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Living in Scotland since more than 10 years, this entrepreneur and mother of 3 shares her daily life between the Skylark, the café-brasserie she opened in Edinburgh a few years ago, and her home in the Scottish countryside where activities don’t lack - vegetable garden, cooking with kids, long walks in the countryside. Let’s meet Nina Davidson, who is also the owner of the Instagram account @petiteschoses_, a nice interlude where nature and life moments are captured with poetry and delicacy.
Hello Nina, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
Hello, my name is Nina, I am 35 years old. I am French but I live in Scotland since 13 years now, I live with my husband, our 3 daughters, our cat and our 6 chickens.
You live in Scotland with your husband and your 3 children, what impact does this double culture have on their daily lives?
I feel extremely lucky to be able to offer two cultures, two languages to our daughters. My two oldest are perfectly bilingual, my youngest does not speak yet. The Scots have a still very strong tradition. In school, children learn ceilidh and songs in Scots. And then Scotland is a proud country and so rich in history!
I spend all our holidays in France in the South West, where I am from. Often alone with children, Michael only joins us for a week. My cousins and my older brother have children of the same age and we are also friends with families from there. It’s kind of a French-speaking cocoon for the girls.
You opened the Skylark with your husband a few years ago, can you tell us a bit about this place?
The Skylark is my own project! My husband is an architect, he has been running his business for 3 years. Of course, he helped me at the beginning. We had 6 months of renovations to bring out all the layers of decor that had accumulated over the years. We managed to get back to the original spirit of the place. We discovered treasures, old posters from the 70s, moldings, bricks, paneling from the 19th century ...
Before opening the Skylark, I had a little cafe in the Leith district. The Skylark was the natural evolution once the place got too small.
We focused on a small menu with quality products. Our beers and ales are Scottish and our wines are French. We do small concerts, film screenings, exhibitions, a storyteller even comes to tell stories for the little ones once a week.
For the record, we opened the Skylark 4 days before Ada's birth and a week after my term!
Can you tell us how your days are organized?
Right now, I'm officially on maternity leave (which lasts 9 months here!). In reality I am working on the reopening of a place based on social contact. It’s quite scary. But I'm used to being multitask.
Usually, we always get up a little late. Ada takes the bus to school. Colette goes to nursery two days a week, in a village just down the road from Edinburgh. I drop her off on the days I work. I pick her up around 3pm, Ada comes home with the school bus at 4pm. We share a moment to tell each other about our day and then we all cook together. If I work from home, we do painting, pottery, sewing. If it's not raining, we spend time outside in the vegetable garden, or in the forest. We eat early, we listen to some music, we read.
Connection to nature seems to be essential in your life, can you tell us a little more?
We decided to leave Edinburgh to settle in the countryside. And I'm so happy about it. That’s all I had hoped for. The children are outside all day long, playing in the garden or in the wood. We don't live in a village, the sheep are our neighbors. Colette, who is 3 years old, can name a dozen of birds and flowers. I think it's great. There is freedom that we can’t have living in the city.
We have adopted hens from a traditional farm. We have also started a vegetable garden and an orchard. We even found a spot in the river where water mint grows. Perfect for mojito!
Mother of 3 little girls, what values do you want to pass on to them?
Self-confidence and empathy.
What relationship do you have with them?
I have never left them for more than 24 hours… I am the mama, who cooks, cares, looks after, listens, explains.
We decided to do flexischool when Ada started school at age 5. She does part of the week in class, part with me. I can thus teach her to write and read in French.
How do you choose the products (fashion, food, beauty) for your children?
Less is more !
My mom gave me a lot of clothes that belonged to my siblings. Most of them are spotless. I try to buy things that the 3 girls can use and wear over time. I take neutral colors, comfortable cuts and natural materials.
We are not yet vegetarians but almost. We eat our eggs and vegetables. We get an organic box once a week in the nearest village. I love the idea of local products, the seasons and the challenge of not knowing what will be there!
About cosmetics, I hardly ever use makeup. A cleansing milk and toner in the evening and a moisturizer in the morning.
For kids, coconut oil to moisturize if necessary and Minois soap to wash them. I rather buy products without packaging or with glass packaging, neutral or long-lasting products.
A person, a project that inspires you?
There are so many! Maybe right now Julie from @rudyjude. She inspired me to mend the beloved clothes that I couldn't get rid of. Consume less, make homemade with what I already have. It’s very satisfying.
What are the must-see places in Scotland?
The Scottish Borders! Not touristic at all, this region in the south of Scotland is incredible. You have to head towards St Mary’s Loch and get lost in the single track roads.
Edinburgh, the capital, is a small town but impressive with a castle and a gigantic park in the city center. Do not forget to go to Portobello beach especially with the children to get some fresh air.
Your happy place?
Apart from my home, I would say Cap Ferret, at my mom's. My feet in the sand with the girls watching the ocean.
I am here right now and I want it to be the greatest time - Patti Smith
Your favorite Minois product?
The perfume, which is Colette’s one, the Gentle Soap and the Bubble Bath. The scent remind me the scent of childhood.
Thank you Nina !