Super cute name labels from Mooo

Summer holidays are coming to an end (phew — I need a break from all the cleaning and washing a ’stayvacation’ entails). Aussie children are back to school, the start of a brand new school year. And that means labels. Lot’s of them. Especially for my son who starts his very first year of school (so exciting) and who would be prone to losing his beautiful head, were it not so well attached to his body. These adorable name labels are from Mooo. They also do the coolest personalised books which I have always intended to get for my children but which I have never got around to organizing. Also personalised bags, pencil cases, wooden puzzels, stationery, canvas art and an array of other personalised goodies, all of which make fabulous birthday present options.

- Sara


Call mum
Hope & Greenwood

Retro-inspired Personalized Lunchboxes

These gorgeous personalised lunchboxes by Feterie are high on my birthday list for my children this year. With a bit of a retro-cool vibe, they are of lightweight tin construction and as functional as they are stylish. I think they’d be great for toting around paper and coloured pencils too, or whatever knick-knacks it is kids love to drag around (footy cards in my son’s case).  I can also imagine them being great for keeping all my daughter’s hair paraphernaila together — those elastics, clips and ribbons crop up all over the house, yet when we need to tie her hair each morning for school, there’s never one to be found! Feterie ship world-wide.

- Sara


Under Her Wing

Melbourne’s top 10 in Caos Magazine!

Recently, wonderful Spanish magazine Caos asked Babyccino if we could compile a list of the 10 top things to do when visiting the city of Melbourne. We were very excited to oblige! Here is the list written up which was of course then translated into Spanish (and which, most will agree, makes everything sound just so much more wonderful). (more…)

Weekend Get-away: Barcelona

To introduce our new weekend getaway feature, here is our first post from Marta in Barcelona. Barcelona is one of my favourite Mediterranean cities. It has the perfect mixture of culture, beauty, beach life and beautiful weather. It always strikes me as such a relaxed city that is easy to explore and perfect to visit ‘en famille’.

Whilst searching for someone with inside info about visiting Barcelona with kids I remembered Marta. Marta lives with her husband and little son in the wonderful Gracia part of Barcelona. She is a professional translator and also a blogger. Her blog English in Barna, is about life in Barcelona, her blog A Bilingual Bébé gives tips to Spanish speaking parents on how to raise their child bilingually, and finally she  also blogs for the international organisation Pocket Cultures. All in all Marta is the perfect person to start off our new feature. I do hope you enjoy discovering Barcelona through her post. And please do leave us any comments or recommendations you have about Barcelona. The more ideas the merrier… (more…)


Shop til you drop

The Magical Milky Way’s Super Galactic Zoo

product_thumb.phpAnother fabulous interactive colouring book just begging to be illustrated! They seem to be popping up everywhere these days and with good reason too. Created by talented Melbournian Nicole Mandile, in the first of her My Picture Storybooks series, The Magical Milky Way’s Super Galactic Zoo kept my rambunctious 4-year-old son in check on a long-haul airplane flight recently. So naturally I am a big fan. He was totally engrossed in creating, drawing and pasting away, each page providing the perfect canvas for his masterpiece. It helps that he has a complete fascination with all things galaxy-related.

The book is created using uncoated paper, a great surface to sketch on and is staple bound so the pages open flat. It is printed in Australia on 100% recycled paper. It isn’t too long or too short — just perfect to capture their little attention spans.

Available through weheartbooks for local and international shipment.

- Sara


Kid-friendly restaurants

This is Australia…

xmas13It is the 17th book in the ‘This is…’ series and Sasek is visiting down under! This is Australia is a wonderful book to add to the classic travel series, first published in the  ’70s, which Courtney posted about here!

In line with the later books in the series, the colours are slightly vintage and the images are retro and whimsical. And Sasek’s mode of travel to the land down under? Not in chains like the first British colonists, but on a Qantas big bird!! (which incidentally, ‘flies very well’, unlike the Australian penguin and emu!) I absolutely love these books — they introduce children to the people, customs and places of interest in cities around the world, captivating young readers with gorgeous illustrations and a witty narrative. I also think it’s fascinating to see each city from a 1960’s perspective. And…needless to say, in my family we just love the Aussie edition!

Available for worldwide delivery at Amazon.

ps. Courtney, this is the perfect souvenir for your children and will remind them for years to come of their great Aussie adventure!!

- Sara


Nuxe Facial Oil
Le Big

Flat rental in Paris

tour.jpgWe are often asked here at Babyccino if we have any advice on flats or hotels in our cities!

I personally prefer staying in flats as opposed to hotels now that we have kids — it gives us more space and freedom. I recently stumbled over this website called VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) whilst looked for a short term rental flat for a friend in Paris and I think it is one of the best websites I have seen. The big advantage is this: the site puts you in direct contact with the owner of the flat so that you don’t need to deal with an agency. This saves you a lot of money in agency fees. It also means that you deal directly with someone who has invested themselves in their flat, mostly meaning you get a better, more personal service. There are a lot of family-friendly flats on the site in central locations, and most of the owners I have been in contact with spoke fluent English.

I have no idea if VRBO works well for other cities, but for finding short term accommodation in Paris, it has been great.

- Emilie


Sophie la Girafe

The airport stole my baby’s dinner

travel.jpgThis article in the Guardian by Zoe Williams made me giggle. I reckon this has happened to most of us! Isn’t it the most annoying thing to have gotten all the food ready for your baby for your holiday travels only to have it all confiscated at the airport? The funny thing is: it so depends on the security guard and what kind of day he/she is having.  Sometimes I have been let through without being questioned at all!

- Emilie


psling.jpgIt is generally true that in France you are treated very differently if you are carrying around a cute baby with you. I will never forget a cluster of ladies working in a department store who could not believe me daring to interrupt their conversation to ask the price of a handbag. They started to tell me off for interrupting… until they noticed my daughter strapped to the front of me. They turned from being complete cows to the loveliest, most helpful women! This is how I got to know the power of the baby and the baby sling and I have never looked back!
My husband bought me a Psling in NY a couple years ago, and for me it has worked out as the most comfortable and pretty sling I have seen.
It is made out of lovely cotton material that washes well (mine has been pooped on many a time and washed in a machine) and can be used in lots of different positions from newborn to age two. It is really easy to put on and off which has been great in the last few months with a newborn baby as you don’t have to wake the baby by unstrapping it when you take the sling off.
There is a great Psling shop in NY but you can also order them online.



honfleur.jpgParis in the summer can get too much; it is hot, sticky, polluted and packed with people. The metro is unbearable and the boulevards become huge blazing heat tunnels, as there is nothing to block the sun.

Luckily enough, the sea and the little harbour town of Honfleur is only about 2 hours (and what feels like another world) away.

Though it doesn’t have its own beach, the village is centered on its own picture-perfect harbour and you can while away time wandering around the lovely little cobbled stone streets. If you feel like some beach fun you can find a long, sandy beach only 10 km away in Deauville. (more…)

End of theme week…

Thank you for your tips and feedback, we hope you’ll enjoy your summer travels!!!

Keep them still

baboz.jpgWhen stopping for lunch while traveling, we always aim for kid-friendly places with nice healthy menus, crayon box and highchairs. Unfortunately they’re not always available, or those highchairs may already be taken. That’s why we always take a chair harness with us.
I have the baboz — a cloth harness that fits on most chairs and secures your child during meals. It really takes up so little space that it could permanently reside in your pram bag.

Courtney and Esther have another version, either the totseat or the grogoup chair harness.
Another very portable option, not really pocket-sized but definitely more sturdy, is the Phil&Teds Mee Too chair that was already praised by Esther.

Now you can enjoy your meals while on holiday!


Gift-wrapped little presents

Gift-wrapped little presentsLong-haul flights with kids are never, ever easy. No matter how prepared or organized I am, I always have a moment during the ten-hour flight to the U.S. where I swear I will never ever travel again… Unfortunately, we live far from our families and so we really can’t avoid these super long flights, but the good news is that I’m getting slightly better at it.

One fail-safe trick I have is to buy a few cheap toys (small books, little cars, Schleich animals, mini puzzle, etc.) and wrap them up individually before the flight, heavy on the scotch tape. I keep them hidden and bring them out at different intervals throughout the flight. The extra scotch tape makes it a bit more difficult to open (think – an extra few distracted minutes), and then the novelty of the new toy keeps them happy for a good long stretch.

It’s not exactly bribery (though I’m not entirely against the idea); it’s just a fun way to break up the hours of sitting and sitting and sitting…


Car journey breaks

picnicrug.jpgI know that when we were young our parents made us travel for long hours in one stretch, but it is also true that back then we were not tightly tied to a plastic seat with a snug fit!
So what I recommend, for everybody’s sanity, is to stop every two or three hours to let your children move their limbs and get some fresh air. These stops do not have to be very long, even 10 minutes is enough to make the kids happy. Ideally you would stop near a playground but if that is not available then any grassy patch will do: just let them run!
You could even have a picnic, and here comes my second advice: always keep a picnic rug in the car– it will make all these stops more comfortable (and you can place on it the non-running members of the family)!


Audio books

audio bookIf you’re like our family, and (still) have no television, let alone a portable DVD player, the solution for a long and tedious car journey is as follows… The first hours, you make sure your children sleep (just deprive them of some sleep the day before, leave very early, and they will sleep the moment you hit the road). The next hours, feed them healthy snacks (sandwiches, cucumber slices, grapes, cheese, banana, etc), sing songs, read books and play games (I see something yellow! Find something yellow!). After that, bring out the unhealthy snacks (cookies, chips, bonbons, lollipops, M&M’s, etc). And then, we have reached the point where you WISH you had a portable DVD player, but unfortunately the financial situation has always kept you from getting one…

But, no need to panic! The solution is simple, cheap, and educational on top of it: audio books! (more…)

A little lollipop will go a LONG way…

Sugar-free lollipopNow I’m sure this will be frowned upon by some of my more patient peers, but a lollipop is a sure bet for keeping my boys happy (seated, quiet, belted) on an airplane, especially at those crucial moments like take-off and landing…

Give your kids a wrapped lollipop and it will give you at least 15 minutes of quiet time: five minutes to get the wrapper off, and then at least 10 to enjoy their lolly!

You can even buy sugar-free lollipops these days, which are better for their teeth, and they can’t tell the difference! Oh lolly, lolly, lolly, lollipop!!


Stickers everywhere

peppastickers.jpgSometime the simplest things are best. What has turned out the be the best thing to keep my 2-year-old busy in trains, planes and automobiles? Stickers!! I would never in a million years have thought of it, but my friend Katja handed me a whole book full of Peppa Pig stickers for a car journey recently, and I have never seen a little person spend so much time looking at something –contemplating what to do with it, where exactly to put it, delicately placing it, deciding that it was the wrong place to place it, then take it off and start all over again. You might spend a few minutes after you arrive at your destination un-sticking stickers from windows and chairs, but it will provide hours of fun for your kids, and sanity for the rest of the family!

- Emilie

Motion Sickness

motionsickness.gifApparently motion sickness is written in your genes and it’s therefore hereditary. So given that I get sick when riding backwards in a black cab or when I’m waiting on the platforms for a motorboat in Venice, my poor son was bound to have a motion sickness issue.
I am glad to report that he is getting somehow better as he gets older; at least he can now warn you when he is about to throw up… a major improvement!
Every tip I’m going to give is just common sense — we have never tried medicines (we thought he was too young and not sick enough) and we never tried the elastic armbands (because they did not work with my pregnancy sickness).
The first important thing is to try to keep the fluid intake on the low side before you get on the car (or bus or boat), and definitely avoid milk. If he throws up milk you will regret it for the whole vacation. Juice, chamomile or baby tea do not leave the same smell!
Of course the ideal would be for your child to be asleep during the more troubled part of the trip (open sea tracts or mountain roads), but one can’t always be that lucky. My advice is to bring some very dry savory snacks and let him eat those during the most troubled moments. Sailmen swear on bread with anchovies, but that may be a dash too strong of a flavour for Junior! (more…)

Traveling with (two) kids

Phil and Teds ‘Vibe’We’ve already mentioned before how much we love the Phil&Teds double buggy, but as a mother of two little boys, I can tell you the importance of taking it with you on holiday

  • It’s a must-have in airports when you need both your kids to sit still, or if you’re in a hurry and you don’t have time to walk at your child’s pace. (Try traveling on your own with two kids and being dropped off by a taxi to the wrong terminal at Heathrow airport while running late to begin with!!!)
  • The double buggy is brilliant if both your kids still take naps. Who wants to spend any extra time in the hotel waiting for nap time to be over? Both kids can sleep, even at the same time, in the Phil&Teds!
  • It’s also quite useful even if one of your kids isn’t riding in it, as it provides storage space for all your shopping!

It’s obviously not as light-weight or travel friendly as, say, the Maclaren, but if you’ve got two kids and you’re going to a city where you’ll be walking, the Phil&Teds is a life-saver!


Magic (mess-free) markers

Crayola color-wonder markersWe travel from London to Seattle (a 10-hour flight) at least twice a year with our two boys, and I can assure you it is never an easy travel day. I always chalk it up to being an awful day, and then I’m just pleasantly surprised if it all goes well. It is the little things, like these magic markers, that help make it more tolerable.

Crayola makes mess-free color-wonder travel packs that are brilliant. The markers only work on the special paper, and while the ink is clear, each marker magically shows up as a different color on the color-wonder paper.

These kits are perfect for long-haul flights, as you’ll need more than just a few tricks up your sleeve to keep your kids entertained…


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