Thursday, 28 November 2013

GUEST POST :: 10 Tips to make plane travel with kids easier

There is no denying that travelling with young kids is... well, "interesting", especially long haul flights! Following on from my post a couple of months ago on being better prepared for family road trips, today I am pleased to bring you 10 great tips from Kim Salter - Personal Travel Manager and accredited Travel with Kidz consultant on being better prepared for plane travel. (You can read more about what Kim does below).
Remember - time spent planning early can save a lot of time problem-solving later, so plan ahead, be prepared, and enjoy the ride!

Planning ahead

  • Make sure your travel insurance is paid and issued when you book your holiday or flights. You’re at higher risk of having to cancel when traveling with babies due to fever, ear infection, stomach bug etc.
  • Consider breaking up your journey on long haul flights. Although this makes the total travel time longer, having a break from the confines of a plane when the journey is longer than 8 hours can be a sanity saver for the whole family.
  • If you are hiring a car at your destination and require a car seat for your child, you can either take yours with you (always confirm the seat will fit the hired vehicle legally and safely), or arrange a car seat with your car hire company.
  • Pre-book any special requirements you may have when traveling with kids - infant/toddler/child meal, bassinet for infants (generally maximum 11 kilos weight), an extra seat to buckle the child’s car seat into (this frees the parents up for meal times and gives the baby/toddler some space, but you will pay a full child rate applicable to the flight), airport assistance (check with your airline/airport what assistance is available).
  • Arrange transport to the airport from your home – ask a friend or family member to drive you, or pre-book a taxi or airport shuttle with a car seat (or you can use your own car seat if you are taking it with you).

Ready for departure

  • Using a baby carrier or sling allows free hands for parents to manage passports, luggage, check-in procedures, and other kids, allowing you to check your stroller in with the rest of your luggage. They are also very handy on board the aircraft to help settle your baby, and allow you to eat with free hands.
  • Ensure you have an adequate supply of nappies, food, medications, and change of clothes for both child and parents. Always pack anything essential in carry-on luggage (anything required at your destination which would be difficult to replace if luggage was lost indefinitely).
  • Don’t forget to take your child’s favourite toy, blanket, comforter or pacifier (and some spares in case).
  • iPads are a great form of entertainment while travelling. Load some games, music and story books for your kids before you leave, and take some comfy headphones.
  • Ear pain may be experienced due to pressure changes, especially during take-off and landing. 'Ear plugs' are available from pharmacies (suitable for most children 1 year and older) which have a filter that regulates air pressure and cuts down noise.

Kim Salter is a Personal Travel Manager, and has recently completed her accreditation with the family holiday experts “Travel with Kidz”. Kim has extensive experience in the travel industry, from being a flight attendant, to managing a travel agency, to being a mobile travel manager, and embarking on long haul international travel with her toddler – she’s been there, done that, and knows how to look after you! Click on the image below for Kim's contact details.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW :: School Term Planner

As if the "silly season" is not enough to deal with on its own, we also have to start thinking about planning for the new year which is rapidly approaching. There's next year's school book orders, signing up for January holiday club, enrolling in sports clubs / dance classes for Term 1, and so on. If you have a bunch of different people and activities to keep track of, I can highly recommend the 2Organise School Term Planner.

What is the 2Organise School Term Planner?

As the name suggests, the planner is based around the school terms, with a full term per page so you can plan ahead and see everything at a glance. It is designed with 5 colour-coded blocks so that you can keep track of different family members' activities. We only have 3 people in our family, but I use the extra colours to keep track of my business stuff and my pets. It also works wonderfully for uni students and their different subjects, as well as small businesses planning activities for different team members.

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I used this planner for the first time this year and I must say that I absolutely loved it. Its large format (roughly A2 size) is much more user-friendly (and cheaper!) than some other A4 or even A3 family planners I have tried before. It also includes the term and holiday dates for all the states, so if you are traveling interstate you can plan around the destination's terms, which may be different to yours. I have also given these to a few friends and they have all loved it. A great Christmas present idea too!

For those interested in Healthy Fundraising

The planners can also be sold as a fundraiser (anyone else over the chocolate drive?? yeah!!), so if your school, sports club or charity group is looking for some healthy and practical fund-raising options, please feel free to contact me for further info (see contact details on the right). The fund-raising programme is sooo easy to set up and use - most of it is done for you, you just have to sit back and wait for the cheque! 

Purchasing the planners

The planners are $19.95. If you would like to purchase one (or a few) you can do so here. If you would like to place a large order please contact me. 

Until next week, happy planning!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

HOW TO :: Get a handle on your handbag

This past Friday I attended a Breast Cancer Fundraising Dinner hosted by the lovely Doan from Little Organics and Gluten Free Wagon. I did a little presentation on being organised with the ladies, and started with a fun game of 'Handbag Bingo' (which isn't really a thing, I just made it up!!). I got a lot of positive feedback about the game - the ladies loved it and it was a fun way to get the message across, so I thought I would share it here so you could join in the fun. (And guys - it works just as well with a laptop bag!)

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Go on - see if you can get bingo! Not only did most of the ladies achieve 4 in a row, but many also ticked nearly all of the boxes. The point of the exercise was to show how quickly little things can build up to form clutter, even in a small space like a handbag.

What is clutter?

My definition of clutter is: anything that does not belong where it currently is; serves no current purpose; adds no value; or is awaiting an overdue decision or action. There are many more than these 16 items which can be found in handbags and fit that description of clutter. A good way to stay on top of it is to empty your bag at the beginning of each month and deal with the contents as needed. Life is way too short to waste time scratching around in your bag when you need something! Keep it clean and clutter-free - it's a small thing which can make a big difference in your daily life.

handbag clutter, cluttered handbag, handbag organising tips

Thursday, 7 November 2013

HOW TO :: Plan the Perfect Party + Giveaway!

This week I am writing a bit of a personal post for a change. We have just had our son's birthday party, which was a huge success - even if I do say so myself! I love doing themed birthday parties for my boy, and of course, I love all the planning and preparing. I am not much of a baker however. My son's birthday is pretty much the only time of the year when I make that much effort in the kitchen! I know planning parties is not everyone's cup of tea, so today I wanted to share some tips with you to help the preparations go a bit smoother.

Start Early

I usually start the initial planning 3 to 4 months before the big day. This is because I have learnt over the years that if you want a specific venue or entertainment option, you need to book way ahead of time.
This also allows you enough time to do your research (see below) and get some of the prep done, so that you are not overwhelmed with tasks in the week leading up to the party (things like printing name cards or activity sheets, putting together the party bags, gathering all the bits and pieces for the decor, and so on).

Research Online

Our good friends Google and Pinterest are great places to start, even if you don't have a specific theme in mind. A bit of searching will inspire you with a vast array of options for themes - just try searching on "party ideas for boys" or "teen girl party ideas" etc. Once you have decided on a theme, you can then find ideas for related activities, decor and food, as well as where to buy all the goodies. This will save you heaps of time as well as money, as you can shop around online for the best options.

Draw up a timeline

Write a list of everything you need to do in terms of preparations, and then group them into time categories like 'On the day', '1 day before', '1 week before', '1 month before', etc. As you think of more things to do, add them to the relevant time categories - this will help you see how much you will be trying to do, and hopefully help you avoid rushing around in a last-minute panic. Do as much as you can as early as you can.

What I did

boy birthday party, boys party theme, racing party, racing theme

My son wanted a racing themed party at Kew Traffic School, so after we managed to get a booking (which was more difficult than I expected) I started researching on Pinterest for food and decor ideas. I then searched online for the supplies I wanted, and had plenty of time to either order online or go to the shops to get it all.
The invitations went out 2 months before the date (I would usually send them around 4 to 5 weeks before the date, but since we could only get a booking on the public holiday I wanted to give people extra time). In the months leading up to the party I slowly gathered all the decor, designed and printed the name tags and party bags, and bought all the non-perishable food and drinks. Two weeks before I filled all the party bags, two days before I bought the rest of the food, which meant the day before the party all I had to do was the baking. On the day I had minimal final food preparation to do, and everything went very smoothly as we were well prepared and got set up at the venue in just 5 minutes.

As Winnie the Pooh says "Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up". I think that says it all!


If you would like some extra help with planning your child's next birthday party, then how about winning a copy of "The Best-Ever Party Book"? I have one copy to give away, and all you have to do to enter is comment below (by 13 Nov '13) and tell me about your party planning blunders!

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