I have just recently discovered this sweet little boutique. The collection at Little Name is small, but every one of the products is noteworthy for being both cute AND clever. The adorable little handkerchief/scarf can also be used as a checkers board game for impromptu games in the park. And the little wooden lunch box opens up flat to be a portable place setting, either for picnics or for school lunches. The coasters have numbers on them so they can be used to practice math skills and the shoe laces are labeled ‘left’ and ‘right’ so kids never get mixed up. Innovative, educational and beautiful too.
My oldest son wanted a new bike for Christmas this year and my daughter wanted this baby doll, so shopping for them was pretty easy. My 5-year-old son made Santa’s job more difficult — he really didn’t know what to ask for (this could be a sign that he has too many toys already, but I like to think it’s because our kids don’t watch TV so they aren’t privy to all the toy commercials and branded TV characters). Anyway, we were a bit stuck for ideas…
Thankfully my husband came up with the idea of a castle and dragon scene. We got him this medieval castle and a few knights to guard the castle from this ferocious dragon. It was a huge hit! I’m most impressed with the castle — it’s nice and simple, easy to assemble and well made. Most importantly of all, it seems to be exactly what he always wanted.
My boys invited a couple friends over for a playdate last week… and so, on a rainy and dark afternoon, I found myself with a house full of hyper children in need of a good activity. I ended up bringing out the Build-a-Robot kit we got from Little Scout and it was a big success.
The assembly is a bit tricky, especially for kids (it’s a good thing my sister was here to help me assemble it! I am so lousy at that sort of thing!), but once we put all the pieces together (which, indeed was not that tricky in the end — the cardboard pieces just slot together, no glue required!), the kids sat down for a good 30 minutes and painted it. I love the end result! And the kids were so proud of their creation.
When Esther came to London last week, we each gave each other little Christmas gifts for the kids. Funnily enough, it turns out that the gift I gave for Ava is the same gift she gave to Ivy! Great minds think alike! Either that… or the cute toys, games and puzzles from Londji are just too cute to pass up. I love the sweet illustrations and the almost-vintage-looking colour palettes.
I just received a little package with a selection of stocking fillers and toys from new shop on the block Carousel… and oh, how pretty it all is! Carousel recently launched with a beautifully designed webshop and a superb selection of children’s party products. Everything about Carousel is just so stylish — the website, the branding, the presentation of the products, the selection of products itself, the way orders are wrapped… Clearly a lot of thought and care went into every aspect of the design of this great shop.
You will find great decor, fun tableware, a great dress up selection, stylish stationery, and a wonderful selection of toys and sweets for stocking fillers and party bags. This is really the perfect place and one stop destination for everything you need for your kid’s next birthday party.
Last week I popped into the gorgeous Couverture boutique to do a bit of Christmas shopping, and ended up finding so many great things for nearly everyone on my list. Total success! While there, Ivy spotted this adorable little Petitcollin baby doll and it was love at first site! Something about the little doll’s outfit really appealed to her. She came home that afternoon and wrote a letter to santa. It said “Dear Santa, for Christmas I would like a baby doll dressed in a sheep’s costume and a little bed for my babies”.
Last week I shared a project for making a winter forrest diorama. This diorama is a perfect home for some of our Ostheimer collection. We like to put all of our forrest animals in the diorama. Ostheimer is a company from Germany that makes wooden hand crafted animals and people. Over the years I have been collecting them, my mother has an even more extensive collection. She is the one who introduced me to them as a child. I remember how much I loved to play with them and now my children play with them as well. It is one of the first things they ask to play with when they go to my mother’s home. One of the best things about the Ostheimer wooden figures is they last forever. Below are some photos from my Mother’s and my collection. Some of the figures pictured below are over 20 years old.
Ostheimer is a family run company started by Margarete Ostheimer. They have beeen in business for over fifty years. All the figures are hand carved and painted with non toxic paint. Ostheimer keeps their figures simple because they believe “If we give [children] the space to use their imaginations while still children, they will be able to deal much more creatively with the reality that surrounds them.” I couldn’t agree more, most times the simplest things bring out the greatest creativity.
Because Ostheimer wooden figures are handmade they are a little pricey. I usually buy one or two for a Birthday and Christmas, this also keeps them very special in our family. I just came back from Germany and had a wonderful time. I couldn’t help but pick up a few Ostheimer figures at the Christkindlmarkt. When In Germany I purchase them at the toy store Obletter, or any toy store that carries wooden toys most likely will sell Ostheimer. When in the US I purchase them online at the Wooden Wagon, they have quite an impressive selection of Ostheimer and other wooden toys.
We love the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. It is still one of those books my kids request at bed time, or.. even now I’ll catch my older kids reading it to the younger ones. So, you can imagine how excited they were when this puppet set arrived from AlexandAlexa last week. I have now watched about 50 re-enactments of the story, all told with the various puppets. The kids are actually becoming expert puppeteers — they set themselves up behind the sofa and tell the story using the silliest accents.
The puppet set is by The Puppet Company and the puppets are really impressive. The troll puppet is large and the details are really nice, and I like that you can either move his mouth or his arms so that he can really come to life. There are other puppets and sets too (like The Three Little Pigs) and also a puppet theatre (for if your kids get tired of using the sofa).
The lovely Jenny from LMNOP Magazine sent the sweetest little gifts for baby Marlow, all beautifully wrapped and washi taped. One of the gifts was this little wooden heart-shaped teether by the Japanese brand, Mastro Geppetto. It’s amazing how beautiful something so little can be. A baby teether, but really a gorgeously crafted little piece of art. So sweet!
The Mastro Geppetto toys are available at ePloof.
It’s starting to get cold here in Montreal and so going out to play for hours is a thing of the past! I don’t know about you, but my son needs to move, run and jump and with the winter months ahead that isn’t always possible; I always thought he could use a punching bag to get all that buddle up energy out. So you can’t imagine how pleased I was to discover these Eco-Bonk bop bags and for so many reasons! These aren’t your typical inflatable bop bags, not only do they provide all the fun in the world by pushing them and having them bounce back, but they happen to be sustainable as well. The covers are removable and made from 100% organic Cotton, as well as being printed with water-based inks. The inside is made from biodegradable Vinyl, all made in the USA and a percentage of the proceeds will go towards supporting the Wildlife Alliance. Seriously, does it get any better? You can be reassured you kids are playing with a safe toy for them and the environment. So which is your favorite character? I think mine is Abigail the elephant.
There is a lot more information on the website and the Eco-Bonks can be bought online through the website as well. It’s always nice to support small family business and I was lucky enough to meet Donna, the co-founder and brains behind Eco-Bonk at the NYC gift show, it was such a pleasure talking to her and seeing the passion she had for the product. I just know my kids would love these and they are the top of my gift list this year.
This past summer, Ava finally started to trot around with her baby, which we gave her for her first birthday last year. It’s a Käthe Kruse doll and I keep thinking how pretty it is: old-fashioned looking, and beautifully made with hand-painted eyes and hair. So cute. It also has very easy-to-move limbs, so sitting her down and getting her dressed is easy (although Ava at the moment just manages to undress, as you can see). Because of the (phthalates free) vinyl body the doll can even be taken in the bath. I’m so excited that Ava is finally taking an interest in her baby, especially because it will hopefully encourage the same sort of mother-like nurturing toward her new baby brother.
My kids have a new obsession and it’s called PlusPlus. PlusPlus consists of super simple puzzle-like building block shapes that can be combined to create an endless array of 2 and 3 dimensional creations, and seriously calls for hours and hours of building fun. PlusPlus is equally attractive to boys and girls, young and old — it can be played with alone, or with friends. My kids bring pieces of PlusPlus everywhere — they can’t stop playing with it!
PlusPlus is well known in Denmark but is still fairly new to the rest of the world. The distributer in the US is Geared for Imagination, and I’ve also spotted it in one of our new and very cool boutiques, The Kid Who. A real recommendation for a Christmas present!
These beautiful Palomita rag dolls are handmade from organic, tea-stained muslin fabric and dressed in vintage, new and recycled textiles. Each doll is completely unique, has it’s own special character, and is made with a lot of care. The doll’s faces are embroidered and look so, so sweet. Really the kind of doll that would look adorable in the arms of a little girl, but would also make a lovely decoration piece. Such a gorgeous gift!
….. and boom! Suddenly the holidays are upon us. I walked passed Galerie Lafayette today, saw the Christmas display and suddenly realised: summer is over and there are only a few weeks left until the holidays! How does time go so fast? As usual, I decided to get organised early this year. And as usual, that is something very, very hard to accomplish for a chaotic person like me. So I am most thankful for the internet and for the Babyccino Holidays Gift Guide. It has so much cool stuff that I know my kids, nephews, nieces, godchildren and friends would love! Here are some of my favourites: this super cute glitter poncho, the red riding hood teamug, the retro train bed linen and the tactile racing car.
And do you know what I love most about this gift guide? It is the perfect link to send on to my brothers who are always wondering what they should get for my girls. Voila, problem solved!
The Kid Who is a freshly launched online store with a great collection of the coolest contemporary children’s products. Simply everything is want-able in this shop, for kids and for their parents alike. I love how fresh and fun the products are.
Besides the superb collection of gifts, the collection of wrapping paper, gift-tags and cards is also really great. So fun and so original. At The Kid Who, the whole act of shopping, wrapping and giving becomes a party by itself. I will definitely be shopping by this season!
We have a version of this Goose Game which we bought ages and ages ago. It’s one of those games that has come everywhere with us, on every holiday — it’s the perfect travel game as it folds up into a nice little fabric bag and can be thrown into a bag or suitcase really easily. Plus, it’s a great game for all ages — so easy to play.
I was so excited to see this new version from DEUZ, made from organic cotton and as cute as can be. All the parts fold up and fit into the little cotton bag. Perfect! I’m going to buy some for gifts. It’s available to purchase from E-Side.
ePloof! is a new Singapore-based children’s shop which brings together great toys & home accessories from both Europe and Asia. I was thrilled to be introduced to the Japanese brand, Mastro Geppetto, which makes this beautiful, boxed animal set. The wooden animals are made of water-resistant yellow cedar wood, and are actually meant to be a bath toy! When wet, the little animals stick to the side of the bath, or float like other bath toys. You can also just stack them up or play with them like regular toys when not in the bath. Isn’t that clever?
ePloof! was started by two friends in Singapore who have set out to find beautiful, exceptional quality products from around the world. From what they’ve found and stocked already, I can tell this is definitely a shop to keep an eye on. I love discovering new toy brands!
Today I’d like to share with you my family’s love for the Kiki & Coco in Paris book. You’ve probably heard or seen the images floating around the web already, but since we recently purchased the book and the fact that my whole family really enjoys it, I wanted to tell you about it!
Kiki & Coco in Paris is a sweet story about the strong bond and friendship between a girl and her doll while visiting Paris. What had me and my husband interested, was how the story was told through photography and we hardly had any books illustrated in that way. Stephanie Rausser was able to bring Kiki & Coco to life with her unique photographic style; she has a way of bringing humor and vivacity to all her photos. I think the kids feel a certain connection to the characters because of that.
We originally got the book for my daughter’s birthday but I have to say my son loves it just as much if not more. It helps that the story is happening in Paris and both my kids dream of going there one day to visit our family, which we hardly ever get to see. My daughter dreams of getting her hair cut in a Parisian salon and my son can’t wait to have a drink in a café. They both talk about how they are going to climb the stairs of the Eiffel tower.
Another reason why I was compelled to buying this book is Coco the doll. I can’t express how much I, yes I, love this doll. I’ve been a big fan of the Jess Brown dolls for a while now, I’m not sure I quite have the right vocabulary to express how amazing these handmade dolls truly are, they are perfect in every way!
I recently got to see a few and hold one in my hands while I was at the Gift Fair in New York City, and I was blown away by the craftsmanship and all the details that go into making one. Now, I’m pretty sure I’ve passed on this love to my daughter, as she would like a Coco of her own. I think I might save up some money and surprise her for Christmas. If only I could win the lottery, I would fly the kids to Paris, now that would be insanely cool: the kids, a Jess Brown doll and Paris.
p.s. To buy the book there is a list of all the suppliers on the Jess Brown Blog. To see some the photos from the book as well as others that didn’t make the book, but are just at sweet, check out Stephanie Rausser Kiki & Coco’s slide show:
And if you’d like to see more Jess Brown Dolls and perhaps purchase one visit the website!
My mom has come over from the US to be here for the baby’s birth (!!!) and she came bearing gifts for the kids. She brought Ivy this sweet little PlanToys Alphabet set and I swear Ivy has gone from knowing about 10 letters in the alphabet to knowing them all AND knowing the sounds they make! What a great little educational toy. (Available from Amazon here where I noticed there is also a Numbers version.)
We like to play games in our family, and I especially love a game that will keep Henrik occupied for a couple of hours. I grew up playing with this very Mix Max game from Ravensburger and it has been in my family since before I was born. I don’t even remember the rules (they have since been lost) but possibilities of play are simple and endless. Basically just mix a hat, head, body, and legs to make whatever person you’d like.
Henrik gets such a kick out of the funny different looking people he comes up with. It’s so fun to watch him giggling at all his creations.
You can find something similar here.