From Elle Deco to Instyle, House & Garden to our favourite weekend supplements, there isn’t a glossy that hasn’t featured the delights of interiors haven Graham & Green. Kodomo.com founder Cass Chapman spent many years working there through university and has adored it since. And with Jamie Graham at the helm as Managing Director and Creative Director, his wife Louise by his side as Head of Sales and Marketing, what started as a Portobello hideaway is now a national favourite. Jamie takes some time out between travels to chat with kodomo.com about holidays with his son Max and why, as a family, they love to get away.
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
I went on a trip to Morocco with Mum, Joss (my uncle) and a photographer called Stella for about a month. We got there and hired an old VW van and took out all of the seats. Mum and Joss were busy buying in markets, and I remember I started collecting terracotta drums. We had a great trip through the Atlas mountains and out into the desert. It’s one of those trips that really stands out. I was probably about ten years old and I vividly remember the huge VW camper van.
Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?
I did a year of travelling around India, Laos and Thailand, which will always stay with me as my best experience. I was 24 and I went off and did that out of university; it was phenomenal. Lots of people have done it and I don’t know if you can call it a holiday, but it was amazing.
Q: Where was the first place you went with Max in tow? How did it go?
Corsica. The was great because it was just umbrellas on the beach and we rented a little cottage. It was really relaxing. We did little trips back and forth on the beach and took it very easy as you do on your first holiday with a baby. And Corsica was great: it’s very chilled and has nice warm seas. We couldn’t wait to go and were raring at the teeth to get away for a holiday at that time. We weren’t apprehensive at all; we just stocked up on Calpol and all that stuff, but had a really great holiday.
Q: How do you both find the experience of travelling with a young child?
We love it. It’s perfect for me, because it’s the real bonding family time I get. Max, I think, really appreciates that one-on-one time with us, which we don’t always get at home because of work. It’s the long mornings in bed together and being so relaxed that make for really nice, family time. We all like that, don’t we?
Do you ever travel with Max for work?
We’ve been taking him to Maison & Objet recently. He doesn’t go to the shows, but goes around Paris with Granny (Jamie’s mother, Antonia) and we all meet up in the evenings. Recently, we took our camper van and took two days getting to Paris and then on to the Somme and we took Mum with us. It was really nice to have some proper family time as I haven’t travelled with Mum for ages. Time is disappearing so we’re making more effort to make these memories. Actually, I don’t organise anything: Lou does everything!
Q: Where was your best holiday with Max?
Skiing. We’ve been twice as a family and it’s just the best holiday. We go to France, last time it was to Courchevel, and on all levels it was brilliant – for family time, the snow, the food, it was such a confidence builder for Max and it was just fantastic.
Q: And your worst?
We went to Spain once, to somewhere in the South, and it was just a rank place. It was ok for a holiday, but just not a nice place. I haven’t had a bad holiday with Max though; it was just the location on that occasion.
Q: What is your must-have travel accessory for Max?
We always take pens and paper, because Max is great at drawing. Anything apart from the trusted iPad, which I probably shouldn’t mention!? We’re quite old school, because we always take Scrabble on holiday and pens and paper to keep things a bit creative.
Q: And top tips for travel with kids?
If we’re travelling we always take his pillow with us. I think that’s a good one. And we try and keep things exciting so we always try and get him to do a scrap book or a journal while we’re away. He can collect ticket stubs and postcards and he gets really into it. It gets hard to get him to finish it, but it’s always a hit in the first few days!
Q: How are things at Graham & Green? Does Max want to get involved one day?
We’re bubbling along really well. Max sees himself as Managing Director in about two years time I think!
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