Mesdames et messieurs, portable checkers game

This portable set of checkers, ‘Mesdames et Messieurs‘, from the French company Les Jouets Libre, is a big hit in our house. Checkers is a fun (and very old) board game that can easily be played with fairly young children (I would say from the age of 6), and gets more strategic and challenging for bigger children and adults. Fun for the entire family!

I love how this Mesdames & Messieurs game is so easily packed away in the drawstring bag, which cleverly converts in the board while playing. Plus — so easy to take along when traveling!

The bag is made from organic cotton, so a minimum of packaging materials is used to present the game, and the wood for the game pieces is locally sourced in the French Yura. Very eco conscious, which I like as well.

xxx Esther

Cute costumes from My Shiny Shop

This past weekend was finally dry and sunny so, despite still being cold, my kids asked to set up the teepee outside and play cowboys and indians! They looked so cute in their costumes from My Shiny Shop that I had to snap a few shots of them in their teepee. (Poor Ivy in her little indian dress must have been freezing cold, but she refused to wear a coat. I could only coax her into wearing leggings!)

The selection of dress-up costumes from My Shiny Shop is really great. I love the Indian Chief head dress – it makes such a statement with all the colourful feathers!

My kids are constantly playing dress-up. It must be one of the most common play themes in our house and always inspires the most creative kind of play. They’ll dress up as kings and queens and then build castles, they’ll be pirates and sailors and sail off in their ships, they’ll be baddies and goodies and cowboys and indians and everything in between. I hope this innocent dress-up phase never ends!

x Courtney

p.s. More info about our teepee here.

Fabelab origami blanket

Maybe it’s the architect in me, but I LOVE these Fabelab play-fold-birds, the idea of Copenhagen based architect (and mother of two), Michaela Weisskirchner-Barfod. Unfolded, you have a beautiful and softly padded play mat or blanket, perfectly detailed with gorgeous geometrical patchwork patterns in wonderful colour combinations. But then, thanks to an ingenious, origami style folding technique, the blanket can be transformed into a beautiful swan! And suddenly, you have an object that can be a toy, a pillow, or simply a pretty decor item.

But that’s not all — the blanket can also be transformed into a darling ‘lit d’ange’, a cosy nest for a buggy or crib to keep a newborn baby warm and snug. How sweet! And when the child gets bigger, at some point he or she will be able to practice his fine motor skills, folding and unfolding the bird, so it will become an interesting puzzle / play object as well.

I really admire this cleverly designed, beautiful product, and the attention to detail with which it has been thought through. I also respect Michaela’s no-waste policy. For example, with the cut-offs of the blankets, a new product has been created: a darling little bird mobile, which can be used as for instance a stroller toy. This way, all the material can be used and nothing goes to waste.

It’s available to purchase from one of our lovely shops, Scout and Co.

xxx Esther

Bird print sewing cards by Rice

I bought a pack of these sewing cards from Sisters Guild at the ShopUp last December and gave them to Ivy for Christmas. My only regret is that I didn’t buy three packs of them because I spent the entire Christmas holiday listening to the boys try to coerce Ivy into letting them each have one to do. But she loved them so much and spent so much time diligently sewing each card, that she was so reluctant to share with them.

These bird print sewing cards come in a pack of 6 pretty bird designs and include the different coloured threads and two needles. It’s the perfect activity for Ivy’s age (or really any age from 4 up), and when finished they make great decorations. I’ve scattered them around the house and am even thinking of framing a couple for Ivy’s room.

They’re available online from Sisters Guild. I might just have to buy a couple more and give them to the boys as well!

x Courtney

O Clock Watches

Esther and I are in sync with our parenting! She and I both just gave our 8-year-olds a watch, both completely unaware (until now) that our kids would be able to tell the time! We were laughing on the phone the other day about how if our eldest kids were our only children, they would have had a watch and surely would have learned to tell the time by age 6! But… when you have four children you sometimes forget or simply overlook each child’s needs and abilities. I suppose that’s a downside to having several children.  Anyway, my 8-year-old learned to tell the time super quickly and loves his watch — he told me it was his favourite gift this Christmas! I think I’ll also buy my 6-year-old the same one… and I’m sure he’ll also learn to tell the time really quickly (at least I will have been on top of things with one of my children!).

Anyway, I wanted to share the watch I bought for him:  it’s the O Clock Watch by Fullspot. The bands are made of stretchy silicone and just slip over the hand (no buckle necessary). They come in a bunch of fun colours and you can interchange the straps and faces if your child would like a different colour at some point (the straps and faces are sold separately).

I got the watch from Little Hanbury which is a super cool shop specialising in clothes & accessories for boys!

x Courtney

House-shaped wooden block set

My sister bought this ‘Tsumiki’ building block set for Ivy for Christmas and it has been completely commandeered by Marlow!! She loves taking off the magnetic top, picking out the little blocks one by one, and making little stacks and towers. She’s completely obsessed with it (if she wasn’t so cute, I would be so annoyed because I am constantly picking up the blocks and putting them carefully back into the house!).

The Tsumiki set consists of 41 coloured blocks made from eco-friendly beech wood. The magnetic cover comes off and goes back on easily to keep the blocks tidy, and it goes without saying that it’s an incredibly pretty toy! (It’s available from the lovely online shop, Carousel.)

On a side note, I find it interesting how some kids have such a passion for things so early on. Marlow has always loved emptying out containers and then putting things back in. She loves stacking and unstacking. She even loves taking the magnets off the fridge and then putting them back up again. (She is definitely my daughter, this one. I can already see her obsessive compulsive tendencies coming out!!) : )

xx Courtney

Fold-and-Go wooden barn

I bought this wooden folding barn from Hedgehog at The ShopUp this past December and gave it to my kids for Christmas. I figured it would be a cute way for them to play with all their Schleich animals, which are still one of their most favourite toys! It’s such a cute little barn, and I don’t even mind it being left out in my living room. It’s that cute!

x Courtney

Cuddling rabbits from the Polka Dot Club

Esther and I met Jennifer Murphy from the Polka Dot Club last year in NYC and fell in love with her handmade bears. We both ordered one for our children and I have since bought a couple bears as special gifts for new babies. I am an enormous fan of her work – everything she does seems to be done with such perfection, patience and care. If you hold one of her bears in your hand, you can hardly put the thing down. It’s like they’re made with magic or something!!

Jen has recently started making cuddling rabbits, and I’m thinking about ordering a couple for the girls. Easter presents maybe …if I can wait that long! Aren’t they so cute?

x Courtney

Little cardboard doll’s bed

This sweet doll’s bed comes as a flat cardboard package and is thus the perfect present to send to little friends overseas. It is easily put together (no glue needed) and how cute would it be to send some little blankets along as well? It is available in two different prints.

From the same makers, Dutch company Een Paarse Olifant, is this miniature bed for a tiny wooden ‘lucky doll’. Again, it comes in a small flat package and can be sent as a postcard —  lucky doll and heart shaped card included!! How cute is that?

Both available from Engelpunt.

xxx Esther

Projecteo, the tiny Instagram projector

I recently came across Projecteo which is a tiny projector that projects instagram photos. My daughter runs around projecting them on every possible surface. This would make a great stocking stuffer or as a novel little present for a friend. I plan on making a little nature story to project on our wall as part of our night time ritual. So many creative possibilities!

x Elizabeth

The Little Things… Gift (un)wrapping!

I love gift giving — there is something so wonderful about planning the perfect gift for someone special, wrapping it in the nicest possible way, the actual excitement of giving it, and finally seeing the joy on the face of the receiver…

This week for The Little Things, we’ve created simple holiday wrapping paper by stamping triangles on craft paper. It makes such a happy house to pile some presents in a corner of your house… And Casper and his little friend Mees had a ball opening the presents and playing with the awesome toys inside (all kindly lent to us by A Day with Kate).

It’s easy to create this simple holiday wrapping paper. Just make a triangular stamp by cutting a corner of a regular eraser. We made one bigger and one smaller stamp. The kids can help to stamp the paper!

Sara Musch made wonderful matching gift tags (just download for free here), and the ‘Pretty Things Inside‘ tape is also from A Day with Kate.

xxx Esther

PS –  This is the fifth post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you again Maud Fontein for taking beautiful photos in your awesome house, and Sara Musch for the cool download. All the toys are from Janod via wonderful webshop A Day with Kate, and the boys’ outfits are from Gray Label, also via A Day with Kate.

Cardboard London Dollhouse

This cardboard London dollhouse is the most recent dollhouse from Tiphaine Mangan in her new series featuring homes from around the world. I love that she captures the quintessential London terraced house so well!

Each dollhouse comes with 13 flat-packed cardboard furniture pieces for children to assemble and set up in the house as well as a sheet of stickers to decorate the house. What a fun little activity (a cute Christmas gift too!) … and I love the idea of hanging it on the wall in your child’s room when she’s no longer interested in playing with it! I think it looks so cute in the photo above.

x Courtney

Snuggly Ugly handmade monsters

Snuggly Ugly is a Brooklyn-based brand run by a super sweet husband and wife team. Their handmade monsters are, as the name suggests, exquisitely snuggly (made from up-cycled cashmere jumpers) and ugly (in the cutest way, of course!). Each of their sweet little creations is one-of-a-kind and handmade in their studio in Brooklyn.

Indira from Snuggly Ugly sent one of the mostritos for Marlow, and she absolutely loves it. She loves the little pocket detail on the front, and is constantly trying to stick things inside it. And there is something about the quirky googly eyes and crooked smile that really appeals to babies.  So sweet!

x Courtney

Mikodesign — gorgeous screen prints and dolls!

I’ve written about Erika from Mikodesign before… I just love her creativity and her gorgeous range of screen-printed products. Her DIY doll kits are amazing, and so much fun to put together if you like sewing. Sara and I are in the process of making the new, special edition neon I Love Paris rabbit together — a lovely little project! It even comes with a little tote bag and a skirt with Paris print, plus an additional Eifeltower that can be turned into a really cool hanger. (In case sewing is not your thing, Erika also sells the dolls ready-made.)

And… I’m so happy that Erika is joining us for the ShopUp this weekend!! She’s told me she will bring a whole range of DIY kits and ready-made dolls, and darling clothing sets for the dolls as well. Plus tons of her adorable ornaments and accessories. All designed and handmade by Erika herself of course!
You’ll find me heading up the queue in front of her stand!! : )

xxx Esther

PS all photos are taken from Erika’s lovely Instagram feed.

Cromanticamente handmade dolls

When Elodie was turning three I found her a perfect little doll from the Italian Etsy shop Cromanticamente. These two sisters make lovely little dolls and I chose the December doll for her third birthday. I also love their seasonal dolls like this sweet Nordic inspired one and Clara & The Nutcracker. I am tempted to put their New Arrival doll in Francesca’s room as a sweet gesture of her and Elodie together!

x Elizabeth

Unique children’s room accessories from Boramiri

Pinterest is a dangerous, dangerous place. I can spend hours up there. Literally. I always promise myself to stop as soon as I find the thing I’m looking for but I end up with about 20+ new bookmarks. At least! And consequently with a thinner wallet as well.

This is how I also found this darling French boutique Boramiri started by Bora Lee, an illustrator and graphic designer from Paris with Korean origins. Inspired by both worlds she decided to combine them by using French fabrics and Korean design and the outcome is one outrageously cute collection of ragdolls and room accessories for kids and babies. I think we need the cat pouf in our lives!


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Tweet Toys

September has been a busy time for birthdays around here. I am always looking for cute gift ideas, especially for boys, since I am surrounded my little girls. I came across Tweet Toys which makes wooden imaginative play items for children.

I find it particularly nice that you can choose your fabric as I tend toward simple, more classic, colors and patterns. I will definitely be bookmarking them for the holidays!


To read more from Elizabeth, visit her lovely, heartfelt blog The Littlest Blog.

Cape & Mask sets from Udder

Aren’t these cape & mask sets so fun? Such a sweet, simple little costume for all sorts of imaginative role play. (It’s often the simplest things that spur the most imaginative fun, don’t you find?) I know my kids would love this!

They come from the great Australian-based brand, Udder, which deserves its own dedicated post because there are so many great products in their collection (clothing, handmade soft friends, accessories, etc.).

Also worth noting is that Udder is currently offering free worldwide shipping (for a limited time) — so now is a better time han ever to discover this great shop!

x Courtney


My children are getting a bit older and with a bit of a heavy heart, I am slowly tiding away a lot of toys that just don’t get used anymore. I am even cleaning up virtually, as I also have been deleting children game apps off my iphone.

But there is actually one game that I have not deleted, just because it is so lovely: Drawnimal.

It is such a simple idea and it is designed in such a lovely fashion, I have been known to play it all by myself! I love the way it makes the phone the starting block for a picture and actually makes kids move away from the screen and go back to pen and paper. So clever!

- Emilie

Kids on Roof — Tatlin

These Tatlin toys from Dutch brand Kids on Roof are so cool! I just love the colours, the shapes — and the endless possibilities of the concept. Existing of cardboard magnets, these shapes can be used on any magnetic surface, and will surely provide hours and hours of fun — both for children and adults, I’m sure!

Next to just playing with the shapes, or using them for cool decor, there’s also a ‘game’ aspect to Tatlin, a bit like the Chinese puzzle game Tangram. It would make a really great gift for families, don’t you think? (I would love to have this on our fridge!)

xxx Esther

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »