How we survived flying 15 hours with the kids and coped with the jetlag – JahBella in the US (May 2017)

We finally embarked on our long haul journey to the US 2 days ago..well between the option to take a direct flight (15 hours to San Francisco) or a 1 stop option (20 to 24 hours) we were spoilt for choice and many people were kind enough to give us their 2 cents worth on which might work better. Many parents felt that a 15 hour flight at a go without an option to get off the flight and stretch or run it off, was a recipe for disaster. However we decided to give it a try anyway since we preferred the arrival time at 9am.

So here’s how we made it work for this flight in particular and how we broke up the flight for the kids and kept everyone relatively sane
Time in US shown in brackets 

First half of the flight 

Our flight took off at 925am (SFO 625pm), we kept the kids awake although it didn’t take much effort to, since they were really raring to go. Lunch on board was served at about 10+am (SFO 7+pm), I guess u can consider that dinner if u wanted to. The kids spent the next 2 hours, eating and watching their inflight entertainment. By the time meal service ended at about 12+pm (SFO 9+pm), the kids didn’t mind going to bed. Thankfully they are used to a naptime in school at about this time. Lights in the cabin were switch off which made it a lot easier for them to doze off. The kids slept for almost 4 hours! Which meant they woke up at about 4pm (SFO 1am). 
2nd half of the flight 

I had tuned my watch to SFO time by now and of course panicked a little (a lot) knowing that they are awake at 1am SFO time! But I really didn’t have much energy to fight them on it (haha what else could I do). Somehow their wake time was actually pretty perfect because the crew started switching on all the lights in the cabin anyway and began serving breakfast. The kids took their breakfast and then continued watching their shows. By the time the meal service ended at about 7pm (SFO 4am). The kids were starting to get groggy again and I told them that they had to sleep for abit. Shockingly they didn’t fight me! So with the cabin lights dimmed again, they took another nap from 7pm to 930pm (SFO 4am to 630am). I could tell when they got up at 930pm (SFO 630am), they were getting a little edgy and impatient but we were only 2 hours away and that 2 hours was manageable with abit of bribery (candies and snacks). The choice of a morning arrival worked in our favour because the kids had all morning to work off whatever sugar they had consumed and they had obviously adjusted to the time difference by the time we landed in San Francisco.

Conclusion

A 15 hour flight is perfectly manageable if the time of the flight is used effectively to tune their body clocks. The arrival in the morning worked in our favour because it was easy to keep the kids up for the rest of the day when they were so excited to get started on their holiday. I’m not sure if the same can be said if we had arrived at night instead. I’m guessing it would be quite hard for them to sleep through the night then. For the record, we made sure the kids were engaged after we landed so there was less chance of fatigue and restlessness setting in and the kids took a nap at about 4pm SFO time. We dragged them up for dinner at 630pm, bedtime was a breeze at 10pm and they slept through the night. Safe to say, they are completely on SFO time now and we will be attempting the 1 stop flight on the way home so more on how to cope with that to come (if we do cope with it successfully of course, wish us luck!!!) 🙂

More on how we occupied them upon our arrival into San Francisco..haha a pretty nail biting experience for the parents :p

JahBella’s Mummy

Ezpz Playmat [Review and Mumspick Discount Code]

Jah and Bella love to paint, I mean which kid doesn’t love to play with paint right? Problem is, everytime these kids go “mummy can we do painting today?” My answer is almost ALWAYS “ermm no maybe next week ok?” Trust me, it’s not because we don’t have the paint supplies on hand in fact we probably have too much paint supplies, stashed away somewhere at the back of the storeroom. Because every time mummy goes online shopping, it always seems like a fantastic idea to stock up on art and paint supplies for the kids to indulge and play with. Except that paint time never really materialises at least not on a regular basis when I think about the process of hawking over them as they paint and envision cleaning up after. 

What could go wrong you say? Well how about how my heart drops when the plastic cup of paint water threatens to topple over when they reach over to rinse their brush or over enthusiastically stir their brushes in the cup. Or when they splatter their paint all over the table or accidentally paint the table as they try to colour near the edges of the paper. Which is also why I make them paint while sitting on the floor which is absolutely horrible, not just their posture but gives us pins and needles all the time. 

I know I know, mummy is such a control freak right? :p

But problem solved today when I was introduced to the Ezpz Play Mat. Similar to its other products in its range like the Ezpz Happy Bowl or Happy Mat which is made of a high quality silicon that suctions itself to a table (oh what I would give to have a product like that available when Jah and Bella were little!!! and meal times involve swinging arms and flying plates!) The Ezpz Happy Mat is perfect for painting, Lego sorting, beadwork and necklace making, drawing with dry erase markers or crayons, cookie decorating. 

The kids were super excited that they were allowed to sit at the table to paint, without mummy constantly nagging at them to be careful with the cup of water. Or to watch where they are painting (yes mummy is very naggy sigh)


As you can see from the photos, I could fill the centre of the flower design with water for them to wash their brushes and they could use the 5 smaller ‘petals’ for their paint. We used the empty space on the right as their work space. The kids used it to work on painting their leaves and then we later used that space to place half an A3 paper for them to paint on. Yes halving a A3 drawing block paper fit nicely into that space. 🙂 


Oh sure we had abit of splattering especially with Miss Bella but nothing that I couldn’t deal with and the aftermath was really quite clean and decent.


In fact cleaning was quite a breeze too because I didn’t have to carry paint brushes, cups and paint palettes on multiple trips and could just stack the play mats and take them to the sink at one go. The mats are bendable so you can still wash them pretty easily even if you have a small sink or wash area. We spent a good 1.5 hours just painting and I just sat there and watch them which made painting so much more enjoyable (for me :p)


For those who are inclined to involve your kids in baking, I think the mat will come in really handy for those little hands to help with kneading or decorating cupcakes or cookies. In fact the play mat is washer, mircrowave and oven safe too.

I foresee using the play mat when Bella gets into crafting and putting together her own little necklaces and stuff but for now painting is going to be so much more fun! 

If you are keen to try out this product or other similar products in the Ezpz range, head over to Mumspick website https://www.mumspick.com/ to check it out.

JahBella’s readers are also entitled to a 15% discount on Ezpz products on the website (with no minimum order) from now till 6 February 2017. Just key in Jahbella during checkout for the discount. 🙂

Happy Shopping!

JahBella’s Mummy

Disclaimer: JahBella received 2 Ezpz Play Mats for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Hong Kong Oct 2016 – Victoria Peak, Madam Tussaud’s and a little transportation tip

We made our recent Hong Kong trip right on the tail of 2 typhoons in the region. In fact we nearly had to call off our trip due to that uncertainty. But I was pretty insistent on taking the trip and yes some would have called me mad, given that flights were cancelled the morning before our departure due to a Signal 8 raised in Hong Kong and we didn’t really know what kind of weather we were getting ourselves into once we got to Hong Kong. The upside, I became quite the typhoon tracker expert after this trip :p

In any case, the airport reopened and flights resumed and we got to our destination safely and landed in dry and sunny conditions! Phew!

We decided to stay at Nathan Hotel on Nathan Road this time around. Given that it was going to be a really short trip, we wanted somewhere very central for food as well as a short walking distance to an MTR (3 mins walk to Jordan MTR). 

We were fortunate than our room was ready for us at 11am despite check-in being only at 2pm. Apparently many guests checked out the night before or in the wee hours of the morning before our arrival because they were able to get on their newly timed flights. We comfortably settled lunch in the vicinity and then the kids got their much deserved nap time, after enduring a 3am wake up call from their parents. 


We were still pretty tired at about 5pm but we didn’t want to waste the night so we got everyone up and about and decided to head to Victoria Peak for dinner.


How difficult could that be right? We took a train from Jordan MTR to Central MTR (10-15mins ride?) and it was a relatively simple 10 mins walk from Central MTR to the Peak Lower Terminus where we would take the Peak Tram up. 

That is until we turned the corner and saw how long the queue to purchase a tram ticket was. I didn’t take a photo because I was absolutely shocked. I’m honestly not sure if this is the usual weekend crowd or it was a result of people being trapped indoors for the last 48 hours due to the typhoon. Well we had 2 options – turn around and run for the hills (no pun intended) or queue (it looked like a 2-3 hour queue at least). It was 6pm..kids were pumped up for a tram ride which we probably oversold to them and we were too hungry and still tired to recalibrate.

Luckily we saw a sign that said express tram ticket but it involved us purchasing a package that included a ticket to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Musuem. Well at that point, anything to beat the queue and get out of there so we paid 10x the price literally and were on our way.

Well almost, we had to queue another 30-45 mins or so to get on the tram because they were alternating entry between big groups and independent travellers. Well ok still on track for dinner at 7pm at least…


The kids were intrigued by the tram going uphill so steeply (like a rollercoaster they say) though I would say that a day time tram ride would probably have been better for them visually. But that’s a toss up between the visual impact of going uphill and seeing the lights and the skyline which pops out at you in the night.


We got to the peak station and managed to settle dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company before the crowd started thickening..honestly the food was rather disappointing and everything just well tasted fried..I mean I know it’s fried food but it was tasteless and just tasted like oil..really different from what we remembered from the US.

We were quite fortunate that we ended up buying the package because the kids were pretty keen to check out Madame Tussaud’s (who would have thought). We moved through the exhibits pretty quickly (spent about 30 mins or so?) but the kids were quite happy to pose for most (some) of the photos :p

We made the customary trip to the viewing area but ended up leaving within 5 minutes. The droves of tour groups up there, was pure madness! Guides were screaming and waving, and people were crowding walkways to pay, to get their photos taken. Not to mention that the vents from the restaurants seems to be spewing smoke out into that ‘confined’ space. Really a far cry from what I remembered it to be almost 15 years ago when we were up there for a school trip.

We finally made our way down to the peak station (our package came with a return ticket) at about 930pm. A sign told us that the wait time to get onto a tram to lower peak terminus was about 1 hour. We decided to forgo our ticket and walk over to the cab stand which also looked about an hour Long 😦 and didn’t seem to be moving at all. But we were kind of stranded at that point and had to just wait in line for a cab. 

So here’s a little tip 😉 while waiting for our cab queue to move, I started googling for a taxi app and found one that was in English! The app is called HK Taxi and it is a bright red app. You could indicate the extra tip you are willing to pay to entice a cab to take your booking. I eventually up my tip when no one was taking my booking after trying for 5 minutes and scored a cab rather quickly. The app is best used if you have a local phone number which we did because we got a local Sim for data and it came with some free call credits. The driver called us immediately to tell us that he was 5 minutes away, asked us to look out for his cab number and hop in because he was not allowed to stop in that area to wait. I spoke to the cab driver in Cantonese but I’m sure they would be able to cope with some English, given that they ask you what your preferred language is when making the booking. We managed to get out of the area by 10pm phew! and thank goodness the kids were all still in good spirits when we got back (especially because Jah caught his first Haunter Pokémon while we were driving down the peak) :p

What a wild 18 hours we’ve had so far! 

Stay tuned for more of our Hong Kong 2016 trip!

JahBella’s Mummy

Perth, Western Australia Itinerary August 2016 – Day 1 Rockingham, Busselton Jetty (Margaret River Roadtrip)

I had worked out many itinerary permutations before the trip and finally settled on one that would see us driving straight to Margaret River (MR) after being fresh (no pun intended) off a red eye/ 5am landing. This would allow us to only break up the trip once and be back in Perth after 5 days in MR.

Travelling with kids on a road trip called for a lot of advance planning eg. Where would we be stopping for meals or breaks? Unlike the couple road trips where we could do many spontaneous stops or leg stretches. With kids, we had to ensure that we got to the destination in the least amount of time possible but still having sufficient meal breaks and possibly even an ‘entertainment’ or ‘attraction’ break.

We landed in Perth at 5am and proceeded to bundle the kids up in their winter jackets + ski gloves. Yes we looked ridiculous and kiasu in that airport but I reckon we looked really smart and warm :p once we hit the 5deg cold to get to our rental car.


It was going to be a 4 hour drive and so we decided to stop enroute at Rockingham for breakfast. The drive was about 1.5hours long because we had to travel pretty slowly in the rain and with foggy windows (took us awhile to figure out how to get the anti fog on).

We settled for a warm ham and cheese crossiant and hot chocolate at Lulu’s cafe. It was nice to be out of the cold and in a warm toasty cafe with a electric fire place next to our table. Almost didn’t want to leave. There is also a nice playground across the road from the cafe which would have been an ideal run around for the kids if the weather was warmer.

With our tummies full, we continued our drive towards MR and intended to take a lunch and ‘entertainment’ stop at Busselton Jetty.

We drove another 2 hours before we got there, thankfully the kids dozed off on that leg of the journey. We normally don’t allow sleeping in the car but this time we were glad they were getting some rest and we were getting some quiet and were able to focus on the road. And I honestly enjoyed the adult car conversations we were finally able to have without a child either interrupting us or having to have ‘speed’ conversations or updates while on our way to pick the kids. No guilt, the kids were in the car (asleep) and we had 2 whole hours of conversation time. 🙂


We got to Busselton just in time for the 11am jetty train ride. The train ride about 2+km down the jetty would take about 45 min there and back with an approx 8 mins stop at the end of the jetty. You can also choose to walk if you like. It started pouring almost as soon as  we got out of our car so we were super glad that our beanies and gloves were all accessible in our handcarry and not packed away. Yes even for the adults! Phew! The kids love the train ride and the cold didn’t bother them as much as it did us. 


Everyone was ready for some lunch after our little train adventure and we headed to The Goose which is a restaurant right next to the jetty. We have been to this restaurant many times over the years. It used to be a restaurant that serves tapas but serves mostly your usual mains now.


We only had a 1 hour drive left from Busselton to MR after this (easy peasy) and we got to our accommodation just shy of 2pm and just in time for our afternoon nap. If your kids don’t need a nap then you would still have lots of time to explore some vineyards or taste some local produce.

So this was pretty much how we survived 18 hours on the ‘road’- from leaving home at 8pm till we settled at our MR accommodation at 2pm the next day. To be honest it was really an awesome Day 1 with these kiddos and we couldn’t wait for Day 2! 

JahBella’s Mummy

Click here to read more about our red eye flight into Perth 🙂 

Day 2 – Wonky Windmill Farm and Orchard Picking (Margaret River Roadtrip) 

Day 3 – Margaret River Farmer’s Market and Yallingup Maze (Margaret River Roadtrip)

Day 4 Whale Watching Cruise and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse (Margaret River Roadtrip)

Day 5 Ngilgi Caves, Canal Rocks and Laurence Wines (Margaret River Roadtrip)

More coming up…:)

SIN – PER Business Class with kids (Red eye flight)

So as some of you might remember, our last attempt on a red eye flight was last year during our return flight from Tokyo to Singapore. We landed in Singapore at 7am and were honestly worse for wear. Thankfully we were on home ground and could recuperate in our own home and on our own terms but it was certainly not a good day :p

So this time I was really hesitant to even consider the idea of a red eye flight at the start of the trip. What’s worse is the fact that the flight lands at 5am which means the cabin would be prepped for landing by 4am. Lights would be switched on, announcements would be made, seats would have to be upright and yeah you know the drill :/ But given our itinerary constraints which would ideally see us making our 4 hour road trip drive into Margaret River at the start of our trip and preferably reaching MR at 2pm rather than 7pm (during winter). We had to bite the bullet and figure some way through it.

Joel was actually very garang about just figuring it out and making it (the sleep) work. But given that Bella didn’t sleep a wink on the red eye Tokyo flight and Joel was a zombie after. I was not risking it and letting a zombie drive us for 4 hours. My solution? Redeeming business class tickets all round and hoping that this means everyone would be able to fall asleep in a slightly more comfy environment.

Of course the thought of bringing 2 kids into business class at 12 midnight scared the hell out of me. What if they didn’t sleep and caused a ruckus, disturbing every other passenger in the process. But I have to say, fear unfounded. In fact if there was any flight to put kids in business class, a red eye is definitely it. I don’t know about babies and really little kids but a 3 and 5 year old who have a pretty fixed and stable sleep schedule would do just fine.

So how did our flight go?

The kids were strangely peckish at 12midnight so instead of having our meals for breakfast at 3am. We decided to ask for the meals to be served after take off (about 1am) and let them sleep throughout.




Bella dozed off as soon as the plane took off at midnight and totally missed her meal service. She didn’t get up until almost 5am when she sensed the flurry of activities around her. A stark difference from her Tokyo red night so mummy’s efforts to ensure that the adults especially the driver would get sleep too, worked!



Jah, on the other hand seemed determined to enjoy the ‘perks’ of his flight. He stayed up till his meal was served. Thoroughly enjoyed the starter of crossiants and fruits and then was too full for the fish congee main that was served after. He even noticed that real cutlery, China and tablecloth were used. Good spotting Jah! The boy went to sleep straight after and didn’t wake until we landed. 🙂


While our flight (A330) did not offer a full flat bed as it was a regional product. The kids did just fine on the flat recline beds as they were much shorter and it was almost like a flat bed for them.

Joel and I got up very comfortably half an hour before landing to freshen up and we were able to keep the kids sleeping till the last minute which minimised any crankiness at being dragged out of ‘bed’ at 5am.

Oh and if there is 1 tip I have for travelling with young kids on a red eye..it would be to bring a toddler carrier if your child still uses one or doesn’t mind being in one. No child is going to willingly walk from a plane through to immigration and then to the luggage belt at 5am. We back carried both kids from the plane all the way to the arrival hall on our toddler sized Tulas and it was a hands free and stress free process all round. 🙂


Now hopefully our return evening flight will be as stress free too 😡

Day 1 – Day 1 Rockingham, Busselton Jetty (Margaret River Roadtrip)

Day 2 – Wonky Windmill Farm and Orchard Picking (Margaret River Roadtrip) 

Day 3 – Margaret River Farmer’s Market and Yallingup Maze (Margaret River Roadtrip)

Day 4 Whale Watching Cruise and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse (Margaret River Roadtrip)

Day 5 Ngilgi Caves, Canal Rocks and Laurence Wines (Margaret River Roadtrip)

JahBella’s Mummy