Friday, 6 December 2013

winner of the tutu du monde giveaway...


AND THE WINNER FOR THE AUDREY TUTU GIVEAWAY IS WYATT LYTTGE!

Please email me at lattesandjuice@gmail.com

Friday, 29 November 2013

christmas gift guide from sisters guild

I am super excited that one of my favourite online children's boutique has done a special Christmas gift list for Lattes and Juice readers!  Sisters Guild is a truly unique boutique that stocks the chicest and coolest brands from all over the world.  Started by two sisters, Carla and Bekka, who were inspired by their own children these two fabulous ladies have such a creative eye and have filled their shop with the most imaginative and beautifully designed children's product (including clothing, accessories, room decor, toys and so much more).  Their Christmas gift list is so well thought out and I'm am sure you will find something on their that not only you will love and a very special kid will get a truly one of a kind present.

For the boys

Monday, 25 November 2013

katie & jo's christmas gift guide


I am really spoiled with the fabulous selection of boutiques in my hood Parsons Green.  I really want to highlight some of my favourite local businesses in the area to help you with your Christmas shopping this season.  My absolute favourite shop in the neighbourhood is Katie & Jo and it stocks some seriously stylish pieces.  Here are Katie & Jo's Christmas picks filled with amazing gift ideas for different budgets.  I love that there are ultra luxe picks as well as totally chic budget friendly pieces.  I have already purchased a couple of items off their list!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

a very good cause


As we are all super busy running around this time of the year I think it is so important not too get too caught up in the holiday madness and to take a moment to remember just how lucky we really are.  I am so thankful that I have a loving husband, 2 amazing children, a warm(ish) house, the best family ever and never ever have to worry about where our next meal is coming from.  I am absolutely terrible at spoiling my children especially this time of the year and love waking up on Christmas morning and seeing the pure joy on their faces.  It breaks my heart to think of all those children out there who will not get to share this moment of magic and want to make sure that I start teaching my kids how to give back and to help those in need.

The NSPCC is one of the largest UK charities focused on ending child cruelty in the UK and organization that could really use your donations.  I'm sure all of the children are hard at working writing letters to Father Christmas right now and would be delighted to receive a letter back from the North Pole.  The NSPCC is offering a wonderful service online where you can send your child a personalised Letter from Santa for a small donation.  There are several templates to choose from based on your child's age, add accomplishments on there such as eating veggies or doing well at school, have a friend/sibling's name on the letter, and even acknowledge that you will not be forgotten if you happen to be traveling on Christmas day.  It only costs a £5 donation to have the letter sent and of course you can easily donate for at the checkout.  The money raised goes towards ChildLine where children can contact the NSPCC directly 365 days a year (even on Christmas day) if they are worried or have a concern.

This is such a fabulous way to give back this year to an amazing charity this holiday season.  Sign up now to make sure you get your letter in time and they go out in the post from 25 November to 19 December! 



Thursday, 21 November 2013

tutu de monde holiday collection & giveaway!!!


AND THE WINNER FOR THE AUDREY TUTU GIVEAWAY IS WYATT LYTTGE!

One of my top picks for this holiday season for anyone that has a little girl or looking to spoil a very special gal is a fabulous tutu from Tutu du Monde.  I am a huge fan of the stunning pieces that are designed to let a girl's imagination run wild in the land of make believe, princesses, fairy dust and sparkle. (See my post on last season's collection here.)  This season's collection "The Lost Girls" is truly magical for the holiday season featuring lots of pale nudes and pastels mixed with sparkly sequins and a splash of color.  Be sure to keep reading and see how you can win one of these beautiful tutus!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

sissy + marley - dylan's nursery





Interior Design by Sissy + Marley
Photgraphy by Marco Ricca

I have been completely and utterly obsessed with Sissy+Marley since the first time I laid eyes on one of the amazing nursery these fabulous ladies have designed.  The dynamic mother and daughters team of Chelsea, Rachel, and Diana are the genius design gurus of Sissy+Marley and they seriously have impeccable taste.  Sissy+Marley are know for creating unique modern, whimsical and sophisticated spaces for your baby's nursery, child's room, playroom or any other space in your house.  I love that all of the rooms they design are not only stunning but are really well thought out functionally and really accommodate family life.  The Sissy+Marley blog is a must daily read for me and a great place to find fashion, design and style inspiration.  You will be hooked from the moment you start reading their edits!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

fit for royalty - marie chantal autumn.winter 2013


When it comes to children's fashion it just doesn't get any better than Marie Chantal.  Marie Chantal is not only the Crown Princess of Greece but she is also the mother to 5 children.  Season after season she creates stunning collections of stylish and contemporary clothes that celebrates the innocence of children.  The most luxurious fabrics are used in her designs from the softest cashmere, wool, cotton and silk that children can be themselves in.  Marie Chantal's signature angel wing design found throughout the collections is one of my favorites and angel wing outfits for infants is the perfect gift for a newborn baby.

The Autumn/Winter collection this season is filled with gorgeous pieces that are perfect for the upcoming season with festive holiday party clothes and beautiful pieces that are great for everyday layering.  Those of you with little boys like me know how difficult it is to find special pieces for them that will really make them stand out.  You can always count of Marie Chantal for chic pieces that will transform your little guy into a true gentlemen.  Check out my little boy in the Fairisle Sweater which he really enjoyed posing in!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

city kids meet the countryside


I've almost made it to the end of half term as a single mother this week and thankfully we finally got a lovely sunny day today.  Halloween is a pretty big deal back in the States and each year that we have been here in London it seems that the Brits are catching the spirit too.  This is one holiday that I don't want my kids missing out on!  I packed the kids up in the car this afternoon for the drive out to Crockford Bridge Farm Shop in Surrey.  It was actually a nice quick ride from Southwest London just past Heathrow Airport down the M25.  We went last year for the pumpkin patch when my little girl was just a teenie tiny one and it was amazing to see her running around today.  It really does got that much quicker the second time around!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

get ready for the brrrrrr with 7am enfant


So far everyday is a new adventure and living on a building site with 2 kids has been a real roller coaster ride.  A perfect day would be the house having hot water, heater, internet and electricity all at the same. We are all getting thru with a smile on our faces and no major meltdowns on my end yet.  To make things even more fun nothing is sealed up and there are big holes in the roof while it's been raining like crazy for the past couple of days.  The poor kids get to visit their toys every now and then in the storage facility and fully understand that they toys aren't coming back until the builders are gone.  Only 2.5 months left (fingers crossed)!

The lovely summer weather has definitely gone and now comes the time of the year to prepare for the cold and wet days ahead.  If you are a city mom like me than you fully understand just how much time we spend outdoors dragging our kids around in buggies/strollers.  The amount of gear we need to get through the day is insane and I'm always crossing my fingers that I haven't forgotten anything (which usually happens).  

This is where 7 A.M. Enfant step in and have created an amazing collection to help us busy moms get through the day efficiently and all in fabulous style!  The single buggy accessory that I use the most is my 7 A.M. Enfant Le Sac Igloo that I purchased years ago which I cannot live without in the cold English winter.  The new collection includes universal foot muffs of different weights to accommodate for the different climates so you are sure to find something that is perfect for you.  The new designs and colors are just gorgeous and are sure to make you stand out of the crowd.

Friday, 11 October 2013

winter blacks 2013


So instead of complaining how cold it has gotten all of a sudden I am going to be grateful that September in London this year has been so lovely and I'm looking forward to snuggling up in my winter wardrobe.  Honestly I do prefer winter clothes as I have a slight addiction to coats and boots.  The best part about the coming months is that I can once again wear head to toe black and this is seriously the easiest way to look instantly chic.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Hooray for Shake Shack in London!


I have been waiting for this moment for a long time and I am just over the moon that Shake Shack has finally opened in London.  For those of you that are not familiar, Shake Shack is a burger joint sensation from NYC that has taken the city by storm for the past couple of years.  Queues were so long in the original Madison Square Park kiosk that webcams were put up so you could see how long the wait would be before heading out.  I think what I love most other than the yummy top quality food is it that is that it is a real slice of Americana.  The Covent Garden location in London is perfect for us expats that are a little bit homesick or if you want to make a quick culinary journey over the pond.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Lil' Stylers for Mini Fashionistas

 

If you are totally addicted to Instagram, Pinterest, and kid's fashion just like me than there is a fabulous new iPhone app that is perfect for you!  Lil' Stylers is a brand new one of a kind social media experience for you and your little trendsetter.  Have you ever been asked where did you buy that top for your daughter or wanted to ask someone where they got those cool sneakers for your son?  Lil' Stylers solves that problem for all of us who are always eyeing the latest trends for our mini mes.  It is super easy to upload a photo and instead of tagging people you get to label what brands your outfit is from.  I'm sure there will be swarms of tiny street style stars on the rise!  The best part is that moms, dads, and fellow bloggers are linked directly to the brands making online shopping that much easier.  

Check out the video below to see how it works:



This past week was the 5th edition of petiteParade which is THE Kids Fashion Week in NYC and Lil' Stylers has teamed up to bring you all of the latest looks and trends are up on Lil' Styles so definitely be sure to follow petiteParade to be on the cutting edge of kid's style. 


And don't forget to follow me under the user name of Lattes and Juice on Lil' Stylers!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

hang in there...

My apologies for disappearing from the internet last week.  School has started for the kids which means that the first round of colds have started and I was the latest victim.  The house renovations have taken up the rest of the little free time I have so I'm definitely feeling a little overwhelmed.  I'm working on new exciting posts and hopefully another fabulous giveaway in the works.  Hope for everything to be back to normal this week!

xoxo  

Thursday, 19 September 2013

under renovation...


As you can tell from the photos my life is complete chaos right now living with 2 small children in the middle of a building site.  I've really enjoyed reading along with Naomi of Coulda Shoulda Woulda with her mews house renovations and has inspired me to share what my life is like right now. 

When we moved into our Victorian terraced house 3 years ago we were completely overwhelmed with all of the space just coming from a small 2 bedroom flat.  Fast forward a couple of years and 2 kids later we are pretty much busting out of this house.  We are in the middle of extending our kitchen and because of all the structural work involved we pretty much have to tear down the back half of the house and start over.  With things costing a fortune in London it's not in the budget to move out during the construction.  

Sunday, 15 September 2013

papouelli london for stylish little feet


The kids are finally back to school and the weather seems to have change instantly overnight.  What happened to warm autumn days and the trees turning into warm colors?  All of a sudden I'm dragging out my winter boots to trek through the cold and rain again.  I'm on a hunt for some great boots for both kids as I am sure to be getting a ton of use out of them for the season to come.  One of my favorite brands for children's shoes in London is Papouelli.  Papouelli make beautiful and stylish kid's shoes with an European feel that are exceptionally well made.  Papouelli takes fit and comfort very seriously and understand that a child needs functional and practical shoes.  I love that you don't have to compromise on style and you know you are putting a great pair of shoes on your child's feet.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

a day in dumbo, brooklyn


It's funny growing up my whole life just outside New York City I have never even thought about walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.  This even includes a semester at NYU living in a dorm on Water Street right across from the Brooklyn Bridge.  My 3.5 year old boy has become completely fascinated with the Brooklyn Bridge this summer and convinced us all to make the pilgrimage across.  We ended up spending the day in Dumbo and really had such a fantastic day.  I'm a huge fan of Mommy Poppins which an amazing website for things to do, see, eat with kids in NYC.  I found great tips on their Dumbo guide for our day on the other side of the East River and here are the highlights.

The Brooklyn Bridge is definitely one of the most beautiful bridges in the world and the oldest suspension bridge in the United States.  The upper level is a walkway for pedestrians and the views are spectacular from up there.  Not only were we in awe of the bridge itself but when you get a really good look of the NYC skyline it really leaves you breathless.  Although there are cars driving across the bridge just beneath you there is something so peaceful about being up there and I can't believe it took me 33 years to make it up there!  

PS - There is a flight of stairs up to the bridge so be prepared to lift the buggy/stroller up.


Just under the Brooklyn Bridge you will find Brooklyn Bridge Park that is right on the waterfront and you can enjoy all the views from down there.  Most importantly there are loads for the kiddos to do including the famous Jane's Carousel which we unfortunately did not get a chance to check out.  We ended up spending most of the day at the Main Street Playground that is also know as the "pirate ship playground."  Such a great way for the kids to run off all that extra energy while playing make believe on a giant pirate ship inspired climbing frame.  The playground is tucked right in-between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges so my son was in heaven looking in awe of both enormous suspension bridges.  For all those train enthusiasts out there subways run constantly on the lower level of the Manhattan Bridge so needless to say this is now my son's favorite playground.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

day at the stables - ralph lauren fall/holiday 2013



This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ralph Lauren.

My go to brand for stylish and classic children's fashion is always Ralph Lauren.  They really know what they are doing when it comes to designing for the little ones while capturing a true American spirit in every collection.  What I love most is that all of the clothing from the newborns to teens are practical and functional without having to sacrifice an ounce of style.  Each collection is really well thought out including any item of clothing or accessory you would need to get your kid through the season from amazing outerwear, stylish knits, coming home outfits for newborns and so much more.

On August 5, 2013 Ralph Lauren invited moms and daughters to view their latest collection for fall and holiday 2013 at the "Day at the Stables".  The amazing fashion event took place at the W├Âlffer Stables in Sagaponack, NY which served as a picture perfect backdrop for a collection infused with the equestrian spirit capturing the classic preppy heritage lifestyle of Ralph Lauren.  Check out the entire fashion show below filled with adorable models and just imagine that you are sitting front row.







The first part of the fashion show showcases the fall 2013 collection that is filled with preppy colorful pieces which are perfect for back to school.  Next followed by outfits inspired by Downton Abbey with pretty flirty florals mixed with masculine tweeds inspired by 1930's menswear modernized for you little fashionista.  The holiday 2013 collection features the spirit of Rustic Americana reminiscent of an idyllic Adirondack Holiday and last but not least glitzy glamorous styles perfect for elegant uptown affairs as well as chic downtown celebrations.

The collection is just fabulous and I wish I could shrink myself to fit into one of those chic little blazers that will work well into the spring season as well.  My absolute favorite trend from the fashion show was of course the animal print that is right on for this season.  The leopard and zebra print sneakers and ballet flats would add a little je ne sais quois to any outfit and I must get my hands on the furry leopard print jacket for my little girl (I may need one for me too)!  The bold colored coats seen throughout the collection are sure to brighten up the gloomiest day while keeping the girlies dry and warm.  I'm sure your daughter is constantly running around in leggings and the riding pants from this season's collection are such a great and stylish alternative to the plain jane legging.  I'm also really digging all of the tweed jackets and coats that can be dressed down for everyday wear or glammed up for those special holiday occasions.  The collection is so perfectly preppy, American and Ralph Lauren.


I love that the event was such a special day for mothers and daughters to bond and after the fashion show guests were treated to a debut performance from Def Jam recording artist, Madison Beer, and lots of girlie activities including an Essie Nail bar, a hair braiding bar, Dylan's candy bar, and the ever popular photo booth.  There were lots of celebrity mommies on hand at the "Day at the Stables" such as Jessica Alba, Christie Brinkley, Edie Falco and Tiffany Thiessen with their little fashionistas for the event all decked out in Ralph Lauren.  Check out Madison Beer's performance below:




The Ralph Lauren Girls Runway Show is launching on September 5th on RalphLauren.com, along with exclusive video featuring Madison Beer’s first ever live performance.  Head over to Ralph Lauren where you can download Madison's new single, Melodies, free exclusively for one week.  Send your daughters back to school in style and get geared up for the upcoming holiday season looking tres chic.


Ralph Lauren offers a world of luxury and comfort in men, women’s and children’s clothing. For the Ralph Lauren children’s fall collection, the clothing line hosted a “Day at the Stables” fashion show that incorporated many facets of the Ralph Lauren lifestyle. For more information, please visit Ralph Lauren.


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ralph Lauren.


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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

with love from brooklyn - van leeuwen


One of the highlights from my summer in the States was getting to spend time with my brother who lives in the hipsterville of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  I must admit I was really beginning to feel old and totally not with it walking around there without big framed glasses and a couple of tattoos.  My 3.5 year old son however felt completely at home and is still demanding we move to Brooklyn.  Williamsburg is filled with fabulous gourmet destinations and trendy boutiques and well worth the visit over the East River.  When it feels like parts of the city are becoming outdoor shopping malls with the same brands and chain stores taking over area by area it is truly refreshing to find a place with so much character and plenty to explore.  You definitely will not find a Starbucks in Williamsburg!

Van Leeuwan Artisan Ice Cream truck on Madison and E 70th St on a Sunday afternoon
My brother brought us to the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream truck parked on Bedford Ave and N 8th St and told me it was the best ice cream ever.  When anyone prefaces anything as "the best" I am pretty skeptical but I must say he was absolutely right and I am hooked.  I actually lie awake at night thinking about this ice cream and going through withdrawal now that I'm back in London.  We might just have to move to Brooklyn after all to get my fix.  What is extraordinary about this ice cream is that it is so rich and creamy without being over the top with the perfect balance of flavors and it isn't too sweet.  It is clear for the second you taste the ice cream that only the finest and purest ingredients are used as the ingredients.



I've tried several of the flavors and going to make it my goal to try all of them.  The Gianduja is a blend of rich chocolate and hazelnuts and is heaven on a cone.  Strawberry actually tastes like fresh strawberries and the espresso flavor has a kick and will happily fulfill any caffeine craving.  The standouts are Van Leeuwen's unique flavors cinnamon and my personal favorite earl grey tea.  My kid now orders cinnamon every time we are at a restaurant or ice cream shop and seriously needs a reality check.  It is the earl grey tea ice cream that I cannot stop thinking about and I can still remember the taste so vividly.


There are 2 brick and mortar shops (loving this new American term) in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan.  Plenty of trucks scattered throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan daily so be sure to check out their website for locations and look it up in Google too because there are lots of trucks out that are not listed on their site.  Some shops are carrying tubs of their fabulous ice cream so hope you can find it in a shop near you or else you have a great excuse to visit Brooklyn!


Sunday, 25 August 2013

spring/summer 2014

I was recently invited to attend the ENK International Children's Club Show in NYC to preview the latest in children's fashion for spring/summer 2014.  The summer is almost over and I'm already looking forward to next summer vacation already.  The neon trend is definitely still going strong for next year and lots of British and European brands are happily making their way across the pond.  Here are some of my favorites from the show:


I absolutely love the British brand Rachel Riley and the summer 2014 collection is just too cute to miss.  Rachel Riley is known for their traditional children's clothing inspired by the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  The collection is really fresh with pops of neon for both boys and girls that really stand out.  Rachel Riley has definitely caught the Royal Baby fever and there is an adorable infant collection for all the little princes and princesses printed with crowns and tiaras.  



I am completely obsessed with ballet flats and can't live without them.  Yosi Samra Kids has seriously the most adorable little ballerinas in an amazing selection of colors, prints and designs.  Luckily they do a line for adults or else us mommies with be really jealous!  The flats look super comfortable and are perfect for all those little fashionistas.  My favorite are the patent cap toe flats and may have to get those for my girlie in a couple of colors.


Barefoot Dreams is another favorite in our house and both of my kids can't sleep without their fuzzy little blankets.  What could possible make Barefoot Dreams better than it already is???  Hello Kitty of course!  I can't get the Asian girl out of me and thankfully I have a daughter I can pass this obsession on to.  The Hello Kitty collection is already available and we don't need to wait until next summer to get our hands on it.


To get me through the cold and long London winters I have relied on 7 A.M. Enfant since the birth of my eldest son.  7 A.M. Enfant make seriously functional accessories while looking tres chic.  All of the pieces are made exceptionally well and my Le Sac Igloo still looks brand new after all these years.  All of the fun neon colors from the new collection are sure to brighten up any gloomy day.  I definitely need a pair of the warm muffs for pushing the kiddies around this winter and the kids version for the scooter is just genius.  In addition I'm digging their new bag collection and they have really thought through what us busy parents need when we are on the go.  The Hamper is just genius and this is the exact bag I've been designing in my head for years.  With a handy drawstring that can fit loads inside, a shoulder strap that can be worn and the best part it can easily be attached to your buggy/stroller with a Velcro strap.  I've got loads more to share so look out for another post on their amazing pieces!


Staying safe in the sun is a huge priority to me and I'm always making sure my kids are properly covered up in the pool.  It's probably because my husband's skin is quite fair and burns just by looking at the sun.  Luckily the kids seems to be a bit more resilient despite seeing sunshine for only a handful of days all year long.  Sunuva has an amazing collection of UV children's swimwear that means you can worry about one less thing while out at the pool/beach all while looking very stylish.  How cute is the skull design from the summer 2014 line?  I'm also really excited about the infant swimsuit with the floats built in.  Really wish I had one of these this summer!




Sunday, 11 August 2013

Stuck on You Back to School Giveaway! (Contest now closed)


THE WINNERS FOR THE STUCK ON YOU GIVEAWAY ARE:

TINA MATLIJOSKI 
AND 
CHERON

CONGRATULATIONS!  PLEASE BE SURE TO SEND ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSES.

Thank you all for entering and hope to have another giveaway soon.

xoxo

To help you get ready for back to school Stuck on You is giving away two $20 gift certificates!!!  There are so many fabulous goodies to choose from their collection to send your kids to school organized and in great style too.

CONTEST ENDS MONDAY AUGUST 26, 2013 AT 6PM

Here's how to enter:
*Please leave a comment below and your name will be selected randomly

and for more chances to win:
*Like Lattes and Juice and Stuck on You on Facebook and sharing this post

*Follow Lattes and Juice and Stuck on You on Twitter and retweeting this post

*Follow Lattes and Juice and Stuck on You on Instagram

(please leave a comment for each submission)

CONTEST IS ONLY FOR THE USA WEBSITE!

back to school must have - stuck on you


It's almost the end of August and that time of year to start prepping for the kids to go back to school (hip hip hooray!).  There is so much on the list to get but the most important thing is making sure everything that is  properly labeled.  There's nothing worse than spending all that money just to have it all go missing.  Thankfully Stuck on You have thought of everything a busy mom needs to make the back to school prep so much fun and more convenient.  I've been a huge fan of Stuck on You every since I've sent my son to nursery a couple of years ago.  The designs are always super cute and it actually gets him excited about going to school with a little surprise inside his clothes.

My top must have item from Stock on You is the personalized library bag.  It's such a good size with a convenient drawstring that can be used on it's own or inside another bag.  The best thing is that it is handy for all age groups and serves so many functions.  You can pack a spare set of clothes, diapers/nappies, wipes and a cuddly toy for your little one to bring to nursery.  It can also be used as a swim bag or to keep sports clothes in when the kid are older.  I actually just use it when I'm out and about with each of my kids' things stashed  separately in their own bags.  There are so many adorable designs to chose from too with a fun striped lining on the inside.


Stuck on you is known for their fabulous name and clothing labels and I seriously cannot live without them!  All of the designs are super cute and I love how much you can personalize them from style, color, and font.  The iron-on name labels are really easy to use and stay on there even after loads of washer/dryer action.  My son wears a uniform at his Montessori nursery so it is crucial that everything is labeled.  These labels really make his uniform pop out when they are mixed in with all of the others so it's easier to find his clothes on playdates with his school friends.  My son is very into super heroes currently and the Super Strong labels are perfect for him.  The designer name labels are another one of the products I cannot live without.  The literally just stick on and so simple to use.  Great for lunch boxes, drink bottles, snack containers and of course toys.  All labels are dishwasher and microwave safe and you can't get more practical than that!  I could not resist the Parisian Oui Oui design for my daughter.

Thankfully Stuck on You have lots global websites (USA, Europe, UK, Asia, and the Middle East) so you can all get your hands on their products and they do ship quick.

*sponsored post - I was not compensated for this post but was provided with samples for review*

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

santa barbara part 2 - coral casino beach and cabana club


Right across the street from the Four Seasons Biltmore is a private members club the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club that is owned by the Four Seasons.  Luckily for us, all hotel guest get to use the Coral Casino as part of the resort and this is where we spent most of our holiday.  The Coral Casino is so super glamorous and spacious with an Olympic size swimming pool, kiddie pool, direct access to the beach, changing rooms, gym and 2 restaurants.  It was so nice to sit around in the sunshine with gorgeous ocean views while the kids splashed around in the little swimming pool.  The staff are as lovely as ever and the reception desk sell loads of necessities from sunblock to swim nappies/diapers which I of course forgot.


There are a couple of dining options at Coral Casino.  Tydes is the more upscale dining experience located upstairs with panoramic ocean views and the poolside Coral Cafe is more casual with delicious and fresh food.  The best option is the lovely waiters bringing your food right to your sun lounger without having to move or lift a finger.  There are plenty of choices for the kids on the kids' menu including an oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwich dipped in chocolate!

We really had such a fabulous time and we we return soon.


Monday, 5 August 2013

heaven at the four seasons biltmore


We packed up the kids and headed to a family friends wedding at the Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara in Montecito, CA for a much needed family vacation.  This was our first trip to Santa Barbara and as soon as we drove into entrance of the resort you could just sense that this place was magical.  Once we stepped out of the car from our drive from Los Angeles (of course with some drama involved with the kids) I was completely in love and was immediately trying to convince my husband to move to California.  I've never seen myself as a west coast girl but I may have to rethink this!  The resort is on an absolutely gorgeous seaside estate with beautiful Spanish Colonial buildings scattered throughout.  There is an amazing sense of privacy and so much to explore inside the resort.  The staff and service throughout our stay was incredible and you are really able to completely relax without having to worry about a thing.


We stayed in a ground floor garden room and was very warm and spacious.  I really loved all the character of the room and resort as there is only so much super modern decor this girl can take.  The bedroom doors opened onto a private patio that lead to the hotel grounds which was great for the kids to run around.  In true Four Seasons style there is a luxurious bathroom decorated with pretty hand painted tiles.  We have done a lot of travelling with the kids and this is seriously the most kid friendly hotel we have ever stayed in.  When we walked into the room a cot/crib was in there already with the cutest bedding and a set of organic baby toiletries place on top of the baby blanket.  The biggest surprise was the nappy/diaper wipes warmer sitting on the counter and a nappy bin/diaper pail already in the bathroom.  They really do think of everything to make you stay that much more enjoyable.  As if I wasn't already impressed the kids were given gifts constantly.  When we checked in the kiddies were greeted with their very own little Beanie Babies teddies (Ty Warner the founder of Beanie Babies is the owner of The Biltmore), snacks and beach toys were sent to our room, and when they came to turn down the beds little robes and slippers left on our beds.  It was really so sweet and the kids absolutely loved the spoiling!

There is an intimate swimming pool on the resort property that was a little too peaceful for my loud children running around.  The pool area was really beautiful and I would have happily relaxed there all day without the kids.  There is no beach area in the resort itself but I think the biggest perk of the hotel is access to the private Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club just across the street which more than makes up for all of this.  (Post to follow shortly!)

There are tons of activities for kids throughout the resort including a kids' club which we didn't have a chance to check out.  We did book a fantastic sitter through the hotel concierge which even my neurotic husband turned out to be completely comfortable with.  


I am a huge breakfast snob and pretty picky about hotel breakfasts.  I guess because it is my least favorite meal of the deal and really has to be something for me to be excited about.  I mean before kids the only way I would make it down for breakfast is if I was up because of jetlag.  Of course with the kids now we are all up and ready and there are hungry mouths to feed.  The breakfast buffet was definitely worth it at The Biltmore and such a great way to fuel up for the day.  There are an amazing selection of baked goodies, cheese and charcuterie selection, and most importantly an omelette station where you can order your eggs exactly how you want them.  I just loved having my breakfast sitting outside on the patio with ocean views and it could not be further from our meals in London.  There are plenty of young children running around so we felt really comfortable and even made a couple of friends.  We did have a celebrity sighting and sat next to Noel Gallagher of Oasis and his family.  They did have a nanny with them and I'm sure enjoyed their dining experience more than the chaos that follows me.

We really did have such a fantastic time at the Four Seasons and would love to go back again sometime.  What makes it so special is there is that relaxed California ambiance and makes it so easy to relax and unwind.  It truly is a little piece of heaven and I'm sure once it's winter again in London I will be plotting my escape to the gorgeous Santa Barbara.

1260 Channel Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
USA


Thursday, 1 August 2013

finally my chanel espadrilles


Ever since I laid my eyes earlier this spring on the Chanel espadrilles I knew I had to have them.  Such a gorgeous pair of shoes for the summer and very practical at the same time it has my name written all over it.  Just a couple of days too late to the game and my size was completely sold out.  I tried my very best to squeeze into the size 37 (which is usually my size) but it just wasn't happening.  Lucky for me Chanel sent out a second shipment to the stores just a couple of weeks ago despite being told there would be no more coming in this season.  I jumped on it like a hawk and scored a pair of all black leather espadrilles!  I would have loved to have the cream pair with the black toe but I think the all black ones are way more practical and less likely to get dirty.  And they have pretty much been glued on my feet since they arrived in the mail.

Images 
Top Row:
My all black espadrilles
A look from Haute Design
Paired with cargo skinnies

Bottom Row: 
Next to a gorgeous Celine Trapeze
On super blogger Sincerely Jules

Monday, 22 July 2013

just being audrey


I was browsing in Anthropologie the other day and came across the most gorgeous children's book ever called Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo! I completely obsessed with Audrey Hepburn and have seen every single one of her movies multiple times.  Whenever I'm having a down day I always cozy up on the couch and watch Funny Face, Sabrina or Roman Holiday and it instantly puts a huge smile on my face.  I love her beauty, grace and she was such an incredible person with a huge heart.  

The stunning illustrations by Julia Denos immediately caught my eye and I could not put the book down even with two hyper children screaming for my attention.  The book is the story of Audrey Hepburn from her childhood to her career as an actress and humanitarian and is so inspiring for little girls.  I cannot wait until my daughter is old enough to share this story with her and hope she will love Audrey just as much as I do!





Thursday, 18 July 2013

a little bit of paris in nyc

One of the first places I hit when I'm in NYC is the Bouchon Bakery at Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle.  There are several reasons why I'm completely addicted to this eatery.  First it's for completely practical reasons as this Jersey girl needs somewhere convenient to park (discount coupons are available at the concierge desk), it's super easy with kids with convenient bathrooms, and it's walking distance to the shops on Broadway, Central Park and FAO Schwartz.  The main reason I love absolutely adore Bouchon is that I can get a quick piece of the genius of Thomas Keller without going to Napa Valley and I'm instantly transported to Paris.  Of course there is THE Thomas Keller attraction Per Se in the same building but there is no way I'm dragging 2 children there.  There are 2 parts to the Bouchon Bakery in Time Warner, there is the restaurant where you can dine in and the cafe where you can grab food to go or eat at one of the tables on the side.  What I do is eat at the restaurant and then grab a bunch of goodies or home.

the bakery

amazing desserts to go

The food at the cafe is stocked with scrumptious classic Parisian baked goodies such as fresh breads, croissant, and macarons as well as classic American treats like the oatmeal cookie and their TKO (Bouchon's take on the Oreo).  I've probably eaten one of everything there and have never been disappointed.  You seriously can't go wrong!

the restaurant

You can also enjoy a lovely meal with a stunning view of Central Park and Columbus Circle at the restaurant.  The food is also classic Parisian with a slight American twist.  My favorite dish is for sure the chicken dumpling soup.  The service is always really good and they are quite sweet with the kiddos too.  It's definitely worth a visit if you are ever in town.

kid's ham and cheese baguette

chicken dumpling soup

tomato soup

croque madame

birthday cake macarons

ps - photos courtesy of my sister Kristie. follow her on Instagram for some amazing foodie pics!  here is the page for Kristie84

Bouchon Bakery at Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Circle
3rd Floor
New York, NY
10019