Based in the Bay Area, WLK is Mikee and Jo — working parents of two loving and kind kids. They love sharing stories and tips at the intersection of work, life and kids.

Best products of the world - Part 2

Best products of the world - Part 2

Part 1 | Part 2

I’m lucky enough to be a member of one of the most diverse mom groups on FB and was able to crowd source and validate many of the products in this list. Special thanks to PeloMoms!!! You know who you are. So here we go with part 2…

Netherlands

Gouda have this…

I have it on good authority that every Dutch kitchen has a Kaasschaaf (cheese slicer). It slices perfect slices of hard cheeses at consistent thickness to make for great serving. I got mine from Amazon, but made by a Ditch company - Boska. This will make a great gift for any cheese-loving family.

The Dutch are not only known for bikes/cargo bikes, they also nail it in the stroller category. Their strollers are known to be durable, lightweight, ride extremely well and very very stylish. Both the Nuna and Bugaboo are household Dutch brands. The Nuna PIPA carseat system is one of my favorites (although we ultimately decided to support American company, Orbit, instead).

Special thanks to Margriet & Nick


Canada

You have one. Everyone has one. It’s the Instant Pot and yes it’s Canadian. This electric pressure cooker has now gained a cult following throughout North America helping families make wholesome meals in under 30 minutes. We were not spared, and we totally have one. I will be honest that because it’s stored in the pantry I don’t get as much use out of it as I would like. Our most used countertop appliance is still the Breville Smart Oven Air (yes it air fries!).

In the apparel department, Canada is home to Lululemon. I still remember my very first pair of groove pants that I bought from the flagship Toronto store on Queen Street. It last 10 years!!! Groove pants still holding strong this days with Wunder Unders 7/8th length and Align pants following closely behind.

You’ve probably also seen Hershel Supply Co. bags make a dent with the hipster crowd. This Canadian brand was founded in Vancouver. The only piece I own is my favorite RFID blocking passport holder.

Finland

So I’ve never been to Finland so this list comes entirely to you from my co-worker, Katja. If you’ve seen the marimekko X Uniqlo collaboration last year, you’ve seen Finnish. One of my favorite Tees last year was Marimekko now only available used on sites like Tradesy. Any Finn also knows of the iconic moomin collectible mugs.

Special thanks: Katja

The orange-handed scissors

If you’re a crafter or green thumb, you’ll definitely own fiskars. I have the original sewing scissors, rotary cutters, blunt-tip craft scissors for kids and my favorite item ever is the self-healing rotary cutting mat. It’s actually permanent affixed on my desk because of how much adhoc crafting I do.

Sweden

if you’re in the market for sturdy and roomy canvas backpacks, look no further the  Fjällräven backpacks. Parents love them because they come in great kids sizes and colors. They last forever and are also reasonably priced. The “Kanken Classic Backpack for Everyday” is most popular and iconic, pretty much available everywhere from amazon to Nordstrom.

The Swedes also invented the “Swedish dishcloths” made from a proprietary cotton and cellulose fibers. They dry extremely well, can be washed and reused and are biodegradable. I’ve found the best designs at Mighty Nest (on sale now!). If you’re a mom, you must have heard of Nose Frida. It makes almost every baby layette list because of its ingenious method of extracting snot. You suck it out using a long straw. It’s gross but I swear works!!!

Orrefors glassworks

In terms of glassworks, we love nordic light snowball voltages. The original nordic light snowballs were designed by Swede Ann Wolf in 1973 in the Swedish village of Orrefors. They are incredibly well-made and distinct. A great gift for almost any home. The ones that were gifted to us are from Kosta Boda. Also available at BBB.

Special thanks to Amy and Lyann

Iceland

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Beautiful Iceland…

This country brings back wonderful memories from a trip we took more than 8 years ago. The entire country is like one giant endless national park! We didn’t buy anything but this is what we hear they’re known for - wool. Specifically icelandic blankets and hand-knitted nordic “woolens”. Many moms have attested to the warmth and softness of these blankets. I have the this one made by Icewear hanging out in my cart right now. They’re a splurge but may be a great gift for those that like to snuggle up on the couch.

Iceland is also home to the “black lava salt”. Salt lover gourmands swear by this one made by Saltverk. It’s known to be actually much cheaper here in the US than over there. Eating is Iceland is expensive so finding good food is hard. One of the most memorable dishes in Iceland I had is actually PLOKKFISKUR. I still make it for the kids once in awhile and a fantastic way to use up leftover cooked fish.

Special thanks to Linda and Karla

Belize

Belize is one of the easiest countries to travel to/in. There are quite a few direct flights, they transact in USD (1:1 exchange rate) AND they all speak English. Doesn’t get easier than that! They also have a great mix of history (ruins!), natural landscapes (some of the best caving in the world!) and beaches! Needless to say we hung out on the islands a lot. SO much so, that we decided we had to bring back some of the iconic Belizian clam chairs. They cost us USD$50 a piece and we managed to check it in on our flight just like another piece of luggage.

Belize is also home to some of the hottest and best habanero hot sauce of the world - Marie Sharps. You’ll find it on almost every tabletop in Belize. P.S. It’s also personally endorsed by Hilary Clinton! Readily available at most grocery stores or on Amazon.

Special thanks to Jennifer


Australia

Oh man, I have a very comprehensive list of Australian products we love. (Not to mention they’re also home to many Hollywood exports… Hugh Jackman… Nicole Kidman… Chris Hemsworth (+ the other Hemsworth)… so many!)

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Breville

If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know that I love me some Australian appliances - Breville. Check out their entire line-up - every single piece was designed to SHINE on that countertop. We have been loyal users of the Breville toaster oven but have recently upgraded to the Breville Smart Oven Air. It will do anything an oven will do including dehydrating and air-frying. We hardly use our regular wall oven anymore. The Breville has an amazing capacity and heats up super fast. Read my detailed review here.

Wondersuits

Another pelomom, Krista introduced me to this Australian baby wear brand. She loves them so much she gets family to ship them to her! They make “Bonds baby wondersuits”. The baby suits come with built-in cuffs for both the hands and the feet. You’ll never need to worry about carrying socks or gloves with you. This. is. genius.

Australian work boots

The Aussies know their boots. I have fallen in love with Blundstones, or “Blunnies”. They are close to DocMartens in terms of style but has zero break-in. They have updated the Chelsea boot with two tabs, not one, for easy wear and removal. Europeans have been stomping around in these for awhile and recently have been spotted all over SF. I’d like to take some credit for that! I have a dress series Chelsea boot. Had to size down by 1/2 since it was pretty generous.

If you like Frye boots, please consider RM Williams chelsea boots. Every single pair is hand-sewn in their studio in Adelaide not some factory in Mexico (ahem). Their boots also come in rubber soles which make the far more durable than Frye’s leather soles. You’ll get so much more of these and they’re the boots of choice for young professionals down under these days.

Lastly, shout-out to miracle ointment - Lucas pawpaw ointment. Made from natural pawpaws, it’s known for being a worldwide healing remedy for almost 100 years. The ointment was named after the formulator of the ointment, Dr. T.P. Lucas. Mine is on my way here, I’ll update my review with how it works on my forever-chapped lips. (Latest update for pelomoms: Robin Arzon swears by this stuff!)

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Baby dolls with Down Syndrome

Limetree kids may not be well-known but they really should be. They’re the first company to make anatomatically-correct baby dolls with Down Syndrome facial features. I can’t think of a better and more hands-on way to teach kids about inclusion.

Special thanks: Claudia, Krista, Amy


New Zealand

Alright, I have finally come to the final country of part 2. I’m almost running out of steam but I’ll make it through. My favorite NZ product I know is Manuka Honey. I have a stash of it at home for when my kids fall sick. It’s a natural remedy for cough and colds and extremely soothing for the respiratory system. Methylglyoxal is its active ingredient and likely responsible for these antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects. This stuff is not cheap. You can find them easily at any whole foods but make sure it is made in New Zealand. We’ve been using Wedderspoon Raw Premium honey.

Sistema

System has been inovating in the food portioning / bento box front way before the Americans did. They were recently bought out by the parent company of Rubbermaid. You know the “brilliance” technology you see in Rubbermaid’s food containers lately? Yup, that’s Sistema’s technology! Love their thoughtfully designed bento boxes (and this one too). Sistema products are dishwasher/freezer/microwave safe and all made in NZ.

Special thanks to Kathleen

Writing and research for this blogpost has been a lot of fun. I’ll admit that it’s tiring - so I’ll have take a break before I embark on Part 3. Please continue to send me recommendations for other countries you are familiar with. Next on Part 3 would include: Ireland, Korea, Croatia, Norway, USA, Argentina, Chile and Peru. And if you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

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WLK receives a small commission on some purchases through posts. No pressure, though.

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Our favorite products of the world - Part 1

Our favorite products of the world - Part 1