Tuesday, August 31, 2010

a little hip on a hip trip to the snow...

With a good dump of snow expected to arrive today (well its pouring with rain down here), its just perfect for that quick trip up to the mountains for the weekend. So here we are...our final ski reviewer for now. Veronica and her family recently took advantage of the good conditions and headed up to Mount Buller, Victoria, Australia, for a long weekend. Have a read below...a rather eventful weekend up in the snow, just proving that you do need to be prepared for the unexpected ie don't expect your child to love it straight away, and make sure you book a child friendly place!

"My husband and I have a very active 18 month old boy Tyler. We just love the snow... we both snowboard every year and this year, thought we would take Tyler. We headed up to Merrijig which is a 20 minute drive to the top of Mount Buller. We drove up on the Friday afternoon, and specifically asked child care not to let Tyler sleep so that he would then sleep in the car and we could have a peaceful journey. Unfortunately our plan didn't work, Tyler ended up sleeping at child care, and we had one of the worse road trips ever!! Tyler screamed nearly the entire time, so we stopped for a break, but Tyler fell over in the mud and screamed even more. Great start!

We rented a double story house with my mum and dad, my Brother, his wife and 3 kids, and 2 friends with 2 kids (kids were all under 10 years old). We had a very noisy household!! We booked our accommodation through Mansfield Holiday letting - I have used them many times and usually rent a house called Timbertop Ridge which is fantastic but this year we rented another house called Mt Buller Views which was not at all child friendly.

The hardest part of our holiday was trying to get Tyler to sleep. With a house full of people Tyler didn’t want to sleep at all. Lack of sleep equals a very unhappy toddler! My recommendation would be to get out in the snow for some fun early in the day, and then by the afternoon, they should be exhausted, so getting them to sleep should be easy. But stupidly, I tried to fit in with everyone else in the house, and tried to give Tyler an early sleep and then head up the mountain but my plan failed, he didn’t sleep and by the time we got up the mountain Tyler was grumpy.

We did take Tyler tobogganing but I don’t think he really knew what was happening, he just cried. And there were so many people at the toboggan park that I could not just let Tyler run around and have fun, so maybe we should have tried Mt Stirling which is just great for snow play with the kids.

Proper clothing for the snow is a must, especially for kids. I would recommend going to Op shops for second hand snow gear. I got all Tyler’s clothing from our local Op shop, and my nephews went to the Op shop at Mansfield (at the base of Mt Buller) and got all their clothing, they had heaps of snow gear and so cheap! I did get Tylers gloves from Aldi (they stock snow gear once a year, you need to look out for the sale but it is in June usually)and my mum got some good snow shoes which were very cheap.

My main tips:

Write a list of everything you need to take, as you are sure to forget something.

Take some kids DVD’s so that there can be some quiet time.

- Pack a First aid kit – which we didn’t take and we really did need.

Check with the property if the house is child friendly and if a safety gate is needed for stairs.

Can toddlers / kids reach the heaters – my nephew ended up in emergency with burns to his arm after falling on the heater.

Book your child into child care on the mountain, which we didn’t do but thinking back it may have been a good option, and I have friends who do and they say the staff and facilities are great.

We brought our portable high chair which fits to any table which was fabulous.

We also brought my mum and dad along! Very handy!

Tyler did thankfully sleep the entire way home"

Thanks to Veronica for some very useful info for taking the kids up to the snow. Do remember, its not all that easy and its really important to be prepared for it not to go quite to plan! Our final installation of our snow theme will be part 2 of where to go to the snow. So please tune in soon...

where to go in the snow with the hips...part 1

Today is the first day of Spring down under, and up north, so to speak, its the first day of Autumn. The southern hemisphere is just experiencing bumper snow conditions, and it won't be long before its time to head off to the alps in the northern hemisphere. But where? Over the last few posts we've heard from a number of snow bunnies, plus we now know what to take with us, but we really haven't discussed where to go. So, lets chat about a few great snow hot spots around the world.

Now, I first started skiing at the tender age of 7, and growing up in the UK with my wonderful Swiss mum, we were fortunate enough to be able to pop over to Europe for ski trips to Switzerland, Austria, Italy and even Romania...plus in my early twenties, I worked in the Swiss alps for a couple of years, so have a huge passion for those beautiful mountains (and am perhaps slightly biased!)

When left hip was 6 months old, hubby and I travelled back to the UK and Switzerland, and could not resist the urge to head up to the mountains. Lets just say, we didn't manage to ski together at all...how can you with a 6 month old hip in tow? (Wish I'd known about those creche facilities). But nevertheless, it was still beautiful to be up there. For me, the hot spots in Switzerland are where I worked in Saas Fee, but also its rich neighbour, the famous resort of Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn. Both these places have fabulous ski runs and because of the glacier, you can ski in Saas Fee all year round. Love it.

Other fabulous European hotspots are Val d'isere and Chamonix in France, and St Anton in Austria, and and all of them cater really well for children.

Its worth checking out companies such as Club Med and Mark Warner. As well as booking accommodation and lift passes etc, they run fabulous children's clubs for babies through to teenagers, ensuring you can take maximum advantage and spend quality adult ski time, whilst the youngsters are cared for both on the mountain in ski school, and indoors by qualified carers. Some packages even offer 'free child places'. Evening babysitters can also be arranged which means you can also take an active role in all that very important 'apres ski'. Totally worth looking into..

Now over to the US and Canada... Some of the most famous places to ski in the USA are Aspen and Vail. Both cater fantastically for children both on and off the mountain, in particular Aspen, where kids under 6 ski free. Tempting. Like in Europe, look out for the packages containing lift passes, ski / snow boards, lessons etc, as these are totally cost effective and worth the initial expense. And how can we mention Canada without talking about Whistler and Banff, two of the most recognised names over there. Whistler is vast and very child friendly, and being able to ski into the village at the end of the day is a real bonus. The beautiful Banff area, having recently won an award its family friendly ski school, is also well renowned for its lengthy ski season (mid November till late May).

Remember the snow season in the Northern hemisphere runs anywhere between early December to mid April (or a bit later as suggested in Banff), and remember school holidays are expensive and busy. Check out the local holidays too - the mountains can get very crowded.

Yes, it really is hard to decide where to go, and these are just a few of the breathtaking places you can visit. On our next post we talk to one last reviewer, and then, to make it all even harder to choose, we explore Australia and New Zealand's ski areas.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

family only sections on flights...a sign of things to come?

According to a recent poll through Skyscanner , 59% of travellers would like a family - only section on all flights. Now, obviously this is something we tackle all the time - how to make travelling with kids less stressful - however, is this really necessary, or is this a sign of things to come?

Apparently Qantas paid an undisclosed amount to a female passenger who claimed a child's screaming on a flight made her ears bleed! So what do you think...do you think we should have a family friendly part of the plane, or should Business class be more affordable so disgruntled passengers can pay more to be seated away from families? Perhaps we will we go as far as having flights that are 'adults only'? Or do we get rid of those flashy suites that some airlines are producing, fill them with a ball pit just like Ikea, and pay someone to 'nanny' the kids whilst we sit back and catch the latest flick.....Mmmmm (ya, right). What do you think?

Cheese, sticks, 'tanas and coffee on the go

Oh, hi, just quickly. I just wanted to post about my new find (you've probably been onto these for a while and I am probably v behind)...oh well, here it is anyway. Brilliant for travelling and on the go with the hips. It even satisfied left hip today, who has been particulary fussy (well, he is a bit ill at the mo poor love). So I love cheese (well, its not my fault, I am half Swiss so its in my blood), and I want my kids to like it too, so I am loving Bega Junior Cheese Stick, and Bega Shaper Puzzles. Left hip loves putting the puzzles together, and right hip just loves the how easy the cheese stick is to munch on. Love, love, love it and the hips do too. Try it...

Whilst we are on the subjects of snacks, the next best thing to always have in my bag when out and about (apart from sultanas - huge problem if I forget them), is a rather healthy-ish option that my left hip refers to as 'sticks'. Sticks are Roast Potato & rice snacks by Healtheries KidsCare. They look like long french fries but are so much better for you, and have no artificial flavours and colours. Great.

Now back to those 'tanas' - which are sultanas to you and me. My personal fave as I know how good they are, are Whole Kids Organic Sultanas. I love them because; a) they are organic, low fat, no preservatives, colours, flavours, and are totally good for us all, and b) they are Aussie made, and c) my little hips just adore them. My only problem is right hip has a meltdown when she finishes the pack...argh! You just can't win!

And finally, what about us mums and dads? Yes, all these snacks are great, but what I really need is a good coffee, and I don't go anywhere without my Keep Cup. Whenever I get my takeaway skinny latte, I hand over my Keep Cup, and they make my coffee for me in my very own cup. Yes, not only is it my cup, but I am no longer using a disposable cup, and "reuse is the most significant environmental impact we can make". Plus, its very hip looking, you can choose what size, and colour each part of the cup is (ie red lid, white cup, blue seal etc), it fits in my car cup holder, pram cup holder, and its very practical, as I take my soup in it when I go to work and then just pop it in the microwave! A Keep cup is an absolute must, and you can feel really proud using it.

So, thats all for now. As the snow still falls around us in the high country...yes, we are still on the subject of snow, please tune back in as we have our last fab snow review and some great advice on where to go.

All this talk of snacks has made me feel a bit peckish...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

a hip trip and hip tips with the hips to Mount Buller

Well, the snow reports in Victoria, Australia, are currently the best in years (particulary for this weekend!), so it seems really fitting that we continue with a bit of chitter chatter about taking the hips to the snow. So lets get straight into it. Lets meet our brand new reviewers, Leslie and her family who popped up to the Mount Buller for a quick trip to experience the snow;

"My family and I moved over to Australia from the UK almost a year ago. We are staying for around 3 years and plan to make the most of this time and cram in as many adventures as we can. Our family consists of me, my husband Andy and our 2 boys, Jake aged 3 1/2 and Joshua aged 16 months.

My husband Andy is a keen snow boarder and he has wanted me to give skiing or snowboarding a go for years. Back in the UK a ski trip would have involved paying for flights and transfers and you would need to stay at least a week to make it worthwhile. Ironically, now we are in Australia, there are snow covered mountains just a 3 hour drive from Melbourne (and we thought Australia was all about sunshine?!). So, I agreed to go to the mountains for a long weekend just to get a taster and see if this skiing malarky was for me.

We got ourselves kitted out with all the gear and were very lucky that some fabulous friends leant us most of the clothing we needed which saved us a fair bit of cash. After getting the car loaded and the kids sorted it was about 10am before we set off. The drive was good and the boys fell asleep which worked out really well.

We were staying in a house in Mansfield (about 45 mins from Mount Buller). There was a ski hire place there (which we got a discount for through the accommodation) so we got kitted out with all our skies etc but by the time we had done all that we didn't really have time to go up the mountain so we pottered around Mansfield, had some lunch and got settled into our home for the weekend. We came armed with plenty of toys, books and DVDs to keep the boys amused in the house so everyone was happy.

We were up and out the door early on Saturday to make the most of our time. I had a ski lesson booked so Andy was left with the boys. I was about 25mins into the lesson when Andy appeared - childless!! He had booked Jake (3 1/2) into ski school and put Joshua in the creche and was off up the mountain to have a board!! I have to say - it did cost a small fortune but since we were only there for a couple of days it was worth it. Jake loved the ski school, Josh wasn't so keen on the creche but to be fair, we had never really left him before. It would have been difficult with him otherwise though as there wasn't a lot he could do. I had visions of sledging, building snow men and playing in the snow but I think he was maybe a bit too little for all of that so creche was the best place for him - nice and warm with lots of toys to play with!

We went with 2 other couples so in the afternoon (when creche and ski school were over) we took turns looking after the kids so it worked out pretty well and we ended up doing the same thing the next
day as well.

My tips for travelling with kids are...
1. Have plenty of snacks and drinks handy.2. Travel at nap time where possible.
3. Have lots of toys, books, colouring/sticker books and DVDs with you.
4. Kiddy cd's and DVD players are great for long car journeys.

All in all we had a great time. Next time we would definitely try to book into the hotel which is on the mountain. The cost per night was about the same as the house in Mansfield and it would be much easier having a base at the resort for the kids but I think you have to book well in advance of your trip. Going with another couple is also a good idea as you can take it in turns to look after the children (and avoid hefty childcare costs).

We loved Mount Buller and would definitely go back"

Thanks Leslie...it just makes me want to go NOW! Next time, we look at some top snow destinations to head to around the world, and we meet one last snow reviewer. I'm off to bed to dream of snow, snow, and more snow...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

have baby, will ski...but what do I need to pack?

Right, so you're off to the snow, and yes, we all know it feels like you need to take half the house when travelling with the hips, but, is that really necessary? We have compiled a list of things that you NEED to take to the snow, (and a bit you probably don't really need) so follow this handy guide, ticking off as you go, and you'll soon find that there will be a bit more room in that luggage than you thought (well, a tiny bit anyway.)

Things you really need:

Holiday & car hire itinerary / details
Travel/health insurance details
Passports if necessary
Drivers licence
Phone / camera & chargers
Money and credit cards
Passport photos for lift passes

Things to borrow / buy:

Good ski jacket / ski suit
Mittens are really good for kids
Googles / wrap around sun glasses
Thermal underwear
Warm socks
Warm hats
Good snow boots
Fleeces (its all about layers)
Small day bag
Water bottles

To hire:

Ski / snowboarding equipment

Things you always need anyway:

First Aid kit
Alarm clock
High factor sun cream / lip balm
All those bits for little kiddies; change mat, nappies, wipes, dummys, baby food, formula, bottles, nappy bag, bibs, fave comfort toy, baby monitor. Pram with big wheels for use on snow.
Casual day time clothes
Shoes with good grip

Things that are just handy for all:

Snacks and drinks
DVD player and CD's / ipod for car
Toys and games
Magazines and books for you
G & T for you!

Yes, we could go on and on, and I reckon everyone has a few more bits that they would recommend, so why not leave a coment and let us know...

Monday, August 23, 2010

the little hip traveller on skis...argh!

Ah, bliss... Breath in the fabulous crisp fresh air, feel the crunch of fresh snow,...arhhh, the blue skies, the bright sun...ohhh, the mountains. Yes, we are on a holiday in the snow. Paradise....but oh no, you are suddenly bombarded by the ski school...argh.. masses of 'hips' bombing past you, oh no, the silence is broken....travelling to the snow with the hips!?! Can it be done? Help...

So, its still snow season here in the Southern hemisphere (and apparently the snow is fabulous up there at the mo), and for those of you in the Northern hemisphere, believe it or not, in a few months it will be your turn once more. Recently I have heard many a parent comment on whether or not to take the hips up to see the snow. As we know, travelling with the hips is one thing, but travelling to the snow with the hips is an entirely different story. When is the right age, where is the right place to visit, what do you take and what do you do with the hips whilst you go off skiing for the day (mmmm, as if!).

Here at 'the little hip traveller', its snow week. Over the next few days, we shall hear from several people who have been to the snow with the hips, and have some fabulous tips and experiences (some good and bad) to share, plus some really great packing tricks and tips on where to go, and companies to go with. I took left hip to the Swiss alps when he was 6 months old, so I shall be sharing my stories too. So stay tuned....oh, and any hip tips of your own, please feel free to let us know.

First of all, we are going to meet Nichola who has just got back from a ski trip with her family. Nichola, took her 2 little hips to Falls Creek, Victoria, Australia, and here is her review.

"A trip to the snow with two children under four? Doesn't immediately sound like a particularly relaxing holiday idea does it? Fortunately what our holiday lacked in relaxation it more than made up for in excitement and new experiences. It is one thing to describe what falling snow looks like to a four year old, but another thing entirely for her to wake up and see it magically falling outside the window every morning!!

Hubby and I decided it had been way too long since we had been on the snow and felt we were finally in a position for the kids (now 2 and 4) to not just come along, but actually engage in the experience and take home some great memories.

My first task was to assemble the gear! How were we ever going to fit in the car? How much snow gear do you buy for kids when they are only probably going to get one wear out of it? I think proper shoes and a reliable waterproof layer is the most important for little kids – once kids get wet and cold it gets pretty miserable pretty quickly...

Luckily my mum is a pretty resourceful shopper and managed to get both our kids outer suits to wear (one waterproof all-in-one for Miss 4 from an op shop and a bargain half price Aldi snow suit for Miss 2). Aldi came to the rescue again and I managed to get the kids a pair of insulated snow boots for a bargain $20. Friends hired their kids proper snow boots and suits in Mt Beauty for a similar price.

We were lucky that the friends we went with had contacts in a ski lodge at Falls Creek so accommodation was sorted and the lodge fee included most dry stocks in the pantry (rice, flour, crackers, cereals etc) which meant we only had to take fresh foods to cook with. Containers of frozen homemade soup were great for easy, warming lunches. Frozen sausage rolls also kept the kids happy and were easy to pack and reheat.

The weather can obviously vary widely and we had days when we needed sunscreen and days when we were all bundled up with neck warmers up to the eyes to try and get out of the icy wind.

At Falls Creek (Vic) kids under 5 are free on the chair lifts, but they still need a ticket on their jacket and the ski school is located one chair lift away from the main village bowl.

I would advise being flexible on your expectations on how much time you will actually get on the snow. We were there for 4 days and managed only one half day of snow boarding together (hubby and I). The first day was taken up with getting up the mountain, getting all the gear into the lodge (toboggans are great for dragging bags up the hill and getting the kids around) and then taking the kids out for their first taste of tobogganing (very fun!). Day 2 we took turns with our friends, hubby and I went out boarding in the morning and they looked after our kids and then they went out in the afternoon and we amused the four kids at the lodge and had snowball fights outside...Day 3 the decision was made to try the two older kids (both 4) in ski school. Neither had been on skis before and to be honest they ended up having more fun skiing with the adults in our group going up and down the driveway of our lodge than they did in the ski school – although the Milo breaks were a hit!! Next time I think we would just try to take Miss 4 out with us on skis for a morning rather than fork out over $100 for the school. If your kids have a bit of confidence on the snow I think they would get a lot more out of the school but for our littlies it was a bit daunting.

My last piece of advice would be to make sure you only give the kids a very light brekkie the morning you plan to travel up and down the mountain and have some cloth nappies and plastic bags at the ready. As the road winds around and around I could see my little hips getting greener and greener and I was very glad I had not made them that banana smoothie for breakfast!

All in all it was a fantastic holiday, one that took a bit of organisation and effort but was well worth it!"

Nichola is not just a mum of 2 hips. She is also about to embark on a very exciting adventure...Seedling Stationery. Seedling Stationery (www.seedlingstationery.com.au website coming very soon) is all about greeting cards handmade with recycled materials including seed embedded paper. After you have finished with the card, you can plant it and watch it grow into a pot of herbs. So exciting. Watch this space - I will be sure to let you know when she is ready to go!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the chicken, the egg, and the fox

Today, left hip, right hip and I decided to rug ourselves up once again, and head out for a good old walk down to the local cafe for a lovely babycino (oh and a dotty cookie of course). Nothing too unusual about that at all, in fact we do it quite often, and its lovely just to get out and about and explore, even though it is a rather wild and windy day today. But on our way home we walked past a house with a brand new sparkling chicken shed in the front garden and 3 lovely fat chickens parading around much to the absolute delight of my two delighted hips. Now we live fairly inner cityish, so for us, this is a real novelty especially on a walk down to get a coffee fix (my coffee fix!) Even better, left hip was invited to go and meet popcorn, KF, and wings, and he was so happy dancing around with the 3 chooks, and harrassing them ever so slightly with the plastic ‘fox’ that now has to go everywhere with him (yes, we are finally over sharks, and have now moved onto foxes!)....it got me thinking. Should we get a pet, and what should we get? Chickens, a cat, a dog, a fish...my hubby wants a stick insect but I am not keen on encouraging insects into my house. Any suggestions?

What I absolutely know for sure is a visit to Collingwood childrens farm is most definitely on the cards very soon. Where better to take the hips for some good fresh air, and a chance to milk the cows, and pat the horses, and have a great coffee fix at the farm cafe? More on that to come soon.

When we finally got home (its amazing how a short walk can really take so long with the hips in tow), it seemed only fitting to make one of my childhood favourites. Coming from the UK, it was known to me as eggy bread. I’m not certain its the same as french toast (in fact would say its not, but some would argue this), but to me its just good old eggy bread. Yum!

Give it a whirl - its fab:

You'll need:

4 slices of bread


Salt and pepper

3 eggs

2 tablespoons of milk

Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper

Cut the bread into quarters

Soak bread into the egg mixture and coat well

Heat a bit of butter in a frying pan, and fry the soaked bread until golden brown, turning over once

Add any excess egg mixture whilst frying

And eat.

I urge you to do this for your little hips now - they'll love it!

Don't we just love those chickens - what a fun day we've had. Roast chicken tonight anyone??? (sob, sob)

Monday, August 16, 2010

travelling 'alone' with a very little 'hip' from oz to the uk...yikes!

Travelling on that ridiculously long crazy flight from Australia to the UK is hard enough as a fully grown adult. Okay, so, the big decisions are; which film to watch, should you have another g&t, or perhaps a snooze...or should be really daring and just maybe, just that one more time, have another look at the inflight map AGAIN only 2 minutes since you last looked, and then find you still haven't left Australia...blimey! okay, it is really long and tedious. BUT when travelling with 'hips',...well you can forget the films/g&t/food/snooze/even the inflight map. And to add to that, try travelling ALONE with kids for 24 hours, and you'll be thinking that you won't even be able to go to the loo! Or can you? I travelled back to the UK by myself when my 'left' hip was just 6 months old, and to be totally honest, having experienced it since with both 'left' and 'right' hip, it was quite successful. My good friend Jo, has recently experienced the same journey, and she has kindly offered to share her 'journey' and very very handy tips with us. So here goes...Enjoy.

"Hubby and I are one of the many, many expat families living it up in Oz, so of course like many, when the kids start coming so too do the long trips ‘home’!.

My little hip is just eight months and as it was only the Nannies that had met her we thought it only fair to take her back to the UK to meet the Granddads! With money and work commitments in mind we agreed that it would be just hip and myself going when hip was 6 months (I must have been caught in a weak moment) and so began the months of trepidation about the trip (from me – hubby was planning how much rugby and beer he would consume in the month we were gone!) began. What was I going to do by myself, what if she cried the whole way, what if the trip mucked up her routine which I had worked so hard to develop! A few looked at me as if I was mad to tackle this on my own but most of my friends who had done the same said it was the best time to travel with a baby – it would be fine! Of course in my head it was going to be hell on earth – but it wasn’t, it was fine, yes we were tired, no hip’s routine wasn’t blown, we survived and are richer for it!

So on reflection what words of wisdom would I pass onto the next person………

I packed too much hand luggage on the way over – I didn’t really need the toys I packed, hip was just as happy playing with the plastic cup, the safety card and the airline gave out toys too.

One of the best things I had with me (not originally packed for this purpose!) was the neck pillow (one of the squidgy ones) When hip was having her solids I sat her on the seat and I knelt on the floor in front and the neck pillow was a great was to keep her propped up on the seat and stop her slumping or falling froward.

I took a dark pashmina, which was a great blanket for both of us but also light weight enough to drape over the bassinet to keep hip in the dark. I anchored it over the ‘wall’ and used the corner of the TV screen and used took pegs to weight it down so it didn’t slip off. It also provided good coverage for breastfeeding too.

I dressed 'hip' in ‘baby grows’ for the whole trip, so didn’t have to worry about losing socks, tops etc!

I accepted any and all offers for help! Several other passengers from the rows behind me took 'Hip' once they had had their food and I was getting mine so I could eat – and pee!! The stewards were more helpful on some legs of the flight but not so interested on others – don’t rely on them, but do smile nicely at your fellow passengers! And of course during service the stewards are busy anyway.

When I check in I requested my baggage be labelled priority so it came off first at the other end– the last thing you want to do when you arrive is be waiting for the last bag off! This is also a time to utilise your fellow passengers – it is pretty hard to lug a huge case off while hip is in the Baby Bjorn!

Speak of the Baby Bjorn – a god send for hands free travel.

The bassinet – well when 'Hip' was allowed to be in it (i.e. when the seatbelt sign was off) she slept fine – but even thought I pretended to be asleep when the sign came on they made a point of waking me to remove her. In the end I didn’t bother putting her in it at all and just let her sleep on me rather than disturbing her as it woke her up – but it was handy storage if nothing else – and you get the good seats so I will definitely book it again.

Once we were there, I followed 'Hips' home routine in local time and she didn’t suffer any crazy midnight waking – in fact she fared far better than me both going there and coming back. I took a blackout blind wherever I went which was a fantastic investment, especially for the UK where it stays light until 11pm in the summer!

I tried not to muck 'Hips' routine up more than 2 days in a row, so she didn’t get over tired and handled being handled very well!

These are the main tips I can think of that really helped me. But in the wise words of my good friend Jo “expect the worst, hope for the best” The trip was long, we were tired, but getting to introduce 'Hip' to the family was worth every moment of willing the time to go faster! Next time hubby will be joining me as 'Hip' will be mobile but it is true, 6 months is a good age to take them."H

Thursday, August 12, 2010

the hip bits from the kids in style show...

This week, I visited the very hip and happening Kids In Style trade show in Melbourne. Kids In Style, part of the Life In Style show, is a trade only event where new kids brands are launched and. A really fun and funky event to visit. There's lots of people to chat to and deals to be done, and some really hip products to be found.

As promised here are a few of exciting links to the bits and bobs that I discovered there;

Pack your bags or lunch using the fabulous and hugely popular Bobble Art collection - there's a whole load of new exciting designs. We rate them and the hips really really rate them.

Need a funky hat that actually stays on your little hips head? Then look now further than Blue Racoon and Olli&pop.

Shoes. Oh why don't they make these in our size. Both Chook Leaf and Walnut have come up with a fab new collection again. Love them, want them, need them...

Out and about, need a nappy change... how about using lima bean baby change wallets. They use beautiful fabrics and won't look out of place in your handbag.

Oh, love these swings. Move over big ugly plastic swing - holmsater is a beautiful collection that will look wonderful in your back garden.

Balance bikes - don't we just love them, don't the little hips love them even more? Live, play, create and Wishbone design studio have some beautiful and very trendy balance bikes and accessories, plus a few more exciting creations coming up very soon.

For those that like to eat out on the move (like the little hip travellers that we know and love), the very exciting eco product Belkiz Feedaway is a very funky feeding chair. Its lightweight, flat packed, foldable and recyclable, and ideal for a holiday, plus it just looks brilliant.

Wow, and when you get home at the end of a long day of being out and about with the kids, let the hips have a play in their own just amazing (why doesn't our house look like this) doll's house from world famous Swedish architect Lundby Stockholm. Or oh my word, you can now get some of the fabulous European wooden toys over here - check out the beautifully crafted German toys avaliable through dandelion kids.

Afterwards, tuck up your very sleepy hips into ultra modern and uber cool cots from ubabub. For travelling or living with the hips in warmer climes, hot sticky nights are always a problem. The clever bods behind aden + anais have made what we should have thought about ages ago. Sleeping sacks made out of muslin, and they are just gorgeous.

Have a look...go on.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

are we nearly there yet...hip tips for the little hips.

Okay, so picture this...you are in the car, or at the airport, or, well anywhere really, and sure enough, without fail, you’ll get the ‘are we nearly there yet’ or ‘I’m bored’. Well, we, at ‘the little hip traveller’ have compiled a few fun and hip ways to prevent the inevitable happening...ranging from some super high tech fancy things, to the old school faves...

So, those lucky people out there with the iphone or ipad - why not hand them over to the hips (go on, you know you can) and for a few gold coins or perhaps even nothing at all, you can get the following entertainment happening...and all of a sudden, hey presto, you have some very happy little ‘hips’! Hoorah!

So, what do we have? Well, there’s the very cool Peekaboo app, which is a fun barn adventure for your little hips and you too. The little animals pop out and baa and moo appropriately, and whilst the hips peak behind the barn doors, they also, without realising, learn the names, sounds and habitats of these little farm yard creatures - how clever!

Or there’s the old favourites, Old Macdonald, Itsy Bitsy Spider or The Wheels on the Bus. Itsy Bitsy Spider has a little fly that teaches your little hips about nature and the environment, or you can create your own version of the songs with your child! How cool.

There is also the very amusing Balloonimals - You simply blow into the microphone and the Balloon animals blow up into different shaped animals. Remember how much the kids like those balloon magic people at parties and fairs. Now they can build dinosaurs, fish, ducks and control it all themselves! Clever...

And then there is the mother of them all - Talking Carl. Now Carl is so much fun and guaranteed to reduce boredom to even the youngest little ‘hip’ - if you tickle carl, he rolls around laughing, poke him he says ‘ouch’ and he will copy all you say in a very silly high pitched voice. Believe me, Talking Carl is a hit!

And finally, available only overseas at present is an app called Bubble Wrap - basically a very annoying and frighteningly addictive sheet of bubble wrap which you just pop and pop and pop....mmmmm!

And then of course, for those of us who don’t have those modern luxuries, there’s the following list of things to try;

I - Spy: The old fave but you can guarantee it will pop up on some journey somewhere.

Simon Says: Perhaps a little bit restrictive in the car or plane, but still fun anyway, and you can look very silly infront of all those others who are busy trying to ignore you! Respect for Simon I say.

Count the cows/sheep/kangaroos: Perhaps best not really played in the plane, but if you are out in the country or the bush. Give yourself a time limit and count the number of cows/sheep/kangaroos etc on your side of the road, and the highest score is the winner.

Colours: Pick a colour, and see how many things in that colour you can see in a time limit ie red car, red wine, red suitcase etc. Mmmm, the highest score wins.

Memory: Someone starts ‘In my suitcase, I packed...a banana’. The next person then says, ‘in my suitcase, I packed, a toothbrush, and a banana’, and then the next person has to add something else, and you just keep on going...good for the old brain cells.

Neighbours: Everyone looks out of the car window and chooses a person. They need to then decide what kind of a person they are - job, personality, life etc.. Become a spy by making sure that person doesn’t see you talking about them! What fun!

And then, if that all gets too much (or develops into an argument or two), get the portable DVD player out!

Any other tips...why don’t you just let us know so we can add them to the list. There surely are plenty more out there...


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