Ten days in Bali with a baby (plus lots of foodie tips, of course!)

Travel was a big part of me and Brendan’s  life before we had Archer, we were always saving up for the next trip overseas. So of course we really want to share our love of travel and adventuring to new places with him but the thought of being trapped on a long haul flight with a toddler who doesn’t like to sit still I honestly think is enough to make the most well-seasoned traveller slightly anxious. After my sister and husband visited Bali last year and couldn’t stop raving about it we decided that seemed like a close enough destination to dip our toes in the water of travelling with kids.

Seminyak

Where we stayed

We stayed at Villa Anguun which was absolute perfection for a toddler and for us of course. We paid extra to have the pool fenced and Archer could roam around the whole villa and we didn’t have to worry about any danger.

 

Places to eat

  • For really scrumptious vegan food visit Kynd, I had the vegan Big Mac which was delicious andof course grabbed one of their ice creams from next door afterwards.
  • Archer in particular was a big fan of the smoothie bowls from Nalu Bowls
  • One of the best meal we had was at Kilo, an asian fusion restaurant, highly recommend the Korean chicken bulgogi, beef tongue tacos, black and white prawn ravioli and the soft shell crab!!
  • It probably does not really need to be mentioned but Sisterfields is a great little taste of home
  • We had a really fun night, with great Mexican food at Laca Laca
  • Seminyak has lots of beach clubs to choose from, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at Mano Beach House on recommendation of a friend. It was low key and kid friendly which was exactly what we wanted
  • For coffee we enjoyed Revolver and another really cute place on Jalan Drupadi that I have spent half an hour looking for the name of and cannot find it, so annoying haha
  • For the nights we wanted to have takeaway at the villa we downloaded the GoJek app, kind of the Indonesian equivalent of UberEats. We had delicious pizza from La Baracca and Balinese food from Hibiscus

 

Things to do

To be honest we did a whole lot of nothing, which was exactly what we wanted on this holiday. We mainly swam at the villa, ate and went for a few walks when it wasn’t too hot. Oh and got massages of course. The traffic is just insane in Bali and for us wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to get out and about. We tried to go on a day trip to Blue Point and Uluwatu temple but the traffic was so bad that after an hour and a half we had moved 10kms so we ended up just heading home. So unfortunately I am not a lot of help on this one.

Ubud

Where we stayed 

We stayed at Lodtunduh Sari about 2.5kms out of the centre of Ubud. This place appealed to me as it was actually located on the rice fields but when we arrived we soon realised it was a death trap for toddlers. There was a blind drop of about 2 metres at the edge of the property into the rice fields. We couldn’t take our eyes off Archer for a second while we were there. I would recommend this villa for adult guests especially if you want something slightly more authentic then what the larger hotels and villas offer but I really wouldn’t recommend taking young children. I did also get one of the best massages of my life here so there were lots of positives too.

 Places to eat

  • We had absolutely delicious vegetarian food overlooking the rice fields at The Elephant, and they actually had nice wine which was a pleasant surprise.
  • The Melting Wok was one of my absolute favourite meals in Bali, a super simple curry menu that was just absolutely delicious. Wah just writing about it makes me want to eat there again. You need to book though as it is very popular!
  • For a traditional Balinese restaurant we went to Ibu Rai which had nice casual dining.
  • We had really good dim sum from the Golden Monkey.
  • A refreshing coconut ice cream…every day from Tukies.

Things to do

Once again we were very good at doing nothing. We did go to the Monkey Sanctuary which Archer loved and well to be honest I did too. Brendan hired a scooter which he loved and I felt much safer scooting around Ubud then I think I would have felt doing the same thing in Seminyak. I really wish I had have done a cooking class while we were here but I guess I can save that for next time.

 

Plane tips

  • I highly recommend taking a stroller or small enough pram (we had a mountain buggy and got it through) and checking it in at the gate. Archer already weighs 14 kilos so being able to push him around the airport was a godsend and we could use it to get him to sleep before our red eye flight.  If your baby is happy in a carrier that’s great but Archer has never loved the carrier and I was a bit anxious about checking the pram in at the gate but it was a breeze and I would highly recommend.
  • If your baby is formula fed you can take bottles of boiled water through customs/security. I see people worrying about this on forums a lot. I took four bottles and a drink bottle of water through. I just had it in one of those large resealable Ikea bags so that security could easily see it was for a baby.
  • SNACKS ALL OF THE SNACKS. This was the best way to entertain Archer and I literally got down to the last pack of sultanas despite packing what I thought was ample amounts of snacks. Pack double what you think you need.
  • A grab bag of toys – this worked for a limited amount of time to be honest but I don’t regret packing it, I had two small books, some blocks, a puzzle and two brand new hot wheel cars (these were most popular).
  • The best entertainment to be honest was the other people on the plane – Archer took a real shine to the family sitting behind us and I am so grateful they were kind enough to talk to him and play peek a boo throughout the flight. But in all honesty even when he did cry etc I didn’t feel any negativity from other people on the plane, generally people are kind and know that you aren’t intentionally disrupting their flight so try not to let that worry you.
  • Red eye flights are the bomb! Seriously, I think flying the red eye back was the best thing for us, Archer slept nearly the whole way compared to the hour nap he had on the way there. I think I would consider even longer flights in the future (think Hawaii not Italy haha) in the future if we could take overnight flights.

General tips

  • If you plan to catch taxis, which you most likely will end up doing, you have to accept that you won’t be able to have a car seat, it is just the way things are there. For transfers from the airports and hotels just make sure you request a car seat, it will probably cost a little extra.
  • Baby food pouches are available in Bali but they are expensive, about $3.50-$4 a pouch so if you are relying on them for food pack them from Australia. Archer generally just ate what we were eating over there with no problems so it just depends what your babies eating habits are like.
  • Pamper brand nappies over there are pretty good, make sure you buy them from the bigger Bintang supermarkets as they are expensive at convenient stores. If I had my time again I would have just packed enough Huggies nappies to get us through.
  • A few people told us not to bother taking a stroller but I am soooooo glad we did. We had no problems getting Archer around in the stroller despite the narrow footpaths. I do think it helped that we had a mountain buggy cheaper strollers might struggle on the rocky roads.

If you want any specific tips about travelling to Bali with a baby or just Bali in general feel free to get in touch, I will help as much as I can!

A weekend at the Sapphire Coast

This Australia Day long weekend we headed to the coast for the first time as a family of three. Archer is such a water baby so we were pretty convinced it was going to be the best weekend of his young life to date.  The weekend was even more special as we spent it with friends who have a son three weeks younger then Archer so it was great to watch them play and interact. It is crazy to think this time last year we were at the beach were wondering when these babies were going to make an appearance and now a year later they are nearly both little toddlers. I know its overstated but time is going to quickly.

We spent most of the weekend taking the boys and the dogs to the beach and napping. I definitely took the oppurtunity to nap ALOT, napping is much more guilt free on holidays when you don’t have to feel bad about the endless chores that are waiting to be done. Between all the swimming and napping that we did get to do some fun activities and of course ate lots of yummy food. A quick list of things I would recommend is below which only scratches the surface of this beautiful area . Please let me know any recommendations you have for this area as hopefully we will head there again next year!

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Where to eat…

What to do..

  • Walk from Pambula to Merimbula along the beach (approx 6km) and then reward yourself with breakfast
  • Swim under Nethercote Falls (about 20 mins from Pambula) just don’t get lost like us
  • Play golf at Pambula Merimbula Golf Course, I can’t vouch for this one but the boys seem to like it

48 hours in Auckland, a foodie guide

In November I was lucky enough to head across the ditch to Auckland for the weekend. My sister was there for a work conference and convinced me (very easily) to come over and spend the weekend with her. Then her husband decided to also come and then my bestie, Zoe, also decided to she muse well pop over to, so in the end we had quite the party! Thanks to Brendan for staying home and being with Archer, seriously such a good dad and husband.

As most of my travel adventures go the weekend mostly revolved around food. We managed to fit in A LOT of food, in a short amount of time, so I have rounded up my favourites below.

 

Pasture

Pasture was Zoe and my first stop. It was an amazing start to our time in Auckland. Pasture does two sittings each night – with only six people at each! We went to the later seating and were treated to 14 courses of beautiful New Zealand produce. Each course is lovingly prepared by the Chef and sous Chef right in front of you, you can ask questions and chat to them. It is just such a unique, well thought out experience. And best of all you leave the night with a loaf of their homemade sourdough.

 

 

Mudbrick

Visiting Waiheke Island was a must on our list. So Saturday morning we jumped on the ferry to head to Mudbrick Restaurant. On Waiheke Island there are vineyards everywhere you look, my kind of place. We treated ourselves to a five course degustation at Mudbrick with matching wines. The food was good but the wine was really, really good.I was instantly kicking myself for only having carry on luggage.

Mea culpa

If you weren’t looking for this bar you would probably walk straight past it. There are only a few seats at the bar. We stopped for a cocktail before dinner and the staff were lovely, and took a lot of time and effort to ensure everyone got a drink they would love.

 

Mi-La’s place

A cute little coffee stop as we shopped on Ponsonby Road (has lots of cute little boutiques), the cakes here looked delicious but we were too full from breakfast to fit one in.

Mexico

There is lots of mexican restaurants in Auckland. Mexico is a chain store but the food was pretty delicious and it was an easy stop for when we wanted something quick and light for dinner after our lunch at Mudbrick.

Island gelato Company

We spotted this place when we were on our way to the ferry and seeing the line knew we had to stop back. This was later confirmed by our taxi driver who told us the owener Ana had been the runner up on the 2012 Masterchef. We definitely weren’t disappointed for returning, beautiful, creamy gelato in a variety of flavours!

 

The Shucker Brothers

This was probably my favourite meal of the trip. I recommend a glass of New Zealand Chardonnay a dozen beautiful fresh oysters, shucked in front of you at the bar and then the best fish and chips I have ever had, seriously, the fish tasted so fresh and the chips were seasoned to perfection, oh my gosh I want it now.

 

Giapo 

Giapo is not just ice cream it is an experience.  The ice cream creations they make are out of this world, selfie frames, ice cream finger puppets and chocolate octopus legs. They also really encourage you to try lots of different flavours so that you get an ice cream you will really enjoy. I stuck to two simple two scoops and they were scrumptious so don’t worry that its all just for social media, the ice cream is really good.

Burger, burger

A good burger is always on my list when visiting a new city and ‘Burger, burger’ did not disappoint. They also provide lots of options for people with dietary requirements.

 

Chuffed

We finished our 48 hour foodie adventure with breakfast at Chuffed. I couldnt go past the poached pear pikelets, holy moly they are sweet, but worth every bite. A perfectly sweet note to end our weekend on.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, I am always happy to talk food! Oh and here is a photo to show we did some exercise too – highly recommend the very quick walk up Mt Eden for beautiful views of the city.

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Hiking in Cinque Terre

 

cinque terre-2

The  Sentiero Azzuro (also known as the Coastal Trail or the Blue Trail) is the crowning jewel of the Cinque Terre, people flock here to walk the coastal trail and rightly so. It weaves along the coast between the five villages and is breathtakingly beautiful and not overly difficult. For this reason though it is extremely busy. You also need to pay for a pass to hike along the trail about $A15 per person per day.  You buy a pass from the tourist information centres in the towns, the amount of people we saw get to the start of the track and then have to turn around and walk back to the town for a pass was notable.

We only did one section of the coastal trail from Vernazza to Monterosso and I can honestly say the quieter back trails that we did were just as beautiful and maybe more so because there was only ever a handful of people on them with you. Oh, and did I mention they were free!

Basically there are numerous other trails that make their way between the towns, they just don’t follow the coast line. However most of them are quite high up along the cliffs of the Cinque Terre so the views are still absolutely stunning! I have done a quick summary of the other hikes we did but feel free to email me if you want further information!

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Hike from Riomaggiore to Portovere

Starting with my favourite hike! This hike follows the coast from Riomaggiore in the opposite direction to the coastal trail so is a really good substitution. The hike took us approximately 5.5 hours, and had beautiful views and moved through different terrain. If I had my time again I would have left on the hike earlier so we could have had time in Portovere instead of rushing to get the last ferry back.

This hike also incorporates the hike from Riogammore to the Riomaggiore Sanctuary which  takes about 45 minutes but is nearly all up hill but you are rewarded with sweeping views of the Cinque Terre coastline.

‘La Beccara”

The ‘La Becarra’ is the ancient trail that connects Riomaggiore to Manarola. This hike takes about an hour but holy hell your thighs will be killing you. The only thing separating the two towns is a mountain and you basically walk up a set of stairs to the top and then down the other set to the bottom. oUCH!

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Manarola to Corgnilia via Volastra 

This hike takes you up another set up stairs to the very small town of Volastra where you will hike through the terraced vineyards to descend into Corgnilia and then reward yourself with an aperol Spritz.

This is only a handful of the lesser know hikes in the Cinque Terre so take the time to do some reasearch when you get there to find out about other – our AirBNB owner had a wealth of knowledge

While the Cinque Terre can be extremely touristy checking out the different hikes available is one way to having a more authentic experience. I also recommend going for a few days and not just on a day trip. All the big tourist buses pull up at about 10amish and the place is awash with people but when they leave in the afternoon the little towns are much more quiet and beautiful. Also try and avoid travelling during  the high season, we were there at the very start of May and while it was busy we had no problems getting into restaurants, bars etc.

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We stayed four nights in Riomaggiore, the smallest of the five Cinque Terre towns. We LOVED it here and was a great starting point for all the hikes we did – though the train between the towns really makes it quite easy to get to the start of any of the hikes.

We spent a lot of time at the Vertical Bar, really friendly service and a fun atmosphere. You also must visit the ‘A pie de Ma’ Bar and Vini, a beautiful bar set up right near the coast line.

We stayed in this AirBNB which was small but perfect for a couple, reasonably priced and the view from the windows, just breathtaking. If you end up staying here I would love you to use my AirBNB referral link here.