Paris for Teenagers

It is so nice receiving mails from readers with questions about Paris, as it gets me to discover new things about my city. It is soo easy to fall in a rut! I was recently contacted by a reader who is a German school teacher travelling to Paris with teenagers. Not at all my area of expertise! But it was fun trying to figure out what might interest teenagers in Paris, so here is the list I came up with. (I might be totally off the mark by the way, so do feel free to tell me if I am!):

The Batobus is run by the city of Paris and goes down the Seine and stops at all the important places. I like it as it is not as expensive as the rest of the tourist boats and you can get off at the major sites, walk a bit and jump on again at the next stop.

The Science Museum and the Music Museum are both in the Parc de la Villette. The Music Museum has a great exhibition on at the moment about black music and it’s history. The Parc de la Villette also has this great old 50’s submarine in it, which is fun to explore.

I love Monet’s water lily’s in the Orangerie; it is not too overwhelming and busy, like some of the Museums in Paris are. Alternatively there are also the Army Museum and the Catacombes. A walk around Montmartre is beautiful and shows a different side of Paris than the centre. The Pompidou is an amazing building and museum for any age group.

The left bank of the Seine is now closed down from the Eiffel Tower to the Musée d’Orsay, which is a great way to walk around Paris.

Just on the outskirts of Paris there is the chateau de Vincennes, a medieval fortress.

Or perhaps a fun day trip to see Versailles and Giverny, Monet’s home where he painted the famous waterlilies.

- Emilie

The above picture I found on a blog called Style Is Born. It made me laugh as this is exactly how I imagined a Parisian teenager would look like.

The tulip fields

The tulips are in full bloom here in the Netherlands, and last week we went on a little tour with the children to take a look at them. Such an amazing view! The kids loved running through the endless beds of flowers. And the smell!!

Have you ever been to the tulip fields? I’ve heard nowadays a lot of the tulips are grown in Africa. And there are also beautiful fields in the US, near Seattle — Courtney’s dad owns one of them!

Of course we couldn’t leave without picking a bunch to take home. (Picking is only allowed from special flower picking fields!)

xxx Esther

My Favourite Things at Baby&Me Magazine

We’re really excited to announce a new partnership with Baby&Me magazine which has us contributing a little column in their magazine each month and rounding up a selection of cute products to fit our topic. Baby&Me is a super stylish, monthly glossy which keeps London parents updated on all the latest news, fashion, design and other interesting lifestyle topics. We are thrilled to be contributing each month and thought it would be fun to share our selection here with you as well.

In this month’s issue I wrote about getting out in our garden with the kids, sowing vegetable seeds and enjoying the onset of spring. I also rounded up some cute fruit & veg products I’m loving right now. Here they are:

You can read the digital version of this month’s issue here. You can also download the Baby&Me app from iTunes here. And lastly, you can now buy the magazine at newsagents around town.

I’m already excited for next month’s contribution! Stay tuned…

x Courtney

New York, New York!


We’re back from New York! And while we are processing the million impressions we got — from discovering great brands at the Playtime fair (recap to come, of course!), to meeting wonderful friends, to talking loads about new business ideas we’ve got — we thought it would be fun to share some snapshots we took while walking around this inspiring and buzzing city.


Beautiful Brooklyn! And yes, the sky was that blue and the shadows that sharp. This was the first warm and sunny weekend in New York in months!

The meatpacking, the Village, SoHo… we walked all the way!

Williamsburg! So cool. And so lovely to cuddle with Lindsay’s baby Jack in the hip Wythe Hotel!

We squeezed in a bit of shopping, of course. These beautiful towels were hard to resist… (We did!)

We had so much fun — our throats are still hurting from laughing so much. We ♥ NY!

Courtney and Esther

The new Elias & Grace website!

Have you seen the shiny new Elias & Grace website?! They’ve given themselves an entirely new look and lots of great new features. You can now narrow down your search by category, gender and by child’s size (which is such a handy feature I think). You can shop new arrivals and see different trends (currently stripes and blue!). And of course, it goes without saying, that everything in store is so effortlessly stylish!

Elias & Grace is my go-to shop in London. They do such a great job of buying and always have the most stylish selection of brands. It’s always fun to stop in at the beginning of every season to see the latest trends and pick up some new pieces for the kids. It’s impossible for me to resist!

x Courtney

PS – Elias & Grace is now offering a £100 gift voucher in our BIG giveaway! So if you haven’t done so already, go enter to win!! Today is the last day!

Photos from Paris

We have just come back from a fun weekend together in Paris! We went for Playtime Paris, but also managed to squeeze in some meetings, visit some museums, walk from one end of Paris to the other, and laugh so hard our bellies are still sore. We’ll be sharing our re-cap of Playtime soon, but in the meantime wanted to share some photos from the rest of our weekend…


Esther and I stumbled upon the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature and it was incredible! We weren’t going to go in but then a lady passed us on the street and told us we really must not walk past without seeing inside. It’s a museum of hunting and animals and nature, but done in the most beautiful way.  The lady said to us ‘I’m a vegetarian, been one my whole life, and I’m against hunting… and even still I think it’s a beautiful museum.” What a recommendation!  I’m so happy she persuaded us because we were so impressed with it and are hoping to go back with the kids soon.


Emilie having a meeting with the wonderfully talented Lalé. We’re working on an exciting project with her and can’t wait to tell you about it!


We decided to be tourists on Saturday, so Esther and I walked the whole of Paris from one end to the next. We walked through beautiful gardens, along the river, to the Louvre, over the bridge and all the way to the Eiffel Tower and back. Here we are outside the Louvre.

Even on a grey day Paris is beautiful. I love this photo Esther took of the Louvre Pyramid, which she says reminds her of her mum.

There I am, standing beneath the Eiffel Tower. I showed this photo to my kids and they were so impressed with how big the tower is, how small I look compared to it.

Esther and I were such tourists, asking random strangers to take our photo in front of the Eiffel Tower! (We walked all the way there, so we weren’t leaving without a photo, of course!)

Here’s a photo of the three of us on the metro after a long day at Playtime. Exhausted but still laughing to tears!

Vanessa Berberian, London photographer

Remember last week when I told you about our little family photo session in the park with Vanessa Berberian? And how I was so worried she wouldn’t get any cute photos because my children wouldn’t cooperate/sit still/smile/behave… etc.  Well, she just sent over the photos and I’m so so impressed with her! She managed to do it! And she also snuck in some really cute candid photos when we weren’t paying attention.  My heart literally bursts when I see the photos of Marlow giving me kisses! Oh, I could just eat her up. I’m so happy to have this sweet phase of hers captured. And I love the photos of my husband with the children. And… she even managed to get a photo of all six of us looking at the camera, all mostly smiling! Miracle I’m telling you.

Vanessa is a super experienced photographer who has worked in all areas of photography, from environmental portraiture to travel and food.  She is now focusing her work on intimate documentary portraiture and family photography in and around the London area. (You can read more about her here.) If you’re also looking for family portraits or photos of your children, I highly recommend getting in touch with her. Her website is also super easy to use — she will upload your photos onto a gallery on her site and you’ll be able to download them easily onto your computer to use and to print. So handy!

Thank you Vanessa for taking these sweet photos!

xx Courtney

A weekend trip to Barcelona

We just came back from a (long) weekend break in Barcelona, and I really wanted to jot down a few notes about our trip  - it was so great!

We took the night train from the centre of Paris down to the Spanish border and did one switch onto a train direct into the centre of Barcelona. It was cool – imagine falling asleep in Paris and waking up to the view of the Med. The train was certainly not the Orient Express – but it was a real adventure. l loved lying in my little berth listening to the train whistle through the night!

We stayed at possibly the best place in Barcelona to stay with kids – a boutique youth hostel. Casa Gracia is right in the centre of Barcelona, we were able to walk everywhere. It is beautifully decorated, the rooms have up to 6 beds which is perfect for a family and there is a kitchen if you feel like you want to quickly cook some pasta. If you don’t feel like cooking, you can join in on the evening buffet meal. A huge breakfast is included in the price of the room. It was so relaxed and easy!

We took the kids to the Parc Guell which was an instant hit. I had brought along some water colours so we spent the afternoon painting the view, the mosaics or whatever we felt like painting. The next day we spent the day wondering La Rambla and getting lost in the Bari Gothic with its tiny medieval streets. On the 3rd day we walked as fast as we could to the beach and soaked up the sun, the sand and the water. Wearing a bathing suit on a beach in Europe at the beginning of November is pretty special! We had a late lunch at a cute restaurant overlooking the beach, and then we picked up our bags, jumped on a train, had dinner in the very cute and sleepy town of Cerbère on the French/ Spanish boarder, jumped on another train and woke up in Paris again!

- Emilie

PS. I just found out there is a night train that goes directly from Paris to Venice, so there might be another trip soon on the cards…

PPS The photos above are: the view over Barcelona from the Parc Guell/ a house designed by Gaudi/ Violette concentrating very hard on a water colour in the Parc Guell/ jumping in the waves in Barcelonetta.

The ShopUp in London – the countdown begins!

The countdown has started! Our live shopping event will take place just one month from now!! Have you marked your diaries? Told all your friends? We can’t wait to see you there!

p.s. To see a list of all the fabulous shops & brands participating, click here.

Bonnetapompon, a lovely Spanish brand

Oh! I just love to find spanish brands like Bonnet à Pompon! It is so sweet!. Clothes made with exquisite taste and care.

With very delicate colours, their shops are also an amazing experience. It is all like a fairy tale!!

Very happy to find this brand made in Spain and hope you like it. And, if you happen to be in Madrid, it is well worth a visit to their shops.

- Maria

To read more from Maria, visit her wonderful blog, escarabajos bichos y mariposas.

The ShopUp… is shaping up!

Whoop whoop!! We’re SO excited about all of these fabulous shops and brands that are joining us at the ShopUp! (For those of you who missed the announcement — we’re organising our first ever live shopping event in London at the beginning of December!) In addition to the great shopping, we’ll have superb entertainment to keep the little ones busy… mini family photo-shoots… little bits to eat and drink… and there’s a raffle with a fantastic prize!  It will be a such a fun day out, and such a perfectly easy way to buy sweet presents for all of the little lovelies in your life!

We can’t wait to go shopping at the ShopUp ourselves!! So… mark your diaries, tell your friends, invite your family, and we look forward to seeing you all there!!

xxx Courtney and Esther

Exciting new spaces in Paris

For once I am giving the urban planners of Paris a cautious thumbs up: this summer not one, but two new public, urban spaces opened! And, to boot, they are great for the whole family.

On the right bank, after being a massive building site for a long while, the new Place de La Republique is finally ready. It is hated by all taxi drivers, who get stuck at the red lights, but it is loved in the neighbourhood. Some of the top attractions are the toy library, where you can borrow for free anything from chess to stilts to baby toys. There is also a great little water park for children right beside a lovely café/restaurant. The new trees are still small and their could be more play areas, but in general this space has some great potential.

Over on the left bank a much bigger project is slowly coming together: a long stretch of the banks of the Seine (from the Musée d’Orsay to the Pont d’Alma) has been closed down to traffic and now is solely pedestrian. It is not quite finished yet, but there are already amazing play areas and great restaurants on barges and along the banks. It is such a treat to have access to the river, something that was really lacking in Paris.

It is so nice to see an old city like Paris still constantly evolving and adapting to its population!

- Emilie

Kid & Coe, a vacation rental website for families!

I am really, super excited about the recent launch of Kid & Coe, a vacation rental website featuring stylish family homes all over the world. Imagine travelling to New York, Paris, San Francisco, Copenhagen… Mexico even (!) and being able to stay in a family home, complete with child-sized beds, toys for your kids, a proper kitchen to cook meals, and other family-friendly features to really make you feel at home wherever you go.

Each Kid & Coe listing offers a great description of the property as well as a ‘good to know’ section of family-friendly considerations (closest parks, baby proof safety measures, dishwasher and washing machines, etc.). You can also read a description of the neighbourhood and surrounding area, and of course view loads of great photos of each property (truthfully, it’s like viewing the pages of Elle Decor – some of these homes are so beautiful and inspiring – it’s worth travelling just for the chance to stay in them!).

Not only is it a great place to find stylish family rentals, but you can also list your home with Kid & Coe if you’re interested in renting it out while you’re away. Registering your home is really easy, and the team at Kid & Coe is extremely helpful. It’s easy to enter the dates you’ll be away and manage your property listing and information. I know because I recently signed us up our home and it was really a piece of cake. I’m excited to see the process of booking and renting out our home… and I’m even more excited to stay in some of the other amazing homes around the world. I definitely have the travel bug just looking at this site!

xx Courtney

p.s. Here’s the link for the beautiful London-based home featured in these photos. (Don’t you just want to move straight in?!!)

Our summer holidays in Holland

Oh! It is so nice for me to remember our holidays in Holland this past summer! We went in July and we were so lucky with everything. We are in a program of house exchange and everything went just perfect!. We really loved our house and the garden with the lovely wooden house.

Great memories and lovely times in our garden!. So much fun. But speaking about fun… how great it was for us to ride a cargo bike the whole holidays!. For us Spaniards, riding bikes is not the norm, let alone a cargo bike!. That was just amazing, and we really really enjoyed it!

We really enjoyed our area, with the lakes, and canals. We had amazing weather so we got to do many things outdoors. We also went to our nearest city, Haarlem. We adored it! One of my favourites shops was Meneer Paprika. A really cool store and cafe, the paradise for children and adults!.

A very relaxed, healthy, quiet, and amazing summer we had!!. Really looking forward to going back to The Netherlands. In fact, looking forward to next summer!!!!! ;-)

Happy to be back here!!

-Maria

To read more from Maria, visit her lovely blog Escarabajos Bichos y Mariposas.

Waterproof gear from Muddy Puddles

We recently took the kids out of London for an adventurous weekend day trip to Warwick Castle. It was one of those cold, drizzly September days that felt a bit more like winter than Autumn, and we were happy to be kitted out in waterproof jackets and wellies from Muddy Puddles.

My kids have the reversible jackets, which are fully waterproof on one side and lined with cosy fleece on the other — perfect for this time of year when the weather varies so much. They also have the matching rubber wellies, so they are both coordinated and cosy in their waterproof gear. My kids were able to run around the castle grounds braving all the elements of the blustery day.

Muddy Puddles has a wide selection of outdoor gear that is as fun as it is functional. Perfect for our unpredictable British weather and the cold, wet winter ahead of us. (It only took me 10 years to finally accept that in order to live happily in London, we just have to have appropriate warm & waterproof clothing!!)

p.s. Even on a grim day, Warwick Castle was really great! Loads of fun activities for the kids, and a really pretty setting for a lovely day out. I definitely recommend visiting.  (And the view from the tower is amazing!)

xx Courtney

Mark your diaries: Presenting The ShopUp!

We are really, really excited to announce some BIG news: we are organising our first ever LIVE shopping event!!  The ShopUp will be held in London this coming December and will bring together a selection of the finest shops and brands all under one roof! We’re thrilled to offer the chance to shop the good ‘old-fashioned’ way — to see and feel the products in person and fill up your shopping bag with wonderful gifts and goodies!

The ShopUp will take place on Sunday the 1st and Monday the 2nd of December, just in time for the holidays! The event will be held at the Cecil Sharp House in the trendy, family-friendly neighbourhood of Primrose Hill (a very short walk from the park, the London Zoo and the buzzing high street) — the perfect setting for a fun, family day out!  We are especially excited about the wonderful shops we’ve lined up so far! (You can see a list of the participating shops here.) We just can’t wait to go shopping ourselves!

We will also be offering a whole host of fun activities for children, and there is also a charming café located downstairs with a selection of hot drinks, snacks and nibbles. Shops will be offering discounts, prizes will be available to win, and canvas tote bags will be handed out to all visitors. So come shopping with us — we can’t wait to see you there!

Playtime Paris: A recap

The three of us (plus two babies!) met up in Paris last weekend to attend another Playtime tradeshow. It was a beautiful, sunny (hot even!) weekend and the three of us had so much fun together. On Saturday we walked around Paris until the sun went down and the babies got tired. It was the perfect summery day in Paris! On Sunday we attended Playtime and, as usual, we were so inspired by the many great brands we saw — lots of old favourites, and a few new discoveries too! Here’s a brief recap in photos:

  • Aymara – Beautiful knitwear in a rainbow of cool colours!
  • Nobodinoz – A vibrant collection of toys, cushions, decorations and really cool animal backpacks.
  • Seesaw – A new-to-us brand featuring geometric designs and easy-to-wear silhouettes.
  • Shusha Toys – Such wonderful wooden toys from Russia – we want to buy every toy in their collection!

  • L’Asticot – We loved the fabrics in this collection. The little squid and the fish prints – so cute!
  • Sunchild – A great collection of brightly coloured swim trunks, nice and short – perfect for little legs!

  • Coq en Pâte – Bold graphics and colours. And we love the collection of beach toys made from seaweed – Fun!
  • Garbo and Friends – We love the illustrations and soft colours.
  • Picnik – Gorgeous, bold geometric patterns.
  • ESPno1 A great collection as always, and we especially loved this awesome playsuit!

  • It was so hot in there – the only place Marlow wanted to be was on the cold cement floor!
  • Sprout by Grow – A beautiful collection for big and small girls.
  • Aravore -We love the new collection, and how sweet is that little floral romper?!
  • Indikidual -Original cuts and patterns set this collection apart. The Jellyfish trousers are a highlight!
  • Biobu by Ekobo – A collection of dishes which are beautiful, natural and completely biodegradable!

  • Maa — Awesome, hipster trainers! We want these for ourselves!
  • More Shusha Toys – We love these wooden facial parts to create different faces. So fun!
  • Macarons – Beautiful textured fabrics. We loved the Ikat skirt!
  • Poco Nido – Fun high and low boots and cute baby shoes.
  • INspiRaTiOns by la Girafe – A beautiful stand with fresh flowers from the garden.

Moving to London? A relocation service to help

My friend Lindsey from the London-based Urban Mums blog had the ingenious idea of creating a business to help families get settled when moving to London. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from other mums who are planning a move to London. These mums have so many questions (as I’m sure I would if I were moving our family to a new city!). Questions about neighbourhoods, schools, renting a home/flat, finding childcare,  learning about healthcare, shopping, dining, etc. I have always answered those questions as best as I can… but I’m not an expert. And here is where Lindsey comes in handy.

She has created Urban Living, a relocation service to help ex-pats navigate life in London. Whether you’re visiting London to explore the idea of moving here, or whether you’ve moved here and would love a local’s tips and expertise, she has created tailored services for individual needs. Plus, she is such a sweet, hip, energetic woman (and mama to three!), that even I am thinking about booking her services just to get to the spend the day with her. : )

If you, or anyone you know, are moving or have recently moved to London, definitely get in touch with Lindsey!

x Courtney

TA DA at the Centre Pompidou


Last weekend Esther and co were in town, which was a serious amount of fun! It was so great catching up, though at the end of the weekend we did start wondering what we should do, as it was literally pouring with rain the whole time. That being said, finding things to do in Paris is not very hard…. We all wrapped up and headed over to the Pompidou Centre, specifically the Children’s Gallery, which is hosting a brilliant, interactive exhibition: Ta-Da!

The artist Navid Nuur wants kids to learn again about how to play and create with everyday objects and see the beauty in them. It is really well done — I think everyone’s favourite was the 3 columns filled with play dough or the machine that made medals out of a 5 cent piece.

The Centre Pompidou is, by the way, one of my favourite places to take visitors. It has such a great view over Paris, the permanent exhibition is amazing, as are more of the temporary ones, and, not to forget, the gift and book shop are full of beautiful bits and pieces. (I do love a good museum shop!)

- Emilie

The photo is of little Ava arriving into the Centre, complete with rain coat and umbrella.

La Coqueta, timeless clothing made in Spain

La Coqueta is a new London-based boutique with a gorgeous collection of clothing and shoes from Spain. I stopped into the boutique last week and was blown away by all the lovely details of the shop (see the clever window display below!) and of course the beautiful, timeless pieces in the collection. From the sweet cotton knitwear collection for babies to the adorable smock dresses for girls, and the smart shirts for boys to the colourful range of shoes.

I picked up the most gorgeous little outfit for Marlow (see below) as well as this sweet dress for Ivy.  What struck me most was the price point – quite reasonable considering how elegant everything is. I suppose, in that regard, it’s in keeping with traditional Spanish clothing: it is affordable, timeless clothing kids can wear to a party as well as to the playground. Because, from what I know from my travels to Spain, there is no distinction between playground and party wear. Spanish children are always well dressed.

If you live in London, it’s definitely worth a visit to the boutique. And if you don’t live in London, you can shop their collection online.

x Courtney

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