Laviandbelle jewellery


Laviandbelle was started by two London-based mums who wanted to create handmade yet affordable jewellery for children and teens. Unlike the disposable mass-market jewellery you can find on the high street, they wanted to offer unique pieces, all handmade in their Notting Hill studio and only available in limited quantities.

I love that their jewellery is playful and fun, but also simple and tasteful. There’s an innocence to their jewellery that I find refreshing (it’s not trying to make kids look more grown up or glamorous, but rather just offering fun accessories for everyday, or pretty pieces for special occasions).

They sent over some sweet summery pieces for Ivy, and she was absolutely beside herself. How sweet is the glitter heart necklace? And I love the simple bracelets with neon accents and little charms. Of course she wants to wear everything at once!

x Courtney

Cosy Cashmere from La Petite V


Who doesn’t love the wonderful quality of cashmere? It’s soft, warm, natural, and because of the warmth regulating characteristics of the material, it’s just perfectly snug and comfortable —  both in winter and in summer. So we’re very happy with the discovery of the new Amsterdam based label La Petite V, which focusses entirely on gorgeously soft and cosy cashmere for babies.

I love the well thought through collection of products with which Vivien, the designer behind La Petite V, has launched her label. A hooded blanket (the perfect receiving blanket, just perfect for newborn babies). A scarf for mama that can be used to keep baby warm as well, or be used for breastfeeding. A sweet old-fashioned bonnet, and (my favourite), a darling hooded jumpsuit with clever openings that can be used in the carseat as well. Gorgeous!

xxx Esther

Birdie London Photo Studio









I was invited to try out the new Birdie London pop-up photo booth at Liberty last weekend, so the girls and I went over to check it out. We spent an hour in a pretty little private room in Liberty, playing dress up while they snapped some photos. It was such a fun time, and even Ivy (who hates having her photo taken) enjoyed it!  I just got the photos back, and I LOVE them!  I hope you don’t mind me sharing some with you? My favourite is the one where Marlow is crying! Such a perfect, imperfect photo! : )

Birdie London will be running pop-up photo booths in Liberty throughout the year, so it’s definitely worth checking their site and signing up for news on future dates. They offer one-hour photo sessions for £300, and then after the session they email you all the photos (for free) and you get to keep them, print them and use the files as you wish.

I’m definitely going to print some of these photos and hang them up in our house. And I’m already looking forward to the next session so I can get some photos with all my children!

xx Courtney

p.s. Marlow is wearing this super cute outfit from La Coqueta.  Ivy is wearing this pretty coral dress from Marie Puce or this Liberty London floral dress which she borrowed for the shoot.

Happy UK Mother’s Day!

I get confused every year by all the different dates for Mother’s Day. I’ve never understood why the UK celebrates Mother’s Day in March, when the rest of Europe and America celebrate in May! I looked it up, and here’s the rule: while the majority of the world (including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, China and the rest of Europe) celebrates Mother’s Day on the 2nd Sunday in May, the UK and Ireland celebrate on the 4th sunday in Lent, which is believed to go back to the 16th century when Christians would visit their ‘mother church’ annually, a day most mothers would be reunited with their children. Here in the UK, it’s also called ‘Mothering Sunday’. So… there you have it. The reason for all the confusion!

Anyway, a very happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers, grandmothers and mothers-to-be here in the UK and Ireland. Hope you’re having a wonderful, happy day surrounded by family and adoring children!  xx

Mormor, gorgeous, hand-knit clothing

Mormor is a Danish company with a collection of hand knit products that I adore. The concept behind Mormor is wonderful: to pass on the knowledge and skills that many elderly women possess. Mormor currently has a team of over 130 women who are passionately knitting sweet and fashionable designs for a younger generation. I love this thought!

I often think that if I lived 100 years ago, the ability to knit, sew and embroider would not just be a hobby, it would be a necessity. If one couldn’t knit, one would freeze! Quilts and patchwork blankets were not just for decoration, they were meant to keep the family warm and cosy after the fire went out. And embroidery was used to label bedlinen and restore holes. I love that Nina, the creative owner of Mormor, explores these thoughts and skills and used them to set up her succesfull business.

Mormor designs are fashionable yet timeless. See above Ava wearing the darling Ivar cardigan, and Casper sporting sweater Dan. Pieces are designed in a way they can be worn for years (you can fold the sleeves the first year), and then passed on to siblings or friends. The materials used are 100% natural and of high quality, like alpaca and merino wool, and they are very strong and durable. But most of all, I love the fact that these items are all handmade by master knitters, who knit with love for this younger generation.

xxx Esther

FlatOut Bear

Everybody who knows Ava knows her ‘BearBear’ — the Flatout Bear she’s been inseparable from for the first three years of her life. Everywhere she went, BearBear went! It’s one well traveled bear, that BearBear… (We once nearly missed an airplane to Turkey because BearBear was left behind in the train station, and we had to go back to find it — traveling to Turkey without BearBear simply wasn’t an option!)

Flatout Bears are made in Australia out of 100% pure Australian sheepskin, which is shaped like a teddy bear. The attraction of these bears is that they are super soft, and have an interesting tactile quality to them that most babies love — to touch the fury skin and to bury their fingers in it. And because they are so flat, they are easy to hold in little toddler arms, and to be carried around.

I recently got a Flatout Bear for Casper as well, and now take it with me whenever we are traveling. He also like to bury his little fingers into the sheepskin when he’s falling asleep!

xxx Esther

(We got our Flatout Bears from VUPbaby)

Shusha Toys, available from Toyella

We’ve mentioned Shusha Toys here before, so you might remember how much we love them. At the time of our review last year, these toys weren’t available to purchase from any webshops yet… so it was nearly impossible to get your hands on them (unless, you begged and pleaded with the designers themselves, which of course I did!!!). : )

I got an email from Toyella today announcing that they’re now stocking a few of the toys, including the super cute Zoo Game, pictured above. The game comes with 24 magnetic beech wood shapes to make all sorts of cute animals, real or imaginary! They’re also stocking the Make a Portrait toy, which we have and really love.

x Courtney

Easter decorations from Little Lulubel

We’re coming up on ‘birthday season’ in our house, where 5 out of the 6 of us have springtime birthdays! It’s always a busy time in our family, and this year I have vowed to be a bit more organised than I was last year. (Last year all of my children’s birthday parties were planned and organised the morning of!) This year, at the very least, I need to buy the party supplies and tableware ahead of time.

In my attempt to be organised, I started browsing the party kits section over at Little Lulubel (they have such cute party theme ideas!), and I stumbled upon their Spring Party Kit which is so perfect for Easter celebrations.

I also love this Bunny Ears dress-up kit for kids to make and wear on Easter day. So cute! (Last year, we got similar ones, and it made for a very festive looking Easter with loads of little bunnies sitting around the table.)

Anyway… I’ve gotten a bit distracted thinking about Easter when I have a birthday party to plan first!!  But just wanted to share these with you before I forgot. Easter is less than a month away now!

x Courtney

p.s. Little Lulubel is currently offering Babyccino readers a 15% discount. Details here.

Denim Dress with iron-on patches, from Tootsa MacGinty


How cute is this denim dress from Tootsa MacGinty?! I love the simple faded denim smock style (coincidentally, I have a very similar dress for myself!), but I also love that it comes with a little pouch full of cute & colourful iron-on patches for kids to customise.

Leave it to Tootsa MacGinty to add a fun twist like that! I also love the clever pack-a-mac jacket which folds up into its own little handy bag, complete with smiley face. So cute!

x Courtney

Sur ton Mur — affordable art prints

Montreal based company Sur Ton Mur offers a lovely collection of affordable art prints by some of Quebec’s best children’s books illustrators. The selection is carefully curated, of high quality, and very diverse thanks to the different techniques and styles of the illustrators.

All Sur Ton Mur artwork is signed (and, if applicable, numbered) by the artist. So if you like the prints above, make sure you pick them up quickly!

They would make wonderful additions to any little kid’s room, wouldn’t they? (Plus, there’s a great selection of prints for adults too!)

xxx Esther

ZUGS!


How fun are these children’s rugs?! And not only are they fun & cheerful, but completely 100% natural and handmade. And not only that, but extremely soft as well!

ZUGS is a new family-run boutique offering a selection of bright and colourful rugs, all made from natural wool and cut with deep piles to ensure a thick, soft surface: the perfect landing pad for jumping feet or a soft, natural surface for rolling babies. And there is something about the designs that makes me think even older children and tweens would like these rugs in their rooms. They’re funky and fun for all ages!

You can choose from eight different rugs, each one aptly named based on their colourful character (although we have Gracie the Ghost at home, and we all agree she is more of a squid than a ghost!!).

x Courtney

Spring is here! Say it with pillows.

Because yesterday was the (official) first day of spring, I finally finished a little project I have been working on… Pillows! I used mixed techniques to put words on them — embroidery, appliqué, and painting with textile paint. I especially enjoyed the embroidery work — it’s been a long time since I did embroidery, and I forgot how much fun it is!


Happy spring everyone!!

xxx Esther

Harriet Hare bed linen & accessories

Harriet Hare is a new collection of beautiful bed linens and coordinating accessories. On first glance, it looks to be quite traditional with its pale blues and pinks, but I think it’s the details of this brand that really make it stand out. Like how incredibly silky soft the bed linens are! The fabrics are all woven rather than printed and the yarn dyed satin weave is made of compact and combed yarns, making it luxuriously soft and smooth to the touch. And all bed linens come in a reusable cotton drawstring bag which can be used as storage or bedroom decor.

I love the reversible duvet covers with the contrasting colour shades and the matching pillowcases in light or dark options, either to match or to contrast the duvet. Everything is so pretty and complimentary, and perfect for children of all ages.

x Courtney

Wreck This Journal!




My son came home from a play date at a friend’s house the other day and all he could talk about was how his friend had a super cool journal that you are meant to wreck (!!) with funny things to do on each page!! Luckily we tracked it down in our local art store, and now he’s the extremely proud owner of his very own copy. He loves it so much, he has taken it everywhere with him for the past week, and of course my younger son became so envious of his journal that we had to go back and get him one as well!

Wreck This Journal is the coolest arts & crafts book I think I’ve ever seen!  Author Keri Smith encourages kids to engage in “destructive” acts like poking holes through pages, adding photos and defacing them, painting with coffee, colouring outside the lines, sticking fruit stickers to a page, and loads of other funny and creative activities. My boys think they’re being so ‘naughty’ by following the book’s rules. It is hilarious!

I’m definitely ordering a whole bunch more for birthday gifts, and I’ve just seen that Keri Smith has loads of other similar type books as well.

x Courtney

NAÏF care, skincare for babies

Naïf Babycare is a new line of baby skincare products that was started by two young and cute Dutch dads, Jochem and Sjoerd. See above how very Dutch they are, with their bakfiets!
After their first babies were born, they discovered a huge gap in the market: a high quality range of pure, natural skincare products which is safe and nurturing for baby’s sensitive skin. So they quit their (high profile!) jobs, worked very hard with a Swiss laboratory, dermatologists, and basically every baby skincare expert they could find, and developed a beautiful line of products. Using only nature’s best ingredients, and formulated to perfection, of course!

Casper and I have been trying out some of the Naïf products and we really love them! The shampoo is wonderful to use, so soft and gentle. The nurturing cream is great too, it’s our number one cream for dry cheeks, but our favourite Naïf product must be the massage oil. It is just the right kind of oil — in between oily and dry, very soothing, with a lovely scent. Just perfect!

xxx Esther

New notebooks from Famille Summerbelle

We are big fans of the beautiful paper-cut maps of Famille Summerbelle, so we can only love this new line of notebooks that were released today. Featuring the famous World Map and the cities of LondonParisNew York City and San Francisco, they are just perfect to plan your next city trip, or use as a stylish destination for your daily scribbles. Just lovely!

xxx Esther

Baby Degen

We LOVED meeting Lindsay Degen at Playtime last week! She’s so funky and creative and stylish (you should have seen her hair! she had one braid about half the length of the other!), and she’s one extremely talented lady too. She sat in her booth knitting the cutest pair of baby socks you’ve ever seen! After launching her adult unisex line in 2011, she has recently started a baby line called Baby Degen featuring hand-knit baby clothes and accessories in fun colours and with quirky details. She says she is trying to keep the ‘cute’ in children’s wear. I love that!

x Courtney

Playtime NY discoveries

Esther and I have just returned from a busy (and fun!) work trip to NYC. I always feel a little bit guilty calling it a ‘work weekend’ when we manage to enjoy it so much, but we did squeeze in some good meetings and spent an eventful day at Playtime NY. I was really reminded on this trip of what a lucky job we have — one that takes us to fun cities around the world for trade shows, where we get to scout out fun new brands and meet up with old favourites and where we get to meet other entrepreneurial parents who have started their own business and who are so passionate about what they do. It’s such a wonderfully supportive environment, and we feel really lucky to be a part of it.

Anyway, back to Playtime. We wanted to give you a little re-cap of the show, but this time we thought we would do things a little bit differently. Instead of mentioning all the brands we saw and loved (which is pretty much every single one!), we’ve decided to highlight just the new brands we discovered. I was actually quite surprised by how many new brands there were. Here were our favourites:

Moskiddos: Organic cotton, beautiful deep colours, easy-to-wear shapes.

AXL: A new line of super soft, organic cotton loungewear for babies. Lots of adorable baby suits, onesies and little leggings.



Home Grown Books: A new company dedicated to creating early reading content that is visually stimulating, respects the intelligence of young learners, and still engages moms and dads. They work with various artists to create different boxed sets, and we loved the beautiful designs of them all!

Odette Williams: We loved discovering these great cotton apron sets. Each set comes with apron, mitt, and three wooden utensils, and we think these would make the perfect gift for little kids!

Urban Infant: Clever backpacks with an attachable daycare nap mat and clever art cylinder. We loved the bamboo utensils pouch and the ’sidewalk not included’ crayons.

Bacabuche: If we were kids, we would want to wear these clothes! Organic baby clothing in natural colours of cream, greys and blacks featuring stylish and easy-to-wear cuts. And this kimono style baby gown!!

Muny: How cute is this skirt and these adorable Ikat pants?! We loved this brand and all the wonderful block-printed fabrics.

Rouxroo: Bold, vibrant prints that are engaging and also educational. The black and white graphic prints mixed with vibrant primary colours are meant to stimulate your baby’s brain. They’re also quite fun and stylish too.

Seesaw: A very cute Spanish brand featuring basic clothes all beautifully made. Just check out their website – how cute are those images?!

Solvej Swings: Wooden indoor/outdoor swings for babies and children 6 months to 6 years. We both want one in our gardens!

Baby Degen: A new baby line out from Lindsay Degan. We love the funky knitted socks, hats and trousers! Definitely fun and different!

Lille Huset: Cardboard doll houses that come flat-packed with all the accessories needed to decorate and play. Perfect for sending gifts in the post, or for taking with you on holiday. Our girls would love these!

Tuchinda: Gorgeous designs featuring beautiful European and Japanese fabrics and interesting textures. We especially loved the jackets!

Ten Kid-Friendly Hotels in Europe for 2014 from i-escape

As you probably know by now, we are big fans of i-escape and their wonderful selection of hand-picked hotels from all over the world. What I love about the i-escape site is that you can be totally inspired to try out new destinations and visit places you didn’t even have on your radar. I also love that you can enter your specific interests and requirements, and they’ll come up with a selection of awesome places that meet your needs. The only problem is choosing!!

To make your holiday planning easier and to narrow down the choices a bit, we’ve asked the team at i-escape to send over a list of their favourite kid-friendly hotels in Europe. I love this list! I’m so inspired to travel now! Which one is your favourite? (I think mine is the one in Puglia. We keep hearing so many nice things about Puglia and this hotel sounds amazing!)

Anassa, near Polis, Cyprus

Cascading down to a long safe private beach, this luxury resort appeals to children and parents in equal measure: kids delight in the plentiful array of toys, games and watersports provided in the all-ages kids clubs with daily changing activity schedules, while their parents enjoy the award-winning Thalassotherapy spa. There are oodles of facilities including heated kids’ pool, restaurants with kids’ menus, baby equipment to borrow and a small playground. Superb.

Borgo Egnazia, Puglia, Italy

A flawless family-friendly resort which offers great design and decoration as well as a fantastic free kids club and teens’ games room, all ages will rejoice staying here. There are tennis courts, English speaking babysitters, a creche with qualified child-minders, playground, kids restaurant (summer only) and a choice of cool pools – a worthy recipient of an i-escape Best for Kids Award.

Quinta Bouca d’Arques, Viano do Castelo, Portugal

Head north from Porto into the Minho coastal region which the Portuguese believe their most beautiful for its rolling forested hills, lush river valleys and long sandy beaches. Just 12km inland, this 300-year-old manor house has boutique B&B apartments in both traditional and modern designs. Kids will adore the big lawn, woods to explore, secret wooden house and saltwater pool. There are communal BBQs in the evening and all apartments bar one have kitchenettes.

Ekies All Senses Resort, Chalkidiki, Greece

With a funky playful design, a heated saltwater pool, playground and playhouse, this beach retreat set on a tranquil bay with shallow seas also has two restaurants and a spa. Kids will love the organic juice bar by the pool and going on boat trips. Paradise for families!

Liss Ard Estate, Co. Cork, Ireland

While the weather is famously unpredictable in Ireland, you’re guaranteed a warm Irish welcome and a magical time for outdoorsy children at this comfy country house hotel. There are 80 hectares of woodland, lake, lawns, ancient and modern earthworks plus bike trail to explore and a kids club operational during school holidays. If the weather does prove inclement, there’s a well-stocked kids’ room to play in. Best of all kids under 12 are free!

Azur Hotel, near Antalya, Turkey

Families on a budget will love this wonderfully unpretentious and friendly beach hotel set in idyllic shady gardens. There’s a large pool with a shallow end, you’re five minutes’ walk from the sandy beach, and there’s a small playground. Older kids will like going on boat trips, younger ones can toddle safely on large lawns. Bliss.

Le Portetta, Courchevel, France

Chic and ski are becoming synonymous terms these days, and this chalet-style hotel delivers on being family-friendly as well. There’s a children’s ski school opposite the hotel, you’re slap bang in the middle of Courchevel 1650 ski resort which is the most suited for beginners and small fry in the Trois Vallees, and there are Family Rooms with bunk beds or lofts with sofa beds to choose from.

Captain’s Club Hotel, Dorset, UK

Dorset has some of the best beaches in the South of England, and this contemporary hotel with nautical detailing has super views over the River Stour, and is close to both picturesque Christchurch Harbour and these lovely beaches. Children under 14 stay for free, there are 2 & 3-bedroom suites with their own kitchens plus a tasty children’s menu in the restaurant.

Portixol, Palma, Mallorca

This tranquil boutique hotel has simply uncluttered Scandinavian interiors and a lovely swimming pool, and is set right beside the coastal promenade in a cool barrio of Palma, and is just 15 minutes from the airport – a godsend for families. There’s heaps of baby equipment, a games room for older kids and there’s an outdoor playground and park close at hand.

Palmizana, Sveti Klement island, Croatia

This laid-back, friendly and bohemian 300-hectare retreat has fragrant botanical gardens and two pebbly beaches on a car-free island. There’s a choice of bungalows and villas, some with kitchenettes, and two restaurants serving kid-friendly fare, plus lots of watersports and two playgrounds nearby. What a find!

New York, New York!


We’re back from New York! And while we are processing the million impressions we got — from discovering great brands at the Playtime fair (recap to come, of course!), to meeting wonderful friends, to talking loads about new business ideas we’ve got — we thought it would be fun to share some snapshots we took while walking around this inspiring and buzzing city.


Beautiful Brooklyn! And yes, the sky was that blue and the shadows that sharp. This was the first warm and sunny weekend in New York in months!

The meatpacking, the Village, SoHo… we walked all the way!

Williamsburg! So cool. And so lovely to cuddle with Lindsay’s baby Jack in the hip Wythe Hotel!

We squeezed in a bit of shopping, of course. These beautiful towels were hard to resist… (We did!)

We had so much fun — our throats are still hurting from laughing so much. We ♥ NY!

Courtney and Esther

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