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Author: Kate Korber

I'm a passionate educator who loves helping teachers and parents understand how to engage our students in this digital world. I'm also a Mum who is learning to tackle the everyday challenges of being a parent of a our two year old Ella and new born son, Hudson!
Silvers Circus Ticket Giveaway

Silvers Circus Ticket Giveaway

ROLL UP ROLL UP SILVERS CIRCUS IS HEADING TO MARIBYRNONG!

with all your favourite acts and more!!……..

Established in 1976, Silvers Circus provides world class family entertainment and fun.

Silvers Circus is a household name in Australia and after almost forty years on the road has evolved into one of the Top 10 Circuses of the World. Silvers maintains all the sparkle, glamour and death defying acts expected of Australia’s premier circus, dedicated to constant innovation and modernisation with extraordinary artists continually arriving from all parts of the world. Silvers circus presents a line up of stunning international artists, Las Vegas style illusions and captivating production techniques.

We are thrilled to be offering our followers the chance to see it with their family these Melbourne school holidays! We’re giving away:

3 X Family Passes (Two adults, Two children) to a Silvers Circus Performance in Maribyrnong these school holidays.

Session to be chosen by the winner. Tickets to be collected from box office prior to performance. 

HOW TO ENTER: Enter via the Facebook post HERE. Just comment on the Silvers Circus Post and tag a friend to be in the running. Comp Closes Thursday 21st September at 8.30pm. Winner chosen as random and notified via FB.

Silvers Circus

The 2 hour action packed show in the HEATED BIG TOP, featuring Ringmaster and Master of Illusion, Simon Tait includes:

  • Wheel of Steel. Two young men with nerves of Steel, Dominik Gasser and Merwyn Garcia run, jump, skip and flip through a routine of sheer physical ordacity, just as the apparatus they challenge defies description. Its wheels osolate and revolve from group level to dizzying heights. This spectacle will leave you chewing your nails and squirming in your seats! The Wheel of Steel…. (for strong constitutions only!!)
  • The Globe of Death. The world famous Phoenix Riders speed around inside a 3-1/2 meter diameter metal globe

on motorbikes, missing each other by mere millimetres.

  • Hoola Hoops. Up to 80 hoola hoops at once are managed while a balancing act is taking place upon a mobile mirror ball all at the same time
  • Clowns. Expect the unexpected. These acts are guaranteed to tickle the funny bone
  • The Roman Rings. A very unique act, which is performed with extreme strength and elegance. Little girls will be amazed by the beauty and grown men in awe of the control and physicality.
  • Ringmaster Simon Tait has over 25 years’ experience in circus and will mesmerise the audience with his celebrated illusions and audience repour.
  • Juggling Monchito. Meet the comedic stylings of the juggling Monchito! Ariel Barralle is a second generation circus performer from South America. In his years he has performed in several disciplines including trampoline, juggling, aerial straps plus performing with his family the traditional Argentinian dance of the Gauchos.
  • Agility, speed and precision is just some of what Yonas showcases here as he manoeuvres high above on unicycle after unicycle. Wheels are this mans thing and you will be surprised over and over again!
  • Cloud Swing. Madeline Bisby is a highly skilled aerial artist born and based in Australia. She combines stunning artistry with compelling elegance and beauty as she pushes the limits, and heights, on her edgy Cloudswing.

and with many more world class acts, Silvers Circus is guaranteed to tap into the nostalgia we all hold for a unique circus experience.

So Welcome to our world of spectacular family entertainment. There is no other circus like Silvers Circus.

For all show details visit – www.silverscircus.com.au

My favourite bingeworthy shows on Netflix

My favourite bingeworthy shows on Netflix

If you are anything like me, then you rarely get the chance to have the entire house to yourself. When you do, there always seems to be this stupid Mum guilt where we put the laundry as a priority over relishing in the peace and quiet, and watching something on the telly. I literally cannot remember the last time that I had the chance to just sit down and watch my favourite shows. So much so, that I don’t even know what my favourite shows are! Well, in a week school holidays will be upon us, and I will be taking the opportunity that good old day care provides (ie. kinder still continues in school holidays). I will be putting myself first and will be spending a few hours on the couch, catching up on something other than the latest episodes of Paw Patrol.

Even though we are renovating our new home, and currently living with my Mother in Law, we have once again fallen in love all over again with Netflix. You see, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t got the latest smart TV…as long as you’ve got a mobile device and wifi. Voila! But if you don’t want to waste time trying to find out what to actually watch, then I will save you your precious TV watching time and share with you my favourite recommendations!

Totally binge worthy shows that you can’t just stop watching after one episode. Nope, these shows are for the serious netflix junkie. If you’ve got a whole day to yourself, then lay back and get ready to enjoy some TV magic….

The Defenders : super heroes with a difference. Very cool show!

Lovesick: In his quest for true love, Dylan found chlamydia. Joined by friends Evie and Luke, he relives past encounters as he notifies all his former partners.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Tina Fey’s new show follows the tale of titular character Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), who spent 15 years in an underground bunker thanks to a doomsday cult and is now living in New York City. Her mission? To pursue a normal life.

Riverdale: In a town where everything is perfect, but nothing is as it seems!

So here’s hoping that you can sneak in some time for some Netflix shows this week! Let me know if you find anything worth watching!

 

Hood Mamma Edit Coolness

Hood Mamma Edit Coolness

You may or may not have recently seen the amazing collaboration shoot that we did with Motherhood Melbourne recently. An amazing idea that celebrate all things Melbourne : bloggers, businesses and services. Holly from Motherhood Melbourne brought together the most amazing team to help shoot and showcase gorgeous clothing and accessories for Mums and their babes. It was such an honour to be part of this team, to help shine some love onto some up and coming businesses. Having my children be part of the day was so exciting, and seeing the results made my heart sing. It’s amazing what can happen when people come together to support one another!

✖️ The dream team ✖️
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BEHIND-THE-SCENES //
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HOOD MAMAS //
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MAMA THREADS ETC. //
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KIDS THREADS N’ TOYS
Here are my favourite snaps from the shoot, featuring some amazing threads from the above businesses!
The Do’s and Dont’s of being a school parent

The Do’s and Dont’s of being a school parent

In the coming weeks, children and their parents everywhere across Australia will be visiting their new schools in preparation for Prep Transition. Whether you live in a state that knows the first year of school as Prep, Kinder, Foundation or Year 1, we will all be in the same boat. Chances are, your child is feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness about heading off to Big School. For some parents, this won’t be a new experience, having had other children previously head off to begin their school adventure. If you are anything like me, and experiencing this for the first time, you are probably (no definitely) feeling many things: nervousness, happiness, and just generally freaking out. On Thursday our Ella has her first Prep Transition morning at her new school. I honestly cannot believe that this time has come. What I do know however, is that for many years, I’ve been dishing out advice to parents (like myself) who have a little one starting school. Advice on how to get both their child, and themselves prepped for prep. Literally, in a few weeks time, I will be running a prep transition session as a teaching leader, and the next day will see myself thrown amongst it all, as a parent. I bet that I won’t be able to remember a word of my own advice. Advice like Stay calm, stay positive, don’t stay too long, don’t cry…in front of them! Eeek.

I’m a little worried that I’m simply not going to be able to listen to my own advice. Not on those first mornings anyway. There IS however, a great deal of advice that I can give to parents about how to both be a great ‘school parent’ in the long run, once things calm down. I can in the same breath, also give advice on what NOT to do. In the coming weeks, parents will be given  a lot of advice on how to prepare their child for these early days of school. What they don’t always get, is advice on how to help themselves, both in the beginning and throughout their child’s schooling years.

Sometimes, we need help to save us from ourselves. Sometimes, we need help to jolt us back to reality. I know many people who have said that things will be ‘so much easier’ once their child starts school. As both a Teacher and a Mother, I know that this could not be further from the truth. Primary school is, and will continue to be, both an amazing journey, but it is also an all consuming one. All I can say is get set to be amazed, bamboozled, tried and tested. There are things you probably know, and there ate things that you won’t. In the end, your child will be at Primary School for seven years, and there are some tips I can give, as a teacher that will help you to enjoy your time and solve problems that will come up along the way. So without further adue…..

Do’s

  1. Do get involved in your child’s learning: W e are all crazy busy in this parenting game. Everyone can give time differently and be involved in various ways. Whether it be volunteering at school or reading with your child at night. Get involved.
  2. Do speak up if something is wrong :  I always get asked whether or not they should speak up if they believe something is wrong with their child, or if they are feeling as though something isn’t right. My answer would be if it effects your child, then yes. Teachers always do their best to look out for your child, but sometimes things do slip through the cracks, because, well…they are human. Sometimes they may not know and finding out may actually help them, help your child. However always do it in a reasonable and calm way. Before you say something however, refer to the next point.
  3. Do check with a trusted other if you are worried about something: As stated above you should always, always have a trusted other who can put your worry through the ‘reasonable’ test. Is it something that your should speak up about, or is it something that you should just let go. Sometimes, we can catastrophise things and it’s always good to get someone to hear you out first before you address it.
  4. Do read the communication that comes home from school: I often hear that ‘things will get easier once my child starts school’. Hmmm….not the case when it comes to information. You WILL receive loads of information from your child’s school on a daily basis. Whether it is via email, newsletter, paper letters or via an App that your school may use, its super important to read about what is going on. Mark in important dates in your diary. You don’t want to be making Book Week costumes at the last minute.
  5. Do expect that your child will stuff up at some stage: This one can be really confronting for parents.  It’s normal for kids to stuff up. It’s normal for kids to make poor choices. Expect that they WILL at some stage do the wrong thing. It does not mean that they have a black mark against their name. It just means that they need to learn from it.
  6. Do expect your child to get tired and cranky: especially in Prep. In those first few weeks, kids work out that they actually have to keep going back….EVERY DAY. They probably will crack it at night, and be more emotional. This means that after school time is super important to calm down and relax. Do expect that it WILL calm down eventually. Starting school is one of the biggest changes both your child and your family will experience, and once you get in a rhythm, everything will be ok~
  7. Do give your child’s teacher positive feedback: It’s unfortunate, but often as humans, we only speak up when something makes us annoyed or angry. What I can say is that just like children, teachers love receiving positive feedback from parents. When your child is feeling safe, supported and happy. When they achieve something. No matter how big or small, as a teacher, receiving positive feedback from parents can help make their day, week, year.
  8. Do be positive about mathematics: Research tells us that children really are impacted by their parents, in in particular Mothers’ perception of Maths. I’m sure that you’ve heard people say ‘I hated maths’ or ‘I wasn’t good at Maths’. My biggest advice is FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. Be positive about maths – even if you hate it. Your child will develop their self perception about maths by the end of grade 1 and will carry it with them FOREVER! SO…..BE POSITIVE!
  9. Do regular spot checks of your computer’s browsing history: If you don’t know how to do a search on your computer’s browser history then I suggest learn how to. This will be your best friend. Be big brother, and particularly for your big kids, check where they have been online. Do this regularly!
  10. Do get your child to prepare themselves for their day: It may shock you but I have witness parents actually carrying their prep child into school. The beginning of prep is all about independence and resilience. Get your child to prepare themselves. Unpack and pack their bag, get their clothes ready. Get them involved so that they can feel good about school and not be reliant on you for everything!
Tired and cranky. Something you should prepare yourself for, once school starts!

Almost as important as what to do, is knowing what NOT TO DO.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t worry if you cannot be at everything. Life. It’s crazy busy. You will be overwhelmed with the amount of events, expos, information nights etc that will appear in your calendar. Prioritise. If you can’t make it, send someone else. Chances are, most schools use apps that allow you to see what has been happening in your child’s classroom. So if can make it, great, but if you can’t…make sure your child knows and then follow up by talking to them about what happened that day.
  2. Don’t be a keyboard warrior. Your annoyed about something and its 10.53pm at night. Sending an angry email won’t help anyone. Make an appointment and talk about it face to face. It’s always better. Trust me.
  3. Don’t approach another child if you have a problem with them. These days Child Safe standards are in place to ensure that each and every child is safe and supported. If you have a problem with another child, DO NOT take it upon yourselves to approach them. Your school should have a communication / grievance policy that you need to follow. I’m not joking. Never, ever approach another child if you are angry. Always, always speak to the school about it in a calm and reasonable manner.
  4. Don’t ignore important information and dates. When you know about a date, put it in your diary / calendar as an alert. Dates sneak up on you at the last minute.
  5. Don’t carry your child into school. As stated above. Build independence and resilience by encouraging them to do things on their own.
  6. Don’t ask “how was your day’ or ‘what did you learn today’.  How was school? GOOD. What did you learn? Nothing. If you ask a broad question, you will get a broad answer. Asking specifics like ‘what did you learn in maths today’, or ‘did you do something you were proud of’ or ‘what was something you found difficult?’. Often using routines like ‘what was the peak and the pit’ can help kids to share their thoughts and feelings. It will also give you a better insight into school, rather than just hearing ‘good.
  7. Don’t expect your child to be great at everything. The world needs artists, musicians, scientists, vets, builders. Your child may excel at sport, but find maths difficult. They may love reading, but hate science. It’s been said time and time again, but every child is different. The purpose school is to help each and every child discover their gifts and talents, and to use them to make a difference to themselves, to others and the world.
  8. Don’t praise your child for being clever. This is a big one. Research shows that if we praise IG, or how ‘clever’ we are, children are more likely to play it safe, and stick to tasks that they are good at, and know that they will do well in. If we praise ‘effort’, children will feel good about having stretched themselves, for trying something new. Growth Mindset is a theory that focusses on helping children to learn to grow, do better, be better. Developing ‘grit’ or the ability to persist at tasks for a long time is key in helping kids to be resilient and learn to improve themselves. It’s a really big thing for a parent, but learning not to say ‘you’re so clever’ is really important. It actually makes a lot of sense. Praising your child for trying helps them to know that making mistakes is ok, and it’s actually important for learning. This is my biggest tip as a parent!
  9. Don’t ask your child to do things. This is not what it sounds. If you want your child to do something by asking them ie. ‘can you please sit down’, you are actually giving them an option to say no. Some children will follow your directions, but others will not. If you rephrase it as a statement ie. ‘you need to sit down thank you’, you are still being polite, but you are expecting them to follow you. There is no option. Those three little words ‘you need to’ will change your life. It’s about assumed compliance. You are assuming and expecting that your child will listen to you. It’s a routine that we use at our school, and it really works.
  10. Don’t put your child’s dreams down. If your child wants to be a dancer, nurture it. If your child wants to be a builder, encourage it. If you didn’t get to achieve your dreams, don’t put that on your children. Let your child learn to love life and what they are good at. Nurture their dreams. Sir Ken Robinson (aka, the Education God) shares a lovely TED talk which we use with our new parents each year. He talks of a man who told him that when he was young, he wanted to be a fireman. Every child wanted to be a fireman at 4 years old. As he grew, he dream never wavered. However as he progressed through school, many adults said that his ‘talent was wasted’ on that profession. A teacher in particular told him that he should strive for greater heights. Years later he became a fireman. One night he attended an accident and saved a man’s life. That man was his teacher who had told him that being a Fireman was beneath him. He shared how his teacher had eaten his words and had not thought much higher of his profession and his dream. He had after all, saved his life and the life of his wife. Each and every child, as they progress through school will have dreams. Some will stay and some will change. As Sir Ken says in this video below. We should tread softly on the carpet of our children’ dreams. Even if they are at odds with what we want. You can see it below…

So there you have it. My top ten do’s and don’ts in being a school parent. Enjoy the ride, but remember to pull your head in and try to keep calm. Or as best you can!

From a Mother who is a teacher to another….

Pop Up Globe Theatre Ticket Giveaway

Pop Up Globe Theatre Ticket Giveaway

Have you heard? A full-scale temporary working replica of one of the greatest theatres in history, the second Globe, will soon pop-up right next door to the iconic Sidney Myer Music Bowl.  The world’s first full-scale temporary working replica of the second Globe, the theatre Shakespeare and his company built and opened in 1614 after the first Globe theatre burned to the ground, is coming to Melbourne. From 21 September – 12 November 2017, Pop-up Globe will become the home of the most spectacular season of Shakespeare that Melbourne has ever seen.

We are thrilled to be offering our followers the chance to be one of the first to see one of the performances at this incredible event. We are giving away

1 double pass for the Friday 15th September, 8pm preview performance of Much Ado About Nothing. 

HOW TO ENTER: Enter via the Facebook post HERE. Just comment on the Pop Up Globe Theatre post or tag a friend to be in the running. Comp Closes Sunday Sept 10th at 8.30pm. Winner chosen as random on Sunday Sept 10th at 9pm.

See the legendary Beatrice and Benedick as you’ve never seen them before in Shakespeare’s original ‘rom–‐com’, Much Ado About Nothing. You’ll laugh and cry from start to finish as they navigate their way to love in this hilarious production which turns Pop–‐up Globe into an uproarious house party.

These tickets are C Reserve tickets and valued at around $50 each (just over $100 for the double pass)

For its Melbourne season, Pop-up Globe brings with it a travelling festival of four critically acclaimed productions – the riotous comedy As You Like It, the uproarious rom-com Much Ado About Nothing, psychological thriller Othello and the bloody war epic Henry V. Additionally, Melbourne audiences will be the first to see a specially-commissioned new show, Around the Globe in 60 Minutes!, which will thrust audiences into the maelstrom of history, allowing them to experience the triumphs and disasters that tell the incredible story of the second Globe Theatre.

As You Like It

An all-singing-and-dancing cast of fifteen bring you Shakespeare’s hilarious comedy, As You Like It. Set in 1642, and with gorgeous costumes to match, this zany production by our allmale company – complete with human sheep, bone-crunching wrestling, live music and lyrical poetry – will have you crying with laughter.

Much Ado About

Nothing See the legendary Beatrice and Benedick as you’ve never seen them before in Shakespeare’s original ‘rom-com’, Much Ado About Nothing. You’ll laugh and cry from start to finish as they navigate their way to love in this hilarious production which turns Pop-up Globe into an uproarious house party.

Othello

Witness Shakespeare’s ultimate psychological thriller in Pop-up Globe’s production of Othello. Take a journey into the diseased mind of the noble Moor as he’s consumed by ‘the greeneyed monster’; jealousy. The twists and turns in this powerful and dark production will have you on the edge of your seat. Henry V Shakespeare’s tribute to one of history’s greatest leaders comes alive like an action movie. Be part of the English army as the heroic King Henry takes on the French army at Agincourt in the face of impossible odds. No knowledge of history is necessary to enjoy this immersive theatrical experience complete with spectacular and blood-thirsty battle sequences, performed by sixteen men in full armour wielding broadswords, longbows, garottes, crossbows, bagpipes and a frying pan.

Around The Globe In 60 Minutes!

Step into history and experience the triumphs and disasters that tell the story of the second Globe Theatre: from the fascinating story of its construction by Shakespeare and company after the catastrophic mid-performance fire of 1613 to its decline and fall as the bloody English Civil War started in 1642. Along the way, expect to meet outrageous characters from its history, and to laugh, shout and cheer as a cast of five actors share the extraordinary tale of one of the greatest theatres in history: the second Globe.

Tickets for all shows available now: www.ticketmaster.com.au or 1300 136 166 www.popupglobe.com.au

 

Hawaii with Kids Part 2: Aulani Disney Resort

Hawaii with Kids Part 2: Aulani Disney Resort

I was so thrilled to receive such positive feedback last week following my epic post about travelling to Hawaii with kids. I really hope it helps you to have a great trip! As you know, our trip included three stops: Waikiki, Maui and finally, the Aulani Disney Resort. The later simply needs it’s own post. It’s an epic place. It’s huge. It is, well, Disney. Disney, not in it’s stereotypical form. You see, this place is one of those once in a life time destinations, but it should not be mistaken for the traditional Disney resort.My first tip is to make sure that you are aware of that. It is, however, incredible, magical and a place you will remember forever. It is a beautiful resort with subtle touches of Disney. Each room for example has a beautiful Mickey lamp, and in the murals you will see around the resort. Of course, the characters appear and bring the magical touch of Disney to life.

Aulani Disney Resort

Arriving at Aulani, you are firstly taken by the incredible manicured grounds of Kapolei – the tiny and exclusive suburb, home to this incredible resort, and a few others. Built in 2011 it cost almost $1 Billion to construct. This gives you an insight into vast space that this hotel now occupies. Aulani was built to respect and celebrate the customs and traditions of Hawaii. You and your children will be in awe of the amazing spaces that pay homage to Polonesian culture, as if to transport you straight into ‘Moana’ itself. You may also find yourself a little overwhelmed, standing on the huge balcony overlooking the grounds, including the incredible, man made volcano sitting directly in the middle of the resort. Every where, you will see people, water, slides, pools. It does take a couple of days to find your feet at this place, and I’m proud to say that I had the trusty advice of a close friend at hand, who had been to Aulani several times.

Everything here is epic. The number of hotel rooms, the setting, the pools, the water slides. It’s all incredibly put together.  Aulani is a place for children. It is a wonderland for little minds. It is a place you take your family to, to experience and remember. Whilst Disney is proclaimed to be the ‘happiest place on earth’, I wouldn’t call Aulani the most relaxing place on Earth. This is by no means a criticism, it is just something that you need to keep in mind, particularly if you have little ones too small for the incredible kids club. If you are lucky enough to have children who are (three years and older who are toilet trained), then by all means….call it relaxing because that is what you will do!

Kids Club : Aunty’s Beach House

Aunty’s Beach house is home to their free kids club. Quite possibly the best thing about this place. It is….ah-mazing. As mentioned above, it is free (with optional paid workshops and food for meal times) to all children from three years and up who are – toilet trained. Alas, our Huddy is indeed three, but when it came to ticking the ‘promise’ that he is 100% toilet trained, we had to bite the bullet and just let Ella go herself. They did tell me that they know accidents do happen, and have a ‘three strikes’ rule, but we knew that this would give Huddy about 1 hour before getting kicked out. We also didn’t want to jeopardise Ella’s spot, so for four days, she went solo.

There are two things you need to know about this place. You can either drop them off any time during the hours of 9am-9pm to just play in one of the many rooms (TV Disney room, art and craft room, games room, outside play area) OR you can sign them up to one of the workshops held throughout the day. Some of them are free, some are paid. You can also pay for them to have lunch or dinner there.

Now pay attention! This next part is THE part you need to know. To get your kids into the workshops you need to get up early and sign them up. Early as in they open up the tickets at 7.30am but people queue from 7am. Yep, 7am. You basically wait in line and if you are lucky, you get your kids into the workshops you want. If you need to pay, you do that to.

Before your kids can go, you need to complete an extensive medical and safety registration. For obvious reasons. Each child then receives a GPS tracking bracelet for a refundable $12. Ella kept hers as a souvenir. Once your child is inside, they either take down your phone number, or if, like me and you have an OS number, they actually give you a loan mobile incase they need to call you. It is all super safe, super secure. These guys have this place locked down!

Ella had literally been going on about Aunty;s Beach house for weeks leading up to our stay there. When we got there, she was initially excited, but as Ella does being quite sensitive, cried her eyes out when she realised she didn’t know anyone. A gorgeous teacher helped a Mum out and took Ella’s hand, reassuring her that everything would be fine. And it was. Three hours later, she came back telling me that she wanted to go again. She went each day and had a ball. She even got to feed the fish in the amazing snorkling area~

Aulani Disney Resort
Aunty’s Beach House

Character Breakfast & activities

One of the biggest lessons I learned about travelling in Hawaii is the need to be planned. Nothing happens last minute. If you turn up to your holiday expecting to get into things, you will be greated with the question ‘have you already made a reservation?’. Whilst answering ‘No’ may seem logical, particularly given that you just arrived, it is in fact a major rookie error. You see I thought that I would be able to arrive and get us into the infamous ‘Character Breakfast’. I was motrified to find out that most people actually booked the breakfast six months before hand. I was given the advice to go straight to the restaurant upon arrival to ask (ie. beg) them if they any spots available. Lucky for us we got in later that week. My big tip is to book this before you go to avoid disspointment, and general panic.

This breakfast includes a buffet selection of amazing treats, Mickey pancakes, eggs, fruit, waffles…anything and everything you can imagine. It also involves an intimate audience with Aunty herself and your favourite Disney Characters: Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. Children are invited to dance, sing and join in a parade. Characters visit each table and encourage you to take as many photos as you like. For approx $90 per family of four, this is truly a highlight. The resort offers a Luau, but for the cost (approx $400 for us), we thought it was too expensive and didn’t bother.

The kids getting involved in the parade at the character breakfast!

Each day there is a resort newsletter outlining the activities. You will often see the Disney Characters around the pool, or at spots thorughout the resort for photo opportunities. They also have pool partiies, movie screenings and various activities run by the characters.

Pool Party Time!

Swimming: Pools & Slides

Like most resorts in Hawaii, each day you receive a coloured wrist band. The colour changes each day to ensure that only current guests are able to use the facilities. Only those with the day’s wrist band, are able to obtain towels. The wrist bands are available from 8am. Similar to Aunty’s Beach house, a long line quickly develops, as guests get their bands, towels and deck chairs for the day. The resort has a strict ‘no reservation’ policy. This is to ensure that peple don’t hog the chairs. However, we quickly worked out that people do, and find loop holes. Whilst waititng in line, we saw several people sitting on deck chairs beofre 8am. Clearly, people used to take their gear down, sit on the chairs of choice whilst others lined up for the bands / towels of the day. There are literally hundreds of chairs throughout the resort, however, it is truly astonoshing how quickly these fill up.

The amazing Keiki playground

Each hour, pool attendants walk around checking the chairs. If you have not been at your chair in a while, a white towel is neatly folded and placed over the back of your chair. This serves as a marker / timer. Basically you have 1 hour to return to your chair and pull the towel down, or else your belongings are taken and stored. This ensures that people do not leave chairs unoccupied for ours at a time.

My tip is to get in early, after you sign your kids up for Aunty’s beach house. Use your chair as needed, then leave it free for someone else.

There are several pools throughout the resort, hot spas, a fabulous lazy river, stunning beach lagoon and two epic waterslides. Honestly it is fantastic! You might even spot Mickey!

Food Options

Breakfast  / Lunch / Snacks: We didn’t have breakfast included at this resort. In terms of restaurants at the actual resort, the options are somewhat limited. Food  and drinks are available all day by the pool. Grab and go packs are also available at various outlets throughout the resort. We would get croissants and beautiful cinnamon donuts each morning, and I’d take them up to the room. My biggest tip is to purchase the $17 drink cups which allow you to get bottomless refills of a variety of drinks throughout your stay. You can also get a huge plastic tub of Popcorn and get $1 refills!

For $17 you get endless refills!

Throughout your stay you rarely need to carry cash as everything can be charged to your room. A big tip is to make sure that you always carry your room key. This will be asked for to charge various things to your account!

There is a small grocery store in the resort, however it is quite expensive. There is a large ABC village store in the shopping centre directly across the road. It evens sticks Chandon!

Mickey themed Shave Ice

Dinner: As mentioned above, dinner options are more limited here. We still used the Open Table App and ate mostly at Monkey Pod across the road in the small shopping village. This place was fantastic. Amazing menu, great drinks and fantastic options for kids. There is also Mexican, Pizza and Japanese restaurants in this complex. We ate dinner one night at the beautiful ‘Fish House’ at the Four Seasons next door. Definitely a great night out!

Dinner at Monkey Pod

Hotel Room

We were lucky enough to receive an upgrade to an Ocean View Room on a high level. I would recommend ensuring that your room looks onto the volcano, as the view is stunning. Several of the resort rooms are time share, and villas include separate bedrooms and kitchens. This would be a great option if you have a car and are able to venture out to Target to purchase supplies for yourself!

The view from our room!

Again, our kids took their scooters and loved using these to get around. The resort is HUGE and using them certainly helped getting around.

So they are my major tips in travelling to Aulani. We had a ball, and after finding our feet, worked out how to play the game so that we could indeed, enjoy every aspect that this place had to offer. Truly a place to remember! To see more of our trip, and view highlights of the resort…view our Youtube movie below!

How to have an amazing holiday in Hawaii, with kids.

How to have an amazing holiday in Hawaii, with kids.

Last week we left the sunny beaches of Hawaii and after what felt like an eternity, landed in cold old Melbourne. It was an amazing, long overdue holiday, fifteen days of fun in the sun. Time for us to just ‘be’ with each other. No work, no kinder, no daycare, swimming lessons, parties, play dates. It was my first time to Hawaii, and my husbands second. Albeit a very different one from the time he holidayed with his family when he was 16. I’d always wondered about Hawaii. I’d been told that it was paradise, but also an up scale version of tacky Surfers Paradise. Well after venturing across the Pacific with our two children for two weeks, I’m happy to report that Hawaii is, indeed, an island paradise. Beautiful and warm, we were lucky enough to be holidaying in the height of summer. We split our trip up into three parts, five days each in Honolulu (Waikiki), Maui and finally a trip back to Oahu to Aulani, the Disney resort. I’ll actually be posting a separate blog feature on Aulani, as it is, well, an epic place that needs it’s own post to do it justice!

Like all holidays with children, you can have both an amazing time, and an amazingly terrible one. I loved and learnt many things about Hawaii. It’s equally important to know what NOT to do, as well as what TO do!  Like all places, you need to find your groove, work the place out and just play the game. Once you’ve sussed it all out, you can expect to absolutely love the place. This post is about sharing my tips and tricks so that when taking children, you can head to the island paradise and actually enjoy yourselves. They say that holidaying with children isn’t actually a holiday, it is just a change of scenery. This is true for the most part, unless you actually do your homework and find out, from people who have been there, how to have a great, no fantastic time. I hope this post can in turn help you to head to Hawaii and have a blast like we did.

Getting there

We flew Jetstar and our 11 hour flight was at 4pm AEST. This was actually a fantastic time to fly, as our children spent the first few hours enjoying the excitement of flying, eating all of the snacks I had prepared and generally having fun. After a few hours I changed them into their PJ’s (on reccomendation from a friend!) and they went to sleep at ‘normal’ bed time. This meant that they actually slept about 6/7 hours. When we arrived it was 6am the same day Pacific time. The time difference to Hawaii from Eastern Australia is -20 hours. This actually worked in our favour as it meant that jet lag was reduced, being almost a full day behind. My advice would be to:

  • Pick a late afternoon flight
  • Pack a pillow and blanket for your kids (most airlines now charge for these necessities)
  • Make sure your iPads are loaded and charged
  • You can download tv shows and movies from Netflix, straight to your device and watch them offline without internet. Yep!!!! It’s actually fantastic, amazing. You don’t need to spend a fortune buying TV shows on itunes if you have a Netflix account! We watched episodes of My little Pony, Doc McStuffins and Care Bears. Best thing ever! To see how you can do it, visit here.
  • Pack little zip lock bags of snacks

Another fantastic tip was the carry on luggage we took for the kids: Trunkies. I must stress that this is NOT a sponsored post! We were given Trunkies as a gift for both our children when they were born. In case you haven’t seen them before, think a small, plastic suitcase with four wheels on the side. It essentially is a suit case that becomes a ride on scooter, with a long handle that allows you to drag your children around the airport. I kid you not this was a life saver. It meant that we did not ever have to carry either of our kids, and they were generally happy to ride along and wait in the queues. Absolute winner. To see them in action, view the video at the end of this post!

Stop No. 1: Honolulu – Waikiki – Hilton Hawaiian Village

After arriving at the hotel by Cab, we unfortunately realised that we had left one of our bags at the airport. Tip no 1: make sure you have all your bags BEFORE you leave the airport. Once we had averted that disaster, and recovered the baggage, we arrived but also realised that we were there hours before check in. Luckily we were able to check out bags, get changed and enjoy the pool. If you haven’t been to the Hilton Hawaiian Village then picture 7 towers built around three HUGE pools, right on the beach. You may know the iconic Rainbow Tower that has been used in several famous movies over the years. This hotel is a true village. Everything you need in one place. The pools are insane. The beach is insane. The man made lagoon is – insane!! It was an amazing place that we thoroughly enjoyed. We also loved the fact that it is close to the bustling centre of Waikiki. I found the whole place beautiful, and I was pleasantly surprised! Like all things however, there were absolutely Dos and Don’ts. Below you’ll find out hot list that I truly believe would make or break any holiday!

The beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village
The famous Rainbow Tower
  • Do take your kids scooters! We are past the days of taking a Pram, and taking the kids scooters changed our holiday. We took the stick off and flat packed them! It was fantastic to see the kids scooting along at night, enjoying the scenery. It also meant that we didn’t have to carry them once. ONCE!
  • Don’t expect to head out to dinner and get in somewhere if you haven’t made a reservation.  Make sure you book your dinners in advance. The first night we were there, we walked around for two hours because we couldn’t get in to anywhere! Use the app OPEN TABLE which makes finding great restaurants a breeze. You can read reviews and pick a time that suits you. This is my absolute biggest tip in travelling to Hawaii.
  • Do use your concierge to make reservations at external resorts for you. Ours was fantastic and got us into the infamous Cheesecake Factory with half the wait time (which is generally two hours. no jokes!)
  • Don’t bother taking floaties etc. There are ABC stores almost every few hundred metres. These are like small supermarkets / 7 Elevens. You can buy them really cheap and for an extra $1 you can have them enflated too! You can also grab basics including fruit, cereal, milk, juice, champagne here!
  • Do bring your own nappies. They cost a fortune over there!
  • Don’t eat breakfast at your hotel unless you want to pay a fortune. Either make sure you have breakfast included in your package, or find a local coffee shop. We found a gem (listed below).
  • Do pack small plastic bowls, forks and spoons. The hotel rooms in Hawaii are very sparse on the basic utensils you would find in Australia resorts. There isn’t even a kettle! Designed to get our out of your room and spending money at the restaurants, we found getting a few bowls etc helped after a few days!
  • If you head to Pearl Harbour, you either need to a. arrive super early (like 6am) to obtain a ticket to allow you to be taken by boat to the Arizona memorial. Or, if you are like us who had no idea you had to do that, you could, at 12.30pm head to the area where tours wait, and after each group goes through (there is one every 15 minutes) as they guide if they have any ‘stand by’ places. These are people who have dropped out after finding out that you can no longer actually dock at the memorial. We were lucky enough to snare a space, and headed out to the memorial by boat. Whilst we didn’t actually dock there, it was incredibly moving to both hear and see the place where this historic wartime tragedy occurred.
  • Similarly, if you want to head to Hanuama Bay, make sure you do it early. Being a small bay, the council restricts the amount of cars allowed in at any one time. Unfortunately we arrived at 12pm and it was full. We made do by heading north to other beautiful beaches.
  • We went to the Waikele outlets. To be honest we were a bit disappointed. Great runners, but that is about it!
  • Definitely scope the internet for great deals on car hire. We snared a new Range Rover convertible for $70 for the day!
Scooters were by far the best thing we packed in our suitcases!
Scooting to the cheesecake factory
Exploring Waikiki

Places to eat in Waikiki

All of the restaurants are extremely child (‘Keiki’) friendly. We ate out at lovely restaurants each night and was very impressed by the fantastic menus offered to children.

Roys: Beautiful modern Japanese, Roys was delicious. After jumping the queue because we had made our reservation on Open Table (winning) we were greeted by lovely wait staff. The entire meal was delicious and made even better by the way they treated the kids.

Cheesecake Factory: Don’t be fooled by the name. This place is in fact a huge restaurant with a menu spanning twenty pages. Firstly, don’t expect to wait less than two hours to eat, unless you get your concierge to call ahead. Our wait time was halved, and we were seated in half an hour. The queues here are unbelievable. This place is BU-SY! That said, once you sit down, the food, the drinks, the cheesecake is ah-mazing. An absolute must!

Dukes: Located in the Outrigger Hotel, Dukes is an icon of Waikiki. Again, make sure you have a booking!

Tropics: Located on the beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, this place is very relaxed and has great food, drinks and music. The perfect place to eat before the fireworks!

Finally, if you stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, make sure it includes a Friday night. There are spectacular fireworks on the beach, right out front of the hotel at 7.45pm, attracting most of the tourists in the area. Such a fantastic experience! You can see them in the video below.

Stop No 2. : Maui – Hyatt Rgency

After a super quick, 30 minute flight we arrived in true Paradise. Let me just say that Maui was may favourite. After renting a Mustang, we drove ourselves to Kaanapali and arrived at the Hyatt Regency. Wearing our fresh leis, we met the Penguins (yes Penguins!) and headed up to our Ocean View room. Maui is beautiful. Less people, less craziness, less stress. Everyone seemed relaxed here. From the insanely cool pools that included an outstanding children’s’ area where we could laze in our deck chairs, but still feel close enough to our children, so the cliff top restaurants where you can watch the sun set. There are even flamingoes and swans roaming around the gardens. My absolute recommendation to everyone travelling to Hawaii is to stay in Maui. One of the best features of this strip of hotels is the beach front board walk that leads you past each resort, and takes you to a small but happening village of stunning restaurants and shops (ie. Sephora). This was true Hawaiian paradise and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back! In fact I hope we do!

Hawaii with kids
Beautiful Maui
Dinner at Japengo. Ah-mazing!

The incredible kids pool at the Hyatt Regency Maui.
Sunset on the beach front board walk
  • Make sure your breakfast is included. We had a full buffet breakfast each morning and it was delicious.
  • Do get an extra fold out bed for your kids if you need it. We did when we got there and it was a great investment.
  • Do rent a car. We had a mustang and for $20 each day we could cruise around and explore the amazing beaches!
  • Do take a MAP!
  • Do head to Black Rock for snorkelling!

Places to eat in Maui

  • Japengo :  this award winning Japanese Restaurant sits on the edge of a Cliff at the beautiful Hyatt Regency. We ate here on our last night in Maui and it was spectacular. The sun set in front of us as we ate beautiful Japanese, fresh Sashimi, including the infamous Poke. My absolute favourite by far!
  • Leilanis on the Beach: Nestled in the gorgeous little Whalers village, we ate on the balcony and enjoyed beautiful food and wine. The kids were treated to a lovely menu too!
  • Hula Grill: Quite the ‘happening’ place, this is the busy spot to eat dinner. Cool live music with hula dancers, it was great atmosphere before a night of shopping in the village.
  • Sangrita: a smaller Mexican restaurant behind the main village. Catch the local free shuttle which drops you off at various points along the small strip.

Stop No. 3: Honolulu – Aulani – Disney Resort

Stop 3 was what can only be described as an epic place. So epic that I’ve decided to do a separate post al together. There is simply too much to say. Both what to do, and what not to do to ensure that you have a great time with kids. It is an amazing resorts, but SUUUPPPEEERR busy. The kids had a ball, and next week I will share everything we learned, very quickly about what you need to to to maximise your time here!

So that’s it for now. Please, please, if you go to Hawaii, make sure that you follow my tips. As a Mum who wanted to both have a holiday with my kids, and a relaxing time with my husband, we found that we were indeed able to have both, by following some simple rules of thumb.

To see a little more of our amazing time, view the little video below. Stay tuned next week for my post about amazing Aulani!