From world famous museums and amazing galleries to gorgeous canal cruising and fine Dutch cuisine- Amsterdam is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and such a fun place for families to visit.
Not only does it offer a romantic feel and rich culture, this pretty city is also very easy to get around as it has little road traffic-making it perfect to hire some bikes and ride around like locals.
Today we meet Esther Van de Paal, the smart, creative and fun-loving Dutch mum, behind the brilliant kids blog- Babyccino Kids. From travel, recipes and fashion- through to craft, parenting and cultural topics, this wonderful site touches on so many great ideas and inspirations for all mums.
Esther chats to us about her popular website, which she runs with another two of her besties, and also reveals some of her favourite spots around her hometown, which will ensure a great family holiday in this joyful town.
ML&S: How long have you been living in Amsterdam?
Esther: We’ve been back here for over 7 years now, after 7 years abroad- we lived in New York City, Brussels and London.
ML&S: Can you describe your life in Amsterdam?
Esther: We’re a family of six – there’s my husband and I, and our 4 children- Sara aged 9, Pim 8, Ava 4 and Casper 2. We live in the leafy and family friendly south side of Amsterdam. My husband and I work full time – my work consists mostly in running Babyccino Kids, our website, a children’s lifestyle blog and shopping portal. My work is very flexible though, so it allows me to be there for my kids after school to cook dinner and the rest of it.
ML&S: Can you tell us more about your blog Babyccino Kids?
Esther: We started Babyccino Kids as a blog 7 years ago, when I moved from London to Amsterdam. It started as an online conversation between three friends in three exciting European cities (Courtney lives in London, Emilie lives in Paris, and I live in Amsterdam). We became friends when the three of us lived in London. We just had our first babies and we used to meet up in cafés and discussed everything from parenting, relationships, (children’s) fashion, products, recipes, travel – you name it. We would keep our children entertained by giving them babyccinos – hence the name for our blog!
Our blog still is, in essence, an online conversation between Courtney, Emilie and I. We talk about what we love (like products, clothes, recipes), or about first hand experiences, such as cultural topics, parenting, craft, or travel. Besides that, we run a shopping portal with a curated selection of the best online boutiques from all over the world. We have organised yearly shopping events in London, and this year for the first time, in New York. And we’re working on more exciting things to come!
ML&S: What do you love most about your work?
Esther: I love that it’s very flexible, very international, that I can put a lot of creativity in to it, and that I get to meet so many wonderful people!
ML&S: What is your favourite park in Amsterdam?
Esther: I like the Beatrixpark across the street from us- it’s a very family friendly park.
ML&S: What are your top children’s stores in your city?
Esther: Gray Label, AnnLiz, Imps&Elfs, Minimarkt and Big&Belg.
ML&S: Where do you like to shop for yourself?
Esther: I don’t have specific shops I go to here in Amsterdam, but I like to wander around the Haarlemsestraat, the Utrechtsestraat, or the Nine Streets and explore the boutiques there.
ML&S: Where is the best place to have a coffee or tea?
Esther: I love to meet up with my co-workers at Coffee&Coconuts – it has a really relaxed atmosphere and it’s really big and with a cool interior.
ML&S: What do you enjoy doing most with your family on weekends?
Esther: In Winter, we love long and lazy mornings with a special weekend breakfast- filled with pancakes, waffles, scones and muffins. We like to visit museums and be inspired. Have long and lazy dinners, or an easy pizza and movie night- preferably we share these experiences with friends. In Summer, we like to spend our mornings preparing salads, quiches, fruit cocktails etc. We then load everything up in our bakfiets (box bikes) and meet with friends somewhere in an Amsterdam park. We eat, drink, play and we’re merry! I can’t wait for summer!
ML&S: What is your favourite restaurant to eat with your children and also with your husband?
Esther: We all love restaurant As, which is located on Prinses Irenestraat, we go here with and without our children! My husband and I also love going to the intimate La Maria on Vechtstraat.
ML&S: Please finish this sentence, “You should never leave Amsterdam with your family until you have?”
Esther: Experienced a boat tour on the canal and ride a bicycle (preferably a bakfiets) through the Vondelpark.
ML&S: Your top areas or sights?
Esther: The city center is just beautiful, with all the canals and canal houses, the bikes, the small alleys, the restaurants and cafés and many boutiques.
ML&S: What is your favourite season in Amsterdam?
Esther: I love Spring and Summer in Amsterdam, when all the flowers are blooming and it’s warm enough to cycle around in a t-shirt.
ML&S: Where do you like to go for a close getaway?
Esther: The National Park the Hoge Veluwe is beautiful for nature, and also for the beautiful museum Kroller Muller, located inside.
Make sure to check out Esther’s fab blog Babyccino Kids & follow on FB @Babyccino Kids and IG @estherbabyccino