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

Tips when booking on AirBnb

We have stayed at a few Airbnb homes over the last couple of years and most have been absolutely lovely. I basically scour the Airbnb portal for something in the area I want, at the price range I’m comfortable with and most photos are exactly as the house is (unlike some hotel photos shown on websites) so I know exactly what I’m getting. My main criteria is usually to ensure that the house is child friendly with toys for the kids so that I don’t have to pack to much of our own and know that the kids will still be entertained when we are at ‘home’.




However I am starting to realise (especially during our recent trip) that there are actually a few things which I should be looking out for when shortlisting my options apart from just looking at the area, price range and how child friendly the place is. So here are some things I would definitely start looking out/ taking note before I make my future bookings.

1) Look at the security deposit amount

When shortlisting or deciding on a listing, don’t just look at the per night rate or the total price (inclusive of service charge and cleaning fee). Take note of the security deposit amount that you might potentially have to pay if there are any damages or ‘disagreements’. The amount varies from listing to listing (decided by the owner) and is not charged upfront. It is held by Airbnb as a middleman unless and until the owner decides to claim against it then Airbnb would inform you on the claimed amount and get your agreement to deduct it from your card. While we don’t expect to damage anything when we lease a place, you might think twice or it might help you to decide between two listings if one was requesting for an extremely high security deposit (higher risk I suppose?)

2) Read the listing carefully and ask all your questions before committing

Just because your previous experience with a listing in a particular country had a hairdryer, a washer, a dryer, a heater etc, doesn’t mean it is a standard issue for all listings so make sure you ask. Dryers and heaters are a must in winter in my opinion and make sure you find out how many heaters there are, especially if there are several rooms in the house. You know what you need in order for your family to live comfortably so don’t feel shy to ask those questions.

3) Gauge the responsiveness

While it helps to read the reviews, I realise that the level of responsiveness of the host is normally quite a good indication of their commitment or ‘service level’. Also if you are having trouble contacting the host and it is less than 48 hours to your confirmed booking, you can reach out to Airbnb for their help. They will attempt to contact the host (which works wonders) or help with a rebooking if the host fails to respond. Note that is partly what you are paying Airbnb a service charge for.

4) House rules are important

Yes it is important to adhere to the house rules so that you won’t lose your security deposit but they are important not just for that reason. While it might be a pain to see a long list of house rules (what not to do, when to take out the rubbish, what to do before you leave and the list goes on). I generally found that the listings with more elaborate house rules were in better condition and were nicer places to live in while you basically just feel your way around those that were very laxed about their rules.

So yes we have had some awesome experiences and some not that great experiences on Airbnb. Will we continue booking through them? Yes probably, depending on the country we are heading to. Honestly some countries are more conducive for Airbnb while we are better off at hotels for some others. But I will definitely be referring to the above ‘tips’ for my future bookings. Hope they come in handy for you too 🙂

JahBella’s Mummy

Phuket Holiday (March 2016) – Food and Activities with Kids

So what do you do when on a beach holiday in Phuket, Thailand? Laze in the sun and eat all the Thai food you can of course! If anyone tells you that eating Thai food with kids in tow is not possible and that you have to settle for Western food or Fast Food, don’t believe them! We had Thai food every single meal and the kids ate fine.

The Orchid – Opposite Katathani

If you decide to stay at Katathani like us, don’t miss the awesomely authentic Thai food found just across the street from our hotel at a restaurant called The Orchid. In fact we only discovered it on the 2nd day after trying some other cut-throat restaurant on the same street, which was catered more to the Western palate and currency conversion. Their Tom Yum Goong, Beef Fried Rice, Curry Powder Prawn/ Crab, Fried Banana with Ice-cream and sundaes became our staples for every lunch until the day we left.  We wished we had found the place earlier and the kids were happy to have their local beef fried rice plus a sundae of their choice at every meal. :p Come on! It was a holiday after all! 🙂 Everything was really value for money!

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Perfect with lots of little green chilli padi!

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Curry Powder crab!

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1 sundae a day, keeps the tantrums away..:p

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Goreng Pisang with Ice cream and honey…looks are deserving because this was awesome!

 

 

Tuk Tuk Rides

Because we spent the day just lazing about in the pool and enjoying the waves in the sea, we could only afford to explore Phuket in the evenings. We would take a cab from the hotel to the places we wanted to visit in order to get an estimate of how much each trip should cost and use that gauge when ‘bargaining’ for a Tuk Tuk on the return. The fortunate thing was the fact that we met very reasonable taxi and tuk tuk drivers on this trip and no one tried to fleece us. We found that we were always quoted the same/ correct rate for the return Tuk Tuk ride and it made the entire experience a lot more pleasant. The kids were also really thrilled to take their first Tuk Tuk ride of the trip and they were very intrigued by the fact that some Tuk Tuks were more fancy than others (loud hiphop music + colour changing lights). Unlike the smaller Tuk Tuks in Bangkok, the ones in Phuket can sit 6 adults comfortably so we only had to hire one since we had 4 adults and 2 kids. Definitely a must do with the kids if you head to Phuket!

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Bella with her Aunty Tabitha..look at that smile 😀

Kata Night Market

Our aim on this trip was to allow the kids to experience some of the night markets/ food markets without being caught in a human jam. We ended up at 2 different markets on 2 different nights.

We made our way to the Kata Night Market on our first night and have to say we or I was slightly disappointed. Things were rather quiet and we later realized it was probably due to the high supply of night markets all over Phuket. Nevertheless, the kids were very happy that they got to pick their own fruits choices to ‘create’ their own fruit juice. Jah picked a grape + lime combination which somehow turned out better than what the adults chose. We got our fruit juices and took a customary stroll through the market, picked up 2 t-shirts for the kids and then tried to find a place for dinner.

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Brain freeze anyone?

Thank goodness for our mobile wifi and toddler carriers which came in super handy. It allowed us to navigate our way through the streets of Kata with the kids safely on our backs and head to dinner. We even found a Pancake stall near the restaurant we had dinner at, yummy!!!!

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Our Tulas to the rescue

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Malin Plaza Patong

The 2nd night we headed to Malin Plaza Patong which was more of a food market. There were shop spaces for souvenirs and clothes etc but very few of them were open. We decided to make a zipline for the food and also to look for a table to settle down at. Yes the nice thing about this market is the fact that there are tables and chair set up for you to consume the local street food bought from the stalls. We picked up some local fried food, Pad Thai for the adults, non spicy noodles for the kids and desserts all round. It was a nice experience even though the food may not have been the yummiest we have had or the most value for money.

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Nice spacious seating under the stars at Malin Patong Plaza

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Waiting for his dessert at Malin Patong Plaza

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This might not be the most adventurous Phuket itinerary for families but it was certainly something a little different for us. Perhaps the next time we head to Phuket, the kids will be old enough for an island hopping tour..although I’m hoping it doesn’t happen too soon. We definitely still appreciate our afternoon naps and are perfectly happy to just laze on the beach and load up on Thai food 🙂

JahBella’s Mummy

 

 

For Mummies of Little Boys – Foreskin Infection

So we are just fresh off a beach holiday and honestly this is possibly the last topic I would think to write after an awesome vacation. (More on that awesome vacation in our later posts).

However I felt that it was important for me to share our run-in or Jah’s run-in with a foreskin infection during our trip and what we did to help him. Excuse the lack of photos as the photos taken were rather private (pun intended :p)

A foreskin infection or balanitis is apparently a very common condition amongst little boys from the ages of 2 and up however there are varying and overwhelming information on how to go about handling this situation.

For starters, there are two camps on the issue – the pro-circumcision and the anti- circumcision camp. I will not be going into a discussion on this at all, rather I would just like to share what worked for us in a situation where we didn’t have access to his usual PD or an A&E that we felt we could trust.

Jah started complaining about a pain in his penis on Friday (a day into our holiday). On close inspection, we didn’t spot anything odd and figured it might have been an insect bite or a bruise that he might have gotten during a recent Sports Day event. We asked if it was painful to pee and ruled out an urinary tract infection when he said no. I started watching him closely for signs of swelling or redness and also monitored his peeing situation.

By Saturday afternoon, the boy was screaming in pain every time I tried to put on his underwear or if anything would brush or even come into slight contact with his penis. This time the sudden swelling was very obvious. The area was obviously swollen, red and very tender in fact the appearance of pus started to really freak us out. My best friend Google revealed that it was likely balanitis which we were looking at and it needed medical attention and likely a hydrocortisone cream and antibiotics for the infection.

We were more than 24 hours away from our flight home and I read enough horrors stories online about doctors not knowing the right way to examine for balanitis. I didn’t want to traumatise Jah before his PD got to see him and so the huge dilemma of whether to take him to the in house hotel doctor, a local A&E or to sit tight and wait till our return to Singapore.

We gave him a dose of ibuprofen to help with the pain and to settle him for a nap. The closest thing we had to a hydrocortisone cream at that point was his eczema cream which belonged to the same family of medicine. In desperation, we applied a thin layer for him and prayed hard that we would see some improvement after his nap.

Thankfully the pain relief worked and he rested. He also woke up to a slightly less inflamed nether region and no more pus. However the tip of his penis now had a small ‘balloon’ at the end and we started to worry if it was sealed swollen and whether he was able to pee. We only started breathing again when we witnessed him peeing without fuss.

We wanted to go to a nearby pharmacy to purchase a hydrocortisone cream for him but also read that using a cream without antibiotics might worsen the situation if it was a bacterial infection rather than a fungal infection. Thankfully we found out that organic coconut oil had anti fungal and anti bacterial properties and could be used to treat balanitis. We were fortunate that we were holidaying in a place where coconut oils were a plenty and we found a bottle of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil easily at a pharmacy.

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Jah was in good spirits throughout this experience and was very happy to go for dinner, ice cream and to shop for his coconut oil and that settled us alittle. Mummy’s instinct told me that we were at least not in dire need of medical attention at that point.

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This big smile put my mind at ease..(well alittle at least)…what a trooper!

We applied the coconut oil before bed that night and found that the swelling and redness had largely subsided overnight! Phew! We made it home the next evening and even managed to wait till Monday morning to take him to his PD.

A visit to his PD on Monday morning showed a marked improvement in his condition compared to the Sat photos we had taken and he was prescribed with a potassium permanganate wash as well as a hydrocortisone cream. Ironically the cream was something that he also used for his eczema but I had brought a different brand with us in the trip. *smack head*

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Easily available at pharmacies too I was told…

So what lesson have I learnt through all this? Well for one I will definitely be packing some coconut oil and his hydrocortisone cream for our next trip overseas.

Some of the things we learnt and checked for
1) Could he pee as per normal? Any problems or pain peeing? This was to rule out a UTI.
2) Was he having a fever? This would suggest the infection was a lot worse and we would have then taken him to a dr or Hosp immediately.
3) Was he in a lot of pain and was that preventing him from functionally normally or sleeping. If so then give him some pain relief in the form of Panadol or ibuprofen.
4) Did the interim measures like coconut oil help? Was he in less pain and had the swelling situation improve? If the coconut oil had not made any improvements then we would also have brought him to the In-house Dr.
5) Mummy’s instinct..yes apart from the above checks, we used mummy instinct which overrules everything else above. Had I felt uncomfortable about the situation at all, we would have handed straight for medical attention.

Hopefully Jah will never have to go through that experience again but we will definitely be better equipped if it does. And I hope you never have to find this post handy 🙂

JahBella’s Mummy