Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas (over)indulgence

I really need to stop the Christmas baking...

But yet I STILL want to make some gingerbread. We leave for Melbourne in three days and I am still trying to work out how I can fit it in without losing sleep. Well, too much sleep. I think an intervention is in order. And who better to stage it than Grumpy Cat?

Back away from the oven, lady...

What is your Christmas treat that you can't seem to get enough of?

K xx

Friday, December 14, 2012

Georgie in Paris

Dear A-M,

Have a wonderful time in Paris! I loved it there. My favourite parts were visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Tuilleries Garden, screeching at the Pompidou (fabulous acoustics for vocal exercises) and all the wonderful food I ate.

I wish I was coming with you but will have to settle for wearing this beret and eating my plastic croissant. 

Lots of love, Georgie xxx

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas baking: dark chocolate and toasted coconut shortbread

I have a confession to make. I love Christmas baking. Cookies of all shapes and sizes and types. Varieties. Yummy.

Every year I make Not Quite Nigella's cinnadoodles - they have become a Kitty family Christmas tradition - and melting moments. And I usually try to make a different new cookie as well. Last year I made pecan, cranberry and white chocolate cookies (which were delicious) but I was the only one who really liked them. Mr K is not a fan of white chocolate so alas, it was up to me to polish them off. I took one for the team.

I have a serious love of coconut so was thrilled when I stumbled across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I am a huge fan of Deb's cooking. She has never set me wrong. Her double coconut muffins are some of the best I have ever eaten and her blueberry crumb bars (also made in this house with raspberries) are heavenly. So when I saw the shortbread recipe I knew that was the one for me.

Make no mistake, this is a fairly high maintenance recipe. It requires chilling repeatedly and rolling out a fairly fragile dough. After reading the comments section about the cookie's tendency to spread, I added some extra flour and mine were fine, but I also froze the dough once it had been cut into hearts. Time consuming, yes, but it worked. And they were delicious. Great by themselves and certainly good with the addition of the chocolate drizzle, but on reflection you do lose a bit of the delicate coconut flavour once you smother it in Lindt 70%. Maybe I should have sprinkled more dessicated coconut on the chocolate?

Dark Chocolate and Toasted Coconut Shortbread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, Originally from Bon Appetit , April 2004

1/2 cup (about 45g) dessicated coconut
3/4 cup (175g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
50g Lindt dark chocolate, for melting

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Spread coconut on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until coconut is light golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Mix in salt and vanilla. Beat in flour in 2 additions. Stir in toasted coconut. Gather dough together, flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out dough disc between two sheets of baking paper to 1/2cm thickness. Using 4-5cm diameter cookie cutters, cut dough into rounds. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Gather dough scraps and reroll; cut out additional cookies.Chill dough in freezer for 5-10 minutes before baking in oven.

Bake cookies until light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes then transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a pot of hot water then drizzle cooled cookies with the chocolate. Allow to sit until chocolate has set.

Store airtight at room temperature up to 1 week. Take it from me, they won't last that long!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Flutter by, butterfly.

It's no secret I have a bit of a thing for china. I seem to collect it. I have a lovely set of Wedgewood Queen of Hearts china. I am 9/10 of the way to completing my Limoges Legle tea seat. I want some more Sophie Conran for Portmerion tea cups for my birthday...

But I can't seem to stop buying random tea cups.

Like this one. How pretty is it? It's such a joy having your morning cup of tea out of something truly beautiful. A few short minutes of respite. Of clarity. Of quite before the mayhem begins.

It's definitely worth investing in something you love. It makes the moment all that more special.


Friday, November 16, 2012



SSG and I caught up over a lovely lunch this afternoon (where we were somewhat relegated to the scraps of what Georgie didn't eat... She loves her fried rice and it's mandatory whenever we pay a visit to New Shanghai) and of course we had to visit Seed afterwards. Look what I was forced to buy.

Just look.

I hope my baby is never too big for a onesie. Particularly ones with kittens on them.

Kitty x

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ta Daaaaa!

Our little one started walking this week and already she's almost running. What is it with kids? Smell the roses! Take time out to just enjoy walking!!

She is pretty pleased with herself though.., The downside is she is also teething with her molars so whingy is the word de jour in Casa de la Kitty. So we have a whinging walking boddler - it's almost like we skipped 14 years and went straight to Teenagerdom...

K xx

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vote #1 for Lilli!

Just a quick one from me tonight.

A wonderful blogger has been nominated for an award. Not only is she a fantastic writer, constantly pushing the boundaries of fashion and style, she is a really lovely person. This award nomination is doubly special and important: if she were to win, her little sister (who is desperately ill) would get to fulfill a dream of a lifetime.

Please vote for Lilli and Mae. Consider it a personal favour to me. And spread the word if you can!

Thanks in advance,

Kitty xx

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I love the acoustic version more than the album version. There is something so haunting about her voice.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Glamour dressing for Christmas.

There's nothing like a sequin or diamante to get a girl in the mood for the festive season. I always like to plan my options ages in advance. I like feeling organised and can then move onto other things like Christmas baking, present buying and wrapping and decorating...

Rather aptly named, the Mia dress just screams Christmas. Perfection. It's from Boden who make lovely things for ladies and kids. It's so sparkly without being over the top. Gorgeous.

Speaking of sparkly, if you want to go the whole hog, then this Sussan number is for you. At almost $300, it's obviously not a cheap option but it's fabulous. Wear it with a wedge as they do in the photo and it's a Christmas Day staple. Wear it with a gold heel or sandal and you get double duty as a cocktail frock. Win win.

In a freak co-incidence, Leona is also doing a metallic sequin sheath this season. For, believe it or not, cheaper. A whole 95c less than the Sussan option. But it all adds up I guess! The Meredith is a limited edition Ruby dress.

If metallic sequins are too much for you, then the Carrie Dress might be what you are looking for instead - black sequinned flutter sleeves with a draped sequin panel across the back. Stunning.

The Bow dress - another Boden speciality - is not actually glittery but I think it provides the perfect foil for a fabulous jewelled necklace. Very festive indeed. And the lack of sparkle is actually an advantage in this case. It can be worn day or night. Versatility is key and this Audrey Hepburn-esque dress is nothing if not that.

If you are like me and can't resist a maxi dress for Christmas then Leona Edmiston's  Georgie is for you. Aside from the fact it has the most fantastic name, it's a wonderful dress. The classic cut means it's simple enough to wear again and again but the soft subtle sparkle makes it extra special for the festive season. I think it's my #1 pick. If only they had it in my size... And I wasn't on a shopping ban... Oh why do I torture myself?

At this point I don't know what I'll be wearing for Christmas. So many options. Are you an early planner like me or a last minute dresser?


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I heart my new teacup.

 Image courtesy Rockett St George

While I was in the UK, I purchased a new mug. Unlike Mr K who has used the same coffee mugs for decades (no kidding - Mikasa Sophisticate from 1990), I like to mix my tea vessels up somewhat.

My latest aquisition is a Rory Dobner cup. I adore his line drawings but unfortunately an original is a bit out of our price range at the moment, so a mug it was. I purchased mine from Libertys. It's called  the Time Flies mug - seems apt given how little time I seem to have every day. It reminds me to stop and have a nice relax over a cup of tea - this week it's T2 French Greay. An all time favourite around here.

You can purchase the mug online at Rockett St George - it's not available on the Libertys website at the moment, although other designs are. I might just have to add to my collection (luckily homewares aren't included in the Shopping Ban, Mr K)...

And while I am at it, Roost have a print of the Time Flies motif - at 66 pounds ex-tax, I think that's a bit of a bargain Christmas present... Hint Hint, Mr K...


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Project Nada: an update

Almost three weeks in and we are still going strong. There was some wavering at Chatswood the other day (Damn you Leona!) but I stuck to my guns and kept walking. Fast.

Given I am on a shopping ban, I have no idea why I am bothering to visit Net-a-Porter. But I do. I guess it's hard to break the habits of a lifetime. And this Lanvin dress would just about make me break my ban.

How amazing. Stunning. The pleated origami folds are just heaven. The asymmetric neckline and waterfall hemline? Genius. Thank god they don't have it in my size or there would be trouble. It would be worth breaking the ban for this. Seriously.


Monday, October 29, 2012

My new favourite Red.

I love a great red lipstick and I am always on the hunt for the perfect red. It seems to be a never ending quest for me.

While I was in London, I stopped at the NARS counter at HoF (House of Fraser) to pick up a dupe of my new favourite velvet gloss lip pencil, Club Mix (it's awesome-pants. Seriously. Get on it.).

I know Afghan Red had been around for ages but for some reason it's just never really appealed. In the tube it looks a little too brown to me, and brown is something I just can't do. But on closer inspection, it's more a garnet than brown. A deeper red. The sales assistant talked me into trying it and I'm glad I gave in.

On my skin tone, its perfect. It's a lighter red, sheerer for summer than the old stalwarts of MAC's Viva Glam I and my NARS Velvet pencils. Its deep raspberry tone and satin texture means that it goes well with a multitude of looks.

Saying that it is lighter probably is a bit misleading. It's not sheer by any stretch of the imagination but it's not as dry as many of the other highly pigmented lipsticks I wear. It's definitely not an "in your face" red, but in this case that's a good thing. I have plenty of those. This has versatility. It's more neutral on me. It's available from Mecca for $39. Yes, I know, extortionate considering the US price, but honestly, good lipstick is worth paying for. And this is good lipstick.

I'm looking forward to wearing you all summer!

Kitty x

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Diptyque Eau Rose

I am a huge fan of rose perfumes. On my wedding day I wore Jo Malone's Red Roses. It still brings a smile to my face when I smell it. I often wear it to remind me of that happy day. I also adore YSL's Parisienne, a blackberry-spiked rosey scent. It's a warmer perfume - I tend to wear it more in winter.

While I was in Libertys, I stumbled across the Diptyque counter (as you do) and whilst I toyed with the idea of getting more candles to add to my ever growing collection, I also glanced at the perfumes. And this caught my eye.

It's a very subtle scent. Eau Rose smells gloriously of home grown blooms and spring days. It fades quite quickly leaving just a kiss of rose. A gentle waft of powdery, musky floral, but in a good way, not a nana way. It's the perfect scent for anyone who doesn't like strong perfumes. It's understated but still heady. It changes on your skin as the day progresses. I never get tired of smelling it.

If you are going to Paris, you should really purchase it there. So when I came across the display in Le Bon Marche, I had no option but to buy it. And I am so glad I did. I wear it almost daily and it brings a smile to my face, reminding me of our special family holiday. The smell of sun warmed roses - there is no other perfume like it for me.

For those of you not lucky enough to be able to buy from the source, Mecca Cosmetica stocks this gem too, for $169.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Salted Caramel Biscuits

I have posted here about my - almost indecent - love for Artisan du Chocolat salted caramels before. While I was in London, I read on their facebook page that they were releasing a new product - salted caramel biscuits! How fabulous!

So I skipped off to Selfridges to buy myself a box. Just the one.

What a mistake. Boy was I sorry. That I only bought one box. They are little nuggets of toffee sticky crumbly buttery goodness covered in gorgeous silky milk chocolate. Divine. Heaven. So glad they aren't stocked here, because if they were I'd go though three boxes a week. Easily.

They do ship and it's worth it for a small indulgence. And while you are at it, add a box of salted caramels to your order just for good measure.


Friday, October 26, 2012

London purchases: Duo shoes

I'm a long time devotee of Duo Boots. I have three pairs and absolutely adore them all. I also purchased a pair of fabulous patent mary janes last time I was in the UK which I have worn to death.

Given we are leading into Summer, I wasn't really in the market for a pair of boots, but shoes - shoes I will always love. I haven't really worn heels much since I got Pregnant with Georgie and unfortunately many of my old favourites no longer fit (courtesy of spreading pregnancy feet) so I really needed to find a nice comfy pair of heels.

Enter Duo. Not only do they make sturdy, beautifully crafted boots, they also make shoes. In different widths. And they had exactly what I was after - the Astaire in Black Sparkle Suede. Not only is it comfy, it's pretty sharp looking too, but  also classic enough for everyday wear. A great all-round shoe. Plus - free shipping. Yes, you heard correctly, FREE SHIPPING. If you ever needed a reason to buy a pair of shoes, that would be it! And I honestly can't recommend the shoes and boots highly enough.

You can thank me later.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Christmas presents for Baby G

Two full weeks down and no purchases yet. I'm trying to distract myself with Christmas shopping. Not for me, of course... But someone needs some Christmas presents (after we have just managed to get through the Birthday celebrations) and given I'd like to buy her something handmade, I need to get organised!

These Maileg Mice are just fabulous. I know they say for children over three years old... It might be a little too early for Georgie to appreciate how lovely and special they really are. They also have mice in a box. What a neat idea!

How cute is this Westie Vestie? From UK designer Darcy Brown, I really want one for the Little Miss. Such a pity it isn't cold here at Christmas but I might get one for her next Winter... 

G is starting to get creative so a set of crayons might be in order for her to expand her artistic wings. These Kitty Crayons from Etsy are not only cute, they are 100% natural.

Or maybe she needs some woodland creatures to add to her little family of furry friends? These organic felt toys are hand made and can be personalised to make for an extra special gift. I'm personally leaning towards the squirrel or the fox.

Georgie was given some fabulous fake food for her birthday which she absolutely adores - what better than a little kitchen to store it in? Granted, it might be a tad old for her but you can't encourage a kid with cooking too early, in my opinion.

Any other ideas about great things to buy a one year old for Christmas?

Kitty x

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If I wasn't on a shopping ban...

I would SO be buying this dress.

It's just gorgeous. Beautiful. Breathtaking. It has KITTY written all over it.

I wonder if it's worth breaking my ban just two weeks in...


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Project Nada.

I'm still not through with my purchase posts, but the unpacking of said purchases this past week has lead me to a sad realisation. I have stuff. A lot of stuff. Nice stuff, but plenty of it. And my current lifestyle choice doesn't leave much in the way of opportunities for glam dressing.

So I have decided to embark on a period of thrift. Nothing new until Christmas. No handbags, clothes, jewellery or shoes.

I can replace something that breaks or can't be repaired (my loafers took a hit in London and may not be salvageable so I have done a deal with... well, myself that I can replace them if the shoemaker can't mend them properly). But other than that, I have to shop my already extensive wardrobe. Make do. I can buy gifts for others but nothing for myself.

A big call for a self confessed shopaholic.

And the reward for such a feat? Well, other than saving lots and lots of money, I have promised myself a couple of Monica Vinader rings for my efforts. I am thinking an amethyst nugget, a white topaz siren and a pave ring. I'd like a green onyx ring but they don't seem to make them in silver.

So far I am one week in. Ten weeks to go. This is taking Frugal October to a whole new level. Project Nada is officially underway.

Wish me luck.

Kitty x

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Dearest Baby Girl - it seems like yesterday you were born, but in our hearts you have been with us for a lifetime. You are such a delight. Such a joy. I have never met a happier baby. You love having your photo taken and greet everyone you meet with a shy smile. Once you get to know them you share your gorgeous little personality with no hesitation or limitation, chattering away like you are old friends.

You have such a cheeky, gorgeous grin - you are the smiliest baby I have ever known. I think you are the most beautiful thing ever, but then again I am biased, being your mother and so in love with you.

And today you turn one.

You are almost walking, our Little One. You took your first unassisted step a few days ago and are standing quite solidly by yourself. It won't be long before those cats really have something to worry about. You are so pleased with your latest accomplishment, but you do better if you aren't concentrating on standing.

You are saying four words so far: Mama, Dada, Baba and No. That fourth one was a bit of a shock but it's being used quite frequently. And you even seem to know what it actually means, worse luck. You have 8 teeth now and happily display them to anyone who makes a passing comment. Or anyone passing.

You have developed into a very good sleeper and you love to eat, Georgie-girl. The majority of your intake comes from self feeding with the very occasional puree meal. You love roast lamb, salmon, anything with cheese on it, sandwiches, avocado, peaches and egg. You have a particular soft spot for kiwi fruit and blueberries and I could shovel plain yoghurt into you all day. And it's almost mango season again!

Baby G, you are our love, our life, our world. The moon and the stars. Our laughter, our tears, our smiles, our hugs. You are such a loving, happy, giving baby. You love to give and receive hugs. I couldn't have wished for a lovelier little soul to be a part of our family. We feel truly blessed that you picked us and hope we have done a good job so far. We don't always get it right but we love you more than anything. We are so proud of everything we have all achieved over the past 365 days. In good times and bad, we are all better people than before you arrived.You make us so happy.

And in our family there is strength in numbers. Hand in hand we stand together. We have your back, little one. Your love makes me a better person, not only a better Mumma.

We can't imagine our lives without you, our precious Little Bird. Happy first birthday.

We love you so much,

Mummy x

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our baby is about to turn One.

 What a difference a year makes.

This time, exactly one year ago, we were a family of two. Me and Mr Kitty. Oh, and the cats. But we were eagerly awaiting the birth of our little one.

I remember on the Friday before she was born going to Yoga and feeling fine. I had lunch with a few friends, and was planning a series of acupuncture appointments the following week to help with the labour. I certainly didn't feel any different to usual. Uncomfortable. Swollen. Over it. But that was completely normal. I had a feeling I would go past my due date so I never considered that in less than 18 hours I would be in Labour.

I'd like to say the Labour was a blur but I remember it quite vividly. And the memories stand the test of time. 34 hours of sporadic, non-progressive Labour tends to take it out of you. The memories stick around.

She didn't have a name until a few hours before she was born. We called her Smudge throughout the pregnancy - that's what she looked like on the ultrasound. But we haven't called her that since she was pulled from me - she has only been Georgina. It's funny how things change in a heartbeat. In a moment. We went from 2 to 3 and all the love in the world surrounded us like a warm blanket. Our little family.

I remembered thinking how it must feel to be a mother before I had her. No amount of imagining or dreaming could have prepared me for the last 12 months. Being a mum is easily the hardest job I have ever done - and the most thankless - but the rewards have been immeasurable. Worth everything.

The first few months are fuzzy. I can't remember much. The exhaustion, sleep deprivation, the heartbreaking battle with breastfeeding.... It's something almost every new mother goes through but there were times when I felt incredibly isolated and alone. I have my wonderful friends and the stalwarts of my Mother's Group to thank for keeping me sane and seeing me through the hardest parts of those early days.

Once we hit 3 months we had a bit more control. Sleeping was better, we had the feeding licked... We were even venturing out quite frequently without too many dramas. That's when the fun started and we haven't looked back.

And how the time has flown since then. Two interstate trips, two big international trips... She has visited four different countries so far - quite an accomplishment for someone so young. And she has taken to travel like a duck to water. She adapts so well to new situations and people. 

I'll celebrate her birthday with another post, telling her most recent achievements, on her actual birthday, but at the moment it feels like Christmas Eve here. Anticipation, excitement, bliss. And like Christmas, she was the best present a girl could ever ask for.

Kitty xx

Sunday, October 14, 2012

London Purchases: Monica Vinader

I have wanted these earrings for so long. I first saw them on Net-a-Porter well over a year ago and although I loved them I just didn't know if I would wear them. So - as with many things - I ummed and ahhhed and then they were gone.

While I was in London I made sure I took a detour past the lovely Monica Vinader store in South Mouton Street. It's an Aladdin's Cave of jewellery - a treasure trove of modern pieces, rubbly rocks and sparkly gems. Of knobbly silver and organic gold. It's lovely - well worth a visit if you are in the area. And the staff are just wonderful. Nothing is too much trouble.

As soon as I saw these earrings I knew I had to have them. So pretty - very modern but still classic. The size is not overwhelming - they are large but manageable. The pop of purple is a lovely accessory for both summer and winter.

I've got a funny feeling that this won't be my last Monica Vinader purchase! In fact, I wouldn't mind some stacking rings... To be honest I left wanting almost everything in the store...


Saturday, October 13, 2012

London Purchases: Mary Portas

I bought quite a few items while overseas. Shocking, I know. But what's probably more shocking is the fact I bought about half as much as I normally would. One of the disadvantages (or benefits Mr K might say) of travelling with Le Bebe. Not only do you have less luggage space but also less time for shopping.

I did, however, take full advantage of the fact we had a nanny for a few days while in London. She was such a godsend - we could actually get out and do things - and it also allowed us to start to get Baby G used to new people in her life, other than family. She coped remarkably well (as she did the entire trip).

But I digress.

One of the things I was looking forward to most of all on our London trip was visiting House of Fraser. I have been ogling the Mary Portas collection for a good 12 months now but haven't worked up the courage to buy anything. Sizing, quality etc. Not sure, blah blah...

But on this trip I had the opportunity to check out the range for myself and I have to say I was really impressed. The quality is, I think, quite good for the price, and although many of the clothes don't suit my current predicament (I mean, lifestyle), I could see myself wearing a lot of the pieces in another life. The look well made, the fabrics are lovely and the style in many cases is edgy while still retaining somewhat of a classic flavour.

I know it's not going to surprise anyone here that I bought a black dress. It's a gorgeous jersey number with an interesting neck detail (which you can probably see better on the second picture). It's stylish but comfortable - I could see myself wearing it with ankle boots or heels, dressing it down with a cardi and up with a sparkly necklace. It's warm too - even though it's supposed to be Spring here, the weather speaks differently so I might just get some wear out of it sooner than anticipated. I am so looking forward to wearing it!

And the best thing? Even though it was new season, I still got 30% off. Love a good discount.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Pont Neuf: a love story

A long time ago (in what feels like a Galaxy far far away, certainly pre Baby G), Mr and Mrs Kitty travelled to Paris. We did all the usual things: The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Saint Germain... They also did all the usual stores: Christian Louboutin, Hermes, Galleries Lafayette, Printemps, Le Bon Marche...

And Louis Vuitton.

In this time, a long time ago, Mrs Kitty fell in love with a handbag. A particularly Parisian handbag, named for the oldest bridge in the city. The Pont Neuf.

She ummed and ahhed over it but regretfully did not leave Paris with it.

This trip, she wasn't going to make the same mistake.

Mr Kitty had promised her a handbag on the trip and whilst she toyed briefly with the concept of buying a Chloe Marcie bag, and then a Miu Miu Mattelasse, she kept coming back to Louis.

So in Paris, on that most Parisian of shopping streets, she ventured into the store to see if the old flame was still there. It was. Although she flirted with the Alma and the Mirabeau, she kept coming back to the Pont Neuf.

Not at all practical with a baby (shoulder bags tend to leave your hands free), but oh so beautiful. She had wanted it for so long and time had not dulled her desire.

So she left the store with the bag, and many many thanks to Mr Kitty.

She hopes they will both be very happy together. For a very long time.

Kitty xx

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The trouble with travel...

Is that there is almost no time for blogging.

I attempted to get organised and have some posts lined up before I went but that clearly didn't work. And being on the move with a rowdy baby (although she's not really a  baby anymore, but not yet a toddler - what do you call that??) wasn't conducive to lengthy posts...

We are back - in one piece - with all our luggage. Exhausted. In two minds about whether the effort was worth the trouble but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Seriously large amount of "key learnings" were gathered - will update later, but the most important one was that it was not much of a holiday. There were days off but we moved too much and had too much stuff for it to be really relaxing. It was a wonderful, amazing trip but I didn't relaaaax much at all. Next year we'll have to do that part better!

Kitty x

Friday, September 7, 2012

Things I have learned: Flying with babies

Okay - I am no expert, but after four international flights in the first 10 months of Georgie's life, I am finally willing to doll out some advice about international travel with babes. Not the Cindy Crawford/Kate Moss type - more the type that will decide to fill their nappies just as you hit turbulence and can't shuffle to the toilet for a quick change...

There is no denying it - flying long haul with a baby is a hideous experience. The best piece of advice I can give is repeating the mantra: "this too shall pass..." over and over again. If you are unwilling to give up exotic holidays (and at this point, it seems that we are) then you'll have to just get over the flying part. However there are things you can do to try and make the time more bearable.

New Toys: most kids think a new toy or two is pretty amazing. Hand them out regularly during flights and make sure they have just one at a time. Substitute a new toy when they get sick of the one they have. Simple. Older kids love crayons and pencils and stickers - Georgie just loves eating them so at her age, it's better to stick to other things. Her favourite new "toy" on the last flight was a plastic spoon with a really long handle (thanks, Air France). Hours (okay, maybe 30 minutes) of entertainment. It all adds up.

Eating: Georgie thinks feeding herself is the business. We made sure she had plenty of her favourite foods with us on the plane for her: frittata, cream cheese sandwiches, butter cookies (as a special treat), yoghurt, pureed fruit... Basically, anything she likes to eat. It will get messy, but in the end it is easier to let her do what she wants to do. Eating takes up a good hour on an international flight, sometimes longer. Pack a change of clothes for everybody. Maybe two. And if you can stick to non messy foods, all the better.

Fly at night: About half of our international flights with Georgie have been at night and they have by far been the most successful. On the flight between Singapore and Paris, she slept for almost 9 hours in two blocks. It meant that when we arrived she was almost in the right time zone. The daytime flights were hellish in comparison. All she wanted to do was crawl around and play and planes aren't really appropriate for that.  She's too young to understand the safety aspects of flying which means that it becomes incredibly difficult to keep her still during the day and you are exhausted by the end of the flight. And getting her to sleep for a nap in a fully lit cabin was a nightmare (i.e. didn't happen).

Entertainment: Georgie is that rare breed of child who doesn't really like much TV yet, so movies and back to back episodes of Peppa and Play School don't really cut it for her. Not on the TV, not on the iPad. Unfortunately that means Mummy has to be a little more creative with her entertainment: reading, singing, clapping, endless rounds of peekaboo... In desperation I gave her a packet of tic tacs on our descent into Singapore and she loved it - she shook the pack like maracas and it entertained her for ages. Who would have thought? We've since replaced the tic tacs for lentils and superglued the lid shut and she still adores it.

Seating: this is where Miss Kitty gets controversial. My advice is stump up for the best seats you can possibly afford. The extra leg room, lounge access and baggage allowance will more than make up for the occasional disapproving stare. And if you have a baby like mine who prefers to sleep on you (or you don't have access to a bassinet or have a baby who is too big for the bassinet) the wider, more supportive seat will make a world of difference for everyone. Regarding the naysayers and babies in premium classes, my thoughts are thus: planes are public places. Noises will be made, either by kids or babies or other unruly passengers. If you want silence then you'd better stump up for your own lear jet or work out how to use those noise cancelling headphones. They do work, you know.

Also, try and get the front row if possible - most airlines block out the bulkhead for those travelling with small children (so long as it's not an emergency exit) so make sure you request a seat with more room when you book. Call the airline to confirm. More than once. It's been suggested to me that you might want to have parents sit separately (a few rows apart) to make sure one gets a break during the trip and alternate the child between them - that's a reasonable suggestion, however it really doesn't work for feeding the baby, especially more liquidy foods like fruit and yoghurt. It's frankly a recipe for disaster and just means you go through more food and clothes than necessary. Fine for a flight that doesn't require feeding (maybe under 3-4 hours if you feed before you get on the plane) but not for long haul.

Stop overs: I was unwilling to try the full 20 odd hours to Europe in one fell swoop so we broke our journey in Singapore. It was one of the best decisions we could have made. Yes, it meant our journey was longer but it also meant we weren't on a plane for too long at any one time. Giving Georgie a break was important and a few days of tropical warmth meant everyone was in better spirits. I'd definitely recommend trying to factor in a stopover if your flight is going to be a long one, or if your plane needs to stop anyway.

Clothing: I have posted in the past about clothes to wear on planes for adults and here's my advice about what to wear for babies: LOTS. You will likely go through a number of changes of clothes so always over estimate. Pack twice as many changes as you think you might need on your carry on. A nappy will always leak at the most inopportune moment and food will fly everywhere. Drinks will be spilled and babies will vomit during turbulence. Onesies keep babies warm in over-cooled cabins and are easy to work with. Airplane toilets are squishy at the best of times, let alone when you are trying to change a baby doing their very best impression of an octopus. Carry a pack of antibacterial sanitising wipes and thoroughly wipe down the change table and walls of the toilet every time before you take the baby in, or better yet, if you think it's only a wee change, do it on your seat with a change mat. Far more sanitary than taking little ones into the toilet if you can possibly avoid it.

Hopefully these tips and hints can provide you with some practical advice about flying long haul with a little one. The jury is still out about whether or not spending 6 weeks in Europe in non baby proofed apartments and houses is a good idea, but I think we at least have the travelling to and from part nailed.

Have you got any tips and hints for flying long haul with babies?

Kitty xx

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Happy Fathers Day

So the first week or so of our holiday seems to have been go go go... And no time for blogging. I will update at a later date but suffice to say we all arrived safe and sound with our luggage, and G - superstar international traveller that she is - has slotted into a European time zone quite well. Our first night in Singapore was dreadful (no-one got any sleep) but sitting here in our gorgeous Dijon flat, listening to the church bells ringing in the distance, stuffed full of baguette and croissant... All of that seems like decades ago...

But for the moment I just wanted to wish all the Daddies out there a happy fathers day. The above image is of Georgie's card for her Dada. I'll admit, she had a bit of help choosing it. I'm going to have to get it home so I can frame it for Mr K. I think it's a nice memento of his first Fathers Day as a Daddy.

Mr K - we love you so much. Thank you for being the best Daddy out there.

Kitty x

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Love is a brocade knit dress.

I am totally in love with this Alexander McQueen brocade knit dress.

I wonder if Mr K would notice a 950 quid hole in our credit card?

Within minutes, methinks. Plus it's supposed to be 26 degrees here today.

Apologies for the silence. The colds have taken longer to clear than usual, and the packing... Oh, the packing...

Kitty x

Monday, August 13, 2012

Snot, spots and other maladies.

We've had a rough weekend in the Kitty house.

Poor me - I ate something dodgy at a party on Saturday and have spent the last 48 hours languishing. That's the polite way of saying I spent most of the weekend in the bathroom. I'll leave it up to your imagination but suffice to say it wasn't pretty. Unfortunately my quite severe allergy to shellfish strikes again. Plus I have managed to acquire a nasty spot in the middle of my chin. Bah!

Poor Georgie - we are in the process of switching her formula because the one she was on was making her unwell. Turns out the one we switched to makes her even more unwell. Back to square one. And she has also come down with a nasty nasty cold. Snotastic.

As a result, not much blogging. But I am feeling marginally better today and with a scaled back list of activities for the next week hopefully I'll get around to a few more posts. And perhaps packing for our trip, which still terrifies me.

I mean, what kind of moron takes a 10 month old almost walker on a 6 week trip around Europe??

Kitty xx

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shoes for Georgie

For someone who is incredibly enamoured with footwear, poor Baby G seems to be very lacking in that department. She has a pair of Ugg Boots that she loves to pull off and eat (I think the longest they have stayed on her feet is a number of minutes) and some soft newborn baby shoes she grew out of very quickly but that has been it so far. I haven't bothered with real shoes because I think they aren't all that likely to stay on and I feel she is better off at this point without shoes. She uses her feet to manoeuvre around and learn to stand and cruise so barefoot seems to work well for her at the moment.

Having said that I often look at little shoes and think to myself how cute they are. I know once she starts walking properly, having well fitted supportive shoes is paramount. But for the occasional special occasion prior to that, a cute pair of shoes to complete an outfit can be really special. Even if they only stay on briefly!

I have ordered a pair of soft soled silver shoes for the upcoming wedding we are going to but today while I was out shopping with one of my best friends I came across these beauties.

Made by Melissa, the mini baby campanas are just the cutest things. Mary Jane like, they are flexible and soft but still cute. I don't plan on letting her wear them while she is practicing her standing but with the occasional cute outfit, they should be okay.

And when I showed her these ones she shrieked with delight. What could be better than shoes with cats on them?? They may have been purchased in a much bigger size for when she is fully and properly walking. Maybe...

And let's not tell Mr Kitty about these ones I bought for myself...


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas presents?

Clearly not for Baby G (I already have a few things planned for her Christmas) but for me!

I spotted this necklace today and I really really want one. The question is, do I get one with my initial, Mr K's initial or Georgie's?

This stunning piece is from Jessica de Lotz. Just gorgeous! It's definitely on my Christmas list!


Monday, July 30, 2012

A new chariot for G.

Recently we made the decision to buy Baby G a new chariot (pram/stroller for those not in the know). We do a fair amount of travel both locally and internationally, and the Cameleon, beautiful though it is, is a huge pram. It takes up a third of our boot and I drive a large car. And the Camy is not a great pram for travelling. It's too heavy to take on a plane and too bulky for Europe (particularly in shops).

We test drove a number of prams and strollers and after lots of discussion, we finally settled on another Bugaboo - this time the Bee +. For us, it had all the things we love about the Camy, but it's smaller (so much smaller), it folds in one piece and it's lighter. We looked at Maclarens, the Phil n Ted's Smart and the Quick Smart Easy Fold (and we came very close to buying that) but one thing in particular tipped us over the edge with the Bee. The fact I would use it at home - particularly when shopping. It would be so much easier popping G into it and whizzing around Harris Farm or Woolies. In the end, for our lifestyle, it would be a more practical purchase.I wouldn't use any of the other prams here - they would be travel prams only.

We ordered it three weeks go and it arrived today, with two different coloured sunshades (limited edition jade and hot pink) and we put it together. Remarkably easy in comparison to the Camy (16 minutes vs 3 hours for the Camy first time round assembly) and the best thing? Georgie loves it! I took her for a walk this afternoon and she seems to be a massive fan.

Fingers crossed she loves it all the way around Europe.

In other news Georgie has two new teeth this week. That takes her to 7 so far. Makes chewing easier, that's for certain!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The end of an era: Goodbye my baby girl...

Today we made a big decision. We decided to stop breastfeeding.

It's been a wonderful, rocky, topsy turvy journey for the both of us. We have shared so much over the last nine and a bit months. In the beginning I would never have imagined I would get this far. Awake at 3am with a screaming hungry baby, raging mastitis and no sleep... Now we have a thriving, happy, healthy little girl. No longer that tiny baby.

But the boobs seem to have lost their appeal. And with your lack of interest, my milk has dried up. Our breastfeeding journey has come to an end, and with that, we have reached a new milestone. You no longer require me for food. You have grown up again, before my very eyes. In some respects I am sad - I treasured those precious moments we shared together. Just the two of us. Even in the middle of the night. You needed your Mama and now... Well, anyone can give you your bottle. So many emotions and mixed feelings about what has happened, my little girl.

After the rocky start we had, I am truly surprised we got this far. As much as I had mixed emotions about continuing to breastfeed after the horrible start we had, you enjoyed it so much I couldn't not continue. But now it's been your choice to wean I feel I have done the best I can to prepare you for what lies ahead. I'm sad that you no longer need me in the same way but there is an incredible sense of freedom for the two of us now. I can leave you without feeling guilty that I take your food with me. And as much as I am sad about one chapter ending, it's the beginning of a new one for the both of us. I can help you foster your independence a little as you grow and thrive.

I love you more than anything, my little one. Today was a big step for us and you continue to astound me with the way you sail though life, every new day bringing a new development and achievement. You are our world and our centre and we love you so very much.

Mumma xx

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Python shoesies

How divine are these shoes?

If you have a size 39 foot, these beauties could be yours. Unfortunately you would also have to live in the UK as they won't ship to Australia but to be honest I'd make that sacrifice to own these gorgeous shoes. I have been eyeing them off for ages but they just don't fit my current lifestyle and I couldn't really justify paying full price for them. And by the time they came on sale my size was gone.

So someone needs to buy them for me. Any takers?

Kitty x

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Georgina: Nine months

My dearest darling daughter,

How much you have grown in the last three months. And we have done so much since our last update. We've had our first overseas trip which went well (although it had it's own challenges) and another trip to Melbourne and Castlemaine to visit your grandparents. You are becoming a regular seasoned traveller and adapt so well to new environments.

You are now 9 months old. Three quarters of a year. I know I say this all the time but how the time has flown. I blink and you grow. Almost overnight. Sometimes actually overnight. Your hair is getting longer and longer and I could almost put it into piggy tails. If only you would sit still to let me...

You continue to astound us with your cheeky personality and your winning smile. And now you have four little teeth that you like to show off at every opportunity with your lovely grin. It's made breastfeeding challenging but we take each day at a time at the moment.

You have such a sunny disposition - it's very unusual for you to be upset, but when you are you let us know. We have survived your first cold - just! We were a horrid snotty mess for almost a week but we came through the other side in one piece. You were very snuggly for a while there and while the cold wasn't fun I took advantage of the cuddles at every opportunity.

Your eating continues to get better and better - you have tried a wide range of foods and have definite likes and dislikes: on the list of loves we have lamb, chicken, sweet potatoes, cheese, yoghurt, eggs and green beans. Cruskits and cream cheese or avocado are a regular favourite of yours and your eyes light up when you see me pull the box out of the cupboard. You also like rice and rissoni as we attempt to put a bit of texture in your meals.You aren't a fan of capsicum and zucchini at this point but we are working on it. You adore feeding yourself and now you have four teeth it's getting easier and easier for you. Mealtimes are less of a chore now for everyone but peekaboo often gets a good workout and at dinner we sometimes have to sing and play music to help things along.

Your biggest achievement in the last few months has definitely been learning to crawl. The day you turned 8 months you went from sitting to zipping around on all fours. You had been threatening to do it for a while and just took off. And you are so pleased with yourself - a smile is never far from your face when you are making your way around under your own steam. Nothing is safe from your grasp - especially not the cats! They are learning that the hard way...

You are also more vocal, our Georgie-girl: you babble non stop to anyone who will listen and have the most fascinating conversations. I'm not sure what about but you are so expressive. I swear you have started to say Daddy but are no closer to uttering the all important Mummy... I look forward to having our little special chats.

You are definitely a reader - your favourite is definitely "Where is the Green Sheep?" by Mem Fox. You are getting really good at turning the pages and giggle uncontrollably at the storyline. I cherish our reading time every day. You love books so much it's gorgeous watching you discover new worlds through stories.

Dearest darling baby girl, I can't believe how our time together is flying. You no longer resemble the baby we brought home nine whole months ago. You have changed so much - have developed the sweetest most happy personality and you love exploring your new world. It's a privilege being your Mumma and every day is exciting for us. I can't wait to see what the next few months brings us.

Happy 9 month birthday our gorgeous baby girl. We love you so very much.

Your Mumma xx