Tips for travelling with kids

Motherhood
Ready for our interstate trip.

Before kids, hubby and I would travel a lot. Fast forward to two kids later and the debarkle of Covid, we still have the travel bug in us and more alive than ever. Typically, we would travel internationally 1-2 times a year for 2-5 weeks and 2-3 interstate trips in between with the kids.

I know many parents hesitate travelling with children but I cannot reiterate it enough – it is worth ALL of it. From long flights, jet lag, lack of sleep, flight delays, tantrums and navigating unknown terrain, I still stand by the decision to book that holiday and just go! It is extremely eye opening for the kids, they absolutely love it and once you are all in the groove of things, the holiday fun really begins. I also notice how quickly and much my children learn in new environments compared to being at home.

Since travel is back on the cards for many families and after recently returning from a trip, I thought I would finally jot down some of my tips whilst they are still fresh in my mind.

Tips

  • Get the kids involved and let them pack a few of their own items such as a favourite toy or book
  • Start popping a few things in the luggage a few days earlier before going e.g. nappies, wipes
  • Pack the chargers to your technology in your carry on bags
  • Always bring leak proof bento boxes for snacks.
  • Leave the pram and bring a stroller. Personally my favourite is the self folding stroller from Chicco or the Baby Zen Yo-yo which we have always been able to wheel right onto the plane for both domestic and international flights as it folds compactly into the overhead
  • Book self contained apartments – you have the ability to cook, wash your clothes, get fresh air and the kids have extra space. There is also usually a pool area where the kids can swim too.
  • Pack a pack of nappies and wipes in your main luggage and then buy as you need at your destination.
  • Four wheeler luggage’s will change your life
  • Hire the baby seats in the car – it saves a lot of hassle and hands transporting and installing them when you already have your hands full with unpredictable moods
  • Buy toiletry bags which have a hook to hang in the bathroom – this is more hygienic and they can be high enough out of your child’s reach
  • Don’t forget to pack Panadol for the whole family and antihistamine. Pack any other medications you might need like an epipen, gastro stop, hydralyte sachets etc
  • Bring a few unscented doggy bag rolls – these plastic bags are great for soiled clothing, rubbish etc.
  • Buy TSA approved travel sized toiletries or bring ones where you know you have enough to finish them on the trip and not have to bring back
  • Call accomodation in advance for a high chair or organise high chair hire
  • Call accomodation in advance for a cot or organise one possibly for hire.
  • Consider if you need the carrier. Personally I loved my Baby Dink for early days and the Ergo 360 for when baby was bigger. I took it all the time with me. Also great for countries which are highly pebbled or steep where a pram cannot be used e.g. the Amalfi Coast
  • Lollipops for when you a desperate – helps to pop the ears, takes them a while to eat
  • Make sure the spare battery pack is fully charged
  • Put all technology in one bag so when they do flight screening that it can all be easily layed out and quickly put back in e.g. tablets, phones, laptops, aerosols, liquids
  • Use a clear bag for things you need to find easily like sunscreen, water bottles, wipes etc.
  • If flying with a toddler try to pick the night flights as they will likely sleep and you will all get some rest. Otherwise try to time take off around nap time so you can give baby breast or bottle to sleep and this take off feed also helps to unblock the ears during take off
  • Know which toilet on the flight has the change table
  • Stoke Jetset Luggage – coverts the seat to a bed for sleep – check with the airline though if this can go on before bringing it. Many airlines take it but some don’t. It is painful to bring though if your child doesn’t ride on it though.
  • Opt for a baby bag which can slide onto a luggage handle. I use this one and code TRIBEOFWUWU may still work for 20% off.

Flight entertainment for toddlers

  • Download a range of episodes of your child’s favourite shows. Note that Netflix has a limit so remove any old downloaded episodes to make room for the new ones. My kids like Transformers, Cocomelon and Number Blocks (for now 🤪).
  • Bring them headphones so they have the option to listen to music or watch TV. If possible noise cancellation ones are great for those a little scared of flying and they help them to sleep too by blocking the plane noise. Also they can hear what they are watching which is more educational whilst not annoying others.
  • Download some favourite songs, games and books. Some positive screen time apps are Reading Eggs and Osmo.
  • Bring a quiet book.
  • Stickers to your child’s interests
  • Party Play-Doh – many colours
  • Activity books and sticker books – dinosaurs, princesses, first sticker book of the zoo, Bluey, Letter Tracing,
  • Magic water colouring books are easy as all you need is water. Great for the plane or whilst you’re waiting for food – machines, dinosaurs, animals, mermaids
  • Overpack the snacks – you just never know when there might be a delay and if you have a child with allergies like mine, it is often hard to find food (esp. in a foreign country or area) until you settle in there a bit or if unlucky, the delay is when everything is closed. I like to pack bananas, mandarins, raisins, apples, chips.
  • A soft toy
  • Wind up crayons (no sharpening required)

I’ll have another blog post up soon on things I pack into my onboard luggage, baby bag, main luggage and items that you must not forget to bring! I hope these tips have been deemed useful to some of my fellow travel families out there.

Have a wonderful holiday and travel safe! Please do let me know how your holidays went and if these tips were helpful!

With love,

Alana xx

John and Luna

Interviews

I first stumbled across T’s account through one of her brand reps and was instantly drawn to her warmth, gratitude to her followers and motivation. Her beautiful jewellery is all hand made using sterling silver, gold or rose gold and using only AAA quality pearls. It was so nice to find out that she was also a fellow Sydney-sider as well. I love how she is now pursuing her business full time after quitting her day job but most of all, I love the story behind why she started John and Luna. Code ALANA10 will take 10% off your purchase for 48 hours only!

Tell me a little bit about yourself. What don’t we know?

Hi! My name is Teresa and I am the owner of John and Luna a small jewellery brand based in the North West of Sydney! Something you don’t know is that I had a youtube channel years ago where I would sing and play guitar! The channel is still on youtube..

How did the idea of your business come about? What do you do?

I love jewellery but I get really bored very easily, When I was younger, I used to tear my jewellery apart and make an entire new piece! I didn’t ever think I would be starting a jewellery business! The idea came about 4 years ago when I lost my father, making jewellery became a form of therapy for me to keep his memory alive, it kept me going through the darkest time of my life.

How many hours do you work? What does a typical day look like for you?

I can’t count the hours I work a day haha! I am literally working all the time! A typical day would be going straight to my computer and check all my emails and try my best to reply to all of them, then I would start processing orders that would entail making jewellery, packing, going to the post office! In between processing orders, I will update our website, edit photos and create content for social media. Being a one woman show can get a little crazy sometimes! 

What has been the most satisfying moment for your business so far?

The most satisfying moment is everyday when I see amazing women from all over the world wearing John and Luna, that makes my day every day!

How do you define success?

There isn’t one definition for success, I truly believe it’s different for everyone! For me it’s seeing amazing women choosing to wear John and Luna, that in itself is success to me. 

Are there any new designs coming up? Any hints of what may come next?

Haha! I have a lot of people asking me this… the answer is a yes… but unfortunately I won’t be giving any hints – it’s top secret!

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

My Mum. She also owns a small business and she is the hardest working woman I know. She has taught me everything I know about business and I can’t thank you enough for her wisdom. 

What is your greatest fear and how do you manage it?

My greatest fear is the unknown. I hate not knowing how things will turn out but it’s a part of life that I am slowly starting to accept!

Where do you go on a night out?

I don’t really go out but when I do I like to go out for dinners with my friends. I don’t have a particular place I go to, I like to try everything!

If you had unlimited resources for your business, what would you do?

I would set up a physical store, something I have always dreamt of!

Easy Cherry Jam

Food

This is a three ingredient jam recipe. Yes, you read that right – only three ingredients making this a super easy jam recipe! I’ve always wanted to make my own jam. I would research and then put it in the too hard basket. Over Christmas we received a surplus amount of cherries as gifts and there was no way we could finish them all before they went bad. With the extra set of helping hands over the Christmas period, I thought it was time to give this jam recipe a crack and my goodness – it was SO easy and delicious too! It wasn’t sugar filled sweet like the supermarket jams and the fresh fruit makes a huge difference towards the taste (plus my kids love it). Anyways, I’ll stop rambling as you’re here for the recipe after all – Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 Cups Fresh Cherries

2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar (you can use honey or sugar as well)

2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds

To Make

Rinse and pit cherries.

Place the pitted cherries into a pot and cook for 7 minutes on medium heat.

Stir the cherries gently and mash with a fork to desired consistency.

Stir in the agave nectar.

Stir in the chia seeds.

Pour the jam into a sterilised jar and allow to cool before refrigerating.

Tips

  • Cherries can be supplemented with any other seasonal berries
  • Agave nectar is found near honey or sugar at the supermarket. Honey or sugar can be also be used instead of agave nectar
  • If jam is still runny after cooling down, you can add a little more chia seed to thicken to your liking
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freezer for 3 months

Becoming a family of four

Motherhood
Our Little Tribe – First Family Photo of the Four of Us

I have been meaning to write this blog for you for SO long now. As I sit here and reflect on the past 12 weeks, tears fill my eyes with so many emotions. I cannot believe our littlest member to our tribe, Avery is already 12 weeks old! Yes, you read that right! It honestly feels like we had him yesterday. This week, Avery also ticked off the milestone of rolling from his front to his back which I was so excited for but then suddenly realised he has grown and developed so much already.

We had always known that we wanted more than one child and it was when Spencer turned 18 months, we were ready for another baby. This pregnancy was completely different. I initially had some bleeding at the beginning and thought we might of lost him, he was breech until 35 weeks, then hubby lost his grandfather in the peak of Covid-19 lockdowns in Shanghai, China and then 12 weeks later, I lost my grandfather in the peak of Covid-19 restrictions in Sydney, Australia. We took their passings very hard and it made us treasure our family so much more and honestly, Avery has been the light that has kept us going in this crappy year as we had something to look forward to. We were also so excited to have two boys – brothers! When we were waiting on the gender reveal, I never quite understood why people would make comments such as “hope you have a girl” because we would have been thrilled with either sex but honestly, I was even more thrilled to have two boys! I just always felt like I would be a boy mama and here we are!

Our littlest member, Avery.

Following suit of is brother, Avery went past his due date and was induced. Little did we know I was already in labour on our induction day, that he would be delivered in two and a half hours and that our little pork chop would weigh a meaty 3.7kgs! I was so damn proud that he was such a good weight as I never expected him to be 600 grams bigger than his brother!

I had never been away from my oldest son, Spencer and due to Covid-19 restrictions, he wasn’t able to visit me in hospital. I wasn’t sure if Spencer understood the whole pregnancy and a new sibling arriving when I was pregnant but looking back now, he definitely did. We talked to Spencer about his brother, read books to him and even gave some gifts to sweeten the deal of a new sibling arriving and when we introduced Avery to him, he was so excited (and to have mum home too of course)! Even now, Spencer is very affectionate towards Avery, tries to play with him and shares his toys. I expected some jealousy but there hasn’t been any thankfully but Spencer does demand for our time. On other occasions he will say “Mum, Avery crying…go” which breaks my heart that he knows I have someone else I need to care for but at the same time so incredibly proud that I am raising such a caring and nurturing young man. In another year, I imagine they will be the best of friends and fighting heaps too!

Adjusting to being a family of four has been hard for me – the first six weeks particularly. I was learning how to navigate between two kids and also Avery is so different to Spencer as a baby. Spencer was mix fed due to tongue tie issues where Avery is exclusively breastfed (meaning all the feeds are on me). Spencer would also wake/play/feed to sleep, where Avery likes to wake/feed/play/sleep. Not only that, Avery likes to be held during day sleeps, whereas Spencer would happily sleep in his own cot.

I remember reading a post on Instagram where someone asked for votes on whether they found it harder going from 0-1 kids or 1-2 kids. I was surprised to see most mums found it harder going from 0-1 kids! I wouldn’t change anything as I love being a mum but boy juggling two kids was a different ball game – especially with Spencer’s high energy levels! I felt guilty for not being able to spend the same amount of 1-1 time with Spencer and the chores were piling up. I had little time left to spend with hubby and no time to myself. Resting when the baby does isn’t an option either with a toddler around! So unless you have a nanny, a gardener, a cook, someone to do your laundry, dishes and the list goes on… there will always be the mess and chores around. There are no perfect mothers.

There will be days where your children have tantrums, days where you don’t want to parent, wonder what you have gotten yourself into, where you doubt yourself, where you feel guilty, feel like you shouldn’t have yelled at your kids and done everything you can but still nothing is working and nothing is getting ticked off from the to do list. All these emotions and feelings are normal. It is ok to feel overwhelmed. I think being a second time around mum, you know there is light in the tunnel as you have been through it before and we get through it. Parenting is challenging, it is hard, it is filled with emotions but so worth it. Despite the hardest days where I am so emotionally and mentally drained just wanting to get the kids in bed, when they finally are, I end up finding myself looking at photos of them. Then I cannot wait for them to wake up to start the next day to do it all over again. It is a crazy ride! No two days are the same.

I have learnt to prioritise which one of the boys needs tending to first, to go a little easier on myself and not to worry too much about the chores as it’s not the memories the boys will remember and not how tidy the house was. I have never looked back and regretted that the house wasn’t tidy enough.

They say it goes all too quickly and it truly does. Forget about the laundry pile and soak in those newborn cuddles and smell. Leave the cleaning and instead look at those little baby movements – those stretches, those little hands wrapped around yours and tickle those little tiny feet. Before you know it, they will be running away from you and no longer babies. I’ll be holding on extra tight to my boys and soaking it all in – You just never know when these moments become memories.

Porridge shawl by G.H. Hurt & Sons.

Photography by Sarah Mei Photography and Alana Wu

Rocky Road

Food

Rocky road is one of the easiest treats to make and so often a crowd pleaser. My toddler also loves helping me make this recipe. It is also easy to transport for special occasions or can make the perfect gift which has been made with love. This rocky road is nut and egg free* yet has so much texture with each bite – lots of crunch and chew!

Ingredients

500g melted chocolate
Marshmallows (quartered)
Desiccated coconut (2 cups)
Digestive biscuits (crushed)
Red liquorice twists (sliced)
Edible flowers (optional)

To Make

Cut up all ingredients, place into a tray with baking paper and mix. Melt chocolate, transfer to tray and mix. Place tray in the fridge to set for an hour, take out from the fridge, cut into small squares and you’re done!

* Please always check the ingredients label for allergens