My no brainer list of must have travel essentials for holidaying with children!

Without a doubt the question I am asked most is ‘how do you make traveling with children look so easy?’

I am not going to pretend to you that it is a walk in the park.  We all have our days, we all have our moments.  I still remember the reality check of our first family vacation and the sudden realisation that things were ‘different’ now.  Call me crazy but I wouldn’t swap back to those lazy beach days, and genuinely love the beautiful chaos of travelling as a family of four.

With that said, there is a small but non negotiable list of travelling essentials which I ALWAYS pack for our trips.  These items are guaranteed to make holiday life easier!

Each store in linked for easy shopping…

CoziGo – The CoziGo is a dual purpose cover which can be used on both airline basinets and prams.  It provides 97% light blockage, so that babies and toddlers can fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.  The fabric is UPV50+ keeping children safe from the sun, and is 100% air permeable to allow air to flow freely through the cover.   The design is a universal fit meaning it works on all strollers and most airline bassinets.  This is a simple and far more effective (and much safer!) solution to draping blankets over a pram.  I love that I can not only use this during travel but also on my pram at home.

Plane Pal & Packing Pal – Pane Pal have two incredible products; the Plane Pal and the Packing Pal.  Both products massively enhance your travel experience whether in a plane, car, camper van or bus.  The Plane Pal is a custom designed inflatable cushion which fills the space between your own seat and the seat in front of you.  This creates a bed like arrangement making sleep time so much more inviting.  We have one each for Ari and Chloe, and when they let me I sneak my legs up on it too!  The Packing Pals are mesh packing shells which help you to effectively pack and organise your suitcase.  I use a system of packing tops in one, bottoms in another and so on.  They com with a separate bag for shoes and another for dirty laundry.

Very Busy Bag – The perfect take anywhere entertainment for busy and time poor parents.  The Very Busy Bag is vital for keeping children entertained during travel.  It can be used on planes, car trips, trains, buses, in hotel rooms, you name it!  Each bag is filled with age and gender appropriate toys, activities and games for little ones to enjoy whilst on the move.  There is so much variety in these bags, Ari and Chloe’s kept them entertained for three weeks in Europe!  There are straps on the back of the bag so that older children can carry it themselves. My favourite thing about it is that the Very Busy Bag provides screen free time!

Bubba Bump Baby Bag – After lots of trial and error I have found the perfect solution for hand luggage when traveling with little ones.  A back pack is hands down the way to store all of your essentials.  This way you hands can be free to manage children, negotiate customs and all the other busy parts of airport travel.  The Bubba Bump Baby is the baby bag I chose to use not only when traveling but also at home, which means I don’t have to purchase addition items.  Its also great to use for day trips, once we have arrived at our destination.  This bag is luxurious, stylish, and many pockets are perfectly positioned to store all of those quick grab items like dummies, bottles and comforters.

Nordic Naturals – Staying healthy whilst travelling is key to the success of all holidays because no one wants to be sick on a trip!  Nordic Naturals is made from purified Cod Liver Oil, which benefits multiple body systems including brain, eye, heart, bone and joint health.   It also aids in overall energy and  vitality, which is so important on busy holidays.  Nordics Naturals have products to suit both adults and children, lots of which are naturally flavoured to test delicious.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to receive my exclusive discount codes PDF which includes some of the brans listed above.

Now that you have all of your travelling essentials its time to book your next family holiday.

Enjoy!

Thank you to the wonderful brands mentioned above for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share our favourite products with you. My opinion is of course and always is my own.

SCHOOL LUNCHES FEATURING YAYTRAY

With the new school year here in Australia well and truly past, and lunch box ideas running low, I thought this would be the perfect time to refresh all of our Mum brains with new inspirations for school lunches.  I absolutely LOVE making kindy lunches, and take a lot of pride in the options, variety and presentation of Ari’s food, making lunchtime a really exciting time for him.

As in the past I prepare Ari’s lunch in his Yaytray which is a super cool, fun and innovative lunch box from Yurica Labs.  Prior to this blog post I have written 7 Lunches for 7 Days featuring the Yaytray which you can revisit here.

I have previously shared the many reasons why I love the Yaytray product.  Here they are again:
1. It saves me time – I only prepare and clean up one container.
2. It is great for the environment – no more cling wrap.
3. It is neat and compact – the worlds first all in one eating tray.
4. Things don’t get lost – it holds it’s own cutlery.
5. Is clean and convenient – leak proof and packs up in a matter of seconds.
6. It holds a large meal – 400mls actually!
7. It’s stable and non slip – making it easy for children to eat from.
8. All the important things – like food-safe, BPA-free, phthalate-free, microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe.
9. It’s cost-effective, you don’t have to buy a million containers just this one.
10. They are a small business, so you are buying from real Mum’s and Dads who designed it because they know what we need.

To purchase a Yaytray click here and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and you will receive your 10% off discount code!  To follow Yurica Labs on Instagram click here

MONDAY – Bold and Bright
Fresh, crisp and healthy.

Rice Paper Rolls
Leftover Roast Chicken
Pretzels
Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Slice
Strawberries

Recipe – Roast Chicken.  Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Slice.  Rice Paper Rolls.
Time Savers – Roast your own chicken the night before and serve it for dinner with vegetables, or buy a store-bought version to save even more time.
Variations – Swap the chicken breast for any cold meat selection, a can of tuna, smoked salmon or cold marinated tofu.  Cheese can be swapped with a vegan alternative.  Rice Paper Rolls can be made in countless variations.


TUESDAY – Turning Japanese
A yummy selection of food from one of our favourite destinations.

Sushi
Edamame
Cucumber Sticks
Orange Slices
Pop Corn

Recipe – Sushi.
Time Savers – Edamame can be purchased in peeled form in the freezer section of grocery stores.  I just pull a bag out from my freezer when I am ready to use it, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
Variations – Sushi can be made using lots of different options to suit all dietary requirements.  If your children don’t like the idea of seaweed there are lots of varieties that are seaweed free.


WEDNESDAY – Family Favourite

A freezer friendly twist on a family favourite.

Macaroni Pasta Bites
Carrot Sticks
Soy Crisps
Raspberries
Blackberries
Dried Fruit

Recipes – Macaroni Pasta Bites.
ime Savers – Use last nights left over pasta (any variety it doesn’t have to be Macaroni) to easily create this meal.  Or double the batch, you can even freeze a bunch of pasta cups for future lunches.
Variations – Use your favourite pasta meal to create this dish.  Carrot sticks can be exchanged for ticks of cucumber, carrot or capsicum.


THURSDAY – Healthy Balance
My perfect go to for stocking up the freezer.

Mini Quiche
Vegemite Twist
Snow Peas
Banana Slices
Yoghurt Covered Sultanas

Recipes – Mini Quiche.  Vegemite Twist.
ime Savers – Make a double batch of the quiches and store them in the freezer or serve for dinner the night before.
Variations – There are countless options of quiches available.  Vegemite twists can be made glute free.  The fruit and vegetables can be swapped out for your littles favourites.


FRIDAY – Baker’s Delight
Homemade versions of family favourites!
Savoury Scroll
Banana, Zucchini and Carrot Loaf
Bean Mix
Apricot Delight
Dried Cranberry
Kiwi Fruit
Capsicum Slices

Recipes – Savoury Scroll.  Banana, Zucchini and Carrot Loaf.
Time Savers – These savoury scrolls are seriously so quick and easy.  Banana loaf can be cut and popped in the freezer for future lunches.
Variations – There are lots of scroll variations like keeping them meat free for vegetarians.


After School Snack –
This last recipe is a new favourite afternoon snack which my littles are loving.  I came across it on the Instagram page of Sarita Holland who’s account is ful of delicious recipes that she makes with her children.  Click here to see the post with full recipe that contains only four ingredients.

Before I wrap this up I want to share with you my three biggest time-saving tips for when it comes to meal prep!  Once again I have shared these before, but they truly are life savers! 
1. Make all of your meals in one go.  I make breakfast, lunch and dinner all in the morning.  This is a huge time saver especially in the clean up and it means that I don’t feel like I ‘live’ in the kitchen.
2. Food prep in bulk with cook ups every few months.  I tend to do a big one every three months to get my lunch staples sorted.
3. Always take a packed lunch out with you when you have little babes.  I make Ari and Chloe’s lunch in their Yaytray every morning, even if we think we might be home.  It saves me time and money if we end up unexpectedly out for lunch.

To purchase a Yaytray click here and don’t forget to subscribe to receive my discount code!  To follow Yurica Labs on Instagram click here

DETAILS
Photos –
Nicola Holland Photography
My outfit –
Mumma Bear Nursing Wear
Chloe and Ari’s Outfits (for their picnic) – Piper and Me
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for a full list of discount codes including ones for all of the stores mentioned in this blog.

THANKYOU for reading, I hope that you  gained a useful tip or meal to work into your lives.  on’t forget to keep up to date with our family life on Instagram.

Enjoy!

Small-Signature-Nat

*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here.

CAPTURING & SHARING MOMENTS FEATURING MOMATU

Are you like me?  You have 30,000 photos stored on your phone just sitting there doing nothing.  Nobody views, admires, shares or prints them.  Precious moments and memories just wasting away, and then you drop your phone, misplace it or it is stolen.

The other day my Mother asked me to send her some photos of the children over the last few years, and I just knew that this was going to take me forever to organise.  I had no systems or files on my phone, no organisation at all.   The process of scrolling through 30,000 photos on my phone, looking at other devices and even photo albums, gave me a headache.  Not to mention it chewed up a huge chunk of my time when I am already such a time poor Mother.   I thought, surely in this day and age sharing our special moments should be less complex and more time efficient.

Momatu is an app that you can download onto your phone enabling you to easily capture, sort and share life’s precious moments in a way like never before.  Through using this service, you can co create and share a digital timeline with others, by providing them with an enjoyable way to ‘organise the past, capture the now and create tomorrow’s history together.’

‘The best moments happen in the blink of an eye but leave a lasting impression on our lives. Capture, share and enjoy each and every moment that matters to you, with Momatu.’  This resonates with me so much, and I’m sure that it does with you!

There are several different elements to the Momatu app.  These include:
Photos and videos – You can take them within the app of add them from your phone’s library,  after they can be assigned to a timeline.  I have personally made one for Chloe’s first two years of year life.
Journal – Entries can be added allowing more layers to your timeline, like notes on special parties or important days.
Milestones – Words can be added to images and videos allowing you to record important moments like your baby’s first tooth or the moment they walked.
Quotes – Records things like first words, moments of expressed joy or loving times by adding quotes to your images and videos.

Once you have created your beautiful timeline full of photos, videos, journal entries, milestones and quotes, you are able to share it with your family and friends.  Only the people you have selected are able to see your timeline and it can be added to, keeping everyone you love up to date with the important moments in your children’s lives.  No one will ever need to ask you to send that important photo again!

Not only is Momatu a ground-breaking private sharing platform, but you can also bring your images and timeline to life by ordering products like prints, photo books, calendars and mugs.

As I mentioned before, prior to Momatu I was dreadful at organising the 30,000 photos stored on my phone.  Hardly any of these gorgeous moments and images had been printed.   I mean I’ve have been married for seven years and still don’t even have a wedding album!  The fact that I can regularly add my favourite photos and most important memories into each of our children’s timelines on the Momatu app is a total game changer for the way I store, mange, share and view them.

Recently for Chloe’s second birthday I gifted her a photobook version of the timeline that I had created for her in Momatu.  The process was simple, easy and efficient because I have been building on her timeline over time.  Now at night before bed we look at the photos in her book and discuss those special moments, like her first outing, our favourite holiday and her first food.  As much as we love to read story books, Chloe gets so much joy from seeing photos of herself and her own family.

Nailing your family photos

It’s no secret that I love family photos.  To me they are a memory that lasts a lifetime, and I just love capturing as many moments as possible on camera and film.  I am often asked how I manage to pull off stunning family images with busy children in them.  So here are my top ten tips for nailing your family photos whether with a photographer or ones you take yourself.

  1. Plan your shoot in advance and go into it with a clear vision.  Think about how you would like the photos to look and feel.
  2. Bring props for the children e.g. sweet treats and toys.  Things that they are naturally interested in but are also in theme with your shoot style (colours, location, vibe etc.)  It all needs to make sense.
  3. Be prepared by packing a backpack full of snacks, water, sun cream and mozzie spray.
  4. You may need to relax your daily routine for the day of the shoot.  For example, if I have a photoshoot that I know will keep my littles up until later that night, I always push their lunch nap back a bit so that they don’t get over tired later.
  5. Feed hungry bellies before you start unless food is a part of your prop plan.  The last thing you need is someone wanting a full dinner 5 minutes in.
  6. For babies it’s helpful to bring along a squeaky toy that can dangled from the front of the camera, then pressed to get his/her focus.
  7. Don’t give up if someone isn’t happy.   If the baby is having a few tears don’t just call it a day, try moving position or using a distraction.  We all know that tiny whinges normally turn into goofy smiles.
  • Consider child placement.  For busy toddlers try safely using things like stools and chairs to place them in position that they are less likely to run from.
  1. Bring multiple changes of clothes for the whole family.  Not just so that you have options for the shoot but in case there are any accidents.
  2. Let yourself relax into it.  Often for the first few photos everyone is feeling very uptight, but by the end of the shoot they are having a hoot.  I find the images achieved get progressively better as the shoot goes on, so don’t rush off too quickly too!

A special offer for my followers

Momatu is a product they I highly recommend, and I would love to gift you with an exclusive code offering you 15% off of your first order.  Code – off15

To download the Momatu app click here and to visit their webite click here.

*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here.