Lulla Doll Review

I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the latest crazes and most coveted kids accessories on the market at the moment – the Lulla Doll. And no, on a completely unrelated topic turns out you don’t need a liver and that they attract quite the profit margin on the black market ..

As mentioned in my IG posts, Hunter isn’t what I would consider a bad sleeper. I’ve been to mums groups and heard enough horror stories to know I don’t have it too awful. But in his short six weeks here, he’s had a hospital stint for Bronchiolitis that he is still recovering from, and a viral rash last week, so the poor babe has been feeling pretty poorly. Plus, he’s a boy and boy’s are notoriously needy (can I get an amen woop woop). 

For those of you who don’t know, The Lulla Doll was invented in Iceland by 3 mums. She is a soft, non gender/race/color etc specific doll who breathes and has a heartbeat. Ahhh yep, and it is a little bit as creepy as it sounds. You press down on her ‘heart’ for 2 seconds to start/stop and she goes for 8 hours at a time. The heart beat is fine, but the breathing is a little odd – and quite heavy. Chris calls her emphysema doll, but lets leave that there. Once you get used to it, you don’t even notice. Promise.

The Lulla was originally invented for premmie and sicks babes, who didn’t have mum around and needed that level of comfort, but she’s recommended up to toddlers and beyond as well. In terms of using a Lulla doll for any baby not straight out of the womb, my thoughts were ‘are those sounds really comforting now that they’re not used to is (i.e already 6 weeks out), or is it more of a getting used to something repetitive as an aid?”. My second thought was “is it natural for him to sleep that long anyway, shouldn’t he be waking for feeds?”

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In his 6 weeks, Hunter ranged from sleeping 3-4 hourly during the night between feeds to hourly waking. We’re 3 nights down with Lulla now, and the 3 nights using her at night (as well as for day naps), he had consistently slept 3-4 hourly between feeds. Using her for every nap I suppose is a way of ‘sleep training’ him, in that the sound is there for when he sleeps, and he comes to use it as a comfort and aid. I’m sure if we played a One Direction song for each sleep over and over, the same thing would apply. Or maybe that’s just for me..

I don’t necessarily want my man sleeping 8 hours at a night time (WHO JUST SAID THAT, WHO IS THIS WOMAN?!), because I do think its natural that he wakes up to feed – he’s only a baby after all! But the consistent sleep pattern is great, and using Lulla through the day is hopefully going to bring some more consistency and comfort to him there, because he is a super needy baby – read: needs to be held. All the time. A girl needs a toilet break ..

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Do I think Lulla is worth the $99? Yeah, definitely. She’s much easier the listen to than a freaking ‘white noise’ app, and she’s also actually really cute and can be used and toted around as a toy/doll. Her batteries are replaceable so she’s not a one hit wonder and can be used over and over. She also has a velcro strap on the back (that you can tuck away if you want) to attach to the outside of the cot, until baby is old enough to have her in the cot (recommended from age 1), so she is considered SIDS safe too.

We got our Lulla Doll from All 4 Bubs, who are just about to get their new stock of her in – she is sold out again worldwide already, so email sales@all4bubs.com.au to pre order her if you’re interested! You can have a quick squiz at this video made by one of the Mums who created Lulla which tells you about her, and you can hear the sounds too.

But – is it normal?

As I sit here after just breastfeeding my 6 day old, with a 4.5 hour gap since his last ‘meal’, I read a truly interesting and bang on article. The article in question talks about breastfeeding, parenting books and discussing ‘What is normal?’. It talks about how so many times we are told that our children should have a certain timed gap between feeds, and that this should increase as they get older. But it discusses how, as adults, do we time between our sips of water? Between our snacks and meals? Of course not – that would be absolutely crazy.

With both of my children I like to believe I parent ‘intuitively’ and my best friend describes it as ‘free range’. No, my 1 year old isn’t allowed to walk herself to the park in no shoes while I watch from the window. But I don’t hover over her – she explores the backyard while I fold washing in the back room and keep an eye on her. Sure, as she grew from a tiny infant into a walking machine I installed some ‘routine’ bedtimes and mealtimes for everyones sanity – but if she falls asleep at 10am instead of her ‘scheduled’ 12pm nap, I let her go. Her body obviously needs it. Doesn’t sound too radical does it?

Even so, I am the first one to put my hand up and say I have fallen many times into the trap of ‘conforming to the norm’. It’s so easy to do, especially with your first, when all of your advice comes from varying sources.Maternal health nurse, your own mother, your mother in law, random strangers, best friends, ladies in mothers group – heck, your own partner is going to put his two cents in somewhere, and why the hell not!

At 15 months old Evie has one ‘bottle’ at a night time before bed. Just a month ago she was having up to 3 a day. My best friends son has ‘no bottles’. He does however have a formula based toddler milk drink from a sippy cup in the morning. Evie has a formula milk based drink from a bottle at a nighttime. Does this make me a worse parent because she isn’t ‘weaned’? Nope. I don’t think so. And I certainly won’t be changing her routine, or her normal until I think she is ready. If she hasn’t had much food to eat during the day, or she is sick, or she is just generally ratty I will make her a small bottle for a lunch time nap. So what? It’s not harming her. She isn’t going to turn into a psychopath because I allowed her to continue having a bottle past the point of what is recommended by one maternal health nurse is she?

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My mum is the first person to gently push formula feeding – because it worked for her and its all she knows. So what? She’s a brilliant mum and her kids are awesome (yep). My best friend goes through bouts of freaking herself out with Dr Google stats and figures about whats best for her son. So what? She’s a brilliant mum and her kid is awesome.

My views are nothing groundbreaking or even relatively new. There are hundreds of articles out there reminding mums to be kind to themselves on the breastfeeding v formula feeding debate. But I’m here to say to you, take it one step further and be kind to yourself about your own instincts.

So you’ve ‘just realised you should have started tummy time 4 weeks ago’? (My sister, this morning). Your child is happy and loved.

So you’ve had to move to formula feeding and your baby prefers to be on your chest than in a bassinet? (my sister in law). Your child is happy and loved.

So your baby is sick again with a virus, even though is home cared for and not in day care? (my best friend). Your child is happy and loved.

And your child, rejected chicken for dinner again even after she ate it last week? (me). Your child, is definitely happy and loved.

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I think its detrimental and seriously harming to install all of these crazy ‘normals’ onto mums, because not one single baby or one family or one set of circumstances is the same. Sure, we have to be sensible and have some guidelines of course – but just because someone elses child is eating home made meatballs at 10 months old and mine ate puree and porridge only until last month, doesn’t make her any worse off. She is what they call the ‘definition of thriving’, all 12-13 kilos of her.

Having a second baby has already shown me just how different 2 children can, even born into the same family. We’ve spent the better part of the night awake with Hunter because apparently he isn’t a fan of lying flat in his bassinet, but at 2am we tried his rocker that was slightly elevated and BANG, asleep for hours. Evie slept easily and without fuss from day dot, in her own cot, in her own bedroom.

Hunter has just fed on both boobs and on and for half an hour now. He seems full, but he’ll probably start sucking his hands in 10 minutes. And you know what? I’ll feed him. I’ve just had my second cup of coffee instead of the normal one cup, so why shouldn’t he have an extra boob?

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And along came Hunter

To think that only a week ago I was unenthused and unmotivated about writing anything on here. I had no idea what to say, no new topics I had a burning desire to discuss and was seriously trying to come up with something new so that you all didn’t run away and leave me for being boring.

Well, and then along came Hunter.

We were scheduled for a cesarian all along, so Thursday night I didn’t expect much sleep – and certainly didn’t get it. We were due to be at the hospital by 8am, so Evie stayed at mums the night before. It’s an indescribable feeling knowing that your baby will be born the next day, and knowing exactly how it will happen too. We chose a cesarian for many reasons, but after Evies emergency evacuation, and the blur that followed, I mainly wanted to be in the moment and coherent for this birth.

Nothing ever goes to plan of course and the first major hurdle we encountered on Friday after being admitted was finding that my platelets had fallen again since the last blood test. I have gestational thrombocytopenia, which basically is a low platelet count in my blood which means a higher chance of bleeding. Being gestational, this only happens to me when I’m pregnant and I just have blood tests regularly to monitor them. They’re supposed to sit between 150-600 and mine are always below 150. The morning of, the had tested at 103 3 days prior, and I was told that we would need to have them done again pre surgery and that had they fallen since, there was a chance that I would have a general anaesthetic. Not only would I be completely asleep for the birth of my baby, but Chris would also not be allowed in the room, and Hunter would be brought out to him in a waiting area. I would not even be woken up until I was completely stitched up, so I would be groggy, out of it and the complete opposite from what I (or anybody I’m sure) wanted.

Luckily for me, they had fallen to 97, and even though I was originally told under 100 would mean a general, they told me they were happy to go ahead with just a spinal tap – it was an incredibly long 2 hours of waiting to find this out.

Skip to being wheeled into theatre, meeting everybody who would be a part of my ‘birth team’, and seeing my favourite doctor from my visits to hospital for monitoring pop up from behind the curtain as the woman who would deliver my child and I was all good to go! I zoned through the spinal going in (not too bad), felt my feet start to go tingly and suddenly we were underway. Almost immediately I felt a huge throbbing in my throat and my heart started to feel like it was trying to escape my chest. I could hear my heart beat going crazy on the monitor, even though I thought I felt relatively ok and calm. I was given a few different drugs through my IV to calm me down while asking Chris what was wrong, and the surgery continued.

It felt like it went for ages, my stomach being tugged and pulled (you can feel no pain but you can feel every other sensation) and then they asked if we wanted to see babes be born – we didn’t necessarily, but we did want to see him be lifted up before being taken away. Chris had the camera ready because against everyone else ‘thoughts’ on the matter, I really wanted to film this and suddenly we had a boy! I am thinking about uploading the video (to website only, as to not scar people on social media who don’t want to see), but its pretty powerful and amazing! It’s not all gore, don’t worry.

One of the most amazing things I witnessed after this was when I was wheeled into recovery and Hunter was placed on my chest. I had watched some youtube clips on the ‘breast crawl’ before he was born, and as the midwife turned away to do something with a promise to help come back and latch him, he simply moved his way down my chest, to my breast and popped himself on. It was AH-MAZING. The midwife was in awe, I was in awe, Chris was – well, i’m not sure whether he really cared so much, but it was great.

Post surgery, I was in pain – much more pain than Evie, and pain that lasted probably 36 hours on and off. I was given so much endone and tramadol to try and fix the problem to the point where I maxed my dosage and the pain team was called. Anyone who knows me know I would rather fix my headache with tiger balm and a heatpack than medication, so this was pretty hideous. I only got relief when I was given huge dosages, and it only lasted as long as the drugs limit to wear off again. Eventually the day after having Hunter, I asked for my catheter to be removed (it hadn’t been at this stage because on my pain and inability to move by myself), and I got out of bed and moved to the other side of the room to a chair. Over the next few hours, the combination of actually getting up again, and some pain medication, my pain settled and I could ‘pass wind’. My bowel was visibly swollen, and clearly post surgery it was just in an awkward position and so full of air (and yeah, probably shit), that nothing was helping. Movement was HARD but fixed the problem and I finally felt good again. This was a really shitty time for me, because I had deliberately chosen to have a cesarian to try and avoid all of the crappy stuff about childbirth that I experienced with Evie, and I wanted to be more alive and ‘with it’ for my babies. I was also stapled together this time, as well as invisibly stitched on the inside layers, so I was a lot more sore – the staples are being removed today (day 5) which I am totally scared about, but the sooner the better for my healing!

Anyway – heres some pictures from the big day, and of my completely adorable, size 5 zero’d baby.

#hunterjamesstones

7 pound 8 | 51 cm | Born 11.27am | 29 July 2016

Baby love times two

So next week I am due to have bean #2.

I am nervous and excited all at the same time – excited because if I have to be pregnant for one more day I think I might just explode, and nervous because, how do you love another baby as much as your first? And how do you even cope with having two children? Especially two children only 15 months apart!

We’re only have two kids – that’s the plan anyway. My first pregnancy was relatively easy and even though it ended in an emergency cesar, the second one has been a lot harder.

The heart burn and acid reflux kicked in miles earlier – the pelvic and back pain has been a million times stronger and the babies position (though normal) has been a million times more uncomfortable.

Not to mention being monitored all the time, from having low platelets, to having an unexplained bleed, to thinking the baby could be too big to thinking the baby is too SMALL – I’ve been in an out of that many appointments that the only plus I can bring from it is the entire novel I’ve managed to read in that time! A mini vacay right?

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Evies first day home from hospital

I love looking back on some of my earlier blogs from when Evie was first born – the emotions felt, the lessons learnt. In 8 days, an entire new chapter begins and I’m really looking forward to having a wine again it. Because even though I’ll be stitched up, I’ll be breastfeeding in the night again, and trying to teach a demanding one year old not to hit her brother or sister, I can’t wait to regain some of my body back to myself, and enjoy having 2 weeks at home with my man love!

Bring on baby time .. the countdown is on.

 


 

My list of current budget loves for babes

After my recent post on Huggies Baby Wipes and why I love them, I thought I would put together a list of my favourite budget must haves around the house for babes- that are actually worth it. I love when writers and bloggers that I follow put together some ‘must have lists’, like the ultimate Queen Zoe Foster Blake, so here are some of mine!

I’m not a huge ‘brand’ name person, however I will certainly include them if I think they’re worth their weight.

Baby Butt Stuff 

Obviously Huggies Baby Wipes. I prefer these over your homebrand, your Aldi and anything else on the market at the moment because I find them super ‘moist’ for lack of a better word, and once they’re chucked into the plastic container, its really easy to grab one at a time and not use 7 per change. They retail anywhere between $10-$20 for a bag of 240 and are 100% worth it more than something a little cheaper, so keep your eyes out for specials. You can also buy the plastic tub, complete with some already in there, for around $5 and just keep recycling it.

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My favourite nappies are the Woolworths Homebrand. Yep, and I’ve tried your Pampers and Huggies and expensive brands but the main drawcard to these is that I find them really big and they fully wrap around Evie covering everything. Some of the other brands (even the Coles Homebrand which I’ve been getting lately purely due to the fact that I ‘click and collect’ my groceries now) seem to have the main back and front and then just have ‘tabs’ that pull around, making them really ‘boy jock’ like. The Woolies ones never leak or give Evie rashes, and for a big 50 ish pack of Toddler ones we only pay $11.

Lotions & Potions

QV Cream is amazing. I went through about 5498 creams when Evies eczema used to be really bad, and this plain and simple one was a god send. No nasties, there’s noting fancy about it, and it’s cheap – especially when you get it from somewhere like Chemist Warehouse that have great prices on just about everything. You can use it as a general moisturiser, or as an eczema barrier cream too, and its good for the whole family. Around $10 for a 250g tub.

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Body Shop Hemp Creams are ah-mazing. They just released a new all over one (like a body butter) that is super intensive moisture for 96 hours, and theres also a Face Protector. Great for dry skin, eczema, or just keeping hydrated. I used it on my belly + boobs every morning and night and its always crazy soft now. Both retail for about $25 a tub, with the body butter a bigger version and a lot heavier so they last a really long time.

Cheap and cheerful mainstream clothes

I feel like these are the huge obvious, but Kmart, Target and Best and Less are my go to for easy cheap clothes. $4 tops and leggings and $7 onesies at Kmart all the time, and some $4 tracks and jumpers at Best and Less are perfect for mucking about. Target are a little pricier, and with that comes a little more quality and longevity. I will however include here Bonds, because although a onesie retails at around $20-$25, these bad boys last forever. Evie still fits into her 0’s because they just seem to grow with her, even when she realistically can move into size 2 into other brands now. They are of such a good quality, if you get your hands on them, you can use them kid after kid.

This obviously is not supporting our local businesses, and some quirky and cool brands I have used and found recently include Custom Baby Designs (on Facebook) who do one for $14 or 2 for $25 of baby onesies, personally designed and made for you. They seem to use Best and Less as the brand for the basic onesie, and you can have them design anything you like!  Ouch Clothing are based in North Geelong and have some seriously gorgeous stuff, and the onesie I got for Evie a few weeks ago is a really beautiful fabric and design, though on the pricier side and more your ‘one off’ outfit that your everyday basics. They make some great blankets and baby wraps too.

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Places to get your normal stuff, a bit cheaper.

So, Chemist Warehouse I love. ALWAYS has better prices than anywhere else. However some other places I have found that sell the products I need a bit cheaper than the RRP are:

  • Pharmacies for formula instead of the supermarket. Even the smaller pharmacies like the ones in the Newcomb Villages, and the Priceline in Waurn Ponds sell Evies S26 Lactose Free for around $21 instead of $27 like the supermarkets – big difference!
  • The Reject Shop – also sells Huggies, though not the huge packs I don’t think. You can always grab shampoo and conditioner from $3, and big packs of nappy bags from $2.
  • Nurofen and Panadol for babies – get the pharmacy own brand. It saves you a shiiiiitload. Like $10 a pop shitload.
  • I found out original Huggies Wipes at Woolies Express for $10, not on special which was cheaper than going into the supermarket so, who’d have thunk that  a servo would be cheaper.

Anywho – now that I’ve written them all down it seems a little boring and obvious, but just maybe one of you parents out there will read it and be like ‘shit yeah, what a great idea!’ and you’ll be able to find something cheap, cheerful and of quality in our local area, to help with your wine time funds!

Now go on – share yours with me already!

Out and about with the new Mountain Buggy Swift

My latest review piece with Mountain Buggy was definitely right up there with my favourites! A new pram to test out? A MOUNTAIN BUGGY pram to test out? Sign me up and take my baby. No wait, give her back – I’ll need her for the testing ..

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As a ‘seasoned’ Mountain Buggy pram mum (what a wanker) I was pumped to try the new Swift and Carrycot +. It’s even lighter and more compact that the 2011 model I had, it folds with one hand, the space hasn’t been compromised and the new Carrycot + means that MB is listening – listening to what parents are hanging for from a pram.

The new Carrycot I could liken to what I’ve seen with the Bugaboo (without actually having  tried that, because it costs as much as my car). It is a full flat bassinet with sides, hood and comfy padding for a baby (and looks amazing with all the new colours – I got Gold which is more Marigold). The bassinet however also inclines for reflux position and THEN you can convert it into a toddler parent facing seat. Win!

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One thing I did find with the parent facing mode was that even though is suggested it could hold a 15kg baby, my 11kg ish chunky mouse did seem to flail over the ends of it – so either she needs to shrink, or MB might need to make it slightly bigger, but hey – for the first time making something, I think they have done a pretty fantastic job.

Head here to see the full review and pictures from other fantastic blogging mums at Babyology.

I specifically like the way they introduce me –  #speaksnoshitbasically – Love you MB and Babyology!

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A small family getaway

We have just arrived back from the last four nights in Hobart, Tasmania. We booked the flights through Jetstar’s Friday Frenzy (sign up if you haven’t already!) last September for something crazy like $9 each way per person. A brilliant Father’s Day gift I thought!

After our last holiday to the UK for a month in December I was apprehensive about this trip – Evie turned from amazing placid baby to crazy insomniac with big temper problems on that trip and we haven’t entirely recovered since! But, 3 days away couldn’t be too bad right?

Right and wrong I suppose – here’s a run down on where we stayed, what we did and my mum tips along the way.

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Where we stayed:

Travelodge Hobart. Rated 4/5 stars on Tripadvisor, and a pretty good rating I would agree with. Location was perfect, very close to CBD and Salamanca even for a pregnant woman with a pram! We had the standard Queen room, up on the 8th floor which had great views!

Room service was crappy though, and was luckily wiped from our bill easily when we advised them off the burnt dishes.

In terms of places around, there is a Chemist Warehouse about 2-3 blocks away and a Woolworths about 4-5 blocks away.

$99 per night.

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Parent tip – add a portacot for $5 per night before you arrive. If you have a hire car, park at the Village Cinema under cover car parking just around the corner, especially if you might not use the car every day. If you can get yourself a park under the hotel is costs $12 per night, however the Village parking was $10 per entry (just give your ticket to reception and they’ll give you one to get out of the park and add it to your bill). As we only went on out of city Hobart trips 2/4 days, this worked out much cheaper for us.

Where we ate:

Without a doubt the best place we ate and drank at was Daci and Daci Bakers, a quick walk from the hotel. The best way to describe it is Parisian – from the amazing salads in the display cabinets, to the OTT cakes and pastries – you’ll have a seriously hard time deciding what to order. Whether breakfast (3/4 of an avo with tomato and huge chunks of fresh salty feta on crunchy bread with lemon) or lunch (fresh Mediterranean pasta salad) or just dessert and coffee (strawberries and cream creations with macarons on top – incredible), this place is a winner. And the coffee is delicious.

Parent tip – these guys have highchair seats that attach to your normal chair, and they also have a wooden crate of toys they’ll bring you over with an assortment  of toys to hopefully occupy your babes while you eat. Unless you’re Evie and you hate holidays and all the toys get thrown onto the floor along with your $9 fruit salad and yoghurt.

What we saw:

MONA – a $20 ferry ride and $20 entry per person makes it a decent amount of cash to spend, so be sure you’re going to be able to stroll through and check everything out and not have to sit on the grass in the cafe area so your one year old can terrorise the free roaming peacocks before changing to an earlier ferry back.

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Richmond – we visited this historic town and checked out the old gaol. Its definitely not pram friendly, so bring a baby carrier or have the kids walk. It’s very small and will only take you about 30 minutes anyway – $9 per person.

ZooDoo Zoo – the absolute highlight for me! A Safari zoo with the most hands on experience. Almost every animal is basically allowed to free range around, and even the ones who are ‘fenced’ into huge paddocks you can interact with on the safari bus that takes you around and stops. You can feed the Emus and Zebras and the Camels give you hugs. The Kangaroos are super friendly, chickens and ducks and sheep all wander around and they do feeding times everyday for Lions, Reptiles and more. $25 per adult. SO. MUCH. FUN.

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Mt Wellington – being very pregnant and on our final day with the worlds worst one year old (soz Evie), we actually decided to drive the summit at the last minute before heading to the airport in the hope that Evie would sleep in the car – which she did, yay! An AWESOME drive even if you don’t do any of the hiking, the view is stunning.

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Salamanca Market – A great Saturday stroll through your typical market with lots of handmade soaps, wooden objects and delicious food. Also conveniently located next to a park for the kids to run wild, with most of the roads cornered off anyway.

Tasman Peninsula – We drove to Port Arthur with zero knowledge on what it actually was apart from a massacre site – morbid hey? So once we arrived 1hr30 later and found it was a World Heritage Site, which interesting as I’m sure it is, left us nothing else to do since we didn’t have enough time to actually go in. Plus, it’s $37 per entry so don’t waste your money if you don’t have an entire day at least to dedicate to it! We ended up backtracking a little and driving to a very cool blowhole, Devils Kitchen and some other beautiful coastal creations and sites on the way back into Hobart. It’s an absolutely stunning drive. Note to self – do more googling (is that possible?).

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All in all

Hobart is very very hilly, a tiny San Fran if you will! So pack a good pram/carrier.

Hiring a car made it easy for us to get away from the city and go exploring – on the way to Richmond which is only 20 minutes away you can’t go 200 metres without hitting a winery or cheese factory. If you have delightful devils who actually enjoy holidays, then you’ll be in your element! If you have an Evie, you’ll by pass them all (sob).

We are so lucky to have Avalon Airport, a 15-20 minute drive away (from CBD Geelong anyway). They also have cheap parking and a free 45 minute drop off/pick up zone. We actually flew in and out of Tulla as that’s where out crazy cheap flights were from, but if you plan well then Avalon is your guy!

Hobart is an awesome quick family holiday because it’s a chilled city, 1 hour flight and has loads of delicious food and wine and things to do.

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