Everything but the kitchen sink

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Road trips, beach house stays, camping sites, cruise ships or long-haul flights to far-off destinations – no matter where you end up on holidays there’s some amazingly cool/cute/helpful/necessary items for kids that no jetsetting family should be without.

Packing the car for a little escape down the coast this summer reminded me that packing for the family is painful. I’ve learnt some lessons along the way so here I’ll make the task of what to bring along for the kids a lot easier for you next time you travel.

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An endless summer? Yes please!

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Summer holidays are fun. But like all the fun things in life, they never last long.

Everyone is now in a frantic ‘back to school’ mode and missing out on this glorious sunshine by trawling through shops looking for the perfect pencil case or pair of regulation shoes.

I’m still lucky enough to have both my babes home with me this year – Millie will attend 3yo kinder but only for a few hours each week – and so I can enjoy the rest of January the way it should be enjoyed: having fun while footloose and fancy-free in the sunshine.

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Ballerina dances into cinemas for tutu cute holiday fun

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If you have a child anything like mine, you’ll be used to them twirling, leaping and spinning through the house. All day. Whether they have ballet lessons or not, one thing’s for sure: dancing equals happiness.

It will be double happiness these school holidays when the adorable animated feature film Ballerina opens at cinemas next week. Best of all, we have three Ballerina prize packs to give away to celebrate.

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Choose your own adventure

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The other day, Millie wrote her name. Not scribble that kind of looked like a word, but M-I-L-L-I-E. She has been doing Ms for a little while but surprised me when she wrote her entire name on a Christmas card.

I sincerely think its because she sees her name often written on things and can recognise the individual letters and recreate what she sees. Clever clogs. When a package of Hippo Blue goodies was delivered, I’m not sure if it was Millie or I who was happier to see her name as the lead character in a storybook, on the top of a beautiful Christmas jigsaw puzzle and gift stickers and on the cover of her very own ‘Millie’ activity book.

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Where to shop online for the kids this Christmas

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I’ve just come back from a major shopping mall. It’s only November and I’m already in a tinsel-induced tizz. It was utter madness. The crazed clamber for a parking spot and the queue to buy or visit Santa has begun. Already. Did I mention it’s November?

So with that in mind, and to help spread the Christmas cheer to some of my fave small business owners by encouraging you to shop small and shop local, I’ve compiled a handy little guide to the BESTEST places to shop online this Chrissy. I’ll be purchasing a lot of my gifts this festive season from these stores. In the past I’ve bought some of our most treasured trinkets, outfits and shoes from these stores and every one of them rocks.

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It’s how we roll. The phil&teds voyager road test

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Baby number two comes along and while most things can be passed down from an older sibling, there’s a dilemma if you have a single pram and your toddler still enjoys the ride. This was exactly the problem I had when Finn arrived because Millie was still very happy to sit back and be pushed around town in our pram.

It was something I grappled with in the months before my son arrived. Do I buy a new, bigger pram or try my luck with a toddler on the loose? It was so hard to decide that I didn’t end up buying anything – but immediately regretted it. Anything beyond a quick stroll to the local shops just became too hard. I just couldn’t manage to keep my hands on the pram and feel comfortable that I had a good grip on my daughter’s hand as well.

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