It must have been over four years ago that I got cute animal towels for Sara and Pim, and we’ve been using them ever since, day after day. Sara the elephant and Pim the lion — it quickly became a tradition after each bath. So when Ava started to walk, we got her the zebra towel, and now we’ve gotten Casper the monkey — making our little zoo complete!
I love how these towels (from Zoocchini) are so royal in size, made from thick cotton, and have adorable details like ears and tails. There are even little pouches in which the kids can stick their hands/paws.
Sara’s towel is sadly beginning to fall apart (not strange after all of these years of intensive use!), and when I told her it might be time to replace it, she said that she wasn’t sure it would be worth the investment — after all she might be getting too old to have an animal towel for bath time… Eeks! I figured it was time for an immediate group photo before it’s too late!
PS I might be getting the replacement elephant towel anyway, just in case. And otherwise it will be nice for the grandchildren! ; )
Quin (aged 7) had such a difficult time choosing his favourites! He wanted to choose practically everything on the book shelves, and had a hard time separating the books he loved as a young child from his current favourites now. He ended up narrowing it down… but still chose some of his longtime favourites, hence the wide age range. He has started reading beginner chapter books, and of course we’ve read some to him too, but when I asked him his favourite books he didn’t even think to choose those. I think he still prefers to read picture books if given the choice.
Here is the selection of books he chose:
1. Bill and Pete, a funny little book about a crocodile and his bird friend, Pete, (who also happens to be his toothbrush). Quin also likes Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile and Bill and Pete to the Rescue. And I only just realised that this is the same author/illustrator who did Pancakes for Breakfast, which the girls really love.
2. Little Boat , a sweet story about a little boat in a big, wide world of water and adventures. Beautiful illustrations!
4. Amos & Boris , the most heartwarming story of a mouse and a whale (I have reviewed this book before here). We also love Sylvester and the Magic Pebble , also by William Steig – I remember reading it when I was a child!
5. Beware of the Frog . I think this might be Quin’s all-time favourite book. I remember bringing it into his classroom two years ago to read to his class and the entire classroom sat there mesmerised by this book – I even had parents come up to me, asking which book I had read because their children asked if they could get a copy!
6. Puff, the Magic Dragon , which comes with a free CD featuring the famous song by Peter, Paul and Mary. The illustrations are so beautiful, and I love that this is one of Quin’s favourite books because it was one of my favourite songs when I was little and I love singing him the song as we flip through the pages.
8. Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. There are lots of versions of this story, but this one is my personal favourite and the only one my kids know. A favourite of everyone in the family.
9. Ira Sleeps Over , about a boy and his first sleepover with his nextdoor neighbour. Quin hasn’t had a sleepover yet, and I think this story appeals to him because it addresses the scared and insecure feelings you can have when you finally decide to do it. (This is another book I remember reading and loving as a child!)
10. The Three Robbers : Quin was scared of this book for a while and then started asking me to read it to him recently (it’s funny how when something is a tad bit scary, it can really appeal to children because of the emotions they feel when they read it).
11. I Want My Hat Back , which is a silly book we all love!
12. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (not pictured), a story about a boy who has a really bad day for several reasons. A great book which really appeals to boys (I remember my little brothers loving this book as well).
Please feel free to share your children’s favourites below. It’s great for me to discover new books, but also handy for other readers too.
We were given a hand-me-down cot from friends when our first baby was born and it’s the cot we still use for Marlow. I think it must be at least 15 years old now, and it’s one of those cots that is ONLY a cot, and nothing else. If I were to buy a cot now I would definitely definitely invest in a cot that transforms from cotbed to junior bed. I’ve always thought this is a brilliant, cost-saving feature.
I love the look of the Perludi ‘OTTO in the MOON’ cot because it goes one step further and gives you the added option of flipping the junior bed over and using it as an ottoman/sofa (with storage space for toys or whatever underneath). So clever! I like the sleek, modern design and love that it’s made from organic materials and is 100% recyclable (none of which can be said for the old cot we have!).
I am absolutely loving the lightweight, summery pieces in the current Tocotò Vintage collection. The colours are all so pretty, and I love all the subtle details. I got this dress for Marlow a while ago, and it has the sweetest criss-cross straps on the back that have little ruffles over the shoulder. Such a darling detail.
Tocotò Vintage is available from Brebì Little Concept Store where you can now get 20% off the Tocotò Vintage collection with discount code: tocoto. The discount is valid until the end of the month. Enjoy!
Jim Flora (1914-1998) was a mid-century artist known for his album covers and some fabulous children’s books (The Day the Cow Sneezed, for example), and his illustrations are truly wonderful. Recently, a series of wallpaper was brought out in cooperation with Flora’s estate, all using the original art and illustrations from his archival music images, paintings and abstract designs.
I just love these wallpapers! Jim Flora’s illustrations may date from around 70 years ago, but all of these wallpapers feel so incredibly fresh and modern… Also, they are sweet and playful, but wouldn’t be misplaced in rooms for bigger children (adults even). I’m contemplating getting the instruments wallpaper above for Pim’s room. I’m sure he would love that!
Are your children obsessed too? We have Frozen mania in this house like you’ve never seen (or probably you have…?!). We bought Ivy this Disney Frozen book for her birthday recently and she takes it to bed with her every night. So it was obviously her first answer when I asked her to tell me her favourite books. : )
We went through the little bookcase next to her bed and she picked out some of her other favourites. Here are the ones she chose:
1. Disney Frozen , as mentioned above.
2. Hector and Christina : This is a used book we found online, and I don’t think it’s in print anymore. But we love all of the books by husband and wife team, Roger Duvoisin and Louise Fatio, for their sweet stories as well as the charming illustrations. (The Happy Lion is one of our family favourites!)
3. Petunia : This is another Duvoisin/Fatio book about a silly goose who thinks she is very wise and goes around the farmyard telling all the animals false facts.
4. Corduroy : A classic! A story about a bear named Corduroy who has been sitting on the shelf of a department store for a long time, hoping for someone to take him home. I think Ivy likes the idea that stuffed animals can have feelings and can come alive when nobody is looking.
5. Olive and the Big Secret : This is another book about Olive (Ivy loves both of them!). In this story, Olive the cat is told a big secret and can’t help but tell a friend, so she tells Joe who tells Matt who tells Lola… and the secret gets out! It’s another silly story, but one that really appeals to Ivy (and actually all of my kids).
7. Sick Day for Amos McGee : I was so glad Ivy chose this one because it’s one of my favourites too. The illustrations are so beautiful, and the story is just so heartwarming. It’s about a zoo keeper named Amos who has special animal friends in the zoo. One day, when Amos is home sick and doesn’t turn up at the zoo, the animals hop on the bus and pay him a visit at home. So sweet!
There are so many others we love, but as promised I am only listing the ones Ivy chose (maybe at the end of this series I should share MY favourites, just so they don’t get overlooked?!). Feel free to share your children’s favourites for this age range.
We have recently become game addicts. Monopoly and Go Fish are both in the mix (I think it has something to do with having a competitive 6-year-old in the house). We have just added a new one: Suspend! Have you played this? It is so good. It is basically an arial Jenga and the crazier the structure gets the more exciting it is! You need to balance little metal hooks of various sizes and hang them from another. The person, who’s hook makes the structure collapse, loses.
The hilarious thing is to observe how different people play it. I have a tendency to try and build the craziest structures. Violette tries to be very careful, as that way she gets to win!
Our friend, Jodie Fried, who longtime readers might remember from the Angawandi Charity Project or even before that, from the Bholu brand of quirky soft toys, is a woman of many talents (and apparently many successful business ideas!). She recently started a new company called Armadillo & Co which offers a stylish selection of handmade, natural rugs. She works with traditional artisans in India who specialise in varying weaving techniques, and they only use natural fibres like wool, jute, cotton and hemp. Being a mother, she not only offers a gorgeous selection of rugs for your home, but also a lovely and vibrant children’s collection as well.
She very kindly sent me one of her rugs for the girls’ bedroom so that we could see and feel the quality of the rugs, and it is the perfect addition to their bedroom. The colours are perfect in there (see photos of their room below)! Don’t you think it looks like it should be paired with the print on the fireplace mantel, the print on the left?
I just received this edible little sunsuit for Marlow after pre-ordering it months and months ago, and I am in love!! (both with the baby and the sunsuit). Oooh 18 months is my most favourite age — I have always said so. They are still squishy babies, still so snuggly and needy at times, but then so wonderfully independent and determined. And they learn and advance so quickly at this age – Marlow is talking up a storm and impressing us every day with her new words, and even singing lines of ‘Frozen’ songs! So funny.
And while she is adventurous and wild at times, she is still so sensitive. She’ll ask to ‘walk, walk’ when I’m holding her, and then two minutes later she’ll hear an airplane (a noise that scares her) and she’ll be back in my arms with her little head resting in my neck. Oh, I could just eat her up. Especially in that Strawberry Sunsuit from Misha and Puff. Delicious!
I thought it could be fun (and hopefully helpful) to post the favourite books of each of my children. Not the books I think are the best — the ones with the pretty illustrations or the beautiful classics we all grew up with — but the ones that really appeal to my children, the books they ask for time and time again. Sharing each of my children’s favourites will hopefully help define an appropriate age range for each book.
I’ll go in order from youngest to oldest, so let’s start with Marlow (aged 18 months)! Her favourite books are quite typical ones, the books my other children also liked at this age. Her attention span is short, so she likes books with little text that engage her with lift-the-flap features and vibrant colours, or most importantly, books with animals (we like to make animal sounds as we read!).
We’ve been reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear lately (my copy from when I was her age!) and it’s a good one for teaching colours (and animals). This was my favourite book when I was little, and it’s been so fun for me to read it to all of my kids. Here are six of her other favourites (which I think would appeal to children aged 0 to 3):
1. The Very Busy Spider : Another Eric Carle favourite! A spider lands on a fence post in a farm yard and starts to spin a web. She is visited by all the farm animals, and Marlow loves making all the animal sounds.
2. Goodnight Moon : A magical bedtime favourite of all of my children at this age. I can read this book by heart! A must-buy for any young child.
3. I Am a Bunny : Marlow loves the little bunny named Nicholas, and when he goes into his tree at the end of the book to hibernate for the winter, she always says ‘shhhhhhh’ and pretends to also go to sleep.
4. Dear Zoo : Another favourite of all my children when they were this age. There are flaps to lift on every page to reveal different animals.
5. Where Is My Baby? : Another book with flaps to lift and animals hiding underneath. Plus, we love helping the mama animals find their babies.
6. My First ABC : This is a great book for teaching babies their words. We play the game where I ask her to point to all the things in the book, and I’m always surprised by how many words she knows.
What are your toddlers’ favourite books? Please share!
I’m a big fan of the so called ‘floatsuits‘ for my littlest ones. Not only are they super cute to look at, but also, they have a built in buoyancy system which gives children a feeling of added security in the water. They are nearly impossible to take off by little ones themselves (at least, my kids are not able to do so), so if they wear them in and around the pool, it gives me an added feeling of security, too. (Of course, I still keep my eyes on them at all times!)
Sunuva does a sweet range of floatsuits, and as a bonus, they do matching siblings wear as well. Which I think is such a cute idea! When I got Casper a float suit for the summer, I couldn’t resist getting matching swim shorts for his big brother…
Last week I took Casper and Pim over to the swimming pool for a special brothers’ outing, and to test out their new matching Sunuva swimwear. At first, Casper wasn’t so sure about the whole thing. (But I thought he looked SO adorable in his floatie suit! I could eat him up!)
Pim, being the very sweet big brother he is, quickly made Casper feel more secure and convinced him to come in the pool with him…
The moment Casper figured out that a swimming pool really is just a very big bath in which you can splish and splash unlimitedly, he started to lose his reservations and really got into this swimming thing. He also quickly discovered the added benefit of his swimsuit, which kept him floating, giving him enough confidence in the water to start moving around a bit. Sweet!
An added bonus of the Sunuva swim- and beachwear is that it’s made from UPF 50+ fabric, which blocks out 97% of the sun’s harmful rays. Not at all relevant in the indoor swimming pool I took the boys, but absolutely perfect for our upcoming summer holidays on the beach and around the pool (less than four weeks to go!). There are protective rash vests available as well, and to top it off, a lovely collection of summery fashion for both boys and girls, all perfect for beach and beyond…
I discovered the Ace & Jig women’s line about two years ago, and it has since become my favourite brand. I especially love their easy-to-wear dresses — I layer them over and under other pieces depending on the weather, and they’re as comfortable as they are effortlessly pretty. Aren’t the fabrics so beautiful? I love every piece in the collection!
So I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I adore their children’s collection as well. I recently got Ivy her first Ace & Jig dress and when I showed it to her she immediately recognised it as being ‘like mama’s dresses!’. So sweet. We snapped some photos on our recent holiday in Positano last week and I couldn’t help but share.
In the Netherlands, it’s a tradition to give a child a birthday crown for the day when it’s his or her birthday. Typically it’s a home-made, simple crown made of thick paper, decorated with some curls and colours and usually there’s the number with the child’s age glued on it. When the child is old enough to go to school, the teacher in class will make the birthday crown for the child, who will be so proud to wear it during the day!
A long time ago in a little shop in Antwerp, Courtney and I bought sweet fabric crowns with a plastic sleeve in which (felt) numbers can be inserted. These crowns have really become part of our families’ birthday traditions. The morning of the birthday, the crown with the correct number will be waiting next to the presents and a decorated chair. It’s become so much a part of the party!
Do you have any special birthday traditions in your family or in your country? Maybe you know the birthday crown as well? I would love to know — I love family traditions!
Last weekend, we spent entirely in our garden — there is just so much work to be done! We’ve been sewing seeds, weeding weeds, trimming trees… and the children were ever so helpful, collecting worms and snails and whatever else needed to be done. ; )
I took the opportunity to take a few quick snapshots of Ava wearing her sweet linen dress from the Parisian brand Le Carrousel. I love this dress — it’s just perfect for weekends, for parties or gardening alike!
Le Carrousel has a super sweet collection of classic French, stylish fashion. Cuts are very timeless and fabrics in sweet flowery patterns or fresh stripes make for a modern, simple silhouette. Sizes go up to age 10, and there’s an adorable baby collection too!
The last few trade shows I’ve been to, I’ve been eying the cool collections of Swiss brand l’Asticot. The darling and original prints, the bold colours and the easy-going and comfortable designs are so original and fun. How sweet are the fish on Casper’s summery playsuit above?
l’Asticot prides itself to use only organic materials, and the clothes are designed to last a long time. They are mostly unisex (there are a few sweet dresses and skirts in the collection), and timeless enough to be passed down to siblings or friends. Also — the colours, designs and prints of the l’Asticot pieces appeal to children a lot. Pim’s summer coat from l’Asticot (pictured) is definitely his most favourite piece of clothing!
As a little extra, a complimentary string bag made from surplus materials from previous collections is included with every purchase made at l’Asticot. Perfect for gym clothes, nappies, snacks — you name it!
If you know anything about my family, you probably know we take our pancakes very seriously. On Saturdays we make ‘skinny pancakes’ (aka crepes) and on Sundays we make ‘fat pancakes’ (the fluffy American kind). Sometimes we mix it up and make oatmeal pancakes or aebleskivers, but it’s always some form of pancake for breakfast on the weekends. So obviously my friend Sally knew we would love this book when she sent it to us. : )
Pancakes for Breakfast is a sweet little book which tells the story through pictures, no words. It’s become one of Marlow’s favourite books recently, and I think it’s because we really read it together, looking at all the images and pointing out all the funny details (and of course making all the animal sounds). It’s interesting how a book without words forces you to really tell the story in an active and engaging way that appeals to children. It’s also fun because Ivy can read the story too, without struggling over words.
The story is about a little old lady who wakes up one wintery morning and craves a stack of pancakes for breakfast. She sets out to make them, and along the way realises she doesn’t have all the ingredients so she has to go out to the hen house to collect eggs and then back out to the barn to milk the cow and then over to her neighbour to buy some maple syrup, etc. The illustrations are really endearing – we love the cheeky cat who eyes the milk and the clumsy dog who always gets in the way. A sweet book for babies and children up to reading age. Available from Amazon (UK and US ).
I am beyond excited to tell you about our first ever limited edition design made in collaboration with the very talented French designer Lalé. The Travel Kids sets are the ultimate little travel comfort kits especially designed for children — aimed to make traveling with little ones more comfortable and fun. They’re ideal to take on planes, trains and automobiles, even to bring to the park or to the beach! The Travel Kids sets include an eye mask, a neck cushion, a royally sized cotton voile sheet/scarf/blanket to use in multiple ways, and a darling little doudou – a cute companion for on the road. Everything can conveniently be stored and carried around in a practical and stylish canvas bag. Children will love to carry around and use these gorgeous products, and the quality of the set guarantees years and years of use and fun, traveling to amazing places and making memories along the way.
How did this little project come about? Let me take you back more than a year ago… Esther came over to Paris and we got to hang out for a weekend, chatting, eating, catching up and making stuff (which is possibly our favourite occupation).
We spent a fabulous day and evening designing and sewing a little travel kit for our kids, as we were both about to head out on our summer adventures around Europe. We wanted them to have something cute and comfortable to travel with: something they could carry around, and something they could use to make their own little ‘nest’ wherever they were. The final result was a drawstring bag with an eye mask and a little neck pillow made to fit little people. And to finish it all off, we added a sweet soft toy (or doudou as we call it in France) based on a much loved toy I got on my first ever flight when I must have been about 3 years old.
A few months later, when we started talking to the ever talented Lalé about a possible collaboration, the little travel pack popped back into our heads. It felt like the perfect project to work on together, as the whole concept of Lalé is built around nomad kids and moms, travel and adventure. We are such big fans of Lalé’s prints and designs and we could totally see our little travel kit come to life with her input. We honestly had some of the most fun and exciting meetings we have ever had in Lalé’s atelier in Paris, drinking tea, choosing fabrics, coming up with designs, adding little touches here and there until we felt it was perfect and ready to put into production.
Finally the final product has arrived in France and we could not be happier with the results. It is so exciting to finally be holding it in our hands! The Travel Kids are now available on the Lalé website ready for your little globe trotter for the summer holidays!
PS Lalé’s website is at the moment only in French, but it is pretty easy to navigate. But do let us know know if you have any questions whatsoever! We are more than happy to help. (There is a little box that needs to be clicked on called J’accepte les Conditions Générales de Vente - which means you accept the conditions, on the check out page, which is a little bit tricky to find. It is on the left hand side of the screen).
Kids on the Moon is a fashion label from Warsaw, Poland, with a collection of children’s clothing that is bursting with originality and creativity. For instance, graphics and illustrations are used in imaginative ways, and the patterns that are chosen for some pieces are somehow unexpected. Interesting cuts and pleats in unconventional places define shapes that are original and refreshing. But best of all: yes, these clothes are fashionable and cool, but at the same time they are highly wearable and extremely comfortable, due to the cotton jersey that is used in the majority of the collection.
What I really appreciate about the Kids on the Moon collection too, is the fact that the boys’ pieces are as original as those for the girls.
We’re having a little heatwave here in Amsterdam and we’re enjoying every minute of it. The BBQ has been on every evening, we’ve been having loads of picnics in the park, the children even organised a full on pool party in our back yard! Isn’t everything just so much easier when the weather is so agreeable? There’s less cooking to do, less laundry to wash, less money to spend on heat and lighting…
Also — mornings are so, so much more relaxed when it’s warm and light out. (Even I don’t mind getting up early as much these days!) Last weekend, we were having such a lovely, lazy morning, and our girls were so sweet together, reading books on our bed in their summery pyjamas. I just had to take a few quick photos (and I hope you don’t mind that I’m sharing them here with you)…
Little Hanbury had a one-week pop-up shop in London a couple weeks ago and I scooped up some great clothes for the boys for summer. I bought these shorts for Quin (love the relaxed fit!), some great tees and hoodies by Nico Nico, and I also scored some cute items from the sales bucket! The entire selection at Little Hanbury is so stylish, you really can’t go wrong. And not only that, but they’re currently offering Babyccino readers an exclusive 20% discount on everything in store! Click here for details.