Swallow’s Return handmade clothing on Etsy

Swallow’s Return is a charming little Etsy store filled with just the sweetest little clothes. Based out of Vancouver, Canada, Marya design and makes all of the clothing and accessories you see. Everything is so charming. I just love her use of fabric and color combinations, her simple shapes with delicate detail. She used only natural fibers and the available sizes are from 6 months to 6 years old. You might be excited to know that she plans on making a few of her models in adult sizes, how fun!

xo Celina

p.s. To read more from Celina, visit her wonderful and creative blog Petit à Petit and Family.

A fantastic Glow In The Dark Owl Poster

How cool is this Glow in the Dark owl poster? Fast asleep during the day, but when the lights go out, Mister Owl wakes up and keeps an eye out for whoever needs the reassurance. It is available in a fantastic neon pink or orange, and (literally) brightens up any kids room.

Available from the wonderful lifestyle & gift shop, The Kid Who.

xxx Esther

No Added Sugar, witty clothing for babies & children


No Added Sugar is a London-based brand with a witty sense of humour! I am absolutely in love with the Brace Yourself jumper for little boys. How cool is that? And the cardigans which offer the perfect balance between classic and contemporary style. If you take a look through the current collection, you’ll find loads of playful details that really define their brand. It is both fun and fashionable, and will really appeal to kids and grown-ups alike.

The great news is that No Added Sugar is currently offering Babyccino readers a super generous 30% discount!! Just click here for details and the code.

x Courtney

Praising children, an interesting suggestion

I read this post on A Cup Of Jo recently and it has really stuck with me over the past couple weeks. Joanna suggests that instead of telling your child he’s a great piano player (for example), we should say ‘I love to watch you play piano’. She argues that the latter is a way of boosting your child’s confidence and encouraging him to continue his activity without putting too much pressure on him to be good at it, or without your child feeling critiqued. She points out how sometimes our well-meaning praise can actually shut someone down, make them more aware of their abilities.

I’ve tried this simple suggestion on my kids recently, and it’s really amazing what kind of response you get — how happy they are to play/sing/draw/dance/read, and how it becomes less about seeking approval and more about enjoying themselves. Because, after all, isn’t it more important that they enjoy doing something than that they’re good at it? I really believe so.

xx Courtney

Cute Crow dress, from Dundelina

Dundelina is a Norwegian brand with a sweet collection of ‘dresses with a story’. There are dresses with large pockets hiding little secrets, brooches that become finger puppets, reversible skirts and shirts with hide and seek layers… so fun!

My absolute favourite item in the current Dundelina collection is this Crow Dress, which I couldn’t resist getting for Ava. It is just the sweetest thing. I love the timeless grey pinstripe fabric and cute apron style design, but the bird detail on the front really makes this dress stand out. The little crow beak can be hidden inside the pocket or be revealed, and the pocket itself is perfect to hide all sorts of little secrets (or an enormous amount of conkers, as Ava can attest).



xxx Esther

Raise the curtains for the 2013 Babyccino Kids Holiday Gift Guides!

We can’t believe it’s this time of year already! The days are getting shorter, the evenings are getting darker, and the holidays are approaching rapidly. Time to get ourselves organised — to make our houses cosy and festive, and organise the gift giving. (Let’s try to be in time this year!)

We have tried to make your holiday preparations a little bit easier by creating four wonderful Gift Guides, with a selection of our favourite gifts for boys, some wonderful gifts for girls and darling ideas for babies as well. And of course there is a Stocking Stuffer guide too!

There are so many cool ideas in the guides that our kids and their little friends will love! (Of course our first holiday purchases were made when preparing the guides…) We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do!

xxx Courtney, Emilie and Esther

PS Tip: send a link to the Babyccino Gift Guides to grandparents or aunts & uncles who are stuck for gift ideas!

The ShopUp in London – the countdown begins!

The countdown has started! Our live shopping event will take place just one month from now!! Have you marked your diaries? Told all your friends? We can’t wait to see you there!

p.s. To see a list of all the fabulous shops & brands participating, click here.

Organic merino wool clothing from MamaOwl

After a lovely and mild (warm even!) Autumn here in Europe, the big storm blew in earlier this week and the weather temps have suddenly dropped. And just like that I’m searching around the house for all the wool layers, scarves & hats. It’s November already! Winter is coming!

I recently picked up some cosy organic silk & wool body suits for the baby. They’re the perfect base layer to keep her warm. (Not to mention, they’re luxuriously soft – not one bit scratchy!) MamaOwl has a great selection of merino wool clothing, from bodies and leggings to outerwear and accessories.

Now I just need to get myself some similar merino wool long underwear (the soft not scratchy kind)! Anyone know where to find that?

x Courtney

The Little Things… a Pumpkin Soup recipe

We had a huge autumn storm that raged over northern Europe earlier this week. Trees were falling over everywhere — it was dangerous to be outside… but so nice and cosy to be inside!

With autumn, and being cosy and warm in our minds, Ava and her little friends Juul and Kate helped me make a delicious pumpkin soup for lunch. They cut carrots, potatoes and onions and were great little kitchen assistants! (If you would like to do this at home with your kids, just click here for your free PDF download!).





Cooking with children is a lovely activity, and they can learn so many things about eating healthily and seasonally and about fresh ingredients… and of course, cooking their own meal will motivate them to eat it as well! Juul, Kate and Ava sat down at a beautifully set table and very proudly ate their own soup… A true little lady luncheon for the three little girl friends!





xxx Esther

PS –  This is the second post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking such gorgeous photos, Sara Musch for the beautiful download, and Bianca from A Day With Kate for letting us use your super stylish house! Paper Straws, Wooden Cutlery and Mae Engelgeer Tea Towel are available from A Day With Kate.

Jailhouse Rock Birthday Party

We have just celebrated Nico’s birthday. This year we made a Jailhouse Rock themed birthday party. It was so much fun! Both kids and adults really enjoyed it!

A little cell as a stage. And black, white and turqouise as star colours!

Very sponsorized food table!!!

And of course merchandising of the band!!!

It was so much fun, the kids were on stage singing all evening. By the way, the microphones are real ones, so you can imagine… they were amazed!!

Happy Birthday to Nico and hope you like it!

xo Maria

To read more from Maria and see more photos from this party, visit her lovely Spanish blog here.

Giant colouring picture from KEK Amsterdam

Last week, when we were spending the week together in the Belgian Ardennes, the kids had a lot of fun with the giant colouring picture from KEK Amsterdam. These super sized colouring pictures (91.4 x 150 cm, or 3′ x 5′) come in three varieties: ‘In the Forest’ with beautiful images of trees, birdhouses and hummingbirds, ‘In the City’ with many facades, roofs, traffic and signs, and ‘To the Stars’ with robots and space ships and tons of technical details.

Even though we were so, so lucky with the weather last week (at times it felt like summer, and we even had two barbecues!), the kids spent countless hours around their colouring poster, sometimes by themselves, sometimes all together (see photo below).

These posters are such a great present idea, I’m sure they will definitely keep a lot of kids entertained in the cold and dark months to come! (Also, they come folded and sealed in A4 size, so they’re super easy to send as presents by post).

xxx Esther

Creative Family Home

Ashlyn Gibson, founder of the super duper charming London children’s boutique, Olive Loves Alfie, has recently come out with a new home interiors book, and just the idea of it had me excited. I love Ashlyn’s style, and have previously drooled over images of her own home… so it is perfectly fitting that she dishes out the decor advice in her own book.

A copy of Creative Family Home recently arrived on my doorstep, and I immediately flicked through the inspiring pages. The book starts with a chapter on creative family style, focusing on the varying demands of family living. There are ideas for using your space imaginatively, practical & stylish storage solutions, and how to use colour and pattern in your decorating.

Next, the book features 12 stylish and creative homes from all over Europe and draws inspiration from their different approaches to family life and style. The featured homes are, of course, beautiful… but in a non-conformist way. In a way that celebrates individuality and the unique families and their tastes. It also includes insightful quotes from the children about their rooms, a sweet touch to an already unique and inspiring book.

You can pick up a copy of the book here.

xx Courtney

What do babies and rockets have in common?

Since Coco started to speak, ‘why’ has been one of the main words in her vocabulary. I thought it was a phase, but it has been going on for 7 years and counting! A lot of questions I can still answer, but some are now starting to get a bit too complex and we have started to resort to looking up facts together on the internet.

During one of these searches, we stumbled upon a video called “What do babies and rockets have in common?” which we loved (I personally had never even thought about the similarities between rockets and babies, apart from the fact that they are both pretty noisy).

It is based on a book by Marcus Chown called “What a Wonderful World “, which is actually for adults and full of interesting facts (so that we can pre-empt all the WHY questions).

- Emilie

Little Acorn People

Every autumn, Elodie asks when we are going to “meet more acorn friends.” We first created these little people at a play group we used to attend a few years back and it has firmly took hold into a seasonal tradition for us. We always collect leaves and twigs for their little beds and can easily spend an afternoon creating stories around them. Here are some instructions to create your own:

Here’s what you’ll need:

little peg dolls
– sandpaper
acorns (have fun hunting for these or get some here)
beeswax (usually can be found at an art supply store)
– tacky glue
– markers
– wool for hair
– optional is paint and glitter for acorn hats

Here’s how to do it:

1. Using sandpaper, give the peg dolls a little scrub to get them ready for paint
2. Paint the bodies with non-toxic paint and let dry (or you can just leave natural)
3. Give your little friend a face. Maybe a smile and some rosy cheeks.
4. Rub all over with a bit of beeswax to seal paint color.
5. Choose a bit of colorful wool and pull apart so fairly thin. Coat with a thin layer of glue just wear you are going to attach to top of wooden peg doll.
6. Wait until this dries and then glue your acorn hat on top of hair.
7. (Optional: coat top of acorn with glitter for an extra sparkly cap)

It is so fun to hunt for acorns and it seems every time we do this activity we find different acorn caps. It takes time to coordinate which cap will fit with the little peg dolls but you can always find a handful that will work. If you find your self short on time, loads of people sell these on etsy as well. Last year we didn’t have time to make as I was preparing to have a baby and we found the ones above here.

x Elizabeth

To read more from Elizabeth, hop over to her sweet blog, The Littlest.

Hello from Belgium!

We’re all in Belgium together this week! Ten children, five adults and loads of chaos! Coincidentally all of our school holidays fell during the same week, so we rented a big house in the Ardennes to spend the holiday together. We’ve done a bit of exploring around the area, we’ve gone on some big hikes in the forest behind our house, but mostly we are staying home enjoying lazy mornings, doing lots of cooking and letting the kids run around together. We’ve been really lucky with the weather this week – it’s been so unseasonably sunny and mild, and the kids have been spending so much time outside. What a treat!

We thought we would share some photos of our time here. Hope you don’t mind the many photos (of course we couldn’t resist the big group photos! ten children does feel like a lot when you get them all together!!).

Hope you’re all having a wonderful week as well! Were your kids also on school holidays this week? Have you travelled anywhere? Please share!

xxx Esther, Emilie and Courtney

La Botte Gardiane

This post made me think of Esther, as we discovered the beautiful shoemaker “La Botte Gardiane” together. These shoes have been around for half a century, but only recently a shop opened up close to me, and we gravitate towards it whenever Esther is in town. The shoes are handmade in the Camargue, a region of France where wild horses still roam and the local cowboys are known as Gardians.

The children’s boots are as well made and as beautiful as the grown up collection and I love the “solidness” of them. They look like they can deal with some rough weather and keep little feet warm and dry. And for all you lucky readers living in the Southern Hemisphere the leather sandals are lovely too!

– Emilie

The new science of siblings

In my recent home tour and interview over on Design Mom where I talk about my kids and my desire to raise children who love each other, a reader left me a comment suggesting I read this article from Time Magazine about the importance of siblings. I clicked over to the article and have since read it twice. I find it so fascinating, and it really rings true in my experience of growing up in a big family with my many siblings, and also with my experience of raising my own children. We are truly shaped and defined not only by our parents and our genetics, but in a large part by our siblings. The article reads:

From the time they are born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counselors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how not to; how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys. Our spouses arrive comparatively late in our lives; our parents eventually leave us. Our siblings may be the only people we’ll ever know who truly qualify as partners for life.

Whenever I think about the importance of siblings and the invaluable lessons they learn from each other, I think about bath time in our family. I think about how my four kids have to cram into one bath tub, how they have to learn to share the space and take up their fair share (usually, they first discuss their placement in the bathtub – who’s turn it is to sit closest to the faucet, etc.). Then they discuss the bath toys and who gets to play with each toy. Then, when it comes time for them to rinse their hair, they all have to make room for each person to lie backwards and soak their heads – they all shift to one side to allow their siblings to rinse their hair. They pass the shampoo. They take turns with the bath toys. And then, of course, there’s the debate about who has to get out first, who gets the biggest towel, etc.  If those are not valuable life lessons, I don’t know what are!!

Anyway… this is, of course, my own experience with having four children, and I am very aware that not everyone chooses (or is able) to have more than one child, so their experiences might be different (maybe in that case, they have cousins or friends who shape them?!). I’m not arguing the case of having many children, but mostly just observing what I see and know in my own family, and what I know from the family I come from. I really do believe that my own children are very much shaped by one another, and in a way I think it takes a tiny bit of pressure of me as a mother. Maybe it is my way of justifying our own family size and dynamics?

Please share your thoughts! Do you think siblings play an important role in shaping who we become?

x Courtney

Original ‘winter cards’ and more happy graphics by Bl-ij

I love these original ‘winter cards‘ by Dutch graphic designer Bibi de Lang from Bl-ij. Such a lovely alternative to the Merry Christmas or Happy New Year card! You can even send them outside the holiday season — how lovely to receive a lovely, warm (!), old-fashioned, handwritten card when it’s cold and dark outside!

But there is so much more to discover in the beautiful Bl-ij webshop. If you love stationery and paper like me, these products are going to make you very happy (‘blij’ means happy in Dutch)!

xxx Esther

Mango – for Kids

I am a high street fashion chick at heart and not a lot of things make me as happy as a high street bargain (have you seen the HM Isabel Marant collection?). This is why I am always happy when a high street label starts doing kids clothes. Not many have done it as well as Zara, but Zara’s biggest rival Mango might be a close contender. Sure, not every design is perfect, but I love the cute little skirts, little dresses and jackets.

Perfect for the winter, especially as my girls seem to be going through a serious growth spurt and I think they might be my height way too soon!

– Emilie

Wunway

I am a huge fan of the girls’ clothing brand Wunway.  Their clothing is so beautiful, and unique, and so reasonably priced. Wunway was founded by three close friends Melanie Chu, Nicole Kim, and Ella Kim.  These mothers (they have 10 children between them) wanted to make better quality and better priced clothing for girls ages 1-8.

Each of the products on their online shop is so beautifully styled, it makes it easy and fun to purchase from them and to mix and match. I literally want to buy everything!  Every time I go to their site I have a hard time narrowing down my options.  I also want everything in my size!

Wunway also carries beautiful accessories; tights, necklaces, scarves, shoes and more.  Their focus is only on girls, but they have aspirations of expanding and launching a boys’ line too.  I hope so (fingers crossed).

This last summer I had the opportunity to work with Wunway on an exciting project.  They were was so helpful and easy to work with that it made me even more of a fan.  You can see all their clothing here.

-Meta

To read more from Meta, please visit her stylish and creative blog, One More Mushroom.

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