This week’s Mother Essentials roundup comes from Les Gamins founder and NYC-based mama of three Veronique Nguyen. The kids’ clothing designer launched her line of high-quality baby and toddler basics back in 2017 out of her Brooklyn apartment. Today, her signature drop crotch overalls and perfectly hued sweatshirts can be scooped up on shopping sites from J. Crew to Maisonette, and the brand has become a cult fave with minimalist mamas in the know. But what we especially love about Les Gamins is its season-less approach—no racing to launch new pieces just to keep up with the trends—and its partnership with Wearable Collections to encourage customers to recycle their old clothes. With comfort, sustainability, and value top of mind these days, we felt it was the perfect time to catch up with the multi-creative mama of Zachary (5), Margaux (2 1/2), and Inès (3 weeks!) on her current set of must-haves. Peep ’em below!
Trusted Take-Out. “My favorite neighborhood cafe reopened and is offering delicious prepared foods, provisions, and pastries for curbside pick-up. It’s the perfect pick-up spot for a much needed break from cooking once in a while.” Poppy’s Brooklyn, 243 Degraw Street, Brooklyn.
World’s Best Sweatshirt. “I swear, it’s not just promotional! My kids wear these pretty much everyday. These sweatshirts are super soft and versatile, and can even be layered over PJs on the extra lazy days!” The Sweatshirt, $32, Les Gamins.
Charlie and Mouse Books. “We’ve read a million books with our kids the last few weeks—many of them over and over—and particularly enjoy this funny and sweet series that both our 2 1/2 and 5 year old love. We’re grateful to Stories Bookshop for turning us onto them!” Charlie & Mouse Outdoors, by Laurel Snyder, $10.99, Amazon.
Big Book Of Animals. “My son is obsessed with all things animals, and this beautiful book is full of fun facts. The illustrations are colorful and engaging, which means he can happily go through them himself. It cracks me up to hear him flipping through the pages while on a Zoom playdate, asking his buddies ‘Does this one scare you? This one’s fierce, right!?’ Anything that keeps the kids engaged and independent is key right now!” Atlas of Animal Adventures, by Rachel Williams and Emily Hawkins Author, $23.11, Amazon.
Hot Coffee In A Pretty Mug. “We’re running pretty low on sleep trying to juggle work, a newborn, 2 toddlers, and just about everything else, so we’ve been needing extra doses of coffee. It’s an added treat to sip from a beautiful mug!” The Mug, $36, East Fork Pottery.
Cozy Pajamas. “We’re all spending a lot more time in PJs these days, so the least we can do is make sure they are cute and extra cozy!” Owl Pajamas, $48, Lewis.
All-Over Oil. “I truly use this oil every single day on both my face and body for extra moisture, and on my hair for a little texture. I also used it throughout my pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks.” Everyday Oil Mainstay Blend, Face + Body Oil, $48, Goop.
DIY Granola. “I haven’t been able to find my favorite granola in stores, so I’ve been making this delicious recipe pretty much weekly. It doesn’t require too many hard-to-find ingredients and can easily be adapted using whatever seeds and nuts you have at home.” Olive Oil Maple Granola, Food 52.
Cool Pool. “One piece of parenting advice I once heard that stuck with me is when kids get cranky, just add water. Whether it be a running bath, having a hot drink, or splashing around outside, we’ve found that it often does the trick! It isn’t exactly pool weather in New York yet, but that hasn’t stopped our kids from splashing around in our inflatable pool!” Shapes Inflatable Pool, $115, Mylle Shop.
Baskets. “Baskets have been indispensable for wrangling all the kids’ toys and baby stuff that otherwise has been taking over our home.” Midi Bolga Basket, $39, Olli Ella.
Magna-Tiles. “Of all their toys, Magna-Tiles continue to be a lasting favorite for both our 5 and 2 1/2 year olds and keeps them independently occupied for nice long chunks of time.” Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set, $119.94, Amazon.
Top-Notch Crayons. “We’ve been on an arts and crafts tear during this quarantine, and these are our favorite crayons. They are more satisfying to color with than basic crayons and also much studier. It’s all about the small indulgences.” Caran d’Ache Classic Neocolor II Water-Soluble Pastels, $23, Amazon.
Classic Puzzles. “Rediscovering puzzles has been a fun back-to-the-future moment. They are such a timeless rainy day or quiet time activity! We’ve been going through plenty of them and just got a few new ones for the kids.” Garden Time 24-Piece Puzzle, $22, Acorn Toy Shop.
Podcasts for Kids. “Podcasts have been a fun and often educational way to engage the kids—without the screen. Z has been especially enjoying the Story Pirates podcast, which has inspired him to make up stories of his own! He’s two 5-year-old handwritten sentences into his future masterpiece, Sharky and Barky. We also like Story Time when we’re looking for something a little more soothing and calming—and hoping for a little more quiet time!”
Cosmic Kids Yoga. “We’ve also been loving Cosmic Kids Yoga for a little flow, mindfulness, and meditation for kiddos. It also keeps them busy for 20-30 minutes while I can catch up on a few emails!”
Virtual Yoga. “I miss my local yoga studio so much. Thankfully they have been offering these great pre-recorded and livestream classes.” Brooklyn Yoga Project.
Come-Apart Couch. “The kids have so much energy to burn off, especially when they are at home all day, and this Nugget Couch has been a lifesaver. It’s light enough for the kids to maneuver and has been used as a fort, obstacle course props, stage for dance parties, wrestling mat…you name it!” The Nugget Couch, $229, Nugget.
Hand-Dyed Socks. “Nothing like a cheery and cozy pair of socks to spice up a WFH outfit!” Queen Of Cups Handmade Hand-Dyed Socks, $22, Midland Shop.
Baby Wrap. “I’ve used these wraps for all 3 kids and it’s been especially necessary this time around, with 2 toddlers and a newborn stuck to me all day long.” Solly Baby Wrap, $65, Solly Baby.
Beautiful Baby Quilt. “99% of Inès’ belongings are hand-me-downs from her siblings, but I got her this little quilt right before she was born. I love the mix of colors and patterns. It’s also soft and padded enough for her to lie comfortably on it on the floor.” Lisa Corti Leopard Stripes Rust Baby Quilt, $135, Collyer’s Mansion.
For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with Lonny editor Angela Tafoya, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, DockATot’s Roma Patel, designers Anna Wallack, Cynthia Rowley, Rebecca Atwood, and Dana Haim, Olympian Alysia Montano, cookbook author Hetal Vasavada, model and muse Slick Woods, children’s author Serena Minott, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, Oakland retail queen Sherri McMullen, wellness influencer Joanne Encarnacion, author LaTonya Yvette, and many, many more!