Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Monthly Archives: October 2015

Most Londoners have experienced the joy of stumbling across Leon. Offering fast food that is also good food, their delicious offerings hit every note without leaving you sluggish and heavy afterwards. And they’ve brought out a series of books called the Little Leon series. They are pocket-sized collections (with adorable designs) that offer up all the humour, character and flair associated with Leon cookbooks, but in a handy size ideal for taking on your travels. With their exciting variety of recipes, these books make it easier than ever to feed the ones you love fabulous food that will do them good. 

Little Leon: Lunchbox guarantees healthy happy tummies and offers up nutritious but delicious food ideas that your children will love, either in school lunch boxes or when travelling. And Little Leon: Sweet Treats proves that you can have your cake and eat it. The delicious selection of puddings, pies and cakes are all made from natural ingredients. With recipes designed for people trying to cut out sugar, wheat or dairy, and simply those who want to make their pleasures a bit less sinful, these treats are guilt-free and wonderful to make with your children either at home or on holiday. We are thrilled to have three recipes for you here from the new books, chosen specially with kids in mind.

Leon Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4. Prep time: 25 minutes. Cooking time: None.

100g dark chocolate (70 cocoa solids)

30g unsalted butter

2 free-range egg yolks

1 shot of dark espresso

A drop of orange oil or very finely grated zest of half an orange (optional)

3 free-range egg whites

15g fructose (If you don’t have fructose you can use 20g of caster sugar instead).

  • Melt the chocolate and butter until smooth in a large, heat-proof bowl in the microwave, or over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the surface of the bowl.
  • Separately whisk the egg yolks until nearly white and thick in consistency. Gently stir the whisked yolks into the butter and chocolate, and then stir in the coffee and the orangey bit, if you are adding it.
  • Use an electric hand whisk to whip the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the fructose and whisk for another minute just to get that shine.
  • Beat a third of the egg white into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then add the third more gently, and the last with the strokes of an angel.
  • Neither over-mix nor leave white streaks, then divide the mousse into pretty things and leave in the fridge for an hour.

Leon Chocolate Mousse

Salvatore’s Panzanella

Serves 4-6. Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: None

Panzanella is traditionally a Tuscan summer salad; however, this version comes from Salvatore, a Sicilian chef cooking in Umbria. The ‘King of Pork (and cork)’, as he was known to his customers, Salvatore still has a vegetable garden where he grows a huge array of some 54 types of tomato in one year. The bread used in the original version of his Panzanella was a very dry barley roll, but a dense wholemeal or sourdough loaf makes a good substitute. Panzanella can also be made with capers and roasted peppers. And while some of the ingredients may not smack of favourite foods for little ones, they will love making it with you.

250 g stale sourdough or wholemeal bread, ripped into 2-3 cm pieces.

60ml good red wine vinegar

60ml olive oil

1 clove of garlic, crushed

500g cherry or good quality ripe tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

A bunch of fresh basil

1 celery heart, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

50g stoned olives

A pinch of dried oregano

Lots of good olive oil

  • Put the bread into a wide, shallow serving dish. Put the vinegar, oil and garlic into a bowl and mix together, then drizzle over the bread, mixing it in well with your hands.
  • Halve the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and add to the bread.
  • Set aside a few leaves of basil for the garnish and scatter the rest over the bread, along with the celery, onion and olives. Sprinkle with a little pepper and oregano and drizzle with lots of good olive oil.
  • Cover the dish and set to one side in a cool place until ready to eat.

Salvatore's Panzanella

Asparagus and Wild Garlic Frittata

Serves 4. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.

350 – 400g asparagus

6 free range eggs

1 tablespoon white wine

2 tablespoons grated vegetarian pecorino or parmesan-style cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic, crushed

A small bunch of fresh wild garlic leave, washed and shredded. (If these aren’t in season then fresh mint of basil can be used instead).

  • To prepare the asparagus, first snap off and discard the woody ends. Cut the asparagus into 2-3 cm lengths. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the asparagus, blanch for two minutes and drain.
  • Put the eggs into a bowl with the white wine and 1 tablespoon of grated pecorino and whisk together. Season well.
  • Heat the grill. Heat the olive oil in a 22-24cm non-stick frying pan. Add the asparagus, garlic and wild garlic leaves and sauté over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then lower the heat.
  • Pour in the egg mixture and draw in from the sides with a wooden spoon to allow the uncooked egg to run underneath.
  • Cook gently for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and flash under the hot grill to finish cooking the top.
  • Slide from the pan on to a large plate and cut into wedges.

Asparagus frittata

For more information on Leon, click here.

To purchase any of the Little Leon books, click here.

You no doubt know the groundbreaking website onefinestay, which offers a unique new category of upscale accommodation and gives guests the chance to stay in some of the finest homes in the world. They sort out all the creature comforts – like bedding, towels, toiletries, a personal welcome, and even an iPhone for local calls, data and 24/7 guest services – as standard. (You won’t get that with most other sites).

And, though all are seriously luxurious both inside and out, many are very family-friendly. We are thrilled that the lovely folk behind OnefineStay have kindly selected their personal family-friendly favourites in Los Angeles, New York and Paris, (plus one in each city for those of you craving a few days away without your gorgeous brood). Herewith, their picks……


Cordyline House, Santa Monica

Cordyline House children's roomCordyline House dining area

The homey open-plan kitchen is framed around a slab-top island and surrounded by comfortable, scooped wooden stools. With wide glass doors opening out to the picnic-ready patio just beyond the kitchen, you might prefer to eat al fresco in the gorgeous California sunshine. There’s a guest house and play room to discover outside, and inside the boy’s bunk bed is lined with treasures. Located in the gorgeous Santa Monica area of Los Angeles, you’re moments from the beach, too.

Lindemere Drive, Bel Air

Lindamere Drive poolLindamere Drive kitchen

At Lindamere Drive you’re in the heart of the iconic Bel Air neighbourhood. The poolside garden has magnificent views of Bel Air’s surrounding hillside terrain and the sun loungers and shady nooks are perfect for little ones. There’s a pizza oven and Argentinian grill for patio dining, while glass doors lead inside to the kitchen, which has a breakfast bar and farmhouse-style dining table. Past the dining space, there are two sleek sitting areas next to each other, both with quick access to the outdoor trampoline (always a smash hit with kids) and there are plenty of bedrooms so room for large families, too.

And if you’re in LA without your kids…..

Courtney Avenue II, Hollywood

Courtney Avenue poolCourtney Avenue bedroom

A secluded home with shaded outdoor areas, this is only a few steps away from the shops and restaurants on hip and happening Sunset Boulevard. From the front sitting room (which will appeal to art lovers, for sure), there are intricate French doors, which lead to a quiet side patio. The kitchen is past the staircase on the left, and the dining room is to the right. There is a lovely garden, which has a covered deck, a barbecue and a heated pool. Upstairs, you’ll come first to the master bedroom, with a super king-size bed and window seat. The gorgeous ensuite has a roll top bath with a view of the back garden. Down the hallway is the third bedroom (stocked with children’s toys if you do visit, en famille).

For more ideas of where to stay in LA with your kids, click here.


Gates Avenue Townhouse, Clinton Hill

Gates Avenue bedroomGates Avenue dining area

Five floors make up this family home in the trendy Brooklyn borough of Clinton Hill. Entering at street level, an open-plan living space reaches back to the kitchen, with an arched window beside the dining area for eight. Up one flight you’ll find a ‘princess’ room, a smart sofa bedroom and a bunk bedroom, so there is ample children’s space. On the next level, adults have a floor to themselves and there’s a last, lofted bedroom above that. The basement makes this a real pull for families. There’s a pint-sized billiard table in the room with a red-chequered floor and leads out to the garden, where you can shoot hoops or catch rays, weather permitting – a rarity in New York.

Vanderbilt Avenue Townhouse, Clinton Hill

Vanderbilt Avenue sitting roomVanderbilt Avenue kitchen

Located in the same gorgeous Brooklyn area of Clinton Hill resides the Vanderbilt Avenue Tonwhouse. With its unique mix of historic grandeur and artistic energy, this house fronts a sunny garden just beyond. The artistic and creative interior mirrors the bohemian haunts to explore in the surrounding neighbourhood and this gorgeous townhouse has plenty of room for families to unwind in at the end of a long day of New York exploration.

And if you’re in New York without your kids…..

7th Avenue Townhouse, Park Slope

7th avenue townhouse living room7th avenue townhouse living area

Again, in Brooklyn, you’ll find this 7th Avenue Townhouse in the charming area of Park Slope. Many young families call peaceful Park Slope home, and with quaint storefronts and restored brownstones – 7th Avenue Townhouse among them – it’s easy to see why. The hosts of this home are regular travellers and their finds from abroad can be found scattered inside this gorgeous idyll. The mixture of tranquil blues, creamy whites and dark-carved woods make for a warm and cosy home that still showcase the property’s original details. And if you do venture beyond the walls of this gorgeous space, you’ll find Prospect Park is close enough to be your own private garden.

For more ideas of where to stay in New York with your kids, click here.


Rue des Trois Freres, Montmatre

Rue des trois frères sitting areaRue des trois frères children's room

Located in the happening 18th arrondissement of Montmatre, the Rue des Trois Freres is in an area that has long been called home by artists and galleries. This property is no exception to that rule and the spacious interior of this home is crafted to aesthetic perfection. Each room is a canvas for modern art fixtures and designer wallpaper, from the abstract geometrics of the upstairs master bedroom to the pop art palms of the salon below. If you’re there with children it is ideal, too. The second single bedroom comes complete with a crib, a single bed, lots of children’s toys and it’s en suite, too.

Rue d’Amsterdam II, Montmatre

rue damsterdam living roomrue damsterdam kitchen

Also in the gorgeous artistic quarter of Montmatre is this family-friendly property on Rue d’Amsterdam. This apartment belongs to a family with two girls and a baby, and it was once the quarters of ten maids. Today, it is a bright, light family home. In the open-plan living room – beneath the vaulted ceiling and steel cross-beams – white walls and polished floors wrap you in a gown of light and space. Grown-ups will love the sophisticated furnishings, bold artwork and the views over the city, while boys and girls will be entranced by the child-sized details of their very own bedrooms.

And if you’re in Paris without your kids…..

Passage Saint-Antoine, Bastille

passage saint antoine dining areaPassage Saint-antoine flowers marble

You can’t find yourself in an area of Paris more steeped in history than Bastille and this gorgeous property is fabulous if you’re there for a quiet (or party-filled) stay without the little ones. Bold, brilliant and beautiful, Passage Saint-Antoine is clean and crisp, yet avant-garde in spirit. Chances are you won’t be up at dawn for the market on Boulevard Richard-Lenoir if you’re there without a baby, but you never know. Either way, we suggest you stroll down to the river and the Île Saint-Louis before a long and languorous lunch at Chez Paul. This house literally sparkles and it’s the perfect launchpad from which to explore Paris or simply relax and totally unwind in some seriously sumptuous surroundings.

For more ideas of where to stay in Paris with your kids, click here.