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

What did the postman bring today? #2

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

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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:

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(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.

The Value of Tenacity

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I dedicate this story to Working Boy, who loves his Value Tales. I hope he enjoys this reworking of the modern classic, The Value of Tenacity.

This is the story of Shopping Girl, who, thanks to her tenacity and enthusiasm, became one of the best shoppers of our time. The story that follows is based on events on one day of her life.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago (yesterday, in fact), a 35 year old girl leaned on a Caesarstone kitchen bench top and looked out at the cold wintry Sydney morning. Her name was Shopping Girl. “I’m glad we live in this house,” she said to herself, smiling. It was warm and cozy, with the heating on, and Shopping Girl liked it. But it was cold sitting on the floorboards, when she played with Baby N, and Shopping Girl realised she needed a rug.

Shopping Girl knew exactly the sort of rug she wanted, and she set about looking for it. What hard work it had been for Shopping Girl, trying to find the exact rug she wanted.

Finally Shopping Girl was ready to give up. Her fingers were sore from swiping and tapping, and Baby N needed a nappy change. But then she thought of Working Boy, and what he would say. “Shopping Girl”, he would say, “no one ever gets ahead who quits when the going gets tough”. Nodding at his words, Shopping Girl thought “I’ll just check the Pottery Barn website”.

And there it was. The perfect rug. On sale. Shopping Girl could not believe her eyes. She went to click “Add to cart”, but it would not work, and then she saw those fateful words “product no longer available”.

Shopping Girl hunted around a little
more, but no rug measured up to the Pottery Barn one. Shopping Girl was bereft. And forlorn.

Suddenly Shopping Girl heard a little voice. “Don’t give up Shopping Girl. You can get that rug if you work hard enough”.
“What?” said Shopping Girl, startled.
“I said that you can do it,” the voice went on. “All you need is tenacity”.
Shopping Girl raised her head to find out who was talking. Who do you think it was?
That’s right. It was the iPad on the floor next to her. Shopping Girl couldn’t believe her eyes or ears. Her iPad seemed to be talking to her.
“Tenacity means sticking with it, refusing to give up no matter what”, iPad explained, giving Shopping Girl a little time to recover from her surprise.

Of course, Shopping Girl knew that iPads don’t really talk (it’s not like they have Siri). She knew it was really her inner shopper she was listening to. It didn’t matter. She liked what she heard.

She picked up the phone and called the Pottery Barn store, inquiring as to whether they had the rug in store.
A charming fellow called David answered the phone. He checked the stock, and replied “All sold out, I’m afraid”. Did she take no for an answer? No she did not. “Yes,” said Shopping Girl, “I thought so. I just thought perhaps you might have one left on display or something”.
“Actually…” replied David, “we have a return right here!”
“Is there anything wrong with it?”. David answered that he would find out and call her back.

An hour later Shopping Girl’s phone rang and David happily reported that the rug was in perfect condition, it just had not suited the space of the previous purchasers.
“Could you give me the dimensions?”, asked Shopping Girl. And David did. And it was perfect.
“Where is the rug made?” asked shopping girl. “Working Boy won’t buy rugs from Iran”.
David, the model of excellent customer service, said he would find out and call her back.

But Shopping Girl could not wait for the call. Baby N was awake and soon the boys would need fetching from school. Shopping Girl needed a few things from Coles anyway so off to Bondi Junction she went. “That’s the spirit, Shopping Girl,” her iPad seemed to say.

Shopping Girl arrived in Pottery Barn to discover the rug was made in India. Clearly it was fate. Working Boy’s father was also from India.
Shopping Girl asked to see the rug. It was a little shaggier than she anticipated. She didn’t think Working Boy would like a shaggy rug. “You mustn’t think that way, Shopping Girl,” iPad scolded. “You can get this rug if you have tenacity.”

Shopping Girl spoke to Working Boy and explained all the benefits of a shaggy rug. She talked to him in terms he would not understand, like the need for different textures and styles from a design perspective. Shopping Girl persevered and talked harder and harder – and she got the rug. Working Boy agreed it was the right rug for the house. And if they didn’t like
it once it was in the house, they could always return it anyway.

We all have a lesson to learn from Shopping Girl; that with complete dedication to our shopping we can acquire great things.

You won’t all be shopping superstars like Shopping Girl. But if you do your best, and keep at it no matter how much you’d like give up, then one day, you too will discover the rewards of tenacity. Just like our friend, Shopping Girl.

XOXO Shopping Girl

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Home dressing

Today was a big day in the shopping life of Shopping Girl and Working Boy. Our biggest purchase to date, not withstanding the house, arrived. Sofas, chairs, coffee table, ottomans. Until December we had never bought a sofa. When I moved to Sydney, I somehow inherited my friend Vivi’s parents’ old sofas. Once these were trashed by my toddler children we were gifted Working Boy’s parents’ old lounge suite, which had survived in their home as the formal furniture for some 30 years. This lasted under 2 years in our house and then we got their other old sofas, which had mysteriously been left in the house they bought in 1984. Thank G-d we bought a house because these were literally falling apart at the seams when we moved. Along with the totally trashed Freedom dining table (all the veneer scratched off) and the buffet whose glass doors had one by one fallen off and whose jagged glass hinges we covered with a table cloth when guests came over.

Over my badly dressed body were we going to take this shoddy collection into our beautiful new home.

We left all our furniture on the curb of Warners Ave. Yes, yes we organized a collection. No illegal dumping for us. A street first, I think.

Over the summer, we visited all the usual furniture haunts, developing our combined sofa taste. But nothing stood out. And then we arrived at Natuzzi. I am not being paid or swayed to say this: honestly the perfect combination of quality, design, luxurious fabrics and, considering all aforementioned points, a reasonable price point. We bought everything we needed there. I’ve always been under the impression from an interior design perspective that buying almost all your furniture from one store is categorically THE WRONG THING TO DO.

As of 1pm today, it is all sitting in my house now, looking beautiful and smelling so little like small children and SO much like new. Between different styles and materials, I really don’t think it looks like a Natuzzi showroom threw up in our living areas. And quite franky even if it did, having spent hours in the stunning showroom, I really would not mind.

Now comes the fun. All the finishing touches to make it less “showroom” and more “our home”. Someone said to me the other day that if you know how to dress you know how to decorate a house.
Given I have been dressing myself since I was 18 months (true story, ask my mother), but I have never needed to decorate a house until now, I am taking this as gospel (although I don’t follow the gospels so for the sake of accuracy let’s say I’m taking this as Torah) and am shopping for furniture and decor accordingly.

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I wear my Sass And Bide jacket…..my house will wear these pendant lights I bought for the dining room.

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If I wear black leather (ASOS Pocket midi skirt)….then so will my chair (from Freedom, actually).

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I LOVE my Forever New faux fur gilet to bits in winter, so obviously my chair needed a West Elm faux fur of its own.

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My obsession with grey felt wool fabric runs from Viktoria and Woods top through to brand new Natuzzi living room sofa.

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Spot the difference. One is my Body dress, one is the fabric of our Natuzzi Lui arm chairs. Love silver foil.

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I wear my gold Peter Alexander uggs more than I wear pretty much everything in my wardrobe. I’m thinking I need a gold Max Sparrow coffee table too then….

XOXO Shopping Girl

What did the postman bring today?

Working Boy would like to see some regular segments on this page, so without further delay, I present to you:

“What did the postman bring today?”

Today the postman brought two things:
1. Fingerless typing buddy mittens by Cashmerism from http://www.hardtofind.com.au
Gloves and babies are like milk and meat. They just don’t mix (does anyone else have that CD?). It is near impossible to keep your digits warm and your baby happy. Motherhood in general is just not compatible with glove wearing. These gloves are a happy medium between keeping my extremities warm and keeping my much in demand fine motor skills available. They have the almost-as-important benefit that YOU CAN STILL USE YOUR iPHONE. Fingertips are the best. Ignore the fact that mine are in desperate need of a manicure and focus on how snuggly yet useful they are looking. At $59.95 they are my winter essential, and even more of a bargain for me, because my mother (henceforth to be know as MOS-G) sent them to me.

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2. In September, Working Boy and I will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. We still have the same bed linen I chose when I was 22 and doing the registry. To say my taste has changed is an understatement. To say I am SICK TO DEATH of our bed linen is also. Our old linen does not match the new house. Our old linen does not match me.
I had been eyeing this Calvin Klein linen for at least 18 months. In that time not once did it go on sale.

Last Thursday night I went to the supermarket at 8.50pm to buy Working Boy some food to take to a conference in Brisbane that he was leaving for first thing Friday morning. I walked past @davidjones on my way and saw that lo and behold their stocktake sale had started without me. 8.53pm I went in and THERE IT WAS at 50% off. Except it wasn’t because they didn’t have the size I needed. A visit to the counter, city store on the line and they could post it to me at a cost of $9.95. Everyone seemed very concerned that I knew that the shipping would be $9.95. I explained that it was cheaper than PARKING in the city. They were still concerned. They don’t know my baby. I would have paid $20 in shipping to NOT take him shopping in the city.

And so here it is – my beautiful Calvin Klein Regent Damask bedding. You are finally mine. .

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