Exquisite new Collections from La Coqueta

Villavela lookFinally the days are getting longer and the sign of spring is appearing. The bulbs are popping their heads up and the sun is shining! Every new season excites me but spring has to be my favourite. When the days are getting brighter so are the colours we wear. And when I saw La Coqueta’s new collection yesterday I realised Celia had done it again. There is something magical about her designs yet they are so simple, so wearable and of course so elegant.

Andes Look Laguna smock dressThis new collection, with its perfect sprinkling of floral and mix of bold has to be my favourite yet. For the girls I adore the eulalia skirt coupled with a simple white cotton blouse and pretty openworked socks it’s perfect for a playful day. And the bold alhama dress is the ultimate summer’s day dress.

Canillas Look Alhama dressOf course Celia never forgets about the boys. Such striking pieces with the traditional braces and the smart bermuda shorts and I absolutely love the classic goya knit!

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This season marks the launch of something unique from La Coqueta. Their Special Occasion wear perfect for weddings, christenings and confirmations is dreamy.

Special Occasion La CoquetaTaking classic designs, Celia has added a modern twist using beautiful fabrics and exquisite detailing such as French vintage lace inserts, pretty detailed sleeves and delicate necklines creating a romantic feel.

Ajamil LookFor the boys the crisp white adjamil shirt is perfectly teamed with bermuda shorts and how perfect is this dress for the girls.

Herminia lookTo complement the collection Celia has created flower headbands using dainty heads of Spanish gypsophila that have been dried and carefully woven through fabric roses and satin ribbons. And the icing on the cake, is this stunning pale pink coat making the collection truely outstanding.

Adelfa coatBoth collections are available now online and if you’re lucky enough to live nearby the boutique in Hampstead it’s definitely worth a visit.

Vanessa x

Carlito Carlita (a good give-away!)

win, carlito carlita, give-awayCarlito Carlita is a German based boutique specialising in traditional clothing hand-picked from a selection of small, unique European labels. The collection ranges from 3 months to 10 years (so it’s a perfect destination for those looking to dress siblings in a matching fashion), and consists of classics like button-down shirts, sweet dresses, shorts with knee socks, boleros and tights, frilled collars, bloomers, and suspenders.

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This month Carlito Carlita are offering one lucky winner a voucher for £100 to spend on their site. I just had a look at the new collection which is starting to come in, and saw some darling items (amongst which super cute swimwear with a Vespa print!). To enter to win, click here. Good luck!

xxx Esther

Maths with Lego

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I am always looking for more ways of teaching maths in a tangible way to my kids. This is partly because one of the slight disadvantages of the French school system is that teaching is very academic. It is also because I want the children to understand at an early age how genuinely useful, fun and actually simple maths is. It is such an important lesson to know, because you suddenly understand why you are studying all this “nonsense”. Teaching math is not an easy task with my two – they would much rather disappear into the wonderful dreamland of their books, than think about numbers.

A friend of mine sent me this link which I love! A teacher did a brilliant layout of how to use lego to easily understand fractions and square number. The girls and I had a little session tonight working on fractions and it really worked.

Now it isn’t 100% fool proof – I went away to let the girls play around with their fractions and I came back and they had made excellent furniture for their lego houses with my 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 which they proudly showed me! … But I still think some information sank in. ; )

-Emilie

Gingerbread Wonderland by Mima Sinclair

Ginger Bread WonderlandWe’ve had such a cosy winter holiday spending our days with the fire lit, reading books and baking in the kitchen. We’ve made our favourite chocolate brownies, delicious soups and even roasted chestnuts on the fire – delicious! We also made gingerbread (for the first time ever).

Helena was gifted Gingerbread Wonderland for her birthday and we really enjoyed looking through the ideas over the holidays. It wasn’t until we had a few restful days in the New Year that we decided to bake from it and we are addicted! We found the recipes to be quick and easy and there are even variations for dairy and gluten free.

gingerbread creationsIt was really difficult to choose what to make. Every idea is super sweet. Look at these mini houses. Wouldn’t they be perfect on the side of a hot cocoa and I adore the speculaas. I’m going to remember to make these next year for Dutch Sinterklaas.In the end, we decided to make the gingerbread garland but instead of making hearts and gingerbread men, we made stars so it could be used to celebrate New Year.

gingerbread garland on wallIt was so effective – almost too pretty to eat! Helena had a great idea that we could make the heart garland for Valentine’s Day. Who says gingerbread is only for Christmas? I think it’s a great idea…..

Gingerbread Wonderland is available from Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK).

Vanessa x

Sarah Glover and The Paper Creative

Sarah Glover notecardsSarah Glover of The Paper Creative is one seriously talented lady. Not only does she illustrate beautiful children’s books, she writes them, self publishes them and has even launched her own line of greeting cards and prints! Her designs are fun, bold and well, contagiously creative.

ABC of a CATOne of my favourite books of Sarah’s is The ABC of a C-A-T. A picture book totally dedicated to the life and times of cats incorporated into an alphabet book. So unique! I love the watercoloured illustrations and the fun phrases like ‘M is for meow’ and ‘P is for purr’. Florence loves reading along with me. It’s such fun making up the actions too!

L is for Lion

M is for MeiowAnother great book of Sarah’s is Grandad’s Tea. It’s a fun-loving story of a little girl’s time in her grandfather’s garden. It’s all about the make believe and together with Grandad Bert they have such a silly time!

Grandad's TeaSarah’s other work includes these super cute prints detailing the words of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I think it would make a gorgeous new baby gift. And I love her Winter Warmers print. It’s perfect for this time of year. Check out all of her prints and other delights on her etsy shop here.

Enjoy,

Vanessa x

A simple knitted beanie!

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One of my many New Years resolutions (which I started over the Christmas period) is to continue making things – just because it makes me happy. ; ) I love watching movies in the evenings, but I also like keeping busy so I have started to try to find simple projects that I can do while relaxing in front of a good movie – which is easier said than done!

My first success story (and there have been a couple of fails, I have to admit) has been this simple pattern for a slouchy beanie. I have made it for my friends, I have made it for my daughters and as a present for my friend’s little twin babies. It is so easy and I love the result. The genius thing about it is that you knit it on a round needle so you never have to do anything other than a simple pearl stitch.

Do let me know if you have any other suggestions for simple projects. I would LOVE to hear!

Emilie

Llamas!

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My friend Lisa just sent me a link to Larry the Llama at Land of Nod with a note telling me it reminded her of the fluffy llamas we recently saw in Santa Cruz, Chile. Yes!! It’s so true! How cute is Larry?! The perfect little ride-on toy/decór object! It makes me wish I had children’s bedrooms to decorate right now.

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Speaking of llamas, there is also this cute wooden llama rattle from Brimful shop…

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This organic cotton shirt with llama print from Waddler

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…and this buttoned vest from HBB Industria Argentina!

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Thank you, Lisa, for inspiring a bit of late-night random web searching for llamas! : ) (And woohoo for finally having wifi again after three weeks without it!) Happy almost Christmas everyone.

Courtney xx

Macarons, in Amsterdam and at the ShopUp today

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A little while back, we spent a fun weekend morning with our friends Veit and Julie from the German brand Macarons who visited us in Amsterdam together with their cute girls Cécile and Cleo. They also brought their friend the photographer Oliver Kröning along, who took some really cool snapshots during the day.

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We had a long lunch and then all went to the park for a stroll. Those are the best kind of weekends, I feel — long and lazy days with lovely food and lovely company!

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It was such a fun, relaxed day — with all of us wearing pieces of the newest Macarons collection. (Yes, there are adult jumpers available now, and how awesome is that green colour?)

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Macarons is here in London today for the ShopUp event (I’m writing this post from the café, while there’s a lovely buzz going on around me. It’s been such a great event so far, and there is so much more fun to come!)

xxx Esther

PS Congrats to the Macarons family with their newest baby, a little boy called Charles, born just two weeks ago! : )

Olivier Baby and Kids, at the ShopUp this week!

Olivier Baby cashmere romper

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cashmere bonnets

Olivier Baby and Kids is one of my favourite places to find cosy cashmere products for the kids. Last winter Marlow lived in her little bonnet and all the kids had one of their snoods, each a different colour to keep things easy when bundling up before leaving the house. This year they’ve added hand-knitted pom-pom hats (with ties!) to their collection and they’re so great! I love all the colour combinations.

In addition to cashmere, they also have pretty Liberty-print blouses and shirts. How cute are the floral blouses layered under the cashmere rompers (pictured above)?! So, so sweet!

Look out for Olivier Baby & Kids who are joining us at this year’s ShopUp event, taking place this week (Thursday and Friday) in London at the Chelsea Town Hall.

Cool urban clothing from ABC123me

ABC123meABC123me are a London based label offering brand free, unisex clothing made from 100% soft cotton made to be washed and tumble dried and to be worn with ease and comfort. It’s a shop I turn to for great quality and stylish basics — I love the simple styles which are so cool and on trend, but in a very simple, classic way. Pim still loves wearing his corduroy suit that he got last year (love these photos of my little guy!), this mid-season jacket in his favourite colour, and the vintage style hoodies with extra long sleeves with thumb pockets.

ABC123me is one of the wonderful shops joining us at the ShopUp next week. We’re so excited to have them join us!

xxx Esther

MamaOwl — a one-stop shop for merino wool and beautiful knitwear

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It seems like so many of our blog posts in the past few weeks have been focused on cosy knitwear!! Tis the season, I guess… and it’s a beautiful one! In addition to a roaring fire and lots of hot chocolate, beautiful, thick, cosy knitwear is one of my favourite things about the winter season. (Seeing these photos makes me miss it. Never thought I would say that!!!)

MamaOwl is the perfect one-stop shop for gorgeous knits and merino wool pieces from a selection of our favourite knitwear brands. They stock everything from chunky jumpers to hats, scarves and mittens. And slippers! And coats! And all-in-one suits for babies! And even merino wool long underwear.

MamaOwl will be back again at this year’s ShopUp event next week on the 10th and 11th. The perfect opportunity to stock up on everything you’ll need to keep your little ones warm and toasty this season.

Courtney x

Babaà jumpers keeping us cosy in Uruguay

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Quin in Babaa jumper in Jose Ignacio

After spending the month of October in warm, tropical Brazil (where I questioned having sacrificed space in our suitcases to pack thick, wooly jumpers), we travelled south to spend the month of November in Uruguay where the weather is much cooler and we are so thankful we made room for those jumpers! It’s late spring here — the weather is still unreliable and if you’re not in the direct sunshine it can be quite chilly. Jumpers in constant use.

Because I knew we’d be in mostly warm places this year, I packed just one jumper for each of the kids (plus a hoodie for the boys and a cardigan for the girls).  Of course I packed jumpers from Babaà — they’re my absolute favourite! And not just my favourite, but really the children’s favourites as well. We particularly love the softer wool blend jumpers made with wool, alpaca and extra fine merino. They are super soft, chunky and just perfect. Not to mention, so well made that they last for year and years and years…! (Quin had a dark grey jumper which he wore nearly every single day for two years!! They joked at school that he and that jumper were inseparable. He finally outgrew it, and this blue one was the replacement.)

This year, Babaà came out with a wool dress for girls, made with the same cosy alpaca wool blend. I got them for my girls and they’ve worn them loads already (we just put them on over their summery dresses when they get chilly in the evenings! sometimes even over their bathing suit when they’re cold from a swim!).

Babaà will have a stand (for the third year in a row) at our ShopUp event in London in a couple weeks. It’s the perfect opportunity to see and feel her collection in person.

Courtney xx

p.s. In the photos above, the kids were playing with their wooden cameras from Fanny & Alexander, a gift from the designer, Delfina, who is also staying in Uruguay this month (just down the street!).  Both Marta (from Babaà) and Delfina are two women who I deeply admire, both professionally and personally, and I am so happy I was able to feature them both together like this. x

Win a Set of Iconic Petit Bateau Outfits!

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I have always loved seeing my kids absorbed in an intricate game of their own making. There is something so special and touching about the imaginary worlds that children are able to create in their own heads, and encouraging creativity and imagination is one of the best ways to nurture our children.  (I recently watched my two boys pretending to be dinosaurs in the front yard, so absorbed in their role play they didn’t even notice me nearby. Long may this imaginative play last between those two!!)

One of our favourite brands Petit Bateau are celebrating the wonder of children’s imaginations and inventive natures in a beautiful new film, The Mini Factory which you can watch here.

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The film is a colourful, nostalgic journey of childhood creativity. The kids and I watched this on repeat several times and giggled along with the joyful robotics and t-shirts doing the hula (and the rubber gloves for the cow’s udder! brilliant!).

The film features a secret factory and a young factory controller (Max) who stretches and splatters, tugs and tests clothes to their limits while his little sister Louise and dog Scratch stand guard outside.

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Clothes take on a life of their own, trousers dance to the beat of remote-controlled cars and a steam engine pours chocolate over a conveyer belt packed with undergarments. It is a joyful, whimsical salute to Petit Bateau’s own factory in Troyes, France, where each item they create is the fruit of a lasting commitment to fantasy and quality.

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But what happens next? Petit Bateau would love you to come up with your very own version to end the story. If you can help write the next chapter to the film, you could win a set of iconic Petit Bateau outfits, including their trusty mariniere and weatherproof raincoats!

Here at Babyccino, we have donned our thinking caps and imagined our own ending to Max, Louise and Scratch’s adventures: in our heads, we see Max, Louise and Scratch returning to the factory for a second time, constructing their own tent out of striped sweaters, cotton t-shirts and sturdy nightwear. Once constructed and tested to its fullest in the factory, the three intrepid inventors set out for a night beneath the stars!

Indulge your creativity over on Petit Bateau’s Instagram by entering here. The contest ends on Monday the 30th of November 2015 and entries must be no longer than five sentences.

Good luck everyone!

xx

The post has been sponsored by Petit Bateau, a brand we have loved for as long as we can remember. We were thrilled to be asked to help promote this beautiful new film. 

Beautiful fashion and knitwear from Omibia

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Last year at the ShopUp, a sweet lady came up to me, presenting me her beautiful business card and telling me about the brand she was setting up, a collection of luxury children’s fashion and knitwear called Omibia. She told me she hoped that next year she could join us for the ShopUp, and I told her I most certainly hoped so too! And now I’m so happy to say that indeed Omibia (and that sweet lady called Mercedes) will be there, with their first beautiful collection.

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Omibia aims to create beautiful baby and children’s clothing of the highest quality and style, but without compromising the manufacturing process, which is respectful to the people, places and the natural processes involved. All items are made entirely from certified organic and natural fibres, like luxuriant baby alpacas, or soft cottons. I personally love the beautiful colours, patterns and detailing of the knitwear collection — Mercedes kindly sent us some samples to test over the year, and the quality of those knits is truly amazing and the fit is superb.

I can’t wait to meet Mercedes again in London next month, and this time with a collection worthy to be discovered!

xxx Esther

Sweet baby Orla (in cosy knits from Nieva)

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Remember I posted about our new Babyccino baby? Team member Helen gave birth to Orla 3 months ago, and she’s just the most adorable baby. Helen brought her over the other day (we Babyccino girls tend to work with our babies in tow), and I had so much fun with that little lady. And, I’m proud to say that I had a first — Orla was laughing out loud, a milestone! (I’m not sure if she thought I was so hilarious or my glasses were, but I don’t care — she laughed and it was absolutely delightful. And contagious too!)

Also — how beautiful are those socks and blanket/scarf from Finish brand Nieva? Nieva is a new children’s brand from Finland, producing high quality and warm — yet lightweight — knitwear. Designer Aino, a mum of two little boys herself, aims to combine timeless and practical Nordic design with the best natural materials she can source. She works with small workshops in Finland, Portugal and Bolivia, with people who work in an honest and dedicated manner and who love what they do.

Nieva collection

The Nieva collection is perfect to layer, and often have clever touches — the baby blanket above becomes a scarf when baby gets bigger, and this sweet alpaca striped vest is double-sided knit and can be reversed for a different look. The detailing is really beautiful, and the knits are ever so soft and strong. A special gift!

xxx Esther

Marie Puce, timeless Parisian chic for all ages


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As I mentioned before, finding the right style for a nine-year-old can be tricky. It is a funny age, when children are still children but also teenagers at the same time.

Luckily boutiques like Marie Puce have a great selection of clothes for older kids. I love their style – it is at the same time fresh and contemporary with a classic edge that works for all ages.

Here is a little selection of their current collection that I put together and which Coco, my cheeky nine-year-old gave me the stamp of approval on.

We both loved the crisp white shirt (1) that is not too girly, especially together with this cozy scarf (2). This little satchel was an instant hit with Coco who loves to carry around with her all her little bits and pieces (3). For longer day trips and sports day at school she loved this cute little backpack (4).  We also fell for the perfect blue jeans that are super comfortable and work for summer and winter (5) and these funky boots were a clear winner for both of us (6).

Emilie

Cute rucksacks from Annaliv

Marlow with rucksack from Annaliv

Annaliv rucksacks

Before we embarked on our trip, we bought backpacks for the kids so they could each carry their school books, journals and reading books. It’s been a great way of keeping their things organised, and it means that we have less to carry in our own suitcases.

All of the backpack options were too big for Marlow, so we ended up getting her one of these smaller, and super cute, rucksacks from Annaliv. It has been perfect for her — just big enough to store her teddy bear, crayons and smaller books. What I also like about these rucksacks is that they easily fold up into a suitcase when not in use, which is great because you can’t always rely on Marlow to carry her rucksack like the bigger kids.

I think these rucksacks are perfect for both travel and everyday adventures. I will share more soon about the bigger kids’ backpacks — and also what they carry inside, if you’re interested?

Courtney x

p.s. Marlow’s cute shoes are from Amy & Ivor. And coincidentally, both of these brands will be at the ShopUp in London next month!

Willaby

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Our friend Annie (from the lovely Brimful shop) recently introduced me to Willaby, a fairly new American brand with the most darling fashion. Willaby is the brainchild of Kim, an artist/designer from Georgia and mother of one, with a great sense of style. Collections are produced locally, ethically and in small quantities, and are just beautifully simple and timeless, while still being decidedly different in their designs and detailing.

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I love her approach to fashion (she has some beautiful tops for ladies too — I can recommend the denim dolman, a shirt I love!). Here are some photos of Ava and Casper in the Atlas mountains in Morocco last week, wearing the blue bonnet and the checked gauze shirt, that looks absolutely darling and is the right mix between relaxed and dressy for little boys.

Willaby is definitely a brand worth having on your radar (thanks, Annie!). Also, check out their lookbook here for some stunning photos.

xxx Esther

2015 Holiday Gift Guides now live!

Babyccino Kids holiday gift guides 2015

Can you believe we’re talking about the holidays already?!! I can hardly believe it’s November and time to start thinking about holiday gift-buying. Sinterklaas arrives in The Netherlands in just over a month’s time, Hannukah starts around that same time, and then Christmas comes just after that. It’s time to get busy!

The good news is that we’ve rounded up some super cute gift ideas to make it easy, and if you start now…. just think how easy next month will be! We’ve been working behind the scenes for the past month gathering a wonderful selection of gifts for boys, girls, babies and smaller gifts for stocking fillers, all from a selection of our favourite shops.

Check out this year’s Holiday Gift Guides here. Happy shopping!

3d Feel and Find game by Guide Craft

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Florence is nearly four and goes to pre-school three times a week. On the days she’s at home we organise play dates, we bake, we read and we play puzzles. I love our time together especially knowing how quickly she’s growing – this time together is precious.

 

 

 

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One of the games she really enjoys playing with me is the 3d Feel and Find game by Guide Craft. At first she played it like a regular puzzle i.e. we took all of the pieces out of the bag and she matched them with the correct tile. Now that the pieces are more familiar to her she plays it how it was designed – that is, by placing all of the tiles on the table and feeling in the bag for the correct piece.

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Once she has correctly matched all of the pieces I extend the game. For example, I ask her to group all of the animals together, all of the colours together and all of the shapes together.

The game also comes in a really handy drawstring bag so we’ll be able to take it away with us on our half term break too. Which I am so looking forward to!

The game is available from Amazon (US) and (UK).

Vanessa xx

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