Hip interviews

Kia Ora Aotearoa...travelling solo with an 18 mth old hip...

Now, from time to time we mention New Zealand, and not surprisingly (well actually, a bit surprising considering NZ is such a beautiful country) there are many Kiwi’s living in Australia who fly back home to show off the ‘hips’ to the family. The wonderful Fay kindly volunteered to give us an insight into her travels back home, and how she managed travelling solo with 18 month old Ally. Here’s what she had to say;
So, tell us a bit about you and your family?
I am a 30 year-old married stay-at-home Mum of one Hip (Ally) who is 18 months-old. We also have a wonderful 3 year-old Great Dane Cross who makes up the forth member of our family. My husband and I are both Kiwis and came over to live in Australia 3 and a half years ago and love it.
And where have you been of late with your little ‘hips’?
We have just got back from a two week 'holiday' in NZ (Cambridge - North Island), just Hip and I went to visit both sides of the family.
How did you get there, and where did you stay?
We flew with Pacific Blue (Virgin) and they were FANTASTIC! They saw I was flying alone with a toddler, and went out of their way to help. We had a whole row to ourselves both ways and even had help to carry our luggage off the plane to the baggage claim and the lovely lady got me a trolley too :) The air hostesses were lovely and played with Ally and didn't mind a bit when she went down to the staff section and played with the food trolleys. Outstanding service!
We stayed at my in-laws house, and luckily my wonderful In-Laws have purchased all baby equipment needed so we don't have to carry any extra's with us on the flight, (their way of getting us to go back more often)
What are your main tips for travelling with kids?
Be prepared for the flight!! It was the second trip Ally and I had done alone (Poor hubby never gets a holiday) the first when she was 10 months-old, so I knew what to expect, except this time she was walking! I packed snacks (favourite non-messy kinds), water (ended up buying a bottle on the plane too as she drank alot!), mini magna-doodle for non-messy drawing, a new toy that I wrapped up in wrapping paper for an extra surprise, a couple of other favourite non-noisy toys that I had packed away a couple of weeks before the flight to make them new and exciting again, nappies, wipes, spare clothes, and a portable DVD player that was worth its weight in gold! If possible only take one bag on with you if you are traveling alone, the less to carry the better!!!
What would you not have left home without?
Ally's sleep cuddly :) perfect for sucking on to make her ears pop!
And finally, anything else you want to add?
On the way back after going through the customs a security guy asked me why I didn't have a stroller, I explained the baby gear stays in NZ so we don't have to carry it on the flight. He then informed me that the airport have ones you can borrow from check-in and leave at the gate just before boarding - so will be doing that next time!!!!

Some hip travel tips from 'My Carry Potty'

To follow on from the 'potty training on the go' theme, I have delved a little bit deeper and spoken to the creators behind the wonderful My Carry Potty, for some more tips and tricks on travelling with kids. This time, Darren Jenner, husband and partner in crime of Amanda Jenner, the creator of My Carry Potty, has answered a few questions on his take on travelling with kids.

Before I hand over to Darren, I have to say that since posting the My Carry Potty review, there have been a number of tweets and suggestions for potty training tips. I have contacted both Darren and Amanda, and hope to have some handy tips on potty training, in particular, potty training on the go, so watch this space....

Also, don't forget to enter our 'My Carry Potty' giveaway and feel free to let us know your potty training tips too. Click here to enter.

So Darren, tell us a bit about you and your family?

We are a family of 5 that generally get away as a family just once or twice a year due to running two businesses. I'm Darren 40, Amanda 36 my wife, George 13, Hollie 11 & Olivia 3 1/2. The kids all love getting away & are happy spending most of the day in the pool. We have had a mixture of holidays. Some in villa's & some in hotels. I have to admit the villa ones are a lot easier. If it gets too hot for the little one she can just go inside the villa & play. Both Amanda & I like cooking so we enjoy staying at the villa some evenings for bbq's & wine. We like eating out as well but its nice to have the choice. 
And where have you been of late with your little ‘hips’?

Our last trip was to Malta (Amanda is half Maltese) which was great. The people are very hospitable, the food's great & the weather is always good (if not a little too hot at times)
How did you get there?

We actually flew with Ryan Air, a budget airline. We left it late too book, so we chose this airline. It was a 4 hour flight & although it's basic & they charge you even for water, for the price we paid it was a bargain (I think it was about £500 return for all of us)
Where did you stay? 

We stayed at the Corinthian St George which is about a 10 minute walk from St Julians. It was ok but we stayed at the Hilton St Julians the previous year & it was a better class of hotel & service.
Your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is always getting packed & prepared for the trip! And tidying up when we return. Enjoying the holiday itself is never a problem
Any big recommendations?

Amanda has a fair bit of family there so I've still a lot to discover about Malta. The capital, Valetta is steeped in history. Its a small city but very interesting. There's a lot of Arabic influences in both thier language & their architecture. 
What are your main tips for travelling with kids?

Well I would give them all a pep talk before we leave home about being nice to each other, remembering manners, all the usual stuff for starters. We're both pretty strict so there's no electronic games allowed at mealtimes. I think this is the best time to communicate as a family & important for them to appreciate they're new surroundings & different cultures. Thats not possible if they're engrossed in PSP's! I see so many parents letting the kids sit & play these in restaurants to keep them quiet. Its such a shame.
What would you not have left home without?

My Carry Potty, naturally! I know Amanda is the inventor, but really it is a fantastic tool for being out of the home with a little one. Car, plane, coach, shops. Its wonderful. I can't believe its 2010 & we can fly to & from the moon yet my wife is the first person to invent the worlds first & only leakproof potty!

There's not much else we need. Having 3 kids to cater for leaves us with a desire to travel lightly. We don't really want for much when we go on holiday. Suncream, sunglasses, currency, a camera & a collection of kids with smiles!


Thats all - thanks so much Darren and Amanda Jenner from My Carry Potty. We hope to chat again with them soon, and share some helpful potty training tips. And once again, don't forget to enter the giveaway for a free My Carry Potty.

A hip mums camping tips with her little 'hips'

So, we are once more heading back to the fabulous world of camping. Yes, this is the camping season (even though the weather here doesn't seem to think it is), however camping is often notorious for either a spot of rain, or a ridiculous heatwave, so its good to be prepared for all.

Today we are meeting a friend of mine, Lisa, who recently went camping with her hubby, plus 3 year old and 7 month old. How brave I hear you say...I totally agree, so felt it only necessary that we quiz Lisa on how she coped camping with two very little people. 

Here we go - over to you Lisa and family..

So tell us a bit about your family?

We are Lisa 39, Jem 41, Nell 3, Caity 7 months. We live in Woodend, country Victoria, and are recent converts to the country lifestyle, keen gardeners and outdoorsy types.

And where have you been of late with your little 'hips'?

Rose's Gap Folk Music Camp, The Grampians National Park. This is a special camp for music lovers with lots of workshops and performances run over a long weekend during the school holidays in September. Plenty of kids and young people, beginners and more experienced musicians. The emphasis is mostly on celtic-style folk and traditional music. This year there was a special feature on Indonesian and Javanese music. I did singing workshops and one for beginner ukelele (along with about 130 other people - it was the most popular workshop!), and hubby did beginners guitar. There was toddler music and singing every morning from 9 - 9.30 and a kids zone in the main hall with lots of activities. The whole experience was very left of centre, welcoming, warm and open-hearted.

How did you get there?

We jumped in the car and drove from Woodend. 

Where did you stay?

A camping site in a recreation ground. There were toilets and washing facilities, a communal hall with a fire and kitchen and a camp canteen offering lunch and dinner.

Your biggest challenge?

Keeping tabs on Nell who was intent on getting to meet every person there! Luckily the atmosphere was very child-friendly and whenever she wandered too far or too intently into other people's space, someone always brought her back!

Any big recommendations?

If you love music, this is great fun for everyone! Even if only some people want to do the music stuff, there is so much to do in The Grampians. Jem went off for a long bike ride one day, and we all went for a bushwalk to Beehive Falls another day. 

So what are your main tips about travelling with kids?

You don't need half of what you end up taking. But do take snacks and make sure that little one's blood sugar levels don't drop. Nell ended up grazing throughout the day rather than having set meals. Always be flexible and try to remember that you are supposed to be relaxing and having fun!

We all slept in a giant tent, probably much too big, but I envisaged being shut up in rain/cold and wanted extra space. Nell slept next to us on a mat on the floor. She had a sleeping bag, but we realised after a couple of struggles in the night that she wasn't used to it and just wanted to be under blankets like she is at home. Thank goodness for packing extra fleecy blankets! Caity was more of a worry. She's too big for her bassinet now, but not really big enough to sleep on a mat like us. In the end I had an old change table foam pad that I wrapped securely in yet another fleecy blanket (you can see how indispensable they were!) and then she had a gro-bag and blanket over the top of that. It kept her off the ground and secure in her own space. In all honesty, the tent was big enough for her portacot and next time I would take that, but hey  - we managed!

As for quality of sleep... the first night was bad for everyone after being all discombobulated by the long journey and new environment. The second night Caity slept through like an angel but Nell had a huge tantrum in the middle of the night. On the last night we all had a good night's sleep - but it was very windy and that kept the grown-ups awake and worried about the tent falling down!!

As usual, the simple things with the kids made all the difference. Making sure that they ate regularly and had access to food that they would like. The camp provided meals, but they were a bit spicey and not always child-proof. So on the last day we went into Halls Gap and had fish & chips which meant we knew Nell had eaten a good amount. Sure enough she went to sleep without a problem and didn't wake up hungry in the night. 

What would you not have left home without?

The pram. It was ideal for putting Caity in for a sleep, and carting tons of stuff from the tent to the activities. Plus we could take it almost all the way to the falls on our bushwalk! Also, lots of cheap fleece blankets. They were great for wrapping up cold, tired and cranky toddler and baby at various points in the day. 

And finally, anything else you want to add? 

We'll be back next year, and most certainly go camping again!

Many thanks Lisa for a fabulous camping review, and some really great tips.

Coming up - what to pack on your camping trip...

little eats' little hip travel tips

Today, I am once again, going to hand over to one of Melbourne's fabulous Mumpreneurs. I am hugely excited to be chatting to the wonderful Jemma from Little Eats. Not only is Jemma and her little clan in love with frequenting Melbourne's child friendly coffee spots, and then sharing her brilliant tips with us all, but she is also a big fan of Bali. Jemma has kindly agreed to spill the beans on her favourite spots in Bali, and share her tips and tricks on travelling with very young kids to Bali. 

Here we go...over to you Jemma;

So, tell us a bit about you and your family?
My name is Jemma and I am a mamma to two gorgeous little girls India (21 months) and Aurora (4 months).  I am also the creator of Little Eats - we are all about cafe culture for Melbourne’s little ones and we review the best kid-friendly cafes around town.  Oh and of course there’s my darling hubby too. And Ketut the cat.

And where have you been of late with your little ‘hips’?
We have just come back from Bali, the beautiful island of the Gods. We love Bali and have been many many times over the years.This time we met up with my parents (who live in Switzerland) for a family holiday.
How did you get there?
We flew with Jetstar.  Now I must stress that we only flew with them because we used our Qantas Frequent Flyer points...we would not have flown them by choice!  
Our flight leaving Melbourne was delayed by an hour and we were stuck on the tarmac for that time.  Also when we arrived at check-in they had not booked a bassinet for us, and weren’t seating us all together even though we had confirmed everything in advance.  After another long wait queuing up to speak to the guy at the service desk, we finally worked it out, or we thought we did. Then when we got on the plane we had been seated on the two side seats, which is very squashy when there’s two adults, a toddler, a baby and a whole lotta hand luggage!  And then sitting in the middle row of four seats were two guys! That’s right, two guys! With four seats, two bassinet's, plenty of room... but no babies.  Doesn’t seem very fair does it?  
Then coming home we had to come via Sydney and clear customs and then hop on a domestic Qantasflight home. A similar thing happened - we were seated separately and in a normal row with no bassinet's, yet up the front where the bassinet's were, were business men flying solo ‘sans’ babies.  Not fair again! I asked one of the flight attendants why this was the case as it didn’t seem fair, and she was very rude and told me that obviously they had requested them and I hadn’t. What the??!!  Of course I requested a bassinet. And then I questioned why on earth the businessmen would have requested a seat with a bassinet, and she said “for extra leg room”. So their legs are obviously more important than my babies! 
Just on a side note, last year we flew to Europe with Singapore Airlines and they were simply fantastic. Very reliable, and also very sweet, polite and helpful staff. With 9 month old India we were treated liked royalty. I highly recommend them.
Where did you stay?
We stayed in a stunning 4 bedroom villa with in Canggu, which is a popular surfie beach and about a 20 minute drive from trendy Seminyak.  You still have all the cool Seminyak restaurants and shops close by, however the beaches are much quieter, and you are surrounded by rice paddies and in the heart of traditional Balinese village life.
We usually stay in a villa, as we prefer that style of accommodation to a hotel, as we are in our own house with a kitchen, lounge area with TV and DVD, separate air conditioned bedrooms, our own private swimming pool and... wait for it... they are fully staffed with cooks, maids and this one even came with a driver! It really is a perfect option when you are traveling with little ones as it means that you can put them down for a nap in the bedroom, while you can still read, swim and relax right next to them.  It also means that in the evening once the baby is tucked up asleep in their portacot in the cool bedroom, you can still hang out in the lounge area, have a nightcap, watch a DVD or even have a midnight swim.  It sure beats being stuck in a hotel room.
Your biggest challenge?
Probably the flight over. India was not as well-behaved as normal (to say the least), and didn’t sleep at all (despite leaving Melbourne at 7.45pm at night which is her normal bedtime).  She was so over-tired by the end of it that she was delirious!  Apart from that, luckily, there weren’t really many other challenges or issues at all.
Any big recommendations?
Ok, places to go, things to do... where do I start.  Well if it’s your first time in Bali then I think some of the “must do’s” are:
  • Treat yourself to a massage (or two, or a few!) - my favourite places are Jari Menari and Bodyworks
  • Enjoy a Bintang beer on the beach whilst you watch an amazing sunset
  • Eat lots of yummy, super cheap Indonesian food - nothing beats a good Nasi Goreng
  • Stock up on DVD’s - they have all the latest movies and TV series
  • Shop!
My favourite places to eat are:
Breakfast - Corner Store, La Lucciola
Lunch - Trattoria Pizza, Cafe Moka, Grocer & Grind, Bali Buddha
Dinner - Kuni’s, Trattoria, Osteria Telese, Cafe Bali, The Beach House at Echo Beach and a little warung on Seminyak Beach called “Juice Park” where you can get a mean Nasi Goreng for just a couple of dollars.

Or for somewhere very special if you have hired a nanny for the night and are dining ‘a deux’, then try Ku De Ta, Metis, Sentosa, Sarong, the restaurant at the Tugu Hotel, La Lucciola and the new Cocoon.  These places are pretty pricey, so they can also be nice to just visit for a cocktail and dessert.
If you are traveling to Bali with your little ones, then you definitely need to check out Bali Baby.  You can hire playpens, highchairs, cots, car-seats, booster seats, monitors, prams, strollers, toys, rockers and play-mats. You name it they’ve got it! The hire prices are very reasonable, and it is all so convenient as Gabi will liaise on your behalf with your accommodation, and will arrange to have everything set up in your villa or hotel for when you arrive. You can also order and purchase Huggies nappies and wipes, Heinz baby food, and Johnson and Johnson bath and body products. So you can really save on excess luggage!
What are your main tips for travelling with kids?
1. Be organised. And make lists. Lots of them! 
2. Call ahead, confirm and double check. 
3. Take more than what you think you will need, but don’t go too overboard
4. Don’t pack too many toys. 
5. Prepare for take off. 
6. Don’t worry about what other people think. 
7. Don’t take it, hire it! 
8. Expect the unexpected. 
9. Throw your normal routine out the window.
10. Enjoy. Relax. Have fun. You are on holidays after all! Although holidays as you know it (ie: pre-bubba) will never be the same again, you are still up for an incredible journey with lots of special memories, happiness and laughter.

What would you not have left home without?
Lola, India’s baby, I mean dolly.  And also her bunny Kaloo that she sleeps with. Lola comes pretty much everywhere with us including most cafes we review for Little Eats.  She is pretty much part of the family now!
Seriously though, there is not that much that I wouldn’t have left home with out.  You really don’t need all that much for Bali as it is so warm and you just live in your bathers and a sarong most of the time.  And if there is anything you desperately need or you have forgotten then you can pretty much buy it all there.  

And finally, anything else you want to add?
Trunki’s rock!  Such a great idea for little hip travellers!  Our’s is pink and her name is Trixie. India had great fun riding her and pulling her around at the airport... as well as riding her around the garden at the villa.  She was also the make-shift “toy-box” when we were at the villa.
We took lots of little things to keep India occupied on the plane and on holidays.  She loves drawing (well, scribbling) so we took a little bag of Crayon rocks, a container of ‘Big Pencils for Little Hands’ and colouring-in books, drawing pads as well as stickers and the latest In the Night Garden mag.
We also took our iPod, and there were sound-docks at the villa, so it was great to have familiar tunes, including the CD from India’s music class. 


Wow, thanks so much Jemma. I just want to go there now! If you want to read more about Jemma'stop tips on travelling to Bali, plus of course, have a good look at Little Eats, please click hereThanks so much Jemma. We love Little Eats and are really excited about sharing this fabulous website with everyone.

Mini Gourmets' hip travel tips and tricks...

Once again we are passing the baton over to another fabulous, and famous mumpreneur, and this time its the brilliant Natalie from 'Mini Gourmets - for kids who love to cook'. Now, we, at 'the little hip traveller' love this website because, when you are not out and about with the kids, why not do something fun and productive at home, like teach the kids to cook! But, before you head over and check this beautiful website and fantasise about turning your kids in the next junior Masterchef, check out Natalie's tips on travelling with her kids. She has some fabulous advice and ideas.

Thanks Natalie. We love Mini Gourmets, and can't wait to follow some of your fab recipes and use some of your brilliant kiddies cooking utensils...(loving the Aggie and Archie aprons, and Bertie and Betty bowls!)

So, tell me about you and your family?
There is me: Natalie, 35, SAHM, WAHM, former High school teacher and Year Co-ordinator (before children)
My Husband: Runs our family business in engineering testing
Our children: Our little girl who is 4.5 (who is into anything pink and frilly) and son who is 22 months (who loves In the Night Garden, meat, carbohydrates and saying MUMMMMAAAA)
Where have you been recently with your hips?
We went to Sydney this time last year for a week, which was a big trip with a 9 month old and a 3.5 year old from Perth. We decided to spoil ourselves and go business class.
We have also been to Broome twice in the last 18 months which is only 2.5 hrs from Perth. We love it so much we are going back there again in a month. We always stay at Cable Beach Club when they have the 'kids eat free' deal so it makes it so much cheaper. The weather is beautiful, its safe, they have a brilliant kids pool (with a huge park right next to the pool), plus you don’t have to do much else except relax.

Things have been a bit hard since having our son as travelling with 2 kids is so much more complicated, so we have kept with “safer” and shorter trips. We are looking forward to our son getting older and being able to travel longer distances and not have to be back at a hotel room at 12.30 for a day sleep, as he gets very cranky without one!
How did you get there?

We went Qantas business class to Sydney. Its 4.5 hrs there 5.5 hrs back and I was worried about having our very big 9 month old with us, without having a seat. I wanted something that would have good in-flight entertainment for our daughter and we got a bit of luxury, plus the club lounge (which is a great place to relax before a flight and great place to stay a while if you have a delay). The club lounge was fine - we did get a few raised eyebrows, but we were pretty strict with the kids and didn't let them run around at all.
To Broome, we have travelled on both Qantas and Virgin Blue. Virgin Blue is so much better than Qantas, as their planes are newer and a bit more roomy with nicer seating. The Qantas meals are pretty poor and depending on what time of the day you fly, you can get some terrible planes that are small and uncomfortable.

Where did you stay?
In Sydney we stayed at the Swissotel. The staff there were nothing short of brilliant. We had interconnecting rooms and the kids room was all decked out with kids toys, kids bedsheets and was just fantastic. The location was great - being so close to the mall and public transport. One of us would look after the children for their afternoon sleeps while the other one went down to the mall for a coffee, or a walk or to do some shopping.
In Broome we have stayed at Cable Beach Club twice and we will be staying there again in a Bungalow. Every time we've been there, they've had a special package with free breakfast, kids eat free, and usually a night free too. We do tend to go just before or just after peak time (middle of the year), hence the special deal. The family pool is fantastic with a massive shade sail over the shallow kids section and a large park that has been built next to the pool. There is such a great atmosphere around the kids pool with parents all talking and enjoying a drink and the kids all becoming friends.
The Bungalows are great with the kids bedroom being separate and the parents room in the middle. The little kitchen is great for making your own meals if you don’t want to go out. The eating out in Broome is a little expensive so we tended to eat in.
What is your biggest challenge when travelling with children?

  • Getting anywhere on time (airports, dinner, tours etc)
  • The flight - I always feel so anxious as to how my kids will behave and how others will respond to them. That is why I always OVER PACK. I always have extra food, extra activities etc, and my husband thinks I am crazy!
  • Children get tired very easily so best not to plan full day trips - stick to morning activities. My 4 year old reverts to day sleeps on holiday.
  • The kids find it hard to get used to new sleeping environments and are quite unsettled and don't sleep well, or are up super early.
Any big recommendations?
  • We love Broome as its tropical hideaway, while being so safe! We wanted a reasonably costed tropical hideaway but didn’t feel comfortable taking young children to somewhere like Bali or Thailand.
  • Love Trip Advisor as we love the honest opinions as well as the pictures taken by travellers. Sometimes the glossy pictures in magazines don’t show the real truth of hotel!
  • For travelling with young ones who are still in nappies, I love the Change Mat Clutch by ISOKI. It just makes travelling with little ones so easy as it keeps all the nappies and wipes within a small clutch.
  • Earplanes are good for children who have problems popping their ears. We use them for landing for our daughter as she gets very sore ears and can’t seem to be able to pop her ears properly.

  • Often it is better to make the call and deal with the hotel direct. And don’t be afraid to ask for a discount if you are a repeat traveller to a hotel. We have got 5% off at Cable Beach for being a repeat customer.

What are your main tips for travelling with kids?

  1. Be prepared! I have a list that I have made on an excel document and I keep it on the computer and print it out for every holiday and amend it as needed. I bring a small bag out about 2 weeks before we go and start getting little bits and pieces (as I remember them) and throw them in the bag
  2. I buy special toys for the kids for holidays, new pens and scrap books and put away until I need them. I don’t like to rush a few days before the holiday.
  3. Don't pack the kitchen sink. On holidays you can purchase things there.
  4. We never plan flights for night time. If the kiddies don’t sleep, then we would be up with them and we don’t go well with no sleep. And then trying to function the next day.... ewww!
  5. Choose airlines and planes that are kid friendly. So think about seating configurations (we are going Virgin to go to Broome this time as its 2/2 and that way we can just occupy a row as our son will have a seat) and plane types (so age of planes and in-flight entertainment). We always study the plane type first before making a decision on what plane to take. When we chose to go to Sydney we flew in an Airbus A330 (which only flies once a day to Sydney. ) It has entertainment on demand (and lots of TV channels) which was great for our daughter who loves the ABC for kids, and meant that we could watch shows and stop the show if our son needed anything.
  6. Try to get breakfast included in any packages you get. Last thing you want to do when you wake up is to organise anything.Try to pick a hotel near public transport if you are in a major city. Yes it might be 400m to the nearest train station but with little ones who are tired and might be too old for a pram? Thats miles!!
What would you have not left home without?

  • Portable DVD player. I use it as a LAST RESORT on plane trips but its a godsend.

Thanks so much Natalie. Some fabulous advice.
Now, go on readers, go and check out the Mini Gourmets website as I know you'll love it!

hip tips from little melbourne

Today, I am passing the baton over to a fabulous guest blogger, Jo, from the wonderful Little Melbourne. THE guide to all the latest happening's in & around Melbourne for Babies, Toddlers and Kids. Those of you in Melbourne, those of you who want to be in Melbourne, and those of you who are planning an interstate or international holiday to Melbourne, you have to check out Little Melbourne.

Jo is here to tell us about her tips for travelling with the hips...enjoy, and thanks so much Jo.

So Jo, tell us a bit about you and your family?

In our little family you'll find:Jo - mumma and founder of Little Melbourne
David - Proud Papa

Ruby - 'Busy as a bee' Toddler
Henry - Our Christmas Day babe
& Ash - our senior citizen cat!
And where have you been of late with your little ‘hips’?

Auckland, New Zealand

How did you get there, and where did you stay?

We stayed at Grandma's house right next to the Botanic Gardens. She immigrated to NZ from the UK about 7 years ago.

We travelled with Air New Zealand.They were fine until we arrived at Auckland airport and we realised our Maclaren stroller was missing! After a restless night we received a phone call saying it had been located and sure enough a courier delivered it at 9.00am that morning. Very impressed!

On board staff did everything to make our journey as comfy as possible, we were given a few bottles of Only Organic food, a sippy cup, an activity pack and one flighty fished Ruby a muffin from business class!
Your biggest challenge?

Definitely getting Ruby to eat proper meals. This was a new challenge for us as she normally devours everything on her plate. There were tears, tantrums and lots of refusals, but she did find a new love though....Kumara (sweet potato) and happily devoured a 'fluffy' (babycino) at the many cafe stops.

Any big recommendations?

This time we did quite a bit of touristy stuff;

Kelly Tarltons Antarctic encounter, which was a bit over-priced and we personally found our underwater world in Melbourne way better.

Butterfly Creek was a big hit - a great day out with the family, there is an animal farm, train ride for the kids, playground, crocodile encounter, butterfly house, a cafe and so much more.

We made daily trips to the Botanic Gardens, fed the ducks, ran around on the grass with a ball, spent money at the cafe and like Melbourne, they have a children's garden too.

One of our highlights was the Ambury Regional Farm Park. The park sits on ash-covered lava flows from Mangere Mountain and has views across the harbour to the Manukau Heads and Waitakere Ranges. It's a working farm and you can mingle with the farm animals in their paddock. Bring the wellies!

Other than this, it rained A LOT during our visit, so we ventured off to lots of kid friendly cafes; The Library Cafewelcomes kids and families and I have never encountered a more friendlier cafe experience. They had it all and I felt happy to support their eco practises and the fresh organic food was divine!
What are your main tips for travelling with kids?

Be organised and always try to plan ahead (or have some idea of what you'd like to see and do!) I always research our destination before we head off and read lots of books about travelling and aeroplanes to our little one. We also took some time 'studying' a map of the world to give Ruby some kind of indication we were going on holiday and leaving home for a little while.
What would you not have left home without?

We have a list of things.......;

Trunki (hard case suitcase on wheels) was Ruby's fantastic travel companion. They're a must have for any toddler and so much fun at the airport when you need to get from A to B in a hurry.

Brauer's Calm - A natural medicine to help soothe irritable or restless children.This worked well for both flights.

Tiger Tribe magnetic play books - to ease the boredom.

Baby Wipes - We like Gaia natural's as the top closes and they don't dry out.

Sigg water bottle.

Rafferty's Garden smoothie pouches and muesli bars, they're quick and easy snacks for when you're on the go.

Whole kids organic sultanas - we love these

Ipod with a long playlist including favourite songs by Yo Gabba, In The Night Garden, Justine Clarke, Playschool and Music Class.

Ruby's bedtime friends, Teddy Bear, Minty, Dolly Katie and Suki.

Books, Colouring Books and Micador travel pack of crayons and pencils.

And finally, anything else you want to add?

Some great links we found very useful:

www.thelittlehiptraveller.blogspot.com - Great tips for travelling with the hipsters
www.kidsfriendlytravel.com - great site for visiting NZ
http://www.librarycafe.co.nz - Very Family Friendly Cafe
http://www.brauer.com.au - Brauer Calm Relief
www.metromum.com.au - To purchase Trunki
www.littlestyles.com.au - Tiger Tribe Magnetic Play Books

3 little 'hips' in sunny Fuengirola

Holidays in the sun are meant to be natures way of telling us to relax, take it easy, read a few good books, laze by the pool or the beach, and order cocktail after cocktail. All very well and good, but add 3 little 'hips' into the mix and its a different story. Or is it?

In the Northern hemisphere, the summer holidays are well and truly over. The 'hips' are back at school, and mums and dads all over the place are breathing a sigh of relief, and returning back to the normal day to day routines. Jo, a very good friend of mine from the UK, and a mum of 3 gorgeous hips, has kindly agreed to tell us about her holiday experiences with her hubby and 3 hips, and also provide us with some great tips and tricks that she has learnt along the way. Over to you Jo...

So, tell us a bit about you and your family?

Our family consists of myself, Derran, Charlotte (7), Sam (4) and Jack (2)

And where have you been of late with your little ‘hips’?

We went to spain for 2 weeks and stayed in our newly bought timeshare at Club La Costa, Fuengirola.

How did you get there, and where did you stay?

We flew to Malaga with Air Lingus which was fairly uneventful, and then drove in a hire car to our apartment.

Your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge was entertaining the hips on the plane.... But we've done it before, so from experience, packed DS games, new toys, books, stickers, plus, I made sandwiches to take as we were flying over lunch. Also it was so hot in Spain, so applying suncream was a real job!! They were good though...

Any big recommendations?

There is an amazing Zoo called Bioparc in Fuengirola that stays open till midnight. We got there at 6pm and stayed till 10pm which was excellent as it was dark and the animals all woke up... so amazing to go at night time. There is a fab beach near Marbella, which is very shallow and has lovely sand. We also went to the castle in Fuengirola, where you can climb to the top, and it doesn't cost much at all. In Fuengirola, there is a briliant pirate ship / climbing frame in the centre, which is very kid friendly and best of all has a cafe next to it. We decided to save the water parks for when the kids get a bit bigger!

What are your main tips for travelling with kids?

Make sure you buy some new toys for big journeys, a dvd player for car, and lots of food, drink and snacks!!

What would you not have left home without?

hmmmm, for me lots of books and playing cards and for kids, the dvd player, DS games, books and their fave teddies.

And finally, anything else you want to add?

We forgot Jack's bottle for milk at bedtime, so he went cold turkey and had no milk, and hasn't looked back!!!! We also bought buckets, spades, balls and a lilo out there, as that seemed to be the best way to cut down on luggage!


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