Addicted to green smoothies!

My sister recently suggested I read Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko. She said the book had changed her life! (How’s that for a recommendation?!) Ms. Boutenko is a raw foods pioneer and natural health advocate. She writes about the immense health benefits of eating more greens — how they eliminate toxins in the body and correct nutritional deficiencies. She suggests that the easiest way to consume sufficient amount of greens is to make and drink green smoothies.

And thus began our addiction to green smoothies!! We make them every day. It’s such an easy way to eat spinach, kale, chard and other extremely healthy green vegetables. She also argues that we should be eating more of the green parts of vegetables — the green bits of strawberries (just throw the whole strawberries, stems included, into your blender!), the greens of carrots, beet greens, etc. I don’t think I’ll ever toss those green bits away again! Plus, it’s so much easier to throw it all into your blender without removing the stems.

In addition to the greens, we also add sweet fruit like bananas, mangoes, strawberries, apples, etc. So the smoothies are not only extremely healthy, they’re super yummy! My kids are as addicted as I am! Here is one of our favourite sweet green smoothie recipes from the Green for Life book:

1 cup chard
1 cup spinach
10 strawberries, stems included
1 mango, peeled
1 apple
1 banana
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups water

And another recipe we also like (a bit less sweet – more healthy tasting!) is this one which we’ve sort of created ourselves:

2 avocados
1-2 cups of spinach
1 bunch of mint, stems included
1 bunch of parsley, stems included
1 apple
2 kiwis
1 cup apple juice

Try it! It’s delicious! And please share your green smoothie recipes. We would love to have more options!

x Courtney

The Honeycomb parade

These darling honeycomg figurines by OMM design are just too cute! They come in a gift box with a selection of 5 figures (three different sets of designs are available) and are just perfect to give away as a little present, spruce up a boring corner in your house, or include in an envelope to send to a far away friend.

Available by Little Baby Company!

xxx Esther

Crochet At Play

I have always wanted to learn to crochet! And I was even more inspired to learn when I spent a weekend last year with Emilie and Esther and they were both crocheting the cutest little hats and accessories. They gave me a quick tutorial and it seemed quite do-able. But of course, I came back to London and a whole year has passed and I still haven’t picked up a crochet hook!

But things are about to change! I just received Kat Goldin’s new book, Crochet at Play , and I am so inspired by all the adorable crochet patterns: the sweetest clothing, cutest accessories (a crocheted crown! little hedgehog mittens! adorable baby shoes!), and fun toys. The book offers a selection of 30 patterns with easy-to-follow instructions for making each piece, and everything is so beautifully photographed that I just want to make it all.

I think I’ll start with the little crown. Stay tuned for results.

xx Courtney

Photo from Kat Goldin’s blog, Slugs on the Refrigerator. And you can also watch this video trailer for the book, made by Kat Molesworth.

Beautiful illustrations by Liekeland

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.

xxx Esther

Note books

I have to confess, I have a strange addiction to note books. Now, I know I should have moved on to some paperless device, but my handbag feels empty without a notebook where I can write down lists, plan my future and try to sketch ideas for projects!

The problem is that often when I have a notebook and have written all of these important things in it, I promptly mislay it. I then get a new one, start a new list and lose that one too. At some point or another, I might get a fourth notebook just because it looks so lovely, write down an essential recipe in it and then that one disappears as well! Only to find one of the old ones back. In the end I usually have 4-5 notebooks on the go and have no idea where that world changing lemon cake recipe might be, or the pattern for a beanbag I tried to sketch, or the random ideas for Babyccino posts I might have jotted down….

Nice notebooks will always stay one of my favourite things and here are some I really like: The simple kraft covered booklets from Muiji, the famous Moleskine, the colourful Leuchtturm and the cute little Field Notes Booklets pictured above.

- Emilie

Lovi wooden postcard puzzles

Finish company Lovi makes gorgeous birch-plywood postcards that can be sent as little presents and assembled as beautiful 3D puzzles by the lucky receiver — without the need of any tools or glue. All designed by Anne Paso and 100% produced in Finland by the family owned company, these cards appeal to all ages, and make beautiful little decor pieces in the house. So great to stock up on a few to send out as birthday presents, holiday cards, or these sweet bunnies as Easter gifts!

xxx Esther

A Spanish magazine: Kireei

We love the spanish paper magazine, Kireei. Not only is it really nice to “touch”, with an amazing quality in the edition, but the contents are very very interesting. We have been reading it since the beginning. This number makes the third and it is dedicated to “living slow”. Articles about slow parenting, and living, crafts, inspiring decor and much more. We have ours at home and we enjoy spending some time with it!

Slow mornings in pijamas! Thanks to Kireei for the wonderful magazine.

- Maria

The Art of French Baking

A long time ago I blogged about one of my favourite cookbooks: Je sais cuisiner or I Know How  To Cook, as it is now known in English. It is the equivant to the ‘Joy of Cooking’ here in France and it was lovingly edited for the English version by Clothilde Dusoulier from the fabulous blog Chocolat and Zucchini.

Now the equally fabulous Je sais faire de la patisserie has been translated and edited by Clothilde. The Art of French Baking has every single recipe you could ever want to bake in it. From madeleines, via éclairs to macaroons, you will find all the classic recipes in this book. It was first published in 1938 so the recipes are definitely classic, but they are the type of classics that never go out of fashion!

- Emilie

Casual Fridays wrapping paper

You’re probably all fed up with gift wrapping after all of the festivities of the last few weeks, but I still wanted to share this super stylish wrapping paper from Casual Fridays with you. So fresh! It comes in a package of three rolls and a sheet of matching message stickers is included. To get you in the spirit again…

xxx Esther

Knitting Christmas balls

This year I have a new obsession: I’m knitting Christmas balls! My husband gave me the book ’55 Christmas Balls to Knit’ by Arne & Carlos for my birthday, and after initial scepticism about the exercise (I mean — knitting Christmas balls??), I have now finished my first ball and totally got the hang of it. So I immediately started the second one, with the eventual aim to knit four balls, one for each of my kids. Maybe I can make them a ball each year, so they can grow a Christmas ornament collection of their own…

xxx Esther

Bob Books, the perfect way to make memories last

There is nothing like the impending birth of a baby to give you the incentive you need to finally tackle your long list of to-dos.  Ever since our Around-The-World trip we took a couple years ago, I’ve been meaning to create a photo book with all the photos from our big trip. (This has been at the top of my to-do list for more than two years now! Always at the back of my mind when I think of things I really want to accomplish. Isn’t it crazy how years can go by like that and we never sit down to actually do it?)

So… finally… my husband and I made it a priority and created our book! My friend Mo (remember our past contributor?) recommended Bob Books. She’s made and ordered three different books from Bob Books and really sang their praises. So, I downloaded the Bob Books software and started uploading photos. Easy peasy!

Our book just arrived (in the nick of time, before the baby!) and I love it. It’s so fun to have, to look through, to remember that special time in our lives. The kids are especially fond of the book, and it’s so nice for them to remember all the things we did and saw on our trip.

The quality of the book is really good, and the lay-flat feature is quite ingenious — you can open the book completely without pages flipping over, and it means you can have full-page images without losing any of the image in the crease.

Now I’m a little bit hooked and want to make more books! I’m thinking it would be fun to have a different photo book from every year. Bob Books is offering Babyccino Kids readers a 15% discount… so there’s even more incentive for us all to do so.  Click here for discount details.

x Courtney

Weekly planner from Lollipop Designs

A few days ago I dropped my girls off at school and joined some of my friends for a nice after-school-drop-off coffee. It’s a ritual that keeps all Parisians sane — every Parisian school was built beside a café for that exact purpose (at least that is my theory). It had been one of those rare mornings where we did not have to race to school and the girls and I had even indulged in some polite conversation! But while I was sipping my coffee, I realised that I had, once again, forgotten the snack for Coco, who was staying at the after school club that day. So instead of enjoying my coffee, I had to race home, get myself ready, pack a snack, run back to the school, beg the nice lady at the door to hand the snack over to Coco and high tail it to work — not the relaxed morning I was hoping for!

So it did dawn on me that it was time to started getting a bit more organised. Hilariously  the very same day the weekly planner from Lollipop Designs fluttered through my door, which I ordered after Courtney’s review. It is great! Plenty of room to write down important stuff that happens all week long and it comes as a big fat pad so you can re-plan your week many a time.

- Emilie

Choosing baby names

I am having the most difficult time choosing a name for our baby! I think it is especially difficult when you don’t know your baby’s gender… maybe because you can’t really visualise your baby, or maybe it’s just because you don’t know what your baby is, so you don’t become too attached to either the girl’s name or the boy’s name. The minute I think of a girl’s name I like, there is something in the back of my head that says ‘but it might not be a girl, so why don’t you focus on a boy’s name…’. And then I’m back to the starting point again. Ugh!

It’s also tricky when you already have children. You have to make sure the new name goes with the other names, that it flows when you say all the names together, and that it isn’t completely in a league of its own (not easy when you already have three kids and you’ve already used up your favourites).

I did pick up a copy of Baby Names Now after reading the review on A Cup of Jo a few weeks ago, and I do find it to be quite helpful. I like how frank the authors are about the names, reminding you of the possible bad nicknames or suggesting good alternatives to the more common names. Hopefully it will inspire the perfect name! I’m waiting for it.

xx Courtney

p.s. If you have name suggestions, please share!
p.p.s. Maybe we should create a book with all the baby names we all liked but didn’t end up using! I have so many great ones from previous pregnancies and a whole long list of names for this baby that we won’t end up using. It would be fun to hear everyone else’s un-used baby names! There must be so many good ones. xx

Blanca Gomez, a lovely illustrator

I really adore the work of the tallented illustrator and designer Blanca Gomez of cosas minimas. Her illustrations are clean, colorful and elegant and lovely for a child’s room. And her city illustrations are just amazing!

Blanca lives and works in Madrid and today we are invited to take a little look at her lovely apartment, full of illustrations and artwork in the walls.

As we went to London last spring, I am thinking of getting the London person. I think it will add a very personal touch for our home!

- Maria Cañal

Sheepskin baby booties on my desk…

These little sheepskin baby booties have been living on my desk (a.k.a. our dining table) for the last few weeks, and every now and then I just have to pick them up and admire them. So tiny! I’m getting excited about the fact that I’m going to have a fall/winter baby for the first time. Like Courtney, all the other times I had spring/summer babies — now we have to prepare to dress a baby through the cold season. I’ve started knitting tiny woollen baby outfits — what a lovely way to prepare for the cosy months ahead of us! Did you have summer or winter babies? Do you have preferences?

(Booties are handmade in New Zealand by Babies in Sheep’s Clothing, personalised notebook is from Sloane Stationary, both available through Babatude Boutique.)

xxx Esther

Bibian, the loss of a friend

Beginning of November, last year. My friend Bibian just turned 40. She’s very happily married to Klaas, a composer, and has three young, cute children of 6, 10 and 12 years old, called Valentijn, Swip and Lulu. She’s a fun, creative and busy woman: a graphic designer, bass player and lead singer in a band, she owns a record label, loves cooking and crafting… But lately she has been feeling very tired and suffers from a nasty tummy ache that doesn’t stop. When she gets the results back from some hospital tests, her whole life changes in an instant. She has metastatic pancreatic cancer. Incurable. With a frightening short life expectancy.

A shock resonates through her circle of friends. Panic. Tears. Immediately we start to organise ourselves, we will cook for the family during the week, take care of the kids whenever necessary, collect money to help them financially. And we suddenly realise how close death can be, how frail life can be, how we MUST live it, enjoy it, make the most of it as long as it lasts. Seize the Day! And that’s also the message Bibian is resonating when she starts her blog. To somehow cope with her situation, she has picked up an old passion: writing. Every day, she shares her feelings, her fears, her pains, her love, fragments from her daily life, and from her difficult childhood. Her writing is wonderful, witty, beautiful, funny, honest, and addictive. She gets many followers. There are interviews, articles in newspapers, and she starts to write a weekly column in a magazine. She’s approached for a book deal.

Bibian made the most of it. She finished the CD they were working on. Spent wonderful weekends in the countryside with her little family. Met with friends to go to the theatre. Taught her kids how to make the perfect chocolate cake.
She died end of July, at home, surrounded by her loved ones. And her book was published last week. If you’re Dutch, or read Dutch, then this book comes highly recommended. A CD with acoustic songs she recorded with her husband this past spring is included with the book.

Seize the day.

xxx Esther

PS Bibian’s husband Klaas also writes a beautiful blog, about his love, and loss, and life. You can find it here.

Getting organised with help from Lollipop

After a long summer holiday, I have come back to London to find piles and piles of unopened mail and unpaid bills on my desk. My to-do list is long (and growing daily!), and I’m struggling to get myself and the kids back onto a regular schedule. Waking up on Thursday morning for the first day of school is going to be a big shock to the system!

Rachel from Lollipop very kindly sent me a few of her shop’s new goodies, and the timing could not be more perfect. I’m loving the handy magnetic notepads for organising shopping lists or to-do lists. I have also put this weekly planner front and centre on my desk and intend on sitting down every weekend and planning out the week to come.  And these cool 4-way bands will be useful for so many different things! What great new additions to the Lollipop shop.

Have your kids started school already? Are you also finding it difficult getting back into the school routine… or are you happy to have the kids back in school and back onto a normal schedule?

x Courtney

Engel — bunting and more

What a wonderful mini-present, this adorable bunting birthday card by Dutch company Engel. The card itself features sweet printed bunting, but in a little plastic bag attached to it (with cool neon stitching), is an adorable mini bunting — such fun to decorate the cake with, or the party table, for example! And it comes with an envelope so can easily be posted to far away friends as well.

Engel is a Dutch brand and webshop which started some years ago when Sabien Engelenburg decided to sit down behind her sewing machine to sew her daughter a bunting made from the fabric scraps her grandmother left her. Engel is most known for its beautiful buntings, but I also love the pretty and practical wipe-clean tablecloths and pompoms, and the many other cool products they sell in their webshop. Worth a visit!

xxx Esther

Kikki-K Wooden Alphabet Stamp Set

It’s no secret that I absolutely love stationery. After returning to New Zealand I was super excited to discover a new stationery shop in town. Kikki-K is my new obsession.  In fact, as I was writing this I went to the website to add the link and ended up spending an hour studying every inch of their website. The company is based in Australia and has shops in New Zealand but they ship all over the world.

Last week I bought the wooden alphabet stamp set.  My first project was to make name places for our dinner guests the other night.  Of course we didn’t need name places since we all knew each other, and they didn’t really need me telling them where to sit, but don’t you think they look cute?!!  I just cut out strips of brown paper and stamped names on them then wrapped the paper around linen serviettes and taped the strip together at the back. Now what do I need to stamp now?….

Steph xo

Rifle Paper Co. Desk Notepads

I was so excited to recently find a whole tabletop in the Liberty stationery section devoted to the beautiful Rifle Paper Co. products! I used to spend hours admiring all the pretty stationery on the Rifle Paper Co. website… but then get cold feet at the final ordering process because I was too cheap to pay for shipping to Europe.  Finally, it’s available in many shops here in the UK!

I picked up some of these pretty notepads the other day, and I’m so pleased with them. They come with an attachable magnet so you can stick the notepad on your fridge (which is where I put my Market List notepad to keep a list of groceries I need to pick up), or you can skip the magnet and leave the notepad on your desk. I’m so excited about my new To Do List, I’m even willingly filling the pages up with things to do!

x Courtney

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