Saturday, December 8, 2012

Preserves or tasteful Polish design for kids

December loves Christmas fairs, as people - every weekend more desperate - try to find beautiful and original presents, or just any gift ideas at all... This weekend in Warsaw I visited Przetwory (Preserves) fair dedicated to handmade crafts and small brands, and this year edition was focused especially on kids. You could find there various ideas for gifts, from tiny felt brooches, through unique toys (stuffed, wooden, paper), designer kids clothes and accessories. I bought there a few pretty things and left the place thinking of new must-haves for my little one (this list just won't stop growing...!).

So today I would like to present to you a few Polish kids brands that really caught my eye and which, hopefully, will keep on growing and gaining recognition. It's great to see so many talented people around!

Flawless designs soft casual clothes in oversize style, made from cotton knitwear. Warm, but not heavy, loose-fitting, they look like the perfect clothes to play in. I have already put the grey big hoodie on the to-buy list.

Miniio creates beautiful stylish doll houses, inspired by the best adult design, made with serious care and attention to detail, only in a mini-scale. I've already heard so much about them, but this is the first time I saw Miniio's creations in person, and I was really impressed. So if you're looking for a stylish abode for your daughter's Barbie, consider one of their wooden doll houses. 
And if you prefer a budget solution, why not buy a wallpaper sticker from Suodovo, Miniio's sister company, that will transform a simple Ikea shelf into a cool doll apartment.

Photos from:

Fold me are beautiful paper toys that form two collections: Carol-singers and Cosmos. Each set contains twenty two 3D figurines that offer kids tons of fun - first as they are being cut out, assembled and sometimes also colored, and then when they serve as beautiful toys or decorations. Honestly, I couldn't imagine a better christmas tree garland for a house with a little kid.

Photos from:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Every day is magic - advent calendars

Although in Poland the tradition of advent calendars isn't very strong, I love the idea of building anticipation before Christmas with tiny gifts or treats. 

When I was a kid, on the 6th of December (Saint Nicolas' name day) my parents used to give me a chocolate advent calendar with small chocolate pieces hidden under numbered sections for every day of December, up until the 24th. Since I loved sweets, I couldn't resist eating all 6 chocolates from those first days of the month at once, but then I would discipline myself, and for the following days I would only open and eat one piece a day, celebrating each precious bite. I still love this memory, so every December I keep sharing chocolate advent calendars with my parents and my husband.

Chocolate calendars are the easiest way for a Christmas warm-up. But if you're not happy with a ready-made box of chocolates, how about preparing your own little piece of Christmas art? Just look at the examples below for inspiration.

Woodland calendar with handmade paper creatures and scenery - if you use them to roleplay with your kid, they will last much longer than just advent time.

Triangle envelopes form a garland filled with advent gifts. Simple and stylish - just pick the colors that will best match the interior.

On the road to Christmas, you can visit little cardboard houses which hide tiny everyday treats. How creative! 
Source: Snug Online


Decorated pegs and brown paper parcels make for very simple and pretty calendars. Great for kids and adults alike.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bookworms like us

One of the cool things about being a parent is that you can (re)discover the beauty of children's books. It's the magic of simple stories that hide deep and beautiful metaphors, the strength of fine illustrations that invite your imagination to unleash and also the bond that grows stronger when you're reading together. 

But even to those who won't be tempted by the beauty of reading, books can be really pretty objects that please the eye and decorate the room. So let's see how it can be done, shall we?

How to encourage little bookworms to reach for books? How to simplify navigation between their favorites? And how to bring out the full decorative potential of covers? Forward-facing shelves will do the trick by presenting your little one's library like a gallery.

Another go at forward-facing shelves, here made from Ikea spice racks.

A box-meets-coffee-table kind of furniture will store many books and facilitate browsing (just like vinyls in an old record store).
Source: Dejligheder

DIY mobile book-box and book-wagon - just gather your favorite books and bring to the reading nook.

 Speaking of reading nooks, have a look at some cozy little places, perfect for reading and relaxation.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hug me! Plush love.

Recently I caught myself thinking that all toys need to be developmental, stimulate senses, movement, reflexes and what not, otherwise they're not worth having. Our boy does have 3 or 4 stuffed toys at home but I just never really thought they might be special to him (at least, not yet). But last weekend we went to a toy store and only there did I realize how exciting plush toys can be for a 10 month old kiddo. We drove his stroller into the teddy bear alley and his smile and happy squeals just wouldn't end, as he was trying to pat as many toys as he could possibly reach. 

That was beyond cute, obviously, but also eye-opening. Have I forgotten how I loved my one and only shaggy, old teddy bear? How strong my feelings were for that little scruffy fellow and how much we shared together? Well, I guess I must have, a bit. So when I got back home I decided to start looking for a really lovely plushie for my boy. Perhaps one day it might also become his best plush buddy.

Below are some of my findings (and they're not just for boys, as I couldn't resist sharing some beautiful dolls). They're all unique and manually crafted. 
Let me know which one you would choose - for a kid or just for you? Also, if you know other lovely plushies, do share a link.

Baltazar the flat by Leluko

L'Aggeggio by contemori

Angelo and Lisa chez Lempicka by Little Lisa Smile

Fur coat doll by the cat in the shoe and Ida doll by Sarah Strachan

Yellow Lemon Plush by Happy Plush Plush

Laurence the pocket polar bear by OhAlbatross

Egg Fella with Striped Trousers by The Black Apple

Oh my deer! by Vibys

Young Yeti by Entala

Polar Teddy and Pink SheBear by Bambaks

Sunday, November 4, 2012

More light for long autumn evenings

Since the last daylight saving time change, days have become way too short for me and it just keeps surprising me how early it's getting dark these days. Everyday strolls with my little one guarantee a regular dose of sunlight and fresh (chilly!) air, but as the evenings are getting longer, it calls for some extra sources of light.
Once your kid starts cruising around the house, placing candles and tealights around isn't such a good idea anymore. So what are the wiser lighting options? 

Below you can find some ideas to brighten your evenings and please your and your kid's eyes with soft, atmospheric light. Enjoy! :)

String light balls will decorate the room even when they're not lit, and in the evening they'll color nearby furniture and walls with warm magic light. 

 This Miffy lamp adds a giant load of cuteness to the room and some pretty, diffused light to play or nap to.
Source: Monjolishop

A tree hut lamp - if the forest theme is too much for you, try it on a simple wall. You'll like the soft and mysterious light it brings to the room. It's nice to imagine that up there, someone is watching over you when you sleep.

Egmont White Rabbit night lamp is a half-century old classic which matches really well simple modern design. It will bring warm, comforting light to the room and chase away any bad dreams.
Source: Bodie and Fou

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Apple delight or healthy crumble for all

Yesterday, when the first autumn snow covered Warsaw, I knew it called for some good old baking recipe. Something to warm up the house and fill it with the feel-good smell of apples and spice. 

As 'intolerant gourmets' (as Pippa Kendrick - one of my favorite cooking authors - beautifully put it), my son and I cannot enjoy all ingredients, so I was looking for an easy and healthy recipe, but without eggs or diary products. Apple crumble can be made this way and its beauty lies in simplicity and quality of ingredients, especially gorgeous seasonal apples. 

Many crumble recipes are rather too heavy and buttery for my liking, so I decided to try a variation (with only slight modifications) proposed by Am Mniam, an inspiring Polish website dedicated to healthy baby food. 
This recipe is suitable for kids 10m+, but please note that the age indication might differ depending on individuals. It is egg-free, diary-free and contains no added sugar or salt. If you want to make it also gluten-free, replace oat bran with ground sesame seeds. 

Best served warm, this crumble will surprise your little one's palate with soft, sweet, yet slightly acidulous apple bottom and crunchy, nutty top. Our baby boy loved it.

Below you can see the results of my baking (oh, so yummy!) and the recipe. 
Bon appétit!

Apple bottom:
sweet apples - 1 kilo or 4-5 medium sized apples
raisins - 3-4 spoons
cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon
cardamom - 1/2 teaspoon
ginger powder - 1/2 teaspoon
water - 4-5 spoons

Crunchy top:
ground almonds - 100g
oat bran - 70g
agave syrup - 2 spoons
vanilla extract - a few drops
canola oil - 2 spoons

Peel, core and cut apples in 1cm dices, then place in a pan, adding water and spices. Let them simmer on low heat for 8-10 minutes, until apples become soft.
In a bowl, mix together all ingredients for the crunchy top and stir well. When ready, transfer the apples into ceramic or tart pan (I used a 22 cm pan), even the surface and cover with the top mixture.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Serve warm and enjoy with all your senses. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hiding (from) the toys

At the end of the day, when your apartment is flooded with toys big and small, colorful cubes, cups, duplo bricks, books, crayons, etc, you need a good place to hide the toys for the night. 

It would be best if the solution allowed your kid to easily access the toys, so she or he can take things out to play and then (hopefully) put them back. That's why regular furniture doesn't always come in handy. 
It would also be great if it blended well with the general look and feel of the playroom. And for that reason, I'm not a big fan of gigantic tupperware-style storage boxes.

So what are the alternatives? Below you will find some simple and pretty inventive ideas for storing toys that are practical, fun and easy to apply. And as you'll see, most of the will cost you next to nothing. Let me know which ones you like best!

This is a solution that I'm currently testing at home and I really like it. A straw basket can hide many toys, it is easy to access and safe for your kid. And once you decide it's not big enough for all the treasures to contain, you can always claim it back and use for storing your laundry, grocery shopping, etc.

Good old shelves + cookie boxes as treasure chests. Metal boxes are great for storing your kids' precious little items plus they blend well with other toys.

If you're lucky, you can assembly a similar wire storage from old metal crates or vintage shopping baskets. If you don't have those, but love this industrial look, why not buy it online.

An old fruit crate upcycled to a cool toy box. Easy, low-cost and fun. Since it is mobile, kids can move it around the house and place right where the fun is starting.
Source: Design Happens

Wooden boxes can be a good basis for a DIY module rack. I think I prefer the painted version, as it is both more dynamic and makes the toys stand out more. You can also decorate the boxes with wrapping paper or wallpaper.
Source: Petit Monde and Noosh Loves...