Flying with a baby

As parents one of the most daunting activities has to be your first flight with a baby or toddler.

There never seems to be enough information to prepare you for the stress related to how your child will react to a flight or how to keep those wiggly bottoms sitting long enough to not lose your sanity.

We took bear on his first flight to Johannesburgh when he was just 3 months old.

Papa was amazing , not only did he manage to book the Return flights to Johannesburg but he also arranged with our airline for a wheelchair for me to be able to access the flight.

My nerves were shot. How do you fly with a baby? What do you need? How would I cope? What could we take with us and numerous other questions swam around my head.

Not only did i ask around but I went online and researched the best ways to travel with kids.

This YouTube video was incredibly helpful.

One of my biggest fears with a small baby was needing something and not having it in hand.

So , I compiled a comprehensive list of what parents need to pack for flying with a baby and tried to pack as light as I could for bear. That in itself was difficult as its tempting to take everything … Just in case.

Deciding on which big items to take was also difficult as I wasn’t sure if we were allowed to take our prams and car chairs with.

I was happy to discover that several airlines also allow you to take your pram and car chair without counting it as extra luggage. However it would be wise to ask if this is allowed when you book your flight.

Thankfully we were going to family who had these items so did not need to take them along. You could also hire them from various baby stores once you arrive and a family Uber can be pre-arranged with a car seat .

Packing for baby

General

  • Documents
  • Plane Tickets …if baby has his own seat
  • Passports & Other ID
  • Consent Form if both parents are not travelling

To keep baby busy

  • Tablet or Laptop & Charger and/or DVD Player (if baby is old enough) & DVDs, headphones
  • Toys, I packed in 4 of his favourites that I knew woukd keep him busy for a while.
  • Books

To keep baby comfortable

  • Baby’s ‘Woobie’ or special blanket or toy, bear loves his snuggle bunny.
  • Soother and bottle
  • Pain syrup for baby’s ears should they pain with altitude.

Baby’s diaper bag

  • 1 Diaper per every hour of your journey
  • Wipes
  • Disposible diaper bags
  • 2 changes of clothes for baby
  • Plastic bags for laundry
  • Food for baby – at least two more meals than you think you’ll need
  • Formula or milk for baby – at least 2 more feeds than you think you’ll need
  • Clean Bottles or Sippy Cups
  • Breast Pump & Accessories (if you’re pumping)
  • Extra soothers
  • 2 blankets
  • Travel size toiletries
  • Travel size diaper rash cream
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues

I loved our first flight with bear. He kept sucking on his dummy so we did not need to worry about his ears.

He was entertained the entire way and the flight crew were constantly around to offer a helping hand with both baby and getting me off the flight.

I’m glad our first flight was a positive experience but we were both prepared.

Its been a year since our last flight and I think it’s time for me to remind papa that we need another holiday.

Time to get our next flights booked.

Happy Travels!

This post was in collaboration with www.travelstart.co.za

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A walking perspective

As most of you know I don’t drive . I guess I could if I needed to I just haven’t found the need to.

I’ve always used public transport and have lived in areas close to all the amenities I’ve needed.

People ask if I’m restricted the answer is no!

I love walking and if left to my own devices would walk for hours.

Often the only problem is that I walk to far forgetting that I need to turn back 😂🤣

Walking and running for me are a source of relaxation. A time to think and reflect. I’m able to solve my problems, think of new ideas and draft wondrous stories in the quiet of my own space.

I also love catching the bus. It’s social and always exciting. There’s bound to be someone new who strikes up a conversation , someone new to connect with or someone hilarious making the journey fun.

Today as I walked home from dropping my bear off at school it struck me at how friendly people are at 7.15am.

Bear and I will often greet and chat to the people we pass or walk behind on our journey. We have a few regulars the two Chinese ladies with scarves around their mouths who exercise at that time, the old man taking his dogs for a walk, that bunch of school boys who love to greet Bear, the pregnant first time mommy who asks a question each morning, the single dad getting his little boy to school and the homeless man who sleeps at the corner of the bus stop.

My only conclusion is that exercise is a great mood enhancer so having to walk , breathe in fresh air and start your day awake puts you in a good mood.

I also noticed how even those walking and using public transport didn’t look rushed. My opinion is because you know how long it takes to get there you mentally prepare and leave home earlier giving yourself time to arrive early.

The other thing I noticed (from months of early traffic trips to work) is that commuters in cars are rushed. They impatiently wait in queues of traffic, hurriedly gulp down coffee and breakfast in the car, stop to do makeup at robots and try to rush other tasks before finally arriving at work.

To add to their already rushed, anxious morning full of frustrations are the bad drivers, accidents and taxis.

There’s no time for quiet reflection. No time to admire the scenery around them. To stop and point out a flower to your child. No time to gather your thoughts calmly or to get more organised.

It’s rushed.

It is a rare sight to find a friendly smiling driver in the morning traffic.

So for now I’ll stick to using my feet to take long walks and standing in the bus queues joking with the other commuters. I’ll enjoy pointing out nature to my bear and breathing in the fresh salty air.

For now I’ll let people look at me aghast and pity my walking. 🌻

Why you should use an insulated lunch bag

The standard lunch box has evolved over the years. From early days when school children took their lunches to school in metal tins to the more modern versions of insulated lunch bags.

Today insulated lunch bags are incredibly popular with adults and children alike.

Why you should use an insulated lunch box.

1. They gentle on the environment.

A reusable alternative to paper bags, disposible plastic, foil and plastic lunch bags.

2. They safer and healthier

Your food has less chance of becoming contaminated in an insulated lunch bag.

Because paper bags and plastic containers have no real way to maintain the temperature of food stored inside, the food becomes subseptable to contamination, which can cause food poisoning.

3. They allow a larger variation in lunch choices

They allow you a wider choice in lunches that you pack as they keep food longer so items like yogurt won’t spoil so quickly.

How does an insulated bag work?

Insulated lunch bags typically have three barriers against temperature change.

They have an outer layer made of a medium to heavy weight fabric, like nylon or neoprene. The second layer is made from a type of insulating material, usually foam. The third, inner layer is generally made of foil or plastic. Together, these three layers form an excellent barrier between the contents and the outside of the bag, maintaining their temperature much longer than a paper or plastic bag.

Why I only use insulated lunch bags

It’s always been important for me that my children open a fresh , healthy lunch when they at school.

I wouldn’t serve them something I wouldn’t eat myself and images of soggy tomatoes and squished peanut butter sandwiches come to mind when I think of my own school lunches.

Due to this one of the first things we buy at the begininf of a school year is a new lunch bag.

It was great to send bears formula bottles in when he was at day care. As he grew we added one for his lunches and snacks.

As a teacher , I must admit a lunch bag is so much neater and more organised. Teachers can easily store them neater than a bunch of odd containers and children learn responsibility if keeping all their lunch together and packing it back in when done.

As a mom it is so much easier to just open the bag after school, dump out the containers , wash and line the lunch bags up on the counter and prep them for the next day when each child just grabs their own before heading off to school.

Tip

We take bears lunch bag with us , even when we just go to the shops I add a prefrozen ice block in and then store his juice, milk, snack and dummy in the bag. So much easier than fumbling about in a nappy bag if he needs something .

Please don’t feed baby ! 

I’m not easily offended but when I eat out I expect the following

  • Great ambiance 
  • Fantastic service
  • Efficient staff
  • Yummolicious food 
  • Family friendly

I feel these are reasonable requests for shelling out between R100 and R200 per person eating.

So, you can all imagine my horror when not one but several restaurants I’ve been into this last month don’t offer a baby chair.

Are you kidding me ? 

Really? As a restaurant owner I need to ask you..

  1. Are you under the impression that parents don’t eat out with their children?
  2. Are you too cheap to invest in a baby chair ? Because 1 family eating will most likely cover 2 chairs #justsaying
  3. Do you like losing business?
  4. Do you honestly want a frazzled mother trying to balance a wriggly baby or toddler on her lap as well as shovel piping hot food down her throat ? ( I don’t need to pay someone to do that …really I get to do this EVERY day for free)
  5. At what point did you forget to note that a jumping child or tumbling toddler on moms lap can break your crockery, burn themselves and grab a knife cutting themselves alot faster than if they were secure in a seat ?
  6. Do you really think your grown up chairs are suitable for babies and toddlers? 
  7. Or do you actually just not care enough to make your patrons comfortable ? 

Aside from it being highly frustrating as a parent , imagine the horror as a tourist who may be delighted to try your cuisine discovers you don’t actually accommodate feeding babies.

This should be a prerequisite, along with customer service and quality food. 

20 odd years ago when my bears were little every family friendly restaurants had a baby chair.

Now we have to hunt down a decent restaurant to eat at that also accommodates our toddler.

Last weekend at Tablebay mall I walked out of Lisa’s and had to go across to Mugg and Bean to find a baby chair for bear. 

Today I walked out of Barroco in Century City because of no baby chair. Eventually finding a baby chair at Colcachios. You also won’t find a baby chair at Primi or any of the other ‘flag ship’ restaurants in Century City… Such a huge mall but apparently their marketing gurus have mislead them into thinking families don’t shop here because baby chairs aren’t needed.

Either that or these companies don’t need the business and don’t care.

I for one will walk out of every restaurant that doesn’t accommodate kiddies … my money is better spent at a venue that caters for the whole family. 

Space Station Canal Walk  … a review

Last night the bear clan pulled out their astronaut suits and set off on an adventure to discover the vast realms of outer space.

Hamish the astronaut

Eagerly we jumped in the car and headed towards Canal Walk filled with laughter and curiosity.

We were not dissapointed. In fact this event needs to go onto the holiday bucket list of every mom in Cape Town.

Space Station at Canal Walk

It’s the perfect blend of entertainment, education and activities to keep those enquiring minds and wriggling bodies busy. 

We arrived to find a queue of people waiting to enter and experience the realistic looking Space Station.

The space station

Upon entering we were greeted by the friendly crew and issued a handful of vouchers, entitiling us to an array of space goodies.

Vouchers

The ubber stylish Space cafe were serving fresh interstellar donuts, space clouds in an assortment of colours, space slushies and cosmic ice coffees. We were tempted by everything.
Bear tasting his space slushie

Space clouds

Interstellar donuts
Being a launch event, friendly crew were at hand to treat us with little bowls of Space Station nibbles. One of the gentlemen taking the time to high 5 bear.

High 5

The maze is dead centre and is inflatable so the kids can’t hurt themselves. Each corner holds a new adventure and the highlight is a large black hole slide.

Maze

 I love that there are numerous screens strategically placed so you can watch your child as they navigate through the maze.

Screens allow you to see what’s happening with your child at all times

For bear the highlight was the moon craters and the sponge area with planets overhead. He loved pressing the lights at the interactive constellations and crawling under the glow in the dark maze of the UV beams.

UV beams
Asteroids all around

His 14 year old sister was completely delighted. She was captivated by the funny mirrors, the interactive screens at the milky way and the large black hole slide.

Mission control

Once we had been through the maze countless times , we visited the pop up planetarium. Here we entered the magic of the night sky. A discriptive talk going on as we lay back and enjoyed the stars.

Constellation
The Space Station holds something for everyone with a gigantic inflatable Space Maze, black hole slide launching you into the galaxy, a series of Zones to explore, an interactive constellation chamber, asteroids with swinging planet’s and UV beams, a pop up planeterium and virtual reality experiences .

Book your out of this world visit today ….

WHERE: Canal Walk ,Centre Court

WHEN: 7 December – 14 January | closed on 25 December
TIME:10am – 9pm | 45 minute sessions start every hour on the hour
PRICETickets from R40


FOR FURTHER INFO VISIT 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1953336438322825/?ti=cl


Blog challenge 16 …. if i won the Lotto

If i won the Lotto I would very selfishly do two things.
First I’d buy an awesome camera and then I’d pack a backpack with bear and papa ( as the other bears have school to consider) and i’d close my eyes pick a random place on the map and start travelling until the money ran out and I had to come home to work in the real world again. 
The camera would be to photograph every inch of our adventure.

But I guess to win I’d actually have to take a ticket…. sigh !

What would you do ? 

Blog Challenge 10 … the best trip of my life 

As a self confessed gypsy and frequent traveller I’ve had the fortune of visiting and travelling to some of the most amazing places in South Africa.

One of my favourite places has to be Hole in the Wall.

We visited there in 2016 with our friend Lita. I was immediately in love.

Below is what I wrote about it on my blog Sparkarella, shortly after our return home.

As we carefully ambled our way in our faux 4×4 over dirt roads and potholes , we were left breathless by the splendid beauty surrounding us.
Traditional houses lined the emerald green hills leading a bright path to our remote destination……The hole in the wall.
Here in this forgotten region earths creatures live in harmony with those around her as horses graze outside the front door of many homes. 
Along the winding dirt path we passed several goat and sheep who gave us a curious glance before returning to their activities. An elderly lady lead her pet cow home and one is instantly struck by the simplicity of life. 
17km of blazing sun shine and pothole scattered dirt road later , we embarked upon our destination. This hidden gem was smothered in admirers and after the sparse human sighting en route I was surprised to so many people.   
As we drove closer I was struck by the simplistic beauty of nature. Clear lagoon pools of azure water leaking slowly back into the rip tides of an aqua ocean. White horses dancing with delight as the calm.  tide rolled to shore. 
Not mearly a hole in the wall, but a breathtaking reminder of the strength and grace of mother nature. 
The neighbouring hill showed an eroded crevice, where the cruelty of earth’s elements had worn over the years and all around us rolling hills shone in varied shades of greenery as they boldly overlooked the lavish valleys below them.

 The beach sands boastfully glistened in humble hues of browns and bronzes, invitingly calling you to step barefoot and admire this small piece of heaven.