Favourite Five: August

Image: Fantastic Cities by Steve McDonald

After a brief holiday hiatus we’re back with five of our favourite things at Mr Fox HQ this month.

As you might imagine, we spend an unusual amount of time seeking out brilliant toys, games, clothes, recipes and decor ideas for kids to share on Mr Fox. It isn’t really very healthy for our own bank balances, especially when our sons catch a glimpse over our shoulders…

We are always on the lookout for practical, innovative or plain cool stuff so let us know what you have been buying, reading, and coveting by email or on Facebook.

Lydia & Kate

1. Tik Atak

Molly and the Wolf Tik Atak

Lydia:  I’ve just spent a week on a boat and while it was all kinds of amazing when the sun was shining, the trip started with three days and nights of electric storms, thunder and torrential rain. Yep. Me and five boys, huddled in a damp saloon. I was extremely grateful for the distraction of Tik A Tak from Molly and the Wolf. A pen-and-paper-free noughts and crosses game in a small drawstring bag, it’s easy to transport and offers endless old-school amusement. Kids get to stick faces of beasties onto the pieces before playing each other for fleas. Guaranteed time to drink tea and bemoan the weather.

Get one from Molly and the Wolf

2. Fantastic Cities

Fantastic Cities Colouring Book

Kate:  The ‘all ages’ colouring book is a trend that is showing no signs of stopping and you can barely get into Waterstones nowadays without falling over a pile of the latest release. Being less artistically gifted (and patient) than your average toddler it’s a trend I been actively sidestepping until I discovered this new book by Canadian illustrator Steve McDonald. The extraordinarily accurate cityscapes of everywhere from San Francisco and Amsterdam to London and Manhattan are so compelling that I have even gone wild and treated myself to a pencil set from Rymans. My OCD means my 3 year old and his less-than-fine motor skills won’t be getting anywhere near it, but it would be a fantastic gift or holiday project for older kids.

Get one from Amazon and have your pencil sharpener poised.

3. Bonnesouers Beech Wood House

Bonnesouers Birch House

Lydia: I find myself going back time and again to Smallable (despite the shipping charges from France). Perhaps because founder Cecile Roederer’s selection of unusual interior pieces and small unheard-of brands is so bang-on. This autumn Smallable introduces grown-up stuff too, from Adeline Affre and Honre to Hubsch & Petite Friture, bringing effortless style to child-free corners of the house. But before I even start on that, I’m toying with the idea of switching the boys’ bunk bed with this beech wood house by Bonnesouers. Simple, striking and made for imaginative play.

See more at Smallable 

4. Monster Mingle

Monster Mingle App by Cowly Owl

Kate: When we first downloaded this 5 star rated app, built by a London-based developer and dad of two, I will admit to being slightly skeptical – there are no levels and no immediately obvious things to ‘learn’. Kids essentially move around a fun and colourful landscape building a monster by testing out new combinations of arms/legs/beaks/fins as they find them – a sort of digital Mr Potato Head. But I soon realised that I was entirely missing the point. As any parent with Minecraft-obsessed child will know, ‘sandbox’ games are quite the thing these days and allow children’s creativity to run wild, holding their attention long beyond the average platform game. My son would happily (if he were allowed) spend all day testing out his various monster’s swimming and jumping abilities, while sending screenshots of his finest jellyfish-bird-urchin monster to his Granny. An unusual and fun app for pre-schoolers.

Download from iTunes or the Google Play Store.

5. Jessie & James

Jessie & James

Lydia: We love a British brand at Mr Fox, and none more so than husband and wife label Jessie & James. Jessie used to be a pattern cutter at Vivienne Westwood and met her husband (menswear designer) James there. Long story short, they got married, had 2 boys and launched their childrenswear label last summer. The collection has an urban edge but a preppy heartland: Get in there now while they are on sale.

See more at Jessie and James