Meet Mom Anne Duramois from Copenhagen…
Hi, my name is Anne Duramois Czinczenheim, I’m the co-founder of an international travel site and lifestyle blog for parents called, luvaville. With Luvaville we make city breaks for families both fun and easy with a new search function for child and family-friendly addresses and facilities. Luvaville.com is so far present in 5 different cities: Paris, London, Berlin, Copenhagen and Barcelona with more to come. I’m of course very passionate about traveling and city life and love design, fashion and beautiful things in general.
I live in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, together with my French husband, Laurent and our 2 year old daughter Liv and 3 months old baby Stella.
What kind of house do you live in – are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you find lacking or would like to change?
After living a few years in Paris, we moved to Copenhagen and bought a very centrally located apartment. It’s a typical and classic apartment from the beginning of the 20th century with high ceilings, large and bright rooms with a lot of light coming in from the big windows. Since we have become a family, we now miss having a garden for the kids to play in. We do though have a fantastic courtyard / garden shared with a lot of other families and therefore finding play mates is never a problem. But we are thinking about finding a house with a garden in Copenhagen.
What is it you like best about living here?
We love living in the city, having everything close to us within a 15 minutes bike ride. Work, city center, parks, the airport and the beach. I enjoy stepping out of the door and feeling the buzz of the city. Compared to other capitals, Copenhagen is fairly small, green and quiet. When we moved from Paris the thing I loved the most and still do is the infrastructure for bikes in Copenhagen. Being able to just jump on your bike with the kids gives you such a freedom. This is something I would find very hard to give up again!
Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?
If I had more time ( and money for that matter 😉 I would spend a lot of time on decorating our home. When that being said, I have to say that our apartment is very important to me and I always do small and nice things like having fresh flowers to decorate. I also often change the decoration depending on the season and Christmas is very important to me. Today, I spend most time on decorating Liv’s room, making sure that her toys are displayed and accessible for her so that she can enjoy being in her room. And she actually spends a lot of time in there, reading a book on her home-made couch or playing with her dolls and kitchen.
Do you keep your children’s play areas very separate or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?
I believe that young kids want to be where the parents are, so we have tried to create a kid zone in the living room without having toys all over it. We keep the toys and games we all play together in the living space such as puzzles, Duplo and the wooden train. My husband is very creative with Duplo and our 2 year old loves when they create something unique together. Afterwards, she wishes to put it on display for a while. So having a giant Duplo man in the living room becomes a very usual thing in our home.
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites?
Due to my job and our lifestyle blog, I’m always looking for new products, addresses, happenings and ideas. I therefore enjoy reading other blogs including Bloesem, online magazines and international magazines. I find plenty of inspiration when traveling, walking in the streets, looking at people and talking to them. I find that many of the Australian online magazines are very inspiring since many of the brands are unknown to us Europeans.
What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
Our daughter just got a little beautiful and funky knitted house from Danish LuckyBoySunday for her 2 year birthday and it’s a big hit. She loves playing with her dolls in there and inviting us for a cup of tea. She is also fond of her little bookshelf in her room with a mix of her favourite French and Danish books.
Some tidying tips? Do your children tidy up after themselves?
Liv is actually quite good at keeping her things organized when she wants to. We keep her toys in small suitcases and boxes so that it’s easy for her to understand where to put things. But at the moment, the little monster is challenging us by making a lot of mess just to see how far she can go! But we believe that it’s important to teach her to tidy up after herself even at a young age.
What's it like to raise a child in your town?
Copenhagen is a great city for raising kids again because it is both a small and safe city but also a capital with many activities and facilities. Parents in Denmark have a one year’s leave all together which means that you have many things to do as well as restaurants suitable for children in the city. The Copenhagen zoo is one of the best I have ever seen.
Who do you consider is a good example for your children?
Well, we try as parents to be a good example for our girls but otherwise I believe that our daughter’s god mother is a great example. An active, independent and hard working woman with high family values. She is very open minded, curious and tolerant – values that I believe are very important to teach the kids of today.
What is a normal day with your children? What do you do on weekends?
At the moment, I’m on maternity leave and spend the day walking around town with baby Stella, meeting friends and discovering new places. Our 2 year old loves her day care and all her friends there. She’s always keen on leaving the house in the morning. Later on, my husband will take his part of the leave and look after Stella. Most parents leave their children in day care and pick them up at around 15.30 to go the playground and spend some time with them before the evening.
During weekends, we often go out for brunch in a child-friendly café with a play area or visit friends and family. We also have a sail boat with a couple of friends but with small kids its difficult. Often my husband will go alone or with our 2 year old on a small tour.
Any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?
To be honest, I don’t really read that many books on raising kids. I sometimes read articles in magazines but don’t follow any particular regime. Once in a while, we read a bit in the “Fabulous Weeks” by Dutch Hetty Van de Rijt and Frans Plooij.
Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ values?
Well, to call it a kid would be exaggerating but we try to teach our children to be curious about the world. Since they are growing up with two cultures and two languages, it’s important that they get to be open minded and learn to enjoy different cultures and traditions. I also think it is important to give your children confidence in themselves, not being afraid of new things and opportunities. We let kids be kids but very early teach them to be independent and responsible f. ex. kids learn to eat real food at the table together with the rest of the family from the age of 6 month as well as drinking of a glass. I believe that with a good mix of love, curiosity and confidence, our children will have a good foundation and luggage for life.
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
I guess we are not the most talented and creative crafters but we love to spend time with our daughter making drawings, coloring and modelling compound. When I have the time, I like to sew and decorate old boxes with wall paper. The latest project was to sew and make cushions in Liberty fabrics for my daughter’s couch. I can’t wait to my girls get older and we can create clothes and furniture for their Doll house and Barbie dolls like I used too with my mother. As DIY projects, it’s so far happening in the kitchen baking and making cup cakes for instance. Liv loves decorating the cakes. I have also just bought some amazing Japanese “washi” tape for us to decorate and play with, I ‘m sure it will be a lot of fun and look great on the wall.
What are some favorite games in your home?
My husband and I love to play many board games, but our children are still too young to play with us. We dance and sing a lot with our 2 year old and build houses and ships out of Duplo with her.
How do you get your books? Bookstores? Online?
Both, I like shopping for books in real stores since you can better look inside the books but I also buy French books or some with beautiful drawing online on fx. Little Fashion Gallery or Smallable. Books that you are not able to find in regular shops in Denmark.
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
I would say both but again with two small children, time and logistics make it difficult to spend hours on trying new recipes and experimenting like I used to in the kitchen. Hopefully, in a few years, it will be easier playing around in the kitchen again.
Do you cook together with your children? Does Dad cook?
Our daughter is just learning to help in the kitchen and she is keen on cooking with us. My husband is unfortunately not that interested in cooking, he loves great food and sometimes enjoy cooking when he has the time but on a daily basis I’m the chef of the house!
What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and without the children?
Traveling is an important part of our life. Maybe not to exotic places as much now that we have small kids, but we love to discover new places, cultures and food. We always travel with the kids and hope to be able to go on big round trips to different continents when they get older. Personally, I love big city travel….I’m fascinated about urban life, architecture, design, fashion, art and culture…everything that moves. This is why and how I got the idea for Luvaville. Being a parent on holiday can actually be a very stressful thing. Together with my friend Naomi we decided to help families with a practical and stylish travel guide. With Luvaville.com we wish to give parents all the good insider tips for city breaks, where to find child-friendly restaurants, diaper changing facilities, a great playground etc.
Tips for traveling in a plane or a long road trip with children?
When traveling with plane, I always pack some of the favourite toys and add some new books and a few small “presents” as a pass time activity. Some of those “Finding Charlie” books are really great. We also bring snacks and food for the children and maybe a little movie for distraction. This summer will be our first long car drive from Copenhagen to Paris and we will see how it goes. I guess, we will do a lot of counting of red, blue and grey cars during our drive!