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!



Scrabble letters and my sanity

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…)


Sweet for Baby: Soft Rattles on Finns Finds
Shirin Kids

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


Bouton Kids
New spring colours from BearFeet Shoes

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


Makedo — recycled craft
Kiki’s delivery service

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….



Masala Baby dress (and win!)
Kew Gardens

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


Lion Mask
Whippet Grey

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


Win! Inke’s Beautiful Wallpaper Birds

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


Meri Meri Cupcake Kits
Valentine’s Cards

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.


Personalised Key-rings

Yesterday I got home late from a day in the park to a pile of seemingly boring bills on the floor.  However, there hiding in the pile was a hand-written, slightly bulging envelope (oh! how I love real post).  There inside was a little gift from my friend Marisa, this gorgeous hand-made key-ring with a picture of my son on one side and my daughter on the other.  I was so moved to receive something from a friend in the post but also how lovely to have such a personalised gift. (more…)


Look and Cook

Everything in its place…

I have a real love/hate relationship with technology and I am absolutely TERRIBLE when it comes to keeping things charged. It’s a problem worthy of an intervention. When I go to use my Ipod there is generally enough power to get me through only one or two songs, and rare is the day when my digital camera does not immediately flash “low battery” the minute I snap a picture. My mother – sensing my distress and also noticing that my cell phone rarely worked — bought the following charging station for our house and it has served as a gentle reminder to keep things “juiced” and has solved the issue of keeping everything in a neat and tidy space.  As many of you know, I am on a mission to get organized and this whimsical grass caddy looks great on the counter.   Kikkerland has tons of silly things for the home so do check out the rest of the website.



Real American Pancakes
Annie Rose is my Little Sister

Light Painting

I bought a Digital SLR camera (Nikon D80) shortly after my first child was born as I realised that this most beautiful of subjects had to be captured in every conceivable pose possible.  However, for two years I wasn’t quite sure how to use the camera.  Not much of a manual-reader, I pottered along happily with the pictures I was taking on the auto-modes.  One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to finally learn how to use it and so I have been going to an evening class to learn.  I love it and look forward to it every week — I can’t wait to get the home-work so I can go out and play.

A couple of weeks ago my tutor taught us how to do light-painting. I came home and tested it on the family and now it is one of the kid’s favourite games — and makes for some really interesting family portraits.  It may seem complicated to do written down but once you’ve done it it’s really easy and only takes a few minutes to set up.  So let me see if I can give you a simple how-to guide …. (more…)


Zookini Kids
My name is…

Everything old is, sorta like, new again!

cashmere_throwClearly I have been living under some sort of rock. Am I the only person who didn’t know this thing existed!?!? I mean, “technically”, I suppose I knew it was out there but I never actually owned one and nobody ever mentioned it to me before. I am totally and completely devastated that I have lived so long with so many pilled sweaters and even more cashmere baby sweaters and blankets that I have tossed over the years.  You know what I am talking about right?  Those little balls of fluff that gather within minutes of wearing a new sweater. Anyway I went to Amazon — read the reviews — and the Izumi Sweater Shaver came in the mail the other day. Needless to say, I could not put the thing down.  I figured it would work wonders on kids sweaters and baby blankets, so I just wanted to share as clearly people were holding out on me!   It’s made in Japan so it looks pretty cool, if not a bit sinister. So if like me, you are sick of all the nice things you buy looking beat up so quickly –  this might be the answer to your prayers.   It really does work.



Animal Party, goodybag idea
Animal party

Plümo — (this one is actually for the mums)

Miharashoes_21_352After putting the kids to bed and sitting down with a good, warm cup of tea (you just cannot take the Irish out of a gal, even when living in Paris), I grabbed my computer to sit down and write some blog posts. I was suddenly inspired not to write yet another post about great things for kids but, for a change, something about some great things for mums!

So here is one of my latest discoveries — the lovely UK webshop Plümo full of beautiful trinkets, clothes, shoes and furniture.  Whomever the person is who sources the items, they have fabulous taste and I want to get almost everything… And the best thing about it? At the moment they still have a sale going on!

You see, this is my way of thinking: if you have daughters, like I do, everything you get for yourself will have a second life in the future. The girls will steal things out of your cupboard, wear them and call them vintage. So if you shop now, all you are really doing is investing in the future…

- Emilie


Shadow puppets

Bring your own bags

zpmIn the Netherlands, it’s quite normal to reuse your shopping bags.  Plastic bags are available at the supermarkets, but you have to pay for them them and they’re not even that cheap!  For as long as I can remember, I have brought my own bags to the supermarkets, and even as a little girl I recall my grandma and mum bringing their big canvas shopping bags on their weekly trips to the supermarket.
Imagine my surprise when I first went to the States as a teenager, and there were people at the end of the conveyor belt packing our groceries in an endless stream of plastic bags!  Not only didn’t we have to bring our own canvas bags, we also were spared the trouble of packing everything!  Such luxury, I thought!
Looking back, now that our world is overflowing with plastic bags, our Dutch system of bring-your-own-bags isn’t too bad.  Although I wouldn’t mind the help at the end of the conveyor belt, especially now that those cashiers or so SUPER fast — I can’t keep up with them, it’s seriously stressful!! (more…)


She said “mamma” but…
Shrinky Dinky

I am not “that” kind of Thermos

foogoo thermosYou know it’s kind of a slow day at home when I am sitting here trying to write something creative about a thermos… but I must spread the word about this particular one as it will change your life.  The ante for the lunch standard in New York City has changed quite a bit since the ’70s and a boring old sandwich is simply unacceptable.  We now send our kids with “food jars” so that we can offer them variety.  The Foogo thermos is perfect for packing pasta’s, soups, fruit, cheese, etc; and it keeps food hot or cold for up to five hours.   It’s the perfect portion size and fits nicely into a backpack.  Let’s just say it is a far cry from the Thermos from back in the olden days when I went to school.  All I’m saying is that mine totally leaked, always smelled like rotting apple juice and rolled around in my lunchbox crushing my sandwich.  Kids today….they don’t even know how good they have it.



4 Quarters make a whole
Don’t let your sky turn grey…

Trip to Ikea

Charm apple slicerI went to Ikea today to get some frames and came back with some frames (although I nearly forgot them), two Lidan laundry baskets, cute paper napkins, a plant for in the bathroom (Pogonatherum, an old favourite), two little stuffed mice for the children, a dish-washing brush, a set of three small wooden boxes with lids for in the bathroom (it desperately needs to be re-organized – as always), a selection of cool looking Swedish juices and knackerbröt, a wicker basket to keep my herbs on the balcony, and the apple slicer ‘Charm‘ (pictured), that I’ve already tested and I can truly recommend.
I kept myself from buying another Norrebo storage bench (on sale now), 4-for-the-price-of-one Daim chocolate bars, more hooded towels and the Plocka plates that have a space for a small bowl and would be super-cute for breakfast.

I might go back tomorrow…

xxx Esther


Graboski the mole
Innocent drinks


booklightYou know all those seemingly useless gadgets that fill up crowded bookstore counters? Well, I think I’ve never bought any of them (and was proud of it), but I recently bought this (not very sexy) led booklight by Energizer and I’m quite happy with it!
I finally caved in to such a gadget because I love bedtime reading — it doesn’t matter how late it is or how tired I am I really love to read before falling asleep. From 10 minutes to a couple of hours (when I am close to finishing a book) I feel it’s a better way of ending the day. I’m not too bothered about disturbing my husband, who actually does not seem to mind, but these days I’m sharing the bedroom with my two children and the little one is a very light sleeper so I had to find a solution!
I have now been using it for a week and I’m so satisfied, I actually really like being able to read while surrounded by darkness and the soft noise of sleeping kids. It clips on the book cover and it produces a cool light that’s enough for reading, the arm is flexible so there is space for a bit of adjustment.
I’m sure there are better designed ones, and I will definitely be on the lookout for a cooler version because I’m telling you… I will never be without a booklight again!



Max and Lola


CLASSICSIXSHOP_02I can’t stop wiping my kitchen bench. Or my kitchen table. And mopping… I mopped twice yesterday.

It all started with a trip to my local kitchen/home-wares shop ‘Roost’ in Malvern where I was searching for a rocket-shaped cookie cutter. As I made my way to the counter I caught sight of the most gorgeously packaged apothecary style bottles of… something. I didn’t know what, all I knew was that whatever it was, I liked it. On closer inspection I realized that they were cleaning products. What’s more they were a ‘premium range of organic cleaning products’ and were ‘earth, food, child and pet safe’. I wasn’t  disappointed. Actually, I was so excited! Not only am I BIG on cleaning (perhaps even verging on the neurotic) but I am always on the lookout for more eco-friendly cleaning options. (more…)


Heuristic play suggestion

Happeez clips

happeezEvery now and then a product comes along where you almost can’t fathom how on earth you ever functioned without it. Let’s face it — a home is simply not complete without a refrigerator cluttered in stuff – pics of the kids, a random to-do list, invitations, etc.  The problem the modern day family has been running into for far too long is that magnets don’t stick to their cool stainless steel refrigerators!

The geniuses at Mayfair Lane have developed adorable, stylish clips, frames and notepads that stick to stainless steel, glass and metal! Yippie!!! I buy them as gifts for all of my friends who are always, like me, in shock that they have not seen anything like it before.



De Taart van m’n Tante
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