Safe-n-Sound Hi-Liner SG

Posted by Diana on Tuesday Dec 8, 2015 Under Baby Travel

A trip to the North Coast provided the perfect opportunity to ‘road test’ the new Britax Safe-n-Sound Hi-Liner SG.

What I found fantastic about the Hi-Liner SG is the adjustable headrest, which allows easy height adjustment for this Booster Seat as our daughter grows (and she seems to be growing taller everyday!) So in a way, the booster can grow taller – as our daughter grows taller too.

I asked our pre-schooler to sit in the booster seat at home before fitting the seat in our car. I put the headrest in the lowest position and found her shoulders were only slightly higher than the lower height marker when she sat straight in the seat. This is a great starting point and I can easily adjust the headrest up with one hand as she grows.

I found Safe-n-Sound Hi-Liner SG, easy to fit in our vehicle for our road trip. I secured the booster tether strap to the car’s anchor point for stability. I found the Slideguard Clip was great to guide and safely position her lap-belt in place. Our pre-schooler remarked how comfortable her new seat was to sit in and how she liked the arm rests. It was time to start our road trip.

Other features of the Hi-Liner SG I must mention are the deep side wings, these are EPS foam lined, providing additional protection. The Hi-Liner SG is compatible with the Britax Safe-n-Sound Protecta Plus harness to enhance the safety features of the car seat with additional upper torso support and safety. Both the Hi-Liner SG and Protecta Plus harness have innovative designs.

The selection of colours are cool too – with colours like: Ink Blue, Red, Pink, Grey and (our favourite) Purple Haze. The booster seat cover is removable and Machine Washable.

The dimensions of the Hi-Liner SG Booster are: 455mm (width), 370mm (depth), 695mm (minimum height) and 840mm (maximum height). The adjustable nature of this booster means we will no doubt use this booster with our daughter until she is 8 years old. It has performed well on its first journey and I’m confident it will go the distance on our future journeys. To find out more on the Hi-Liner SG Booster and the full range of Britax car seats visit the Britax website.

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Hawaii Top 5 with Kids

Posted by Diana on Friday May 1, 2015 Under Baby Travel

We’ve just returned from a relaxing family holiday on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii. The Hawaiian word for children is keiki and the Hawaiian word for love is aloha, there is loads to love about taking children to Hawaii, here are my top 5.

Statue of surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku

1. Waikiki Beach

Walking with the family along the golden sands of Waikiki Beach, with the crystal blue water glistening in the sun, and the Diamond Head Volcano in the distance, I really did feel like we were part of a scene from a Hawaiian postcard or living the lyrics of a Beach Boys song!

You can easily spend one day or one week enjoying Waikiki Beach, walking, swimming, snorkelling or surfing. In fact, Duke Kahanamoku who is credited with spreading the sport of surfing, is remembered with a bronze statue at Kuhio Beach Park on the foreshore of Waikiki Beach. A visit to the statue is worthwhile and locals adorn the statue with leis daily. At night there is a free nightly torch lighting ceremony and hula show. We stayed a few days at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort which was very family-friendly and the location was a fantastic base to explore Waikiki with the kids.

Waikiki Aquarium2. Waikiki Aquarium

The Aquarium is a brisk walk from the Duke statue through picturesque Kapi’olani Park. The Aquarium is run by the university, it is both fun and educational with the general admission a reasonable $12 and children $5.

Inside the aquarium there is everything from sharks to fish, corals to seahorses. My keiki were fascinated by the moon jellies illuminated with UV lights, which looked like something from a science fiction movie. I thought the male seahorses were fascinating – they get pregnant and give birth to hundreds of babies – really! Outside the aquarium there was more to see, including the Hawaiian Monk Seals and Clam Farm. It really was a wonderful way to spend the day.

Hanauma Bay3. Hanauma Bay

A beautiful bay nestled in a volcanic rim, this is the perfect location for a family day of snorkelling and enjoying the beach. The waters are so crystal clear, you can see the coral reef that extends the bay. The reef is home to a myriad of fish and sea turtles. An education centre informs visitors on the delicate ecology of the bay and the environmental precautions which should be taken before snorkelling. Hanauma Bay is a pleasant 30 minute drive from Waikiki. It is a highlight on the itinerary of many of the tours from Waikiki and can be accessed by public bus 22 which stops at the Duke statue.

4. Aulani, Disney Resort & Spa

A little further a field on the west side of O’ahu is Aulani, Disney Resort & Spa. The resort is a solid drive from Waikiki and this area known as Ko Olina, has beautiful coves perfect for child-friendly swimming.

We stayed at Aulani for 5 nights and it was a wonderful experience for the children (and adults) in our family. Each morning we would see Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse posing with guests and visitors.

Hanging out with Mickey MouseThere was an amazing water park central to the resort, with a lazy river which the whole family could float around on a single or double inner tube with minimal effort. There was even an iPad adventure where the kids could activate waterfalls and move rocks at the resort.

The kids club was awesome and there were activities around the clock. In between classes on animation, there were fish feeding programs and astronomy nights. Our favourite was watching Disney movies on the big screen after dark.

The character breakfast was a real treat too – book in early if you fancy a pancake with Mickey as the character breakfasts are booked out quickly.

5. Paradise Cove Luau

The Paradise Cove Luau was fantastic family fun and a celebration of Hawaiian culture. Only a short stroll from Aulani Resort, we experienced traditional arts & crafts, games, foods and saw the best hula show in O’ahu!

Paradise Cove Flower ShowerBefore the show, the children were happily taught how to weave palms into headbands and thread orchids to make leis. Whilst we learnt some traditional Hawaiian games, like spear throwing, rolling stone discs and wooden darts.

We experienced a ‘Shower of Flowers’ which involves a tree-climber ascending a tall palm tree and releasing flowers from a sarong onto the crowd below – pretty amazing.

Just before sunset, we went for a ride on a traditional canoe before watching a demonstration of traditional fishing. There was even a surprise visitor – a local Monk Seal, who came ashore to have a rest. Our children were totally captivated by the seal (although no one else seemed to notice). The performance was about to start and it was spectacular, showcasing dances from across the Pacific and most notably the hula. The food was scrumptious and it was the best family night out we had in Hawaii.

There are so many fabulous things to do on a family holiday in Hawaii. So spread the aloha and treat your keiki to all Hawaii has to offer!

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Happy Easter from the cutest Easter Bunny

Posted by Diana on Sunday Apr 5, 2015 Under Uncategorized

Cutest Easter BunnyOur household has anticipated the arrival of the Easter Bunny with much enthusiasm.

For the past few days, my eldest has been checking her handmade basket for chocolate eggs. This morning she was ecstatic to see her basket filled with chocolate eggs.

Whilst we didn’t see the Easter Bunny deliver the chocolate eggs this time, I can’t imagine any bunny is cuter, than her sister when dressed up in her bunny ears! Happy Easter everyone!

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Top 5 Cruising with Kids

Posted by Diana on Monday Jan 26, 2015 Under Baby Travel

Cruising KidsI’ve returned from my first cruise with kids – 4 nights on the P&O Pacific Dawn travelling from Brisbane to the Whitsundays and I’ve been asked so many questions from friends, so I decided to put together my top 5 tips for cruising with kids.

1. Duration of the Cruise matters

The cruise itinerary is really important to determine how your family will enjoy the cruising experience. I would say a good cruise duration is up to 1 day per year age of your child. My eldest is 4 years old and I think a 4 day cruise was enough for our little family. For instance, I wouldn’t attempt a 14 day cruise with a child any younger than 14 years old. So save the longer cruises for when your children are older. It’s good to mix up the days at port with the sea days. Having a destination mid cruise and getting off the boat at the Whitsundays was excellent for our children to explore.

2. Children need to be at least 12 months old to cruise

Our little girl was nearly 2 when we cruised so she was fine. Like many ships, P&O are unable to accommodate infants less than 12 months old. Furthermore, infants under 3 years old must remain with their parents at all times. So whilst Big Sister was building sky scrappers from the plethora of lego at the “Turtle Cove” Kids Club, little sister could only watch and get involved if there was a parent supervising. Big Sister loved the Kids Club so much and the social interaction with her fellow mini-cruisers. The Turtle Cove Kids Club is for children aged 3-6 year olds and the neighbouring Shark Shack Kids Club is for 7-10 year olds. HQ is for 11-14 years olds and HQ+is for 15-17 year olds. There was a range of activities at the Kids Club, from Ice-Cream making during the day, to Pyjama Parties and Discos in the evening. I think we might wait until our youngest turns 3 before our next cruise, so she too can enjoy all the fun.

Cruising on P&O Pacific Dawn3. Book Early

It is a little known fact that there are “limits” on the number of children that can be carried within different age groups on a cruise. For P&O Cruises, the age groups are 1-2 years, 3-6 years, 7-10 years and 11-17 years. These age groups correlate with kids clubs and resources available. We booked early so there was sufficient space for our nearly 2 year old and 4 year old. However, had the quota been filled for 1-2 year olds we may have needed to choose another cruise!

4. Bring Nappies and don’t bring Swimmer Nappies

If your little one is still in nappies, make sure you bring sufficient supplies of nappies and nappy wipes for the duration of the cruise, as these items are not available onboard. Children in nappies (including swim nappies) and children who are not toilet trained are not permitted in the swimming pools and spas. So whilst our 4 year old was splashing around, our nearly 2 year old was looking on from her deck chair. She still had an amazing time spotting dolphins from the deck! It is worth knowing that children younger than 3 can be provided with a portacot in the cabin and there are sufficient highchairs/boosters in all the restaurants.

Cruising Whitsundays5. Have a Fun Family Holiday

It really was an enjoyable family holiday. I think cruising appeals to young families because you only unpack once, stay onboard a comfortable ship and have a shared adventure as a family. We dined out at the various restaurants, saw Cirque du Soleil shows together, learnt how to juggle from the acrobats, went to family discos, saw dolphins and enjoyed our time at the Whitsundays. It was a wonderful break, as all the meals were made for you (and the washing up done by someone else). Our cabin was serviced daily and the towel animals left by our steward always amazed our kids!

I believe if you choose the right cruise for your children’s ages and interests, you’ll have a fabulous adventure together. Visit the P&O Cruises website to find out more about the cruises on offer and cruising with kids.

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uh-oh! Sleeping Bags – bed time made zippy

Posted by Diana on Wednesday Nov 12, 2014 Under Baby Clothes

After an active day of play and discovery it is a relief when Baby goes down to sleep with ease. To make the transition to bed as simple as possible, we follow the same steps of bath, story, cuddles, sleeping bag and bed each night. So far, Baby has been easy to settle and I believe our uh-oh! sleeping bag is helping make bed time zippy in our household.

With summer upon us, Baby is currently wearing a sleeveless 0.5 tog pink multi-stripe sleeping bag to bed. The sleeping bag is all Baby needs other than a bottom sheet to cover the mattress. The uh-oh! sleeping bag fits Baby’s small frame and is stretch enough to ensure my little contortionist is always comfortable. I have found the zippers to be really good quality and versatile with two zip heads making it super simple. The zip heads are covered with a tab to ensure my Baby will be comfortable in her sleeping bag all night.

The only tricky thing is assessing the correct tog for your baby’s bedroom. Tog is a European warmth rating for bedding, it is used in children’s sleeping bags to guide parents and carers when selecting the correct weight sleeping bag for each season.

The ideal bedroom temperature is believed to be approximately 18C. A simple way to check if your Baby is not too hot or too cold, is to gently place your hand between their shoulder blades – they should feel warm, not hot. I found these clothing indicators really handy:

  • 0.5 tog – Sleeveless unpadded sleeping bag. Bedroom temperature from 20C upwards. Short sleeve summer bodysuit.
  • 2.5 tog – Sleeveless padded sleeping bag. Bedroom temperature between 16C to 20C. Long sleeve pyjamas or sleepy suit.
  • 3.0 tog – Long Sleeve padded sleeping bags. Colder climates and bedrooms that fall below 16C. Long sleeve light weight pyjamas or sleepy suit.

The fantastic thing about uh-oh! Sleeping Bags is they are designed in Australia with our temperatures and seasons in mind. In fact, this year uh-oh! turns 20 – after designing, manufacturing and supplying safe and comfortable sleeping bags for babies in Australia since 1994.

There are six different sized uh-oh! sleeping bags, with the largest being size 4. So even your biggest baby can be snug and warm. Your little one can progress to uh-oh! sleepwear and blankets when they are no longer wearing their gorgeous sleeping bags.

All uh-oh! Sleeping Bags and Sleepwear comply and exceed the Australian & NZ Safety Standards for Children Nightwear. Visit the Skeanie website to find out more about the full range of uh-oh! Sleeping Bags and Sleepwear.

 

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Safe-n-Sound Tourer Booster

Posted by Diana on Monday Sep 22, 2014 Under Baby Travel

Safe-n-Sound TourerOutside the Pre-School gates, there is a general feeling of excitement amongst parents, with the arrival of the Safe-n-Sound Tourer Booster seat. The Tourer is feature-packed, claiming the title of the ‘tallest untethered booster in Australia’ – making it ideal for my friends driving 4WDs and their fast growing 4 year old off-spring.

The Tourer age range is from 4 years old to approx 6-8 years old (depending on your child’s height). The growth height markers on the seat provide a clear indication on whether your child is in the correct height range for using the Safe-n-Sound Tourer Booster.

The real point of difference for me is the lightweight of the Tourer, weighing less than 2kg. Making it easy to remove from the car when not in use and simple to install in another vehicle when needed. With the complex nature of Pre-School drop offs and pickups, it means it is ideal for use by Parents, Grandparents and Carers.

The Safe-n-Sound Tourer Booster is made and designed in Australia with many safety features. The seat base is designed to be impact absorbing and the Slideguard Clip is designed to prevent the lap sash seat belt from rising up in everyday use and to reduce the risk of abdominal injury in the event of a crash. The back of the seat has rear impact bars designed for added structural support and protection to the neck. The contoured seat has a deep headrest for added safety and comfort.

The Tourer is suitable for use in cars with forward facing seats with a lap-sash seatbelt, or with a seatbelt and child harness. I found the switchable built-in sash guide easy to use and correctly positioned the seat belt across my child’s chest and shoulders. It’s good to know the Tourer is compatible with the Safe-n-Sound Protecta Plus Harness and the Babylove EzyGo Harness too.

The dimensions of the Tourer Booster are Height 750mm, Depth 330mm and Width 455mm, making it space efficient. The Safe-n-Sound Tourer is available in two colours – Purple Haze and Buff Black. My Pre-Schooler adores travelling in her Purple Haze Tourer Booster, so in addition to it’s safety features, it’s fashionable and comfortable too. To find out more about the Tourer Booster and the full range of Safe-n-Sound car seats visit the Britax website.

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Safer Child Car Seats

Posted by Max on Saturday Jun 21, 2014 Under Baby Travel

childcarseats

It is estimated that 2 in 3 child car seats are not used correctly. To provide consumers with more information on correctly using the right child car seat, the new website Child Car Seats has been launched. The site allows you to compare more than 200 types of forward facing, rear facing and booster seats. You can find details of how the seats are tested and rated.

The site has a ‘find and compare’ section, which allows you to select the age of your child and then car seats which have recently been rated on ‘crash protection’ and ‘ease of use’ are listed. The logic being a child seat that is easier to use is more likely to be fitted correctly and used safely. It is definitely worth checking out www.childcarseats.com.au

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Simply Irresistible Iririki

Posted by Diana on Saturday May 24, 2014 Under Baby Travel

Island Fares IririkiAs the winter chill sets in, I cast my mind back to Vanuatu and instantly feel warmer. Only a 2.5 hour flight from Brisbane (or 3.5 hours from Sydney) it’s close enough for our Baby and Pre-Schooler to still be happy, when we arrive at the airport to strumming guitars greeting us to ‘the happiest place on earth’.

We are staying at gorgeous Iririki Island Resort nestled in Port Vila Harbour. It’s a 2 minute boat ride from Port Vila and feels a world away. The range of accommodation at Iririki Resort is brilliant, from deluxe rooms to family fares. Our mornings start with a buffet breakfast at Michener’s Restaurant then morning swims and sandcastle building at Catseye Beach. Lunch is usually very casual at the Sunset Cafe, where the children make a splash at the lagoon pool and then after an afternoon rest we get ready for dinner.

Vanuatu Traditional DancersEvery evening at Iririki Resort, there is a theme night at the restaurant, which is good fun for the whole family. My favourite evening was definitely the Melanesian Feast night, with traditional dancers who were so convincing in spearing Mummy, that Baby let out a squeal that signalled she might never see me again! Luckily, it was all a show and Mummy returned to the bungalow.

The next day we did some exploring with Evergreen Tours and visited the Mele Cascades. We walked through a lush rainforest to discover magnificent cascading waterfalls over towering limestone. We were encouraged to swim in the rock pools and shower under the waterfalls. It was so exotic – that at any moment, I expected those dancers with spears to appear from behind the rainforest foliage (but they didn’t show).

Tanna Coffee FactorySo we gathered our things and headed off for the second part of our tour, to the Tanna Coffee Factory down the road. There was the funkiest little cafe in the coffee factory which roasted coffee beans grown on Tanna Island. With maps of Vanuatu showing the location of Tanna Island where the beans are grown, in relation to Port Vila where the beans are roasted, it was an interesting lesson in agriculture and geography for our worldly Preschooler and Baby, who sipped the froth from their Babycinos as they avidly listened to our Guide explain the process.

After a couple of days relaxing at simply irresistible Iririki we decided to go on another adventure. This time we visited the Blue Lagoon and Turtle Sanctuary. The Blue Lagoon was spectacular and Dad did his best Tarzan impression, swinging from a rope into the blue lagoon below, to shrills of laughter from the girls. At the Turtle Sanctuary we saw baby turtles and discovered that adult turtles have an appetite for paw paw!

Even after our adventure had come to an end and we were holding our boarding passes at the airport, the sound of a distant guitar strumming, made me smile and feel blessed, that we had enjoyed a week together as a family at the happiest place on earth.

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Easter Traditions Around The World

Posted by Diana on Saturday Apr 19, 2014 Under Baby Activities

Easter Egg HuntWhilst the traditional Easter Egg Hunt will be underway in many Aussie backyards this Easter, there are other fascinating Easter traditions taking place elsewhere in the world.

In the UK, Egg Rolling Competitions are held during Easter with eggs rolled down hills to see which eggs go the greatest distance.

In Poland on Easter Monday women are woken by spritzes of water or perfume to keep them young and beautiful.

In Germany Christmas Trees are burnt to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

In Russia eggs are painted with intricate designs to celebrate Easter.

In Finland children dress up as witches and hunt for treats!

Wishing Everyone a Happy Easter full of fun and tradition wherever you may be!

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Tiny Toes Ballet

Posted by Diana on Friday Mar 28, 2014 Under Baby Activities

BallerinasMy little one recently declared she wants to be a ballerina. A ‘Fairy-Princess-Ballerina’ in fact! So after years of walking on her tip toes and impromptu twirls in the lounge room, I thought it was time to progress to the next level – with some ballet classes.

The search started for a Sydney based ballet school with a professional approach, without the fuss of concerts and costumes. After much research, I found Tiny Toes Ballet, who offer baby / toddler ballet classes for 2 1/2 year olds, and pre-school ballet classes for children 3 – 6 years old. The Tiny Toes classes are based on the Royal Academy of Dance Pre-School Dance Curriculum. Recently they started ‘Primary Dance Academy’ ballet and jazz for 5 – 7 year old children.

My Pre-Schooler was really excited to be attending her first ballet trial class. After spending some time deliberating over her outfit, she chose to wear a pink fairy skirt, pink t-shirt and pink leggings. There was no need for pink ballet shoes just yet, as bare feet were fine for her trial class. The first class is obligation-free and you are contacted after the class to get feedback and to see if you are happy to continue with the rest of the term.

We were warmly greeted by her teacher Miss Brittany and I was invited to observe the trial class. After a warm-up, there was an imaginative themed portion of the class. At one stage she was floating like a fairy, then she was ice-skating on a frozen lake and suddenly a hula hoop had become a fairy steering wheel. I must say, the fairy car being steered by my daughter, seemed to be going the fastest in the class! Amongst all the fun and imaginative dance, she was developing her coordination, listening to the music, harnessing her creativity and building her confidence.

After such a positive experience, I confirmed her attendance for the rest of the term. She recently acquired her first pair of pink leather shoes, which I am sure she has not removed since we left the store. She does have more technique when she performs her twirls in the lounge room, although she now refers to them as ‘pirouettes’ since starting with Tiny Toes. Her little sister is now mimicking her and doing pirouettes of her own. Possibly another ballerina in the making!

To find out more about nurturing and developing the creative potential of your young child through dance, visit the Tiny Toes website.

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