Sunday, October 24, 2010

Take the high road, take a plane ride

Some of the most sleepless nights I've had in the last 18 months have been spent tossing and turning in my bed contemplating how my first plane ride with my 15 month old daughter, Siena (at the time of travel), would pan out. Not only had my partner, Rob, & I decided to sell up our belongings, move our family across the Tasman, we were to start our epic journey with a short haul flight, all together for the first time.

Short haul (between 0 to 4 hours), verse Long haul (4 or more hours).....I've been told by the many supportive Mum's & Dad's, requires just as much forethought and planning. To give you the superb news first, the flight was a huge success! That's right, no bull....

So how did I plan for it? Well first thing was first. I too navigated the many social media sites available to chat to parents about 'what advice was on offer.' I took what I wanted from those chats & the many blogs or articles, to decifer what might best suit my small family.

So the flight has been & gone and I have condensed my research into 6 full proof steps for the short haul flight with an infant or toddler, that worked exceptionally well for my family situation. They are:
  1. Plan your flight departure time around nap time.
  2. If money is no object, book an additional seat for your infant or toddler and take your own infant restraint/car seat to secure your child safely & comfortably.
  3. Keep your carry on luggage light weight and bare minimum in terms of child requirements
  4. Carry some new, light weight & small toys that have been wrapped by you individually for your little one to unwrap & play with at different times during the flight
  5. Travel with a sling or baby carrier
  6. Book all seats toward the rear of the plane & close to the food galley

I'll now expand a little on each of these points:

  1. At the time I booked our flights, Siena was a little under 14 months and having 1 daily nap. So I planned our trip around her nap time with some grace either side of 11am. This proved perfect on the day, as Siena had been up for a while getting ready to leave the house, engage in a new playground (airport), eat breakfast and tire easily. As a result of all the excitement I readied a bottle for take off once she was seated. With the bottle empty, she fell asleep before our plane left the ground, looking comfortable in her car seat attached to her very own plane seat. I wish I took a photo of how lovely & peaceful she looked. It was gold. I even managed to watch a movie while she slept...yay!
  2. If you book & pay for your child to fly in their own seat, you may also be entitled to the same luggage/weight allocation as a full fare paying adult. In addition, for most airlines, a child infant restraint/carseat will not form part of the weight restriction applicable, so too your stroller. Therefore, this was perfect for our journey as we were relocating and needed the extra kilo's for additional items.
  3. I travelled with a small backpack that accommodated Siena's & my essential needs; such as wallet, phone, nappies, wipes, 2 changes of clothes, an avent bottle, sachet of toddler milk, fruit, snacks, toys, books.
  4. I didn't travel with a sling or baby carrier for Siena as she was walking everywhere, however I did speak with a Mum on the plane who wore her 9 month old onto the flight and she swore by it.
  5. Not only are you close to toilet amenities, you are also close to help & the food galley to remove empty trays quickly and heat milk if required. We also booked 3 seats together right at the back and just in front of seats that are for use by cabin crew. This mean't we could change up our seating arrangements when Siena woke from her nap to entertain her easily and/or change her nappy when the toilet's were occupied. The other good tip here, is that if you occupy seats to the far rear, your child is less likely to disturb all passengers.

So there you have it. Rob & I had a blast and received a lot of comments from other passengers lining up for toilet facilities. They mentioned that 'they couldn't hear our daughter and she is soooo cute!' We think so too LOL

Flick me an email should you have any questions to

Happy adventures,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Strutin our stuff in Sydney

It's September 2010 and it won't be long before we expect our first visit from Siena's Nana Ma & Papa. We have been in Sydney nearly 6 weeks now and the weather has provided many an opportunity to indulge in some sort after outdoors activity.

Some of the highlights have been a few Saturday visits to our local markets - Orange Grove for a fresh almond croissant that Siena just adores, a tasty Turkish spinach and cheese gozleme & an exceptional hot mocha. Meandering around the Rozelle market for prize possessions also landed us a taste of dark/white chocolate coated strawberries. An absolute treat for any child and mother for that matter and walking the hearty streets of Balmain Village provided us with some free entertainment, with a live Jazz band act.

The Bay Run has multiple stop parkland points & aquatic centres. A visit to Bronte beach recently also placed a smile on my dial to see how happy Siena & Daddy looked on the kiddy's train....

Stay tuned for my next blog that will highlight some favourable flight tips for short haul destinations. We had a terrific flight with Siena from Auckland to Sydney and I look forward to telling all soon. Stay tuned.......

Friday, April 30, 2010

Take the lead & invite a friend

As a stay at home parent, there is much to organise, plan & execute.

Apart from the obvious household chores or activities, there are babies & kids to feed, change & play with, a vehicle to pack with nappy bag, munch bag, hand bag & buckle in children, lock & alarm the house then make your way leisurely or frantically to structured indoor activities like mainly music, jumping beans, wriggle & rhyme, story telling, plunket etc.

So what about a good ole fashioned walk to rejuvenate your spirit & enrich the soul? Some fresh air when the weather permits provides the perfect solution for both parent & child, so why not invite a friend to share the experience also.

Any destinations in mind, how about a park with a lagoon? Apart from enjoying a walk pushing your child in a stroller & or carrying your child in baby carrier. The kids will also love the wildlife & inspirational setting to walk, run or crawl and feel different environmental textures between their fingers and toes.

Do yourself a favour and call a friend or fellow parent to arrange an outdoor walk. Sometimes a drive may not be required, often there are parks or reserves close to home that could prove to be a flexible meeting point. This option is also necessary when a vehicle may not be available for use.

Think about other options too, such as a regular walking group where you have many parents either from coffee groups or friendship groups that connect & catch up on a rotating basis or when available. This approach provides you with ready made options when your calendar activities alter or change.

Looking for coffee groups, try your local community centres, search on-line portals such as Mums On Top & Connect 2 Mums. You can also try your local Plunket as a starting point.

Ultimately take the plunge, take control & enjoy the benefits of both indoor & outdoor activities with your child/ren & a friend/s.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Is that mud on your face?

{Photographs of Tiara, shared by her mum - Suzan}

Can you recall a significant time in your own childhood when playing in the rain, mean't puddles & more importantly mud pies & dirty clothes? And maybe the other kind of brown... Chocolate, was it a rarity that only special occasions would impress upon you, like Easter or Christmas?

If you were one of the lucky few, the delicious taste of dark, white & milk chocolate was more likely to enter your world a little more than just on special occasions.

Why talk about mud & chocolate?

It is the season of special events like birthdays & past events like Easter. The weather has also changed. So why not talk about mud & chocolate.

My daughter is nearly 12 months old & has an infatuation with the outdoors, like me. So much so, that as the weather turns in Auckland, for example - over cast, cool with light rain is more the norm the past few days - My little munchkin will still surge forward and aim for the nearest exit of our house to pursue the small puddles that adorn our paver's, then reach successfully the garden, where she will immerse her hands & feet in the dirt.

Or, I should say she will coax the dirt into mud and literally within in a matters of minutes be consumed by pleasure so great, that even I want to join in. 10 minutes pass, then 20 minutes & I realise the temperature drops some more. Oooh, we we are both wet & covered in mud. Invigorating yes and then my motherly instincts set in... it's time for warm milk & dry, clean clothes.

Thought for next time? Yes there will be a next time... add gumboots & raincoat to our attire hahaha.

Only recently, we enjoyed an Easter break with Rob's family in Kuaotunu {the Coromandel, NZ}. It was on this holiday, that our baby girl muscled through bits of chocolate, daily. My only regret, is that we didn't have our camera with us to be able to reflect on the joy that spread over her face when she was trying to lick remnants from her chin & mouth.

When did you last encourage your little ones to play in the rain, or get muddy after the storm? Feel free to share your tips on clothing or preparation too. And how often do you offer chocolate, in or without moderation to your child or children?

In closing, I can't wait to see my little girl indulge a little or a lot when her 1st Birthday Chocolate Cake is enjoyed. Roll on May 7th, 2010.....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stroll or run, the point is?

You're out & about!

As I write this post, the sun has disappeared & I'm reminiscing about the superb weather we experienced in Auckland today. It alone created an air of excitement & enticed my family to pack up the family wagon & head out for a day of adventure.

Two items, apart from the obvious were essential items to pack. They included our 3 wheel stroller & baby carrier. With no real destination in mind, our thoughts were...
  1. A stroller for fitness & just because
  2. A baby carrier for laziness & convenience
Where did we end up?

We started at the Mangere Markets for a morning stroll around various stalls & in particular stopped at a favourite eating haunt - Mussel Madness for a delicious mussel fritter & whitebait fritter. My daughter relished the mussels & whitebait, so much so we had to buy another, for mummy that is hahaha.

From there, we made our way south west to the Drury off ramp with Waiuku in mind. After a few kilometers we decided to veer off the main road & turn further inland to pass through a quaint, tidy little village named Patumahoe that boasted with signage of the Wrights Watergardens.

After a few more kilometers we found ourselves in Mauku, some very friendly folk in that town. We followed our nose, took a few more right turns & would you believe it managed to find a sign saying '9km Waiuku'. Before we new it, we were in the marvellous township of Waiuku.

We had no need to stop for refreshments however, as we had a packed lunch on board with a few more trimmings....picnic rug, portable gas cooker, collapsible chairs etc hahaha. Had I known we were heading to Waiuku, I may have suggested a bakery stop for lunch.

So with our stomachs in mind, yet again....we took a hard left to Karioitahi Beach. Any beach would have been suffice when your mouth waters due to hunger & thirst, however this beach was a real treat. With picnic rug, chairs & sausages on the cooker we relaxed in the sun drenched shores that Karioitahi provided us with. Frolicked in the black sand & watched the many passerbys driving or walking on the beach.

The point of this post?

No stroller, or baby carrier was required in the end, however the thought of being equipped for anything or any situation, provided us with the peace of mind to venture out with no holes barred.

So the point of this post is?

No matter how you achieve it, get out & about xx

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WIN a Yours, Naturally Assorted Gift Basket

Anyone can enter to WIN a Yours, Naturally Assorted Gift Basket! 100% New Zealand made.

Thanks to Franda and Fran at Yours, Naturally we have an assorted gift set of gorgeous items to give away to one lucky reader! This gift set retails at $30 with an added bonus of free shipping.

Reusable Gift Basket contains:

1 x 65ml Baby Balm
1 x 30ml Baby Butter
4 x Muslin wash cloths
1 x Mini Maraca ( choose between pink, blue, green or yellow)
1 x 10ml Baby Oil

Yours, Naturally is where you go for all your natural, organic Baby Care products! They don't use any preservatives and their fragrances are those you will find in nature. I especially love their Baby Balm & Baby Butter, both are available in this give away. Their Baby Vapour Stick also proves to be a most essential item when your child has a cold or the sniffles.

To ENTER the draw for your chance to win a Yours, Naturally Assorted Gift Set leave a comment to this post saying why you’d like to win Yours, Naturally products. To view a range of their popular products, click on 'products available' section within their website In addition, go to their 'GIVE AWAY' page to confirm details for this free offer also.

Bonus entries:

  1. Join the Yours, Naturally Facebook fanpage and mention in your comment here that you are a fan.

  2. Join the NewBawn Facebook fanpage and mention in your comment here that you are a fan.

A winner will be drawn on Friday 15 April at 10am (NZ time zone). Franda, Fran & I wish you every success upon entry!

♥ Maria ♥

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