Kristina Kringle

My sister has just arrived to spend the holidays with us and we are all so excited!! Her arrival really marked the start of the holiday season for us, and also the start of the Christmas cookie baking frenzy! We decided to start with a dessert our mum used to make every Christmas called Kristina Kringle. Just the almondy smell of them makes my mouth water and reminds me of being a child, counting down the days ’til Christmas!

This is another great recipe from one of my very favourite cookbooks, the Alice Bay Cookbook, referenced before here and here and here. I hope you like them as much as we do! Here’s the recipe:

Kristina Kringle:

-1 cup flour
-1/2 cup butter (112 grams)
-2 tablespoons water

-1 cup water
-1/2 cup butter
-1 cup flour
-3 eggs
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut together 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of butter until mixture resembles fine meal. Add the water and blend well. Form dough into a ball and divide in half. Using the heel of your hand, press dough into two long strips about 3 inches wide, down the length of a cookie sheet.

In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of butter to a boil. Remove from heat. Add flour, and stir until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add salt and extract. Stir into a smooth consistency. Spread on top of the dough strips. And bake for 45 minutes. Cool and frost with Almond Icing.

Almond Icing:

-1/4 cup butter, softened
-1 cup confectioner’s sugar
-1 tablespoon milk
-1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine the butter, sugar, milk and extract. Blend until smooth and spread over pastry.

Enjoy! And happy Christmas cookie baking.

xx Courtney

Personalised papercut prints from couPure Baby Art

I recently got Marlow a personalised print from couPure Baby Art and I think it makes a cute addition to the wall behind her bed. CouPure Baby Art specialises in beautiful, custom papercut prints, incorporating your child’s name and birthdate into the design. Such a cute idea for a baby gift or simply just to personalise a nursery.

I opted for the Lucky Ladybird print, but there are loads of other themes to choose from. And all you have to do is enter your child’s name and birthdate, and they’ll create your custom print for you. I also like that the prints are shipped framed and ready to hang – it makes it so easy!

x Courtney

Last minute DIY Christmas tree

Christmas is around the corner! I can’t believe it!  This past weekend we made a recycled and diy Christmas tree. It is easy and very fun to do with kids.

We are so happy with our tree. I think the next step will be to do some more, but little. And make a forest!!!. It will be fun.

Hope you like them and give it a try! And hope you have a very merry Christmas!!!

x Maria

P.S. To read more from Maria, visit her crafty and inspirational blog here.

Sweet teddybear ear balaclavas from Nilka

I (or really, Sinterklaas) couldn’t resist buying this cute cashmere teddybear balaclava from Nilka for Casper at the ShopUp last week, and I’m so happy I did. He looks so adorable in it! I just love balaclavas, they are perfect when it’s chilly outside. They cover ears, neck, and chubby cheeks, and are also virtually impossible to pull off. Sorry Casper! : )

xxx Esther

Gratin

Gratins have been around since the invention of the stove I reckon. If you think about it, a lasagne, cauliflower and cheese and a haché parmentier are roughly the same thing: some carbohydrates or vegetables mixed in with a béchamel and potentially some cheese, stuck into an oven until it all turns into a beautiful melting pot of a dish, covered with a bubbling crust.

A good gratin is a staple dish in our house, as it gives new life to leftover pasta, potatoes or vegetables. I mostly use either single cream for my bakes or a tomato sauce to bind the main body of the dish together and then top it with grated cheese. I then stick it in the oven, which has been preheated to 180° and bake it for 30-40 minutes until it is golden brown on top and bubbling.

I don’t think I have ever eaten a bad gratin and, eaten with a crispy green salad, it is a really lovely meal.

– Emilie

Above is a gratin I made the other day with broccoli, potato and some lardons!

Inspiring holiday ideas from Sweet Paul!

You probably have heard of the talented Paul Lowe Einlyng, better known to most people as ‘Sweet Paul‘. His blog and quarterly magazine are an accumulation of wonderful craft projects, yummy recipes and creative decor ideas, all photographed in the most stunning and inspiring way. I’m a big fan of Sweet Paul!

Sweet Paul is sharing some ideas below that were published in his 2013 Sweet Paul Holiday Kids issue. I’m pretty sure they will inspire you to do something crafty with your kids the coming weeks! (Or if not, you can just gaze at the pretty pictures.) The entire magazine, full to the brim with inspiring activities like the sneak peeks below, is available as a PDF download here (for iPad click here). And it’s beautiful!

xxx Esther

Cheese Sticks
These are amazing when served with eggs.

Makes 20 sticks
1 sheet puff pastry (I love to
use Dafour)
½ cup grated cheese of your choice

1. Preheat then oven to 375°F.
2. Cut the puff pastry into half-inch strips.
3. Twist them gently and place in a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
4. Sprinkle with cheese.
5. Bake until golden. This will take about 10 minutes.

Mister Rabbit and Miss Cat
These are very simple toys to make. You can make fabric scraps, make sure they are a natural fiber so that you can watch them.

You need:
fabric
pen
needle and thread
cotton stuffing
sewing Maschine
1.Start by drawing your animal on the fabric.
2.Emboyder it using small stitches.
3.Cut around the animal so that it follows its shape, you need a front and a back.
4.Sew them together right side against right side, turn inside out and stuff with stuffing.
5.Sew up the hole.

And here are the instructions for the adorable Peanut Snowman at the top.

Peanut snowmen
This is a great kids project. Looks awesome on a small tree.

You need:
whole peanuts
white craft paint
marker
wool string
hot glue gun
acorn tops
1.Start by painting the peanuts white.
2.Once dry use a marker and make eyes and mouth.
3.Hot glue a acorn top to the top of the peanut and fasten a piece of wool string around the neck.

Thank you Sweet Paul!

Cutest pointy puffy coats from Ladida

My girls were badly in need of new, warm winter coats (the last two winters here in Europe made me wary of extreme cold!), so when I found these adorable Anais&I puffy coats over at LaDiDa.com, I decided to get them matching ones. They are so cute with their pointy hats!

LaDiDa has a beautiful collection of some of the world’s best brands, all selected because of their great quality and aesthetics. I love browsing the tasteful collections!

xxx Esther

PS More sizes of the pointy coats over at the Anais&I website!

Organic baby clothing from B by White

I have just recently discovered this adorable Spanish brand of clothing for babies. The lovely owner, Ana, of B by White recently sent a few items for Marlow and they are just adorable! You can really see the love and attention that goes into making each piece, and her package came perfectly wrapped and presented. I love the muted colour palette and the soft, organic knits. I also love the beautiful, dreamy blouses! Ana uses only certified organic and hand-spun cotton, free from chemicals and artificial dyes.

I’m only wishing the sizes went up a bit bigger! Sadly Marlow is beyond the baby clothing size and into the (chunkier) toddler stage! But I’m definitely keeping this in mind for baby gifts.

x Courtney

The Milk anniversary book

Christmas came early! The Milk Anniversary Book landed on my doormat this morning and I’ve been busy admiring all of the beautiful photos inside…

Milk Magazine is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, and to celebrate the occasion they have published a gorgeous coffee table book full of the best fashion photos from the past decade. All the photos are absolutely stunning; the exceptional creativity of the Milk Magazine team combined with numerous talented photographers gives this book an immediate cult status. Truly inspirational! To purchase visit the Milk boutique here (quote code ‘babbyc’ for 5% exclusive discount).

xxx Esther

The Little Things… Gift (un)wrapping!

I love gift giving — there is something so wonderful about planning the perfect gift for someone special, wrapping it in the nicest possible way, the actual excitement of giving it, and finally seeing the joy on the face of the receiver…

This week for The Little Things, we’ve created simple holiday wrapping paper by stamping triangles on craft paper. It makes such a happy house to pile some presents in a corner of your house… And Casper and his little friend Mees had a ball opening the presents and playing with the awesome toys inside (all kindly lent to us by A Day with Kate).

It’s easy to create this simple holiday wrapping paper. Just make a triangular stamp by cutting a corner of a regular eraser. We made one bigger and one smaller stamp. The kids can help to stamp the paper!

Sara Musch made wonderful matching gift tags (just download for free here), and the ‘Pretty Things Inside‘ tape is also from A Day with Kate.

xxx Esther

PS –  This is the fifth post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you again Maud Fontein for taking beautiful photos in your awesome house, and Sara Musch for the cool download. All the toys are from Janod via wonderful webshop A Day with Kate, and the boys’ outfits are from Gray Label, also via A Day with Kate.

Sweet paper goods from Ekaterina Trukhan



I’ve written about her books before (here), but Ekaterina Trukhan recently got in touch to let us know about her new range of stationery and paper products in her newly launched shop. I love her sweet and cheery designs and think they really appeal both to kids and grown-ups alike. I love the new 2014 Calendar which features illustrated children appropriately dressed for the seasons of each month.

x Courtney

XL angels by Jurianne Matter

Jurianne Matter is a Dutch designer and I’m a big fan of her work. The clever ways she uses paper and patterns is just wonderful! These XL angels are new in her collection and are such a lovely way to decorate your house for the holidays.

If you don’t know Jurianne’s work yet, check out the rest of her designs here — the pop up posters are so beautiful, and many of her other products make cute little gifts to pop in the mail for far away friends… (All available through Bijzonder Mooi.)

xxx Esther

Timecapsules — capture the present & preserve for the future

Every now and then I have the feeling I have to stop time for a moment. To soak up my life, my kids who are still so little, my husband, our love and health and happiness. And I try to remember the little things, the smell of my baby’s hair, the sweet kisses from Ava, Pim and Sara kneeling over a game they are playing together. But it is nearly impossible to remember all those tiny details…

Enter TimeCapsules — a beautifully designed box designed to capture big and little things from certain moments in life, and keep them locked away until the date you have decided to open it up again. The box comes filled with all sorts of cool stickers, washi tape, tags and a journal, and lots of suggestions for what to store in your box.

We’ve been gradually collecting things to put in our box, and the children have written notes and made drawings for their future selves. We decided to open our TimeCapsules box in 20 years — Sara will be 28 years old, and Casper 21! What will our lives look like then, and who will we be?

TimeCapsules make perfect presents for a wedding, the birth of a baby, a graduation or for a friend who is moving far away… But I also like the idea of using it to simply capture everyday life, the little things we love. (If only I could capture the smell of my baby’s hair!) So I think these make a wonderful (holiday) gift for someone special as well.

xxx Esther

Baby Bear Shop organic bath!




Marlow still fits in our laundry room deep sink and it’s my favourite way to bathe her. No crouching over, no wasting water, and having her up at my level makes it easier to wash and rinse her. (I think it’s her favourite way to be bathed too – she always points at the sink asking to get in it!)

We have recently discovered the Baby Bear Shop range of organic bath products and love the Wishy Wash baby wash/shampoo and the natural Baby Bird bar soap. It has a very delicate, natural smell and a gentle sudsy-ness. Perfect for sensitive baby skin. I also love their gorgeous packaging (made from recycled paper!) and that they plant a tree with every order placed.

xx Courtney

Tutti Confetti, charming illustrations

I am so completely in love with the spanish ilustrator Tutti Confetti. I think they are not only lovely but the overall warmth and feel of them is just amazing.

Sooo nice. But my favourite are the personalized ilustrations she makes. You send her a picture and she does the most beautiful drawing full of emotions!  Nico and I already have ours. And I cannot stop looking at it.

Congratulations Tutti Confetti!!

Maria

p.s. To read more from Maria, visit her lovely blog here.

Cardboard London Dollhouse

This cardboard London dollhouse is the most recent dollhouse from Tiphaine Mangan in her new series featuring homes from around the world. I love that she captures the quintessential London terraced house so well!

Each dollhouse comes with 13 flat-packed cardboard furniture pieces for children to assemble and set up in the house as well as a sheet of stickers to decorate the house. What a fun little activity (a cute Christmas gift too!) … and I love the idea of hanging it on the wall in your child’s room when she’s no longer interested in playing with it! I think it looks so cute in the photo above.

x Courtney

Famille Summerbelle new mugs and trays


I am a huge, long-standing fan of Famille Summerbelle as I really do admire the craft and hard work that goes into making each one of their beautiful pieces. (Remember this video?)

Famille Summerbelle  has just brought out a new range of mugs and trays and I am very partial toward the Paris designs. I love giving people nice souvenirs of my beautiful city and nice souvenirs like these are really not easy to come by.

– Emilie

Snuggly Ugly handmade monsters



Snuggly Ugly is a Brooklyn-based brand run by a super sweet husband and wife team. Their handmade monsters are, as the name suggests, exquisitely snuggly (made from up-cycled cashmere jumpers) and ugly (in the cutest way, of course!). Each of their sweet little creations is one-of-a-kind and handmade in their studio in Brooklyn.

Indira from Snuggly Ugly sent one of the mostritos for Marlow, and she absolutely loves it. She loves the little pocket detail on the front, and is constantly trying to stick things inside it. And there is something about the quirky googly eyes and crooked smile that really appeals to babies.  So sweet!

x Courtney

Pepa and Co.

Pepa and Co. is a brand new London-based boutique which just opened its concept store in Fulham last month. I haven’t made it yet into the shop, but Pepa sent me a selection of the lovely pieces from her collection, and it’s all so beautiful and classic in style. The sweet baby bodysuits with Liberty print peter pan collars have become a staple in Marlow’s little wardrobe (the cotton is so soft!). And the little knitted rompers have me missing those sweet newborn baby days!

I’m already planning my next trip down to Fulham just to discover the collection in store! Judging from the sweet details in the package they sent me, I’m sure the shop is equally lovely.

x Courtney

Win!! December Giveaways!

This month’s give-aways are so, so gorgeous!  Listen up:

Click HERE for all give-aways!! Good luck everybody!! All of these prizes are so, so cool!

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