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Seven sanity suggestions when kids are home all day

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So, the kids are home all day. When the coronavirus lockdown first started, I thought I'd treat it all like one big airport delay, but with the bonus of having a much bigger supply of toys and snacks available. But we soon found the novelty of the existing toys wore off unless a parent played too, and Mr H and I are both trying to work full time from home. And so, to assuage the guilt at seeing our 3- and 5-year-olds languish in front of screens for far too much of any given day, we ordered a few new things for the kids to do that might, if nothing else, serve as interesting interludes while they wait for the ipad or my old mobile phone to charge.
Anyway, here's what we bought and found works well. Good luck!
Disclaimer: the links below will take you to Amazon, and I may receive a small commission from them for any purchases made. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

1. Whiteboard / Blackboard Easel by Melissa & Doug (paid link)
I'm generally quite a fa…

Calcite crystals on the soles of her shoes

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I’m pretty sure flip-flops and a handbag aren’t part of the recommended outfit for hiking Diamond Head crater, but hey-ho. I was in Hawaii with 4 hours to spend before my flight back to LA, so it seemed a delightful idea. Outfit schmoutfit.

Please note: some links below will take you to view the products on Amazon. If you click through there is no extra cost to you, but Amazon will pay me a small amount on any purchases made. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 



Besides, my left little toe had a blister from an overly-ambitious 20-minute stroll in high heels the night before, so I was glad of the open footwear. I was in Hawaii for work, you see, so I wasn’t prepared for much other than office and plane attire. Packing had been a hasty affair, to say the least, having flown into LA from London the day before on our way back from a family trip to the UK. But who was I to turn down the opportunity for a 2-day work trip to the Aloha state (a place I hadn’t visited unti…

Moving to California: how to apply for your California driver licence

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So you've landed in sunny California on your new adventure on a shiny resident visa, and you've read somewhere that your overseas driving licence can only be used for 10 days. 10 days? Did you read that right?

Yep, I'm afraid you did. If you're coming over from another US state you've got until your current licence expires, but if you're from overseas (like me) you need to have a California driver licence if you are considered a California resident. And according to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), this means you do any of the following:

- Vote in a California election
- Pay resident tuition
- File for a homeowner's property tax exemption, or
- Receive "any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents"

See: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl05

We moved over here on an L1/L2 visa, which is basically one that global companies use to transfer staff between international offices (L1 for…

Christmas away from home

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Christmas at home can be a magical family time. But what if you won't be spending it in your own home? How do you make sure your family has a super special time without feeling like they're missing out on anything because they're not in their normal environment?

The experience of travel is a wonderful thing, whether it's a holiday to a new destination or a visit to family who live some distance away, and at Christmas time there are plenty of ways to make it feel just as magical an experience as ever. Our kids are 4 and 2, and we've spent the past three Christmases away from our family home, either because we've been away on our family gap year or else visiting (and staying with) grandparents.

So here are my top five tips for how to still have a fabulous family Christmas when you're away from home.

1. Decorate together!

a) If you're staying in holiday accommodation I understand the reluctance to spend lots on decorations you simply can't transport a…

What to pack in a baby's hand luggage

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So you've booked your flights, you've got a fabulous holiday ahead... now what do you pack in your baby's carry-on luggage? By the time my son was 15 months old he'd been on 16 flights, from short 1-hr hops to 13-hr long-haul journeys, so here's my tried and tested list of what to take in your baby's hand luggage.



Before we start: always check exactly what hand luggage you and your infant traveller are allowed: most airlines allow the baby to have his/her own hand luggage and you can then have your own bag too, but do check. Sometimes I try to put my own things and baby's things in the one bag to save having to manage two separate pieces (in addition to the baby!), but for the purpose of this article I'm including only those things I would need to take specifically for the purposes of travelling with a baby.
Please note: the links below will take you to view the products on Amazon. If you click through there is no extra cost to you, but Amazon will pay m…

Flying long-haul with toddlers: 3 ways to handle layovers

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We've flown from Australia to the UK with toddlers several times now, and we've tried various different ways to tackle the layover. (You can now fly direct from London to Perth, but we were always travelling from Sydney.) So I thought I'd write a post outlining how we got on with each one and what we find works best for us in the hope it can help other parents decide how to tackle these two-stage journeys.

Please note: some of the links in this post will take you to Amazon pages. If you click through there is no extra cost to you, but Amazon will pay me a small amount on any purchases made. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Layover type 1: straight through By this I mean plan for the shortest transfer time possible (usually just under 2 hours), sit in the departures lounge, and get straight on to the second plane.

Before we had kids we used to take this option a lot in order to maximise our time at our destination. There are other advantages, such as …

Top 10 toddler 'tainment on a plane

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By the time our son was just over 1 year old he'd already taken more flights than his age in months. Crazy but true!

He's now about to turn 4 and our daughter is 2, and while the maths of course had to slow down, our love of travel has not: we're British; our kids were both born in Australia; and we've just completed a family gap year in which we flew to Canada and the USA on two separate occasions for long-stay road trips. So my husband and I are very familiar with the trials and tribulations parents face when taking toddlers on aeroplanes!

So whether you interpret this post title as "enter"-tainment or "con"-tainment (or both 😁), here are my top tips to help you stay sane on a plane with a little person (or two).

Please note: the links below will take you to view the products on Amazon. If you click through there is no extra cost to you, but Amazon will pay me a small amount on any purchases made. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purc…