Retro-inspired Personalized Lunchboxes

These gorgeous personalised lunchboxes by Feterie are high on my birthday list for my children this year. With a bit of a retro-cool vibe, they are of lightweight tin construction and as functional as they are stylish. I think they’d be great for toting around paper and coloured pencils too, or whatever knick-knacks it is kids love to drag around (footy cards in my son’s case).  I can also imagine them being great for keeping all my daughter’s hair paraphernaila together — those elastics, clips and ribbons crop up all over the house, yet when we need to tie her hair each morning for school, there’s never one to be found! Feterie ship world-wide.

– Sara

Safety first — buggy reflective strips from Wagalum

Pretty scary thought, that now that I have put the Wagalum reflective strips onto Ava’s buggy, the risk of us having an accident is reduced by 85%. One wonders how it’s possible we’re still alive to start with!
No kidding, Wagalum reflective strips should be installed on every buggy on the planet. They ensure the buggy is noticed six times faster by other traffic, and seen from a distance as far as 150 meters instead of the usual 30 meters, which, in the end can make the difference between life or death. Wagalum strips are hardly noticeable during the day, but at night shine nine times brighter than comparable materials. And they cost next to nothing, especially if you compare it to the price of the actual buggy, which costs the same as a small car these days. No excuses, I would say.
For stockists, check the Wagalum website.

xxx Esther

Il Tutto: stylish baby bags

Being a new mum doesn’t always bring out the physically best. For instance, after three babies my belly looks like a cross between gelatin pudding and a hot cross bun. My hair is a constant explosion of dry and frizzy dullness (and I’m losing it as we speak) and well, now that I’m at it: my bikini line looks like a Brazilian… rain forest.
Not the best ingredients for feeling like a yummy mummy. But, help is at hand: the moment I throw my uber-glamourous, luxurious Il Tutto Layla over my shoulder I instantly convert from tired looking, un-cute mum to a cool, hip and stylish mama. Or at least I feel that way! My back automatically straightens, my hair seems to look ‘interesting’ (Tina Turner looked good too after all) and surely soon the seventies will be sexy again. (more…)

Think-ets

I love, love, love this! I keep berating myself for having not conjured it up in one of my brainstorming sessions (honestly I am still hopeful that one day I will invent the next ‘lego’). In the meantime, I just marvel at gems like these… it reminds me that the simplest of ideas are the best — a game powered by imagination rather than a USB cable! Think-ets is so simple in concept — a little pouch of random, very charming ‘trinkets’ from around the world. Along with the pouch comes rules for a few games, such as “I’ll take one away, and you tell me which one is missing”, or “Make a story about the item you’re holding” — educational in so many ways, inspiring story-telling, testing memory and just fun for kids to fiddle with. (more…)

Weekend get-away: Athens

Greece is a dream holiday destination — the beautiful islands, the history, the coffee and the food. Athens is the the main hub and starting point for most trips to Greece, so why not spend a couple of days discovering this historic city, before hitting the beach?

Pepi, an Athens native, was gracious enough to give us some tips and ideas on what to do in Athens with children. She grew up in the city of Patras before coming to Athens many years ago. During her studies she spent a year in Scotland before settling in Athens.  She now lives with her husband Chris and their little daughter Alice in this city full of history. Pepi is now a full time mom and spends her time with her daughter discovering and playing. Here are her insider tips: (more…)

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…)

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