I don’t normally review stores or products, I tend to link to them and let people decide for themselves (see my Stuff for Moms page). I have a lot of opinions on what products work though, when other parents ask me about what to use, or what I would recommend. I am loathe to buy traditional gifts, I try to find something useful and personalized every time. I try anyways…

I like researching products and finding ingenious solutions, or finding that product that is just such a great quality for price point, or perfectly-suited, I guess. I’m a closeted gadget-freak, and this feeds the addiction…. Guilty as charged. All you have to do is look at my scrapbooking table to know this. πŸ™‚

Today I have a recommendation that I had to share. I had to park my car on the other side of a busy throughfare near my work. On the way back to the office, I noticed that a store I had been curious about was open. Oooh…

The place is called Nest.

It looked trendy, and as I walked in, I was not disappointed. Face it, we Mommies, even though we try our best to be economical shoppers for our children, we love going into boutiques and looking through really, really nice stuff.

Nest is still in setup mode, but wanted to open while the weather this week is finally giving us some summer. Good idea, and lucky me!

On the shelves and baskets were wooden educational toys for 1 year olds and up. I was greeted by nesting arches, cups, and cubes, a caterpillar drag along toy, and this gorgeous snake puzzle that swirled in several different directions, each piece a vibrant rainbow hue. There were toy cars, and various other imagination toys like a dollhouse that fits together to carry! I think the product line will expand, but had not been pulled out of shipping boxes yet. There looked to be some natural fibre clothing and blankets in the back.

I was impressed, and as I perused, I fell in love with some block puzzles that were every punchy shade of the rainbow, and just sumptuous to look at. The brand is called Grimm’s, according to the stamp on the butt of the pull-along Rabbit I bought. I did a quick search online, and they are available lots of places online, and the selection is quite large. Do a search for “Grimm’s” and you’ll see the types of toys that are at Nest. Their official website is (The site is not in English, so brush up on your German).

Understanding that the wooden toys are painted with lead-free non-toxic paint, and corners sanded smooth, I asked about what would happen if the toy gets wet, and sits on a rug, or my child’s favorite overalls. Would the paint transfer since there is no shellac or urethane finish to the toys? The woman behind the counter wasn’t sure, but wrote down my question to ask the owner, who was not in the store at that moment. They have my email, so perhaps I will get an answer to the question at some point. My son would find a way to soak that toy, and trust me, I don’t want to buy him the blue rolling car if it will put a blue stain on my nice new carpet downstairs!

I’ll let you know what they say.

Any of the myriad of selection at Nest are what I would classify “Heirloom Pieces”. I have one such toy from my childhood, a stacking snail with ball-bearings in its base to roll along. He isn’t played with though, since I am quite sure he has leaded paint on him (he’s as old as the hills… I think he was my father’s before he was mine). He’s a pretty and colourful display piece now.

I would be safe in saying, though, that these are the types of toys that you put lovingly away when your child outgrows them, and when your son or daughter has their own children, you can pull them out again. As such, the price point is a big higher than Toys R Us or Play Value. I spent $28.82 on a toy pull-along rabbit that “hops” for my son, and I love it (I hope he does too!), but for the budget-concious shopper, it may be a bit steep for an every day purchase.

However! These toys are amazing gifts and special purchases, and have longevity and durability that can trump any plastic toy. The block puzzles and stackers look sturdy enough to last repeated use by even the most destructive of toddlers. This makes it worth the price, in my books. And the gorgeous colours and beautiful swirling shapes make them almost too pretty to play with, and are just as much decor in your child’s playroom as favourite toy!

So, for those in Ottawa, check out Nest and support a local mompreneur just getting off the ground! will be up and running soon, its not quite up yet.

The store is located at 204 Dalhousie St in Ottawa, one block North of the Bridgehead Coffee Shop.


One thought on “Nest

  1. Lisa September 5, 2009 / 1:00 pm

    Hi Caroline!

    I am really pleased that you enjoy the shop! I’m honoured to have made it into your blog πŸ™‚

    As for the colouring of the toys:

    Sven Grimm of Grimm’s toys has written that the colours comply with “the European Standards EN 71 for Toy Safety and does not do any harm to children, when they suck on it. [They are] free of all critical substances and if you want, you could drink the color dye, although would not recommend for make-up reasons. When you suck long enough on a colored block, you might get a blue tonque ;-)”

    More in response to your question, Sven has also written that “the products can be cleaned with a wet towel or such, and yes, the boats can swim without coloring the water, but if you take a white, wet towel and rub long enough on a red block, you will of course find red spots on that towel.”

    I personally still found myself wondering about how well the dye would then wash out of that white towel, after reading Sven’s response, so here is what I did: I took a blue boat, and let it float in a few inches of water for ten minutes, then I took it out, and wiped a white cotton towel against it. No dye came off. However, I am going to subject the boats to more ‘rigorous’ testing at tubtime, and I will let you know the results! Also, I am going to wash the damp cloths that I use to clean the toys in the shop, that have some colour on them to both hot and cold water laundry washes, and see the results for the colour washing out from them. I will let you know!

    Kind Regards,


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