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family

Holidays & Destinations

Family Snow Trip to Falls Creek

July 15, 2016

 

My husband Ben and I recently took our children on a snow trip to Falls Creek in the Victorian Alpine region.  It was a really memorable, magical experience that I would highly recommend. Here are my top tips for a successful family snow trip to Falls Creek:

  • Organise appropriate clothing– I invested in thermals for all of us and good quality ski socks. We borrowed all the ski gear from friends, including pants, jackets, beanies, gloves, goggles and snow boots. Layering in the correct insulated gear was the secret to keeping us warm and comfortable, which meant maximizing our time outdoors.
  • Be prepared for the car journey – We broke-up the long trip with a stop offs for lunch and a stretch. During the trip the kids entertainment involved playing the iPad that was pre-loaded with their favourite shows and apps, kids CDs in the car stereo, plus timeless car games like eye-spy and storytelling where you take it in turn to tell add a sentence. We also had them take in the beautiful changing surrounds by asking what they could see. Make sure you have their comfort items for sleeping. Finally, packing healthy snacks and drinks that were accessible and agreeable on their tummy’s considering the windy roads.
  • Book family friendly accommodation – We had the pleasure of staying at one of the most family friendly places we have stayed at anywhere – Trackers Lodge. Right from the outset Brian the Lodge Manager made us all welcome.
    As we arrived at dinnertime, the kids were taken off our hands and fed while being supervised by a lovely nanny at the Lodge (Abbey). This gave Ben and I the opportunity to have a pre-dinner drink at the bar at the other at the other end of the dining room and meet other guests around the open log fire. After the kids’ dinner they all moved onto the Kids Club room to watch a movie, do some craft and eat popcorn. With the kids sorted, Ben and I were treated to a lovely degustation dinner. It was nice to have some quiet time together after the 5-hour car ride with the kids. Over dinner we had a good chat to Brian, who was the perfect host, answering all our questions and making us feel right at home.
    With our hunger satisfied, we retired to our family bedroom, which consisted of bunk beds for the kids and a king-size bed for the parents. Our bathroom was newly renovated and the bath was impressive. Perfect to soak in after a day out in the snow. The best part was the view over the Village Bowl – stunning!
    Breakfast at the lodge was perfect, ranging from continental to full hot breakfast (and everything in between).
  • Enroll the kids in Ski school – Renault Ski Club was awesome and enabled Ben time to get out and enjoy the fantastic ski slopes. Our kids absolutely loved the Club as it was their first time skiing and they learnt so much in one day, due mainly to the fantastic instructors. There are half day and full day programs available. To find out more and book, visit the Renault Ski Club website.
  • Don’t try to do too much in your day – Being in a cold environment at altitude can be tiring for anyone. Stop for breaks and afternoon naps if need be. You want to make the most of your time, but you want it to be quality time, with happy kids, not tired grumpy ones. This is the big advantage of having accommodation on the mountain.
  • Choose Child Friendly Dining – We loved Elk at Fall restaurant. With a wide range of mouth watering and affordable options, you are spoiled for choice. I highly recommend the Sri Lankan chicken curry and Ben loved the pork belly. The kid’s meal options were the best on the mountain, real food that appealed to their taste buds. They most enjoyed toasting marshmallows on the open fire. Pencils and Paper were provided to keep them busy and we were made to feel very welcome by Barry and all his friendly staff. I’d recommend booking during peak times to ensure you don’t miss out, however they are open all day, so stop in anytime.

 

We had such a great weekend at Falls Creek, the family friendly ski resort certainly provided us with memories that will last a life time. We will definitely go back, especially since it has the best skiing in Australia. To help a lucky reader make their own life-long memory, I have teamed up with Trackers Lodge and we are giving away two nights free accommodation for a family of four. To enter visit my Instagram page.

For more information on Trackers Lodge, visit their website.

 

Note: I was a guest of Trackers Lodge, Renault Snow Club and Elk Restaurant.

Mornington Peninsula

Family Friendly Winery – Yabby Lake Vineyard

July 12, 2016

If you are looking for somewhere that is welcoming, delicious and family friendly, I highly recommend Yabby Lake Vineyard here in my home region of the Mornington Peninsula. Yabby Lake has been a favourite of mine for a few years now. Firstly I love how close it is to home and for those coming from Melbourne it’s one of the first wineries off the Peninsula Link. Recently I dined at Yabby Lake Restaurant with some friends and our children. We were made to feel so welcome by restaurant manager Lindy and her team, who were all so approachable, friendly and knowledgeable about the winery.We shared a salumi platter and arancini balls for entrée, which were delish. Followed by steak, fish pie and gnocchi. Our children enjoyed homemade sausage rolls.

From all of the tables in the restaurant you have a light filled view of the outside area, including the vineyard.We were able to relax and chat while the children happily played outside. I think it’s a big ask for kids to sit still at the table for longer than the duration of a meal. So having the option of the swings outside really made the difference to our experience. There are also coloring books and pencils available to keep little hands and minds busy.

For those into their wine there is tasting available. The selection is amazing at Yabby Lake, with the Red Claw Pinot Noir being my pick of the bunch or the highly regarded Yabby Lake single vineyard pinot noir. Before leaving, we moved over to the couches by the open fire to have our tea or coffee, while the kids were treated to choc top ice creams. We really couldn’t ask for more in terms of a day out. Good Friends, great food, stunning location and happy kids. Perfect!

To experience Yabby Lake for yourself, head over to my Mum With Wings Instagram page where I am giving away a family lunch (two adults and two kids). This includes, three courses with matching wines for parents and ice cream for the kids.

Competition closes Monday 18th July 2016. Winner Announced Tuesday 19th July.

For more information on Yabby Lake please visit their website.

note. I was a guest of Yabby Lake.

 

Holidays & Destinations My Stories

Family Road Trip in the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

June 13, 2016

More recently, I have been focusing my attention on visiting places closer to home. Places on my doorstep that I have previously overlooked, as I have always been quick to board a flight overseas. It’s nice to stop and have time at home and appreciate what we have here.  Victoria has so many wonderful places to explore. From the Dandenong Ranges, Macedon Hill Country and The Great Ocean Road, we truly are spoilt for choice.

Recently Ben and I attended a Wine Food Farm Gate evening on Searoad Ferries where we were treated to some amazing food and wine produce from both the Mornington (my home) and Bellarine Peninsulas (on the opposite side of Port Phillip Bay). We were so impressed with the taste of the Bellarine that we decided there and then that we would take the kids over for a family weekend.

In perfect timing, Mitsubishi then coincidently contacted me asking if I would like to review their brand new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and go on a family escape. Jumping at the opportunity, I couldn’t believe it when the shiny new Mitsubishi appeared in my driveway. The features that I first noticed were the keyless start and amazing all-round sensors that gave me a birds-eye view whilst reversing.

The weekend couldn’t arrive soon enough. The Pajero Sport truly is a car that makes you want to grab your family and head off on an adventure! We packed the kids, an esky of food & wine and an overnight bag in to the huge boot. When I say huge I mean the biggest boot I have ever seen!

As soon as the kids got in they snuggled in the spacious back seats and were glued to the in-built DVD player that played through Bluetooth headphones. This meant a silent car ride, so much so that it felt like hubby and I were off on a child-free adventure! Haha we wish!

We drove to beautiful Sorrento and caught the Searoad Ferry across Port Phillip Bay to Queenscliff. It was a calm day and the kids were looking for dolphins (which you can often see in the bay) and playing in the onboard playground which was awesome! The journey was so quick and such a novelty for the kids.

Once in Queenscliff we had a wander around the main street and found a gorgeous cafe in a nursery called the Courtyard Cafe. The pumpkin soup was delish and the kids loved exploring the little paths in amongst the plants. After lunch we stopped off at the Scandinavian Ice Cream shop. Delicious and good old-fashioned customer service.

We then all piled back into the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and headed to Scotchmans Hill Winery where we were made to feel at home. The kids were given some colouring sheets and pencils whilst the adults were provided a personal tasting of some amazing, affordable wines.

Our next stop was our Air BnB accommodation, a little two bedroom beach shack in Indented Head. It had a new kitchen, carpeting and open plan living and for only $75 per night was great value.

I settled in with some of our wine purchases and a cheese platter, while Ben took the kids for a walk to the beach and playground. They saw a ship wreck and found many beautiful shells.

Dinner was at the Port Arlington Grand Hotel, which was a five-minute drive away. The meals were great and the venue was warm, cosy and child friendly.

The next day took off from where the previous finished, full of adventure on the road.  For lunch we drove out to Jack Rabbit vineyard where the views across the Bay to the City were breathtaking. Baby lambs played in paddocks to our left and to our right there was beautiful autumn coloured vines. The whole experience from beginning to end at Jack Rabbit was flawless. Our welcoming was friendly and professional, the wine exquisite and the food absolutely delicious. I highly recommend Jack Rabbit for an amazing family lunch.

Before heading back to our side of the Bay we called in to Terindah Estate for a tasting of their highly rated wines.

With the DVD player back on, we navigated the dirt roads of the Bellarine, feeling very comfortable sitting up high in our Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. Back onboard the Searoad Ferry we spent much of the trip watching the sunset across the Bay.

The final small stretch of our journey was the hour drive home from Sorrento. Both kids fell asleep, which meant hubby and I had some time to ourselves once again, so we connected my phone to Apple Carplay and played my favourite music as we drove home. I loved driving the Mitsibishi Pajero and highly recommend it for family adventures. For more information on the Mitsibishi Pajero Sport please visit the showroom.

Featured Plan & Pre-Travel

Before flying with children

September 9, 2015
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When traveling with children there are some pre-flight tips you can apply that will ensure a smoother journey when in the air. The key is to think ahead and be prepared, you know best the needs of your children. There is only so much the crew can do once in the air, What you do before the flight is the game changer.  Here are my top 10 tips of things to do before you travel with children – from my family to yours:

 

  1. CHILD’S PASSPORT AND VISAS: Organise your child’s passport and visas (if required) well in advance, i.e. months. Most governments are very particular and strict with their specifications, including on photos. For Australian readers, I recommend Ted’s Camera Shop over Australia Post Office’s.  In short, the cost of using professionals is often less than having to re-submit applications.
  2. FIRST AID KIT: I always stock up pre-travel on trusted first aid products like children’s pain and fever relief (e.g. Panodol & Nuerofen), anti-histamine (e.g. Clarintyne), antiseptic & anesthetic cream (e.g. Savlon) hydration supplements (e.g. Hydralite) and plasters & bandages. Hand Sanitizer is something I always travel with. There are chemists at most airports, but I suggest you stock up well in advance of your trip.
  3. SEATING REQUESTS:  For those with infants, request a baby bassinet if they meet the specifications. For those with young children, I recommend an aisle seat in close proximity to a toilet with baby change facilities. You can request seats from booking your ticket and potentially as late as the boarding gate, but not once in the air.
  4. FOOD ON BOARD:  If you would like a child’s meal you need to order this in advance of travel and confirm at check-in, as all catering is done on the ground. Once in the air, the flight attendants will do all they can to improvise for any non pre-ordered requests, but you will need to manage your expectations. I recommend packing snacks that you know your child will like, e.g. infant food packages, for the airport and during the flight, as it can be a long time between services once on board.
  5. CARPARKING: Think about where you will park your car. There are a lot of specials around at the moment and I advise shopping around. For my Melbourne readers, my favourite place for value and service is Andrew’s Airport Parking –there is nothing like a friendly face and sparkling clean car upon arriving home. Better still, Andrew’s are offering  mum with wings readers a 10% discount, right up until Christmas. Book at http://www.andrewsairportpark.com.au/melbourne.aspx and use the Discount Code WINGS.
  6. LAGS: Liquid and Gel regulations are something that parent’s travelling with infants are exempt from, as long as the amounts are proportionate to the duration of the flight, with a little extra in case of delays. I strongly recommend reading up about these regulations for those airports you will be visiting to avoid any undue worries when passing through security checks. You can find everything you need here http://travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au/international/lags/exemptions.aspx
  7. ENTERTAINMENT: We are very lucky that these days we have access to iPads/ tablets, but remember to charge and load it up before you travel with your children’s favourite shows, games and books. For a number of airlines, usually non-premium, you can pre-order iPads for in-flight entertainment. I still pack activities like stickers and colouring books, which are handy when electronic devices cannot be used during the flight, e.g. taxiing.
  8. PREP YOUR CHILDREN: Explain to your children what is about to happen and the processes at the airport. I find when children know what is about to happen they will be relaxed and not afraid of any checks.
  9. HYDRATE and REST:  If children are hydrated and well rested before travel they will be more comfortable once in the air.
  10. CABIN BAGGAGE: Think about packing well in advance, especially cabin baggage. One tip I always recommend is preparing some freezer bags with nappies and wipes to keep in the seat pocket and a wrap. This means every time your child needs changing you don’t need to get your bag down from the overhead locker.  Packing is a blog post of its own.coming soon.

 

Travelling with your family is an amazing thing to do and I want everyone to experience it. If you do these 10 things I mentioned before flying with children you will be prepared and organised for a great flight with your family. Safe travels.

 

Mum with Wings