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.
We are honoured to feature the interview we recently did with the lovely Esther Van De Paal from Babyccino Kids- The International Lifestyle Blog for Modern Mums. I guess Babyccino Kids doesn't need any further introduction:)
Esther is one of the three writers of the very succesful Babyccino Kids blog. Dutch and trained as an architect Esther love to travel and has lived in both New York, Brussels and London but now lives in cool Amsterdam with her family. Here goes:
My family consists of my husband Tamar, our daughter Sara (7), our son Pim (5), our daughter Ava (2) and our baby boy Casper (3 month).
1. What do you like best about living in Amsterdam with children? The thing I like best about living in Amsterdam with children is that it's easy to spend a lot of time outdoors with them. Cycling is made so easy and safe throughout the city, that it's the number one way of transportation. There are also some great parks with fantastic playgrounds, and when it's warm enough lots of people take their little boat (or rent one) to cruise the canals...
2. What is it like a typical day in Amsterdam with your family? I think our days are very much alike any other family! We have breakfast together, and afterwards everybody is running through the house, trying to get dressed, get lunch boxes ready, gather gym clothes, etc. My husband brings the children to school (on the bike, of course!), and I take Ava to the crèche (she goes two days a week -- the other days she's with me or the nanny). I make myself a cappuccino and work on Babyccino Kids during the day, but I try to keep some afternoons int he week free to pick up the children, have tea with them, do a craft project (or drive them around town to sports, music classes, play dates). We try to have dinner together as a family and afterwards it's bath/book/bed time for the children. In the evenings, I do some more work or try to finish one of the many craft projects I'm working on. On weekends, we typically have very lazy mornings with pancakes or muffins, and meet up with friends, or go out to a park, museum, town, etc. in the afternoon.
3. What is your favourite area in the city and why? I think the canal area is my favourite area. It's just so pretty, and so typical Amsterdam!
5. What kind of public transport do you use getting around in the city with your family? We use our bikes, or our car!
6. Your favourite shops for your self and for your child/children? I love the Noordermarkt on Saturday for organic food shopping. For shopping, I go to the Haarlemmerstraat or the Utrechtsestraat -- filled with great boutiques and little food shops and (I love Klevering, Jan and Sukha), with some great restaurants too. More touristy but still nice are the Nine Streets. Imps&Elfs is a great Dutch children's fashion brand, their flagship store is great (Sloterkade 41-44).
7. The best play ground in the city? I think for children above 6, the natural adventure playground in the Westerpark (Het Woeste Westen) is wonderful. But any park in Amsterdam has great playgrounds (there are some cool ones in the Vondelpark too).
8. If you have a little diaper incident where do you go? Most restaurants and museums in the Netherlands have a changing unit in the toilet!
9. Your child's/childrens' favourite cultural activity? Our kids just love going to museums. One of their favourite museums here in Amsterdam is the Tropenmuseum. The new Scheepsvaartmuseum is fantastic too!
11. What's your best advice for managing being both an entrepreneur and mom? I'm not pretending to be very successful at this myself, but I think it's crucial to divide your time -- there should be a time for work and a time for family.
Click here >>
My name is Aga. I am 30 years old and live in Warsaw with my husband Lukasz and our 8 months old son called Tadek. I've worked several years as a PR&marketing manager in legal and financial advisory industry. When I became a mum, I decided to stay at home with my babyboy and I love it! Everyday I'm inspired by my son and motivated to do amazind things. I'm a huge fan of fashion and design. I love reading books, watching movies and american series, traveling and exploring new places, but above all I love my family life. Before we became parents we'd lived activly and travelled a lot. Now we do the same but we always try to combine Tadek's and our own needs.
1. What do you like best about living in Warsaw with children? The best about living in Warsaw with children is the fact that history is everywhere (this is especially important for my husband, who has always been interested in history and cannot wait to share this passion with our son). I absolutely love Warsaw for its beauty, positive vibes, creative people and huge number of changes that have taken place over the recent years. Warsaw is a very fast developing city, and there are more and more things happening for children. There is so many places to go, so much to discover. Every time I'm roaming around I always find some new ones. Both culinary and culturally, there are a lot of reasons to go out. I simply can't wait to show my son all the different parts of Warsaw as he gets older.
2. What is it like a typical day in Warsaw with your family? As I'm a 'stay at home mum' I have the possibility to spend every day with my babyboy, and do what I want. We both (me and my son) adore sleeping late in the morning so after leisurely breakfast we spend most of time reading, playing, eating and napping. But also we have an outing for swimming. Almost everyday we walk around, meet with family and friends, go to kindercafe or just explore the city.
Every evening, before taking a bath, Tadek and his dad have their time for reading tales together.
3. What is your favorite area in the Warsaw and why? Favourite area is Zoliborz, because its unique atmosphere and a lot of green parts. It is part of Warsaw which is quite old (the touch of pre-war Warsaw of the twenties still remains there) and lovely. I think that Zoliborz looks the most beatiful in the spring time, when everything around is green.
But I also like the downtown. I really like listening the buzz of the streets and roaming around, exploring city and observing people.
4. Where do you like to go for lunch or dinner? Almost everyday we eat at home because enjoy cooking but when it comes to weekends we are always eating out.
There are many restaurants that I love and of course they are many children friendly places in every part of the city. My favourite places we visit quite regular are:
NABO (8 Zakret Steet) – from my experiance one of the most familiy and children friendly places in Warsaw, at the same time enourmously popular lately. It is localted in a very nice and quiet disctrict, over one of 'hidden' city-lakes. It serves a scandinavian (mostly Danish) menues and offers a spacious and well furnished play-room for children. POMPON (13 Młynarska Street) – amazing kinder cafe serves slow food cuisine with Indian influences. There's a lot of space divided into special zones for kids of all ages.
5. What kind of public transport do you use getting around in the city with your family? We usually walk or drive around – depending on the destination. Sometimes we take the bus or the tube but honestly it's not very comfortable when you travel with baby stroller.
6. Your favorite shops for yourself and for your child? I must admit I do a lot of shopping online for both me and Tadek. It's the easiest way to get what you want any time and without going out. Traditional shopping with baby is sometimes difficult to do.
One of my favorite stationary shop with babies toys and clothes is MouseHouse placed at 3 Lisa Kuli Street. I also love shopping at fashion fairs which are often organized in Warsaw.
My favorite brands for kids are: mini rodini, new generals, bobo choses, gap, polarn o. pyret, carter's; sometimes zara kids and h&m. If we are talking about toys I like these ones form vulli, skip hop, fat brain toys, ebulobo, djeco.
When it comes for shopping for me, I mix clothes from polish desiners with clothes from such shop like massimo dutti, zara or mango. I also buy a lot when we go abroad.
7. The best play ground in the city? I know that very popular playgrounds are Olkowki Park at Puszczyka street because its dinosour theme garden and the playground on Bemowo district. My son is only 8 months old thus we have not had the possibility to check by ourself such a places like play grounds yet. But as soon as we did it, I will let you know :)
8. If you have a little diaper incident where do you go? It depends where in the city I am! During summertime I just do it on a bench in a park. When it's cold, I used to go to the nearest reastaurant or cafe and ask them if it is possible to use their toilet.
9. Your child's favourite cultural activity? Tadek is still a little baby thus listening to music and mum's singing is propably the only cultural activity for now :)
10. Your own favourite cultural activity? I like going to the cinemas and theatres and sometimes I wish I couldn't do it as often as before.
We recently got the chance to talk to Italian-Belgian (and married to a Dane) Lorenza Porciello, an epaxt living and working in Doha, Qatar about her every day life in her new city. So if you hunger an exotic touch on this cold friday before christmas, we highly recommend you to continue to read:)
Lorenza seems to be one of those multitalented women that speaks 4 languages and juggles perfectly between career, family life and all the things she loves to do in her spare time. Leading an hectic and interesting life in Doha where she and her family moved 5 month ago, Lorenza works as an attorney and corporate Lawyer. Besides her carrier in Maersk Oil, Lorenza was recently part of two books published in Denmark "Moderne Mamma" and "Moderne Mamma i en fart" which had a great success. Lorenza is the proud mother of two gorgeous girls, Livia 6 years old and Laura 2 years old and together they are crazy about the warm every day life in Doha where they enjoy inviting friends over for big italian style lunches or dinners.
1. What do you like best about living in Doha with children? Doha is a great city for families. There are hundreds of opportunities for children, music, dance, art, karate, football classes, everywhere around town. There is a great community of mums and dads in Doha called Doha Mums - they organize regular events for children such as healthy cooking classes, halloween party, library sessions, ceramic decorations, sports...and many more. The fact that people in Doha normally have a housemaid who can help with all the practical stuff, really helps in giving us more time to spend with our kids, which is fantastic.
2. What is it like a typical day in Doha with your child/children/family? In week days our schedules are very tight. Both my husband and I work full time, which is extremely uncommon here. Mums usually stay home in Doha, and everything is built around that assumption. Work and school start very early (between 6.30 and 7) and therefore we all have to be up before 5.45. Schools and nursery close at lunch time, while we work until 15 or 16, but then we have the afternoon together. Some days we stay in the compound and go to one of the nice swimming pools, or to the tennis court. Other days our daughter goes to English classes or we go shopping or we go to some kids activity such as the Playground at the Kempinski Residences & Suites. In the w-e sometimes we attend one of the Doha Mums cooking classes at Carluccio's The Pearl or we go to brunch - most big hotels have great brunch and facilities for kids to play, and have a great time, including babysitting :-) Fx. Moevenpick or The Ritz-Carlton and many more.
3. What is your favourite area in the city and why? West Bay is my favourite area. It is also the area where we live. This is where the heart of Doha beats, it is the commercial, business and entertainment center. The best restaurants, clubs and hotels are in this area. Most of the large hotels organize activities for children, both ad hoc and on a regular basis. West Bay is also really close to Katara Cultural Village and to The Pearl, which offer a lot to kids.
4. Where do you like to go for lunch or dinner? Most restaurants are family friendly. The staff is always extremely friendly with children, and they don't get upset if the children make a big mess of their nicely set tables :-) A few good places, in additions to those I indicated above: - L'wzaar at Katara Village. It is the best seafood restaurant ever. The food is amazing, there is a lot of space for the kids to run around, and the service is perfect. Highly recommendable: Noodle House, Cafe Ceramique, it's a nice café where kids can paint their own ceramics while you enjoy a good coffee and a snack.
5. What kind of public transport do you use getting around in the city
with your family? No public transportation, busses are very rare and everybody has a car. Traffic is quite heavy so walking or biking is also quite dangerous.
6. Your favourite shops for your self and for your child/children? Villaggio Mall has very good shops, it is a bit outside the center, but it is a big mall with nice brands. Unfortunately it is very infamous due to the fire earlier this year that ended up in a terrible tragedy :( There are shops like Massimo Dutti, now also for children (fantastic collection by the way).
7. The best play ground in the city? There are some really nice playgrounds alone the Corniche (the road along the bay, with a beautiful view). Now the weather is getting better, temperatures are cooling down a bit, so it is great to be outdoor, fx right here. Otherwise Aspire park and generally the Aspire Zone is a really great place to be during the cooler months.
Water Park is also a great place, be careful to check which days are "only women" or "only men" days, or family days. Aladdin's Kingdom is also an outdoor theme park, we have not tried it yet and they dont really have a website.
When the temperature is too high indoors playgrounds are best, there are some good ones in the biggest hotels (indicated above) or in the shopping malls or Fun Day at The Mall. Most malls have large indoors playgrounds and theme parks.
8. If you have a little diaper incident where do you go? Most restaurants have toilets with changing tables, but not all. So if in town I would get into one of the big hotels, to be sure.
9. Your child's/childrens' favourite cultural activity? Katara offers children entertainment at the Art Society or Childhood Cultural Center. Our daughter loves to paint and craft, so she does after school craft activities, and when there is a good children exhibition we take her to Katara.
10. Your own favourite cultural activity? Katara is absolutely a fantastic place. It has a continuously developing program, new exhibitions, films and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival open air opera.
11. Are there any cultural matters you should be aware of when travelling to Doha/ Qatar? There are a number of activities or places where you need to be aware of whether men or women are allowed there at the same time. But it is just a matter of getting used to checking these kind of things. People
are friendly and love children.
Our lovely insider in Berlin, Melanie Haynes, enjoys this beautiful time of the year: December! Let her guide you to the best Christmas Markets in Berlin:
Berlin really sparkles at Christmas from Christmas markets to the plethora of Christmas trees dotted around the city, it really puts on its party clothes!
The city is very family friendly and Christmas is no exception. Here are my picks of the best of Berlin at Christmas.
I have my favourites of the Berlin Christmas markets but there are others to explore. For the full list and details check out the Visit Berlin page.
Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market and Unter den Linden
The best market for me is the one in Gendarmenmarkt. It sparkles with beautiful, tasteful lights and the most breathtaking Christmas tree. All the stalls are Christmas based (which is not the case in all the markets) and will captivated children. The best thing in this market is the Belgian waffle stall! The location is pure historic Berlin and totally worth the 1€ entry you need to pay later in the day when there is entertainment on the stage.
After a visit to the market take a walk down Friedrichstrasse to admire the high end shops and their Christmas windows to Under den Linden. The trees close to the Brandenburg Gate are covered in little lights and the huge Christmas tree at the Gate is beautiful. This year there is a small curling rink there ideal for older families.
Winter World at Potsdamer Platz is great for families. Again there is a market and traditional food stalls but the big plus point is the largest mobile toboggan run in Europe, which is 12 metres high and 70 metres long by the station area and there is an ice rink at the end of the market by the theatre area.
Lucia Christmas Market
This Scandinavian themed market in the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg is set in a lovely location of an old brewery complex and offers lots of special experiences such as the heating coats and a Yurt to enjoy Christmas drinks. There are a number of child friendly rides and although the market can get busy, we have always found that it doesn't feel too crowded for little children.
If you fancy a cosy lunch before visiting the market, one of my favourite places to eat, La Käserie, a cheese shop cum cafe is a few minutes walk away at Lychener Strasse 6. The cheese and ham plate to share is fantastic and the atmosphere is second to none.
One big tip about enjoying Berlin in December is to remember to wrap up warm especially for children as the temperatures are low and the real feel is even colder.
Bianca Wessel is the famous blogger about Scandinavian lifestyle for kids: Little Scandinavian and for adults: Go Scandinavian. Bianca comes from Norway but lives in London with her husband Børre and their two daughters Beatrice age 11 and Amélie age 7. Bianca is here inviting you to get a little peak of her life, everyday life in London with kids, favorite places and nice travel adventures.
1. What do you like best about living in London with children?
2. What is it like a typical day in London with your family?
3. What is your favorite area in the city and why?
4. Where do you like to go for lunch or dinner with your daughters?
5. What kind of public transport do you use getting around in the city with your family?
6. Your favorite shops for yourself and for your daughters?
7. The best play ground or cultural activity in the city?
8. When you are travelling on family city breaks or vacation, what's most important when selecting the destination for your family?
9. Can you recommend a city to discover with children and why parents should take the kids along?
10. What's your next travel destination with children?
Our lovely New York insider, Molly, loves this time of the year! Molly is the founder of Baby Mash, a wife and the proud mother of two little girls. Get here Mollys best adresses for enjoying the Fall in NYC.
1. How do you feel about Fall coming up? Fall is my favorite time of year...Autumn colors, crisp air, babies in cute knitted wear. You can't beat it!
2. Do you and your Family have any specific Fall traditions/things you like to do? We love to pick apples and pumpkins. We recently went to Silverman's Farm just 50 miles from NYC, and it was great! They had a petting zoo, hay rides, apple picking, and a pumpkin patch. My little girl loved it!
3. Where is the best indoor fun/cultural thing in the City? When the weather cools down the Children's Museum of the Arts is amazing! They can mold clay, create sounds, or play in a "ball pond." There is something for all aged children
4. Where is the best place to enjoy high tea/hot chocolate/ delicious cakes etc? For little girls, nothing beats the "Eloise at the Plaza" high tea experience. It is truly an NYC treat!
5. Where do you shop all the Fall/winter essentials for the kids? Today we ordered two new "puffy jackets" from REI. Playing at the park during winter months requires a down coat! I'm also a bit obsessed with the brand Jacadi. Their clothes are classic and adorable. Both of my kids live in grey and navy Jacadi sweaters all winter!
Wondering how Zurich is like during this time of the year? Claudia, our sweet insider in Zurich, guides you to the best experiences - the Zurich way:
1. How do you feel about Fall coming up? I love this colourful season. We use to collect chestnuts and leafes to do handicrafts and little things with them. Also we like to watch the 'Räbeliechtliumzug' - a light parade that takes place every fall. I recommend the Räbeliechtli Umzug that takes place in the old town of Zurich on November 5, 18.15h am Neumarkt-Brunnen.
Or we like to try something different when it's rainy weather, like dipping brownies into white Swiss chocolate and colorful decoration. Just add a stem and turn up the heating. Et volia, summer is back :-)
2. Do you and your Family have any specific Fall traditions/things you like to do? The only thing we are always looking forward is to cook pumpkin soup and having "Vermicelle". It's made of chestnuts and it's served with cream on top. It's a real Swiss thing. Yummi. :-) You can get it in most of the restaurants during fall time.
3. Where is the best indoor fun/cultural thing in the City? There's a huge indoor playground for kids called starbie. It's open 365 days.
4. Where is the best place to enjoy high tea/hot chocolate/ delicious cakes etc? I really like the atmosphere of the Maison Blunt. It's like being part of a fairy tale of 1001 nights. Try the Blunts house-tea (fresh mint leaves with green tea) or the homemade chai tea. I recommend brunch or a Mezze plate for a snack. You'll love it. Ask for the sweets of the day. There are high chairs and there's a changing table as well. It's in the fifth district of Zurich.
5. Where do you shop all the Fall/winter essentials for the kids? When the temperature gets lower and the nights grow longer I do really like to shop online. Here are some of my fall favorites: Sass&Peril, Wild things dresses, Belle et Boo and Die Wummelkiste. This I've discovered, while i was living in Berlin. Die Wummelkiste is a box with do it yourselft kits for your kids (3-7 ears) - the perfect kit for indoor days.
The owner of the webshop My Lille Limòn celebrated her daughter Zoé's birthday with a combined birthday and halloween Safari inspired party. Get inspired by her ideas for decoration and dress up. Also find some of the cutest dress up outfits and party accessories on her webshop.
Masks are always a big hit! At this age (2-3) they love seeing their parents put on the masks and play pretend! We pretending to be tigers and zebras (for a short time) always remembering to make sure they know it is you under there :) Zoë was dressed as a flamingo in her new H&M/UNICEF clothes, this was a great way to have a party outfit/costume in one! She later put on a tiger mask and roaring all over the place :) before the party we also had a mini photo shoot with zoë dressing up as snow white & red riding hood.
It is always nice to give the kiddos some presents so that they know they are special too and to thank them for coming to the party. We took all the children to build a bear and sent them home with their own bear and a goodie bag filled with animal masks, little animal erasers, little safari cameras and placed them all in a muslin bag which they could reuse.
Traditions/What to do:
Tivoli: We are so lucky to live so close to Tivoli. This year they really outdid themselves with decorating the park in such a spirited fashion. A must!
Because we had 2 parties this weekend we missed the årstiderne halloween bash on their farm- which would have been a blast! i remember as a child always going pumpkin picking on school trips and coming home with what i thought was a HUGE pumpkin! I highly recommend this for next year!
Trick or Treating:
Today, we will be taking zoë trick or treating at Field's because back home you dress up your kids and take them around the block and to the nearest mall to ask for candy, and as Halloween is still not so big here we think the mall will be loads of fun!
Fall is here and Amsterdam is a beautiful city to visit especially at this time of the year. Meet Anouk, our Amsterdam insider, and get inspired. Anouk lives with her husband and 3 children in this lovely city and in between career and blogging at her blog Family Travel Delights, Anouk loves to explore the city with her family.
1. How do you feel about Fall coming up? First of all I love the fall (in Dutch “Herfst”) colours & the fresh fall air. When days are getting shorter it’s warm & cosy @ home. I light the Feu de bois Dyptique candles and we prepare cosy family dinners during the weekend.
2. Do you and your Family have any specific Fall traditions/things you like to do? We put on the Wellies for a nice walk nearby in Vondelpark or we like to go to the forest which is a short drive from Amsterdam. Children love to go the forest at this time of the year. They collect chestnuts, walnuts & of course leaves of all colours and sizes.
Each Fall we visit an apple tree orchard, de Olmenhorst to pick up apples. We come home with a full basket of apples and together with the children we love to prepare a yummie Dutch apple pie or French tarte tatin.
On a nice “Indian Summer” day we go to beach for a walk and enjoy a nice hot chocolate. The beach @ Bloemendaal or Zandvoort is a short drive from Amsterdam.
On a Sunday afternoon we visit the just re-opened Stedelijk Museum. Stedelijk Museum has a very attractive children education program. Afterwards we cross the street to have a drink in the lounge of the fabulous Conservatorium Hotel.
4. Where is the best place to enjoy high tea/hot chocolate/delicious cakes etc? Hot Chocolate & delicious apple pie at Winkel in the Jordaan area. But de Bakkerswinkel /amsterdam-centrum in Westerpark and Le Pain Quotidien in Old South are also a real treat.
5. Where do you shop all the Fall/winter essentials for the kids? I must say I love the online store Little Fashion Gallery for essentials like winter coats, jackets and accessories. Benetton is good for pullovers and sweatshirts. For my children’s shoes I go to Meys & Co and for more fall/winter essentials I go to Zara & H&M.
Last but not least in Amsterdam we have some hidden gem pop up stores with lovely designer vintage. These stores open just for a few days twice a year.
A lovely designer vintage children store is located alongside one of the prettiest canals in Amsterdam. Watch out for Serendipity Kids.
Melanie is our Berlin insider where she currently lives with her husband and son Noah. Melanie is here sharing with us her best tips on what to do and where to go, to get the most out of Autumn in Berlin. If you wish to know more about Melanie and her adventures in Berlin, make sure to visit her blog: expatmummyinberlin.blogspot.com.
1. How do you feel about Fall coming up? I enjoy the crisp days and the changing of the leaves. This year my son has really been into collecting acorns, conkers and leaves although we rarely do anything with them at home - it is all about the thrill of the chase. I am planning a number of projects we can use the beautiful leaves and nuts in.
The Saturday market at Kollwitzplatz is a delight all year round but the autumn mushrooms and gourds for sale there at this time of year are amazing. One good thing about living in Northern Europe is the definite changes of the seasons. However the autumn also makes me a bit sad as it means the longer days are over and the bitter Berlin winter is ahead of us.
2. Do you and your Family have any specific Fall traditions/things you like to do? Coming from the UK where the autumn means the return to school but also Guy Fawkes Night on the 5th November where we have big firework displays and bonfires. I always wanted to go as a child regardless of the weather.
I love going to the park and kicking through leaves. We are lucky enough to live close to the vast Schlosspark in Pankow, this and Tiergarten offer great opportunities for leaf kicking and enjoying the autumn.
When we lived in Copenhagen a big tradition was going to Tivoli for the autumn opening. I love all the pumpkins there and the slightly scary pumpkin head men but towards the end of the few weeks the smell of the pumpkins become a little pungent!
3. Where is the best indoor fun/cultural thing in the City? We recently discovered a relatively new kindercafe called Cafe Ballon close to Friedrichshain Volkspark, which will definitely be a regular haunt when the weather gets chilly. They have great tubs of interesting toys and a dressing up box and a huge indoor climbing frame.
Another favourite of ours in MACHmit Children’s museum, where they offer regularly changing and seasonal crafting projects and again a big indoor climbing structure.
4. Where is the best place to enjoy high tea/hot chocolate/ delicious cakes etc? There are lots of cafes dotted around the city but one that takes my fancy for a cosy autumn afternoon is Anna Blume on Kollwitzstrasse in Prenzlauer Berg. The cakes are delicious and the slices very generous. For a real cupcake treat to enjoy at home I would head to Vanilla on Hufelandstrasse. I would love to enjoy high tea at the Ritz Carlton at Potsdamer Platz with girlfriends for a special afternoon.
5. Where do you shop all the Fall/winter essentials for the kids? I usually hit H&M for the winter basics of jumpers and padded trousers. Name it always has great winter jackets. Recently the Primark chain opened up in Steglitz and this is a great place for inexpensive hoodies, warm socks, cords and jumpers.
- 1 of 6