For parents of chronically ill children

For parents of chronically ill children

When her son was diagnosed with the type I diabetes at the age of 2, the whole life of Oksana and her family was turned upside down. Through her journey, she learnt about the massively positive impact of interactions with other parents. This is why she created a support group on Facebook – supported by HUG.

A HELICOPTER

It all happened in Ticino during a family vacation. Oksana’s son was hospitalized, she received an overwhelming amount of information about her son’s future and new routines. After that, she was placed in a medical helicopter with her little one.

The journey let her breathe and think. The whole way to Geneva, her boy was asleep. The beautiful views below calmed Oksana down. She started to ponder and wonder. What the hell could she do to help her child? It was then that she decided to change their lifestyle and her career. She got off the helicopter and started implementing the changes.

LONELINESS

One of the most challenging parts of this situation was loneliness. Her regular parents-friends could not relate to her family’s experience. None of them had kids suffering from any kind of family-life-influencing conditions. She lacked a sense of community. I guess it is the same feeling all parents have once their child does not fit the norm, no matter the reason.

THE GROUP

Oksana knew there must be other parents out there. This is why, with the support of the HUG (Hopitaux Universitaire de Geneve), she created a group for parents in similar situations. It is called Amazing Parents Geneva – Group For Parents Of Kids With Chronic Conditions.

The goal of the group is not really to exchange tips and tricks (although everybody is welcome to do so), but to promote self-care.

In an aeroplane, you are asked to put your oxygen mask first, before helping your children. The same goes for parenting. We need to care for ourselves. Otherwise, we may become too tired, frustrated, and unhappy, to help our little ones thrive.

SMALL THINGS COUNT

Not all parents cane change jobs, shift careers or introduce any big changes. Each family is different, so for each, a solution and tools will be different.

Not everyone can afford a relaxing day in a SPA; not everyone can find the time for a 2h walk in nature. But there is always something, even if small. That can make a difference.

Oksana’s group will help you figure it out.

HOW IT WORKS

The group is active on Facebook, but also organises meetings in Geneva now and then (participation is not obligatory).

If your child (no matter the age), suffers from autism, diabetes, Down Syndrome, cardiovascular disease, asthma, allergies, or any chronic condition, be it light, mild, or severe, this group is a place where you can safely vent, rage, laugh, or cry. You can share good and bad emotions, hopes, or frustrations. It’s where you will be understood, where nobody will judge. And it is where you will learn how to better take care of yourself.

PERSONAL

I am also a member of that group. Z’s health is now more or less ok, and to be honest, she has never suffered from anything very serious or severe. But when she was little, her allergies gave us a hard time and changed the way we lived. Luckily, I had a friend whose son was going through the same. Her presence helped me immensely. I now hope that now I will be able to help someone else.

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Home in Balance – Geneva’s smartest organizer

Home in Balance – Geneva’s smartest organizer

or about how finally I can dance in my basement

Things I had in my basement… a bag with 3 rocks, and a pot with dry soil, wires to who knows what, chargers to prehistoric phones, boxes of appliances we do not have anymore, clothes I forgot I had. But also good things, I finally found my business cards (in a random bag filled with stuff from my old car). How’s your basement?

No matter how hard I try, sooner or later the clutter is accumulating. I got good at hiding it though – especially in the garage and in the basement. It is quite simple: gather all the random useless objects, put them in a bag/box and off to the « cave ». Close the door, and forget. It seemed perfect, until I had to get the suitcases out of the basement… It took time and bruises to get them out.

COLLAB EXPLAINED

Then I remembered about a friend, who started an uncluttering service called Home in Balance and we made a deal – she would help me unclutter the basement and garage, and if I am happy with the process and the result, I will use Parentville to promote her. And here we are.

SWISS ORGANIZERS

Inga, a member of Swiss-Apo (Swiss Association of Professional Organizers – yes! It is a thing!). A few years ago, she launched her business called Home in Balance. She helps people unclutter and organise their space in a practical way. Check Inga’s Instagram profile!

Her ability to know which box should go where, and which cabinet should stand in the corner and which shouldn’t, is impressive. She is full of positive energy, fresh perspective, and ideas!

ORGANISED UNCLUTTERING

Inga came in the morning, full of positive energy. She was very fast to get things out of the basement, give me tasks, and setting the rules: things for charity on the left, items for the decheterie on the right, give me back what stays etc.

The process was super fast, super smooth. The speed of it didn’t give me much time ponder on every single item. The question was simple: leave it or get rid off it? No sentiments, practicality. Well, with several exceptions.

GET IT DONE

Of course, for everyone, this will be a different process, and Inga knows it. She did not influence or question my decisions. She knows it is a very personal subject.

At the same time I was grateful it was not a Marie Kondo style uncluttering. I don’t want to say hello, goodbye, or thank you to my belongings. I don’t want to create a massive pile of clothes that would just overwhelm me. It was about getting it done. This is why Inga was just perfect for the job.

BYE BYE CLUTTER

She packed all the things for the charity into the car (it filled the whole car, every corner, every hole), and drove it to CSP in Meyrin. I hope many of these items, in perfect condition, will find new homes.

ROCK’N’ROLL

And now, I cannot only go into my basement but I even also dance inside!

KIDS ROOM

Next on my list is Zofia’s room. We declutter her room at least once a year. She needs to be involved in the process, so it takes a full day of playtime…

I asked Inga for some advice on how to limit the creation of the clutter in her room – you can find it at the bottom of the post, click on the images to enlarge/download.

Petit Marché, second-hand shopping made easy

Petit Marché, second-hand shopping made easy

When Anna moved to Switzerland with her two kids, she started searching for what she knew from Denmark – an easy way to buy and sell children’s second-hand clothes, toys, and gear, in other words, an app.

Searching

She found many ways to do it, but none of them seemed really easy. Facebook groups are difficult places to browse what we really need, posts get lost in overly long feeds, scheduling payments, appointments and reserving items can become a hustle. There are some websites out there, but not many people know about them, so the offer they propose is limited. She wanted a nice, easy to use app aimed at local families.

The solution

When she realised nothing like that existed here, she decided to try and do it. As a result, you can now download (iOS only for now) a beautifully designed app – Petit Marché, designed for the Geneva region families.

As it is designed by a Dane, it is as Hygge as an app can be. Nice, clean, friendly, easy to use.

Not only do we need to get rid of our kids’ too small clothes as no basement can hold it all forever, but we can also save money and our planet by buying second hand. Anna knows buying second-hand doesn’t seem the safe/cool way of shopping for everyone. That is why she created an app that answers all these doubts.

Buying & Selling

Within the app, you can browse through categories, buy and sell. The app solves many problems with already existing second-hand-shopping solutions. For example, once you find what you want you can click on “buy now” – the money on your credit card will be blocked but not yet transferred to the seller, it will only happen once you receive the item. You can also contact the seller directly to schedule other forms of payments.

Quality & Pricing

The app assures the high quality and reasonable prices of items being sold there, as Anna goes through every new selling post to approve it. This way you won’t waste time on going through worn off low-quality t-shirts put out there for a price of almost new.

Conciergerie

If you’re faced with Marie-Kondo-style pile of clothes to get rid off and don’t have the time/energy to photograph it all and manage the selling process, Anna can do it for you within the “Conciergerie” service! She will pick up the items, photograph them, put online with descriptions, meet up with buyers and coordinate every details od the selling process (commission: 25%).

Security

To assure people buying and selling within the app are serious and real, we all have to put in our banking details (IBAN) and the credit card number to start. Financial transactions are carried out by a professional payment provider securing the data and against fraud, so using the app is safe for everyone. If you only want to browse, no problem you can do it. Paying directly within the app though will financially support the app to grow further and assure even better service in the future with a tiny percentage of the sale going to the app’s owner.

I would be really grateful if you could spend a few minutes to download the app and check it out! Let me know what you think afterwards!

(And in any case – see you at the Petit Marché! I’ll be soon selling there Z’s clothes (sizes 5-6 years old) and looking for spring/summer clothes in sizes 6-7/122.)

Christmas gifts from Geneva

Christmas gifts from Geneva

Is there any better period of the year to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses?

For the past few months, I have discovered many great projects started by women from our region. I can’t keep them to myself anymore!

This Christmas list includes presents mostly for children, but you will also find ideas to please other members of your family!

Socks for the whole family! Created by a Belgian mama in Geneva! Parentville family personally tested the socks: approved by Z, Daddy P, and myself. They are warm; they are comfy; they are soft. You can purchase them online here or for example in Bibi Cafe in Meyrin. An important notice: you won’t find any plastic in your parcel!

Created by the peaceful family, Bizzy is a beautifully designed, and a handy gadget with a meaning. It has been created for kids: to limit the screen time, teach about savings, and get families closer together. But at Parentville we are testing Bizzy not only with Z. Mommy O. also needs to work on screen time limits, though I do it another way around. Instead of using the coins to allow myself screen-time, I use them to set up off-screen moments – until it buzzes I do not look at no screens. So far, we’re happy (and spend more meaningful time together).

BOOKS

Something for everyone! This year was massive for local books! Three guides appeared on the market and they are all about Geneva: one for gourmands (“Aimer Genève“), one for kids (“ABC Geneva“), one for parents (Genève en famille).

We are making small steps towards a more eco-friendly home: more recycling, thoughtful shopping, all that stuff. On that planet-saving journey, I stumbled upon the Spirited Child, an eco-friendly online shop run by a mom in Zurich. So yes, not exactly from the region, but still close. I ordered BeesWax wraps and am so thrilled with them! No more foil. They are reusable, cute, and smell great! You can also find many other sustainable home products, including toys on spiritedchild.ch.

Magali aka Groseille is a local artist, who creates the most beautiful drawings inspired by nature and flowers (on tote bags, pocket mirrors, badges, etc.). She is also the author of the “Les Petasses” – a calendar with a provocative name (“petasse” means “bitch”) filled with charming drawings of women.

Many children, though especially those 3k/immigrants/expat children do not see their families a lot, other than on the screen on the phone (and thank godness for this valuable screen time!). This is why Monika has created My Tiny Prints, where you can order board books and a wooden memory game with photographs of your relatives in them. We can’t wait to finally choose pictures for the memory game for Z. I will keep you posted.

We had a pleasure to play one of the Escape Game Kit’s sets recently, and we had a blast. I bet someone more artsy-craftsy and creative could turn the whole house into a play area. I did the minimum, but still, Z was crazy excited to solve the puzzle and all the riddles. You need a printer, scissors, and glue, plus  40-60 minutes to prepare the game. It’s not another box, not another toy, it’s an experience you can enjoy as a family, or a cool activity for a playdate or birthday party. Check them out here. PS: by the end of 2019 all games should be translated to English.

Maria created this Montessori-inspired collection that can please babies, older kids, parents, and midwives. Her creations are cute and filled with love. Objects that will awake baby’s senses, objects to help older kids be autonomous, or hand-made breastfeeding covers for those who need them. #parentvillerecommended. You can find all Maria’s creations on her website and on Instagram.

LE PETIT CARIBOU

Le Petit Caribou (eng. little reindeer) is an exceptional shop with thoughtfully selected toys. No matter on what you decide, it will be a good choice. You can also experience a private shopping service with them – they come to your house to asses which toys and games will match your kids taste the most. In other words, it can be fun family time with a person who knows more about the toys than the kids themselves!

 

CULLY CULLY

A local brand of pins, tote bags, but also colouring posters, stickers passports, and travel maps are known under the brand of “mylittleswitzerland”. Some of the sets are accompanied by one of the best brands of crayons worldwide, that happen to come from Geneva – Caran d’Ache. It can make for a beautiful Christmas present, as well as entertainment for your end-of-the-year trip. Discover here.

The healing power of turning a hobby into a career

The healing power of turning a hobby into a career

Panic.

Alessandra had to stop her car on the highway. She was in so many tears and in so much panic that she couldn’t drive anymore. When her husband arrived to help her out, he saw only one way out of the crises: quit that job honey, he said.

And so she did.

A month before the company Alessandra was working for years, shut down its premises in Geneva. Forced to change jobs, she was commuting 1.5h twice a day. Combining career and family life seemed less and less possible. But also, she simply missed her children.

Peace.

Looking back, quitting was the best decision she made. She finally had the time for her kids, for her parents, for her husband, and for herself. But also, for crocheting, knitting, and sewing.
She’d always loved working with threads and fabrics, so now that she had all that time on her hands, she decided to up her game! Using the internet, Youtube notably, she kept improving her skills. With the trial and error method, in time, she become a confident creator.

Pleasure.

When she got pregnant with a girl (after two boys), she got lost in her crocheting-sewing hobby!

She had so much fun, she started making gifts for family and friends. She could see they were more and more impressed. At some point she was often being asked whether she thought about selling her creations for money, creating a brand.

It seemed funny at the beginning. After all, it was just a hobby, a relaxing pleasure that kept her hands and mind busy.

But the seed in her head was planted. She now looked at every piece she made with an eye of a customer. She kept improving her skills further, she wanted the clothes to be perfect.

Business.

It’s a difficult undertaking to become an entrepreneur, even for a person with a successful career like Alessandra. Working in an organization is a different world, as is entrepreneurship.  It takes courage, guts, and risk-taking abilities.

Launching Nouveauletta, Alessandra has proven to have all of these attributes despite all the self-doubts most entrepreneurs experience (though not all like to talk about it).

She created a website with an online shop, manages social media accounts, continuously develops her marketing skills, takes part in expos, pop ups, and other initiatives.

The fruit of it all.

What we found most amazing about the Nouveauletta brand is that it’s SO sustainable.

As a mother, Alessandra knows how quickly kids grow out of their clothes, and how difficult it is to part with your baby’s first pjs. She combined that knowledge with passion for sustainability and made clothes re-purposing one of the main parts of her business.

It’s changing trousers into shorts, too small dresses become tops or skirts, baby clothes can be made into family’s most precious bed quilts.

Alessandra didn’t stop there. Many of the clothes she makes are created using re-purposed fabrics from second-hand shops. She visits them often and looks for good-quality fabrics, soft textures, and interesting patterns.

Hand-made.

The other part of Nouveauletta is the result of her crazy crocheting skills. She makes baby shoes, clothes, hats.

Nouveauletta also offers custom-made clothes, adjusted to your needs, taste, and your child’s personality.

Alessandra’s online shop should be a go-to place for every-parent looking for sustainable, original, comfortable clothes. Whatever you buy at Nouveauletta.ch, you can be sure Alessandra put her whole heart into it!