Filtering by Category: MINITHOUGHT

MINIDAKAR - Raphaëlle is here!

Added on by martine nicolay.

Happy 2015! 

In Dakar, we ended 2014 the best way possible.

Raphaëlle was born on December 30th, 54 cm long and 3600 g light. We are  all well and delighted to be a family of four now. 

For 2015, I am wishing for a year going from MINI to TECTURE. Enjoying these first weeks and months of getting to know our new family member and slowly moving into job or project search over the year. 

This transition, from MINI to TECTURE, from small fragile beings to concrete structure is also what I predict for this blog. A friend once told me to post only what comes naturally to me, and I confess, for now, it is on my little ones and my family. Nevertheless, I have ideas and projects in the back of my mind, but I will get to them in a few weeks time. 

MINITHOUGHT - Congratulations to Michelle & Frantz

Added on by martine nicolay.

My little sister Michelle entered a civil union with her man today. I am a very proud big sister today and very sad at the same time that I cannot  be with them.

Those are the hardest moments of being an expat : being away from your family for the good and bad times! Living in Italy, I felt so close to everyone back in Luxembourg - the many visits from friends and family did help to feel united.

Nevertheless, today I am shouting from the rooftops of Dakar, how happy I am about Michelle and Frantz and their commitment to each other! I love you both!! xx

Summer 2013 in Italy - Léonore, Matthieu, Frantz & my little sister Michelle

Summer 2013 in Italy - Léonore, Matthieu, Frantz & my little sister Michelle

MINITHOUGHT - Last day in Asilo Nido

Added on by martine nicolay.

Tomorrow will be Léonore's last day in Asilo Nido - her italian daycare. She has been going every day since she is 9 months old. Léonore always loved to go - even when we were gone for a few weeks in a row the return to her roman routine was always easy. 

A lot of first time-memories are associated with her days at daycare - at 9 1/2 months she was drawing her first abstract statements to her blackboard at home, she clearly found her love to draw at school. At 12 months she came home with bruises from her crawling and walking adventures - at first I did not believe her teachers since at home she was not moving neither on 4 nor on 2 feet! At 13 months her first Italian word was "O Dio" and at 14 months her best friend Oliver joined her in Asilo - since it just has been the smoothest ride! 

Léonore is too young to realise that tomorrow is her last day in an Italian school - next time I will tell her "Let's get ready for school" - she will notice that the teacher will be different teachers. People will no longer speak Italian but French and the experience will be a different and new one. 

Tomorrow when she comes home she will not understand that she is never going back there and that it is her first goodbye of many of her little expat life - which just breaks my heart! 

Over the last few days, Léonore and I prepared a few goodbye gifts. We baked banana bread for her little friends in school - recipe here (no bourbon or nuts in Léo's cake!). For all her teachers, Léonore potato stamped tote bags - more potato stamping here and here

MINITHOUGHT - I am back and still here!

Added on by martine nicolay.

I have been avoiding this post for quite some time and I think I am finally ready to write it.

For the last 3 months, we are waiting to leave Rome and move to Dakar, Senegal. My husband is switching work station and we plan to move out to Africa for the next few years. After Laos and Rome, we were wishing for an african experience and we got it... or will get it.

For now we are stuck in Rome... well there are worse places to be "stuck" in! To be honest Matthieu and I have been on a roman vacation for the last few months. Léonore has been spoiled with family play time every day - and our daily strolls or bike rides usually start or end with a gelato! 

Additionally,  I have been working on some very exciting projects - for and with highly creative people and I cannot wait to share them with you here on MINITECTURE. Please stay tuned for more! 

For the weekend, I will leave you with this MINITECTURE-toy - perfect for little world travellers and big architecture lovers : the Mitoi series

Mitoi travels to NYC, London, Paris and Asia to bring us   Miworld  ! Children can let their imagination run wild touring the world.   Miworld   comprises the Eiffel Tower, the Big Ben, the Empire State Building and an Asian pagoda. 

Mitoi travels to NYC, London, Paris and Asia to bring us Miworld! Children can let their imagination run wild touring the world. Miworld comprises the Eiffel Tower, the Big Ben, the Empire State Building and an Asian pagoda. 


"I would like children to learn the relation between colors and form and to learn something about their urban landscape and the buildings closest to them”, said Marc Castelló, founder and designer of Mitoi.

Mitoi has launched two collections of colourful building blocks: Miworld and Miciti. 

Miciti   collection is composed by iconic buildings from Barcelona. You’ll find the Sagrada Família, the W Hotel, the Agbar Tower, the Mapfre Tower and the Hotel Arts Tower.

Miciti collection is composed by iconic buildings from Barcelona. You’ll find the Sagrada Família, the W Hotel, the Agbar Tower, the Mapfre Tower and the Hotel Arts Tower.


(all images from here)

MINITHOUGHT - In Hibernating Mode

Added on by martine nicolay.

Hello - how are you?

I apologise for my long absence on this blog - the last few weeks were filled with colds and fevers and in between a lot of family and friends visiting trips, so that at the end of the day I just felt exhausted... all i wanted was cuddle up in my nest. 

But spring is back - have a look at the wonderful magnolia tree below - and my hibernation mode is over! 

So MINITECTURE.ORG is back on - with new MINIVOYAGE reports coming up, as well as MINISTORIES and a few new exciting projects I would like to share with you! So stay tuned! 

photo 3.JPG
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MINITHOUGHT - The Mattress

Added on by martine nicolay.

As presented yesterday, I introduced a floor mat to Léonore's room for playing and reading. 

The interesting thing (to me) was the very first day I put the mattress down, Léonore went to get a book and sat down on the mattress to "read" - without me inviting her to sit down or show her. Again and again I am amazed to see her growing up to be this determined girl she is. 

This sunday another observation made me pause. Wile sewing the cover for the mattress, I had the mattress lying in the middle of the living room. Léonore got very excited. She lay down on it and pretended to nap. 

At Asilo Nido, italian for daycare, Léonore naps on a little mattress on the floor. I was told that every afternoon all the kids go in, recognise their mattress - with their blankets, lay down and sleep. I was very surprised to hear - nap time does not go down as smooth at home. It often involves tears with mama or a few songs from papa. 

Furthermore a few days ago, a friend of mine and a mother herself, introduced me to the Montessori idea of having a floor bed for the first couple of years of your child's life. According to the Montessori philosophy, a baby or toddler does not need a cot or a crib - later with the age of 3 they move into a regular bed. 

... It is in this same philosophy (freedom of movement) that a child does not need to have cot/cribs.These can be constraining to the movement of the child. When a child wakes up, they feel confined and may cry to be “let out”. When a child is on the floor bed that they can get off themselves it gives them the freedom to play with any toy they choose when they wake. ... 

a "minitecture" floor bed

a "minitecture" floor bed

It sounds interesting and intriguing to me. I guess the same principle works at daycare, but how to translate and introduce it at home after nearly 18 months of crib life, I am not sure how it is working! When is a good time for transitioning beds?

Have you ever heard about the floor bed? Do you use one? What are your thoughts? 

or the "minitecture" bunk bed!

or the "minitecture" bunk bed!


Added on by martine nicolay.

What are your new years's resolutions?

There were some incredible ups and downs in 2013, but I left 2013 feeling incredibly happy and humbled !

In 2014, i want to carve out more time for myself to create / to sew / to design / to build and finally tackle and finish Léonore's room (see here and here) ! 

I hope there are more play dates and bubble baths with Léonore, more adventures and journeys in foreign countries, more days of unplugging, more beach waves and family bike rides in 2014. I hope there are more  long phone calls with dear friends who live far away. I want to focus on my marriage, and keep on dating my husband. I want to be more courageous. 

How about you? what are you hoping to discover or change or improve upon in the coming year?


Let's meet at the beach and get started with 2014... shall we?


Somewhere on the Northern California Coast (it's a secret) two masterful driftwood shack devotees cobble together a next level surf shack from salvaged wood. In fact, the shack stands to this day, and good-hearted travelers continue to make small improvements. Good luck finding it.

more on DIY here