Simon Tyler is the founder of online shop Fathershop.com, where you can buy cool kids’ stuff including clothes from Scandi labels and wooden toys. This month he talks to globetotting about Tasmania, Singapore noodles and London’s Lanesborough Hotel.
Name: Simon Tyler
Kid(s) (+ ages): Sibylla (age 2)
My family in three words: Well turned out!
Lives in: St Leonards-on-Sea, UK
Blog / Website: fathershop.com
1. What is your favourite family holiday destination and why?
Tasmania – it’s the most amazing place I’ve ever been to, and it’s where my wife grew up.The landscape and wildlife are unlike anywhere else I’ve been. There are so many things to do – riding bikes, rock climbing, trekking, sailing. Plus there’s a strong foodie vibe too. Pretty much perfect. Apart from the spiders…
2. What is your kids’ favourite family holiday destination and why?
Bizarrely, I think Sibylla’s favourite place has been Singapore. Mainly because for the entire time we were there she was bombarded with praise from all the Singaporean women – “Sooo cute!” ad infinitum. She must’ve thought she was royalty. And she loved the noodles at the hawker centres too.
3. Tell us about your favourite family hotel
The Lanesborough. It was where I proposed to my wife, and it’s our favourite without a doubt. They are brilliant about guests with kids too, and even just writing this is tempting me to look for a spare weekend!
4. What three things do you never leave home without when travelling with kids?
Wipes. You can never have too many.
A book that she’s not seen before – probably the next thing by Oliver Jeffers!
I hate to say it, but probably an iPad.
5. What is your best tip for long-haul travel with kids?
A morning flight rather than one in the evening – why make things even more difficult! Getting a young child onto a plane last thing at night is bound to involve lots of lots of crying and general unhappiness – don’t do it!
6. What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you when travelling with children?
Sibylla has always been absolutely good as gold when we’ve been away. The worst thing that happened when we were with her happened at Movida in Melbourne. We had an evening booking, wheeled her (tiny $10) stroller next to the table, and before we knew it the couple on the next table made a big fuss to the waiter about having a “screaming kid” ruining their meal. Sibylla was silent and dozing off so I’m not quite sure what their problem was. Within 30 seconds of draping her in a muslin sheet she was fast asleep. Great meal too…
7. What do you enjoy best about travelling with kids?
The fact that you can present them with the most amazing foreign landscape, magnificent cityscape, enormous skyscraper or crashing ocean, and you have absolutely no idea whether they are going to be amazed by it or entirely indifferent! Kind of like – “Look look, the Taj Mahal! Isn’t it amazing?” “It’s just a big house dad…”
8. Where’s next on your family travel wish list?
A trip to Morocco, maybe in the autumn. And New York in the new year, hopefully. Tokyo is also on the list, but it’s a little trickier logistically.
9. Tell us a bit about your blog / website and why you set it up
I set up my original blog Not a Bad Dad as I found most parenting related sites and writing in general to be dreary and visually unappealing. I thought it would be fun to combine a more upbeat, dad-centric approach to what has become Dad Theory with more general lifestyle stories and reviews. And then Father (the shop) came about because of all the e-mails asking me why I wasn’t selling what I was featuring. It’s been a lot of work and there have been plenty of sleepless nights, but NABD was an Honouree at the most recent Webby Awards, and Father is getting lots of press, so it has all been worth it.
10. In the spirit of BBC’s Desert Island Discs, if you were stranded on a desert island…
A. What would be the one luxury item and one essential item that you would take with you?
Luxury – chainsaw
Essential – mosquito repellant
B. What would be the one luxury item and one essential item your kids(s) would take?
Luxury – dried apricots
Essential – crochet blanket
Simon Tyler’s Blog / Website: fathershop.com