Category: Tips + Tricks

27
Feb

Tips for flying (long haul) with a toddler.

Those congenial Expedia travel lords recently asked me to write about my experiences travelling with a toddler.

I happily obliged, because if there’s one thing I know about travelling 36 hours with a toddler, it’s two things:

  1. If possible, choose a toddler you actually like or are related to,
  2. It’s achievable.

We decided we liked our two year-old enough to fly to Europe with him, and so the planning began. We are frequent flyers, we travel domestically a lot and overseas a few times a year. We have even done this exact trip with him before… except he was four months old and all that was required was my boobs and the plane bassinet. We have flown to NYC and the Maldives with him, but this was before he was moving around. A toddler is different. And by different, I mean, do you really need to go to Italy?

There is a reason many antipodean parents instill a no-fly rule when their kids are aged between about 10 months and three. It’s a marathon effort. My husband wears sports clothes because he genuinely thinks of it as an endurance race.

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Alas, I write this knowing our parent (2) to child (1) ratio is comically easy, especially when a friend of mine with SIX children, including twin one-year olds was on the same flight as us, but there is still planning involved, inasmuch as ideally you:

  1. a) Avoid melt-downs (yours. But also theirs, I guess)
  2. b) Get some sleep
  3. c) Not deliberately leave your child in transit because they’re slowly but powerfully extinguishing your will to live
    Here are some of the tips I have accrued for long-haul toddler flying.

Fly at night

Choose a night flight if it’s a long one. The child will be wide awake and stimulated at the airport, so run them ragged and make sure they have food in their belly. Yes, you risk a bit of a meltdown choosing a late night flight and it likely won’t be pretty at the departures gate, but better to have them so exhausted they can’t put up a fight on the flight, rather than well-rested and ready for ice cream and Despicable Me followed by Frozen and a few hundred laps of the aisle. Day flights have always failed for us. It’s too bright and exciting for child to sleep, and they are generally already hungry, antsy and tired from transit before we even board. What fun.

Be at the airport first, but board last

Be at the airport early. Everything takes longer with kids. If you’re travelling as a family, try to get one parent on first to ensure you get some cabin space for all your bags, then the other parent boards last with the kids (why sit on the plane any longer than required?) Once you’re on, try to make their seat as ‘bedroomy’ as possible: bring their sleeping sack/blanket or pillow, their comforter or teddy, and our travel must have for both the flight and the hotel at the other end: a big black scarf or piece of fabric and gaffa tape to tape over any lights above them. Read books to calm them.


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Spare clothes

Pack a Wondersuit/PJs for child, (we dress ours in this for the airport, just chucking a jumper over the top and some shoes on for a stylish update) plus a full change of clothes for arrival. And plenty of undies or nappies. (We went through TEN NAPPIES flying to Greece with him as an infant. TEN. And four Wondersuits.) Also pack a spare top for you. You’ll be grateful for it.

Read the rest of the article over here.

But not here.

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28
Nov

My favourite bits of Italy.

Despite the fact that it requires many thousands of dollars/kilometres for Australians to holiday abroad, and our currency is always being picked on by the bigger kids, we Strayans continue to travel overseas in rising numbers, and with craftier luggage tricks. Good on us.

I usually choose Italy. I’ll go there annually if they’ll continue to have me, despite my terrible pronunciation of “grazie”.

Some reasons include:

  • Carbs
  • Fashion
  • Negronis
  • Ricotta cheesecake
  • Swimming off rocks and no sand anywhere
  • No judgment when ordering a bowl of pasta, then pizza
  • Friendly, warm, welcoming Italians
  • Everyone looks great because everyone wears sunglasses always
  • Carbs

Like most people, I’ve done the classic Italian hotspots: Venice, Positano, Sicily and, of course, Athens. Here are some of my favourite things to do/see/eat/visit in the aforementioned hotspots.

Taormina, Sicily

We stayed in Taormina, on the beach, rather than up in town. But with a cable car swinging its way between the town (all the food/shops and most of the hotels) and beach (a handful of hotels and restaurants) all day, both options are good. Have a fancy, view-soaked drink at Grand Hotel Taormina, and outstanding aperitivo at Timoleone. Have your (daily) granita at Bam Bam bar, swim at Isola Bella, and make a day trip to Noto and Syracuse if time permits. Definitely eat lunch (or ideally stay) at Country House Villadorata, just outside of Noto, if you’re roaming. It served up the finest meal of my trip.

 

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Portofino

Portofino could never be accused of being cheap, but that’ll happen when you’re a) tiny, b) breathtaking, and c) overrun with super yachts and tourists. But it’s so lovely! Pop on your best boaty pastels and make the trip already! Head up to Hotel Splendido (often called the best hotel in the world, and after staying there, I’m a believer) for a sunset cocktail, and when the bill arrives suck it up and file it in your “Lifelong Memories” folder. Buy some cheese, wine and crackers in town and have a picnic in the surrounding national park; have a casual lunch at La Taverna del Marinaio, or walk away from the packed main square to L’Isolotto for some of the best pizza of your goddamn life. There’s a small, protected swimming area just below Splendido where locals swim laps (scene of one of the most magical rock swims of my life), or Paraggi beach just outside town.

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Venice?

Rome?

Capri and Positano?

Florence?

Click here.

Definitely not here.

Responses to this drivel: 6 Comments
27
Oct

How to pack for (and dress up on) your holidays.

When Expedia (he’s just one guy wearing a cowboy hat and board shorts, by the way) said to me: “Hey Travel Ambassador Lady, does dressing up on holidays make sense to you?” I said, “Expedia, to me, dressing up on holidays makes PERFECT sense.”

I put it in the same category as ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ except that it’s more, ‘dress for the place you’re in, not the one you came from.’

I cop a fair bit of stick about it from my mates, of course. It’s so much effort, my mates say. Who cares how you look on holidays, they say. Take off that velvet cape, they say.

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But it’s not an effort for me. I love it. I adopt a new personality overseas, a much more flamboyant, fruity one than the jeans and trainers girl back home.

To me, the holiday experience is about playing along. About immersing into the city or country you’re in. So, if you’re in Sicily, you eat pasta alla norma, cannolli and caponata, you drink Zibbibo and you swim where the locals tell you to. And for me, you dress in bright colours and with as many pom-poms as legal.

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I’m embarrassingly osmotic when I travel. If I see a cool woman wearing a slip dress with a flamboyant head wrap in Portofino, I want in. If I see a minimalist woman wearing bejeweled slippers with a white pantsuit in Rome, I want in. And if I see a babe in a white shirt tucked into a colourful ankle-length skirt with a neckerchief in Florence, I want in. To me travel is Real Life Instagram; I see things that inspire and delight, and in that moment, in that piazza, in that sunshine, I want to play along. Even if it’s just with a new ZARA top and belt, and a bucket of holiday confidence; I’m in.

Anyway. Recently I went to Italy.

I knew I’d shop over there, so I packed light: a tight edit of shoes and a few dresses and tops from last summer, half of which I was ready to farewell if space got tight. This, I’ve learned, is smarter than flying with nothing, assuming you will fill your suitcase with cute new stuff the second you arrive, only to arrive and discover they are already doing autumn-winter fashion, and it’s 30 degrees, and you’re screwed.

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Read the full story here.

Not here.

Responses to this drivel: 8 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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04
May

Event beauty preparation.

These are the people, the treatments and the shortcuts involved in my Logies preparation this year. You can easily use a similar approach for your wedding day, 40th, or cincoanera.

You will note the absence of Flaky Jim’s Skin Palace. This is for good reason. NO MORE, JIM. It’s over.

FACE

As I have mentioned more times than can possibly be interesting, my chief skin concern is hyperpigmentation. I am about to stop breastfeeding, and hoping that the final remnants of the hormonal pigmentation will fuck off when that happens, but that said, I get it regardless of cute babies I make. So, I used the Logies as an excuse to do something about it and improve my skin in general.

I will do longer post on the treatment I’ve been having, DermaFrac, for the last couple of months, because IT IS ACTUALLY WORKING, but the headlines are:

  • I have it every 2-3 weeks at Me Skin and Body in South Yarra
  • It takes 40 mins because I skip the dermabrasion bit, I just have a lactic peel, micro-needling and the LED
  • There is no downtime, and it has really broken up my pigmentation and brightened my skin tone. (This is my goal. Wrinkles are fine, it’s the uneven skin tone that annoys me.)
  • It’s not inflammatory like lasers or IPL, which can actually make my pigmentation flare up.

In the final two weeks I had my beloved Omnilux LED lamp (at Duquessa, in Carlton) for a criminal amount of plumpness and glow. I always recommend this to women getting married when they ask, “what should I do with my face?”, because your skin will look heavenly under makeup, IRL and forever and always in the photos. I had four sessions over two weeks, the last one on the day before the Logies.

I have been using Cosmedix Simply Brilliant followed by Go-To Face Hero for super nourishment and antioxidants, followed by  a physical sunscreen in the AM, and SkinMedica Lytera follwed by Face Hero and then Go-To Very Useful Face Cream at night.

Here is my skin with no makeup just before my skin with lots of makeup. All the pigmentation on my forehead and the top of my cheekbones is so light and scattered now. (Clear eyes care of Omnilux. No juice cleanses here.)

*Usually I would have a light AHA peel before two of these lamp sessions, but because there is a lactic peel as part of Dermafrac, I just have a cleanse, the 20 minute lamp then buzz off.

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BODY

I’m currently the Hypoxi ambassador, which means I get to do AS MUCH HYPOXI AS I LIKE. I would be a total dickhead not to use this magical goldpass before an event where I am wearing a fitted dress, so I have been going as often as I can. I use the HDC machine for lymphatic drainage, then the s120 to help fluid retention and tone up. I also walk a lot and do a bit of half-arsed Kayla Itsines at home on the rug while Sonny heckles me about my wussy handweights. (I still have a hip injury, so can’t do the cardio maniac training I used to love.)

I had the delightful Karla from Brown Bodies come to my home to do a St Tropez spray tan two days before the event. This seemed a very convenient option, except that Sonny WAILED LIKE A GODAMN BANSHEE the entire time (scared of the noise? My underwear choice?) and I had to keep popping out of the tent, and running to him and leaping over the baby gate in nothing but my tarty spray tan g-string (I shudder to think of the view poor Karla had) to soothe him without actually touching him, because that would mess up the tan. Not one of my finest moments. The tan was gorgeous, though.

HAIR AND MAKEUP

When I have events or MC duties or photoshoots I call on my cherished hair and makeup sausage, Laura Gilham. She knows what I like, she’s fast and I always book her months in advance so she can do me on Logies day. It calms me knowing she will do something great, and that we will have fun, and that when I say a browny-mauve smoky eye she gets it, and that she knows I NEED a dewy complexion, and matte is the devil and that my length hair is tricky to fingerwave.

I chose fingerwave-esque hair because the dress was so clean and modern in the end, that my slicked down tucked behind the ears look I was going to have was wrong. That look suited a more floaty, romantic dress, but as the dress became more simple, I needed to add some excitement. Hence, the waves.

(This is far too close up. I looked way better from across the room.)

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There is no need to have your “own” hair and makeup artist, of course (but if you go to a lot of events, the convenience of them coming to you can be worth it and it becomes far less wanky than you might imagine) you can shimmy into a salon and get your hair done beautifully, (I recommend Edwards and Co because they excel at naturally glamorous hair) then go to a counter like Chanel, Napoleon, MAC or Bobbi Brown for your makeup. Take references for both hair and makeup so there’s no guess work and no tears. Also a photo of you in your dress so they can see the colour and neckline.

NAILS

I got a $20 manicure using OPI’s So many clowns… so little time. Bubble Bath is too pink on my olive skin, and Samoan Sand can look a little almondy sometimes; this is the perfect sheer, milky-ivory-beige.

TEETH

I mostly just made sure they didn’t get knocked out and were clean.

JUST ON THE DRESS + JEWELS…

I was very lucky to have Mr Magic Gown Steven Khalil (he did my wedding dress, and also a previous Logies get up) make me a frock for the night, and even MORE lucky to have a gown that involved no Hollywood tape, no boning, no corsetry, nothing too clingy, and no cleavage spill. It was comfortable, easy to wear and I felt fucking tip top. This is not normal for such an event. Maybe I’m getting older but I can’t be arsed with severe discomfort in the name of fashion anymore.

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I wore vintage Art Deco jewels from Keshett, which I loved. I went black as a nod to the belt. As usual no clutch because I am likely to get it wrong, so my husband just puts my lipstick and phone in his garter.

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Here is said husband, and the reason I am even at the Logies, the handsome, funny, adorable, Logie-winning, Gap Yearing wildman himself, Mr Hamish ‘The Bachelor’ Blake.

He really is my dream date: fun, hilarious, cute and GREAT at finding me sliders and fries at the after party.

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Responses to this drivel: 27 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
14
Nov

Yes. You CAN travel with a baby.


As part of my fun role as a travel-type writer for Expedia, I decided to write a piece reminding new parents they are allowed to travel with their baby. Especially if that baby is about four months old – the golden travel age. It’s ambitious, but worth it…

‘We’re heading to Europe for a month!’ I’d say to friends.

‘With your baby?’ they’d say, incredulously.

‘Nah, he’ll go back to the family of possums we found him in ‘til we get back. Ha ha ha! But seriously. No chance. Babies are the worst at traveling. He’s going to stay home and mind the cat.’

And so went the hilarious back and forth prior to our trip with a four-month old. But guess what! We DID take him to Europe! And he was excellent. Especially considering he had to deal with jetlag, teething, flying to the other side of the world, and a new home every couple of days. (There’s a reason people say travel before they can crawl; I understand that reason very much.)

In fact, he even made us better travellers. We had to keep it together for his sake. And in stressful situations – say, a cancelled ferry and a six-hour wait on a stinking hot day at a filthy, windy, dusty port – his calm, smiley, no-idea-what’s-happening mood actually made us calm down. He reminded us that really, not much mattered so long as we were safe and had each other and he had food. (‘Me.’)

Here are a few tips I have if you’re about to do some summer travel with your baby.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE.

CLICK HERE TO LOOK AT MY LITTLE PONY CAKES.

Responses to this drivel: 5 Comments
20
Oct

I. Love. Greece.

I have a new gig writing for Expedia’s travel blog.

As you can imagine, it’s awful. They make me stay in nice places and see beautiful things and then I get to write about it. It’s the worst.

Anyway. Here’s my first piece, I wrote it on Greece. I just returned from there, ysee, and am quite the fan…

Thermal Springs SantoriniMe having a wonderful time despite the farty smell in the volcanic Santorini thermal springs.

 

GREEK ISLAND HOPPING 101.

I just returned from some time in Greece and wanted to rub everyone’s nose in it with a post about it. Sorry, I mean, recommend some things.

This is my fifth trip to Greece. I’ve been to the islands of Paros, Ios, Naxos, Santorini, Folegandros, Mykonos, Corfu, Zakynthos and of course, the capital, Athens, where I snuck into the Acropolis at night and had a frappe under the moonlight*.

Here are some of the things I’ve loved and advocate – because I love a recommendation when I travel – on my two favourite Greek islands, although Athens certainly gets a mention.

Handy and a little bit aggressive hint: Go in September. It’s the BEST time to go. The weather is perfect, the sea is at a delicious temperature and there are still enough visitors to make it buzz, but not the heaving crowds you get in July and August.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE.

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT HOMEMADE SOCKS.

 

Folegandros frappeSonny, his thighs and I enjoying a frappe on sweet little Folegandros

 

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16
Sep

The makeup you need to look good after a long-haul flight.

…. is 12 hours sleep, a facial, a blow-dry and some professional makeup. Easy!

Alternatively, there is this sassy little kit which I take with me for a long-ass flight, which is Every Flight really, because I live in Australia, land of farawayness from everything.

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As a beauty editor, it’s easy to overpack on the cosmetic front, but after long enough in the game, you start to learn which products are clever and multi-purposey enough that you can leave behind the other 2289 ‘essentials’ and just pack those.

Important note: I highly recommend having some lash extensions popped on before you go. I usually just get the outer corner so it’s not too obvious when they go wongly and start falling out. Just add it to that annoying Lady Prep List of waxing, nails, tan, elbow polishing, etc etc. They’re a tops idea for holidays in my opinion because you look lovely even when you have no other makeup on, and they negate the need for mascara in hot and swimmy environments.

The Long-Ass Flight Kit

1. A BB or CC cream with moisturising and illuminating properties, like the Napoleon Auto Pilot BBB cream, $49.50 which is my new fave, and which does wonders on my dry, thirsty skin. Great coverage too – halfway between the usual BB cream sheerness and a foundation.

2. An undereye concealer that brightens and hydrates, which the Benefit Cosmetics Fake Up, $38.50, does because it has a concealer embedded in a hydrating gel stick, so you avoid those fine lines that are the first to show when your skin is tired and thirsty, and you get a wallop of concealer too. Clever!

3. Some creme blush to rapidly and authentically wake up the cheeks (and lips if required) with a flush of colour, like the very fresh and delightful Becca Cosmetics Lip and Cheek Creme in Tuberose, $24. That the compact is tiny, unbreakable and has a mirror means it ALWAYS comes travelling with me. (I love Becca to travel. Their eye palettes esp.)

4. A genuinely hydrating and protective lip balm, care of my very own Go-To Lips!, $14.50. Planes thieve so much moisture: do not leave it to a shitty, non-last, mineral-oil filled tube or stick to do the job. Because it won’t.

5. Much gum and mints (not pictured) cos no one’s cute with breath of an ox. Also, you can offer it around if the chap or lass next to you has manky breath and you look generous and kind even though really you are deeply offended by the bacteria in their mouth and two seconds from asking for another seat.

Responses to this drivel: 6 Comments