La Coqueta is a new London-based boutique with a gorgeous collection of clothing and shoes from Spain. I stopped into the boutique last week and was blown away by all the lovely details of the shop (see the clever window display below!) and of course the beautiful, timeless pieces in the collection. From the sweet cotton knitwear collection for babies to the adorable smock dresses for girls, and the smart shirts for boys to the colourful range of shoes.
I picked up the most gorgeous little outfit for Marlow (see below) as well as this sweet dress for Ivy. What struck me most was the price point – quite reasonable considering how elegant everything is. I suppose, in that regard, it’s in keeping with traditional Spanish clothing: it is affordable, timeless clothing kids can wear to a party as well as to the playground. Because, from what I know from my travels to Spain, there is no distinction between playground and party wear. Spanish children are always well dressed.
When we were in NYC earlier this month we met up with the talented photographer, Lindsey Belle, and spent a sunny afternoon hanging out on the streets of the Meatpacking District. We talked babies and motherhood (Lindsey has an 11 month old and we bonded over sleepless nights & nursing babies!) and she snapped some quick photos of us as we walked along the cobbled streets. The babies were asleep in their buggies at first, so we got a few rare photos of just the two of us. Then both babies woke at the same time, and so we strapped them into the slings and Lindsey took a few photos of the four of us (two jet-lagged mamas with their sleepy babes!).
Lindsey has just published her photos and an interview with us on her blog. Take a peek at her blog to read our interview answers, and while you’re there you should check out her portfolio of other great photos. Thank you Lindsey for the fun photo shoot!
xx Esther & Courtney
Today I would love to share a very charming shop in Madrid: Babydeli. Well, it is not only a shop, but a place with lots of things going on. They have food, toys, books, you can celebrate your birthday, and there are also very interesting workshops taking place every week. Located in the very heart of Barrio de Salamanca in Madrid, we always go if we are visiting.
Definitely, Babydeli is a place to find what you are looking for and also having a healthy snack!
We recently visited Esther and Family in Amsterdam, and it was a such a great trip! So great, that the whole train carriage on the way home had to listen to my kids’ lamentations about how Amsterdam is so great and Paris is not!
I know what they mean– it is so nice discovering a new city and, as a tourist, you have the luck to only see the good sides of a city and Amsterdam has many, many good sides. It is beautiful and small, and super accessible with kids. You can rent bicycles all over the city and the choice of different bicycle types is incredible.
We stayed for four days during which time Esther and I put the world to rights, crafted and dreamt up some serious crafting projects for sometime in the future, the children got on famously and we visited some of Amsterdam’s sites. We visited the Artis Zoo and saw some lions, giraffes, wallabes, zebras and seals basking in the spring sunlight. We took a boat ride around the canals and learned all about the history of Amsterdam. We went to play in the Vondel Park which has some great play structures. We ate little pancakes and waffles fresh from a market stall. We did not even make it to the Nemo Science Museum, but check out Esther’s Amsterdam tips as she has some great ideas.
Above, the Vondel Park. And below, the giraffes at the zoo, which we stayed looking at for ages! I don’t think I have ever seen a giraffe as up close before.
Such a great trip and if you ask my daughters,(and 20 other people on our train), it’s the only place to be!
We hope we haven’t overdone it with all our talk about NYC! And hope you won’t mind if we share a few more photos from our quick trip. It was such a busy weekend, running around the city (with the babies!) trying to squeeze everything in, but it was super fun, and actually easier than we had anticipated.
We stayed in a room with a big king-sized bed which the two of us (plus babies!) shared. You should have seen the four of us, all snuggled up in bed, waking from jet-lag at odd hours in the night, nursing babies on demand, etc. Funny! But of course it meant that Casper and Marlow could enjoy morning snuggles together! So sweet.
We met up with the darling Lindsey Belle who took some photos of us on the streets of the meatpacking district. We felt like movie stars having our photos taken! Fun!! (We can’t wait to share the photos with you.)
We headed over to the Misha and Puff sample sale to see her gorgeous new collection and pick up some past season goodies. Here we also met Kristen Lombardi from Manimal and Jennifer Murphy from Polka Dot Club. It was such a fun afternoon with those ladies! And the babies looked so cute in their new Misha and Puff pieces (see photo above and below).
These two travelling babies are so cute together! Here they are having one last snuggle before we left our hotel and headed back to London and Amsterdam. What a fun weekend that was!
xx Courtney & Esther
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.
This past weekend the three of us (plus babies!) met up in Paris to spend a day at Playtime, the international children’s trade show. We should have learned our lesson from last year because one day was simply not enough to browse the many, many wonderful brands. We spent the day rushing around from stand to stand, and still didn’t see everything we wanted to see…
We managed to squeeze in visits to some of our favourite brands:
- Bobo Choses – Another beautiful collection featuring musical instruments in a sweet ‘Lullaby’ theme
- Gray Label – We love the additions of the mustard yellow and the soft green colours. Emily Gray is one clever woman!
- Waddler – Cute new cotton pieces in addition to their fabulous alpaca wool collection.
- Aravore – We especially loved the new Fair Isle pieces. Adorable!
- Elfie – Thank goodness they’re still making that little Mouse Jumper – it’s a favourite in our house!
- Lalé – Perfection! We especially loved their new bed quilts.
- Nico Nico – There are some new little wool capes in the collection that we already have our sights set on!!
- Hucklebones – As always, a gorgeous and timeless collection. (They had a swan at their stand made of 800 sheets of paper – wow!)
- Bieq – So many handknitted baby hats. We’ll take them all please! : )
- Le Petit Lucas – The sweet designs on the bedding, the adorable decorations, and we just adore the new gnome featured on the jumpers and clothing. So cute!
- Apünktchen – Our favourite hats for babies, kids and even grown-ups.
- Tapete – Cute graphics as always.
- Macarons – They designed their own fabric! It doesn’t get more innovative than that.
- Very French Gangsters – We love the colourful new glasses straps to hold glasses on. (We want them for ourselves!)
- Collégien – A fun and colourful collection of slippers — such fun new designs.
- Miller – A perfectly on-trend collection. There was a pretty yellow dress which especially caught our eye.
We also made some wonderful new discoveries:
- Wool Fabrique – Gorgeous wool goodies! (We’ll write more about this later.)
- LEOCA Paris – We were really impressed with the warm colours, the innovative shapes, the playful but still classic designs of this great collection.
- 10is – Leather trainers in lovely muted tones. Cool!
- Bemini – Little knitted hats, scarves, mittens, jumpers, blankets and a clever, hooded nid d’ange blanket/sac.
- Emma Levine – We were especially impressed with the jackets and dresses – such beautiful, hand-dyed fabrics from Bali, offering a slightly vintage-like ethnic vibe.
- Boy + Girl – A brand out of LA, offering an eclectic collection, mixing fabrics and colours to offer something fresh and hip.
- Boob – A great maternity and nursing collection run by some awesome mamas (can we be friends, please?!).
- Titlee – A fabulous collection of jewellery (more to come later about it!).
- Tocoto Vintage – Maria has reviewed this beautiful collection here before, but it was so nice to see it in the flesh.
- Inspirations By La Giraffe – We’ve seen this sweet jewellery at Elias & Grace before, but it was lovely to see it in full, and their stand was really beautifully decorated.
Phew! It was a busy, busy day! We really had so much fun talking to all the designers and seeing all the great new collections. What a wonderful business we’re in — so many friendly faces, so many inspiring people, so much creativity! We consider ourselves lucky to be a part of it all.
xx Courtney, Esther & Emilie
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Playtime Paris
A very special place, full of lovely things and lovely atmosphere. And really nice to visit with your kids!
After Madrid in Love, we went to a very nice place in Madrid. If you are looking for something sweet and tasty, Mama Framboise is the place. Amazing and super nice desserts.
If you happen to be in Madrid, I think they are a couple of lovely places to visit.
I often get asked for tips about Paris. But living in a city is so different to visiting, that I often have trouble answering. So I wanted to put together a little list of places and services you might find helpful if you are planning a trip to Paris, especially with the whole family.
Complete Paris a fabulous concierge service which will organise as much as you need. Ali, the lovely owner, has children herself so she is very aware of the needs of families travelling to Paris. She can organise trustworthy English speaking babysitters, pick-ups in cars with car seats, recommend shows — basically take a lot of the stress out of the trip, so you can enjoy Paris.
Chic Shopping Paris – Rebecca is a dear friend of mine, who has been running some of the best shopping tours around Paris for years. (Rebecca also was a correspondent for Babyccino many moons ago, when she lived in Washington for a brief period). She has excellent taste and is super personable, so it is a great experience. You will definitely discover some of the hidden shopping treasures of Paris.
The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris – This is an excellent App in English specialising in anything to do with food in Paris. It lists some fabulous restaurants, markets and shops and it very easy to navigate. It is great if you want to find great French food in your area and don’t know where to start.
Paris Velo C’est Sympa – Paris is getting much more accessible for bicycles, especially on Sundays, when the quais along the Seine are closed of for cars. Sometimes it is nice, especially when the sun is shining, to discover Paris overground, rather than travelling everywhere by metro. This place rents bicycles by the day and also rents out kids seats for the bicycles, and tandem bikes.
Paris Taxi – I’ve used this company a few times as they are some of the few taxi companies to provide child seats. They were mainly good for airplane pick up and drop off, rather than travelling within Paris.
Velib’ – The Velib’ almost doesn’t need an introduction: these bicycles dotted around the city are now so part of Parisians everyday life, one hardly notices them. Velib’ is now the largest bike-sharing network in the world. Since the Velib’ scheme started, cycling around Paris has become much easier and the crazy drivers and cyclists are starting to co-exist in fragile harmony. The Velib’s are a great way for getting around Paris, which, when you actually get onto a bicycle, is a relatively small city.
I would love to hear if you have any other tips to add onto my list!
Today I would like to share a beautiful place in Madrid, that I have always hearted. Grey Elephant is a very special place in the center of Madrid, where many things happen, and with one objective: to nurture and stimulate creativity in children and parents through art projects, interactive workshops and activities in a relaxed, tranquil and home-like environment.
One place where the parents can accompany their children and the children can enjoy the company of others of their age and they can all create, experiment, invent, and let their imagination fly. During the weekdays they have a nursery and lots of workshops, all of them in english. And in the weekends the fun continue with theatre, music, dancing, arts… and so on! It is also a place to celebrate your birthday in a very creative way.
The owner, Laura, has told us the reason why she opened a place like this in Madrid: “I realised I kept complaining about spaces for kids and parents or kids and grandparents/caretakers etc. At the time people where allowed to smoke almost everywhere and it was not easy to find a place to meet other parents, do stuff and get involved where you could find music, dance, painting, fun … So I decided to open my own!!!”
Such a good reason, and such a treat for the people of Madrid! Hope you like it!!
Have you ever been to Prague? It is one of my top 5 European cities. It is relatively small and absolutely stunning and is one of these places where you feel surrounded by history! In short, a perfect European destination to spend a weekend with the family. Prague is yet again one of those cities I visited several times before having a kid and have not been to since. I was really happy when one of our readers Diane wanted to write about it who travels all over Europe with her family. Prague really stood out as a place that is very child friendly and fun for everyone no matter what age, so Diane has decided it was time to share her hard earned knowledge with all of us!
Petrin Hill – Located above Mala Strana, Petrin Hill is a great place from which to view the city. For even better views, take the elevator to the top of the mini Eiffel Tower located on its grounds. Note that the elevator cannot accommodate strollers. A mirror maze located on the grounds can be fun for kids of all ages. Even getting to Petrin Hill can be fun for kids – take the funicular and enjoy the ride up. Remember, you can’t spell funicular without fun!
Prague Castle – no trip to Prague would be complete without a visit to Prague Castle. A whole afternoon can be spent wandering around the grounds. Much of it may not interest your kids but stick around for the changing of the guards, as that should grab their attention.
Vysehrad Castle – Prague’s other, less visited castle has on its grounds a beautiful church, a cemetery containing the remains of famous Czechs like composers Dvorak and Smetana, and a well-stocked playground perfect for children bored by sightseeing.
Astronomical Clock – Located in the middle of Old Town (a must see as well) is the enormous astronomical clock. It is worth sitting down in a nearby café for a snack and waiting for the top of the hour to see what happens.
Kralovstvi Zeleznic – Located in the basement of a building in Novy Smichov, this train museum offers lots of model train sets of different varieties whizzing by miniature cityscapes and countryside. If your child even remotely likes trains, they will love this museum. Plus, it is entirely indoors, so it is a great rainy (or snowy) day activity. Your kids will recognize the Thomas train sets and older folks will appreciate the more historic trains, including the ones with “Czechoslovakia” written on the side. For the youngest visitors, there is a room set aside with Thomas trains and other age appropriate toys.
Zoo Praha – Like most zoos, Zoo Praha offers a wide array of animals on display. What makes this zoo stand out is its extensive children’s area complete with a petting zoo, playground and small train that children can ride (with parents, if necessary). There is a café on the grounds. The zoo is a bit off the beaten path but can be reached by taking the metro and then a bus.
Komunitni Centrum KAMPA – During our travels we always try to give our children an opportunity to interact with others their age by seeking out age appropriate classes and inquiring as to whether we can pay for one or two visits. At the Komunitni Centrum KAMPA, we were able to pay for our daughter to attend a “Kids in Motion” class. This English-speaking class involved music, movement and every toddler’s favorite, bubbles. After class, everyone heads next door to Kampa Park for its playground and views of the Charles River. (more…)
Today I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite children’s collections from Montreal: Supayana. Designer Yana Gorbulsky was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to New York when she was a little girl. She started Supayana in Brooklyn, before settling in Montreal; the collection started out as a woman’s line and has only recently expanded into the children’s world. The designer makes it a strong point to use recycled or eco-friendly materials for all of her collections and all garments are made ethically and locally. She also creates, illustrates and prints her own fabric digitally and often collaborates with different artists, making her clothing one-of-kind and truly original. I love the quirkiness of her designs as well as her use of colors and fabric combinations. Bravo!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Curious?
I wanted to tell you a little bit about one of my favourite boutiques in Paris, Marie Puce. It is nestled in a beautiful Parisian street, la rue du Cherche Midi, which is packed with lovely shops. The boutique is a joy to visit: It has a great selection of clothes and accessorizes, mostly by the boutique’s own label. The designs are so French, fresh and lovely. My favourites are the cute shoes, the orange skirt (it is the perfect orange, not too bright and not too pastel) and for boys the cool little shirts.
If you do not happen to be coming to Paris in the forseeable future, don’t worry, a lot of the Marie Puce label is also available on-line. I guess it is a bit like a virtual shopping trip to Paris!
We have had so many great contributors tell us about their cities, and each of them has made me want to pack my bag and go explore the city, so I wanted to do a post about Paris. I still sometimes step out of my flat and get a little bit excited. Why? Because I do live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Sometimes I forget and then I look up and think: “Seriously… I am one lucky girl!”
So here is my list of what to do in Paris with your family for a weekend (or more!) in Paris:
The Pompidou Centre – great for the whole family. The permanent collection is world-class and well laid out, not too big and not too small. The ground floor has a little exhibition center just for kids that normally runs parallel to the temporary exhibitions and helps kids understand the exhibition. If nothing else, taking the rolling staircases, which are on the outside of the building in the plastic tubes, is an activity in itself.
The Galerie de l’Evolution – Paris’s natural history museum, which has recently been renovated and is worth a visit, especially if it is rainy outside. It is a beautiful space and is set in the Jardin des Plantes, the Botantical Gardens. It is a lovely to have a walk around in.
The Menagerie in the Jardin des Plantes – Also in the Jardin des Plantes is the Menagerie, a little zoo that has been around since the mid-19th century and has not changed a lot since then. It is a great size for smaller children and very charming.
The Sacrée Coeur and Montmartre – Montmartre and the Sacrée Coeur is a fun place to explore – unfortunately a lot of tourists agree with this, so the main streets are often packed with tourists. It is quite easy to avoid them though, as the groups normally stick to a few road and squares.
I recommend taking the funicular (easily my favourite public transportation vehicle) up to the top of the hill (you pay with a metro ticket). The view of Paris from the Sacrée Coeur is one of the best. If you walk back down the steps you will find a beautiful old merry-go-round – you might recognize it from the movie Amelie Poulain.
Musée D’Orsay – The Musée d’Orsay is a really accessible museum for kids from about 5 years and up. It houses a lot of the famous impressionists, so it is a great introduction to art and famous artwork that your kids might already know. It is right in the heart of Paris on the right bank of the Seine, beside the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens, the perfect place to go and have a run about in after a museum visit. Do note that one of the crazy things about parks in France is one is often not allowed on the grass and there are fierce looking officers with whistles paroling the parks to make sure it stays that way!
Cité des Enfants - The cité des Enfants is based in the Science Museum a little bit outside the centre of Paris at La Villette. It is definitely worth the treck out if you are staying for a few days. All the exhibitions are interactive, educational and fun. I have been there with my kids and it is quite interesting how different kids gravitate towards different part of the exhibition. The exhibitions are divided between a section for 2-7 year olds and a section for 5-12 year olds. I would advise booking tickets in advance from the museum’s website.
Luxembourg Gardens – The Luxembourg Gardens is possibly my favourite park in Paris – it is beautiful and very, very Parisian. Again you will stumble over the problem that it is hard to find a piece of grass to sit on, but you can sit on the famous chairs, go on the merry-go-round, rent little boats to push around the little pond with a stick, visit the play area (you will notice all the French parents sitting on the benches outside the area while the foreign parents are running around the area trying to keep an eye on their children). (more…)
There is a little shop in Encinitas, California (where I used to live) called m.o.m that has the most adorable decor pieces, accessories and handmade clothes for children. They often use one-of-a-kind fabrics with fun prints for their items. I bought the most adorable pink striped tie for one of the favorite little boys in my life when I was last down there and he adores it. These would be darling additions to any easter outfit or to have around for a dress-up occasion. (They don’t show a big selection on their site, but they are great at taking custom orders and letting you pick out the fabrics.)
Rome is one of my favorite European capitals. When I visited I was so impressed that so much history, from the Romans to the Renaissance and turbulent 19th century, can be found on a relatively small scale. But how easy is it to explore all this history with the whole family? Sarah Petrucci, a true Roman and the owner of the newly opened toy boutique Il Pesciolino Rosso, was kind enough to write down her recommendations for a trip to Rome with familia!
Rome must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Maybe because of the warm light so unique to this city which makes its palazzi in hues of gold and terracotta glow at sunset. Perhaps it has to do with the beauty of its flowering balconies and rooftops or the regal stance of the pine and sycamore trees that line the river and fill the parks. Of course it could be the abundance of wealth in monuments and churches, important ruins and treasures. And to top it off, that balmy climate, so mellow in each season giving a romantic feeling you can’t get enough of as you walk the cobblestone streets and listen to the sweet sounds of Roma. Here are some ideas for a weekend in Rome… (more…)
Little Warrior is a sweet children’s line out of Los Angeles. The Spring/Summer ‘12 Lookbook is adorable and perfectly captures the feeling of endless childhood days. I love all of the super-soft unique silhouettes and the muted palette. Little Warrior just opened a boutique in Hollywood over the weekend. If you are in the neighborhood, you should absolutely stop by!
Little Warrior Boutique (inside Filth Mart)
1038 North Fairfax Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90046
I was first introduced to Elizabeth Antonia when I discovered her blog about a year ago (perhaps you remember this blog post, which was inspired by a post she wrote!). I have since become enamoured with her life in LA, her relationship with her gorgeous daughter, the traveling she does, and the refreshing take on life she has.
I am extremely excited to say that she will now be our newest contributor, writing from LA and sharing a bit of her life with us! Hooray, hooray! Stay tuned for her first post today…
(Bottom image taken by Lou Mora)
This weekend we made it to Obliteration Room at the Tate Modern and my kids loved it so much they’re still talking about it. What a cool idea! The Obliteration Room is the kid’s section of the bigger exhibition by Yayoi Kusama — the dot loving Japanese artist. It started out as a completely white room and then they allowed kids to come in and place colourful dot stickers wherever and however they chose.
It was interesting to watch my kids with their sheets of stickers. My daughter stuck all the stickers on her face, my son kept asking to put them on the ceiling, and my oldest went around creating crazy cyclops monster faces on the floor. What a fun activity (it’s on until the 18th of March)!
PS – Photos above are from the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Australia where the project started. Aren’t they so cool?!