After a wonderful, lazy summer in the Seattle area with my family, we have just returned this week back to London. Every summer my husband flies out there with us, but unfortunately can’t stay the entire time… which means that every year I end up flying back home solo with all the kids. It’s the teensy price I pay for a nice, long, extended holiday with my family. Totally worth the trek!
Plus, I feel like I’m getting kind of good at it by now. Or maybe it’s that my kids are getting good at it and that makes an enormous difference. In any case, I thought I would share with you some of my simple tips for (long-haul) flying with young kids…
- Try to avoid the ‘oh my gosh, I’m flying for 10 hours on a plane with my kids – I must pack every single thing I have in the house to entertain/feed/care/clean/change them’ feeling, and pack as little as you can. I used to bring the kids their own headphones for the TVs, and those neck pillow thingies for sleeping, and a change of clothes, and an entire bag of snacks. But it meant that I was carrying on at least two enormous (and heavy bags!). It made the schlep through the airport tiresome, and we often ended up not using most things. This recent trip, I packed one bag and tried to keep it as lightweight as possible. (You can also give your kids their own backpack and ask them to tote around the things they need for the plane – toys, books, snacks, etc.)
- Use a baby carrier instead of a buggy. It’s so much easier going through security and navigating a busy airport if you’re carrying your baby instead of pushing them in a buggy. You can go straight through security carrying your baby – no need to empty your buggy, fold it up, have it examined by the airport security, etc. It also means you have your hands free to hold other children’s hands, or carry bags, etc. My favourite right now is the Ergo Baby Carrier.
- We always eat in the airport before boarding the plane and skip the first meal they serve on board. It’s not easy holding a baby and trying to eat off your little tray in front of you. And inevitably one of your kids will need his meal chopped up, or will spill his drink in his lap, and you’ll have to get up to help… and it will be extremely difficult if you have your food on a tray on your tray table in front of you. Just skip the meal entirely.
- Make sure your kids use the toilet before boarding the plane to eliminate any extra trips to the bathroom on the plane. It seems like common sense, but I have forgotten before… and there’s nothing worse than your child telling you he has to go potty when the plane is taking off and the seatbelt sign is on! (Also make sure to change your baby’s nappy.)
- Pack simple, non-messy snacks. I like raisins because it seems to occupy the kids for a while, trying to grab little raisins out of the box, and they’re not messy. I also like to pack nuts or trailmix, snack bars, dried mango, pretzels, fruit, etc. Before take-off, I always have a box of raisins ready for the baby in case she gets antsy sitting still on my lap when the seatbelt sign is on. (I also still nurse Marlow… and that is a big help for calming her down, and keeping her ears from popping during take-off and landing. Nursing is the easiest thing, but if you don’t nurse, you should have a prepared bottle on hand for the same reason.)
- Dress (you and your children) in comfortable clothing. I never bother with changing them into their pyjamas – I just find that it’s an extra hassle. Instead, I dress them in normal, comfortable clothes, and make sure everyone has an extra layer (like a hoodie or a cardigan) in case it gets cold. I always bring a scarf for myself because I always get cold on planes.
- Don’t bring too much, but make sure you have some simple entertainment on hand. I have always found that once kids get to the age of 4 or 5, they are much more independent on airplanes because they can watch TV or movies. My boys are so easy on airplanes now. I don’t even think they got up to use the toilet the entire time on our recent flight from Seattle to London – they were either watching movies or sleeping. So… for children under 4, you will need to have some entertainment on hand. Things like simple paper pads and a pen, sticker books and colouring books (you can often buy them in the airport bookshops), and paperback books (hardback books are too heavy – leave them at home!). If you have an ipad or iphone you should make sure you have children’s games or books on there (see here for ideas).
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. People are always so sympathetic to mothers travelling with small children. Ask the flight attendants to help if you need it. You can even ask for help when going through the airport. One time I had to ask for help getting my sleeping children and bags off the airplane and to over customs because I simply couldn’t carry everything. Someone came immediately to help me and got me all the way through the airport.
I hope these tips were somewhat helpful and not just redundant things everyone already knows. Please feel free to add any tips I may have forgotten below. And lastly, I’ve written my tips for beating jet-lag here if you’re interested.
p.s. Photo above is of my children on the ferry overlooking Seattle, and a photo of Marlow in the Ergo carrier.
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As you might have noticed I have a big soft spot for Germany, the country I partly grew up in, and Hamburg has always been one of my favourite German cities. It has this great majestic, Northern European vibe. Crazy how Europe is so small and cities and their architecture are soo different!
One of the great things about Hamburg is how very much it is centred around the water and river. Our reader Sarah, who put together this post on Hamburg, actually knows a lot about living around and on water as it is her job to decorate yachts. She lives between Hamburg and Venice with her family and I am super excited to share with you her tips on this great city! Here is her guide:
You will love Hamburg as it is a typical Northern European city with lots of attractions, water, ships and shops! There are a lot of big attractions in Hamburg, such as the fish market, the vintage ships, the harbour and St. Pauli, a lot of museums, and so on, but I decided to introduce you to some of my favourite places with kids. We have a lot of wonderful parks and quarters with multi-kulti (multi-cultural) flair.
SEE & PLAY
Canal Tour: A cruise along the Alster canals reveals the mysterious side of Hamburg. You will find beautifully-kept villas with hidden parklands and luxurious houses, as well as other interesting sights (like a real venetian gondola) along unspoilt riverbanks. Although you are near to the city centre, you will find yourself in the midst of the greenery. Don’t forget to take along a typical Hamburg picnic made up out of fishballs and herring. The tour starts at Jungfernstieg, one of the most famous shopping streets in Hamburg.
Hamburg Planterium: What happened at the BIG BANG? and other questions to be answered at Planetarium Hamburg. It is really a magical place not only for children. Built as a water tower in 1912 it is an architectural landmark with a breathtaking view from the observation deck on top. Experience a great sky show with a trip through space and time. After an amazing laser show, you can have a walk in the Stadtpark as the Planetarium is surrounded by the biggest park in town. And if you visit Hamburg during summertime come and bring your swim clothes, as there is a wonderful bath from the 1930s!
The Miniatur Wunderland: Visit the world. America, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Germany & the world’s largest model railway!
This is the most popular family tourist attraction in Hamburg. There are more than 7.000 square meters of different levels, moving cars and trains, flying planes, snow, sun and rain. Thousands of mini people populate this stunning “little” world. You definitely need binoculars to explore everything. For kids it is amazing, but exhausting, too. There are lots of people and a million things to watch; so plan a lot of time and book tickets in advance. Bring a lot to drink and, after the visit, stroll around the famous Hafencity and Speicherstadt. The Speicherstadt is the former trade centre of Hamburg. Large warehouses out of typical red brickstones along the canals are worth the trip! Right behind this Trade City you can take a walk through Europe’s largest new building project: the Hafencity. Find a lot of small cafés, the hilarious Philharmonic building, the Maritime Museum and the Prototyp Museum with a lot of Porsche cars, little harbors for sailing boats and a playground right behind every corner. Enjoy the view and drinks at a café called Carl’s and fall in love with Hamburg.
Strandperle: The Strandperle was build in the end of the 19th century right on the waterfront. It used to be a milk shop! You might still be able to get milk, but you can also lay back with a glass of white wine or a typical Hamburg beer, the Astra. While you enjoy the fantastic view on the harbor skyline, huge container vessels from Panama and Nowosibirsk will sail past and the kids can play and conquer the beach. Yes, the beach! Hamburg has more than 10 kilometers beach and we love it! Plan a day for the Strandperle, as you will not tear yourself away from this terrific place! Later that day you can climb up the hill up to the Elbchaussee, Hamburgs “Avenue Princess Grace”. After 15 minutes walk you will find a quarter called Ottensen, with a lot of small shops, cafés and restaurants. Handmade objects are on sale here, as are small fashion labels and the world’s best ice-cream in a shop called “Eisliebe”. Have a wine in the “Garage” Kleine Rainstrasse 1, eat cheese and ham before returning to your hotel.
Herr Max – a wonderful patisserie in fancy Schanzenviertel, Schulterblatt 12. Delicious little pastries, fresh cakes and biscuits. And it is absolutely sinful!
Vergissmeinicht – it’s the name of this litlle romantic flower, forget-me-not. And you will find a lot of wonderful fashion brands for kids, toys and costumes, little vintage toys, vintage jewelery and hair stuff. Great little shop!
Herr von Eden – for Men: Tailormade woollen cashmere suits, denim shirts, hats, jackets, silk scarfs. Very stylish, very modern, very spezial! Herr von Eden is one of the most beloved brands for individual men.
Kauf dich glücklich – become happy by shopping! A glorious combination of little nice things, books and a lot of fresh german labels. Especially for Mama! It’s on Susannenstrasse 4. Bars and a playground around fort he rest of the family.
Come along & Ahoi!
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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.
- Corby Tindersticks – So fun and creative!
- Moon et Miel – Cool basics in wonderful, rich colours.
- More Garbo and Friends – beautiful illustrations.
- My Name is Simone – We love these funky guys — so much character!
- Finishing off the day with a lounge in the park! The babies were so happy to be outside again.
- Le Petit Lucas de Tertre – Beautiful patterns, clothes and bedding. A favourite as always.
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It must be one of every parent’s worst fears — losing your child in a crowd. The airport, an amusement park, the park on a warm summer day, the beach… all places where it’s so, so easy for a child to get lost. ‘She was just here a second ago’ is a phrase I know too well myself, and thankfully (touch wood!!), we’ve always found our kids back before panic broke loose. However, kids do get lost all the time, and this is where Ring-rings.com comes with a simple solution: silicon armbands with your phone number embossed in it.
I ordered two Ring-rings each for my kids, one with my husband’s number and one with mine, and so far they’ve been great! They’re waterproof, the colours are fun (glow-in-the-dark even!) and the miniature sizes are perfect for small children’s tiny wrists. They also have a very high ‘cool’ factor, my kids have not taken them off since they arrived.
This summer when we’re traveling, it’s safe to know my kids will have our phone numbers on them at all times. (But I hope they won’t need them!)
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We’ve now been to Positano every year for the past ten years. For us, it feels like going home — some of the locals even feel like family. It is certainly one of our favourite places in the whole wide world, and so it was easy answering her questions and sharing our tips. Thank you Joanna for featuring them on your blog!
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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!).
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!
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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!
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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!)
The photo is of little Ava arriving into the Centre, complete with rain coat and umbrella.
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Last weekend I had the amazing experience of attending an Alvaro Sanz photography workshop in a lovely town by the sea in Asturias, where I live. He is a very talented Spanish photographer, and travels all over Spain and abroad with his incredible workshops. Alvaro is also Nanook’s father, so he had this idea: when he travels, he takes photos of a little karibu toy which he later shows to his son when he gets back home. That way there is always a connection between the travels, the father and the son. Isn’t it a lovely idea?
So that little Karibu has already been to Morocco, France, Sweden, all over Spain and more… and always comes back home with a picture!
I love the idea. Thanks Alvaro for being so inspiring, always.
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Coco and her friend overlooking the sea and the coast of Marocco on Paloma beach
I have just been away on an amazing break with the kids, and I would love to tell you about it. (To put it into context, we Europeans have been having one of the worst winters I can remember and all we wanted to to was to shed the jumpers and socks and shoes and put on the flip flops and skirts.)
Tarifa is a beautiful little town on the most southern tip of Spain — it is so close to Africa you can see the Maroccan coast most days, a mere 20 km away. The town itself is lovely — it is an old walled city. But it is the surrounding beaches around Tarifa that make this place amazing — the beaches are empty, clean and beautiful, the food is incredible and cheap and everyone loves kids. It is super relaxed and the whole area has a bit of a hippy, surfer vibe to it, just what you need to let go and have a good time. I could have stayed on and on, and a week felt like 2 days, so here is just a little list of the few places I discovered (if anyone has any other tips, please do share!):
We actually rented a house, as I went with a friend and her two children which was lovely and had everything we needed. But we did also discover some hotels, which looked really nice.
The Hurricane Hotel is a great little boutique hotel with a chilled out vibe. It has an amazing pool, a great restaurant and is right on the beach. Basically the perfect combination. It is about a 6 km drive out of Tarifa town.
Hotel Dos Mares is close to the Hurricane Hotel and maybe even a bit more child-friendly. For example, the pool has a nice, shallow paddling area. You can rent little bugalows that line up along the beach.
Camping Torres de la Pena is a nice budget option and if you don’t fancy camping, they also rent out some bungalows. The beach bar is super relaxed and literally on the beach, so kids can play while parents drink a good café con leche.
The kids hanging out at the Hurricane Hotel pool.
Tarifa is a seriously sport location, all day long you can see wind- and kit- surfers sitting on top of their VW buses watching the wind for the perfect moment to take off. The place we were recommended was the Club Mistral,which gives lessons to older kids. They also rent out boards for windsurfing, kitesurfing and plain old normal surfing. You can pick up cheap body boards for kids pretty much anywhere and they are a serious amount of fun as there are little, non scary waves most of the time.
Hurrican Hipica: Horses are everywhere and there is nothing more peaceful than going for a ride on the beach. We loved the Hurricane Hipica, run by a group of super efficient girls, one of the best maintained stables I have ever seen. Violette, who has just turned 5, had her first riding lesson there and it was possibly the most exciting thing ever.
Firmm Dolphin and Whale Watching: One of our big, major highlights was a boat trip out into the straights of Gibraltar to see dolphins. We thought it was going to be a tourist trap, but it was the opposite. We were surrounded by dolphins doing summersaults all around us. It put the biggest smiles on all of our faces. It is also not unusual to see whales. The Firmm boat trips are great as they are part of a research organisation, which uses the trip to collect data and makes sure that the trips are respectful to the animals.
Since coming back and doing a bit of research for this post, I have found out that there is a lot of rock climbing to be done in and around Tarifa. There are even little rocks which could be a lot of fun to explore with older kids. I didn’t really find a website, just different blogs talking about it!
It is also very easy to jump on a boat and go on a day trip to Marocco which is a mere 20 boat ride away. It is something we sadly ran out of time to do…
Not the best photos of the kids on horses on the beach. Note the surfers in the water behind them.
Beaches, beaches, beaches, what more can one want? We stayed close to Bolonia Beach and it is very easy to understand why the Romans decided to build a town on this beach. It is so beautiful. The beach is incredibly clean and has a massive sand dune at one end that is a huge amount of fun to climb and run down.
We also visited Zahara Beach on a recommendation of an Instagram friend and did not regret it, we spend a whole morning body boarding on little waves and then had some tapas in the town itself.
Another beach between Tarifa and Bolonia is called Paloma Beach and one of the most amazing things to see is the wind picking up and the kite from the kite surfs flying up in the air - Actually really beautiful, though I suspect I would be ripped of my surf board and fly off into the air with the kite, it looks like such a hard thing to hold on to.
Little orange tree on a square in Tarifa town.
Anyway, a lovely holiday and so close and yet a world away from the rest of Europe.
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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…)
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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.
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I called this post a Week Away Travel Guide as opposed to a Weekend Away Guide, as Nosara, Costa Rica is not the kind of place most of us can pop over for the weekend. But I can pretty much say with confidence that if I could pop over there quickly for a weekend, I would probably be there all the time! It looks so amazing and sounds like such a great place to take children on a wonderful adventure.
Now imagine after growing up in California, then living in Australia, you decided to call Costa Rica your home! How incredible does that sound? Shelly, the author of this post, did just that: She now lives in Nosara, Costa Rica and it sounds like the perfect place to travel to!
In her 40-something years of life, Shelly has been a world traveler, waitress, writer, magazine editor, non-profit founder, entrepreneur and artist. By sheer luck and twists of fate, these paths have led to and helped define her latest, greatest and most challenging role as wife and homemaker; mother and teacher to Pixel, Robert and Beckett; and hostess extraordinaire. Shelly is the author of The Book of Questions for New Parents and the blog Kitchen Ranch. Here is her guide to Nosara, Costa Rica:
Nosara, located on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, has recently enjoyed some very favorable press. National Geographic named Nosara as one of the top surf towns on the planet, a BBC Travel Segment included Nosara as the best beach in Costa Rica, and the New York Times raved about the world class waves in their travel section.
It is not surprising to me that this small and dusty jungle town is getting attention; Nosara is perfect. I know that is a bold statement, but after living here I feel confident in making it. The beaches, the ocean and the jungle backdrop are awe-inspiring. (more…)
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When we were in NYC earlier this month we met up with the talented photographer, Lindsey Belle, and spent a sunny afternoon hanging out on the streets of the Meatpacking District. We talked babies and motherhood (Lindsey has an 11 month old and we bonded over sleepless nights & nursing babies!) and she snapped some quick photos of us as we walked along the cobbled streets. The babies were asleep in their buggies at first, so we got a few rare photos of just the two of us. Then both babies woke at the same time, and so we strapped them into the slings and Lindsey took a few photos of the four of us (two jet-lagged mamas with their sleepy babes!).
Lindsey has just published her photos and an interview with us on her blog. Take a peek at her blog to read our interview answers, and while you’re there you should check out her portfolio of other great photos. Thank you Lindsey for the fun photo shoot!
xx Esther & Courtney
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Today I would love to share a very charming shop in Madrid: Babydeli. Well, it is not only a shop, but a place with lots of things going on. They have food, toys, books, you can celebrate your birthday, and there are also very interesting workshops taking place every week. Located in the very heart of Barrio de Salamanca in Madrid, we always go if we are visiting.
Definitely, Babydeli is a place to find what you are looking for and also having a healthy snack!
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We recently visited Esther and Family in Amsterdam, and it was a such a great trip! So great, that the whole train carriage on the way home had to listen to my kids’ lamentations about how Amsterdam is so great and Paris is not!
I know what they mean– it is so nice discovering a new city and, as a tourist, you have the luck to only see the good sides of a city and Amsterdam has many, many good sides. It is beautiful and small, and super accessible with kids. You can rent bicycles all over the city and the choice of different bicycle types is incredible.
We stayed for four days during which time Esther and I put the world to rights, crafted and dreamt up some serious crafting projects for sometime in the future, the children got on famously and we visited some of Amsterdam’s sites. We visited the Artis Zoo and saw some lions, giraffes, wallabes, zebras and seals basking in the spring sunlight. We took a boat ride around the canals and learned all about the history of Amsterdam. We went to play in the Vondel Park which has some great play structures. We ate little pancakes and waffles fresh from a market stall. We did not even make it to the Nemo Science Museum, but check out Esther’s Amsterdam tips as she has some great ideas.
Above, the Vondel Park. And below, the giraffes at the zoo, which we stayed looking at for ages! I don’t think I have ever seen a giraffe as up close before.
Such a great trip and if you ask my daughters,(and 20 other people on our train), it’s the only place to be!
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We hope we haven’t overdone it with all our talk about NYC! And hope you won’t mind if we share a few more photos from our quick trip. It was such a busy weekend, running around the city (with the babies!) trying to squeeze everything in, but it was super fun, and actually easier than we had anticipated.
We stayed in a room with a big king-sized bed which the two of us (plus babies!) shared. You should have seen the four of us, all snuggled up in bed, waking from jet-lag at odd hours in the night, nursing babies on demand, etc. Funny! But of course it meant that Casper and Marlow could enjoy morning snuggles together! So sweet.
We met up with the darling Lindsey Belle who took some photos of us on the streets of the meatpacking district. We felt like movie stars having our photos taken! Fun!! (We can’t wait to share the photos with you.)
We headed over to the Misha and Puff sample sale to see her gorgeous new collection and pick up some past season goodies. Here we also met Kristen Lombardi from Manimal and Jennifer Murphy from Polka Dot Club. It was such a fun afternoon with those ladies! And the babies looked so cute in their new Misha and Puff pieces (see photo above and below).
These two travelling babies are so cute together! Here they are having one last snuggle before we left our hotel and headed back to London and Amsterdam. What a fun weekend that was!
xx Courtney & Esther
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The Playtime trade show is always such an inspiring event. So much talent, creativity, and entrepreneurialism all in one place. You would think that after visiting Playtime Paris just two months ago we would have seen it all… but the New York show offered up a whole new vibe, new designers and of course an excuse to catch up with some of our favourite brands. Here’s a recap in photos…
1. In addition to the cool neon reversible crowns we already know and love, Noe & Zoe are making Indian headdresses now! OMG! 2. Cute, colourful hairclips & accessories by Everbloom. 3. Drum roll please… Herschel is coming out with children’s backpacks and they are cool!! 4. Belle&Beanzer is a new baby brand with super soft Pima cotton baby basics and sweet little stripes.
1. Beautiful block-printed Indian fabrics make the dresses at Ode always so special. 2. We wanted to take home every single one of the adorable Hazel Village stuffed animals! 3. We loved meeting Alexis from Little Name and seeing all her great products in one place. 4. Of course this big green balloon was our favourite balloon at the show! : )
1. We loved discovering Radish Moon and their beautiful watercolour creations. We especially loved the round porcelain children’s dishes which remind us of our childhood! 2. Misha Lulu offers up something really fun and unique! 3. A cool collection from the Spanish brand Little Creative Factory. 4. Esther admires the sustainable kidswear brand KaLLio which creates cool children’s pieces from pre-loved men’s shirts.
1. The Oeuf NYC stand was really fun. It’s hard to not fall in love with everything they do! 2. We love the new pillows and all the prints at Mini & Maximus. 3. The highlight of the show was meeting these women: Celina Bailey from Petit à Petit and Family blog, Lindsey from Darling Clementine and Amanda from Coos & Ahhs blog. It’s really such a pity we don’t all live in the same city because I think we would all have a lot of fun together! 4. The lovely Celina Bailey snapping photos of the gorgeous Jess Brown dolls.
1. That Tootsa MacGinty bear jumper!!!! One of our favourite things we saw at the show! 2. Art installation which caught our eye. 3. At the entrance to the show with Celina Bailey. 4. Meeting the lovely Maria from Shop Belle!
1. The adorable little Lief, the inspiration behind the Little Lief brand keeping busy at the show. 2. Loved the organic colour-block pieces at Noch Mini. Keep your eye out for the hooded jacket. Very cool. 3. Another great Boy + Girl collection. 4. Pretty pieces and a fun time had at the Little Lief stand.
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This past weekend the three of us (plus babies!) met up in Paris to spend a day at Playtime, the international children’s trade show. We should have learned our lesson from last year because one day was simply not enough to browse the many, many wonderful brands. We spent the day rushing around from stand to stand, and still didn’t see everything we wanted to see…
We managed to squeeze in visits to some of our favourite brands:
- Bobo Choses – Another beautiful collection featuring musical instruments in a sweet ‘Lullaby’ theme
- Gray Label – We love the additions of the mustard yellow and the soft green colours. Emily Gray is one clever woman!
- Waddler – Cute new cotton pieces in addition to their fabulous alpaca wool collection.
- Aravore – We especially loved the new Fair Isle pieces. Adorable!
- Elfie – Thank goodness they’re still making that little Mouse Jumper – it’s a favourite in our house!
- Lalé – Perfection! We especially loved their new bed quilts.
- Nico Nico – There are some new little wool capes in the collection that we already have our sights set on!!
- Hucklebones – As always, a gorgeous and timeless collection. (They had a swan at their stand made of 800 sheets of paper – wow!)
- Bieq – So many handknitted baby hats. We’ll take them all please! : )
- Le Petit Lucas – The sweet designs on the bedding, the adorable decorations, and we just adore the new gnome featured on the jumpers and clothing. So cute!
- Apünktchen – Our favourite hats for babies, kids and even grown-ups.
- Tapete – Cute graphics as always.
- Macarons – They designed their own fabric! It doesn’t get more innovative than that.
- Very French Gangsters – We love the colourful new glasses straps to hold glasses on. (We want them for ourselves!)
- Collégien – A fun and colourful collection of slippers — such fun new designs.
- Miller – A perfectly on-trend collection. There was a pretty yellow dress which especially caught our eye.
We also made some wonderful new discoveries:
- Wool Fabrique – Gorgeous wool goodies! (We’ll write more about this later.)
- LEOCA Paris – We were really impressed with the warm colours, the innovative shapes, the playful but still classic designs of this great collection.
- 10is – Leather trainers in lovely muted tones. Cool!
- Bemini – Little knitted hats, scarves, mittens, jumpers, blankets and a clever, hooded nid d’ange blanket/sac.
- Emma Levine – We were especially impressed with the jackets and dresses – such beautiful, hand-dyed fabrics from Bali, offering a slightly vintage-like ethnic vibe.
- Boy + Girl – A brand out of LA, offering an eclectic collection, mixing fabrics and colours to offer something fresh and hip.
- Boob – A great maternity and nursing collection run by some awesome mamas (can we be friends, please?!).
- Titlee – A fabulous collection of jewellery (more to come later about it!).
- Tocoto Vintage – Maria has reviewed this beautiful collection here before, but it was so nice to see it in the flesh.
- Inspirations By La Giraffe – We’ve seen this sweet jewellery at Elias & Grace before, but it was lovely to see it in full, and their stand was really beautifully decorated.
Phew! It was a busy, busy day! We really had so much fun talking to all the designers and seeing all the great new collections. What a wonderful business we’re in — so many friendly faces, so many inspiring people, so much creativity! We consider ourselves lucky to be a part of it all.
xx Courtney, Esther & Emilie
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Today, I would like to share the pictures I have made for Panasonic, in a challengue about changing photography. I was one of the 10 bloguers chosen to do this. I had to choose a subject I dont usually deal with, so I chose “fishing”. The photos are taken in my adored Asturias, where I live.
I made Nico a bamboo fishing rod, matching the wooden piers. And some felt fishes…
We had a lovely day and we enjoyed our beloved Asturias, the sea, the views, and even the weather!.
Hope you like it.