Summer Holidays Must-Haves

I am just about to go away on holiday for the next few weeks. I read this article in the Guardian and had to laugh… a lot of it rang so true. I thought I was the only person in the whole world who got disproportionately annoyed by my fellow passengers resting their elbows on “my” armrest on a plane. Summer holidays are so much fun but I am not a big fan of the packing, preparation and traveling, especially with kids. This time I am going away by car which is bliss. I get to take so many more extras…

So my main must-have holiday items this year are: (more…)

Battlefield backpack from Chicken Rhythm

I got this cute backpack for my son at the Kleine Fabriek trade show.  Isn’t it cool? I love the fact that it’s drum-shaped, and I love that cute image of the little rider on the horse. My son has been so much into fighting, and knights, and guns these days, without really knowing what he’s talking about… so it’s very appropriate for him! I have no clue where he gets the fighting obsession, but my husband tells me not to worry — it’s very normal for boys, apparently.
Anyway, the backpack is from Chicken Rhythm, and there are also some other prints available.

xxx Esther

Babyccino kids on Ohdeedoh

Ohdeedoh featured our newly designed city-guides — check out what they say for some insider information on Paris, New York, London and Amsterdam!!

Weekend Get-away: Barcelona

To introduce our new weekend getaway feature, here is our first post from Marta in Barcelona. Barcelona is one of my favourite Mediterranean cities. It has the perfect mixture of culture, beauty, beach life and beautiful weather. It always strikes me as such a relaxed city that is easy to explore and perfect to visit ‘en famille’.

Whilst searching for someone with inside info about visiting Barcelona with kids I remembered Marta. Marta lives with her husband and little son in the wonderful Gracia part of Barcelona. She is a professional translator and also a blogger. Her blog English in Barna, is about life in Barcelona, her blog A Bilingual Bébé gives tips to Spanish speaking parents on how to raise their child bilingually, and finally she  also blogs for the international organisation Pocket Cultures. All in all Marta is the perfect person to start off our new feature. I do hope you enjoy discovering Barcelona through her post. And please do leave us any comments or recommendations you have about Barcelona. The more ideas the merrier… (more…)

New York City — a new Babyccino Kids city guide!

In addition to our brand new design and look, we have more exciting Babyccino Kids news.  We’ve launched our NYC City Guide!! Dina has been working diligently for the past 6 months to cover off all of NYC’s best kid-friendly places to eat, see, play, shop, etc., and it is finally ready to share with you.  Like all of our city guides, it will be updated regularly with new reviews and other kid-friendly ideas.  So, if you’re planning a trip to NYC (or know someone who is), make sure to check out all of Dina’s suggestions.

P.S. Check out all of the new city designs.  The girls at Petite Alma did such an amazing job capturing each city’s look and feel. We’ve also added some handy new features which will help make your visit even easier. We are so excited about them we can hardly sit still!

P.P.S. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Amazing Travel Tote

I don’t know what it is with me and 1980′s nostalgia brands, but for the last few years I have been completely addicted to LeSportSac. I happen to live near one of their outlet stores so I have been quite fortunate in terms of getting some amazing bags for next to nothing.  The company is always rolling out new patterns so there is something that will appeal to everyone.   I think this tote makes for a perfect weekend bag and is an ideal carryall for a long day out with the kids. It’s large, but not cumbersome, and it zips at the top to hide any chaos that might lurk inside. I also like that it has plenty of pockets for keys, cellphone and loose change. And most importantly, it’s machine washable!  They also make a great baby bag. Visit one of the stores for a larger selection and if you can locate an outlet store — even better.

-Dina

Bugaboo Bee, the coolest buggy on the block!

Lucky me! Because I’m in Amsterdam — the home of the world famous Dutch company Bugaboo, I have already gotten my hands on the shiny new version of the Bugaboo Bee. And I’m loving it!! Even though my baby isn’t here yet, I’ve tested it already on my 3-year-old boy, who will have a hard time parting with it when his little sister is born.
Besides the fact that the Bee is cool because it’s modern, innovative and original, it’s also amazingly small, lightweight and easy to maneuver. At the same time it’s super complete: it’s a fully equipped pushchair that can be used from newborn up to around age four!
The seat, which can recline completely and is ergonomically designed to be suitable from birth, can be put either rear facing or forward facing in a few simple steps (the new design greatly improved as opposed to the old one, where reversing the seat took a masters degree in space-ship engineering). It may (but doesn’t have to) be taken off completely in the case you want to use it with just the car seat, which easily clips on. But, there’s no annoying dismantling in two parts before you can fold the buggy — it folds flat with seat and all, in one part and in one movement… easy peasy.  Even the grandparents got it immediately.
I must say, after two babies and three pushchairs, this IS the most versatile, handy buggy we’ve had so far!!!
More to come on the Bee after I’ve had the baby…

xxx Esther

Sweet for Baby: Travel Bag By Maud

Things handmade always have something extra precious about them. They always remind me of my mum, who was fond of sewing and was never too busy to start yet another little project for her grandchildren.
This travel bag made By Maud has that lovely handmade feel to it and you can see that a lot of attention has been paid to detail. It is beautifully made, the dino application is simple but lovely (and I love that it’s a dino for girls), and the fabrics are of great quality.
Maud, who runs her business from her garage where she has two sewing machines and a pile of fabrics, also has three little children so she knows what accessories busy mums need. With her creative talent and sense of style, she whipped up a huge collection of the cutest things!

Even though her website is in French, you surely can figure it out, right? Otherwise just contact Maud for info. And she’ll ship worldwide.

xxx Esther

The Lambini Papoose

When my daughter was born I remember lusting after the leather, sheepskin Bill Amberg papoose… but, I just could not justify the cost.  So I settled for a far less stylish middle of the road baby carrier, which not only clashed with my clothes (very much to my annoyance!) but I had to refer to the instructions every time I wanted to use it. Pretty soon I gave up as it caused me considerable stress, and sometimes even induced tears… (as many new mothers can attest; complicated instructions plus a severe case of sleep deprivation can do that). These days my babies are growing up, much too fast for my liking, but that hasn’t stopped me lusting after a new baby carrier called the Lambini Papoose.  It is a gorgeous contraption, with a far more affordable price tag and so simple to use.

Firstly, it is very stylish (and co-ordinates well with most wardrobes — earthy, neutral colours). Secondly, there is no need to add blankets as it’s lined with super-soft Australian lambswool which keeps baby warm in winter and cool in summer. There is the added bonus of using the lambswool separately to line the pram or car seat. But the best thing about this papoose is that you don’t need an instruction booklet to work out how to put it on. It just slides right over your head! For online purchases, both local and international,  please click here.

- Sara

Mommy Toolbox — clips that do the trick

Not sure what I like more about the company ‘Mommy Toolbox‘ — the name or the products it sells!
Within a few months I’ll be walking around with a pushchair again, and will be found struggling with jumpers and scarfs, trying to keep the sun out of my baby’s eyes, and trying to keep the toys inside the pushchair instead of on the pavement! But this time, instead of faint efforts with clothespins and strings, I’ll have a few cool looking CaraBeans and Spring Beans handy. Made of strong aluminium with funky coloured lead-free rubber paint around them, these clips really do the trick.

Available from the Mommy Toolbox online shop.

xxx Esther

Adorable Beci Orpin coin purses

coin purses

These coin purses by talented Melbourne designer Beci Orpin are too cute for words! A little bit quirky but classic enough so that I don’t feel like I have just raided my daughter’s accessory box. They are made of soft leather with stitch, appliqué and rivet detailing and they are fully lined. My only quandary now is deciding whether to invest in the fox, the bear, the owl or the lion. (more…)

Metrotwin

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.

You can check out the Babyccino Kids London Address Book here and the NY address book here.

Enjoy! Mo.x

Long-haul flights and jet-lag

DSC00547I am by no means a medical expert, but I have done a ton of traveling with my kids, have survived more long-haul flights than I can count and have dealt with jet-lag more times than I would like.  On the whole it is never easy, especially the flights. But I do find that it’s more daunting in theory than in practice (I usually start to dread the flight, especially if I’m flying on my own with the kids, about 3 months before the day… plotting out all the possible worse-case scenarios in my head). In general, the nightmare scenarios never happen and the flights go more smoothly than I imagined. I think my biggest tip is to be super organized — have everything you might need during the flight in an easily accessible carry-on. Bring healthy snacks (like raisins, pretzels, fruit) to keep your kids happy and distracted at the crucial times like take-off and landing when you have to be seated.  Have your kids’ favourite books on-hand. And make sure your kids use the toilet BEFORE you board the plain. The more organized you are, the easier the whole experience will be. Oh, and I really think it makes a world of difference to buy your kids their own headphones — ones that actually fit them and stay on. (more…)

Re-live the 17th century in Rembrandt’s House

Rembrandthuis - atelierLast weekend we did something unexpectedly fabulous: we took the children to Rembrandt’s House. Rembrandt, as you might know, was a very famous Dutch painter who lived from 1607 till 1669. From 1625 onwards he lived in Amsterdam. For a big part of his live he was very rich, already well known in his time, and he lived in a beautiful house that is amazingly well conserved and restored and can be visited today.
I didn’t really know what to expect with two little children, but they were SO impressed. Our daughter (4 yrs) listened to her own audio tour, aimed especially at kids, and I can say that at the end of our visit she could give me specific information that I didn’t pick up myself.

If you’re in Amsterdam and want to combine some culture with history and a fun family activity, the Rembrandthuis comes recommended. There’s no restaurant, but walking down to the Staalstraat takes less than 5 minutes and you’ll find Pucinni, with great coffee, good sandwiches and amazing cakes.  In the same street you’ll find cute kids gift shop Beestenwinkel, my favourite grown-up gift shop Klevering (that happens to stock some really lovely kids items as well), and a bit up the road there’s Droog Design, a showcase of the famous Dutch design group.

xxx Esther

Top things to do in Melbourne (part 1)

headerWith a steady stream of visiting friends over the Christmas holidays, and many with young children, we have been busy! Whilst we treated them to the hedonistic pleasures of the Aussie beach culture, we also spent a great deal of time indoors appreciating the ‘higher arts’. This can be tricky with young kids in tow, especially those who are jet-lagged and tantrum prone, but Melbourne has some fabulous museums and galleries, several of which are especially wonderful for children.  Here are my top 3.

1. Melbourne Museum –  This fabulous museum, located on the northern border of the Carlton Gardens behind the Royal Exhibition Building, is futuristic and interactive and connects architecture and nature – in the middle of the museum, you can walk through a forest! The Children’s Gallery is designed for children 3 to 8 but I would think it would delight even the younger toddler. The children’s exhibition, entitled 1,2,3 Grow, explores the many ways things, including humans, grow. Activities, children’s art, stories, an indoor sandpit with fossils beneath the sand which children are encouraged to discover, a kids puppet theatre and an outside play/picnic area including games such as skittles for the whole family, are just some of the attractions. It doesn’t matter how often we visit (we try to put our membership to good use after all) my children are always stimulated and engaged. Young children particularly love the insect section and the Forest gallery. Click here for more details. (more…)

The Magical Milky Way’s Super Galactic Zoo

product_thumb.phpAnother fabulous interactive colouring book just begging to be illustrated! They seem to be popping up everywhere these days and with good reason too. Created by talented Melbournian Nicole Mandile, in the first of her My Picture Storybooks series, The Magical Milky Way’s Super Galactic Zoo kept my rambunctious 4-year-old son in check on a long-haul airplane flight recently. So naturally I am a big fan. He was totally engrossed in creating, drawing and pasting away, each page providing the perfect canvas for his masterpiece. It helps that he has a complete fascination with all things galaxy-related.

The book is created using uncoated paper, a great surface to sketch on and is staple bound so the pages open flat. It is printed in Australia on 100% recycled paper. It isn’t too long or too short — just perfect to capture their little attention spans.

Available through weheartbooks for local and international shipment.

- Sara

Camping: The good, the bad and the ugly

DSC_1483We’ve just completed our 30-day drive up the eastern coast of Australia in a campervan, driving more than 4,000 km from Sydney to Cairns with a few detours in between. We did and saw some amazing things, but I think it’s safe to say that we’re happy our camping days are behind us! I’m still not sure whether it was the best or worst decision we’ve ever made – there were moments where I nearly divorced my husband, disowned my children (only kidding, of course!) and swore I’d never return to Australia. BUT it was a really wonderful way to see the country, and the highlights of our trip were well worth the struggles — snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef was worth the journey alone! I think it all would have been much more enjoyable (and easy) if we didn’t have the kids, but the irony is that the kids LOVED the campervan and could carry on camping forever.
I’m sure in years to come we will look back at our camping trip with really fond memories but right now I’m happy to be sleeping on a mattress, eating good meals and staying put for more than three days at a time.

Anyway, now that I’m a ‘camping expert’ I’ve compiled a list of all the pros and cons of traveling in a campervan (with young kids). (more…)

House swapping

barcelonaOver the summer break I spent a bit of time decorating my home. (No, the pic above is not of my place — but somewhere I might now be able to stay.) One of the reasons was that I wanted to take some photos so I could list it on a house swap website.

We featured an article on house swapping a couple of years ago in the magazine where I work. It seemed like a great idea. But I always wondered — is it too good to be true?

Well, I believe that you should “give it a go” — as Aussies like to say. So I took the plunge and listed with two sites. Creative Caravan tags itself as “Craiglist for Creatives” — the idea being that you can swap with like-minded people.

The other website is Homelink. I did a bit of research and was attracted to this one because there is strong membership within Australia so if I want to take a trip to Byron Bay or Tasmania then I can swap with people who live there… as well as people in Italy. And within a week of listing I got a message from someone wanting to swap in Martinique!

- Natalie

Do as the Dutch do, bike on a bakfiets

bakfiets

Thanks to its flat (meaning not hilly) landscape, the Netherlands is the perfect place for getting around on bike.  It’s also quite safe: bike lanes are virtually everywhere, and drivers are so used to the many bikes around that they take them in careful consideration.  So the ‘fiets’ is the preferred means of transportation for most, if not all Dutchmen. We cycle to work, we cycle to school, we cycle to the shops and we also grab the bike if we go out at night (this will also conveniently save us the money for a parking ticket or a taxi).
Kids?  No problem. We just take them in front with us when they are little, in a special seat hanging from the steer. When they grow bigger, they get a seat on the back of the bike, if necessary combined with the pre-mentioned seat on the front for a little sibling.
If you have three or more children though, it’s probably time to get a bakfiets.  A bakfiets is kind of a cross between a bike and a beach wagon, and you can conveniently fit in as many as 4 children (although I’ve seen people squeeze in even more!).  If you’ve ever been in Amsterdam, chances are high that you’ve noticed them around. (more…)

Pimp your baby car seat with Hagou Originals

Hagou

After two children I felt I just couldn’t justify putting my third one in that same old car seat. For some reason (hormones?) I felt it should be new, clean and pristine, like the little baby who will be in it. I had already started working on convincing my husband that we really need to buy a new maxi cosi (he doesn’t automatically feel the same way about it as I do, so odd), until I came across the universal car seat covers from Hagou Originals. (more…)

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