Visiting the Homeland and Family.

Although I wasn’t born in Taiwan, I still consider it like a home since my parents had grown up there. They had a lot of good memories there and some of our family is over there.

I decided to take a last minute trip to Taiwan with my younger daughter to visit my dear aunt. She’s always held a special place in my heart so I knew I just had to take the trip during this time.

I’ve learned to pack smarter and know that international flights are usually more lenient on things (like an overweight bag) if you’re traveling alone with a child. Your bag shouldn’t be over 30 kg at most usually so bring an extra bag to take items out or be prepared with a nice sob story. My bag was clearly overweight from the booster seat, formula and fruit pouches I packed for this 2 week adventure with my super picky 14 month old eater, but I survived.

💟 P.S. If you’re looking for a booster seat with tray that’s compact, I highly recommend the summer infant pop n’ sit portable booster. It collapses and you can sit it on the floor, chair and table top without worries of tipping over.

<
aveling couldn't be easier with this amazing passport holder that can now store 5 passport inside. The company is called up and away and a must have with all the colors and inside pattern designs to store your important travel documents together.

If your child is under 2, request to get a bassinet. You’ll get way more leg room as well if she doesn’t sit in it. For international flights, 2 and under kiddos even though they’re not getting a seat they have to pay for 10% of your airfare just for using the air on the flight! 🙄

Since I’ve been to Taiwan so many times, I wasn’t planning to do much tourist stuff besides things that little A would perhaps be interested in. So, it was the gondola (which she opted to sleep instead) and the zoo. The zoo is nice and super cheap. In case you’re wondering, it was clean and very green!

We stayed near Da’An Park which is great to seeing some green space, go to the playground, and eat at some of the yummy places around. Our air bnb hosts were amazing and it was so easy to settle in. They even got the car service set up for us to take us to our apartment. If you want their contact, let me know! To note, there is also the MRT (subway) you can take into the Taipei for really cheap but I was just being lazy.

Anyhow, if you’re wondering if some place is good and you see a line – it definitely means it’s worth the wait. 😋

My favorite street of grub has the infamous beef noodle soup, green onion pancakes, mango shaved ice, rice rolls in an illegal street cart, and now best crispy suncakes. Google Yong Kang Street when you’re in Taipei.

A must to do in Taipei is getting a hair wash/massage. You can get for as cheap as 250 NT which is about $8! Omg. I found an amazing place called Famous. They didn’t cut Addison’s hair like I wanted but oh well just had to get her a bowl cut just once. Lol

This trip we also took a ride on the high speed train to Ping Tung to see my grandpa’s place of rest and his factory.

We also saw my grandma who’s 95 now and looking great. Her view is amazing and so serene.

If you haven’t noticed it was a US girl cousins trip (Abigail was sad to be missing out but we got to FaceTime everyday and it was some of the cutest moments I’ve had with her). What was that saying – distance makes the heart grow fonder? Haha

Part 2 of our Asia family trip was seeing my brother and his family out in HK for the weekend. It’s only a quick 2 hour flight over but Addison sure made it feel like a century. Good times.

Hong Kong highlights included Hello Kitty dim sum, ice cream, burgers, and a typical HK breakfast before catching my flight back to Taiwan to go back to California. It sounds hectic and it sure was when you’re flying two different airlines so you have to pick up your luggage and check back in so definitely have a suitcase that has four wheels so you’re pushing it and not leaning it over to pull. Samsonite has some fabulous ones.

Good times and Addison got to play at the Hello Kitty playground in the Taoyuan airport (next to gate C4).

Cheers for now and definitely drop me a note if you’re looking for more info! xx

Advertisements

OMG, 22. 

Abigail (3.5 years old) has now been to 22 European countries in the span of 2 years since moving to London. She’ll have some stories to tell but definitely iPhone pictures to share. Isn’t it crazy how tech savvy kids are?

This trip to Cyprus was a little painful since she was sick with a cough and probably a sore throat, but she toughed it out for the most part and only made it apparent she was just a toddler 30% of the day and wanted tons of cuddles from us.

We stayed at The Royal Apollonia for this holiday and we would definitely recommend it. It’s been renovated nicely and the hotel room floors are tile which makes it feel so much cleaner (plus, they provide hotel slippers!). We had a spectacular balcony view of the pool and Mediterranean Sea.

📷: Outside our balcony 💟 Already drooling at 13 weeks but this Frecklebaby bib makes my list as absorbent, soft, bamboo, and the cutest prints on both sides. But wait, imagine nothing dropping on the floor with the unique snap on leash for a teething toy or paci.

P.S. Use CODE: GIVE for $4 off any of my sets of books. Free shipping. Visit www.ajangsley.com 

 

Breakfast is included and there is a pretty yummy range of food to choose from so get there before 10:30am. Oh and parking is free!

📷: 💟 cutest organic panda bear outfits from Turtle Dove London. Super soft material, monochrome patterns, modern, and a new shop. Love!

📷: one down, one more to go.  

The pool. We went when the pools were not heated (indoor is) so it was pretty cold water. I think the ocean was warmer! They have their own beach which is great because there is also a jetty so the waves are not so big. Perfect for swimming in the sea.

📷: the kiddie pool (this is sectioned off and the adult pool with pool bar is next to it).

What was really sweet as I think we were also one of the few families with kids on the property was when the staff came at night for turn down service (they usually just give us chocolate) and gave us a jar of honey for Abigail’s cough. So thoughtful – thank you Royal Apollonia 

Visiting the capital, Narcosia, was pretty neat. We got to see more locals, have a typical Greek lunch, and do some shopping (no, we didn’t bring home a bird!).

 


📷: We had to get another Bebeaulait muslin infinity nursing scarf as she is constantly seeing Addison in it and wants to be just like mommy.

Travel tip: bring a scarf (muslin would be ideal since it folds up so compact in your bag) as it comes in handy in so many ways for you and your little.

📷: See you later Mediterranean Sea. 💟: Thrilled to wear my Bellaha flip flops to see the world. This shop gives back to support infant and maternal health around the world. Win, win ladies – pretty and comfy sandals that give back!

Cheers for now and thanks for reading. xx

Mommy & Daughter France Trip. 

It was a little crazy to go on a trip without the hubs at 32 weeks pregnant but I did have some of my besties there so I guess technically it wasn’t just the bugaboo and me.

We took the Eurostar from London to Paris which is a smooth and quick 2.5 hour ride. The journey is pretty seamless so I would just advise getting to the station at least 1.5 hours in advance if you’re traveling with little(s). Oh, and if you’re preggos – you just may get special treatment. 😎

This trip was mainly just to visit the main sights since it’s pretty amazing now how Abigail actually remembers things at age 3 versus age 2. We did Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, walked along the Champs Elysees to shop, Versailles & Giverny (Monet’s house). Relatively pretty relaxing as we used both the metro and uber along with walking of course.

Thoughts traveling with a 3 year old (from my experience):

  • US people – get used to no toilet seat covers for your little (or yourself)
  • bring an extra change of clothes if you’re going to be out for the day
  • anti-bacterial wipes for everything they’re touching
  • ice cream is everywhere – this is perfect for bribing along with Haribo gummies. 😜

 

📷: Rocking it “Thriller” style even after having to go potty right before in let’s say not a toilet. 😁 What do you parents do when they say they have to go and there is not a toilette in sight? #pleaseshare

Product Review LOVE: EleStory

OMG, I can’t stop raving about the quality and details of EleStory dresses. They really bring out the magic in dresses and where you’re at. I received several compliments during the day about her dress and how she was twirling about in it. Love the linen material, length (this is toddler 2/3), and of course the flutter sleeves.

Product Review LOVE: TWELVElittle

We have the Companion backpack in Plus (shown above) and it’s the perfect fit. It doesn’t feel or look like a diaper bag but has the compartments for easy access to baby needs.

  • In my backpack, I was able to easily put in snacks, ipad w/kid cover, 2 changes of outfits, light jacket, sunscreen, lotion, medicine, coloring book/pad with markers, and of course some of my things with room to spare to go shopping.
  • Another perk is the hidden zipper section on the bottom of the bag to put dirty nappies or something you want separated from the rest of things.  Since right now it is just for my toddler, it has straws, napkins, and paper (things won’t bend in here).
  • Maybe it’s the OCD in me, but one detail I noticed is the 4 metal balls at the bottom of the backpack so the waterproof material doesn’t touch the ground.  How nifty is that?
  • Of course, not every bag is perfect so I would note if they’re making new bags, I would love to have one bigger compartment to put papers/ipad in and also it would be great to have the jacket hang on the side of the bag instead of inside (probably wouldn’t look as fashionable but it sure will save space inside).

📷: No Paris trip is complete without macaroons from Laduree.  We also had the pistachio milk shake and I was sure I was in heaven. Money well spent as it was also my last sweet I am to eat for this pregnancy now since I got the phone call from the hospital that my blood glucose level is too high. Buggers. 😓

Product LOVE: Bows!

I’m thrilled that she wants to wear bows and accessories in her hair so have found some amazing shops I support and love as they have the cutest prints and are well made. She doesn’t wear headbands so I can’t vouch for that, but future baby girl will be able to.

Mia_Handmade – her amazing butterfly designs have made me fallen in love with this shop and the mama.  She also has pom poms and my personal favorite genuine leather bows. LOVE.

Maddie and me London – who doesn’t love liberty of london fabric?  This American mom makes them and they are adorable.

James and Faye – I love the way her bows are made. They look so cute in Abigail’s hair. Well made!

📷: Versailles Palace was gorgeous! It was a cloudy day, but great for the girls pretending they were ballerinas in their dresses from Taylor Joelle Designs. What I would recommend is getting a golf cart (32 euros a hour).

Product LOVE: Bella | Ha shoes

These sandals are amazing and very comfortable (no joke!). What is probably the best part about this shop is they give back. With every pair of Bella | Ha shoes, it will help send solar suitcases to an area of the world in need. What is a solar suitcase?  It’s a portable, suitcase-like device that equips off-the-grid medical clinics with solar power so they can have light. Get your pair today! They can easily dress up an outfit.

📷: Giverny – what a cute countryside and home to Claude Monet. We decided to drive from Paris to Versaille to Giverny so we weren’t confined to the hours of a day tour. It was a nice drive.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to visit inside Monet’s house since Abigail had too much fun at Versailles and was still snoozing in the car when we arrived and by the time she woke up, Monet’s house had closed (6pm).

Product LOVE: Tiny Tinks

How cute is this doll?  We couldn’t be more happier with her.  Ours also came with a tutu but we left it at home as this traveling dolly didn’t want to get her clothes dirty.  There are different accessories you can add on and you can pick your colors to make your perfect dolly for your little. This will be a dolly she won’t let out of her sight as she also sleeps with her!

…and that wraps up our mommy/daughter trip before baby girl comes in August.

Cheers for now!

Take Me Back to Santorini.

The perfect end to our Greece holiday was definitely here. If you’re going for your honeymoon, romantic getaway, or babymoon like us, stay in Oia.

📷: View of Oia in the distance.

📷: A little light #lovebooksbyAJ reading before heading out.

We couldn’t have asked for a better boutique hotel to stay at for the last two nights in Greece. It’s called Ikies traditional houses. I will say it took a bit to convince the staff to let us stay there as I didn’t read the “terms & conditions” – no children under 13 years old allowed. Oops!

📷: Boatman’s house studio

Travel recommended product: Daylong sunscreen. Don’t we hate rubbing it in with our wiggling toddlers? This one goes on quickly and easily. LOVE.

We also chose to rent a car to drive around Santorini as it’s gorgeous, peaceful, and really quite the landscape. I would definitely recommend doing this.

📷: Bunch of restaurants along here with a great view. You can walk down from the cliff but it is a lot of steps!

📷: Sunset view with #nofilter

As always, thanks for reading.  Cheers for now!

G is for Great Greece. 

Part 2: Delphi & Meteora

Simply amazing. Pictures don’t do these two cities justice especially Meteora and the majestic monasteries sitting atop these cliffs dating back to the 1300s.

Delphi

📷: On the drive to Delphi

📷: Cute little town of Delphi

Travel Recommended Product:

  • Bobble is our go to bottle for Abigail as it has a filter and doesn’t leak. Although, after looking at it’s website, I don’t see the small bottle that Abigail uses listed anymore (18.5 oz is what they have which may be a little heavy for a 2 year old). #bobble help!

📷: Our guide at the Delphi Ruins


📷: Finally warmed up a bit to not wear a jacket (end of April).

  


Product LOVE:

  • This girl has to take off the bracelets while eating. We love our pineapple bracelet from Zopihi.  They have the cutest children’s jewelry designed in Austin, inspired by Maui.  The best thing about their products are they are lead, cadium, and phthalates free. Mums – go check them out!


Meteora


📷: Crazy wind makes a crazy #mombun


  

📷: The Meteora – one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to the Mount Athos. More info, check out wikipedia


📷: Along the drive in the mountains there were these stands – I wonder exactly what the significance is. Anyone know?

Travel recommended product:

  • We are in love with our passport holder from Up & Away. It’s easy to hold the passports together with up to a family of 5, putting your cards in one spot, and some cash as well. If you travel as much as us, you can also stick extra landing cards in there! And, I can’t forget that you can choose from a variety of colors and patterns for the interior and exterior – keeping the jet setting family in style!  LOVE – make these a perfect Mother’s Day present. *hint, hint.

📷: The town of Meteora. We ate at the Gardenia (pictured left) which was just OK, but as always friendly service.

Product LOVE:

  • My little loves her Mini Melissa shoes – she thinks she’s walking the catwalk!  Definitely be prepared for how quickly they will get scuffed up.  Cool thing – they have this baby powder smell. No stinky feet for her!

📷: We stayed at the Grand Meteora Hotel which was nice that it is new with a gorgeous view of the rocks. However, if you’re looking for strong wi-fi or pool after your hike around Meteora, this definitely isn’t the place for you.

  • Tip: I always read and write reviews from trip advisor.  I’ve found them generally pretty accurate for the hotels. Food wise – it’s definitely a hit or miss. 



📷: view from our balcony

Cheers for now!

G is for Gorgeous Greece. 

Athens

Wow, so far Greece is what I pictured and anticipated. Athens is our first stop of our last big week long European trip as a family of three.
Usually, before a trip, I love reading some “did you know?” facts about places we go – they’re great conversation openers so hopefully you share them. These are my top three: 

  • First Olympic Games: The first Olympic games were held in Athens in 776 BC.The first games as we know them were held here in 1896, the city then hosted them again in 2004 (venere). To note, all of the street signs of Athens had to be changed to include a Latin spelling under the Greek before hosting the 2004 games!
  • According to Greek mythology, Athena and Poseidon competed for the honour of being the patron of the capital city, each offering a gift to gain favour with the people. The olive tree (given by Athena) was deemed more valuable than the water provided by Poseidon, so the city was named after her. It’s the world’s 3rd largest producer of olives! (lowcostholidays)
  • Greece enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine—or 3,000 sunny hours—a year (randomhistory)…oh so jealous with this London weather we have!


📷: theatre (said the theatre originated in Greece)


📷: heading up Acropolis (balloon courtesy of Hard Rock Cafe where we ate later)

📷: amazing view at the top of Acropolis.

  📷: plaza where the flea markets/shopping is at. Pretty hectic, but not overwhelming.


📷: national garden

📷: chilling like a local.


📷: delicious loukoumades (Greek donuts)

 📷: view from our hotel rooftop: Royal Olympic. Centrally located, but pictures were definitely enhanced with the “renovations.”  We had to hold the shower head to shower. Painful – hello dry shampoo!

 #familyselfie

Cheers for now!