Second week in Phuket

Week No. 2 here in Phuket in Thailand and that means new accommodation for us. This hotel is 30 minutes from the last one and much smaller and more low-key, located right by the beach.

Isabella Lowengrip hotel number 2Isabella Lowengrip second hotel

The mozzies weren’t kind to us at the last place. Thankfully Sally and I are the only two reacting this badly though. I asked the hotel doctor to stop by and take a look. Sally was given some antihistamine in liquid form to be drunk, and some cream too. Feels like there are less mosquitoes in this area, not quite as much lush greenery.

Isabella Lowengrip second hotel 2Isabella Lowengrip second hotel 3Isabella Lowengrip second hotel 4


Yoga mats at the ready *hint*

Isabella Lowengrip second hotel 5

Bathrobe and silk garments for us to borrow and use while we’re here.

Isabella Lowengrip stripey dress


Ready for the beach! Dress from Asos (adlink) 

… This’ll be exciting 🙂 

 

Next hotel!

So… we’ve had the last night at this hotel in Phuket. We’re travelling to another hotel today, approx 30 minutes away from here. We’ve had an absolutely fantastic stay here, our second visit to this hotel and we will probably come back again another year. The hotel has got more or less everything I appreciate and it’s located just 10 minutes away from the airport (but you can’t hear any airplanes). So handy. Fantastic bungalows, wonderful spa and sky-high standard of service. Everything you could wish for is only a phone call away. Regardless of whatever it may be. When I was going to pack our stuff, Odd went to the pool with the kids and Teddy popped in to help me with the packing. They are always thinking how to go that extra mile. Truly impressive.

The children have developed lots, Gillis has become so brave. I have been pepping and boosting him to dare to speak with other children by the pool and the staff that comes to the bungalow every day. He walks to the door and opens it, says hello, thank you if he is served something, waves and says bye bye if someone is leaving. Common courtesy of course, but it is really good coming from a Swedish 3-year old. I think it is important that the children learn that you don’t treat service personnel as air, but see them, acknowledge them, be kind and grateful for their help. Really important.

Isabella Lowengrip blue bikini

Bikini from Tommy Hilfiger

Now we’ll have our last breakfast here, omelette, mango and Nutella waffles for dessert. Everyone is given one, the children share one. This is the highlight of the day when they are allowed to decorate their own waffle with toppings. Eyes the size of saucers and extreme determination as they top it with Nutella and vanilla custard. So cute.

 

The revenge of the ‘good girls’

I finished reading Papillion yesterday and started the Birgitta Ohlsson novel called Duktiga flickors Revansch (‘The revenge of the good girls’) at half past midnight. It was so good I couldn’t put it down for several hours, obviously resulting in a certain lack of sleep. But it was definitely worth it, because I fell asleep with a feeling of “Let’s do this, goddammit”. I had read a mail earlier that evening, so the tone of this book was perfect for me. It made me feel strong before I fell asleep to the sound of insects I couldn’t distinguish. This book should definitely be read by every ‘good girl/woman’ out there and it feels even more important for moms with daughters. Thank you, Birgitta, for this book of the year and I dare to say it will be even this early in the year.

Isabella Lowengrip holiday literature

I have saved lots of great paragraphs with wise words, but this is something I want to highlight too.

Isabella Lowengrip holiday literature quote


(“Sheryl Sandberg, Head of Operations at Facebook and author of the career book and bestseller Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, have elegantly captured what we need more of in the societal debate. We need more female role models in the shape of competent professionals and happy mothers – or even happy professionals and competent mothers.”)

I am one of those women that is happy professional and an alright mom. The norm for us women is usually the opposite; happy moms and all right at our jobs. I am better at my job than what I am at being a mom. Will sound horrible to many people, but my kids have the best dad in the world, so that feels OK. There are lots of moms that are much better in their mommy role than I am, that really lives and breathes their kids. My life is just as much about my career as it is about my family, but I am sharper and more competent in work role than I am at home. I understand that many people will react to this, but if I had been the dad of this family it wouldn’t have sounded as harsh.

 That is not the way it should be. 

 

Our new Scalp series

In partnership with LCC

LCC launched a new shampoo and conditioner yesterday. This range is called Sensitive and is specifically developed for people with sensitive skin and scalp issues. If you have dandruff or an irritated, itchy scalp, this is perfect for you. We work with a substance called Piroctone Olamine, an active substance that helps combat dandruff, reduces itchiness and irritation as well as recreating the natural balance of the scalp.

Both the Shampoo and the conditioner have a subtle peppermint scent. You can also put the conditioner straight onto your scalp and enjoy a slightly cooling effect. Truly fantastic feeling and end result!

Other products that I also brought with me on this vacation: Light dry shampoo, Facial Cleanser Clean & Calm, Protect My Face sunscreen (50 SPF), The Cure leave-in heat protection for my hair and Rescue Balm for dry lips.

Just adore this indoor shower in our bungalow.


… And the outdoor one too! You will find our new Scalp range here at Apotea and here at Nordic Feel. It is also being stocked at Kronans Apotek, Apoteket AB and Apoteksgruppen.

In partnership with LCC

 

We try the nanny service

When we were here last year, we kept on seeing lots of families having a nanny with them and I remember writing a blog post that I thought this was a bit strange. I have definitely become more comfortable with this idea and yesterday we tried the nanny service that the hotel offers. We let the nanny mind our kids for two hours (the other families here have their own nanny accompanying them on their vacation). Our children got to meet her twice beforehand, before we tried this service. Once we had decided to give it a go, she picked the kids up, took them to their playhouse and spent two hours with them.

Did we have a nice time on our own? OMG, Yes! Odd and I lay down by the pool, stuck our headphones in and listened to a podcast.

Isabella Lowengrip Thai chill-outIsabella Lowengrip Thai chill-out 2Isabella Lowengrip children holiday train

This is a popular game at “our house”, the train.

The kids had had a great time and didn’t want to leave the playhouse after the two hours had passed. You might think it would be complicated when neither the children nor the Thai staff can communicate with each other, but that really wasn’t a problem. The kids have already asked to spend more time with the nanny today, so we’ll go for the same 2-hour approach this afternoon. It is good for the relationship to have some quality time too, Odd and I have been neglecting us a little. It has been a bit turbulent and we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve come through it and out on the other side and everything feels much better now. That’s the benefit with dips, isn’t it? When you can see the light again. Superb timing with the holiday right now.

 

Double travel-stroller

– In partnership with Babyshop –

As I told you about two weeks ago, I have a really fun joint venture with Babyshop and I thought I’d show you our new stroller that many you have said you wanted to see. This Maclaren double stroller comes from Babyshop. We wanted to try a double stroller as it often turns into a great deal of fuss about who should go in the stroller. And two strollers could be tricky when we often let each other get out and about and do things on our own and then the other person needs to be able to handle both kids. This double stroller doesn’t take up much space at all when folded away, so that’s good, but the best thing is that the children love their stroller and want to sit in it together even when we’re spending time at our bungalow. So cute.

vagn babyshop

Then we also have these UV-protective pieces for the children that I photographed earlier in the week. They’re from the brand Molo and are really lovely, I think. I particularly like the pattern on Sally’s outfit. It is also very handy that they have the same size this year, so you can pick whichever one is dry!

Isabella Lowengrip UV-protective clothingIsabella Lowengrip UV-protective clothing 2

Gillis’ UV outfit and sun hat

– In partnership with Babyshop –

 

New energy

I am constantly receiving new input and new inspiration here. My OneNote is topped up with new things all the time (really the best tool to work in). It must be the surroundings. I am in love with the two little houses we live in. I love dashing between the two buildings when I have forgotten something, it’s pleasantly warm regardless of what time of day or night it is and you can hear the sounds of lots of different animals and insects. There are three exits from each house, so you can really open everything up – indoors becomes outdoors and outdoors becomes indoors. There are outdoor showers and every window run from floor to ceiling. If I had been younger, I would’ve definitely created this style of house in The Sims.

Right now I am fantasizing about this sort of house over here. I will add that to my list of 100 goals. Not in the next few years, but as a long-term goal. I am thinking when the kids have left the nest, I would be early 40s and will then pop over to the house every once in a while to relax and top up on new inspiration. Maybe even come here on my own. That would really be something, huh?!

Isabella Lowengrip Thai hotel room

Many you are worried that I never live in the now, the present moment, and I can see why you might think that. But I am really good at the here and now actually. I frequently pause to be grateful, stop and just enjoy. I do love my life and I would never swap my everyday life for anyone else’s, for the very reason that my life is this “free”. I do love dreams and goals though, and checking things off a list has become one of my main driving forces.

The difficulty is to allow oneself to just stop and relax and enjoy each goal when the pace of life is so fast. Right now, for instance, you can find LCC for sale in Switzerland, Estonia, Norway and Finland. That has been a massive goal for us, but we haven’t had time to celebrate each new retailer. At the beginning of the year, LCC was being retailed at 4 pharmacies in Finland and now this number has increased to 18. This expansion is hard to keep up with and at the same time enjoy the present moment, but that is part of our success saga, I suppose. We are almost celebrating by making even more business deals instead. Anyway. My work brain is ticking over, but at a much slower pace. I do take some work calls everyday and I do check my emails. The children fall asleep at 3pm Swedish time, 9pm here, which means I have a few moments to spend on work every day. Perfect!

 

More spring inspiration

I thought I would take a break from the Thai vacation pics and give you some fashion inspiration for the spring, definitely needed in the bleak month of February! I have decided to refuse to wear black this spring.

Isabella Lowengrip spring clothing



A family day out
– jacket from Esprit, top from Modern Basic, sneakers from Björn Borg and jeans from Ellos

A day at the office – Blouse from Twist & Tango,  coat from Ellos, jeans from Lee and slip-on sandals. Just love this style.

A working lunch – Slingbacks from Ellos (so pretty), a good basic sweater from Esprit, watch from Triwa and trousers from Dagmar

All the links are adlinks. If you like my stile, I have collected everything I buy myself or like a lot on Isabella’s Selections, a subpage of my blog. I also have a specific Instagram account that you can follow for more inspiration.

 

Day 4 in Phuket

This evening we had dinner at a restaurant that the children find so exciting. The restaurant is a part of the hotel, but the premises are so big here that you have to travel over water to get there. The “elephant boat” as Gillis calls it.

Isabella Lowengrip holiday fashion


Nude body from H&M and skirt from By Malina

Isabella Lowengrip Bottega Veneta


Sandals from Bottega Veneta, a Christmas pressie from Odd. Took a photo of the foot with least mosquito bites. Everyone in our family have been bitten by mozzies and now have big, itchy bites, which seem to get worse as the week progresses. We were given a cream by the doctor at the hotel and we rub the bites with that (our first call to Teddy was about these bites).

Isabella Lowengrip Black ginger restaurant


This restaurant is called Black Ginger, some of you might remember the place from last year.

Isabella Lowengrip Children on holiday


Siblings, full of anticipation (just had a reality check when I realized how grown-up the kids have become, OMG!) By the way, I totally jinxed everything by saying that our children are so easy and that it is no bother bringing them to a restaurant. Yikes! This evening Sally wanted to spend most of our restaurant visit either lying on the floor or eating from other people’s plates.

 

Our type of vacation

Are you going to do something during your vacation or will you just hang out at the hotel?

We are just going to hang out at the hotel! On Saturday we will travel to another similar hotel and we’re staying there for a week too. All families are different and everyone prefers different things. Some people want to max out on culture, others prefer to seize the moment and exercise a lot, but I just want to have the most comfortable life ever. Preferably not walk a single yard. Odd does go to the hotel gym every day, but I don’t want to spend my vacation exercising. Just not my cup of tea (unfortunately). I have booked lovely spa treatments at our bungalow every day instead. Spa, good food, books and comfortableness is the best vacation as far as I’m concerned. And seeing the kids happy, of course. Most of the time we actually spend our days the way they want, which means kiddies’ pool, cozy snuggles in the shade, kids’ corner (a cool play room with air con) and the trampoline. The beach is right by the hotel, but we haven’t made it that far yet. It is so much easier with the pool.

Isabella Lowengrip Thailand pool hang-out


This morning after a splash in the pool. 

Now I have two hours’ of spa treatment to look forward to. During every spa session, I go through my goals and visualize the future. I think that is so much fun and not the slightest bit stressful. I have Warren Buffet’s quote “I have arranged my life so I can do what I want” as my motto. I try to think long-term, decide what I want to experience, what that might cost and how much I have to work to make sure that is feasible within X number of years. The goal with my investments on the stock market is for instance that I want to be able to more or less have this sort of lifestyle when I retire and want to cut down on my working hours. Nothing is certain is this world, but to save up and invest in stocks and shares over a 40 year period is a good way to approach things. I’m hopeful!