As I mentioned in this post, I took my first yoga class when I was pregnant with Marlow and after just one class I knew it would become an important part of my life from then on. I don’t know what took me so long to start up yoga, but I am so thankful I finally did. I loved taking pregnancy yoga classes when I was pregnant, and I am so convinced it helped prepare me mentally and physically for the birthing experience I had always longed for.
When Marlow was 8 weeks old we started taking yoga classes together. Once a week the two of us hop on a bus and head over to Triyoga in Primrose Hill for the Mummy & Me yoga class with Nadia Narain. It is always a highlight of the week for both of us! I love that I get to practice yoga even though I have a little baby who still can’t be left with a sitter, I love that every Wednesday I wake up and my muscles are slightly sore from the previous day’s work out, I love being surrounded by other mums with young babies and chatting to them about motherhood and baby stages, and I love ending the class with a little dance with Marlow – a special time for the two of us to share with each other. Marlow loves the bit at the end when we sing songs (Incy Wincy Spider is her favourite!), and she loves checking out all the other sweet babies in the room — I’m certain that she loves our yoga class as much as I do.
p.s. Marlow’s romper in the photo above is from Marie Puce.
Several months back I did a tutorial on Bloesem Kids showing how to make a wooden doll family. The inspiration for this project came from the dolls designed by Alexander Girard and my son’s drawings of our family. Instead of the basic wooden people that you buy at the craft store I made our little family with wooden furniture legs purchased at the hardware store, and blocks found in our home. I had such a good time making these portraits of our little family and I hope you enjoy!
If you would like to make a family portrait of your own here are the tools you’ll need:
* wooden furniture legs and a few wooden blocks
* wood glue
* primer, paint
* acrylic paint and paint brushes
Here are the steps for making the dolls:
Step 1. Pick out what furniture legs and wooden blocks you would like to use to represent your family
Step 2. Unscrew the screws with the pliers. You may want to trim or cut the wooden legs. I used a bandsaw to trim the longer furniture leg and was able to get two dolls out of it.
Step 3. Glue blocks onto the furniture legs to give the figures more character
Step 4. Spray the dolls with white primer and paint.
Step 5. This is the fun part. Paint the faces and clothing on the dolls, each one representing a member in your family. The possibilities are endless with what you can do. Now it’s time to play with your dolls!
I called this post a Week Away Travel Guide as opposed to a Weekend Away Guide, as Nosara, Costa Rica is not the kind of place most of us can pop over for the weekend. But I can pretty much say with confidence that if I could pop over there quickly for a weekend, I would probably be there all the time! It looks so amazing and sounds like such a great place to take children on a wonderful adventure.
Now imagine after growing up in California, then living in Australia, you decided to call Costa Rica your home! How incredible does that sound? Shelly, the author of this post, did just that: She now lives in Nosara, Costa Rica and it sounds like the perfect place to travel to!
In her 40-something years of life, Shelly has been a world traveler, waitress, writer, magazine editor, non-profit founder, entrepreneur and artist. By sheer luck and twists of fate, these paths have led to and helped define her latest, greatest and most challenging role as wife and homemaker; mother and teacher to Pixel, Robert and Beckett; and hostess extraordinaire. Shelly is the author of The Book of Questions for New Parents and the blog Kitchen Ranch. Here is her guide to Nosara, Costa Rica:
Nosara, located on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, has recently enjoyed some very favorable press. National Geographic named Nosara as one of the top surf towns on the planet, a BBC Travel Segment included Nosara as the best beach in Costa Rica, and the New York Times raved about the world class waves in their travel section.
It is not surprising to me that this small and dusty jungle town is getting attention; Nosara is perfect. I know that is a bold statement, but after living here I feel confident in making it. The beaches, the ocean and the jungle backdrop are awe-inspiring. (more…)
We discovered Jamie Oliver’s vegetarian chili recipe a couple months ago, and have made it nearly once a week since. It’s so yummy, and so easy to make. And it’s one of those meals you can make at the end of the week when your fridge is empty and you can’t think of anything else to make. Most of the ingredients are canned ingredients you’ll have in your pantry, or spices you’ll probably have in the cupboard. The fresh ingredients you’ll need are sweet potatoes, peppers, chillis and coriander (unless, like us, you have a stash of frozen coriander in your freezer). Give this recipe a go — I’m certain you’ll love it too!
Image taken from the Jamie Oliver website.
We have been long-time fans of Gabriela Pardo and her cool guitar pillows… so when she emailed to let us know about her new necklaces, we knew we’d love those too. She sent this one with bells and feathers for Ivy, and of course Ivy loves it. Such a fun, vibrant way to accessorise any outfit whether for normal wear or for dress-up.
My oldest has a birthday coming up. Eight! It sounds so big to me! He’s at that tender age where he is no longer a little kid in a needy way, but yet he’s still so naive and blissfully unaware of ‘cool’. Still happy to hold my hand as we walk into his classroom and kiss me when I pick him up. So sweet. I want to pickle him and keep him like this forever!
Anyway, I’m slightly stumped as to what to buy him for his birthday. (Don’t you find that the older they get, the trickier it is to buy them things? Or is it just me?!) I picked up this How To Build A Human Body book/kit the other day and I think he’s really going to love it!
The set includes a 32-page book full of colorful illustrations and intriguing facts about the human body along with 66 slotted pieces to build a 3-D skeleton. Cool, no?
ps – If you have other tips for what to buy an 8-year-old, please share!
I have been a fan of the H-Luv fabrications since I first saw them and met the designer, Heidi Iverson, at Playtime NYC years ago. The little mushroom men are sooo cute! So full of character with their little hand-stitched faces. I also love the little trees – how the trunks are weighted with polybeads so they stand upright wherever you put them. And the little dolls (below) are so sweet.
When I was at Sweet William in NYC this past March, I picked up one of the H-Luv cloud mobiles to hang above Marlow’s bed. I love the bright colours and the little rain pompoms hanging down. So fun.
Do you see Marlow’s hands reaching out of her cot in the photo above? I’m pretty sure she’s trying to say she likes the cloud mobile too! : )
We are on holiday! Yes! But I need to work the first week, which is not so fun. So my girls have been going to mini holiday ateliers which you can find all over Paris — little art classes and theatre classes that teach kids essential survival skills like making shadow puppets. Not a skill useful to have during an apocalypse but, none the less, a great skill to have if you want to design your own characters and put together your own little plays.
All you need is cardboard paper (preferably black), scissors, some tape, some skewers and some imagination. Cut out the characters and props and tape on a skewer (you might want to cut off the sharp tip). Hang up a white sheet and shine a lamp at it. You then make the shadow puppets appear between the lamp and the sheet.
Voila, a shadow show can commence. Also if you need some inspiration, do have a look at the French silhouette aninmation film, Prince and Princess.
P.S To all those Paris dwellers out there: the atelier my daughters went to was at Attrape Nuages a brilliant little theatre school in the 11e arrondissement!
We already were big fans of the Australian company Makedo, the super smart connector system that enables the creation of objects and spaces from found materials. And now they have come up with yet another brilliant and innovative way to re-use old boxes: the Box Props! So simple, but so, so fun! The system works with very easy-to-use plastic screws that (really very easily!) screw into a cardboard box. Then, you can connect the ready to use, illustrated plastic ‘Props’ to create anything from robots, pets and monster faces, even vehicles! I love how this simple idea transforms any cereal, tissue or shoebox into a character to play with. We had fun with the ‘people’ Box Props, and transformed an ordinary tissue box into a super fun guy!
Way back when, we lived in the USA. I was around 8 years old and I still remember it as clear as day, it made such a huge impression on me. I mean, the ice cream shop carried 33 different flavours of ice-cream and we got to eat our lunch at school wrapped up in a brown paper bag!
But I do think my most favourite memory is the trip we took around the US in a big old Chevy and went camping everywhere from Dakota to Colorado. It was so much fun (the first night we put up our tents, the family in the next tent heard us jabbering away in French and invited us over to eat our first ever smores!).
Anyway, my brother and I spent a lot of time in the back of the car on that journey and there were exactly two things that kept us from skinning each other alive: Uno and Mastermind. Do you remember this game? It’s a great strategy game in which you need to guess your opponents code, so it is a bit like breaking the enigma code, but for 7 year olds. It is addictive and perfect for 2 siblings, especially those with a competitive streak in them!
Usually I write about cute clothes, darling shoes, best toys, I even throw in a few recipes and some fun DIYs here and there but today I’d like to talk about something a little more boring but far more important than all that – about choosing the right type of sunscreen. The sunny days that finally arrived already call for good sun protection (Spring apparently doesn’t really exist anymore). But there’s a catch about them which I didn’t know for a very long time. I only took care that the sunscreen doesn’t contain any parabens and has the highest SPF filter possible but that is actually not enough:
There are two types of sunscreens – the ones with Physical UV filters (good!) and the ones with Chemical ones (very bad!). The main problem about Chemical Filters is that they penetrate the skin and absorb the UV light from there until they eventually release free radicals which can be even more damaging than the rays themselves! They can cause not only greater skin ageing but also skin cancer! Yes, sunscreen itself can cause the things we always thought (or at least I did) only the sun can! While Physical Filters (also Mineral Screens) stay on the skin and don’t absorb but reflect the UV light! They act as a barrier between the skin and light. So be careful and look for the sun protection with Physical Filters like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Dioxide.
I tried a few different ones already and some of them were really awful – they were just impossible to spread and left white or even yellow marks on clothes that never got washed off but I finally found two I really like. UVbio is the best sunscreen I have ever tried by far but it’s quite expensive and the other one I also like is from Lavera and it’s a lot more budget friendly.
I am always on the lookout for new craft books, for the simple reason that we like crafting so much but often do need a little boost in inspiration. This great new book is by the same lady as Let’s Make Some Art. It is such a great way of introducing children to creating new art and using other things (namely fingers) to create shapes. I also love the little video that goes with the book and also the little online games.
This bulghur lentil salad has been a huge success in our house lately. It’s easy to make, easy to keep, easy to take along (picnics!), and easy to eat as well. Our kids love it! And I imagine it’s quite healthy too.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 cup Puy lentils
- 1/3 cup bulghur
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, basil, coriander, mint)
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- fresh ground pepper, maldon salt
Cook Dupuy lentils according to instructions (don’t overcook, it’s nice when they still have a bite to them, I cook them for about 25 minutes and rinse them with cold water immediately after), and prepare the bulghur acording to instructions as well. Leave to cool. Mix all of the ingredients well. Add more salt and pepper, olive oil, herbs and lemon juice to taste.
PS I often double the recipe and keep some in the fridge for a lunch, picnic or side dish later that week.
Elizabeth from The Littlest blog (and our lovely LA-based contributor) has started up a wonderful new series on her blog called ‘As They Grow’ which features a different mother & baby duo to highlight the monthly stages of a baby’s development from birth up to 24 months. Each mother will describe how they engage with their baby – how they play with their baby, what songs they sing, what games they play, etc. She asked me to describe the third month in a baby’s development and Esther to describe the fourth month.
Take a peek at The Littlest blog to see our contributions and to see what other mums say about the different months. We’re excited to read about the coming months (months five, six, seven, eight, etc.) in anticipation of our own babies being at that stage. It’s always nice to hear ideas for how to engage and play with your baby at the different stages.
I completely adore the String Shelf. The String system was design in 1949 and over the last years has become one of the most popular pieces of classic scandinavian design. We got one for Nico’s room — we call it “the treasure shelf”, because this is where he keeps his most valuable toys at the moment.
Robots, dinos, rockets. But the most important toys are the Star Wars ones, because they were a present from Uncle Javi. The toys belonged to him since he was little, and now they belong to Nico, 30 years later! Such a lovely present.
We are very happy with our String ! Hope you like it!
Big Kids Magazine is an Australian magazine created by two friends living in opposite sides of Australia, and they haven’t seen each other for over 12 years! Jo, from Perth, is a dancer. Lilly, from Sydney, a visual artist. They are mothers as well — and now publishers!
Big Kids Magazine is a not just your ordinary magazine. It’s a celebration of creativity, art, words, meanings, associations and innovation. Printed on beautiful paper and full of gorgeous illustrations and ideas, this magazine is such a great inspiration for children — and adults too!
Sara and Pim love the magazine, and it’s been so inspirational for them. I see lots of ideas we discussed while reading Big Kids Magazine back in their artwork! (And do you like the crazy guy above we drew together as a family?)
Don’t you love these easy and adorable summer pieces from Mon Marcel? Originating from Barcelona and inspired by the Mediterranean and Provence, all the Mon Marcel pieces excel in their simple, rich and clean lines. The beautiful, natural fabrics used and the great attention to detail add to the high quality and elegance of the collection. Cute!
Mon Marcel is available through Bibaloo.com.
I recently discovered the Naef brand of baby toys at the TwentyTwentyOne shop in Islington and I was so drawn to the simplicity of the toys. Simple, but so beautiful at the same time. And all the wood is so smooth, the shapes are so perfect for little baby hands, and the sounds the toys make when you move them are so naturally pleasant. I bought this ringl-ring-rattle for Marlow and it’s one of her favourite toys, fitting so perfectly into her hands and entertaining her with the way the rings naturally fall from side to side of the circular ring.
I love the bright colours and bold prints on the tunics at Emerald August. Such happy pieces little girls will love to wear! (Laura from Emerald August sent this tunic dress for Ivy and you should have seen the excitement in opening the package – pink, purple and butterflies!! It doesn’t get better than that!!!).
Emerald August is an Atlanta-based company and each article of clothing is designed by Laura and made locally in the USA. You’ll find tunic tops, dresses and a collection of sweet graphic tees for the summer.
This craft idea is so simple I almost did not write about it, but I quite liked the result, so I wanted to share it anyway. Last weekend was Violette’s birthday and she had gotten it into her head that it was going to have a bunny rabbit theme and that we were going to have carrot cake cupcakes (we used Courtney’s amazing carrot cake recipe). I, on the other hand had gotten it into my head that it would be cool to have some rabbit cupcake toppers (I just need to point out that rabbit cupcake toppers are pretty much the only impossible thing to find in Paris!)
So Coco and I made some, and we had a great afternoon of painting, cutting and glueing. First Coco painted a picture of a rabbit. We then scanned it in, scaled it down and multiplied it. We printed it out and cut the little rabbits out in circles. Then we glued 2 together and sandwiched a tooth pick between the 2 pieces of paper.
Voila, the party can begin!