Aether Cone, a Thinking Music Player

Cone Thinking Music PlayerI’m sure every family is the same, but we love a bit of a swing in ours. Very often, after breakfast or dinner, we turn up the volume and dance in our living room. It’s crazy! We all join in, and it’s just so much fun. And very often, we end up with a big fat group hug in the end.

Also, sometimes when I’ve had a busy and difficult day, and I feel stressed and tired and my patience is low, it helps to get up and move, to be crazy, and sing along. Music surely is medication for the soul.

casper dancing on cone music player dancing children

It has recently become much easier for our children to initiate their own dancing because the awesome Aether Cone entered our house. The Aether Cone is not only a striking music player (in fact the most beautiful looking one I’ve ever seen), it’s also incredibly easy to understand and to work. Not only easy for me (too many buttons and screens put me off completely), but really handy for the kids as well! The only thing they need to do, is press the center button and ask out loud for any artist, song, or radio. Within seconds, the Cone will be playing their choice and our family will be in full swing!

dance2 dance3

And last weekend, my dad was here, and he just had the best of times with the Cone as well. He kept thinking of song and artists from his childhood (the early sixties), and voila — the Cone followed his commands without fail. Just to indicate how simple and fun it is to work with!

I’ve also understood that the more we use the Cone, the better it will get at playing the songs we love. I’m currently writing this with some lovely random background music in the background — I just took the Cone into my office (it’s portable with an 8-hour rechargeable battery). On the associated app on my phone I read that right now I’m listening to Isobel Campbell, a Scottish singer-songwriter. Nice suggestion, I must say!

xxx Esther

PS This post is sponored by Aether, a company we respect for making beautifully crafted products that use powerful technology and simple, natural controls to make everyday moments nicer.

A sweet sheep alarm clock

slaaptrainer-samThis cute little sheep SAM is not only an alarm clock and a nightlight, it is also a very cute and clever sleep trainer. Apparently, young children don’t have a sense of time like us adults — for them, the day starts when they open their eyes in the morning, and it ends when they are put to bed. Simple!

When you have a little child who persistently gets up way too early and then refuses to go to sleep until way too late, this sheep can help your child (and you) to get used to a more grown-up idea of time. SAM goes to sleep when your little one goes to bed. He will actually close his eyes and his screen will become blue, meaning ‘it is time to sleep’. Half an hour before get-up time he will open his eyes and the colour of his screen will turn green, meaning ‘it’s nearly time to get up’, and 12 stars on the screen will disappear one by one, counting down the 30 remaining minutes. By the time it is OK to get out of bed, SAM will open his eyes and his screen will become white, and the child will know that it is now ok to wake his parents up!


Ava has had SAM the sheep in her bedroom for a while now, and especially now that she’s at ‘big school’, she’s totally in love with it. It’s truly her little friend, sitting at her nightstand next to her little bed!

xxx Esther

The Dopper bottle

SONY DSCIn the Netherlands, schools don’t provide a cooked lunch so my children leave the house every day with a backpack with a packed lunch and a bottle of water. Recently, Sara has been complaining about her current water bottle making funny sounds when she drinks, so I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement. And I found it! The Dopper is a Dutch design water bottle, with an ingenious 2-in-1 function of bottle and cup: the cap becomes a cup when you turm it upside down.

The design and idea of the Dopper stems from the growing frustration of the founder of Dopper, Merijn Everaarts, with the enormous amounts of plastic waste (the ‘plastic soup’, floating in the ocean). Merijn organised a design competition and the clever idea of Rinke van Remortel was the rightful winner. The Dopper is produced following the principles of the Cradle to Cradle philosophy and consists of no harmful substances. It can easily be cleaned, and is dishwasher safe.

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Also — 10% of Dopper sales goes to the Dopper Foundation, which invests half of its proceeds in water projects in Nepal and the other half goes to water and plastic waste education projects.

An admirable bottle, don’t you think?

xxx Esther

Projecteo, the tiny Instagram projector

I recently came across Projecteo which is a tiny projector that projects instagram photos. My daughter runs around projecting them on every possible surface. This would make a great stocking stuffer or as a novel little present for a friend. I plan on making a little nature story to project on our wall as part of our night time ritual. So many creative possibilities!

x Elizabeth

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

Erik Bagger Bag Hook

I know bag hooks have been around for a while and that they are a wee bit gimmicky, BUT in a dirty, dusty, big city like Paris, they are actually great (If you remember to bring them). Normally they are just functional at best, but trust a Danish designer to come up with a great design for one of these little hooks. It is simple, it is elegant and it work really well! You can even wear it as a bracelet!

– Emilie

Junikit, stylish baby bags and accessories

I’m sure I’m not the only woman who ‘has a thing about bags’, am I? Anyway, I was pleased to discover Junikit, at the Kleine Fabriek last month. Junikit is a company run by the two stylish sisters Katja and Sidney, who aim to produce classy changing bags and accessories for the modern, trend-conscious parent (or non-parent!). I was immediately taken by the beautiful illustrations featuring animals from different continents, the lovely selection of matching scarves, and, smart find — the little emergency first-aid kit (just perfect to pop in a bag or in the car’s glove compartment). Stylish indeed! Also nice: the bags are made from water-resistant coated cotton on the outside (all PVC and phthalates free), and nylon on the inside, so they’re super easy to clean and look after.

If you’re also a little bit of a bag junkie, then take note: Junikit is now giving away an emergency first-aid kit in the Australia print to three lucky readers, so quickly head over to our Facebook page and leave a comment for your chance to win!

xxx Esther

The Baby Papoose (by the Good Flock)

The first line of the The Good Flock website reads: ‘The products we make can be buried in your backyard’. Which I think is such a daring first sentence, and is proof of the innovative and fun nature of Nikki and Marco, the people behind The Good Flock. Their belief is to use wholesome materials (from living sources or eco-systems that are able to regenerate themselves), work with a conscience (real craftspeople, responsible manufacturing), and design with minimal waste (use only what we need). I’ve been thinking — it sounds a bit like how I like to cook our food! But then applied to product design. An interesting slide can be found here, where the difference between the creation of a plastic iPad case is compared to the creation of a Good Flock IWooly.
Reason enough to purchase The Good Flock products, but there’s more: the products are really, really beautiful. Gorgeous vegetable tanned leather, domestic waxed canvas, patterned wool and buttons made from sustainable harvested tagua nuts are the main materials that are used to create simple but stylish bags, covers and wallets. The Good Flock has also created a Baby Papoose, a warm and wonderful baby wrap, made from their beautiful materials and just perfect to keep your baby cozy in his Bugaboo (works for the Frog, Chameleon but also very well for the Bee).

xxx Esther

Personalised presents

Looking for a lovely, personal gift for one of your best friends, you mother (in law) or your spouse? I thought I would recommend these three great ideas that I love and know would make the most perfect and personal presents:

– What about a personalised iPhone cover, featuring a photo of the (grand) children? I love my iPhone cover with a photo of my kids! It’s super-easy to order through Giant Sparrows. The only thing you need is a sweet photo!

– I think a personalised notebook would make a great gift for anyone. Mine is from Sloane Stationary, and it’s gorgeous! (We now have an exclusive promotion running on the shopping portal where you get a free mini notebook with every notebook order from Sloane Stationary!)

– How sweet is this little bracelet with the names of my children? Every (grand)mother would love this! Available through Mum et Moi (and with a 15% exclusive discount for Babyccino Kids readers)!

Happy shopping!

xxx Esther

A mum’s best friend

I had a look through my handbag today. The amount of rubbish I carry around with me is unbelievable. No wonder I have an achy back! But between all the rubbish are some essential items that just need to be in my handbag 24/7. There is lip balm, some tissues and my wallet. There is also my very trusted Swiss Army knife, which I could not live without. I reckon every mom should have one!

I use the knife and the scissors all the time, to cut and peel fruit, to make sandwiches and to snip off everything and anything while I am on the go. I have been hailed a hero on more than one occasion for having a bottle opener on me and finally there is a nifty pair of little tweezers hidden in the knife, that has been used many a time to tug off a previously unnoticed stray eyebrow hair…

How many tools can do all of the above and fold away neatly into a handbag? Not many!


Baby Knitting Kit from Toft Alpaca Shop

Last winter I was in a knitting frenzy! I think I knit about 20 different little scarves for all the children in my life. The thing is, my knitting skills are super basic (hence the scarves), so this year I’m really hoping to teach myself a few new tricks.

And what can be a more perfect way to start than with this Baby Knitting Kit from The Toft Alpaca Shop? The kit comes with the necessary yarn and easy-to-read instructions for how to make a little hat, baby mittens, booties and leg warmers. If I could manage it, this set would be a great gift for a new baby this winter.


The delightful Anne Taintor

I always see these silly quotes from Anne Taintor in novelty shops in NYC and they always make me smile.  I saw these two refrigerator magnets the other day and immediately made an impulse purchase and they have worked wonders to keep me mentally intact when I hear one of my kids break into a “yodel-style” whine for something.  Part of me would love to get a giant size poster to hang on my wall, in fact, I am going to look into that asap – maybe I should even look into wallpaper.  Here is a link to some of their favorite quotes but there are a ton to browse through so enjoy hard-working mothers of the world!


A high-tech classic

I don’t know about you but my i-phone is becoming an increasingly important tool in retaining my sanity as a parent. It now holds a dozen or so children’s Apps which get us through those boring, frustrating daily-life melt-down moments. As boredom levels peak whilst my 2-year-old is pushed around in the Supermarket trolley, I whip it out and let her paint pictures, guess the animals (in Peekaboo Barn or Peekaboo Wild which we wrote about here) or just blow up some balloons with the fabulous Balloonimals.

These games are perfect entertainment… but can a book work as an App?  I guess you all know by now that I love children’s books and don’t mind telling you I was a touch conservative about the idea of a book being on my phone or i-pad.  However Nosy Crow’s Three Little Pigs App has totally converted me and I’m now so excited what new technology can bring to brilliant stories. (more…)

Is that a nappy bag? Yes, it is!

Beautiful, this nappy bag by new company Rubizu! Rubizu is formed by two sisters Roba and Azza and together they design and produce a series of exquisite nappy bags that are not only beautiful and luxurious but also very practical indeed. It works as follows: the pretty turquoise insert pops out completely. The ’empty’ bag can be used independently from the interior compartment as it has its own side pockets and is beautiful as is. The interior compartment can be easily organised once out of the bag. Very soon, a laptop insert will be available too which transforms the bag from mummy bag to business bag in a few seconds! (I’m particularly excited about this feature because my laptop bag is such an embarrassment — I think my husband got it for free at a conference about 15 years ago. It’s gross.) All in all, these Rubizu bags are pretty amazing. For available styles and more info on the functionality, check the Rubizu website. The pretty leather bag featured here is available through Blossom Mother and Child.

xxx Esther

A real Fireman’s water bottle

I know it is gimicky but I just loved it… and so now my son has this as his water-bottle at Kindergarten.  He feels so cool —  like a real fireman!

Available online here.

-Mo. x

The Mundo Cargo Bike

Another cool spotting on the streets of Tribeca!  While walking my girls back from swim class last night (all of us tired, hungry and cranky as could be) a man on a bike whizzed past us with two kids sitting snugly on the back.  Immediately one of my daughter started screaming “I WANT THAT NOWWWWWWWWW!!!!! and I looked at her and said “ME TOOOOOOO!!!”

A few blocks later and I found it parked on the street and we all went to investigate.  Turns out there is a company in California called Yuba that makes them and it is way cool.  The Mundo Cargo Bike is essentially a utility bicycle that is  made with the intent of hauling heavier loads.  It’s not much longer than a traditional bicycle and has a long sturdy plank on the back, and because it doesn’t have a large basket like a Bakfiets,  it’s more city friendly.  True, it is a bit of an investment, but the way I see it it would have saved me a lot of stress about making it to school on time.  New York is becoming more and more bike friendly these days with separate paved lanes and ample bike parking cropping up everywhere so we will probably start to see more Mundos as time goes on.  Sad I missed the boat on this one….


Micro Step — (not just) for kids!

We’re all big fans of the Micro Steps here at Babyccino (I think we all have them for our children) — Mo was the last one to rave about them here. So, about time to understand what the kids are talking about and try out the grown-up Micro White myself! And… although a little bit scary at first (I could hardly keep up with my kids) I did quite enjoy myself! It’s still a bit cold here in Amsterdam, but I’m thinking I will use mine loads as soon as it gets a bit warmer — such a great way to keep in shape and a welcome change from the (here in Amsterdam) ubiquitous bicycle!

xxx Esther

Vicks Behind-the-ear thermometer

It’s funny how medical care can be so different from country to country.  When I lived in London and asked the pharmacist for some suppositories to give to my sick baby, he literally looked at me as if I was asking him to stand on his head and sing the ABCs. Whereas here in Amsterdam, suppositories are the norm, and liquid paracetamol doesn’t seem to exist at all! Fact is (at least in my experience), that for small, nappy wearing babies, suppositories really work best, but for older children I definitely prefer liquid paracetamol.
For taking temperatures it seems to be the same story: in the Netherlands, temperatures are supposed to be taken rectally, whereas in the UK I think it is considered child molestation to use anything else than an ear thermometer. I must say that I’ve warmed up to the UK method here — especially since we own the Vicks Gentle Touch, which accurately measures the temperature behind the ear within a second, and it’s colour coded so you immediately see if your child is running a temperature or not (and can finish his dinner).

xxx Esther

Hip photo sharing with Instagram

If you have an Iphone, you’re probably already aware of the wonders of Instagram — I’m always hopelessly behind with these sorts of things (I’m only just starting to figure out Facebook). Instagram basically lets you take a picture of the object of your desire (in my case my kids), effortlessly add a filter to make it look really cool and hip, and immediately share it with your friends using Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, or other social networking tools. A very cool app indeed!

xxx Esther

PS Photos of my two lovely daughters Sara and Ava

Annabel Karmel I-Phone App

Now, here is an I-Phone app that actually makes sense and is definitely more practical than Angry Birds. Seriously, who did not panic when it came to weaning their first child? If you are anything like me you spent hours trying to figure out if you should first feed the baby broccoli or a banana. I finally bought a library worth of books, one or several of which were by Annabel Karmel, the UK guru on weaning and cooking for infants and toddlers.

Annabel Karmel has now brought out her first iphone application, full of recipes from 6 months to toddler stage, a meal planner and a shopping list tool. I love the way the shopping list is automatically saved on your phone. I personally have the tendency to write up a list and then promptly forget it at home, so this type of tool is a life saver for me.

My kids have outgrown the toddler stage so sadly the Annabel Karmel app is not so useful for me anymore. I do have the Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson apps which are great for inspiration, mostly when I am in the supermarket and trying to come up with something different than pesto pasta for dinner.


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