Tiphaine Verdier Mangan started creating unique one-of-a-kind story boxes for display at the Bon Marché in Paris. Her poetic story boxes were so well received and loved that she then went on to create them for the general public. She now sells cardboard versions of her original creations, to serve as decoration in children’s rooms, or as my daughter prefers to use hers, as a home for her little Maileg mice.
Whatever the use, the story boxes are so sweet. Like a single room in a doll’s house, perfectly decorated and great for imaginative play or for decoration.
They are available to purchase directly from her website.
How beautiful are these works by Dutch illustrator Lieke van der Vorst? They have something so innocent about them, and at the same time they are so incredibly wise. They would be perfect for a nursery, a kids’ room, any room in the house, really. The third picture above is an illustration Lieke designed for a birth announcement last year. So, so sweet!
If you’re interested in Lieke’s work, you can her purchase postcards and prints via her webshop, or the bear postcards are available through BijzonderMooi as well.
I am becoming such an Instagram addict. I’ve never done any other form of social media before now (I still don’t have a Facebook page!), but I can so see the appeal in Instagram. It’s so fun to keep track of friends and family through daily photo updates, and I’ve even made entirely new friends too – what a fun community!
Anyway, the other day I saw this arts & crafts book on Shak-Shuka’s feed and ordered it immediately. I then posted this photo on my feed and got such a flurry of interested comments. (Another bonus of Instagram! Discovering great new products!)
The Best of Making Things was first published in the early 1970s and has remained a trusted handbook for children’s art projects ever since. I love the variety of projects from simple to more complex, and I love the easy-to-read instructions with step-by-step drawings. My boys, aged 5 and 7, have already flipped through the book and found projects to do on their own. And I’m looking forward to doing some of the more difficult projects with them… like making paper from laundry lint, a cardboard box loom, or even simple clothing items. Fun! (Available from Amazon US or UK.)
Today I would love to share a very charming shop in Madrid: Babydeli. Well, it is not only a shop, but a place with lots of things going on. They have food, toys, books, you can celebrate your birthday, and there are also very interesting workshops taking place every week. Located in the very heart of Barrio de Salamanca in Madrid, we always go if we are visiting.
Definitely, Babydeli is a place to find what you are looking for and also having a healthy snack!
Do your kids love eggs so much too? Ava, our 2 year old, is especially a total egg addict — she could eat 5 eggs a day if I let her! My mum used to say that eating more than 3 eggs a week was bad for your health, it would be bad for your cholesterol level (and thus blamed for an increased risk of heart disease). Nowadays, thoughts about eggs are quite different — apparently they are great sources of protein and vitamins, and eating one egg a day has positive effects on health and cholesterol levels rather than negative ones. Good for Ava (and good for the Easter bunny)!
When we were in NYC last weekend, Esther and I popped into Sweet William to buy some little presents for the kids. The owner, Bronagh Staley, always has the most adorable little goodies and her shop is such a beautiful and inspiring space. We were spoiled for choice!
I bought Ivy this little wool felt horse by Craftspring, and it was received with such delight! All of the Craftspring toys were so cute – I also loved the woman with baby on her back and was nearly tempted to get it for myself! I was so happy to have discovered this little line of felt toys, all handmade in Kyrgyzstan in workshops founded and run by women entrepreneurs.
How cute are these little suitcases by Mimilou? In our home, little suitcases to store treasures are a very valuable commodity. Every night when I do the last round of picking up all the miscellaneous items left around the flat after a good days playing, I find little suitcases filled with little bits and pieces.
Now, I don’t know if it is only my kids, but the love these girls have for putting random stuff in a bag is immense. You can find little pictures they have drawn, mixed in with a broken doll leg, a little fluffy toy and some little books. It makes no sense to a grown-up, but to my kids these are real treasures. So I have decided to go with the flow (within limits of course). I’ve just decided we need pretty little suitcases for them to fill up. At least that helps me ignore the chaos inside.
We recently visited Esther and Family in Amsterdam, and it was a such a great trip! So great, that the whole train carriage on the way home had to listen to my kids’ lamentations about how Amsterdam is so great and Paris is not!
I know what they mean– it is so nice discovering a new city and, as a tourist, you have the luck to only see the good sides of a city and Amsterdam has many, many good sides. It is beautiful and small, and super accessible with kids. You can rent bicycles all over the city and the choice of different bicycle types is incredible.
We stayed for four days during which time Esther and I put the world to rights, crafted and dreamt up some serious crafting projects for sometime in the future, the children got on famously and we visited some of Amsterdam’s sites. We visited the Artis Zoo and saw some lions, giraffes, wallabes, zebras and seals basking in the spring sunlight. We took a boat ride around the canals and learned all about the history of Amsterdam. We went to play in the Vondel Park which has some great play structures. We ate little pancakes and waffles fresh from a market stall. We did not even make it to the Nemo Science Museum, but check out Esther’s Amsterdam tips as she has some great ideas.
Above, the Vondel Park. And below, the giraffes at the zoo, which we stayed looking at for ages! I don’t think I have ever seen a giraffe as up close before.
Such a great trip and if you ask my daughters,(and 20 other people on our train), it’s the only place to be!
Spring flowers are finally in bloom in our garden — I saw daffodils this morning! This means that Spring is around the corner, with all its positiveness. A sweet smell in the air, gorgeous flowers sprucing up everywhere, fresh green leaves on the trees, the first picnics on freshly mown lawns, little boys in shorts and stripy jumpers, little girls in their new spring dresses… I can get pretty excited about it all. (I would be perfectly happy skipping the first three months of the year — cold, wet, boring and depressing as far as I’m concerned!)
I think the above dresses of the newly launched party collection by Millie Manu are just so, so perfect for any kind of celebration this coming season. I just couldn’t resist the mint green Flo Dress for Ava — so gorgeous! It’s entirely made out of silk — chiffon on the outside, and lined with silk as well. It has lovely little details and is made beautifully.
She’ll be the queen of the ball with Easter this year — and we’re all so excited because Courtney and her family will join us in Amsterdam to celebrate together!
Last year we had some friends over for Easter with us at home. It was an especially rainy one, so we did some crafts. We loved doing this ones with newspaper.
Great fun we had! And quite easy and cheap!!!
There’s something so contradictory about the first weeks after giving birth. Of course there is that wonderful, magical feeling of bliss — the birth, that beautiful, earthy smell, seeing and holding your baby for the first time, admiring every detail of him (her), spending your days on the couch, in bed, being so proud, feeling the love, the connection between your loved ones, changing miniscule nappies, dressing that tiny wrinkly newborn in those tiny little outfits you so carefully piled in anticipation for the big day, hearing him, smelling him, learning everything once again. Amazing.
And then there’s the part no one ever really talks about. The pain! Piles of enormous pads between your legs. Walking as if you’ve been horse riding for 3 weeks straight!
Being so tired, so drained. Being angry, being sad, being emotional. The tears! The confusion! The frustration. Endless hours of breastfeeding, every 3 hours, every 2 hours, every hour. Cracked nipples, strong afterbirth pains that make you cringe, the thirst, the sweat, and then, the engorgement. Boobs the size of melons, so big, so hard, and so painful.
I wish I had these Relief Pads from Boob Design when I was suffering from engorgement after the birth of my children. Especially after Ava it was pretty bad! It took a whole week — my boobs were huge, painful, hot, they were red and white and purple and I had to ’sleep’ sitting up which wasn’t so agreeable to start with! I SO needed these pads. Made out of 100% organic cotton and filled with natural flax seed, the Boob Relief Pads can be chilled in the freezer to soothe or heal tender and swollen breasts, or help relieve blocked ducts. They can also be warmed in the microwave or oven to warm up your breast before nursing, stimulate milk flow and prevent blocked ducts. And, they have a healing effect when breasts are inflamed or if you have mastitis.
Boob Design gave me a pair when we met at the Playtime fair, and even though my boobs are now doing fine, I still like to warm my pads in the micro and stick them in to my bra every now and then. It’s just so soft, warm and comfortable! They can also be used to pre-warm baby’s bed or push chair, or to stick around your neck for some relief after carrying a baby around for too long. All in all, if you’re (planning on) breastfeeding, I definitely recommend getting a pair!
Last night I attended the first of three fashion shows as part of the AlexandAlexa Global Kids Fashion Week. The show featured a selection of the AlexandAlexa designer looks for Autumn/Winter 2013, and was followed by a fun after-party for the guests. What a big night! I was so impressed with the scale and ‘coolness’ of the event. There were celebrities (of course I never know who anyone is so I can’t even share who was there!), and press, and photographers and fashionista mamas, and several other bloggers. Fun!
Here is a selection of my favourite looks from last night. I think my favourite was that pair of ultra skinny green jeans by Paul Smith Junior. And I loved all the Dr. Martens shoes (let’s hope those are making a come-back!). You can see all the looks here.
As we’ve mentioned before here, we are big fans of Toto Knits. We’re also enormous fans of the inspiring blog, Coos & Ahhs (and even more so after meeting Amanda at Playtime last week!). So it was super exciting to learn about the collaboration between the two: a capsule collection called Coos & Knits featuring muted pinks, electric blues, soft greys and high contrast, unisex pieces for kids aged 0 to 6. I’m loving the color block pullover jumper and the two-tone vests. What a great teaming-up of two creative forces!
It’s hard to resist these insta-cute packaged Easter party decorations by Meri Meri. From paper plates to egg hunt bags to dressing up bunny ears! Everything you need for a festive Easter holiday! (Of course I had to pick up the bunny ears to bring with me when we visit Esther and family over Easter. Stay tuned for photos of all our kids dressed as bunnies!) And how fun are these cupcake kits?!
Meri Meri takes the hard work out of party prepping by offering coordinating themed party wear, all in the sweetest, most festive designs. Gotta love that. Available from Little Baby Company.
When we were in New York last week, Courtney and I made sure to reserve some time for a visit to one of our favourite New York children’s boutiques, Sweet William. What a gorgeous, inspiring shop! A true treasure chest filled with the most beautiful clothes, books, and toys for children.
We couldn’t help ourselves (of course!) and bought some little presents for each of our kids to bring home, and for the babies we picked up one of these handmade, organic mushroom rattles from Tane Organics. Cute! Tane Organics is a NY based company, believing that the purest, most luxurious natural fibers should be enveloping your newborn and toddler. They create beautiful, simple and easy-to-wear collections that I really like. What about these cute stripy coveralls for Casper this summer? I also LOVE the look of these organic vegetable rattles I just found on their website. Must be so good for them — better have them start with veggies as early as possible!
My husband and I were laughing the other day about how when we were little, we hardly ever went anywhere on holiday that involved getting on an airplane. I think Disneyland was about as adventurous as we got when I was little (I still remember how excited I was to hop on that plane!).
How different it is for our children! In their short lives, they’ve been on so many flights it’s not even exciting for them anymore. And because we fly home to the US each summer, they’re not even phased by long-haul flights. The kids have flown so many times now that I can’t even keep track… which is why I love the idea of this new flight logbook from Simply For Flying! It’s a children’s logbook, designed so that kids can record each flight they take by logging the flight journey, date, airline, aircraft type, distance flown, and flight time of each flight. There’s also a notes section so they can write down observations about their trip, draw a special drawing, etc. How cool will it be for them to look back on this when they are older?! I wish we had discovered this sooner.
Photos by Robin Keller Photography for Simply For Flying
These Indian eggs were quickly made using a black marker, some masking tape and a little feather or pipe cleaner. I put them in my kids’ lunch boxes as a surprise, but I thought it would also be fun to make them for Easter. So easy, and so cute!
Today I would like to share the pallet bench I made for a nursery. I love pallet wood, like I told you last week with my son’s coat rack. This time I painted the pallet in white and added four wheels. A matress for comfortably sitting. I made the cushions with grey and white fabric with stars and clouds, and made the garland.
It is now in Manuel’s room and I really hope he enjoys it!
I was speaking to Esther the other day about baby toys and we both agreed that the Skwish toy might just be the best baby toy on the market. And if our babies could talk, they would certainly agree with us! Marlow’s eyes light up at the sight of it, and she kicks her little legs with excitement! (She also loves to gnaw on the wooden balls as pictured above.)
Esther blogged about this toy many years ago here (she raves about its brilliant design and engineering prowess!), but I just thought it was worth mentioning again considering how much both of our babies love it. The Skwish toy is available from Amazon (US and UK).
We hope we haven’t overdone it with all our talk about NYC! And hope you won’t mind if we share a few more photos from our quick trip. It was such a busy weekend, running around the city (with the babies!) trying to squeeze everything in, but it was super fun, and actually easier than we had anticipated.
We stayed in a room with a big king-sized bed which the two of us (plus babies!) shared. You should have seen the four of us, all snuggled up in bed, waking from jet-lag at odd hours in the night, nursing babies on demand, etc. Funny! But of course it meant that Casper and Marlow could enjoy morning snuggles together! So sweet.
We met up with the darling Lindsey Belle who took some photos of us on the streets of the meatpacking district. We felt like movie stars having our photos taken! Fun!! (We can’t wait to share the photos with you.)
We headed over to the Misha and Puff sample sale to see her gorgeous new collection and pick up some past season goodies. Here we also met Kristen Lombardi from Manimal and Jennifer Murphy from Polka Dot Club. It was such a fun afternoon with those ladies! And the babies looked so cute in their new Misha and Puff pieces (see photo above and below).
These two travelling babies are so cute together! Here they are having one last snuggle before we left our hotel and headed back to London and Amsterdam. What a fun weekend that was!
xx Courtney & Esther