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travel

Hooray for itty bitty dinosaur hands

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At the end of the trip, I asked Finn what his favourite thing to do in Melbourne was and he put his finger on his chin, thought real hard and said, “dinosaur stomping!”

For those unfamiliar with this particular activity, all it requires are a pair of itty bitty T-rex hands, stompy feet, and a loud, dinosaur roar. Check, check and check. Is this the cutest dinosaur you’ve ever seen or what? This just about sums up Finn’s entire adventure in Melbourne.

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In between stomping, he brought his piggy out for adventures. It’s an unlikely friendship, these 2: dinosaur and piggy.

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Sometimes, these adventures involve piggy being unceremoniously eaten. It’s unfortunate, but such is the circle of life.

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Meanwhile, the Truett and Kirsten were off engaging in a different kind of adventure: tree surfing. It’s pretty much similar to what we have here at Bedok Reservoir’s forest adventure, except with way more trees and obstacles.

(This was done at the Enchanted Adventure Garden in Mornington Peninsula, about an hour’s drive out from Melbourne city.)

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Kirsten decided at the last minute that she didn’t want to try it so Finn went up to her and gave her a big hug and said “it’s ok jie jie, you are a brave girl.”

Heart all melty and stuff.

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According to Tru (and the husband who went for the grown up version), it’s “very very very fun.”

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Besides tree surfing, the other really fun activity is tube sliding. It looks rather mild but it’s really not and Finn came off the ride looking shell-shocked and a little green, poor baby. Which is to say that Truett and Kirsten had a blast riding it twenty gazillion times.

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The rest of our time in Melbourne was spent revisiting old favourites like…

Puffing Billy. Good old Puffing Billy, what a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

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Collingwood Children’s Farm, because guinea pigs. And sheep and chickens and cows.

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//Hey Melbourne, thanks for a grand time. :)

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travel

Good things happen in winter

Having been to Melbourne 5 times in the last 5 years, I like that there’s still so much to discover in the city. Each new trip, we try to mix it up with some old fan favourites and throw in a couple of new experiences into the bag.

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//But first, you guys, I just discovered the best place to stay in Melbourne CBD. I almost didn’t want to share this because it’s such a gem of a discovery but a bit of love is what makes the world go round, amirite?

The past 4 times, we’ve gone for airbnb-style apartments and stayed at some really gorgeous, artsy homes but I’m going to go ahead and say that The Wyndham Melbourne Hotel has taken top spot for best place to stay in the city. Traveling with so many kids, my accommodation checklist is as long as my grocery shopping list (and that is looooong). Location, price, cleanliness, security, laundry service, a functional kitchen, sufficient living space, kid-friendliness, overall comfort; usually, something’s gotta give.

The Wyndham checks all the boxes. We booked a spacious 1-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, daily housekeeping and free laundry service at $130 a night. Fab location too – it was a short walk from amazing coffee, brunch and desserts. I still can’t believe what a great deal we got for the place, did I mention $130 a night?

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desserts from brunetti’s

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with my selfie buddies at chez dre for brunch

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plenty of exploring to be done

Here’s a funny story. The hotel pool was supposed to be heated so on one of the evenings, we were like, “hey, let’s take a dip in the heated outdoor pool”. Seemed like a great idea at that time.

Just so we’re clear, removing pieces of clothing out in the open in 6 degree weather is not a fun experience. Then we jumped into the pool and instant hypothermia, y’all. That never happened again, the end.

It’s funny if you were there watching it.

***

Right then, let’s get the fun started with the Queen Victoria Winter Night Market. This takes place every Wednesday in winter (see, good things do happen in winter, it’s not all white walkers and undead invasion. But I’ll take a bag of dragon glass and a valyrian steel sword just in case) and it happens to be an excellent way to spend a wintery Wednesday evening.

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How about a real crackling fireplace to get those fingers toasty and warm?

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Pretty kids things by local designers. Kirsten spotted this lovely shop and whispered to the husband: “Quick, don’t let mommy go in or she will miss baby Theo and cry!!” She was right in that I immediately started missing my baby but that made me laugh and I was able to keep it together.

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Puppets!!

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Apples, who wants some sweet, juicy apples? Oh wait, it’s apple cider. Moving along, kids! None for you.

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Popcorn. My girl Kirsten has a popcorn addiction. She can sniff out popcorn from miles away and hunts it down like a bloodhound. Very impressive talent. There are worse things to be addicted to, I guess. Like drugs. Kids, don’t ever do drugs. Here, have some more popcorn.

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Finn watching a wonderfully bizarre performance by a mime-clown looking dude who was making very strange sounds on a very strange instrument. Strangely fascinating.

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Queen Vic Winter Night Market verdict: this one is going straight to the fan favourites list.

travel

Catching up

Heyyyyyy you! Has it been 10 days since my last post? I feel like I’ve fallen off the grid. And by grid, I mean the internet. In a good way though. It’s like an internet detox. 10 whole days without facebook or instagram or blog surfing. Not even youtube.

Just time off with my babies doing non-internet things such as this.

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But I’m all detoxed out and it’s nice to be back. 10 days is about my limit to being away from the internet. I feel a withdrawal coming on.

Ok, lots of happenings and stuff.

We kicked off the June holidays with the very same thing we did last June, with frosty wintery air and coffee-snob level caffeine infusion and a whole bunch of farm animals. In Melbourne. We’ve developed a nice little love affair with Melbourne. It’s got just the right amount of laid back cobblestone charm for this city girl and the right amount of outdoorsy activities for the kids.

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Perhaps outdoorsy isn’t the best word. Outdoorsy implies a little spot at the Botanic Gardens back home, but in Melbourne, it’s endless blue sky and beautiful green grass for as far as the eyes can see. It looks like something right out of a picture book. Throw in some sheep, horses, and a handful of friendly shetland bulls. Plus a minefield of poop. By the way, did you know that sheep make a lot of poop? There’s poop everywhere on that pretty green grass. At first, I was like, “Woah so much poop! Watch where you’re going, kids, don’t step on the poop. Right there! Phew, missed a pile…and another…” After 25 steps or so, I gave up. Fine! Go ahead, step on all the poop!

Finn was most happy to oblige. “Did you say I could stomp on poop, mom?” It was like christmas morning for this kid. All the poop he stomped on got lodged in his shoe and I had to spend the entire 2-hour drive back to the city being assaulted in the nose by the foul, putrid stench of sheep poop.

I’m telling you that there’s a price to pay for being all friendly with nature. Thank God for husbands who volunteer to scrape off bits of stuck poop with their bare hands.

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But would you just look at that fluffy wuffy sheep? And that face of delight. It was such a treat for them to hang out with all the animals. I suppose all is forgiven. Poop away, cuddly sheep!

Also, horses. Having a horse eat an apple right out of your hand is one of life’s most underrated pleasures. There should be horses made available to eat apples from my hand when I get too overwhelmed with life.

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We also met the cutest, sleepiest, snoriest pig. I’m guessing this little piggy did not go to the market. This little piggy stayed home, had roast beef, some jam and bread, a few biscuits, and a large bowl of clam chowder, then lay down for a delicious nap.

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Aaaand now, it’s time for some monkey faces courtesy of Finn. He’s in a delightfully fun phase where he wants to have his picture taken all the time.

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I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this phase. Please don’t go away.

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Disney Magic, travel

Planning a trip to Disney World {Part 2}

If you haven’t read part 1 of this, you should probably start here and hop right back after, it’ll make more sense that way. There’s tons of stuff to cover in this second part, so buckle up those seat belts and let’s get going.

We’ll start part 2 with some of the basics, like when is it a good time to visit Disney World?

Trick question. The answer is anytime. There’s no bad time to be in Disney and no matter when you go, you will have the most magical time.

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Ok, let me rephrase the question to “When is the BEST time to visit Disney World?”

Ah, glad you asked. In my highly subjective opinion, the best time to visit is in the last week of October right through to early November. The crowds are relatively manageable at this time, you’ll see the parks dressed up for both halloween and christmas, plus you get to experience 3 special events: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.

That’s too many birds with one stone.

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Nobody does parties like Mickey and I most definitely recommend attending the halloween and christmas parties if you can. It’s not hyperbole when I say that these were the 2 best parties I’ve ever attended in my life. We also really enjoyed the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. There’s FOOD! And WINE! You get all these pop up stalls around Epcot’s World Showcase selling amazing snacks like lobster tail, mini sliders, cheese plates, seared rainbow trout with bacon – it’s like having a delicious food tour while you’re touring the park.

My next favourite time to visit in in late Jan/early Feb, when the weather is lovely and crowds are at its lowest all year. The downside is that there are usually a couple of rides that are closed for refurbishment (which could happen at other times as well), but plenty of the other rides are basically a walk on, so less time is spent queuing for rides.

If you have Primary-schoolers and you can only travel during the school holidays, I’d recommend going as soon as the holidays start in late November. Or in June. Or other time you’d like.

Because uh huh, say it with me, anytime is a good time to be in Disney.

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Picking up where we left off in part 1…

#6. Touring the Parks

The first rule of Disney park touring is to hit the parks early at rope drop. With kids, this takes a tremendous amount of dedication and discipline, but trust me, it’s worth it. You’ll be able to do much more in that 1-2 hours once the park opens than in the next 4 hours after that. If you’re staying at a nearby resort, you can head back to the hotel for a break/swim/siesta in the afternoon once the crowds get really insane.

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#7. Making sense of Fastpass+

The Fastpass+ system is genius. Everyone in the park gets to pick 3 fastpasses per day (it’s free) and it will tell you when to show up for your chosen attraction. When you arrive, you just need to scan your magic bands and you’ll be whisked off to a special express queue where the line is short and the experience is beautiful.

Picking the attractions is the fun part. You can start booking fastpass+ 60 days prior to your check in date and you should try to do so because the fastpass selections for the popular attractions get snapped up very quickly. I’m also going to tell you my top picks for each park because not all fastpasses are created equal and it’s worth more at some attractions that others.

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Magic Kingdom: 7 Dwarfs Mine Train and Meet and Greet with Elsa and Anna should be at the top of your list. The third can be a toss up between Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise or Tomorrowland Speedway.

Epcot: Test Track (or Soarin’), The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Turtle Talk with Crush.

Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Frozen Sing Along.

Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Festival of the Lion King.

#8. A little more on the best rides in Disney World.

Asking me to pick my favourite ride at Disney is like asking me to pick a favourite child, it just cannot be done. I can, however, narrow it down to the top 5 rides from all the parks, in no order of preference. These are all THE BEST.

//Test Track – if speed is your thing, this is it. There are no scary drops or loops or spins or any other distractions, just 100% acceleration and speed and the feeling of wind in your hair.

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//Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (*at night) – as far as traditional coasters go, this one is done to perfection. Brilliantly themed, well paced, no drops, and the rush from start to finish is indescribable.

//Toy Story Mania – a really fun 4D shooting game that captures the magic of Pixar’s Toy Story. Plus, the scoring system is so addictive. Fans of Woody and Buzz will love this.

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//Kilimanjaro Safaris – an actual safari ride that takes you on a ride into the african safari plains. You get to be up close with the giraffes, zebras, rhinos and lions. One time, a baby giraffe came so close to the truck that I could have stretched out my arm to pat it.

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//7 Dwarfs Mine Train – this is the newest addition to Magic Kingdom and it’s a phenomenal one. It’s pretty similar to Big Thunder Mountain, but with jewels and the seven dwarfs and a slightly more thrilling track.

#9. And also a little on the best shows.

I think I love the shows as much as I love the rides, or maybe more. I’m going to include the fireworks as shows here, so the best shows that you absolutely have to catch are…

Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, Fantasmic, Illuminations, Beauty and the Beast, Festival of the Lion King, and Finding Nemo.

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Special mention goes to For the First Time in Forever (for Frozen fans) and Disney Junior Live on Stage (for Disney Junior fans).

10. On Character Meet and Greets. 

I have not met a Disney character that I’ve not loved, and this includes Lady Tremaine, who did her best to turn up her nose at everything I said. Also Cruella De Vil, who tried to mock me mercilessly.

Meeting the characters are a great experience in itself, but instead of just standing next to them for a photo, here are some ways to make it more fun and interactive.

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//Get an autograph book and a sharpie. I custom made my own autograph book with photos and quotes (by each character) for the kids and it was a huge hit with the characters. Elsa took her time browsing each page and telling Kirsten about her own favourite characters, it was such a treat.

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//Make conversation and play along. They never break character, which makes it so fun to interact with them. Like Chip and Dale are really playful – one time Chip pointed to his cheek for a kiss, and when I gave him a peck, he pretended to blush while Dale went over to the husband to comfort him. Or another time, Anastasia and Drizella were fighting over Truett to see who got to marry him, and then he panicked and bolted away from them as fast as he could.

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Above all, the one most important advice that we try to remember on all our trips is that the memories are what’s most important, so it’s not a big deal if you end up missing some rides or if the kids decide that they do not, in fact, want to meet Mickey after 45 minutes of queueing.

Oh yes, this actually happened to a father 2 spots in front of me. It was literally his turn when his daughter started tearing and said, “I don’t want to meet Mickey anymore.” He asked her again, “Are you sure? It’s your turn and he’s standing right there” and when she nodded tearily, he picked her up and said, “Alright, let’s go get an ice-cream instead.” He just calmly left the queue after being there for 45 minutes. For me, that was a profound moment of zen-ness, which has become my guiding principle for traveling and parenting as a whole.

We’ll go there with a (very detailed!) plan, but once we’re there, we’ll adjust and wing it and try our best to make some magical memories to bring home.

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Disney Magic, travel

Planning a trip to Disney World {Part 1}

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I’ve been wanting to do a series on planning a trip to Disney World (btw, thanks for all the emails asking for Disney advice – I get excited just hearing about all your trips to Disney!!) and I’m finally getting down to doing it.

This is by no means exhaustive but admittedly, I’ve spent (too) many hours researching this particular topic, plus I’m also throwing in some handy tips we picked up during our travels so I think this will be helpful if you intend to head on down to the happiest place on earth.

//If you need more information, I’m listing some of my favourite resources herehere, here, and here.

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The most common question I get from people is “Is it really worth the trip down?” YES. My answer is always a shouty YES with big upper case letters. “It’s so costly”, “the flight is brutal” and “there are so many other gorgeous places in the world to visit” – all true, but there’s magic in Disney that I’ve never been able to find anywhere else in the world.

To me, Disney World is like fine wine, it’s meant to be taken in slowly and every time I’m there, I discover something new and magical to love. So yes, if you have the opportunity to do this, my sagely advice is hell yeah, GO FOR IT.

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Next most common question, “Should I bring my kids?” Again, YES!! A thousand times, yes. We’ve done Disney couple trips and Disney kid trips and hands down, the kid trips are way, way, way more fun. Sure, kids will cramp your style (both in life and in Disney) and you won’t be able to tour the park as efficiently as you would as a single adult – they will want to nap, or ride Dumbo 5 times in a row, or spend 35 minutes queueing to meet Mickey Mouse and then have a meltdown just as you reach the front of the line but there’s nothing quite like watching your kids take in the magic of Disney.

On our first coupley visit to Disney, we were blitzing around the park, riding all the headliners multiple times a day and having a great time, but then every time I saw a kid grin goofily next to Buzz Lightyear, or spontaneously dance on Main Street, or watch mesmerised as the fireworks lit up the night sky, I’d stand there and look at them longingly like a creepy adult, just missing my babies and wishing they were right there with me to experience all of that.

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Ok, let’s get down to it.

#1. Plan to stay for 4-8 days.

Remember what I said about fine wine? A trip to Disney World cannot be done in under 4 days. Well, ok yes it can, but WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?? There are 4 parks, 2 water parks, Downtown Disney, plus 28 beautifully themed resorts to visit. Even 4 days would make for a very rushed trip.

The optimum length for us is 8 days: 2 for Magic Kingdom, 2 for Epcot, 2 for Hollywood Studios, 1 for Animal Kingdom and 1 non-park day for Downtown Disney. This way, we get to take things slow, enjoy the resort, have smores by the campfire and movies by the beach. Which takes me to point 2.

#2. Stay in a Disney Resort.

It’s not so big of a thing if you’re visiting the other Disney parks in Anaheim, Tokyo or Hong Kong, but in Orlando, being part of the Disney bubble is half the fun. We’ve tried staying offsite (at the Waldorf Astoria, which was beautiful), but there’s just no contest, I’d pick staying onsite anytime.

Depending on your budget, you can go for a Value (definitely Art of Animation), Moderate (love the Port Orleans Riverside), or a Deluxe (Grand Floridian!! Boardwalk, Beach Club and Poly are my favourites).

This trip, we did a split stay between the Boarkwalk Inn and the Grand Floridian. They were both so excellent that I’m really torn between the two. I think we’ll probably do another split stay the next time we go back.

The Boardwalk Inn captures the charm of old Atlantic City, complete with street performers and lights and dance halls. Being there feels so Boardwalk Empire, but happier and minus all the gang violence. As a massive bonus, it’s a 5-minute walk to Epcot and a 12-minute walk/boat ride to Hollywood Studios. Being able to stroll back leisurely to the boardwalk after Illuminations (instead of jostling with the crowd for buses) was indescribable. Also, the Boardwalk Bakery has the best pastries and desserts in all of Disney World. FYI, the next best place for sweet treats is Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot’s France, just 5 minutes away.

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Oh Grand Floridian, how do I love thee? This place is a dream. It makes me subconsciously hum tunes from Marry Poppins and it feels like little squirrels are about to break into song at any moment. There’s the horse carriage that makes its way around the grounds, the orchestra playing in the lobby, the beautiful landscaping, the posh-without-being-stuffy Victorian charm…it’s like I’m stepping into another world altogether. In terms of location, it’s a 5 minute boat/monorail ride to Magic Kingdom.

It doesn’t get better than this.

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#3. Ditch the car and save on rental

If you’re staying at a Disney resort, there’s really no need to drive in Disney World. The Disney Transportation System will take you everywhere you need to go via bus, boat and momorail. There’s even a Magical Express bus that will pick you up from the airport once you arrive, all free of charge. As long as you’re in the Disney bubble, you should be able to get from point to point without much hassle.

Then again, if you really want to drive, parking is free at all the resorts and parks.

#4. Disney Dining Plan – do or do not.

What kind of advice is that? Well, this one really depends on your vacation style and stomach size. We went for the DDP in 2012 (free dining package with Port Orleans Riverside) and it was amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten this much delicious food in 7 days. We had 1 table service meal, 1 counter service meal and 1 snack per person per day, plus a refillable mug with unlimited drinks. If you plan your meals right, you can eat $90 worth of food a day for a $60 dining plan. This works out to be a ridiculous amount of food, so depending on how much you can/want to eat, this is one of those “your mileage may vary” sort of thing.

This trip, we decided to skip the dining plan and just pay out of pocket for meals. It was a more manageable amount of food and overall, we spent less than we would have if we paid for the $60 per day dining plan. We did get the refillable mug though – it’s $17.99 and you can have unlimited drinks (coffee, hot choc, tea, soda) for the entire duration of your stay.

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Both options made for a very enjoyable trip. Maybe when the kids are bigger and need more food, we’ll do the DDP again.

#5. Bring a stroller along. 

If you have kids under the age of 6, I highly recommend bringing a stroller along. Truett and Kirsten are great walkers with remarkable stamina but the jet lag coupled with the long days in Disney makes the stroller a necessity. The first 2-3 days after the flight, the kids will be wiped out between the hours of 1-5pm, possibly earlier if they’re younger. Just put them in the stroller and roll with it until they adjust their internal clocks.

We’ve tried the compact umbrella strollers, which are lightweight and easy to fold but it doesn’t offer much in terms of comfort when they’re passed out in the middle of the afternoon. Especially if you have multiple kids, do a solid double stroller like the Britax B-Agile or the City Mini. These 2 models were everywhere in Disney World. We got the Britax and I love this stroller so much. Sturdy, comfortable, individual recline, folds down real compact and so easy to manoeuvre.

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Ok, this post took longer than I thought. I’ll wrap up part 1 here, more to come in part 2!

travel

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good

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Since we last visited Universal Studios Orlando in the fall of 2013, there’s been some really exciting additions to the park, most notably in the form of the stunning Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion. ZOMG DIAGON ALLEY!!!

If you’re a Potterhead, you need to put this on your bucket list right now because the theming here will make your brain explode. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was already pretty amazing with the original Hogsmeade section but now with the addition of Diagon Alley, it has entered a new level of awesome.

I was maybe a little too excited when I walked into Diagon Alley, Finn was all like “Mommm, you’re embarrassing me.” Little guy needs to get used to it, he’s got a whole life ahead of being embarrassed by his mom. It’s all part of having a mom.

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We had pies at The Leaky Cauldron, perused wands at Olivanders and Gregorovitch’s wand store, strolled past the Daily Prophet, went into Borgin and Burkes, checked out Eeylops Owl Emporium, then picked up ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. We also met Stan Shunpike, who was just casually standing there with his Knight Bus and even got to sit on the steps of 12 Grimmauld Place, headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix.

Awesomeness level? Insane.

I can tell try to tell you about how extraordinary it is, but I think this will work better if I just show you the photos.

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And of course, I have to introduce you to THE Dragon. That sits on top of Gringotts Bank, breathing fire just for fun.

We were hanging out along Diagon Alley when we noticed some sort of commotion going on – people were whispering excitedly and gathering along the street. Next thing we knew, the dragon let out a roar of fire and the street erupted in spontaneous whoops and cheers. It was magnificent.

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The line for Escape From Gringotts (one of the 2 new headliner rides) was too long and the kids were getting restless from watching mommy go a little nuts in Diagon Alley (plus they couldn’t ride anyway) so we decided we’d have to come back for this another time.

Escape From Gringotts, you and me, we’ve got a date.

We did get to ride The Hogwarts Express (the other new headliner), which was an excellent ride. It’s a real train (with steam and everything!!) that connects the two Universal Parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure), themed such that it seems like we were riding from London to Hogwarts. Each cabin has a window that projects scenes from the movie, and it all felt incredibly real and immersive.

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Even the platforms were done so brilliantly. Platform 9 3/4 has this holographic screen effect so it seems like people would calmly walk into a brick wall and then suddenly disappear behind it. Super cool.

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No question about it, this new addition to Universal Studios is really a game changer. We had such a wonderful time nerding out to Harry Potter, watching all our favourite places in Diagon Alley come to life and sipping delicious butterbeer, it was most definitely worth the visit.

For a Potter fan, this is absolute gold.

travel

A walk in the park

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Once we got used to the brain-numbing cold, we discovered that New York in the winter is rather breathtaking. And yes, we did acclimatise after all, or rather, we figured out how to be better prepared for the arctic blast.

1. Layer up (this is the one time it’s ok to take fashion cues from Baymax), 2. Take frequent pit stops (for cookies, macarons, cupcakes) and 3. Get lots of hot chocolate on the go. We also fashioned this cosy stroller hideout cocoon for the kids, which they loved – we were staying at the Trump Soho and the hotel staff supplied the kids with soft, plushy blankets to keep them all warm and nice in the stroller.

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It must have been real comfy in there because Finn would fall asleep within minutes after getting in his stroller. The combination of cold air and plushy warm blankie = immediate KO.

Speaking of sweet treats, I have to introduce to you to the two best desserts we had this trip. We tried a bunch of pretty good ones but these two were truly remarkable. And so, the two most divine specimens of sugary goodness we had in NYC, ranked in order of deliciousness…

Number one: behold the beauty that is a Levain cookie.

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It does not look like much but this thing is the size of a scone, perfectly crisp on the outside, with a soft, crumbly, chocolatey inside. This little shop along the Upper West Side was so crowded when I got there but the wait outside in the cold was so worth it. I ate the cookie over 2 nights with a glass of milk and lo, it was good till the very last crumb.

Number two: cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. The texture, taste and moistness level of the carrot cupcake will bring tears to your eyes. The other flavours were good too, but the carrot cupcake, that’s a clear winner.

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In between our food discovery pit stops, we made our way to Central Park, which was covered in powdery snow like a winter wonderland. There was stomping to be had after all!!

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Just look at all that beautiful snow. If it wasn’t so insanely cold (I’m not asking for much, I’d be happy with anything above 0 degrees celsius), I would most definitely have flung a snowball at the husband and then built a snowman. Yes, I do want to build a snowman, always yes. But that would mean that the kids would immediately follow suit and probably make it back with several missing fingers. And those little fingers are important, so that snowball showdown will just have to wait.

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*This is part where I tell you the story of Finn and the lunatic bird outside the American Museum of Natural History. There he was, just chillin’ with the magnificent statue of one Theodore Roosevelt, when this bird swooped down and attempted to attack him. Maybe it thought Finn was easy to pick on, or maybe it’s very possessive about its statue but the result was me having to fight off the bird with my frozen stump hands.

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Kirsten had such a great time skating at Rockerfeller that we decided to go for round 2 at Bryant Park Winter Village. I think this has to be my favourite memory of wintery New York City. The crisp, cold air against my cheeks as we held hands, zipping across the ice. And this face!

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Hey New York, thanks for showing us a good time.