Head Lice woes

Lice – they are the bane of my life! I even dream of them. I guess because we live in a big city, lice are unavoidable. I have tried lotions, potions, shampoos, some of them ecological, some of them positively radio-active! I even managed to spend a crazy amount of money on a real jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise (difficult to find in France) because I read somewhere on the internet that I could get rid of lice with it.

This weekend the schools in our area decided to organise a collective delousing campaign. We were all asked to delouse our children on the same weekend. The hope is that this will stop the lice circulating — at least for a while. I am interested to see if this is successful, but it is really nice to see how everyone got on board!

So here are some tips I have gotten to prevent lice. (Once you have them, I find that the only thing that really works is brushing the hair with a fine tooth comb in front of a good movie!)

Lavender essential oil: Lice seem to be sensible souls who do not like the smell of lavender, so I drop a couple of lavender essential oil drops onto the girls’ pillows. That way their hair smells good and I think it does help to keep the lice at bay. I have also been told that teatree oil helps.

Braids: I told my 93-year-old grandmother about my lice issues and she looked at me incredulously and asked why my girls’ hair was not braided at school. I had never figured out why, in the olden days, all the little girls had nice, tight braids… It prevented lice!

Cleaning linen, and everything in the house: It is such a pain, but it helps. Every time there is even an suspicion that someone might have lice, we wash and clean our bed linen and towels and spray the sofa and armchairs.

Apart from that, I just freeze when I see anyone scratching their heads and throw my hands up in despair! I am interested: Do other countries also have the lice problem? How do you deal with it?

– Emilie

P.S Above is a photo I took of Violette pretending to be scratching her head and having lice. She got a bit annoyed with me because she was in the middle of measuring something, but I think the annoyed expression goes with the theme…

Fabelab origami blanket

Maybe it’s the architect in me, but I LOVE these Fabelab play-fold-birds, the idea of Copenhagen based architect (and mother of two), Michaela Weisskirchner-Barfod. Unfolded, you have a beautiful and softly padded play mat or blanket, perfectly detailed with gorgeous geometrical patchwork patterns in wonderful colour combinations. But then, thanks to an ingenious, origami style folding technique, the blanket can be transformed into a beautiful swan! And suddenly, you have an object that can be a toy, a pillow, or simply a pretty decor item.

But that’s not all — the blanket can also be transformed into a darling ‘lit d’ange’, a cosy nest for a buggy or crib to keep a newborn baby warm and snug. How sweet! And when the child gets bigger, at some point he or she will be able to practice his fine motor skills, folding and unfolding the bird, so it will become an interesting puzzle / play object as well.

I really admire this cleverly designed, beautiful product, and the attention to detail with which it has been thought through. I also respect Michaela’s no-waste policy. For example, with the cut-offs of the blankets, a new product has been created: a darling little bird mobile, which can be used as for instance a stroller toy. This way, all the material can be used and nothing goes to waste.

It’s available to purchase from one of our lovely shops, Scout and Co.

xxx Esther

‘The Odd One Out’ and other new titles by Big Picture Press

The publishers at Big Picture Press sent over a few of their not-yet-released titles, and I am so excited about these new books! I feel so privileged to have gotten a sneak peek at them and am beyond excited to tell you about them. (I swear, these guys at Big Picture Press can’t turn out a bad book! Remember the MAPS book?!)

Ivy’s favourite is The Odd One Out by Britta Teckentrup, a beautiful search-and-find spotting book with sweet rhyming text. On each page they tell you about the group of animals featured and then ask you to find the odd one out – the bird who has caught a worm, the turtle hiding his head, the camel with just one hump instead of two. Ivy loves it so much she carried it with her all weekend!

Marlow (14 months) loves the Little Tree book by Jenny Bowers, which follows a little seed as it grows through the seasons to become a beautiful fruit tree. It has 25 flaps revealing hidden objects beneath, and she just loves the ‘peek-a-boo’ effect of lifting the flaps.

Lastly, the boys, aged 6 and 8, are really enjoying reading all about the human body in the new Infographics: Human Body book by Peter Grundy which explains how the human body works using stylish infographics and lots of interesting facts that appeal to children.

For a sneak peak into each of the books, you can watch this little video here. The books will be released in early spring and are available to pre-order on Amazon UK and US . I love pre-ordering books because it’s always so fun to be surprised when the postman delivers a new book you forgot you had ordered!

x Courtney

Bird print sewing cards by Rice

I bought a pack of these sewing cards from Sisters Guild at the ShopUp last December and gave them to Ivy for Christmas. My only regret is that I didn’t buy three packs of them because I spent the entire Christmas holiday listening to the boys try to coerce Ivy into letting them each have one to do. But she loved them so much and spent so much time diligently sewing each card, that she was so reluctant to share with them.

These bird print sewing cards come in a pack of 6 pretty bird designs and include the different coloured threads and two needles. It’s the perfect activity for Ivy’s age (or really any age from 4 up), and when finished they make great decorations. I’ve scattered them around the house and am even thinking of framing a couple for Ivy’s room.

They’re available online from Sisters Guild. I might just have to buy a couple more and give them to the boys as well!

x Courtney

Organic children’s shampoo and conditioner

My oldest daughter Sara was pretty much bald when she was born, and didn’t have much hair until she was two. But now that she’s eight, she has a head full of it — there is so, so much of it. (So don’t despair, mamas of bald baby girls!) Because detangling all of that hair after washing it is no fun, I have been on the lookout for an organic conditioner that is made especially for children, and I have finally found a great one.

Organic Children makes conditioner with smoothing plant oils and proteins which leaves hair silky soft and shiny and easy to detangle. It is gentle on delicate children’s skin (it is even suitable for children with eczema and psoriasis) and there are no nasty parabens, phthalates etc. I also love the Organic Children shampoo, with natural bubbles from Yucca. There are different natural fragrances available — we love ‘Berry Smoothie‘ which is perfect for fine and straight hair and smells so good you want to eat it up.

xxx Esther

Madame Pamplemousse and her Incredible Edibles

Sometimes I have slight nostalgia pangs to the days when my children were cute, cuddly little babies, but I do love seeing them grow up and start discovering new things all the time; books being one of them. We did a huge tidy up in the kids room over the holidays and gifted all the Peppa Pigs to my goddaughter and we’re now advancing onwards and upwards to chapter books.

Coco has really caught the reading bug and is plowing through books. It has been great discovering with her some new authors, one of them being Rupert Kingfisher and his book Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles , the first of a series of books. It tells the story of Madeleine who meets Madame Pamplemousse, the best cook in Paris and together they work to stop her evil uncle Monsieur Lard. Seriously fun to read, even for Mamas!

- Emilie

O Clock Watches

Esther and I are in sync with our parenting! She and I both just gave our 8-year-olds a watch, both completely unaware (until now) that our kids would be able to tell the time! We were laughing on the phone the other day about how if our eldest kids were our only children, they would have had a watch and surely would have learned to tell the time by age 6! But… when you have four children you sometimes forget or simply overlook each child’s needs and abilities. I suppose that’s a downside to having several children.  Anyway, my 8-year-old learned to tell the time super quickly and loves his watch — he told me it was his favourite gift this Christmas! I think I’ll also buy my 6-year-old the same one… and I’m sure he’ll also learn to tell the time really quickly (at least I will have been on top of things with one of my children!).

Anyway, I wanted to share the watch I bought for him:  it’s the O Clock Watch by Fullspot. The bands are made of stretchy silicone and just slip over the hand (no buckle necessary). They come in a bunch of fun colours and you can interchange the straps and faces if your child would like a different colour at some point (the straps and faces are sold separately).

I got the watch from Little Hanbury which is a super cool shop specialising in clothes & accessories for boys!

x Courtney


Here in the Netherlands (and I believe in most parts of Europe), no vaccine is given for chickenpox. Which means it is a very common childhood disease here, and all parents know that at one point their child will come down with it. At least, they hope they do, because apparently getting chickenpox as an adult is seriously no fun!

Ava still hadn’t had the chickenpox at the age of 3 ½, so when her little girl friend from across the street showed signs of the disease, I decided to let her go over for a playdate. As the virus is highly contagious, I deliberately exposed her to it, in the hope she would develop the disease and get it over with. (After having had the disease, you’re immune for the rest of your life). And sure thing — after an exact incubation period of two weeks, I discovered the first blisters on her back.

Chickenpox is mostly completely unharmful, but it is a very uncomfortable disease. First there’s a fever and flu-like symptoms, and then hundreds of tiny blisters develop all over the head and body, and they itch! The whole thing usually takes no longer than a week, and thankfully Ava was her usually happy self just before Christmas.

But then of course, again exactly two weeks later, Casper got it too! He was suffering for a week as well, and the worst part were the blisters on his nappy area — the poor boy. But now, after a month of dealing with the chickenpox, I am proud to say that our entire family is chickenpox immune.

Did your kids get a vaccine against chickenpox? Or did they get over it the natural way? (Or maybe they still need to get it?) Would you deliberately expose them like I did? I’m curious to find out!

xxx Esther

PS The photo is of Pim as a baby, just after he had the chickenpox at age one. Casper’s age!

House-shaped wooden block set

My sister bought this ‘Tsumiki’ building block set for Ivy for Christmas and it has been completely commandeered by Marlow!! She loves taking off the magnetic top, picking out the little blocks one by one, and making little stacks and towers. She’s completely obsessed with it (if she wasn’t so cute, I would be so annoyed because I am constantly picking up the blocks and putting them carefully back into the house!).

The Tsumiki set consists of 41 coloured blocks made from eco-friendly beech wood. The magnetic cover comes off and goes back on easily to keep the blocks tidy, and it goes without saying that it’s an incredibly pretty toy! (It’s available from the lovely online shop, Carousel.)

On a side note, I find it interesting how some kids have such a passion for things so early on. Marlow has always loved emptying out containers and then putting things back in. She loves stacking and unstacking. She even loves taking the magnets off the fridge and then putting them back up again. (She is definitely my daughter, this one. I can already see her obsessive compulsive tendencies coming out!!) : )

xx Courtney

This month’s giveaways!

This month’s give-aways are so fun!

Paloma’s Nest offers luxury children’s furniture and beautiful heirloom gifts. This month they are giving away a handcrafted Victorian chair made of eco-friendly wood (see photo above).

Stuck on You is giving away a super cute personalized wooden jigsaw puzzles to FIVE – yes FIVE lucky winners!

And finally, the sophisticated Mes Minis Muses is giving away a luxury set of seven collars worth over 100 euros.

For your chance to win, enter now here. We wish you luck!!

Fold-and-Go wooden barn

I bought this wooden folding barn from Hedgehog at The ShopUp this past December and gave it to my kids for Christmas. I figured it would be a cute way for them to play with all their Schleich animals, which are still one of their most favourite toys! It’s such a cute little barn, and I don’t even mind it being left out in my living room. It’s that cute!

x Courtney

Little Nye, books by Lerryn Korda

Lerryn Korda is the mum of a girl in Ivy’s class, and she very casually let it slip the other day that she’s also an author/illustrator! I went home and googled her name and found that she’s much more established and published than I was expecting! She’s written and illustrated a whole host of books , all of which look so cute!

She handed me a couple of her books before the Christmas holiday, and the kids are crazy for them. There is something about the Little Nye character and his friends and their adventures that really appeal to little kids. Not just the adorable illustrations, but the simple, childlike text too. We have Into the Wild and Rocket to the Moon and they both feature the sweet adventures of Little Nye and his friends. Ivy keeps asking me to read the stories to her, and she’s starting to pick up on the story and read me little bits.

Lerryn has a new book coming out next month and it looks so cute. You can read about it and see images of her works in progress on her blog here. Her studio looks so inspiring — I hope one day she’ll let me pop in!!

xx Courtney

Cuddling rabbits from the Polka Dot Club

Esther and I met Jennifer Murphy from the Polka Dot Club last year in NYC and fell in love with her handmade bears. We both ordered one for our children and I have since bought a couple bears as special gifts for new babies. I am an enormous fan of her work – everything she does seems to be done with such perfection, patience and care. If you hold one of her bears in your hand, you can hardly put the thing down. It’s like they’re made with magic or something!!

Jen has recently started making cuddling rabbits, and I’m thinking about ordering a couple for the girls. Easter presents maybe …if I can wait that long! Aren’t they so cute?

x Courtney

Baby Milestones — the heirloom set

Gorgeous, these letterpress Baby Milestones cards from Sycamore Street Press. Stamped with real gold foil and printed by hand on a vintage letterpress in the company’s studio, they have an absolute exquisite appearance to them.

I love how the set is limited to six milestones (Introducing, First Smile, First Word, First Step, First Haircut, and First Tooth), so it is actually totally doable to make the cards and for instance create a sweet little corner in your baby’s nursery with them.

The Baby Milestones cards come in a keepsake box, beautifully wrapped with tissue paper and cotton ribbon, so they make a wonderful newborn gift as well.

xxx Esther

Klorane Dry Shampoo

I have been travelling a lot lately in planes, trains and automobiles… which has been a lot of fun, but the one thing that has suffered a little bit is my hair. Waking up in the early hours and getting my girls ready and out of the door to catch a train does not leave much time for styling and by the end of the day my hair looked distinctly lacklustre.

I read about Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo on a Cup of Jo a while ago and decided to give it a go without much conviction, but, seriously, it works! Now, my hair did not feel any cleaner, but it looked great, clean and with a bit of a bounce. This, in turn, made me feel a little bit less travel weary!

If you are in France you can pick up the dry shampoo in most Pharmacies, but you can also order it off Amazon.

– Emilie

Watch it — may28th

Sara asked us a few weeks ago, if we could please help her out a little — she still didn’t know how to read the time. I guess our parenting technique has been a bit too relaxed perhaps? She’ll be nine soon! So I quickly ordered a watch for her and for Pim, and we’ve been talking about the time a lot lately. And surely she mastered it in no-time! Advantage is that she can always tell me what time it is… disadvantage is that she keeps close attention to my schedule, and constantly reminds me that I’m running late, which I often am!

The watches I got are from may28th and I think they are just perfect — simple, colourful, and water resistant enough to withstand a thorough bath (as I can attest).

xxx Esther

Little cardboard doll’s bed

This sweet doll’s bed comes as a flat cardboard package and is thus the perfect present to send to little friends overseas. It is easily put together (no glue needed) and how cute would it be to send some little blankets along as well? It is available in two different prints.

From the same makers, Dutch company Een Paarse Olifant, is this miniature bed for a tiny wooden ‘lucky doll’. Again, it comes in a small flat package and can be sent as a postcard —  lucky doll and heart shaped card included!! How cute is that?

Both available from Engelpunt.

xxx Esther

Camila Camomila

Camila Camomila offers a selection of beautiful baby products all handmade by local seamstresses, knitters and artisans in Portugal. Their collection is elegant and timeless, like the clothes made by our own grandmothers when we were babies, the kind of clothes you keep and pass on for generations. I have this wool dress for Marlow, and it’s such a perfect winter dress to pair with tights, so elegant but also so comfortable.  She’s been wearing it so much this winter.

x Courtney

OMY Colouring poster

There are not many better things to do on a rainy day than some colouring! It has been grey and miserable a lot lately here in Paris, so we have had a couple of weekends where we have spent most of the day in our pyjamas, drinking tea (me!) and crafting. One massive success project is the OMY Colouring poster that I have hung up in our hallway. (I wrote about these a long time ago, but since I did, many more versions have been added). All day long when we walk past it, we stop and colour a little part in. Funnily enough grown ups (me!) seem to find it as mesmerising as children do.

We have the Giant Atlas Poster which has the added bonus that the kids are learning a little bit about which country is where, but I also love the Map of Paris which could be an excellent introduction to the city if you were planning a visit!

– Emilie

Kallio, making old clothes new again

We first discovered Kallio at Playtime NYC last year and loved the concept immediately. The designer, Karina Kallio, takes vintage men’s shirts and turns them into beautiful pieces for children.

My favourite are the tunic dresses. They are amazing! I seriously wish she would make them in women’s sizes. I got a dress for Ivy, and if it were my choice she would wear it every single day. It’s that cute.

xx Courtney

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