Ace & Jig coming to Liberty of London!

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Courtney_Ace&Jig dress3
I feel a bit silly telling you to head over to A Cup of Jo, because surely you’ve already been, right? Most likely it was the first blog you visited today because it’s your favourite (it’s definitely  mine!).

Anyway, I was beyond flattered when Joanna asked me to share my four fall outfits and I’m sooo excited to be up on her blog today, sharing not only my fall outfits but my (somewhat embarrassing) fashion philosophy and getting-dressed tips.

Ace and Jig Coverlet dress
Ace and Jig dress

Of course an obvious outfit choice for me was this pretty dress from Ace & Jig. It’s no secret how much I love this brand and the talented designers behind it. I think everything they do is just so, so good. Their passion for textiles, their beautiful designs and pretty patterns, and their combination of earthy, rich colours… it’s all so effortlessly beautiful, and most importantly, comfortable.  More than any other brand, I feel most like myself wearing Ace & Jig — it unleashes my inner hippie while still being feminine and stylish.

Designers, Cary and Jenna, have just told me that Ace & Jig will be coming to Liberty at the end of this month and I am so excited that my favourite brand will soon be available in one of my favourite London shops! Perfect, right? Keep an eye out for their pieces to start arriving, including this dress and some other new pieces! I know Cary and Jenna are super excited to be stocked at Liberty, and secretly I’m hoping this means they’ll be making more trips to London (I’m dying to meet them in person!).

Courtney x

p.s. These photos were taken by my friend, Lesley Colvin, who is one of the nicest, most genuine people I know. She also happens to be a super talented photographer and one of the only people who makes me feel comfortable in front of a camera.  (More on her very soon!) xx

Sticker crafting with Pipsticks

sticker crafts with Pipsticks
craft supplies and pipsticks stickers
marlow crafting with stickers from Pipsticks
Pipsticks stickers

My friend, Maureen, invited us over to her house last week for a sticker craft playdate for the little ones (and homemade soup for the mums! Yummm).  It was such a fun and inspiring morning in her gorgeous home, and Marlow loved making (and wearing) her sticker crown. What a sweet activity.

Maureen is the founder of Pipsticks, a sticker subscription service for kids (and sticker-loving grown-ups) that delivers a curated pack of stickers to your mailbox every month. Each month Maureen puts together an awesome, seasonal pack of stickers from global suppliers, choosing the most unique and useful stickers kids are sure to love. In addition to stickers, each pack includes a blank postcard and a few sheets of colourful paper to use for craft projects and general ‘stickering’.

I think what I love most about Maureen, in addition to her sticker expertise and, of course, her homemade soup (!), is that she comes up with the cutest ways to use the stickers and offers all sorts of sticker craft ideas on her site. From sticker crowns to pretty pencils to sticker mandalas… most projects are easy enough for kids to do on their own, and make it that much more exciting to receive a sticker pack in the post each month.

Marlow and Ike
Ike sticker crafting
Marlow and Ike were so cute making their crowns together, and as you can see Marlow got creative and decided to sticker her outfit too. : ) You can see the full sticker crown tutorial over on the Pipsticks website where you can sign up for your own sticker subscription as well. (Enter code BABY11 at check-out to receive one month free off any 6 or 12 month subscription!)

Courtney x

p.s. Pipsticks will have a booth at this year’s ShopUp event selling sticker gift boxes and other fun sticker packs — they’ll also have a little craft station for kids as well, so be sure to check them out there! Just TWO MORE WEEKS!!

New in at Donna Wilson!

donna wilson plates
I’m not very adventurous with tableware — I think it’s my OCD qualities (!) that likes my kitchen cupboards to be filled with big stacks of matching plates, bowls, mugs, etc. My kids use the same tableware as we do (this range from Ikea!), that way we don’t clutter up our cupboards with different stuff for the kids.

But… I just couldn’t resist these beautiful ceramic plates from Donna Wilson! I can’t decide whether to let the kids use them for meals (and hope they don’t break them!) or to hang them on the wall like in the photo below. Don’t they look so pretty like that?

DonnaWilson

I love everything in the new Autumn collection at Donna Wilson: beautiful scarves and bags (how fun is this coin purse?), colourful lambswool cushions, and a whole range of playful items for kids.

Donna Wilson accessories
Donna Wilson scarves
donna wilson kids
I love how the Donna Wilson products always have an element of playfulness about them. They’re always beautiful, but also quite quirky and fun too.

Courtney x

Blurb photo books

blurb instagram books

I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. Most of the time I love it and find the community there so wonderful and supportive and inspiring, but you know… there are days… ! : )

One of the biggest reasons why I do love it is how easy it is to make Instagram books over at Blurb.  You literally just sign in with your Instagram account and the photos in your feed will be automatically uploaded, making it super easy to pick and choose your photos for your book. Unlike some of the more complex systems where you have to download the book-making software to your computer, these little Instagram photo books can be made in less than five minutes! Nothing intimidating about it.

blurb instagram books 2

We have a little collection of Instagram books from the past couple years and I’m currently in the process of creating one from our recent trip to Venice. It’s such a great way of documenting your travels or a special occasion and so fun to look at them and remember those happy family moments. My boys took the books to bed with them the other night and I found them scattered around inside their bed the next morning!

Summer 2014 instagram book
Last month I created a ‘Summer 2014′ photo book and it makes me so happy to look at those sunny summery photos! (Fast-forward to next summer, please!) I’m not sure if it’s a new feature, but I realised when I made this one that you can even add extra pages, so this book is a bit thicker than our others, and definitely one of our favourites.

summer instagram blurb book
summer 2014 instagram book2

Blurb doesn’t just do Instagram books — they offer all sorts of wonderful book-making tools and different types of photo book options. You can even create your own magazine. How cool is that?! And I love their suggestion of making baby photo books and adding captions and comments to create a special book all about your baby. The possibilities are endless!

Courtney x

 

p.s. This post was sponsored by Blurb, a company I’ve used and trusted for a long time, and a new member of our shopping portal. 

Waddler photo competition

Waddler photo competition Patagonia
I don’t normally enter photo competitions, but here is one that I just can’t pass up. The prize is just too good! The chance to win a£1,000 shopping spree at Waddler plus a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South America?! I’m in. You too? Just look at that beautiful landscape above…

Waddler

waddler2

Waddler is one of my very favourite children’s brands. Their fair trade collection is produced in Bolivia from 100% baby alpaca wool, one of nature’s finest natural fibers, and is incredibly soft. The pieces have something very sweet and simple about them, yet they are wild and adventurous. And the colours are so gorgeously rich and soft at the same time.

Waddler has teamed up with PlanSouthAmerica, a British-owned and operated travel company with offices in London and Buenos Aires, to offer a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South America, the birthplace of Waddler and the inspiration for their designs. They’re offering one very lucky winner the chance to £1,000 worth of beautiful clothes and £1,000 towards an amazing family holiday in South America.

Marlow and Ivy in Waddler
To enter, all you have to do is take a photo of your children wearing their Waddller clothing and mail it to serena@wadler.co.uk or upload them to Instagram using the hashtag #waddlercompetition by January 25th, 2015. (You can read more about the competition here.) I took this photo of my silly girls (above) when we were in Soho last weekend. Those little outfits are just too cute!

Courtney x
p.s. Waddler is one of 40 wonderful brands setting up shop at this year’s ShopUp event in December.  So if your kids don’t already have a piece from the collection, you’ll be able to shop their collection there!

p.p.s. This post was sponsored by Waddler, a brand we have loved for years and a longtime member of our shopping portal.

Sweet alpaca pixie hat from Nuvola Baby

Marlow in pixie hat from Nuvola Baby
pixie hat from nuvola baby
And just like that… it’s hat weather! Did you also find yourself rifling through boxes in your basement this week, looking for all of your scarves and hats and winter coats? I guess we’ve been lucky with all the mild weather we’ve had all Autumn, so much so that I was a bit caught off guard. It’s suddenly dark and cold, and there is no denying that winter is coming. Sigh.

Speaking of hats, how sweet is this vintage-inspired pixie hat from Nuvola Baby? Adorable. And not only super cute, but each hat sold will buy 10 nutritious meals for a malnourished baby in Burkina Faso. Nuvola Baby are donating 2 euros from every sale to the Dr. Elvire Engel Foundation, a Luxembourg based NGO that cares for women and children in need in Burkina Faso (you can read more about the campaign here).

Nuvola Baby is one of the 40 wonderful shops taking part in this year’s ShopUp event next month, so you can check them out in person then. I can’t wait to pay a little visit to their booth. Such cosy products!

Courtney x

SipSnap drinking lids

sipsnap lids
quin drinking
Leave it to a duo of mums to come up with something so simple yet so useful. After launching the hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, two mums, Sativa Turner and Michelle Ivankovic, have come out with a range of BPA-free, spill-proof lids that fit any cup, any time. The SipSnap drinking lids are to be used at home so you can clear out all the plastic kiddie cups taking up valuable space in your kitchen cupboards, or to be used on-the-go so you always have a sippy cup with you at restaurants or friends’ houses, etc. So smart!

There are two types of lids — the SipSnap TOT with a sippy lid or the SipSnap KID with a hole that fits any sized straw. All the lids are dishwasher safe, fit over any sized cup, come with a handy case so you can easily throw in your handbag, and come in a variety of fun colours.

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marlow with sippy cup
marlow drinking juice
We tested out the SipSnap lids at Esther’s house last week and they worked perfectly. I loved that we could just slip on a lid over any of Esther’s normal drinking glasses, and my kids were safe to drink away without spilling all over her beautiful new house. : )

Courtney x

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery

Keihl's midnight recovery syrum
kiehl's midnight recovery
When it comes to the world of beauty products, I’ve been living on planet Mars. If you read my beauty uniform post on A Cup of Jo, you’ll already know that most of the beauty products I use are ones that I’ve used since I was a teenager. I hardly ever try anything new. So boring, I know.

But when I was staying at Esther’s house last week, I discovered this pretty blue glass bottle of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery sitting on her bathroom counter and I decided to test it out. The bottle promises ‘younger looking skin by morning’. I mean, even a Martian alien would be intrigued by that. Right?

I loved the feeling of the essential oils on my skin (a bit oily, but not greasy or heavy) and the smell was so soothing and calming for bedtime. I’m sure it’s a bit of a placebo effect, but I woke up feeling like my skin was happier and healthier looking. I’m ordering my own bottle right now!

Courtney x

Handknit jumpers and pompom hats from Babaà

Casper kissing Marlow
Babaa wool hat
Marlow and Casper wearing Babaa jumpers
Marlow wearing Babaa jumper and hat
Casper wearing Babaa
wool jumpers from Babaa

We’ve just returned from a road trip to Amsterdam to see Esther and her family, and I’m having such a fun time looking at all the photos from our time together. Eight kids is a lot of little people to feed and bathe and entertain and clean up after… but it was so much fun! It’s really so sweet to see how well they all play together and how quickly they settle in with each other, especially considering they only see each other once or twice a year. They really are such loving little friends.

Marlow and Casper were not entirely sure of each other. I think Marlow’s big personality is a bit intimidating for sweet Casper… but of course we’re still certain they’ll marry each other one day! ; )

We did, however, manage to take some sweet snaps of them playing together (and even a photo of Casper stealing a kiss!). They were wearing their cosy, new hand-knit jumpers and coordinating pompom hats from Babaà, so they looked extra extra cute. Don’t you agree they’ll make the cutest couple?! Marlow just has to learn that stealing Casper’s food and forcing him to hug her is not quite the way to win his heart…

Courtney  x

Elias & Grace Treat Week (and early bird discount!)

Elias&Grace_AW Looks2

Each season Elias & Grace puts together the most stylish selection of children’s brands, offering key pieces which have been carefully considered from each collection to ensure that everything in store is so effortlessly stylish, easy to wear and perfect for every occasion. In short, Elias & Grace has done the hard work so that you can easily shop for your children. There’s even a ‘bestsellers‘ page on their website where you could pretty much shop blindfolded and still pick out cute items!

Elias&Grace_AW looks

I love popping into the Primrose Hill boutique every season — to check out new trends, gather inspiration and pick up a few cute seasonal staples for my kids. And I love it even more when they run the occasional ‘treat week’ with a generous 20% discount. Yesssss!

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The Elias & Grace ‘treat week’ begins on Monday but we’ve managed to secure an early bird discount just for our readers so you can scoop up the pieces before they fly off the shelves! The discount starts today and will run until the 10th. Use the code: TREATBC14 at check-out. Now get going!

Courtney x

Our trip to Venice

gondola ride in the grand canal
grand canal, Venice
rialto bridge
Venice has always been at the top of my holiday wish-list, and yet, in the 11 years we’ve lived in London, we’ve never managed to go. It’s either spring/summer when it’s too touristy and overcrowded, or late summer when it’s too hot and smelly, or winter when it’s apparently quite foggy and cold (although I’ve heard it’s quite magical like this). So… when it came time to book our October halfterm holiday, we decided it had to be Venice! And oh my gosh, it did not disappoint! I think this holiday might be one of my very favourites, which says a lot coming from a girl who likes a beach holiday more than anything. : )

The kids were absolutely intrigued by the concept of a city floating in water — that the buses and taxis (even ambulances!) are all boats, and that you’re completely surrounded by water at all times (even dead-end streets lead you straight into a canal!). I was so impressed by the beauty and colours of Venice — for some reason I didn’t expect it to be so colourful! I always pictured it to be quite grey, like the famous Canaletto paintings of Venice in the National Gallery. How naive was I?

Like I said in my previous post, the thing that impressed us the most is the fact that there are no cars. It makes it such a kid-friendly city, to be able to walk freely in the streets and play in the squares. At one point we were sitting at a sunny table at a pizzeria, finishing our glass of wine while Easton was playing football with a local Italian boy, Ivy and Quin were drawing with chalk in the street next to our table, and Marlow was sitting in the middle of the square playing with a little spinning top. All of them within eyesight, all of them completely safe to play in the street. Michael and I kept pinching ourselves.

venice
venice boats

venice laundry
venice canal
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Anyway, here are a few photos (okay, loads! sorry! I hope you don’t mind?) and a list of some of the highlights…  (more…)

Liberty print sweetness (and knee patches!) from Milou & Pilou

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milou and pilou2

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milou and pilou5

We’ve just gotten home from a little trip to Venice, and I really can’t wait to share photos and a summary of our trip. I just looked through all of our photos on our camera (precisely 589 of them!) and don’t know how on earth I will ever narrow down a selection to share. That city is a photographer’s dream!

Quickly though, I wanted to share some photos of the girls wearing their little matching outfits from Milou & Pilou. They looked so sweet roaming the streets of Venice together, and I just can’t get over Marlow’s little knee patches. Adorable!

The best thing about Venice is that it’s completely car-free, which means kids can walk the streets, play in the squares, join other kids for a game of football, or colour the paving stones with chalk.  My kids had so much fun playing in the quiet streets — I wish London was like that!

More Venice photos to come…

Courtney xx

Custom watercolour portraits from Sophie & Lili

Sophie and Lili painting
sophie and lili custom watercolor portraits
Artist Jennifer Vallez from Sophie & Lili recently sent over these sweet watercolour portraits of my little family, and I love them so much. I love that she captured my children’s personalities so well, and all of it based on a couple Instagram photos I have recently posted. My kids are especially fond of them — Ivy has already asked to frame them and put them up in her room. So sweet.

Sophie & Lili offer a custom watercolour portrait service so if you would like her to paint your family, she’s your girl. I just love that she managed to capture my family at this special time when all my babies are still babies. What a wonderful keepsake!

Courtney x

p.s. Photos above are taken from the Sophie & Lili Instagram feed.

Advent Calendars. Time to start planning!

Ferm Living advent calnedar

December is still six weeks away, and I’m refusing to start thinking about Christmas just yet (I saw the Christmas decorations up on Oxford street earlier this week and it didn’t seem possible! Can it really be that time of year already?!). But… I do love Advent calendars — it’s one of my favourite Christmas traditions.

I saw this cool Ferm Living advent calendar (above) at Cissy Wears earlier this week and love it! (It’s actually what has inspired this post.)

Maileg advent calendar

We have the Maileg advent calendar (as shown above) and it’s a similar concept with little pockets for presents on each day. I start collecting little gifts and knick knacks around this time of year, and then come December 1st, the kids take turn unwrapping each day. It’s such a fun and exciting way to celebrate the run-up to Christmas.

advent-calendarbk31

I also love the idea Meta wrote about, with little paper bags hanging along the stair railing. So fun and festive!

christmas-book-advent-calendar1

And lastly, there’s the wonderful idea from Mo who wraps up christmas-themed books every year for a Christmas book Advent Calendar. Such a great idea!

Anyway, I thought I would share all these ideas now… before it’s too late to prepare. The next six weeks will zip by I’m sure!

Courtney x

Adorable Halloween costumes from Thumbelina

©Maya Havkin- Photographer
©Maya Havkin- Photographer
©Maya Havkin- Photographer
Halloween is around the corner, and I’m as unprepared as ever. Hmmm. !! I was feeling guilty about my tired stash of three-times worn Halloween costume options for Marlow and was needing a bit of inspiration… and these adorable costumes from Thumbelina have done the trick. How perfect are they?!  I love a good fleecey zip-up costume that is as cosy as it is cute.

Now… what to do for the bigger kids?!

Courtney x

 

Handmade baby moccasins from Pepa & Co.

Baby moccasins from Pepa & Co

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Is it pouring down rain where you are too? Oh my gosh, the weather in London has been soooo grim! (Though I did sneak a peak at a fellow passenger’s newspaper on the tube yesterday and it did say that we’re getting another mini heat wave next week. So don’t get out your hats and scarves just yet!)

Anyway, here’s something to brighten up your grey day. How adorable are these handmade baby moccasins from Pepa & Co. I ordered the biggest size for Marlow and they were sadly too small. I guess that means she’s no longer a baby… sniff!  Instead of pouting about it, I’m going to focus on all the baby gift-giving I can do and I think these beauties would make the perfect present.

Courtney x

Smallish Magazine

Smallish and the ShopUp

I know it’s a bit of old news by now, but did you see that Baby & Me Magazine got a cool new name? Our favourite London-based magazine has relaunched and is now called Smallish.  No longer focused just on pregnancy and birth, the new magazine will include beautiful fashion shoots, issue-led features, inspiring parents, glossy interiors, up-and-coming brands and the best scoop on what’s new and cool for kids (and their parents). You can pick up a copy of the magazine at newsagents across the country, or download the digital version here.

And… best news for last….we’re really excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Smallish Magazine for our big ShopUp event this December. Visitors to the event will be able to pick up their own copy of the magazine and discover the monthly goodness for themselves. They’ll also be helping us promote the event, ensuring this year’s ShopUp is a big, fat success. !! We could not be more excited! Have you marked your diaries yet?

Courtney xx

New merino wool muslin products from Aden + Anais

Aden+Anais wool sleeping bag
Aden+Anais wool swaddle
aden and anais merino wool blankets

I’m a huge fan (but really, who isn’t?!) of the Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blankets and sleeping bags and was excited to learn that they’ve created an innovative new range of merino wool muslin products. What’s cool about this new range is that it’s not just an ordinary merino wool blanket or another merino wool sleeping bag, but rather a merino wool muslin blanket and sleeping bag. It’s a new fabric that took years to perfect, one that combines the cosy, breathable qualities of merino wool with the stretchy & soft muslin fabric everyone loves, two simple luxuries woven into one.

I was invited to the UK launch event last week and it was so lovely to meet Raegan Moya-Jones, the founder (she’s adorable!) and also to see and feel all the new products in person. I asked Raegan how easy it is to wash these new wool products, and she answered like the experienced mama she is: all the Aden + Anais products are 100% machine washable and can also be tumble dried, because what new mother has time to hand wash her baby’s blankets?!

The new Aden + Anais merino wool collection is available online here and in stores soon! Perfect for the colder winter months ahead… (sigh).

Courtney x

Atlas of Adventures, our new favourite book!

boys reading Atlas of Adventures
atlas of adventures_grand canyon

Remember the lists of my children’s favourite books I posted earlier this year? Well, Easton and Quin just told me that they have a new favourite to top their lists. Atlas of Adventures is a brand new book out this week, and is every bit worthy of their praise. The book offers a ‘collection of wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe’. What I love about the book is that is doesn’t just show you a picture of a city or place, but it allows the reader to experience what it would be like to be there, to join the Carnival in Brazil, to river raft down the Grand Canyon, to visit the penguins in Antarctica, steer a gondola in Venice and a whole host of other fun activities. It’s also filled with fun and engaging illustrations and interesting facts about every destination.

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Atlas of Adventures
Atlas of Adventures is the first book out from a new imprint called Wide Eyed Editions which we are really excited about.  They create non-fiction books for children and believe books should encourage curiosity about the world we live in. So great! Wide Eyed Editions has signed on to be our bookseller at this year’s ShopUp event, and we’re thrilled to help them promote their first selection of books. (We’ve had a sneak peak at their new titles, and we just know you’re going to love them all!)

You can buy Atlas of Adventures from Amazon here . Hurry before they sell out!

Courtney x

Desert boots from De Vries

quin wearing De Vries shoes

I was rearranging our shoe shelf the other day, putting away summery sandals and bringing out our shoes for Autumn, and I realised I have a real thing for desert boots. I love them! Both for girls and for boys (and even for myself!). What I love about desert boots is that they’re gender neutral, so they can be passed down from one sibling to the next regardless of gender. (Last year, Ivy wore a pair that were passed down from her brothers!) This year I’ve gotten the boys new boots from De Vries, and we’re loving them. The quality is really great and I love the selection of colours and styles.

Devries Shoes
I got Quin these traditional ones (and I think they suit him so well!), but they also have ones with yellow or red laces which are really fun too.

Courtney x

p.s. Quin’s cute outfit comes from Caramel Baby. How cool are the trousers?! 

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