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.
A few weeks ago, my husband took the girls skiing in France for the first time. I joined them for a long weekend and it was fun to see how easy they learn at that age compared to me ;).
My husband's family have an apartment in this very cute and calm village in the French Alpes called La Clusaz, it's perfectly situated only one hours drive from Geneva. La Clusaz turned out to be a very good spot for kids with many dfferent activities, snow playground, skiing school with many classes according to age and skiing level, ice wring and carrousel rides. Well, the town do promote themselves as being the "paradise for children" and yes it was actually true for once! Here a mini mini guide for la Clusaz with children. Anyway, this trip gave us lots of sun and smiles on the faces and great family fun activities and can be recommended for sure.
Where to stay
We have tried the Beaulieu hotel one time in summer and it was ideal for families, they have family rooms - with two rooms together and even rooms for the kids with bunk beds. Located in a peaceful place with a parking and at a few steps from shops, the access to the swimming pool of the hotel Carlina next door is offered. You will enjoy the local mountain furniture of the rooms and their family-style warmth.
Where to eat
Perfectly situated on the slopes and accessable as well by the road the restaurant and snack bar/ café La Ferme which is also a hotel is a good stop for a quick lunch and a nice meal with a view.
An other excellent restaurant is La Caleche, situated right behind the village church. It's very family friendly with children's menus, changing facilities in the restroom and open from lunch to late night so you don't need to worry about eating too late with the kids. You need to book your table, since this restaurant is famous for it's traditional cheese fondue and raclettes.
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One of my favorite brands for adults the Danish Ganni has launched a cool sweartshirt with a printed statement "Good Luck" for children, supporting the Children's cancer Foundation Børne Cancer Fonden. The sweartshirt come in 2 sizes 3-4 years and 5-6 years and you can find it on Ganni's webshop if you wouls like to support the good cause as well as dressing your kids in style.
Turning 3 is a big deal and my little baby girl Stella just celebrated her 3 years birthday, I can't believe it! It actually means that she is no longer my little baby and hasn't been for some time, but since it's the youngest and last child I have to admit, I sometimes miss the little baby! When that being said, I love following and watching her develop herself becoming a little independant girl.
The famous French lifestyle and clothing brand Bonton just opened their first flagship store in Tokyo, in the same spirit as their other shops. On the list for at trip to Tokyo with the family is should be. 2700 sq shop and librairy café under one roof, the perfect spot for shopping and snack time.
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo – JAPON
All images from the Bonton blog
Yet another reason why, Japan is on the top of my travel list. Look at this amazing art instalation/ playground made of net. The knitted Wonder Space created by Toshiko Horiuchi.
The pavilion is located at the Hakone Open-Air Museum, a unique open musem located in one of the mist visited tourist spots in Japan. The idea is that children learn to explore, handle and play with works of art, rather than just looking at them, which should bring kids closer to art and inspire their creativity. In Japan, apparently many museums and art schools allow children to experience art hands-on, up close and in a personal way. This instalation is incredible and I know a few kids who would go crazy.
Woods of Net / Tezuka Architects / TIS & PARTNERS, photo by Abel Erazo
My youngest daughter celebrated her 3rd birthday a few weeks ago and decided she wanted a Circus themed party and we went all in. She had 2 parties, one with asome of her very best little freinds from kindergarten and then one with family and good friends. She loves chocolate so asked for a chocolate cake and to make it a bit more fun, I made clown pop cakes and they were a very big hit. The pop cakes were served with a lot of fruit and vegetables so not just sugar for the little ones. For the decoration, I found some circus themed printables also for the kids to color.
Stella loved being the center of the attention and was sparkling like a real shinning star in her beautiful Pierrot la Lune Ella dress. This new Danish children's brand has really got my attention and this dress is the perfect color combination and fit for my little girl. I love the quality and cute details and she and the dress got so many complements.
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 !
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!
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