Culture Baby is a new web boutique selling a range of beautiful, specialty products from different corners of the globe. They’ve set out to offer an international selection of gorgeous goodies which have a unique, cultural story behind them. One such product are these beautiful leather baby booties which are hand sewn by expert leather artisans in Rabat, Morocco.
The booties are made from soft leather and lined with decorative cotton. And apart from the obvious beautiful aesthetics, the booties have such an interesting story behind them which you can read here. The ladies at Culture Baby kindly sent a pair for Marlow, and I can’t wait for them to fit her. In the meantime, they’re sitting pretty on a shelf just waiting to be worn and cherished…
Archie’s is a London-based baby boutique with ‘beautiful little things for beautiful little things’. There’s a lovely curated collection, full of original and fun designs, often with great colours and interesting patterns, and always produced ethically. If you’re looking for a present for a little baby (either your own or someone else’s!), you will find something at Archie’s for sure. Toys, shoes, essentials, fashion — there is even a darling vintage selection.
The gorgeous yellow dungarees from UK brand What Mother Made, that Caper is wearing in the photo above, come from Archie’s, and I love them. They’re fun, fresh, sturdy, cute, and cleverly made — adjustable straps and rolled up legs will assure that he can wear them for a long time!
Nash Alpine, a graphic designer by trade, started her small business Happi Yumi after becoming a mother. Unable to find lovely, personal pieces for the parties she was organising, she started creating her own customised partyware – et voila!
Nash made some darling Fairy Princess Cake Toppers for Ava, and they are so, so cute! She was so proud, taking them to her crèche today. It made the cupcakes look super special, and so very ‘Ava’!
Nash designs other personalised products too, like original invites, fun party bags, and cool balloon hangers. The ordering process is super easy — just send over two of your favourite photo, and Nash will create something wonderful and personal from it. Sweet!
Just cut the top part of a paper carrier bag, and cut out two ears from the left-over top part. Put some little presents in the bag, pin the ears to the top to help them stay in place and close the top on the sewing machine. (Or, just use glue if you don’t have a sewing machine — you can keep the ears in place with cloth pins when they’re drying.) Use white gouache to paint the eyes and snout, and when dry, use a permanent marker to add some details. Done!
I think the summer collection of French brand Minabulle is, in one word, adorable. Simple and old-fashioned in a very fresh way, and with beautiful details like copper buttons and sweet ribbons. There are some darling choices for girls, like this dress (which beautifully combines with this stylish top) — it is just perfect for everyday use as well as for special occasions. But also for boys the designer, Emilie Lefevre, has managed to create some very stylish and original pieces. I love this beautiful barboteuse (it will be so cute on Casper in the summer!), and the little Mahé shorts combined with the striped gilet. Again, so perfect for different occasions, and also so original!
We’re huge fans of Goat-Milk here at Babyccino Kids. We really like the simple aesthetics of the collection and the strong ethics behind the brand (organic, pre-washed cotton and fair trade production). Besides that, the tailoring of the pieces is just beautiful — the fit is absolutely amazing!
I recently got a few pieces from the summer collection for my kids (like this pointelle tank in a gorgeous ‘pale cloud’ colour and the cotton henley in ‘curry’), and again, Goat-Milk didn’t fail to impress. The items are delicate but strong, and will be enjoyed over and over by my kids, all four of them!
I know I’m a bit late to be announcing it here, especially as the collection is now in its second season, but… Jools Oliver, the gorgeous mother of four and wife of the fabulous Jamie Oliver, has collaborated with the UK high street shop, Mothercare, to create a really wonderful, sweet collection called Little Bird.
Jools recently sent over some Little Bird pieces for the girls, and I’m in love with everything! The vintage feeling of the pieces, the fun, bright colours, the sweet little details… The collection reminds me of my own childhood – retro and innocent.
I love the timeless baby collection (how cute is this gingham bubble bodysuit?! Marlow is wearing it in the photo above!) and the colourful boys and girls collections. And I must point out, it’s all very affordably priced as well! Go, Jools Oliver, go!!
Little Bird is sold exclusively for Mothercare, available in store or online here.
My son Henrik loves to sculpt and make figures and creatures out of clay. In the morning when he wakes up he is thinking of new guys to make and when he comes home from school all he wants to do is build new figures. I have to tell him to stop sculpting to eat his meals. You might say he is borderline obsessed with it. One of his favorite things to do is watch instructional videos on how to work with clay, or interviews of his role models: Ray Harryhausen and Tim Burton (he calls him Tim Burgan). I find clay EVERYWHERE in my house! But I enjoy watching this little boy create and be so passionate about his claymation figures.
Because Henrik makes so many different claymation figures, we buy A LOT of clay. He has long since grown out of play dough or other clay that dries. He needs to work with clay that is long lasting and has a lot of oil in it, called plasticine. Several people have asked me where we buy our clay, so I thought I’d share with you where we get ours. We have discovered the best place to get a wide range of colors and larger amounts of clay at fxsupply.com. Henrik also uses armature wire for the skeletal structure of his creations. You can buy the wire here.
It’s so entertaining everyday to see the new creations he comes up with. These are just a small sampling of some of his figures.
Last weekend I had the amazing experience of attending an Alvaro Sanz photography workshop in a lovely town by the sea in Asturias, where I live. He is a very talented Spanish photographer, and travels all over Spain and abroad with his incredible workshops. Alvaro is also Nanook’s father, so he had this idea: when he travels, he takes photos of a little karibu toy which he later shows to his son when he gets back home. That way there is always a connection between the travels, the father and the son. Isn’t it a lovely idea?
So that little Karibu has already been to Morocco, France, Sweden, all over Spain and more… and always comes back home with a picture!
I love the idea. Thanks Alvaro for being so inspiring, always.
There are people in this world who know how to throw a birthday party for their children with panache (Esther being the prime example). Then there are people like me, who draw a blank when it comes to entertaining 10 kids in my house for a few hours! (I am really good at entertaining adults, by the way: I can mix up a mean cocktail and know how to put together a great playlist to get the party going. I don’t understand why I am so intimidated by kids parties!)
Anyway, help is at hand as my absolute favourite birthday supply shop My Little Day finally came out with their very own book about birthday parties. You can find inspiration for party themes, recipes and a whole list of games divided up by ages, which is super practical.
The little hitch is that the book only exists in French, but even if you only understand a little bit, it is totally worth it. I actually think it is really interested to see what games children play in France (I did not know half of them)!
P.S. My Little Day also does amazing party kits.
Esther has already raved about Sylvanian Families, but I thought it was worth mentioning the Sylvanian Families Campervan . I gave it to Ivy for her birthday last week and it has since become the most fought over toy in our house!! All of my children think it is just the coolest thing. (Can you blame them?! Even I am secretly sneaking in a little playtime with it!)
Coincidentally, one of her friends also gave her the Camping Set , which goes perfectly with the Campervan. So cute!
Coco and her friend overlooking the sea and the coast of Marocco on Paloma beach
I have just been away on an amazing break with the kids, and I would love to tell you about it. (To put it into context, we Europeans have been having one of the worst winters I can remember and all we wanted to to was to shed the jumpers and socks and shoes and put on the flip flops and skirts.)
Tarifa is a beautiful little town on the most southern tip of Spain — it is so close to Africa you can see the Maroccan coast most days, a mere 20 km away. The town itself is lovely — it is an old walled city. But it is the surrounding beaches around Tarifa that make this place amazing — the beaches are empty, clean and beautiful, the food is incredible and cheap and everyone loves kids. It is super relaxed and the whole area has a bit of a hippy, surfer vibe to it, just what you need to let go and have a good time. I could have stayed on and on, and a week felt like 2 days, so here is just a little list of the few places I discovered (if anyone has any other tips, please do share!):
We actually rented a house, as I went with a friend and her two children which was lovely and had everything we needed. But we did also discover some hotels, which looked really nice.
The Hurricane Hotel is a great little boutique hotel with a chilled out vibe. It has an amazing pool, a great restaurant and is right on the beach. Basically the perfect combination. It is about a 6 km drive out of Tarifa town.
Hotel Dos Mares is close to the Hurricane Hotel and maybe even a bit more child-friendly. For example, the pool has a nice, shallow paddling area. You can rent little bugalows that line up along the beach.
Camping Torres de la Pena is a nice budget option and if you don’t fancy camping, they also rent out some bungalows. The beach bar is super relaxed and literally on the beach, so kids can play while parents drink a good café con leche.
The kids hanging out at the Hurricane Hotel pool.
Tarifa is a seriously sport location, all day long you can see wind- and kit- surfers sitting on top of their VW buses watching the wind for the perfect moment to take off. The place we were recommended was the Club Mistral,which gives lessons to older kids. They also rent out boards for windsurfing, kitesurfing and plain old normal surfing. You can pick up cheap body boards for kids pretty much anywhere and they are a serious amount of fun as there are little, non scary waves most of the time.
Hurrican Hipica: Horses are everywhere and there is nothing more peaceful than going for a ride on the beach. We loved the Hurricane Hipica, run by a group of super efficient girls, one of the best maintained stables I have ever seen. Violette, who has just turned 5, had her first riding lesson there and it was possibly the most exciting thing ever.
Firmm Dolphin and Whale Watching: One of our big, major highlights was a boat trip out into the straights of Gibraltar to see dolphins. We thought it was going to be a tourist trap, but it was the opposite. We were surrounded by dolphins doing summersaults all around us. It put the biggest smiles on all of our faces. It is also not unusual to see whales. The Firmm boat trips are great as they are part of a research organisation, which uses the trip to collect data and makes sure that the trips are respectful to the animals.
Since coming back and doing a bit of research for this post, I have found out that there is a lot of rock climbing to be done in and around Tarifa. There are even little rocks which could be a lot of fun to explore with older kids. I didn’t really find a website, just different blogs talking about it!
It is also very easy to jump on a boat and go on a day trip to Marocco which is a mere 20 boat ride away. It is something we sadly ran out of time to do…
Not the best photos of the kids on horses on the beach. Note the surfers in the water behind them.
Beaches, beaches, beaches, what more can one want? We stayed close to Bolonia Beach and it is very easy to understand why the Romans decided to build a town on this beach. It is so beautiful. The beach is incredibly clean and has a massive sand dune at one end that is a huge amount of fun to climb and run down.
We also visited Zahara Beach on a recommendation of an Instagram friend and did not regret it, we spend a whole morning body boarding on little waves and then had some tapas in the town itself.
Another beach between Tarifa and Bolonia is called Paloma Beach and one of the most amazing things to see is the wind picking up and the kite from the kite surfs flying up in the air - Actually really beautiful, though I suspect I would be ripped of my surf board and fly off into the air with the kite, it looks like such a hard thing to hold on to.
Little orange tree on a square in Tarifa town.
Anyway, a lovely holiday and so close and yet a world away from the rest of Europe.
I love the idea of this new hospital box from maternity label, Hatch. It’s a box of luxurious hospital necessities for new mothers to wear after they’ve given birth. The box contains a knee-length nightgown designed to feel like your softest t-shirt, as well as a grey jersey robe, a pair of Cosabella black briefs (full coverage, but still pretty), and a pair of luxurious grey cashmere socks.
I think it would make for a lovely gift to give yourself as you’re gearing up for labour… or for your husband to give to you! I don’t know about anyone else, but the outfit I wore after giving birth was always the last thing I thought about before I went into labour, and I often ended up snatching my husband’s t-shirt and throwing back on the outfit I wore into the hospital. There was nothing special about it at all. I sort of like the idea of adding a bit of luxurious comfort to the equation, and feeling that bit more elegant in the special first days after your baby is born. (Not that I will be doing it ever again! But still!)
We recently hung a bird feeder in the apple tree right outside our kitchen window, and it has been so much fun to watch all the garden birds help themselves to the birdseed. There are moments where we can spot three or four different birds taking turns flying up to our bird feeder, meanwhile pigeons (and squirrels!) help themselves to the seeds which fall onto the ground. The kids love pointing out the different birds we spot in the garden, which is why I knew they would love this new British Garden Birds Poster from Finch and Robin. The poster details 10 different garden birds, and we’ve hung it right on the wall by our kitchen table so that we can reference it every time we spot them.
I also like that £2 per poster is being donated to the RSPB Scotland to help save wildlife.
How cute are these espadrilles from the Spanish brand, Slowers!! Ivy and I recently got a pair of matching ones (see photo) in the mosaic print and they are so fun — I’m not sure which one of us loves them more!
I like that they’ve taken the traditional Spanish espadrilles and have given them a bit of a modern twist with the fun prints and colours…
Slowers is a small brand inspired by slow and rural life. They believe in creating shoes which are both natural, cool and comfortable, ideal for long summer walks in nature. They make espadrilles for men, women and children, and they’re all handcrafted in Spain and made from organic cotton and 100% natural jute fibres. (If you’re interested, you can read some interesting bits about the history of espadrilles here.)
I love the look of leggings on little boys, and these ones, by new Californian brand Mason and the Tambourine, I just couldn’t resist! All the leggings by Mason and the Tambourine are handmade in California out of an excellent quality, organic cotton (with 10% lycra jersey for stretch) and printed with non-toxic, water-based soy ink.
On a side note, when I was taking these photos of Casper, I suddenly realised he was 7 months old this week! Still so little, but at the same time he’s getting so big. He is the most delightful little boy, always smiling at everyone, super snuggly, chatting and laughing out loud when we play with him. He now sits at the table with us, in his high chair, and is loving it. We’re so lucky to have him with us!
I’m a big fan of the Chewbeads new line of necklaces and bracelets for children called juniorbeads. Elodie is in love with the glow in the dark necklace and bracelet and always puts it outside in the morning for a charge. They are stylish and also double as a brilliant toy for teething babies. So clever!
Before I had children, I genuinely thought that when I had children I would be producing miniature clones of myself. Even after I had them, the thought lingered on. After all, I had two girls, they looked similar to me, why would they not be similar in character?
Fast forward 7 years and I cannot help laughing about how wrong I was. Not only are my two girls nothing like me, they are also nothing like each other. One of them can pick up a stick and give it a complex life story that is longer than a Harry Potter novel. The other one will see the same stick and see nothing but a stick, and have a great time poking random things with it. Experimenting, she calls this.
One girl is easy going and off with the fairies, the other one is headstrong like a bull. As my grandmother once said, at least I was not boring and did not mass produce. Not quite sure where I am going with this, but I am quite interested to hear if you were as naive as I was and thought you were going to produce mini versions of yourselves.
P.S. Quick disclaimer: I am incredibly glad that my children are nothing like me, that would be sooo boring!
P.P.S. The above photo was taken last week when we were in the south of Spain. On the left, headstrong Violette, on the right dreamy Coco.
Whenever we go on a beach holiday, I like to pack turkish towels instead of normal beach towels because they take up less space in your suitcase, they’re less heavy when wet after a long day at the beach, they dry more quickly… and they’re super cute!
Yesterday I was in the Conran Shop with my mom and we stumbled on these large linen bath towels by FB Collection from Frescobol Carioca, and I couldn’t resist picking up the cute pink and white striped one. I love how multipurpose they are — they can be used as a scarf, a shawl, a sarong, a blanket or a beach towel. The perfect thing to have at the beach! (Can you tell I am desperate for a sunny, beach holiday? Desperate!!!).
Last week was May break here in the Netherlands, and very last minute my husband and I decided to book tickets for an 8 day trip to Portugal — we just had to escape the dreary weather here in Amsterdam for a bit! The evening before we left we booked a car and a hotel for the first 4 nights, about 100 km north of Lisbon. Leaving the planning of the trip to the absolute last minute in the end worked out perfectly well, we had an amazing time! Maybe you would like to hear a little bit about our adventures? (more…)