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Back from another few weeks in Taipei and I’m pretty sure we are getting more addicted with each visit. I wouldn’t recommend August as the optimum time to visit with soaring temperatures and humidity, but we discovered plenty of indoor activities and the city/country still sits at the top of our list of child friendly destinations.

If you want affordability, you can’t beat Taipei. Noodle shops, onion pancakes, dumplings galore, and an abundance of local, organic produce. What more could you ask for? Everything is just a fraction of the cost of HK while managing to be far fresher and healthier. Cafes are always a popular option with kids. You can get your caffeine fix, Dads can usually pick up a craft beer, and there’s fresh juice and easy sandwiches for the little ones. Find an Instagram worthy window front and set up for a relaxing afternoon.

If you are craving a stroll, check out a local market and pick up tropical fruit and homegrown veggies. We love Dongmen Market and also always visit Addiction Aquatic Development for fresh seafood and Japanese fare. The Taipei Jianguo Holiday Flower Market is also a weekly spot where we pick up pretty bouquets to brighten our stay, and make sure to explore one of the city’s many night markets for an interesting sight and foodie heaven. Shinlin Night Market is located near many child friendly restaurants and playrooms so make a day of it and check out one of Taipei’s most popular neighbourhoods.

Indoor playrooms are available in abundance, from free government funded options in each area to kiddie heavens complete with restaurants. Mr. Tree Underground Station and Mr. Treehouse are always popular with my kids. There’s a restaurant where you can order basic meals and the options of play areas are endless. If the thought of spending several hours chasing your child around a ball pit doesn’t sound fun, (my husband hates it), try the National Taiwan Museum for their educational dinosaur display or head to Daan Park and let loose at the playground before feeding squirrels along the many beautiful walking paths.

For accommodation, we highly recommend the spacious suites at Regent Taipei. Take the family out to a mouthwatering meal at Robin’s Grill and make use of their refreshing rooftop pool. Once the kids are settled, ask for babysitting service from the concierge and enjoy a quiet evening of cocktails in their luxurious Tai Pan Lounge. There’s plenty of shopping right at your doorstep and it’s the ideal jumping off point to explore the city.

For a more affordable option, Ximending is a lively and fun area. Stay at Click Hotel for a wallet friendly boutique hotel, which sits right at the centre of all the action. Their rooms are spacious, staff are friendly, and they even provide children’s toys, tents, strollers and more to make your stay as easy as possible.

These were just a few places we visited this time but we’ll keep sharing our Taiwan tips with each visit.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading and make sure to check out my YouTube channel for video diaries of our stay.

Xx

August 31, 2017 0 comment
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Taiwan is a second home to us but we rarely venture outside of the captital city to explore, so during our last stay we decided it was time to discover another town.  Yilan is a popular spot that locals love for weekend getaways, great food, natural hot springs, and child friendly fun.  At only an hour car journey from the centre of Taipei, it was a smooth and simple journey with two kids and only $1200 NT for the entire ride. Our first stop was Silks Place, renowned for their children’s facilities and the unmissable Peking duck.  After a quick and smooth check in we were led to our top floor room complete with a spacious balcony, five star amenities, and beautiful views.  Our bathroom was already outfitted with every toddler amenity you could imagine and the staff were extremely welcoming, introducing us to the many activities available to our family.  We’ve been to hotels with impressive kids clubs but Silks Place is on another level.  Two floors of the hotel are dedicated to children, with themed guest rooms, a racing track in the hallways and electric cars the little ones can drive right up to their doors.  There’s a complimentary refreshments cafe decorated in cute Western theme, which serves snacks and juice for the kids and coffee for the tired parents.  A small nook upstairs houses inviting beanbags and an array of storybooks for a quiet afternoon or a calm play area for younger babies.  Outside is an outdoor playground which is a children’s paradise including two bouncy castles, towering slides, a plethora of electric cars and mini streets, colourful ball pit, and so much more. Parents get ready because we had great difficulty pulling our children away from their version of heaven.  If you are lucky enough to bring someone to watch your kids, head to the decadent spa for an afternoon of pampering and check out the large and relaxing indoor and outdoor swimming pools.  Meals can be had at their international buffet restaurant where the Silks Place characters (a life size monkey, bee, and bear) are available for photo ops during breakfast. A family dinner is a must do at Red Lantern where you’ll melt over the mouthwatering duck skin nigiri and traditional Yilan specialities.  The resort is located within the regions largest shopping mall and close to all the local shops and sights, which are are easily accessible by taxi or a short walk.  If you have kids under 5 this is the place to be.

After a few days full of fun and play, we decided to retreat to a quieter corner of Yilan known for their natural hot springs.  WellSprings By Silks located in Jiaoxi, is a beautiful and serene boutique hotel featuring distinct, modern Japanese design and boasts an outdoor hot spring in each room. We loved our family suite with a minimal and stylish aesthetic alongside tranquil and relaxing ambiance.  The sliding wooden screens that allowed us to separate the bedroom and lounge were a parent’s dream after a long day when we could unwind with wine, while the kids slumbered in close vicinity.  The cozy nook housing our two plush and decadent double beds was an ideal sleeping situation if you are traveling with co-sleeping toddlers.  We loved the rooftop pool and jacuzzi featuring 360 degree views and their traditional and abundant Japanese style breakfast spread.  Make sure to dine at Mihan Jiaoxi, where they serve a mouthwatering shabu shabu experience and salad bar, and check out the children’s facilities at their sister hotel, Just Sleep, located next door.  Wellspring by Silks was perfect for a relaxing few days away from the city but would be amazing as a romantic escape as well.  

Don’t forget to devour the regions famous scallion pancakes during your visit and take the kids to a few local farms. Taiwan has amazingly fresh produce and we couldn’t get enough of the flavourful variety of greens on offer in the region. 

Silks Place Yilan

36, Minquan Rd., Sec. 2, Yilan City, Taiwan

Wellspring by Silks 

No.67, Wenquan Rd., Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County 

June 29, 2017 0 comment
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I’ve been grossly neglecting these baby diaries because I guess I’m preoccupied chasing two crazy little monkeys around.  
Ever is now a full blown, long legged, question asking, sassy big girl who is turning 3 in a few months.  I’m both sad that she’s not a baby anymore and also so proud each time I look at her. Her neverending sweet demeanor will always melt my worst days and our long cuddles don’t seem to be fading. These past few months have seen her independence soar, and the shyness I worried about has fast dissipated into a slight precaution in new situations.  She has learned the great art of a good debate and obsesses over details.  I can’t get over how like me she is in both looks and personality.  The diva like mood swings and need for affection are so familiar alongside a determined nature that is certain of exactly what she wants.

River is my adventurous, daredevil not stopping for one minute unless he’s fast asleep.  The determined little rascal started walking at 9 months and was running only a few days after.  His fearless spirit both surprises and scares me at times, and means we need to be on our toes at all times.  Unlike Ever, who was still breastfeeding and clingy at 10 months, River is already weaned, gorging on three huge meals a day, and prefers not to hold anyone’s hand.  He’s full of hugs and cuddles before he escapes to cause more trouble, and baby proofing is a real thing with this one who finds disaster at every corner.

We are heading to Thailand again at the end of the month and can’t wait to share our new adventures with you guys! Keep up with us on Instagram (@christingc) and make sure to watch my Stories!

 

 

February 14, 2017 0 comment
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I’ve been slacking on the River diaries, because to be honest life with a baby and toddler, travelling around Asia, doesn’t leave vast amounts of free time. Can you believe seven months have passed and he’s closer to a year old than newborn? After Ever, my clingy, sweet, shy, and demanding daughter, I thought my parenting skills were a sure way to lead to the same again, but the two of them couldn’t be more different. River is outgoing, curious, independent, and daring. Our little explorer wants to do everything by himself and is eager to be as advanced as his two year old sister. River sat up unassisted and began crawling at five months and has been standing and coasting for a month now. I breastfed both babies on demand but River never comfort feeds. He took to solids instantly and devours pretty much anything we put in front of him. 

The main difference with River’s first few months is we’ve managed to travel non-stop since he was two weeks old. River has been on over 10 flights and five countries by the time he turned 7 months, so I’ll give you guys a few tips on his travel essentials and raising a nomad baby. 

Baby cot:  Almost all hotels offer these for free but it’s important to book ahead. We couldn’t live without one as River is so active and most rooms aren’t baby proofed in the slightest. If we plan on showering or doing anything we require somewhere to contain him. If you are road tripping or staying in Airbnbs it may be worth investing in a pack n’ play and bringing it along. Many airlines don’t charge extra for checking in travel cots and your baby will have somewhere familiar to sleep.

Weaning: This has been one of our struggles on the road as we have to have puréed food three times a day. Ella’s Organic food pouches have been an amazing life saver and we’ve acquired a petite rice cooker so we can make meals for both kids in hotel rooms. We steam rice and veggies and just mash it for River. Now that River has started eating meat we are going to bring a small travel blender along so we can steam food in the rice cooker and blend for him.  Most hotels are very accommodating and can make any kids meal with out salt and blend it for you if you ask. We often requested steamed broccoli to be blended with an avocado from room service with no problems. 

Playmat: We bought a thin foldable playmat for travel. River is crawling and most hotel room floors are marble or wood so we wanted a soft surface to place all his toys and keep him slightly contained. Also book hotels with kids clubs, they generally allow you to borrow playmats, toys, high chairs to take back to your room. Your room may not look as luxe as before but you will be thankful to have supplies to keep the babies entertained. 

Essentials: Load up on sunscreen, bug spray, and fever reducers. These have been hard to find for infants in a few South East Asian countries we’ve visited and you really don’t want to spend your time hunting it down. Also if you run out of baby lotion and are travelling around Bali or Thailand just replace it with organic coconut oil. Sold in abundance and works just as well.  

Lastly don’t stress. The best part of travelling is adapting to other cultures ahd your surroundings. We ran out of food pouches half way through our Bali trip so River ate the local baby porridge sold in most shops. Sometimes breakfast is just yogurt from the breakfast buffet and if there isn’t a baby cot available we make a fort out of couch cushions and an extra duvet. The kids don’t notice the difference and love every minute. 

November 3, 2016 0 comment
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HK is the perfect adult playground, but it can often be painful to locate somewhere child friendly that also allows my mummy friends and I to enjoy ourselves as well.  Enter Maggie & Rose, a London import boasting warm and stylish design, enough space for the little ones to roam and the parents to sip wine, and plenty of activities to keep your children engaged and occupied.  The cute, inviting entrance brings you right to their play stations including life size Legos, art corner, a classic doll house, cozy reading nook, and even an ode to HK’s cha cha teng in mini size.  The indoor play area is a child’s dream where they can swim in the inviting ball pit, climb to their heart’s content, and slide with all their pals.  Luckily for the parents, Maggie & Rose’s rustic brasserie overlooks the play area so you can enjoy your cappuccino and chat from the comfort of an adult seat.  If that isn’t enough, their amazing club also has a huge rooftop equipped for a fun day in the sun. Membership includes mini cooking, art, and music classes in their sweet and inviting classrooms, and they even have a little cinema for those lazy family Sunday’s.  

Check out their website and contact them about membership fees. See you there! 

Xx

October 13, 2016 0 comment
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Many would describe us as quite a nomadic family, with trips around Asia and across the world on an almost monthly basis.  Life was pretty precarious keeping up with our travel tendencies with a burgeoning baby bump and animated toddler on the ride, but when River arrived this March we knew we needed new stroller options to make the journey a little more effortless.  I spent my last trimester reading up on on double and tandem strollers, but kept going back to the sleek, durable, and comfortable Bugaboo Donkey.  My main criteria was both babies must have somewhere to nap during long waits at the airport, lunches in the city, or just hanging out in a hotel lobby waiting to check in.  The Bugaboo’s bassinet and seat options were spacious, comfortable, and breathable in the heat for both a newborn baby and a mischievous toddler.  I can say both little ones seem to instantly fall asleep when being placed inside which is a testament to how comfortable they are when riding in this stroller.  I also loved that it handled easily, has a generous bottom basket, and can fold in one piece. You can also convert the stroller into a single stroller with side basket which is then only as wide as the Bugaboo Cameleon.  We’ve taken it through HK malls and parks, on long journeys in big city airports, along the beaches and resorts in Bali and can’t wait to convert it into two seats as River gets bigger and grows out of the bassinet.  A truly luxurious stroller for you and the little ones.  

Bugaboo is sold at Mothercare stores in Hong Kong.  

August 11, 2016 0 comment
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Taking a relaxing few weeks before we jet off to paradise for a month. Being home has been non-stop juggling of work, play, and family. In this city, you are often pushed into the direction of perfection. Strive in your own business, get back that ubiquitous beach bod, attend a slew of social gatherings, and still make gluten free pancakes for breakfast.  Luckily one of my great skills is having an innate ability to ignore the unnecessary and enjoy the moment so the top of today’s to do list was irresistible cuddles, coffee catch up date, and movie night with the boy.  P.s foodie shows and movies are our favourites. Can’t wait to share with you where we’ll be spending all of July.

Xx

June 7, 2016 0 comment
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Say hello to our little dude, River Pax. The past month has been unexpectedly easier than last time around all thanks to the fact that this guy happens to be the most chill baby in the world. After a terrifying start and difficult first week in hospital (will share story next time) we settled in quickly as a cozy family of four. In six quick weeks we’ve managed to return home to HK, start our work routine, and begin planning our next getaway. Seriously, having babies is not the end of your life 😉 Ever has welcomed River with an enthusiastic amount of love and has also managed to become an emotional ball of cuteness. Lots of tears and tantrums alongside kisses and hugs.  

Lessons we have learned from the first time around:

River sleeps in a moses basket and now has his own cot. No rocking, sushing, cuddling to sleep. He’s already self soothing compared to our two year old who still needs to be cuddled to sleep. 

Bottles and pumping from day one. Anyone can help me with feeds and I have plenty of supply to fill our fridge and freezer. Ever always disliked the bottle which doubled my workload as a mommy and made her the most clingy, “mama only” toddler.

Put on make-up, get out and be you again. I cuddled up into bed and didn’t do much for 6 weeks after Ever arrived. The seclusion made me emotional and made motherhood seem that much more daunting. Being with my family and getting back to normal has been a easy, drama free transition and each sleep interrupted night and early morning feed is that much more worthwhile.
Xx

   

April 30, 2016 0 comment
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Home stretch! I feel like I’ve been pregnant for so long now, I barely remember what it feels like to enjoy wine with dinner, have a real waistline, and maybe even look in the mirror and recognise myself. It’s gotten to the point where it’s impossible to sleep through the night without bathroom breaks, extreme hunger hits every morning, I can no longer reach my toes, and a comfortable sleeping position is some long lost dream.  My pregnant body always scares me at this point and I start to wonder what my tummy actually looked like before all this stretching.  Baby kicks are constant and strong, and he’s even tumbling around just for fun.

This month was all about sleep last time around but I seem to be late to bed, first to wake no matter how tired I am.  Ever still falls asleep on my chest and we’ve gone straight back to co-sleeping here in Taipei so I’m pretty squished each night. I’m actually enjoying the snuggles and hugs and waking to her little face, so am trying to nap when she does and rest when I can. My energy levels are up and down but we’ve been walking a few hours everyday to stay active and keep my mind busy rather than sitting around counting down the hours. I’m very lucky that both times I’ve evaded the infamous morning sickness and generally feel pretty normal throughout my whole pregnancy despite slight lethargy and resembling a blimp.  I don’t have many complaints and am keeping up with a clingy and active toddler to her delight.  Less than a week for us to be a family of three so we are soaking it all in.  I’m realising how much she’s grown, and can’t believe that our little baby is now this bright girl who will soon be welcoming her newborn little brother home.  Family is so incredible and it has definitely been the most enchanting experience starting ours.

xx

March 15, 2016 0 comment
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The past half year has passed in a blink and I’ve just realised I never posted a bump update for you. For me, the 2nd time around has been a vastly different experience with a roller coaster of ups and downs.  My first pregnancy was a huge ball of emotions. Feelings of fear, excitement, anxiety, and love flashed through me each and every day and I was in a pile of tears half the time unable to juggle the hormones coursing through my body (sorry Dan).  Hours were spent scrolling through parenting books and articles in preparation for our first child, and I knew everything from the basics of breastfeeding to that year’s most popular stroller.  I googled articles on flying with infants as well as watched YouTube videos on how to safely bathe a newborn and care for her belly button. A list of essentials had been compiled and we spent a fortune at HK’s premium baby shops for the very best in organic everything for Baby Ever.  It’s safe to say she was destined to be our little princess.

Little did I know less than 1.5 years later I would again be greeted with the surprising news that I was holding a little one in my belly.  What nobody told me was how different it would be this time around. Gone are the afternoon naps and basically sleeping through my entire pregnancy. Hours spent scouting and gorging on specific foods or shopping for newborn goodies has been replaced with chasing around my already present toddler.  I’m consumed with spending as much time with Ever as possible, ensuring her that she’s very special, so the transition to having a sibling will be that much easier.  Not that I don’t love our soon to arrive little boy just as much ,but the anxiety is gone. I’m content in my abilities to care for a newborn and am ready to take on the daunting deed of keeping said baby alive.  I’ve barely kept track of the weeks, and despite feeling more exhausted and less pampered than last time around, it’s been a quick ride to almost 30 weeks. So here we are, just two months left, and I can’t wait to meet him. I wonder if he’ll look like his big sister, if he’ll be just as cuddly, and I can’t wait to inhale that addictive baby scent.  He’s already more rambunctious in the womb, kicking up a storm, so I think we may have an active little boy on our hands. I’m gearing up for the night feeds, and crossing my fingers he has the same talent for sleeping through the night as Ever.  We are excited to experience all the milestones again, seeing it all though new eyes.  I’m sure he’ll throw in few surprises of his own and I am looking forward to what is in store.

Also I’ve just launched a collection of dresses for all those flower princesses out there, inspired by Ever Tai.  Shop your little girl in the link below.

Ever by Christing C. 

 

January 11, 2016 0 comment
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