Friday, 29 November 2013


Again, this is something that needs to be thought of waaaaay before you get on that plane. Regardless of your child's age, (unless we are talking newborns with only one requirement for hours of entertainment - your milk supply) then it is strongly advisable that you smash up (translation: spend up big at) your local Two Dollar / Hot Dollar / Bargain Basement store with strange, unusual, colourful, interactive, disposable, glow in the dark, squishy, funny, imaginative toys and games.

In flight entertainment "toddler" style
However, there are a certain number of basic rules that do apply to your shopping list:
1. Don't buy anything you intend on keeping for a long time.
2. Perhaps avoid the super loud musical toys, for the sake of not making enemies on the plane.
3. It must be something your child has NEVER seen before. And do NOT let them see these toys until you are ON that plane, desperate for a source of distraction.
4. The smaller the better to fit inside that carry on bag. (yet large enough to not be a choking hazard...)
5. Avoid sticky, sugary objects of any kind (this should be obvious why). No one likes to travel twenty something hours with lollipops stuck in their hair / down their blouse or with children bouncing on and off the walls from sugar rushes.
6. Things that roll can also be nothing but a nuisance for you as the plane is clearly not always on a flat angle - and we all know our little monsters darlings love to throw and drop their toys.
7. Balloons are also not a good idea. They burst and can sound like explosions. Just saying.

In past flights, I've had particular luck with play dough, stickers, pencils, flashing squishy toys that you can mould, fluffy pipe cleaners, small books, quirky looking dolls, small race cars, etc.

Glow in the dark masks kept us entertained for hours!
On one of our most recently family trips to LA, Steven's work flew him Business class, while my seat was booked in economy, with both the girls. Obviously, I was feeling anxious about this scenario. Although we had secured a bassinet for Francesca, aged five months at the time, and Isabella had her own seat next to me being over two years, I was worried about this being my first international trip with both the kids, and doing it solo, essentially.
By some gift of god, the man seated next to me on this flight was amazing with kids, completely understanding, chivalrous and had a similar appreciation for gin and tonics as me. With the kids needing distraction as the lights were dimmed for the sleep section of the journey, my neighbour / new friend Aaron and I busted out the glow in the dark masks that i'd snapped up the week before, we sent Steven an inflight seat-to-seat message to come and join us and before I knew it, we had our own small disco happening in row 24!! (silent disco of course, so we didn't wake the other passengers). The kids thought it was hilarious and it seriously killed about two hours of the journey time for me. I'd like shares in the company.

Sunday, 24 November 2013


I can't emphasise enough how vital it is to be organised with your packing. This is key to surviving the journey. The weeks leading up to your trip are your chance to research the logistics of the destination for things like car seat laws, your hotel's ability to provide certain equipment, the public transport situation for little ones, vaccination requirements, the hazardous elements (mozzies, snow etc), the foods available, etc etc. 

If you can be on top of this then you will have more time on the ground to enjoy your trip rather than spend the entire time chasing equipment, medicines, formula and so on. Wouldn't you rather be shopping or lunching?

Strolling the streets of New York
My first tip is specifically related to your mode of stroller. It's easier and cheaper than you think. Go to KMART or Target or Big W and buy yourself something called an Umbrella Stroller for under $100. It'll change your life. Leave the expensive bugaboo at home. The compact, knock about, reclining, fold-up pram is your new best friend. And surprisingly, they're seriously good! 

This little baby is allowed through the airport check in with you as opposed to traditional strollers. The word "umbrella" is what airport staff listen for. It's like a James Bond code word that means "this little baby will fold up smaller than my handbag."  However, it's probably best you refrain from winking and touching your nose suspiciously as they may take you for a security threat. Just a suggestion. 

Most airlines will allow you to take it as far as the boarding gate (so if your little muppet is asleep at the airport, you can let them continue snoozing right up to stepping onto the plane). Some airlines, such as Qantas (International), actually allow you to take the pram onto the plane with you and will store it up from (depending on how full the flight is - and you're at a clear advantage if you're up the pointy end of the plane). This means it is ready for you the second you land and you can breeze through security at the other end. 

Of course you need to bear in mind this stroller applies to babies not requiring a flat bassinet, usually over the age of about 5 months and with reasonable neck strength. 

Isabella takes a nap in her Maxi Cosi. 
Anything younger, my tip is to get yourself a second hand Maxi Cosi capsule that clicks into a good selection of pram bases (some require adaptors). This capsule can also double as your car capsule if you take (pack in check in luggage) the base also. And, more importantly, it is a portable little piece of genius that can prop up on the seat next to you at cafe tables and dinners so bub can snooze while you eat. Just leave the pram base by the door. It's a brilliant all-rounder. You're far more likely to get a table at a nice eatery if you don't arrive with a tractor. Plus when you're ready to head home, just pop the bassinet straight in as the car seat! 
Our Baby Bjorn was a godsend

The other handy little option to have with you for kids aged from 3 months to about 18 months is the baby bjorn (or similar brand). This eliminates all need for a stroller and means you are hands free for the airport, shopping and sight seeing etc with out having to deal with all the logistics of prams. The only downside, your back and shoulders will be killing you if this is your only option and baby may not be a fan of having his/her naps in the upright bjorn position, especially if they're older. Still, I don't leave home without it. It's a good one to just roll up and tuck under the pram and pull it out if baby gets frustrated from being strapped into the pram too long, or you're somewhere like New York, which is NOT a pram friendly city!

Monday, 18 November 2013


Narrowly avoiding the poop... and the propeller.

So, you're thinking about attempting a trip with your little one(s)? And you're pooping yourself? Let me say, you have reason to be afraid, very afraid. It is petrifying. It is without doubt one of the most challenging, anxiety inducing, marriage-testing experiences you can undergo. But it is still worth it. And it is manageable. I've lived to tell the tale. And i'd love to help you survive your journey. 

This blog is not about me. It's about the poop that has happened to me, that I am willing to share with you in the hope that it won't, in turn, happen to you also. 

You may notice that I refer to poop freely throughout my blog. It's because I spend all day every day stopping myself from using obscene profanities in front of my children and it has now become habit to use unfulfilling swear words instead, that I secretly imagine to be incredibly offensive!! So poop it is. 

I do not claim to be an expert. But my husband Steven @sjweather9 travels for work and is away from home on average 300 days per year. He's the weather man on the Today Show on Channel Nine (the funny guy who was attacked by a pelican, you may know of him) In an effort to keep our marriage strong and for our girls to know their father, and for him to know them as they develop faster than we can keep up, we try our best to travel with him as often as possible, both domestically and internationally. With this in mind, we have been to many locations, flash, tacky, near, far and fabulous. I don't have a moment of regret about any of the trips we have done - but dear god if someone had handed me a list of tips to make it easier back when I was starting then it would have made one hell of a difference. 

Admittedly, neither of our kids are school age yet, so it is possible to lug them around with us at the drop of a hat. At first I did question if this was in the girls' best interests or if it was a disruption to their sense of routine that I do believe is important for them at their most formative stage. And then I realised that the most important thing of all is to be together as a family, no matter where, and that some of that boring routine can be taken along with you for the journey. Besides, nothing is harder than being the one left behind, to clean up the poop at home, solo, while your man is off sunning himself on a tropical island somewhere. Am I right?

So, let's get started, let's pack those bags and let's get you on that plane in one piece, as prepared as you can be. Oh, and one of those teensy things i've learned along the way - babies and young kids really actually do poop way more than usual at high altitudes. Don't ask me the science 'behind' it... just trust me and pack twice the amount of nappies in that carry on nappy bag as you would normally do, along with a change of clothes or two. And maybe some gloves... (ok, that part wasn't serious). And they provide the vodka on board.