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5 things I’ve learned about parenting by Nathalie Christen-Genty, founder of Melijoe

She may be a chic Parisian entrepreneur, but Nathalie Christen-Genty is also a hands-on mother to 5 (yes 5!) children. With a busy job as founder of Melijoe, an online designer kids’ fashion boutique with a great edit of boys and girls clothes from designers such as Little Eleven Paris and Stella McCartney, a husband who works in London during the week and yup – those 5 children (Mathis, 13, Antone, almost 12, Mélie, 5 1/2, Néva, 4 1/2, Mahaut,  1 1/2) to look after, she has one serious juggling act on her hands. With her children ranging in age from toddler to early teen, she’s had 13 years experience of parenting, making her the perfect person to ask what she’s learned about being a mother….…

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How I make it work: Natasha Ascott of Muddy Puddles

As the mother of three children, Natasha Ascott is a firm believer in the idea that ‘there is no such thing as bad weather just the wrong kit,’ so much so, that she founded her fab company Muddy Puddles on it. “We are driven by the mission to get kids learning outdoors all year round,” explains Natasha. To do this, they make high performance waterproofs, wellies and ski gear for 0-12 year olds, which is as stylish as it is practical (yes, really – do check it out – today is the last day of the sale, although from Thursday a big ski offer with 60% off ski jackets starts).  Juggling a 4-day working week with the needs of a young family, we were keen to find out how she manages her work/life balance. From ‘relating’ to each other rather than just ‘existing alongside’ each other and the fab question she always asks her children at the end of the day, Natasha tells us exactly how she does it….…


5 things I’ve learned about parenting…by Esther van de Paal of Babyccino Kids

As one of the co-founders of the excellent online shopping portal Babyccino Kids and the brilliant ShopUp event, not to mention mum of four children (Sara, 10, Pim, 8, Ava, 5, and Casper, 2), Esther van de Paal has negotiated the wonderful, frustrating, challenging and amazing waters of being a mother for the last decade. Pictured above with her children and her husband Tamer in their Amsterdam home, Esther shares with us the 5 things she’s learned about parenting along the way……


Does Marriage Matter?

Love and its sometime attendant, marriage, has been much on mind of late. My brother and his long-term (very long-term. We do not rush these things in our family) got married the other weekend. The sun shone, there was dancing, and twinkling lights, and a lakeside blessing, and so much joy and love. It made me think about love: how do you know? What makes us so certain? And marriage: why, in our secular age, does it still matter?…


Who do you think you are? On motherhood and identity…

An identity is a long-formed thing, something shaped over time through experiences, hopes, desires, losses and dreams, the outline of what it is to be you drawn ever sharper the longer you leave it to have children. And with the average age of motherhood now at 30 years old, we are certainly leaving it longer to have children – and having studied, worked, travelled and been free to do what we want, when we want for at least 12 of those years, that’s a lot of time spent carving out what it means to be ‘you’. And then, bang! A baby arrives and everything you know is thrown out the window. You’re no longer just Lou or Hannah or Laura or Meg, you are also x’s mummy and whilst that in itself is a wonderful thing, this little bundle cares nothing about this ‘you’ that you’ve spent so long carving out, they just want milk/cuddles/food/toys and they want it NOW! Moreover, there’s little, if any, time to spend time doing the things that made you ‘you’ and with that gone, you can often be left wondering who or what you are anymore.…


The First Kiss

My husband’s attitude towards talking about relationships is that they are like an antique clock i.e. don’t tinker with the mechanism. It works  (it’s still going!), be happy. I like the simplicity of this, but I’m a questioner: I like to know why (and who, what, when and where, should you fancy filling me in). I don’t over-think my own relationship (like most of us, I don’t have time, for starters) but I am fascinated by what makes other people’s tick. And I am, on occasion, given moment to pause and consider my own happy coupling. Like when I read this……

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The Good Life: what it’s really like to live your dream and move to Ibiza

Have you ever dreamed about leaving everything behind, upping sticks and embarking on a whole new life abroad? Well, ex-Elle journalist, author and co-founder of gorgeous jewellery label Circa Ibiza, Grace Saunders did just that, moving from London with her husband Michael and three children to a 300-year old finca in Ibiza. Life on the island is slower, simpler and sunnier than it was in London, but is it all just beaches and bbqs in the sunshine or is there a downside to life in paradise? Grace tells us all……

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How I make it work: Emma Davison, co-founder of Olivier Baby & Kids

When it comes to gorgeous children’s cashmere that doesn’t cost the earth, Olivier Baby & Kids is where it’s at. The baby bonnets are the perfect gift for a newborn whilst the jumpers for older boys and girls are divine. Established by sisters Emma Davison and Alice Smith in 2011, the brand has now expanded to include beautiful Liberty-print cotton dresses, rompers and trousers – all of which have the timeless, innocent stamp that Olivier Baby & Kids has become known for. With 5 children between them and a rapidly growing company, we were intrigued to know just how Emma manages to juggle work, life and being business partners with her sister.…

Courtney Adamo and Ivy (4), Marlow (16 months), Quin (6) and Easton (8)
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How I make it work: Courtney Adamo of Babyccino Kids

How do you do it? And by ‘it’ I mean the daily juggle involving life, work, kids (if you have them), you, your partner, the house, the garden, the dog, the second house in France (I wish)…. Me? I basically just wing it. Which is why I’m always on the hunt for tips from inspirational and organised people. Courtney Adamo of Babyccino Kids is one such person. Not only does she have four beautiful children and no family near by to help (she’s from the US), a gorgeous house in North London and looks amazing (these things shouldn’t matter, but for someone who struggles to grab a shower in the morning, it impresses me!), but she also runs Babyccino Kids,a super-successful shopping portal for children (don’t know it? Then check it out -it’s a great edit and their blog is lovely). Basically, she is my lifestyle crush. Read on and you’ll see why.…


What’s your relationship deal breaker?

In a recent interview, when asked if she would tolerate being cheated on, Gwyneth Paltrow answered, “I would like to think that I would be forgiving and/or forgiven, but I can’t give an honest answer as I haven’t really experienced that.” Unsurprisingly this relatively juicy quote was picked up, repackaged and sold by the media as Gwyneth not seeing infidelity as a relationship ‘deal breaker’. While we can skip past the fact that GP is not going to reveal her true feelings to an interviewer and that the quote was linked to a film she’s in about sex addiction (so her thoughts can be taken with a pinch of promotional salt), the idea of relationship ‘deal breakers’ is an interesting one. A serious relationship, in particular a marriage or civil partnership where in the cold, hard light of legality a ‘deal’ has been made, has terms and conditions. You expect to be treated and to treat your partner in a certain way and if those expectations aren’t met then your relationship can certainly be threatened.…