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.

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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

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Hamming in Hamptons.

Part 2 of our New York holiday ended perfectly with a gorgeous weekend in the Hamptons with our cousins. The iconic tall hedges and enormous homes was mesmerizing (so mesmerizing I forgot to take pictures!). 

We left the city earlier than everyone else so stopped at the famous Lobster Roll in Montauk from the showtime series, The Affair. Food was nothing to rave about but had a cute local ambiance to dining there. 


Did you know they have a Levain Bakery there too? Next to it is a good local seafood shop and the famous Goldberg’s bagels which I didnt get to try but heard it was delish! 


📷: Tried and true, you can freeze a cookie and when you’re ready to eat defrost and put in the oven for a bit and it’s just almost as good. 

We also went to the cutest and cleanest pumpkin patch ever – Hank’s Pumpkintown. Amazing fresh apple juice! 


Anyhow, I sure hope my kids are as close to my cousins as I am. #familyfirst 

 

Oh yes, wanted to add that at 14 weeks pregnant I went to Soul Cycle for the first time. Oh my gosh so tiring but survived with the good vibes and catching Brooke Shields when we were leaving from our class. I can now say I “spun” with Brooke. 😁

Cheers for now! Thanks for reading and yes this is a place you must visit – It must be even more lovely in the summer when it’s really pool and beach weather.  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 

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!