Category: Babies

04
Apr

Can you take a toddler to the Maldives?

Yep. And you can do it very cheaply if they fit into your suitcase and are good at being quiet.

I jest! I jest. Luggage restrictions are so tight these days that it would actually cost more to pop your kid into your Samsonite than pay for his or her seat. (Also, where will all of your vacation Crocs go?)

It’s a valid question.

Last year we went to the Maldives – a destination typically thought of as being a Honeymoon destination, a lover’s paradise, a rekindle-the-flame getaway, and the perfect place to renew your vows or propose.

In short: couples, not multiples.

But while the bulk of resorts in the Maldives are perfectly and expertly crafted to exclusively accommodate couples, featuring the kind of luxurious over-water bures that would give any parent a heart attack, extremely sophisticated fine dining, and not a single Pixar offering on the in-house movie menu, what you may not know is that many resorts and islands in the Maldives, (an increasing number, in fact) understand that some families actually like each other enough to want to holiday together, and it can be terrifically bonding and the genesis of life-long memories.

And it’s no longer just the super swanky 5-star resorts, either: from nannies, to kids clubs, kids-only pools, and healthy, fresh menus for children, if you do your research, you’ll discover you can take the family to the Maldives, and if you’re clever, still thieve a respectable amount of couple time, too. (Bandos and Kurumba are among the better-priced resorts with kids clubs.)

Read the full article here.

But not here.

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Responses to this drivel: 2 Comments
18
Nov

I love my kid’s bedroom.

He does too.

And he’d bloody want to, I put a lot of work into it!!

And by ‘I’ I mean, ‘Nicole Rosenberg from Little Liberty‘.

Nicole contacted me asking if I needed a hand setting up Sonny’s room in our new house, and I of course said yes. I’m no dumdum!  She is good at this stuff. A proper professional person. I would procrastinate over paint swatches for two years if left to my own devices.

We had some good bones to start with: lovely new carpet, a great size room, my beloved Ubabub pod cot and booksees and a few bits and pieces, but Nicole quickly took my very rudimentary vision (animals, blues and greys with pops of bright, modern, simple, something that can grow with him and that isn’t too baby-ish, no giant holes in the floor he can fall into) and started throwing ideas at me.

I contributed some references of stuff I liked and found on Tumblr/Pinterest, but it was very much Nicole who did the heavy lifting, sourcing my whims or bringing in her own ideas. I loved her references and suggestions, she has an incredible brain full of kids brands and products, and she set to work finding obscure paper mache animal heads from the UK, and hand knitted light pendants, and breathtaking wallpaper from France. Because really, if your one year-old doesn’t have wallpaper from France THEN WHO ARE YOU, YOU GODAMN SCUM BAG.

It’s very similar to my room as a young child, except for the two other siblings, bunk bed, bubble gum stuck on the bedheads, several headless Barbies, and a wall full of Bros and Bon Jovi posters care of my big sister.

Here, take a look for yourself, you big perve!

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Pod cot from Ubabub, Hedgehog, Knitted yellow stool from Anthropologie, Crocodile and Squirrel wool soft toys by Sara Carr Digital Cow Hide rug from Amigos De Hoy.

 

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Animal wallpaper mural by Bien Fait, wooden toy store from Oeuf, chest of drawers from Troll, Follow Me Lamp by Marset at Designstuff (I love these for outside at night – they are USB charged touch lamps with brass and wood).

 

ikpgVZouz9lxeXMnC4vs-Je_yUC1VyKm3PEoxUJuh2kHand knitted pendants (custom size and colours) from Stephanie Ng Design.

 

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Australia shelf from One Two Tree, wooden animals from Leave It To Leslietree branch hooks from This Is Extraordinary, custom felt garland from Hello Henley.

 

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Bambi stool (eeep! ready-made heirloom) by Takeshi Sawada for Elements Optimal Denmark at Top3 by Design, leopard cot quilt set from And The Rest, framed tomato and pear prints from Norsu Interiors,
Lucky Boy Sunday soft toy (in cot) from Talo Interiors.

 

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Cute boy, by Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster Blake.

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Booksee shelves from Ubabub, paper mache heads (made to order) from Abigail Brown Art, books from everywhere. Fun fact: the clever sausage who designs all my books and also did Go-To, Allison Colpoys, illustrated that lovely book in there centre there, The Underwater Fancy-dress Parade, by Davina Bell, which I love, and which made my cry.

 

hclpMoJzx69BLjsOB9W755ntY4PAfb7kPCqDqJaSA2Q,bc_Y4cDBsVeFhMVEWo12UzAmk7jt7l3NV4oOk_C-M_QAs mothers and business owners, sometimes it’s just nice to sit down and play with your animals for a moment, you know?

All photos by Jeremy Blode, and with thanks to Little Liberty, and bye for now.

Responses to this drivel: 5 Comments
12
Nov

How to pack for a beach holiday with a baby.

It’s easier than packing for a beach holiday with a pet tiger, I suppose, but there’re still some challenges. And by challenges, I mean: suitcase space. Once I’d packed all of his stuff, I just squeezed in one sandal and a swimsuit for me.

It’s different depending on the baby’s age, obviously. This time last year we went to Europe for a month and all we really needed to pack was some clothes, a few colourful, rattly toys and my boobs.

This time he was 13 months old, eating normal food and wanes of toys in 20 seconds. And so, here’s how we chilly Melbourne cats packed for our magic trip to the Maldives with our teeny, non-verbal little buddy:

What I packed for baby

Swim pants (I prefer these over swim nappies, although I packed a few swim nappies too) plus a full body UV 50 rashie/swimsuit because sunscreening a baby is about as easy as pushing toothpaste back into the tube. (I like the Babes in the Shade ones as they’re cute and don’t feature angry animated sharks.) Sandals and walking shoes, a wide brim UV 50 hat with chin cord, and a cap. Assorted shorts and t-shirts and onesies… enough for one outfit a day and a few spares. (Special nod to Pure Baby’s little summer onesies.) I packed several Bonds Wondersuits because we adults had the air con at night, so these PJs ensured he’d stay warm.

Read the rest of this piece on Expedia, whom I wrote it for because I’ve tricked them into thinking I know heaps about travel, here.

Read about when to use the word ‘whom’ and when to use ‘who’ here.

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Responses to this drivel: 1 Comment
17
Aug

Gained a baby, lost my curls.

I’ve Googed it, and it’s a thing: you can lose your curls when you have a baby.

For a while I was in denial. I couldn’t believe that my curly hair had just racked off for ever. No more waves. No more bounce. No more texture. Just hair that was foreign to me: straight (but not the good straight – limp straight), thin, lank and completely unresponsive to the products and styling that used to boss it around so perfectly. Every morning it felt like I had used a super heavy conditioning treatment the night before.

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My pre-baby hair.

Baffled, I began to idiotically point fingers at the Bhave keratin smoothing treatment I had just before I had Sonny, in May 2014.  I emailed the lovely crew at Bhave in December, frustrated with the weird wig on my head.

Keep in mind that Bhave, like all keratin treatments, is temporary, and washes out in about three months, so I was really going out on a limp little limb of feasibility here:

“Ummm guys, the keratin seems to really love my hair… it is hanging about and making my hair flat and lank and heavy? I’m confused and wondering what you might advise? I keep cutting my hair shorter in the hope it will grow out…”

Also keep in mind I am a dingus and had no idea what was really going on and they were very polite despite the fact that what I was suggesting was impossible.

They sent me their prep shampoo which would strip the keratin out… but by then I had:

A)  Waltzed into Edwards and Co and had a big snip because I thought that would definitely stop the problem, and,

B) Been educated on said trip to Edwards and Co about what pregnancy hormones do to hair texture.

In short: they really fuck with them.

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The Big Snip. God it felt good. Like a re-birth after being in the baby fog for six months. Highly recommend it.

Oh yes, we all know about gaining hair as we grow the baby, and losing it once we stop breastfeeding it, but what of the texture change? WHAT OF THE TEXTURE CHANGE?

I’m not the first mum to notice a complete change of hair, nor are big hormonal hair changes a new phenomenon: I had a friend at school who had straight hair until 13 and then it went bonkers corkscrew curly. It was fantastic. She was impossibly beautiful. It all just worked. Ditto the boy who had the opposite: wild curls until high school and then just, nothing. Simple, straight, normal hair. I think he was relieved.

I understand now that hormones mess with the shape of the follicle, (shape determines curly or straight hair), and babies are completely worth it, but it is annoying. It’s as though I am starting again after decades of knowing and understanding my texture and unique hair idiosyncrasies. I am supposed to be an expert in beauty and hair and shit, but now have the styling skills of a salmon, and hair that is way too much work.

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My post-baby straight, floppy hair. And the cute little culprit. (Maybe all my curls went into his mega curl.)

I have bought a new curling tong, and cleared out my entire styling kit, (especially all the curl boosting stuff, the heavy creams, the frizz fighting stuff, the oils, and the straightening balms), now relying on volume boosting mousse and texture sprays and volume powder to try and mimic the old natural texture and grip (oh man is grip something I took for granted: now nothing holds in my stupid slippery hair: not curls, not waves, not styles, not bobby pins, not nothing. I may as well have hair that is made of washing up detergent.) I don’t use conditioner, it’s way too heavy, (I use R+Co One Prep Spray instead which protects against heat styling and gives some grip and texture) and I have an unhealthy reliance on my poor hair stylist Lauren to product some texture, any texture, with highlights and crafty cutting. I am several postcodes from wash and go, in fact I am in the next country.

Perhaps it’s karma for complaining about my curls since I was a zygote.

For having it permanently straightened.

For using ghds daily for two years straight when I was 24.

Some say the curls will come back, that it can take up to 18 months. Some say my next pregnancy might swing me back the other way. And some* say curls are for dumdums anyway.

I say Sonny owes me some godamn curls and he’s not getting any pocket money til they’re back.

 

Here are some links on this topic: here’s an NPR one, an anecdotal one, and a forum one.
Here are some links not on this topic: frog spirit animals, a very funny film clip, and delicious peanut butter mug cake.

*No one.

 

Responses to this drivel: 44 Comments
19
May

The baby stuff we use a LOT.

You buy and you try a lot of shit when you have a baby. It’s a confusing, expensive, strange new world, not least because the baby changes entirely every few minutes and you need to upgrade your tech and also your brain and habits and routines and life accordingly.

Alas, despite the furious speed in which our fun little son insists on developing, and his desire to “keep growing,” this is the shit we have really REALLY used. I wish I had this list before I had Sonny, because as you know, I live for recommendations, and wander the streets confused and scared without them.

It doubles, I suppose, as a list for those needing to buy something for someone about to have a baby.

A bottle drying station

This is great for drying off bottles and dummies and stuff, but also a magnificent wine glass drying station. Anything Boon we own – plates, bowls, bath toys, original bathtub before he grew out of it at about 10 days old – is intelligently and practically designed and fun to look at. They are some of my favourite things in a company/life.

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Terry towelling bath support thingy

We came too late to the party on this, using our slippery, stupid, panicked, incompetent hands for weeks before I bought this funny little tezzo towel ramp for Sonny to lay on and own bath time like the boss he is. Made bath time a lot easier and a lot less scary. We used it until he could sit up competently.

 

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White noise

White noise is a powerful sleep cue for Sonny. I first learned about it while reading about the 5 S’s in The Happiest Baby On The Block. (That was about as far as I got before I threw it and the seven other baby books in a huge fictional bonfire because they were doing my head in. The 5 S’s though, I think they work.) Sonny has white noise on for every nap and all night. Just lightly, about the volume of a shower. I used to literally use ‘white noise’, until I realized the aggressive hissing was making me FUCKING INSANE. I switched to ocean waves on this cute whale sound machine, which was far more calming. We usually pack Whale with us when we travel, or I just use my iPad in flight mode with the White Noise app. (The app is by TM Soft, to help you find it on app store, cos there are a tonne of shitty ones). Whale also has projections, which we reserve for night time to dazzle him as we try to put his wriggly, porcine, delicious frame in his PJS after bath time and he wants to be about 10 metres away, playing with something like a power socket or pair of scissors.

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Lamby

My friend Bron gave me this plush baby mat at my baby shower. “It’s ugly as fuck but God it’s useful,” she said. BOY WAS SHE RRRRITE. We used it the day he came home from hospital as a little mat, and are still using it now he’s one. (I keep it in the bathroom, he lays on it before and after the bath, giggling and nude and jacked up on heat lights and nudity.) I tell all new parents to get one. So useful.

 

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Love to Dream swaddle suits

If swaddling at 3am in a dark nursery after a feed, a 45-minute burping session and an explosive shit becomes frustrating, jam your darling into these awesome little suits instead. They’re nice and tight so baby feels snug and safe, and they allow their hands to rest safely up high where they want them to be, but without their fingers poking into their eyes and mouth and waking them up. Sonny was in his for every, single, nap from about two weeks old. When the hands became an issue (i.e: he was waking himself up by smacking them into his face) at about three months, we would tuck them down and zip him up. We didn’t bother with the 50/50 suits, we just went straight to a sleeping bag, with a wrap over the top to lock his hands down. Sounds barbaric, but so is being kept awake all night by a confused infant.

 

JJ Cole change clutch

This little changemat roll thingy has been all around the world with us, it has enabled us to change nappies in the pram, on floors and with a whisper of hygiene in planes. I’m not one for a nappy bag, preferring to instead chuck this into my usual tote. It holds wipes and nappies and I jam some nappy bags in there, and we’re done. I love this godamn change mat wrap thingy.

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Como Tomo bottles

Made to be squishy like a boob, these clever, silicone bottles are the only bottle Sonny will use. Fussy little rat. If your baby is a fussy little rat, try the Como Tomo. (They also make brilliant ‘finger’ style teething rings. They are clever company, like Boon.) I give them to as many mums as possible to ‘show them the light.’

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Infant’s Friend

From about two weeks old, babies are gassy little monsters. Their digestive system is not very sophisticated yet, and after feeds it can take a lo-o-o-o-ong time to get that burp out, or that wind to pass. Sonny was a sweet, hungry pig and I had a jet like flow so he would always take in a lot of air, which would lead to up to two hours of bicycle legs and massage at 3am and near insanity for all of us. Like all puzzled, deranged new parents we worried it might be reflux, colic etc, but for Sonny it was just gas. Then a fellow mum recommended Infant’s Friend (all natural, buy from the chemist) for the wind, and we started giving it to him, and IT REALLY HELPED. We still use it now before and after flights and to calm him when he’s teething and pissed off.

Baby Bjorn bouncer

I had three friends tell me to buy this; that were was no substitute. I agree I agree I agree. Sonny could snooze in there from birth, and then, as he got bigger, I propped it against the couch and he used his feet to push off and bounce himself, squealing with delight. That this would give me a precious 20 mins of emailing or laundry or pole dancing; whatever Mum Stuff I needed to do.

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Bonds Wondersuits

As ‘clothes’ up until about seven months, then as ‘PJs’ when he began to look a bit ridiculous in a tight all-in-one in public. We didn’t understand that the arms and legs fold over to make socks or mittens until Sonny was about a month old, which is embarrassing, but worth revealing if it helps others.

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Baby Bjorn travel cot light

Not the cheapest travel cot, but since we travel A LOT, I could justify it. Other great reasons to justify it: It folds up instantly into a tiny suitcase (6kg), it’s a cinch to pack and unpack, it’s super safe, and there is loads of ventilation. It’s a ripper.

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GAIA Natural Baby Powder

All organic, made from cornstarch, and known in our house as The Great Eczema stopper. We slightly panic when we run out of it. A lot of people make their own, but we um, don’t, because we’re us.

 A thick piece of black material

Just from spotlight. We use this to black out the window in Sonny’s room so it’s completely dark and he is not woken by 5am sunlight, we use it and some gaffa tape to keep light out of the bassinet on international flights (and also to cover windows in hotel rooms), and we use it over the pram when we want him to sleep (also usually when travelling.) It’s the best $4 we ever spent. This photo is the material attached (very stylishly) to the blind in Sonny’s room while we were in NZ. Please do a better job than us of this.

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I can’t think of anything else right now, but am hoping that other mums will add their essentials, and then we’ll have this sensational directory of Very Useful Baby Stuff, because if anyone needs some help and direction as to what will make life easier, it’s new parents.

Sloths also need some help and direction, I imagine, because they are slow and finding food and shelter would take AGES, but I’m just focusing on new parents for now.

Responses to this drivel: 75 Comments
12
Feb

Sometimes you just want someone to tell you which pram to get.

I bloody did.

I asked EVERYONE. (Especially Mr Barry Von Google.)

I got some very detailed and thoughtful responses from friends that are mums, ranging from, “Get the Silvercross Wayfarer, I’ve had a Bugaboo and this is way better,” to “Bugaboo. End of story,” to “Shit, I dunno, I think we have a Phil and Ted and a Mountain Buggy, but honestly it doesn’t matter, they’re just gonna trash it anyway, and they all do the same thing,” to “DEFINITELY a Mountain Buggy, they are amazing,” to “Oh, totally the Baby Jogger, we love ours,” to “Whatever one you choose MAKE SURE YOU CAN ATTACH A CARSEAT.”

I took all of their advice and ended up in a pool of my own sweat and vomit, shivering. Of all the things I obsessed over as a pregnant woman who stayed up too late on her iPad, the pram consumed the most time. (That and the dresser change table. Went with this one. It’s wonderful.)

Next I went to A Big Baby Store and had a play round. What a ridiculous expedition that was. All prams have great suspension and terrific handling on soft vinyl flooring without a baby in them. Plus, no offence to That Big Baby Store but the staff were EXTREMELY EXASPERATING. Any pram I asked about was “really good, people seem to really like it,” and that was the end of it.

But in a way, I guess they’re right. Most prams these days are pretty great. They share a lot of snazzy features and you’d be pretty hard pressed to find a complete lemon. It comes down to what you will use it for, really. Friends of mine just bought the Bugaboo Donkey cos they figure they know they’re having a second baby eventually, why not just cut to the chase? Other friends are mad runners and went for big Mountain Buggy three-wheeler all terrain beast. Others still wanted something tiny and manoeuvrable for their tiny apartment so went for the Stokke.

I’m indecisive at best and crave absolute and definitive recommendations, but had been given none that sat right. The problem was that we live urban day to day but travel a lot. Everywhere. Also, there are a million steps from my carport to the back door of our house, and for me to get a pram in and out of the car, and up those stairs (in the rain, possibly), with a injury and an enormous child each day was about as alluring as a kick in the face.

And so it transpired that we have two prams*. One for the house and daily walks using the front door, and one to keep in my car (and for long trips away that required more than an umbrella stroller) that was easily foldable for a small woman with a messed up hip.

I know. How greedy. But I love my prams equally, and find it difficult to recommend one or the other categorically.

There are a few differences that might sway you either way, (like, er, the price…) should you be in the market for a pram and have as much clue as the president of the No Clue society, like me.

Remember, this is my first child, and I have only really tried these two prams, so if you want reviews and recommendations from a load of mums, mums of five kids, on a load of different prams, there are four million other websites out there for you. But like I said, I love definitive recommendations, not a million choices and reasons and pros and cons.

 

THE BUGABOO CAMELEON 3

 

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LOOKS Such a good looking pram. Total hunk. I went navy blue, as above. So gorgeous.

NEWBORN APPROPRIATENESS The bassinet, which essentially became Sonny’s daytime bed for the first few months of his life, is magnificent. (His cot was upstairs. Too hard. Too lazy.) We once even, illegally since they’re not meant to sleep in the bassinet for more than 4 four hours at a time, let him sleep in it overnight when we stayed at someone’s house. The mattress is soft and padded and comfy, and you can wheel him around while he’s cosy and rugged up in his totally flatlay bed.

Snug as a bug in a (handknitted with love) rug in his Bugaboo bassinet. This was the scene of most days during the winter of 2014.

Snug as a bug in a (handknitted with love) rug in his Bugaboo bassinet. This was the scene of most days during the winter of 2014.

WHEELS It’s a four-wheeler and a delight to wheel around the streets. Not sure how the wheels would handle a rumbly, rugged walk.

ADJUSTABLE? SO adjustable. You can have baby face you or face out, in three positions of uprightness. (I only just let Sonny face out. It was a sad day.) You can have the little wheels or the big wheels at the front. You can have JUST the big wheels (for thick grass) and pull it along. Everything clicks in and out super easily. The belly bar/carry handle can just swing to one side, rather than needing to take it off. The handle can be raised up or down, which is terrific when you are five foot nada, and your husband is six three. Also, the seat can be pushed right up to the table so make it a high chair. This is great in cafes and most space saving indeed. This is a super mega versatile pramatron.

NAP-ABILITY? Excellent. The seat has three settings, and one is practically flat so Sonny sleeps in it fine, and the sun cover is suuuuper long on this model (Bugaboo had previously been chastised in the past for skimpy sun shades) so it covers him fully and makes it nice and dark.

FOLDABILITY It is very simple to break down and dismantle, and becomes very flat for the boot, but it becomes two pieces, (frame + bassinet/seat) which is a bit of a pain in the arse if you’re flying. There are easier prams to fold down.

WEIGHT Now now, a lady never tells! (Perfectly fine. Light.)

BRAKES Firm as, and up near the handlebar for ease. Strap for the wrist, also. My paranoid self likes this.

We wear a lot of blue in this family. This is a good or bad thing depending on how much you like to match your pram.

We wear a lot of blue in this family. This is a good or bad thing depending on how much you like to match your pram.

STORAGE The basket is a pain in the arse to access when the bassinet is on, but once you evolve to the seat (around four months for us I think) it’s VERY deep and most useful. I think my bike might be in there somewhere. Has drawstrings to keep it all out of view and safe if required.

LIFESPAN? From newborn to four years old.

COSTS Around $1400… depending on bundle and retailer and colour choice etc.

A VIDEO, MADAME?

 

 

 

THE BABY JOGGER CITY MINI GT
City Mini GT Sand Stone

 

LOOKS A slick, very compact three-wheeler. Compact is the key word. Cos some three-wheelers are massive. Lovely range of ‘seasonal’ colours. I got the earthy tones of sand stone, above.

NEWBORN APPROPRIATENESS Great, because the seat goes down flat like a business class seat. Or you can attach a bassinet, like the Bugaboo. However. I HIGHLY recommend going down the travel system route while the baby is teeny, which is where you attach your car seat to the pram. We chose the MaxiCosi Mico, (which is exceptional, and suitable for up to 6 months old, but as Sonny is a mega child, we moved to the Maxi Cosi Euro at 4.5 months) and the attachment for the pram, which meant I was able to just clip the carseat out of the car and straight onto the pram without waking Sonny. I think this is a game changer, because for the first three months all they do is sleep, and you want to be able to go visit grandma and get them out of the car and into the house without waking them up. Look into a travel system. Trust me. (This travel system also works with the Bugaboo and lots of prams.)

MOMS OUT FOR THE DAY!! Sonny and Johnny in their carseat travel systems. (Johnny's is on a Mountain Buggy.)

MOMS OUT FOR THE DAY!! Sonny and Johnny in their carseat travel systems. (Johnny’s is on a Mountain Buggy.)

WHEELS It’s got big, tough wheels, great for sludge and snow which we discovered in NYC, and bumpy or rocky roads, which I am discovering over here in NZ. Probably good in sand too, but we are yet to test that because my trip to the Sahara to buy a new camel was cancelled.

ADJUSTABLE? Baby can only face out. (But with the ‘travel system’ when baby is in the car seat, baby faces you.’) Handlebar is adjustable.

NAP-ABILITY? Excellent, for reasons stated above.

FOLDABILITY This is its superpower: a super easy one move fold down. You just yank the strap in the seam of the seat and it folds in half instantly, like MAGIC. Fold down and lift into the car in one step. BANG.

WEIGHT 9.5 kilos, light as.

Sonny in the carseat... which we clicked out of the car and onto the pram (or floor/cafe seat etc.)

Sonny in his carseat… which we clicked out of the car and onto the pram (or floor/cafe seat etc.)

BRAKES Firm as, and up near the handlebar for ease. Strap for the wrist also.

STORAGE Real nice. Deep and with nice stretchy net sides for jamming shopping in.

LIFESPAN? Newborn to 30kg.

The pram was too shy to be in this photo.

The pram was too shy to be in this photo.

DOLLARS Around $699 depending on retailer, bundle etc.

A VIDEO, SIR?

Like I said, both terrific prams. Hopefully this is helpful if you’re paralysed by choice like I was.

If you’re a mum, feel free to yell about your awesome pram in comments, of course.

 

*I’m embarrassed to admit we actually have three prams, the final being the Mountain Buggy Nano, which is a travel stroller, and awesome for (non-snow, non-rugged terrain) travel, ie, our trip round Europe last September when Sonny was four months old. I will do a post on this later as part of a bigger travel post, but it is sensational, weighs only 6kg, and is like a ‘proper’ pram, not a wiry, airport stroller. The best bit? It fits into overhead storage on flights. “Gosh” is right.

 

Responses to this drivel: 70 Comments
28
Dec

This made my baby’s eczema go away.

Which isn’t to assume it will make your baby’s eczema go away, but if you’re anything like me (scales, big eyes, cute blue fins) when it comes to trying to soothe and help your baby’s eczema – yes, I have spelled that word incorrectly every time I have written it thus far because I always think there is an x in it – then you will try anything.

Those who know or care about eczema know the dos and don’ts…  I use super super sensitive, organic baby washing detergent for all of Sonny’s clothes and bedding. QV in the bath. I use super natural balms and creams (my own Go-To Exceptionoil really helps, but more on that later). And I am mental about his body temps, because, like his papa, when he gets hot, oooooh, does he gets rashy. After bathtime especially – he’s covered in red splodges, all over his back and trunk. And eczema is exacerbated by heat etc etc.

Sonny’s had eczema since about three months old. This is extremely unremarkable; eczema is very common in babies. It got real bad when we were in Greece and Italy because of the heat, has been consistently bad back home, but got even worse when we arrived in NYC the other week, which was a surprise, because it was snowing. I put it down to the being too hot indoors all rugged up, and sweating and gnashing around in his cot with jetlag for a few nights. But that’s just a guess.

Anyway. It started to get bad. Spreading and cracking and flaking off his body and horrible. We started to get panicked; was it a yeast infection? OHMYGOD IT’S A YEAST INFECTION. No, hang on, wait, didn’t our friend’s baby have something like this and it was fungal? Should we be using something other than the earnest organic eczema creams I was using? Did we need to see a dermatologist? Can you tell we’re first time parents? Does my panic look big in this?

So, we did what any self-respecting parent did, and Googed.

Next day we bought some cortisone (0.5) cream which DEEPLY DISTURBED ME. I don’t even use cortisone when I have a rash. We also bought some new eczema cream, Aveeno being the random pick.

Husband is a man who knows about rashes because he’s had around 4638 of them, and doing the post-bath ritual that night he said, ‘I just think we need to get back to using the powder.’ I agreed, although I didn’t think it was really doing much – surely the thick moisturising creams and oils were far more beneficial? Anyway, it’s a cornstarch powder, from Gaia. We have used it on and off, and that was probably part of the issue, not sticking to one treatment for long enough to see if it was working.

‘Kay, let’s do a night of just cream and powder and see what happens before we try those the nasty ‘roids,’ I said.

We did, and within two days our boy had perfect, juicy, gorgeous baby skin again, the likes of which we haven’t seen on him for months. In fact, ever! He has never not had some rash on his trunk or back. Oh, it warmed our hearts ever ever so much! He looked like a god damn Huggies TV ad baby.

We’re not sure which exact thing did the trick, but here’s what we did and have been doing, both in cold NYC and now back in warm Melbourne, should you wish to try it on your sweet little eczema baby….

  • A tepid bath with a few drops of Go-To Exceptionoil (a blend of over 10 beautifully hydrating, nourishing, completely pure oils). I know you’re meant to use QV etc but I found it wasn’t nearly moisturising enough. Very dry skin needs oil and moisture.
  • Dry him off completely.
  • Apply Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturising Cream all over the body – not just the affected areas. (We do this in the AM when dressing him also.) This is not for sale here in Aus, but you can buy it here, or maybe try buy their Baby Soothing Relief Cream, which has similar if not exact same ingredients.
  • Remove damp towel, and just have him on the bed/change table.
  • Apply Gaia powder generously all over the affected areas.
  • Pop on PJs.
  • Kiss a lot.

Here’s what he looked like before, but not at his worst…

eczema

And two days later…

eczema_cleared

 

And the day after that.

baby_eczema-gone

Pure stinkin’ peaches and cream. Ahhhh.

Responses to this drivel: 35 Comments
05
Dec

Don’t take four serums overseas.

As a beauty editor, frequent flyer and now mother, I wrote a piece for Expedia on the golden rule of travel beauty, which is: take heaps of bubble gum.

No, wait. It’s: keep it simple. Or, pay the price. (Literally. In luggage weight charges.)

Preparation is king.

Travel isn’t the time to be wasting precious minutes on boring stuff like applying mascara, blow-drying hair, fake tanning, manicures and so on. So, do all you can before you leave to make your holidays a, ‘I’m up, let’s go!’ experience, rather than, ‘Just give me half an hour.’ Get eyelash extensions. Have a keratin smoothing treatment put through your hair. Get a spray tan. Get gel polish on your toes and get a nude manicure (no polish or clear) on your fingers so you won’t have chipped, skanky nails a week in. (Natural is the new black anyway.) Waste time on your appearance before you leave, not once you arrive.

Pack everything a week out.

Then, the day before, when you’re adding your daily essentials, (sunscreen, cleanser, foundation etc.) remove 30% of what you packed. You do not need four serums. Nor do you need your hair curler and hair straightener, plus three brushes. Travel provides a wonderful opportunity to do a beauty detox. I’m not asking you to look like a banshee for two weeks, but I am asking you to reconsider how much of your suitcase you are dedicating to stuff you don’t need and won’t use during two weeks in Peru.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE.

DON’T READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE.

Responses to this drivel: 4 Comments
02
Dec

Me and my pregnancy-induced Osteitis Pubis: a novel.

You’ll hear women start many a sentence like this when they’re pregnant: “No one tells you that….”

Could be the fact you will snore. You will get fat fingers. You will go up a shoe size and may never come back down. You will enjoy far better treatment at airports. You will get small skin tags on your neck.

But what I didn’t realise was that your body might buckle a bit. Seems obvious now, but as a rookie, I had no idea. I probably didn’t help things much by being a wild woman on book tours and doing events and launching a skin care line just as things (my belly) were getting super big. But life doesn’t stop just cos you are up duff. In fact, quite the opposite. I felt compelled to finish EVERYTHING before my teeny dancer arrived.

HOW I ENDED UP ON CRUTCHES WHEN HEAVILY PREGGO

I now know many pregnant women have pelvis or pubic symphysis issues (such as SPD) but I didn’t know what my these things were or did before I fell pregnant. My own dang sister had these issues and I had no idea! But the weight of a baby plus special pregnancy hormones can mess shit up, so I wanted to write about my experience in the hope that others need not go down the same path. I think once we women have the baby we kind of forget about our pregnancy issues and don’t tell our pregnant lady friends to be aware that it can get bad and to keep an eye on it.

I won’t bore you with the details, except for this whole post, where I will bore you with the details. (I LOVED reading big long stories like this when I was researching my injury, I would voraciously inhale every detail in the hope it would help or relate to me. So, feel absolutely free not to read on if this topic has absolutely nothing to do with you. Bye babe. Love you!)

So… It began back in the summer of 2014, when the melodious strains of Avicii’s Wake Me Up had domination on the wireless and ice cream was popular. I was in my second trimester and started to feel:

  • A niggling ache in my left hip region
  • Worsening pain when I walked
  • Sore pelvis/groin something-in-that-area
  • Pain when sitting
  • Like some more chocolate, actually

For the most part, I just tropped on like a fool, assuming the baby weight was making stuff sore, but that was standard. As it got worse I had some physio and did some clinical pilates, and I did my pelvic floor exercises, wore support shorts, and even switched physios, but opposing opinions and, I think, a general ambivalence about the enormous array of issues under the umbrella term, ‘pelvic instability’ and the expectation of loosey-goosey joints that stem from all the relaxin shuffling through your body during pregnancy led to nothing much being done, except being told to stop lifting stuff, no walking for longer than necessary and no more exercising.

I get the sense a lot of preggos get these sort of pains and they are told the same thing, but I urge you to keep getting treatment and consider a new health professional if you’re not getting any relief or it gets worse or spreads. I left it too long and paid the price. (Approx $4.95.)

The pain got far worse as the weeks went on, it was now in my groin and back, and once I realised I was limping non-stop (around 34 weeks) I saw a third physio, who immediately put me on crutches for the last five weeks of my pregnancy, which sucked a doz. (Some women are given wheelchairs, so I got off lightly.) (Also: Imagine being on crutches plus pregnancy plus having other children! Christ on a cracker!)

 

CrutchesMe on crutches. Thankfully the filthy paps were there to document it. Phew!
(Hair looks shit cos it was in the setting phase of keratin smoothing. Beanie worn to hide it. Beanie ride up and become gnome hat. No hands free to tug it down. Good fun.)

I assumed once my baby was out the issue would rack off, (like my gestational diabetes did – magic! ) but it didn’t, it became inflamed again within a couple of weeks. I noticed I was limping again after something as nothingy as a walk around the block to get some fresh air, I got very shirty indeed, and my husband and I asked everyone in the world we knew who could help. Professional athletes and personal trainers especially. (Bakers and hairdressers not so much.) I dearly wished to roam the streets with Sonny for sanity and exercise and to buy more cake.

NO TO PHYSIO, YO TO OSTEO

I had a bad taste in my mouth from physios so I decided to try an Osteo by the name of Daniela Distefano in Bulleen (Melbourne). I’d been recommended her as she specialises in pregnancy and paediatric Osteo. Long story short, Daniela is absolutely phenomenal and I pretty much attribute my recovery to her. Dan and I have become friends, we gossip about Survivor endlessly, and we both know all the words to every TLC song. See her if you live in Melbourne and have these kind of issues, whether pregnant or post-partum or whatever. She’ll kill me for that cos she is already booked solid until 2089 but I love recommending good things and people.

From having never tried osteopathy, I am now evangelical. Dan quickly got me getting X-rays and MRIs etc and as she suspected, it was chicken pox. No, wait. It was Osteitis Pubis, a chronic pubic condition caused by inflammation of the pubic symphysis (the joint between the left and right pubic bones), erosion of the joints, and calcification of the muscles joined to it. Also had fracture of the left pubis and tendinitis of the adductors and glutes blah blah blah. Osteitis pubis is a common overuse injury in runners and AFL footballers, which figures since I kicked heaps of footballs ’round while preggo. It’s complicated to treat though, the pelvic girdle and surrounds is so brilliant and complex and so much of the body’s movement stems from it.

Pelvicgirdle

Using soft tissue, myofascial release, muscle energy techniques and articulation, Dan has helped me get movement back in the pubic symphysis and greatly improve the biomechanics of my pelvis and lower back. I began complementing this with weekly Myotherapy sessions (very strong, uncomfortable sports massage), with Rick Saunders in Richmond. This helped with the crazy tightness, and the strengthening exercises he gave me to do each day (to open the hips and strengthen the glutes) have helped loads. His philosophy: it’s an instability issue. What’s the opposite of unstable? Strong. So make it strong, woman!

People with OP get very, very down about it, because it can take a very, very long time to heal, and may never heal, in fact. I was in a bit of a dark place one day, suffering cabin fever and unable to walk without pain even upstairs to put Sonny down for his naps, (holding his delicious, pudgy frame was “unadvisable” in general because it inflamed things … I’m all like, yo, have you seen him? He’s impossible not to hold and squish) so I went into Nuclear Google Mode, which is like normal Googling, but with desperation, caffeine and no set time limit on finding what you want.

THE MAGIC MAN

After hours on far too many AFL and running forums I discovered Garry Miritis, who is known for “curing” OP. He was Cathy Freeman’s masseuse her entire career and is very OP-focused. People have flown from all over the world to have him treat / fix their OP. I’d read he was no longer practicing because he’d had surgery on his hands and back, but piffed him an email all the same. He called me and offered me a massage that weekend. I was SO, EXCITED. Fixed? Really? In one massage? Shut your big gorgeous mouth.

I went to his home in suburban Melbourne and had the most painful ‘sports massage’ one can probably have and it still be legally called a massage and not ‘torture’. Garry is a lovely, kindhearted, generous, wise, inspiring man who should not still be doing treatments due to ongoing hand and back surgeries, and does very few of them in fact (he took pity on me being in so much pain with a new baby, for which I am very grateful) which is a crying shame, because he has a very, very special gift. He spent 12 years perfecting his osteitis pubis treatment, nay, fix in which he manipulates and pushes the pubic symphysis back into alignment. This has resulted in professional athletes getting back on the field after being told their career was over, and mums going on to have three or four kids with no further pubis issues. I must have asked him at least 10 times, “You ARE training someone in this, right?” but he would just laugh. Oh, Garry.

osteitis_pubis

In the days following Garry’s work, I felt incredible. I dared to believe I was healed, (the mind is a big player in chronic injury, something Garry is very adamant about) but when the pain snuck back in, I requested one more treatment. Gaz obliged and the same thing happened again, after a few PAIN FREE!!!!!! days, a niggle came back, but in a new area, up higher, on the iliac crest. Two weeks later I saw Dan The Osteo, and while Garry had done incredible things for my PS and pelvic floor and adductors, because of the very rapid, strong change to the biomechanics of my pelvis and hips, the surrounding joints and ligaments had decompensated, because they were so used to holding the fort while my pubic symphysis was out of whack, that when it went so rapidly back into whack, they toppled over in exhaustion. It was pain, but it was progress pain. Huzzah!

Obviously it’s shitty of me to talk up Garry because as I mentioned, he is not taking new clients (especially since he has just undergone more surgery) but there are others around with OP specialisation, and they are the ones you need if you have OP. Not others, them. Because OP is highly specialised.

WHERE IT’S ALL AT NOW

That was three months ago and despite a much better sacroiliac joint (lower back) and stronger glutes I still have pain each day around my iliac crest, hips and groin, and the inflammation worsens with bad weather (really!) period pain (unfair!) and overuse (IKEA visits!) but it is much, much better. I have some hip bone stuff I’ll need to keep an eye on but with strength I should be able avoid that worsening.

I now only see Dan every 2-3 weeks, and Rick every now and then. I get acupuncture and massage when possible. I can walk for about an hour without pain. No running yet. I do my strengthening exercises and stretches and all that boring stuff every second day, but it’s that boring stuff that is working.

Soon, SOON, I will be back to the dang gym! A year after farewelling its sweet, sweaty walls.

THESE THINGS HELPED

  • Theraband exercises and stretches given to me by Osteo
  • Wearing Solidea compression shorts during pregnancy, and their recovery shorts for six weeks after birth.
  • Heat packs.
  • Pelvic floor exercises. You know the ones.
  • Regular Sports massage by a gun massage therapist.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Putting shoes on while seated.
  • One at a time up stairs.
  • Not aggravating things by walking around Baby Bunting to try and finish the nursery.

THESE THINGS DIDN’T

  • Ke$ha
  • Cornflakes
  • Puppies
  • Bubble blowing

Apologies for the essay. I guess the headline is that you mustn’t tough it out assuming it’s “normal” to feel incredible pain when you’re preggo or post-partum, or be afraid to try a new specialist or a new kind of specialist if you have pain that isn’t getting any better. I highly recommend that whoever you see specialises in pregnancy issues, too. Don’t just suck it up. I did. Silly. And don’t assume it will rack off once you’re post-partum: your body is still behaving like it’s pregnant for quite some time after giving birth.

Fun fact: My OB-GYN told me that while you still have the dark line going down your tummy, your body is still very much in ‘pregnancy mode’ and the relaxin is still flowing.

Unfun fact: The dishes need doing.

What did you wish you’d known about pregnancy? Or, more importantly, what would you like to warn other preggos about?

Aside: Hypoxi has been my saving grace while I have not been able to exercise. I signed on as ambassador while still pregnant and could have had no idea how much I would rely on it once Sonny was out and I was cleared to get on the machines. (I had to wait until Dan was happy with the inflammation levels of my pubis – around 12 weeks post-partum.) Even just that 30 mins light pedalling felt fantastic. PLUS I get toned without doing a zillion lunges. PLUS it firmed me up and I lost weight. PLUS, it means I know it works, cos I got results without any complementary exercise. Win win winnnn!

 

Responses to this drivel: 87 Comments
20
Nov

I loved doing this Chrimmus shoot for The Australian Women’s Weekly.

And not just cos I got to wear a breathtakingly glamorous Paolo Sebastian gown and have Brad Mullins do my hairs and Annabel Barton do my face and get to have some ‘keeper’ photos of me with my dumpling as a pudgy baby when I’m not in tracksuit pants with one side of my maternity bra still unhooked under my t-shirt, although that’s a valid reason.

I did the shoot to support Redkite, an important charity that supports (financially and emotionally) children and young people with cancer, but also their families and carers. They receive no government funding at all, and rely solely on the generosity of The People. (Donate here, if you choose.)

There is a behind the scenes video here but not here.

And me aside, it’s a bloody cracking issue of The Weekly. It’s Christmas on Red Bull. Incidentally, The Weekly has become my favourite magazine of late (largely because of the brilliant Caroline Overington), and not just cos of all the cake pictures.

 

 

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