Fun For All – Lake Tahoe. 

Took a little bit of debate on where to go for a much needed family vacation with our fav’s, but we finally decided on Lake Tahoe. A lot of fun when your kiddos are close in age, the hubs are good buddies, and of course the mama is my good university friend (and bridesmaid!). #timeflies


📷: the crew (kids are 4 years old, 1 year old, and 9 months)

Lake Tahoe is a great choice since it’s only a short flight (approximately 1 hour from Orange County, CA) to take in the great outdoors, and also rotate with the boys to go to the casinos.

We haven’t taken JetBlue since we left for London so decided on this airline based on them flying out of Long Beach airport – small and nicely renovated airport plus a great price point. They knocked it out of the ballpark with lovely, efficient service, good drinks and snacks. Alcoholic beverages were $7 (good selection of beer). #jetblue #love

Got a rental car and of course had to do a stop at Costco – super close from Reno airport.

  • Traveler’s tip: Bring your own car seat if you want to make sure it’s clean! We also decided to buy another one we wouldn’t mind getting tossed around during transit.
  • Evenflo (toddler booster seat) 
  • car seat cover – this one is great (no wheels) and was only $9.

    After much thought into whether or not to get an airbnb, we decided to make it easy and stay at  Hard Rock this time around. It was “nice enough” since it was renovated a couple years back, spacious, good food inside, and a casino right downstairs.

    📷: Yes, she’s in Bebeaulait’s Muslin car seat cover & swaddle blankets. I love Muslin breathable fabric and highly recommend getting one for a car seat cover so your baby doesn’t get too hot in his/her car seat (also has a zipper to open/close if needed). Isn’t this print the cutest?!

    📷: Traveler’s tip – request a crib (they usually roll) instead of a pack n’ play – so much cleaner! Ask for some flat sheets/fleece blankets to place on the hotel room floor if you have a crawler in the house. Bring also a crib fitted sheet if you’re worried about their sheets on your baby’s soft skin.  P.S. Addison just pulled herself up for the first time here (9 months).

    📷: Across the street from Hard Rock is Edgewood where you can play golf. We took a walk there with the kids. It’s gorgeous!

    Day 1 – we went to Zephyr Cove to take in the lake and hang out at the beach.  We stopped at the market to get goodies.  They have grills there so we made s’mores!  Gorgeous and relaxing (not very populated) spot to play in the sand. I believe it was $8 per car. Oh yea, clean individual bathrooms.



    Day 2 we went bike riding around town and fishing at Sawmill Pond (kid’s fishing location).


    📷: Got a lot of questions about my carrier and I love my MiaMily carrier. So much more back support and a compartment to store a bottle, phone, diaper, keys, etc.


    📷: Caught 5 fish and brought them to MacDuff’s for them to cook 3 different ways! YUM! Pretty good deal as they provided salad and sides for $20/person. Get the bread pudding for dessert. #nomnom

    Day 3, departed Lake Tahoe and headed home. Sweet trip with our fav’s with a lot of memories always. The kids all got sick but hey what trip isn’t complete without that happening. 

    Cheers for now and thanks for reading. We love traveling with our kiddos and honestly it’s really not hard! #bringiton #travelwithkids 

    xx

    A to the 4th. 

    The reunion of the kiddos this time around wasn’t as cool as going to New Zealand back in December 2016, but still a lot of fun to see them playing and conversing more with each other. They are growing up so fast!  When people said to cherish all the moments with them as it will fly by, they weren’t kidding. 

    With a short socal holiday, we managed to squeeze in quality family time, Angel’s game, Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Carlsbad outlets, and of course In n’ out. 

    Tips I got from these adventures: 

    • Stay at Legoland hotel to get the full experience along with free parking. Btw – new Legoland hotel opening 2018. 
    • Take the double decker bus at San Diego zoo if you’re looking to walk less and perhaps catch a glimpse of the animals.
    • Check out the adorable pandas at the SD zoo. Only 4 zoos in the world have pandas!
    • It’s still fun to go early to a baseball game (besides tailgating) with kids. Angels stadium is super nice and has lots of food.
    • Since you’re “rolling” with kids, you can pretty much bring any food/drinks inside the parks.  
    • Hmm – didn’t see any alcohol at Legoland. Plenty at the zoo and of course stadium. 
    • Go shopping after these adventures if you’re wanting to spend less $$. 😜


    📷: Getting a suite is a good option for a game for little ones to run around in. Suites include 12 seats. 


    📷: belated #nationalsiblingday


    📷: miniland of San Francisco is way cool. #mustsee





    📷: spend only $.51 for a small souvenir of animal penny. Located at the exit of the zoo. 


    📷: Feel free to brings snacks/drinks on the bus. It’s about a 35-40 minute ride. 

    Good times with the munchkins and family as always. 

    Cheers for now! 

    P.S. No socal trip is complete without #innout 

    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

    Travel Bug is Back. 

    Baby Addison hit 6 weeks and we wanted a weekend getaway from London so we decided to go to Devon (about a 4 hour drive from central London – can be more with the painful traffic out of the city).

    As now a family of 4, I started thinking early on what to pack for a 2 night trip with a newborn and 3 year old (I can’t forget myself too, but I did forget hub’s toiletries – apparently as wife you’re suppose to remember to bring his shaver and hair gel).

    Newborn

    • nappies
    • wet wipes
    • 4 outfits
    • hat
    • face towel
    • nail clippers (oh so important at this stage!)
    • sleep accessories (e.g. sound maker, sleepyhead, blankets/swaddles)
    • Nuby bottles & pump

    3 year old

    • 3 outfits
    • 3 undies & socks
    • outerwear (something with a hood) and a scarf
    • 1 pair of shoes
    • pajamas & indoor slippers (once the weather is colder, they’re usually freshly picked moccasins to pack easily)
    • blankie (I always bring a muslin blankie as they’re compact and makes my little feel at home)
    • toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, face towel, lotion, shampoo, body wash, sunscreen)

    And can you believe all of the above fit into our BabyBeau diaper bag?  This diaper bag has it all and its so stylish in grey.  One of the most unique qualities it has is the extra layer (silky soft material) inside to take out and wash should something spill inside the bag. Good thinking!

    Furthermore, if you take out the extra layer to clean, there is still another zippered side pocket to put accessories in or if you just don’t want these compartments in the bag. I would probably put my ipad/laptop in this area with the extra layer if I didn’t use it as a weekend bag.

    Compartments – there are also just enough compartments to find things quickly in BabyBeau. The 4 side compartments are soft on the hands when you’re sifting through the bag and a nice addition that it can be taken out easily should you just want to pack something that doesn’t need to be separated.

    The diaper bag also came with a nice diaper changing pad (that didn’t actually fit in with BOTH my kiddos things) and insulated bottle holder – both lovely accessories to match the bag.  Inside the bag, there is also a detachable zippered pouch for small items (e.g. mommy items, snacks).

    I would have to say this bag is definitely well thought out and can transition with your family and doesn’t even have to be called a diaper bag, but a weekend bag due to its size (to note, I wouldn’t call the bag lightweight, but hey – it’s canvas with leather).

    BabyBeau Isabelle can be compacted to look smaller with the hooks on both sides of the bag. The bottom of the bag also has the 4 metal balls so the material isn’t touching sometimes dirty floors.

    We travel light and only bring necessities, but we’re also lucky in that we (and the kids) don’t have special products that we can’t live without besides now the MiaMily hipster carrier.– a practical carrier where you can run some errands in and not have to bring a diaper bag as well. YAY!

    We used ours for the first time this weekend and LOVE it. I didn’t have the original MiaMily carrier and used the Ergo with baby #1 so here are my thoughts.

    • Infant insert is so soft and perfect size for my 6 week old to keep her nice and secure in there.  There are 2 snaps to adjust as your infant grows
    • Carrier material is easy to clean and I was wearing a tank top so it didn’t hurt my shoulders or arms (no marks on me – it is also fall here in England so no feedback on hot weather, but for babe there is mesh lining inside which can be zippered down to be more breathable).
    • Shoulder and waist straps are easy to clip together and velcro can be adjusted easily.
    • Amazing feature is the zippered pouch below the seat of babe to put accessories in (e.g. bottle, diaper, phone, keys, snack) for some errands instead of bringing a bag. There is also a side mesh pouch to put a phone at – wow, MiaMily thought of everything!

    Any cons you might be thinking? I would have to say – hot, humid weather may be rough with the carrier and babe in it since the carrier isn’t a cotton material.  Another thing is that it doesn’t fold into a super compact size, but it does come with a travel bag that can also fit the infant insert in it.

    We chose to stay at an Airbnb for the weekend and found the cutest place – The Lakehouse. Our place overlooked our own little lake and it was so peaceful minus Addison crying a lot. The owner also had sheep, alpacas, pigs, and dogs which absolutely made Abigail’s weekend to play and see them. Beautiful countryside property and would highly recommend (one thing – bring your own toiletries, none provided).


    These alpacas were insanely cute and soft.

    Daddy and daughter selfie with the pigs (piglets in the back too).

    We were going to do a baby animal petting zoo for Abigail’s 4th birthday, but seeing her with the cockapoos, probably not.

    The property. – this building was a Roman bathhouse back in the day.

    We also checked out the town before we left back to London in our Joovy. Abigail LOVES to roll in this as she can also keep a close eye on her baby sister. This double stroller is definitely more suitable in a spacious setting like here. Big perks – super smooth wheels, can put a car seat on it, and kickboard for toddler to stand on built in.

    Loved our much needed weekend getaway and looking forward to our next adventure in October.

    Cheers for now and thanks for reading. xx

    Home Stretch. 

    OMG, 38 weeks pregnant and I should probably have my hospital bag packed and ready to go (along with bottles and baby products that go in the mouth sterilized and clothes/bibdanas/muslin blankies washed). Good thing my mum came in this past Saturday to help with my super chatty little bugaboo, Abigail. ♥️

    Back to the hospital bag, I was finally able to talk to a doctor and nurse about the whole labor/delivery/after process (quite the waiting game at the hospital is what it looks like) and now I’m all set on what I need to bring/provide for baby girl NHS style.

    • Nappies
    • Hat
    • Formula
    • Clothes

    Guess that’s everything (I won’t be needing a spare empty bag like the US). 😉

    To note: private rooms can run to £800/night but being in the hospital ward (4 to a room) is free. Earphones/plugs – hello, I will need you.

    No worries on bunking with other Brits as I’ll still make our stay comfy with some key items below.

    • Lalabu soothe shirt – I can’t wait to baby wear my newborn. Also, they’re an amazing shop, they give 2% of all sales back to moms in Africa, supporting mom entrepreneurs through micro-finance. I can’t wait to use my shirt with my little as the material is so soft. They also just came out with new colors. 😍
    • Belly bandit bamboo wrap – I recommend the bamboo material as its much softer and we’re so sensitive in that area with just giving birth. I also got the belly shield to apply oils and lotions since sadly I did not get the lucky genes of stretchy perfect skin to keep my wrap clean.
    • Small Stuff bibdana to keep baby clean and styling 
    • Thebobbinbelle Muslin swaddle and Muslin blankie – I can’t rave enough how this new small shop has the cutest designs.  This mama also does custom ones so definitely ask! The blankie is approximately 45″ x 45″ so something even my now 3 year old still uses.
    • Nuby breast pump – Oh so portable and looks easy to use. I know the hospital will provide a pump should I need it, but figured I will bring to get used to this new device.
      • Digital Breast Pump has won the 2016 Prima Baby Magazine SIlver Award for the best electric breast pump.

    • Anna Crochet Knit panda bear beanie – found this sweet mama on Instagram and she takes custom orders as I’ve been getting so many panda bear prints (monochrome love). If you’re interested, her email is anna.crochet.knit@gmail.com
    • TWELVE little changing pad – this one came with my diaper backpack and has 12 different animals on it to represent one year of the 12-year cycle based on the Chinese zodiac. The year the person is born determines their animal sign. Curious which animal you are? Check here.
    • Wubbanub hippo – Abigail loved hers so we figured we would get one for baby.  With the stuffed animal attached to the pacifier, it helps to not fall far away from baby
    • Motherlove nipple cream – I swear by this from Abigail. All organic ingredients. LOVE
    • Footed onsies – I even got zippered ones just to make my life a lot easier. 

    Of course, even with the new baby girl coming, we want to make sure Abigail isn’t forgotten and always my #1 bugaboo. We took her out and about with a new dress from Petit Peony and she was ecstatic (she insists on wearing a dress daily – rain or shine). I hope this dress-loving toddler lasts forever. 👗

    We are swooning over Petite Peony for a couple reasons that will get you to fall in love with this mama of three.

    • She donates to children from Room To Grow (I also donate 25% of my net proceeds from my F is For Fox book to this amazing non-profit! #lovebooksbyAJ)
    • Petit Peony‘s designs are a modern take on classic designs
    • This mama’s shop is in over 85 boutiques in US and was also just featured in British Vogue August issue. Awesome!
    • They only use 100% premium and organic cotton.

    📷: Background of the Shard – the tallest building in London.

    📷: I thought this would be my favorite #bfgdreamjars piece to bid on but looks a lot different live. More on the dream jar trail (see previous post).

    📷: Walking the line on Tower Bridge

    📷:: A little break at this cool and yummy establishment. 1st floor – tavern, 2nd floor – pizzeria, 3rd floor – grill.  We ate at the pizzeria and enjoyed a nice outdoor view with tasty food!

    📷: Seriously, moms helping moms on getting a reversible wrap dress – two dresses in one. Stains be gone in a flash.

    📷: Cheers for now and thanks for reading. xx

    Road Trip to Cornwall. 

    This is the last trip before “nesting” for baby girl #2. We opted for a road trip with our London buddies and had a blast – minus the cloudy/windy weather (really, July, come on!).

    We left London and didn’t get into Cornwall until early evening since we just had to make a pit stop in Bristol for Costco – warehouse (heaven) of bulk goodies.

    What stood out about Cornwall: 

    📷: Love their honor system of paying for things along the road (just leave the money in a box and take what you want).

    📷: Fish n’ chips everywhere. Our first Cornwall meal – super fresh fish of course. Why am I surprised?

    Love the stone houses throughout the city (we stayed in an adorable cottage that really did a stellar job with upping the look n’feel of their IKEA furniture).

    📷: Abigail couldn’t wait to see the moon and stars with this sunroof.

    Anyhow, we promised the kids it would be about the beach on Saturday (rain or shine) so they got it. We did a stop at the Minack outdoor theatre (next to Porthcurno beach) prior and wow that is cool! Imagine watching a show outdoors perched on a cliff and hearing the Atlantic ocean water. Amazing and the stone seating had these cool engravings as well.

    Misty and windy at Porthcurno beach – clearly overlooked once she saw the abundant sand. I would recommend this beach (lifeguard on duty) – nice sand, plenty of shells to pick, not too crazy waves, and water is gorgeous.

    📷: Path we took from the car park. You can also walk down the cliff from Minack theatre.

    📷:: Be inspired to take the plunge into the unknown. 

    Saint Michael’s Mount – A must go!  If you go after lunch, you can probably walk across the path but looks like before noon  you would need to take a quick boat ride over (£2 adults, £1 child).

    📷:: A serious historical sight to take in – Saint Michael’s Mount.

    📷:: View from the top of Saint Michael’s Mount. Majestic!

    📷:: View from Island Cafe (pretty good food & plenty of indoor/outdoor seating).

    📷:: It’s crazy how the cobblestone walkway (approx. 500 metres) dries up quickly and isn’t slippery.

    And that wraps up what we did in Cornwall. Definitely would say we missed many sights and probably staying at least 3 nights would be ideal for both driving or training to Cornwall.

    #lovebooksbyAJ side note: Thank you so much for the orders for the 5 series (D is for Dinosaur, E is for Elephant, F is for Fox, G is for Giraffe, H is for Hippo). Dream come true. Get your series today for only $29.99 FREE SHIPPING. www.ajangsley.com 

    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!