Almondella box

In Finland, every new mother is given a ‘starter kit’ by the government as they leave the hospital– a box filled with necessities like bedding, clothing, toiletries and toys for the newborn baby. This lovely tradition was started about 75 years ago, and is still around today!

Almondella was started by Helsinki based mum Sanna and based on the concept of the governmental starter kit. Sanna scouts for earth friendly and inventive products from small and creative brands, and curates beautiful gift boxes which each contains 4 to 5 long lasting, high quality items. Gift boxes are available from pregnancy till 36 months, and the products inside are especially selected for the specific age and stage of the baby.

Sanna kindly sent me an Almondella box to have a look, and I loved the surprises inside! My box (9 months) contained a gorgeous T-shirt by Finish brand Aarrekid, a fun wooden toy by German brand Haba, fantastic ‘Strongman’ plasters by dotcomgiftshop, a beautiful bag by Kauniste, and a few Earth Mama samples to try. What a great selection of products — special, beautiful, fun, and useful!

I can totally recommend to try out Almodella for yourself, or to treat a friend to a box. It’s a perfectly easy way to discover eco-friendly and inventive baby products from small, creative Northern European brands — and who doesn’t like a surprise in the mailbox every now and then?

xxx Esther

This week…

1. Marlow and Ivy on the beach…
2. Coco taught herself to read English books, and a whole world opens up to her!
3. Sara enjoying the views over Paris.
4. Courtney and her sister made dreamcatchers!
5. The view from the house of Emilie’s uncle. A dream!
6. Sisters in Paris!
7. Courtney and Marlow on a beach walk.
8. Esther arrives home… and nature has taken over!
9. Easton fishing at the lake.
10. Vivi on a beautiful evening stroll.
11. Esther visiting Emilie in France and hanging out at the lake.
12. Ava and her Oma are spotting a hot air balloon at the end of the day…

Archimede buoyancy swim suits

My oldest two are like fish in the water, but Ava can not yet swim. So this summer she has been using her Archimède swim suit a lot! These cute swim suits have ‘built in’ buoyancy floats, which automatically lets the child float in the water, without the need of armbands. Brilliant! And a safe thought too.

Check for stockists here (online I found quite a few here).

xxx Esther

Mausbird


I met illustrator MietzeB at the Kleine Fabriek recently where she introduced me to her gorgeous brand Mausbird. Mausbird is a collection of clothes for children and adults, that is characterised by the fresh and modern illustrations by MietzeB and an original, unexpected use of colour.

Meerkats, otters, flamingos, bugs and hip triangles adorn retro style sweaters, t-shirts, onesies and pillows. All the pieces are unisex and very cool I think!

xxx Esther

My (full!) house on Design Mom

If you ask me to name some people I admire most in the online world, Gabrielle Blair (Design Mom) comes to my mind instantaneously. The way Gabrielle organises her life as a business woman and a mother of six is a constant source of inspiration to me. Gabrielle not only runs one of the world’s most successful parenting blogs; she also comes up with new and innovative business ideas and makes them into a success (check out Kirtsy and AltSummit). Her courage and energy to re-locate her family to France for a few years and soak in the culture and diversity of this side of the pond is amazingly inspiring! Also — she always looks beautiful and pulled together, and is so caring and fun — what a woman!

Today, Gabrielle features my (very full) house on her blog in her ‘Living with Kids‘ series. I’m so flattered! If you would like to have a look, you can do so here.

xxx Esther

Make your own Dreamcatchers

This past weekend my sister and I sat down to make dreamcatchers. It’s a project that both of us have wanted to do for the past few years, and I’m so happy we finally got the chance to do it together. We had so much fun! (I think we’re both a little bit obsessed now and I’m trying to convince my sister to start up a little shop to sell them!)

We’re currently staying in our family beach house on Bainbridge Island, so we were able to search the beach for treasures to decorate the dreamcatchers. We then went to the little bead store on the island and picked up some pretty beads, strings and ribbons. I really love how they turned out and I thought I would share how we made them:

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • sticks for the outside circle (try to find ones which will bend without snapping)
  • string or thread (we used natural hemp because we liked the look and feel of it – but you can use anything!)
  • beads, feathers, ribbons, shells, and anything else you want to use as decoration on your dreamcatcher

And here are the basic steps:

  • Create a circle with the sticks and tie the sticks together using string (we tied the sticks together in several positions around the circle to ensure they didn’t come apart)
  • Start to create the webbing of the dreamcatcher by first tying a long string onto the circle of sticks at any point (this string should be at least 5 feet long to ensure you have enough for the entire web). From there, you move to the right of the circle and loop the string around the circle at different intervals around, keeping the string nice and taught (see photo above for how to loop the string).
  • Once you’ve made it around the circle, you’ll then repeat this process, going around the circle again, but this time you’ll be looping onto the path of string you’ve just created. Add some beads on the string in desired places as you web the string around (see photo above). You’ll then continue this process until you’ve created a circular web inside the circle. You can tie a knot at the inside of the web when you’ve finished.

  • Now that your web is finished, you can now add the tassels and decorations to your dreamcatcher. Here you can be really creative: string up some beads, tie a feather to a string and then add beads, braid together different colours of strings, string up some shells, pinecones, ribbons, etc. This is really the fun part and here is where you can involve your children!

And that’s it! I’ve added lots of photos in case my instructions aren’t clear – so hopefully you can get a good sense of the steps as well as some inspiration for ways to decorate your dreamcatcher. If you have any questions, just ask in the comment section below!

xx Courtney

Sunchild — celebrate summer in style!

If you don’t know Sunchild yet — have a look! This young French brand celebrates sun, summer, freedom and holidays…

I love the relaxed and chilled attitude behind this brand. Those kids in the photos are so cool — they look like a bunch of hipsters gone camping in the eighties!

Also — I love the Sunchild swim trunks I got for Pim this summer… They are so very cute! I love how it is short enough to show his skinny little legs, and the nice and thick quality is really superb.

I wish summer would last forever… (Check here for Sunchild retailers.)

xxx Esther

This Week…

Summer holidays are in full swing! Here are some highlights from this past week:

1. A pile of kids in the back of the VW campervan!
2. Esther’s kids picking wild flowers in the field. Pim wants to be a florist.
3. Freshly picked carrots from the vegetable garden, and a proud little farmer girl
4. Various different varieties of plums at the farmer’s market
5. Emilie and her girls rented a campervan for an adventurous holiday!! So cool!
6. Sweet Vivi and pretty flowers
7. A foggy morning at the lake (and Easton always looking for fish)
8. Esther’s kids looking sweet and summery on the farm in France
9. Esther says goodbye to their French farmhouse and heads over to Emilie’s for a visit!
10. Marlow is pulling herself up and standing. One word: trouble!
11. Emilie at the wheel of the VW van! (Hopefully she will report back on her campervan holiday!)
12. Can you spot the camouflaged baby?

We hope you’re all having a wonderful, sunny and relaxing summer holiday.
xxx Emilie, Esther & Courtney

P.S. If you would like to follow us on Instagram, we’re emiliebabyccino, courtneybabyccino and estherbabyccino.

Misha Lulu


Misha Lulu is a family run children’s fashion brand with designer and El Salvador native, Karen Salazar, and her husband at the helm, and with their gorgeous daughter Isabela as their muse. Of all the brands we see these days, Misha Lulu is really different. Decidedly different… in a good way!

Inspired by their Latin culture and childhood memories, Misha Lulu is a retro-modern infant and toddler brand. We love the mix of fabrics and designs – you’ll find dresses with accents and details like ribbons, pockets, waistbands and bows. You’ll also, to the delight of every little girl, find Hello Kitty featured on many of the sweet products.

Karen sent the sweet Hello Kitty dress (pictured above) to Ivy earlier this summer, and it is most definitely her favourite dress to wear. And who can blame her? I love the yellow waistband and big bow on the back. I love that Hello Kitty is featured in a pretty, tasteful way that appeals to both Ivy and to myself (check out this dress and this dress – how cute!).

You can find Misha Lulu at various shops around the world, as well as at their surplus store. And keep an eye out – because I have a feeling this brand is on the verge of taking off in a big way!!

xx Courtney

This month’s great Give-Aways!

This month’s give-aways are really good ones! Here’s what’s up for grabs:

  • A Fisher Price Classics change a tune Piano, a Lapin & Me Bunny lamp and two CDs of the winner’s choice… all from the lovely Rowdy Roddy Vintage.
  • A great hamper from Poco Nido which contains two pairs of mini shoes, two t-shirts, two rompers and a pair of wellies!
  • A $150 gift certificate to use at Stubby Pencil Studio – the perfect place to pick up all your children’s bacl-to-school supplies and to stock up your craft cupboard with great quality art materials, etc.

To read about the give-aways and enter to win, click here!

xx

Chandamama — sweet, summery fashion

Chandamama is a small brand that is inspired by a love for India. The pieces are beautifully designed, and gorgeous details like block printing, handprinted gold stars, pompoms, neon stitching and little buttons sets this collection really apart. I first got to know the Chandamama collection through the beautifully curated boutique Polpettine and was so impressed, and later I met founder and designer Chantal at Playtime in Paris and had a little sneak peek at her summer collection for next year. Just lovely!

My girls have been practically living in their Chandamama kaftans these last hot summer weeks. They come with adorable little bikini bloomers, so there’s not much more one need for a vacation at the beach or the swimming pool. And… they’re so cute as a button!

xxx Esther

An interview on the CultureBaby blog

CultureBaby is a global children’s boutique which offers a darling selection of children’s products from all over the world. I love their search feature which allows you to shop by region so you can find cute goodies from Africa, India, South America, Asia, etc.

Each month on their blog they feature a new ‘CultureBaby mum’ – a global mum raising kids in a different part of the world. I was so thrilled to be asked to answer a few questions for this interesting series. You can see my interview here and read other great interviews here.

xx Courtney

Top Ten Nautical Products

I’m loving this week’s Top Ten selection. Nautical products (and stripes!) seem to be so in fashion at the moment and it’s all so perfectly sweet and summery. Take a peek at ten of our favourite nautical-themed products.

Rosie Flo’s Colouring Pool Party

My kids and I have had such fun with the Rosie Flo Colouring Pool Party! We all love crafting and colouring, so this beautiful box, which cleverly transforms into a ‘real’ swimming pool and cute little café, kept us busy for hours. There’s a slide, a dive board, there are ice creams and rubber bands, a table and chairs, a deck chair even. And lots of figures of course, which, as usual with the Rosie Flo products, are only partly drawn so the rest is left for the child’s imagination to finish and colour in.

The box and all the details are really wonderful and so cleverly made — there’s no need at all for scissors or glue to put it together. My oldest kids (six and eight) could put it together by themselves, but Ava (3) liked to play with it as well once it was finished.

The box is beautiful and sturdy so it can be used to store away the party for a next time. It would also make a really nice gift! And I love the fact that it even comes with cute little invites to organise and host a little pool party yourself.

xxx Esther

This week…

1. Sweet Coco having a read before bedtime. So serene!
2. Baby Casper’s little hand.
3. Casper in his tub, the old-fashioned way!
4. Courtney’s kids are off for a beach walk.
5. Playing with petals…
6. Coco running errands on her own (with French bread of course)!
7. 1973 or 2013??
8. Beautiful Lake Tahoe, where Courtney was visiting family this week.
9. Esther’s kids hiking thorugh the valley.
10. Easton on a rope swing!
11. Coco gliding through the trees.
12. A cloudy (but beautiful) day in Bainbridge Island.

P.S. If you would like to follow us on Instagram, we’re emiliebabyccino, courtneybabyccino and estherbabyccino.

Funky Legs

How fun is the new collection at Funky Legs? I’m loving all the funky tights and pants and even the fun accessories.

The team at Funky Legs recently sent Ivy the fun neon pink tutu skirt along with a pair of cute tights. Ivy loves the tutu so much, she insists on wearing it every day. She skips the tights and puts the tutu over her underpants and wonders why on earth I won’t let her walk around in public like that! : ) (See photo below!) I do agree with her – that neon pink tutu is pretty darn cute.

Check out the new Funky Legs collection here.

x Courtney

The best Dutch Pancakes recipe!

We Dutchmen love our pancakes! We eat them for lunch or dinner, but never for breakfast. We like them savoury, with cheese or bacon, or sweet, with apple, raisins or banana and with topping like icing sugar or treacle. We even combine the salt and the sweet — we poor treacle over our bacon pancakes. Yum!

In summer, I like to serve Dutch pancakes with sugar and lemon wedges. Here’s my recipe, which I think is the best:

  • 250 g flour
  • 500 ml or 2 cups of milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 bag baking powder (or 8 grams, or 2 teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • a good pinch of salt

Beat the eggs. Combine flour with baking powder, sugar and salt. Add eggs to flour, combine, and add a third of the milk. Whisk to get rid of lumps, add rest of the milk in parts. Get rid of all the lumps. (You can leave the batter to stand for up to an hour to improve, but don’t bother if you’re in a hurry.) Heat up a large frying pan. Melt butter in the pan, and pour in batter (I use a ladle). Evenly cover the bottom of the pan, trying to make the pancake as thin as possible. This is easiest if you pick up the pan and swirl the batter around. Flip pancake over when golden — try to throw it in the air and flip it over that way! Cook other side as well. Stack up pancakes and serve with sugar and lemon for a yummy summer lunch! Enjoy!

xxx Esther

PS For the stack in the photo above I doubled the ingredients.

Susanne Kaufmann: Heaven for Your Skin

I’ve been on the lookout for good organic cosmetic products for a while now and up to this day I have found quite a few great ones which is not really easy to do to be quite honest. Most of them just don’t do anything for me. But what I noticed is the older I get the pickier I am and I also want it to come in nice containers. There is nothing nicer than a bunch of pretty bottles on the bathroom shelf, don’t you think? Of course the content is what counts the most but it doesn’t hurt if it also looks nice.

So I recently got to try out a few products from Susanne Kaufmann, a holistic natural organic line of products for the whole body. I love the fact they produce everything in their own manufacturing facility in Bregenzer Forest in the Austrian Alps and they actually even fill, seal and pack every single product by hand in glass jars – the pretty kinds.

I have tried this Skin Smoothing Concentrate and it is absolutely amazing – I have never tried anything like it before, pure liquid gold I tell you. I have also tried the Eye Cream, Day and Night Cream from the Anti-Aging Line and loved them all. I am also currently using their Arnica Oil with vitamin E on my growing tummy in order to avoid getting stretch marks (fingers crossed) and you can only guess my thoughts on it. The thing I love the most about it is its fragrance – you can smell there’s nothing artificial about it, only good old mix of plants.

You can get all the products from their own online boutique and if you’re up for it you can also visit their Spa Centre in Bregenz Forest – I’d be more than happy to join you!

-Polona

Nils & Happy to see you — summer collection

One of my favourite French brands is Nils & Happy to see you. I just love everything Astrid, the owner and designer, does. Her feel for fashion and fabrics is amazing, she just always hits the exact right note in her designs — everything is so on trend but at the same time breathes a feeling of timelessness and handmade.

The Nils & Happy to see you summer collection for this year (which is now on sale!) is again so gorgeous. I love the ethnic influences. The dresses are darling with the printed designs, the dip die, the ruffles and ties. And I love the tees with arrows and feathers and the beautiful linen trousers and shirts! As always, selected pieces int he Nils & Happy to see you collections are available in dolls’ sizes, as well as in adult sizes. Perfection!

xxx Esther

Mouse House

As a child I received a custom made dollhouse for Christmas.  I loved playing with it and spent many hours re-arranging the furniture, and adding special little touches to it.  I still have a fascination with dollhouses and everything in miniature.

Several months ago I found a vintage dollhouse at a thrift store and I couldn’t pass it up.  Henrik and I decided it would be the perfect home for our Maileg Mice.  I added a couple of coats of paint and some paper to the house and it’s as good as new.  I then added a few pieces of furniture and a mouse portrait painted by Henrik to make our mouse family feel at home.

My children have enjoyed playing with their mouse house and Henrik is already talking about moving his claymation guys in…

-Meta

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »