The 4 Reasons hotel in Turkey: a heavenly stay!


We just came back from a week in Turkey where we stayed in the most beautiful, relaxing hotel: the 4 Reasons hotel on the Bodrum peninsula. It was like a dream! The hotel is just amazing: it’s located on a hill top, overlooking old olive orchards with the little village of Yalikavak behind it, located on the Aegean sea with its many islands. The hotel gardens are stunning, with the grand palm trees, the olive trees in bloom, the Murlberry trees full of fruit ready to be picked (the kids loved it), the shady grass area with a lily pond full of quacking frogs and at least one turtle… There’s bocce ball to be played (a ball game similar to pétanque), a huge refreshing swimming pool, an award winning barman who makes the best lemonades in the world and loves children, a well filled library, a pool table for entertainment at nights (my husband and I were both crap at it but so competitive!). We were spoiled with an extensive breakfast on the terrace every morning, overlooking the beautiful bay area and village below, and lunch and dinners were equally lovely and tasteful. The service was impeccable, the staff super sweet and helpful, and never intruding.

The village is a pleasant 20 minutes walk and there are a few nice restaurants, a little harbour, and some touristy shops — it makes for a lovely little outing. We greatly enjoyed the local market with the most amazing fruits, vegetables and textiles on Thursday!

A trip to Bodrum was fun with the local mini buses (dolmus). We spent most of the day visiting the 15th century Bodrum castle with in it the underwater museum with treasures and ship wrecks, a worthy visit — the castle is beautiful, with great gardens, peacocks roaming around, and amazing views over the city and the sea. We also visited the insignificant (but still impressive!) remains of one of the seven ancient world wonders, the Mausuleum of Mausolus. The Bodrum daily market was fun with stalls filled with spices, fruits, veggies, housewares and some handmade wooden toys and utensils.

We booked the 4 Reasons hotel through I-escape and stayed in one of the ‘functional’ rooms, which was not at all big but very nice, fresh and functional, with a separate bed and bathroom area for the two bigger children (5 and 6). We had Ava (1) in a cot in the room with us. We took a flight to Bodrum airport and the ever so nice and helpful hotel staff arranged transfers to and from the hotel for us. All in all, this was a vacation I can totally recommend if you like to go somewhere relaxing and beautiful with little children in tow (or without!). We’ll certainly be back.

xxx Esther

Ten of the best Kid-Friendly Hotels in Europe from i-escape

I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with the lovely team from i-escape which happens to be one of our very favourite travel sites for boutique accommodation. They have recently launched a new kids collection which features over 700 kid-friendly hotels and self-catering properties around the world — hotels which warmly welcome children and yet still offer the wow factor for parents. Their new collection offers everything from city apartments where you can live like a local to far-flung beach retreats with babysitting options. To narrow down some hotel options, we asked them to suggest ten of their favourite kid-friendly hotels in Europe. Here is their inspiring list (which is your favourite?):

We all know that choosing family holidays is tricky; you want to relax but the kids need to be entertained, and trying to find somewhere that achieves both can seem impossible. Which is why we’ve done the hard work for you, and selected the best of our Family Collection in Europe! With endless outdoor activities, beautiful beaches and kids’ clubs for all ages, these boutique offerings might just be that nirvana you’ve been searching for…

Ammos Hotel, Crete, Greece:
You’ll find style with a big smile at this chic beachfront hotel. With sheltered, shallow waters, a sandy beach and a kids’ pool, it’s particularly suited to babies and toddlers, and there’s a kids’ room with a climbing frame and drawing equipment. Parents can enjoy delicious food and panoramic views on the gorgeous dining terrace, and each room has a kitchenette so you can whip up meals for little’uns. Best of all, it’s not too expensive. (more…)

Ten Handy Products for Travelling with Kids

We recently compiled a list of ten handy kiddie travel products for our friends over at i-escape. Check out our list here, and while you’re there make sure to have a look at their newly launched Kids Collection offering more than 700 amazing, family-friendly holiday accommodations.

x Courtney

Welcome Celina from Montreal!

We are super, super excited to announce our newest contributor, Celina Bailey from Montreal. Hooray for some Canadian representation! And hooray for the lovely Celina!
We ‘met’ Celina on Pinterest a couple months ago… and love everything she pins. We then started following her blog and like everything she blogs. I have since been in touch with her over email, and in just a short couple weeks have found a friend in her! (Isn’t it fun, this world we live in? Where we can have virtual friendships with other mums across the world?!)

Celina is a mum of two, born in England but raised in Montreal, and has been in the children’s fashion world for the past 12 years (designer, children’s boutique owner, and blogger). We are incredibly excited to have Celina on our little blogging team, and we look forward to all the fun things she’ll share!

x Courtney

Weekend Get-Away: Madrid

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…)

So simple: Scoot ‘n Pull


As always — simple ideas are best. All of us, mummies of Microscooter-users, know that Microscooters can be tiring, and pushing a 2-year-old home on his/her scooter can result in a really sore back (and not to mention, a foul mood)! Also, the scooter doesn’t really fit in the buggy, does it? Now, with this simple invention, the Scoot ‘n Pull, you can simply pull your kid when he’s tired, and carry the scooter over your shoulder when not in use! Brilliant. I have already thrown my Scoot ‘n Pull in our buggy. Great to have around!

xxx Esther

A teepee vacation

Would you holiday in a teepee? I definitely would, especially if it looked like this! How cool does this place look? My kids would be in heaven. Red Cone Retreat is in Colorado, USA and sounds amazing, according to Maia Chavez Larkin on Momfilter.  I’m definitely bookmarking this for future holidays.

So tell us, would you stay in a teepee? Or have you done this type of holiday before? I wonder if there’s something similar in Europe…

x Courtney

Dinosaurs — do you love them too?


I never had much with dinosaurs until I gave birth to a son 4 years ago. Really, I didn’t get the buzz. I loved excavations, it’s certainly not that, but more the cultural kind — think Tutank-Amon and Nefertiti, Pompeii and the like…
But now I have a son. And now I know the difference between a Tyrannosaurus, a Stegosaurus, and a Diplodocus! (Sounds familiar? Do you have a son?)
For this reason I love Priddy Books — because Priddy Books understands perfectly well that boys are boys, and they like dinosaurs, tractors, and, well, dinosaurs. We love their Activity Books in our house — full of fun facts, stickers, and educational questionnaires. In fact, I’m going to order some more for the upcoming summer break — perfect to keep the kids entertained for the long journeys ahead!

xxx Esther

Oceans Friends Beach Bag (by Coq en Pâte)


If you’re searching for the perfect beach bag for this summer, then look no further — this is it. It’s huge, it’s cool, it’s washable, and it’s made with respect for human beings as well as the environment. It has pockets on the inside as well as the outside so there’s a place for sun lotion, hats, flip flops and frisbee. There’s even a little matching pouch that is just perfect to keep your valuables together and safeguard your telephone from sand and sun. With appropriate sea graphics on the outside, and big enough to fit towels for the entire family, this bag will certainly not disappoint. Beware beach — here we come!

xxx Esther

Beautiful art kits from KicoKids


My daughter Sara is an avid art lover — she loves to build, create, draw, and paint. From the moment she could hold a pencil in her hands she’s been drawing, and I think her baby sister takes after her — Ava also likes to hold a pen and draw already. Our 4-year-old son Pim however, is just now at a level where his sister was when she was barely three (remember this craft project?). He’s slowly gaining an interest in drawing. It’s funny how differently children do develop!

Anyway, with our upcoming camping trip in mind, I’ve given Pim and Sara each one of the cool Art Kits pictured above. These art kits are great — the canvas cover is bright and strong, the pencils are soft to draw with, there’s a sharpener attached and there’s a notebook with thick, coloured paper. KicoKids makes them, do check out their shop — such wonderful, creative products and fun concepts, and I can tell you — the quality of it all is great.

xxx Esther

Tulips!


My dad and his girlfriend sent me a few photos of the tulip fields surrounding their house. I thought they were so beautiful, I just had to share them with you. I remember playing as a child in these tulip fields, and riding my bicycle up and down the paths. These photos make me miss home! Anyway, hope you enjoy. Have a lovely weekend!

xo Courtney

p.s. Photos taken by Susie Jungemann.

Smart bags


Have you seen the Envirosax yet? Pretty clever, these foldable bags, and such fun designs too! I really, really loathe plastic bags these days. It’s just such a waste, all of that plastic, and so unnecessarily destructive for our environment. If you read these facts, you probably won’t touch another plastic bag ever again! In the Netherlands, more and more shops keep a ‘bag bubble‘ in their shop, where customers can leave plastic bags for others to re-use, which is such a clever initiative. I personally make an effort to keep a little shopping bag rolled up in my handbag at all times (loving the green robot bag from the Kids Series). And for my weekly shopping, my Trolley Dolly is still going strong! What do you do for the fight against plastic?

xxx Esther

PS Fun fact: the founder of the Envirosax company, Belinda David-Tooze, lives in one of the most innovative, totally sustainable eco houses in Australia together with her husband and three small children. So amazing!

The Mundo Cargo Bike

Another cool spotting on the streets of Tribeca!  While walking my girls back from swim class last night (all of us tired, hungry and cranky as could be) a man on a bike whizzed past us with two kids sitting snugly on the back.  Immediately one of my daughter started screaming “I WANT THAT NOWWWWWWWWW!!!!! and I looked at her and said “ME TOOOOOOO!!!”

A few blocks later and I found it parked on the street and we all went to investigate.  Turns out there is a company in California called Yuba that makes them and it is way cool.  The Mundo Cargo Bike is essentially a utility bicycle that is  made with the intent of hauling heavier loads.  It’s not much longer than a traditional bicycle and has a long sturdy plank on the back, and because it doesn’t have a large basket like a Bakfiets,  it’s more city friendly.  True, it is a bit of an investment, but the way I see it it would have saved me a lot of stress about making it to school on time.  New York is becoming more and more bike friendly these days with separate paved lanes and ample bike parking cropping up everywhere so we will probably start to see more Mundos as time goes on.  Sad I missed the boat on this one….

-Dina

Esthex Travel Collection


We’ve written about Dutch brand Esthex before and I know you’re all big, big fans, so I’m pretty sure you’ll love Esther Schuiven’s new travel collection as much as I do. There’s a fun suitcase and matching backpack in harlequinesque colour schemes with blue or pink, and the super cute character Fieke also transformed into a cool backpack. I can tell you from personal experience that those cute backpacks are the perfect size for school-going kids, and, as all Esthex products, they are machine washable, which comes in handy in case of milk spills…

Available through Esthex’s webshop.

xxx Esther

Little Eats


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.

- Sara

darling, It’s a Masterpiece!


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this brilliant placemat drawing kit from Aussie online store gadgetking. How totally cool is the wooden frame on the blank canvas? Great for kid’s parties, to keep kids entertained at restaurants or just to keep them occupied whilst you‘re preparing dinner.  It is called ‘meal time masterpiece’  but I personally would be reticent to use them as placemats in case food splattered on any potential prized collectible. You see, I am hoping to adorn the wall with them, gallery style, for all to see. There are 48 sheets in each pad, plus six markers.  Hmm, I think I just might have a go myself…

- Sara

Retro-inspired Personalized Lunchboxes

These gorgeous personalised lunchboxes by Feterie are high on my birthday list for my children this year. With a bit of a retro-cool vibe, they are of lightweight tin construction and as functional as they are stylish. I think they’d be great for toting around paper and coloured pencils too, or whatever knick-knacks it is kids love to drag around (footy cards in my son’s case).  I can also imagine them being great for keeping all my daughter’s hair paraphernaila together — those elastics, clips and ribbons crop up all over the house, yet when we need to tie her hair each morning for school, there’s never one to be found! Feterie ship world-wide.

- Sara

Safety first — buggy reflective strips from Wagalum

Pretty scary thought, that now that I have put the Wagalum reflective strips onto Ava’s buggy, the risk of us having an accident is reduced by 85%. One wonders how it’s possible we’re still alive to start with!
No kidding, Wagalum reflective strips should be installed on every buggy on the planet. They ensure the buggy is noticed six times faster by other traffic, and seen from a distance as far as 150 meters instead of the usual 30 meters, which, in the end can make the difference between life or death. Wagalum strips are hardly noticeable during the day, but at night shine nine times brighter than comparable materials. And they cost next to nothing, especially if you compare it to the price of the actual buggy, which costs the same as a small car these days. No excuses, I would say.
For stockists, check the Wagalum website.

xxx Esther

Il Tutto: stylish baby bags

Being a new mum doesn’t always bring out the physically best. For instance, after three babies my belly looks like a cross between gelatin pudding and a hot cross bun. My hair is a constant explosion of dry and frizzy dullness (and I’m losing it as we speak) and well, now that I’m at it: my bikini line looks like a Brazilian… rain forest.
Not the best ingredients for feeling like a yummy mummy. But, help is at hand: the moment I throw my uber-glamourous, luxurious Il Tutto Layla over my shoulder I instantly convert from tired looking, un-cute mum to a cool, hip and stylish mama. Or at least I feel that way! My back automatically straightens, my hair seems to look ‘interesting’ (Tina Turner looked good too after all) and surely soon the seventies will be sexy again. (more…)

Think-ets

I love, love, love this! I keep berating myself for having not conjured it up in one of my brainstorming sessions (honestly I am still hopeful that one day I will invent the next ‘lego’). In the meantime, I just marvel at gems like these… it reminds me that the simplest of ideas are the best — a game powered by imagination rather than a USB cable! Think-ets is so simple in concept — a little pouch of random, very charming ‘trinkets’ from around the world. Along with the pouch comes rules for a few games, such as “I’ll take one away, and you tell me which one is missing”, or “Make a story about the item you’re holding” — educational in so many ways, inspiring story-telling, testing memory and just fun for kids to fiddle with. (more…)

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