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The Hip Life



Filtering by Category: lifestyle

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


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. 


We be travelin'

Courtenay Henderson

Happy weekend!


My pastor says: You can tell what people value by where they spend their time and money.

Love that! For us, we save up for trips and like to spend our free time traveling and exploring.

There is just something that I find so fascinating and exciting about other places. Probably because I have a wild imagination and I start dreaming up all sorts of scenarios where I'm from a far off place, and I speak at least 10 languages and take the train with my squad to get fresh veggies from various markets and then visit a million coffee shops where the people all know my name and order. That's clearly just one scene, but it's a good one. And actually... it's not all that different from my normal life (minus the language thing).

My husband and I love to travel- surprise! We usually try to get away once a year, although it's worked out be more like two or three times a year in the short time we've been married. Every year I think, 'This year we probably won't go anywhere' but here we are. We've been really fortunate in that we've been able to see a lot of places together in the past two and a half years. This year, I'm on maternity leave so we planned a few trips and added a spontaneous one to the UK-- thank-you WestJet for your seat sale.

First up: A roadtrip to Southern California.

A road trip with a baby? Are you crazy!? Maybe. Our babe is almost 9 months old and loves to crawl and stand and get into everything. She's an active child. That was probably my main concern with strapping her into a carseat for the better part of 3 days. She wouldn't be able to get her wiggles out and/or she would sleep all day and be up all night which is pretty much my worst nightmare. I need my sleep, like, real bad.

Turns out she was a champ. We did learn a few things on our first long road trip with a baby though. Here are a few things that helped us:

  1. Music: Moms like it. Dads like it. Babies like it! It makes the trip go by quicker, gives it a soundtrack for memories later and I mean, who doesn't like a good old fashioned singalong? I also learned something new about the hubs... He loves Elton John. Who knew?
  2. Scheduled stops: I'm kind of the 'let's just push through-no bathroom breaks-don't drink too much water-go until we run out of gas' type of road tripper. It's been hard for me to change my way of thinking after having a baby, but babies can't go 6 hours with no stops. We stopped every 3-4 hours depending on how the babe was doing. It was good for all of us to get out, stretch our legs, and get some fresh air. The stops weren't super long but it helped to break up the trip and enjoy our little journey, not just the final destination.
  3. Snacks: Road trip food is a big deal! Normally, we gravitate to junk food but the hubs actually requested that I make some healthy food for our trip, "like quinoa or something." I made muffins, trail mix (with M&M's because, vacation) and granola bars. It helped having healthy options ready for our tummies and also for our budget! London also ate rice crackers, which kept her entertained and happy.

Our road trip was not without its bumps (for example: Mom and Dad getting the stomach flu) but overall it was really successful. I would definitely recommend it! Plus the car does magical things for nap times, just sayin.


Courtenay Henderson

I always have this wonderful idea in my head of Norrie and I at some super swanky NYE party, all dressed up, eating bite sized hors d'oeurves and sipping fancy cocktails. Someone is there at the door to take our coats, and hand us a welcome drink. Then we mingle with people and tell jokes, the kind of jokes that make you tilt your head back and laugh in amusement. And then there would be dancing- so much dancing!! Just like one of those parties that Holly Golightly would have thrown in Breakfast at Tiffany's. What a life!


Our reality: Staying up late is hard.

But I will look awesome until I fall asleep at 10:29 tonight.

I have been loving the jumpsuit. They are so easy to dress up or down and it's already a complete outfit. I got this little jumpsuit from H&M kids, yes kids, for under $20. It's full of New Years glitz and glam and it feels like I'm wearing pyjamas. #winning



I also decided to keep the hair simple this year. I just curled it with a curling wand, and threw it up into a ponytail. I think it looks sleek and it's definitely not too fussy. Add a little hair spray and you're good to go! 


We will be celebrating by cooking a huge meal with friends, playing games and hanging out. It's become one of our favourite traditions and we don't have to wait forever for food or book months in advance to get a spot at their table ;)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome, 2016!  



photos by Leah Jones @_featherandink