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New York, NY

We are parents, too. We think traveling well and traveling with children shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. We have limited vacation time, and we’re not spending our few days of freedom in lousy hotels eating bad food. We know the world is full of wonderful resorts, cool urban escapes and far-flung lodges that can make our time with our kids count. We want it all, and we don’t think it should be so hard to find. So we’re going to share it with you.


Date Night Ideas From Lauren Mansell of Hello Sitter

Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Dispatches from around the world

Date Night Ideas From Lauren Mansell of Hello Sitter

Henley Vazquez


English expat Lauren Mansell and Hello Sitter founder is a New York mama on a mission to make your date days and nights even better. Thanks to Hello Sitter (currently in beta), time-challenged parents can now hire pre-vetted on-demand babysitters with the tap of the screen. So what will you do with all of this free time? Lauren has some ideas. Read on for her date night picks. 

What are your top three go-to restaurants for date night? 

We’re boring and always go back to our favorites like Lure Fish Bar in Soho where we like to sit at the bar and order appetizers (crispy rice is a must order!), Soho House because it’s so easy and cosy and Cafe Habana in Nolita when we have a corn craving!

For parents visiting the city versus those who live here, what are there classics you recommend for a first-time visit?

Balthazar is great, I think it’s just a classic New York restaurant and I really love Buddakan for first-timers, it has a very cool vibe, fab food and yummy cocktails!

Fill in the blank: Dinner and a ______.

Night club! A club helps me really let my hair down, for a few hours I am transported to only having to worry about myself again (even if I do regret it in the morning!). There a a few places we enjoy, Le Bain, Gilded Lily or Up + Down. It doesn't really matter, as long as the music is good!

Any favorite bars for a nightcap, and what's your go-to cocktail? 

The Nomad as it is so close to our apartment and they have a great cocktail list. Go to cocktail = anything with champagne in it!

Upgrade date night: what are fun activities for couples who want more excitement than just another dinner out? 

Any favorite pairings like a museum with great bar nearby, a show at the theater or a live music venue. It can be anything!  I think immersive theaters are really fun. We’ve done Queen of the Night, Sleep No More and Then She Fell.  We try and find random things to mix it up a bit and I think the funniest date we went on was a poetry slam! 

Quick fire question: day date or big night out? 

Day date. A couple Saturdays a month my husband and I are lucky enough to be by ourselves.  I love it because we can go to restaurants that don't take reservations like Egg or Jack’s Wife Frieda that we wouldn't normally be able to go to because the thought of trying to entertain my 3 year old whilst waiting for a table is too much to bear.

I love the cute little restaurants that New York does so well and we have good food and a cocktail and then take a bike ride (the citibikes are fun!) or take a meditation class (MNDFL is great!) and just enjoy doing things that are harder now we have children.  It is amazing what a luxury it feels like just having 4 hours in the day to yourselves and we always return feeling well-rested.

Finally, we love that your sitters are already vetted, but for first-timers worried about booking someone through an app, what's the best question to ask a potential babysitter? Or anything to look for in references to know she's a fit for your family?

The advantage of Hello Sitter is that you don’t have to concern yourself with running background checks, ringing references and scheduling interviews because we have done all of that vetting for you.  This allows you to focus on finding the right fit for your family as opposed to just finding anyone that is available.  On the app you have the ability to look at each sitter’s profile, you can read their bio, view a video, look at previous family reviews and see what their personality traits are.  As a parent you know what your child needs, whether it is someone that is patient and understanding or outgoing and funny so you can use their profiles to select based on this. In addition, the reviews put parents’ minds at rest, knowing so many other families put their trust in us helps others understand that we are the best choice in finding you a sitter that you'll truly love.