5 tips for travelling overseas with a baby

Travelling overseas with a baby is both an experience and an extreme test of your patience. People say that travelling with kids is like ripping off a band aid, you’ve just got to get it done and deal with the pain.

Here are 5 tips that I thought I’d share with you based on my trip to the UK.

  1. Be prepared for anything – this tends to speak for itself. We all know that kids, especially babies can be unpredictable so you tend to hope for the best and prepare for the worst but what if the baby isn’t the problem. As my husband and I were running late to a connecting flight we were “randomly” chosen for the explosive test but this time they didn’t want to test just myself or Ric they wanted to test the baby as well -needless to say this took up extra time that we didn’t have! My moto from this is: a family that gets bomb tested together stays together.
  1. Take advantage of kind offers – in my case kindness came in the form of strangers on the plane who wanted to play with baby Gus. This in itself was brilliant but I soon realized that I shouldn’t underestimate their stupidity. On the longest leg of our trip a kind woman volunteered to play peek a boo with Gus. I was grateful that she kept him entertained for as long as she did which meant that I could somewhat chill. But then she decided it would be a great idea to let him play with her cup of rum and coke which ended with all of us covered! For the rest of the journey I smelt like an alcoholic whilst Gus has a similar scent to a homeless person.
  1. Not all babies fit in plane cots – When your baby resembles that of a small elephant you soon realise that they aren’t going to fit into the small plane cots. My advice is to ask at check in whether there are any rows with a spare seat in the middle or get ready to beg someone on the plane to change places. Having an extra seat in between us for the baby to sleep on made the difference between keeping our sanity and losing our shit!
  1. Sleep when the baby sleeps (just not at the same time) – This is a lesson we unfortunately learnt not once but 3 times! When Ric and I accidentally dosed off at the same time we were swiftly woken by a scream from Gus who had rolled onto the floor. I’ll admit we put a pillow down after the first incident but I don’t think we will be winning any parent of the year awards.
  1. Don’t fret (you’re not alone) – Before we left I was quite nervous about travelling with a baby for such a long stretch of time as I’d never done it before. I kept thinking what if I’m that unlucky bugger who has the screaming child the entire flight. As soon as I got on our different flights and saw other couples with babies I felt at ease. We looked at each other and exchanged sympathetic smiles secretly thinking, “please don’t let my child be the one that everyone hates!” As I was pacing the isles at crazy o clock with a baby that didn’t want to sleep and saw other zombie parents I knew I wasn’t alone and we were banned together in our pain.

Much like all of parenthood travelling with a baby (especially over a 24 hour period) will deprive you of sleep, test your patience, confuse your body clock and generally exhaust you but it’s not all bad because there’s an end goal.

This trip has reminded me a bit of child birth, it’s long and painful whilst you’re in it but it ends and what you’re left with is a new experience and an adventure to look forward to.

For all those parents, out there who have survived a long-haul trip with a baby whether it be by plane, car, boat or train I salute you and invite you to raise your hands in the air and repeat these words with me….

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How to solve decorating dilemmas with children

I have always been a lover of all things interior. I love creating beautiful spaces using soft furnishings and decorative pieces such as picture frames, vases and other special finds that I often buy on my travels. I am that person who buys too many cushions (as my husband says and I answer as if you can ever have enough!) and I have somewhat of an obsession with indoor plants.

Before having a child countless people told me, “once you have a child it will change everything. You won’t be able to have nice things around and forget about having a clean house.” I often smiled and nodded thinking that won’t be me. As if my son would have any interest in what my husband calls my “interior shit”. Well I’ll admit I was wrong!

Before now or in fact before 7 months he had no interest in my things, happily admiring them from afar. But then he decided to crawl which has led to climbing and suddenly everything I love is his new obsession and I’m sure on his I must trash or eat list!

I decided just because my child doesn’t respect my interior styling choices (and why would he) it doesn’t mean I can’t still create beautiful spaces. I just have to be a bit more realistic about where things go or potentially glue everything to the ceiling!

So I thought I’d share some practical solutions that have allowed me to create the look I want without having to worry about the prying hands of my son or other destructive children.

  • Floating shelves – these are a great idea for keeping your possessions safe and creating a focal point on some unused wall space. You can create co
    ol vignettes using your favourite things of different shapes and sizes and if you choose to use wooden shelves it adds instant warmth to a room.

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  • Fake plants – although they sound tacky and a little 1980’s I promise you they’re the bomb when you want to add some greenery to your space and not have to worry about your child eating soil. There are some fantastic replicas of popular plants out there. From fig trees to succulents they look identical to the real thing and the best thing is you don’t need to do anything to keep them looking fab.

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  • Double sided rugs – When I was originally thinking about the interiors for our new house I had a light coloured rug in mind, however in hindsight I am so glad that I changed my mind because any light colour with a child is a recipe for disaster. Solution – a double sided rug where one side is dark which is ideal for covering spillages when kids are young.

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Once my son is a bit older hopefully he will respect my rug bit more than he does now and I can turn it over to the lighter side for an instant update to the room, but let’s be honest I’ll probably be waiting until he’s 25!

I know over time he’s going to get more mobile and the chaotic mess will increase tenfold. There will probably be dint’s in a lot of the walls and food smudged into most of the furniture; I may even want to paint the inside of the house black just to cover it all, but I’m ok with it. I realise now that when you have children, the house isn’t meant to be pristine and perfect all the time, and would you want it to be?

I recently read a beautiful quote that I felt summed up a home with children perfectly, “it takes hands to build a house but only hearts can build a home”. As much as kids may not have the same level of appreciation or respect for our interior styling choices it’s not the decorative things that make a home, it’s the love with in it.

New Year’s Resolution

Have you ever been thinking about something and then seen a sign that made you think “maybe the universe heard me?”

I was recently out and about thinking about what my new years resolution would be, (albeit it’s a week overdue it still counts!)  It got me thinking about what I wanted for the year ahead and the one thing (amongst many others) was being present –  living in the moment and enjoying the small things.

Just as I thought this a cool light installation popped out at me that said “be here now” I took this to be a sign that my resolution for 2017 was made up. I realised these words really resonated with me.

Too many times I’ve gotten to the end of a year and wished it away always thinking that the next year would be better. I’ve often focused on the negatives that have happened and not always celebrated the positives unless they’re what I deem for myself as big accomplishments.

Looking back on 2016 there were some epic things that happened, my husband (the ever tenacious Scotsman) and I renovated a house, had a baby and moved house all at the same time. These things in my mind and probably any sane person are huge and unless you’re completely loco crazy I don’t recommend doing them all at once!

Although when I thought back to the year just passed there were many other things that we did that I never really paid any attention to or celebrated because I thought they were small. I realise now these were equally as big. I swept things like ‘becoming a parent’ under the rug because I thought it was just something we were doing but in hindsight it was and is a massive accomplishment and the fact that Gus is still thriving makes me think that the Scotsman and I should high five each other.

I realised that all experiences, decisions and moments I have no matter how small they seem are what I need to remember and cherish because they all form a whole life.

So my goal for 2017 (aside from working on getting rid of the dreaded front bum I have courtesy of Gus) is to celebrate the small things, stay connected and heed the advice of the sign and ‘be here now’.

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The gift that keeps on giving

As we draw closer to the end of the year and Christmas is almost upon us I have been thinking about the gift of giving. We’re always told that we should give thanks for what we have and I totally agree. I am 100% grateful for my child and my life but it hasn’t stopped me from thinking about all the extra gifts babies give which I am maybe less grateful for.

Firstly, thank you for the gift of gravity, although south is not the direction I would have chosen. I appreciate you introducing my boobs to the floor; let’s hope they don’t become permanent friends!

Thank you but no thank you for stretching my stomach to the point where I now have what could be mistaken for a permanent front bum. I can’t even re-gift this!

Thank you for being so heavy that I now feel like the hunch back of Notre dame. The local zoo called and they want their hippo back!

Thank you for depriving me of sleep. Before having a baby it was my choice if I came home at 4am, now you call the shots and sometimes want to start the day at this obnoxious hour!

But in all seriousness there are many positive gifts you have given me. Thank you for the gift of patience, although you test it on a daily basis. Especially when you constantly try to eat electrical cords!

Thank you for giving me the courage to trust my instincts. Most of the time I navigate  the journey that is parenthood  blindly. I second guess myself constantly and run into unwanted opinions along the way, but somehow I manage to find my way. Raising you is like going to a foreign country where I don’t speak the language or have a map.

Best of all thank you for the gift of unconditional love. Many emotions have been experienced in the short time I’ve had with you. Sometimes you drive me bat shit crazy and make me reach for the nearest bottle of wine. But no matter how bad or challenging the day is the one thing that is always there is love. I know that no matter how mental you drive me, at this moment in time I am your constant and you are mine.

I know there will probably come a time when you think I am the most embarrassing dickhead you’ve ever met but for now we have the gift of time together. If I can do one thing right and make you happy then that is the best gift of all.

You are by far the happiest, hardest, craziest, relentless and sometimes smelliest gift I have ever been given, but I wouldn’t exchange you for anything.

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Christmas decorating on the cheap

Christmas can be an expensive time of year and if you’re like me it’s also the time of year when the universe decides to shit on you and give you all your bills at once! But I have realised that Christmas decorating doesn’t have to be an expensive affair.

This year I am celebrating Christmas for the first time at my house and of course I want to make an impression but alas my bank account isn’t really allowing me the freedom I’d like to make my house look amazing. So in true tight (and creative) fashion I have decided to use things that are readily available and free…..nature.

I have been amazed at how much inspiration I’ve got from just walking around my local neighbourhood. On my daily walk I came across gum tree branches and gum nuts and decided these would make perfect Australiana decorations (minus the spiders!).fullsizerender

I thought the gum tree branches would make a beautiful centerpiece either as they are or paired with some cheap bling so I added some sparkly copper ribbon that was $3 from Woolworths and hey presto I’ve made my first Christmas decoration and it cost me next to nothing.

I decided my centerpiece needed some colour with it seeing its Christmas so I added some greenery to the scene using succulents. They’re easy to maintain and almost impossible to kill. They also seems to grow in abundance at my place and around my neighbourhood (yes I am that person that carries scissors in their bag for such an occasion that I might need an off cut from someone’s yard or to steal the whole bush 🙂 fullsizerender1

My cheap bling also came in handy for decorating the Christmas tree. I never realised that my husband was so anally retentive on the decorating of a tree (and I thought I was obsessed with interior decorating!). He decided that tinsel was tacky and that he would make his own by cutting the ribbon into thin strips and using alternate colours in gold, silver and copper to spritz it up. Apart from the mess he made it looks pretty good.fullsizerender2

Don’t feel like you can’t have the best looking space this Christmas because purse strings are tight, it’s amazing what a bit of everyday inspiration from mother nature, some cheap shiny ribbon and double sided tape can do.

Be brave and get creative.

 

 

Ambition v Motherhood

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the phrase “do what you love” and it got me thinking about the bigger picture of what do I want for my life? When I first started this blog it was a chance for me to conquer my fears and do something for myself aside from being a mum.  I’ve always had the ambition to write but never quite had the courage to express myself in such a public forum.  I’ve realised that I love the freedom writing gives me, it’s not only an outlet but people seem to enjoy it which makes me so happy. But then there’s the voice in my head that says “but you love being a mum as well?”

It’s true I love both, they both bring me such happiness although one is a lot less messier! Whilst I write this my son is furiously eating peanut butter toast, intent on getting it everywhere but his mouth! I know I should be paying attention to him but I can’t help myself wanting to do something for me. It got me thinking about the larger life question that I’m sure many women face, ambition versus motherhood – can we have both?

I want to believe yes. I see plenty of women who have successful careers in doing what they love and raising a family. I don’t doubt that women can do it all because after all we are warriors, but what has to give? Many people say that if you’re focused too much on your career or ambitions then you mustn’t be focused on your kids. I can understand the sentiment but I think it’s all dependent on how much focus you put into each. It also depends on time and how much you have of it. I have read books that say you create time for the things you love and it’s true you do but somehow kids, especially babies seem to eat time and you find the only moment you have to yourself is when the little buggers are sleeping which may also be never!

So is it possible to do both, in short yes. It might take me longer to achieve my goals because most of my focus is on motherhood right now but I’m okay with that. Do I think I will be able to make a career for myself doing something I love – hell yeah!

I was comparing ambition and motherhood in my head and realised that the two aren’t dissimilar. Raising a child is hard, achieving your goals is challenging but neither is impossible.

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.

 

A moment of gratitude

By far being a mother is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Today as I write this my head is heavy and I feel like the bags under my eyes are half way down my face. I know I’m exhausted and I feel like I haven’t slept in years. There are times when I think that I can’t do this. I often wonder how single mothers cope alone and I admit I have a huge amount of respect for them, they deserve a medal!

In among the tears, sleepless nights and sometimes offensively disgusting nappy changes there are moments of absolute joy and yesterday was one of these.

As I sat in a cafe with my son I could see that he was looking at something behind us.  I turned to see that he was smiling at two elderly ladies. As I got up to leave one of the ladies commented on what a beautiful baby I had and asked if I would mind if her 94 year old mother could see him up close. She commented that she didn’t have any children of her own and that her mother loved babies and would be so happy if she could just touch his hand.

I was happy to oblige and sat Gus down in front of the older lady and watched as she studied his face and stroked his hand. He flashed her one of his biggest smiles and tears welled up in her eyes.

It was priceless to see the look of happiness on her face and all it took was the smile from a baby. She was so grateful and kept thanking me for allowing it; it was humbling to know that such a small act of kindness meant the world to someone else. It made me realize that although there are hard times, I appreciate that I get to see his smile every day and for this I am grateful.

Why are people such peanuts?

I seem to have a penchant for attracting crazy people. I don’t know what it is about me but I must have an invisible sign on me that says if you are mentally ill, opinionated and narrow-minded or generally bat shit crazy please come and talk to me. This has gotten worse since having a baby.

Today I was shopping for nappies in Aldi minding my own business when an elderly couple stopped me in the shop to stare into my pram. They asked me the usual questions – is it a boy or a girl (I think it’s obvious), how old is he, is he your first? They didn’t particularly look crazy except for the lady having pink hair but I think that was more of a bad hair dye choice rather than her being quirky. The man then proceeded with this statement, “I can’t believe the people who abort babies. Look at this baby, he is so cute, how could someone abort such a beautiful thing, they must be sick in the head!”

I looked at him thinking, why the hell are you telling me this?! But more so I was thinking hold your tongue because I was boiling up inside. Abortion is a topic that I feel very strongly about as I believe it is the choice of the individual and no one else. There are many reasons why people choose to do this and it is no ones right to neither criticise nor judge them. I looked at him and decided to choose my words carefully, “I don’t believe it is a black and white situation” is all I said so that I could end the conversation and walk away. Then the lady chimed in with, “Donald Trump says….” Anyone who starts a conversation with that sentence is a nutter in my opinion!!! :” She continued, “Donald Trump said that if the democrats get in they’re going to allow women to have abortions up to 9 months”.

Firstly that opinion is crazy and secondly it would never be allowed, it is medically unsafe and I’m sure a completely fabricated lie, but instead of yelling that in their faces I decided to keep my cool and respond with, “do you believe everything you hear?”

The rest of the conversation is not even worth my time typing because by that stage I was just trying to think about how I could escape. Thankfully my son Gus must have detected that mummy was about to lose her shit so he did what babies do best, a massive explosive poo!

Thankfully that was my exit out and to be honest I was happier changing his shit than listening to the rest of theirs.

New beginnings

For such a long time I’ve wanted to write but I’ve always put it off because I didn’t feel I had anything interesting or important to say.

I realize that all my life I’ve been afraid to put myself out there encase I fail, i worry that I’m not experienced enough or funny enough or inspirational enough but I realize that its not about any of that, it’s about trying.

I had an epiphany  whilst cleaning the toilet ( I know strange place to have one?) but I realized that if I have one regret in life it isn’t going to be failing it’s going to be not trying.

I have an 8 month old son now whose happy and healthy and I worried before he arrived that I wasn’t going to be able to be a mother, I was scared of what I didn’t know but I look at him now and realize that I am doing it, every day.

I have decided that from this moment on I am going to work at not letting fear get the better of me and do things for myself that serve my heart and not be stopped by the noise in my head.

If nothing else this is my chance to do what I love and write about what matters to me and if I inspire or make someone smile along the way then it will all be worth it.

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