Introducing Freya Lillie Autumn Winter

As of 1st September, we have launched Autumn Winter! The new collection is going down really well and the team and I couldn’t be more pleased! As well as a new colour palette and additional styles, we have launched a new womenswear range so you can subtly twin with your kids. As with our childrenswear range, our new women’s pieces are all made in Britain from 100% linen, which gets softer with every wash.

4 NEW Shades

In addition to ‘Natural’ returning for AW18/19, we have 4 new colour ways for this season: Caramel, Fig, Mustard and Chocolate- all rich, vibrant shades that work well styled with a neutral colour palette. We especially love Mustard- it’s such a sunny and mood-boosting colour!

NEW Womenswear Styles

This is our first linen collection that we have released for women and we have been so excited to put out these new pieces! The shirt and pants in women’s sizes are the same as the childrenswear pieces so you can match with your kids. We love the combination of the Caramel Linen Shirt with the Natural Linen Pants– such a great pairing! The style we have released exclusively for womenswear is the shirt dress- a really flattering piece that suits all body shapes as well as being an absolute classic! Style with ankle boots for a sophisticated day time look.

NEW Childrenswear Styles

We have three new styles for our Autumn Winter childrenswear collection. Firstly the shirt and pants, both made from 100% linen, which indicate our move to increasing our unisex offering- these two pieces work equally well on girls and boys and means that they can be passed down to siblings and friends of any gender. The shirt is a classic, button-up style and the trousers can be rolled up at the hem which means they can be adjusted according to your child’s growth. Another new style that we have launched this season is the pinafore dress, which features adjustable cross-back straps. This pinafore can be worn all year round- in colder months layer a long-sleeve top or jumper underneath to maximise warmth- we love this new style for girls and hope you do too!

Freya Lillie Organic Cotton Range

At Freya Lillie we have an Organic Cotton range, featuring all in ones and bloomers in plum and cream/black stripe. Organic cotton is certainly a fabric which is taking off, with many large-scale fashion players starting to adopt this fabric due to its fabric properties and array of benefits to the environment and our health. It’s true that organic cotton is a little more pricey than regular cotton however the additional benefits of choosing organic are evident.

  • Organic cotton plants are free from pesticides and fertilisers meaning strong chemicals don’t come into contact with the plants and the soil.
  • Farming organic cotton improves the fertility of the soil, helping to lock CO2 into the soil therefore reducing the effects of climate change.
  • Organic cotton in comparison to standard cotton is a better quality, more durable fibre.
  • Conventional cotton clothing starts to wear after 15 washes whilst organic cotton can last 100+ washes.
  • Organic cotton is hypoallergenic, meaning that it is gentle on the skin and effective in causing no irritation to skin conditions such as eczema.
  • Since the farming of organic cotton doesn’t use toxic pesticides this prevents health conditions and deaths of farmers which are linked to being in contact with these chemicals in non-organic cotton production.
  • Unlike regular cotton, organic cotton is not produced using Genetically Modified Seeds.
  • Cotton is a natural fibre which therefore doesn’t contribute to the increase in microfibers polluting our oceans.

 

Our Organic Range

This organic cotton range is made with a thick luxurious sweatshirt material and is fully fleece lined. These pieces are gender neutral therefore once your child grows out of the garment, they can be passed down to siblings and friends of any gender. The cream and black striped fabric comes in an all in one and bloomers- stripes are very classic and timeless, therefore these pieces will never go out of style.

This rich plum shade also comes in an all in one and bloomers- this colour can be worn all year round but would look especially lovely next season in Autumn since this plum shade works well paired with leggings or woolly tights and a pair of boots.

Aren’t these bloomers adorable? – A great piece for your child to lounge around the house in. Pair with a t-shirt or jumper depending on the time of year.

Take on the Summer Heatwave with Freya Lillie Linen

The school summer holidays have arrived and I think most of us Brits can’t quite believe that we having such a long hot summer and many of us are probably considering a staycation rather than a trip abroad this year! Whilst a heatwave brings barbecues, picnics in the park and days at the beach, it also leaves a lot of us, and especially mums, paranoid about sunburn, sunstroke and generally overheating little ones. The obvious solutions are plenty of water, sun cream and shade however the clothes we are putting kids in are often left to the bottom of the list.

Children can’t regulate their body temperature as well as us adults so it’s really important that in this 30 degree weather we dress our children in clothes that help keep them cool and comfortable. Avoiding man-made fibres is key- opt for natural fibres instead and don’t forget to check the label when buying clothing since there are plenty of fabrics that may appear to be cotton for example, but are actually synthetic fibres or a fabric blend such as polycotton.

Freya Lillie pieces are made from 100% linen which is a fabric derived from fibres of the flax plant. Linen is a highly durable fabric which allows kids to be kids, roll around on the grass and be active without the worry of wear and tear. Due to its long-lasting nature we also selected linen because we wanted to create garments that could be passed on after each use therefore extending the product’s lifecycle as much as possible. Also, linen is great for heat regulation and it is highly absorbent, quickly removing perspiration from the skin.

At Freya Lillie we also use sustainable fabrics, linen being one of them. Linen is sustainable because it is biodegradable which means that it won’t sit on landfill for hundreds of years like synthetic fabrics and it also doesn’t require fertilisers to grow which contributes to higher quality soil and reduced water pollution. Moreover, linen becomes softer with every wash and is antibacterial so you can have piece of mind for the well-being of your kids.

Flax Plant. Image: Schweitzer Linen

Freya Lillie sustainable luxury garments are the perfect solution to this hot spell. Not only are they classic, fashionable pieces but the linen fabric in which they are composed of has so many hidden benefits to keep your kids happy and cool this summer holiday.

 

A few of our Linen favourites:

White Linen Dress– This dress is one of our best sellers and we love seeing the most adorable pictures of your kids wearing this piece shared on social media! The relaxed silhouette enhances the linen’s breathable nature and the white shade reflects the sunlight making for a super cool summer dress- Shop here

Limited Edition Navy Linen Button Back Romper– A simple and minimal piece which has an adjustable button fastening. The open back is great for keeping your child cool and the navy shade is really classic- you don’t find a lot of navy on the high street and we love this muted alternative to black- Shop here

Aqua Linen Luxury Overalls– These overalls are new for Spring/Summer 2018 and we are in love with them! They are a great unisex piece and this aqua shade is really fresh and summery. They also have the cutest buttons in the shape of apples and ladybirds- very subtle, but a cute detail! The legs can also be turned up which allows your little ones to dip their toes in the sea without getting absolutely soaked- Shop here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Freya Lillie Wins Pirouette Award

The Freya Lillie team are so proud to announce that we have won an award! Whilst exhibiting at Dot to Dot, a kidswear trade show in London, Freya Lillie was picked as SS19 One to Watch. Receiving this award is so exciting for us and recognition like this really pushes us to keep improving and delivering our customers a product that we truly believe in.
The Pirouette blog was set up in 2009 by Florence Ronaldo and later joined by Katie Kendrick in 2016. The platform was launched in order to support brands in the children’s industry whilst providing business guidance and media exposure. Both with a background in childrenswear, Florence and Katie have an expert eye in spotting potential in brands. Ultimately, the Pirouette awards aim to highlight outstanding children’s design and creative talent which is why we are so honoured to have been selected!

Operating within the fashion industry is tough, especially since we have an ethical, sustainable focus- this is why this award means so much to us and drives us forward in meeting our future goals. Also, we couldn’t have got this far without our lovely, supportive customers and followers- thank you for joining us along our journey! 🙂P.s. we love that the award is a ginger cat in a felt bag- very inventive!

 

 

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Our Family Trip to Sorrento

Sorrento

We were always going to Sorrento for our family holiday because it’s the place we are to be married.  Come July 2019 we’ll become Mr & Mrs MK.  It’s just begging for matching reg plates 🙂 Having our holiday in Sorrento meant we could see the area and discover exactly what our wedding venue was like. We all know social media can make certain things look so much better than they really are (my selfies are obviously not included in this). So it was important we saw it for ourselves.

And we’re off!

Flight & Transfers

The flight to Naples was painless and took around 2 hours 45mins from Doncaster.  We found that Newcastle only flew a couple of days per week but Doncaster and Manchester were much more frequent.  We pre booked our transfers as we always do, usually with someone like Hoppa or Holiday Taxis.  We’re not really package holidayers, maybe more like control freaks.  We research hotels on the internet and find flights that suit our preferred days and times.  We then add in the extras such as transfers and insurance.  Transfer time was around 45 minutes from the airport but the scenery was so beautiful the time just flew by.

Beautiful

First Thoughts on Sorrento

Sorrento on first glance was beautiful.  The coast line was amazing and we seemed to be climbing higher and higher which made our views even more amazing. One thing that was a little uncomfortable was the width of the roads, they seemed so small that surely two cars couldn’t travel at the same time. I also noticed that footpaths seemed a little non existent! Beautiful but lots of small windy streets and roads with high fences so it was all very private.

Our Room with Balcony

Our Wedding Venue

Hotel Mediterraneo Sorrento

Dinner at Sunset

When we arrived at our wedding venue i was not as wowed as i was hoping for.  Was it the location in the small windy streets? I’m not sure.  Was it because it wasn’t as shiny and bright as instagram? Maybe!  We checked in and were greeted by a very friendly receptionist. Our room was a standard with a balcony and they fit in a bed for Freya.  Seriously, we had to wake her up every morning.  The black out blinds and comfortable beds, we could have stayed in bed all day.

Breakfast with a View

The service throughout the whole hotel was excellent.  Mr Gin came and showed us different gins and mixers at dinner.  They talked us through food options and it was cooked to perfection.  We visited both the restaurant and roof terrace where our wedding will take place and they were just stunning.

The Roof Top

I was actually in heaven and when i asked Mr K his thoughts, he agreed, it was perfect for us and everything we wanted. It just made us more excited and our wedding planners were so helpful, they made us feel totally at ease.

 

Warm Summer Evenings

The Locals

Our Local

Now i’m not sure if this is most people’s thing but we don’t like to be right in the centre of a very busy tourist area.  We like to be just out of the way and love to find little local places.  Right opposite our hotel was a cafe come restaurant with views that looked out for miles along the Sorrento coast.  Sunset felt like it was in touching distance and the food was tasty and reasonably priced too. We became drawn to this place and the waiters brought out treats for Freya which made her day.

Dressed in White #angels 🙂

Activities

The Colosseum

We chose to visit Rome and Pompeii on our 7 day trip.  We do love pool time but we like to explore too.  We can do pool time anywhere but if we are lucky enough to be in a place with so much history and culture, well it would be rude not too! Both trips we used public transport via the underground and also the trains.  So easy when you ask google where you are and where you want to be.  What did we do before a phone.  If you don’t trust google then there’s usually a tourist information in most train stations where you can ask. Train times were around one hour, some were a tad scruffy and some were fast and modern.

Hop on!

Rome was amazing, it was my second time but this time we grabbed a ticket for the hop on hop off bus.  The temperature was around 37 degrees and my little legs aka Freya, may have struggled to walk long distances.  It’s a good job Mummy designs linen baby and children’s clothing because it was needed in those temperatures.

Trevi Fountains

Freya actually really enjoyed it, we did worry she may get bored but she asked questions and absolutely loved Trevi Fountains and even made a wish.  She told us she wished for a pink unicorn, we’re still on the look out 🙂

The Vatican

The hop on bus was a great idea and we visited Colosseum, Vatican, Trevi fountains and a few others.  We may have also had a stein and a couple of pizzas.  It’s hungry and thirsty work sight seeing.

Pompeii

Our trip to Pompeii was also really insightful and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  We were a little disappointed with the train station which had no boards to tell you when trains were due or late. It was a little dirty and need of modernisation too.

Walk Walk Walk

Pompeii itself was HUGE and no way could you see it all in a day.  We chose to skip the que and enter with a guide.  Which is fine if you want to know every single detail. We got a little bored and wandered off ourselves to explore!

Overall

Pool Time

We thought we had found our perfect wedding hotel and we were right.  The food, the service, the atmosphere not to mention facilities were exactly what we had hoped for.  We don’t quite know why we weren’t sure at first but it just shows, if you give things a chance… Access into Sorrento was easy and painless and public transport was great.  Sorrento itself was full of cafes and restaurants with a  mix of shops and bars.  It wasn’t too big but there was plenty to see and do. Our activities made the holiday for us, if you ask Freya about Pompeii she will tell you exactly what happened to the city.  She may only be 4 but they soak up so much information.  If we can keep giving her little snippets from different parts of the World, it’s so much more exciting than reading from a text book or watching on TV.

There’s No Alcohol in it I Promise!

Roll on 2019, i love the fact that our children get to be with us on our special day.  As well as our closest family and friends. I’m so excited!!

Michelle x

 

P.S. Don’t forget to check us out if you’re after some linen holiday clothes! Freya Lillie

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Why We’re Taking It Slow

Organic linen romper - neutral baby clothes by Freya Lillie

We all have those key pieces in our wardrobe which we wear every Summer or every Winter.  They don’t stand out as being Spring Summer 2004 or Autumn Winter 2010.  They are just those pieces of clothing that we love and are comfortable in, so we tend to wear them quite a lot.

So let’s go through the rest of your wardrobe, those strangely coloured pants, that dotty shirt or bizarre (what was i thinking) printed dress.  Clothes you bought because at the time they looked great and were right on trend, but realistically you’ve worn a hand full of times and most probably won’t wear again.

This is wear the slow fashion movement that we’re proud to follow comes in.

Slow Fashion

So what it is? Slow fashion is exactly what we mentioned above.  It’s clothing that can be worn all year round.  It’s clothing made from quality materials, designed to last. Clothing made from sustainable materials and not mass produced.  Fast fashion sees so much clothing sent to landfill each year. Consumers must be more demanding in the quality of their clothing to ensure it lasts and can be passed on.  Loved clothes last!

Choosing where your clothing will end up is as important as where it came from.  Although the working conditions of where your clothing is made is very important. Do you know where the outfit you wore today was made and the conditions the workers were under?

Did you know it takes a piece of lycra sportswear anywhere from 20 to 200 years to decompose in a landfill. Roughly £140 million (350,000 tonnes) of clothing goes to landfill in the UK alone every year.  There the decomposing clothing release methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.  Our poor little planet!

Freya Lillie

Natural linen romper - neutral baby clothes by Freya Lillie

Worn in Winter…worn in Summer

We understand that at some point people have to care about these issues and that’s why we pride ourselves on being a sustainable luxury brand.  We are passionate about our baby and children’s clothing but we really love our planet too.  Our clothing is made from sustainable materials.  Linen doesn’t need fertilisers to grow and it’s biodegradable.  So no 200 years decomposing. In fact linen is one of the most toughest and durable materials there is, luxurious in the way it is formed.  It becomes softer with each and every wash and is antibacterial which is great for us Mum’s who worry far too much.

We don’t use loud colours or noisy patterns that may date, we create key pieces which can be layered up or down and worn all year round.  Many of our items are gender neutral so can be passed on to boys or girls.

We don’t follow fast fashion, many of our items stay all year round.  We add new additions each season to keep things fresh and new and we certainly don’t mass produce.

We’ve tried to size our clothing so it grows with your child, which is why we use adjustable fastening too. Oh and if we haven’t mentioned it before, our clothing is made here in the UK by two lovely teams of seamstresses.

Conclusion

So what we’re trying to say is that loved clothes last, just take a look at your own key pieces. How much money and waste could you have saved not purchasing those impulse buys?

Don’t ever compromise on stye but be aware of where and how your clothing is made and who made it.  Whether it’s baby girls dresses or baby boy clothing, give your purchases a little thought and feel good in the choices you make.

 

Michelle xx

 

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Just a Mumpreneur in her Thirties

Freya-Lillie

In my twenties nothing was really an issue, there was plenty of time for everything.  Life plans, family plans, career plans and anything important.  My body was in it’s twenties so there was no need to worry about that either.  Then along came the big 30 and suddenly shit got real!

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By the age of 32 i was pregnant and had started my online business Freya Lillie.  Crisis averted, life plan on track!

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But at the tender young age of 35 i feel more confident, motivated and far more healthy than in the whole of my twenties.

Don’t get me wrong, being a mumpreneur can be stressful, if it’s not mum guilt because you are working too much, it’s guilt because the house is untidy or guilt because you haven’t sent those emails you wanted too, or guilt because you’re not feeling guilty about something and you really should be!

My Babies!

My Babies!

I sometimes think i’m superwoman but actually i’m not and can’t do everything all of the time (jeez that was a hard sentence for me to write).

I made a pact with myself to look after myself and my mental health because a happy Mummy is a happy household and it really is.

Me Time

A little more strict and regimented (although it doesn’t always go to plan) i work at certain times of the day on my business.  If i work on a morning then i make sure i spend time with Freya in the afternoon whether it’s making jigsaws, at the park or drinking babycino’s. Weekends are family time even if that just involves pottering around in the house in our PJ’s!

bubble-bath

Once per week when Freya’s gone to bed, i run a bubble bath (i promise i shower other days too!) pop on a face mask, pour a glass of wine and just chill the hell out for at least 30 minutes.  Even if i know i don’t have time for it, i do it and it’s sheer bliss and i get out like a new woman!

Friend Time

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Gone are the days where i want to sit in bars or clubs until silly o clock.  Quite honestly i like to be in bed and asleep by 10pm. Yep i know, i sound old!  But booking in time with friends for me is very important because time does go by so quickly.  We’ve started booking in days out every couple of months when the kids are at school or nursery.  Making the most of cheap rail fare when it happens and booking a same day return trip.

We’ve been to London (got a little drunk up the top of the Shard) Edinburgh (may have had a few too many cocktails at Harvey Nics) and we’re off to York to visit the Christmas Market (and yes there may be a few pubs visited too).  But they’re all memories we’ve made together and i love it! Plus i love having things booked in to look forward too.

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Health

This is one of the most important things for me because the impact it has on my mental health is so big.  If i’m feeling generally unmotivated, i want to lie on the couch, eat biscuits and i’m just having one of those rubbish days, where you just don’t feel that happy.  Then i push myself to exercise, even though it feels like hell on earth, afterwards my whole outlook and mood that day changes.  I feel better in myself and i want to go and be productive, it’s a huge difference.

Health specialists tell you that exercise makes you feel good because it releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. Turns out these health specialists really do know what they are talking about.

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I eat fairly healthy and have a good bodyfat % but i love my wine a little too much, it’s no secret and i eat chocolate too!  But it’s all about balance because life is too short. If you are remotely interested, then my next blog in  couple of weeks is all about how i exercise (which is mainly at home) and what a weekly meal plan looks like with a few healthy recipes!

Success looks different to everyone, do i think i’d be able to grow Freya Lillie faster and bigger if i devoted more time and energy on it? Yes i probably could but actually i’m able to look after my family in a fashion, have time for myself every now and then plus run a business that’s growing steadily and organically.  So i’d say that was pretty successful.

Michelle x

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Organic linen rompers - neutral baby clothes by Freya Lillie

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Our Trip to Geneva, Switzerland

geneva-switzerland

So when we told people Mummy and Daddy were off to Switzerland, everyone assumed we were going skiing when in fact we were going nowhere near the ski slopes.

Our annual trip is a time for us to be together, to reconnect and not have a toddler, teen and so much work in the middle.  We originally decided to go to Iceland but when we realised how popular it was and just how many people we knew had been, we decided to explore somewhere a little less explored, hello Switzerland.

Our Hotel

hotel-nvy

Staying close to Lake Geneva but not overlooking was our Hotel NvY.  Super trendy, arty and well located we chose well.  With couches by the fire, it was great for that last drink before bed.  Downside, the sound of a million empty bottles being disposed of outside early hours of the morning as well as the price tag for a G&T at a whopping £14.

hotel-nvy

We decided to get the train from the airport into Geneva and it was fairly straight forward and saved us around £100 on transfers, which was obviously needed for our extortionate drinks!

On the plus side, public transport in Geneva is FREE, tram, train or bus, there is no charge.  The same goes for some of the attractions we visited, FREE FREE FREE, who doesn’t love a freebie.

lake-geneva

Now it’s no secret that Mark and I like a drink in the form of beers or a nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, so our first task was to suss out the cosy pubs and trendy bars. These days we much prefer to get cosied up in a pub and drink lots more than we really should and talk rubbish, by the end of the night (OK 9.30pm we’re getting old) we’ve put the world to rights as well as talk about the kids non stop, sound familiar?

So what did we do and where did we go…

Our Top Pubs & Bars

Our favourite pub was found on the very last day and was called Lord Jim Pub, it was cosy, friendly and they kept on bringing the snacks! No matter which pub or bar we went to it was around £10 for a pint and £10 for a teeny glass of vino.

We managed to find an Irish Bar, because let’s admit it, everyone looks for an Irish Bar wherever they are in the World. However the only irish bar similarities was the sign outside, no thank you!

Grand Duke Pub & Mr Pickwick, proper pubs with proper pub grub, they had sport on the TV and comfy booths to relax.  All bars and pubs visited were visited on foot, we walked a fair few steps! Maybe stumbled a few times too 🙂

Our favourite swanky bar was probably Riverside Cafe, sitting outside on the couches with tapas and drinks watching the world go by and over looking the lake.  I loved it here!

Yvette-de-marseilles-geneva

The Converted Garage!

And for all of you who loves the authentic touch, Yvette de Marseille was one of the bars we found which had been converted from an actual persons garage, you could tell it was where the cool locals hung out.  I’m not sure we pulled off ‘cool’ to fit in with the locals, but we stayed anyway, there was just something really authentic about it, it was most definitely not a chain. We’re all for the independent’s! If you like authentic and not so much the swanky prim and proper , straight back designer watch joints, then this is your place.

Lake Geneva Attractions

Running with the free theme, well most of the tourist attractions here are FREE! Except the Phillipe Patek museum, if you are a watch lover, yes i’m talking to all you men, then it’s pretty fascinating seeing all the watches from when they were first created, to those created for the Royals, to those with such detailed paintings on them.  No photos were allowed though, in fact you had to leave your belongings in a locker and there were plenty of security to make sure you did.

The Natural History Museum was excellent, the dinosaur exhibition and animals were really impressive, i almost wished i had the kids with me..almost!  Set on 4 floors, there is plenty to see and a cafe for a rest in between. It was cool, it was arty and really quite busy.

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Musée d’Art et d’Histoire

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For all the art lovers and even if you aren’t an art lover to be honest, i think you would still appreciate the collections on offer here.  I found myself at one point sitting and just looking at some of the pieces, i looked like a real professional 🙂 They had everything from Egyptian artefacts to Art Nouveau, some of the furniture i’d love for my house now. Again, no photos allowed, i obviously realised this after taking the above shots, sorry Musée d’Art et d’Histoire

Les Bains de Lavey

bains-de-lavey-switzerland

For me this was heaven! Set in the snowy mountains, only a bus journey away from the centre of Geneva, was the natural thermal baths of Bains De Lavey.  With both indoor pools and a selection of outdoor pools, although there were many people it wasn’t too busy.  The water was so warm and clean, they had a small cafe and shop on site and even turkish baths amongst other wellness areas.

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I lay with the sun on my face and a slight breeze through my hair in utter heaven whilst the hot bubbles massaged my whole body.  For around £25 for 3 hours, it was worth every penny.

Saint Pierre Cathedral

I think we have been spoilt living in Durham City with our fabulous cathedral, it’s quite hard to top it.  The cathedral in Switzerland was great to visit and explore, but it didn’t beat Durham.  However, we paid a few pounds to go up the towers to overlook Lake Geneva and that was impressive. Make sure you aren’t scared of refined spaces though, those spiral stone staircases get very tight and steep.

So our verdict overall, Switzerland was a lovely place with lots to see and do.  It would be very expensive to go for more than a few days, as drink and food is very highly priced.  But as long as you are prepared for that then it really is great.  And although every time i leave the kiddies i get a horrible feeling in the pit of my tummy, it was much needed Mummy and Daddy time, to just be us without a million things in between.

Michelle x

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Our Top 5 European Family Destinations for 2017

Eeek it’s that time of year again. Spring is just around the corner, quickly followed by summer (I type this as the snow is tumbling down outside) which means it’s time to start searching for that summer holiday. Here at Freya-Lillie, we have been on a quest to find the best European holidays for families…

According to travelsupermarket.com if you have a family with school aged children, or work in a job with restricted holiday periods, booking as soon as possible will be your best bet! Getting in early means that you get the pick of the crop and will be able to snap up that holiday you dream of, before everyone else snaps up those valuable seats on the plane. Booking early does also mean that you can take advantage of early booking discounts such as meal deals, free or highly discounted child places!

So now you know when to book here’s what we think are the pick of the crop:

Ikos Olivia, Gerakini, Halkidiki:

ikos-olivia

Set in 22 acres of manicured lawns and olive groves, this beachfront hotel is super slick with stylish rooms and amazing cuisine. This all inclusive hotel boasts 4 a la carte restaurants**, 1 buffet restaurant and 6 bars (oh yes). As well as plenty of catering options there is also a fitness centre, a range of activities to join in with and 3 outdoor pools & 1 indoor pool.

Ikos Olivia is also perfect for your little ones as there are a range of kids clubs, creche, playgrounds and daily entertainment suitable for all ages (0-11years).

Hotel highlights: free wifi, range of luxurious suites, an on site mini market and has an official rating of 5* hotel.

If you haven’t already been sold by this beautiful place – infants go free on all Jet 2 holidays!

 

Iberostar Playa Gaviotas, Fuerteventura:

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If you’re looking for something for a family of all ages –  this all inclusive, beachfront hotel has is your answer!

Iberostar Playa Gaviotas is only 500m from shops and restaurants and 2km from the resort centre. This hotel has 4 bars including a pool bar that serves a wide rage of local and international drinks, there is also 2 restaurants**, 4 outdoor pools including a children’s pool – with free towels. You can also use the facilities of Iberostar Playa Gaviotas Park which is located next door.

The hotel also boasts: children’s pool, a bowling alley, a range of kids clubs suited for ages 4-17 years, and a children’s playground. And for the adults looking for zen – spa/beauty treatments, saunas, turkish baths, whirlpools and massage treatments are within the hotel grounds to make your holiday unforgettable***.

Hotel highlights: free wifi, a range of luxurious room options suitable for families and couples, all inclusive, entertainment programmes, and an official 4* rating. If you’re quick enough there are limited free child places (ages may vary) and again, infants go free with Jet 2 holidays (I promise I’m not on commission)!!

 

Hard Rock Hotel, Tenerife:

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I’m sure almost everyone is aware of Hard Rock and their Global chain, but not as many will be aware of this brand new hotel in Tenerife.

This Hard Rock Hotel oozes luxury, situated on the beachfront and its 5* rating this hotel isn’t short of things for the family. From world class entertainment, to the ultimate spa experience you will leave this island feeling refreshed and more than satisfied.

Board options are bed & breakfast or half board, where there is a buffet style breakfast, dinner in the main restaurant and a choice of a la carte restaurants. There are also multiple bars to keep your drinks topped up! Including a swim up bar, sports bar and a rooftop bar.

The hotel has 3 outdoor pools including a splash park for the younger ones.

Hotel highlights: a range of children’s clubs each suited for different age groups (6 months – 17 yrs), children’s playground,and a splash park. And for the adults there’s a selection of spa and beauty treatments, free wifi, and unique decor.

 

If you book early enough there are limited child free places and again, book with Jet 2 Holidays and infants go free!

 

Mediterraneo Hotel, Hersonissos, Crete:

her_mediterraneo_hotel

So if you’re looking for a simpler, and cheaper holiday, look no further – this typically Greek hotel has great facilities for all of the family.

A simple all-inclusive service with a buffet style restaurant and 2 bars serving local and international drinks, this is your Greek go-to for the family. At 1km away from Hersonissos resort centre, this hotel is situated in a perfect position for relaxation.

Trip Advisor reviews boast that the hotel is good value for money – with 3 outdoor pools, regular in-house entertainment shows, children’s playground and a spa, sauna and steam room – this is a place to go back to simplicity with your family. The rooms are clean and basic – everything you would expect from a Greek holiday.

Hotel highlights: free wifi in communal areas, gym, pool table, darts, table tennis and volleyball to entertain. 400m from the beach. Approximate transfer time of 1 hour.

 

Hotel El Paso & Theme Park, Portaventura, Reus, Costa Dorada:

hotel-el-paso

This extravagant Mexican themed hotel has been named as a Jet2 Holidays family favourites experience and more hotel. It brings all of the rustic beauties of the Americas, with classic Mexican eateries, a sunken pirate ship lies at the centre of the pool, and endless fun for seafaring adventurers.

All-inclusive hotel, with 2 restaurants (1 buffet and 1 a la carte) boasting international and Mexican cuisine, serving a range of local drinks in a choice of 3 bars. There is also a dine around option for half board guests.

This is the perfect place for a family fun packed holiday, situated 800m from Portaventura Park and Caribe Aquatic Park you have the ideal position for relaxation and play. A complimentary shuttle bus takes you from your hotel to the parks every 15-20 mins.

Hotel highlights: free wifi, 4* rating, daily entertainment, 2 outdoor pools, watersports, aqua aerobics, and a range of deluxe rooms.

 

So there’s our top destinations around Europe for families, and that’s us dreaming about summer for the rest of the day!

Hope you have enjoyed the read?

Amy x

 

** Smart dress code may apply in restaurants.

 

***Charges for treatments may apply.

 

Workout at Home in Ten Minutes Flat!

January, the month of dread that follows the festive period. That beach body season looming, and apparently not enough time in the day to do anything about it. But what if a quick and simple routine to kickstart your day was there to make a difference?

I’ve been trawling through the internet to find quick and simple routines that can help us make that change to our day, without having the worry of childcare or added expenses! I found some great simple and quick routines, and I have selected the two that I think would be most time effective. I know that everyone is different so some will suit others better, vice versa.

The first routine I came across was labelled “Mum friendly – all over 10 minute workout” – I often think that referring to things as mum friendly restricts them to appealing to just mums, however, coming across this workout can appeal to anyone and everyone that is short of time to work out. Not only does this workout shift those extra inches and tone up those flabby bits, it is easy to access and not complicated to actually perform946bc4346f15b5a2cef148a55ef59d14

I bet you’re wondering what this magic worker is – it is in fact, a good old fashioned skipping rope. Yes, a skipping rope. This workout is all about those short bursts of exercise, you can squeeze this into your busy day by skipping for a couple of minutes at a time, and repeat 4-5 times a day. You could even do this as a team – get your little one and skip together!

If you want to challenge yourself throughout this quick workout, follow this routine courtesy of Darebee.com, you can change your method of skipping to really see the difference!

However, if skipping isn’t for you, how about following this quick and simple body workout routine. With 6 different body weight exercises, this routine is perfect for juggling mums and it even targets your whole body – win, win!

So let’s get started with it, this is broken down into the exercises and the workout so that it is easy peasy to follow. (Thanks to http://www.fitwirr.com/)

The exercises:

1

the-perfect-squat

2

jumping-jacks-exercise

3

tricep-dips

4

how-to-do-the-perfect-plank

5

reverse-lunges

6

how-to-do-the-perfect-push-ups

The workout:

You need to perform these exercises in a circuit, then rest for 1 minute, do 10-12 reps for each exercise and then repeat for 3 sets. Got it?

So by following these quick and simple exercises, making that little change now could make a huge difference by summer. Don’t forget to take progress photos from the beginning – you will love seeing the difference!

Amy

My Top 5 Healthy Snacks

So if your house is anything like my house, you will have had umpteen tins of quality street, throw in a few boxes of Ferrero Rocher and not to mention the numerous cheeseboards. So you are ready to have healthy food but weaning off sugar is literally torture.  The answer…find alternatives!

Snacks are my biggest downfall, especially as i work from home.  Lets face it, if you have treats in the house you are going to eventually cave and eat them.  SO GET RID! I would never cut out snacks and I have a mid morning and afternoon snack every day.  They get me through the working day! The snacks below include those to make from scratch and a couple of easy snacks to grab from the supermarket.

We’re dreaming of our Summer holidays now and wearing that bathing costume in public. Making a little change now could actually make a huge difference by the Summer!

Snack 1 – Yushoi

So if you are all about the crisps and savoury snacks, these are the best substitute ever.  In fact, i don’t feel like they’re a substitute at all.  I love them and they taste great.

Made with vegetables, it really is eating a healthy snack.  Basically green peas baked and lightly salted which are also gluten free too, they are delicious.  They taste a little like chip sticks, plus they come in other flavours too and you can grab a 6 pack for less than a couple of pounds at Tesco. I promise they taste so much nicer than they look.

Snack 2 – Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

My yummy thick and creamy chocolate mousse.

Use half a ripe avacado (i know what you are thinking, avacado in a mousse, but honestly you can’t taste it, the avacado gives it it’s creamy texture), add in a mashed banana, drop of milk ( i use Freya’s soya) and a tablespoon of raw cacao powder.  Blend them all together to make this yummy chocolate desert which is absolutely healthy, no feeling bad for this bad boy.  It does taste like dark chocolate and i would suggest adding a couple of spoons of honey in to begin with for a little added sweetness since you’ll be weaning off the dairy milk and onto the pure cocoa!

I usually pop these into a couple of small containers and add sliced bananas or berries to the top and stick them in the fridge.  That way i can grab them when i need a sweet kick.

 

Snack 3 – Nutribombz

Nutri bombz

Subscription boxes which are delivered to my door each month, you can choose fortnightly or monthly if you wish. These are also like little sweets but made of only goodness such as fruit and nuts. I eat them after the gym as they’re fab little protein balls or just as an afternoon snack. It’s so hard to just buy products with out all of the additives, but these are clean and yummy.  My three year old can also vouch for that!

Snack 4 – Homemade Healthy Humus

Homemade Humus

A household favourite and so easy to make is our homemade healthy humus.  We dip in carrots, cucumber, bread sticks, tortilla chips, basically anything you can dip.

One tin of chick peas drained, two tablespoons of greek yoghurt or soya if you are being particularly good. One teaspoon of tahini (this lasts for ages in the fridge). A sprinkle of salt and cayenne pepper and blend together.  This is a good sized portion that will last up to 5 days in the fridge. Great for a savoury kick.

 

Snack 5 – Tortilla Chips

Tortilla Chips

A great weekend snack to dip into humus.  You can make them any flavour you like too.  Take one wholemeal wrap and spray with spray oil, once on each side.  Then season with whatever you like, i pop on salt and pepper with a touch of garlic but Mark loves paprika on his for a little kick.  Use a pizza slice to cut them up and pop them in the oven for around 7 to 8 minutes 170 degrees in a fan oven. Easy peasy!

 

So don’t starve yourself and cut out your little treats, just choose wisely, even if that’s the only change you make this month, it’s a huge start!

 

Michelle xx

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My Top 5 Healthy ‘faff free, toddler friendly’ Breakfasts

5-healthy-breakfast-recipes

So it’s that time of year again, chocolate, cheese and alcohol overload and a midriff that shows it! But the one thing i can’t handle after the indulgence, is eating teeny tiny portions and no snacks in between to try and shift the weight.  Guaranteed if you starve yourself, after keeping it up for a week, you’ll be so hungry you’ll binge on EVERYTHING. What a waste that will be.

So instead of eating less, just eat right and remember good fats are good for you, don’t be afraid of them.  They are great for energy levels and for keeping you fuller for longer and you will lose weight if it’s part of a balanced diet.  Ok so you may have a Friday night treat, but your only human.  I certainly won’t be doing dry January, i work bloody hard, i like my New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on a Friday eve!

Anyway enough of the waffling, this month, each week i will give you my top 5 healthy snacks, lunches, breakfasts and dinners that are all faff free (don’t you hate it when it takes 5 times as long to prepare and cook than to eat it) plus they’ve all been tried and tested on one two year old. Plus my top 5 exercises to do at home with a toddler watching and even joining in too.  They will most definitely enjoy it more than you!

Top 5 healthy breakfasts

Number 1 – Overnight Oats

overnight-oats

So there are lots of variations on the internet and these are great if you don’t have time on a morning to make anything.  Please don’t ever skip breakfast, that’s just silly.  Breakfast starts your metabolism moving, gives you energy and has been known to switch on that dark lightbulb inside your head. You can literally grab these from the fridge and take them to work. Made the night before, preparation time is around 5 minutes.  The great thing is they keep you full all morning!

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My recipe

1 cup of oats (gluten free if you’re being particularly good)

1/3 cup of greek yoghurt (i’m a bit of a clean eater)

2/3 cup of soya milk (you can use rice or almond milk too)

Berries and honey to finish

Pop the oats, greek yoghurt and milk in a dish.  Mix together and then pop in a jar or tubaware, garnish with whichever fruit you choose and drizzle with honey.  Stick them in the fridge overnight. Get really prepared and make 3 pots for the next 3 mornings! (BTW these fab jars are from Ikea, cheap as chips!)

You can totally mix these up and add in mashed banana, raw cacao if you like it chocolatey or anything else that’s a bit healthy.

 

Number 2 – Poached Eggs on a Slice of Wholemeal Toast

Ok so you don’t need instructions for this, although poaching an egg is an effort at times.  I literally fill a pan 1/3 full, bring the water to boil, turn down to medium/high heat and pop in the eggs for around 3 minutes.  Add a little salmon or a turkey steak to jazz it up! This may actually be the breakfast i cook most often.

 

Number 3 – Banana Pancakes

banana-pancakes

My toddlers favourite, well actually one of mine too. If you have a little time in the morning these are great and super simple.

My Recipe

2 Eggs

1 Ripe Banana

Mash the banana with a fork until the lumps are pretty much gone and then whisk in 2 eggs.  Add a little coconut oil to a frying pan, medium to high heat and using a large serving spoon, spoon in the mix.  The pancakes are more runny than a normal pancake so keep them small and let them cook on one side.  Check the under side is golden brown before flipping.  Use a spatula and carefully slide half way under before slowly flipping.  These only take a couple of minutes to cook.

When cooked popped them onto a plate with a dollop of greek yoghurt, a sprinkling of blueberries and a drizzle of honey.

 

Number 4 – Smoothie To Go

banana-blueberry-smoothie

Ok so you never have enough ingredients for a smoothie or time to chop up and prepare?? Well don’t worry, i have the answer.  Purchase yourself some freezer bags and after shopping day, in each one make sure you add a handful of greens.  I usually use spinach, i promise you will not taste it one little bit! Chop up the other fruit you desire, mix and match so each one keeps it exciting.  Add to the freezer bags along with your spinach and pop them into the freezer.  No waste, no faffing each time.  Just grab your choice of smoothie from the freezer, add it to the mixer along with some water, you could also use coconut water or almond milk too. Give it a blast and your good to go, totally healthy breakfast in less than a minute! What better way to have your five a day.  I usually pop in some chia seeds for an extra added superfood boost.

Number 5 – Homemade Granola

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My Recipe

2 1/2 cups of oats

1/2 cup of desiccated coconut

1/2 cup of almonds

1/2 cup of crushed walnuts

5 tbsps honey

3 tbsps coconut oil

3 tsps of cinnamon

I sometimes add a couple tablespoons of flax seeds, or linseeds to give it an extra boost.

Heat your oven to 190 and have a silicon or baking tray.

Melt the coconut oil and honey together for a few seconds in the microwave and add with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. This just makes it easier to mix.

Spread the mix onto the baking tray and add to the oven for around 20 minutes giving it a little stir half way through.  You can also add in raisins or cranberries or any other nuts you desire.

When it has cooled pop it in a tubaware box and enjoy throughout the week with either your choice of milk or my favourite, greek yoghurt!

 

So that’s my top 5 healthy breakfasts, make sure you are following us on facebook or instagram for next weeks top 5 healthy easy lunches! Pass it on too if you know anyone who’s on a health kick 🙂