Entries from July 2015

best baby boutiques online

When I was a kid, I remember visiting London for a holiday and my parents took me and my brother to Hamley’s toy store for the first time.  It was like a dream come true.  We were small, wide-eyed kids who couldn’t quite believe a shop like this existed.  We had only ever been to small toy shops before, so to see this kind of scale was almost too much for us.  Everywhere I turned, there were toys and games that went from floor to ceiling or so it seemed to me.  Toys that I could touch and feel and smell!  We weren’t allowed to buy much – we were each given a small budget but that didn’t matter.  It was the looking, the exploring, the touching and the just being there that was the best part.   I also think it would have been quite boring if we had unlimited budgets because where’s the fun in being able to buy everything.

unisex leggings for boys

Sometimes I think back on that experience and wish that all the brands I love for kids would be under one roof.  These days I am much more in to the non-mainstream stuff which can sometimes be hard to find and almost impossible to find under one roof.  While I keep dreaming about this fantasy shop that will probably never exist, I’ve discovered a virtual place that comes pretty close.  It’s called Little Flea and it’s a one-stop place to discover some of the best boutiques for babies and kids.

kids dress up wear

If, like me, you like to look beyond the mainstream and seek out something that little bit more beautiful or unique for your kids then Little Flea is the place to go to.  You’ll find familiar favourites like Bobo Choses and of course my very own ebabee shop too 😉 but you’ll also discover some very cool new lines like Little Indians (love them) and Magnus & Mouse.  Little Flea isn’t a shop but the owner Anna carefully hand-picks and features gorgeous stuff for babies and kids which otherwise would be very hard to find.  So it’s a great place to browse, discover and get inspired.

A little business tip – if you have a stylish small business or shop for kids then you too can get in touch with Anna and ask to be featured on her site.  Anna is very helpful and approachable and loves the brands and products she features.

natural wooden toys babieswooden-toys-cars-for-toddlerswhite cloud baby mobilebaby soft toy fishhandmade wooden toy blocks

How beautiful are these wooden toys and decorations?  I’m such a fan of simply designed wooden toys that can be used as pretty little decorations once they’re outgrown as play things.  Both the sweet wooden cars and the stunning elephants wouldn’t look out of place in any space in your home like on a book shelf in the living room.  Also all of these toys and decorations are handmade using natural materials like wood, cotton and felt. 

If I had to do the whole baby stage again, these minimal goodies from Pinch Toys would very much be on my list.  So pretty, don’t you think?  But since I’m not going to be doing that, the next person I know who is having a baby is getting that little cloud and star mobile. 

tate modern art activity book kids

During the Summer holidays do you plan an outing everyday for your kids?  I don’t because I think it’s important for kids to have unstructured play time.  By that I mean simply spending time at home and letting them use their imaginations to just play.  By planning too many activities and trying to fill every minute of their time, I think kids lose the ability for creative play.  So at our house, we tend to mix it up – a few planned outings each week and lots of home time in between.  For home time I like to have a few things up my sleeve to help keep Anya occupied and one of her favourite things to do is work her way through a kids activity book.

tate gallery books for kids

I recently came across this really fun and creative activity book called Tate kids Modern Art activity book and it sounded really good so I bought it.  It’s by the Tate Gallery and includes lots of fun activities based around the modern artists of out time.   This book isn’t about drawing and colouring within the book, but its a book of arty ideas that can help you come up with even more creative and fun ideas.  Some of the suggestions would also make fun party or play date activities especially for crafty kids.  So for e.g. you have things like a Henri Matisse activity where you’re encouraged to paint pieces of paper in the brightest, boldest colours like Matisse’s famous colourful collages and perhaps make an animal shaped collage of your own.  Or a Salvador Dali art project where you cut out pictures from magazines and then mix and match the most unlikely pairs.

art activity books for childrenbest art activity book for kids

Anya is really enjoying this Tate Kids Modern Art Activity Book which comes in especially handy when we don’t have a planned day and also on rainy days.  The collage activities have appealed to her the most so far.  Our home is already full of all kinds of collages and we’ve only had the book a few days.  But there are lots of other fun ideas in this kids activity book all of which are engaging, creative and fun to do.

{all photos by ebabee}

things to do in South Bank London

The Summer holidays are in full swing and we’ve been getting out and enjoying London.  We rarely go away over the Summer because London is such a great place to be at this time of year and there so many Summer activities for kids in London.  This Summers mission is to enjoy as much of our beautiful city as we can and when I find something super fun to do, I thought I would share it here.  Earlier this week, along with some friends, we headed to the Southbank which is always a fun day out.  There is always a fab atmosphere, food, street performers and so much more.  Our plan was to just wander around and soak up the sights and smells but we ended up discovering the Appearing Rooms Fountain.  And once we discovered this, there was no moving the kids away.

free things to do in London with kidsSouth Bank London things to dofree things to do in London for kids

The Appearing Rooms Fountain is no ordinary play fountain.  It’s designed so that jets of water shoot high in to the air creating ‘rooms’ that appear and disappear as quickly as they appeared.  It’s possible to stand in the midst of fountain and not get wet – the trick is finding the ‘room’ where there is no water shooting up or to move super quick when it does come.  But the pattern of the fountain changes each time so you might get unlucky and get drenched.  The kids headed in to the fountain and the joy on their faces was quite unbelievable.  We thought they would play for a few minutes but they ended up playing in the fountain for hours.  They absolutely loved it.  There were kids of all ages there – from 2 to about 12 – and they were all squealing with delight and joy.

play fountains in London

Right next to the Appearing Rooms Fountain is lots of outdoor seating so we sat there, ate and chatted while we kept an eye on the kids who just couldn’t believe their luck at stumbling across this magical play fountain.  It may seem a bit over the top to go on about a fountain but the excitement was so evident on every child’s face so I think this fountain is a must visit for any kid.  And the best part is that it’s free.  Kids can easily spend 2-3 hours in there – just remember to bring a spare set of clothes or a swimsuit for them to wear while in the fountain.  Because they will get drenched!

Have you discovered any London places that are fun and worth a visit?  Do share so we can all check them out.

Anya wears quirky bear tee by ebabee and floral shorts by Zara (past season)
{all photos by ebabee}

I dig denim!

July 24, 2015

denim overalls for girls

Do you have a momform?  By that I mean a mom uniform!  I certainly do.  For the school run at least I think I am almost always in skinny jeans and a tee/top in Summer paired with ballet pumps and in Winter it’s back to those skinnies but with boots and chunky knits.  I love my denim but I seem to stick to jeans only and I’ve kind of fallen in to the same trap when it comes to Anya.  The only denim in her wardrobe is a pair of skinny jeans.  But there are so many more denim styles out there to love for women and especially for kids – from denim dungarees to skirts and even denim dresses.  This Summer I want to get out of our jean rut and explore other denim styles.  To start with I went looking for some cute denim looks for babies kids and I found some gorgeous stuff.

denim dungarees for children

How cute are those denim cat dungarees?  Or for older kids I’m loving that faded vintage denim dungaree.  Denim is so comfy and easy to wear and it goes with anything and everything so even if the kids insist on choosing their clothes, they can’t go wrong.  And those frilly little denim bloomers – so adorable!  The best news of all is that a lot of these clothes are on sale at the moment and as denim can be worn year round, you don’t have to worry about the seasons changing.  Have you seen any fab denim clothes for kids and or women?  I’m looking for a light denim jumpsuit kind of like that kids mechanic style one pictured at the top – so cool, no?  Here is where you will find the looks I’ve picked:

 1. cat dungaree shorts | 2. light chambray playsuit | 3. denim baby bloomers | 4. denim dress with gold detail | 5.  vintage denim dungaree shorts | 6.  soft denim baby romper

Top image: Denim mechanic overalls

Vietnamese food recipes for kids

Eating fresh and healthy food as a family doesn’t have to mean boring.  We love oriental style meals in this house as they always offers lots of flavour and often without too much effort.  Home cooked oriental food is always better and so much healthier than a take-away.  One of my favourites is this Vietnamese street food inspired dish of grilled chicken with rice and pickled veggies.  The Vietnamese version almost always uses pork and noodles but I use chicken for a healthier option and I think rice works better than noodles in this dish so rice it is.  I also use different herbs and spices than the traditional so you could say this is my take on a Vietnamese classic.

Vietnamese recipes with pictures

Once you try this dish, I promise you will never look back.  How can ingredients like the ones pictured above be anything but flavourful?  The grilled chicken in the dish is just delicious and all the other flavours come together to make for an absolutely beautiful bowl of food.  What’s more this dish is versatile and can be adapted for different tastes within a family – if you want to go low carb, leave out the rice and have it on a bed of salad or if you’re eating really healthy use brown rice.  Also the toppings are all optional so everybody can choose what they want on their dish.  The dish takes a little effort to prep but you can strip it down for a quicker meal or go the whole hog when you have a bit more time.  Like the pickled veg for instance – you can serve it with just freshly sliced veg instead of pickling when time is short.

VIETNAMESE GRILLED CHICKEN AND RICE RECIPE
Serves: 4

For the marinade:
700gms boneless & skinless chicken thighs
2-3 shallots very finely chopped
3 garlic cloves minced (add more or less depending on taste)
2 stalks fresh lemon grass lightly bruised and very finely chopped
50gms granulated sugar
2 tbs fish sauce
1.5 tbs dark soy sauce (the dark soy is important as it’s a lot thicker than usual soy)
1.5 tbs sesame oil
generous amount of freshly ground pepper

Toppings:
2-3 tbs toasted sesame seeds
handful of chopped coriander
3-4 thinly sliced spring onions (topped with 2 tbs hot olive oil and a pinch of salt and sugar)
1-2 sliced red chilies (optional)

Pickled veg:
2 x 3 inch piece of cucumber cut in to matchsticks
2 x 3 inch piece of carrot cut in to matchsticks
250ml warm water
40ml white vinegar (add more if you like a sharper taste)
1 tbs sugar
½ tsp salt

200-250gms basmati rice cooked as per packet instructions

Start by marinating the chicken thighs.  Just trim any big pieces excess fat but leave a little on as you don’t want the chicken to dry out when it’s cooked.  Cut in to large-ish bite size pieces.  Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and add the chicken to this.  Give it a very good mix and leave to marinate for at least 1.5-2 hours or longer.

For the picked veg, take a jar and combine the warm water, vinegar, sugar and salt stirring till the sugar is dissolved.  Add the matchstick veg and leave to pickle.  Even an hour or two will do for light pickling.  I don’t like a sharp taste (I prefer a bit more sweetness) so I put very little vinegar but you can adjust quantities to your own taste.  The best way to find the perfect quantities for you is to taste the pickling liquid before you put the veg in so you know exactly how sharp/sweet/salty it is.

vietnamese grilled chicken and rice recipe

Chop and prepare all the toppings if you haven’t done so yet.  For the sesame seeds toast them lightly in a dry frying pan over a moderate heat.  Move them around with a wooden spoon to make sure they toast evenly.  Keep an eye on the seeds as once they start browning they can burn very easily.  Once they’re lightly browned, take them off the heat and out of the frying pan immediately otherwise they will continue to cook.

vietnamese grilled chicken and rice recipe

That’s all the prep done!  When you’re ready to eat cook the rice and place the chicken under a hot grill.  You can also skewer the chicken and cook over a barbecue.  It’s even more delicious but a grill works well too.  Turn the chicken once – around halfway through cooking.  The chicken will take around 10-15 minutes to cook and will come out all dark and beautifully caramelised.  Scoop some rice in to a bowl, top with the chicken and the pickled veg.  Then generously scatter some sesame seeds, coriander, spring onions and chilies (if using) and eat!

This Vietnamese grilled chicken and rice recipe is one of my favourite mid-week family dinners and it’s also a very tasty one dish meal to serve when you have a few friends over as it appeals to adults and kids.  What’s more, kids love being given all the bits of the dish and building their own.  Try it and you won’t regret it!

*I’ve linked up to Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesdays.

colourful kids bedrooms

There are some kids rooms you come across that instantly bring a big smile to your face.  They evoke a feeling of happiness by their cuteness and their super bright colour scheme.  There is something refreshing about seeing a kids room where there are no rules, where a load of colours have been thrown together and almost anything goes.  I’m not talking about the odd pop of colour or a few complimenary shades – I mean rooms where there is practically every colour under the sun!  If you’re thinking of brightening up your children’s rooms then these colourful kids rooms will definitely inspire you and they’ll also add a ray of sunshine to your day!

colourful kids bedroom

Could this room be any more cheerful?  Loosely themed around Summer with all the fresh fruit, ice-cream and colourful decorations, this room screams happiness!

kids room decor ideas for a small room

How crazy cute is this vintage kids room?  Crammed with stuff and crammed with colour, this room is such a quirky and fun space for a little kid. 

pastel kids room

This room has slightly softer colours than the first two rooms but there’s definitely no shortage of colour here!  Yellow, pink, blue, green, purple, orange – it’s all going on here and it looks fantastic.

colourful rooms for boys

Colourful rooms aren’t just for girls.  Big, bold solid colours like these yellows, blues and reds look stunning in a boys room too and they make for such a cheerful room.

colourful room decor ideas

Here we have colour from floor to ceiling and clashing coloured wallpapers too.  Yes this room is bold and busy but it’s definitely a stunning eye catcher too.  And what I also love is that this room works well for boy or girl.

colourful room decor

Colourful, playful, cheerful and fun!  This room again has so many colours that you wouldn’t normally think of using together but it looks great.

So are you tempted to add lots of colour to your kids rooms? 

Image credits: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

bragging about your kids

When you praise your kids to friends, is it bragging?  Schools out and I could not be more proud of Anya.  She has achieved so much this year – getting the achievers award for her year as well as a fabulous report.  A report that made me cry because not only was it great on the learning and academic front, but the wonderful things they wrote about her as a person made my heart swell with pride.  But why is it considered boasting to tell others that your child has done well?  Why is it not acceptable to be proud of your child in public?  Why do some parents feel the need to put you down if you praise your child?

As a habit, I don’t speak much about Anya’s achievements to anyone apart from family.  But I happened to mention these latest achievements to a ‘friend’ and she immediately turned around and said something jokingly (but with a clear sarcastic edge) along the lines of how I couldn’t stop talking about my super star child.  I had mentioned it once.  It was the day I found out about her achievers award and naturally I was bursting with pride.  This is a recent example but I have been faced with this same situation before. 

I get that if you constantly talk about how great your kid is then it is annoying, very annoying and that is showing off.  If every update on facebook is about your how your 2 year old is reading War and Peace then yes, that’s not cool.  But to once mention an achievement or something fabulous they have done should be more than ok.  After all you should be able to share your proud parent moments with friends and expect them to be happy for you.  I am equally happy to talk about Anya’s faults (like her making crazy faces every time I get the camera out 😉) and I don’t ever hide them so why shouldn’t I speak of her accomplishments?  When friends tell me about the wonderful things their kids have achieved, I am genuinely happy for them.  It’s not a competition – if my kid did something great, it’s not a reflection on your kid.  In fact it has nothing to do with your kid.

On the flip side, if you talk about your child’s faults or shortcomings, everybody seems more than happy to listen.  Those same people that dismiss the good stuff, are all ears when it comes to the bad stuff.  Strange.  This isn’t a rant, but I’m genuinely wondering how parents feel about this – maybe some people will say that me mentioning it even once was showing off.  I personally think that we should be comfortable praising our kids to others beyond family.  If they’ve done something that made you proud, why not tell people and expect them to be happy for you.  Of course, I’m not saying that every conversation should revolve around your ah-mazing kid who can do no wrong.   But there is a big difference between bragging about your kids and just being proud of an achievement.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and any ‘bragging’ experiences you’ve had, good or bad?

affordable shoes for kids

Are you a bag lady or a shoe lady?  Bags or shoes, shoes or bags?  I’m very much a shoe lady as my ever growing shoe collection will reveal.  And since I’ve been blessed with a little girl, well my shoe obsession has trickled down to mini shoes too.  But with mini shoes I usually have to hold back because kids feet grow so quickly; that is until I discovered Pisamonas who make the cutest and most affordable shoes for kids.

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I’m a fan of Pisamonas shoes so much so that I’m proud to say I often work with them too.  Pisamonas are all about Spanish made shoes for boys and girls at incredible prices which means you can indulge in a few pairs for the kids every season and not have to restrict yourself to just one or two pairs like I used to.  Now Pisamonas are offering even better value with a sale.  Their already unbeatable prices are reduced further but just for a few days.  Because their prices are normally so low, their sales don’t last long – usually no more than a week or 10 days at most.  Here are a few of my favourites from the sale – all for under £20 (yes, under £20!).  Aren’t they pretty?  I’m loving the softer colours for Summer so that’s what I’ve picked but there are loads more styles so do check out their sale before it’s over.

ebabee-likes-FP

fruit crafts for kids

Do you get homework over the Summer holidays?  We don’t but reading and writing practice is encouraged.  With the best will in the world I know I’m not going to sit down with Anya and start practicing writing every day or even every week.  We get enough homework during term time so we all need a break 😉 But I do think it’s a good idea to keep in touch with writing and reading so I thought I would make her a Summer diary where she can write what she does every few days.  Last week I rounded up some fabulous fruit crafts which inspired me to make these fruity DIY Summer diaries for Anya.

DIY diary journal for kids

Anya loved the idea of making fruit inspired DIY Summer journals and chose strawberry, pineapple and orange as her fruits.  If you’d like to make these, read on.

What you’ll need:
A6 notebooks
A4 coloured paper in red, yellow and orange
2-3 sheets thin green card
black pen and brown and white coloured pencil
scissors
tape or glue (optional)

Begin by covering your notebooks with the coloured paper.  When I was in school in India, we had to cover all our school books or there would be big trouble.  With so many years of practice I can now cover books with my eyes closed!  But in case you haven’t done it before, here’s how:

how to cover a notebook

Once the books are covered, you can stick or glue the inside flaps down but I prefer to leave them just folded without glue or tape.  Next I needed to make the books look more like the fruit they were meant to be.  I drew leaf shapes on my green card – just using a pencil.  This isn’t meant to be precise or perfect so just draw freehand.  I drew three different types of leaves – one for each fruit.  And then I cut them out.  But I wanted to create a bookmark too so I cut a long piece of card with the leaves cut out at the top as the picture below shows.  So you not only have a DIY Summer diary but also a super cute DIY bookmark to match.

easy fruit themed DIY ideas

To finish off these fruity DIY Summer diaries I used a fine black pen to add seeds to the strawberry, a brown coloured pencil to line the pineapple diary and a white coloured pencil to add a touch of white to the orange diary.

DIY summer journal fruit craftfruit crafts for kidsDIY Summer journalfruit crafts for kids

My favourite journal is the strawberry one – I might even make one for myself!  If you’re looking for some more fruit craft inspiration, check out my round-up of some of the best.

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