visiting Maud Fontein in her studio a few weeks ago, she took a few photos of Pim and I just love the way they turned out. They really show Pim the way he is — sweet, funny, and so at ease with himself. Also, I see a glimpse of a bigger Pim in there (and he’s a cutie)!

The cool corduroy jacket and trousers he is wearing is totally up his alley — he loves to wear things like that. Both are available from the new boys clothing brand ABC123me, which still offers a small but promising collection of high quality, easy-to-wear clothing. (Pim’s shoes are from Dutch shoe brand De Vries.)

xxx Esther

LileSADi, cool products with attitude

LileSadi_2 Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 15.25.46I recently discover Lile SADi, a Dutch (Rotterdam based) label with super cool and contemporary products. Founded by Dinah and Sarah a few years ago, Lile SADi’s collections cover graphic wallpapers and prints and wonderful kitchen and home accessories.  All products are manufactured here in Europe to keep craftsmanship and individuality alive.

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Dinah and Sarah recently came out with a children’s collection and I so like all of the wonderful patterns and prints! So pretty and detailed and fun, and still so in style with their other work. How cute are those rabbit leggings? (Ava loves them!!)

xxx Esther

 

Foxy felt slippers

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Loving these foxy felt slippers, created by shaping organic wool with soap, water and hand pressure. A traditional craft handed down over many generations, and here coming to life in such a darling, contemporary product! They are really lovely in every detail, with their little ears and sweet tail. The sole is made from suede so it’s anti slip and everything is sewn together with tiny little cross stitches. They are presented in a little drawstring bag made from organic cotton, so they make a perfect present. Adorable! And… the price is not bad! : )

Available from The Dandy Kid.

xxx Esther

 

My adventurous children (for the Waddler photography competition)

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Waddler has been one of our favourite children’s clothing brands — Philip and Marina started their brand after a wonderful stay (of a few years!) in South America, and they have put all of their sense of adventure, respect and amazement of the world around them, and their love for life in general, in Waddler.

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Courtney already shared the photography competition Waddler is holding in cooperation with Plan South America and in which they are challenging parents to photograph their children (dressed in Waddler) and show their individuality and adventurous nature. I accepted the challenge, especially since I’ve never been to South America and would love to go!

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Here are the photos I took of Casper and Ava having fun in the forest last week , and discovering the little wonders of this natural playground around them. What a joyful time we had! Of course I hope we win the competition, but in any case, I’m happy with these photos and the memories we created while making them.

xxx Esther

 

Sara, growing up (and Marie Puce)

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Sara is now 9 1/2 — not long before we’ll have a teenager in the house! It’s crazy to think back to the moment when we first found out we were going to have a baby. Tamar and I were living in Brussels at the time, we had just gotten married a few months prior, and I vividly remember the moment we looked at that pregnancy test, first seeing nothing, but then slowly, that (wished for) stripe appeared.

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And now, 10 years later, here she is, our first born, a beautiful girl, with the most gentle and caring character. Realising how lucky we are to have her brings tears to my eyes! She, being the older sister, has as much influence on her little siblings as we have. She is always positive, sweet, looking after the little ones…

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I love seeing her grow up (and up she goes! She’s such a tall and skinny girl!), and to see her character evolve, to see her learn about life, taking it all in, being happy with the world around her, with her self, her family and her friends. Also, I love to still see the child in her, who loves to play, to build huts, and to climb trees. It’s such a wonderful age, these years between childhood and adolescence!

Last week we were visiting the pretty Park Middelheim in Antwerpen where I took these photos of Sara.  I think they capture that feeling of ‘mature childhood’ so perfectly: the understanding on her face in the first photo, but also the curiosity and the joy in the last photos.

xxx Esther

PS How perfect is that dress (one of Sara’s favourites) and those boots, both from Marie Puce — cool and fashionable, but still innocent and girly!

Waddler photo competition

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I don’t normally enter photo competitions, but here is one that I just can’t pass up. The prize is just too good! The chance to win a£1,000 shopping spree at Waddler plus a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South America?! I’m in. You too? Just look at that beautiful landscape above…

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Waddler is one of my very favourite children’s brands. Their fair trade collection is produced in Bolivia from 100% baby alpaca wool, one of nature’s finest natural fibers, and is incredibly soft. The pieces have something very sweet and simple about them, yet they are wild and adventurous. And the colours are so gorgeously rich and soft at the same time.

Waddler has teamed up with PlanSouthAmerica, a British-owned and operated travel company with offices in London and Buenos Aires, to offer a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South America, the birthplace of Waddler and the inspiration for their designs. They’re offering one very lucky winner the chance to £1,000 worth of beautiful clothes and £1,000 towards an amazing family holiday in South America.

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To enter, all you have to do is take a photo of your children wearing their Waddller clothing and mail it to serena@wadler.co.uk or upload them to Instagram using the hashtag #waddlercompetition by January 25th, 2015. (You can read more about the competition here.) I took this photo of my silly girls (above) when we were in Soho last weekend. Those little outfits are just too cute!

Courtney x
p.s. Waddler is one of 40 wonderful brands setting up shop at this year’s ShopUp event in December.  So if your kids don’t already have a piece from the collection, you’ll be able to shop their collection there!

p.p.s. This post was sponsored by Waddler, a brand we have loved for years and a longtime member of our shopping portal.

Handknit jumpers and pompom hats from Babaà

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wool jumpers from Babaa

We’ve just returned from a road trip to Amsterdam to see Esther and her family, and I’m having such a fun time looking at all the photos from our time together. Eight kids is a lot of little people to feed and bathe and entertain and clean up after… but it was so much fun! It’s really so sweet to see how well they all play together and how quickly they settle in with each other, especially considering they only see each other once or twice a year. They really are such loving little friends.

Marlow and Casper were not entirely sure of each other. I think Marlow’s big personality is a bit intimidating for sweet Casper… but of course we’re still certain they’ll marry each other one day! ; )

We did, however, manage to take some sweet snaps of them playing together (and even a photo of Casper stealing a kiss!). They were wearing their cosy, new hand-knit jumpers and coordinating pompom hats from Babaà, so they looked extra extra cute. Don’t you agree they’ll make the cutest couple?! Marlow just has to learn that stealing Casper’s food and forcing him to hug her is not quite the way to win his heart…

Courtney  x

Elias & Grace Treat Week (and early bird discount!)

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Each season Elias & Grace puts together the most stylish selection of children’s brands, offering key pieces which have been carefully considered from each collection to ensure that everything in store is so effortlessly stylish, easy to wear and perfect for every occasion. In short, Elias & Grace has done the hard work so that you can easily shop for your children. There’s even a ‘bestsellers‘ page on their website where you could pretty much shop blindfolded and still pick out cute items!

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I love popping into the Primrose Hill boutique every season — to check out new trends, gather inspiration and pick up a few cute seasonal staples for my kids. And I love it even more when they run the occasional ‘treat week’ with a generous 20% discount. Yesssss!

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The Elias & Grace ‘treat week’ begins on Monday but we’ve managed to secure an early bird discount just for our readers so you can scoop up the pieces before they fly off the shelves! The discount starts today and will run until the 10th. Use the code: TREATBC14 at check-out. Now get going!

Courtney x

Liberty print sweetness (and knee patches!) from Milou & Pilou

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We’ve just gotten home from a little trip to Venice, and I really can’t wait to share photos and a summary of our trip. I just looked through all of our photos on our camera (precisely 589 of them!) and don’t know how on earth I will ever narrow down a selection to share. That city is a photographer’s dream!

Quickly though, I wanted to share some photos of the girls wearing their little matching outfits from Milou & Pilou. They looked so sweet roaming the streets of Venice together, and I just can’t get over Marlow’s little knee patches. Adorable!

The best thing about Venice is that it’s completely car-free, which means kids can walk the streets, play in the squares, join other kids for a game of football, or colour the paving stones with chalk.  My kids had so much fun playing in the quiet streets — I wish London was like that!

More Venice photos to come…

Courtney xx

Gorgeous fall fashion from Wee Mondine

wee_mondine_1Fall is happening here in Amsterdam and tights are back on! Ava was wearing these adorable Emile et Ida Cat Tights today which I got from the super stylish shop Wee Mondine, and I just had to take a few snapshots. How cute are those embroidered cats on her knees?

wee_mondine_2The gorgeous chambray skirt is from Nico Nico, and the blue checked blouse is from Makie — both from Wee Mondine as well. I love this combination which I’m sure Ava is going to wear so much this fall (and beyond)!

xxx Esther

 

Adorable Halloween costumes from Thumbelina

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©Maya Havkin- Photographer
©Maya Havkin- Photographer
Halloween is around the corner, and I’m as unprepared as ever. Hmmm. !! I was feeling guilty about my tired stash of three-times worn Halloween costume options for Marlow and was needing a bit of inspiration… and these adorable costumes from Thumbelina have done the trick. How perfect are they?!  I love a good fleecey zip-up costume that is as cosy as it is cute.

Now… what to do for the bigger kids?!

Courtney x

 

Toto Knits, with a darling new Capsule Collection

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Slowly but steadily autumn is upon us here in Amsterdam. We’ve been super lucky with the weather so far (I’ve heard it’s been the same in other parts of the world), but leaves are falling and mushrooms are appearing. So it’s time to get ready for the cold season! I’ve been ordering socks and tights, shoes and boots, hats and scarfs. These cuties just arrived from Toto Knits, all the way from Africa, and even though I ordered them for Casper, Ava has been wearing them, aptly on top of her Indian summer dress!

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Toto Knits is a Kenya-based label, founded by Erin Brennan Allan, and offering a line of fun and funky knitwear, all handmade of organic cotton and dyed with bio-friendly dyes. Designs are always super cute (the Safari and Farm Animal Sweaters are so sweet!) and all of the products are ethically made by a group of single mothers in Kenya. I love this concept, encouraging trade not aid, and find it clever how Erin pays the knitters by the piece, so that they can decide how much they work, allowing them to make time for their families as much as needed. When a product is finished, the knitters sign the piece (the above hat and the scarf were made by Lucy and Serah), which is so nice — for the knitters because they can truly ‘sign’ their work and be proud of it, and for the client because every piece comes with a story behind it.

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Erin’s newest Capsule Collection, called Heart and Habit, is so stylish and with the muted colours so perfect for this time of year. Beautiful charcoal grey combined with burgundy red, emerald green and cream white are the basis for these pretty pieces. (Pim is wearing a cool Toto Knits striped hoodie in the photos above.) Even though we’re enjoying the favourable temperatures for as long as we can, it won’t be long before we’re all curled up on the couch!

xxx Esther

PS This post is sponsored by Toto Knits, a brand we highly respect and recommend and a longtime member of our shopping portal. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our blog!

Desert boots from De Vries

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I was rearranging our shoe shelf the other day, putting away summery sandals and bringing out our shoes for Autumn, and I realised I have a real thing for desert boots. I love them! Both for girls and for boys (and even for myself!). What I love about desert boots is that they’re gender neutral, so they can be passed down from one sibling to the next regardless of gender. (Last year, Ivy wore a pair that were passed down from her brothers!) This year I’ve gotten the boys new boots from De Vries, and we’re loving them. The quality is really great and I love the selection of colours and styles.

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I got Quin these traditional ones (and I think they suit him so well!), but they also have ones with yellow or red laces which are really fun too.

Courtney x

p.s. Quin’s cute outfit comes from Caramel Baby. How cool are the trousers?! 

Cool new products from Muddy Puddles

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A few years ago a Swedish friend told me: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. That year I ran out and invested in a big, warm, waterproof parka, and I swear it changed my entire outlook on winter. Having proper outdoor clothing is really essential to making the most of the harsher wintery weather. (Can you tell I’m really trying to psych myself up?)

Muddy Puddles completely embraces the great outdoors, no matter the weather. They ensure that kids can be properly dressed for every outdoor adventure, come rain or shine or even snow! I’m loving their new collection of gender-neutral outdoor wear, and I’m so impressed with all the handy features like zip-out fleece inserts in jackets (no need to buy a rain coat AND a warm winter jacket!). And how great is that 3-in-1 waterproof suit? Perfect for rain or snow, and seriously cute with the pointy pixie hood. I picked one up for Marlow and I just know she’ll get so much use out of it in the coming months.

Muddy Puddles is one of 30 shops who will take part in this year’s ShopUp event. A great opportunity to check out all their great products in person!

x Courtney

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