Flying high….in the sky

Because flying across Australia solo with four boys is SUCH a breeze, I thought to myself, what better time than now (kosher meals having failed to make their appearance, toddler mourning a wireless connection) to revive my blog? 
Baby N is now Toddler N, and come the end of June, will be Little Boy N. Or perhaps “The Little Boy formerly known as Baby N”. Sure, it’s a mouthful, but it has a ring to it. 

Anyway onto business. 

Shopping Girl’s Top 5 tips for Flying With Kids:

1. i (Prounounced “eye”).

To be clear, i-anything, loaded with shows. The Toddler Formerly Known as Baby N’s favourite apps (YouTube Kids and abckids iview) only work with a wireless connection so make sure you download your shows prior to take-off. At least 5 of each of your child’s favourite shows. Apparently there are ways to save from YouTube onto your device, which no doubt one day I will work out, but in the meantime just pay for them on iTunes (worth every penny and if we didn’t buy something, it wouldn’t be a Shopping Girl post).   

Recently we flew to Melbourne. The flight from Sydney to Melbourne is so short it barely counts. But on this flight I discovered that my carefully curated collection of BBC’s finest (The Toddler Formerly Known as Baby N – henceforth TTFKABN – has a mostly British accent which has nothing to do with my birthplace – Birmingham – and everything to do with Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly) had unceremoniously vacated my iPad and returned itself to my cloud. My plane inaccessible cloud. Fortunately I keep some emergency shows on my iphone. 


I don’t care if Steve Jobs deserves more of the credit than I actually do….I’m much better suited to accepting praise on the behaviour of my children than I am slinking off the plane, unruly toddler barely in tow, wavering between staring at the ground and staring every passenger directly in the eye, just DARING them to say something.

Devices people. Devices. There are no screen time limits in the air.

2. Qantas. Book with Qantas. Worth every penny when travelling alone with children. Space (it’s relative of course). Screens. Kosher food (sometimes missing). As I type this, they are delivering (blessedly kosher) Mars Bar ice creams to every passenger. Lunch, kids! 

Times have changed since the memorable trip of 2005 where First Born informed every passenger on board in a voice more appropriate for reaching the back rows of the Sydney Opera House concert hall, that “the icecream on the plane’s NOT KOSHER!”.


3. Headphones. Aeroplanes are noisy. It’s hard for the offspring to hear their devices. And it’s painful for everyone else to hear their devices. So headphones people. They make them small these days especially for your little screen addicted progeny. 

My favourite thing in the world at the moment are my wireless headphones. I don’t use them on flights for four obvious reasons. BUT at home they are (and I never say this lightly) one of the BEST things I have EVER bought. Not only do they give the (correct) impression to the children that I cannot hear them, but in the evening, when I am desperately trying to get my Nashville/Girls/Charlie Pickering fix and relieve the boredom of the nightly kitchen duties, with my iPad propped up on the caesarstone, no matter how much I walk around the kitchen (to the fridge, to the pantry, to the Tupperware drawer, repeat) I can still hear my show. My choice? Kreafunk


They work and they look great. I’m a sucker for pink and metallics and there are marketing genii all over the place that know it.
4. Food.                                                                         a) Gum / tic-tacs. There’s something about planes that makes me feel like I have morning breath all over again. Working Boy doesn’t deserve a kiss full of that breath. Can also double up as “landing treats” (see below). 

b) Snacks. Lots. The reason I invented “landing treats” was 1. Sore ears. 2. Peace and quiet for the last ten minutes of the flight because not so long ago, devices had to be switched off for landing. 3. I have a no-chocolate, no-lollies rule on the plane (except the last 10 minutes because if the sugar high is gonna hit, we’ll be off the plane by then). I pack loads of “piece-y” snacks though (they take more time to eat) for my kids in lots of individual ziplocks. Popcorn. Pretzels. Animal crackers. Sultanas. Bissli (Israeli snack). If it’s dry, will not make clothing or hands sticky, and there’s no associated sugar rush, then sodium levels be damned, it’s going in the hand luggage. 


Just make sure you pack water too.
5. Happy Baby dummies. They should rebrand and call themselves Happy Mummy dummies. Two of my kids did not have a dummy, two did, so I have no interest in getting involved in a dummy debate. But for the dummy suckers, it’s been Happy Baby all the way. 

One thing I am strict on is that dummies are only for sleeping. They exist in the cot and in the cot alone. Except on aeroplanes. Because I discovered that when George Pig cries on Peppa Pig (it happens quite a lot), TTFKABN likes to treat his fellow passengers to his best George impression. I may not understand a word TTFKABN is saying when he has a dummy in his mouth but there is no question that his volume is dulled.

So, when it comes to flight advice, I could go on for a while, what with wipes, twisting textas (no lids to drop) but top 5 is what I promised so top 5 is what you got.

And as a bonus for reading this far……

Shopping Girl’s Top 1 tip for travelling with no kids
:
1) Invest in some noise cancelling headphones. That way if the Todddler Formerly known as Baby N is on your flight, you will be none the wiser. I know I said before that aeroplanes are noisy, but they are also quiet. In the old days, ie before personal screens, the cabin itself buzzed  with conversation. Now that everyone is quietly dedicated to a screen, the mechanical sounds remain but the cabin is extremely quiet. You will only notice this when you fly with an infant or toddler, as their voice resonates through formerly quiet cabin. Noise cancelling earphones. 

XOXO Shopping Girl

Optimism

There is something about exhaustion which makes me spend. I’m like an adrenaline junkie. Or any junkie really. Sometimes sugar and caffeine is just not enough of a buzz to get me through a tiring day.

If we didn’t have a baby the
house may not be as furnished and decorated as it is so far. There’s just no shopping like 3am Internet shopping. Or it’s 10am and 4 coffees seems excessive. Some people jog. I don’t.

Anyway, today I bought hand beaters. Mine broke a few months back. I was putting off the replacement purchase as I had often said that if my hand beaters, Kenwood and food processor all broke simultaneously I would think about a Thermomix. The Kenwood and the food processor haven’t been in the best of spirits so I thought I should give them some time (to die). Not having hand beaters has been really annoying. Why do I need so many appliances? It’s a kosher thing. Look it up.

The longer time went on, the more I realised that regardless of the health of my appliances, we simply do not have $2000 spare for a Thermomix. Buying furniture will do that.

So I replaced my handbeaters. And I did it in style. KitchenAid. Hot Pink. It’s that 4 boys things again. I take all my pink where I can get it.

20140627-132802.jpg

If Baby N had not had an ear infection (and molars breaking through I just discovered) who knows how long it would have taken me to replace my beaters. Always look on the bright (pink) side of life.

XOXO Shopping Girl

What did the postman bring today? #2

Not all shopping is fun. Sacrilege, I know, but hear me out. Yesterday I bought this:

20140627-080939.jpg
3 nights ago, Baby N woke no fewer than 10 times. Probably closer to 15. He didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep. He cried. I cried. In the morning he was a bit sniffly. “Baby N has another cold,” I told Working Boy in the morning. “Don’t have any expectations of me today,” I also may have added.
On Wednesday night I put him to bed at 6.30pm (it had been a loooong afternoon). By 7pm he was up again, hysterical. This went on for a few hours. At about 10.30pm I texted Working Boy and said “I’m beginning to think maybe it’s not just a cold”. A few hours later Baby N woke up for the day. With fever flushed cheeks. “Please check his ears before you go to work, Working Boy”, I said. (WB conveniently happens to be a paediatrician). Working Boy had a peek and said “yep they are pretty red. I think he needs antibiotics”. Now, WB is quite conservative when it comes to ears and antibiotics. So I am pretty sure Baby N’s ears must have been a somewhat spectacular shade of flaming scarlet.

Later, after battling with Baby N to nap, I waited in the mostly empty pharmacy for 20 minutes holding 14 kgs of crying ear infection. Like most shops (with the exception perhaps of pet-food stores) I really enjoy going to the pharmacy. But this was not fun.

However this was also mostly my own fault because no fewer than 3 gorgeous friends had offered to pick up the script for me* already (one deserves a special mention – EG – she arrived on my doorstep bearing coffee and a pain au chocolat). No, no I said. Baby N is a 4th child. I need to go to Woolworths anyway. We’re FINE to pick up the script. Except I should have accepted because it was a miserable experience. There are very, very few things money cannot buy but true friendship is one of them. I love you girls.

Or, if I felt bad to accept the girls’ offers I could have paid a small premium and a local pharmacy would have DELIVERED it. I am a huge fan of delivery. Huge fan. Not so many months ago Baby N went through a phase where he was too big for the Baby Bjorn, couldn’t sit up in the trolley but didn’t want to be lying in a trolley capsule. He also cried in the car and pram. A lot. I discovered that there is virtually NOTHING that you cannot have delivered to your doorstep. I did Coles on-line (delivery free on Wednesday), had fruit & veg delivered (2 great options here – one does sushi too!), the kosher butcher delivers for a small fee ($4.40. Worth it. Sooooo worth it), the kosher grocery store delivers, clearly all the online shops do……and the pharmacy. I love knowing that if things are going truly badly, the only thing I need to leave the house for is fresh bread. And as one of the above friends can testify (who picked up my bread for me on more than 3 occasions), sometimes you can have that delivered too. This is my tip to you: have your shopping delivered. Any of it. All of it. Whatever makes life bearable for you. I haven’t slept for three nights. I have Nespresso Indriya pumping through my veins (which, yes, can be delivered. The pods, not my veins). Delivery is my friend.

Speaking of deliveries, my other friend the postman came yesterday too. He delivered my bronze cushion:

20140627-080557.jpg
(Yes, you can now follow Shopping Girl on Instagram).
Gotta love you and leave you…..there’s a body imbalance I need to address. Too much blood, not enough caffeine….
XOXO Shopping Girl

* Working Boy also offered, saying that he would be home early. I know no such thing is true, so I declined. I was right.

What’s in my handbag?

Working Boy officially thinks I am bonkers. He said yesterday’s post was ridiculous as unless you had actually read any of the Value Tales recently, you would not find it funny. I said who cares? I have read them (many many times), so I found it hilarious. Anyway, who says an audience of two is not valid?

To keep things universal, today we’ll cover something everyone can relate to. Handbags. You don’t need to have read a pompous series of seventies children’s books to understand handbags.

You know those magazine features where they show what’s in a certain personality’s handbag? First there’s the latest designer handbag, and then the contents, a carefully curated collection artfully laid out. Each piece outdoing the previous screaming “Look at my life! Aren’t I stylish? Aren’t I savvy? Aren’t I clever and cool?”. It’s just like my handbag. You’ll see.

My father in law once commented that I had the messiest handbag he had ever seen. Let’s just say, I like to know that if I was stranded somewhere I could survive for at least a few hours, if not a day, with the contents of my handbag. This is actually somewhat ironic because rarely do I go further than a 10 minute driving radius from my house.
But anyway…..
Here it is. What’s in Shopping Girl’s handbag. This is no photoshopped mag feature. Gird your loins. This is the warts and all (I have 4 boys – apparently warts are inevitable 😁) version.

20140625-203336.jpg

20140625-204651.jpg

Firstly, yes. I have so much in my handbag it required two photos.
1. Marc by Marc Jacobs something or other bag. They all have names, but really, who can remember?…..a birthday present from MOS-G years ago.
2. Mimco purse – an oldie but a goodie. Also a birthday present from
MOS-G another year. Yep she’s a keeper, that MOS-G.
3. Folder for all those loyalty cards.
4. Small case, technically for receipts.
5. Corn Thins – you never know when a baby will get hungry.
6. Heinz Sticky Fingers Wipes – because if baby does hungry you do know fingers will get sticky.
7. Case for re-usable shopping bag. Not the shopping bag. Just the case. It says my name and it says I’m charming. Yep, MOS-G again.
8. Blowing bubbles. Can’t say I’ve ever broken them out but better to be safe than sorry I say.
9. A $10 birthday voucher from my friend, Myer. If I see it floating around my bag, maybe I’ll remember to use it.
10. A Mimco hair elastic. In case of hair tying emergency?
11. Another small case. This one is for banking deposit slips. And there are actually deposit slips in there. Surprising isn’t it?
12. A spare nappy for Baby N. One size too small. Even though I carry a separate change purse.
13. It’s a blow up ball in a case. Or should I say “in case”. In case of playing emergency.
14. Disposable toothbrush. Yep, you’d think I was young, single and living in NYC. Although, granted, not if you looked at the rest of the handbag.
15. Instant wipes – just add water to these little discs. G-d forbid I am EVER caught out without wipes.
16. Mentos Kiss mints. I hate post-coffee mouth. I drink a lot of coffee. In fact I really imbibe more than I drink.
17. A door to the Thomas the Tank Engine Talking Roundhouse. Well, it speaks for itself really.
18. Hat for Baby N. All babies need hats with ears. Baby N has no idea how cute he looks because he pulls the damn thing off.
19. Emergency sultanas.
20. Empty emergency sultana box. Clearly there was an emergency.
21. A used parking ticket. Crucial to handbag ecosystem.
22. Loose receipts. 4. Isn’t doing his job properly, is he?
23. Small cosmetics case with tissues. Yep they have shoes on them. I don’t even need to say it anymore do I? MOS-G.
24. Spare keys to my parents’ apartment.
25. A small, blue matchstick.
26. The lid to a sippy cup. Not the sippy cup itself. Just the lid.
27. A small pink notebook. Rendered fairly useless by the iPhone yet still carried everywhere.
28. Lip glosses. Cos the UNIVERSE WOULD CEASE TO BE if lips stop shining. Personally I prefer kissing my baby often and not leaving a smear of Calvin Klein…..so these are mostly unused, but gosh I love the idea of lipgloss.
29. Bubblegum scratch and sniff stickers. Because in my imagination I am the sort of Mom whose tween children respond to stickers as behaviour “incentives”.
30. Bondi Beach parking permit. Mine expired in March. I’ve been carrying around the renewal forms since.
31. These are Nintendo points cards bought when I realised that no ten year old responds to stickers. No, I also don’t know why they have to come everywhere with me.
32. Corn Thins in ziplock. Because I forgot I had the other packet.
33. Scripts for Master T’s asthma and excema medications. I actually do need these but somehow when I am standing in the pharmacy they are nowhere to be found.
34. My old Medicare card. Now I have two. Not including this one. 6 people
don’t fit on one card.
35. A cable to connect my iPod to the car speakers. Useful. Would be more useful IN my actual car.
36. A bandaid. Again, never to found when actually needed.
37. A second spare nappy. Also one size too small.
38. Some loose change. Clearly thinks it’s too good for Mimco.
39. Expired driver’s license.
40. Some string. Yes, string.

So there you have it. The contents of Shopping Girl’s handbag. I can hear the magazines calling now……
XOXO Shopping Girl

What to buy the baby who has everything.

Today was Baby N’s first birthday. Happy birthday, Baby N – we bought you …..a sofa! Given Baby N cannot
sit on the sofa in case he crawls off the edge, we decided some more age appropriate presents might be welcomed.

But as any parent of multiple children in a first world country knows, no 4th baby “needs” anything. So this is what we got baby N, the baby who wants for nothing.

20140618-231735.jpg

The Leapfrog learn and groove music table. As these tables seem to only last through two children, this is our third (we lent our 1st to a friend which is how we’ve already gone through two tables). As these tables can be picked up for about $50 on sale, I keep replacing it. It has been a popular toddler toy in our house and let’s just say Baby N could use some motivation to stand. Replacement = justified.

20140618-232216.jpg

Boon bath toys. My big boys wanted to give Baby N their own present. Bath toys go slimy after a while. Nothing this cute was available last time I had a baby. Done deal. Incidentally we also have another Boon bath toy which has proved very popular, pictured below.Go Boon.
Thrown away mouldy bath toys = justified.

20140618-232538.jpg

Next the grandparents. My parents bought Baby N this:

20140618-232734.jpg
As you can see, Baby N is quite taken with it. So is every other child who has walked into this house. This is one of Fisher Price’s new BIG baby toys and it’s a winner. Fisher price is a classic. Classic = justified. I cooked dinner today while he sat in it = double justification.

Under my instruction, Working Boy’s parents bought this:

20140618-233130.jpg

Tegu blocks. Light wooden blocks, mysteriously magnetic. These were not around when I last had a baby, just as when Master T was born, I had a Nokia 5510…..I now have an iPhone 5s. Block technology has changed and we have to roll with the times people. Justified.

So there you have it. What to buy the baby who has everything. Stay tuned for next year when we’ll continue on this theme with “what to buy the toddler who has everything”.
Until then (or maybe a little before),
XOXO Shopping Girl