The LunchBox Refresh – 5 Days, Zero Sandwiches

Week one, Term 3.

Uniforms, PE gear, homework, bus money, making lunches…………..it’s THAT time again!

Because we’re all about keeping it real, it’s totally ok to admit that you’re already tired of packing the lunch-boxes after just one week back at school.  My bet is the kids are probably getting sick of eating them too!  School lunches are tricky; what my boys will devour one day is returned untouched the next in a seemingly random, arbitrary lottery of lunch-time success or failure.

But, the answer is right there ^ VARIETY.  Some of us are creatures of habit and prefer the same lunch, eaten at the same time each day – many children are like this too, in which case, find what they love and stick with it.  Nixon prefers the predictable but Ethan would be happy to never see another ham and cheese sandwich in his lunch box ever again.  I feel ya son!

So, I challenged myself to come up with some different school lunch options, NONE of which included a sandwich.  Not as difficult as it sounds, plus, I know Ethan loves leftovers so that’s always another option.  I figure that by alternating a normal lunch with a ‘sandwich free’ lunch, we’ll stave off lunch-box fatigue – at least for a little while this term.  These also tick the box for Nix as there is a familiar fave, a ‘constant’ in there each day, in this instance, a Dole Fruit Bowl which he loves.

 

Pikelets & Peanut Butter

Who doesn’t LOVE pikelets???  Next time you’re standing over the frying pan, whip up a double batch and freeze half for lunches.  If you freeze them on the baking tray they won’t stick together when you transfer them to a sandwich bag or container for storage : )

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On the menu: pikelets, peanut butter, apple, dried cranberries, Dole Fruit Bowl – Tropical Fruit & Juice.

Frittata & Friends

I was a bit stumped for my next idea so came up with the idea of packing lunch based upon a colour scheme!  This would be fab for picky eaters whom you are trying to gently encourage to experiment a little more.  Everything looks better when it’s colour-coordinated after all!  I based this lunch around yellow and orange food, but there are so many options.  Totally easy and do-able once a week.

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-device-time-lunchbox-ideas

On the menu:  Ham & cheese mini-frittata, banana yoghurt, banana, carrot sticks, Dole Fruit Bowl – Mango & Custard, popcorn.

A Sausage Roll for Lunch!

This was def Ethan’s favourite, and the kiwi classic sausage roll tastes almost as good cold as it does hot (at least according to a bottomless pit, 12 year old boy!).

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On the menu: Sausage roll, pear, watermelon slices, bliss balls, Dole Fruit Bowl – Blueberries & Custard.

Cheese & Bacon Twist

This is an easy-to-bake idea that glams up plain old bread.  Try this calzone recipe and tweak the filling to suit your kids tatses.  Yum!

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On the menu: Cheese and bacon calzone, kiwi fruit, mandarin, Dole Fruit Bowl – Tropical Fruit & Juice, marmite and cheese bagel crisps.

Roast Chicken Sliders

We usually have a roast chicken on the menu each week and there’s always leftovers so I’ve repurposed them into a kid-friendly lunch option on a tasty, soft slider bun.  Nix struggles with full-size bread rolls so sliders work really well for him. I was expecting to find these in the bread aisle but I picked these up from our local supermarket, baked in-house!

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On the menu: Roast chicken sliders, kiwi fruit, pear, Dole Fruit Bowl – Tropical Fruit & Juice, bliss balls.

Hopefully, these ideas will give you some lunch-box inspo, and may even eliminate at least one of the #schoolrunsighs I know we can all relate to on a daily basis!  Finding your kid’s go-to snack like the Dole Fruit Bowls, that’s easy to slip into lunch-boxes and after school activity bags can be a life-saver when you’re in a hurry and running out the door.


This post was sponsored by Dole, thanks for helping to keep me writing!

Back to School! How were the holidays……really?

The first Monday back to school after the holidays has come and gone and I’m reflecting a little on what we did, and didn’t do over the past two weeks.

Nix was sick for 10 days prior to the holidays so we were all out of whack after that and to be honest, the constant rain of the first week combined with both boys at home left me feeling less-than optimistic that we could steer the holiday ship in the right direction.

I had surprised myself (and Ethan!) with a teeny bit of forward-planning that saw E enrolled in a 2-day basketball camp each week.  He was stoked.  He was active, playing sport, socialising with other kids out of the house, learning and progressing and not sitting in front of a device, which is every parent’s nightmare right?

Right?

Ethan is a 12.5-year-old, hormone fuelled, sports-mad, go-go-go kid that desperately needed a break these holidays.  2 days each week of organized activity was all he needed as he recovered from another term that involved school days stretching from 7am-4.15, a basketball game, basketball training, two rugby practices and a rugby game each week.  As far as I was concerned, some screen time over the holidays was not going to cause him any irreparable damage.  I may have even encouraged a little bit of couch time if I’m honest.  I needed to give my kid a break and give myself a break from the ‘Mum guilt’ we are supposed to feel if we actively permit our children to relax by using their devices.

I’ve kissed that shit goodbye.

Our two boys are happy, healthy and active members of their respective sports-teams.  Motivation to participate, get moving and get outside is rife in our household – maybe somewhat lacking in my department right now but we’re not talking about ME lol!  As such, removing the negative shade I was throwing at Ethan every time he picked up his phone or iPad did not propel him into a square-eyed bender, all it did was simply improve communication between us and eliminate MUCH frustrated sighing and eye-rolling.

So, I gave my big boy a break.  He played some xBox, watched some Netflix, did whatever it is he does on his phone and when he wasn’t at basketball camp we had a pretty harmonious school holiday.  

Family activities aren’t always easy with an 8.5 year age gap between the boys, an impulsive, almost-made-it-to-the-ticket-counter movie visit didn’t work out as E was desperate to go, yet the thought of sitting in a loud, dark cinema immediately melted Nix into a puddle of tears.  In the middle of the mall.  Cue family breakdown and that terrible situation where you are torn between wanting to make both of your children happy and the inability to do so simultaneously ALL of the time.

The boys needed some time apart so Dave took Ethan and they headed off into the bush for a big walk and Nix and I collected rocks, dirt, leaves and sticks and headed down to the river to throw all the rocks, dirt, leaves and sticks into it.

Later that day the boys got their movie fix, but together-apart.  By that I mean, Nixon watched Charlotte’s Web on the Netflix app on our TV while Ethan snuggled with him on the couch, watching Okja (watch this Netflix Original guys!  It’s freaking amazing, topical and incredibly relevant) on his iPad with headphones.

Peace was restored and with zero guilt factor from me.

How did your school holidays play out guys?  Did you give your kids a break and let them self-regulate their device usage or did you keep them on a schedule?  

And, this question is pretty important, did you give yourself a break over the holidays?  Check out the image below for some innovative ways mums are managing to sneak in some ‘ME Time’ with their faves on Netflix – my new fave is Ozark, I’m calling it right here, this is the new Breaking Bad!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Device Time Netflix


If you’d like to get Netflix ready before the next school holidays, head over to FB and I’ll gift one of you a 3 month Netflix subscription!  Too easy xx

Competition Terms and Conditions here

Beauty Spotlight: July ’17

Need-to-know news / Beauty Reviews from New Zealand’s most loved Health & Beauty Brands


Personal Fave > Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Alpha-H Liquid Gold

I was complimented recently on my skin and kinda blew it off but afterward realised I did have a bit of a secret weapon; I’ve been using Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid every second night for around 6 weeks now and I’m a convert.
You have to take it easy though, this is a serious resurfacing treatment but your skin will love it.  A swipe over your face after cleansing in the evening is all it takes.  When I wake in the morning my skin is super hydrated, looks younger and fresher with minimised pores.  Smooth is an understatement.  I’d never before heard of Alpha-H but a quick Google search showed just how much of a cult product this is.

RRP $57.95 Available from www.tvsn.co.nz

NEW Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix

Beauty lovers, this is EXCITING.  Estée Lauder has extended their legendary Advanced Night Repair range with Eye Concentrate Matrix.  In stores today, July 17th 2017, this blend of visco-elastic polymer and 2X concentrated infusion of two types of Hyaluronic Acid is science in a bottle.  Dubbed a multi-repair, skin strengthening, ultra-nourishing formula, the 360° Matrix technology has been designed to combat the aging effects of over 10,000 micro-movements made by our eyes each day.

I’ve just applied it for the first time via the massage applicator, which, as well as feeling heavenly under tired eyes, will also ensure that this is an investment in your skin that will go the distance.  It would almost be impossible to apply too much product as the bottle/applicator design functions perfectly.

RRP $138 Available at Estée Lauder counters, online at smithandcaugheys.co.nz and farmers.co.nz.

L’Occitane Shea Ultra Rich Comforting Face Cream + code for you!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family L'Occitane Shea Ultra Rich Comforting Face Cream

Oh my lord.  The smell, the creamy texture, the incredible hydration factor……  the shea butter collection from L’Occitane is one of my faves and should go straight to the top of your list if your skin is suffering from the drying effects of winter.  Also available in a 5% Shea Butter Light Comforting Cream, L’Occitane’s natural and organic ingredient-based solutions are perfect to remedy that ‘tight’ feeling that is associated with the temperature fluctuations our skin is exposed to at this time of year.

RRP $66 Available from nz.loccitane.com/

Try the range with a FREE 7 day skincare trial which you can collect from any of the L’Occitane boutiques, as well as online using the code “Melissa” with any purchase until the 30th of July.

Frankie Apothecary Kawakawa Balm

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Frankie Apothecary Kawakawa Balm

It’s a genuinely exciting time in the health and skincare field as more and more beautifully crafted, natural products are coming to market and proving their worth and efficacy against options created by their big-pharma contemporaries.

New-to-me Kawakawa Balm by Frankie Apothecary is one such product.  Wildcrafted from a sustainable Kawakawa farm in Mangawhai, this is the first NZ made, oil-based formulation targeting eczema and is completely preservative free as are all products in the Frankie Apothecary range.   The balm is in a perfect semi-solid state, softening easily to the touch and applies beautifully.  The first thing I did after opening the jar was to apply it to my dry, chapped lips after a morning on the sidelines at rugby.  Then, I put it on my hands and feet and on Ethan’s legs which were hideously dry, scaly and looked like they had been sandblasted after his game today.

This is one of those miracle products that you will find multiple uses for.  The oil-based formula feels amazing on my skin and I’m really looking forward to incorporating it into how I care for the boys.

RRP $32.90 available from www.frankieapothecary.co.nz and good pharmacies and health stores around NZ.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family A'kin Micellar WaterA’kin Natural Australian Skincare

The list of what’s NOT in A’kin products is so vast, it was really interesting running my eyes down the ingredients list and taking note of what is actually in these skincare products that have proven so popular on both sides of the Tasman.  Corn cob powder, coconut water, green tea, cucumber water.  Sounds delicious, but these natural offerings culminate in a robust range with an awesome price-point.

A’kin includes cult beauty faves Micellar Water (RRP $17.49) and Rosehip Oil (RRP $34.99) in their range, all of which contain; no sulfates, parabens, silicones, ethoxylated cleaners, PEGS, phyalates, mineral oil, artificial colours, synthetic fragrances or animal derivatives.  Perfect options for those committed to using only vegan, cruelty-free skincare products.

Available from pharmacies and health stores nationwide, or shop online at www.akin.co.nz/ 

Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Radiance SerumNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Radiance Serum

This is my second time using one of Manuka Doctor’s most iconic products, ApiRefine Radiance Serum and I was very excited to have it hit my doorstep ergo my face lol.  I’ve found many serums don’t layer well under moisturiser and then makeup, but this one does.  I wear serum every day, have tried many different options and I’d have to pop this in my Top 3 I think!  The results are dewy but not oily, firm but not tight.

Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Radiance Serum RRP $35.95, available online www.manukadoctor.co.nz from Farmers Department Stores, selected pharmacies and department stores.

Avon True New Zealand Launch + WIN!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Avon True Review

Ding-dong to Dot-com!  Avon has been synonymous with beauty for 130 years now and is continuing to introduce new generations of consumers to their brand, building on a legacy of simple, honest, functional products that embody effortless beauty and uncompromising results.

I was thrilled to attend the launch of Avon True in Auckland at the end of June and get to know the brand a little more.  New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Avon True ReviewThe evolution of Avon as I remember it (purely catalogue based and unattainable unless you knew an ‘Avon Lady’) to a brand that honours it’s heritage whilst providing an innovative online sales platform is pretty staggering.

Avon is now accessible to everyone including those of us that are true online shopping devotees – I love it!

My pick of the new range?  True Colour Flawless CC Pearls RRP $35.99

With shades to combat all of our skin woes such green to reduce redness and yellows to combat dark circles, I’m really looking forward to adding these pearls to my daily makeup routine – there’s nothing more exciting to me than a product that quite simply makes sense!

Available online at: shopavon.co.nz

Win with Avon!

I have 5 Avon True Colour Skin Goodness Moisturising BB Cream SPF15 to give away in Shell (check the link to make sure that colour will work for you!) RRP $19.99.  To enter just leave a comment below and let me know whether you’d prefer ‘Ding dong or dot.com” Avon shopping.

Comp closes Sunday 24th July, NZ residents only.  

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-Beauty-Review-Estee-Lauder-Advanced+Night+Repair+Eye+Concentrate+Matrix 1.  Tangle Teezer Star Wars Special Editions RRP $34 – available from selected pharmacies, salons, dept. stores or call 0508 734 466 for stockists.  2.  BON Organic Tampons from $6.99 www.bonlifestyle.com, 3.  Freeman Beauty Infusion Pods & Sheet Masks from $5.50 at selected pharmacies and Farmers stores.  4.  Sukin Ultra Hydrating Body Oil RRP $24.50 available at Farmers, pharmacies and health stores nationwide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushroom Pie Recipe

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Mushroom Pie RecipeMushrooms are up there on my faves list, alongside avocados and cheese.  All three can usually be added to anything to instantly improve it.

Aside from cake.

Anyway, this recipe is amazing, I wish I could take credit for it (not that clever!) but I plan on making these ALL the time, the addition of lemon zest is genius I tell you!  I used my pie maker and the recipe made four large pies.  These delish Mushroom Pies are perfect winter warmers, they’re super-quick to whip up, inexpensive, filling and make an easy addition to your family meal plan.

Mushroom Pies Recipe

Recipe reproduced courtesy of meadowmushrooms.co.nz

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

2 onions, sliced 

2 cloves garlic, sliced

250g White Button ‘Pie’ Mushrooms

1 Tbsp fresh thyme

1/4 cup cream (I used 1/2 cup)

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt & pepper

1 packet flaky puff pastry sheets

1 egg

Method

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Mushroom Pie Recipe

  1. Heat oil and butter, sauté onions, garlic, mushrooms and thyme.
  2. Add cream and lemon zest and season to taste
  3. Grease muffin trays, pie tin or pie maker.
  4. Cut out pastry rounds to line bases, prick all over with fork.
  5. Fill with mushroom mixture
  6. Cover with pastry lid, brush edges with water and seal pies.
  7. Brush with whisked egg and bake for 30 minutes in over or until golden, or follow directions on pie maker.
  8. Enjoy with pesto and winter salad.

 

Midwinter Mexican – Sizzling Shrimp Fajitas Recipe

Faa-heaters.

Fajitas.

Yay!

Now that you can pronounce fajitas, let’s figure out exactly what we’re talking about before we dive in and get cooking.

My first fajita experience was in a popular Tex-Mex chain restaurant in the US.  Piles of sizzling sliced meats, sliced, sauteed capsicums and onions served to the table in a HOT cast iron skillet with warm flour taco tortillas (tor-tea-aas), salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese and sour cream served on the side.  It’s a sight to see and the fun of assembling your fajitas makes eating a really tactile experience.  Fajitas are also great for a family meal as the platter presentation works perfectly for sharing and keeping picky eaters happy.

The difference between tacos and fajitas?  Assembly and toppings.

The term fajitas actually refers to the filling and means ‘little strip’, referencing how the meat and vegetables are cut and cooked.  Tacos are served pre-filled, whereas fajitas are a DIY experience at the table, tacos generally have fresh, raw toppings whereas fajitas are served with sizzling veggies in the pan.

I love them both, like, I LOVE THEM BOTH, but let’s cook some Farrah’s fajitas!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Shrimp Fajitas Recipe

 

Sizzling Shrimp Fajitas Recipe

Sound a bit tricky??  Fajitas are super easy, check out the 1 min video below if you need some convincing : )

Ingredients

500gm raw shrimp cutlets

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp crushed garlic

Salt and pepper to season

2 capsicums, different colours, cut into strips

1 red onion cut into strips

1 x Farrah’s Fajita Spice Mix (available in the Mexican aisle at your supermarket)

1 x pack of Farrah’s Taco Tortillas (available in the Mexican aisle at your supermarket)

To Serve

Prep shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese on a platter

Lime wedges to serve

Cilantro, sour cream, salsa and hot sauce to serve.

Method

Heat oil in cast iron skillet or pan.

Add garlic and shrimp.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir through half the pack of Farrah’s Fajita Spice Mix.

Cook until shrimp exterior is pink with red tails and the flesh is slightly opaque and a little “white” in color.

Remove shrimp from skillet and de-tail if you haven’t already.

Add capsicum and onion to skillet with the remainder of the Farrah’s Fajita Spice Mix.  Cook, stirring until veggies are just softening.

Return shrimp to pan, bring back up to temp.

Serve straight to the table, taking care with the hot pan.

Enjoy fajitas with warm Farrah’s Taco Tortillas, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, lime wedges, cilantro, sour cream, salsa and hot sauce to serve.

I guarantee your family will love this meal and it’s SO quick and easy to whip up, get the kids in the kitchen to prep the cold toppings while you take care of those delicious shrimp!

I actually could eat this meal every day.  The fajita mix from Farrah’s is an amazing, smoky blend of spices that pairs perfectly with many different proteins.  Don’t forget the squeeze of fresh lime on these, you’ll be thanking me!

Enjoy!


Mexican dishes are on the menu in our house every week and I’m so keen to get you guys excited about trying some new dinner ideas that I have 5 amazing prize packs to give away thanks to Farrah’s!

  • 2 x Main prize winners: Farrah’s Mexican Range; including Farrah’s taco tortillas + spice mixes across the range. Enough to share!
  • 3 x Runners up: Fajita Mexican Pack; including new Fajita Spice Mix + Farrah;s Taco Tortillas.

To enter, leave me a comment below sharing your favourite way to enjoy the Farrah’s Mexican range.

Comp closes 27th July 2017, NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Shrimp Fajitas Recipe

Sundays are for…………..family.

One Sunday morning at 4am the sun was not up, but into the bed came a very wriggly and very hungry little boy.  He started to look for some food, but Mum and Dad were still sleeping.  Last week they survived; 1 professional exam, 1 swimming lesson, 1 basketball game, 1 basketball practice, 1 committee meeting, 4 rugby practices, 2 GST returns, 1 rugby Club Night, 1 science project,  1 missed meeting with the bank (the bank manager may not have survived this one!), 2 PR events, 1 EMS workout, 4 blog posts, 1 All Blacks test……………and they were still tired.

Needless to say, Mum and Dad were very much looking forward to Sunday.  Until they remembered Ethan had rugby rep trials at 11am ::::::::::sigh::::::::::

Many are beginning to lament the innate ‘busyness’ of modern family life, and to be honest, last week just about broke me but, our family are joiners, participants, volunteers.  We like to get involved, put down roots, contribute and get to know our little community – something that doesn’t happen simply by virtue of being a ‘neighbour’ anymore.

The flip-side of this is that ensuring we have family ‘down-time’ sometimes becomes a mindful miracle of scheduling.

Eating helps.  Eating together nails it.

This Sunday, breakfast became early afternoon tea for Nixon (he woke at 4 remember!) and some combo of breakfast-brunch-lunch for Dave and I and our beautifully bed-headed preteen.  Keep in mind this is intentionally NOT a cereal breakfast ala Monday through Friday.  This is a ‘real food meal’ that takes time to eat so we can spend as much time as possible together, around the table without anyone on a device or rushing off .

The menu varies, it could be waffles, pancakes or crèpes but this week it was freshly made cheese scones, bacon, and omelets to share.  Of course, we have to be a little bit prepared, a mindful meal begins with some mindful shopping, or at the very least making sure there are some flour, milk, and eggs on hand!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Organic Milk

The way modern families shop for food and consider their purchases is as much a dynamic process as our hectic day-to-day lives.  Food innovation now often (ironically) takes the form of simplification.  As parents of a 12.5-year-old, we want to know where he is, what he’s doing and who he’s doing it with.  Similarly, I want to know where my food is coming from and who is producing it, but is it realistic to expect this from supermarket staples?

Surprisingly, the answer is YES.  The milk we used for our Sunday breakfast this week came from a single organic farm located in Manawatu, farmed by the Flipp family.  Four generations live and work on the farm along with their 600 cows and I didn’t have to drive 6.5 hrs to the farm gate to pick it up! 

Kapiti Single Farm Organic Milk was in the chiller, at my local New World 5 minutes from my house.

Mindful family routines and meals begin with mindful shopping – grocery or otherwise.  Investing in a product that is the end result of the Flipp Family’s 3-year journey to achieve organic certification is definitely a brand story that I’m happy to have at my table every day.

For this post, I partnered with Kapiti Single Farm Organic Milk which is now available from Supermarkets nationwide.

  • 1.25L Homogenised/non-homogenised RRP $5.49
  • 750ml Homogenised/non-homogenised RRP $3.50

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Organic Milk

 

Family Travel: 5 Ways to Make Travelling with Kids Amazing

AdvertisementIf the idea of traveling with your kids is enough to induce a cold sweat, or the thought of spending 4 hours (or more!) on a plane with both your toddler AND the general public warrants a stiff drink, then read on friends.

Traveling with your kids, whatever their ages, is a great privilege and luxury afforded to few.  If you have the opportunity to get out there and adventure with your family then what are you waiting for?!  The rewards and benefits of forgetting your daily routine or even just ‘transplanting’ it somewhere warm and sunny for a few days can be a liberating experience for parents and kids alike.

Right now I’m mentally prepping and researching for a family trip to the Gold Coast next month, so, I’d thought I’d share a few tips we’ve learned over the past 12 years as we’ve traveled with the boys.

Getting ready to travel, even for a short while can be super exciting but also incredibly draining.  Get a head start on your planning, figure out what the ‘Travel Deal-Breakers’ are for your family (quiet accommodation, short transit times, kitchen facilities, proximity to Zara………..) and make it happen. 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelling with Kids
Queenstown Gondola 2017

5 Ways to Make Travelling with Kids Amazing

    1. Food – Pack as much as you can!  It’s a brave parent that leaves their home without snacks and drinks packed for their little ones.  It’s a crazy parent that leaves the country (or city!) without doing the same.  When we traveled to Rarotonga two years ago I did meal planning for the entire 10 days and packed a suitcase full of snacks and meal starters.  Why?  Kiwi staples can be expensive on the islands and food is NOT one of our family’s Travel Deal-Breakers – we would rather save money on eating out and spend it on local experiences.
      My boys are ready to eat 24-7.  Having to constantly stop and search out food in unfamiliar locales is both costly and time-consuming.  Rolling with pre-packed snacks and drinks leaves more time for fun and also provides some home comfort for little ones in an unfamiliar place.
      Hungry kids are not happy kids.  End of story.
    2. Itinerary – Think before you book.  My boys travel well first thing in the morning, and by first thing I mean, we’re on a plane or on the road at 8 am.  If we’re heading to a NZ destination this gives us a whole day to get our bearings and start with the fun!  I’m also really cautious about how much I try and cram into a trip.  Dave and I can seriously smash out some touristing but it’s unreasonable to expect kids to go go go, all in the name of ticking boxes in your Lonely Planet guide.  We plan on one activity per day (unless we have a driver), anything else is a bonus.

      Mummy Blog new Zealand TRavel rarotonga Family
      Rarotonga, 2015
    3. Accommodation – Here’s where your Travel Deal-Breakers are super important.  If you’re looking for a ‘lay around the pool-max out the Kids Club-never leave the resort holiday’, you’re going to be looking for a premium hotel that you’ll love spending time at.  If getting your kids to sleep easily/early is a priority, look for options away from the main drag and off the pub-crawl route.  If you’re only there to lay your head, save some cash and book an economy option.
      How can you tell what a place is really like when you’re making a reservation online?  Easy.
      Read.  The.  Reviews.  All of them lol.  I’m looking at accommodation right now in the Goldie and there are hundreds of reviews on each of the properties I’m considering on Booking.com.  Take your fellow travellers advice under consideration, after all, they’ve been there, done it!  Warning – there are over 1.2 million properties to choose from on Booking.com so don’t leave choosing your accommodation until the last minute lol.New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelling with Kids
    4. Transport – Little legs move slowly, don’t rush your kids through their travel experience.  Consider your accommodation location carefully and plan your transport options accordingly.  If kids have to walk for ages, they’ll be tired and cranky before you even arrive at the day’s activity.  Take your stroller!  We have a trusty umbrella stroller that cost all of $30, has been all over New Zealand and to Australia and Bali and it’s worth its weight in gold.  It doesn’t incur any extra luggage charge and makes Nixie’s life much more comfortable when we’re rushing from here to there.  On last months trip to Queenstown, we took his balance bike instead and this was amazing.  He even rode it 5kms along a trail to see the Franz Josef glacier!  (We stayed here while in Franz Josef and it was perfect for families). 
    5. First Aid – Be prepared.  If you’re traveling to warm climates use the space you’ll have in your luggage (after packing minimal bulky clothes) to go nuts at the pharmacy.  Little cuts, scrapes, and grazes or excessive sun can quickly ruin a family holiday.  Pack more insect repellant and sunscreen than you think.  Pack 3B Action Cream, chafe can be a killer when you’re doing heaps of walking and you’re hot and sweaty.  On a trip to Tonga, Ethan pretty much lived in his board shorts, however, his little thighs were rubbed raw by the end of the trip from so much time at the beach and in the sand.  Take antiseptic cream with you, take Pamol and Phenergan for bug bites and allergic reactions.  The medicine we had to purchase for Nix in Bali was flavored differently and proved a mission to get into him.  Prepare like you’re Florence Nightengale for all child-related contingencies lol.

So, you can take all of this into consideration, but the most important thing to remember when traveling with kids is to just be open to changes of plan and expect everything to move a wee bit slower than you might prefer.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelling with Kids
Tonga, 2008

I find that our willingness to pull the kids out of school to travel gives us more options in pricing then trying to book trips exclusively in the school holidays.  Many people disagree with us, but I firmly believe that there is not one thing that Ethan will learn in Year 8 that compares to walking the cliff tops at an ancient temple in Uluwatu.  Travel is life!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelling with Kids

Tauranga, 2017