Paris

Over the school holidays this summer I travelled to Paris with my kids (Olivia - 9yrs & Max 7yrs). During our four day trip, Paris captured our hearts and is now one of our favorite cities.

Here are our recommendations, all tried and test by us:

Travel

Eurostar is fast & comfortable from London (St Pancras Station) to Paris (Gare du Nord) travel time 2hr 15 minutes. We bought standard seats which honestly were perfect. There are so many great shops at London St Pancras Station: John Lewis, Hamleys, The White Company.  Once you arrive at the Paris train station: Gare Du Nord Paris it is short taxi drive to all the main hotels. Once in Paris we Ubered everywhere and did not bother with the subway.

Hotel

We stayed at the Westin Vendome, the hotel has a superb location opposite Jardin Tuileries which is a stunning park & playground. Our room was not huge but we were barely in our room, the bathrooms could do with a little sprucing up! If money was no object I would stay round the corner at The Ritz, mainly because I love this location especially for a short visit.

A short walk from our hotel is my favorite shopping street - Rue St Honore (3 min walk), Place Vendome for stunning buildings great for photos (3mins walk) Louvre museum (15 minute walk) through Jardin Luxembourg. I love walking as much as I can around Paris, each time I gasp at the architecture and landscape.

Restaurants

Here are a few of our favorite restaurants and less of a tourist trap.  Paris restaurants are notorious for crappy service, despite your French fluency! Below are our favs”

Breakfast - Cafe Florre Eggs, Cappuccino & croissants!

Lunch - NOTE nearly everywhere will close service at 2pm or 2.30pm!
Maison Maison Overlooking the Siene. There is a cute kids play area next door.

Pizzeria Iovines delicious pizza, wine & salad. Round the corner from my favorite store Sezane.

There are boulangeries on most corners. One day kids & I just grabbed a-to-go quiche, baguette sandwich and carried on admiring Paris!

Hotel Costes: Perfect. Kid & adult friendly. Lovely setting and so easy for first night.

Sightseeing

Note - Buy tickets in advance and allow time for security checks! We did not buy tickets in advance and in the red hot sun we queued for an hour for some sights but was well worth it!

Louvre - Beautiful! Kids loved the Mona Lisa but we also enjoy stunning setting, architecture and incredible curation of art. Admission free for kids!

Eiffel Tower - Magnificent! We loved so much, truly one of the most stunning monuments I have every seen. The views are spectacular, we all have our own interpretation of a city but I loved seeing Paris through my kids eyes! We bought tickets for the elevator up & down!

Notre Dame - Worth a visit, line moves super fast and is donation based! My kids recognized the the historiacal cathedral from the movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This was super quick visit for us!

Palais Garnier, Opera National de Paris - This was huge hit for all of us! They recognized this beautiful opera house from the movie LEAP, my kids remembered every scene from in Palais Garnier. Indeed an extraordinary building surrounded by the busy streets of Paris!

Jardin des Tuileries - This incredible public park links you to Louvre Museum from our hotel The gardens were designed by the same architect of gardens at Versailles . It has playgrounds and the kids loved it. It also had a small pop up fun fair for the summer months which was a huge hit in the evenings for my two! During the Christmas months they have a pop ice rink and winter fair.

Jardin du Luxembourg - Napoléon dedicated the 23 gracefully laid-out hectares of the Luxembourg Gardens to the children of Paris! Beautiful public park next to Luxembourg Palace, lots to do for the kids including playground and there is a pond in front of the palace where you can rent sail toy boats which they push round the pond using sticks! Cute kiosks selling ice-cream and coffee! Also a great place for a picnic!

Arch de Triomphe & Champs-Élysées - One of the most famous boulevards linking to the most famous Arch. We did a drive by which was fabulous to avoid the sea of people.

Shopping

Le Bon Marche - Temple of Paris Department stores.

Monoprix - Target of France, we stocked up on reasonable toiletries and cheap chic clothes for kids!

Shop Rue St Honoré - My favorite shopping street. Isabel Marant, Bash, Goyard. These street is close to our hotel and Lourvre.

Louis Vuitton Place Vendome Flagship Store is worth visit for the history and stellar views of Place Vendome. The building was designed in 1714 by a Versailles architect which showcases Paris artistry at its best. The store is magnificent and you have endless options of their incredible collection. They have an artist onsite who can personalize your Louis bags.

Sezane - Gorgeous French collection which I covet online, so wonderful to view and buy their collection in their Paris store.

My family adore Paris and can’t wait to visit with Christopher.

Thanks for reading and sorry it took so long to write!

Genny xo

 

Tulum

Our family are just back from 5 beautiful days in Tulum. I was a little diva and did not want to wake up in my house on my 40th Birthday so we booked a trip to Tulum which ended up being a a wonderful 5 days in paradise. I have compiled our family recommendations, we are only sharing places we visited and tested. Good tip: Leave your heels and make-up at home!

I travelled with Olivia (8) & Max (6) and Christopher flew from Orlando the following day to join us!

Travel Day

A short flight of 3hr 20 minutes from JFK to Cancun we arrive in Mexico. I pre-booked a car service with Front Desk, they were a little more expensive but I really wanted a suburban I figured they were safe! The driver was friendly,  car came with a TV & Wifi access, It took us 1.5hrs to get to Tulum.

Hotel

We stayed at Posada Margherita a true gem of a place with a private beach! The hotel only has 8 rooms, we stayed in room 6 which has 2 kings beds & 1 single bed. Our room was on the 1st floor, was huge with a cute porch.  The hotel has a stunning private beach with cabanas, loungers and swing bed. Their restaurant is incredible serving fresh italian and seafood topped off with stunning views of the ocean. I often had grilled shrimp, salad & rose. Kids loved the shrimp and fresh pasta. The hotel does not have a kids club or pool, but our kids did not care they made friends with kids on the beach and truly embraced days on the beach and ocean! We all fell in love with a beautiful dog called Nola who was rescued by one of workers and lives at the hotel. The hotel is extremely kid friendly, a super location. Not overcrowded and a short taxi ride to fantastic places to eat & drink. They take reservations via email: reservation@posadamargherita.com

Restaurants

You can be spontaneous with most restaurants, if you are a large group I suggest making a reservation. 

Cenzontle - Mexican food, this was our first dinner out. Kids had quesidilla and chicken. I had fresh seabass & salad and super refreshing Ella Fitzgerald tequila cocktail. Great setting and service.

Breakfast we went to the Real Cocunut based in the Sanara Hotel. We faced the ocean while eating a healthy delivious breakfast! The menu gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar free but still delicious! Kids had the gluten & grain free pancakes, I had the perfect almond cappuccino and Very Berry Chia Parfait. This became our regular breakfast venue, the service was wonderful. Try and arrive before 10am for breakfast, before all the yogis finish practice and it gets a little busier.

Posada Margherita: Our favorite lunch place was at our hotel, because it is delicious and setting is just incredible it is very popular venue for lunch & dinner. Gets busy, they don't take reservations and cash only. 

Gitano - Mexican fusion. Restaurant & Bar. Great atmosphere, superb service and food was incredible. Kids loved the Chorizo with Taco wraps. Christopher & loved the Octopus ceviche and slow roasted Pork Belly with crispy cabbage. We all demolished the chocolate dolce leche dessert!

Nu Tulum - Mexican food. This restaurant only opened 2 weeks ago and was INCREDIBLE, was recommended to us by a local. Stunning setting, food had incredible flavors and cocktails were perfect! We enjoyed pork ribs in tomato sauce, quinoa rice and rib-eye steak. Kid friendly.

Hartwood - This is an institution in Tulum and a reservation is much needed or you queue from Midday to catch a table for dinner. You can email a month in advance to make a reservation. All this hype what did our family think, loved it. The service was super friendly, the food was delicious. They are very kid friendly and have high chairs too. The menu changes daily but it is well worth making a reservation and enjoying their food, setting & excellent service.

Mulberry Project Pop-up Tulum- This was recommended by a friend and this was the perfect place for my 40th bday drinks, super kid friendly, DJ on Monday night and stunning setting within La Zebra Hotel. The Mulberry Project is a Manhattan bar and they have pop-up bars abroad creating bespoke cocktails!

Matcha Mama - Shack with swings as seats serving smoothies, juices, bowls, açaí, kombucha, ice cream, everything vegan! Max is a smoothie lover and really wanted dessert sitting in swing, he loved his Mamacita smoothie: almond milk, banana, mango, almond butter. Topped with amaranth (we just asked for no Matcha)

Mur Mur - Mexican food, lovely place for dinner under a canopy surrounded by palm trees and lovely shops. Open kitchen, very cool seating areas and friendly service.

Prep Hair  I met canadian born hairstylist Chelsea owner Prep Hair. I got my usual single process done at her beautiful salon. Chelsea & her team do color, haircuts, blowouts, weddings and special events. They can travel to your hotel for a group booking.

Tulum is magical, a great place to switch off and enjoy paradise. Olivia said all your need is a beautiful beach and the ocean! We can't wait to visit again.

Thank you for reading. Genny xo

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 Mulberry Project Pop-up Tulum

Mulberry Project Pop-up Tulum

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I found true gem and needed a single process, highly recommend Prep Hair

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Perfect way to celebrate turning 40 :)

Link to my dress by Anthropologie also comes is blue stripes  http://shopstyle.it/l/A00b

Many restaurants are cash only, try and get dollars or pesos at the ATM at the airport or at your original destination because the ATMs close to the above restaurants have high charge and bad exchange rate.

Relocation, relocation, relocation

Two days before we saw in 2018, my husband got offered an amazing job opportunity. A bit of background, he has been a Sell Side Analyst for the past 20yrs, he has done this job through the glory days mainly at Goldman Sachs then the past 8yrs at a smaller firm based in Stamford, CT. The past year he has not been happy at work but lucky for him he is leaving Wall Street and moving to the client side as VP of Investor Relations at Wyndham. Several of his Goldman Sachs colleagues also switched to Investor Relations and are so happy!

So where is job, natural relocation is back to our motherland England but NO, we are relocating to ORLANDO, FL! They want him to start ASAP! We let the kids know that Daddy got an amazing job based in Orlando, FL. We let them know that Daddy is going to move down first. We PR’d DisneyWorld and assured them we are going to visit and do homework on schools and homes in Orlando, FL. Our 8yr old, Olivia instantly broke down about leaving the school she loves and her friends and never wants to move! This was so tough for me to watch, my heart broke for her.

I knew he was interviewing for the job based in Orlando but I never think about it until it is real!

Now I crank to 5th gear as really don’t know Orlando, but determined to deal with this relocation with an open heart and leave no stone unturned, making sure I pick what is best for our family.

Jan 19 I put our home on market with my incredible realtor Susan Vanech of William Pitt Sotherby. We received an offer 3 days later (fingers crossed it all goes through). We kept the house sale secret from the kids - which in hindsight was a big mistake. Max found out and was absolutely devasted, he did not want anyone in his house or going in his room and was determined that he would convince us not to move. Olivia was breaking down about the potential move and would open up to me with all her worries, I assured them both that we are going to do this as team and your Mommy has got you, Mommy will never let you down. I have picked everything for you and you love everything so trust me.

That week I am introduced to the relocation company who will help me co-ordinate our move, I learned that there is lots of help but also lots of rules to abide by many conference calls & emails later this move is on.

I decided to do a 2day trip Orlando to tour schools and get a lifestyle tour. I touched down in Orlando and went to my first school tour, then on to the next! It was intense, overwhelming couple of days where the evenings I was found drinking many cocktails. Good news is I found 2 amazing private schools and fell in love with an area called Winter Park.

I am now a single Mom dealing with the house sale, relocation and the emotions of our kids. There are times I hear a song and break down in tears but then I remind myself how lucky we are. My husband got to change his career, he absolutely loves his job and company. The saying is not Happy Wife, Happy Life it is actually Happy Husband, HAPPY LIFE!

We are going through is a good stress which will make us stronger, we get a new chapter in our lives……how lucky are we.

Thank you for reading

Genny xo

 

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Tuesday

What did I do on a Tuesday that was new? Worked out, got stretched, got a tattoo, and had root canal.

Workout: I am obsessed with instructor Armond Jordan, I love his JoyCircuit class, it is a combination of weights, cardio and abs. The class never gets easy, he really thinks about about his workout and he is already changing my body! I love his energy and always has a good playlist! The class is around $26 when you purchase a class package.

Stretch: The Stretch is tiny after each workout and do I foam roll at home - NO!  I was recommended LYMBR so I booked a 30 min stretch through their website. It was amazing, they simply ask you your workout routine and any problem areas, Michael completely stretch we out!! My spine feels longer, my hips are always tight they feel brand new! It was incredible so my goal is to go once a week! New client introductory stretch $35 for 30mins. They have locations throughout the US, for the NYC girls their is a location in Tribeca.

Tattoo: The past 8 months I have been pining for a star design on the side of my wrist. I wanted 5 stars to represent the loves in my life: Hubby; Christopher, Kids; Olivia & Max and Dogs; Archie & Teddy. I told no one, but I was worried that I would regret doing it! I got in contact with an amazing tattoo artist Chris Fort at Big Dreams Studio Stamford. He is beyond busy and travels but so worth the wait. I sent him my inspiration photos in advance. On the day we stenciled two sizes and moved it around the side of the wrist til I was happy! Then boom ink was put one, it did not hurt and he was awesome no nonsense guy! I highly recommend him! I text Christopher a photo of the tattoo with meaning, he was in shock but loves it!! I love my tattoo!

Root Canal: Not ideal but Dr Alexandra Byrne was amazing, the nicest lady ever and huge dog lover, she has a Wheaten Terrier called Louis! Total pain free and effortless Root Canal, I even took a nap during the procedure! I was there for 2hrs, she works with your insurance. I could not recommend her enough. Your dentist might recommend someone else but insist you want to see Dr Alexander Byrne if you live in CT!

I purchased one dress from Free People because I am obsessed with their spring/summer collection! Donna Maxi Dress $98! I can't wait to receive it!

Badass Tuesday. What will Wednesday bring.....?

Thanks for reading  

Genny xo

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Donna Maxi Dress by Free People

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A star for each member of my family, including furry boys! 

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LYMBR Stretch with Michael Eaton

Movies

Some people might  think in my spare time I love to run to Manhattan and eat, drink & party. Stand corrected my favorite night out is going to the movies either on my own, with Christopher or friends! I love catching a 4pm showing followed by a quick healthy bite after!  If we get first class seats where they recline, we have hit the jackpot. 

The award season is about to commence which is so exciting, starting with the Golden Globes tomorrow - Best Sunday!!!

So here list of my must see movies in the next month! I might squeeze a movie while the kids are at school!

All The Money in the World  - Out Now

The Post - Out Now

Glory - Out Now or On Demand under new releases

The Greatest Showman  - Out Now

Paddington 2 - Released on Jan 12

I LOVE GOING TO THE MOVIES! No talking a true escape! 

Genny xo

  

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photo cred: Electric Cinema London

New Intentions

I do have a lot to be grateful for, but 2017 was an ok year for our family. My kids will tell you it was an amazing year, but we never make them aware of any cracks.

2017 I went back to work. I joined Free People, I accidentally started a Closet edit & personal shopping service and both have been beautifully received. I love building women’s confidence and if fashion helps them then so be it!

I started The Daily Darlings last June as my outlet and to document my journey in life. Life & work trumped my blog and I used my IG to document more than my website. I want to focus more on my blog and not be nervous about my grammar and vocabulary!

November & December 2017 I ate like an absolute trooper, to the point where I was drinking tea and eating Terry’s chocolate orange for breakfast. I gained a beautiful 10ilbs and wore sweatpants because nothing fit!

My 2017 Parenting skills: I went back to work part time and we have no help or family in the US. Not an excuse but my goodness I was a screaming, no patience Mom who was dog paddling through Motherhood with good and bad days.

2018 I have already so many positives to look forward to; Christopher & I will celebrate our 10yr wedding anniversary, I turn 40 in March.  I also have a lot of changes. I am going to to deal with it all with a full positive heart.

My new intentions:

  1. Clean Eat with the support of Food Fix
  2. Workout with the support of incredible app by Kayla Itsines  
  3. Be a better Mom, manage life & kids using tools given by my amazing therapist.
  4. Focus only on friends I adore, friends that are easy. Friendships that flow!
  5. Family time is my number one priority

I got you 2018, I am going to make you a brilliant year. Let's do this!

I’m going to live a life I am proud of!

Genny xo

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Coat heaven

I am so confused do you call what I found jackets or coats? Either way these beauties will keep you warm and not break the bank!

 

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Perfect shade of Leopard Print by And other stories $215

 

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This incredible coat very similar to Acne is by Zara $149 I am wearing small with ample room to layer

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Love this pink fake fur coat, perfect for dinner or evening and this color will go with everything! By Zara $149 

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Cute fake fur and feather short jacket, worn with jeans and booties by Zara $119

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This dark navy coat is incredible, beautiful shade and fake fur collar detaches! This coat will work with any outfit, but love with jeans and sneakers $228 by Anthropologie. I am wearing size 2

Happy weekend 

Genny xo