Last spring when we sat down to plan our year of travel we decided to favour small towns over cities and to spend about three weeks in each destination. We thought this would keep the pace a bit slower and allow us to really get to know each place beyond the usual touristy way. One thing we couldn’t manage to avoid, however, was flying into cities or brief stays in between available flights. So when the option came up to stay in Rio for a few days before flying down to Uruguay, we took it, and we’re so happy we did.
Rio is one of the most stunning cities I’ve ever seen. Verdant green mountains jut out of tropical blue seas in every direction and skyscrapers meet lush rain forests beyond them. Rio may have its share of big city problems, but beauty is not one of them. I’m so glad the kids got to experience it too, especially after seeing shots of Rio during last year’s World Cup, and also knowing it will be the host city for next summer’s Olympic games.
We stayed three days and managed to squeeze in many highlights. Here is a recap from our time with the Cariocas.
- We were invited by i-escape to test out their Ipanema Penthouse and report back on the property as well as kid-friendly things to do in the area — a task I was excited to accept. The apartment was really spacious, in a nice building and in a perfect location, just blocks from the beach and metro. I would not, however, recommend it for families with young children. The roof terrace has some worrisome hazards and the décor is more adult than family. If you are traveling with kids there are many other Rio properties on the i-escape site and I always appreciate their stylish selection and honest assessments of their properties.
- Take the Corcovado Train up to see the famous Cristo Redentor statue. You can see the statue from all sorts of different angles around the city (we first spotted it from the airplane and you should have seen how excited the kids were!), but to see it up close is really breathtaking. And the train ride up through lush tropical trees is fun for the kids too.
- We signed up for a walking food tour with Eat Rio, and it was the highlight of our visit. We spent the day walking around Rio’s centre, trying new foods and juices (Suco de Cupuaçú!), perusing the food markets and dropping into some its most traditional restaurants. We ate crazy fruits we’ve never heard of before (one took a hammer to open), we ate a traditional Amazonian soup called Tacacá, and finished off with a big meal of ‘Carne seca com abobora e feijão de corda’. We can’t recommend this enough for food lovers.
- We took a taxi over to the Lapa neighbourhood to start our food tour, and the Escadaria Selarón was one of the first sites we visited on the tour. We loved hearing the story of the Chilean artist, Jorge Selarón, and how he covered the 250 stairs in colourful tiles collected from more than 60 countries. It was such a site to see!
- We also loved seeing all the street art and graffiti in the Lapa neighbourhood. It was nice to have our food tour guide food explain the background on some of the graffiti artists and their work.
- On Sundays, there is an amazing ‘Feira Hippie‘ (or hippie market) just one block from the apartment. There were so many great stalls and handmade products. (We bought lots of bracelets for the kids and for their friends back in London.)
- The beach! We never had a perfectly sunny day, but we still made sure to experience the famous Rio beaches with all the action and bikini-clad Brazilians (the kids still talk about the shots of the crowded beaches they saw during the World Cup last year and it was fun to experience it in person).
- Juice bars! There are many different juice bars scattered around the city offering delicious juices from a choice of tropical fruits (many fruits we had never even heard of before). Did you know you can drink cacao juice? It’s made from the white pulp surrounding the individual cocoa beans inside the cacao pod. So cool!
- We ate breakfast at Cafeína, a charming cafe with delicious breakfast treats and coffee.
- On our second day we ate breakfast at Terzetto Café, which was just one block from our apartment and served good food with lots of Brazilian specialities.
- We ate feijoada on Sunday at Bar do Beto, which was super family-friendly. We aren’t feijoada experts, but we thought the food was good and the staff was super nice.
- Our kids were tired in the evenings after exploring the city, so one night we ordered sushi to be delivered to our apartment. Locals had recommended the iFood app for food delivery, and it worked perfectly! Sushi is very popular in Brazil, due to the large Japanese Brazilian population (we were told that Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan!).
Because of rainy weather, we didn’t get to do everything we had hoped to do, but it was still a jam-packed few days. Please feel free to leave additional tips and recommendations in the comments section below. It’s always helpful for people who are looking for inspiration for future travels. Thank you!
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Before we embarked on our trip, we bought backpacks for the kids so they could each carry their school books, journals and reading books. It’s been a great way of keeping their things organised, and it means that we have less to carry in our own suitcases.
All of the backpack options were too big for Marlow, so we ended up getting her one of these smaller, and super cute, rucksacks from Annaliv. It has been perfect for her — just big enough to store her teddy bear, crayons and smaller books. What I also like about these rucksacks is that they easily fold up into a suitcase when not in use, which is great because you can’t always rely on Marlow to carry her rucksack like the bigger kids.
I think these rucksacks are perfect for both travel and everyday adventures. I will share more soon about the bigger kids’ backpacks — and also what they carry inside, if you’re interested?
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Can you believe we’re talking about the holidays already?!! I can hardly believe it’s November and time to start thinking about holiday gift-buying. Sinterklaas arrives in The Netherlands in just over a month’s time, Hannukah starts around that same time, and then Christmas comes just after that. It’s time to get busy!
The good news is that we’ve rounded up some super cute gift ideas to make it easy, and if you start now…. just think how easy next month will be! We’ve been working behind the scenes for the past month gathering a wonderful selection of gifts for boys, girls, babies and smaller gifts for stocking fillers, all from a selection of our favourite shops.
Check out this year’s Holiday Gift Guides here. Happy shopping!
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On our road trip up the coast of California last month, we stopped for a few days in sunny San Luis Obispo to visit my friend Mo from Pipsticks who recently moved from London with her husband and their four kids. It was so fun to get all our kids together and to explore this charming little California town. (They were lobbying hard to get us to move there after our trip is over, and it’s definitely tempting!)
During our stay, I caught Mo quickly making her son a superhero cape for his adventures in the back yard. She made it in a matter of minutes from an old t-shirt, and I thought it was so clever I asked her to show us how she did it. Soon, we had eight kids running around with colourful capes and masks, all having the best time together!
Later, we put together this little video tutorial for how to make the cape as well as cute superhero wristbands to complete the costume. It’s a fun and easy project, perfect for a last-minute Halloween costume or any time your kids need an outfit to match their superhero adventures.
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While it has certainly not been as easy as we had imagined, we are gradually finding our way with homeschooling the kids. Every day the kids test our patience, get distracted and, in turn, can make a simple morning of learning be an extremely frustrating experience… but, there are both good days and bad days and the highs definitely outweigh the lows. It is incredibly rewarding to watch your children learn a concept you spent a morning trying to teach them, or to watch as one of your children suddenly grasps a concept they struggled with the day before.
At dinnertime every evening, we go around the table and ask the kids questions about the lessons we taught in the morning. Sometimes the kids need reminding, but sometimes they surprise you with their knowledge and understanding… and it is those moments where it all starts to feel worthwhile. To watch your children learn! It really is the most wonderful and inspiring thing.
While homeschooling comes with its challenges, one of the benefits is that we are able to work closely with each of our children by focusing on topics that really interest them. This way, they are engaged and excited by the topic and the learning comes more easily. For example, I know that Quin (aged 8) is visual learner. He loves drawing and learns well whenever there is something visual in front of him. While working with Quin and Ivy on their multiplication tables last week, I noticed that Quin started to lose steam. He normally excels in math, but he was getting bored of the basic memorisation. So when I saw this post on Kirsten Rickert‘s homeschool feed, @mayaclimbstrees, for these multiplication flowers, I knew it would be a wonderful way to help him learn his multiplication.
Both Quin and Ivy have really loved this little project. We’ve worked on a new number each day, and the results are wonderful both for the understanding of the concepts and the pretty artwork to show for it. I thought I would share with you all, because it’s a simple and fun project whether you’re homeschooling or not.
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My husband is the king of spreadsheets. I often joke that he doesn’t make a single decision without consulting a spreadsheet first. I think he may have even created one before he asked to marry me. : )
While this is obviously an exaggeration, he does use spreadsheets whenever significant finances are involved; such as buying a new car, renovating a flat, budgeting a big holiday. While I like to joke, it’s comforting to know that we’re making smart decisions based on his careful planning. It allows me to be the more emotionally driven, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of person. We make a good team.
It goes without saying that our year of travel has been carefully budgeted. Michael has worked out a weekly budget for each destination so that we can make decisions accordingly. It’s not always easy to achieve it, especially when first arriving in a new and unfamiliar place, but so far we’re doing okay. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the small things we do to help keep us on track.
- The first step is to decide what you want to spend. We had a figure we thought the year should cost, but once Michael started plugging in realistic numbers for accommodation, food, transport and entertainment, he found we were 30% over our target. So the next step was looking for ways to whittle this down. Michael uses Excel but there are many apps (including free ones) you can use to help you budget.
- Decide on a weekly budget for your accommodation and stick to it. Renting apartments or hotel/motel rooms with kitchens can help make big savings on food costs. Location matters too. Find a place within walking distance of the shops, museums, parks, etc. and you’ll save on transport costs. (I also like Emilie’s tips for making use of the many stylish hostels now available!)
- Eat at home or picnic. Whenever we get somewhere one of the first things we do is find the local grocery store. It’s always fun browsing and deciphering a foreign a market. We stock up on simple breakfast foods (yoghurts, cereals, fruits), lunch supplies and snacks. Even when we were in Yosemite, far removed from any towns, we were able to find little general stores that sold sliced bread, cheeses and deli meats. Instead of buying bottled water or other drinks when we’re out, we bring our reusable water bottles and re-fill them throughout the day if necessary.
- Eat locally and seasonally. This past weekend in Brazil, we visited the farmer’s market and paid less than one dollar for six mangos! We also stocked up on passion fruit, bananas and papayas which are abundant and cheap here. We’re chopping up these tropical fruits and putting them over our breakfast instead of the raspberries and blueberries we found in California. We’re also going for the local beer instead of our favourite imports and drinking Brazilian wine.
- Don’t wait until you get to the beach to buy your sun creams, water toys or floaties — these things are much cheaper at the local grocery stores in town.
- Talk to the locals and get insider tips! In the village we’re currently in, there are three pizza restaurants, including one that is nearer the centre and looks the most appealing from the outside. A local resident told us that we should try the other two restaurants first because the pizza is half the price and just as good.
- Transportation can be a significant cost. In each stop on our year away we are looking for the least expensive ways to get to and from the airports and around town. A big decision is whether or not we need to rent a car. In LA, the cheapest option was to rent a car. So far in Brazil we are able to walk everywhere and take the occasional taxi. Sometimes the cost of frequent taxis is still less than renting and fueling a car.
- Do a bit of research before planning your activities each day. For example, when we were in LA we discovered that some museums have a ‘free-entry’ day. We made sure to visit on those days.
- Get the right credit cards. There are only a couple options out there with no foreign transaction fees and favourable exchange rates. The Halifax Clarity card was the clear winner in the UK. In the US, a Platinum American Express card seemed the best option, despite the high annual fee. The best cards change from time to time but you can get lots of good advice on sites like Money Savings Expert.
- Use good foreign exchange services like Azimo to pay in the local currency. For example, when paying by bank transfer for our accommodation in Brazil we converted pounds to Brazilian Reais. For cash we use bank machines or exchange at a local bureau rather than at the airport.
Obviously not all of these steps are worth the effort for short breaks, but if you’re going for longer the savings can really add up. Dare I say it’s even a bit fun to find creative ways to stay on budget. As always, if you have other tips or questions, please share them below.
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As I mentioned in an earlier post, we spent a week in LA back in September and stayed in the beautiful home owned by Peter James and Marisa Vitale. Marisa is a talented family photographer and offered to snap some photos of our family while we were in town. I jumped at the chance to get a rare photo of all six of us and to document the start of our family’s adventure, all of us so full of excitement… and admittedly a few jitters. We met Marisa at Temescal Gateway Park fresh from an afternoon at the beach (notice Ivy’s hair is still wet!), and went for a short walk under the big oak trees while she snapped photos. I’m so happy to have these photos and thought I would share some favourites here with you. My kids, especially the boys, are getting so big. It’s funny how sometimes you don’t notice until you see it in photos.
Also, a few of you have asked for LA tips so I thought I would share some of the things we did while we were in LA (mostly Venice beach). We spent a lot of time with Michael’s family in Pasadena so we didn’t have as much time to explore the city as tourists, and we were also on a budget so we didn’t eat out as often as we wanted to. : ) But in any case, here are the highlights:
- Temescal Gateway Park (where photos above were taken): A pretty park with lots of paths to explore. Just off Sunset Blvd.
- The beach! We spent a lot of time at nearby Venice Beach because it was within walking distance of our house. We also went to the beach near Temescal Canyon and Sunset Blvd which was less crowded.
- Boogie Boarding: you can rent boards from the beach-front vendors on the boardwalk. My kids loved this!
- Venice boardwalk: we spent an afternoon watching the skateboarders and street dancers. It was quite a scene with all the music and people!
- We also walked down Abbott Kinney Blvd just to check out how much it’s changed since we last lived in LA. We have a policy of not taking our children into shops if we can avoid it, so we didn’t go into any of the shops, but it was fun to see so many great new shops there. (Burro looked really cute from the outside, and there’s even now an Aesop on Abbott Kinney!) Speaking of shopping, I kept hoping to have the opportunity to sneak into General Store for a little peak around but I never made it in. It looks SO cute (and oh my goodness, the website! dangerous!!).
- We didn’t make it here, but Marisa suggested we check out Tonga Park in Santa Monica with cool native plants, water features, benches, etc. There’s also the nearby Santa Monica solar-panelled LED ferris wheel within walking distance.
- While I was in LA for the ShopUp, Michael took the kids to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (which they loved) and the Arboretum (which, despite the heat, they found very interesting to see all the different plants and trees).
- Superba Food & Bread: This is located (dangerously) around the corner from the house we rented. Great for picking up bread and croissants (and coffee) in the morning, but they also have a wonderful menu for lunch and dinner.
- Whole Foods Market on Lincoln Blvd: We did most of our grocery shopping here. Just behind the store is Ozone park with two different playgrounds (for big and little kids) on opposite sides.
- Groundworks Coffee on Rose Ave: Great spot for coffee in a charming little spot.
- Cafe Gratitude: Unfortunately we never made it to this restaurant but I had so many friends tell me to eat here. It’s a well-known restaurant amongst those seeking organic, vegan and locally-sourced foods. Looks so good!
- We got a babysitter one evening and met Michael’s family downtown LA to celebrate his sister’s birthday at The Factory Kitchen for delicious Italian food.
That’s all I can remember, but please feel free to add more tips in the comments below. I’m sure families travelling to LA would appreciate all the recommendations!
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Living in London, I was often asked to share a list of my favourite shops in the city. Couverture was always at the top of my list. It’s been a favourite store for as long as I can remember, and even if I didn’t end up buying anything, I always loved popping into the shop for inspiration. They have a well-curated collection of women’s wear, including many of my favourite brands, and one of the best selection of children’s clothes and toys in London. They also have a really great selection of pretty homewares and accessories with brands you can’t find anywhere else in the UK.
I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my favourite brands and products in store at Couverture, starting with the women’s collection. For one, Couverture is one of the few stockists of Ace & Jig in the UK, and I love the pretty tops in this current collection. (Who am I kidding? I love everything by Ace & Jig.) I’m also a huge fan of the Steven Alan collection, and this jumpsuit is so good! I discovered the new UK brand, Sideline, last winter and I’m so excited to see them stocked here, and lastly, these Rachel Comey clogs are so cool!
For girls, I love this Morley top, this yellow and white wool beanie, and how cute are the handmade wooden animal friends by Japanese designer, T-Lab?!! I think they make the perfect little birthday gift or stocking stuffer.
For boys, I always love the Penfield collection of coats, fleeces and vests. I love this little Hansel doll of the Hansel & Gretel fairytale (and dolls for boys! yay!), and the elvish bonnets from Cecilie Telle, available in several different colours. Couverture is also one of the biggest stockists of Bellerose, one of my favourite brands for my boys.
Couverture has recently launched a new website, which is good news for those not living in London, and they are now offering Babyccino readers an exclusive 15% discount, valid now until November 12th. A perfect excuse to get some holiday (dare I say it) shopping done early! Enter code BC15 for a 15% discount at check-out.
This post was sponsored by Couverture. All views expressed are my own, as well as my picks and preferences. I’ve been a longtime fan of this shop (since 2008 when it opened!) and am happy to be able to support them as they continue to grow.
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We recently spent a sunny week in Los Angeles to mark the start of our year-long adventure. We had moved from LA to London twelve years ago, so it was nice to go back and spend some time exploring the city again, to spend time with friends and family and to get a feel for what it’s like to live there as a family.
After speaking with friends who live in LA, we decided to stay in the family-friendly neighbourhood of Venice beach, which was definitely the right decision. The neighbourhood has changed so much in the past 12 years, with so many great new restaurants and shops, but it still has a very artsy, laid-back bohemian vibe which we loved. It was great to be able to walk to shops and cafes, but more than anything it was so nice to be so close to the beach. My kids fell in love with boogie boarding and are now hoping to learn how to surf!
We rented the Superba Avenue Residence through Kid & Coe and it was the perfect place to stay. It’s such a cosy family home, filled with colourful knick-knacks and loads of fun toys and books in every corner. The kids loved the outside playroom with rope swings hanging from the rafters and spent so much time playing in the gated gardens surrounding the house. They even had a slide on the front porch! The kids never wanted to leave the house!
What is so nice about renting a home through Kid & Coe is that you can feel at home straight away and your children have all the comforts (toys, highchairs, beds, step stools) to feel settled immediately. I also love getting a glimpse of what it’s really like to live in the city you’re visiting, like stepping into another family’s shoes for a bit. After spending a week in Venice beach, I’m now dreaming of moving our family to LA!
It was also lovely to meet with the owner of the home, Marisa, who is a talented photographer. She offered to take some photos of our family to mark the start of our adventure and I quickly jumped at the opportunity. I am so happy with the photos she took and I’ll share some with you soon.
Kid & Coe offered us a press discount in return for coverage of our stay. Kid & Coe is a company I have used before and is a concept I really love. All views expressed are my own, and I’m happy to be able to support this growing company.
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Shopping for boys is definitely more challenging than shopping for girls, or at least I find it slightly less exciting. For one, there is less variety in the types of clothing for boys (no adorable rompers or pretty dresses), but I also find it trickier to find simple, timeless pieces without the stereotypical ‘boyish’ texts and colours. For my boys, I like solid tops and bottoms in nice, neutral colours, and I also try to find good quality pieces that will stand the test of time and last long enough to be worn by both active boys. (I typically buy new clothes for my eldest son and then pass down to the younger one, and the same goes for the girls.)
Bellerose is a brand I discovered years and years ago in a shop in Antwerp, back when the boys were really little. I bought a pair of shorts for Easton that ended up becoming a favourite pair worn by both boys, and I’ve returned to this brand again and again over the years, both for the style and the quality.
I like the laid-back effortless style of the Bellerose pieces, and the quality is always really reliably good. I also like the way the pieces fit both boys: their loose-fitting shorts and trousers really suit Easton, and yet still look good on Quin who is smaller framed than his older brother. It’s also one of the rare children’s brands that goes up to size 16 which is a relief as many of the other brands stop at size 10 or 12.
We got some photos taken of the kids earlier this summer and I couldn’t resist putting the boys in their matching tees and shorts from Bellerose. My two boys, such sweet little pals — so different from each other, but somehow such a perfect pairing of personalities. I love the yin/yang feel of these photos.
All photos by Sara Welch.
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We’ve had a few emails come in lately requesting a Tips post on how to get rid of stains, and while none of us consider ourselves to be stain removal experts, we thought it would be a fun post to encourage readers to share their tips and tricks (so please do share!).
What I’ve learned is that it’s really important to treat the stain (even small ones) before you attempt to wash it in the machine, and that the sooner you treat it, the better luck you’ll have at removing the stain. Here are some other tips that quickly come to mind:
- Soak stains as soon as you can.
- Dish soap works well on grease stains like butter or oil, and then it’s best to wash with the warmest water that’s safe for the fabric after you’ve let the soap soak into the clothes.
- Ice cold water is best on blood stains (and again, try to soak as quickly as possible).
- If stains don’t come out in the wash, don’t put clothes in the dryer (that will set the stain and it will never come out after that). I usually hang-dry clothes that were stained, just to be sure the stain is out completely when dry.
- Hanging washed clothes to dry in direct sunlight helps to naturally bleach stains (especially fruit and berry stains).
- Lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar are natural stain removal agents that have been used for years and years.
- According to my mum, white wine is great at removing red wine stains (who knew?!).
- When Easton was a baby we spent a week in Paris with my family. My mom and I went to the supermarket to ask for a small container of laundry soap to hand wash some clothes and the lady handed us a bar of basic Marseilles soap and told us to wet the clothes and scrub with the bar of soap. I was skeptical, but I tried it out and it worked SO WELL. It’s a perfect laundry soap to travel with because it’s not a liquid, and it really works! (Esther and Emilie both keep a bar of Marseilles soap in their laundry rooms for this reason.)
- For sticky stuff like chewing gum or silly putty, you can stick the clothes directly into the freezer and then pull the sticky stuff off the clothes once it’s frozen.
- For very stubborn stains you can, of course, use a chemical stain remover like Vanish or Oxi Clean (though we usually try to avoid these harsh cleaners because they’re not good for the environment or your clothes).
I think that’s it, but again I’m really excited to see what other tips you all have up your sleeves, so please share!
p.s. Photo above is of the sink in the laundry room of my old house. Oh how I miss that laundry room! : )
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Following on from the excitement of our recent ShopUp event in NYC, we are thrilled to announce our next event which will take place in London on December 10th and 11th, just in time for Christmas and holiday shopping!
Mark your diaries now: December 10/11 at the Chelsea Town Hall. More info here.
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Last week when we were in NYC for the ShopUp, we met up with the talented team from Hatch and had a little photoshoot with some of our favourite pieces from the new Autumn/Winter collection. It was so, so fun to play dress-up in all the stylish clothes, and Esther and I had a blast pretending to be models (haha!) on the streets of Brooklyn.
Esther and I have been long-time fans of the Hatch maternity label since we discovered it during our last pregnancies with Casper and Marlow, and I still wear many of those original Hatch pieces three years later. What I love about Hatch is that you can feel better about investing in stylish maternity clothes knowing that you’ll wear these pieces after pregnancy and for years to come.
The clothes are comfortable and effortlessly stylish, and I love how the shapes seem to fit women of many different sizes, pregnant or not pregnant. The Union Jumpsuit is a perfect example — it looks great on Esther with her tall, skinny body, and then it also works on me (I just had to roll the cuffs a few more times). I also love that you can dress the pieces up or down depending on how you accessorise. I wore nice flats with the Isabel Pants for a dressier look, but look how cool they are paired with trainers!
The Hatch website is really quite fun to browse for style inspiration — I love the way they style all the pieces and show different versions (dressed up or down) of the same piece. We had so much fun putting our own twist on the clothes, and I hope you don’t mind us sharing so many photos from that day. : )
And two more, just for fun…
We were laughing (and admiring) this guy’s ability to sleep in the middle of bustling NYC, below the bridges and amidst the noisy sirens and taxis whooshing by. So good! So New York!
All photos taken by Marko Jokic. Thank you, Marko, for making us feel so at ease in front of the camera!
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Before I left London, I spent some times searching the web for fun journals and activity books for the kids to take with them as part of their home education and documentation of their travels. I stumbled upon the sweet Nature Notebooks at Mrs. Booth which are absolutely perfect for what I had in mind. These little A5 notebooks are thin and lightweight (perfect for travels!) and include 40 pages to fill however you wish. We’ve been using them to draw our discoveries and then write down our observations.
I like that it provides a guideline for how to fill in the pages, but it’s not too rigid so the kids can still find their own way of filling the pages. Easton loves drawing so his book includes a lot of drawings, while Quin has mostly filled the pages with text.
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Our newest video is now up on our YouTube Channel! We figured it was easier to show you how to French braid in a video rather than in photos, so here’s our first video hair tutorial. We shot this video a couple months ago when I was in Amsterdam visiting Esther, and sweet little Ava was the perfect model.
You can watch it here. We hope you enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to answer!
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We’ve just received so many great photos from Nicki Sebastian of our NY ShopUp. We thought we would let the photos speak for themselves and paint the picture of those two fun-filled days. So here’s a re-cap in (loads of) photos. It’s so fun to look through these and be reminded of what a great event it was! (An enormous thank you to our wonderful event manager, Miraya Berke of Pop Productions who did an amazing job.) Here are the photos: (more…)
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We had SO much fun at the ShopUp today, and we’re still buzzing from the excitement of having so many people turn out! What a busy, bustling day!!! We met so many wonderful families, watched so many happy kids, ate good food, listened to fun music, and most importantly were SO impressed with all our wonderful shops and all their gorgeous products. We couldn’t have asked for a better day! We wanted to share a selection of photos from our talented photographer, Nicki Sebastian, because we thought these great shots give a perfect re-cap of the day.
A big thank you to all of you who came today, and we hope to see many more of you tomorrow (Monday) from 10am to 5pm for more fun.
See you there!
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It’s hard to believe it’s finally here!! We’re all headed to NYC this weekend for our long-awaited NY ShopUp! We are so excited to spend a weekend together and to meet and mingle with many of you on Sunday and Monday. We wanted to share a rough schedule of events and activities, so you can make sure to stop by at the best times to suit you and your family.
In addition to an amazing selection of the very best shops all setting up booth in the prettiest Brooklyn venue (see photos above), we’ve also organised some delicious food trucks and super fun activities for the little ones. Here’s what’s in store:
- Kitchensurfing will be there with cooking demos and samples for the kids on Sunday at 1 pm & 3 pm and Monday at 11 am.
- We’ll have an activity centre set up by UrbanSitter so you can drop off your children for crafts, face painting and stories while you browse the shops!
- Lucie Hélène will be there offering magical, glittery face paintings and games!
- We’ll have live music on Sunday at 2pm from the very talented John-Michael Parker of Great Caesar.
- We have arranged for the tastiest food trucks to pull up and park inside (yes, inside! so cool!): Sigmund’s Pretzels, Driftaway Coffee, Blue Marble Ice Cream (Sunday only), Neapolitan Express Pizza and La Newyorkina popsicles (Monday only). Come hungry!
- We’ll have fun temporary tattoos from Tattly in the activity center
- Children’s photography by Rebecca Zeller is available over the two days (no need to make an appointment, though if you want to you can reach out to her here).
- We’ve lined up an amazing raffle in support of mothers2mothers charity who will be at the event with more info about their great cause and the prize you can win when you buy a raffle ticket. (If you’re unable to attend the event, you can still buy a raffle ticket here for your chance to win!)
- We’ll have free samples of tasty (and healthy!) children’s snacks from Bitsy’s Brainfood
- We’ll be selling a limited number of ShopUp totes for $5. First come, first served. So hurry, hurry!
Please note: you don’t even have to worry about parking! Lyft is offering a discount code for new users: All you have to do is download the app, request a ride, and a driver will come pick you up in minutes. Use code SHOPUP for $20 off!
It’s really shaping up to be SUCH a fun day out, and we look forward to seeing you there!!
Esther, Emilie & Courtney xx
- Kitchensurfing: personal chefs to cook you dinner in your own home
- Green Mountain Energy: longest serving renewable energy retailer in the US
- OneRx: fast and easy prescription savings
- Bitsy’s Brainfood: healthy and tasty snacks made of organic fruits and vegetables
- Passported: kid-friendly travel for grown-ups!
- Urbansitter: taking the guess-work out of finding a babysitter.
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We recently spent the long holiday weekend with my family on our little island in the San Juans (off the coast of Washington State). It is my favourite place in the whole world, a place where I spent my childhood summers and where my mother and grandmother (and great-grandmother!) spent theirs. It makes me so happy to watch my children explore the beauty and nature of this special place, and it was the perfect way to finish off our summer here in the US before our big adventure begins…!
Next, we will spend a month in California (after a short visit to NYC for the ShopUp!) before heading down to discover South America in October. We fly out tomorrow, so I’ll be spending the day today packing suitcases and getting ready for the next leg of our journey.
After watching my kids spend the summer wearing only a fraction of the clothes in their suitcase, I’ve been reminded that the children don’t need much. Just the basics: a few pairs of shorts, a few tees, one or two warmer layers, and a rainproof outer layer just in case. I’ll be re-packing their suitcases with this in mind and hopefully I’ll reduce the amount of weight we’ll be lugging around with us for the next year (wish me luck!).
One brand I have very happily discovered this summer is LuvMother. This Canadian brand makes light-weight, merino basics and wonderful layering pieces that are perfect for travel and everyday adventures. The kids have been living in their hoodies and sweatshirts now that the weather has cooled a bit, and the soft merino wool keeps them perfectly warm without the need for a bulkier layer.
I also love the design details of the LuvMother pieces — like contrast pockets and elbow patches, and I like that there are no tags or gratuitous labels (the subtle double ‘x’ on the back right-hand shoulder is a perfect signature label in itself). These pieces are not only warm and functional, they’re stylish as well.
The LuvMother merino layers are the perfect warm layer to pack for our upcoming travels. I’m hoping to pick up some pieces for Marlow too at the ShopUp this coming Sunday and Monday. LuvMother will be there, so please keep an eye out for their booth!
p.s. LuvMother is currently offering a 15% discount store wide. See info here!
This post was sponsored by LuvMother, a member of our shopping portal and a family-owned brand I adore and respect. All views expressed are my own.
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Bitsy’s Brainfood is a new, organic children’s food brand which we have recently discovered and which has signed on to sponsor our upcoming ShopUp event in NYC. I was really excited to discover this company, and in the weeks since partnering with them the kids and I have become big Bitsy’s Brainfood fans!
They recently sent over some smart cookies for us to try, and they’re now my kids’ favourite snack.
The smart cookies are baked with organic fruits and vegetables, made with whole grains and are made in a nut-free facility. They’re healthy and they taste good (yes I’ve tried), and I love that they’re alphabet shaped, so kids learn about their letters while enjoying their snack (I swear, Marlow learned her letters from eating alphabet cereal!). I also like that they’re not crumbly or messy — it’s a good snack to have in the car or to keep in your handbag for on-the-go.
Bitsy’s was started by two moms who believe that healthy minds and healthy bodies are connected and that learning to eat smart should be fun. What I love about their products is that they’re not trying to hide the fact that there are vegetables in their products, they want kids to embrace their veggies and know that they are good for them.
I’m so happy to have discovered Bitsy’s Brainfood, and we’re delighted they’re joining us (with free samples!) at the ShopUp in just a couple weeks. Look out for them there (September 13th and 14th)!