02.04.2018
Lugano Lugano
There's no place quite like Lugano: especially with kids, and especially around Easter time. I've done quite some extensive research as to where to go, when, and somehow as soon as Easter rolls around, I'm really stuck for options. Most cities are either too packed, too cold still or then they simply shut down for four consecutive days. That may be great for a bit of much needed R&R, but small kiddos need action.

Lugano most definitely provides and never disappoints. Each year the city goes to great lengths to organize all sorts of entertainment and treats for the little ones, something they call "Pasqua in Città". This year was no exception. From a myriad of entertainment on Piaza Manzoni to the annual Easter egg hunt ending with chocolate treats in the beautiful Parco Ciani, the kids were spoilt for things to do and see. Ill admit that the weather this year could have been better. But, having spoken to friends, I appreciate it could also have been a lot worse.
In our experience, Easter Sunday in Lugano has always been synonymous with the first warm sunny day of the year. Probably because of our luck with the weather, our Easter Sunday tradition has therefore evolved into something that looks quite different from your typical Easter Sunday tradition. Before most locals have managed to have their obligatory morning espresso, we are already waiting to hop on the early bird boat. Two excited kids, kitted out with their new sun caps and sun glasses and looking ultra-cool, together with their grandparents in tow, we head off to Swiss Miniature.

This place is amazing and it's so fun to see how, from year to year, the children's interests change. This year's theme was clearly "anything that moves". They were so fascinated by how the miniature transportation system works. Running around like little headless chickens the kids just couldn't get enough of the trains, cars and boats. Their excitement was heartwarming.
Once we finally managed to peel them away from the museum, we hopped on another boat to Marcote. Once voted the most beautiful village of Switzerland, this little gem is considered "The Pearl of Ceresio". It may be small, but it has so much character with its small alleys, arcades of old patrician homes and relaxing botanical park. An ice-cream stop after lunch is always on the cards and the flavours on offer never cease to amaze. Our adventurous 5-year old chose "Puffo" (smurf) ice cream this year. She seemed to enjoy it, even if- according to my husband- it could more accurately be described as "watered-down ouzo mixed with grape juice". Each to their own…

It's always a chore to tear ourselves away when it's time to head back to Lugano. But we can count on the fact that the kids will sleep well after such a long and exciting day under the Lugano sun.
Thanks for another great Easter weekend Lugano, see you next year!
28.03.2018
Fiesta forever
Today is the big day. The presents are ready and the balloons are up. The cake is iced and awaiting approval. I am hopeful that it meets all the criteria: four shades of pink and it has to touch on the flamingo theme. Only time will tell though.

I am slightly nervous. It will be the first party "without" parents, and now, suddenly three hours seems like a very long time. Of course, I have thought up all sorts of party games. I have made a detailed time schedule, wrapped the pass the parcel in umpteen layers of newspaper, and created a child-friendly play list. Nevertheless, I will have six kids under the age of six, under my supervision, for one whole afternoon.
Am I five yet?
The birthday girl woke me up this morning with squeals of excitement. Am I five yet? The question was to be expected given the hype that has filled our house in the run up to this, much like any other, birthday. She would have to wait a couple more hours for it to be official, but that was good enough for her.

It was heartwarming to watch how excited she was about her special day and how she went about including her little brother in the preparations. She had assembled a glitter crown for the occasion, and one for him to match. She excitedly announced that they needed their nails painted and prepared a spa style waiting area where they could sit and chat while their nail polish dried. As they waited, they discussed their party outfits. She wanted to look like a flamingo princess, while he would be Spiderman.

Not long now until her friends arrive. The countdown has begun. Wish me luck….
24.03.2018
Fish in the ocean
In celebration of my daughters 5th birthday next week, I asked her whether she would be interested in becoming a designer and producing a "celebration" design for Koivikko. She accepted the job without giving it a second thought.

Within the hour, she had packed a backpack containing a set of Crayola's and a hot pink hard cover notebook. On what was surely the coldest, snowiest and wettest (end of) March in history, we found ourselves pulling on our snow gear and heading out in search of her inspiration.
What's bigger than a lake?
The thought process was amazing. The little artist was desperate to find the right subject to depict through her design. She wanted to find a subject matter that spoke to her but that was big enough to allow her to talent to shine. You could almost watch her mind working as she excitedly looked around for her creativity. She watched her little brother who was clinging over the pier, 5 inches away from falling into the ice-cold water. His favorite thing to do was to lay completely still watching the sea life from above. She joined him, and as they lay there, faces pointed down admiring the underwater life, she knew immediately that those fish would form the focal point of her design.
Shapes and colors
As she started sketching, it seemed as if the pattern already existed in her mind and that she was simply dumping the image onto that piece of paper. She was so focused and did not break her concentration until her drawing was complete.

It's impossible to say exactly what the thought process was for the color scheme chosen. Interestingly though, she adopted a very different process for completing the pattern that I do. She chose her colors before she created the forms.

She started with blue to capture the surface of the water. The fish and the ocean in which they are swimming are colored with various shades of red and orange. Their movement was captured through the "crazy lines" that were drawn in all directions. She added some seaweed, using both green and orange, in case the fish became hungry. Moreover, since she knew that there were probably some stones somewhere in the ocean, she included them using a deep purple. Finally, she added some pink, because pink is her favorite color and because "pink always makes people smile".
She was very pleased with the outcome and proudly explained her brother what all the different components symbolized. Then, we sat in front of the computer together and started to transform her pattern into a digitalized graphic. Like a true art director, she had very clear ideas about how the colors should translate. They were tweaked slightly according to her wishes, but overall the result was very close to her original work.

The smile on her little face when we were done said it all. And, I must confess, I'm rather impressed by what she produced.

Happy birthday Pikku Myy ❤️
I cant wait to see what the future holds for you.