Product Review ~ Lauren Trials A Buster Boo Blanket

…Lauren agreed to review a Buster Boo Cot Quilt for us after trialing one for a week. Here she shares her honest thoughts…

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When/how did you use the product?

Buster Boo says it’s a cot quilt but I used ours in the car and at the park as something to sit on as well.

What did you love about the product?

Aside from the adorable two prints, I liked the size of it and the fact that it rolls down to next to nothing. It’s really quite warm under there too. It also washed really well.

Was there anything that didn’t meet your expectations?

I wasn’t convinced that it was a super essential item but now I’ll definitely rethink that. It’s organic cotton and Australian made which I like, but ours also played a bit of a visual role in our nursery and really set off the colour scheme we have.

Who would this work well for?

I think that one of these would make a really gorgeous, practical baby shower gift. There are heaps of boys and girls prints to chose from, but loads of unisex ones too for people who don’t find out. My girlfriends will definitely be getting these from me from here on in!

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Clever Tips For Getting Through A Long Haul Flight With Kids ~ Trish McManus , Flight Centre

Trish McManus is a Senior Consultant at Flight Centre in Dee Why on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, as well as a working mum of one. She has travelled internationally with her son for many years, and has jotted down her top travel-hacks for parents flying long haul with their little ones.

trish

Travelling with kids…. Well that can be a really stressful task.

flight

  •  I tell clients to get long haul evening flights if possible, so you can hopefully put the children to sleep without too much interference to their routine. I advise the parents to pack their pajamas so it feels like they are going to sleep as per usual.
  •  Take new toys, and colouring/sticker books.  Don’t give them to the children until they are on the plane so it is a surprise.
  • Always pack a few spare changes of clothes.  There is always a drink spilled or a vomit here and there.
  • Take the kids empty water bottles through to air-side at the airport check in and you can fill up the bottles at the free water bubblers before you get on the plane.
  • Check your airline’s policy on taking baby bottles, formula and sterilised water through check in – they do differ, so it is best to confirm prior to your trip to avoid getting caught out.
  • Pack a light stroller. Never take a fancy/expensive pram as they get very damaged in flight.
  • Baby carriers like the Manduca are great.  It means that parents can have their hands free to handle the suitcases.
  • If there are two adults and 1 child, book three of the four seats in the middle section.  Nine times out of ten you will get the four seats to the three of you.
  • Don’t forget to request your Child Meal.  It means the child will eat food they are used to and they get fed first.
  • Purchase children’s headphones prior to the flight – the generic adult sized ones they sell on board will not sit properly on your child’s head.

travel pack

Trish McManus | Senior Consultant | Flight Centre at Dee Why

TOP PART TIMER OF THE NATION 2011-2013 

TOP PART TIMER OF THE AREA 2013-2014


683 Pittwater Road | Dee Why NSW 2099 | Ph: (02) 9982 8899 | Fax: (02)9982 6339

Email: trish.mcmanus@flightcentre.com.au

My Part-Time working hours are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am-5.30pm

Travel Agents License Number: 2TA2719 | ABN: 25 003 377 188

Product Review – Wot Not Sunscreen

Wotnot Sunscreen New Look

 

… Simon is a stay at home dad who recently discovered our beautiful Wot Not Sunscreen. Check out what he thought of it here…

What is the item generally used for?

To protect your baby from the sun.

When/how did you use the product?

I used it daily first thing in the morning, and whenever we were out and about outdoors.

What did you love about the product?

I like that its natural and gentle and 30+ SPF. I also like that it’s not tested on animals.

Was there anything that didn’t meet your expectations?

No.

Who would this work well for?

Anyone who wants to protect their baby’s skin.

Annika Coulson from Northern Beaches Kids Guide Shares Her Inspiration Behind Her Website

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Annika Coulson is an incredibly humble person despite her success. She does not present herself in a light which demands attention or accolade for her achievements, rather quietly enjoying the change her service has bought about for modern day parents.

Despite her modesty, Annika, a graphic designer in her previous life before kids, has founded one of the most successful facebook pages and websites for parents that the Northern Beaches has ever seen.

Northern Beaches Kids Guide is a collaboration of local, current information relevant to young families who are looking for something to do or somewhere to go. From a calendar filled school holidays activities right through to a directory including available venues for rainy day functions, Annika has worked tirelessly to create what modern day mums are heralding as their ‘life source’.

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“I don’t know how mums figured out what to do with their kids before NBKG” quips Penny, the loudest of our research group to review the usefulness of Annikas brain child. “I just check the NBKG facebook updates, and I’m like, great, the library is running story time at 10.15. I’m there”.

“I find it really helpful for the days that we don’t have planned activities or we are looking for new adventures. I have discovered heaps of little local gems from the site” nods Jennifer, another local mum who is singing NBKG’s praises.

“It is really comprehensive and is always getting updated so I don’t miss out on anything” says Susanne, “although we are generally pretty busy so I don’t use it daily. But it’s there when I need it”.

Annika states plainly her motivations for designing the website – “I was sick and tired of missing out on local activities or dates because there was no one place to find that information. Sometimes the paper would help, but I really felt there was a need for this kind of information in one place for parents with little ones.” Annika retrieves most of her information directly from the sources now, with many local companies and councils sharing their details readily.

Annika, who still remains incredibly humble about her talents despite her offering such a useful social tool to the masses of the Northern Beaches, is just happy that now, mums and dads can have access to local information at the touch of a button. So, that leaves the question to be answered – What DID Mum’s and Dad’s do before Annika and NBKG?!

 

Inspirational Monday ~ Fight on the Beaches… Michelle Heaton Armstrong

Michelle Heaton works tirelessly on the Executive Committee for ‘Fight On The Beaches’ – an organisation set up by local mums to raise money for and awareness of cancer. Here she tells us of her inspiring journey…

 

Cancer is a dirty filthy word, and not one that you expect just 5 short weeks after bring new life into this world. That’s what happened when my beloved Dad was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer at 61, just 5 short weeks after the birth of my second child Oliver in 2008.

Having had our first son in the Isle of Man (off the coast of both England and Ireland) I was overjoyed at the idea of having my second child surrounded by family and friends, however Dad’s diagnosis stole that away as I spent weeks and weeks driving back and forth from the Northern Beaches to North Shore Private Hospital with our just 2 year old and newborn Son.

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Dad loved a drink and he loved life, so when he started to lose significant amounts of weight we were all a bit worried. As my little family arrived back in Sydney (I was 32 weeks pregnant) after I had spent 7 years overseas, Dad arrived at the airport in a wheelchair. The shock was indescribable. This was the man that had thrown me up and down in the pool as a kid,  had walked me down the aisle with a tear in his eye and had always been such a big presence in all our lives, so to see him looking so frail floored me!

Whilst Dad’s diagnosis was a shock, the path that lead to his eventual death was so much harder. Having been admitted to Manly Waters Hospital for pain management, he died a slow death over 5 short days. As I sat there watching this man who I loved with all my heart become someone that I no longer recognised, I knew that something positive had to come of this.

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Fast forward 3 years (and another baby) and the time to do something to fight back against cancer had come. Finding 7 other women on a Northern Beaches Facebook page that had all personally been affected by cancer, having lost Mothers, Fathers, friends, boss’s, Grandmothers and one even having even had cancer herself, was the beginning of the fight back.

In July 2014, Fight on the Beaches (our fundraising group raising money for Cure Cancer Australia) held our first ever ‘Christmas in July’ Charity Ball. We raised a massive $100000 for cancer research. What started as a dream to get me through the last few days of Dad’s life became a huge event that 400 local people attended, 350 businesses donated to, 50 volunteers helped out at and countless people supported with cash donations.

I have to admit that if I had known what it would take to raise $100 000 I would never have started! Three young kids and a full time (unpaid) job don’t really mix! As my boys were 7 & 5 at the beginning of all this, they definitely felt Mummy’s absence. I was still there to pick them up from school or take them to their activities but every night and every weekend I would be in front of my computer begging for donations, sponsorship, assistance or plain old cash! I had to continuously remind them why I was doing this, and whenever Poppy’s name was mentioned as the reason for my mental absence it would all be OK again.

On Australia Day, my Husband, my 2 boys and I had the opportunity, along with my fellow Committee members, to attend the Warringah Council Australia Day Awards. There we won the ‘Community Event of the Year’ Award and I had to make a speech. I am embarrassed to say I started to cry during the first paragraph and my first thought as I did was ‘what will the boys think?’ I hated the thought that this recognition and my subsequent emotional reaction, might make them sad about their dear Poppy. That fear was allayed as my now 8 year old told me how proud he was of me, and that of course I would get upset talking about Poppy. How wonderful children are.

So what’s next? We are going to do it again! Who can look at another $100 000 for cancer research and say ‘oh, we are too busy to do it all over again!?’ Our second annual ‘Christmas in July’ Charity Ball will be held on Friday 17th July 2105 at Miramare Gardens, Terrey Hills from 7pm-midnight. The gorgeous Georgie Gardner will be hosting the night with Vic Lorusso stepping out of his helicopter and onto our stage as auctioneer. Jellybean Jam will be rocking the dancefloor all night long so wear comfy shoes.

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So if like me, you too have been affected by cancer we would love to have you involved in some small (or really big) way to fight back against cancer.

You can donate a prize which we sell or auction on the night, you can buy a ticket (or table of up to 12, volunteer your time to work at the Ball, or make a cash donation. Get on board and do your bit to fight back against this insidious disease.

To find out more information please visit www.fightonthebeaches.com or email fightonthebeaches@gmail.com.

Product Review – Car Seat Protector

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…Lynne has twins who are toilet training ~ can you imagine?! After weighing up her options, she decided to invest in two car seat protectors, and she has kindly let us know how they performed up against the mighty toddler time two!…

What is the item generally used for?

I think it is mostly used for catching accidents in the car when toilet training, although I have found mine also come in handy for catching spills and crumbs too.

When/how did you use the product?

I put my car seat protectors into the car when I started to toilet train my twins. We do lots of driving around and I liked the idea of no having to pull out entire car seats if one of the boys had an accident. So far so good!

What did you love about the product?

I loved the prints and how easy they are to install into your car seat. The velcro makes taking them out for cleaning really quick and the water proof backing and absorbent pad mean that they really do catch most of any accidents. I also found washing them really easy (a gentle wash in the machine) and drying time was super fast.

Was there anything that didn’t meet your expectations?

At first I didn’t think there was anyway this little thing was going to catch a great big wee from one of my boys, but they really did. I now love my protectors, I think they’ll be my go-to gift for mums of trainers from here on in.

Who would this work well for?

Anyone looking to start toilet training, or even anyone whose kids get car sick.

Car seat protector-lion

http://flowerchild.com.au/pop-in-car-seat-protector-lion.html

Your To Do List: Flying With Bigger Kids

Mum and Frequent Flyer Kirsty Shares Her Travelling Tips With Us ~

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  1. Pack a little medical kit with Kids Panadol, Hydrolytes in case of travel sickness (they come in a tablet form that will dissolve in a bottle of water), baby wipes, antibacterial wipes to wipes down toilet seats, trays etc.
  2. A change of clothes for the whole family is super important – I have been vomited on before and I had to sit in the same clothes for 10 hours!!
  3. If the children have comforters and are old enough to carry them around, invest in a good lanyard so they can wear it around their necks whilst waiting in airports or in transit. I have lost my little boys comforter before in Heathrow airport and it was super stressful.
  4. Leading up to our international trips, I start collecting stickers, small cheap toys, colouring in books, readers etc and pack them away in a backpack. I don’t show the kids or tell them what I’m doing until the day we are leaving. By then, the kids are soooo excited to get on the plane and open their goodie bags – it really keeps them entertained and well behaved.
  5. If you have a smaller child, bring an extra muslin wrap and some extra large bulldog clips so you can make a little curtain around the bassinette – this will help especially if you are seated close to the toilets or the kitchen where everyone tends to end up congregating.
  6. I always bring empty drink bottles for both the kids and myself and when we get through security and on the plane I fill them all up. I encourage the kids to sip on their water throughout the flight – it helps with ears popping during take off, dehydration and jet lag.
  7. I pack a big box of sandwiches and plain snacks for the kids as the majority of the time they are not interested in the plane food so I pack things I know they will eat.

Inspirational Monday ~ Nisha Sreedharan from Forest Lodge Physical Therapy

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Can you tell our readers a little about ‘Forest Lodge Physical Therapy’, how it all began and what you aims and goals are.

 Forest lodge Physical Therapy is a boutique physiotherapy and remedial massage clinic in Glebe. We aim to help the local community achieve good physical health so they can live full and active lives without suffering pain and discomfort. We believe in good old fashioned customer service, providing one on one treatment for our clients.  Our physiotherapist has a wealth of knowledge, having practiced at this clinic for over 25 years and is loved and respected by the local community.  I am a qualified remedial massage therapist who has bravely left the corporate world to pursue my interest and passion in massage and body mechanics. I love working with different types of people and I enjoy broadening their understanding of their own body and how massage can benefit them both physically and mentally.

My husband and I founded Forest Lodge Physical Therapy in January 2015. We revamped the existing practice by adding additional services, hiring new staff and creating an online presence. With a new bub and a new business it certainly has been a very busy start to 2015. We love our local community and believe in our abilities, this is what keeps us going even when times get tough!

 

Describe your work place to us…

The clinic is in a beautiful 1890’s terrace house. It consists of a bright reception area and a spacious treatment room, with a beautiful high ornate ceiling. My electric massage table is my prize possession, and I love placing clean, fresh towels over it each session.  These days the clinic has a few new additions including a baby Bjorn, a bounce-a-net and a littering of toys.

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How do you juggle working and a family? 

Being a first time mum, the juggling act is quite new to me. I try not to be a super hero, and I try not to over commit to work, family always comes first. With Neha only being four months, it’s been a slow transition, each week taking a few more client appointments and leaving enough time between clients for feed and a cuddle. This is a family business so in some ways my work and family have morphed into one. My husband and my extended family have provided a lot of support and encouragement, which has made it all possible.

 

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

Fundamentally parenting has not changed, however the way we live our lives has and as a result the way we raise children has changed. Our lives have become fast paced and stressful, leaving very little time for our children and our partners. The little time we do spend with our children becomes very outcome driven. It’s very important for parents to take time out, restore balance within their bodies and forget about future outcomes and just enjoy the present. Having been born in India my mother tells me how the whole extended family were involved in my upbringing. I was constantly surrounded by aunties, cousins and grandparents who would interact and play with me all day.  These days mum and dad are expected to do everything as well as return to work. It is a huge expectation for parents, so it’s important to ask for help when you can.

 

Have your own self expectations changed since having children? How?

Absolutely, to me this is the hardest thing to overcome. Pre-child, I was a multi-tasking wonder women, studying, working, working on the business and keeping up with household chores. Post child, some days I can only get through one of my fifteen tasks, and that’s a good day. Over the four months I have learnt to accept this and try not to put too many expectations on myself, because being a mum is a pretty big task in itself. Prioritising is very important and being able to accept imperfections, whether it’s the house being a mess or not finishing some of my admin work. Being a manager of teams in my corporate life I reflect back and realise I never gave enough credit to the parents who made having children and working look so easy. It really is a tough gig and like any job it takes experience to get it right.

 

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. but do?

The list is too long! I have broken most of my promises, but the one that resounds the most is not letting Neha watch TV. I always said that I would hold off on letting my child watch TV for as long as I can. “It’s trash, it’s not good for their development, it will overstimulate her”, I would say. However, I have found at times when I’m just relaxing after a long day with Neha in my arms, she peers over to the TV screen. It’s worth it for those moments of peace.

 

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

No day is ever the same when you are juggling responsibilities. Some days are frantic whereas others are nice and quiet. On a typical day, I tend to start the morning with coffee with my husband whilst Neha sleeps in for a few extra hours. I check my emails and review my client files for the day. When Neha wakes up, I try to spend most of the morning with her. By midday my mum/mother in law comes to take Neha off my hands so I can attend to my clients. In the afternoon I strap Neha into the Baby Bjorn so I can work a little more on the laptop, doing admin, marketing and sales responsibilities. In no time, it’s time for my after work clients, so I hand her back to my mum and get back to the clinic. Our clients use our online booking system so my days can be unpredictable at times but with the help of my mums I have the room to be flexible.

 

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? E.g. book, person, website…

Well for me, it’s my mother and mother in law. They take turns with the babysitting and without them I’m not sure if I could return to work so quickly. Not only do they come with a wealth of knowledge, they are so helpful with household chores, food and of course taking care of the bub. As I’m pretty early in my motherhood journey, it’s great to have family that you can turn to when you need the help and advice. They love spending time with Neha and I really enjoy the company as motherhood can be a little lonely at times, so it is a win-win for all of us.

 

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

Get rid of any notion of perfectionism, indulge and enjoy yourself. For example, a bath, a nice walk in the sun or a massage should be a regular occurrence. Enjoy the treats and don’t feel guilty about these pleasures, because you know you deserve it!

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Forest Lodge Physical Therapy

www.flhealth.com.au

8542 3131

Product Review – Petunia Pickle Bottom ‘Heavenly Holland’ Boxy Backpack

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…Nadine was gifted a voucher to purchase her Nappy Bag and she decided to go with the ‘Heavenly Holland’ Boxy Backpack. Here she reviews her new investment now that her baby has arrived… 

What is the item generally used for?

For packing all of the items you need to take with you once a little person comes into your life. I never knew how much stuff I would need ‘just in case!’.

When/how did you use the product?

I use my Boxy Backpack everyday when my new baby and I ventured out into the big wide world.

What did you love about the product?

I loved the size of it – there is enough space inside for me to pack everything I needed for a day out but it is concise enough for me to carry or hang on the pram without feeling overloaded. I also love the detachable straps which mean I can switch between over the shoulder and backpack style, and the built in nappy mat makes unexpected changes a breeze. Also, the print makes me smile, how could you not love a floral nappy bag?!

Was there anything that didn’t meet your expectations?

No, I don’t think so. I didn’t really know where to start with a nappy bag and this one seems to be ticking all the boxes so far, so I’m really happy.

Who would this work well for?

Any one with a baby really! I can see myself using this bag for at least few years yet, and with subsequent babies too, it really is very practical.

boxy-backpack-heavenly-holland-changemat

http://flowerchild.com.au/boxy-backpack-heavenly-holland.html

Road Tripping With Kids – Let’s Get Down To Business

road trip

 

Ok my friends, let’s be honest with each other here. Road tripping with kids is not the easiest thing to do as a parent. Gone are the days when we grew up, where we happily looked out the window at passing fields, counting sheep and generally keeping quiet. Gone are the days when you would ask if you could stop for a wee/cheeseburger/stretch of the legs, and you would be met with a simple “No”. And gone are the days of travelling light, without seat belts and sat rolling around in the boot of your parents’ beat up station wagon (THANK GOODNESS!).

So let’s get to the pointy end of the stick – how do we comfortably take a road trip with little ones these days? What are the crucial elements of a successful day in the car where everyone is happy (and safe)?

For me, road-tripping with the fam-bam begins with packing food for the trip. Lots of little bags of snacks as well as a lunch box each to tide the kids over if we are travelling through a meal time. My kids especially love it if I pack dry cereals, bliss balls, warm homemade chicken nuggets – all little items that can be popped into their mouths with minimal fuss and mess! I find that these little snacks not only act as boredom busters, but they can also suppress the urge to stop at fast food joints, where we’ll undoubtedly end up spending too much money on junk that none of us need. I should also point out that I have a mini-van, so I pack all little snacks in resealable snack bags so I can pass (read: throw) them down to the back row without spilling contents throughout the car (yes, my aim is getting pretty good!).

 

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For our family, I also find packing little games to play along the way can help the kids to forget what the time is or how much longer we have to go. We usually take a question based game like ‘Family Fued’ or ‘The Key Jar’, because once a conversation/competition gets started, the times seriously flies by. Obviously these types of games only really work for older kids (mine are three and six), but there is really nothing wrong with the old classiscs like ‘I Spy’ and the like.

 

key jar

Print out your own conversation starters at The Key Jar – http://momastery.com/blog/2015/04/24/key-jar/

We always like to plan our stops before we leave, just so that we don”t find ourselves stopping unexpectedly and unneccesarily. We usually aim for every two hours so that the driver can rest up, the kids can run amok, and I can empty my pockets of tissues, wrappers and all the other rubbish that I seem to acquire. I usually draw a crude map or use the GPS screen to give the kids a great visual gauge on how far we have come and how long we have to go.

My husband will always check the car over before we head off on a long haul, and we have worked into into our routine to check over the car seats, seatbelts and boosters prior to leaving too. I find this is something we often forget or overlook but really, is a super important safety element to your travels.

car safety

Lastly, and I know my Grandfather would snort at this, I triple check that the kids ipads are charged. I mean seriously, where would we be without indulging in a little tablet time here and there? I make sure I’ve got a couple of good movies on each ipad, and I pack the headphones so everyone can watch or play what they want without disturbing each other. We have found recently too that we can wedge an iPad on the centre console and watch something together – particularly fun if you have a sing-along uploaded that you can all get involved in. Think family ‘Frozen’ at 110kms along the freeway, and you are pretty much in kidlet heaven. If you aren’t a massive tablet fan, you could achieve the same effect with a great kids sing-along album or story on CD.

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So there you have it, nothing particularly life changing, but the few little tips that I’ve picked up and that help me get through a day in the car with the kids. Depending on the ages of your little ones, you’ll obviously have to add in what works for you – feeding stops and nappy changes don’t always work within a schedule. I guess the key is to try your darndest to be prepared – waterproof car seat protectors for toilet trainers, lots of plastic bags and tissues for those that suffer travel sickness, blankets for overnight trips, hand sanitiser for pit stops… you know, everything but the kitchen sink pretty much…

If all else fails my friends, I have a final gem of advice for you. I suggest quietly investing in a great pair of ear plugs, and nodding/smiling at your family suspiciously while they squabble/ask for directions/poke each other/wet themselves/demand “Are we there yet?”…. Works every time ;)