Adventures in Yallingup (with a dog & a baby)

on Food, Motherhood, Travel  

Our first ever trip with baby Felix (then 3 months old) was our standard winter weekend getaway down south. With fingers crossed for nice weather and our car filled with the pram, portacot, baby stuff and dog stuff (plus baby and dog) we drove three hours out of Perth to our stay in Yallingup.

Felix wasn’t, and still isn’t, a fan of napping during the day. However car naps are a different story, and cruising at a steady pace with no red lights was a recipe for a sleepy baby. Jasper of course is a road trip pro by now; he’s happy as long as he gets a couple of toilet breaks along the way.

We spent our couple of days visiting beaches and having long lunches, before quiet evenings at our accommodation. It’s not as easy as it used to be with just the two of us, but it wasn’t as difficult as I expected to travel with a baby! This trip gave me the confidence to do longer trips with Felix in future.

Some things that worked for us:

  • An AirBnB with 1) a separate bedroom so Felix can go to bed early; and 2) a courtyard that we could safely leave Jasper in whilst going out for a nice lunch.
  • Staying an easy walking distance to the beach, for glorious sunsets.
  • A bunch of extra outfits for Felix – as much as I like minimalist packing, he was going through a phase with daily blowouts and nappy leaks, so this was a necessity
  • A baby carrier, essential for beach or nature walks! The one in these photos was a loan from Baby Wearers WA and really came in handy.
  • Making lunch the meal of the day (which we tend to do when down south anyway) – making breakfast and dinner at our accommodation kept costs down and gave Felix a shot at morning and afternoon naps.

A mini, minimalist nappy bag

on Motherhood, Style  

For a long time I’ve kept what’s in my bag pretty minimalist (when carrying a bag at all). With a dodgy back I can’t carry a huge amount anyway, especially if it’s in a traditional handbag which tends to weigh a fair bit on its own.

Nappy bags aren’t really known for their minimalism. Babies require a lot of stuff these days (or at least they seem to), and this usually means a very large, very heavy shoulder bag with a pocket for everything needed for every scenario. I knew this wasn’t going to work for me, but it took me a little while to figure out what would.

Mini backpackMini backpack standing up

A friend recommended the Fjällräven Kanken Mini backpack, and although I tried a few other “nice” looking backpacks, this is the one that won out for me. Unfortunately the secondhand kanken I bought seems to be a fake, but since it does the job I haven’t bothered to replace it. The real Kanken Minis are very slightly larger and better quality than my bag here, but otherwise it looks and works pretty much the same.

Yes it was designed for Swedish school children, and the size definitely makes it look like a child’s backpack. And yes, the nylon fabric might not look as nice as leather, but it is far more lightweight. A whilst it doesn’t have as many pockets as a traditional nappy bag, it’s so small that pockets are almost irrelevant.

I’ve found that with some very intentional placement, I can get everything I need for a a few hours out and about with Felix into this tiny bag. Here’s my essentials:

Flat lay of items contained my my backpack, detailed in the list below

  • A cloth nappy with a cloth wipe and mini wet bag tucked in
  • My backup kit – a disposable nappy, some cloth wipes, and a spare onesie in a zippered bag
  • Face washer cloths for cleaning messes
  • Little hand sanitiser bottle
  • A flannel swaddle, which I use as a changing mat, play mat or blanket
  • My 750ml water bottle
  • My stuff – lip balm, keys, wallet and sunnies
  • There’s enough space for one other item if I need it, like a ring sling, an extra cloth nappy, a reusable coffee cup, a toy etc

To fit all this in and have it all be usable, I have to put it all in in a specific way – less frequently used items like the backup kit and my wallet go in the pocket along the back of the bag, whilst frequently used items like the hand sanitiser and sunnies go in the (very tiny) side pockets. With all of the above in the bag, it’s completely full but I can still access the things I need frequently due to the way the bag opens up fully.

Backpack partially filled with essentialsBackpack at full capacity with essentials plus a ring sling

This works for me because Felix is breastfed (kudos to those mums carrying around bottles!), is happy to play with a cloth as a “toy”, and isn’t yet eating solids on the go. Sadly I’ll have to upsize to a larger bag when I start needing to carry baby meals and water bottle with me everywhere, but for now it’s a tidy little solution.

Backpack and ring sling hanging up by my door

My bag lives on a hook by my front door, with the main contents replaced and ready to go next time we head out. One less thing to have to remember before walking out the door.

Felix at five months

on Motherhood  

It’s been five months, and it still feels weird calling myself a mum or talking about my son. Having a baby is a roller coaster of emotions fueled by hormones, sleep deprivation, and a fierce kind of love that makes you push through anything. It’s hard even when everything is going objectively well, which thankfully is the case for us.

With very little experience with babies, I have no idea how much of these are Felix things or just general baby things, but since it’s all new to me it’s magical regardless.

The word most commonly used to describe Felix is “alert”. From the moment he was born, he’s been quietly observing the world with his big eyes, taking it all in. His head doesn’t stop moving, swivelling around to see as much as possible. Until recently he would open his eyes in a wide-eyed, intense stare that was a bit disconcerting, and will now be his passport photo for the next five years.

For a while I thought he’d be a very serious baby, until he took to smiling at anyone who says hello (from the safety of my arms) before hiding his face in my shoulder. Sometimes when he smiles his nose crinkles up, making him look very mischievous (I haven’t managed to capture this on camera yet). He hasn’t yet figured out how to play with his feet, but finds it funny when I use them to kick his face, or my face.

The main word I use to describe Felix is chill – as long as he has something to look at and something to put into his mouth, he’s a pretty relaxed kid (unless he’s hangry or overtired, which is very understandable). He’s not a fan of sleeping during the day, although I tell him when he’s a grownup he will wish he could take day naps.

He breastfeeds slowly, and although I have to fight the urge to be done and up doing something productive, I try to relish the forced downtime and the sweet way he looks up at me with complete trust and happiness (and the many Netflix series I’ve been able to get through). On these cold and rainy winter days, it’s nice to snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and a nice warm baby over me whilst apparently burning a bunch of calories (quickly offset by my frequent snacking). He watches us eat food with interest, but since he watches everything with interest it’s difficult to tell.

I of course take a million photos of him, like every mum with a camera or camera phone. Here’s some baby spam: