We love being inspired by other mums at My Well Traveled Friend and hearing their tips and advice on travel with families and children. We finally decided to run a series of interviews about what they did last summer. Hope you like them and please share some of yours with us too!
Hi Leith, how are you doing and where are you today?
Sleepy and satisfied, I’m in Milan working for a few days. Astrid my daughter is asleep next to me in her travel cot.
We have known each other for many years and I have always admired your travel style as you very much do not follow the crowds and end up at original and glamorous destinations.
Thank you! I definitely do! I’m really enjoying my new adventures with Astrid too.
Now that you have a beautiful daughter I doubt that has changed or has it?
You are right not much has changed. But I only bring her with me when I can be sure she will have a great (and comfortable) time. Even though I want to bring her everywhere.
What did you decided to do this summer and where did you end up going?
We went to Provence, France for a week in July with friends (and their baby too who’s a little younger than Astrid). In August we went to 3 different islands in the Bahamas for 2 weeks – one week just us 3 and one week with my parents (and my aunt and uncle and cousins too!). Then to Canada for a week. All with Astrid. After that we went to Portofino for 4 days just my husband and me.
How did you plan your trip around your daughter? Did having her with you affect your destination choice and if so how?
She was the reason for the destination, well the Bahamas part of it (which was the big, special, planned-super-far-in-advance part of it). The first time I ever went in the ocean was in the Bahamas. My mother was born and raised there and we still have family living there… I spent a lot of time there as a child as well. I was quite cautious as a little lady. I remember the ocean being quite scary because it was so unpredictable and so alive. But when I was swimming with my mum, I wasn’t scared at all. She knew it so well. She used to ride on sand sharks as a kid! She’s a great swimmer. I have such fond memories of her introducing me to the ocean. So when I was 8 or 9 months pregnant and not allowed to travel anymore, I started planning our first trip to the Bahamas with Astrid. So her first time in the ocean could be with my mum.
Can you tell us a secret about your destination? A great room number? A child friendly restaurant?
We started our time there at The Island house – it’s a great new boutique hotel in Nassau near to Lyford Cay. It is a wonderful place to have a child with you – especially if you don’t want to feel like you’re at a ‘family place’ – because it isn’t that at all. I think she was the only kid there although we met some kids from Lyford Cay having lunch in the cafe sometimes. The staff were so helpful and were really Astrid focused with us- even shouting out reminders as we headed to the beach (“do you have her sun screen? do you want floaters for her?” – that kind of thing). They loved her being in all areas anytime and chatted to her all the time. They all knew her name – even the people looking after the gardens. So sweet.
We also stayed at the The Dunmore on Harbour Island for a week and then The Ocean Club in Nassau. Both were great and very accommodating with her. We always felt welcome to bring her anywhere and staff always stopped to chat with her which she loves. The Dunmore gave her a conch shell when we left which was lovely.
A cool thing about The Ocean Club is they have a family pool as well as their normal pool (though kids are welcome in both). But it’s a nice touch I think for when she’s a little older and wants to be playing with other kids…
We didn’t choose kid friendly places. We chose places that we like, as we have done with most things we have done with her since she was born, and she fits right in. (The first place I have ever felt unwelcome with her since she was born was in Milan at a restaurant last night! But she was so cool and sat reading her book while we ate. She showed them!)
In the Bahamas she drank a lot of fresh coconut water. She loved the taste and it’s so hydrating – it was great because the heat was just crazy. She saw the live flamingo show that’s been going forever and that I saw for the first time when I was her age. She had an amazing time in the dig at Atlantis seeing all of the sea life up close.
I often round up my latest travel accessories here on My Well Traveled Friend what two things did you love to travel with this time around?
I am obsessed with the new Gucci by Alessandro Michele and I have to say that those dresses made dinners way more exciting. I love wearing his clothes so much.
2. Books illustrated by Julie Morsted
Astrid has a matter of factness about which books she likes and which she doesn’t. She squeals in delight at the good and literally closes the bad as your trying to read it. She adores any book that has been illustrated by Julie Morstad and loves to have them read over and over again. (We have a selection from when I was your. The Swing. Swan and This is Sadie). Great for flights, long lunches and when we aren’t anywhere near a suitable nap spot at nap time – she totally cosies up and calms with Julie Morstad.
If you did it all over again is there anything you would do different?
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions I do have one final question. What is your dream family travel scenario real or fictional?
The chalk drawing in Mary Poppins would be fun. For real, I’m excited for ski trips with her. I’m excited for her first Disney Land, too.
Leith lives in London with her husband James and baby daughter Astrid and of course Tilda and Zazie her poodles. She is a fashion stylist and creative director and editor of the Violet book.
Want to know about the Violet Book. www.violetbook.co.uk