Adventure, baby!

New York Life

Goodbye to all that

#NYC via akissgoodnight.co

Three years ago, I flew to New York alone, and four months pregnant. Meeting Alec at the airport I was apprehensive, scared, extremely nauseous, and not sure that we’d made the right decision. The years that followed were the hardest, most challenging, most frustrating years of my life thus far – compounded a million by having a baby in a country far from our family.

But in the middle of these difficult years, something extraordinary happened. We created a tiny New Yorker and made a home in this big crazy city. We explored. We dreamed big. We discovered what we were truly capable of when faced with adversity. New York is a hard place to live. It’s fast, it’s dirty, it’s expensive. It’s also aggressive, strong and fierce. Each day can be like a battlefield – just taking a subway ride solo with a small child requires serious commitment and resolve.

I learned a lot about myself thanks to this tough city. That I, too, can be tough, resilient and resourceful. That I’m capable of starting over in a new country, of making so many wonderful friends.

Living in this city plus motherhood broke me down, and built me back up again into a person who is more confident, more certain of her own worth, and who is happier with who she is than ever before. Thank you New York for toughening up this soft girl from Sydney suburbia.

Saying goodbye is something I don’t want to be doing. It feels too soon, too unfinished. But things don’t always go to plan, and our priorities have changed. Alec, Cheese and I will be returning for a time to Sydney to be closer to our families. We feel that it’s the right thing for us to do at this time in all of our lives, and we are embracing this decision while walking away from a life we also love passionately. Something I’m finding really hard to do. We are beyond lucky that we have such a wonderful life to return to back in Australia. Family and friends whom we love, and a country where it’s truly great to live.

So goodbye (for now) to the piles of garbage on the sidewalk. To the smell of dog pee and sticky pavements in summer. To rats, lunatics and rappers in the subway, polar vortexes and hurricanes. So long to loving friends who embraced us into their lives. To Cheese’s playmates since birth. To tulips and daffodils in the spring, and fields of orange and red leaves in the fall. To carousels and whoopie pies, Broadway and world-class ballet. Goodbye to a life we loved, and hello to a brand new chapter for us all.

New York, we love you, and we will see you again soon.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

As transplants to the glorious city of New York, we’re constantly seeking out fun new ways to experience everything NYC has to offer. We try to balance obvious kid-centric activities with things that we, as adults, are interested in, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I also hope that exposing Missy E to art and culture will inspire in her an interest when she is older too.

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
I’ve always loved art galleries in particular, and never get sick of visiting the grande dame of museums and art galleries, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (AKA the Met Fifth Avenue).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan’s Museum Mile, is the largest art museum in the United States and one of the world’s largest and most visited art galleries. With over two million works spread throughout seventeen departments, you could easily spend an entire day inside and still not see everything the museum has to offer.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Founded in 1870, the purpose of the Met was to bring art and art education to the American people.

The Met Fifth Avenue has a permanent collection that spans over 5,000 years of history. It consists of works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from pretty much all the European masters, and a large collection of American and modern art. African, Asian, Oceanian, Byzantine, Indian, and Islamic art is also represented, and you’ll even find collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, antique weapons and armor.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

A favourite area of ours is Greek and Roman hall that is filled with classical sculptures. We pointed out things we thought she might be interested in, like animals or statues of people, and she was particularly concerned about the statues that were missing limbs or heads.

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

The fountain was also a particular favorite. She was fascinated by the money in there, so we gave her spare change and taught her how to throw in coins and make wishes.  “What do you wish for?” “The playground!”. Of course. “Anything else?” “Lions. And giraffes!”. Er, sorry Miss E. Wrong spot for those. But we will keep it in mind when we next visit the zoo!

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

A must when visiting the Met Fifth Avenue is the rooftop garden. There is a special elevator that takes you up to the roof — ask for directions as you enter or you’ll be walking around in circles trying to find it. The garden is open seasonally, and offers spectacular views of Central Park and the surrounding buildings. Each summer the rooftop garden opens with a new seasonal exhibit. When we visited this time, the Roof Garden Commission was an installation by Dan Graham with Günther Vogt.

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

If you’re taking kids to the museum, be sure to stop by the Hecksher Playground next door afterwards to the Egyptian-themed play space.

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
New York, NY 10028
Hours: Daily, Sun-Thur 10am-5:30pm, Fri & Sat 10-9pm.
The Roof Garden Commission is on display April 29–November 2, 2014

The Alexis Silver Pediped shoes retail for $59 and are available on the Pediped website.

Brunch With My Baby was provided with a sample for reviewing purposes. All opinions, as always, are our own.

Going Green With zoe b organic Dish Set & Beach Toys

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

Is there anyone left who ISN’T worried about plastic, PBAs and other nasty things leaching into our food and water, particularly with young kids? After reading a particularly disturbing report on all the nasties that can be absorbed by children from their plastic bottles, dishes and containers, I’ve spent a lot of time researching what I can use with my daughter that will be safe for her. I came up with zoë b organic (I also love stainless steel water bottles, plates, cups and dishes).

What makes the zoë b organic range different from other plastics out there? The focus for this company is on being as green as possible, which means making their sand toys and dish sets from a bioplastic derived from corn sugar grown in the USA. They contain absolutely no BPA, phthalates, or PVC. Their toys and dishes are manufactured in Pennsylvania USA, so you’re supporting the local economy when you shop with zoë b.

The bioplastic used is also a renewable resource. While ordinary plastic comes from oil and natural gas — fossil fuels that are not renewable —zoë b organic’s bioplastic fully biodegrades in 2 to 3 years when buried in soil, immersed in water, home composted, or composted in industrial facilities (ordinary plastic takes up to 500 years to degrade).

Zoë b toys are durable and designed to hold up to playing just like ordinary beach toys. They’re designed to withstand extreme heat (hello New York summer heatwave!) and endless sunlight, and are dishwasher-safe. The toys and dishes only biodegrade when exposed to microbial activity, such as in soil, home compost, industrial compost, or marine environments. When your kids outgrow the toys and dishes, if they’re not suitable to be handed down to another family, you can simply put them in your compost or bury them in your backyard.

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

We received a set of the dishes, containing a cup, dish and bowl, and a set of the sandpit toys, both in pink/orange. When they arrived, Missy E literally shrieked with joy and insisted on her dinner being served on the dishes (“and milk in my milk cup!”) and taking the sand pit toys into the bath with her. So tick off “instant hit with the kid”. I personally love the designs for different reasons. The cup is the perfect size for small hands to hold, and slightly sloped on the side to make it easy to drink from without excess spilling over the edge. The bowl is big enough for a big serving of cereal, and the plate is the perfect size for a large toddler dinner.

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

The sandpit toys are designed with function and fun in mind. While most sand toys come in a bucket and fall out everywhere, this innovative set comes as a box with a lid and toys inside, giving you an all-in-one toy kit where the container is also part of the toy. The lid is a fun sand sifter with different shapes like a star, diamond, triangle and circle for the sand to fall through, and the bottom of the box acts as the bucket. Inside are two small cups and a shovel — again, the perfect size for small hands, and also the perfect amount of equipment to either play with on ones own, or to share with a friend or two.

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

The zoë b organic range is available for sale on here and here. The dish set retails for $13.25 and the sandpit toys for $22.

Brunch With My Baby received samples of zoë b organic dishes and toys for reviewing purposes. All opinions are, as always, our own. 

DUMBO Dreaming

One of my absolutely favourite things to do is to just walk the streets of DUMBO. I did it a lot during winter with the Cheese to get her to nap, which wasn’t ideal, but it was still an amazing experience (even in the snow and sleet). DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, and is a little old industrial neighborhood full of cobblestones, soaring bridges and, of course, stunning water views.

DUMBO was originally a manufacturing district, home to warehouses and factories that made machinery, paper boxes and Brillo soap pads. Interestingly, the cardboard box was invented in the Robert Gair building on Washington Street, which is now the home of Etsy.

Nowadays, DUMBO is home to a lot of expensive condos, tech startups, little cafes and restaurants, like my faves One Girl Cookie and Jacques Torres, and the beautiful Jane’s Carousel.

DUMBO Dreaming via akissgoodnight.co

 

#DUMBO Dreaming via akissgoodnight.co

#Dumbo Dreaming via akissgoodnight.co

#DUMBO Dreaming via akissgoodnight.co

#DUMBO Dreaming via akissgoodnight.co

#DUMBO Dreaming via akissgoodnight.co

Downtown #Brooklyn via akissgoodnight.co

OK so this last one is actually in nearby Downtown Brooklyn, but I wanted to throw it in because I love it.

 

Happy 40th Birthday Alec

Happy 40th birthday my dearest love! We celebrated in style with a festival of NYC events:

Alec's 40th Birthday

Lunch at ABC Kitchen. Cheese slept well the night before, so we all had a lovely lunch – especially when the little one slept through most of lunch so we were able to enjoy a leisurely lunch and then share dessert with her when she woke.

Alec's 40th Birthday

Alec had crab. I had ravioli, and we shared really good citrus desserts. ABC Kitchen was really kid-friendly too, which was nice, even though Cheese was asleep the whole time! When she woke up, they set her a special place at the table.

Alec's 40th Birthday

A party with friends at the KBH, Brooklyn. Nothing like beer, cake and pie with good friends. Pie and cake from Betty Bakery, Brooklyn. Alec wanted a pie rather than cake, so we had both to feed the masses.

Alec's 40th Birthday

Candles on the birthday pie. Happy birthday boy.

#Brooklyn #Nets game for Alec's 40th Birthday

Awesome seats at a Net’s game at the Barclays Center – the Brooklyn Nets vs Atlanta. My first basketball game! It was so much fun, both being so close to really see the players and the action, and the atmosphere. The view was amazing! Special seats for the birthday boy. The only celeb we saw was Katie Couric, but plenty of other fun things to watch, like the half-time entertainment and dancers. I also loved that our tickets included unlimited food.

#Brooklyn #Nets game for Alec's 40th Birthday

Last stop on the birthday train …

Alec's 40th Birthday

Dinner at Per Se. The most amazing dining experience of our lives.

Alec's 40th Birthday at Per Se #NEWYORK

Located in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, Per Se has been on our bucket list since we moved to New York. It was an experience worth waiting for, and one that we will remember forever. From the moment we arrived, the staff made us feel special and welcome. They knew our names, they knew I was a vegetarian, they knew it was Alec’s birthday. They printed special menus with “Happy Birthday Alec” on them. Every tiny detail was perfect.

Alec's 40th Birthday at Per Se #Newyork

And of course the food was exquisite. Every course was a tiny delight. In addition to the courses listed on the menu were various others including amuse bouches, bread, hand-churned butter from a small dairy of 14 cows, extra desserts, a cardamon affogato, macarons, hand-made chocolate truffles and, of course, the famous donuts. All up I think there were about 12 courses.

We were so full we had to take home the macarons and chocolates. As we left we were handed our especially printed menus in a folder, our boxed up desserts, and sweet little tins filled with the most amazing hazelnut cookies for later.

Alec's 40th Birthday at Per Se #newyork

Alec's 40th Birthday at Per Se #NewYork

Alec's 40th Birthday at Per Se #newyork

Alec's 40th Birthday at Per Se #newyork

Alec's 40th Birthday at Per Se #newyork

The best meal of our lives, and the most amazing evening.

Alec's 40th birthday

Alec looks eternally youthful to me, with the exception of some tired bags under the eyes thanks to the bad-sleeping Cheese monster.

My love, I hope your 40th was wonderful, and here’s to celebrating every day between this and the next birthday. It’s an honor to walk through life with you by my side. You’re a wonderful father and husband. Both the Cheese and I are lucky to have you making up our little family of three.

Mother’s Day 2014 at the New York Botanical Garden

Finally gorgeous weather after seven months of freezing cold. What better way to spend the day with my loves than in the gorgeous New York Botanical Garden? The gardens are way up in the Bronx, so makes it a good day trip for us. They are extremely relaxed at the gardens, happy for visitors to lounge anywhere and really enjoy the gardens (in contrast to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens where they won’t let you sit on the lawn!), so we always pack a blanket and picnic food so we can hopefully spread out under a tree at some stage and enjoy the serenity.

Mother's Day at the New York Botanical Gardens

The gardens are so easy to get to by train. The B, D or 4 are all nearby, and it’s a short walk from the station to the garden. The gardens are MASSIVE. There is a tram to get around, but we always walk and haven’t found it too large for strolling between each area. Mother’s Day weekend is the perfect time to visit the garden – the tulips and daffodils were just past peak bloom, but the cherry blossom trees and azaleas were in full bloom and absolutely stunning.

Mother's Day at the New York Botanical Gardens

The gardens put on a special Mother’s Day garden party, with a live jazz band, old school lawn games like croquet, kites, and arts for the kids like making cards, baskets for (pretend) bird eggs, and water colour paintings. We grabbed lunch from a food truck (grilled cheese!) and set up under a perfectly flowering cherry blossom tree. Cheese quickly found toddlers nearby to play with, and merrily entertained herself with a little boy the same age collecting and building a house out of sticks.

We stopped to listen to the band – Cheese wanted to dance, and so we did! Nothing like dancing to a real vintage jazz band among the gorgeous trees and flowers.

Mother's Day at the New York Botanical Gardens

Mother's Day at the New York Botanical Gardens

Mother's Day at the New York Botanical Gardens

 

A stroll around the gardens after lunch for the Cheese to nap brought us to the exact same spot we paused for a picnic two years ago when we first visited the garden. After the little lady woke up and saw our picnic spread, she proclaimed it “the best picnic ever!” (from Peppa Pig perhaps?). It was the perfect Mother’s Day with my dearest loves, in one of my absolute favourite places in the city I also love.

Mother's Day at the New York Botanical Gardens

Mother's Day at the New York Botanical Gardens

Mother's Day at the New York Botanical Gardens

The only thing that could have made the way better was to be celebrating my own mother in person as well. I miss spending time with my parents, particularly on special days like today. Happy Mother’s Day to my amazing mum, and all the wonderful mums in my life and in yours!

Mother, What is the Moon? A Book Review

#motherwhatisthemoon #bookreview via brunchwithmybaby.com

It’s always a lovely surprise to receive books in the mail. I love reading to E and hope she will end up loving literature as much as I do. The particular book we are checking out today is Mother, What is the Moon? by David Griswold, and illustrated by Eliza Reisfeld. The book is perfect for preschoolers, so if you have a kid aged 2 – 5, read on.

#motherwhatisthemoon #bookreview via brunchwithmybaby.com

Mother, What is the Moon? is full of gentle poetry and beautiful art, presented in an engaging way for little ones. The book tells the story of a young boy, asking his mother what the moon is. Her answer is both wise and whimsical. The moon is a nighttime adventure through snow, fields and streams. It’s connected to the cycle of life and nature, and is a thing of dreams, magic and science, all rolled together.

My 2.5 year old is currently obsessed with the moon. Every night, it’s the same. “Where is the moon?” “I can’t see it!” “It’s hiding!” This sweet book gives me a story to tell my toddler that answers the question “what is the moon?” when the moon, like us, is always changing.

Mother, What is the Moon? has become a new nighttime favourite in our home, among both the adults and our toddler. If you’re going to read a book a hundred times a week, make sure it’s one you’re all going to enjoy!

#motherwhatisthemoon #bookreview via brunchwithmybaby.com

#motherwhatisthemoon #bookreview via brunchwithmybaby.com

Mother, What is the Moon? is currently raising funds for its publishing run on Kickstarter. Back it to receive a first edition copy.

Brunch With My Baby was not compensated for this post. We just love awesome kids’ books.

A Baby (Doll) Love Story: Ergo Doll Carriers

At around two, little girls discover baby dolls. Their new friends and loves, they let their imaginations run free with games caring for their new “babies.”

So it’s not surprising that these little girls adore carrying around their baby dolls in their Ergo Doll Carriers. These carriers are perfect for little kids to tote their beloved dolls around town, and make a great gift in particular for a new big sister or brother, so they can be just like Mommy and Daddy.

The Doll Carrier can be worn in the front or back position, just like the classic Ergo.

FEATURES
100% Cotton Canvas body construction
Padded shoulder straps
Padded waist strap
May be worn in front and back positions
National Molding buckles
Machine wash and dry, gentle cycles

#Ergo #dollcarrier review & #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

#Ergo #dollcarrier review & #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Ergo Doll Carrier review & Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Ergo Doll Carrier review & Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Ergo Doll Carrier review & Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Ergo Doll Carrier review & Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

 

The Ergo Doll Carrier is available on the Ergo website for $25.

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg

Spring finally on its way means saying au revoir to giant coats and muted hues, and bonjour to color and fun-in-the-sun again!

Our absolute favorite place to spend a sunny day in NYC is Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn. It’s really the perfect playground. There’s lots of space to run around, grass to kick a ball on, and then, of course, there is the carousel itself. For only $2 per horse, you can take a ride with your little one. It’s the best value carousel in the city, with the best view.

On this particularly perfect spring day in Brooklyn, Missy E wore Egg by designer Susan Lazar. I’ve loved dressing E in Egg since she was a little baby, because the designs are adorable and the fabric is so soft against her skin.

Egg hatched in 2003, when Lazar decided to create a lifestyle brand designed around the needs of stylish mothers and children. Egg uses natural fabrics and simple designs. Perfect for parents who love clean lines, and want clothes for their kids that are made with movement and comfort in mind. The result is fashionable yet timeless baby and kids’ clothes of the highest quality. For little ones with sensitive skin, Egg also has an organics line, featuring soft organic cotton.

The 2014 Egg spring line is inspired by the South of France, evident in the delicate floral and fruit prints for the girls line, and the cool nautical motifs for boys.

The theme of this line, like most of Lazar’s designs, is very subtle — evident in the motifs and colors, but not obvious or gimmicky. “Each season the collection starts with a theme,” she says. “For example, Spring 2014 was inspired by the South of France — the wild flowers, the sea and the chicness of France. The theme is only a starting point and I never want the collection to be too trendy of costume-y”. The end result is a line of clothing that I wish came in my size too.

Being such big fans of Egg already, I was really excited to try out three outfits from the new Egg spring line.

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Shift Dress in pink is made from a super soft cotton-modal blend, perfect for running around town. This dress is designed with active kiddos like mine in mind. This super comfortable dress was a hit with E — she adored putting her hands in the double front pockets, and I particularly liked the buttons on the neckline, making it easy to get on and off. The bright pink stripes make this dress fun and bright for spring, while the three-quarter sleeves are the perfect length for days that still hold a hint of chill in the air.

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Pocket Dress in green is E’s favourite of the outfits. She loves the delicate floral print, accented with tiny birds, and the floaty skirt with little pockets in which she can hide rocks or other treasures. The dress is incredibly lightweight (perfect for keeping cool in high summer), and is 70% cotton, 30% silk. It looks super chic, but is still extremely comfortable as you can see from the photos of Miss E running, jumping and, her current favorite activity, climbing rocks.

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

The T-shirt Dress is fun and bright, and perfect for an active toddler. The big yellow pineapple on the front is the standout feature, and is such a cute print that isn’t typically seen on clothes for little kids. This dress is made for kids who are on the go. Perfect for running, climbing and having fun — being made from a super light weight cotton blend it will last throughout the summer, too. It’s cute without being fussy, and fun without being too “little kid”. Perfect for this sassy baby Brooklynite.

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Brooklyn Love Story with Egg Baby via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Egg line is available online and in stores.

Brunch With My Baby received compensation for this post from Egg. All opinions are, as always, our own. 

New Year’s Resolutions: Three Months In

New Year's Resolutions: Three Months In

A good friend asked me to post about how I was going with my New Year’s Resolutions a few months in. I’d like to say that it’s a roaring success and life is now perfect, but that would just be lie now, wouldn’t it?

All I can say is that I’m doing the best I can do, every day. Some days go better than others. Some days are wonderful and I feel great about myself at the end. Some are a complete disaster and I wish I could have a do-over.

The main thing is I’m really trying to be a better person. And there’s been progress!

The most obvious is how my relationship with little E has improved. I’ve been making a huge effort to be present for her during our time together, and she’s turned into a huge mummy’s girl. So many hugs and kisses, saying “you’re my best friend Mummy!” and insanely cute things like this that help me want to do even better.