Our friend and talented photographer, Emily Ulmer, is in town from Los Angeles and came over on Sunday for a little visit and impromptu photoshoot. We walked over to the park and she snapped some photos of my crazy brood running wild and climbing trees. I never would have thoughts she would have gotten good photos of them — Marlow had just woken from a much-too-short nap and was cranky and tired, and the others would not sit still for a single second.
But…. she got some really cute ones!! I think it’s a testament to her photo-taking skills that she managed to get these shots, and I thought I would share some of my favourites with you…
Aren’t they fun?! I love that she managed to get a photo of all of my kids up in a tree!
Emily will be spending the summer in Europe, mostly in London and Paris (but happy to travel for jobs!). If you’re interested in booking her for your own family photoshoot, please email her to make an appointment. I think she takes such beautiful, natural photos.
I’m sure, by now, you’ve heard of Blogtacular — the super cool blogging conference taking place in London next weekend?! With talented and inspiring speakers like Joy Cho, Natalie Lue and many others, it’s shaping up to be a really informative, inspiring and FUN event. I’m really looking forward to it!
I am also thrilled to announce that I will be speaking alongside other successful bloggers (Joy Cho, Allison Sadler and Annabelle Beeforth), discussing the ins and outs of the blogging business. I am beyond excited to meet these women, and feel so honoured to share a panel with them! We’re speaking on the Saturday at 1:30 (you can see the full Blogtacular schedule here) and would love for you to come!
Tickets for the conference are still available if you haven’t signed up yet. The event takes place next Friday and Saturday the 9th and 10th at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. I would love to see you there! (Let me know in the comments below if you’re coming so we can try to meet up!)
We’re really excited to announce a new partnership with Baby&Me magazine which has us contributing a little column in their magazine each month and rounding up a selection of cute products to fit our topic. Baby&Me is a super stylish, monthly glossy which keeps London parents updated on all the latest news, fashion, design and other interesting lifestyle topics. We are thrilled to be contributing each month and thought it would be fun to share our selection here with you as well.
In this month’s issue I wrote about getting out in our garden with the kids, sowing vegetable seeds and enjoying the onset of spring. I also rounded up some cute fruit & veg products I’m loving right now. Here they are:
- This cheerful Tomato Poster by Fine Little Day, available at Abacus Kids (I already have the ‘Pear‘ poster in Ivy’s room, but think I might need to get this one too!)
- The origami notepaper sets from Lollipop are SO fun! The new fruit-themed ones are especially cute.
- Giant crochet cherries to make a cheerful statement in any children’s space.
- Baby’s first foods: soft vegetable rattles of course!
I’m already excited for next month’s contribution! Stay tuned…
Have you seen the shiny new Elias & Grace website?! They’ve given themselves an entirely new look and lots of great new features. You can now narrow down your search by category, gender and by child’s size (which is such a handy feature I think). You can shop new arrivals and see different trends (currently stripes and blue!). And of course, it goes without saying, that everything in store is so effortlessly stylish!
Elias & Grace is my go-to shop in London. They do such a great job of buying and always have the most stylish selection of brands. It’s always fun to stop in at the beginning of every season to see the latest trends and pick up some new pieces for the kids. It’s impossible for me to resist!
Remember last week when I told you about our little family photo session in the park with Vanessa Berberian? And how I was so worried she wouldn’t get any cute photos because my children wouldn’t cooperate/sit still/smile/behave… etc. Well, she just sent over the photos and I’m so so impressed with her! She managed to do it! And she also snuck in some really cute candid photos when we weren’t paying attention. My heart literally bursts when I see the photos of Marlow giving me kisses! Oh, I could just eat her up. I’m so happy to have this sweet phase of hers captured. And I love the photos of my husband with the children. And… she even managed to get a photo of all six of us looking at the camera, all mostly smiling! Miracle I’m telling you.
Vanessa is a super experienced photographer who has worked in all areas of photography, from environmental portraiture to travel and food. She is now focusing her work on intimate documentary portraiture and family photography in and around the London area. (You can read more about her here.) If you’re also looking for family portraits or photos of your children, I highly recommend getting in touch with her. Her website is also super easy to use — she will upload your photos onto a gallery on her site and you’ll be able to download them easily onto your computer to use and to print. So handy!
Thank you Vanessa for taking these sweet photos!
Whoop whoop!! We’re SO excited about all of these fabulous shops and brands that are joining us at the ShopUp! (For those of you who missed the announcement — we’re organising our first ever live shopping event in London at the beginning of December!) In addition to the great shopping, we’ll have superb entertainment to keep the little ones busy… mini family photo-shoots… little bits to eat and drink… and there’s a raffle with a fantastic prize! It will be a such a fun day out, and such a perfectly easy way to buy sweet presents for all of the little lovelies in your life!
We can’t wait to go shopping at the ShopUp ourselves!! So… mark your diaries, tell your friends, invite your family, and we look forward to seeing you all there!!
xxx Courtney and Esther
I am really, super excited about the recent launch of Kid & Coe, a vacation rental website featuring stylish family homes all over the world. Imagine travelling to New York, Paris, San Francisco, Copenhagen… Mexico even (!) and being able to stay in a family home, complete with child-sized beds, toys for your kids, a proper kitchen to cook meals, and other family-friendly features to really make you feel at home wherever you go.
Each Kid & Coe listing offers a great description of the property as well as a ‘good to know’ section of family-friendly considerations (closest parks, baby proof safety measures, dishwasher and washing machines, etc.). You can also read a description of the neighbourhood and surrounding area, and of course view loads of great photos of each property (truthfully, it’s like viewing the pages of Elle Decor – some of these homes are so beautiful and inspiring – it’s worth travelling just for the chance to stay in them!).
Not only is it a great place to find stylish family rentals, but you can also list your home with Kid & Coe if you’re interested in renting it out while you’re away. Registering your home is really easy, and the team at Kid & Coe is extremely helpful. It’s easy to enter the dates you’ll be away and manage your property listing and information. I know because I recently signed us up our home and it was really a piece of cake. I’m excited to see the process of booking and renting out our home… and I’m even more excited to stay in some of the other amazing homes around the world. I definitely have the travel bug just looking at this site!
p.s. Here’s the link for the beautiful London-based home featured in these photos. (Don’t you just want to move straight in?!!)
We recently took the kids out of London for an adventurous weekend day trip to Warwick Castle. It was one of those cold, drizzly September days that felt a bit more like winter than Autumn, and we were happy to be kitted out in waterproof jackets and wellies from Muddy Puddles.
My kids have the reversible jackets, which are fully waterproof on one side and lined with cosy fleece on the other — perfect for this time of year when the weather varies so much. They also have the matching rubber wellies, so they are both coordinated and cosy in their waterproof gear. My kids were able to run around the castle grounds braving all the elements of the blustery day.
Muddy Puddles has a wide selection of outdoor gear that is as fun as it is functional. Perfect for our unpredictable British weather and the cold, wet winter ahead of us. (It only took me 10 years to finally accept that in order to live happily in London, we just have to have appropriate warm & waterproof clothing!!)
p.s. Even on a grim day, Warwick Castle was really great! Loads of fun activities for the kids, and a really pretty setting for a lovely day out. I definitely recommend visiting. (And the view from the tower is amazing!)
We are really, really excited to announce some BIG news: we are organising our first ever LIVE shopping event!! The ShopUp will be held in London this coming December and will bring together a selection of the finest shops and brands all under one roof! We’re thrilled to offer the chance to shop the good ‘old-fashioned’ way — to see and feel the products in person and fill up your shopping bag with wonderful gifts and goodies!
The ShopUp will take place on Sunday the 1st and Monday the 2nd of December, just in time for the holidays! The event will be held at the Cecil Sharp House in the trendy, family-friendly neighbourhood of Primrose Hill (a very short walk from the park, the London Zoo and the buzzing high street) — the perfect setting for a fun, family day out! We are especially excited about the wonderful shops we’ve lined up so far! (You can see a list of the participating shops here.) We just can’t wait to go shopping ourselves!
We will also be offering a whole host of fun activities for children, and there is also a charming café located downstairs with a selection of hot drinks, snacks and nibbles. Shops will be offering discounts, prizes will be available to win, and canvas tote bags will be handed out to all visitors. So come shopping with us — we can’t wait to see you there!
My friend Lindsey from the London-based Urban Mums blog had the ingenious idea of creating a business to help families get settled when moving to London. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from other mums who are planning a move to London. These mums have so many questions (as I’m sure I would if I were moving our family to a new city!). Questions about neighbourhoods, schools, renting a home/flat, finding childcare, learning about healthcare, shopping, dining, etc. I have always answered those questions as best as I can… but I’m not an expert. And here is where Lindsey comes in handy.
She has created Urban Living, a relocation service to help ex-pats navigate life in London. Whether you’re visiting London to explore the idea of moving here, or whether you’ve moved here and would love a local’s tips and expertise, she has created tailored services for individual needs. Plus, she is such a sweet, hip, energetic woman (and mama to three!), that even I am thinking about booking her services just to get to the spend the day with her. : )
If you, or anyone you know, are moving or have recently moved to London, definitely get in touch with Lindsey!
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.
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?!
Morley is the brand new label by Anouk Robyn, the former designer of cult childrenswear label, Quincy, and is launching this season with lovely, understated pieces for children aged 6 months to 12 years. I’m loving the washed-out cottons and summery pastel colours — it is all so effortlessly cute, so easy to wear (I suppose you would expect nothing else from the woman who spent more than ten years designing for Quincy!).
All of the pieces above (and more!) are available from Couverture, one of my favourite London-based boutiques. Have a look at the rest of the childrens collection — all SO cute! And then… if you can stand the temptation, take a look at their womens and homewear collection as well — flawless.
As children are starting to break up from nurseries, kindergartens and schools for the Christmas holidays, a typical London holiday attraction to visit is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. We went last weekend and whilst crazy busy I was really impressed with the fairground — lots of really beautiful old-fashioned fairground rides, mixed up with more crazy modern ones. Also there is Zippo’s circus and an ice-rink and of course a German Christmas Market to browse around.
Jamie Oliver even has a presence there (for those of you who don’t know Jamie — he is the UK’s culinary cheeky chappy). He has taken over the band stand to offer some proper outdoor winter cuisine — Jamie’s Fabulous Feasts offers hot pork rolls, polenta chips and much much more, all of which looked delicious.
But the best bit of Jamie’s presence was the ‘decorate your own gingerbread man’ bit, set up for children. For £5 my son and I gave it a go. We got a naked man and tree and an egg box filled with various decorations — dolly mixture sweets, white and milk chocolate buttons, cranberries, apricots, dessicated coconut and an icing tube (to act as glue). We had a lot of fun jazzing our biscuits up and I have to admit, when we finally felt we had admired them enough, they tasted pretty good too.
Winter Wonderland is open in London’s Hyde Park until the 4th January.
I am so, so ‘can’t stop moving’, ‘ants in my pants’ excited. A couple of weeks ago I was reading one of my favourite blogs — do you know it? The blog of author, stylist, photographer, all round uber-chic gal Pia Jane Bijkerk. She wrote about a wonderful sounding place, the Papered Parlour in Clapham. I had to check their website out. The Papered Parlour is a new craft venue in London, which offers classes in classic crafting techniques such as silversmithing, dress-making, photography, screen-printing and quilting as well as offering subsidised studio-space for practising artists. It was set up last year by visual artists Claire and Louise, who met working at Battersea Arts Centre. The space has already received much critical acclaim for not only the skills they teach but the style in which they do it — they have a wonderful looking cafe and most workshops include a proper tea and cake break (you can see why I have been drawn into their ethos!). They hold regular exhibitions and can be hired for parties and events (their ideas for hen-parties are brilliant!).
So why am I so excited? Well I just booked myself onto one of their Summer dress-making workshops — maybe I will finally learn how to make this darling dress for my daughter that I have been cooing over from Oliver + S.
I happened to be in the heart of London, on Oxford Street, the other day when I came across some wonderful painted elephants at Selfridges. As I continued my stroll through town I saw more and more … on Bond Street, in Green Park — what were they all about?
London has become home to The Elephant Parade. During May and June, 250 colourfully painted elephants will be dotted around the capital to shine a spotlight on the plight of the endangered Asian elephant. The campaign is from the charity Elephant Family, whose aim is to try and protect the elephant’s habitat which is increasingly threatened by human expansion.
The elephants here in the capital have each been painted by an artist or celebrity and together they make up London’s largest outdoor art event on record (with an estimated 25 million people viewing them over the next weeks). (more…)
I know it seems like that new baby phase (i.e. sleepless nights, spit-up on every shirt you own, messy house, baby brain, etc.) drags on and on… But I swear, you blink your eyes and then that baby is an active toddler. Babies just grow so, so quickly. Which is why I love the idea of capturing their tiny little feet… because they’ll never be that small again. Image Casting is a London-based company which creates the most beautiful bronze and silver casts of your baby’s hands and feet. I got my daughter’s feet casted when she was a baby, and I now have her little feet sitting on my desk… a daily reminder of how tiny she once was (memories of her baby-hood only cheery, of course)!
In addition to their beautiful casts, Image Casting does a really nice job of framing the pieces. Simple but beautiful, with emphasis on the casts. You can pop into their London Bridge studio, or the team will come out to your house if you live within the M25 in London (home visit included in the price). Check their website for more details.