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Blog

Filtering by Tag: family

What are you reading this summer ?

Sophie Lombardi

I am an emphatic reader. In fact I would go so far as to say that I am not happy unless there is a good book by my bed. Fiction is a wonderful escape and respite from reality and getting stuck into someone else's story gives me new perspective on my own. Matt Haig puts it perfectly in his latest book Notes On Nervous Planet.

Reading isn't important because it helps you get a job. It's important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you're given. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. 

Summer books often imply suncream stained Jackie Collins' novels. Whilst I am very partial to a little Rupert Campbell Black, these are my top 5 reads for the sunshine. Take with Mr Whippy and icy cold beers. 

Velvet and tropical print cushions available  here.  

Velvet and tropical print cushions available here. 

Bonjour Tristesse by Francois Sagan. When I read this I felt like I was having a long languid siesta in the South of France.  Totally French and absolutely immoral, you'll feel the scorch at the heart of this story.  

Heartburn by Norah Ephron. Protagonist Rachel feels like your best friend and who better to take on holiday?  She's wonderfully witty and acerbic, you'll have a great time together. 

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald.  Scandal and wild summer parties doing the Charleston in Jay Gatsby's mansion? Yes please.  Make mine a Long Island Ice Tea. 

Instructions For A Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell. The tension amongst this dysfunctional family will make you feel so much better about your travelling group. It's also a lovely tangled tale of family relationships.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. An excellent travelling companion. David Sedaris will charm your socks off with his outrageously funny stories of family and living in France. 

I'm sure that you have got many books that I could add to my list. I'd love to know your suggestions. 

Love

Sophie xx

Velvet and tropical print cushions available  here . 

Velvet and tropical print cushions available here

Have Kids Will Travel

Sophie Lombardi

Halfway through the school hols is not the ideal time to write a blog on traveling with kids. However some of you may be fortunate enough to swoop up good deals outside of the holidays and it's always nice to hear that wanderlust doesn't have to stop after procreation. With family on opposite sides of the globe, we have traveled on 9 long haul flights to and from Australia with our little nippers.  A bit battered but still here to tell the tale, I thought we'd give you a little insight into these bonkers adventures.

Plane travel is the least civilized way to travel with kids. After being confined to a germ box for numerous hours you may end up hating your children, partner and questioning all your life choices. When children are old enough to be plugged into games and movies, plane travel is so much easier. However you'll have to be an expert in fixing gadgets that have been pressed and frozen three million times. I'll put a list of survival tips below, but most importantly if you are traveling alone, you must tell the airline staff as they can provide amazing support.  After 16 flight hours of breastfeeding/baby passed out at the boob bar, a sympathetic stewardess took my little one for a walk. This potentially saved me from a complete public meltdown or throwing myself out of the plane. The lovely staff will look after your kids when you need the loo and bring your food out at a different time so you can feed the nippers first and don't have to negotiate towers of trays on your lap.

Our family enjoys traveling on boats and trains. We can all move around and the journey is most definitely part of the adventure. Boats often have very questionable cabaret/clown acts which are always entertaining. Some even have cinemas and designated kids play areas. There is always the danger of a rough crossing. but the bonus of many travel sickness remedies is that they may make your child sleep all the way ! On trains, the buffet carriage is a highlight as is the fantastic treats trolley. Board games can be spread out and dare devils will enjoy crossing the wobbly bits between carriages.

We've always felt that the benefits of exploring new places and seeing loved ones far outweighs the challenges of family travel, even if we are hissing at each other and the kids learn some more bad words along the way.

Bon Voyage

Sophie xxxx

 

Top Tips for Long Flights with Small People

1. Loo always just before boarding.

2. Games/Toys that won't end up immediately under seat (stickers, etch-a-sketch things with pens attached)

3. Change of top for yourself if you are feeding a baby on your lap.

4. Buy large kids headphones that will fit the tv jack. Also be prepared to bolster them up on cushions so that they can see the screen.

5. Millions of snacks.

6. Valium .......

Obviously the best kind of travel is in Morris Minor with  Liberty print cushions  and a dashing gentleman

Obviously the best kind of travel is in Morris Minor with Liberty print cushions and a dashing gentleman

Festivalling with the little moppets

Sophie Lombardi

Not been to a festival since your free and single days in the 90's? Neither had I. Let me tell you, taking the kids is a whole different ball game. I'm no Edith Bowman, but I have talked to my family festy friends and we've come up with some tips....

The Tent

Back in the day, you were all too pissed to get the tent up, so you slept underneath the ground sheet and it was surprisingly comfortable. We are terrible campers but the only camp craft you need at a festival is to be able to put the tent up. To avoid divorce proceedings, attempt this at home first and put it up immediately on arrival at the festival. As everyone has bought the same tent on sale at Halfords, it's a good idea to put a up a flag or something bright so you can find your tent again and the kids don't get too lost.

Food

Unlike Reading in the 90's when you lived off fags, booze and the occasional Ginsters pasty, you are going to need some real food this time around. Many of the family festivals have fancy schmancy food outlets (Fortnums at Port Eliot this year). Buying the kids aged-venison and gruyure waffles may feel like setting fire to your hard earned cash. As most festy meals cost around £8, we recommend packing a cool bag of rice cakes, peanut butter, muesli bars or whatever will keep your kids going, without having to partake in any camp craft cooking.

Sleep

The main flaw in family festivals is that the party doesn't stop until the wee hours and yet the kids are still up with the sun. Tip from the mama ravers, ear plugs for you so that you can get some kip, eye masks for the kids (put these on them after they have gone to sleep) and all the coffee in the entire world.

Planning

There's a lot of stuff for the precious moppets to do at family festivals. Some of it is free and some of it you have to pay for. To avoid meltdowns and being totally skint, look at the program with the kids beforehand and agree on a couple of things a day. You may need to book into workshops in advance.

Tired Little Leggies

It's often a long way between the different stages at festivals. Little leggies may benefit from a good robust buggy or a cart that can be rented from most festivals. You will inevitably end up carrying them at some point as well as lugging around the buggy/cart.

Other things you may want to bring along are loads of baby wipes (festival shower), head torches and ear defenders (even though our children make more noise than a death metal band).

Poppy and Honesty are going to be at Port Eliot Festival this year running workshops for big and little people. Please come and say hello and make yourself some Liberty Print Headgear.

Best tip of all, have tonnes of fun ..

Love

Sophie xxx

 

So damn hoo-gah

Sophie Lombardi

With 17 books on Hygge  (pronounced hoo-gah) gracing our bookstores this winter, the chances that you'll get one for Christmas are fairly high. Absolutely everyone is at it; soon Dave Cam will be tweeting #hygge whilst he's #chillaxing at his country manor. So why all of a sudden have we become obsessed with Danish wellbeing? Perhaps because we have had such a totally rubbish year? or maybe we feel we need permission to take some down-time in our frenetic wi-fi dependent lives?

So what exactly is Hygge? After doing a bit of reading it seems that the clever Danes have sold us the concept of 'cosiness' and are now laughing their chic woollen slipper- socks off. Initially I was  concerned that there would be an element of winter sportiness involved, but no, it seems to embrace Hygge is to remain slothsome under a blanket eating vast amounts of sugar for the rest of the winter months. (hip, hip, hoo-gah). Well not completely, there seems to be a collective element to Hygge suggesting that we put down the devices and come together for some wholesome family fun (nb: the Danes are particularly fond of singing....). This poses a number of challenges in my house given that a. Board games incite violence in the children, b. The big child refuses to listen to stories and c. They are both obsessed with the nasty FA premiership, yuk (all that polyester). The only common ground we seem to have is food, central to all good hyggers.

The Danes embrace the concept of very slow food (not so good for greedy 7 year olds seeking instant gratification). So our family winter hygge is all about smores. For the uninitiated, this gourmet delight is a marshmallow toasted on the fire and then squished delightfully between two biscuits (preferably chocolate). Embellish as you wish; peanut butter, sprinkles and chocolate buttons are the shizzle.  Smor-ing is greeted with great enthusiasm and for a few sacred wonderful moments our family sits around the fire toasting marshmallows feeling very self satisfied and so damn hygge (until someone gets jousted with a toasting stick).

Stay warm and cosy

Sophie xxxxxx

marshies.jpg