Bon Voyage...start packing!

Wow ok, so I never thought so many of you would want to hear my tips on what to pack for your next Summer vacay. As mentioned on Insta, I packed the best (half) suitcase (I shared with Max) three years ago when we went to Europe for 3 weeks. I managed to put together so many different looks with the few pieces I had packed so thought I would share my wisdom.

A bit of a disclaimer: you all know by now that my colour palette is very simple and does not involve colour, so please feel free to substitute some of the items with colour i.e. add a printed top or a cami/tee in colour. (THAT IS NOT A LICENCE TO GO ROGUE ON ME) :)

TOPS

White tee x 3 - personal faves include: Monrow Tissue V Neck Tee and James Perse Casual Tee

Stripe tee x 1 - I love this Splendid option

Cotton Singlets (white, stripe and black) Bassike or James Perse are my fave. 

 

Silk camisoles (black and white)- dressier for evening with your skirts or jeans with wedges or sandals (statement earrings if you want to be fancy). My personal faves are: Scanlan and Theodore or these Equipment Silk Camisoles

Printed Silk Cami/Cami's (can be worn at night/day with one of your skirts with either the wedge or flat sandals). I have found a few nice options for you. You may want to take a few as they're so light and you can mix and match with the bottoms I've listed below.

Denim Jacket/Chambray Shirt - for those chilly nights or days if traveling to cooler countries. I draped my chambray over my shoulders most nights.

Leather Jacket If traveling to Europe in September (England or France) wear it on the plane to save space

Bottoms

Denim Skirts or Shorts - whatever you’re comfortably in. Take light denim, white and black to coordinate with your top options.

Jeans (one pair light denim or black if going to cities rather than beachy towns)

Dresses

Linen wrap dress or something similar (good for day and night) Flat sandals in the day and wedges at night. If cold you can throw on a denim jacket or leather jacket.

Printed Dress x 2 - which works with all shoe options (perhaps a polka dot wrap dress, striped or something in Leopard print). I've found a few options below. These can all be styled with all of your shoe options I have listed below! My personal fave is the white linen wrap dress below. This dress could take you from day to night - Superga Sneakers or Golden Gooses worn with a wedge, earrings and denim jacket for the evening. Hello Holiday Chic!

Beach

Cover ups or shirt dress which can be worn from café to beach or if you’re cool to a beach club.

If you’ve got the rig for it: a cute little black or white playsuit is cute too! Again this is a great Beach to Bar option. Wear it with your black sandals or gold/nude flat options.

Bathers of choice

Shoes

Shoes are always the hardest thing to decide on as they take up the most room and weigh the most. But I believe the below options will cover most looks. (Keep in mind I packed all of this in half a suitcase as I shared with Max!)

1 x neutral (nude or tan) flat sandal - I also love gold as it goes with everything! 

1 x Flat Black Sandal

1 x walking shoes which look cool with bottoms and even dresses. E.g. Superga and Golden Goose (linked below)

1 x Wedge (black or nude) - if you’re a heels person like me

1 x thongs/flip flops for beach/pool

1 x Sneakers if planning to workout properly overseas

Extra items/info:

Workout gear if you’re going to be working out.   

Buy some washing powder so you can hand wash your tees. We managed to travel three weeks and just hand wash tees etc.

Accessories- statement earrings - great way to lift a classic outfit.

If you’re traveling with a black bag, pack a small nude clutch/nude cross body (The Daily Edited do a great nude and it’s the perfect size)

Day Outfit Options

◼️ White denim skirt, stripe cotton singlet (tucked in), gold/nude flat sandals or cool sneakers if walking a lot (if chilly throw on your chambray over your shoulders or denim jacket)

◼️Light denim skirt/short, white tee, black sandals and black cross body bag (accessorise with cool sunnies or even a headscarf in your pony to be EXTRA)

◼️ Black denim skirt, animal silk cami/white or black silk cami, superga walking shoes add cool sunglasses

◼️ Black linen wrap dress/ white wrap dress, superga sneakers or tan/gold sandals/slides. Add nude or black bag with sunglasses

Evening Outfit Ideas

◼️Black Denim skirt, white silk cami or white cotton singlet, black sandals and black bag (wedges if you’re a heels gal like me) Wear a bold lippy if you’re feeling too plain Jane

◼️White Denim skirt, black silk cami or printed cami, wedges and black bag

 

 

 

New York, New York...

Having been to NYC 5 times already pre-kids  (yep, I'm a huge fan) I was apprehensive about how I would enjoy it with kids given the other times involved partying, dining and shopping, which let's be honest don't mix well with kids! It's a city which has huge sentimental value to me as Ryan proposed there in 2008....bless.

So off we set on the 5 hour flight packed in like sardines for our NYC vacay with Jack and Max. We survived the flight (ipads, snacks etc) and high tailed it to our West Village apartment which was in the best location. A quick spruce up and slice of Pizza (the first of many to be consumed) from across the road and we were ready to head out for the night. 

The following 5 days were filled with lots of cafes and restaurant experiences which I will detail below and A LOT of walking. We opted to walk most places as we are big walkers and it was boiling hot so the Subway did not appeal (also, I was happy to walk off the Mac n Cheese and Pizza situation). So if you're a walker like us (some days we clocked up to 22,000 steps) pack some comfy shoes. The other thing to mention is that we took our Bugaboo with skateboard attachment - we couldn't believe how lucky we were that the boys were happy to go ALL day in it (with a few park and snack pit-stops which I will detail below). I think if your kids are a bit older, Ubers or the Subway are great in NYC. 

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TIP: to avoid arguments with husbands/wives/partners have a plan each day. NYC is so overwhelming so it's good to get up in the morning and plan out which sights you want to see, what parks you can stop at with the kids, what restaurants you want to eat at etc. We did this each day and we would also take the boys back to the apartment to play with their Lego and have some down time. Worked a treat!

Ryan and I had a few kid-free nights. The boys can generally stay up until 8.30/9 but in NYC that's when the party is beginning! So we sourced some great babysitters (happy to share details) and we were able to enjoy a meal without screaming and food being thrown everywhere. 

Personally I found NYC to be about 70% accommodating to kids. By this, I mean that most people were pretty happy to move out of the way for the pram or find us a table with a high chair and the rest were way on the other end of the spectrum and pissed off we existed. You win some, you lose some! 

So here are the deets on where we stayed, ate and played (I wish I could say shopped but that just didn't happen).

Where to stay

Personally I have always loved the West Village but the great thing about NYC is that the transport and taxi/Uber system is so easy. What is amazing about the West Village is that you can walk to so many amazing cafes and restaurants and also it is nowhere near as touristy as Mid-town and Times Square. BUT if it's your first time to NYC I would opt to stay half in mid-town as it's close to all the tourist attractions, department stores and Central Park. Then if you can be bothered I would stay in the West Village to experience all the cute little streets around there (Christopher, Perry etc) We stayed in a two bedroom Airbnb and it was perfect for the 5 days but just a bit on the noisy side.

Where we dined

Brunch and coffee: 

Jack's Wife Freda - such a cute little spot on Carmine Street in the West Village - defo kid friendly (high chair avail). Food was pretty good - a bit cold but people were shocked when I told them that. I would go again.

Jack's - this is a cute little coffee joint. They have a few locations. The coffee was delish.

Bluestone Lane Cafe - These guys are taking over NYC. Started by Ozzies, the coffee is great and the menu looked delish too. Defo kid friendly.

Banter - Another little cafe started by Ozzies in the West Village. This place had a great happy hour from 3-6pm so we had a cheeky Aperol there and went back for awesome Nutella french toast the next morning. The staff are all super friendly and super accommodating with kids. Like most places in NYC, we needed to park the stroller out the front. 

The Bus Stop Cafe - not a fancy joint but totally good for some quick pancakes and eggs for the kids. It's opposite the Bleecker street park so a good combo.

Dinner:

Red Farm (West Village)- this place was YUMMO. Great vibe and the food was Asian Fusion. We went and put our names down at 7.30 and were seated by 8.45 which we were happy with for a Saturday night. The lamb dumplings were life changing. 

Emmett's - we went here on our last night. They specialise in Chicago deep dish pizza. It did not disappoint. West Village again.

La Esquina - this place is an institution. We drank Margarita's at the bar - if they tell you it's full, just ask to sit at the bar. Such a fun vibe. Not one for the kids in my opinion. We have eaten there before and the food was amazing. 

Raoul's - This little West Village french bistro was super fun and the food was amazing. We drank at the bar (surprise) until a table became available at 10.30pm (thanks babysitter). A great date night option. Not one for the kids. 

Otto - I was sad we didn't make it here but have been told that it's super kid-friendly and they do yum pizzas and pastas without paying top dollar.

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Kid Stuff

Our kids are still fairly young (1.5 and 3) so we didn't do as much kid stuff as we thought we would. We certainly played at parks and playgrounds but we didn't take them to any toy shops, carousel's etc. Some parks I recommend:

Pier 51 Park - wow, this is right on the Hudson looking out to Jersey. It has a water fountain for the kids to run around in (obvs only good for summer). But it's gated and safe. We did a solid two hours here. We then walked through to the Meatpacking district and through the Chelsea Markets for a cheeky thick shake. A great little morning for the kids.

Union Square Park - awesome park which has two different sections for younger and older kids. It was quite busy when we were there so you need to keep a stern eye on them (more than usual).

Washington Square Park - definitely worth a look! A gated playground so the kids can run a little wild and wear themselves out.

Minetta Green - this is another cute little spot - they had places to eat and sit down and it's right in the heart of lower Manhattan. Not too hectic either. 

Hoboken - if you're done with the hustle and bustle of Manhattan we really enjoyed taking the Path train to Jersey (Hoboken) for the day. It has some great cafes and the houses are gorgeous. But the view of Manhattan is incredible and the park is awesome (brand new). We did struggle a bit getting onto the Path train as we had to lift the Bugaboo over the turnstile. 

Central Park - where do I begin? Go for half a day! Stop at one of the amazing deli's and load up on picnic food and wander through this incredible park. We entered at the Rockefeller end of the park and found a great playground about a 5 minute walk in. The Zoo is also there and worth a look as well as a Carousel. If you're without the kids or they can swim, hire a row boat - we did that a few years ago and it was magical.

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That's all folks. NYC can defo be done with kids but you just need to be a little prepared both mentally and physically.....I'm already planning our next trip.

TMM xx