Time as a family, where we spend hours together just the four of us, classifies as down time for us both currently because we both disconnect from our laptops and computers.
Stella Burgsdorff and her lifestyle are giving me all the #wanderlust vibes. Stella is a pro at all things homemaking and clean vegan eating (Lentil soup recipe is linked, YUM!) she hails from South Africa travels the scenic coast with her family of four. She shares her traveling 'must haves' for mamas with a destination. Her eye for chic and minimalist décor is why her blog should be noted by us all. Browse her favorite places to snag pieces stellar décor for your home, too!
Q & A
1. First of all, Stella, your blog is AMAZING. What made you want to get started blogging and who is responsible for taking your pictures?
Thank you so so much. Gosh, I wish I blogged more regularly. I started a bit over a year ago with the intent of sharing my loves in life, but I am currently more regular and active on my Instagram feed (@stellarizeyourlife), and less so on my blog posts. I blog when I feel inspired to write about something and I enjoy letting inspiration dictate when I write and when I don’t write. I feel that it creates for more genuine and quality blog posts.
2. I see you and your family travel all over the world! What is your favorite place that you’ve been this past year?
We are so fortunate to be able to travel a lot. I always dreamt of having children and knew that I always wanted to travel with them, because that is how I was brought up, but I never foresaw that I would be able to show my children so much already at such a young age. Before Noah turned one, he had been to five continents! And Kaia had been to 4 continents by the time she was 6 months old! Little world travelers those two and they do it with such ease. I am forever amazed. But I digress. Favourite place this last year is definitely the Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra, Indonesia. We traveled there as a family in June of this year for a two week family surf trip and it is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. A true tropical paradise and so utterly removed and remote. It was just dreamy.
3. Traveling with little ones must be exhausting at times. What is the hardest part about travelling with two children?
It can be very exhausting for sure. Luckily one forgets those testing and tiring times and only really remembers the happy memories. Wonderful how our brains seem to do that for us, isn’t it? Although we are very flexible as a family (we have to be when moving and traveling so much!), we also try our best to stick to set sleeping routines, so that the children can sleep and feel safe/comfortable no matter where we are in this world (think regular bedtimes, travel cot, teddy bear, sleep sack, sleep music, milk bottle, dummy). At home the kids sleep in their own rooms and sleep so well that way. What can be quite hard is that when we travel, we often have to share a room as a family, and I would lie if I said that it didn’t mess up or interrupt sleep for them. Then throw jetlag in the mix (like when we travel from South Africa to Australia) and those first 3 days are very verrrry exhausting – for us parents, but of course for the babes as well. But it really is amazing how quickly they adapt. Another thing that is very hard are the unforeseen travel changes – flight cancellations and flight delays. Oh my word, have we had a few shockers there. More recently, I was traveling on my own with Noah (2.5 years) and Kaia (8 months) from Biarritz in France to Cape Town. The first small flight from Biarritz to Paris was delayed so much that I missed my longhaul overnight flight from Paris to Cape Town. I had to find a hotel at the Paris airport late at night, with the two kids on my own, and try to jump onto a new 12-hour day flight the next day with two overtired children. So those unforeseen changes are by far the hardest and most testing and unfortunately they are inevitable if you travel a lot, no matter how experienced you are as a traveler.
4. You’re lucky enough to have a husband who can travel with you! What role does he play to help you with your kids especially when you’re settling into new spaces?
I am so lucky. That being said, Rob doesn’t always travel with me unfortunately and when we are in certain places in the world, he quite often has to leave me behind with the kids and jet off somewhere for work for a short while. A week is usually the maximum that he is away these days. Sometimes two weeks but we haven’t had to do anything longer than that since Kaia was 2 months old, which is an absolute blessing for us and for me as a Mama. Rob is a very hands on father. His biggest help is playing with Noah, our toddler, in the afternoons/evenings, which allows me a bit of extra room to sort out the essentials – feeding, dressing, cleaning the kids and bedtimes. When Rob is home, he will nearly always do Noah’s bedtime books and that way I just have to focus on putting Kaia to sleep, which is a huge help in the evenings. My husband is also so amazing when it comes to rental cars, hotel bookings, flights, financials, etc. When we are lucky enough to travel together, he does most of that stuff and THAT is actually THE biggest help for me because it allows me to just have to focus on our children and our luggage. Oh yea – luggage – Rob tends to carry most of that too when we travel.
5. If you had to pick 5 essentials to have in your backpack when you’re traveling with your family of 4, what would they be?
A baby carrier (my favourite is the Ergobaby 360 carrier).
A camera (the iPhone will do), so that we can capture many happy memories.
As unromantic as this sounds, our phones, or at least one phone, so that our toddler can watch a video in that inevitable ‘overtired-usually a car ride-after a long flight’ travel situation. Videos are worth gold, and more, in those situations.
Wet wipes. Enough said.
A couple of Bonds Wondersuits. My kids live in these amazing zippy onesies, especially when we travel. When Bonds recently launched Wondersuits for the 24-36months age range, I definitely cried a few tears of joy. Light, washable, beautiful, convenient and just perfect for travels and at home.
6. When do you find down time with just the two of you? When you’re not entertaining the hubby and kids, what things do you like to do for yourself?
I should say that our downtime comes once both kiddies are in bed (Kaia is in bed by 7pm and we usually manage to get Noah down by 8-8:30ish pm) but I would be lying. Truth is that on a regular day, good old hubby gets back to work after Noah is asleep (he works a lot) so the ‘sit-on-the-couch-with-Netflix’ kind of evenings are verrrry rare for us. We are hoping to start a monthly date night again soon, which will give us some time together where it is just us two. So important! Otherwise our time as a family, where we spend hours together just the four of us, classifies as down time for us both currently because we both disconnect from our laptops and computers.
As for myself, there are never enough hours in the day to do all the things that I want to do! I love being active (spinning and running outdoors are my two favourite activities and these give me my proper ‘me time’, which I crave, love and neeeeed, and I am a better mama as a result). I love being in the kitchen, baking and cooking new recipes. And I always have a list of projects and things I want to do or get done. Everything from writing a new blog post, to taking/editing pictures for Instagram, family photo albums, journal writing, lists upon lists and finally launching my very own dream baby product (still under wraps).
7. You manage to eat healthy even though you’re busy and you even share about your experience eating vegan. Can you share one simple vegan recipe that was a hit in your house?
We have always enjoying eating healthy. Luckily this comes very easy to us as we don’t crave unhealthy foods generally. I do have a massive sweet tooth though, so I always make exceptions for dessert of course. We started on our vegan journey about three months ago and I must say that we are absolutely loving the whole experience. It has been a massive paradigm shift for us, physically we feel amazing as a result and inspiration and creativity wise, I have never had more of both in the kitchen environment.
I have trialed so many new vegan recipes over the past few months that it is hard to keep track. I will always write my favourites down though and one little recipe seems to creep back up in our dinners on a regular basis. A super simple and easy tomato, lentil and spinach soup. We obviously leave out the yogurt to serve it with.
8. When you’re not at home, where do you go to shop for food? Do you browse the local markets for food to cook or do you dine out?
I absolutely love browsing the local supermarkets in different countries. Even long before having children and a family household to upkeep, it was an essential and favorite part about traveling. Eating out is obviously always a back up option and when we are somewhere like Mexico for example, I most certainly won’t be cooking as the local cuisine is amazing, fresh and affordable. But we both enjoy cooking and will happily cook up our own meals when we travel.
9. South Africa was literally one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. What is your favorite part about living in Cape Town, South Africa?
We are so in love with living in Cape Town. How wonderful to hear that you have traveled to South Africa and enjoyed it so much! It is just breathtakingly beautiful, this place. The nature would probably be our favorite part about living here. It is rare to find a place where you have both mountains and ocean in such a close vicinity, and then throw in wine farms, horse paddocks, the surf culture, amazing food, trendy markets, arts and culture, and the list goes on. We live a very outdoor and active lifestyle here – hiking, cycling, running surfing, etc. We do so much and yet our life feels slow and quiet because our beautiful coastal, rural town offers exactly that – slow, quaint living, in close vicinity to a large CBD that has everything we could ever wish/hope for. Absolute magic for raising children and we feel so lucky to call this city home.
10. Your home is so modern and gorgeous. I would never want to leave! Where do you shop for furniture and décor to make your house feel like home?
Thank you so much! I am such a lover of all thing Scandinavian. I have always dreamed for our home to be modern and minimal, yet cosy, and I feel we have managed to achieve exactly that. Although we do not have an IKEA in this country (it makes me sad, I know), I do manage to bring back IKEA décor items when we travel overseas. A lot of our furniture pieces I get custom made here in South Africa and I draw up the designs myself (obviously after having been inspired by furniture pieces which I see on Pinterest but cannot source locally). All other items I will find in gorgeous local home décor shops like Weylandts, and Monoshop, Napliving, and Scandi Home Décor. Oh! And they have Country Road Home here. HM Home as well!
Follow Stella Burgsdorff on Instagram at @stellarizeyourlife