Tissue box holders from Sparkly Pony

I am in love with these tissue holders! Esther gave the whale to my son for his birthday and it is so cute. What a great way to hide an ugly tissue box. I just love that the white tissue acts as the whale’s spout (or the horse’s tale!). Isn’t that so clever? They’re available from the Sparkly Pony Etsy shop.

-Courtney

Cerise sur le gateau


I don’t know if you are the same but I have a drawer in my kitchen in which I stuff everything: instructions for the toaster (easily the most useless thing ever printed!), loose pieces of wire, pens, and take-away menus. I also have a couple of random bags full of similar stuff peppered around my flat. In France we have an actual word for this: “un fourre tout”  – literally translated: “a stuff everything”. (I hope this does not reveal us as a nation of slobs.)

The fourre tout (on the English website it is described as a zip-up bag) designed by the lovely label La Cerise Sur Le Gateau has given me a stylish excuse to continue stuffing my stuff in little bags! I love their cute designs. They also have other super sweet things on offer — How gorgeous are these little bags for shoes and boots?

-Emilie

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Bear foods

Around The World Print

I just got this Around The World print from the recently re-designed site, L’Affiche Moderne, and I love it. It’s one of those prints you can look at for hours and still find something new. My kids are especially fond of it — and I think it’s such a clever way to teach kids about the world and the different regions. All the cute little creatures and colourful details are so fun to point out.

We’ve mentioned L’Affiche Moderne before (here)… but the whole site has recently been re-designed and I’m loving this spiffy new version. If you’re looking for affordable art for your house, this is a good place to start.

-Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Kouch
Broer&Zus

Little Fashion Gallery Candle


Little Fashion Gallery have done it again. Now that they have started their own line, called LFG Editions. Nothing can stop them! After the beautiful poster I wrote about, they have recently brought out this lovely candle.

I have to admit that I am a candle addict. I love putting the kids to bed, tidying up the flat and putting on a candle and some good music. This candle fits right into this ritual. I can’t wait to see what else LFG Editions are going to come up with next!

-Emilie

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Is it a girl thing?
Wherefore art thou toothbrush?

Boon Frog Pod

Have you recently taken a close look at your baths toys? My husband is mostly the one bathing our kids, but last week I happened to be the one scooping the toys out of the bath. Two comments:
1. Where does that black residue on and in the bath toys comes from? Is that mould???
2. How come my husband doesn’t take notice of the fact that the toys are dirty when he’s the one storing them away every evening? (Let’s just ignore this point.)
Time for action. I carefully washed the toys that could be saved, and tossed the ones that couldn’t. Then I got myself a Boon Frog Pod, partly because I always thought it looked so cool, and partly because (I hope) it is now easier for my husband to rinse all of the toys after bath time.

So far, so good. The frog is super easy to install, and looks super cool in our bathroom. It stores away all of the toys, and it also has a very handy shelf for the baby bubbles and shampoo. And no mould yet!

xxx Esther

PS Do you have tips on good bath toys? I think our kids’ favourite ones are the old-fashioned stacking cups!

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Is it a girl thing?
Wherefore art thou toothbrush?

TG Green Special Edition Mugs


Some people spend their life searching for the holy grail. I spend my life searching for the perfect mug. I was brought up with the belief that a cup of tea is a remedy to anything from a common cold to a broken heart. All the politicians out there take note: sitting down with a good cup of tea will pretty much solve the world’s problems!

So as you might be able to guess, I have tea making down to a fine art and I reckon the receptacle of the tea is almost as important as the tea itself! I don’t like fussy, little china cups or mugs with silly logos on them. My mugs need to be substantial but not too big — the result is cold tea. Check out these mugs from TG Green: Perfect! I love the colour twist on the classic cornish blue pottery. I think having a good cup of tea out of the bright yellow strippy mug is going to make me happy!

-Emilie

Tulips!


My dad and his girlfriend sent me a few photos of the tulip fields surrounding their house. I thought they were so beautiful, I just had to share them with you. I remember playing as a child in these tulip fields, and riding my bicycle up and down the paths. These photos make me miss home! Anyway, hope you enjoy. Have a lovely weekend!

xo Courtney

p.s. Photos taken by Susie Jungemann.

The Royal Wedding

Have you caught Royal Wedding fever yet? The wedding is this Friday! I haven’t really paid any attention to it… but everyone I know is starting to get excited about it (my mom even came to town for the event!). Every store front in London is devoted to the wedding, and there are commemorative gifts and objects available to buy everywhere (my mom came home the other day with a deck of cards, each card with a different photo of Wills and Kate — too funny!). Here are a couple of my favourites.

Do you know of any other good commemorative gifts?

xo Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Beeswax crayons from Muji
The Lambini Papoose

Introducing Morley at Couverture

Morley is the brand new label by Anouk Robyn, the former designer of cult childrenswear label, Quincy, and is launching this season with lovely, understated pieces for children aged 6 months to 12 years. I’m loving the washed-out cottons and summery pastel colours — it is all so effortlessly cute, so easy to wear (I suppose you would expect nothing else from the woman who spent more than ten years designing for Quincy!).

All of the pieces above (and more!) are available from Couverture, one of my favourite London-based boutiques. Have a look at the rest of the childrens collection — all SO cute! And then… if you can stand the temptation, take a look at their womens and homewear collection as well — flawless.

-Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

They Might be Geniuses
Everybody dies

Home safety (and the Ouch! Box)


I was recently chatting with a friend and she told me that they had just spent the weekend making their house safer. Of course my interest was roused — what did they do that I should be doing??

Well, first, they installed smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. I must admit that I was kind of shocked when I heard that they had only just installed them — they’ve been living in their flat for over 5 years and have 2 small children! (I mentally prided myself on having bought a smoke detector within a week of moving in our new rental house last year. And we don’t have gas in the house so a CO2 detector is not necessary.)
Secondly, my friend got a fire escape rope ladder as they are living in a fourth flour apartment (we are on the ground floor – check).
Step three: they bought a proper First Aid Kit. They even got one of those shiny silver emergency blankets! She didn’t have a clue what to use it for yet, but — step four — she would soon find out in the First Aid for children course she booked.
OK, impressive. That same evening I sat down and got an Ouch! Pouch, which includes the mysterious thermal blanket we discussed and a variety of other First Aid essentials (like bandages, plasters, alcohol pads etc.). I also got an Ouch! Box, which not only looks cool but is lockable, and will from now on hold all of the medications that thus far lived in an old shoebox. Plan B is to follow an online First Aid course; I followed an infant First Aid course when Sara (now 5) was a baby but I have forgotten lots of it.
So… How safe is your house? Do you have any more essential safety tips I should be thinking about?

xxx Esther

Bookrest Lamp


Yesterday I stumbled across a very cute shop here in Amsterdam, Tangram. It’s one of those shops where you stop to peep in the window, decide to quickly step inside to have an inspirational look around, and end up chatting with the cute owner while buying something from her lovely selection of gift items (including a great selection of toys in the back of the store). This little Bookrest Lamp is what I came home with yesterday. So cute, I just couldn’t resist! It’s quite literally brilliant: a light fixture, bookrest and cute design item all in one… Available online through Amazon (UK or US).

xxx Esther

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Bacsac — a garden on the go

Smart bags


Have you seen the Envirosax yet? Pretty clever, these foldable bags, and such fun designs too! I really, really loathe plastic bags these days. It’s just such a waste, all of that plastic, and so unnecessarily destructive for our environment. If you read these facts, you probably won’t touch another plastic bag ever again! In the Netherlands, more and more shops keep a ‘bag bubble‘ in their shop, where customers can leave plastic bags for others to re-use, which is such a clever initiative. I personally make an effort to keep a little shopping bag rolled up in my handbag at all times (loving the green robot bag from the Kids Series). And for my weekly shopping, my Trolley Dolly is still going strong! What do you do for the fight against plastic?

xxx Esther

PS Fun fact: the founder of the Envirosax company, Belinda David-Tooze, lives in one of the most innovative, totally sustainable eco houses in Australia together with her husband and three small children. So amazing!

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Re-live the 17th century in Rembrandt’s House
Egg Heads

Exquisite prints from Missemai


I have something with tree prints, and ‘The Old Oak’s last Dream‘ by Missemai is among my favourites. It has something magic, and is as lovely in a kids room as it is outside of it. Missemai also makes the most beautiful bed-linen, which I love. I have the pink stripy one for Ava’s bed, and it is gorgeous. It’s made of a lovely thick and soft quality organic cotton, and the print is whimsical, and again, beautiful in children’s rooms without being childish. I’m now saving my pennies for this yellow (!) Old Oak Pillow… Exquisite!

xxx Esther

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

My Secret Affair…
New Bonton Store

World Maps


At the moment, I am on the lookout for a good looking world map to hang up in our flat. We have family and friends spread all over the world and my 5-year-old, Coco, is trying to understand where everyone is. But the main reason is that I have a huge love for maps — they make me dream and plan lots of adventures. About 99% of those plans stay in my head, but I have the best time planning anyway.

So far I have found this lovely map by Famille Summerbelle which Courtney blogged about a while ago and this great design by Oliver Jeffers. I already have a set of 1950’s French school maps which I love (though though they are not very accurate anymore). If anyone has any other suggestions, do let me know!

-Emilie

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Win! Inke’s Beautiful Wallpaper Birds

Dala Baking Tins from Ikea


I have visited Ikea quite a bit recently — something I both love & hate.  I love that you can fill a trolley, spend a £100 and really feel like you’re getting your home in order.  I hate that every time I go I lose someone (last time I lost my Mum for 45 minutes — imagine, if you will, a thirty-something woman approaching the info-desk with the words “I’ve lost my Mum!”).

Anyway, are they stepping up their bakeware or am I just slow on the uptake?  I was really impressed with their baking accessories, cupcake papers and doilies.  I couldn’t resist these Dala horse (Mama & Baby) bake tins – so cute! I baked Courtney’s famous carrot cake in them over the weekend, which has become a favourite recipe in our household.  However, my only problem was getting the cake out in the end — does anyone have a great cake recipe that is meant to be baked in a tin like this and therefore slips out?

-Mo. x

Wear your heart on your… pillow case!


I was browsing Etsy the other evening (watch out, it’s dangerous! it sucks you in!), and stumbled upon these lovely pillowcases from Hazel & Hunter. Can you tell I’m in home decor mode? Our house renovation is nearly complete… and I’m dreaming up ways to decorate!

Anyway, I thought they were cute… and the perfect thing to share on Valentine’s Day.

xoxoxo Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

New Years Resolution 1 of 999,999
Happy Valentines Day!

All You Need is Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you celebrating… with your kids? with your husband? In any case, I hope your day is filled with lots of love.

P.S. The Love Print (pictured) is from Bold & Noble, a UK design firm specialising in hand-pulled screen prints lovingly made in England on recycled card. It also comes in pink. Cute, don’t you think?

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

New Years Resolution 1 of 999,999
Happy Valentines Day!

Love Bugs Print from Famille Summerbelle

Julie from Famille Summerbelle has done it again — another beautiful print of her hand-cutting genius. This Love Bugs print is so pretty — and how cool is that little spider hanging down?! I love it! And just in time for Valentine’s Day (I hope my husband is reading).

PS – If you haven’t seen it already, you can watch a video of Julie working her magic — what talent!

-Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Meri Meri Cupcake Kits
Valentine’s Cards

Kalma & Violeta

We recently got an email from Mar Gómez of Kalma & Violeta introducing us to her newly launched webshop. Mar has created a collection of decorative accessories for children’s bedrooms, including book racks, magnetic boards and decorative hooks. Isn’t it all so lovely? All the items are hand-crafted in small amounts using recycled materials, and each piece is unique. I got the birdhouse hook for Ivy’s room and it’s darling with that little felt birdie on it. And now I’ve got my eyes on the book rack…

-Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Moving house (with children) — 10 tips

Balloon Party

My daughter just turned 2, and this may be the last birthday party I have control over so we kept it simple — balloons were the theme. We obviously had lots of helium balloons around the house but we managed to find some more unusual balloons to spice up the theme.

  • Stripy/beach-ball Japanese paper balloons (which we hung in an alcove and gave away in party bags) available here (thanks to Irene from Bloesem, who helped me track these down!), and I love the animal versions available here.
  • Large paper baubles (which hung from our stairs) which come out for practically every party we do.  I bought them from RE over 2 years ago — a great party-staple!
  • The best ever huge round balloons which I could only find in the US, here, so leave some time for shipping.  A big hit though!
  • Rabbit shaped balloons and Balloon whistles for party favours.  Sadly my balloon shaped cookie cutters didn’t arrive in time (Christmas post!) so I had to improvise (see pictures).
  • We didn’t play many party games as I find cake, music and friends is almost all a 2-year-old can cope with but here are some to play with older children.

And I like these ideas as potential prizes or presents for a balloon themed party…

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