Pillowcase Wings


I just discovered these pillow case wings on Sisters Guild via Bambino Goodies and just had to write a post about them, they are so super cute. I know it is not Halloween nor Carnival, but there is never a bad time to play dress up, is there? Apparently all you need is fabric, fabric glue and then do a bit of stiching. Perfect for using up little bits of stray fabric.

I will try and make some in the next couple of weeks and let you know how it goes!

-Emilie

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

A quick word on Baker’s Twine
Floating Ducks from Kid O

Monster necklaces! By Madre Perla


So cool, these monster necklaces! Leave it to Madre Perla to come up with something as original as these… Fun for both boys AND girls!

xxx Esther

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Summer Sweetness: Upside Down Fig Cake
DIY Stick Horses

Colour your own fire engine


Emilie from Mum et Moi just sent me a link to a blog post she recently published on her shop’s blog about the cool Colour-Your-Own Cardboard Fire Engine she sells in her shop. What a great thing to take on a plane to keep your kids busy! The little kit comes flat-packed with a set of 6 non-toxic markers ready to colour. Perfect for travelling! And how cute is the little coloured fire engine her sons made? I love it!

xo Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Summer Sweetness: Upside Down Fig Cake
DIY Stick Horses

Pull-along toy by Marc Boutavant


Isn’t it funny how easy it is to forget our kids’ obsessions when they were small? I was just browsing the web and stumbled over this lovely little pull-along toy by one of my favourite children’s illustrators, Marc Boutavant. I had this flashback of little Violette pulling along a toy just like this one and not letting go of it. It was her best friend for a while and simply had to go to bed with her… I had totally forgotten about it and it made me smile. She is such a big girl now, as she does not forget to remind me, so it is nice to remember that it was not always the case!

The little Marc Boutavant pull-along toy is available on the French website of one of my favourite toy shops, Niou, which is in the Village St Paul here in Paris.

PS – To read Marc Boutavant’s Top Ten list of children’s books, click here.

-Emilie

Super soft beach robes by Terry Rich


Do you remember that warm and fuzzy feeling, when your mama wrapped you into a large towel dress after a long day at the beach? I had a similar towel poncho as a kid (my mother made it herself from an old towel), and it is just wonderful to wear at the end of the day, to finish up that sand castle, keeping you safe from sun and wind, to walk back to the house (or tent, in our case), all tired and happy and ready for a meal, a shower, and your bed.

The people from Terry Rich have a beach in their back yard (Whale Beach, just north of Sydney, in Australia — lucky them), so they know a thing or two about towels and beach cover-ups. Their products are made from the thickest, best quality terry cotton available. The beach robes have great detailing, are really warm and soft, and dry wonderfully well. And I’m loving the fun stripes in happy colours, both for boys and for girls!

xxx Esther

The Little Island

I discovered The Little Island in this month’s Sweet William book selection and it’s a perfect summertime read. It’s about an island out in the ocean and the way the island changes as the seasons come and go. It also tells the story of a little black cat who comes to the island and learns an important secret about life — that life is big, yet all connected (it inspired some interesting discussions with my kids afterward). The watercolour illustrations, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1947, are absolutely beautiful, and it’s written by Margaret Wise Brown of ‘Goodnight Moon’ fame, so the text and story have that recognisable soothing, lyrical rhythm. A definite must-have children’s book!

-Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Beaba at VUP Baby
Nina’s House

Weekend Get-Away: Copenhagen


Did you know that apparently the Danish have the highest standard of living in all of Europe and possibly the world? And the highest standard of living in Denmark must be in Copenhagen, so I reckon it must be a very, very cool place to visit especially with kids: clean, safe, and beautiful (and by the sea!).

We are very lucky to have Christine, a mom of two who runs a maternity cafe called Lille Du and a lovely webshop called Happy Boheme, give us a list of things to do in Copenhagen. Reading her recommendations makes me want to book flight tickets and jump on a plane right this minute!

SEE:

THE ROUND TOWER —Europe’s oldest functioning observatory. From the outdoor platform, which runs around the observatory, you have a perfect view over the old part of Copenhagen. The way to the top of the observatory goes through the 209m long spiral corridor– a great hit for energetic children. However, you might want to bring a stroller for the younger ones – and a snack for everyone when reaching the top.

HABOUR AND CANAL TOURS — Enjoy Copenhagen’s scenery and sights from the waterfront. The guided tour takes you through some of the oldest parts of the Copenhagen; you pass the royal residence, The National Museum, the old Fish market, the seat of the Danish parliament and past The little Mermaid statue, representing the fairy-tale by Danish Hans Christian Andersen.

AMALIENBORG PALACE — The residence of the Danish royal family and the venue of the famous balcony scenes, which take place whenever the royal family seizes the occasion to greet the people. Visitors have the chance to experience some of the royal chambers that are not in daily use and to watch the guards with bearskin hats, who are always in place in front of the four palaces. The guards are a sure hit among children.

THE DANISH NATIONAL GALLERY — Features 700 years of classical, modern and contemporary art and cultural history under one roof. The museum welcomes children and has an entire Children’s Museum of Art section, where children can learn painting techniques, experiment with clay and other materials.. The creative workshops are guided by the artists. Also there are free children’s tours around the gallery every weekend.

PLAY:

COPENHAGEN ZOO – A genuine old school city-zoo with lots of history, exciting species and modern exhibits showing the animals in natural surroundings. Apart from the many exotic animals, the Zoo also has the most enjoyable Children’s Zoo, with many children-oriented activities.

TIVOLI GARDENS — A delightful amusement park and pleasure garden right in the center of Copenhagen. Great for a day of roller coasters, ferries wheel, small motorboats and hair-raising amusement rides for the brave ones. It is also great for eating ice cream in freshly baked waffles, having picnic by a scenic lake, enjoying free pantomime performances and sniffing the flowers of the large flowerbeds around the garden. The Tivoli Gardens opened in 1843.

VALBY PARK NATURES PLAYGROUND — A 20.000 square metre public nature playground in full organically formed play structures: climbing ropes, willow huts, towers, slides and climbing possibilities. We love that the playground has lots of space, lookout points and hiding places. During opening hours (daytime) it is possible to borrow tricycles, balls and other equipment. Remember to dress according to the weather as these are serious outdoor activities. When you and your kids need a break, stroll down the avenue in the surrounding park area and visit the rose garden or the other 17 theme gardens along the way.

EXPERIMENTARIUM — You will find adventurous interactive exhibits about science and technology. You can easily spend a day – and more – exploring the physical phenomenas. Play with water, boats, pumps and sluices, feel the power hidden in the sun, the water and the wind. You can also explore the inside of your own body and try standing in a giant soap bubble. Every various demonstrations are on offer, for example the dissection of a pig’s eye or the experience of a hot air balloon show.

THE BEACH — In Denmark you are always close to the water. On a warm day, visit Amager Beach with 4.6 kilometres of white sand beach – only a few kilometres outside the city centre. With small children, this is the perfect place to enjoy a lagoon where the water is shallow and warm and without waves. There are also good playing fields, kiosks and areas reserved for small bonfires, so you can bring a picnic. You can also dine at the Beduinoasen restaurant – a great place to bring children along.

EAT:

SKILDPADDEN
A high quality “build your own sandwich”-bar with a well-optioned selection. It’s always a treat for kids to be able to choose what they would like in their sandwich. The atmosphere is rustic and cosy with candles on the tables. When the weather is good, you can enjoy your sandwich outside – right on a small cobblestone plaza in the Latin Quarter.

HOVEDTELEGRAFEN
Through large windows, Café Hovedtelegrafen offers an impressive view over the Copenhagen rooftops. During the summer it is possible to have a table on the large outside terrace. The Kitchen’s speciality is Scandinavian fish and seafood dishes. The café is a part of the Post & Tele- Museum and is accessed only though the museum in opening hours. The museum also has a great play area worth visiting.

SULT
A family friendly downtown café and restaurant. The weekend brunch is especially popular, so table reservation is recommended. Children are very welcome and strollers are allowed inside the restaurant. Sult is located right next to King’s Gardens from early 1600s. The gardens are a popular retreat, and during the summer season the gardens are the setting for picnics and various musical and theatrical events.

MORGENSTEDET
Find Morgenstedet in colorful Christiania – a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood Copenhagen since 1971. The delicious and very affordable menu is based on sustainable and vegetarian choices. The café has great outdoor surroundings with lots of room for children – both in the garden and at the playground right next to the café.

BIO MIO
Copenhagen’s only 100% organic certified restaurant. You pick up your food at the counter and the chef is happy to tell about your food. The menu shows inspiration from around the world, based on Danish ingredients. The large open room is decorated in original slaughterhouse look with cow’s heads on the walls, long wooden tables and reveals that the building is part of the old meatpacking district.

BÅDUDLEJNINGEN
Has existed for over 100 years. A untraditional outdoor, summer café in maritime surroundings, where you can rent a boat for a private canal tour or simply enjoy a meal and the special atmosphere by the canal.

PEBER&MYNTE
An authentic cosy Danish café. This is the place where families meet for coffee, lunch and dinner, where the children make the café their own and the adult enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. The café is a mix of unpretentious retro, bohemian and flea market feeling. In the open kitchen the children can follow the preparation of today’s menu: simple servings of high quality foods. Among the family friendly initiatives are wireless internet access, children’s-corner with toys and children sized furniture, changing facilities and no lifted eyebrows. And the owner is the kindest ever.

SHOP:

STRØGET — A car free zone in the heart of downtown – and the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe. The area is crammed full of pedestrians, street musicians, shopping centers, independent shops, high-end designer boutiques as well as bookshops, farm stalls and cafes. Extremely busy especially during the summer months.

ISTEDGADE — The influence of immigrants, students, creatives and bohemians has turned the old worker’s quarter and red light district into the hippest neighborhoods in town. Start in the area near Enghave Plads and make your way towards downtown, since the other end of the street is still red light. You will find lots of small creative shops, vintage shops, children’s stores, funky fashion stores and cafés along your way.

bObles — Be sure not to miss bObles: Danish design multifunctional furniture. A series of geometric shaped tumbling animals, each with its own shape and numerous creative functions. The animals are produced in a firm foam with a soft surface, very easy to clean under the shower. Free of any toxin or phthalates. Can be found in Glasalfen.

RETRO VILLA — At Retro Villa you can find original Retro Wallpaper, one of a kind furniture, handmade porcelain and wonderful Danish children’s clothes like Strawberry Flavour and Bang Bang Copenhagen. All wonderful treasures.

SUNGIFU — Organic and ethical treats. Baby and children’s clothes, toys, fair trade knitwear for adults, skincare and accessories. The shop is decorated using recycled and environmentally friendly materials and furnishings.

Donn ya Doll — A multibrand fashion shop with a large selection for moms. It always features new expressions, new approaches with colors, patterns, edge and sculptural details. It is a great place to find that special thing.

SLEEP:

HOTEL FOX — The children will love it. Playful 61 rooms with creative experiences – uniquely designed rooms from wacky comical styles to Japanese Manga, flowers, fairytales, friendly monsters and much more. Choose for example the “Sleep Seasons” room, replete with a bed draped by a tent-like canopy and campfire renderings. Right in downtown walking distance to some of Copenhagen’s great dining and shopping experiences.

TIVOLI HOTEL — A Tivoli themed hotel with swimming pool, play centre, outdoor play yard and a Sky Bar on 12th floor with a superb view over the rooftops and the water. Enjoy the view from a swing. The personel is extremely patient and great with children. Tivoli Hotel is within walking distance to Tivoli and City Hall. Tickets for Tivoli are included the stay.

Danhostel Copenhagen City — An economical option in the heart of Copenhagen. The hostel is located in a tall building with an exceptionally fine view over the city’s roofs, the harbour and the Opera house, a few minutes walk from Tivoli and City Hall. The Danish design company GUBI, which has supplied furniture to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is behind the interior design in all rooms and living areas. One of the bedrooms has four beds.

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Beaba at VUP Baby
Nina’s House

Cute bibs from NestPrep

Loving these chic bibs from New York-based company NestPrep. There are three designs, all in lovely, great quality fabrics and with a convenient terry liner to wipe clean you baby’s face or absorb the drool. They look really adorable on — you might want to leave them on all day. A lovely present for a newborn too.

xxx Esther

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Crocs: Take Two

Wooden Memory Match Game from Terra Tactile

Amanda Dinova, the creator and designer behind Terra Tactile, recently sent me this wooden Memory Match game to get a taste of the little wooden toys she creates. She created this game because she was tired of the cardboard types which fall apart easily, and also wanted to make a little box to store the cards all in one place. What a great idea, and such a cute little wooden set. The cards feature different creatures including, puffer fish, fly, bee, owl, lion, etc., and they all fit nicely into the little box. Cute!

-Courtney

PS – Do your kids love playing Memory as much as mine? Even my 2-year-old likes to play it! It’s such a great game for all ages.

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Crocs: Take Two

Where Willy Went


After my recent brush with one of the most important questions in life: “How are babies made?”, I decided to invest in some relevant literature. Sometimes books just do a better job at explaining things. This research unearthed a great little read called Where Willy Went.

Willy is a sperm who is not so good at maths, but great at swimming. You can imagine what comes next! It is a super sweet story and certainly helped me out of a tight spot when asked to describe sperm. I picked up the French version: “Le Parcours de Paulo” (not so sure why in French the sperm has an Italian name) at my favourite little children’s book shop on the rue St Sebastien here in Paris. “Where Willy Went” is also available on Amazon (UK and US).

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Phoyo Playhouses
Berry season

STEK — cool pieces, bold lines


For the past few months we’ve had a little STEK rocking chair living in our living room and we’re all really, really pleased with it.
I’m loving the bold, modern lines and the great colour (I chose the olive green one). It’s an unmistakable piece in the room, it has a very strong shape, which makes it a really cool design piece and adds a certain amount of style to the room. For the kids, it’s a chair, that rocks, that they can play with, use, have fun with.

STEK is a Dutch design agency that has produced a series of lovely handmade children’s furniture, all recognisable by the strong, simple, bold and basic shapes and cool, strong colours. A great addition to every room!

xxx Esther

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Phoyo Playhouses
Berry season

Customise your own Summer Hats

We have a bit of a hat obsession in our house — an obsession which I encourage during these hot, sunny summer months. As the Australians say: Slip, Slop and Slap — slip on a shirt, slop on some suntan lotion and slap on a hat (do correct me if I have got that one wrong).

I love little straw hats but, as ours do get lost on a regular basis, I am finished with buying anything expensive. So I decided to do a little customisation job and am pretty happy with the results! I picked up some simple, little straw hats from a hat shop here in Paris (I love this place, I don’t think it has changed in 50 years) and some pretty ribbons from another one of my favourite places, Entree des Fournisseurs.

I glued the ribbons on with fabric glue and results were really cute. Problem is now I REALLY don’t want to girls to loose their hats! I have added a few photos of how I customised the hats… it is so easy, I think it took me about 10 mins to do!

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Castlebox Melbourne
The Runaway Dinner

Zoobug Sunglasses

If you’re looking for sunglasses for your kids this summer, the ones to opt for are the Zoobug sunglasses. Not only do they have loads of cool styles (I love the Daisy sunglasses for girls and the Wayfarers for boys!), the sunglasses are UV-protective and many of the styles have adjustable rubber tips to ensure the glasses fit your child’s face.  They’re also virtually unbreakable, as they should be if they’re meant for children. Zoobug also now makes optical glasses for kids which have all the same great qualities and cuteness!

-Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Castlebox Melbourne
The Runaway Dinner

The funny things kids say

I love how honest kids are. They just have no social responsibility to obey the rules of etiquette — they can say things that grown-ups could never, ever get away with saying! And sometimes it is SO funny the things that come out of their little mouths. The other day my son (pictured) told me my forehead was bumpy (wrinkly). The week before he told me, as he sat in the bathroom with me, that my bum was too big it didn’t fit on the toilet! He has also told me that my sister’s boobs ‘look better’ than mine (which, by the way, is definitely true!). It’s a good thing I’m not overly sensitive — my self-esteem would be shattered by now with the amount of honest remarks my kids make. So tell me… what funny things have your kids said recently? Do you also have a ‘bumpy’ forehead or a ‘big bum’? And when do kids start to realise that they can’t be so honest all the time?

-Courtney

Nasturtiums — a gardeners dream!


In Dutch we call them ‘East Indian Cress’ — my favourite plant in our garden! I love the pretty round leaves of the nasturtiums, I love how wild and crazy (and easy!) they grow, and I love the beautiful, tissue-paper-like flowers, with their bright, happy colours. Both the leaves and the flowers of the nasturtium are edible, which only adds to their appeal. They have a delightful, peppery sweet taste (a bit like radishes), and look so beautiful in a fresh, green salad. My kids love picking them before dinner, and they love to eat them too (high in vitamin C, I’ve read)!

xxx Esther

Bonton


I think one of the biggest differences between children’s fashion here in France and other countries is that the colours are a bit more subtle and muted. Children here wear a lot of grey tones and pink tones which are often quite dusky and subdued. I reckon that these type of colours look great on children. They have such lovely fresh skin, that muted colours really looks natural on them.

I don’t think there is a shop that represents French children’s fashion as well as Bonton. Bonton is famous for their simple, well cut cotton basics. Look at this cotton blouse, this beautiful dress and this simple T-shirt. So easy to wear and so… French.

If you happen to be in Paris, do check out the Bonton boutique . Beside the lovely clothes, there is a whole floor dedicated to accessoires, furniture, decoration and children’s books. It is a great stop for gifts and for fashion.

Delicious Cake Toppers by Goodie Girl

Shira is a mom who owns and operates a small cafe in my neighborhood.  Not only does she make delicious and healthy things like quinoa chocolate chip cookies, lentil and feta salads and hearty organic ten vegetable soups…but she also has a dark side.  Shira is a self proclaimed candy-addict and master chocolatier (and it’s true – I have seen her sneak a twizzler or two when her kids weren’t looking!).  Recently she rolled out these solid chocolate birthday candles that I thought were fabulous.  Such a simple idea to jazz up a plain frosted cake or a cupcake and she can customize the candle to whatever shape you need.  We all love to lick the frosting off our birthday cakes right?…so how much does it rock that we can now eat the candle!  New Yorkers should check out her website Goodie Girl for cute and easy ideas to jazz up a party.

Dinosaurs — do you love them too?


I never had much with dinosaurs until I gave birth to a son 4 years ago. Really, I didn’t get the buzz. I loved excavations, it’s certainly not that, but more the cultural kind — think Tutank-Amon and Nefertiti, Pompeii and the like…
But now I have a son. And now I know the difference between a Tyrannosaurus, a Stegosaurus, and a Diplodocus! (Sounds familiar? Do you have a son?)
For this reason I love Priddy Books — because Priddy Books understands perfectly well that boys are boys, and they like dinosaurs, tractors, and, well, dinosaurs. We love their Activity Books in our house — full of fun facts, stickers, and educational questionnaires. In fact, I’m going to order some more for the upcoming summer break — perfect to keep the kids entertained for the long journeys ahead!

xxx Esther

Cursive Writing

Do your kids sometimes make you remember things from your childhood that you had buried away deep down in your memory? Little Coco is going to be starting elementary school in September. Though I think she is already having problems sleeping with excitement, there is a tiny cloud on the horizon. This summer we need to work on her cursive writing. In France, this is a major skill you need to have mastered for your first year at elementary school. This totally brought back to me the hours I spent as a 6-year-old, practicing very carefully over and over on writing my name in ‘Schreibschrift’ as we called it at my school in Germany.

I was really surprised that cursive writing was still being taught. I thought it had been phased out roughly around the same time as mullets and stone washed jeans. With the arrival of computers everywhere I had thought that cursive writing would have become a forgotten skill. I thought wrong: cursive writing is, apparently, really important as it is the fastest way of writing and of note taking! Who knew?

Anyway I have been enjoying brushing up on my cursive writing (which is actually really difficult!), and I am sure that by the end of the summer Coco will have it mastered like a charm. What about in your country? Do schools in other countries still teach cursive writing or is this totally a French thing?

Stella McCartney Kids Sale

Up until now, I’ve resisted all the tempting summer sales… but last week I got sucked in by the Stella McCartney Kids sale. There are so many cute things up to 50% off, and unlike many shops, there’s still quite a bit of stock left so I was able to find everything in the sizes I wanted.  I picked up loads of cute pieces, mostly for my boys (their boys collection is so great — possibly even cuter than the girls if I dare say so!).  Anyway, I’m really pleased with it all… and so if you can be tempted, I suggest you check it out too.

x Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Giant Bubbles
Sidewalk Shoe Survival Balm
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