Thursday, July 29, 2010

hip tips and tricks with the little 'hips' to...Bali

Well, we all know that travelling is fun, and travelling with the 'hips' to somewhere really hip is even more fun, and yes, we also know that it really does require a lot of patience and a lot of planning. Well, Vanessa, a fellow mum of 2 hips and a fellow graduate of bizness babes (more on that to come another time), has just returned from a trip with the 'hips' to Bali, and has heaps of handy tips and tricks up her sleeves to share with us....

First of all, a bit about our reviewer...Vanessa Williams has just left the world of teaching to start a brand new venture. After becoming a mum, she decided there was more to life than teaching testing teenagers, and reality really kicked in when Vanessa and her family lost their home in the Kinglake fires - it was a time for new beginnings. Starting up her new business means more flexibility to spend time with her hubby and their two young boys, and to give back to the community that was so amazing to them in their time of need.. Vanessa has just started a fabulous business offering certified first aid courses taught by a qualified teacher. Her aim is to make the learning fun, memorable and accessible. For more information, you can contact her on - I personally think this a fabulous service, and am therefore exceptionally happy to welcome her here. Please check out her review below...and before long, you'll find yourself, like me, start to plan for your next little hip travel adventure.

"How quickly we said yes to attend our cousins wedding in the gorgeous Bali. Sure we’ll go we said, no problems, how hard could it be taking a toddler and a baby on a 6-hour flight to a country where you can’t drink the water, the mosquitoes carry malaria and the dogs have rabies!? Little did we know! Lots would we find out!

So in preparation, which is half the fun isn’t it, I researched everything. Found a villa that had more than one room, so the kids could nap during the day and we didn’t have to tip toe around the place. I also found one that was owned by an Australian couple, which was handy for communication and transferring money, very reassuring. For about $250US I found a villa, casa dorena that had a pool, three air conditioned rooms, car service, and was a little bit out from the main touristy areas.

Anyway back to the research. I found a great website where you could hire almost anything baby wise, bali baby and it would be delivered to your accommodations door. Very handy! We had also heard there were supermarkets that stocked necessities for babies like Huggies, S26 and Heinz. The prices were if anything more expensive than Australia and the choices very limited. Bubs ate 2 varieties of jar food the whole week! Being on formula I took enough pre-mixed cartons for the plane and our own bottles from home. I bought S26 in Bali and took Milton tablets with me to sterilise the bottles. Bottle water was drunk by all and used in bubs’ formula mix. None of us got Bali belly, which was great. We were warned though to watch what we ate and what we drank, especially things with ice in it.

We decided to splurge and stayed at the Hilton the night before our flight so that the boys could get a normal nights sleep and all we had to do was wander over the bridge and check in then sit down for coffee and breakfast. It was one of the best decisions we made, no 4am start due to how far we were from the airport. I will warn you though the Hilton is pricey and really not worth the money except for the location. Things like half bottles of apple juice in the fridge and backs missing to the remote. The little things that make a big impact!

We ended up taking a stroller, which we could take right up to the boarding gate (you can do this with normal prams too) and a sling. The stroller ended up being used by Mr Toddler if he was too tired and as a highchair for bubs at the villa. The sling was an absolute godsend as bubs ended up with a cold and became very clingy and had trouble sleeping in the humidity. The sling saved my arms and sanity. It could be squashed into the backpack when not in use.

The villa in Bali had its own pool, which was awesome so the boys could go naked and not worry about offending anyone. In Bali most villas come with staff that cook, clean and drive you places (for a fee). This can be hard to get used to but such a luxury too. Ayu would come in the morning and cook us breakfast, banana pancakes and scrambled eggs with freshly brewed coffee and squeezed juice. She would rush through preparations and then take bubs out of my arms so I could sit and eat and relax! Wow, was I in heaven. The transport and driving in Bali is an interesting experience too. I would describe it as organized chaos. Sooo much traffic, motorbikes and cars, all weaving in and out of each other and constantly beeping. The surprising thing was that we didn’t see any accidents or anyone get mad at each other. There is no child seats or restraints. Mr Toddler was strapped in a normal seat belt, he was very proud of himself although couldn’t really see much out the window. Bubs sat on my lap either attached to me with the sling or my seatbelt. A little hairy at times let me tell you.

Other little bits of advice I would give are take a first aid kit ( will have them for sale very soon, stay tuned!) with sunscreen for babies and children, baby panadol, charcoal tablets for Bali belly, and to deal with the mosquitoes natural wipes with no deet for the kids, adult mosquito spray and vitamin B1 tablets. Also dare I say it but a portable DVD player was great. You know how before you have children you have these great ideals about parenthood and what you will and won’t do. Well I was determined to not have one of those DVD players that I would take everywhere for my kid. Why couldn’t my children just play eye spy like I did when I was a child! Well I weakened didn’t I! Dare I say it but it was worth its weight in gold. We would only pull it out when we had exhausted all other avenues, like books, drawings, Thomas trains etc. Mr Toddler was in heaven and I must say it is a great bargaining tool too.

Anyway we loved the experience of travelling to Bali. The people were absolutely gorgeous and loved babies! They have this theory that babies are sacred creatures between worlds and are not allowed to touch the ground. Therefore bubs had so much attention that he was in his own little heaven. I must say it was hard work travelling with young children and we craved a stiff drink on many occasion. I loved having family there to help at times too. Overall we are so glad we went and have such amazing memories as a family".

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

hip names coming to this 'australia moving forward?'

So, there's been some exciting new developments in the last few days....First of all, our current most popular 'ranga', Julia Gillard, has called an election. This is rather exciting for me and hubby, as this will be the first time that we are able to vote in Oz, as we only became Aussies in Jan this year. In fact, sadly enough, due to years of travel and working overseas, I haven't actually voted since I was 18, back in the UK. Now, 16 years later, I am gathering speed, and trying to absorb myself in all things political. Mmmm, not too sure how interesting that all is....but I have heard about Julia's "moving Australia forward" and here is where it really does get interesting.

I have heard about a few things of late that will really bring Australia forward. First of all, there is the 'fresh off the press' news that Maxi Cosi are coming to Australia in October. This, for those who don't know what I am on about, is fantastic news. Maxi Cosi is everywhere in Europe, and - in a nut shell, they are very bright and funky baby capsules (and also v cool toddler and kids seats) that go from car to pram to shopping trolley, and just click into place. They use a special feature called ISOFIX, which is found in most cars and it is just super easy to use. Australian parents have been waiting for ever for these to come over here, and apparently Maxi Cosi have modified their products to comply with Australian standards. More on this to come I hope.

Secondly, for those hip yummy mummy's out there, the other hip names arriving in Oz (and hence bringing 'Australia forward') are...wait for it, GAP, Zara, and H&M. This is huge news. Wow. These are fabulous shops from the US, Spain, and Sweden respectively, and all have fabulous ranges for mums, hubbys and hips alike. Very exciting news.

So all in all, I am enjoying all this 'bringing Australia forward'. Now back to politics....yawn.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Snow, hip snow men, and lots of smories

Well, hasn't it been cold... Not cold European style, but v cold in Aussie terms. Yes, I am half English / half Swiss, and should be used to a bit of a cold snap, but one does aclimatise to these warmers temps, so I have definitely found myself pulling on an extra jumper. Due to this weather, myself and the Hips have spent quite a bit of time indoors. There has been a bit of cake baking, art and crafts, whizzing round the house on the funky scooter which Hip 1 is rather loving, and dare I say, quite a bit of ABC2, plus Hip 2 has been practising her walking with much enthusiam. But when boredom really hits a high, we plug ourselves into smories which really makes us all giggle. Smories are short stories read by kids for kids, and we love it, and its free. Check it out.

A friend of mine (and also a wonderful blogger / brilliant cake maker & party creator / plus mum of 2 kids), Melissa, has just come back from a quick trip to the snow. I reckon when its cold, what is better than rugging up, and getting out and about with the kids and experiencing the real cold (and then having a few good hot chocolates!) Melissa kindly agreed to write a review of her time in the snow, with some handy tips for travelling with the kids:

We have just come home from a great trip to the snow. We have two children aged 8 & 5, who have never been to the snow before. I think we just about packed every piece of winter clothing we own, along with lots of extra socks and shoes. There is nothing worse than being cold and wet.
I also packed a comprehensive medical kit. A lesson learned after being caught when Dominic suddenly started getting croup in the middle of the night in an isolated location, with no mobile phone coverage. Now we always have a large selection of emergency supplies.
We stocked up on bread, cereal and fresh fruit at the supermarket. I took lot of canned food that would be easy to prepare in a simple kitchen. I also packed the thermos so we could drink warm milo. The kids were quite happy in the car singing songs and playing with their teddies.
The cottage (Silvertop cottages) was gorgeous. We had a large attic master bedroom, and the accommodation was only 30 mins from Mount Baw Baw. The owners provided milk (for that all important hot chocolate), chocolates and Teddy bear biscuits for the kids. A lovely extra touch. We settled down in front of the fire to relax and the children checked out the DVDs and games in the cottage.
The next morning we went to the Ski hire shop in Erica to hire chains fit the car. They are compulsory during the whole of the Ski season. We also decided to hire ski boots for the children and myself. It was well worth it, we all had dry feet for the day. It think it cost us about $60 for everything. We also had ski pants. I would definitely recommend these, the warmer you can keep yourself in the snow the more enjoyable it is. We saw a lot of people in jeans, and they all looked pretty unhappy after falling in the snow.
Big Tip - if you just want to have a play in the snow and maybe a toboggan, I definitely recommend Mt St Gwinear. This is up near Mt Baw Baw, it is a small resort and they don't charge you entry fee. They also have a heated day visitor room if you need some time inside. You must pack your own food though, there is nowhere to buy lunch.
Sounds fabulous to me. I think we definitely need to take the hips up to the snow this year. Thanks Melissa for the fabulous tips. You can check out her blog on and enjoy the smories too.


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