Get our travel tips and give us yours at Gogobot!

Want to know what I thought about the London Eye? You can read my review on Gogobot here.

Gogobot is a newly launched social travel site which offers personalised travel tips and recommendations via your social network. It works like this: you sign up and then add all your Facebook and Twitter pals to join your network, and then you can share and read travel tips from all your friends… which means that you’ll get the kind of advice and reviews you can trust, rather than something written by a stranger far, far away. Not only is it a great way to get travel tips and plan your next journey, it’s also an easy way to keep a log of your travels so you remember where to go the next time you visit. We’ve already signed up and written more than 80 reviews on more than 25 cities!

Check out our profile here. And if you sign up to Gogobot by Friday, October 7th, and start following us, you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes to win £150! Just sign up and start following us (that’s it!)… and you could be the lucky winner!


Knuffels a la carte — a cuddle worthy shop!

Knuffels à la Carte is a web-boutique specialising in… soft creatures! The Dutch word ‘knuffel’ means both a ‘cuddle’ and a ‘special soft animal’ (like ‘doudou’ in French) — it’s a very cute and important word when you have kids in the Netherlands. So Knuffels à la Carte specialises in the second meaning of the word (resulting in lots of the first), and does so in a very cool way! The webshop is so cute — I love the graphics — and the selection of designer knuffels is amazing. I love how all of the creatures are so special — you just know that all of those little characters are sitting there, waiting to be picked up from their virtual shelves and sent off to their new best friend. Knuffels a la Carte also has a very cool gift service — just choose a knuffel, a card and wrapping paper and you can be assured that a perfect present will be sent off to that special friend who’s desperately in need of a knuffel.

xxx Esther

The countdown has begun!

We’re dying with nerves here. In just a few hours, our new website will go live! Like we said last week, Babyccino Kids will become a shopping portal with a selection of the world’s best and most interesting children’s boutiques.

We’re starting out with a little over 100 wonderful shops, and we hope that we’ll be adding more gems very regularly. Of course we’ll also keep working on our wonderful blog — you can still expect two inspirational posts a day!

Please wish us luck — and please let us know what you think when you check back in tomorrow. Oh, and DO tell all your friends and family about this — think twitter, facebook, email, write (you know, with a pen), fax, post pigeon… Actually, also tell people you don’t know about it; we’re sure every busy mum is dying to find out! Wouldn’t it be great if we can make this a big success together?

Thanks so much for your support!

xxx C, E & E

Exciting news! (and changes ahead)

We have something exciting to tell you… No, no-one is pregnant, but it did take about 9 months to develop! Next week, on the first of June, we’re launching a new website. It will be a shopping portal, where we’ll present to you a selection of our favourite online children’s boutiques!

We feel that the last year or so, online shopping has become so much better. Payment systems are easy and trustable, shipments (usually) arrive, and the variety of shops is great. And it is just so easy for us, busy mums, to sit down behind our computers after the kids are in bed and to browse our favourite boutiques for some fun (and necessary) shopping!

It can however be a bit tricky to find the best boutiques. Search engines don’t  select quality, just quantity, and sometimes the best boutiques are hidden under pages and pages of, well, less interesting choices. Over the past years we have been working with loads of great boutiques, and we’ve invited them to become a member of our portal. Of course it will be a work in progress — we will be adding new and exciting shops all the time, but we’re starting out with a very handsome selection already. We’re already addicted!

So… stay tuned. We’re finishing everything up in the coming week, and next week on Wednesday… We’ll go shopping together!

Esther, Courtney and Emilie

P.S. Don’t worry — we’ll keep the blog, it won’t change it all!

ReCrib: Out with the old in with the new

A friend just passed along this website to me and I am thrilled to see that someone took the time to put this together!  ReCrib is essentially a “Craigslist” for all things child related — a place to buy and sell cribs, baby gear, strollers and all the other wonderful and time-limited things that come along with having children.  It looks like the website is only catering to New York and New Jersey right now but I am sure once it gets rolling it will be everywhere!  The site offers high-end products from the likes of DucDuc, Stokke and Netto all for a fraction of their retail costs.  While I always prefer to donate bygone items to friends or local charities there is something to be said about recouping some cash to purchase the next needed items coming down the pipeline (ie: this crib for this toddler bed).


Japan — call to action

There are no words for the devastation in Japan. So, so, so sad and horrible and frightening… We just wanted to share that it’s easy, very easy to donate through PayPal. 100% of the donations will go directly to non-profit organizations like Save the Children or the Red Cross (or others of your choice). Just click here to make a donation. We just did.

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.


Resolution 4 of 999,999 — Eliminate Mailbox Clutter

I am not sure if the phenomenon exists in other parts of the world but here in the States,  if you use your credit card, especially on-line, you will 100% start to get random cataloges in the mail.  For years and years I have been meaning to call to unsubscribe from all the junk that fills up our mailbox but it’s just such a headache and I keep thinking that they will go away.  But they don’t. In fact, last week I got a giant magazine filled with ‘Boating and Fishing Supplies’ and I just had to put my foot down.  That’s when my web-savvy husband discovered Cataloge Choice to take care of the issue once and for all.   It’s free, simple to use, and best of all you can always update it when needed.  With a few clicks you can unsubscribe from all the junk and there is a running-log that gives you status updates that your name has been removed from the lists.

(Image found here)


Children’s Photographer Emily Ulmer

The arrival of my children triggered an obsession with capturing every important (and not so important) moment with my digital camera. My amateur photography skills have developed, though perhaps not at the same speed as my little ones. I still haven’t quite mastered the understated photographic style I’ve always loved in my favorite design and European kids magazines.
When I saw the work of children’s photographer Emily Ulmer, I was so impressed by photographs that captured the innocence of childhood, but with the added sophistication of an editorial layout. These are no Sears Portraits– no forced smiles here. Emily’s style captures the thoughtful and pensive moments as well as the sweet and silly ones.


Soho Parenting

I owe my sanity to the wise women of Soho Parenting. It was not so long ago that I basically crawled through the door of their downtown office for some much needed guidance on setting up a new sleep schedule for my 9-month-old twins.  I must admit, the first visit was not easy for me as I have always prided myself on being a mom who relied on her gut instinct to power though the ups and downs and never one to read a parenting book.  After months of sleep-deprivation and general feelings of being overwhelmed however, it was time to reach out to a professional — so glad I did. (more…)

Capturing your baby’s hands and feet

I know it seems like that new baby phase (i.e. sleepless nights, spit-up on every shirt you own, messy house, baby brain, etc.) drags on and on… But I swear, you blink your eyes and then that baby is an active toddler. Babies just grow so, so quickly.  Which is why I love the idea of capturing their tiny little feet… because they’ll never be that small again. Image Casting is a London-based company which creates the most beautiful bronze and silver casts of your baby’s hands and feet.  I got my daughter’s feet casted when she was a baby, and I now have her little feet sitting on my desk… a daily reminder of how tiny she once was (memories of her baby-hood only cheery, of course)!

In addition to their beautiful casts, Image Casting does a really nice job of framing the pieces. Simple but beautiful, with emphasis on the casts. You can pop into their London Bridge studio, or the team will come out to your house if you live within the M25 in London (home visit included in the price). Check their website for more details.


National Infertility Awareness Week: April 24th-May 1st

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week in the U.S. — a movement that aims to raise awareness about how infertility impacts more than 7.3 million people in this country alone (that we know of). Not even sure what the worldwide figures are. This week, a website called Stirrup Queens is hosting a blogging event called Project IF…the “IF” standing for both “infertility” as well as posing the question (IF?) which asks women who have faced the challenges of infertility to contribute the answers to the big “what ifs” in their lives.  Although the website is a bit overwhelming and clunky to navigate, there are a lot of links to very personal tales of the journey towards motherhood –  many answering some tough questions and revealing a lot of brutally honest emotion. It also links into a list infertility blogs. I wish I had more time to read it all. I know many of us have been either personally affected by a bumpy journey towards motherhood or know someone who has and I think this blog event is a great way to share what women often feel, but rarely say.

For more information on National Infertility Awareness week please check out the Resolve website for other things that might be going on in your area.


The Food Stork

Do you remember the days when grocery shopping was fun — when you could take your time walking down the aisles, choosing the ripest avocado and planning your meals ahead of time? Remember when cooking dinners was a relaxing, peaceful time? I don’t know about you, but with three kids running around the kitchen pulling on my legs and tugging on my patience, I can barely scramble eggs without having a mental breakdown. Enter the Food Stork — the maternity chef.

The Food Stork is a UK company which delivers fresh and delicious made-from-scratch food directly to the home. The service was originally designed for new mums to help maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet after childbirth… but it’s been 10 months since my baby was born and I still think the Food Stork is quite handy (obviously not for every meal, but it is nice to have some options in the freezer). (more…)

A possible saviour called Cupcake

Cupcake 8-044My friend calls winter ‘soft-play-season’ and she dreads it every year.  Year one of having children I thought she was just being miserable, and I loved watching my baby boy smile as some slightly clownish adults sang nursery rhymes to him in a church hall.  In Year two I was too preoccupied with the new baby in our lives to care much where we were or what we were doing. Now in Year 3, with two children and myself desperate to leave the house on these typical English drizzly days, I am pulling my hair out about where to go and dread the inevitable soft-play options.  It is true — the kids have fun, but at the sacrifice of my sanity.  I find myself looking around wondering sometimes what has happened to my life?  I know that I’m lucky to be hanging out with these two brilliant people, but is it a requisite that places for children should totally alienate adults? I realise I’m sounding grumpy (seriously … if you could see the weather!) but do not fret, here I come to the good bit…

Since moving South I have often heard of the place ‘Cupcake’ (in Putney and Wandsworth) in association with descriptors such as ‘haven’ and ‘God-send’.  And so last week I asked whether it was OK to come and check it out (Cupcake is a members only club and I’m not a member …. yet!).  The minute I walked in I felt a sort of happiness come over me. This didn’t feel loud (from noise or from an interiors-carnage) — no this felt like being in a (stylish) friend’s living room… only a bit bigger and with a bar to order lattes, brownies, babyccinos or something for lunch — perfect! (more…)

Resolution 2 of 999,999. Soul Cycle.

SpinBikesSoul Cycle just opened an amazing new space in Tribeca and while I totally TOTALLY dread working out I decided to just suck it up and force myself to go.  After all, as mentioned before, the only cardio routine I have these days is courtesy of the Dancey Dance segments from Yo Gabba Gabba.

So anyway– Soul Cycle has had a following for quite some time in other areas of the city and I was nervous as hell to go.  I had never done a “spin class” before and I was pretty confident that I was going to die on the bike and make a total scene. As I stood in the lobby waiting for class to start I tried my best to look like a pro but when I saw the sweat drenched people emerge from the prior class I started to panic. (more…)

House swapping

barcelonaOver the summer break I spent a bit of time decorating my home. (No, the pic above is not of my place — but somewhere I might now be able to stay.) One of the reasons was that I wanted to take some photos so I could list it on a house swap website.

We featured an article on house swapping a couple of years ago in the magazine where I work. It seemed like a great idea. But I always wondered — is it too good to be true?

Well, I believe that you should “give it a go” — as Aussies like to say. So I took the plunge and listed with two sites. Creative Caravan tags itself as “Craiglist for Creatives” — the idea being that you can swap with like-minded people.

The other website is Homelink. I did a bit of research and was attracted to this one because there is strong membership within Australia so if I want to take a trip to Byron Bay or Tasmania then I can swap with people who live there… as well as people in Italy. And within a week of listing I got a message from someone wanting to swap in Martinique!

- Natalie

Relax(ed) Kids

relax kidsMy daughter really loves audio books — she curls up on the floor in front of the speaker behind the couch and patiently listens to the story. So cute, and much more calming than television.
I strongly believe that reading a book (or listening to an audio book) enhances creativity and imagination more than watching television. In fact, even though we do have a television for watching the occasional DVD, we don’t have a cable connection in the house and I’m pretty sure we don’t miss much.
In an effort to bring more peace and calm to our household after dinnertime, I’m currently testing out a fairytales relaxation CD from Relax Kids.  (My son especially needs to unwind; last night we caught him making a complex puzzle in his room 45 minutes after we put him to bed!)
The CDs from Relax Kids are meant to help children relax with the aid of meditative stories and soothing music, believing that a calm and confident child will have an easier time falling asleep. The CDs can also be helpful for over-active or anxious children, or for kids with specific problems like bed-wetting or nightmares. You can listen to an intro of each CD on the website, and you’ll get the gist.
Even though my kids need to get used to it still, their mama gets so super relaxed I’m sure it must eventually rub off on them! There are specific themes available, we have ‘Up, up and away‘ but I’m also very intrigued by the Princess and Superheroes CDs.

xxx Esther

Doodle Doo’s

bonykids080310_4_560This adorable little West Village shop is a perfect place to go for kid’s haircuts – especially the very first one when most kids have the potential to totally flip out.  Courtney wrote a post some time ago about a place called Tantrum which we visited during our stay in London and absolutely loved!  Doodle Doo’s is its New York equivalent.  The staff is beyond nice and when we went last week my daughters left not only with adorable new chic hairdos but also with a barrette, some sparkle hairspray and a lollipop.   The premise is simple… place kid in car or boat seat… insert princess video… bribe with future delivery of treat… snip away.  It just makes the whole experience a win win.  They also have a wonderful selection of toys and children’s clothing for parents to browse while you wait and if you are up for it, it’s a block away from New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery.


11-13 weeks scan at the Fetal Medicine Centre

babyMy first two babies were born in London.  Even though I had both of them through the National Health Service system, I went to the Fetal Medicine Centre (FMC), a private clinic on Harley Street in London, for the 11-13 week scans.  Reason is, the founder of the FMC is Professor Kypros Nicolaides, the world’s authority on fetal medicine and the person who discovered the relationship between Down Sydrome and the measurement of the nuchal translucency!
Since I was exactly 12 weeks pregnant when we met with the girls in London a few weeks ago, I decided that this little baby also had to receive the test of all tests at the place of all places.  And it was fabulous to see that little person happily moving around inside of me!
Everything looked absolutely perfect at the scan, BUT (and here’s the but!) I was told that the nasal bone of this little 12-week-old creature was on the small side.  Not non-existent, but small.  And, I was told, a non-existent, or very small nasal bone is one of the soft markers for Down syndrome.  However, since the rest of the rest of the test was good, and the results of the blood test were fine, the overall chance of a chromosomal disorder was still considered small. (more…)

Physique 57 — the workout that actually works

physique57-our-classes-1I wish it wasn’t the case but I don’t like to work out.  I loathe the gym.  The few times I dabbled in Yoga and Pilates I would be all gung-ho for a few months only to eventually find myself watching the clock like a hawk the entire time (is it over now?….now? …what about now?….)

Last winter however, I started taking classes at Physique 57 and everything changed.

Physique 57 has a major cult following in New York.  In a nutshell, it’s 57 minutes of upbeat music and fluid, muscle crunching movements that hone in on all the key areas.  Based on the famous Lotte Berk method, P57 classes focus on core strength and flexibility and the classes are taught by adorable professional dancers who really motivate you to keep going even when your insides are screaming.   What I love about it is that it is comprised of short routines –  every five minutes or so you work on a different part of the body.  And before you know it, the class is over — yay! (more…)

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