Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Currently... May

Reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It’s been on my to-read list for years but I kept putting it off due to the length (it’s over 900 pages). I ended up downloading it on my kindle for my week at school camp, but didn’t get through as much of it as I thought I would. I'm about a third of the way through so far. I like it, but I’m not loving it. I find it a bit slow and overly detailed, but it has so many good reviews that I feel like I should plough on. The author broke out of a Melbourne jail and ended up in India for 10 years before being captured and extradited back to Australia. The book tells a similar tale, though is fiction, not an autobiography. Apparently a lot of it is based on the author's actual experiences while in India.

Watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. We finished the series last week, and as it deals with teenage suicide it was not easy watching.  A lot of students at my school have watched it so I felt I should as well, in case any of them were disturbed by it, or wanted to talk about it. I didn’t actually enjoy it at the start, it took me a good 5-6 episodes to really get into it. As a drama, it’s pretty good. However the show has faced a lot of criticism, for good reason. This article explains why it’s so dangerous: “This show not only portrays suicide as a valid, logical option, but it shows suicide as a highly effective way to get even with people who’ve hurt you”. My mom and I are also watching The OA on Netflix, which is weird. I can't decide if I like it or not, and I think my mom feels the same. But we keep watching.

Loving having my mom here. She’s been with us since we went to Bali at the start of April and it has been the biggest help ever. Not only that, but her and Ella have the best relationship. It’s so cute to see them together.

Listening to Spotify at work. I have my own office at school, which is great in some ways, but really lonely in others. Lately I’ve been putting on one of Spotify’s recommended playlists like “Office Mix” or “Morning Motivation” to give me a boost when I’m working alone. I’ve also been listening to Russell Brand’s new podcast “Under the Skin”.  I'm a big Russell Brand fan and love pretty much everything he puts out these days.

Enjoying the stage Ella is in right now. You'd never guess that the “terrible twos” are just around the corner. She is such a curious, happy little girl. She loves going to the playground so this is where we spend most of our time these days. She can also communicate so well, her vocabulary has just exploded and we can pretty much have conversations with her now. Sometimes it takes her a few tries to be understood, but when you finally repeat back to her what she has been trying to say she gives you the biggest smile. It melts my heart.

Realizing how easy it is just to spend little amounts of money every day on coffee and food. Andy and I both downloaded this Daily Budget app. You enter your net pay, and it tells you how much money you have to spend per day. Then, you enter your recurring costs plus the amount you’d like to save. What you’re left with is how much you have to spend daily on incidentals like take aways, eating out, clothes, entertainment. You enter any spending you do and then the amount you have left over at the end of each day adds on to the following day’s amount. There is a tagline somewhere in there that says something like “the less you spend today, the more you have tomorrow”. It’s been a pretty effective way to make me think twice before buying things I don’t need, but I’ve only had it for a week so we’ll see how long that lasts!

Agreeing with this article in the Guardian on “The Gender Wars of Household Chores”. It explains things so well. Just read it.

Wearing these track pants from Cotton On. I haven’t owned a pair of track pants in years. Around the house, I usually wear leggings, but I’m always so cold throughout the winter. (The houses here are NOT built for the cold.) Wearing track pants instead of leggings has changed my life. I’m so warm and toasty at home in the evenings now!

Cooking a few things that have gone down well lately. With my mom here she normally gets some dinner prep done during the day and then one of us cooks dinner while the other (plus Andy) plays with/distracts Ella until dinner is ready. It’s been really good and we are going to miss having an extra set of hands to help with the evening routine when she goes! One dish that we have all loved, including Ella, is this slow cooker lamb and pumpkin curry which I got from the free Coles magazine. These sweet potato black bean quinoa bowls were also a hit with the three adults, less so with Ella. She loved sweet potato when she was younger but now will pick it out of any meal I try. Toddlers are so weird.

Wanting a bike trailer so that Ella and I can go on some slightly further away adventures when Andy is not home (and I don’t have a car). I am not confident enough to have her riding on the back of my bike in her bike seat, but I feel like I could handle pulling her along in a trailer as long as I stuck to bike paths and the sidewalk.

Planning on making this learning tower for Ella’s 2nd birthday. Actually I’m planning on Andy making it. But whatever. We already have the IKEA stool that is the base and Andy is going to measure out some wood at school for the rest of it. I can't wait to do some mummy-Ella baking once she can stand up at the kitchen counter!

Waiting for our results from our Zika Serology test. We recently went to Bali, which is a moderate risk Zika zone. Andy got one mosquito bite, and I got a few, so we decided to have a blood test to be certain we don’t have the virus before trying for a second baby. We should get the results within the next week or so. And then... on to baby-making! TMI?!

Looking forward to a weekend away with Andy. We are going to Inverloch for two nights, just the two of us! How romantic (see above). Ella will be with my mom for some quality Nannie time.

Pic of the Month
Ella cuddling a guinea pig. Ahhhh so cute I can’t even handle it!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

School Camp in the Grampians

A few weeks ago I spent five days camping in the Grampians National Park. That would have been pretty amazing, save for the fact that I was supervising a group of Year 8 students on their annual school camp.

School camp is a pretty normal thing in Australia, and most teachers are expected to attend at least one camp each year. Somehow I have managed to escape this duty during my time in Australia thus far and this was my first school camp experience. I was really dreading it, but it actually turned out to be pretty fun. A nice escape from the daily grind, although I did really miss Ella. Luckily my mom is here so Andy wasn't on his own taking care of her.

I was in charge of a group of twelve 13-year-olds, along with a trained outdoor ed staff member employed by the camp. My duty as a teacher was to look after the wellbeing of the students, along with managing any disciplinary issues that might arise.

We left nice and early Monday morning for the four hour bus journey. We had about 90 students and 8 teachers divided between two buses. Despite the chatty and excited kids the journey was pretty painless and smooth.

Upon arrival at our campsite, the misleadingly named Grampians Retreat, we got straight into our first activity - mountain biking. When our instructor asked the students who had experience with mountain biking, I was surprised to find out that one of the students had never rode a bike before! So I ended up spending the session teaching him to ride a bike while the others learned some mountain biking skills and did a few rides through a track on the property. I felt a bit bad for my student who didn’t know how to ride a bike as that would surely be a bit embarrassing for a 13-year-old, however to his credit he persisted with learning for nearly two hours and was able to ride in the end. (Stopping without crashing was another story.)

The first two nights we slept in cabins at the retreat. With no heating it was pretty cold in the cabin, especially the first night when the temperature dropped to 3 degrees. Thankfully our outdoor education department had given me a super warm sleeping bag to use for the week. I also spent a small fortune at Kathmandu and Uniqlo the week before stocking up on thermals and other warm clothes in preparation, which definitely came in handy.

We spent our second day at Mt. Lion, mountain climbing and abseiling. Even I got to participate which was cool. I was pretty impressed with the students who were climbing an actual mountain and belaying each other quite confidently by the end of the day. We had cold but sunny weather and there were some spectacular views from the top of the abseil.

On our last morning at the Retreat the students worked as volunteers with Parks Victoria clearing bush walking paths. This was a good way for the students to give back to the community where we were camping.

On Wednesday afternoon, after two nights spent in cabins at the retreat, we headed out on the hiking portion of the camp. The students had to carry all their food, supplies and tents for two nights camping in the bush. I was really dreading this part of the week but it ended up being a lot less difficult than I thought it would be. It really helped that as a teacher I had a few perks, such as my tent being set up at each campsite in advance, and the option to have some of my things transported between campsites so I didn’t have such a heavy backpack to carry.

Our first afternoon we hiked 6.5km and reached camp just before it got dark. The kids did a pretty good job setting up their tents and then they all pitched in to make dinner, a big veggie and turkey stir fry. For dessert we had a camp style cheesecake: lemon curd mixed with Laughing Cow cheese, spread on ginger biscuits. It was actually very, very yummy!

At about 7:30pm the kids all went into their tents as it had started to rain. The outdoor ed leader and I stayed up for about another half an hour, making sure the kids weren’t making too much noise and were staying in their tents before getting into our own tents. It was pretty nice to just have an hour or so to read in my tent and then get to sleep at a decent time. Luckily the nights that we were camping weren’t too cold, I think the lowest temperature was about 11 degrees.

The next day we had a slightly longer hike of 11km, but we had the whole day to do it. Part of the hike was called a “Solo” where the students were spaced out in five minute intervals and had to hike on their own. This was to give them some reflection time, and although they weren’t looking forward to it to start with, most reported that they did in fact enjoy having some time to themselves to enjoy nature.

Views during the solo hike
We took quite a few breaks that day as 11km is not actually that far to walk in a whole day. The best bit was after lunch where we did a bit of scrambling on boulders, again giving us some great views of the national park.

On our last night the students had their “Survivor” night. Instead of sleeping in tents they had to work in groups of 3 or 4 to set up tarps and sleep out in the open. They were given a compass and some directions on where to find the tarp, their food and some ropes. They could only bring with them the clothes they were wearing, rain gear, a sleeping bag, and one luxury item. It sounds pretty intense but in reality they were only about 100m away from where me and the outdoor ed staff were camping.

Once the kids learned a few basic skills around tying knots for their tarp we sent them off for the night. They had walkie-talkies and had to let us know when they completed tasks such as setting up their tarp, making dinner, and when they were going to bed. Other than that they were not to contact us unless it was an emergency. I spent the evening around a campfire with two outdoor ed staff and it was all really quite pleasant, as if I was on holiday (though I probably wouldn’t choose to spend my holiday camping, but still).

The next morning the students came back tired but pretty proud that they had spent a night “roughing it”. We discussed things they were now more grateful for at home, such as heating, a roof over their heads, food in the cupboards, and how difficult it must be for those who do not have a home, and for who spending nights outside on the streets is an everyday reality. It was a small experience for the students but hopefully a start to them having more gratitude for the everyday comforts of their lives, and more awareness of homelessness, which is a big problem in Melbourne.

After hiking back to the Grampians Retreat on Friday morning, we had some lunch and then headed back to Melbourne on the bus. It was a very full and tiring week but nice to be out in nature and have a break from the very busy school term.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Places to eat in Canggu

Last month we spent ten days in Canggu with our families. While there, I was pleasantly surprised by both the variety and quality of dining options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all for about a third of the price that it would cost in Melbourne. Canggu is a pretty big area, located north of Seminyak. It’s quieter than Seminyak which is why we chose to stay there. However we were spoiled for choice when it came to cafés and restaurants. Most of the places we ate at were all within a few streets that were close to the villa we stayed in, between Echo Beach and Batu Balong Beach. Having a toddler with us meant travelling further was just too much effort, especially when there were so many good options right on our doorstep. Also, my opinion of a restaurant is definitely influenced by how toddler friendly it was, as it’s always a much more enjoyable experience when there is food Ella can eat and space for her to walk around or play before and after the meal.
On our first morning in Bali Ella decided that 5am was an acceptable time to wake up for the day, despite the fact that it was still pitch black outside. Exhausted and in search of a caffeine fix, we needed a café that was open early. Happily we discovered Crate Café was a 10 minute walk from the villa and open at 6am. Bingo! Exceptional coffee and tons of different smoothie and chia bowls are on offer, along with some heartier breakfast dishes that would gain the approval of any Melbournite (yes, they had an avo on toast variation). We went here four or five times as we loved the white washed interior, laid back, surfer vibe, and of course the coffee and food!

Smoothie bowl at Crate Café

Strawberry cacao chia pudding at Crate Café
Amazing view of Echo Beach, with the waves crashing right up to the ledge of the restaurant during high tide. Meals here were a bit hit or miss: anything from the seafood or BBQ menu was good, everything else was pretty average. Good happy hour prices on cocktails and beer, and sitting along the beach with the waves and surfers in the background while the sun was setting made up for any average food.

Echo Beach Club

This was probably my all around favourite place. Very kid friendly, as there is a huge lawn (hence the name) with picnic blankets spread out that you can eat at and kids can run around on the grass. There is also an infinity pool that looks over the beach, so just a beautiful location all around. The food was a bit pricier than some of the other places, but also very good quality. Creative cocktail menu as well, though again they were definitely on the pricier side. Bookings recommended for dinner as it gets pretty busy.

This open air sports bar and restaurant was located just down the street from our villa. Specialising in wood fired pizza and pasta the food was pretty good and it is very child friendly, with a huge lawn and small kids table with toys. They have live music a few nights a week, and it was always busy when we walked past on these nights. Pizzas were good, they do delivery and take away as well.

Shady Shack was my second favourite place to eat after The Lawn. Second only because it wasn’t as toddler friendly. The restaurant itself is a cute cottage and most of the seating is outside, set within lush trees and gardens. At night fairy nights twinkle within the trees, giving it a very magical feel. It’s a vegetarian place with creative veggie twists on things like lasagna and shepherd’s pie. We took both sets of parents here (who are all definitely NOT vegetarians) and even they thought the food was delicious. Andy and I often came here for breakfast (without Ella) to enjoy a smoothie bowl and coffee. The raw desserts were also awesome, we sometimes stopped here on the way home from dinner to get a takeaway raw “snickers” bar or carrot cake. So healthy and so yum.

Shady Shack in the morning
Shady Shack at night
Shady Shack food
As the name suggests, this is a Mexican place, featuring fresh homemade corn chips, tortillas, dips and sauces, along with excellent pitchers of Sangria. The decor is a bit sterile and it didn’t ever seem to be that busy, however the staff were excellent with Ella, they had high chairs and space for Ella to run around, so a thumbs up from us.

Another Mexican place, on the main street leading to Batu Bolong Beach and much busier than Taco Casa. My dad and I stopped here on a very hot, humid afternoon with Ella to get a snack and smoothies. I wouldn’t say this place is very child friendly, it faces right on to a busy road, but we managed to stay with Ella for over an hour. She sat in the big chairs outside and played with a glass of ice for ages.

There are a few locations for Nadu Bowls in Bali, the one we went to was near Echo Beach. It’s a small laid back place with just a few tables. The menu is full of delicious smoothie bowls that you can customize by ordering various different toppings.

Located on the main street leading to Batu Bolong Beach, Andy and I stopped here for a snack one rainy afternoon. We opted for sweet potato nachos which were pretty tasty. I also had a watermelon and rose kombucha drink which was lovely, and Andy rated the coffee well.

This is apparently “the place to be” in Canggu. (I think I might have read that in my Lonely Planet, so take that as you will.) It’s a huge place with a diverse menu featuring all different types of cuisine. They have a table tennis table and live music so lots of amusement for everyone. Also a great location right along Batu Bolong Beach, and packed every night.

Ok this isn't really a place to eat but I thought deserved a mention because it was just so awesome. The smoothest cold brew coffee I've ever had. Perfect caffeinated beverage for the hot, humid weather. You can buy direct from their shop in Canggu, at selected cafés, or they deliver for free in the Canggu, Seminyak and Kuta areas.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Mother's Day Weekend

Last weekend was Mother’s Day here in Australia. My second one as a mom, but more importantly the first one I’ve spent with my own mom since 2005!

The weekend kicked off on Friday after school with a Mother’s Day Tea at Ella’s daycare. The weather was beautiful so we got to sit outside with the rest of the kids in her room and their mummies and eat snacks provided by the daycare. It was nice to get to know some of the other mums who are local, and also I’ve never had so much attention from Ella! As soon as I got there she gave me a huge hug and then wanted to sit on my lap to eat all her snacks. While all of the other kids ran around the yard playing she just wanted to stick close to me and play with me. It was cute, as she is not like this at home at all! I was a very clingy kid (so my parents tell me), so I wonder if Ella will end up being the same.

Saturday  morning my mom and I got up nice and early to attend Wanderlust 108. I went to their first event in Melbourne last year and absolutely loved it. Wanderlust is a “mindful triathlon”, consisting of a 5k run/walk, 75 minutes of yoga, and then a 30 minute meditation session. My mom and I both used to run quite regularly, but haven’t over the past two years (her because of a knee injury and me due to having a baby). When I first suggested we attend Wanderlust while she was here in Melbourne we decided we’d just take the 5k pretty easy and walk it. As the date of Wanderlust approached, we changed our thinking and agreed do a run/walk combo, taking a break from running every five minutes or so. The morning of, we decided we’d start off with a light jog, and then just see how things went from there. We ended up running the whole thing in 31 minutes, which we were both pretty pleased with given our lack of running prior to the event. Yay, us! And I’m happy to report my mom had no knee pain afterwards, which was a double win.

Mom and me at Wanderlust Melbourne
After the run we had about an hour to kill before the yoga session, so we wandered through the marketplace, checking out all the healthy eats and yoga gear. We ended up getting a chia porridge topped with fruit that reminded me of being back in Bali. The yoga session was a fairly challenging 75 minutes of vinyasa led by Tahl Rinsky and then we did a 30 minute guided meditation session. I really enjoyed the event, and we were lucky to have had beautiful weather for it.

Pre-yoga porridge
After Wanderlust we met up with Andy and Ella, and a few friends for some well deserved lunch by the beach in St. Kilda. Our friends have a son who is about 6 months younger than Ella, so the two of them had a good time playing in the sand while we waited for our food.

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, the four of us went out for brunch at Smug Relish, my new favourite local café. It’s on Lygon St. in Brunswick East, about a ten minute walk from our house. The food is pretty good and reasonably priced, but more importantly there is a large area at the back with a big table, some couches and a small play area. Also the café never seems to be crazy busy, so you can always get a table and the play area is quiet, which Ella likes. She can play there on her own while we relax on the sofas until the food comes. Perfect!

Smug Relish, back room with play area
After brunch Andy had to coach soccer, so my mom and I headed into the city with Ella. We went to the State Library, where they have a Play Pod set up in the covered courtyard. The Play Pod has a few toys and tables for crafts, cosy reading corners, and has a rotating theme based on a children’s book that changes every few months. Currently the theme is based on the book “Where is the Green Sheep?” by Mem Fox, which is one of our favourite books to read before bed. When you finally find the green sheep at the end of the book he is sleeping, so now when we read the book, which asks “where is the green sheep?” every few lines, Ella goes “shhhhhhh” with her finger up at her lips. It’s so cute.

There's the green sheep!

Reading corner in the State Library

Play Pod, State Library

We have been to the Play Pod before and I always think it’s a bit “meh”. Ella, however, loves it. We spent nearly two hours there, alternating between playing with various toys, drawing, and reading. After that we gave Ella her snack (an apple), put her in her pram, and she was fast asleep within minutes. My mom and I took advantage of this and sat down to have our snack, a salted caramel chocolate slice from the library café, Mr Tusk. Mmmmm it was nice. Slightly less healthy than Ella’s apple! I would be so much healthier if I just ate what Ella ate.

My mom and I then headed to the Emporium to do a bit of shopping, and I picked up a few bits from Uniqlo before getting frustrated with the crowds. Ella was still asleep so we took advantage of that to get a glass of wine and a light dinner from Mama's Buoi, a Vietnamese restaurant down a laneway in the city. Ella was nice enough to stay asleep until we were nearly finished our food, giving my mom and I a chance to sit down and have a nice dinner together.

Sleeping baby = time for a glass of wine!
We stopped in Carlton Gardens to give Ella a chance to run around before heading home. Most of my life as a mom right now involves me finding ways to tire out Ella so she sleeps well at night. By this time it was getting dark, so the Royal Exhibition building and fountain outside were lit up which was beautiful.

Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens

All in all I had a wonderful mother’s day weekend, spending lots of quality time with both my mom and my little girl. Who could ask for anything more?

Gratuitous shot of Ella as she looks so cute here!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Bali with Toddler - Tips!

We recently spent ten days in Bali with both of our families, and of course Ella, who is nearly two years old. Prior to our trip I scoured the internet for advice on travelling in Bali with a toddler. Now that we've been, here is my advice on flights and what to bring:

Getting There/Away:

When booking flights to Denpasar, Bali, the only options for direct flights from Melbourne were with Garuda Indonesia and Jetstar or Qantas. Qantas was the most expensive option by far, with Jetstar and Garuda fairly similar in price. After a bit of research I decided to book with the Indonesian carrier. They had good reviews and I prefer to avoid Jetstar when possible! The flight is about zix hours long. After both flights I think we made the right choice, I would definitely recommend flying with Garuda and would probably book with them again if we ever get the chance to return to Bali.

On our way out we had a 9am flight from Melbourne Tullamarine airport. They are currently renovating the International terminal (yay! It has to be one of the most boring international terminals ever, so the renos are long overdue), but that meant there was not much in the way of shopping/entertainment while we waited for our flight. After a quick breakfast at Movida, which is frankly always a disappointment, we headed to our gate. On our way we passed by a random little playhouse, which I have never seen before in this airport. Ella loved it and we ended up staying there until our flight boarded.

The only thing that was slightly annoying about the airline was that they wouldn’t let us take our Mountain Buggy Nano with us on board. We specifically bought this pram as it folds up to meet airline regulations in terms of size and weight for carry-on baggage. Garuda made us check it at the gate, saying that some customers had started opening the pram on board making it unsafe. I wonder if this is a rule on all airplanes now? I hate it when stupid people ruin things for the rest of us!

The flight attendants were excellent with Ella, they paid a lot of attention to her, talking and playing with her throughout the flight. On our flight to Bali we were given bassinet seats, although she is way too big for them now. The extra legroom did give her some room to play down by our feet, but keeping her contained and out of the aisles was hard work. At the start of  the flight they gave Ella a little pouch with two finger puppets that kept her amused for a while, and also a little stuffed toy. They also gave us some pretty good baby food when the meals were served.

Playing with her finger puppets courtesy of Garuda Indonesia
We thought Ella might have a sleep on the flight a few hours in, when she would regularly have her afternoon nap, but of course she ended up falling asleep 12 minutes before we landed! Not having our pram right when we got off the plane was annoying here, as we had to wait for it with the rest of our luggage. Poor Andy had to carry our sleeping toddler off the plane, through immigration, to the baggage claim area. A sleeping toddler is a total dead weight, like carrying a 12kg sack of potatoes with you everywhere. Needless to say, she did not stay asleep long and was pretty cranky and unhappy when she woke!

We had arranged an airport transport with our villa (rented through airbnb), so getting out of the airport was quick and easy. The drive to Canggu took about 45 minutes, and was an eye opener for our parents! I don’t think either had experienced the chaotic roads of South East Asia, with families on scooters whizzing by. Ella was pretty amused as she was not in a car seat for the first time in her young life (more on that below). She sat/stood on Andy’s lap, and discovered the handles above the window to hold on to, insisting that everyone else in the car also hold on to their handles.

Our flight back to Melbourne was a night flight, departing at 11:30pm. Ella fell asleep in the car on the way to the airport and pretty much stayed asleep until we landed in Melbourne. So in that way it was a pretty easy journey! We did not get bassinet seats this time, the flight was full and there were quite a few younger babies on board. In a couple of months we will have no choice but to book a seat for Ella when she turns two years old. While I’m not looking forward to the extra cost, the extra space for our toddler will be a relief!

Packing Guide

It’s pretty much impossible to pack light when you travel with a toddler, especially when you are going somewhere for the first time. Here are some of the things we took with us to Bali, and how I’d pack differently if we were to come here again.

Port-a-cot. Our villa quoted us $15 (AUD) per day to rent a cot, which I thought was extortionate for a 10-day stay. You can buy a port-a-cot for less than that! Some villas might include a cot, but unfortunately ours did not. There are lots of baby rental places in Bali (here and here for example), but the prices of rental gear start to add up. In the end we opted to bring ours, as you can easily check it in on a flight, and we had transport to and from the airport both in Melbourne and in Bali. I’m glad we did in the end, as Ella is used to sleeping in it and it really was not a hassle to bring with us at all. We did buy some mosquito netting for the cot at Baby Bunting prior to our trip, but didn’t end up using it. Instead we pushed her cot right beside our bed, and then just hung the netting from our bed around her cot. Simples! (She did not like this at all though. The first two nights she woke up and when we tried to calm her down she would just be saying “out! out!” until we took her outside of the netting. Fortunately there were never any mosquitos in the house anyway, and she did eventually get used to it.)

Car Seat. We ummed and ahhed about whether or not to bring or rent a car seat in Bali. In the end we decided not to do either, based on advice from a friend. We were only in a car a few times during the trip, and not all taxis would have been able to fit the seat anyway. The drivers we had were all recommended by our villa manager, and were excellent. If we go to Bali again I would do the same and not bother with a car seat. 

Nappies and Swimming Nappies. Take lots of these! Swimming nappies don’t seem to exist, even at the large ex-pat supermarket we went to, and nappies in the right size can be hard to come by. Although we brought enough regular nappies I did check a pharmacy for them just out of curiosity, and the one I went into only had infant size. We had to ration the swimming nappies as I only brought 10 in total. This meant there was lots of nudie swimming for Ella! Thankfully she lets us know when she wants to poo now.

Baby food. Baby specific snacks and food don’t really exist, which was mostly fine as Ella eats a lot of what we eat. But we did bring some fruit and veg pouches which were great to have on the plane. Ella also loves these dried apple slices, and they were good to have on hand. I only brought one pack so I'd probably bring more if we went again.  

Baby carrier or pram.  We brought our Mountain Buggy Nano pram with us, which is an excellent travel pram. However, after about two days we stopped taking it out with us. The pavement (when it exists) was too narrow and bumpy and she likes to walk now unless she is tired anyway. It was useful for our day trip to Sanur, where there is a wide path along the beach and she could nap it in as we were out all day. When we went out for food or to the beach we either walked slowly with Ella, carried her, or put her in the baby carrier. The baby carrier was really only useful at night, as during the day it was too hot to put Ella in it. I did see lots of other, younger babies in carriers out and about though. Basically, we just relaxed and followed Ella’s lead, taking our time to get around Canggu. We weren’t in any rush.

Sunscreen. You can buy this readily in Bali, but if you have a specific one for babies that you know doesn’t irritate your child’s skin then I’d bring that with you.

Mosquito spray/cream. There were way less mosquitos than I thought there would be in Canggu. They were only really around at dusk when we would be going out for dinner. It was surprisingly hard to find any spray in the pharmacies, so if you have a brand you like, bring it with you. We also got  electronic mosquito repellents, which emit a high pitched sound (nearly inaudible to humans) that you can clip to your clothing. As a group we did not get many bites at all, so they must have worked?

Popsicle (ice lolly) moulds. This one is a bit random! But Ella loves an ice lolly and we found this a very good way to ensure she was staying hydrated. We filled the moulds with chopped up fruit and dissolved hydralyte tablets in water to make her some ice lollies every day. She’d happily eat two or three a day outside by the pool.

Nappy cream. Perhaps TMI here, but Ella did have diarrhoea for the last few days of our trip. Her poor bum was red and sore and we only had a little bit of nappy cream that we were rationing out.

Baby monitor. We did not bring one of these and totally regretted it! Our villa was pretty big and you couldn’t hear her crying if she was in bed and we were outside by the pool. Someone would have to stay inside or just constantly check on her when she was having her naps. It would have been great to have had a monitor to take out by the pool.

Baby floaty. We got the one pictured below from Baby Bunting for $30 before we left and it worked a treat. Ella loved it, there is a steering wheel attached so she pretended to drive it around the pool. It also had a detachable shade cover, which was very practical However it did end up with a hole in it before the end of the trip so for the price it wasn't very durable!

Clothing. All you need in Bali are light, cotton/bamboo clothes. Some of the things I brought for Ella were too heavy, even though they didn't seem that way for summer in Melbourne. Basically it's hot and humid all day and all night! Also at least one hat is a must.

Toys. We brought a few of Ella's smaller favourite toys. They were good for some distraction when we were getting ready to go out and we didn't want her in the pool. We ended up buying a bucket and shovel set for the beach at a market for about $4 (which we later gave to some Balinese kids). 

Grandparents. I highly recommend bringing these along whenever you travel with a toddler. They will occupy your toddler for hours and let you pretend you are on a holiday as just a couple. You may even get to eat a meal out just the two of you which is just heaven. If this is not possible, lots of people hire babysitters in Bali for about $5/hour. The Balinese are great with kids and if you live in Australia, chances are you know someone who has been to Bali with their kids that can give you a recommendation.

Those are my main tips. We had a great time in Bali and I'd totally go back. We stayed in the Canggu area, which I loved. You can read more on what we did while in Canggu here.