Entries Tagged as 'family lifestyle'

tips for getting to school on time

Lately (ok if I’m honest it’s ever since Anya started school) we were always in a mad rush to get out the door. No matter what, it always seemed that the last 10 minutes were a crazy panic to get to school on time.  We usually ended up arriving at school about a minute late or at best, bang on time.  It doesn’t matter if you have one child or four, I think so many of us have manic mornings.  And that got me thinking – why can’t we be just that 2-3 minutes earlier so that we aren’t running like crazies.  After 2 years plus of trying to beat the clock, I decided to make some changes to our morning routine.  Some worked and some didn’t – so I thought I would share the tips for getting to school on time that worked for us and helped us have less stressy mornings (maybe not stress-free everyday but definitely less frantic):

1.  Get up earlier than everyone else
This has been a game changer for me – maybe you all know this secret but I didn’t.  I started doing this at the start of this school year and I feel so much less stressed for it.  I lose around an hour of sleep, but it’s so worth it  – and yes I get up at least an hour earlier sometimes a bit more. Especially if you’re a working mum, that hour in the morning before everyone else is awake is a godsend.  I check my emails, think and plan the day ahead both work day and any family chores/errands that need to be done and most of all just get my head ready for the day.  Before, I got up with everyone else and tried to do this alongside everything else and it was mayhem. Now I really look forward to my hour of solitude in the morning – if I ever oversleep I feel cheated!

2.  Make a morning routine chart
We made a morning routine chart just over a month ago.  It simply lays out the order of what has to be done when so it saves me shouting out instructions and nagging every two minutes.  And I was doing a lot of shouting before this chart!  Now Anya looks at the chart every so often each morning and she knows what she has to do when.  I also built in ‘golden time’ which is a little play time in the morning if everything is done on time.  This has turned out to be a good incentive – even though Anya hardly ever manages to get golden time, she tries which makes her more likely to stop daydreaming and start getting ready.

3.  Sunday evening planning
There’s always something happening in school – from mufti days to bringing in autumn leaves for craft projects and so much more.  I have started spending just 5 minutes on Sunday evening reading school emails and putting reminders for the week in my phone.  I always set two reminders – one for a couple of days ahead in case anything needs to be bought or organised that requires time and one for the morning of the day.  In the past I have forgotten mufti day and the crestfallen look on Anya’s face when she was the only one in uniform at school taught me a lesson.  So plan ahead and know what’s in store for you for the entire week.

4.  Make a game of it!
Kids love games and love winning. Anya gets dressed at the same time as Richard so I have made a game of this – I challenge her to be dressed before he is.  She always wants to win so the speed at which she now gets her uniform on is amazing!  Before, getting Anya to put on her uniform could take upwards of 10 minutes.  Not any more.  This kind of challenge or any game can really speed things up in the morning so think about where you can do something like this in your morning routine.

6. Check the weather
Nothing is more frustrating than spending precious time in the morning madly hunting for things, while stress levels are climbing high because time is ticking. We live in London and that means we can have summer one day and winter the next so by checking the weather the night before I can get umbrellas’s, raincoats, wellie boots, scarves, hats etc ready and by the door instead of scrambling around in the morning.

7. Prepare your kids things the night before
An obvious one but I thought I would include it anyway as we all know we should do this but do you do it?  I didn’t because I would leave it till last thing at night by which time I was too tired so I always put it off till the morning. But then I started getting everything ready in the evening and this has made me much more inclined to do it.  So by around 7-7:30pm I get book bags ready, any PE/swimming kits packed and uniform hung up outside the wardrobe so it’s ready to be grabbed and worn.

These 7 tips have helped us get to school on time and avoid last minute scrambles and they’ve also made me feel calmer in the mornings.  Not every day – we still have those manic mornings but they are far less than they used to be.  What do you do to in the mornings?  Any tips – please share!

Have a wonderful weekend a hopefully a calm Monday morning!

kids say the funniest things

Kids really do say the funniest and sweetest things ever.  Lately I’ve been making a great effort to write down some of the stuff that Anya has been saying because I really want to remember it.  These little conversation gems won’t be around forever and will get less and less frequent as she gets older.  I was looking through my book of these notes and I thought I would share a few here for a light-hearted end to the week:

I was reading the Observer food monthly (kids special) which had an interview with Nathan Outlaw talking about his kids and how adventurous they are with food including all kinds of vegetables.  I showed Anya this interview as she is a fussy eater and especially dislikes all manner of vegetables.  After explaining how they eat and try everything I asked her to fill in the blank:

Me: The children eat everything like meat, fish, chicken, fruits and they even eat….? (I’m thinking veg of course)
Anya: … their dad?

Latest excuses not to sleep:
After trying a few usual ones and realising they’re not going to work, Anya pipes up:  ‘I can’t sleep because my underwear is too small!’ (Whatever will she think of next?)

Anya asks to borrow my ipad and this is how the conversation goes:
Me: Why do you want it?
Anya: I want to sing along to ‘Beat It’
Me: OK give me five minutes
Anya: No, that’s too long
(I tell her again that she has to wait but I can see she’s getting very frustrated and impatient and I just can’t understand why the urgency)
Me: Why can’t you wait five minutes?
Anya: Because the concert has started and the pretend audience are getting very bored!

Anya: I’m really rich.
Me: Please could you give me £50,000?
Anya: I only have £2 but you can have £1 (bless her sweet little heart!)

What are some funny things your kids have come out with?  Or maybe they’ve said some stuff to melt your heart?  I’d love to hear in the comments.

P.S.  Anya wears the gorgeous Oslo dress which is now available in the Ebabee shop.  Unfortunately stock is very limited due to off-line sales and this dress being so popular.  And the cute brown brogue shoes were a gift from Pisamonas – where you can get £10 off your first purchase.

"kids say the funniest things"

We often talk to Anya about what she wants to be when she grows up.  It’s such a fun conversation to have with kids as they often come up with the funniest things.  As a little girl, my mum tells me that I used to say I’m going to be a peanut shop owner because I loved peanuts!  Recently Anya came home from school very excited because she said she had decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Anya (really excited): Mama, do you know what I want to be when I grow up?
Me: No. Tell me, tell me.
Anya: I want to be a teacher.
Me: Wow! That’s great. It’s so nice that you want to help children learn and teach them everything you know.
Anya: No mama, I just want to tell everyone what to do!

That’s my bossy baby!  So what do your kids say?  Have they come up with a funny profession or like Anya, just cracked you up with their innocent honesty?  I’d love to hear in the comments.

Have a great weekend everyone and enjoy the little gems your kiddies come out with.  x

{photo by Abigail Fahey Photography for ebabee}

"how to make ribbon plaits"

When Anya started school last year, she immediately loved every minute of it much to mine and Richards joy.  That is everything except PE days.  PE days were a nightmare simply because she hated her PE kit and still does.  She is such a girly girl who only wears dresses and skirts so the idea of wearing a tracksuit is awful for her.  Of course I can’t change her uniform but I also know that I can’t go through another year of tantrums and tears twice a week.  So recently I came up with an idea which I hoped would work.  I bought some pretty satin ribbon in her school colour and told her she could wear ribbon in her hair on PE days.  She is delighted and it’s been working really well.  It’s such a simple thing but the ribbon makes her feel girly and I guess also takes the focus away from the tracksuit.  We’ve been trying out a few styles with this (life-saving!) ribbon and Anya’s favourite has become these ribbon plaits which my mum used to do for me as a kid.  So I thought I would share how we do these:

"how to make ribbon braids easy"

Start by making two ponytails.  I prefer lower ponytails as they fall better once made in to plaits.

"how to easily plait ribbon in to hair"

Cut a piece of ribbon and slide it in to the hair tie making sure to adjust the ribbon so that both sides are of equal length.   The length of the ribbon should be more than double the length of the ponytail.  This is so that you have enough ribbon left over to make a bow later.

"how to braid hair with ribbon"

Separate the ponytail in to three sections as you would do when you plait hair.  The left strand of ribbon should be held with the left section of hair and the right strand of ribbon with the right section of hair.  The middle section of hair has no ribbon.

"how to eaily plait hair with ribbon"

Then plait hair as normal making sure that the ribbon is plaited in too.  Try and keep the both the strands of ribbon on top of the sections of hair – like in the picture above.

"ribbon braids for kids"

Using a hair tie, tie the plait making sure the ribbon is tied in too.

"how to plait your hair with ribbons"

Do the same with the other ponytail and then tie the leftover ribbon in to bows. And you’ve got pretty ribbon plaits.

"how to braid kids hair with ribbon"

This is the easiest and fastest way I could think of doing it as time is always running out in the mornings before school so I wanted something that doesn’t take longer than making regular plaits.  Anya adores her ribbon plaits and now demands it everyday, not just PE days!

"family Summer holiday ideas"

I recently met up with a friend who has grown up kids and she was lamenting the fact that this would be her last Summer vacation with all her kids as they’re off to university in Autumn.  That got me thinking that I only have (at best) 13 family Summer holidays left with Anya and that just doesn’t sound like a lot.  I definitely need to make each one count!  With the first of my 13 Summer holidays coming up very soon, I started thinking about all the wonderful places I want to return to as well as new places I want to see.  Both Richard and I dream of exploring every corner of the world one day.  We did a lot of traveling before Anya came along but now since Anya is only 5, the same holidays have a different focus as they need to cater to her entertainment as well as ours so I started thinking about my top 3 choices for now:

"family villas to rent in Tuscany"

1. Beautiful Tuscany
I visited Tuscany for the first time about 3 years ago and it was love.  We hired a villa and went on a big family vacation so there was loads of fun and company for everybody.  Tuscany truly is a beautiful and very relaxing place and I can’t wait to go back there.  In case we can’t manage a full on extended family holiday with our own villa (which can be a nightmare to co-ordinate) I’d love to stay somewhere like Villa Pia.  With 17 bedrooms, there are lots of families staying in the villa at the same time so Anya will always have ready made company which matters as she is an only child.  There are also loads of kiddy activities from the more usual swimming and playgrounds to the more unusual like cooking and art classes for kids.  And for the adults too there’s plenty of lounging, socialising and eating on offer as well as fun activity day trips for all the family.  It’s rare to find a place that genuinely caters to both adults and kids equally so it’s definitely top of my list.

"Summer holiday ideas for family"

2.  Gorgeous Goa
Nothing beats a beach Summer holiday.  Which kid doesn’t like to spend time splashing by the sea side and building sandcastles galore?  There are lots of places to choose from across the world but our last beach vacation was a glorious week in Goa a couple of years ago where we couldn’t get enough of all the sun, sand and seafood.  We chose a family friendly resort so there were plenty of other families and kids around.  Anya was never short of company and made friends wherever we went.  Much like the Italians, Indians tend to be very relaxed about kids running around and enjoying themselves around the adults even at restaurants.  Most of the restaurants are open air so that helps a lot.  I can’t wait to get back to Goa as not only is it one of the most chilled out family friendly places but the food is to die for.

"city breaks with kids"

3. Vibrant cities
Even though Anya is only 5, we have taken her on many a city break which works as long as we make sure we have one thing planned for her each day.  Sometimes a full on 2 week holiday isn’t possible due to budgets or work pressures so I find even getting away for 5 or 6 days feels like a break.  My one top tip for a city break with kids is to stay in an apartment over a hotel.  This holiday isn’t as social as the others but during our last city break to San Francisco, we found lots to do for both Anya and us.  We took her to many playgrounds, fed her ice-cream and pizza and visited museums that would appeal to her.  Every city has something to offer kids so I think it’s a shame to miss out on the culture and vibrancy that this kind of a holiday offers just because you have kids.  We can’t get away for long this Summer so we’re thinking of a city break to Berlin.  Do you have any tips for child-freindly places in Berlin? 

Where do you Summer holiday?  I’m always looking for new ideas especially recommendations so I’d love to hear where you holiday in the Summer.

This post if brought to you in partnership with Villa Pia.  All content, words and ideas are my own.  thank you for supporting my work with carefully selected partners that support my blog.

{Top, 3rd and 4th photo by ebabee, 2nd photo by Villa Pia}

"father and daughter moments ebabee"

Have you ever watched the movie ‘Father of the Bride’?  For those of you who haven’t it’s about a father who is struggling (in a humorous way) to come to terms with his baby girl growing up and getting married.  In our home, Richard has already made a few joking (i hope) comments about Anya not being allowed near boys till she’s at least 25!    But boys aside, fathers and daughters do have a very special relationship.  It’s a different bond from what mothers and daughters share.  As Fathers Day is on Sunday I wanted to share a few lovely yet unexpected differences in our relationship that I have noticed and wondered if you have noticed these too:

1.  The bonding time took much longer for Richard.  He loved Anya from the day she was born and probably before but he didn’t find it easy bonding with a baby.  And then 6 months in to her life, everything changed and the bond grew stronger and stronger from there on.

2. He notices lovely little things about her that I miss.  Little facial expressions, big new words she uses, if she’s grown a millimetre. Maybe because I spend a lot more time with her or maybe because he sees her differently than I do.

3.  He falls for her feminine wiles each and every time!  All children want to get their way.  Boys tend to be more straightforward asking for what they want whereas girls can be a bit more creative.  When Anya is plotting to get her way, I can see what she is up to from the start.  But Richard innocently falls for her ploys hook, line and sinker!  And the best part is that she knows this and takes full advantage.

4. He lovingly makes complex DIY things for her that she adores like dolls houses and magnetic fishing games.  Recently he made her a ride-on plane from a large cardboard box and when she tired of the plane and demanded a boat, he stayed up late in to the night to transform the plane in to a boat so she would wake up to it the next morning.

5.  Anya gets away with doing things to Richard that no other person on the planet could do.  Like putting frilly clips in his hair or even painting his nails!

Have you noticed any special little differences in the way you and your partner are with your daughter?  Or maybe this applies to sons too in a different way?  I’m really curious to hear.

A very happy Fathers day to all the wonderful dads out there! x

{photo by ebabee when Anya just turned 1}

"where do babies come from?"

Last week, Anya and I had this conversation:

Anya:  Mama, where did I come from?
Me:  You came from my tummy.
Anya:  I already know that!  But where did I come from?
Me:  I don’t know what you mean?  You came from my tummy…
Anya:  No mama, how did I get inside your tummy?!

I wasn’t ready for this conversation as I never dreamed that I would be having it with my 5 year old.  Maybe I’m naive but I always thought these questions come up much later.  I quickly changed the topic and distracted her but I know that this will probably come up again soon.  And I’m really wondering what to say.  Do I go down the creative route and make something up or do I keep changing the topic?  I know I’m not going to tell her anything even close to the truth yet.  I do think it’s good to be honest with kids but this is just too young for me but I still do want to give her some answer.   So I’ve been trying to think of a few and the one I’m leaning towards is when you want a baby, you wish really, really hard for one and it just appears in your tummy! 

Have you had this conversation with your kids?  At what age?  What did you say?  Can you think of a better explanation?  I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope it doesn’t come with any awkward questions! x

{photo by ebabee: Anya aged 10 months}

The mixed family

May 16, 2014

"how to raise kids in a multicultural family"

As I’m Indian and my husband is British, Anya is a mixed kid.  These days I’m seeing more and more mixed families which is a wonderful thing.  Many of our friends are multicultural as are Anya’s.  Especially in and around London, the multicultural family is very much the norm and I love this aspect of my adopted city.   Recently a friend in a similar family asked me how I was exposing Anya to the Indian side of her culture and this got me thinking.  Am I doing enough?  As Anya is getting older, I am getting more and more conscious of the need to make sure she understands her Indian roots too.  As her father is British and she is growing up in London she will naturally understand and experience the British culture but exposure to the Indian side is up to me.

Anya has grown up eating a lot of Indian food at home and has visited India several times.  I’ve tried to teach her Hindi (the Indian language) but she resisted my attempts because she felt no one else speaks it so why should she.  She would cover her ears and tell me not to speak in ‘that funny way’.  Of course we all know that no kid likes to be different.  Instead, I recently enrolled her in Hindi classes.  This isn’t just to learn the language but also to give her an opportunity to mix with other Indian kids and let her see that there are other people in London who speak Hindi (which came as a bit of a shock to her at her first class!).  I’ve also started making an effort to celebrate the biggest Indian festival of the year and I even went to her school to give a talk about it to her class.

I’m learning as I go along and trying to do things so that she has a balance of both cultures.  My husband Richard is totally supportive of this and like me, completely believes that if you do happen to be a mixed family it’s so important to have a good understanding of both your cultures as that can really widen your horizons.

Since I’m still finding my way, I’m really curious to find out if you are a mixed family, how do you do it?  Do you have any tips on integrating the second culture in to daily life?  I’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas.

Have a wonderful weekend! x

{photo by ebabee – an old one from when Anya was just a baby}

"lille nord nordic family magazine"

I’m so excited to tell you about a new print magazine that launched last week.  Lille Nord is a Nordic family lifestyle mag created by Monica Bach and Katrine Gitz both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the London launch.  The magazine explores modern family life in Nordic countries with a focus on decor, design, food and travel.

"nordic kids interiors magazine""lille nord magazine"

Discovering an inspired new magazine (or a new issue of an old favourite) is definitely one of life’s little pleasures.  And then taking 20 minutes out of a busy day to flip through it while sipping coffee is such a treat.  While doing exactly that with Lille Nord yesterday, I enjoyed the travel section where you get insider tips on places to see and eat when traveling as a family.  This issue gives you a day in Copenhagen which includes lots of play time as well as culture, food and shopping ideas.  My other favourite is the decor section with lots of inspiration for stylish kids rooms.  If you are a fan of Nordic style and all it has to offer, this magazine is very much for you.  At the moment Lille Nord will only be available through their own website but they’re looking for stockists around the globe.

{all photos by ebabee}

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie