‘Out of the Blue’ birthday party

Quin turned seven this week and since his birthday fell during the school holidays, we were able to really make a day of it. We ate pancakes for breakfast, opened presents and enjoyed a slow and lazy morning. Emilie and her girls are in town, so it felt extra special to have friends to spend the day with. We took a double decker bus down to Camden, walked along the canal to Regent’s Park, had a picnic and spent the afternoon on the pedal boats in the ponds. We then came home in time for a little dinner/dance party followed by ice cream cake from Ruby Violet! It was such a fun day, and one that I think he will always remember.

Quin didn’t want a specific theme for his party, but he did request his favourite colour of blue. I spoke to Natalia from Little Lulubel and she helped me create the perfect decorations for a blue-themed party. She sent over the cutest party kit which included everything I needed (table settings, decorations, etc.), and Quin was SO excited to be surrounded by all the blue!

Little Lulubel specialises in party kits and decorations for all sorts of fun occassions. Beyond the simple colour themes, you can also find some really sweet and original ideas: a science party, a Snow White party, a pyjama party and many more fun ideas!

x Courtney

The Little Things… Playing the Easter bunny!

Easter is one of my favourite holidays. The celebration of spring, the prelude to summer… And, I happen to love eggs! For this week’s post in The Little Things series, Ava and her friend Juul (Maud Fontein’s cute daughter!) dressed up as the sweetest little Easter bunnies. Aren’t they so cute?

You can make similar bunny ears by printing the above PDF — didn’t Sara Musch again do a great job? I love this week’s download! Just cut out the ears and fold and glue them around a simple headband. Easy!

And… most little children just love face paint. Mine do! But I’ve never been very keen to have them play around with it. Shop-bought, artificial face paint can have high levels of toxic nickel and chrome. So nasty! A much better alternative is to make your own face paint — it’s really simple, and so easy! And it is super safe — without any of the harmful chemicals.

Homemade face paint:

3 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon flour
2 teaspoons baby body lotion (or honey if you want it to be edible!)
1 teaspoon water
Activated charcoal (for black), and natural food colouring

The tulips in front of the Rijksmuseum here in Amsterdam are in full bloom. A perfect spot to hide some eggs!! :)

xxx Esther

PS –  This is the newest post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking these beautiful photos, and Sara Musch for the cool download. The girls’ jumpers are from Macarons!

My Favourite Things at Baby&Me Magazine

We’re really excited to announce a new partnership with Baby&Me magazine which has us contributing a little column in their magazine each month and rounding up a selection of cute products to fit our topic. Baby&Me is a super stylish, monthly glossy which keeps London parents updated on all the latest news, fashion, design and other interesting lifestyle topics. We are thrilled to be contributing each month and thought it would be fun to share our selection here with you as well.

In this month’s issue I wrote about getting out in our garden with the kids, sowing vegetable seeds and enjoying the onset of spring. I also rounded up some cute fruit & veg products I’m loving right now. Here they are:

You can read the digital version of this month’s issue here. You can also download the Baby&Me app from iTunes here. And lastly, you can now buy the magazine at newsagents around town.

I’m already excited for next month’s contribution! Stay tuned…

x Courtney

Hucklebones and the Secret Garden




Photographer and stylist, Emma Donnelly, sent over some photos from her recent photoshoot with Hucklebones and I think they perfectly capture how pretty the spring has been here in England with all the beautiful cherry blossoms, budding tulips and little girls in pretty dresses and bare legs!! Such gorgeous photos!

Of course you can’t go wrong when photographing Hucklebones clothing. It is just such a beautiful, timeless brand. And goodness, how cute is that little chambray romper?! There is something about Hucklebones that reminds me of springtime (and especially Easter!), and I think these photos capture both so perfectly.

x Courtney

When your babies grow up…

You know that feeling you get when you look over at your daughter and she suddenly looks bigger? Like she must have grown a couple inches over night? Well that happened this weekend. I swear she went from squishy little toddler to tall young lady in the matter of seconds. My heart!!!

I have felt this way with the boys as well, but it seems especially quick with Ivy. Maybe it’s because she IS actually growing quickly — she’s one of the tallest in her class despite being one of the youngest, she was the first in her class to lose a tooth, and because she has older brothers she’s always playing with the big kids. (Such a contrast to me as a young girl — I was the oldest child in my family so I was incredibly naive and was always a late bloomer both emotionally and physically.) Ivy will turn five next month and those five years have sped by. I can’t believe it!

Is it just me, or does time seem to move more quickly with each passing year?!  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just slow it down a notch?

xx Courtney

p.s. Ivy’s pretty dress is from Marmalade & Mash (currently offering 15% off), and the Saltwater Sandals are from EenyMeeny. x

Gorgeous jewellery by Tiny-Om

We’ve known the talented French designer Virginie Dreyer for a while now. She has set up a few wonderful creative initiatives, for instance the charity project Tiny-Us, where you can download a selection of darling stationary. Virginie’s newest adventure is her most ambitious and wonderful to date : Tiny-Om, a gorgeous and meaningful line of precious jewellery.

Virginie’s unique designs, available in 18 carat rose or white gold, are all designed around her love for yoga. In her first Tiny-Om collection, she’s interpreting the lotus flower, which represents the seven chakras (the energy points within each person), aiming to create a link between worldly matters and the poetry of the soul. This results in a collection of fine designs, ranging from necklaces to earrings, in which each piece is provided with a protective nature.

The collection is made by hand with the utmost detail and care in the workshops of one of the most famous and celebrated jewellers of the Middle East, the Al Zain jewellery house in Virginie’s adoptive country, Bahrain. The level of craftsmanship of the pieces is remarkable — Virginie very kindly sent me a necklace to see by myself and I can witness — it is just so beautifully made. The level of detail is impressive! The presentation of the necklace is also admirable — it came in a specially made wooden box, amazing!

With Tiny-Om, Virginie is again giving a helping hand to ‘Présence’, a French charity helping handicapped adults and children, with varying degrees of developmental disabilities.

xxx Esther

Sweet wall hooks from Luez Design and Play

Luez Design and Play is a small New York-based design agency which is all about fun and simple design. The designer, Laura Rodriguez, creates products that appeal to both children and adults, and that will continue to add character to your home as your family grows. I love this little House Wall Hook, an adorable little decor piece by itself, but a useful hook at the same time. It is available in three pretty colours, and comes beautifully wrapped in a cardboard box, which includes screws and plugs to hang it. It would make such a cute gift (for a housewarming maybe?).

All items from Luez Design and Play are designed with love in New York City, and made with love in the USA.

xxx Esther

Musgrove the Nanny of Notting Hill

I’ve discovered a few cute children’s books lately and I’m excited to start sharing them with you. The first is a recommendation from one of our readers, Sufi Sadigh, a fellow London-based mama. She wrote to share some of her favourite kiddie products, and of course I jumped on the book recommendations and immediately placed an Amazon order.

Musgrove the Nanny of Notting Hill is the sweetest little book about a girl called Hermione and her nanny rat, Musgrove. Musgrove wears giant green galoshes and reads out-of-date newspapers and together they hang around Notting Hill, go to the park, drink hot chocolate in the cafés and walk home along Kensington Park Road. Ivy and I love the silly little things they do, and I especially love that the whole thing is taking place in my very favourite London neighbourhood. : )

This is the first book in a series of other ‘Musgrove the Nanny’ books. I can’t wait to get the others! Thank you, Sufi, for the tip!

xx Courtney

The intriguing techniques behind the fabulous fabrics of Macarons

Julie and Veit, the handsome couple behind German eco-brand Macarons, are some of the most detailed and dedicated founders of a children’s fashion brand we know. They go so much further than ’simply’ creating a collection of very sweet clothes (although they do that too!). They actually keep their fingers on every aspect of the production process. First, they source only the best organic fibres from different places in the world, strictly according to the GOTS standards. Then, the rest of the production is entirely completed locally, in Germany and Austria — the spinning and dying of the yarn, the knitting and weaving process, the printing, boiling and cutting of the fabrics, to the sewing of the final product. All of this is done in impeccably managed, small family-run ateliers. This way, Julie and Veit truly know where all the materials for their garments come from (including tiny details like buttons and fasteners), how it was made, who made it, and where it was made. They can be sure that everything is free of chemicals, and that the production is completed with only the best work ethics for the staff.

The actual creation of the fabrics is something else. This is not just a matter of printing a lovely pattern on high quality, crisp and paper-like organic cotton (although they do that too!) — no, the way they create their fabrics is an extremely clever, innovative and technical process, and it results in the most beautiful three-dimensional patterns and structures. For instance, they create wonderfully soft fabrics by weaving two fabrics together at intervals. A bit like quilting, really. And after washing, the first fabric wrinkles into the other fabric, creating lovely ‘dunes’ on on side, and sweet fine dots on the other side. Another example: they combine two weaving techniques, resulting in a soft but strong seersucker cotton fabric that does not need to be ironed.

The design of the garments is also very well thought through — the way garments are cut, the way pleats suddenly reveal pockets or create special shapes, a button that is sewn on with a tread in a contrasting colour… The level of all of this is truly remarkable, and this is what really sets Macarons apart as a brand.

xxx Esther

Hokolo

Hokolo is a London-based design label started by Jen Taylor, who has set out to create a brand that represents the style of her two favourite cities: Hong Kong and London (hence the brand name). Her collection features a blend of iconic British objects with a bright & modern design aesthetic.
I love the English Breakfast collection which plays on strong graphic qualities of fried eggs, tomatoes, blueberries and orange slices set against colourful backdrops and gingham-inspired patterns. The designs are bright, modern and playful and can be found on soft, lambswool blankets, placemats and coasters, cotton tea towels and other homewares.

Jen is offering Babyccino readers 15% off the entire Hokolo collection. Click here for details.

x Courtney

Five second rule

In my house, one of the first rules my children will quote is the famous ‘five second rule’. It is the rule that, if any food has fallen on the floor in the kitchen, it can possibly still be eaten f it is picked up very quickly.  (They learned very quickly that the five second rule did not apply to the lovely streets and boulevards of Paris!)

I always thought the five second rule was a complete myth and just a good excuse for tired parents not to have to go fetch yet another cookie or throw away a sandwich with just one bite in it, but turns out I was possibly wrong. Scientist at a British University have found proof that the five second rule could actually be true! I love it!

Now I am wondering, is the five second rule just a European thing? Or even maybe just an English thing?

- Emilie

Weekend brownie baking and cute aprons from Odette Williams


The lovely Odette Williams sent over a couple of her cute apron sets for my kids and they arrived just in time for some brownie baking over the weekend. I managed to snap a couple photos of my little helpers and thought I would share.

If you haven’t yet discovered the Smitten Kitchen brownie recipe, you should do so immediately. It’s my go-to recipe! And if your kids need some aprons to encourage them to help you in the kitchen, you should check out these great sets. (They also make good gifts I think!)

x Courtney

Let’s talk about electronics and our children

This is not your average Babyccino post but I wanted to speak openly about a topic I feel really passionate about. I want to talk about electronics and the way they are affecting our children.

I recently went on a school field trip with my 9-year-old son’s class to see the Vikings Exhibition at the British Museum. What lucky children to live in a city where they can take a short subway journey to one of the world’s best museums (and I must say, the Vikings Exhibit was incredible)! While in the museum, I noticed that some of the children had brought a Nintendo DS. The more I looked around, the more children I noticed who were playing games on iPhones, Nintendos and various other devices. I think my jaw must have touched the floor; I was absolutely shocked! Here we were, on a once-in-a-life time school field trip, in one of the world’s most fascinating museums, and these children were completely unengaged and uninterested in their surroundings. Some were sitting down against a wall with their little thumbs pounding against their device, others played as they walked around, bumping into people because they were so focused on the little machine in the palm of their hands.

When I asked the teachers if this was allowed, I was told that they weren’t supposed to be playing games, but that they were allowed to bring cameras on the field trip. It seems that nowadays iPhones and Nintendos are considered cameras because they all have photo-taking capabilities. So, the line between cameras and video games has become blurred, and to my astonishment, we now have children going on field trips with their video games in tow.

And not only this, but I am increasingly aware of young children sitting in restaurants with an iPhone, playing video games on the bus, watching DVDs on every car journey no matter how long.  It seems children aren’t being given the chance to be bored, they aren’t being encouraged to create their own fun or to be present in the moment. What ever happened to good old-fashioned conversation? Talking to our children over dinner? Encouraging them to talk to each other? Or just waiting patiently to eat? What ever happened to observation? Taking in your surroundings on the bus? Experiencing exhibits in a museum? Asking questions, sharing observations, making memories?

In a few weeks my eldest will be going on a 4-day school camping trip. In a meeting this week to brief the parents, I asked if electronics would be allowed. And I opened a big can of worms! The teachers explained that the children would be allowed to bring electronics because it ‘keeps them quiet while on the journey.’ Another teacher explained that he thinks it’s good for children to embrace modern technology and to learn how to use electronics from an early age.

This is rubbish, and I feel compelled to say so.

We did not have iPhones or iPads when we were young, but miraculously we all know how to use them. Even my technologically impaired father uses a laptop and an iPhone with ease. Is there really any advantage to be gained by letting our children play games on our iphones? No. And with regards to ‘keeping the children quiet on the bus’… Really?! Shouldn’t they be singing songs, chatting to each other, looking out their windows, making silly faces to the people in the cars they’re passing? That’s what we did when we were kids and the bus ride was often one of the best parts of school trips. Why would we give them a sedative dose of Nintendo?

Our children are only little for such a short time. The window for imaginative adventures and play is so small. They have the rest of their lives to be attached to a device. Why start now?

x Courtney

p.s. I very rarely share my parenting views on this blog. I am generally quite open minded about the decisions other parents make, and I know that I am by no means an expert. But for some reason, this feels different to me. I hope you too will share your thoughts and comments, in favour or against my view. I would love for this to become an open dialogue between us all. xx

(Image above found here)

Nina and the Little Things

A few weeks ago Esther and I met up in Brussels to go to the new Little Fashion Week trade fair. One of the absolute highlights was meeting the super talented Italian designer Eloise Morandi. Esther had been following her and her brand Nina and the Little Things for a few years and I got to discover it for the first time. Such a treat!

Nina is a little girl who wears a red hat and a red dress, and who wanders around thinking about Little Things. Around this world Eloise has created cards, art, games, rag books, flip books and bags which you can have a look at in the online shop. I am sure there is much more to come! Have a peek at Eloise’s blog – it is so fun to see a designer having a great time playing around with her creations!

- Emilie

New spring fashion from Ladida!

We’ve met the lovely Rebecca from the wonderful (online) boutique Ladida a few times at the Playtime trade fairs — in Paris and also in New York — and we always have such a blast. She’s usually attending the shows together with her BFF Estee, from the beautiful Brooklyn based brick-and-mortar children’s shoppe Posh, and they are such a happy and fun couple of friends. We always feel we want to hang out with them way more — if only we didn’t live across the ocean from each other!!

The new collections recently came in at Ladida, and I couldn’t resist the temptation of placing a little order with Rebecca. I got a few super adorable outfits for my kids (and took a couple of photos of them over the weekend). My girls are wearing their pretty dresses from Neige, and Pim his sporting the super cool indigo linen blazer from Anais & I. How lucky that the weather has been so amazing, so that they can immediately enjoy their fabulous new clothes!

xxx Esther

The Digital Neighbourhood event in Athens, Greece

One of the things I love about our job, is the wonderfully supportive online community in which we work, and the amazing friendships we have developed over the years. Bloggers (and professionals working in the children’s retail world) are such a friendly, supporting group of people, I feel it makes such a difference from the often competitive and political atmosphere in other fields of business.

One of the friends we have made over the years, is the lovely Pepi Nikolopoulou from the Greek online boutique and blog Alice on Board. Pepi wrote a Weekend Getaway about her beautiful city, Athens, a few years ago, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.

Pepi is one of the five talented women who are organising the “Digital Neighborhood” event which will take place for the second time this year in Athens this coming Friday and Saturday. (She’s the cute blonde girl in the photo above!) The concept of this year’s event is “Growing towards the Future”, and it is open to everyone who is interested in creating a blog, would like to improve their existing blog, strengthen their Social Media presence, or is simply looking for inspiration. There will be tons of professionals walking around, like photographers, Social Media experts, journalists, portal owners, and bloggers of course, who will be there to offer knowledge, to exchange ideas, and to inspire with their success stories.

I’m so excited to be representing Babyccino Kids at the Digital Neighbourhood event this Saturday! I will be talking about how Babyccino Kids evolved from a friendship, to a blog, and then to an international business. I’ll speak about our growth, the structure of our business, our roles within the company, and our plans for the future. It will be so fun to share our story, and I’m so excited to meet some of our Greek readers and to learn from the other professionals at the event. And of course, I’m extremely thrilled at the prospect of hanging out with Pepi this weekend in her lovely city of Athens!

xxx Esther

Laviandbelle jewellery


Laviandbelle was started by two London-based mums who wanted to create handmade yet affordable jewellery for children and teens. Unlike the disposable mass-market jewellery you can find on the high street, they wanted to offer unique pieces, all handmade in their Notting Hill studio and only available in limited quantities.

I love that their jewellery is playful and fun, but also simple and tasteful. There’s an innocence to their jewellery that I find refreshing (it’s not trying to make kids look more grown up or glamorous, but rather just offering fun accessories for everyday, or pretty pieces for special occasions).

They sent over some sweet summery pieces for Ivy, and she was absolutely beside herself. How sweet is the glitter heart necklace? And I love the simple bracelets with neon accents and little charms. Of course she wants to wear everything at once!

x Courtney

Cosy Cashmere from La Petite V


Who doesn’t love the wonderful quality of cashmere? It’s soft, warm, natural, and because of the warmth regulating characteristics of the material, it’s just perfectly snug and comfortable —  both in winter and in summer. So we’re very happy with the discovery of the new Amsterdam based label La Petite V, which focusses entirely on gorgeously soft and cosy cashmere for babies.

I love the well thought through collection of products with which Vivien, the designer behind La Petite V, has launched her label. A hooded blanket (the perfect receiving blanket, just perfect for newborn babies). A scarf for mama that can be used to keep baby warm as well, or be used for breastfeeding. A sweet old-fashioned bonnet, and (my favourite), a darling hooded jumpsuit with clever openings that can be used in the carseat as well. Gorgeous!

xxx Esther

Birdie London Photo Studio









I was invited to try out the new Birdie London pop-up photo booth at Liberty last weekend, so the girls and I went over to check it out. We spent an hour in a pretty little private room in Liberty, playing dress up while they snapped some photos. It was such a fun time, and even Ivy (who hates having her photo taken) enjoyed it!  I just got the photos back, and I LOVE them!  I hope you don’t mind me sharing some with you? My favourite is the one where Marlow is crying! Such a perfect, imperfect photo! : )

Birdie London will be running pop-up photo booths in Liberty throughout the year, so it’s definitely worth checking their site and signing up for news on future dates. They offer one-hour photo sessions for £300, and then after the session they email you all the photos (for free) and you get to keep them, print them and use the files as you wish.

I’m definitely going to print some of these photos and hang them up in our house. And I’m already looking forward to the next session so I can get some photos with all my children!

xx Courtney

p.s. Marlow is wearing this super cute outfit from La Coqueta.  Ivy is wearing this pretty coral dress from Marie Puce or this Liberty London floral dress which she borrowed for the shoot.

Happy UK Mother’s Day!

I get confused every year by all the different dates for Mother’s Day. I’ve never understood why the UK celebrates Mother’s Day in March, when the rest of Europe and America celebrate in May! I looked it up, and here’s the rule: while the majority of the world (including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, China and the rest of Europe) celebrates Mother’s Day on the 2nd Sunday in May, the UK and Ireland celebrate on the 4th sunday in Lent, which is believed to go back to the 16th century when Christians would visit their ‘mother church’ annually, a day most mothers would be reunited with their children. Here in the UK, it’s also called ‘Mothering Sunday’. So… there you have it. The reason for all the confusion!

Anyway, a very happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers, grandmothers and mothers-to-be here in the UK and Ireland. Hope you’re having a wonderful, happy day surrounded by family and adoring children!  xx

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