Ten Seaside Escapes

We’ve teamed up with the fabulous travel site i-escape which offers a well curated selection of stylish travel destinations along with an easy-to-use booking service. They’ve kindly agreed to scour their collection of chic family friendly hotels, villas & apartments to narrow down 10 of their favourite stylish seaside escapes. Perfect for summer holiday planning! Both Esther and I have previously booked holidays with i-escape and they were some of our favourite family vacations, so we are especially excited to discover their suggestions. Take a look at these ten great seaside escapes all hand-picked from their dedicated Kids Collection:

1.) Almyra, Paphos, Cyprus

Stressed-out parents can fully recharge their batteries on the beach, by the pool or in the spa, safe in the knowledge that the little ones are having the time of their life! This unpretentious design hotel’s superb kids’ club caters for all ages up to 17, with activities ranging from t-shirt painting, treasure hunts and tennis lessons, to banana-boating excursions and snorkelling for teens. Added to that, the staff are super-friendly and the sun shines here over 300 days a year!

2.) Fiskardo Cottages, Kefalonia, Greece

Set in a gloriously peaceful location, within walking distance of 2 unspoilt beaches, these charming whitewashed cottages (sleeping 2-6) are the perfect rural retreat and great for older kids. Head for the hills and hike through dramatic scenery, sail, snorkel, scuba dive or just play in the shared pool. The slick modern kitchens mean self-catering is a pleasure or you can walk to the nearby village tavernas for delicious local dishes and fresh seafood.

3.) The Rosevine, Cornwall, UK

This chic apartment-hotel has a wonderfully casual vibe making it a haven for families. Designed with kids in mind, they have heaps of baby paraphernalia to borrow (less to pack!) and kids will be kept well-entertained by a toy-laden playroom, indoor pool and playground in the garden. The restaurant has a kids’ menu, and at night its candlelit – pack your baby monitor and ‘dine out’. But the best bit? It’s a just a short stroll from wide, sandy Porthcurnick beach and the hotel has buckets, spades and fishing nets to borrow for rock-pooling.

4.) Txai, Bahia, Brazil

Rustic simplicity meets style and luxury at this eco-friendly estate on Bahia’s undeveloped Cacoa Coast. With an emphasis on nature, tranquility and beauty, make the most of vast unspoilt white-sand beaches and hill-top Shamash spa, take surfing lessons or go horse riding or hiking along one of the stunning trails. There are plenty of grassy areas for children to play on and our reviewer found it near-impossible to extract his young daughter from the fab kids’ pool.

5.) Azur, near Antalya, Turkey

If you’re after beachside bliss on a budget, Azur Hotel’s simple wooden cabins are the ones for you. Despite having no formal crèche, it’s a great place for kids with safe lawned gardens and hidden hammocks, a child-friendly pool, lovely staff who know each child by name and boat and jeep trips for adventurous day trips. Nearby Cirali beach, one of Europe’s loveliest, has wonderfully clear blue waters for swimming and snorkelling.

6.) Hell Bay, Bryher, Isles of Scilly, UK

Set on Bryher – the smallest inhabited island of Scilly and many people’s favourite – this 25-room hotel allows you to stay in style and comfort and its restaurant is billed as the best on these isles. Owned by Tresco’s Dorrien-Smith family you can expect solid and dependable service and rooms with a distinct New England style. Couples will revel in being somewhere so unique, so far out. But it also has special appeal for families thanks to sandy beaches, a heated pool, games room and local farm chickens which little ones can feed.

7.) Jashita, near Tulum, Mexico

Laid-back beach sophistication and a dreamy Zen style are the order of the day at Jashita. Uniquely secluded, it’s the only hotel on this pristine beach with shallow aquamarine waters that’s sheltered by its own coral reef. Families will love Villa Jasmine, a beach house for 10 that offers independence and the opportunity to self-cater, along with the use of the hotel’s facilities and restaurant. Kids will love the beach and boat trips and there are adventure parks nearby.

8.) Onar, Andros, Greece

Walking through the river from this collection of simple stone cottages (sleeping 2-7) to the beach is the sort of thing fantastic family memories are made of. The atmosphere here is secluded but the communal meals and effervescent host ensure that you’ll never feel lonely. Kids will love the natural swimming pool nearby and the small playground, while sun, sea, delicious fresh food and stylishly simple décor will reinvigorate even the most jaded workaholics.

9.) Esplendido, Puerto Soller, Mallorca

One of our most popular hotels for families in Spain, there will be lots of new friends for your kids to play with at this hip hotel in picturesque Puerto Soller. Occupying the top position in the middle of the bay, the proximity of the beach is a godsend with energetic youngsters, and means you can hear the waves lapping below from the sea view terraces. And don’t underestimate the excitement provided by the many ice-cream shops and the tram to Soller!

10.) Marari Villas, Kerala, India

Within a whisper of the sea on a white-sand beach, these boutique villas (sleeping 2-6) are great for families as they combine the privacy of a villa with room service and a private chef. Each villa offers a secluded haven (your own living space, your own garden, some with a pool) with all the luxuries of a larger resort, but they are closer to nature, more intimate and better value. There’s plenty of kit for kids (toys, books, inflatable toys, cricket kits) and babies (pushchair, backpack, car seat, sunshades), so you can pack light(er!).

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We have teamed up with i-escape and Sunuva to give-away a whopping £500 summer prize! The prize includes a £200 gift certificate to use towards a stay at one of i-escapes family escapes as well as a £300 gift voucher at Sunuva to stock up on adorable and UV-protective beachwear! Click here to enter to win!

Our last-minute trip to Portugal


Beaches of Lourinhã

Last week was May break here in the Netherlands, and very last minute my husband and I decided to book tickets for an 8 day trip to Portugal — we just had to escape the dreary weather here in Amsterdam for a bit! The evening before we left we booked a car and a hotel for the first 4 nights, about 100 km north of Lisbon. Leaving the planning of the trip to the absolute last minute in the end worked out perfectly well, we had an amazing time! Maybe you would like to hear a little bit about our adventures? (more…)

Tips about Paris


I often get asked for tips about Paris. But living in a city is so different to visiting, that I often have trouble answering. So I wanted to put together a little list of places and services you might find helpful if you are planning a trip to Paris, especially with the whole family.

Complete Paris a fabulous concierge service which will organise as much as you need. Ali, the lovely owner, has children herself so she is very aware of the needs of families travelling to Paris. She can organise trustworthy English speaking babysitters, pick-ups in cars with car seats, recommend shows — basically take a lot of the stress out of the trip, so you can enjoy Paris.

Chic Shopping Paris – Rebecca is a dear friend of mine, who has been running some of the best shopping tours around Paris for years. (Rebecca also was a correspondent for Babyccino many moons ago, when she lived in Washington for a brief period). She has excellent taste and is super personable, so it is a great experience. You will definitely discover some of the hidden shopping treasures of Paris.

The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris – This is an excellent App in English specialising in anything to do with food in Paris. It lists some fabulous restaurants, markets and shops and it very easy to navigate. It is great if you want to find great French food in your area and don’t know where to start.

Paris Velo C’est Sympa – Paris is getting much more accessible for bicycles, especially on Sundays, when the quais along the Seine are closed of for cars. Sometimes it is nice, especially when the sun is shining, to discover Paris overground, rather than travelling everywhere by metro. This place rents bicycles by the day and also rents out kids seats for the bicycles, and tandem bikes.

Paris Taxi – I’ve used this company a few times as they are some of the few taxi companies to provide child seats. They were mainly good for airplane pick up and drop off, rather than travelling within Paris.

Velib’ – The Velib’ almost doesn’t need an introduction: these bicycles dotted around the city are now so part of Parisians everyday life, one hardly notices them. Velib’ is now the largest bike-sharing network in the world. Since the Velib’ scheme started, cycling around Paris has become much easier and the crazy drivers and cyclists are starting to co-exist in fragile harmony. The Velib’s are a great way for getting around Paris, which, when you actually get onto a bicycle, is a relatively small city.

I would love to hear if you have any other tips to add onto my list!

– Emilie

Vacation at home

This summer many of us might have to stay at home. When I read in a magazine about this new word “staycation” I thought it was a good idea. In that magazine says that if  it happens and you have to stay home, it doesn’t have to be something bad — we can even turn it into something good, and really enjoy it. Today, some simple but nice ideas!

1. The most important thing is to have holiday spirit. That will make you have the perfect holiday. Put the world on hold: turn off your phone, do an “out of the office” message on your email, skip the news for a week. Even if you have access to it, why not stay away during the vacation.

2. Go on a picnic. Prepare a beautiful basket, with good food, and make a party outdoors in the wood or the beach. That would make it so special.

Via

3. Be a local tourist in your own town. Sometimes we do not take notice of the beauty of our towns just because we live there. Approach your city like a tourist and do all those things tourists do while in town. It is almost certain that you’ll learn and see amazing things.

4. Learn something new. With the long days and the holidays you can find some time to do something you couldn’t do during the winter. I want to learn to knit this summer!.

Via

5. Look for shows and concerts that are happening in your town. Those you don’t usually go because they are late and you work the next day!.

Nico in a concert in La Laboral (Spain) last year

6. Treat yourself with some extra spending. Order food from your favorite restaurant and invite your friends to a lovely dinner in your house! And let yourself do extra expenses like go to the cinema, enjoy cafes, and terraces… without feeling guilty.

7. Get your house cleaned for you and forget about daily tasks. Not having to make the beds, do laundry or dust will just make a big difference!.

8. Take a camping trip in your own backyard or your livingroom. Kids will feel as if they were in the other part of the world.

Via

9. Enjoy mornings in your own house. Most of the year we rush, sometimes even in the weekends. Spend some time at your house with no hurry, play your favourite music, plan the day, have long and relaxed breakfast…

10. And if life gives you lemons… make lemonade!. With tons of sugar, please!

Via

I wish you all enjoy your holidays, wether at home or not!

– Maria

Lovely bungalows on the beach, a camping holiday

Today I would like to share a lovely camping holiday destination on the coast of Tarragona: Camping Las Palmeras. I was there a couple of years ago and it is an amazing place to go with kids. Surrounded by the natural park of Punta Mora, and located right on the beach, it is really a special place. I am in love with the white bungalows just on the beachfront. You step out of the cottage onto the sand of the beach… how nice is that?!!!!.

Lots of activities, windsurfing even with their own windsurfing school, tennis courts, football fields… (more…)

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

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