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.
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Happy Holidays from Babyccino Kids!
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…)
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Shirin Kids
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.
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Friends of a Feather
Elias & Grace is one of my favourite chidren’s boutiques in London. The shop is always on top of the latest trends in children’s wear and stocks all my favourite brands. But what really sets them apart is their ability to style the pieces, to put outfits together. Their ‘looks’ are always so cute (both the girls and the boys) which makes it easy to buy complete outfits for your kids or to give the perfect gifts.
And… if you can get it all at 20% off… even better! For this weekend only, enjoy a special spring shopping discount of 20% off when you shop in store or online. Just enter SS510 at check-out, or mention it in store. Valid from today until midnight Monday 24th May.
By the way, how cute is that white blouse (pictured left)? So summery, so pretty. I want one for myself!
May is here — we can officially start the count-down to Summer (which I have been doing since 1st Jan but now the goal is in sight!). With May comes the start of some of my favourite Summer activities (eating outside, picnics, French cricket, boules, paddling in pools to name but a few). The best of these has to be ‘picking your own’. The very brilliant Garsons Farm in Esher (Surrey) opens up for ‘pick your own’ this month and the season continues until October. Over the next 6 months there will be 42 different crops, in a total of 106 different varieties, available for picking. Whether you are in the mood for gooseberries or cucumbers, cherries or cabbages, Garsons can accommodate (seasonally dependent of course). It is such a fun day out — all the kids getting their own punnets and picking which crop to collect… with the occasional cheeky fruit ’scrumped’ (picked and eaten) on the way round the fields. (more…)
I was recently approached by Metrotwin to do a guest-list for them of my favourite places in London with kids. I said “hey! I can do one better than that — I can ask our fabulous Babyccino NY contributor (Dina to you and me) to do a NY list too”. They were very excited.
You see Metrotwin is a site powered by British Airways to offer reviews of all the best things to do in the London and NYC. It is a fabulous resource if you happen to be travelling to or even if you live in either of the cities.
Do you remember the days when grocery shopping was fun — when you could take your time walking down the aisles, choosing the ripest avocado and planning your meals ahead of time? Remember when cooking dinners was a relaxing, peaceful time? I don’t know about you, but with three kids running around the kitchen pulling on my legs and tugging on my patience, I can barely scramble eggs without having a mental breakdown. Enter the Food Stork — the maternity chef.
The Food Stork is a UK company which delivers fresh and delicious made-from-scratch food directly to the home. The service was originally designed for new mums to help maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet after childbirth… but it’s been 10 months since my baby was born and I still think the Food Stork is quite handy (obviously not for every meal, but it is nice to have some options in the freezer). (more…)
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• BAC
Working in an advertising agency was hard work … and hard play! On those Soho nights when we had had one too many after work, we would often end up in a karaoke bar called Lucky Voice. Based on Poland Street in the heart of Soho, LV is super cool with private rooms to enjoy your own glitzy karaoke party.
However, I am a loyal ONLY-in-the-shower singer and NEVER-in-public (even after one too many!) so I spent these evenings laughing at my friends’ renditions of a Dolly Parton classic, while secretly wishing I had the guts to get up and belt out my best ‘Love Cats’ (see I even worked out which song I’d sing).
But now there is Lucky Voice Home — sign up on their website to get 50 free song credits and your computer turns into a glamorous karaoke machine. Buy the Lucky Voice Party Box and you get a (brilliant pink) mic and a mixer for the ultimate experience. So, so, so much fun! I just sang Vogue, whilst writing this post (well I needed a pic). (more…)
My friend calls winter ’soft-play-season’ and she dreads it every year. Year one of having children I thought she was just being miserable, and I loved watching my baby boy smile as some slightly clownish adults sang nursery rhymes to him in a church hall. In Year two I was too preoccupied with the new baby in our lives to care much where we were or what we were doing. Now in Year 3, with two children and myself desperate to leave the house on these typical English drizzly days, I am pulling my hair out about where to go and dread the inevitable soft-play options. It is true — the kids have fun, but at the sacrifice of my sanity. I find myself looking around wondering sometimes what has happened to my life? I know that I’m lucky to be hanging out with these two brilliant people, but is it a requisite that places for children should totally alienate adults? I realise I’m sounding grumpy (seriously … if you could see the weather!) but do not fret, here I come to the good bit…
Since moving South I have often heard of the place ‘Cupcake’ (in Putney and Wandsworth) in association with descriptors such as ‘haven’ and ‘God-send’. And so last week I asked whether it was OK to come and check it out (Cupcake is a members only club and I’m not a member …. yet!). The minute I walked in I felt a sort of happiness come over me. This didn’t feel loud (from noise or from an interiors-carnage) — no this felt like being in a (stylish) friend’s living room… only a bit bigger and with a bar to order lattes, brownies, babyccinos or something for lunch — perfect! (more…)
When the girls asked me to write for Babyccino one of my first ideas for a post was Kew Gardens. We got to know the Royal Botanical Gardens when we moved down South and immediately became members. We now go every couple of weeks and still love it just as much — it is such a great place for kids.
Apart from being a huge space to run around with fascinating trees, flowers and plants, there is also a dedicated indoor children’s area called Climbers and Creepers. All the zones have an educational element relating to plants and their habitat and have been so cleverly thought out to cater for a really wide age group (quoted as age 3 – 9 but there are great touchy-feely bits too which are good for babies).
On the other side of the gardens is the Treetop walkway (designed by the architects of The London Eye) which is 18 metres up in the air and 200 metres around — giving you an opportunity to see the tops of the trees and those who inhabit them. At ground level there is a tunnel with an exhibit giving insight to what happens under the trees (good for any bug and creepy-crawly enthusiasts!). (more…)
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Jamie Oliver
Following on from Emilie’s recent post about places in Paris to find chic clothes at less-than-chic prices I thought I’d let you know about some of my favourite spots on a typical London High Street. Now most Mums in London will know of these national treasures but if you are visiting London they are worth checking out.
I’m a huge fan of Swedish kids clothes shop P.OP (Polarn O Pyret) which sells playful and colourful kids clothes and a small selection of maternity wear. Think lots of stripes and lots of colour. They have 4 shops in and around London (Brent Cross, Westfield, House of Fraser (Oxford Street) and Kingston) but a further 10 or so stores around the rest of the UK.
Next up: Zara Home (no, not Zara Kids): A very small selection but I love their quilts and blankets for kids and they always have a tiny rail with really sweet sleep-wear/snuggly-wear. I have had some great finds there. (more…)
Weekends are always for adventures and when we stumbled from our cosy little burrow last summer into Battersea Park we hit upon treasure. The Park is situated just south of the river between the Albert and the Chelsea Bridge. We drove and parked up at one of the many car-parks around the park. We got all of our paraphernalia out of the car: buggy, 2 children, nappy-bag … (you know the drill) and hoped that the trip was worthwhile. We were aiming for the children’s zoo that we had heard about, but before even getting there we saw a boy driving around the park lanes in a cross between a bike and a go-kart. Then we saw 5 or 6 more children come flashing past in similar vehicles — there was no way that coincidence could have situated 6 recumbent bike owners on this one park path? It turns out Battersea Park is one of only two parks in London (Dulwich being the other) where London Recumbents hires bikes, trikes, tandems and various other bike-like contraptions (hiring starts at Easter and goes through until the end of Summer). It looks like so much fun, and in fact Time Out called it “the best family biking this side of Amsterdam” — it must be good, hey Esther? (more…)
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• LOL x
I used to keep a picture in the front of my diary of an old-fashioned sweet shop. You know the kind: shelves stacked with glass jars brimming with brightly-coloured sweets. The Juliette Binoche in me always quite fancied being a ‘purveyor of splendid confectionery’. However these days there would be little point in me following this dream as Hope & Greenwood do it so perfectly.
They have stores in Dulwich & Covent Garden (which would be perfect if you happen to be taking a trip to Benjamin Pollocks as per my last post), but they are also sold in some pretty lovely other places: Liberty, Selfridges, Fortum & Mason (to name but a few) and of course you can buy them online from their site. I find the Miss Hope’s Jolly Mixture a very exciting treat and the Sugar free Gummy Bears a good one to ensure the children don’t bounce off the ceiling with too much sugar!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Lili & the Funky Boys
I grew up in a little farming village about 100 miles north of London and only made very rare trips to the ‘big smoke’ as a child. I remember one very special trip when my Godmother (literally one of the coolest people on the planet) brought me down for a WHOLE weekend in London for my 9th birthday. We saw a show and explored the city and I vividly remember stumbling across the most magical old-fashioned toyshop, which specialised in Toy Theatres.
Recently I had a reason to re-find that store, and the magic hasn’t left the place! Benjamin Pollocks is a delightfully old fashioned place (originally established in the 1880s) in the Covent Garden Piazza. I must warn you — it isn’t buggy friendly as you have to climb a narrow staircase to reach it and the shop is small and crammed to the rafters with toys, but worth the trip indeed. (more…)
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Mum and Babe
• Cool shirts for boys (and trendy girls, of course)!