Tried and tested Swiss summer parenting essentials
Swiss Mother’s Day is coming up, and I thought I’d put together an alternative list of products that have really improved my life on the daily this past year of so. I’ll caveat this by declaring, that a cup of hot coffee served to me first thing in the morning a few times a week will do me as an all year round mother’s day treat. I’m not that into government issued holidays, but in case you’re in the market, I’ve put together a list of the things, new and old, that have just make life just that little better these past few mothering years.
Some of them I’ve had for quite a while and so they’re not just trend pieces, they’ve been tried and tested. You could also rebrand this as Summer Essentials because I think a lot of these are holiday appropriate or just generally improve your life out and about as a mother. I’ve tried to highlight the ones which are Swiss brands, because of course, I want to support Swiss brands as much as I can. Quite a lot of them are also from independent brands. And if they’re not, it’s just that I think the quality is excellent.
So first up is a recent purchase, which I hesitated for a while on, but I haven’t looked back since buying them, it's the Lululemon align 28 inch pants
. I have them in navy. There’s not much to say. I think these are kind of almost an internet, social media cult classic at this point, but they’ve lived up to their reputation.
If I didn’t live in Switzerland, I feel like I could wear them out and about just as a normal legging. I love their subtlety. With no real branding and markings, they’re really comfortable and feel high quality. They have become a really flexible everyday staple for hiking as much as for around the house and they make me feel good. Top tip, they often have a better selection in store than online.
What I didn’t realize until now, is that in the spirit of Ray and Charles Eames, this brand is was formed by a couple. Embarrassingly, the female co-founder, Mette, is not that much older than me, and I’m really in awe of what they’ve achieved in the past 20 years.
2. Hay monograph from Phaidon: a celebration of a accessible, collaborative design brand
Next up is a recent discovery. It’s the Hay monograph from Phaidon
. Not so much discovery, but it’s recently released. And I’ve long since been a fan of HAY. And indirectly, it’s part of a whole host of brands that I just absolutely love and look up to. There’s no one core reference for huske but this is definitely within the spectrum of of brands that admire.
What I didn’t realize until now, is that in the spirit of Ray and Charles Eames, this brand is was formed by a couple. Embarrassingly, the female co-founder, Mette, is not that much older than me, and I’m really in awe of what they’ve achieved in the past 20 years. This is a commemorative book for their anniversary. But beyond that I really respect not just the product of their work but also their dedication to making design accessible, something which the Eames also set out to do. Their spirit of collaboration is so potent, and I really do feel in my heart, it the core strength of any smart brand in modern times.
I’m very tactile, you can see that in the huske brand. I’m all about texture and simplicity.
3. Weighted blanket: all the cozy hotel bedroom feels at home
Moving to the more cozy side of things, a weighted blanket
. I went back and forth on a weighted blanket for quite a while. I’m completely convinced. This just makes my room feel so much more like a hotel bedroom. I’m a highly sensitive person. I’m very tactile, you can see that in the huske brand. I’m all about texture and simplicity.
I did try to get this from an independent provider, but I couldn’t. So unfortunately, this is an Amazon link. If anyone can recommend anything in the comments that I can promote further, I’m very happy to do so. I have to say I’ve been really really happy with this blanket at this price point. I have nothing to complain about. It’s excellent. I put the velvet side facing down. Beyond that. I’m really happy with how it looks in the room and how it feels, most importantly. I got the 11kg, 200 x 230 version.
These are the small things that you touch every day, that just give you that heightened sense of luxury. It’s the spirit of: use the good china! They have the greatest leverage to elevate your day.
4. The Butter Bell: small luxuries in everyday life
The next is a funny one, a bit from left-field, a butter bell
. Somebody said on a podcast I listened to recently to pay attention to the things that you touch everyday,
especially those that you have in close contact with your mouth or other senses- like mugs, tableware etc. It really chimed with me, because it’s part of my subconscious brand beliefs. A beautiful lamp, a quality rug underfoot when you step out of bed. These are the small things that you touch every day, that just give you that heightened sense of luxury. It’s the spirit of: use the good china!
They have the greatest leverage to elevate your day.
So I’ve had that in my brain for a while. I’m more home bound at the moment since having a small a young family. It’s definitely been the characteristic of my life, not just because of the pandemic in recent years, but in general. And i’m a homebody. So, long story short, this is a butter bell. It’s pretty genius. You fill the bottom half with water to a certain marker on the inside. And then you chop up your butter. Squash it in, it’s better if put it in chopped up. Otherwise it might slip down over time. Just push it in place with the back of a spoon, it needs to be compressed a bit. The turquoise blue colour I bought is no longer available, but there are lots of alternatives. I looked for an independent seller in Switzerland, to no avail. Anyway, basically it lives on my kitchen table, looking pretty and tasting good. And I eat more butter as a result, but you know what’s not to like?
5. Influenced again! A bum bag for hands-free convenience
This is a relatively recent purchase, a bum bag, a fanny pack
. I’m quite trend averse and I and I can see these banana bags everywhere all over my social media. So I was questioning myself heavily when I started the search for one but I just wanted something that I could take on its own, but also pack into my bigger bags that would have my essentials, my keys, my sunglasses, a lip gloss, my huske Wriggle mat, and some personal essentials.
And this is compact enough. Ironically, I have been wearing it around my waist sometimes at the back (!) especially if I’m hiking, and I love it. It’s just the right size to not take up too much space in a bigger bag. I've attached my keys to it, so I grab them in the morning I have everything I need, including sunglasses. I don’t have a great the greatest reputation with sunglasses in terms taking care of them, see further down in this post. This has upped my game substantially because they’re just in there in their case. Since having kids, I’ve bought so many quality second hand Patagonia products and they are flawless. I love what Patagonia stands for, so I’m happy to support them.
She sources her hand block printed, home and women’s wear in India. They’re all sustainably traced. She supports women manufacturers in enabling them to have a living through her goods and I just love her curation.
6. A playground and park favourite, the Perfect rubber Chelsea Boots
These are the Chelsea boots from Spanish brand Verbenas
. I love them. I have the matte black ones, with black stitching, and I wear them almost on the daily and I’ll continue to wear them during the Summer depending on how reliable our weather is. I sized up, so that I could put a sheepskin liner into them.
And I’m really glad I did that because I actually wore them, wear them all throughout the winter too. They have good ankle support, are minimal, and look chic. They require no maintenance, and I’ve worn them on hikes.
I’ve worn them into the city. I would almost wear them into work. They really do masquerade as Chelsea boot. I haven’t looked back with these, I highly recommend them.
7. Also pretty morning essential: bonus points for saving my neighbour's blushes!
Next is a kimono from Swiss brand, Kahani D’Or
. For full disclosure, the founder Olivia, is a small-business friend of mine. I love what she’s about. She sources her hand block printed, home and women’s wear in India. They’re all sustainably produced and manufactured. She supports women manufacturers in enabling them to have a living through her goods and I just love her curation.
I bought this from her a year and a half ago and I wear it every day. The robe just makes me feel a little better around the house. It means that I’m dressed as soon as I get up and it’s better for my neighbors! It’s super lightweight, which is what I wanted. I do think I could wear it outside as a kimono in the Summertime, over jean shorts, etc.
It doesn’t open to the public until 12 on Sundays, you basically have the place to yourself.
8. Elevating your daily coffee, or in my case coffees: a good Milk Frother
This is pretty self explanatory, but I didn’t have a milk frother before now. I’ve only ever had a handheld one. This WMF one
does the job and I really love it and it elevates my coffees, there’s nothing bad I can say about it. I had to replace the inside magnetic mechanism. I contacted them and they sent me replacement without any questions asked. So just on that basis alone, I just think they’re a great brand. Again an Amazon purchase, but you know, electronics.
A trip to the city of Zürich Hammam
. This is a one that I’ve known about for years. A friend tipped me off maybe 10 years ago about going for an Ayurvedic massage on Sunday morning. The insider trick is to book your appointment then, because after your massage you can use the hammam as usual.
But it doesn’t open to the public until 12 on Sundays, you basically have the place to yourself. And it’s dreamy. It’s magic and it’s not too expensive, as far as spa days go. It’s in the center of Zurich. So you can have a nice lunch in the Volkshaus or around Helvetiaplatz afterwards. I once went there for a hen. I do also like the spa in the Hürlimann Areal,
especially for the rooftop pool. But the combination of the massage here and the fact that it’s relatively compact, and that you can order food in the chill out area and they have magazines, etc. They sell vouchers and I think I think it’s a lovely experience.
I don’t know if you know, but our mats are heat proof. So if I use enamelware outside on the barbecue, I can put them straight down on our mats.
10. Huske Mat companion piece, beautiful and useful addition to Your Indoor or Outdoor Picnic kit
. This is brand I discovered maybe two years ago. I’ve bought a number of things from them and I’ve also gifted some. It stands the test of time. I don’t know if you know, but our mats are heat proof. So if I use enamelware outside on the barbecue, I can put them straight down on our mats, which is a huge outdoor picnic, barbecue, camping positive.
The quality is impressive. I love to support a fellow Swiss brand and its mother owned, plus the colors are beautiful. 10 out of 10.
We swear by them, they fold small. They do what they promise and they’re almost unbreakable. My dad has sat ‘heavily’ on them.
Then on to a sunglasses. As mentioned previously, I don’t have the best track record, but I have worn a number of styles of these Komono sunglasses
. It’s a Swedish brand. They have a wide range of styles and don’t have heavy branding. They look expensive but they’re relatively well priced. They sell them at Manor so you can go and try them on. I almost buy one per Summer season because I just think they’re fantastic.
I have a love-hate relationship with summer sandals, and I do want to get away from wearing Birkenstocks all day long, although they are the best in my books. Over the past six years have bought a pair of Vagabond sandals almost every summer.
They’re relatively well priced for the level of the quality that they offer. There’s little to no breaking-in period. Chic, comfortable, well priced, minimal. Not much else to say.
Finally the Helinox ground chair.
We bought we invested a pair of these about six years ago and we get asked about them all the time. We swear by them, they fold small. They do what they promise and they’re almost unbreakable. My dad has sat ‘heavily’ on them.
And they have stood the test of time. They’re very compact to pack. We’ve traveled with them. Like everything on this list, they’re just that little bit of luxury in your life.
And they use them for flower arranging for, re-potting indoors, for putting their sewing machine on so it doesn’t slip, for crafting, oiling their bike, cleaning shoes, putting their suitcase on the bed when travelling, baking. The list goes on.
And then finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own brand, studio huske
, because the whole point of these mats is that they’re not just for children. They’re supposed to bring an everyday elevation and ease to your life. And I have customers writing to me telling me they use them for their ironing. They use them during birthing (!), and during pregnancy to sit down on on their bed, because things can go down… And they use them for flower arranging, for re-potting indoors, for putting their sewing machine on so it doesn’t slip, for crafting, oiling their bike, cleaning shoes, putting their suitcase on the bed when travelling, baking. The list goes on.
The best thing about using it is folding it out of sight when you’re done. But I do encourage you to take it outdoors with you because for me it’s sitting in that shady part of the playground where nobody else is, but you can still see your kids, and maybe the grass is still a bit damp. You pick your own spot every day. Elevating your everyday essentials, which is hardwired into the huske DNA.
Buy nothing, but if you do buy something here are some hints
That’s the round up. I think it's safe to conclude that there are three main things which take up space in my brain: being comfortable outdoors (it's just better outdoors), comfort food and beverages, and all round comfort at home. Pretty basic, really.
So, in the spirit of you can buy yourself flowers…then if the time is right, treat yourself. Buy yourself flowers, or something from this list.
I’m a pragmatist at heart and these are not the most luxury items out there, and I really firmly don’t think that you have to wait until Mother’s Day to treat yourself. Most items should arrive by Mother’s day if ordered soon. Share it, tell a friend, or recommend it as a solid list for non-baby baby gifts
. And do check back in because I’ll update it as I go.
And finally, Happy Swiss Mother’s Day to you!*
*For full transparency, I bought and paid for all these goods myself.