I was first introduced to Elizabeth Antonia when I discovered her blog about a year ago (perhaps you remember this blog post, which was inspired by a post she wrote!). I have since become enamoured with her life in LA, her relationship with her gorgeous daughter, the traveling she does, and the refreshing take on life she has.
I am extremely excited to say that she will now be our newest contributor, writing from LA and sharing a bit of her life with us! Hooray, hooray! Stay tuned for her first post today…
(Bottom image taken by Lou Mora)
This weekend we made it to Obliteration Room at the Tate Modern and my kids loved it so much they’re still talking about it. What a cool idea! The Obliteration Room is the kid’s section of the bigger exhibition by Yayoi Kusama — the dot loving Japanese artist. It started out as a completely white room and then they allowed kids to come in and place colourful dot stickers wherever and however they chose.
It was interesting to watch my kids with their sheets of stickers. My daughter stuck all the stickers on her face, my son kept asking to put them on the ceiling, and my oldest went around creating crazy cyclops monster faces on the floor. What a fun activity (it’s on until the 18th of March)!
PS – Photos above are from the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Australia where the project started. Aren’t they so cool?!
I love living in Paris — it is beautiful, full of life and love and so much fun to explore. If you don’t happen to live in Paris, have a look at the downloadable Paris Paper City, from one of my top favorite children’s craft blogs Made By Joel. Just download the PDFs and you too can start exploring Paris, even if you live on the other side of the world. Have an explore around the Eifel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and a local boulagerie. There is even the sweetest little downloadable Citroën to drive around your city.
Such a fun way to introduce the city of lights to your kids. I love the fact that Joel has, very thoughtfully, included a brief description of all the buildings onto his PDFs, so this game can be educational too.
Ice-skating is something of a national sport in the Netherlands, especially in winters where we’re lucky enough to have temperatures so low the many natural waterways in the city and countryside are frozen. Last week was such a lucky week, and children and parents alike put on their skates and hit the ice. Even the canals in the city centre here in Amsterdam were frozen, which is pretty rare! After some initial hesitation on whether or not to get the kids their own skates (after all, you never know how much they will be put to use) we did give in to the temptation. Especially after I found out that skates these days are expandable! Sara’s pair for instance is size 32-36, which means she will be able to wear them for years to come. (We got their skates at Decathlon.) It’s amazing how fast they pick up the skill, and how they love the activity. Fun, fun, fun!
PS Photo of Pim (4) skating on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam over the weekend.
When I was younger and a bit more feisty, I was vehemently against being called Mademoiselle. Why should men only have one description while women are categorised by being married or not? But now, though I still agree with this sentiment in principle, I secretly love it when a shopkeeper adresses me as Mademoiselle, mostly accompanied by a wink. Makes me feel young and sexy!
You see, in France we still address each other with Madame, Monsieur and Mademoiselle — the equivalent of Sir, Madam and Miss. These terms, as far as I can tell, have completely dissapeared out of the English/American vocabulary. I really like this politeness. When I walk into a bakery I greet everyone in there with a general “Bonjour Monsieur/Dames” and when it is my turn I get told “A vous, Madame”.
There is a campaign in France to get rid of the Mademoiselle, which makes total sense. My grandmother’s two best friends, 90 and 92 respectively, are still known as Mademoiselle as they never got married. I address them as Mademoiselle, whilst they call me Madame, and there is not a lot of logic in that. I do hope the shopkeepers will continue to call me Mademoiselle though (and not forget the wink)!
What about in your country, are women still being addressed as Senorita, Senorina or Fräulein?
- Emilie x
The illustration is of Coco Chanel, one of France’s most famous Mademoiselles, by Adrian Tomine for the New Yorker.
There has been an exciting development over here in Paris. Our mayor, Bertand Delanoë (who might possibly be my favourite politician at the moment), has introduced a new scheme that could revolutionise the way we live in this city. After the Velib’, we now have the Autolib’, an electrical car which, just like a Velib, you pick up on the street and drop off when you arrive at your destination.
I love using the Velib’, but cycling around a city with kids in tow is just not possible. The arrival of the Autolib’ was announced months ago and I have been peeking down my road, to see if there were going to be any cars parked close to me. And suddenly there were 4 neatly lined up electrical cars right across the road!
I now just walk a few meters, swipe my card, unplug the car from its power socket and off I go. It’s brilliant and has already taken me all around Paris. There are not yet that many parking stations, but new ones are opening every day. For the kids, I just bring along booster seats, which are easy enough to carry.
P.S. Have you ever driven an electrical car? It is soo quiet!
Courtney and I spent a hilarious weekend seven years ago (pre-children) at the October Fest in Munich. It was great fun: there was a lot of beer, schnapps, bretzels, German sausages, sleeping and card playing involved. I don’t think we had ever seen so many people our age in lederhosen and dirndls. It was definitely not the kind of weekend you would have with kids.
I am pretty sure that a weekend in Munich now would be very, very different, but potentially as much fun — it is a beautiful city, very traditional but also very happening. For some local insight on what Munich has to offer for kids, Mitali, a stay-at-home mom living in Munich, has very kindly given us her tips and recommendations on what to do in the capital of Bavaria. She is a mother of two (son Nilay 6 years, daughter Nalini 7 months) and the proud owner of a crazy dog, Greta. She loves travelling and has lived all around the world, but, in the end, has always enjoyed coming home to Munich. She has some great ideas of what to do in Munich! (more…)
I love Spain — the culture, the cities, the people and the great, great food. I have not been to Madrid in years (actually decades) and had no idea if it is a good place to visit with kids. Luckily we got some local intel from the lovely Beatriz.
Beatriz, a Spanish native, lives in Madrid with her husband, her daughter Martina and her dog. During the day, she works in communications for a Spanish Luxury Brand. During the night, she runs her blog Con Botas de Agua about things that inspire her.
Here are Beatriz’s recommendations if you happen to be in Madrid (or need an excuse to go!): (more…)
This weekend we were at at fab party at one of my favourite shops here in Paris, Lilli Bulle. It was the launch party for the new collection of Veja tennis shoes. My girls had the best time colouring in the massive art illustration, so I got to snoop around the lovely shop and find out more about Veja, a brand with a great environmental and ethical vision. The shoes are made out of organic cotton and eco-tanned leather in factories that respect their workers.
One thing with ethically made goods is that they are always a bit pricer than high street brands, but the Veja tennis shoes are super well made and will last. I am really trying to buy quality over quantity (not always successfully….). You can find a list of stockist on the Veja website.
Below is a photo of the fab mural outside the Lilli Bulle shop we got to colour in!
Courtney and her lovely sister were over in Paris a while ago and they persuaded me to expand my horizon a little bit and make the journey with them to Porte de Clignancourt and the famed Marché de St Ouen, otherwise known as les Puces (the Fleas or Flea Market).
I don’t think I had visited this market in 10 years but I have totally fallen back in love with this place. Yes, it is not what it used to be. Yes, things are not dirt cheap and it is hard to find a real bargain. BUT, I love the mazes of little streets full of fabulous things and the sellers who often have a story to tell about each of their wares. I headed back there today and discovered yet another part of the market that I had no idea existed!
Note: This is not a great day out with a hoard of small kids… It is perfect if your child is small enough to sit in a stroller or big enough to enjoy looking at things, but not touching everything. If you are in Paris though and have some time on your own for a bit of a stroll, the “Puces” is a lot of fun. Check out the description of how to get there which Jordan at Oh Happy Day put together — it’s super helpful.
The moment I hear Dallas, I automatically think of JR, Bobby and good old Sue Ellen hanging out in Southfork with their cowboy hats. I am sure this is a gross generalisation, and there must be so much more that Dallas has to offer than the Ewings and their crazy antics. Which is why I was very grateful that Sara, formally from the lovely children’s clothing label Chakra Design Studio, offered to give us a bit more insight to what goes on in Dallas. Turns out that it is a wonderful place to visit with a family with a ton of things on offer.
Sara Hignite, our guest blogger, has put her master’s degree in art history to good use as a museum professional, first in St. Louis and now in Dallas. She has also published Comic Art Magazine and in her most recent side project, she helped launch Chakra Design Studio, a boho children’s clothing line. She lives in Dallas with her husband and their 4-year-old daughter, Ava, and is currently looking for her next project. Here are Sara’s insider tips on a weekend away in Dallas: (more…)
Lucky me. I just spent the past week in New York City with my husband and without our kids!! Such fun! (Seriously, NYC in the summertime is such a young, hip, sexy city… and it was so fun to spend a week with my husband pretending to be young, hip and sexy again!)
We were both there for a bit of work as well as play… and it just so happened that the Playtime NYC children’s trade show fell at the end of our stay. I attended the show on Saturday and I’m going to be bold here and say that it was the best trade show I’ve ever attended. Set in a cool venue in Soho, the intimate space and impressive selection of designers made for a lovely, lovely show. If you happen to be in NYC, today is the last day of the show and it’s definitely worth checking out!
p.s. I’ll be spending the next couple weeks filling you in on my favourite finds from Playtime so stay tuned…
I just found out about the City Walks with Kids Guides and wonder how I ever managed to travel without them. It is such an ingenious concept! Instead of a book, it is a pack of cards you can take along for the walk you want to go on. The walks are cleverly laid out so that they are easily done with kids and take you to famous and not so famous places that the whole family can enjoy. I love the way the texts are written — they are packed full of little anecdotes and stories that will get everyone’s attention.
I am definitely picking up City Walks with Kids in Paris. Though I live in this city, I have never used a travel guide to explore it with my kids, and it will be a fun thing to do this summer! City Walks with Kids in Paris and City Walks with Kids in London are available from Smallable. The other Cirty Walks with Kids (Washington, San Francisco and New York) are available from the Chronicle Books website.
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Imps & Elfs Footless Tights
• Room Seven: Sweet dresses for playing and parading
The summer holidays are coming up, trips are being booked and some of you might be visiting this lovely city of mine. I thought it would be fun to do a write-up of my favourite things to do in Paris with kids this summer.
- The Pompidou Centre has a relatively new area dedicated to kids — a great way to introduce children to modern art.
- Do look out for the merry-go-rounds that are spread all round the city; you will find anything from flamboyant 2-story constructions looking like a rococco folie to retro seventies space capsules held together with tape.
- Check out the Anish Kapoor exhibit at the Grand Palais. A) because it is a cool building, built for the universal exhibition in 1900 and never taken down. B) because the exhibit is fascinating for children and parents alike.
- The Jardin des Plantes is a sure hit with all children. If it is raining the Galerie de l’Evolution is a great natural history museum. It is not as big as in other cities but it is very well laid out and entertaining. If the sun is shining the Menagerie is a lovely, old-fashioned city zoo.
- If you are looking for some nature, Paris has two woods accessible by metro, otherwise known as the lungs of Paris. The bois de Vincennes is on the eastern side of the city and the bois de Boulogne on the western side of Paris. The Bois de Boulogne plays host to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a place I drag every single one of my visitors to.
- A bit off the beaten track, but worth visiting, is the huge metal merry-go-round in the 104, an arts centre in the north-east of Paris (Paris is, by the way, relatively small, so do not compare the distances to London or New York). It is a massive welded structure and looks amazing. It is also really fun for kids to have a ride on.
- Buses are frequent and easy to get on with pushchairs (there is a dedicated push chair area in the centre of the bus). It is possibly the easiest way to get around, if you are travelling with small kids.
- Do try the crazy syrups that French kids drink in cafés. One favourite is Grenadine (pomegranate) which makes the drink blood red and the other is Menthe (mint) which makes it taste like sweet toothpaste — kids love it over here.
Voila, just a couple of ideas. Hope you enjoy your visit if you are planning to come…
If you have ever wondered how Parisian women manage to dress so well and make it look totally effortless, you need to get the book, Parisian Chic . Written by Ines de la Fressange, the former model, muse and designer. It is the ultimate insider guide to shopping, eating and sleeping in Paris. It is also a great source to discover what to wear and especially what not to wear in this fair city.
Maybe for most Parisiennes these tips are self evident. As a non-Parisienne, this type of vital information was not handed down to me from generation to generation, so I need the rules written down in hardcopy! I have not yet achieved the dizzying heights of effortless Parisian chic (especially not on the school run) but I am hoping with a bit more study one day, I might be able to make a pass for a local. The book is available from Amazon (UK and US).
Morley is the brand new label by Anouk Robyn, the former designer of cult childrenswear label, Quincy, and is launching this season with lovely, understated pieces for children aged 6 months to 12 years. I’m loving the washed-out cottons and summery pastel colours — it is all so effortlessly cute, so easy to wear (I suppose you would expect nothing else from the woman who spent more than ten years designing for Quincy!).
All of the pieces above (and more!) are available from Couverture, one of my favourite London-based boutiques. Have a look at the rest of the childrens collection — all SO cute! And then… if you can stand the temptation, take a look at their womens and homewear collection as well — flawless.
Kuala Lumpur is one of my top ten favourite cities. One of my closest friends lives over there, and so, before kids, I used to visit almost once a year. Kuala Lumpur is such a great mix between a modern metropolitan city and an ethnically diverse melting pot, full of history and buzzing with energy.
We are very lucky to have Vivien, a mom of two and a KL local, do a write up for us of her favourite child-friendly places in and around Kuala Lumpur. Vivien works with Irene Hoofs on one of our favourite blogs Bloesem Kids. She lives with her two daughters and husband in KL. Do let us know if you have other great ideas of things to do in KL. (more…)
If you live in Melbourne or are planning a visit, a fabulous (and totally cute) website to check out is Little Eats. Little Eats is the brainchild of Jemma Reynolds — a self confessed foodie, critique and ’super-mum’ to 2 pre-schoolers. Let’s face it — dining out with kids in tow can be fraught… fraught with fear, trepidation, anxiety and a host of other raging emotions. I have certainly had my fair share of cringe-worthy cafe moments. But it needn’t be so! Jemma profiles restaurants and cafes in and around Melbourne and rates them in relation to their ‘kid-friendliness’. Pram access? High chairs? Distraction apparatus like books or paper and crayons? Welcoming smiles? With her expert eye (and with the help of her 2 adorable pint-sized side-kicks) Jemma susses out the facilities, children’s menu, table and customer service. Of course she is also obligated to road-test the menu (all in the name of ‘field research’ she assures me.) Afterall we all know that pram access, high chairs, drawing supplies, babyccinos, choc-topped gingerbread men, great food and the perfect latte are important… in equal measure.
This weekend, from the 29th to the 31st of January, Playtime will be in Paris. Playtime is now the children’s events in Paris — it’s always at lot of fun and really inspiring. A number of great brands will be represented, such a Bobo Choses, Lily and the Funky Boys, Mundo Melicoton, April Showers by Polder, Ada Ada… and lots of other Babyccino Kids favourites .
Such a fun chance to meet up with people, see how brands have developed and discover new and exciting labels. And there is always a great space to take your children to play, and a place to meet up for coffee. Let me know if you are going to be there!
As children are starting to break up from nurseries, kindergartens and schools for the Christmas holidays, a typical London holiday attraction to visit is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. We went last weekend and whilst crazy busy I was really impressed with the fairground — lots of really beautiful old-fashioned fairground rides, mixed up with more crazy modern ones. Also there is Zippo’s circus and an ice-rink and of course a German Christmas Market to browse around.
Jamie Oliver even has a presence there (for those of you who don’t know Jamie — he is the UK’s culinary cheeky chappy). He has taken over the band stand to offer some proper outdoor winter cuisine — Jamie’s Fabulous Feasts offers hot pork rolls, polenta chips and much much more, all of which looked delicious.
But the best bit of Jamie’s presence was the ‘decorate your own gingerbread man’ bit, set up for children. For £5 my son and I gave it a go. We got a naked man and tree and an egg box filled with various decorations — dolly mixture sweets, white and milk chocolate buttons, cranberries, apricots, dessicated coconut and an icing tube (to act as glue). We had a lot of fun jazzing our biscuits up and I have to admit, when we finally felt we had admired them enough, they tasted pretty good too.
Winter Wonderland is open in London’s Hyde Park until the 4th January.