Category Archives: Guest Posts & Reviews

A Unique Gift: Modern Map Art

BiP recently received a customised star map with her name, birth date, GPS coordinates of her birth place and a star map! The print is really stunning and is printed on nice thick paper! Can’t wait to get it framed! BiP was fascinated by HER star map.

Modern Map Art is a great gift idea for pretty much any occasion! On their website you can customise any aspect of the piece you want to design and you can see what the final product will look like straight away!

Check it out!
Modern Map Art’s Website
And follow them on Instagram @ModernMapArt, Facebook and Twitter


Disclaimer: I received a personalised star map in return for my review.

Mother’s Day Around My World

Mother’s day is always a challenge for me! Which one do I celebrate?

A few years ago I posted a letter from her to me – an amusing projection from my side – but you can read it here!

My Mummy is Egyptian, I was born in Dubai, I am half English, living in France, and I have my gorgeous Mamas all over the world!

Celebrate them all I guess!

mothers-209x300Mother’s day has a few different dates and traditions across the world.

Here are a three that I mess up all the time!:

1. France: Mother’s Day/Fête des Mères

Napoleon tried to make Mother’s Day a national holiday at the turn of the 19th century but it didn’t happen!  More than a century later, Lyon had its own Mother’s Day celebration to honor women who had lost their sons to the First World War but it was not until May 24, 1950 that the Fête des Mères became an officially decreed holiday. The Fête des Mères is the last Sunday in May but if that Sunday is also the Pentecost, then Mother’s Day is pushed to the first Sunday in June.

2. Middle East: Mother’s Day/Vernal  Equinox

Apparently it’s the story of an Egyptian journalist called Mustafa Amin who introduced the concept of a Mother’s Day to Egypt after retelling a story about a widow who was ignored by her son. Amin and his brother Ali then proposed a day in Egypt to honor all mothers, and it quickly spread throughout much of the region. The story spread and they decided the first day of spring, March 21, was most appropriate day of the year to celebrate Mothers.
Mother’s day was first celebrated in Egypt in 1956, and is still observed throughout the Middle East.

3. United Kingdom – Mothering Sunday

Did you know that it was the Church of England that created Mothering Sunday to honor the mothers of England?
A few hundreds of years ago, Christians were were meant to go to their church each year to give respect to the woman who gave them life.
The 4th Sunday of Lent was the go-to day and it’s become the holiday to celebrate Mummies today!

Those are the 3 countries that most relate to me as far as mother’s day is concerned! !

When I was little I would always ask to get my mummy Thorntons chocolate and candles that smelled yummy!

In France it’s more flowers and but chocolates are always appreciated! I have had gorgeous drawings and cute little craft projects from BiP for Mother’s Day, but nothing beats a hug!

What do you do for mother’s day?

Three ways to help poor children without giving them money directly

Three ways to help poor children without giving them money directly

130930_DX_KidsKarachiPuppets.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlargeWhen you walk down the streets of third-world countries, scenes of children begging for alms are a common sight. Knowing that these innocent kids have been suffering from their homelessness, as well as possible physical and emotional abuse from parents and peers, saying no to them when they ask for some loose change can be very heartbreaking.

Thing is, some countries have rules against giving alms to the poor and for good reason. A lot of street kids are being used by underground syndicates. The money that these poor children get from passers-by, of course, won’t be used for their benefit but as funds for illegal activities done by the very people using them.

So instead of giving street kids money directly, here are a few alternatives that you can do.


There are a lot of charities no matter where you live in. Help in soup kitchens, gather clothes for the homeless, and reach out to schools that are in dire need of teacher volunteers. Sometimes, there comes a point that charities have more money than volunteers, so it’s always great to help physically. Share your talents to the world! If you’re a doctor, participate in medical missions. If you’re an engineer, help build schools for kids. If you can, help your local charity instead of giving aid to international ones. Chances are, your local charity isn’t given much attention compared to globally-recognized agencies.

Child Sponsorship

There’s a saying that goes something like, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. But teach a man to how to fish and he can feed himself for as long as he lives.” Child sponsorship is a great way to give children a second chance in life. By providing them with basic needs and education, you will be able to help a kid get out of poverty forever. So instead of giving out some loose change to kids on the streets, why not sponsor a child until he or she is old enough to be employed? There are a lot of charities that help kids break away from poverty. UnaOil Kids is one of them, and is particularly dedicated in helping children from politically-unstable countries.

Give them food and talk to them

If you can, give food instead of money to street children. Giving street kids food and talking to them is a great way to make them feel that they’re loved and remembered. Talking to them would also allow you to know how to help them best. Treat them to places where healthy food is served. Most fast food joints don’t really serve healthy choices that are necessary for a child’s growth.

Kids are the world’s future and each of them deserves a good life to live. Sometimes, money isn’t the answer to break them out of poverty but long-term commitment in making their lives better.


Photo credit: Eric Johnson

Family skiing holidays: Things to think about

Thinking of a family ski holiday?

Children often start skiing quite early in France, as early as 3-4 years old, they can start skiing in small groups or in private lessons.


But planning a ski holiday with a family with young children can be very challenging especially if you plan to have any kind of holiday for yourself in the process!

Hotels can be a really comfortable and practical option for families, especially as other après-ski options such as indoor pools and games areas are readily available – not to mention babysitting! However, the costs of a hotel can be prohibitively expensive which is why chalet holidays are a great option.

Why a chalet holiday?

Chalet holidays are often a more authentic way to enjoy alpine life. They often have more space for the family to enjoy when they are not on the slopes. In addition they often help you save a lot of money as you will able to prepare meals vs. eating in a restaurant (which are usually super expensive) every meal.  Not to mention the flexibility for meal times for families with younger children who don’t want to wait for the restaurants to open or for children who still need their afternoon naps.

Chalet holidays are also a lot of fun (if you have the right friends) to share on a ski holiday with families – kinder on the budget, you can share the baby-sitting and the children can often entertain themselves.

Many resorts offer chalets with saunas, indoor pools and hot tubs, some even offer in room DVD players and MP3 players. Naturally the more frills the bigger the expense but chalets are often much more affordable than staying in a hotel.

High season for ski holidays is usually very expensive and availability is limited as most places are booked well in advance.

Have you been on a ski holiday with little children? What was your experience?





Image credit SkiTotal



My top 5 tips for traveling abroad with kids for the holidays!

As an Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK), meaning I was born to parents of different nationalities and different country, traveling is just a part of life. I will admit that traveling before BiP was a different thing altogether! I could take my time, leisurely rock up to the airport, check in, browse the duty free and spend time selecting the magazines I wanted to read – but that was another life!!!

Now it’s about packing “special new” toys, snacks, changes of clothes for BiP (and me) and learning circus acts to keep BiP entertained!

278932_10150248335123895_2027473_oHere are my top 10 tips for traveling abroad with kids for the holidays!

1. Plan where you are going to stay!

If you’re going to visit family it’s probable that you’ll stay with them or nearby. Reach out to friends in the area who have kids if you can’t stay with family – more often than not the welcome the entertainment for their kids and yours will be blissfully entertained! Plus you’ll have the home creature comforts. If that’s not an option, look into renting an apartment vs a hotel – I know that hotels were off limits when I started traveling with BiP – I needed my own space when she went to bed at 7pm!

2. Check your travel times

Getting up at 3am to catch the 5:30am flight was cool when you were free and childless but what will that translate into if you do it with your little one? I’ve done a midnight flight with BiP and she slept most of it but I know I was lucky – I know too many parents who’ve had a terrible time with their kids on flights that have been at crazy time. Oh, and think you’ll sleep too? I doubt it!

3. Make sure you have money

Make sure you withdraw some cash before you travel – you never know when you’ll need it. If need be, try to have some local currency for your destination already exchanged before you go – nothing worse than arriving at your destination tired with a cranky tired little one and not having money to pay for a taxi!

Do check with your bank that your credit card works abroad before you go. I’ve had my cards blocked more often than care to admit when I travel abroad. Look online for the best credit card deals, I know that for my last trip abroad I got a new credit card which made my trip so much easier.

4. Prep the little ones in advance

Talk to them about the trip including the travel arrangements – explain that there are exciting things to come but boring things in between! Get them to pack a bag of goodies for the flight but also have your own reserve of cool things to pull out when you need them.

5. Prep yourself

Grab a change of top for you (if you don’t take it you’ll wished you had!)! Know that you’ll be busy most of the time keeping the little one entertained. Prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best! From my own experience BiP decided that a long haul flight from France to Dubai was a great time to go diaper free  (for the first time)- she flatly refused to wear a diaper  (when EC backfires or not) and with good reason but it could have been catastrophic!

If you’re worried about how you’re kids will do on the flight you can always do what this family did (they gave candy bribes to fellow passengers with a note!).


Those are my 5 top tips on traveling abroad with kids, what are yours?

Tried and Tested: Naturino Shoe Review

If there is one thing in BiP’s wardrobe that I have always spent a lot of time researching, it’s her shoes.

Every 2-3 months I invest in a really good pair (or 2) of shoes for BiP and she’s always loved getting new shoes.
My criteria for her shoes is often hard to come by; great orthopedic support, soft leather, flexible soles, easy to clean and super cute.

When Naturino contacted me to try a pair of shoes for BiP I was ridiculously excited (and I know BiP would be too)!

The Mummy in Provence and BiP Naturino Shoe Review

naturino shoes 1.jpg

I usually order shoes online so when they arrived BiP said “Mummy? Is it for me?”

“Yes” I replied, “Can you guess what it is?”

“SHOES!! It’s shoes! For me! Open it please, Mummy, pleeassssse!”

{sound of opening the packaging}

“Oh look Mummy, they are sparkly and they have jewelry on them! Can I put them on NOW?”

My first impression was “WOW!” They were not only gorgeous to look at but the leather was so soft that I immediately made a mental note to check if I could get them in MY size!

naturino 2.jpgI helped BiP put them on and was delighted to see that they had an easy to close zip on the side with a velcro strap to secure it closed.

Once BiP had them on she started skipping around the room.

“Are they comfy?” I asked BiP

“Yes Mummy! They are bouncy! Look at me jump!”

Without a doubt, Naturino shoes will be part of BiP’s shoe collection in the years to come.

BiP did wear her new shoes for a long day out and found them really comfy (and no blisters or red spots!)

What makes Naturino shoes special?

  • The bouncy feeling BiP had when she put the shoes on was because Naturino soles have a technology called “The Sand Effect“. Their insoles recreate the feeling of walking barefoot on the beach by moulding to your child’s foot without pinching their feet or restricting movement.
  • You can take the insoles out and wash them!! Fantastic for when BiP jumps into muddy puddles!
  • Naturino also collaborates with pediatricians and orthopedists to ensure that their shoes are always innovative and technically advanced.
  • They look great! I know from personal experience that the words orthopedic shoes + style didn’t go hand in hand when I was growing up!

Naturino shoes, tried and tested by MiP and BiP, get our vote!


Note: Everything expressed in this review is my own opinion (and BiP’s). BiP was compensated with a pair of shoes resulting in big smiles (and who says NO to shoes?!)

Little Captains — Preparing Kids for a Cruise

There are several reasons why you’d want to go on a cruise holiday with the family. You can choose from a range of destinations, on-board entertainment and activities are plentiful and nearly everything is included in the fare. As a result, there’s no need to make travel and accommodation arrangements or worry about where you’re going to eat and drink each day.

Little Captains — Preparing Kids for a Cruise

Most operators cater for the wants and needs of all those families who are adventurous enough to board a ship. Operators like Royal Caribbean, for instance, offer dining options for both young and old, teenager clubs and nurseries. But before embarking on a holiday to remember, don’t forget these helpful tips.

When it’s just a thought

Pick a family-friendly cruise — Some cruise operators have minimum age requirements for passengers. There may also be rules about how old kids have to be to use the swimming pool or take part in activities, so double check the finer details.

Choose accommodation wisely — Even though you’ve probably got a budget, your choice of accommodation could make or break the holiday. You’ll probably want to be nearer young ones while teenagers could do with the extra space. Some cabins only come with a shower and not a bathtub, so be aware of this too.

The build up

Get the kids excited (but not worked up!) — Your children are more likely to have a better time if they know a bit about the ship and destination before leaving. Show your kids some pictures or tell them about the activities and entertainment on board.

Pack specifically for children — Remembering to pack your kids’ favorite clothes and toys is fairly obvious, but think about things like wet wipes, toilet paper, snacks, books, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect spray, seasickness tablets, and earplugs, too. Those aren’t as obvious!

Once you’re on board that ship!

Sign up for clubs and activities — Spending quality time with each other is important, but signing your kids up to a supervised club enables you to relax and unwind. Thankfully, they’re bound to have a great time too. You may also want to join a shore excursion, but remember to take it slowly. Kids can get restless and tired easily.

Stick to your regular schedule — Try to get out of bed at a normal time each day and don’t let the kids stay up too late. Although you’re on holiday, sleepy or overactive children are difficult to deal with and could cause unnecessary stress.

With numerous benefits to this type of holiday and family-specific ships, there’s no reason why you can’t have the trip of a lifetime on a cruise. Travelling with kids is difficult and demanding, but stick to these tips and it’s so easy. Who dreads family holidays!


Image by flickrized, used under Creative Commons license.

Child-friendly travel in the Canaries

Our last two family breaks have taken us to the Canary Islands, first to Tenerife and then to Gran Canaria. We have found the Canary Islands a great destination for young children, and the islands are easy to get to from the UK. If you’re planning a trip to these fantastic Mediterranean islands, here is my advice on how to plan the perfect holiday with the kids…

child friendly travel in the canariesWhen to visit

The Canary Islands are popular year round, but are particularly popular during the winter months, when the Mediterranean beaches are still too cold for sunbathing. Temperatures are more tolerable at this time of the year, especially for children, though, as it is peak season, accommodation can be more expensive. However if you opt for late Gran Canaria holidays, for instance, you may be able to get island hotel or airport prices slashed. Quieter resorts, which are preferable for families, include Arguinegin, Patalavaca and Puerto de Mogan in Gran Canaria, and Los Gigantes and Puerto Santiago in Tenerife.

Planning your trip

Getting to the Canaries involves a flight of between three and five hours from most major airports in Europe. Hiring a car from the airport will be the easiest way to transport prams/pushchairs (though you may be able to hire these from your accommodation) and all the other luggage that you have. Ensure that you book a family-friendly resort with facilities suitable for children. Washing machines, restaurants which serve kid-sided meals, a playground, a children’s pool and babysitting services will all come in handy.

All-inclusive options may also be preferable, though many accommodations also come with cooking facilities. We found that booking accommodation close to the beach saved a lot of hassle getting to and from the seaside each day. Staying close to the beach also means that you avoid having to push prams up hills every day!

While you’re there

If you’re taking small children to the beach, ensure that you have an umbrella to shade them, and apply plenty of suncream to protect their delicate skin. Be aware that topless sunbathing is common in the Canaries. But holidays in the Canaries aren’t just about the sun and the sea. Hiking, scenic drives and adventure parks will also keep the children entertained.

As the children get older, we hope to go back and do some of the excellent hikes on the islands. Among the trails suitable for families are the Trail of The Senses in Anaga Rural Park (Tenerife), the walk to Roque Nublo which is one of the most iconic beauty spots on Gran Canaria, and Teneguia volcano walk on La Palma.

This is a guest post written by Paul Anderson.

Image by Mate Marschalko, used under Creative Comms license.


Keep Your Kids Safe this Summer with These Safety Tips

1205771_82308001During the summer months, it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to staying safe in the summer sun, and this year in particular as it’s been a scorcher. Having small children, especially, should make you extra concerned as they are the most vulnerable to the summer heat and sun. Only a few serious sunburns in life can cause skin cancer. Whether playing poolside, frolicking on the beach, or romping outdoors on extremely sunny days, children are bound to get too much sun, so they require the most protection from its harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. When it comes to your children’s summertime fun, err on the side of caution and reinforce summer sun safety rules whenever your children are outdoors.

So how can you protect your little ones when they’re playing outdoors this summer sun? Here are a few tips for ensuring the safety of your children when they’re outside and exposed to the sun’s harmful rays.

Lather on the Sunscreen

634041_33364364As parents, we must be attentive when it comes to arming ourselves with sunscreen when we are outdoors with our children, and not just on extremely sunny days. Remember to reapply often, especially if your children go for a swim or are actively playing, as sunscreen lotions often wear off in water or when you sweat, and although there are a number of waterproof sunscreen products available, waterproof and water-resistant sunscreen should still be applied as much as those that aren’t. Naturally, you should mind the SPF, UVA, and UVB protection levels –make sure the sunscreen you use has at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection. New mums should pay special attention to the directions on the label of all sun care products you intend to use on babies six months and under because some ingredients in these products can cause a bad reaction on your child’s skin. If you are unsure about what sunscreen is chemically safe to use on your children, consult with their pediatrician.
The best way to guard against your baby being burned by the sun’s violent rays is to avoid going out on extremely sunny days or remaining covered and in the shade.

Cover Your Wee Ones from Head to Toe

723019_26520282Dressing your children properly for sunny days is key to ensuring your children’s protection from getting burned by the sun and keeping them safe from its UV rays. Along with sunscreen, outfit your children in tops, long shorts, or beach dresses, all available from a variety of children’s retailers, including M&S, when you intend to spend long periods of time outdoors. Although you may think that long-sleeved shirts and long trousers are the best options for your children on extra sunny days; however, these garments can cause your children to become overheated and uncomfortable, particularly when they are engaged in active play. Also, remember to cover your children’s heads, especially if they are babies, with hats that shade their heads, ears, and necks. Big, floppy hats work best because they provide the most sun protection for your energetic, on-the-go little one.


Author Bio:
Caitlyn Duggen is a mum of 3 and avid writer. She contributes to numerous blogs, sharing her experiences and advice for parenting. She is an advocate for healthy lifestyle choices and enjoys spending time with her family outdoors.


All images provided by the author

KidzCanDesign Review: Turn your kid’s artwork into jewelry!

I was so excited when Danny from emailed me to introduce their website and give me the opportunity to turn one of BiP’s doodles into a necklace.

The KidsCanDesign concept is SERIOUSLY adorable: you send in a scan of your little one’s masterpiece and they transform it into a sterling silver pendant or charm. Cool huh?

KidzCanDesign Review_MummyinProvence

Immediately I raced into BiP’s room to find a drawing to send over. Now, BiP is just over 2 and half years old so finding something figurative was a challenge !

I asked BiP to pick out her “favourite” drawing and she picked this “moon” doodle. I wanted to have a pendant made of a BiP original, not something I’d helped with.

A week later I received this picture of BiP’s drawing transformed into an adorable pendant!


When the pendant arrived in the post it was well presented in a nice silver gift box and the pendant itself was on a black rubber necklace with a strong clasp.

The pendant is about 2cms high and it’s got a pretty good weight on it so it definitely feels like a premium piece of adorable bling!

When I showed BiP she said “Look Mummy! Like my moon!”

I can see a few people getting a BiP original transformed into bling for presents in the years to come!

Don’t forget to LIKE KidzCanDesign on Facebook and check out all the other creations they have transformed into jewelry!


About KidzCanDesign:

KidzCanDesign_LogoKidzCanDesign specialize in converting your child’s work of art into a high quality sterling silver custom jewelry which can then be worn with pride by any member of the family. They can use any of their traditional drawings created on a piece of paper, or an image created using computer software. If they can draw it and you can send it to them and they can then transform those beautiful creations into either a Pendant or Charm for your son, your daughter, or you, the parent, to wear with pride, letting everyone know that it was your child who stands proudly behind this work of art.

(Disclaimer: I was compensated with a necklace in return for this review)