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

Jonas Paul eyewear

With two very nearsighted parents, it is not so much the question of if, but when one of our children will need their first pair of glasses. I still remember when I was ‘diagnosed’ for nearsightedness by the school nurse at the age of 11, and being so sad and angry about the fact that she told me I had to start wearing glasses… (At the time, glasses were definitely not cool, and I already had braces to complete the look.) I also remember the revelation when I put my first pair of glasses on my nose — wow! I could see!
Thankfully, nowadays glasses and the nerdy look are glamorous and chic, and there are wonderful choices available for little children as well: enter Jonas Paul eyewear.

Cute NY based couple Ben and Laura Harrison launched Jonas Paul Eyewear soon after their son, Jonas Paul, was born with a rare visual impairment. Unable to find suitable and stylish eyewear for Jonas, Ben started started designing his own line of frames, trying to bridge the gap between adult and children’s styles. And he has succeeded so well! I love the darling styles of the frames, both of the prescription frames as the sunglasses. I couldn’t help ordering the Ruth sunglasses for Sara. Sooo cute!

And when the moment comes that my kids need glasses, thankfully there is nothing to feel sad about anymore. Yay!

xxx Esther

Some favourites from LaDiDa

LaDiDa is a US-based children’s boutique with an amazing selection of brands to choose from and the most beautiful clothes! I thought it would be fun to round up some of my current favourites from the shop, so I’ve created some outfits and have linked to the clothes below:

  • Outfit 1: I love the mint green jumpsuit and the sweet little mary jane shoes. And the stripy beach bag! I could buy this for myself!
  • Outfit 3: I love this striped orange tunic… and these shorts by Bonton are my favourite. I always buy them for my boys (so easy with the elasticated waist and simple shape). I find it difficult to buy shorts for boys – so often they’re big and baggy and oversized. I like to see my boys’ little legs not cover them up!!
  • Outfit 4: How pretty is this Bonton dress?! I want one in my size please! And the floral scarf and perfect leather sandals! It’s the ideal outfit for summery beach holidays. Summer can’t come quickly enough!
  • Outfit 5: For Marlow! Sweet top and bloomers from Neige. And I can’t get enough of these little leather sandals. So simple and yet so pretty!

Bring spring inside!

Spring is around the corner! And very literally so — my neighbours pruned their trees last week and I brought some of the branches in. And look! The forsythia, cherry blossom and magnolia are so pretty. (And Ava also pruned the neighbours’ flowers, oops!)

xxx Esther

Adorable Penguins at Esthex

I love the new penguin range at Esthex. How cute are Ned (who plays music!) and his little brother Georges? And that little Ned backpack is just adorable. They have so much character! (Esther, the designer behind Esthex, told me she went through so much effort to make sure her supplier had the eyes just right — and it really makes the difference.)

I also really like these doll sized bunk beds. Wouldn’t your children just love to play with these? I know mine would — my boys as much as my girls!

xxx Esther

Little Fashion Week, a new fair in Brussels

Last Saturday, Emilie and I spent a day in Brussels to visit the new children’s fair Little Fashion Week. What a fun opportunity to hang out together, and to visit the pretty town of Brussels!

The fair took place in the industrial buildings of Tour et Taxis — a stunning location. The decoration of the fair was also very beautiful. The lounge was decorated with tons of little playhouses, piles on bright coloured pallades and surrounded with gorgeous stuffed animals and toys. So stylish! (We also liked the burger from the Mi Vida food truck!)

It was fun spending the day at Little Fashion Week, getting up to date with brands and collections, and some discovering new shops and brands. And catching up with our blogging friends Florence from Pirouette and Peggy from Paul&Paula.

Here’s a little impression of our day… (more…)

Mix & match sketchbook by DEUZ

My kids (and I!) have had the best of fun this last week with the clever mix & match sketchbook by DEUZ. Basically this is an ordinary blank sketchbook, but the centre of the page is perforated so you can easily ‘cut’ your drawing in half, and thus create your own crazy animal combinations. What a great idea!

There are two varieties to choose from: ‘Wolf‘, or ‘Characters‘. We’ve been drawing up horse-fish, pig-birds, dino-ants, and more fantastic animals in the ‘Wolf’ sketchbook. So cool! I’m definitely going to order more for gifts.
(A little tip: it helps to indicate the ‘thickness’ of the animal beforehand, so your doodles line up once separated.)

xxx Esther

The new Elias & Grace website!

Have you seen the shiny new Elias & Grace website?! They’ve given themselves an entirely new look and lots of great new features. You can now narrow down your search by category, gender and by child’s size (which is such a handy feature I think). You can shop new arrivals and see different trends (currently stripes and blue!). And of course, it goes without saying, that everything in store is so effortlessly stylish!

Elias & Grace is my go-to shop in London. They do such a great job of buying and always have the most stylish selection of brands. It’s always fun to stop in at the beginning of every season to see the latest trends and pick up some new pieces for the kids. It’s impossible for me to resist!

x Courtney

PS – Elias & Grace is now offering a £100 gift voucher in our BIG giveaway! So if you haven’t done so already, go enter to win!! Today is the last day!

Organic cotton knitwear from Miou Kids

So often these days, as you look around at children’s brands, you see so many things that look alike. One trend inspires the other, people naturally draw inspiration from the same things… and you end up with lots of clothes that look the same. Which is why it’s so fun to see brands doing their very own thing and making their own mark in the children’s wear world.  This new collection from Miou Kids is such a breath of fresh air! And so sweet and summery in the colour palette.

Everything in this new collection has been made from 100% organic cotton and certified eco-friendly dyes, and everything has been hand-crocheted by skilled artisans in Peru who receive a fair wage for their work. I love the crochet kimono tops and cardigans and all the adorable bonnets and booties! Such a sweet collection.

x Courtney

Instagram books from Blurb



I ordered a couple Instagram books from Blurb last year, and they’re so fun to have! The kids love looking through them, and it’s such a nice way to turn my Instagram photos into something ‘real’.

I recently ordered a book of Marlow’s first year – an entire book of her photos from the day she was born until the day she turned one — and it just arrived! Oh my gosh, you should see the way Marlow carries around this book!! She loves it! She keeps pointing to all her baby photos and saying ‘baby’ and kissing every page.

Making the books is super easy. You just have to sync your Instagram account to your account on Blurb and it automatically fills in the pages with photos. If you don’t want to use the autofill feature, you can select your own photos from Instagram and then place them onto each page. So easy! I’m definitely going to order more!

x Courtney

Terry Rich beach robes

Terry Rich specialises in towels, beach robes, UV rash vests and all things beachy. Being from Australia, they happen to know a thing or two about sun protection and the best beach products. Every time I email with them we always speak about the weather… and it seems like, even during their winter, they’re still out on the beach!

I love their hooded beach robes. What a perfect thing for little ones to wear when they’re fresh out of the water, wet and chilly and in need of a big, cosy robe! I love that they zip up so they stay on, unlike towels which always fall off and end up in the sand.

Terry Rich is just one of the 16 amazing shops offering a prize to this week’s BIG GIVEAWAY. They’re giving away a $100 gift voucher to use online.  You can see all the great prizes and enter to win here.

x Courtney

Birthday party: Decorating cupcakes

One of my childhood friends always had the best cake at her birthday parties. Her mum would make (or buy?) the most ordinary cupcakes, and set the table with different sort of custards, frostings and toppings. I loved to pile up my plate with candy, and create the most enormous cupcake possible.

For Sara’s birthday party last year, I did a similar thing. I made cupcakes, and cream cheese frosting (simply mix cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar), and used my vintage fondue plates for the table setting. Chocolate sprinkles, heart sprinkles, mini m&m’s, candy… It was all there. And it was funny to see how the children enjoyed themselves (and how in the end, lots of the candy was left un-eaten on the plates, but all of the raspberries, blueberries and strawberries were gone)!

xxx Esther

An 8th birthday party with a cooking theme

It was Pim’s 7th birthday last Monday so I’m planning a little birthday party for him, and I realised that I never posted about the cooking party we had for Sara’s birthday last year!

Sara has enjoyed food since she was a baby, and she loves helping me in the kitchen. So it was no surprise when she asked for a cooking party for her 8th birthday! She invited 8 of her girl friends, and like always, party preparations took place the day before the party (let’s just say, I’m at my best the very last minute).

I bought a huge pile of cheap, unbleached cotton at the market, and together with my mother-in-law sewed 11 aprons out of it (of course Pim and Ava were invited too). I also bought cutting boards, knives, notebooks and pencils. I made a triangular stamp out of a simple eraser, and decorated everything with triangles. I also stamped the children’s names on all of the items.

We set the table with the different veggies and toppings needed for the healthy Vietnamese Style Rice Paper Rolls I blogged about earlier. The children loved cutting everything on their own cutting boards, and writing down the ingredients and recipe in their little notebook. And even very picky eaters found ingredients on the table that they loved!

Afterwards, the notebooks and pencils came in handy for the treasure hunt we had organised in the neighbourhood. And of course, they could all take home a little party bag with the items we had made for them. It was a really fun party!

xxx Esther

Cute toys under £4 from Eenymeeny

Ivy has now lost her two bottom teeth!! I think it’s really young to start losing them (she’s only 4½!), but it goes to show that no matter how hard I try to keep my babies little forever, they just insist on growing up! : )

Anyway, the tooth fairy has now come twice in the past couple weeks, each time leaving two £1 coins under her pillow. (What’s the going rate for the tooth fairy these days? I’m curious to know if £2 is normal?!) So… with £4 in her pocket, we decided to pay a little visit to Eeenymeeny to see what sort of toy she could buy herself.

The selection was so good, she had a difficult time choosing! She could buy:

  • A sweet pack of handmade, earthenware marbles, painted in pretty colours
  • A wooden pop gun like her brothers got for Christmas
  • Fingernail stickers to decorate her nails
  • Swirly whirly bouncy balls, because they’re always fun!
  • Super cute knitted finger puppets
  • Magical fluttering butterflies that you twist up and then release to let them fly
  • A package of plastic daisies to create your own daisy chain bracelets (she needed a few extra pounds to buy this, but we were willing to chip in for the sake of how cool this was!)
  • She ended up with this super cool little colouring book – with 32 pages of bunnies to draw outfits and dress up! She loves it and has nearly coloured in every page! (There’s also a ‘32 ways to dress a fox‘ version too, and I’m definitely going back to buy more for little gifts.)

We don’t normally take the kids shopping with us, for fear of turning them into little consumers. But, I did think it was an interesting exercise to show Ivy what her money could buy her. I also think she really appreciated her colouring book because she knew she bought it herself and had made the tough decision to choose it over the other interesting options.

Anyway, I thought I would share in case your kids are also hoping to spend their tooth fairy money!

x Courtney

Final BIG Giveaway!!

Drum roll please…. here is our third and final BIG giveaway to celebrate our 10K Facebook fans! One lucky winner will win all of the following prizes, a hamper with a total value of more than £1,500!

Here’s what you can win:

1. A selection of cute French goodies from Deco Baby. A Parisian bundle of loveliness!

2.  A cosy wool snugglesuit from Mama Owl to keep your baby warm all year long!

3.  A cosy and stylish buggy footmuff from Fun*Das! Spruce up your stroller!

4.  Colourful ‘Fun Fetti’ wall stickers from Pop and Lolli. To brighten up any space!

5. A shopping spree at Four Monkeys! Such cool  and stylish brands! (Gift voucher for 100 euros.)

6.  A beautiful, handmade classic teddy bear from Polka Dot Club! Such a special prize!

7.  A £100 gift voucher at Bon Voyage Kids to pick up everything you need for your next sunny holiday!

8.  A shopping spree at Chicky Pop to pick up some new pieces for the Spring season! (A gift voucher for $165!)

9.  A beautiful silk pintuck blouse from Koka Mama. Perfect for pregnancy and beyond! (Value of £189)

10.  A gorgeous block-printed, single-sized quilt from Moochic Baby plus a matching pillowcase!

11. A £100 gift voucher from Little Bou to spend on the wonderful Spanish clothing label YPorque.

12.  A special DIY time capsule kit from Time Capsules to store and keep your memories for the future.

13.  A shopping spree at Elias & Grace to splurge on the new spring/summer collections! (Gift voucher for £100)

14.  A beautiful cashmere/merino wool baby blanket from Nuvola Baby (worth 150 euros).

15.  A generous $100 AUS gift voucher to spend at Terry Rich, perfect for your next beach holiday!

16.  A shopping spree at the wonderful Swiss ethical brand L’Asticot to scoop up some vibrant, organic cotton clothing items (gift voucher for CHF150).

Just click here to enter to visit the sign-up page.  This giveaway is just for registered users of our shopping portal, so if you haven’t yet signed up, please do so! Good luck!!!

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