For the past few months, despite lots of big changes and careful planning, I’ve kept uncharacteristically quiet about some things. When we sold our house back in February, I managed to skirt all the why and where questions, and to be honest, it’s been a bit of an uncomfortable secret to keep (it turns out I’m not very good at keeping my own secrets. haha!). But… I knew that we first had to tell some important people (family, jobs, schools, etc.) and get everything lined up first before I could spill the beans.
And now finally, I get to share!
Michael and I have decided to make a really big dream a reality. We’ve decided to push pause on our busy lives here in London and take a year out to spend time with our children. We’ve managed to sell our house and lots of our belongings, we’ve dropped lots of stuff at charity shops and have pawned off our beloved house plants and treasures to friends. We’ll be storing some of the remaining stuff in a storage unit, and in two weeks we’ll be heading off on a big adventure around the world.
We’ll be spending the summer with friends and family in the US, and then come September we’ll head down to South America to explore countries like Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Peru. Our journey will then take us to Australia, New Zealand and a couple countries in Asia before returning to explore more of Europe next summer. A family trip around the world: a dream I’ve had since I was a young child.
We look forward to immersing ourselves in the culture and language of each place we visit. We hope to experience how the locals live, what they eat, how they cook it, how they work, how they learn, how they play, and how they love as families. I want to discover and teach our children the history, theology, and geography of each place, but more than that, I want to discover a deeper part of myself and gain an understanding of the values that matter most to us. For as much as we want to experience the amazing things this world has to offer, we are more interested in slowing down our days, enjoying time as a family, being more present, listening, really listening, to each other, and emerging with a happiness and fulfillment that will hopefully influence the rest of our lives. Because life is so short, and our kids grow up too quickly. Because Easton is ten years old, and it won’t be long before he won’t be excited about an adventure like this. Because now is the time.
I’ve written about our upcoming trip and the reasons behind our decision in a piece for The Telegraph which has gone online today and which will come out in the Telegraph’s weekend supplement this Saturday (my first ever published piece in a national newspaper! eeek!). Please pop over and have a read, or pick up the paper this weekend.
Thank you for all of your support (and patience) with me.
p.s. I will, of course, still be blogging here over the coming year.
The photo above was taken by Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph. You can see more of his photos in the article here.
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Velveteen is a brand we’ve known and loved for a long time. Each season we make sure to check out their upcoming collections at Playtime, and we’ve enjoyed watching this brand grow over the last few years, getting better and better each season. Their current Spring/Summer collection is definitely our favourite one yet! How pretty are all the colours and fabrics?! I love that the boys’ collection is just as nice as the girls’, with cute shorts and tees that are both simple and stylish.
I’ve just noticed that the Velveteen summer sale has started and all the pieces are now 40% off! A perfect excuse to pick up some summer pieces for the warm months ahead.
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How dreamy are all of these images from Cabbages & Kings? Summertime sweetness right there: bare feet, tan little limbs, happy children, long grass, and whimsical pieces so perfect for this time of year.
I am such a fan of all the colourful Mexican embroidery and unique patterns, and love that the pieces are handmade and one-of-a-kind. Cabbages & Kings works with skilled artisans from communities in Mexico and Peru, supporting fair trade and ethical craftsmanship.
The dresses and skirts are so, so pretty, aren’t they? And the little shoes and bibs would make the perfect new baby gifts. Cabbages & Kings are currently offering Babyccino readers a 22% discount on their entire collection. Click over to their profile page on our portal for details and promo code. Hooray for summer!
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We live in bike country here in the Netherlands — because it’s so incredibly flat (we have virtually no mountains whatsoever!) a bike is just the ideal method of transportation. Traffic layout has been optimised for bikes, there are dedicated bike lanes everywhere and we even have special bike-lane traffic lights. With biking in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to write a little post about bike safety… Here goes!
Tips for taking your children on your own bike:
- Young children can be taken on your bike but have to sit in a proper bike seat. From when the baby is about 12 months old (or when the neck and the back of the baby are strong enough), you can take your baby on the bike with you, on a special seat hanging from the steer. When your child outgrows this seat (around 2 years old), you can transfer him to a special bike seat on the back of your bike. The seat on the back is more comfortable to cycle with and more comfortable for the child as well (wind, rain, sun, etc) — so as soon as you can, transferring your child to the back is a good idea. Ask you local bike store for a recommended bike seat that meets safety standards.
- Make sure your bike is safe, strong, and stable. Make sure that the seat is low enough so you can touch the ground with both feet when standing still.
- I personally like to have a special double leg bike stand under my bike so when I lift children onto my bike, the bike won’t fall over.
- Spike guards are mandatory when you child has outgrown the special seat on the back of your bike. It’s ok to take your child on the back of your bike when she has outgrown the toddler bike seat (around the age of 5), but do make sure that the spikes of your rear wheel are covered with plastic guards so the foot of your child can not get caught in the spikes. These kind of guards are not expensive and can be easily attached, so if you don’t have them — get them! (Both my son, Pim, and Emilie’s daughter Vivi have broken their legs because their feet got caught in the spikes, so we speak from experience here!!) Foldable foot rests that attach to the frame are needed too.
- Helmets should be worn. Even though here in the Netherlands it seems that nobody wears a helmet, I try to make a point of encouraging my children to wear one whenever they ride their own bike. Make sure the helmet fits well, and meets safety standards.
- A little side note — even though some of my friends are comfortable doing it, I would personally recommend against taking a little baby on your bike. Not even (or especially not!) in a baby-carrier. I think a baby, until their back and neck is strong enough, shouldn’t be taken on a bike altogether.
And of course, our children love to ride their own bikes when they’re ready for it. Here are some tips:
- Make sure you have the right size bike for your child. Your child should be able to touch the ground with both feet when standing still. A bike that is too big is not safe.
- I prefer bikes with coaster breaks instead of hand breaks (or both).
- A bike should always have proper lights front and back, and reflectors on the wheels, so the bike is well visible. (Here in Amsterdam, the police often checks cyclists and we do get fined if our lights don’t work properly!)
- Again, your children should wear proper helmets that fit well and meet safety standards.
- Practise with your children. Experience is key — children need to learn about road rules, different traffic situations and how to handle different situations. The more experienced they are, the more safe they will be.
On a side note — after trying with Sara to teach her to cycle with side wheels, with Pim we learned that it’s better not to bother with these. It’s best to immediately work on balance and control over the bike (yes! running next to them!). If you can, a peddle-less balance bike like a like-a-bike is a great introduction to cycling — the child will learn balancing perfectly and the transition to a proper bike will be a piece of cake.
Hope these tips will come in handy — as always, please share your tips and tricks if you have any!
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It’s nearly the end of June, and I just wanted to remind you of the wonderful give-aways we have lined up… Did you enter yet??
EllieFunDay offer a gorgeous range of baby blankets handcrafted from natural and organic materials. Each blanket features four layers of super soft organic cotton muslin sewn together and hand-embroidered with darling designs. This month, EllieFunDay is giving away a £100 gift certificate to their sweet shop!
Each season, Poppy designs and prints their own delightful fabrics, featuring the tales of the adventures of Poppy and her dog Fred, and uses them to make adorable children’s clothing. So adorable! This month, Poppy is giving away a complete Little Boats set to one very lucky winner, consisting of a Martha red boats dress, a contrasting yellow petticoat and a floats bow clip. So sweet!
Stuck on You is the answer to all your labeling needs, offering a wide and great selection of labels for all labeling eventualities. Need a personalised lunch box? Want personlised cups for your kid’s birthday? Enter: Stuck on You. This month, Stuck on You is offering two winners £50 each to spend on their site – no more lost items for these lucky people!
Lupus in fabula is a range of babies and children’s clothing made exclusively from the highest quality, 100% natural fibres. We just love the cheerful palette and the smart, yet easy-wear nature of the collection! This month Lupus in fabula is giving away a £100 voucher to spend on their site!
You can enter to win these fabulous give-aways here. Good luck!
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We are incredibly excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with mothers2mothers as our chosen charity partner for the coming year. After several meetings with the European director, Emma France, and her team, we are so inspired by their work and are looking forward to partnering with mothers2mothers during our upcoming ShopUp events (and other opportunities) to help raise awareness and donations for this wonderful cause.
What I love about this charity is that they are empowering mothers to help other mothers. They do this by training and employing mothers living with HIV to bring health and hope to other mothers, their families, and communities. Another thing I really like about the charity is that their goal of eliminating paediatric aids is entirely achievable. In fact, the results are there to prove it. By donating to mothers2mothers, you know your money goes to saving a baby from being born with aids. As little as $10 is all that’s needed to save one baby’s life.
Rather than banging on about why we really believe in this charity, we thought we would list some key facts below (and you can also watch this inspiring video):
- 240,000 children acquired HIV in 2013. That’s 1 new infection every 2 minutes.
- Each day, almost 600 children are infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and without treatment, approximately half of these children will die before age two.
- The transmission of the HIV virus from a mother to her baby is almost entirely preventable!!
- The babies that have been born HIV negative through the 1.3 million plus women mothers2mothers has reached is proof of this.
- Simple and inexpensive medicines are available, and with the right support that mothers2mothers provides transmission rates of the virus can be reduced from 40% to 2%.
- Engaging women in care at all stages of pregnancy and motherhood is critical to protecting both her health and that of her baby.
- HIV positive women, ‘Mentor Mothers’, are trained, employed and empowered to work side by side with doctors and nurses in understaffed health centres as members of the healthcare team.
- Deploying mothers as frontline healthcare workers creates stronger health systems and healthier communities.
- Employing Mentor Mothers helps them gain economic security for themselves and their children.
We are excited to introduce you to this wonderful charity and look forward to working with them over the coming year. Thank you in advance for your support.
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I visited Warsaw once a very, very long time ago on a school exchange trip. It was in the mid ’90s and it was a fascinating place – full of Soviet-era architecture, but already buzzing with potential. Now 20-odd years later I am sure that potential has been fulfilled and I would love to go back and discover the city with my kids. Kristina, one of our lovely readers, lives in Warsaw with her family and was kind enough to put together a list of things to do, see and experience in Warsaw with kids!
Kristina was born in a small, little town in between the Alps and the Adriatic sea in the North East of Italy. With a Czech–Bulgarian mother and Italian dad, she soon developed an interest in studying languages, cross cultural relations, travelling and different foods. After living in Paris, Prague, the English countryside and London, Kristina, her Anglo-Scottish husband and their two (soon to be three!!) children enjoy life in Warsaw. (more…)
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Do you know the fruit cordials from Belvoir Fruit Farm? We have recently discovered them and are all hooked! We love the interesting, grown-up taste combinations, like spiced apple & ginger, rhubarb & strawberry, elderflower & rose, raspberry & lemon…
I try to give my children water or tea for as much as possible, but in the afternoon I’m ok to give them a glass of juice. These ones from Belvoir are so nice, and not overly sweet. We all love them — the ginger cordial is my personal favourite. Super fresh!
PS I’ll be making my own rhubarb cordial this week, so easy and another lovely fresh drink, especially in combination with sparkling water.
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I still can’t believe my baby is TEN!! It’s been an emotional year as I anticipated his birthday and reflected on the past decade, but then when the day finally arrived, it was happy and joyous (and I didn’t even shed a tear)! We celebrated our big boy with pancakes for breakfast, an afternoon spent at the school’s summer fair, pizza dinner with friends and then a sleepover party that evening. It was a happy day!
Following on from my post about what to buy a 6-year-old birthday girl, I’d love to share some of Easton’s favourite gifts he received last week. I’ll admit that I was really, really stumped for what to get him. And the sweet boy didn’t make it any easier, insisting he didn’t really need anything.
We only bought him a few small gifts, and the rest came from friends and grandparents. He ended up with the handsome selection of gifts below:
1. A simple Swiss Army Knife for carving sticks on the beach this summer.
2. A sweatshirt to celebrate double digits!!!
3. A subscription renewal of the Phoenix Comic magazine, because he SO looks forward to Fridays when his weekly comic magazine arrives.
4. A football from his favourite team
5. Adventure logs to encourage him to jot down all of his crazy outdoor adventures
6. A Swatch Watch!
7. A pack of playing cards because he’s really into playing cards right now (Crazy Eights, War, Go Fish, Concentration, etc.)
8. The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs, a comic book by the author of one of his current favourite books. (He’s really into comic books right now and I’m just happy he’s reading, so I’m going with it.)
9. A pair of swim trunks for the summer!
Please share in the comments below any other suggestions for what to buy a 10-year-old. I’m sure other readers would appreciate the tips!
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Summer here and I thought it was high time to write down some random tips of what to do in my lovely city with kids. Paris is such a great place to visit and so easy to get around that it is a great destination with children, even young ones. But there are a couple of things that might be good to know:
- Hilariously my very first tip actually has very little to do with kids and has everything to do with coffee and bars! Basically if you want to save a cent or two always order and drink a coffee at the bar in a Parisian café, not on the terrace. The price on a terrace can be more that double than the one if you sit by the bar. The same goes for most drinks. (By the way: a café is an espresso, a noisette is a macchiato and a crème is a cappuccino roughly speaking).
- All neighbourhoods in Paris have little squares with play equipment (like place des Vosges on the photo above). They are simple, easy going and a nice way to get away from the crowds. If you are looking for a real park, go a bit further afield and head over to the Buttes de Chaumont, which is super French and has grassy areas, so a good place to go and kick a ball around.
- My favourite Parisian street food is good old-fashioned crepes, and you can still find a lot of little hole-in-the-wall crepes stands that will throw together a “jambon-fromage-champions” (my personal favourite). My kids absolutely love them.
- In restaurants do ask for a kids menu, even if it is not advertised. Especially less touristy places will often happily make a smaller plate for kids.
- If you have the time to teach your kids just a few words in French, it is totally worth it. I have seen the sternest French waiter melt when he had been addressed in French by a little foreign tourist. Even “Bonjour”, “Merci” and “S’il vous plait” is enough.
- When you ask for anything, be it a baguette in a boulangerie or directions on the street, start with “Bonjour” not “Excuse me”. It just the way we start a conversation over here. If not you might finish with your questions just to have a pointed “Bonjour” thrown back at you.
- For me the best way to get around Paris, if you have a bit of time, is by bus. They use the same tickets as the metro, but are so much more pleasant and such a great way to see the city. The free public transport app is unfortunately only in French at the moment, but it is so easy to use that I think you could use it with even the smallest knowledge of French.
- If you have even more time then the very, very best way of getting around Paris is to walk! Paris is much smaller than London and New York so it is actually easy to walk from one attraction to the next. On the left bank of the Seine a lot of the quays are closed to cars and are a lovely way to discover Paris. On Sundays the right bank of the Seine is also closed to cars.
- As we now all know, French Kids don’t throw food 😉 which is actually only partly correct of course. But it is true that people expect children to behave in restaurants and will ask the waiter to ask you to be a bit quieter. Do not take it personally as it happens to French parents as much as it does to foreigners. I try to smile and apologise and that normally does the trick.
As I mentioned, this is a bit of a random list, but these are some of my top tips to visiting Paris. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them!
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We were recently introduced to Mori, a new and unique parcel service that delivers baby essentials straight to your door, making a new mum’s life so much easier. The team at Mori (existing of three cool guys!) sent Helen their Welcome to the World Newborn Set to try, and we were both squeaking with delight, holding those little pieces in our hands. Made from a soft cotton and bamboo mix, these pieces are so incredibly sweet and soft!
Mori sends out a parcel of gorgeous baby essentials every six weeks, just when your baby is about to enter the next phase. Parcels include 5 must-have items, such as bodysuits, sleepsuits and milk bibs, although you can choose to replace specific items if you wish. The pre-mentioned (extremely soft!) cotton/bamboo mix that all the pieces are made from has natural thermo-regulating properties, perfect to keep baby warmer in winter and cool in summer. Pieces come in neutral colours, and are durable and of high quality — designed to be passed on!
PS Mori is now offering a great opportunity exclusive to Babyccino Kids readers, to now try out their service for the introduction price of just £10 with code BabyccinoMORI (valid until July 31st 2015).
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I think I might be raising a bit of a controversial topic, one that could possibly split many of us down the middle, but I would love to know where you stand on little girls wearing bikinis? Is it completely normal and fun and innocent, or do you think it sexualises innocent little girls?
One of my earliest childhood memories is from my 4th birthday, receiving my first bikini. I remember how excited I was to wear it to the beach for the first time. I felt so grown up! I absolutely loved that thing. Yet even with this happy memory of mine, I still can not bring myself to let my own girls wear a bikini.
Why? I’m not entirely sure (even my own mother thinks I’m being unreasonable!). I just feel like a bikini top sexualises and highlights something that doesn’t exist. There is nothing sexual about a little girl’s chest, so when you put a bikini top on it, it draws unnecessary attention. In a way, I feel like a simple French-style bloomer (without a top) is more appropriate than a 2-piece suit. Not to mention, a separate top is so impractical and difficult to keep in place when swimming, etc. (But then again, I suppose it’s trickier to use the toilet in a one-piece!)
So where do you stand? Am I overthinking things?
p.s. The pretty vintage-style swimsuits the girls are wearing in the photos above are from Little Creative Factory who have a stunning collection of swimwear for both boys and girls (including bikinis as well!).
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My 1.5-year-old absolutely adores playdough but he also loves to put it in his mouth so as I tried to find edible playdough I came across this recipe and it’s amazing. It’s not only edible but also gluten free! How great is that? The only thing about it is that it only keeps for about a week (refrigerated in a sealed container). But the fact that I don’t have to worry about our little one eating it is worth it. And also I used natural organic food coloring so the colors were not as pretty and as vibrant as I wanted, and I didn’t get as much variety as I wished for (the blue one turned its back on me and became greenish – how weird is that?) but the kids loved it anyway. It’s done super quick and if you have a toddler at home you almost surely have all the ingredients already in your kitchen. Let’s see:
2 cups of Baby Rice Cereal
2 cups Corn Starch
1 cup unsweetened Apple Sauce
6 TBSP Vegetable Oil
All you need to do is throw these ingredients together, mix well and knead into a smooth, pliable dough. In case your dough is sticky gradually add more rice cereal and in the opposite case (if the dough is dry and cracking) just water your hands and knead on and if necessary repeat. Finally divide your dough into as many pieces as you wish and add food coloring to each one, knead.
Voila! That is it.
To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!
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This hair tutorial is extremely easy. Just brush your child’s hair, and make a low ponytail using an elastic band. Pull back the elastic band slightly to make room. Then, separate the hair approximately in the middle, creating a gap. Then, flip the hair over and pull through the gap.
PS All pretty photos by Maud Fontein!
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Summer vacations are around the corner for us and we have lots of exciting travels coming up that we’ll be sharing with you soon. In the meantime, we have been thinking about packing tips — isn’t packing suitcases for a family the biggest job ever? Personally, when I’m packing, I prefer my kids to be out of the house, so I can prepare in total focus and with ultimate concentration. It usually takes me almost a full day to pack — and then I’m not even counting the prep work of washing, folding, and sorting beforehand!
The biggest challenge when I’m packing, is to pack as little as possible. We mostly travel by car, and with the 6 of us stowed in the car already there is not a lot of room for luggage. Or, if we fly, we usually try to pack in small, carry-on suitcases. So here are some tips for packing practical and light — please do share your tips as well (I need them)!!
Layering: I like bringing some cardigans or hoodies to layer over t-shirts and summer dresses. A few pairs of knee socks keep feet and lower legs warm. Leggings are great layering pieces as well.
Footwear: Saltwater sandals, Crocs or Natives are waterproof, easily cleaned, and can be worn over above mentioned knee socks if necessary. Flip flops are so easy and small to pack. (I try to avoid taking wellies but for some trips they’re mandatory…)
Pac-a-mac foldable raincoats: the kind of raincoat that fold up inside a pocket and can be strapped around your middle. We have one for each member of the family, and they keep us warm and dry when needed. We take no other coats than these. (Added bonus — we have bright coloured macs in one colour — great to keep an eye on the kids in busy places!) You can find them here, here or here, for example.
Turkish towels: so much smaller to pack and quicker to dry than terry towels. They double up perfectly as picnic blankets or sheets, by the way. (Available here.)
Personal backpack: each child carries a small backpack with a notebook and a pencil-case, a sunhat, sunglasses, a thin and royal sized square scarf (doubles as a blanket, play mat or sun screen), one favourite doll or stuffed animal, a little pouch with some tiny toys for imaginary play (like Schleich animals, Playmobil characters, cars or trains), and some small games (a deck of cards, Uno, Dobble or memory are good examples and fun to play as a family).
A small umbrella stroller (and/or small carrier): even though for city living I prefer a bigger, more comfortable stroller, for traveling we prefer the lighter, smaller type of buggy. (We have an old MacLaren Volo for this purpose. I recently saw the Babyzen YoYo on a trade fair and it also looked really cool, and small!) If your child is big enough, you could think of taking a Micro Scooter instead of a stroller (ok, this is maybe not packing ultra light, but they’re great to take if you can!).
Argan oil and Shea Butter: I love argan oil when I’m traveling — I put it on my face, body, and hair. One bottle for everything — less is more! Shea butter is also lovely for face, lips, hands, dry patches of skin, hair even.
Shampoo and samples: a little bottle of shampoo doesn’t just wash hair, body and hands, it’s also great to use as laundry detergent — to quickly hand-wash some underwear or t-shirts when on the road. Also, I was just talking to Courtney, and she mentioned taking samples for toiletries instead of the big bottles — so save up the little sample bags that are given to you in the beauty department!
That’s what I came up with… Again — please share your tips for light packing. I can use them, I promise!
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Macarons is a German-based fashion brand which we have always admired for their innovative way of thinking about fabrics and their never-ending enthusiasm to transform the fashion industry — for the better. Their perseverance to ensure that their collections are 100% produced according the GOTS guidelines, vouching for a strictly ecological, sustainable and fair manufacturing chain is truly admirable.
The Macarons collection are so, so adorable. The pieces are always special, made of the finest fabrics and finished in the most detailed way, with contrasting stitching or a coloured button here or there — details that prove the care and thought that the Macarons team puts in every item. I have passed down Macarons pieces from my bigger to smaller children, and once they outgrow them, my friends’ babies enjoy them and they still are like new. The quality is just so good.
So — we’re super excited to announce that Macarons is offering Babyccino Kids readers a hefty 30% off their entire collection*! This is really awesome — what a perfect opportunity to get to know this beautiful brand if you didn’t already — or to pick up some sweet summer pieces you had your eye on… (For instance — I love the stripy pinafore dress and baggy pants I got for Ava and Casper a little while ago, and if you have a toddler, this bubble suit is so, so adorable! And our babies have seriously lived in these overalls the first years — so practical!)
To redeem your discount, just check out using discount code BKSALE30. Enjoy!! (I just ordered these cool pants Pliso for Pim, he’s going to love them!)
* Gift vouchers and cfm (cecile for macarons) items can not be included in the sale but all the other items are included.
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Birthday season has just come to an end in our family, which consists of five birthdays in quick succession. Marlow is our odd one out with a birthday in November, but the rest of us all have birthdays in the springtime. Our birthday bunting literally goes up and down and up and down from April to June. It’s quite fun, but I’m always so relieved when it’s over.
Since it’s all fresh in my mind, I thought it might be useful to write down some of the favourite gifts each of my children received for their birthdays (not just gifts from us, but from friends and family too). I’ll start with Ivy, who turned six in May, and who only asked for a compass for her birthday. : )
1. A pretty journal for writing down thoughts and discoveries (the same one her mama uses)
2. Cat ears headband — a fun accessory
3. A flower press to preserve her first 4-leaf clover and other pretty flowers and plants (a thoughtful gift from my sister!)
4. Eco-crayons that draw on paper AND glass! So fun!
5. A brass compass in its own leather pouch to learn her directions
6. An intricate and beautiful ‘Colour Therapy‘ colouring book
7. The ‘Little House on the Prairie‘ books because I remember how much I loved them when I was young (we also bought her audio books because she’s really into listening to stories while we’re in the car)
8. A blackboard blocks and chalk set to create her own houses, towers and towns
Please feel free to share other gift suggestions if you can think of them! (And obviously many of these gifts are great for boys too — I only specified a gender because it felt appropriate for some of the gifts.)
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My friend, Natasha, is a busy mum of three, an entrepreneur and also the managing director at Muddy Puddles. She runs the entire business out of her London home and has spent the past couple years completely revamping the brand, creating a range of outdoor clothing for kids that is both stylish, protective and functional (not an easy feat!). Their mission at Muddy Puddles is to encourage children to get outside and play, to explore the great outdoors whatever the weather…. because playing outdoors leads to bigger imaginations, better concentration, amazing memories and healthier bodies. Which is so true, true, true!
I’m a big fan of Muddy Puddles and their great collection (how handy are the pac-a-mac raincoats featured above? perfect for summertime travels and outdoor adventures!), and I love that Natasha has re-designed many of the pieces to be gender neutral and timeless, so items can be handed down from one child to the next.
Over the past few months Natasha has spearheaded a Virgin Media’s ‘Pitch to Rich’ campaign, and has battled through to be one of 10 companies shortlisted in the ‘Grow’ category. There have been thousands of entries, but the finalists have been whittled down and Muddy Puddles is now in the final stages to qualify to win a grant of £250,000 to roll out their “Get Outdoors” campaign for children across the UK. Super exciting possibilities for this wonderful, small business!
To encourage people to vote, Muddy Puddles is offering the chance to win a luxury outdoor holiday for 10 for a week & an entire year’s supply of waterproofs & a Go Ape Family Pass. Such a cool prize to win!
• Vote here
• Click the Facebook button on pitch page and tag 5 friends you’d take on the holiday if you won
• Let them know you’ve entered and tagged, either on Facebook, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can spare a moment, please go vote. It would be amazing for this wonderful, small business to win such a big campaign and prize!
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A few weeks ago the lovely French/German photographer Christina Schumacher came over to our house to take some informal photos for an interview with the beautiful German blog Little Years, and I really love the way she captured our family. I thought it would be fun to share some photos here (well, more than some — it was too hard to choose!) but you’d better head over to the Little Years blog to read the interview here. It is the kind of interview that makes you step back and look at your life as an outsider, and then step back in and realise how lucky and entirely happy you are, with everything in your life — the joy, the sadness, the little things. Life is a journey, and a beautiful one.
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I have a confession to make: I’m not the biggest fan of playgrounds. I love watching my kids enjoying themselves (preferably in the company of a good friend and with a cappuccino in my hand) but I don’t get an enormous amount of fulfilment from pushing the swing 100 times or baking sand cakes for half an hour…
I do, however, love reading to my kids. And they love being read to, over and over and over again — so I hope that makes up for my lack of interest in playgrounds.
I love books and I have always loved reading. I love bookshops, too. Especially the slightly old-fashioned, independent bookshop, the one you find (or used to find, at least) around the corner, with a passionate owner who knows every book in his or her store and can recommend to you, as no other, what you need to read or gift. So I am really happy to have recently discovered Smallprint — a gem of an independent bookshop, aimed at small children… and entirely online! Smallprint offers the most wonderful curation of children’s books — some I already know (and love), but many are new to me, and very promising.
I asked Jenny, the owner of Smallprint, to make a recommendation for each of my kids, and this is what she suggested. For Sara, she chose Yellow Square, an amazing pop-up book full of ‘paper architecture’. For Pim she thought of Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet Poster Book, an excellent choice — he loves the cool ABC posters (and we’ll be decorating the boys’ bedroom walls with these). For Ava, she recommended The Bear Song, a beautifully illustrated book (and already a family favourite!) about Papa Bear following little bear, who is following a bee, hopefully leading him towards some precious honey. For Casper she picked Oh No!, a funny book with acetate pages that cleverly change the situation drawn on each page.
I’m so happy to see that people like Jenny start beautifully curated bookshops that are meaningful, and offer a personal touch and service that you won’t find in the enormous online bookstores we all know. She’s so good in selecting wonderful books for the right age, and her recommendations are terrific. A gem, for every book loving mama!