A few days back I took a photo of the porringer I had as a baby, and which I still use daily for my children. It is just the perfect size and shape, shallow with a ridge, so it’s easy to scoop out the purees or soup. The thick stoneware ensures the food quickly cools down a little, but also keeps the food naturally lukewarm afterwards. I love that porringer, and I still remember eating from it as a child! (On Instagram, there were a few people who told me they had exactly the same porringer as a child, and many of them still have them! Do you still have yours?)
I really treasure these old relics from my childhood, and I love it when I visit friends or family from my parents’ generation, and they pull out the stoneware dishes and silverware they used as a child and still have and use for their grandchildren.
Sarah Nicholas Williams of Radish Moon recognised the beauty and practicality of those vintage dishes, and started producing a series of handmade stoneware porringers adorned with her gorgeous, whimsical watercolour illustrations. And they are absolutely beautiful! They are dishwasher and microwave safe, so practical for families, and have a similar shape and thickness to my vintage Peter Rabbit dish (which I’ve tried and tested for long enough to know it is perfect)! I have already placed my order, hoping that one day, my children can pull out a Radish Moon porringer for their grandchildren.
The Playtime trade show is always such an inspiring event. So much talent, creativity, and entrepreneurialism all in one place. You would think that after visiting Playtime Paris just two months ago we would have seen it all… but the New York show offered up a whole new vibe, new designers and of course an excuse to catch up with some of our favourite brands. Here’s a recap in photos…
1. In addition to the cool neon reversible crowns we already know and love, Noe & Zoe are making Indian headdresses now! OMG! 2. Cute, colourful hairclips & accessories by Everbloom. 3. Drum roll please… Herschel is coming out with children’s backpacks and they are cool!! 4. Belle&Beanzer is a new baby brand with super soft Pima cotton baby basics and sweet little stripes.
1. Beautiful block-printed Indian fabrics make the dresses at Ode always so special. 2. We wanted to take home every single one of the adorable Hazel Village stuffed animals! 3. We loved meeting Alexis from Little Name and seeing all her great products in one place. 4. Of course this big green balloon was our favourite balloon at the show! : )
1. We loved discovering Radish Moon and their beautiful watercolour creations. We especially loved the round porcelain children’s dishes which remind us of our childhood! 2. Misha Lulu offers up something really fun and unique! 3. A cool collection from the Spanish brand Little Creative Factory. 4. Esther admires the sustainable kidswear brand KaLLio which creates cool children’s pieces from pre-loved men’s shirts.
1. The Oeuf NYC stand was really fun. It’s hard to not fall in love with everything they do! 2. We love the new pillows and all the prints at Mini & Maximus. 3. The highlight of the show was meeting these women: Celina Bailey from Petit à Petit and Family blog, Lindsey from Darling Clementine and Amanda from Coos & Ahhs blog. It’s really such a pity we don’t all live in the same city because I think we would all have a lot of fun together! 4. The lovely Celina Bailey snapping photos of the gorgeous Jess Brown dolls.
1. That Tootsa MacGinty bear jumper!!!! One of our favourite things we saw at the show! 2. Art installation which caught our eye. 3. At the entrance to the show with Celina Bailey. 4. Meeting the lovely Maria from Shop Belle!
1. The adorable little Lief, the inspiration behind the Little Lief brand keeping busy at the show. 2. Loved the organic colour-block pieces at Noch Mini. Keep your eye out for the hooded jacket. Very cool. 3. Another great Boy + Girl collection. 4. Pretty pieces and a fun time had at the Little Lief stand.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have already seen the photo above. When these clever collapsible water bottles arrived, we were all so impressed with them that I had to immediately take a photo! Isn’t it such a cool concept? It’s a water bottle that collapses down to itty bitty pocket size. Which means you can easily take them out in your handbag and fill them up when you get thirsty. So much better than buying a bottle of water and contributing to the masses of plastic bottles piling up in landfills!
I had never given Hello Kitty a second thought… until one day, shortly before my daughter’s third birthday, she announced at the dinner table that her favourite colour was pink and she loved Hello Kitty! I nearly did a double take! Could she really be announcing a new obsession with pink?!! And Hello Kitty? Yes and yes.
Anyway, five months later and we’re still deep in the Hello Kitty phase. So I was pretty excited when I found these cute Hello Kitty SIGG water bottles. My daughter needs a water bottle for her lunchbox, and this could not be more perfect. I found them at AlexandAlexa, who have a great selection of fun back-to-school supplies. Have you seen their Lego lunch boxes and water bottles? Fun!
I recently picked up some enamel pieces — I love enamel! I like the clean look of it and the timelessness of the pieces. Enamel is in fact metal with a thin layer of paint and glass over it. It is perfect for children, as it won’t scatter in pieces when it falls, but pieces of the glass and paint may chip off (showing the black metal underneath). When that happens don’t worry — the metal will naturally oxidise and is still safe to use. Enamel is also oven proof — I love the enamel oven dishes!
Here are where I found the above pieces:
I have just discovered Lunchbots! Do you know them yet? They’re little stainless steel food containers which are completely BPA-free and eco friendly and eliminate the need for plastic baggies and other waste. They come in different sizes and with different divisions, so they’re handy for littler snacks or for a bigger meal. Great for inside lunch boxes, for after school snacks, for car rides or airplane journeys, etc. And the best part is that they’re dishwasher safe, so easy to clean! They’re available in the UK from Little Acorns To Mighty Oaks.
I think little Ava might have inherited my love of chairs! I got her one of these beautiful little Tica chairs from the new French Rocking Company and she can’t let go of it. She takes it to her bedroom at night, and back down to the living room in the morning. So cute! Don’t you love the look of these chairs? The retro design and cool colours (we have the red one) appeal to me big time. And the size is perfect for children, both for Ava (now 22 months) and also for her big sister Sara (a very tall 6-year-old).
The Rocking Company also has a selection of durable, cool bibs, made from thick and soft fabrics with an unmistakable retro feel to them as well. A very nice selection of first products — I wonder what else Sandra (the owner) will come up with next!
Aren’t these wooden utensils so fun? They’re perfect for school lunches, birthdays, ice cream parties… you name it. There are loads of cute designs and themes to choose from, and you can even customise your own. There’s even ice cream paddles and chopsticks! All available from the Sucre & Spice Etsy shop.
I am a big fan of French beachside resorts and also of all the things that go with them. Sun (sometimes), sand, smurf-blue and bubble-gum pink ice-cream, crazy looking postcards and gift shops with a huge selection of tacky, cheap gifts in them, etc. In short, French beach resorts are heaven for kids.
In the gift shops you will almost certainly find these Breton bowls with first names written on the side, which have been ubiquitous with French seaside resorts, at least since I was a kid. I remember my grandmother coming back from a trip with one of these bowls for each grandchild. At that time, we still drank our milk out of a bowl in the morning, so it must have looked really cute having all of us sitting around the table draining our bowls.
Why were we draining our bowls? Because inside the bowl is the little iconic image of the Breton farmer and his wife and we needed to finish every bit of milk to make it appear! Last year, on a seaside holiday, I got a pair of these bowls for my girls. Partly for sentimental reasons and partly because I just think they are cute and very français!
Olive Loves Alfie is one of my favourite children’s boutiques in London. I always know I can pick up a unique birthday gift, a great new children’s book, or something cute for the home whenever I stop in. Ashlyn, the owner, has such a great eye for design… and every time I leave her shop I feel full of design inspiration!
Olive Loves Alfie has now launched a new, spruced-up website and it is gorgeous — just as inspiring as the shop itself! And to celebrate the launch of their new site, Olive Loves Alfie is now offering our readers a 10% discount. Just enter code: MOLIVELOVES at check-out (offer good until 31st of May). I have my eyes on that cool miffy light. What about you?
I know it is gimicky but I just loved it… and so now my son has this as his water-bottle at Kindergarten. He feels so cool — like a real fireman!
Available online here.
I’m loving the fun circus and harlequin-inspired products I see around these days! So sunny and cheerful!
Here are a few things that put a smile on my face:
- Sad Joe by Lucky Boy Sunday
- Diamond Suitcase by Esthex
- Circus Cupcakes by Hey JoJo
- Marionette Bowl by Ferm Living
- Short Colours by Bobo Choses
- Circus Babushka by Modelmini
- ABC is for Circus by Patrick Hruby
My son is the proud owner of a new Goodbyn lunch box. And when I say ‘proud’ I mean it. You would have thought it was his birthday and Christmas all in one when I handed him the lunch box. He was that excited. And he immediately decorated it with the enclosed stickers, filled the water bottle with water, grabbed some snacks and took his lunch box up to his room for a picnic with his toys. Cute.
These Goodbyn lunch boxes are something else. They are so clever and tick all the boxes — they’re BPA-free, 100% recyclable, dishwasher safe, and made in the USA. The innovative design means you have 5 containers in one, eliminating the need for any wasteful plastic baggies. And not to mention, so cute and kid-friendly!
They’re available in many different colours from the fantastic new UK webshop, Toyella, which specialises in toys, games and gifts that offer something different.
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Kulinary Kids NYC– The Playdate of Champions
So cute, these soft dolls and pouches by Pink Nounou. I love how fresh the colours and designs are, they really make me happy! The tomatoes on that little pouch make me long for summer and my (tiny) vegetable garden…
Ana, the creative lady behind these darling designs, hand-makes everything and I really love the way she mixes printing with sewing techniques. Also check out the fairy tale bibs — the story is in fact printed on the bib, how cool is that? Ava sports the Little Red Riding Hood one and it’s darling! If you need a little happy shot — the Pink Nounou products are available through the website shop or through the Etsy shop.
I’m laughing because I think we have made a bigger deal of Pancake Day than we have done for any other holiday! But… it’s like Emilie said, who doesn’t love pancakes?! I’m loving these cute silicone moulds to shape your pancakes into designs your kids will love. You can use them for fried eggs too! Available from the new UK webshop, Mum et Moi, where you can find loads of other cute kid-friendly cooking tools.
How cute are these little TumTum Snack Pots from VUPbaby, each with a little bug on the lid? They’re made from BPA-free plastic, are dishwasher safe and fit one inside the other for easy storage. Cute for inside lunch boxes or for storing after school snacks. Or… you can do what I just did and give them to your 2-year-old and ask her to stack and sort them. Mine sat there for nearly 20 minutes completely entertained!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Cool cards from Cocodot
With the third baby, you sort of consider yourself an experienced mum. You think you get it, know how it’s done best, and it truly makes parenting a lot easier because you’re a lot less bothered. (Most third babies I know are very easygoing — must have something to do with the parents being more relaxed!)
However, when it’s regarding eating solids, Ava is in no way like her siblings, and I honestly am at a loss here. The thing is this: where Sara and Pim at six months would eagerly open their mouths for their first bite of solids (baby rice), baby Ava was not very keen to try at all, and the little bite that I managed to get into her mouth was not met with a lot of enthusiasm (if you want to see photos of me feeding Ava her first bites you can have a look here, the look on her face is classic). From that moment onwards, Ava has kept her mouth shut and turns her face away as soon as she sees a spoon coming her way. And don’t think I haven’t tried it all: home-cooked, not home-cooked, mix with breast-milk, have other people try, same taste for a few days, different tastes, etc. etc. She’s now 8 months old and not much has changed! The only thing that sort of works is to give her a plate, set her down for dinner with us and give her chunks of food (like broccoli, carrot, fish, or bread). She will suck on these (and analyse them, play with them, and throw them on the ground together with the plate). I wonder if this means we’re skipping the pureed food stage all together? It surely means we have a very stubborn little lady on our hands here!
Unlike the UK and France, where I’ve been told kids get a warm and nutritious lunch at school, here in the Netherlands we send our children to school with the traditional lunchbox. Every morning I find myself in the kitchen preparing sandwiches for Pim and Sara, with some cold sides like fruit, cheese or vegetables (or whatever I find in the fridge). We don’t traditionally eat warm lunches here, and anyway there’s no means to warm up food in the school.
Because I’m quite often stuck in the morning for original ideas to fill the boxes, I’m thinking of creating a (printable) list of ‘ideas for the lunchbox’. Now I only have 10 minutes for this in the morning, so creating fresh sushi or sandwiches in the shape of an octopus is not for me (yes I know, my poor children). Do you have tips for me? Whether food items, easy recipes, good lunch boxes or shopping tips, I’m interested to hear. To be continued.
PS Unbreakable stainless steel Eco Lunchbox from GreenJump.nl
There are some really great blogs around of very talented designers who do nothing better than throw the most beautiful, picture-perfect parties. I love looking at these blogs and imagining that I too one day will be so organized that I can pull together such a feat — that I will be on time with printed invites (for once!), that the birthday cake will be made the day before (and perfect), that the table will be perfectly decorated, and that the favour bags are home sewn and filled with cute, usable objects that are earth friendly on top of it. And that I wear a pretty dress, my hair looks nice and I have some make-up on for crying out loud!
If you’re like me, and love a pretty party but are somehow too busy, un-organized, or maybe not creative enough to organize your own, I suggest you tun to Acme Party Box NOW. How cute, HOW CUTE, are these party supplies? I can’t get over it — if only I knew about them before!! Think about it — the only thing you need to do is order a box! Everything you need for a perfect party is included — the favours, the crowns, the table setting, decorations, invitations… And trust me, it’s all SO cute and thoughtfully put together, you can’t possibly not be impressed! Beautiful fabrics, Holtztiger animals for centre pieces, little jars with straws for glasses, soy wax candles for the cake, and so forth… And, unlike the many plastic party goods that end up in the trash, the Acme products can be re-used over and over again (or composted).
I think the woodland theme is my favourite…
At the beginning of the school term, my son’s teacher asked that all kids bring in a water bottle to keep in the classroom. I sent my husband to the sports store next to his office to pick up a non-plastic water bottle… and he came back with a large, clunky thing with a screw-on lid that took about ten minutes to open. I’m not sure this is what the teacher had in mind for quick water breaks. So I turned to VUPbaby who specialize in BPA-free, non-toxic drinking products. I ended up with a Klean Kanteen bottle which is perfect. It’s a lightweight, stainless steel bottle with an easy-to-use sport cap, and it comes in cool colours that kids love (we got the orange!). Klean Kanteen also makes bottles for grown-ups and sippy cups for babies.