Thursday April 21st, 2016

Summer Holiday Activities in Lausanne and Around (2016)

ouchy-summer

Now that the warmer (though rather wet) days are here, it’s time to think of school summer holiday! :)

For those not yet familiar with the school here, school kids in Switzerland have holidays often, approximately every 6 weeks (find the list here). This may create headaches to many parents, especially ones who are employed. Chatting around, I found that most employed couple rely on help from grandparents or families (who sometimes fly from another side of the planet). Or hire a temporary nanny when they can afford one. Or they take turns taking off days from their office. But considering the active life of kids, even the stay-at-home parents need programs to keep those little ones and teens happily occupied.

Below I complied different kinds of activities and camps that are offered during the school holidays in Lausanne and surrounding areas. Please click the links for more info.

As a general rule, the winter holiday after Christmas and the Relâches (February) are considered ski holiday thus most of the sport camps offered concentrated into this. For other holidays, activities are more varied.


Read more

Tuesday April 12th, 2016

What You Must Know: Photographs of Identifiable People in Switzerland

With the warmer months coming, and especially the outdoor swimming pools to open shortly, I feel the need of a re-post as this is a topic that needs to be known and remembered.  (Original post dated June 2015)


photo-people-CH

On Saturday 24heures ran an article on regulations of photographing people in public space, in this case within the area of public swimming pools. Yes, that includes photos of own children. Based on this regulations, dated back to decades ago, it is forbidden to take photos at all – though the article also explains that in practice it really depends on the circumstances (Does the child wish to be photographed? Does the child know the photographer? etc)

I posted the link to the article on Lausanne Mom facebook page and it turned out to be popular, with over 1,000 facebookers seeing it on their newsfeed. Obviously, not so many knew about this regulation, and I was not surprised. I myself had only known this a few years ago.

Most Swiss are very careful with their recorded personal information. You may find it odd that a Swiss would strip down naked in a sauna among strangers or even colleagues, but do not let anyone take a photo while he/she is walking down the street fully clothed. The difference is the former is not recorded and the latter is. Honestly in this era of social media over-sharing, I have to agree with this attitude.

The regulation, as already mentioned, dated back decades ago. In general these actions below require consent:

  • Taking a picture of a person in a public space
  • Publishing pictures of a person in a public space
  • Commercial use of a published picture of a person in a public space

A bit more info as well as a list of countries with specific consent requirements can be found here. (This is also a good list to consult when you are traveling to another country and plan to take photos there.)

With this regulation, it also means that officially we are not allowed to take photos of, for example, the friends of our child at a birthday party in our home unless they or their parents give us consent. But of course in practice it’s usually not as strict for taking the photos – just be careful when posting it on the internet, even on a facebook account that is set to only “friends”.

For myself, for a few years now I have stopped posting children’s photos on my facebook other than my own. I posted photos of my birthday kids on my personal facebook account, but not of our little guests. I also blurred all identifiable faces from the photos on the blog, including my own children’s. Whenever possible, I shot photos with no one on it, although you may then wonder why all restaurants I recommended were empty 😉 I do this as I understand how bothered someone (especially a Swiss) could be when someone is taking a photo with him/her inside the frame. If you have lived here long enough you may remember how a few years ago Google had to painstakingly blur all faces and licence plates from their Street View in Switzerland (info).

It is common to Swiss public schools to ban all photos of their pupils and schools, especially when any data is linked to the photo (i.e. name and location of school). So, don’t, I repeat DON’T tag the photo to the school facebook page. Don’t make a digital photo out of a printed photo of the class to post on social media. If the activity or sport clubs your children are attending ask you for permission to take photos, do reply to their email or hand back the coupon (even when you say no) as they need these as prove of your consent (or lack of).

Those of you who like to share may feel all these regulations are too much. I may also feel the same if I didn’t find a photo of me and my son in another blog who copied my entire blog post including all the photos three years ago. My son was actually looking down on the photo so his face was not visible, but my heart still skipped a beat. Our photo had been used by a stranger! Not in bad way, but still! Thankfully that blog went down after a few months. Then we have heard scary stories from blogger fashion photos made into T-shirts by Zara (here), a family photo into an advertisement (here), or stolen Instagram photos sold as art piece for $90k a piece (here). And those are not even the worst.

You may come from a country whose people like to take photos of and share everything – I understand this as I’m Asian! :) but while in Switzerland, we need to respect the local regulations.

Tuesday March 22nd, 2016

Second-hand Shop: La Boutique Terre des Hommes in Flon

If you have been following this blog for a while, you probably know my love for second-hands. The boutique of Terre des Hommes in Flon quickly became a favorite. For those who are not familiar with Terre des Hommes (TdH) it is an international children’s rights organization that was founded in Lausanne in 1960. It is a charitable organization thus the boutique is run by volunteers and proceeds from sales go to finance TdH projects.

boutique-TDH-1

The boutique is located in the basement so even if you had been in Flon many times, you may have missed it. They share the same building as the restaurant “Bistrot du Flon”, you just need to find the elevator or stairs to reach the basement.

The boutique is spacious, and the range of items they offer was good. They had a large section for books (not photographed) as well as clothing for all ages.

boutique-TDH-3

boutique-TDH-5

There was also a section for home and kitchen items…

boutique-TDH-4

but the area that we spent the most time was the toy section. The toy selections were good, some wooden, though most were plastics. Many board games and puzzles. We ended up buying two puzzles and a small Santa Claus figure that I plan to use as Christmas ornament.

boutique-TDH-toys

boutique-TDH-2

As many of the second hand shops we had been in Switzerland, this boutique was clean and tidy. I love that it was not overcrowded with stuff. The range of items was good and prices were correct (Note that you can only pay cash.)

Terre des Hommes – La boutique
Rue de Genève 17, 1003 Lausanne
Monday 14h00-18h30
Tuesday-Friday 9h00-18h30
Saturday 9h00-17h00

P.S. If you too like second hands, find my other post about the shops here

Friday March 18th, 2016

Children’s Party Suppliers (Decor and Food)

This is not a sponsored post*
This is an updated post, originally posted in October 2015

Questions on party supplies, especially helium balloons, frequently surfaced between parents in Lausanne. So I listed here what I know or had heard of, and included my own experience and favorite suppliers. This post was written with kids’ parties in mind, so no wine suppliers, sorry. Hope you’ll find this post useful nonetheless! 😉

—–

Balloons

Few balloons

For only a few balloons, you can go to Franz Carl Weber in Lausanne. From the info I heard, you can either bring your own balloons or buy from them. I heard that Manor in Lausanne center also had a tank but I haven’t tried it myself.

Up to 30 balloons

The helium tank from Coop Brico+Loisirs (photo below) has been my personal choice. It’s more economical as it’s smaller (2.2 liters for approx 20-30 balloons) and thus cost less (around chf40). The tank is “disposable” and according to the label the gas can be used up to 5 years from the filling date. I actually bought one on sale earlier this year (then it cost around chf27).

heliumtank-brico

I have used half a tank for my daughter’s birthday party this month and could keep the rest for later. Once emptied, the tank can be disposed safely on metal recycling bin at your local déchetterie. Finally, as there are many Coop Brico+Loisirs shops, it’s easy to grab a tank. It’s not big nor heavy, I put it in the basket under our Mclaren stroller for easy transport.

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Thursday March 17th, 2016

Swiss Vapeur Parc in Le Bouveret

The Swiss Vapeur Parc will re-open for this year on 19 March 2016, so that I brought this post (originally published Aug 2012) back for those who haven’t been there. Both my kids looooove this park and I’m sure we’ll spend at least a day there this summer. Choo-choo!


I had been meaning to do this post for the last 2 months. Life’s surely busy with 2 kiddos around.

We (hubby, 3.5-y.o. daughter, 1-y.o son, and I) went to Swiss Vapeur Parc on a Saturday, in end of May 2012 (also the Saturday of the Pentecôte weekend). We “had” to go there as I bought a voucher from BuyClub.ch and it was to expire by end of the month.

We took the train (station: Bouveret, approx. 200m or 5 min walk to the park). From Lausanne it took 1 hour 12 minutes, including a change of train in St-Maurice. Very easy and relaxing, and the view from the train (the mountains and valleys of Valais) was breathtaking. FYI, during spring and summer, you can also take the CGN boat from Villeneuve.

We arrived at noon and expected a crowd. There were many people, but it was far from packed. There was an area to leave strollers, and we did so. Our 1-y.o. moved into the Ergo carrier. Stroller doesn’t really work there, as there were bridges, although you can keep it with you.

The queue to board those mini trains was not bad. The “stations” located more in front of the park were the most crowded, but even there we only had to wait for the next train. Some “stations” only had a few “passengers” waiting. There were many trains with different styles, really cute. The train rides were longer than I expected. The mini trains really went everywhere around the park, yet we saw something different each time. And to enjoy the view of mountains surrounding us, with the blue sky we had that day, was awesome.

As for food, no need to worry. There were many eating areas with little huts that sold food. We went to the one selling crêpes. There were also little shops selling toys and souvenir.

We had lots of fun, this park is really for all ages. We will definitely come back! The only problem that we had was that there was no train back to Lausanne (via St-Maurice) at 15:58 on Saturdays! Can you believe it? We thought we checked the schedule and remembered that there was a train every hour. But apparently there was a tiny print on that yellow board saying that the train for that particular hour didn’t run on Saturday. So we hang out there at the train station for an hour, which was not bad with such beautiful scenery :)

Have you been there? What was your experience? Do tell in the comment!

Swiss Vapeur Parc
CH-1897 Le Bouveret
Suisse
Tél: +41 24 481 44 10
Fax: +41 24 481 54 70
info (at) swissvapeur.ch

Wednesday March 16th, 2016

Oh My Cake ! – Baking Supplies in Lausanne

Sponsored Post*

Oh My Cake ! has only opened in Lausanne for a bit more than 3 months. Yet it’s quite busy and I could see why: It is one that we had been waiting for all these years to finally fill the void – the lack of large range of baking supplies in Lausanne!
ohmycake-shop

To be honest, I don’t really bake. If I did I used mix from the box and decorated only when I really needed to (i.e. my children’s birthdays). Yet I was super excited when Clélia the mompreneur behind this shop contacted me in December. Last week I finally visited the shop and it fulfilled my expectations. Later that day I posted a photo on facebook, and the response it received from Lausanne Mom’s facebook followers confirmed that there was a sort of euphoria among the baking parents in Lausanne area.

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Tuesday March 15th, 2016

What to do with Kids: Easter 2016

easter2014

  • Marché de Pâques & Salon de l’oeuf décoré in Nyon, 19-20 March 2016 (info)
  • Pâkomuzé offers many programs during the Easter weekend. Registration for most activities starts today – 15 March 2016 from 12:30pm! (info)

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Friday March 11th, 2016

Thermal Baths in Centre Thermal Yverdon-les-Bains

One of our most favorite activities in winter months is thermal bathing. Thankfully in Switzerland, there are a number of thermal baths that accept children, one of them is Centre Thermal in Yverdon-les-Bain.

centre-thermal-yverdon

My 2 kids (7 and 4) and I went there on a Monday late morning during the February school holiday. We bought our 3-hour bath entry passes and train tickets via RailAway (20% off train/bus transport and bath tickets).

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Wednesday March 9th, 2016

The Swiss Museum of Transport in Luzern/Lucerne

swisstransportmuseum-0

Unlike last year, this year we don’t have many outside-CH plans for school holidays. So we decided to splurge on a Swiss Museum Pass. Priced at CHF269 for one year (i.e. family price with at least one member holds Swiss Train’s half-card) we intend to max its use.

So 2 weeks ago we went all the way to Luzern (Lucerne) to vist the Swiss Museum of Transport (Verkehrshaus in local language). With the Museum Pass, we could get 50% off the entry fee – we only paid chf32.50 vs the normal family price at chf65. (Psst, you can find more tips at the end of the post.)

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Friday March 4th, 2016

Easter School Holiday Activities in Lausanne and Around (2016)

easterhols

The Easter school holiday for this year starts in 3 weeks! Are you ready? :)

For those not yet familiar with the school here, school kids in Switzerland have holidays often, approximately every 6 weeks (find the list here). This may create headaches to many parents, especially ones who are employed. Chatting around, I found that most employed couple rely on help from grandparents or families (who sometimes fly from another side of the planet). Or hire a temporary nanny when they can afford one. Or they take turns taking off days from their office. But considering the active life of kids, even the stay-at-home parents need programs to keep those little ones and teens happily occupied.

Below I complied different kinds of activities and camps that are offered during the school holidays in Lausanne and surrounding areas. Please click the links for more info.

As a general rule, the winter holiday after Christmas and the Relâches (February) are considered ski holiday thus most of the sport camps offered concentrated into this. For other holidays, activities are more varied.


Read more

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