A look back – Sea of Leaves 2015

sea of leaves-2
Sea storm

Its getting all springy and just in time, I am just barely hanging in there. Sun please!! But before we spring forward, I want to fall back (har, har) one last time with a quick revisit to the Sea of Leaves mini session. This was our second go around and once again. got super lucky with the weather, the deep fall leaves, and the beautiful families. And especially lucky as just a few days later, the magical Brussels leave vacuum visited the park and spirited all of our lovely friends away. Brussels efficiency strikes again. 🙂

Without further adieu, I present Sea of Leaves 2015

Sea of leaves blog-3
Row your boat
Sea of leaves blog-4
Little secrets
Sea of leaves blog-5
Little kisses
Sea of leaves blog-6
Fall revery
sea of leaves blog-7
Pile on!
sea of leaves blog-8
Heart and soul
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On wings of gold
sea of leaves
Wonder
sea of leaves-3
Three of a kind
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Discovery
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Things to do with a child in Brussels: Make believe at Legenturia

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The Legend Begins

If you find yourself making an IKEA or Orchestra run out to Zaventem then maybe you have already seen the curious new building with a rather large dragon perched on top. Brand new to the Brussels play and birthday circuit, Legenturia is packed from top to bottom with really cool soft play everything and a sure fire hit for the 3+ set.

One rainy Sunday, lacking plans and decent enough weather for an outing, we decided to drop in and check it out. Arriving just as they opened, we were treated to nearly an hour of the full run of the place. Logically priced at free for under 3, 9,5 EUR for 3 – 18 years and 3 EUR for adults, you receive a wrist band when you enter which gives you access to all the areas of play. The ground floor is dominated by bowling and a maze of super cool bouncy castles. Five in total, if I remember correctly, this was really a highlight for us. The kids bounced, ran, climbed and bombed down the air slides until the rowdier older set got in on the action. Still a good run but at 2 and 4 years old, they could not quite compete.

No problem because there was much more to explore. Upstairs we went to the Zone of Ideas and lots more fun. A small snack bar, paddle boating, gold sifting (you can make a gold coin!) and then another highlight, the imagination rooms. Including but not limited to a bakery, jail, veterinarian hospital, nursery, post office, these rooms really set you up for some serious make believe.  My little ones spend tons of time here, especially taking care of the many “injured” stuffed animals in the vet hospital. Multiple injections, medicine overdoses and yards of bandages later, all were saved. 🙂

Upstairs is also the area where birthday parties are held. Loads of tables close to the imagination rooms set with juice and balloons projected a busy day ahead for the Legenduria staff. Not cheap at 112 EUR + 9,50 per person but it sure does save a mess at home.

Last thing to note is the baby area. Fairly good sized, bright and somewhat surreal due to the music and very slowly moving and padded play machines this would not top my list unless you have an adventurous older sibling and need to bring baby along for the ride.

Please note we did not check out the stag and hen party options including lasershooting, bowling, zorb ball and LED bowling. Par-tay!

So overall, a great option for a fun destination with your three year old and up. Probably most fun for 4 – 8 year olds. Awesome that it is open on Sundays and a safe bet for party fun if you don’t mind the cost. Arrive early to make the most of the space and don’t forget to make believe.

 

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King of the (bouncy) castle
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Whee!
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Full of idees
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Really soft play – baby area
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Par-tay time
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Use your imagination

 

 

First look: A day of play at Rouge Cloitre

Run!
Run!

Two days in a row? That’s right!

I just wrapped up editing this super fun family session today and I could not wait to share. Sometimes I feel like once our children get older, we just get too busy to arrange a photo session. I also believe that some parents are afraid that their older children will feel self conscious or quickly lose interest in being photographed. Though it is more of a challenge than working with new babies and toddlers, I absolutely love working with kids. Using a series of games, including some solo exploration time and treating them with respect like the young ladies and gents they are, we have a recipe for beautiful and truthful moments.

This session embodied all of these elements. At six and four years old, these lovely ladies came ready for action. And with a strong “that’s for babies” radar, they kept me on my toes. It was a great 90 minutes and I am happy to share some of the good memories with you today.

T minus 5
T minus 5
Impact
Impact
The story teller
The story teller
Lift off
Lift off
Daddy's girls
Daddy’s girls
Kelly green
Kelly green
Cosmos
Cosmos
The bond
The bond
On the fence
On the fence

A look back: Among the bluebells mini session

Dancing in the sea
Dancing in the sea

Now in the fullness of summer, spring feels like a sweet memory when we looked eagerly for the first leaves in the trees and then delighted at the explosion of color and sweet smells. Yumm. This spring was also marked by one of my favorite and sure to be a perennial mini session in the sea of bluebells covering the Hallerbos Forrest. I hope you all had a chance to check it out this year.

One day of mini sessions quickly became two and in the end 15 gorgeous families joined me in the woods for this special event. I am happy to share some of the photos with you today. Enjoy the breath of fresh air. 🙂

Some time for us
Some time for us
Play!
Play!
Ring around the rosies
Ring around the rosies
Blossoms
Blossoms
Exalt
Exalt
On a stroll
On a stroll
Breezy
Breezy
Just the girls
Just the girls
Looking back
Looking back

Things to do with a Baby or Toddler in Brussels: Check out a toy at the Ludothèque communale d’Ixelles

Helloooo up there
Helloooo up there

It is just too beautiful out today. Exactly the kind of day that you just want to spend outside. But this next baby and toddler hot spot will have you scanning the weather report for any hint of clouds. Just enough to give you an excuse to stay inside and play.

I have written before about the ludotheque in Etterbeek. Having lived in Etterbeek and with a tiny slice of Etterbeekois pride, it pains me to say that the ludtheque in Ixelles is seriously kicking our ass. Located in a breezy neighborhood a stone’s throw from Square Ferdinand Cocq, this ludotheque is chalk-full of new, bright and shiny toys. Lots of options for play from an extensive train collection, up and downstairs playhouse, loads of lovely frocks and dresses for make believe and the mother of all crawling tunnels (see happy face snail below). I was really impressed to say the least.

There is a bit of admin to get started. Upon proof of residence in Belgium, but not necessarily Ixelles, you can get your yearly membership card for 10 EUR. This card entitles you to as much free play time as you like as well as the right to borrow toys and games from the ludotheque for between 1 – 2,50 EUR. Don’t forget to return your toys within 1 – 3 weeks or you start accruing late fees. Also don’t put them away in your closet and forget about them for nine months and end up with a fine 10x the value of the toys (lesson learned the hard way, thank you…).

Next time the clouds descend, get yourself over to Ixelle, get a cookie at Sucre Sale and play play play. Cheers!

Where: Rue Mercelis, 13-1050 Brussels

When:

  • Tuesday from 10h to 12h and 13h to 17h
  • Wednesday from 13h to 18h
  • Thursday from 13h to 17h
  • Friday from 10h to 13h and 14h to 18h (for 10 years)
  • Saturday from 10h to 13h
Chevaliers, pirates and indians, oh my!
Chevaliers, pirates and indians, oh my!
Are you a mouse or a bee?
Are you a mouse or a bee?
My partner in crime <3
My partner in crime ❤
Self portrait
Self portrait
Happy faces
Happy faces

Things to do with a toddler or kids in Brussels: Have it your way at Kessel-Lo

Two seeking adventure
Two seeking adventure

Ages and ages ago, I took a walk with a friend and our new babies in Kessel-Lo. Taking in the monumental climbing areas and wood structures, I looked at my little bababoo and tried to imagine her big enough to take on some of these amazing adventures. Well today we set out to try our chops on the king of all local playsets.

Kessel-lo is situated in Leuven and about a 25 minute drive from Brussels. It is also possible to get there by bus. At Kessel-lo you really can have it your way. On the grounds you will find beautiful walking paths, lined with flowers, trees and ponds. If you care to venture out on the pond, there are some sweet little paddle boats on offer. Also a small animal park sporting donkeys, goats, and chickens. Yes, there is even a pool! But truly the highlight for us are the gorgeous and abundant play structures which cater to around ages 2 and up.

The play structures are mostly made out of wood and blend in with the forested surroundings. That makes it all the more fun as you get tired on one and then notice a castle or massive slide peaking out from behind the trees around the corner. There is so much to discover! It is a real paradise for the adventurous little one.

Though the pool was closed today, it looked really fun with a big slide and plenty of space for kids to play. We would return just for this as well, should the weather gods turn it up past 25 one of these days. 🙂

Not the adventure sort? There is plenty of space for a nice stroll and a picnic with lots of flowery fields, picnic tables and neat designed wooden seating.

So one of these warm early summer days, definitely check this place out! Though there are a number of parking areas, I recommend P1 which you can find by putting 203 Eénmeilaan, Leuven. Happy whatever you like. 🙂

King of the castle
King of the castle
My big girl now :)
My big girl now 🙂
Saving a seat for you
Saving a seat for you
Lean in
Lean in
Black diamond slide
Black diamond slide
Float
Float
A pool!
A pool!
Its the climb
Its the climb

Things to do with a kid in Brussels: Climb, roll and race at Planet Kid’s

Checking out the field
Checking out the field

Its cold, its dark but somehow these kids still demand to be entertained. The nerve! Why don’t they want to curl up with tea and a good book or the latest Oscar contender and wait for longer days like me?

Now placed under these unreasonable demands we were forced to look further afield. Sunday indoor play options are next to non-existent but one recommendation caught my eye. Acting on a tip from Nicola Tunks (among others) we decided to give Planet Kids a chance.

Located out in Sterrebeek, Planet Kids is housed in an unassuming white building that resembles an old farm house. Being a dreary winter Sunday, it was packed to the gills with marauding kids and merry makers. There is an indoor and outdoor section. The outdoor seemed to be dominated by a go-cart track (mental note for a couple of years and more degrees from now). Indoor had a really cool indoor labyrinth that is sure to challenge your little person. Climbing, rolling, swinging, you name it. The labyrinth areas were organized by age but we found that the one for the little ones was still dominated by less than gentle older kids. You can join your kids in the up to 4 year play area but after that they are on their own!

One big feature of Planet Kids is that you can bring the family, let them play, and relax and enjoy a coffee or beer in the open area cafe. Many seemed to be taking this approach. There is also a special area for birthday parties and while we were there, an extended Happy Birthday tune was celebrated.

Although a separate playground for babies is  advertised, it  was pretty basic and definitely not a destination for those who can’t yet enjoy the climbing maze.

The prognosis? A solid weekend destination for 3 – 4 year olds and super awesome one for 5+. If you go with your little one, make sure to stay close to make sure they don’t get overwhelmed by the big kids. For your long winter Sundays, this is definitely an option. A challenging place to take some pictures but I gave it a try! Climb on.

The baby area highlight
The baby area highlight
Something for them, something for you
Something for them, something for you
On a roll
On a roll