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The Hip Life



Airports, Airplanes and Jet-lag

Courtenay Henderson

Right after my mom dropped us off at Vancouver airport.

Right after my mom dropped us off at Vancouver airport.

I don't usually get excited for trips until the day of, when I'm at the airport and all my bags are checked and I'm waiting with my Starbucks at the gate to board. Anyone else? We didn't even get an airport Starbucks this time around but when we left for the UK we had two magic vouchers to get into one of those lounges that you see seemingly important people walking into wearing suits and women wearing heels and hats.

Let's just pause for one second... Who wears heels on a plane? I mean really?? Get those birks out people, and while you're at it pack some fluffy socks, it gets cold up there!

We're back. Our flight left around 6pm Vancouver time so we needed dinner before we left. That little lounge was a gold mine! We at the most delicious chicken and rice saucy delight for dinner. I packed up tons of snacks for the plane like fresh fruit, cookies, milk for London. It was glorious, and we felt like VIPs. We definitely could have gotten an espresso to-go but as they say, it was a missed opportunity!

London did amazingly well on the plane, much to the surprise of all the eye rollers around us. I mean, I have definitely sighed loudly when I saw a baby close to me on the plane so I don't blame them. Since we had extra cargo, aka our little babe, we got to board first! Which sounds kind of lame but it meant guaranteed space in the overhead bins for all our stuff. I hate carrying and managing all the extra stuff so having it all up and put away was wonderful especially with our lap sitter. You also get two extra FREE checked items when you're traveling with kids. We brought our stroller and carseat and decided to gate check them in hopes of avoided damage on the conveyor belts. It was a good call, all our precious cargo made it safe and sound.

I packed tons of those squeezey food packs in London's diaper bag, heritage o's and little granola bars I found at Superstore- they were perfect for the plane and for being on the go. Airport security lets you bring baby food and milk, so pack as much as you want/can fit in that diaper bag of yours! I also packed a book, stacking cups, Sophie and a bunny. Those toys kept her entertained and busy during the flight.

Just before we landed in London.

Just before we landed in London.

We rented a car for our whole trip. Word to the wise... do NOT bring a car into the city of London if you can possibly avoid it. Traffic is a nightmare, not to mention the craziness of driving on the other side of the road. Those round-a-bouts are a death trap. Oh and the parking costs are out of this world, like in the hundreds to park for a couple of days. The train or tube is really easy to use and if you talk to any of the locals they will look at you with crazy eyes when you tell them you're driving into the city. "That's what the train is for!" We heard that a time or two...

I did like the convenience of being able to get all our stuff into the car right away, and for us it did make more sense because somehow it was cheaper to rent the car the whole time; they've always got different deals happening. We used Green Motion and they were awesome. Quick to get us going, and quick to get us on our way when we returned the car.

Once we drove into the city and found the flat, our first stop was Whole Foods Market. There is just something about having good (familiar) food that helps make your body feel better, especially after being up for so long! It was nice to get out in the fresh air as well and it was only about a twenty minute walk from our flat. 

I cannot lie, our first night was ROUGH. We were exhausted, but London had been able to sleep on the plane, in the car and on our walk so by the time it was bedtime the girl wasn't tired. Norrie and I took shifts and we made it through the night, but not without a two hour cheerio party!

Here are few of my favourite snaps from day one:

My sleepy bean. This photo was taken at 11am local time... We got a bit of a late start to day 2.

Next weeks post will be about our favourite things to do around the city of London and my tips for coffee, museums and transit!

- C


UK + Ireland Road Trip

Courtenay Henderson

It was a Monday night in early fall that Norrie came bounding up the stairs to let me know WestJet started flying to London, Gatwick. I know it was Monday because we were watching the Bachelor- what else does one do on a Monday night?? I probably said something like, "That's cool babe." And continued to watch the most dramatic season of the Bachelor yet. He pretty much spent the entire episode on his phone and would throw out comments like, "Soo do you want to go?, Should we just book it?, We said we wanted to go when London was one..." 

I must have mumbled something like yes because by the time one sad weepy lady was riding away in a limo, we had return tickets for June.

I proceeded to have a minor panic attack. Who just books a random trip to the UK?! (We do). My panic quickly turned to the excitement of trip planning. This is one of my favourite things about going away, and this time (partly because it was so sporadic), the possibilities were endless! There was no place we had to go or time we needed to get there by. Adventure was just out there waiting for us.

We got a great deal on flights since WestJet had just started flying to the UK. The total for our two return tickets only cost us $1200 Canadian. Crazy! I paid $1400 return when I went in 2008.

Norrie basically let me have free reign when it came to planning and because we booked early I had time to think about where to go, what to see, and what baby paraphernalia to bring. We talked about spending time in London, (the city-- this could get confusing), and then heading south to Nice, France, or even back to Croatia. The more I thought about it though, the more I just wanted to stay in the UK. We had only really explored London and Bath (briefly) in our earlier travels. When I thought about this trip, I had a wonderful vision of the English country side, scones, B&B's, tea, and my little family adventuring and exploring new and beautiful places. I talked it over with Norrie and together we settled on a road trip and added in Scotland and Ireland. We have friends in both Scotland and Ireland that we hadn't seen in a long time, so that part of the trip was really special.

From there, Norrie booked us a car for the whole trip and our first few nights at a flat in Kensington. We really love that area, and it was a short walk from Hyde park and from Whole Foods... What more do you need? Veggie juice and some green space, I'm in! 

We decided not to book anything else so if we wanted to move on to the next city or stay longer somewhere, we could. This added an extra element of spontaneity, but we loved it. In hindsight, we're happy with how it all turned out, with the exception of one hotel.


Trip planning is super overwhelming, but so is packing, so here are a few tips. I think I packed and repacked about 4 times. We have done a lot of traveling together and individually, so I think I've got this packing thing narrowed down. 

Here are some of my tips for light bags and as many outfit options as possible:

  1.  Pack staple wardrobe items. Pieces that work with multiple outfits, like a button up long sleeve with jeans, over a dress as cardi, dressed up or dressed down. Dresses are great as well because they are one piece and take up a minimal amount of room.
  2.  Pack as LITTLE as possible. Every time I go away, I reduce the amount of clothing I bring. Bring your favourites, they're your go-to's at home, they'll be your go-to's away. There is no sense in taking up space with clothes you think you might wear. Plus you need room for souvenirs!!
  3.  Travel-sized toiletries! We were away for almost 3 weeks and did not need a full size of anything. Sometimes it's anxiety inducing thinking that you will run out of something but I mean, unless you're going into the jungle, chances are you will find whatever you ran out of at a local grocery store.
  4.  Shoes: 3 pairs max! I am a shoe queen, but ladies I am telling you 3 is the perfect number. This trip I brought runners, birks, and a nice pair of sandals (which I didn't get the pleasure of wearing). While we were out exploring, I added another pair of boots to my collection... Sorry not sorry.

I'm sure there are plenty more tips to consider, especially when traveling abroad, but those are the ones I find most helpful.

Happy weekend L O N G weekend!


Strawberry Lemonade Trifle

Courtenay Henderson

I am such a dessert girl. I will always save room for dessert. Actually I like to think I've got a special stomach compartment just for dessert. I get that not every one has a dessert stomach but this little beauty is really light so I'm sure everyone you have over can find some space for it.

I've got to give the credit to my mom for this one. She looooves lemon and was inspired by lemon pie filling. I just jumped on the train and decided to layer different ingredients and gave the whole thing a photoshoot. You know how it is.

Strawberry Lemonade Trifle

2 boxes of prepared lemon pie filling

1/2 litre of whipped cream

1 pint of sliced strawberries

1 package of graham crackers

Layer all ingredients starting with graham crackers, lemon filling, strawberries and whipped cream. Repeat layers until you run out of ingredients and top with crumbled graham crackers*. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 min so the graham crackers soak up all the lemony goodness and enjoy!

*If I made this again, I would save some strawberries for the top but please take creative liberties. It'll taste amazing no matter what order the ingredients are in!

a first birthday

Courtenay Henderson

I'm both sad and happy that I can take my party hat (flower crown) off for another year or so-- who knew that planning a party could be so intense? I had more nightmares about London's first birthday than I did about my own wedding!

I had a lot of ideas circling in my mind and a clear vision for this little girl's party. I think I probably started planning it when she was only a couple weeks old. It's been awhile since I got to plan a party! That being said I was stress paralyzed just thinking about the party. A month before the party was supposed to happen I hadn't planned anything or set a date because the thought of it was overwhelming.

I discovered that sometimes I miss opportunities because I take too long to pull the trigger. I think it's important to process and think things through, but maybe not over think them-- which is what I do 90% of the time. I am committed to seizing the moment and the opportunities set before me and am glad a first birthday made me realize this about myself. Onward and upward.

Thank goodness I have wonderful people in my life to help organize me!

My friend Siobhan was one of those people. She helped me pull my thoughts together by talking out ideas and making them a reality. We made and designed banners, cupcake/cake toppers and some beautiful paper flowers. Seeing them completed snowballed my excitement and helped me to get in gear to plan the rest of party. Siobhan has an etsy shop full of beautiful banners and party supplies. Check it out!


Flower crowns seemed like a good idea in my head; I just saw all my friends and their kids running around and sipping tea in these crowns looking so delicate and pretty. This part of the vision almost made me cancel the party. I had an extremely hard time finding instructions on how to make them and what supplies to buy. I had to improvise, but I am happy with how they all turned out. My first crown took about an hour to make, the rest took 5-10 minutes.

It was important to me that all the food was homemade so I started my baking about a month in advance and froze scones, blueberry tarts and chocolate cupcakes. The day of the party I had help making little cucumber sandwiches and ham and cheese croissants.

Turns out people love mini everything! Next time I have a tea party I would double what I had planned for food.

I love the look of lavender lemonade but I had a hard time tracking down the lavender. The morning of the party I ran around town with a girlfriend in one final effort to find some. We ended up at Home Depot and learned a thing or two about lavender. 

There are two different types of lavender plants. The one that is edible and that you can use is called lavendula or english lavender. The other one looks more like a bush. It doesn't have those nice sprigs and buds that look so beautiful in a glass jar.

I hope I just saved you thirty minutes of running around in Home Depot!



I had seen big white balloons on pinterest, but instead of a string they had leaves as their anchor. Loved it! I bought some fake vines/flowers from Michaels, on clearance, for about $2. I pulled off the parts that I liked and attached them to the string on the balloon with floral wire. Didn't need very much, and it weighted the balloons down enough that I didn't need to have them attached to a base.They were so whimsical! I wish I could have a balloon by my table all summer long.


While we're here... Let's talk about that adorable little candle. My friend Colleen makes them and I was lucky enough to be in Kelowna before the party so she made one for London. The candles come on a stick so they sit perfectly in your cake, (I put mine in a little crooked...) and you can cut them to whatever size you need. I had the cake sitting out for the whole party so it's cuteness could be observed. Her instagram handle is @figandruby

I loved this day, and loved having people over to celebrate my little bean.

Happy one, London!

[how-to] Fishtail Braid

Courtenay Henderson

I've been feeling the pressure to get my braid game on point. And when I say feeling the pressure, I really mean pressuring myself. I want to be able to braid my babe's hair (when she has some). So why not start practicing now?

I feel like braids have made a come back in the last couple years. Or maybe they were always trendy? I'm not sure but I love a good braid. 


- the hair is off your face

- there are so many variations

- they're classy and adorable at the same time

- they make you look put together, even if you don't feel like you are


I enlisted the help of my hairstylist/bestie and my sister for my first tutorial. Not going to lie, I felt like I didn't know how to use my hands when she first explained the concept. I had no idea how to hold all the hair or where to put my thumbs-- it was a scene. The whole process probably took me about 15 minutes and once I started it was easy to get the hang of, and so worth it. I love the ways these beauties look when they're complete.


S T E P B Y S T E P 


1. Part the hair into two equal sections down the middle. Let's call them side L (left) and side R (right).


2. Pull a small piece of hair from the outside of side L, and join it to side R.

*The smaller the pieces that you pull across, the more intricate the braid looks

3. Pull a small piece of hair from the outside of side R and join it to side L. Repeat until you've reached the bottom of the braid.

*It may feel messy especially at the beginning but will sort itself out by the time you near the end of your braid.

4. I like to pull at the braid a bit, starting from the top to loosen it. Up to you, I just like the looser less fussy feel AND it hides mistakes really well. So you can act like you left that front piece of hair out on purpose...


This looks so impressive and intricate with minimal effort.

It's the perfect go-to for Easter brunch and you've got a few days to perfect it before the weekend.