The Luvaville Blog
The Luvaville.com Blog is ALL about travel and lifestyle for urban parents. Here, we wish to share with you some of our travel experiences as well as tips and various recommendations on fashion, great design, trendy and practical products that go along with life as parents.
On a (very!) cold winter day in January I got, once more, blown away by the cool laidbackness yet elegance of Berlin. Reknowned as the "European New York" Berlin has that certain hip urban vipe that most cities lack. In this particular january the cool (and chill!) factor was overwhelming and I was soon to discover how happy I was staying in the hot Miniloft apartment.
Design hotel with a difference
I was invited to Berlin by Miniloft; THE unique Apartment Hotel in the heart of Berlin. Britta Jürgens and Matthew Griffin, the architects who run Miniloft, have designed the Miniloft to create an unconventional concept and make their visitors experience in Berlin as memorable and personal as possible. They wanted to create a home base free of clutter and superfluous service, with lots of sumptious space and everything you need to live independently. They have accomplished that very well indead! The building has won several prizes and been published in magazines and books around the world - a well deserved succes I might add.
And let me tell you, Miniloft is worth the visit ! Really. I was amazed by the award-winning building as well as the beautifully designed loft apartment. At Miniloft you will find apartments in four different designs: the Extroverted, the Introverted, the Classic and the Compact. Lucky me, I was invited to stay in the Extroverted loft (my absolute favorite) which feature a spectacular south facing 12 meter glass curtain wall running the lenght of the spacious 45 sqm apartement. When the sun shines, it's stunning: the light plays and sparkles across the sanded cement floor - simply beautiful.
Speaking of materials. The materials used in the Miniloft underscore and heighten the experience of the building it self emphasizing the loft character and, at the same time, create a cozy feeling of being at home. A loft apartment is all about contrasts: a space that has been converted from industrial factory use to living space. Just like this counterpoint, the materials used are a meetingpoint for opposite ends of the scale: rough and smooth, warm and cool, soft and hard, practical and luxurious. I really liked the neutral colour scheme, the walnut wood and the translucent glass panel between the kitchen and the bathroom that brings natural light into the bathroom. The choice of materials completely reflect the unique mix og elegant and hip that is such a part of Berlin's identity. As an extra bonus, the floor in the Miniloft apartment is heated - perfect for those freezing days in January!
The Miniloft has succesfully created a domestic space where you are actually looking forward to come back home at the end of the day. The service and the personal touch is terrific. The architecture office shares the fifth and sixth floors with the Miniloft office and the architects them selves actually live in one of the apartments which all together create an intimate feeling of cohesion.
Besides beeing helpful and friendly the Miniloft has a strong sustainable and/or organic profile, both when it comes to electricity, the grass roof, the courtyard featuring an ecoproject, materials and the products that you will find in the apartment such as cleaning products, tea, coffe, oils etc. The respect and the recognision of responsability towards our planet is just a big, extra plus in my book!
I would recommend Miniloft for everybody, but especially for families travelling with kids, the Minilloft is brilliant. Everyone at Miniloft are away from their hometowns or countries and with their families spread all over the globe, which is why they love seeing families take advantage of the space and flexibilty of the Miniloft to get together with their loved ones. At Miniloft you feel the love and Miniloft surely does take special care to make sure that you and your family has the best stay as possible. In pracsis this means that they take extra care of families and that they will provide everything you need when you travel with kids and toddlers such as cutlery, bowls and cups, steps to help the small ones reach the sinck, high chair, stroller, baby bath, sofabed, baby bed and bedding and their very own kid's activity pack to keep the youngsters entertained. Wheater the kids prefere helping the Miniloft mascot (the cat Telegrau) finding it's way through the building, keeping a diary of the stay in Berlin or decoration their own Miniloft apartment, I am sure that the kids would appreciate a quiet afternoon with the Miniloft Activity pack. Regarding the age of the kids MIniloft will even make sure to have some food ready for the arrival at the Miniloft. A stay at Minloft means pure hospitality and you really couldn't ask for anything else! And oh yes, you will find laundry facilites in the building !
The Miniloft has a prime location in downtown Berlin also know as Mitte. Mitte contains the historical center of Berlin and is, in many ways, the real center of the city. Most of the main sights are located within the Mitte district as well as many art galleries, cafés and restaurants. For families the location is ideal: it's in the middle of the city and you can reach most sights by feet or a short metro ride, you will find a pharmacy nearby, grocery stores, take away food- or coffee shops and interesting cafes and restaurants for when you feel the erge to explore what the food scenery in Berlin has to offer. The perfect mix, if you ask me.
To help you feel at home before you arrive Miniloft has written a guidebook about the neighbourhood and some of the city's hidden gems. There are maps to locate all the important things you will need and four interesting walks through the city. The guide is full of personal recommendations alongside practical tips about using the Miniloft. There is a complementary copy in each Miniloft apartment, but you can also download the guide as an pdf before arrival to prepare for your visit. Once again your hosts have thought of everything to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The most impressive thing about the Miniloft guidebook though, is that the recommendations are actually really, really cool. I checked out several of their cafe and restarant recommendations and they were fabulous. They actually deserve a seperate blog post, so...let's hold that thought.
I imidietely fell in love with the Miniloft - I was especially impressed by the design and the personal touch. The Miniloft is such a pleasure to stay in that after exploring the city you truly long coming back "home" to your Miniloft apartment. The comfort and the beautiful design make sure that you enjoy the independent living in Berlin during your stay.
Thank you, Miniloft !
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A while ago we got the change to talk to Luisa Pinto who has travelled the world with her family. Today she shares her best recommendations for Porto with kids. Enjoy and get inspired:)
Hi Luisa, please tell us a little bit about you and your family:
I am a journalist that used to work in a major daily newspaper in Portugal. My husband is a travel writer that had “the fortune” to be laid off from his job ten years ago. He started travelling and writing about it. I kept my job and watched him going in and out from our home, travelling with his words and photos. I got fed up. I wanted that life too. So, I quitted my job and planned a round-the-world trip with our little daughter during 2012. We blogged about “the world seen through a 5-years old girl” in our Diário da Pikitim (in Potuguese only), publishing our stories around the world (you can see the itinerary) and her sketches and drawings.
Now, we are back in Portugal, and she is back to school. And we are trying to keep travelling, nowadays choosing destinations closer to home for some city short breaks. That’s when I found Luvaville.
1. What do you like best about living in Porto with children? I think it is the size of the city, and the major history that it's walls can tell. It is not too big, but it is big enough to have a medieval center, a cosmopolitan way of life, a special pride about it's traditions and a very special way of living side by side with it's historical river.
From a foreigners point of view, it's also quite cheap. And for a food addicted just like me, it is the perfect place to find healthy and gorgeous food, for children and grown-ups. Ok, we are not recognized for the healthiness of some of ours most famous dishes (you should try a Francesinha), but we sure are for the variety and quality of our food. Including sea food. You think your kids don't like fish? They should come here to taste it.
2. What is it like a typical day in Porto with your child/children/family? A typical week day should be pretty similar to other families in other countries, so let me tell you about our weekends, and those days when we have more time to share as a family. We love to go to the beach on saturday morning, even during winter. We go to a café and read the newspaper while the little one makes some friends or do a few drawings.
Normally we have lunch at home, and during the afternoon we usually attend some activities or workshops, in Parque de Serralves or Casa da Música. The first one has lots of activities in the nature (among their beautiful gardens) and some arts-related workshops. Sundays are usually relaxing days, in our house, with family or closest friends.
3. What is your favorite area in the city and why? Right in the city centre, in a sort of “triangle” formed by three squares: Cordoaria, Carlos Alberto e Clérigos. They are really close, and you have there lots of cafes and restaurants, some monuments like Clerigos Tower or the National Centre of Photography (amazing building, amazing exhibitions) and the one of the greatest bookstores in the world: Lello Bookstore - think about Harry Potter and those magic sceneries… This is where Rowling get inspiration. We never get bored in this “triangle”. And by now, the mayor is installing (finally) a playground for the youngest...
4. Where do you like to go for lunch or dinner? Normally we prefer to invite some friends to our place. My husband loves to cook, and our child loves to have friends hanging around with her toys. But, when we go out for lunch, or dinner, we try to find some place to have fresh fish (and the best places are in Matosinhos) or one “Francesinha” - they are served in lots of places, specially in cervejarias like Cufra or Galiza, where you can also find something lighter for the kids. Yes, our cervejarias (beerhouse) are kid-friendly!
5. What kind of public transport do you use getting around in the city with your family? We always use Metro. It is inexpensive and very practical.
6. Your favorite shops for your self and for your child/children? My favourite shop is called Good Vibes, in the city centre. It has some fashion brands that I love, and also a small space for a coffee and a muffin and small talks. We have lots of shopping malls with all of those great and famous (and expensive) brands, but I prefer portuguese brands like Lanidor, Laranjinha and Knot, just to mention a few.
7. The best playground in the city? There are not lots of playgrounds in the city centre. There used to be a great one in palácio de Cristal Gardens, but nowadays I find it too old- it is needing a renovation. Maybe when you come to Porto it is already done. Besides that, there are playgrounds near the beach, in Avenida de Montevideu e Avenida Brasil. They are just perfect for the little ones play, between a glass of hot milk or a orange juice in the café or a break from playing in the sand.
8.If you have a little diaper incident where do you go? I look for a garden bench to solve it. You can do it anywhere, nobody will be upset. And, at best, someone will point you out where to go.
9. Your child's/childrens' favourite cultural activity? She loves to attend concerts and workshops in Casa da Musica. She is very fond of theatre too. And we have in the city Teatro de Marionetas do Porto - a Puppets theatre - with a splendid museum and amazing stagings.
10. Your own favourite cultural activity? I would say that it is to go to the theatre, too, and to attend some concerts too. I keep an eye in the productions that are shown in Teatro Nacional de S. João and the events calendar in Casa da Música.
Two weeks ago, I attended the fashion fair in Copenhagen CIFF Kids so see some of the new and interesting children's fashion brands on the market and of course get a view of all my favorite brands and their collection for A/W 2014. It was a busy day starting with an invitation to Blogger's Friday with breakfast and visiting different brands together with many other Danish and Scandinavian bloggers.
I also attended two fashion shows: Petit by Sofie Schnoor and Ticket to Heaven. The Petit by Sofie Schnoor show is almost a tradition and hosts an excellent show with happy cool dancing kids and Ticket to Heaven was their first show, focusing on their great outdoor collection. The brands we visited was LEGO wear by Kabooki, who had a fun and playful stand with LEGOs kids could build with and create all together a giant image. The collection was colorful and playful as well with many nice prints made of LEGOs, I'm sure any little boy or girl would love running around with LEGO on the belly.
We also saw a fairly new shoe brand Rugged Gear, making really cool boots and shoes for kids and adults. Actually, my oldest daughter has a pair of Rugged Gear boots this winter. They are warm and really cool with pink toes - when I saw them I knew she would love them! The collection for next year is very interesting, mixing cognac, braun and black colored leather with leo and army prints or sparkling fabrics. I find it refreshing to find new children's shoe brands since it's always the same brands you see everywhere. I will show you more about the collection another day!
The organic PopupShop colllection also deserves a post on it's own, I really loved the collection. The mix between a douce and subtle color range and funky animal prints. Tigers etc.... are a big hit with my youngest girl and she would love the dresses and t-shirts for sure. I also found the outer collection really cool, must tell you more about it too.
Hoorraahh, another new shoe brand on the market created in less than 3 months based on many years experience within the shoeindustry: Rainbow & Snow making classic fits but in cool colors, leather and leo prints. I could easily imagine both my girls next year in their boots and will need to test the shoes.
Other highlights from the fair you can see them here. The cool old school bike brand Velorbis has also developed some cool and high quality bikes for kids and I must say, really beautiful bikes without any hello kittys, cars or disney figures. Like the concept that the whole family could have the same kind of bike. Trine Vestergaard also impressed me with her classic and fantastic wool knitted collection of cardicans for children Little Trine Vestergaard. She also creates a collection for adults, which is very nice too. The Swedish brand Emma och Malena was also interesting to discover with some maritime feel and cute prints in blue and white colors. And other favorites like Soft Gallery, Ver de Terre, Emile & Ida and Mini Rodini. More will follow on these brands and their amazing collections.
It's this time a year when we celebrate "fastelavn" and Carnival in Denmark. Together with many other traditions, we bake and eat "fastelavnsboller" also known in English as "shrovetide bun" or "lenten bun". It's a round sweet roll usually covered with icing and sometimes filled with whipped cream. Similar buns are eaten in other northern European countries, for example the Swedish Semla. Get here the recipes and let the kids help and decorate then. These pictures are from a few years ago but we made them today for the first time this year, same recipe - same delicious taste!
Recipe for 12 pcs.
2 cups of milk
75 g butter
50 g yeast
1 big spoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
450 g wheat flour
Chopped chocolate or marmelade or Marzipan filling (100g marzipan, 100 g soft butter & 100 g sugar. Grate the marzipan and stir it with butter and sugar to a smooth butter cream).
1. Warm the milk and melt the butter in it. Pour it into a bowl and dissovle the yeast in it. Add sugar, salt and egg and knead dough with flour until it's smooth and supple. Let the dough rest (covered) for an hour.
2. Roll out the dough on a flour covered surface into a square of approx. 30 x 3o cm. Cut the dough into 12 equal rectangles.
3. Spread a teaspoon of either chocolate, marmelade or marcipan filling, on each. Fold the corners towards the middle and place the buns with junction down on a making sheet with baking paper.
4. Let the buns rise for 30 min., brush them with beaten egg and bake them at 200 degress for approx. 10 minutes. Cool the buns on a wire rack.
5. Stir a glaze of icing sugar and boiling water and decorate the buns (you can add fruit colour or 2-3 Tsp. of good cocoa) or simply decorate with melted good chocolate.
Serve them with hot chocolate and coffee and enjoy!
We love the name of this Isralian brand Funky Legs making children's tights, pants and socks with the cutest and funniest prints. Not only the name is great but the quality, pasform, prints and colors are perfect for little people. The best way to dress up a classic outfit and for your kids to enter 2014 with a little humor, if you ask us!. You can find Funky-legs online or in shops around the world, please find a stockist right here. I really love the clouds tights, perfect for the weather in Denmark ;).
The Look we Love @ Kleine Fabriek 2014 Winter Edition
The Amsterdam International Children´s trade fair took place 19 and 20 January. Family Travel Delights did some treasure hunting at Kleine Fabriek. We found children´s fashion with multi-colour creations and and (art) prints, cool accessories and bags. But which brands and labels really have the look of love next winter? What is FTD´s favourite look for little sweethearts and cool teens?
Here we go, what we love the most:
Sophie la Giraffe Cosmetics
Sophie la Girafe is a French classic and now proudly presents the organic skincare products for babies.
House of Jamie
Hous of Jamie is a Dutch brand from Amsterdam. The collection is stylish by design, high quality and 100% fair trade. What we really like is the clothing and (travel!) accessories for the little ones aged 0-4 in soft white colours with the signature bow tie. This label is a real treasure!
Well do we have to say more? We already love the adult collection with the tiger and eye prints. The daring use of patterns and colour is a winner when created by Kenzo.
Liu Jo Junior & Baby
This Italian brand is cool and lovely at the same time.
Hello little Sailor! The Marine look is always a good one. Besides this French label is a real budget buy. The yellow-striped raincape is a classic and cute must have for Amsterdam weather ;)
Brian & Nephew
From Belgium. A stylish, vintage inspired and cool collection. A printed t-shirt with a little blue cardigan and that skirt is always a good idea! High quality and perfect design for children aged 2-16.
Like Stationary Store
FTD is a big fan of beautiful note books, planners and nice pencils . You will definitely find some desk treasures here for you and your children.
Guards made from wood boxes for transport of Art pieces from the Rijksmuseum. Now the boxes have a new destination called `Rijkswachters`. Each Rijkswachter has a number. You can track the number on the website www.rijkswachters.nl and you will know which treasure was transported in your piece of wood …… is it fine Fine Art from China or one of the Dutch Masters?
Every morning when i roll up the shutters of Minas room, she jumps out of her bed and runs straight to the window ledge to see if mother Holle did her job. But till this day, she didn't. The garden is still colored in green and brown tones and the mystical snow magic will remain wishful thinking. Seeing Minas face full of disappointment makes me sad. But we found a way to comfort her. Together with her friend she named "Uhuli" (Swiss dialect for minimization of owl and mascot of Namuk) we developed a daily ritual: We open the windows and shout very loudly into the neigbhourhood: "Snow, snow, snow! Come here!" You see we don't give up.
One of the reasons why she can hardly stand that snowless situation: She has that super cool and extreme practically winter overall by Namuk she really likes but can't wear because it's too warm outside. The Swiss quality label Namuk offers sustainable, fairly produced outdoor clothing that is aligned with many practical features perfectly to the needs of children. One of the highlights is the toilet zipper. It keeps Mina warm while using the bathroom. Besides the very cool design you can find suspenders and even a hidden pacifier holder.
Lucky us, we had the chance to spend some time in the mountains. Voila, here's happy Mina in her Namuk overall model LORI and on her Burton Snowboard for kids. For those who are interested in kids snowboarding, we can highly recommend the Riglet Events for kids by Burton. Mina went to that park and couldn't get enough. It was so much fun! Well. Snow, please, come to Zurich!
This week, winter has arrived in Copenhagen and for the first time this year it's freezing outside. This morning, I was then very happy dressing my girls and my self in warm Canada Goose jackets. We have all been so fortunate to be sponsored with these fantastic soft, light and super warm jackets - perfect for winter and we are so ready for some snow! When that being said, we have actually used our jackets once in while throughout the last months. We are big fans of Canada Goose and my oldest daughter actually has two Canada Goose jackets, one in girly pink and with real beautiful fur and the other a cool black jacket. My own coat is black as well and I simply love it! I never had such a down jacket before, have always been afraid of looking like a Michelin - woman but the Canada Goose coat is so incredible lightweight and is perfect for everyday life and biking like we do it in Denmark. Since I have had kids, I value practical clothes much more and this coat is definately on my top 5. It keeps you warm, dry when raining - hallo Denmark, it rains a lot and is windproffed as well - it's also very windy in Denmark. My favorite detail: the zipper that I can open when biking. So we are ready for some snow and real winter weather.
Tomorrow, a new Danish fashion brand is seeing the day light. Pierrot la Lune is the name and founded by Emilie Ventujol and l have big expectations. I haven't seen the first collection yet but looking at the pictutes - it looks very promising. I like the classic style lending a bit of inpiration for French children's clothing without the stifness.
To celebrate the launch of the brand, Pierrot la Lune is opening a pop up shop in Copenhagen on 103, Gammel Kongevej in Frederiksberg. Join the reception tomorrow on the 16th of January between 14.00 and 16.00 and you will be able to see and buy the new Spring / Summer collection 2014 with a 25 % discount. For those of you not living in Copenhagen, Pierrot la Lune is launching a webshop as well, where you can get interesting introduction prices as well!
The Pop up shop will be open during the next 5 days from the 16th - the 20th of January. Get more info on their facebook page here.
2013 was a very tough year for my family but also a very exciting year with many new things and big decisions to make. 2013 was the year where we tried to be homeless, bought our first house, tried to renovate an old house, I started a new exciting full time job at Homework, we travelled to Thailand and celebrated our first Christmas in our home with both our families joining both Danish and French traditions.
Exactly a year ago, we left our beloved apartment and were homeless for a few months before moving into our current home - a full house with a nice garden, close everything!
Being homeless and living at some friends' small loft for some time was hard, especially since the winter was extremely cold last year with lots of snow and heeting didn't work very well. So we escaped to paradise alias Koyao in Thailand combined with a few days in Singapore. And it was heaven......and one of the most beautiful scenaries I have ever seen, so peaceful! We had a big villa and with seaview all to our self on this small island not far away from Krabi. The staff at Koyao Island Resort were so incredible friendly and helpfull and we really relaxed and spend some quality family time. If I had money on my bank account I would go back straight away! My husband loves to travel but is never fond of going back to a place he has already visited but he is still dreaming of Koyao and we know that we will go back again!
The 1st of March we got home from our travel and got the keys to our house. Since we didn't have a place to stay we moved in straight away while contractors were working on the house. The house is very classic with 3 levels and many guest rooms for our family from France who joins us very often. The house is not a dream house but a pragmatic choice, with the right space and good location i.e. good school, good location, right by the beach, the airport and metro, 20 minuttes on bike from the center of Copenhagen, a ride I love every day on my bike to work.
Well, Lots of dust, early mornings with contractors, many important decisions and much less money in the bank .... here we are with a nice new home - exactely the way we wanted it - almost at least! Actually, it was first right before Christmas that we emptied the last boxes from the move and really moved into all the rooms. We joined both Danish and French family here for the Christmas holidays nd had all the guestrooms full and the house passed the test, it's actually possible to have as many people staying with us without it being ennoying and chaotic. Now, a new year has started and hopefully we will have time to recover from last year and enjoy a bit.
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