Hatch is one of my favourite maternity fashion brands — I love the way they design clothes that are wonderfully flattering and comfortable to wear during pregnancy, but also very much so beyond. I’m still wearing the pieces I bought when I was pregnant with Casper, and in fact, I just placed another little order from the Hatch Plage summer collection. (No, I’m not pregnant, nor planning to be!)
Hatch just came out with a new product called ‘layers‘, consisting of a basic black legging, a white tank and a long sleeved shirt. Designed to fit over your growing belly and made from the softest knit, it provides the perfect basic wardrobe foundation. Just throw over a trendy tunic, stylish dress or cool kaftan and you’re all set, in all comfort. It’s the perfect piece to invest in when you’re pregnant – I’m pretty sure you will wear it every day, even after your pregnancy.
Also — this Denim Legging looks perfect to me. This is the piece I’ve been (unsuccessfully) looking for throughout my pregnancies… so I’m glad to see Hatch decided to add it to their collection. So cool, pregnant or not!
What an unexpected and crazy ride this past week has been. I just wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time to leave comments both here and on my Instagram account. I have been overwhelmed by all the support but also by all the thoughtful and intelligent criticism. I wanted to let you know that your comments have really made me evaluate my own actions and beliefs, and I am thankful for a platform where we can discuss and debate parenting issues like this.
There has been a lot of media coverage highlighting both sides of this story, and while I think there are some important issues to be raised, I have also felt pretty exposed and vulnerable. A lot of stories have been very sensationalised, many of them have had incorrect facts, but this story from The Southland Times in New Zealand seemed to raise some interesting points (it is also one of the only papers I submitted quotes to). There is also a column in The Telegraph which, although mostly critical of my decisions, also highlights some interesting points, and for many reasons I enjoyed reading this editorial too.
Thank you again for all of your comments.
I’ve heard that loom bands have been around for a while already in other parts of the world, but here in the Netherlands they’ve suddenly made their appearance in the last few months. And now, they are everywhere.
If you’ve missed the fuss — loom bands basically are little elastic bands in a rainbow of colours, that are weaved together to form anything from simple bracelets to complex three dimensional creations. My children mostly use their fingers and different weaving techniques to make their bracelets, but there are crochet hooks and loom kits available as well. Little S or C shaped plastic clips keep the finished artwork together.
Both Sara as Pim are completely obsessed, and so are all of their friends. Pim has his entire arm covered in the plastic bracelets and is still collecting more! I do make him take them off in bed — I must admit that all of that plastic does gross me out a little. But then again, it keeps them entertained for hours, it’s creative, social, and fun. Plus, they can even be stylish – yesterday one of my cool friends was sporting a black loom band with neon details that she made herself, which made me want to get into my children’s loom band stock immediately and start weaving.
So, are your kids (or you!) on the loom band wagon yet?
Marie Puce is a sweet and stylish French label, designed and ran by two sisters based in the heart of Paris. They have a lovely brick and mortar shop in the 6th arrondissement, and there’s an extensive (and newly revamped!) online store as well — for those of us not lucky enough to live around the corner from their sweet boutique.
What is so perfect about Marie Puce, is not just their good (French!) eye for stylish children’s fashion, but also — their sizing goes up to size 18 for most of the girls’ pieces.
It’s not always easy to find a good selection of clothes for older girls, so I’m super happy with the Marie Puce collections for older girls. (Sara just turned nine, but she’s so tall, she wears a size 12!)
When I was browsing the renewed online Marie Puce boutique this morning, I just couldn’t resist the urge to make a few ‘my favourites’ boards for different age groups. Let’s call it a wish list. ; )
For the boys, there’s a smaller (but very simple and sweet) collection. Sizes go up to size 12.
* Braided leather belt — long sleeved and easy-to-wear Tunisian tee in 100% cotton — cotton shirt with a delicate pinstripe and Mao collar — orange 5 pocket bermudas – dotted 100% wool scarf – cool grey leather sandals
And the collection for baby girls makes us very, very happy as well!
Sara turned nine (nine!!) a few weeks ago, so last week we organised a birthday party for her and her friends. I always ask what sort of birthday my kids would want (we’ve had themes like horses, knights, disco, cooking, sushi and a treasure hunt before), and this time, Sara came up with the idea of strawberries. A cute idea I thought!
So she invited 9 girl friends to come home with her after school, and we decorated the table for a sweet strawberry high tea. With finger sandwiches, cakes, strawberry tea, real cups and saucers, and lots of strawberries of course!
I’m finding it really difficult to write this post and I think it’s because I have so many emotions swirling around in my head. But before the weekend starts, I wanted to share what’s happened and also wanted to thank you all for your encouraging comments. More than anything it is this overwhelming outpouring of support that has made me so emotional.
Yesterday evening my Instagram account was disabled due to ‘violating the community guidelines‘. After a bit of research I discovered that if you receive too many reports of ‘inappropriate’ images, it sends a red flag to the Instagram team and their automated service will disable your account entirely, without warning and without notice. Last week I received five different emails from Instagram to notify me of these reports and to tell me they had removed images from my feed. They don’t tell you which images they’re referring to, and even though I looked back through all my old photos, I was never able to decipher which photos were removed. I figured it must be incorrect — I have never violated any of the rules! Earlier this week I received another couple emails from Instagram to tell me they had removed more images. And yet, still I could not find any missing images. Again, I thought it must have been an error.
On Wednesday evening I posted the above photo of Marlow in her yellow rainboots and her ‘big girl undies’. I wrote about how, despite me trying to delay it, she had decided to be potty trained, and how she had kept her undies dry all day. I thought it was such a sweet photo of my baby girl and her gorgeous, round belly (and outie belly button). And I love that her pride is so evident in the photo – such a sweet and innocent shot of a successful day of potty-training. On Thursday morning the photo was gone from my feed and a another Instagram email was in my inbox. At least this time I knew which photo they had removed.
I went back to re-read the guidelines; I read the entire page twice and was positive that I had not violated any rules. Unless a baby’s belly is considered ‘nudity’…but surely it isn’t! She is a BABY! It is no different than a photo of a baby wearing a nappy, or a little boy in swim trunks, and to entertain the idea that it is even remotely inappropriate is a disgusting thing in itself. Again, I was sure there was a mistake, so I reposted the photo. And by yesterday evening my account was disabled.
I never, ever, ever would have thought that posting this photo of Marlow would lead to this. Instagram has deleted four years of my family photos and memories: all the photos of our travels, my children’s birthdays, all my notes and comments about my children’s traits and milestones, all the comments from friends and family, the messages I received when Marlow was born, the hashtags I created to help organise my photos, and all the direct messages I shared and received from my siblings and family members whom I rarely see. All of it gone. I am sick just thinking about it.
The most infuriating thing is that there seems to be no recourse for the unilateral decisions Instagram makes to delete accounts. There is no contact information, no email or phone number. It seems that an automated system has deleted my account, and I can’t get a single human being to review the case. If anyone has any ties to Instagram or knows anyone who can help, I would be hugely grateful if you could get in touch or leave a comment below.
In the meantime, I wanted to say just how much all of your support has meant to me. I have broken down in tears several times today, and not because of my deleted photos but because I have been so surprised by the outpour of support, the kind comments, the Instagram posts and re-posts, the emails I’ve received, and all the help I’ve been offered. More than anything this whole ordeal has confirmed for me how wonderful the IG community can be, and it has made it even more difficult to have been kicked out of it.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
We first picked up on the importance of rash vests five years ago when we took our first family trip to Australia. We landed in sunny Sydney, packed our beach bag and headed for the beautiful sandy beach. When we arrived it was evident to us, and no doubt everyone else, that we were the naive Europeans! Our children were the only kids on the beach not wearing a rash vest, or ‘rashie’ as they’re called in Australia! The sun is so strong there, and because you’re in and out of the water so much, sun creams are only effective to a certain point. We bought the kids their first rash vests on our way home from the beach that first day, and they wore them every day for the rest of our month-long holiday.
While I’ll admit they’re quite useful, and certainly crucial for adequate sun protection in certain parts of the world, the aesthetic part of my brain has always found them to be quite unattractive, often featuring big logos and ugly colours.
Enter Rockley Cove. The Rockley Cove rash vests are both practical and stylish. They’re made from quick-drying UPF 50+ fabric and include a high neckline to protect the neck and back. Handy and quite cute as well. We got them for the girls and they wore them on our recent holiday in Italy. I must say, they were the only kids wearing them on the Italian beaches (people probably thought we were Australian! : )) but it’s a lot easier than slathering sunblock on them every hour! (If only they would design some for boys!)
I’m back on a book kick, can you tell?! ; ) I think it has to do with Marlow suddenly becoming a little book worm. I’ve been re-discovering all the toddler books on our shelves and it’s so fun to watch Marlow as she ‘reads’ them for the first time.
Nori Goes to Bed is actually a new-to-us book my friend shared with us recently and it’s become a big favourite. It’s an adorable book about a little cat who’s getting ready for bed with fold-down flaps to reveal the actions on each page.
The book is not an easy one to get your hands on — I found a used copy on Amazon, but if you can get one it’s a great little book for this sweet toddler stage.
It must have been over four years ago that I got cute animal towels for Sara and Pim, and we’ve been using them ever since, day after day. Sara the elephant and Pim the lion — it quickly became a tradition after each bath. So when Ava started to walk, we got her the zebra towel, and now we’ve gotten Casper the monkey — making our little zoo complete!
I love how these towels (from Zoocchini) are so royal in size, made from thick cotton, and have adorable details like ears and tails. There are even little pouches in which the kids can stick their hands/paws.
Sara’s towel is sadly beginning to fall apart (not strange after all of these years of intensive use!), and when I told her it might be time to replace it, she said that she wasn’t sure it would be worth the investment — after all she might be getting too old to have an animal towel for bath time… Eeks! I figured it was time for an immediate group photo before it’s too late!
PS I might be getting the replacement elephant towel anyway, just in case. And otherwise it will be nice for the grandchildren! ; )
Quin (aged 7) had such a difficult time choosing his favourites! He wanted to choose practically everything on the book shelves, and had a hard time separating the books he loved as a young child from his current favourites now. He ended up narrowing it down… but still chose some of his longtime favourites, hence the wide age range. He has started reading beginner chapter books, and of course we’ve read some to him too, but when I asked him his favourite books he didn’t even think to choose those. I think he still prefers to read picture books if given the choice.
Here is the selection of books he chose:
1. Bill and Pete, a funny little book about a crocodile and his bird friend, Pete, (who also happens to be his toothbrush). Quin also likes Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile and Bill and Pete to the Rescue. And I only just realised that this is the same author/illustrator who did Pancakes for Breakfast, which the girls really love.
2. Little Boat , a sweet story about a little boat in a big, wide world of water and adventures. Beautiful illustrations!
4. Amos & Boris , the most heartwarming story of a mouse and a whale (I have reviewed this book before here). We also love Sylvester and the Magic Pebble , also by William Steig – I remember reading it when I was a child!
5. Beware of the Frog . I think this might be Quin’s all-time favourite book. I remember bringing it into his classroom two years ago to read to his class and the entire classroom sat there mesmerised by this book – I even had parents come up to me, asking which book I had read because their children asked if they could get a copy!
6. Puff, the Magic Dragon , which comes with a free CD featuring the famous song by Peter, Paul and Mary. The illustrations are so beautiful, and I love that this is one of Quin’s favourite books because it was one of my favourite songs when I was little and I love singing him the song as we flip through the pages.
8. Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. There are lots of versions of this story, but this one is my personal favourite and the only one my kids know. A favourite of everyone in the family.
9. Ira Sleeps Over , about a boy and his first sleepover with his nextdoor neighbour. Quin hasn’t had a sleepover yet, and I think this story appeals to him because it addresses the scared and insecure feelings you can have when you finally decide to do it. (This is another book I remember reading and loving as a child!)
10. The Three Robbers : Quin was scared of this book for a while and then started asking me to read it to him recently (it’s funny how when something is a tad bit scary, it can really appeal to children because of the emotions they feel when they read it).
11. I Want My Hat Back , which is a silly book we all love!
12. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (not pictured), a story about a boy who has a really bad day for several reasons. A great book which really appeals to boys (I remember my little brothers loving this book as well).
Please feel free to share your children’s favourites below. It’s great for me to discover new books, but also handy for other readers too.
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.
We were given a hand-me-down cot from friends when our first baby was born and it’s the cot we still use for Marlow. I think it must be at least 15 years old now, and it’s one of those cots that is ONLY a cot, and nothing else. If I were to buy a cot now I would definitely definitely invest in a cot that transforms from cotbed to junior bed. I’ve always thought this is a brilliant, cost-saving feature.
I love the look of the Perludi ‘OTTO in the MOON’ cot because it goes one step further and gives you the added option of flipping the junior bed over and using it as an ottoman/sofa (with storage space for toys or whatever underneath). So clever! I like the sleek, modern design and love that it’s made from organic materials and is 100% recyclable (none of which can be said for the old cot we have!).
One of my favourite things about summer time is how much easier it is to make dinner! I’m not a very good planner, so in the winter time when you need time to make soups and stews, I often fail to get dinner made on time. In the summer, with fresh produce on hand, it’s so much easier to make simple, delicious meals.
One of the easiest summer meals we make is a simple pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil. The only actual ‘cooking’ required is to boil the pasta. Other than that, it’s a bit of chopping and that’s it. Here’s what you’ll need:
-fresh, ripe tomatoes (preferably vine ripened)
-garlic (usually 3-4 cloves, and I like to use fresh garlic this time of year)
-sea salt & pepper
-pasta (spaghetti, linguine or something similar)
Chop the garlic finely. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the garlic and crush garlic a bit to make it more of a paste (the salt helps to do this). Add garlic to bowl. Chop tomatoes and basil and add to bowl. Add a bit of olive oil and stir tomatoes to create a sauce with the tomatoes, garlic and basil. Boil pasta and drain. Add fresh tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese. Enjoy! (So easy, right?!)
Famille Summerbelle is offering a bright pink laser cut map – an exact replica of the original hand paper cut of San Francisco. It shows all the interests and attractions of the City by the Bay, as well as some of the quirky side of San Francisco life. This map is beautiful, and worth £120!! Watch the making of the map of San Francisco here.
Tattyoo works in collaboration with renowned artists and emerging designers to create a super cool, diverse collection of unique temporary tattoos, so great for both adults and children. Tattyoo are offering a fab £150 worth of tattoos of your choice!
Toto Knits offer a super cute, fun collection of ethically made knits for babies and children. Their soft organic cotton is locally grown, spun and dyed to be bio-friendly and their adorable designs are hand-knitted by single mums in Kenya. Toto Knits are offering a $150 voucher to spend on their sweet collections!
Stuck on You offer a wide, super handy selection of labels for all your labeling needs. There’s also a handy personalised collection of items, like lunch boxes, personalised cups, bags, presents, etc. So handy, so fun — and so perfect for the new school year! Stuck on You is offering a £120 voucher to spend on their site!
Enter here for your chance to win one of these amazing prizes!
I am absolutely loving the lightweight, summery pieces in the current Tocotò Vintage collection. The colours are all so pretty, and I love all the subtle details. I got this dress for Marlow a while ago, and it has the sweetest criss-cross straps on the back that have little ruffles over the shoulder. Such a darling detail.
Tocotò Vintage is available from Brebì Little Concept Store where you can now get 20% off the Tocotò Vintage collection with discount code: tocoto. The discount is valid until the end of the month. Enjoy!
Jim Flora (1914-1998) was a mid-century artist known for his album covers and some fabulous children’s books (The Day the Cow Sneezed, for example), and his illustrations are truly wonderful. Recently, a series of wallpaper was brought out in cooperation with Flora’s estate, all using the original art and illustrations from his archival music images, paintings and abstract designs.
I just love these wallpapers! Jim Flora’s illustrations may date from around 70 years ago, but all of these wallpapers feel so incredibly fresh and modern… Also, they are sweet and playful, but wouldn’t be misplaced in rooms for bigger children (adults even). I’m contemplating getting the instruments wallpaper above for Pim’s room. I’m sure he would love that!
Are your children obsessed too? We have Frozen mania in this house like you’ve never seen (or probably you have…?!). We bought Ivy this Disney Frozen book for her birthday recently and she takes it to bed with her every night. So it was obviously her first answer when I asked her to tell me her favourite books. : )
We went through the little bookcase next to her bed and she picked out some of her other favourites. Here are the ones she chose:
1. Disney Frozen , as mentioned above.
2. Hector and Christina : This is a used book we found online, and I don’t think it’s in print anymore. But we love all of the books by husband and wife team, Roger Duvoisin and Louise Fatio, for their sweet stories as well as the charming illustrations. (The Happy Lion is one of our family favourites!)
3. Petunia : This is another Duvoisin/Fatio book about a silly goose who thinks she is very wise and goes around the farmyard telling all the animals false facts.
4. Corduroy : A classic! A story about a bear named Corduroy who has been sitting on the shelf of a department store for a long time, hoping for someone to take him home. I think Ivy likes the idea that stuffed animals can have feelings and can come alive when nobody is looking.
5. Olive and the Big Secret : This is another book about Olive (Ivy loves both of them!). In this story, Olive the cat is told a big secret and can’t help but tell a friend, so she tells Joe who tells Matt who tells Lola… and the secret gets out! It’s another silly story, but one that really appeals to Ivy (and actually all of my kids).
7. Sick Day for Amos McGee : I was so glad Ivy chose this one because it’s one of my favourites too. The illustrations are so beautiful, and the story is just so heartwarming. It’s about a zoo keeper named Amos who has special animal friends in the zoo. One day, when Amos is home sick and doesn’t turn up at the zoo, the animals hop on the bus and pay him a visit at home. So sweet!
There are so many others we love, but as promised I am only listing the ones Ivy chose (maybe at the end of this series I should share MY favourites, just so they don’t get overlooked?!). Feel free to share your children’s favourites for this age range.
We have recently become game addicts. Monopoly and Go Fish are both in the mix (I think it has something to do with having a competitive 6-year-old in the house). We have just added a new one: Suspend! Have you played this? It is so good. It is basically an arial Jenga and the crazier the structure gets the more exciting it is! You need to balance little metal hooks of various sizes and hang them from another. The person, who’s hook makes the structure collapse, loses.
The hilarious thing is to observe how different people play it. I have a tendency to try and build the craziest structures. Violette tries to be very careful, as that way she gets to win!
Our friend, Jodie Fried, who longtime readers might remember from the Angawandi Charity Project or even before that, from the Bholu brand of quirky soft toys, is a woman of many talents (and apparently many successful business ideas!). She recently started a new company called Armadillo & Co which offers a stylish selection of handmade, natural rugs. She works with traditional artisans in India who specialise in varying weaving techniques, and they only use natural fibres like wool, jute, cotton and hemp. Being a mother, she not only offers a gorgeous selection of rugs for your home, but also a lovely and vibrant children’s collection as well.
She very kindly sent me one of her rugs for the girls’ bedroom so that we could see and feel the quality of the rugs, and it is the perfect addition to their bedroom. The colours are perfect in there (see photos of their room below)! Don’t you think it looks like it should be paired with the print on the fireplace mantel, the print on the left?
I just received this edible little sunsuit for Marlow after pre-ordering it months and months ago, and I am in love!! (both with the baby and the sunsuit). Oooh 18 months is my most favourite age — I have always said so. They are still squishy babies, still so snuggly and needy at times, but then so wonderfully independent and determined. And they learn and advance so quickly at this age – Marlow is talking up a storm and impressing us every day with her new words, and even singing lines of ‘Frozen’ songs! So funny.
And while she is adventurous and wild at times, she is still so sensitive. She’ll ask to ‘walk, walk’ when I’m holding her, and then two minutes later she’ll hear an airplane (a noise that scares her) and she’ll be back in my arms with her little head resting in my neck. Oh, I could just eat her up. Especially in that Strawberry Sunsuit from Misha and Puff. Delicious!