Thursday, 27 February 2014


Aussies do holidays with energy!
It's true that most people around the world believe Australians are at the bottom of the universe. In many ways we are. But when it comes to travel, it means that when we set sail, we do it properly! We go for extended periods of time. We get our hands dirty. We play nicely with the strangers we meet. We live in the moment. We take the kids with us. And on that insanely long plane journey home, we comfort ourselves with plans for the next trip in the very near future!

My travels have been no exception and as such, I consider myself extremely lucky to say i've now managed to somehow visit quite a few destinations around the globe, either solo or with my husband and now, with the kids. Here are a few of my personal favourites.

Vanuatu, Fiji, Bali, Thailand, Hong Kong, New Zealand

Magnetic Island, Heron Island, Double Island

The Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Mid North Coast, Port Douglas, FNQ, NSW Snowy Mountains, The Blue Mountains, The Hunter Valley, Tasmania, The Barossa Valley, The Murray River

Hawaii, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Portland

Vancouver, Whistler Ski resorts, Lake Louise, Banff

Mexico, Buenos Aires, Chile, Uruguay

England, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece (Santorini), Portugal, Czeck Republic (Prague), Belgium (Bruges), Denmark (Copenhagen), Corsica, Canary Islands, Austria (Vienna)

Capetown, Johannesburg, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Sun City, Kruger National Park

I'm not listing these destinations in an effort to brag. It should be said that I have visited these locations in various states of glamour. Some from a romantic Five Star perspective, many from a back packing viewpoint - and now, obviously, quite a few as a family. A majority of these trips have been far from glamorous! I even once cycled around Italy in a bikini. Seriously. 
This is not me in a bikini - nor is it Italy

So, the reason I am listing these destinations is to say that I am available to anyone planning a trip to any of these destinations, to provide a personal insight into how they should survive the journey with kids in tow. I'm not just standing here giving you advice you could gain from google, I really have lived to tell the tales. And I would LOVE to pass on this personal detail to you. Feel free to email me any time. In the meantime, I am aiming to begin a new section of this blog, with specific chapters for many of these countries / cities / towns / beaches / rivers / train lines / roads / restaurants / hotels / bus stops / taxi ranks / kids clubs. You know what I mean. Taking requests now!! 
Thanks for reading and stay tuned! 
love Rosie
Go Aussie Go!!!

Sunday, 16 February 2014


This is perhaps the most practical blog I am ever going to post. Keep it secret, keep it safe. This list of what to pack when travelling with your kids is going to come in seriously handy.

There are two bags. One is the suitcase, for yourself and your two little ones. The other is your carry on bag. Then, you have your umbrella pram ($25 from target thank you very much) and your travel cot if required. (If you've got the dosh, get your hands on a baby bjorn travel cot. They seriously weight less than half of a standard travel cot and can be assembled in less than ten seconds. Remember, even a second hand e-bay version is a good option, assuming it hasn't been exposed to dust or used without a mattress protector.)
Obviously, with the lists below, you will pick and choose what applies to you, depending on the location you're going to, the ages of of your children and if you're breastfeeding or not etc etc.

READY MUM! Almost...
Nappies - for the baby, at least six per day. For the toilet trained toddler, bedtime nappies, plus extras for long car trips / plane rides, when they may fall asleep. Always pack extra nappies! I know you can buy them when you're away - but who wants to waste time going shopping for nappies - and often when it's urgent?! The way I see it, you're going to be left with loads of space in the bag as you get through the nappies and this leaves room for extra things like shopping! Besides, nappies weigh very little.
Swim nappies.
Disposable nappy bags.
Disposable nappy change mats.
Wipes - both wet ones for hands and face - and the disposable flushable wipes for when you're out and about - saves SO much time instead of trying to bag or bin dirty wipes!
Sanitising hand gel.
Nappy rash ointment.
Baby panadol / nurofen (whichever is your medicine of choice) and don't forget the syringe.
Phernergen (if your kids are old enough and if you've done a trial at home before hand to test for the adverse reaction!). See previous blogs of mine for the full low-down
Baby bath gels / kids shampoos / hair brush / moisturisers
Hair bands / clips
Kids toothbrush and toothpaste
Bandaids and antiseptic cream
Kids suncream
Baby nail trimmers / nail file (depending on how long you're going for)
Mosquito repellent (kid's deet-free version)
Kid's hats
Rash vests / bathers / swim floaties
Pyjamas - warm and cool (air con can be so cold in hotel rooms!)
Favourite sleep aid (bunny / blanket)
Bedtime books (the smaller and lighter the better)
Any favourite DVD's for those emergency moments in hotel rooms (and when dealing with jet lag)
Any specific bottles / dummies / formulas etc
Your bottle brush and small container of dish liquid (tightly sealed!)
A separately sealed bag (plastic) containing any travel sized long life milk or food items such as baby squeeze pouches / teething rusks
Baby bibs / spoons / sippy cups / water bottles
Spare small resealable sandwich bags / small tupperware containers for making packed lunches and snacks when you're out
A small container of laundry liquid - great for emergencies even if you only have a sink
(depending on the age of your baby, travel microwavable sterilising bottle bags and your breast pump)
Kid's shoes
Warm clothes for the evenings
When it comes to clothing choices - remember layers are best. And always opt for cotton leggings over jeans etc (they weigh less in your bag and are so much more comfortable for kids on long journeys!) Pack at least two to three outfits per day
A lightweight rain jacket
The pram waterproof cover
Muslin cloths for breastfeeding / covering sleeping children in prams & cots / swaddling etc
Any medical certificates you need
Kid's sunglasses
Kid's undies
Any lightweight beach or pool toys that your kids are attached to
Any small non-perishable food you can take for emergency breakfasts / dinner for the kids. Eg, Porridge sachets / kid's tins of spaghetti. Room service can be so expensive and sometimes doesn't cater well for kids - and can take forevvvvvver to arrive when your kids are losing it with hunger!
Kid's socks
A large spare plastic bag for dirty laundry

Disposable breast feeding pads
Panadol / nurofen
Walking shoes
Mobile phone charger / car charger
Camera (don't miss those amazing moments!) and charger
Your medicare card that identifies your children's names along side yours (for domestic travel, obviously you will need passports for international)
Toiletries - and don't forget the waterproof mascara for those extra hard days!
Your multivitamins
A pack of hydralite - great for a daily rehydration when you're away from home and not always remembering to drink enough water -and also a bonus if you get a sick tummy and need to flush it out!
The rest I am sure you can think of for yourself

The iPad (fully charged and uploaded with kid's entertainment)
The travel lunch box bag - packed with snacks, drinks, formula / milk
Nappies (as many as you can carry!), wipes, disposable nappy mat, nappy poo bags
Sanitising gel
The carry-on toy bag. Who's a big girl now?!
Muslin wrap
Spare change of kids clothes
Kid's jumpers (cold air con on planes)
The phernergen
Something for the kids to suck on for takeoff and landing to equalise their ears (e.g., drinks, lollipops, dummies)
Your sunglasses, wallet, phone, foreign currency, travel visas, travel itinerary
A pen
Paw Paw ointment - god's gift for everything
The baby bjorn
A shawl / cardigan for yourself
Toys for the kids (see my previous posts on detailed advice for this, namely the $2 dollar shop toys!) - although if you've got a toddler, you might want to pack a small "plane bag" for them that they can drag along on wheels themselves - makes them feel big and special - and takes the weight out of your bag. Make sure you name tag it.

And on a small note - make your life easier - leave your favourite heels / boots at home, along with your bling jewellery, large belt buckle and gold rimmed sunglasses - anything that makes that airport security screen faster and smoother is now your best friend.

The very last things to remember to pack are your sanity, your self compassion, your sense of adventure, your sense of humour and your compassion for your kids... this is just as overwhelming for them as it is for you. But it's always worth it in the long run.

Bon voyage!

Sunday, 2 February 2014


A cheesy old one-liner of mine is that if you're going to have baggage it may as well be Gucci. Well, wouldn't you agree it has never applied more than when you're travelling with the little ones?
Is this what your 'baggage' looks like?
Because let's face it, they have a way of making our personal 'baggage' resurface more than anyone else on earth can do... and for us parents, it can be the nastiest, most offensive conveyor-belt-covered-in-dirty-laundry style baggage imaginable. The type you take one look at and pretend you've never seen before in your life. Yes, whether we like it or not, we have the potential to lose it on the road with the kids mores than at home... we are stretched to breaking point, without our usual aids and necessities that get us through. (insert bottle of red here)

So, How do we take a trip with the kids and maintain our dignity... keep our baggage intact? IS it even possible to achieve such a weighty task? And more importantly, how do we make it home, without a broken back and scar tissue that prevents us from wanting to pack that baggage and haul it off again with us for yet another trip down the track?

Let's break it down. The top parenting experts advise us to be mindful of the extra pressure kids are under when out of their comfort zones. Their levels of anxiety from unfamiliar surrounds can
Look Mum, I found your favourite lipgloss
and rubbed it all over my eyes!
skyrocket (visualise hideous tantrum here), causing panic attacks or public freak-outs at the most untimely moments (visualise running for the final boarding call of a flight while your names are being called). All because they are experiencing several things for the first time and often don't have a point of reference to help familiarise and calm themselves with. (e.g, This plane isn't the same as Mummy's car... if you're late for it, it's not going to sit patiently in idle until you've finished playing with your lego)

We're also fully aware that kids don't have a level of shame when it comes to public displays of bad behaviour. In fact, the greater the audience, the greater their cause can be when getting what they want. We also often forget to inform our kids of every detail of our itinerary, so when they fail to comply with Mummy's daily agenda broken down into pockets of scheduled time specifically chosen with such precision so as to manage a trip to Sea World along with a morning nap - we feel that it's them pushing our buttons - instead of realising it's just them being on happy little kid-time, existing in the moment even when screaming defiantly "But I'm not tired!!!" at the top of their lungs while we carry them to the car because their arms and legs have begun to stop working. They often don't know any better.
We survived our recent trip to SeaWorld - and so did the dolphin

So back to the original question - how do we keep our dignity and baggage intact? Perhaps it's easier than we think. You know that moment, when we see the path laid out before us, the two options - where we either turn left and drop our bundle, lose our dignity, behave like a screaming five year old and spontaneously self combust. Or, we turn right and we take a deep breath, we remember that these little ones are doing their best to cope with a challenging situation, away from home, away from security, with different physiological demands, not knowing what unexpected hurdle will be thrown at them next, how much waiting time, hot, hungry, bored, tired...

And that's when it clicks. That compassion that we find for our kids - we need to also apply to ourselves. Because we are all stuck on that tarmac together. We are all cramped into that tiny hire car with a flat tyre on the side of the highway. And even more so, you're the one who is expected to calmly change that tyre while they get to sit in the back sucking on lollypops saying "are we there yet?!" No wonder we lose it. No wonder we end a holiday exhausted. No wonder we secretly sometimes look forward to the holiday ending so we can get home to do the laundry. Since when did being a parent mean we became super human?

So, the next time you see a parent's baggage on show, or you feel like yours is about to spill all over the zebra crossing as you race for the only taxi with a child seat, cut yourself some slack. Your baggage is more than likely far from Gucci and you're doing a bloody good job carrying it everywhere. I also find that it can help to explain to your little ones, no matter how little, that Mummy and Daddy are feeling very tired, sad, hungry etc too, just like them and that it would be really wonderful if they could do their very best to hang in there just a little bit longer until you can all stop and have an ice-cream together at the same time. Even if your little one is too little to understand, just saying those compassionate words out loud can feel like a weight (of heavy Gucci baggage) off your shoulders. And every now and again, your little ones might just surprise you.
You sit down Mum, i'll do the groceries today.