Baby’s 1st Plane Ride

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As new parents, you tend to hear a sorts of different advice. Advice on travel always seemed to be, that the best time to do it is before they can move around because then they will stay in one place.

Well, we decided to see what it would be like to take a long weekend trip with our then 4 and a half month bundle of joy. I’m writing this post a bit late and the little one is now 7 months.

The co-pilot and I love to travel. When we found out we were expecting, I was worried our traveling days were over. OK, we don’t have as much freedom as before and it’s not easy, but it is possible to travel with a baby. You just need to take a few precautions, give yourself lots of extra time and plan in advance.

If you have time off – Sweden gives a generous amount of “Mamma och pappa ledig’ (parental leave) – it’s nice to plan a trip or two during that time 🙂

Lucky for us we live in Europe where there are inexpensive flights to different countries. Rome has a direct flight with Norwegian Airlines and it’s one of our favorite European cities. We had a really memorable first trip with the little one!

Here are some tips for your baby’s 1st plane ride (from our own experience and from other friends with kids)

*Call the airlines so you can check what exactly you can check-in and bring on with you.

*Give yourself lots of time to make it to check in. They make you wrap your stroller and car seat in plastic. But don’t expect that to protect it, our stroller cot hood fabric was damaged and Norwegian airlines said they weren’t liable. Somewhere in the fine print, it says something about it.

*Going through security, if you don’t want to carry your baby, bring a carrier.
Some airports allow you to take your stroller all the way through to the gate. Check if that’s possible when you check in.

*Depending on how old your baby is, bring something they can taste. Our little one was allowed tastes at 4 months, we let her suck on a piece of dried mango on landing. She also breastfed on takeoff.

*Bring a change of clothes for baby, and possibly a change of clothes for yourself.

*Bring a water bottle and just fill it up after security (a good travel tip even without a baby)!

*Keep all the passports and boarding passes together so it’s easier to show it when needed.

In Rome

 *Now for taking your baby around Rome, a stroller is OK for the city streets.
*For restaurants, I asked my Roman friend about a stroller. She told me just bring it and don’t worry they will find a place for it, and its true! One rainy evening, we stopped in at a pizzeria and we kept asking what to do with our stroller, one server said to leave it and he took it to the other side of the street where the restaurant had their freezer stuff. It was very nice of him.

For different sights in Rome
Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

Glorious ceilings are best appreciated lying down.

There were a lot of steps getting down and around the museum. It is nice for the baby to look up and get to see the ceiling, so if you don’t mind carrying the stroller to get down to the Sistine Chapel then bring it, otherwise you can check it at the coat check area and use your carrier to get around.


St. Peters basilica – no strollers allowed, you need to leave it at the check-in desk before you can go inside. So bring a carrier!

For the Colosseum and Roman Forum, we left the stroller at the hotel and took the carrier switched between ourselves.

Panthenon – This is OK with a stroller!
Best to avoid using a stroller at the Roman forum

Traveling with a baby has a challenges but it can be done! Make sure you take lots of breaks at a cafe or gelato place (I highly recommend gelato at Giolitti)! Pack some water and snacks for you and baby and of course, try to enjoy yourself 🙂

Cappucino and chocolate cornetto make a great breakfast or snack 🙂

Happy travels!

Giolitti
for delicious gelato!
Via Uffici del Vicario, 40
Rome, Italy
website

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The Hunt For The Perfect Diaper Wipes

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There are so many diaper wipe brands to choose from. Some babies are more sensitive than others and we often want to give them the best of anything.

As new parents, we’ve tried quite a few different brands since our bundle of joy arrived. My co-pilot already a natural with holding and changing the baby, was also the one who decided to grab different diapers and wipes to test out since I was busy with the new arrival. We also had some wipes we can’t get in Sweden, sent to us as early baby gifts from home.

Gone are the early days when she was just a few days old and we didn’t need to use diaper wipes. In the hospital ward, they told us to just use paper and water, especially since it was the first poop, and sticky.

From Libero to Pampers and Seventh Generation to Honest Co., there are soo many choices! No one type is perfect but a few are pretty good.

Here are our favorites:

Libero – Swedish brand available at Swedish grocery stores. We use their diapers too and they are great. Affordable. Thin, Soft, Non-perfumed wipes. They come out of package one at a time.
Parent tip: Libero Touch One is perfect for a 5kg newborn.

Honest Co. – Made with Organic materials. Come out one at a time. Not available in Sweden so we brought from North America.

Water wipes – Really smooth, big sheets. Free of chemicals. Sometimes comes out one at a time but most of the time I need to separate it myself. Not available in Sweden but can order from Amazon.de.

Seventh Generation – Wipes have prints on them which make them a bit rough. Organic. Available in North America but not available in Sweden.

Naty – Another Swedish brand available at Organic stores in North America and in Sweden of course. Organic, unscented sheets.

Diaper wipes can get expensive and you do go through a lot, especially early on when it feels like you do 10-12 changes a day. One bonus to signing up for the babyboxes – you get signed up for different companies like Libero and Pampers and they send you coupons for their diapers and wipes.

As yu can see from our favorite wipes, Libero and Naty are the only ones we can buy here. Libero brand is the cheaper of the two. Overall, we prefer Libero and Honest Co. (which we bring from home whenever we visit).

Hope this post helps! Good luck with your hunt for the best diaper wipes for your little one!

Bring Your Baby to the Movies!

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Image courtesy of SFBio.

I’ve always enjoyed watching movies at a theatre. I used to go a lot, pre-baby, and when I was back home – since movies in Sweden are pricey. I love watching movies from the comfort of my home too, but going out to the theatre is always a treat. Now that it’s the post-baby chapter of my life and I am enjoying Mammaledig (maternity leave), I wondered if it was possible to bring your little one to the movies.

After searching, I found that in Sweden this DOES exist and the theatre is right in the centre of town. Note: It also exists in Canada, but theatres that offer this seem to be mostly outside the centre of the city.

Walking to the movies on a beautiful winter day

I took my daughter to a Barnvagnsbio or ‘Stroller movie’ of the film, “Hidden Figures”, on International Women’s Day. She was very well behaved compared to a few other babies who cried. She was watching at the beginning of the movie and after a change, I rocked her to sleep and she slept soundly until the very end of the film 🙂

One ticket for me and one for baby

At a “Stroller movie”, you can feed them, the volume is quieter, and the lights are just dimmed so you can see the stairs if you need to step out. They also add a short intermission, if needed (they ask before the movie starts). It was funny watching a movie and hearing babies crying or making cooing noises. While I was standing, one baby was staring and talking to us. His mom turned around and saw us and realized he was just trying to chat with us haha. Too cute!

If you’re on mammaledig or pappaledig (parental leave), and your bundle of joy isn’t too fussy, why not check out a movie? Nice to take advantage of this activity while your little one isn’t walking around yet 🙂

Popcorn is already pre-boxed here. Not as fresh as theatres back home?

Tips for going to the movies with your baby:

  • Come early so you have some space to park your stroller and change your baby if needed. There was only 1 change table in the main bathroom, the other bathroom that was labelled with skötbord (change table) didn’t have a change table in it anymore – guess they were renovating it.

“Drink is best at the movies” but you can bring your own milk for baby of course 😉

  • The movies change each week, check if it’s in English, otherwise the subtitles will only be in Swedish and that’s hard if you aren’t fluent in Swedish yet.
  • If you baby is eating snacks already, bring some for them.
  • Choose an aisle seat so you can get up easily.
  • Invite other friends to join!
  • Don’t forget to get a ticket for your baby – which doesn’t cost anything and is just for safety so they know how many people are in the theatre.

In Göteborg, there are 2 movie theatres that offer Barnvagnsbio or ‘stroller movie’. One is the Biopalaset right in the centre of town and the other is the Bio Roy on Avenyn.
Check out the theatre websites for more information on cost and movie times

BarnvagnsBio at Biopalaset
BabyBio at BioRoy

“Movie together with your baby”. Image courtesy of SFBio.

Enjoy your movie!

A Goodbye to Malta’s Azure Window

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We visited Malta in the summer of 2014, it was the summer of our wedding and honeymoon and the archipelago of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea was the first stop on our 5-week trip.

We had heard that Malta was not only beautiful but also that it has a lot to see and do. There’s the old historic sites, fortresses and grand cathedrals, the capital Valletta, beautiful beaches, diving, and even a ‘blue grotto’. The Maltese culture is it’s own and it’s cuisine is delicious. I especially enjoyed trying Maltese style pizza, rabbit pasta and fresh baked pies.

On the island called ‘Gozo’, one of 21 that make up the Maltese archipelago, Malta’s Iconic Azure Window stood. I didn’t know what to expect when my co-pilot said we were going to see something called the ‘Azure window’. It was recommended to us by some friends who used to live in Malta and some of their friends, one of which was from Gozo.

I remember when we arrived by bus and seeing how huge it was. It was beautiful.
I was in awe at how gorgeous a place this was, with the crashing waves against the cliffs and the window.

You could even go up on top of it, which we did. We were up so high and I remember seeing cracks in the top.

My co-pilot and I at the top of the Azure window. What a spectacular view!

 

I was saddened to learn about the collapse of the Azure window this week. A unique and beautiful rock formation crafted by the ocean was lost. Things like that don’t last forever so I’m glad we were able to visit.

Malta’s gorgeous Azure Window

There was one restaurant, a pizza place where we ordered takeaway veggie pizza. We took the pizza to go and sat and ate it at the bus stop, just in case.

That was one of the most memorable parts of our trip to Gozo and to Malta. It’s my profile photo because it deserves to be. We have seen a few other similar windows around Euripe, but Malta’s really stood out as something special.

Sitting back and enjoying the view.

The next time you are visiting something like the Azure window just remind yourself to enjoy it. After you are done snapping your photos, put your camera down and just really enjoy it with your eyes. Who knows, maybe one day what you were looking at will vanish…just as the beautiful Azure window did.

Feel like a real treat? How about a Cake Buffet!

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My co-pilot mentioned a Cake lunch buffet to me awhile ago. I was always curious about it but felt like I needed to save it for a real treat. When I was pregnant, I decided I would wait until after the baby was born as didn’t want to have too much sugar. I finally tried this so-called “Cake Buffet” when the baby was almost 2 months old 🙂

So it’s really a soup and cake buffet (soppa och tĂ„rta buffĂ©) but unlike other soup buffets in the city, there is only 1 type of soup available. The cakes are the real star, with about 5 different ones on offer, and all pretty delicious.

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The cakes that are in the buffet typically vary on what’s available. I’ve only been to cake buffet twice in my life and I remember trying 1 really good passion fruit cake and another delicious chocolate one. But the next visit they had different cakes, and I still found something I liked.

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Where is this amazing cake buffet lunch?

At  several Steinbrenner & Nyberg locations in Göteborg.

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Steinbrenner & Nyberg – this cafe/bakery has a few locations in the city but only a few actually offer Cake buffet. The ones I know of are the bigger cafe near Centralstation, the Lindholmen location and the Steinbrenner & Nyberg in Saluhallen (The Market Hall).
They do have other Dagenslunch items available too, but if you want cake it’s extra.
The Soppa och tÄrta includes different crackers, bread, butter and cheese, and coffee.
For more info check out their website

So the next time you want to Treat yourself, why not All-You-Can-Eat Cake?

Happy Eating!

Thursday Only Means One Thing…

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…Pea soup and pancakes!

During the colder and darker seasons of Fall and Winter, when it’s Thursday, the lunch option (Dagenslunch) in Sweden includes Pea soup and Pancakes (Ă€rtsoppa och pannkakor)!! This comes from an old Military tradition of eating both the soup and the pancakes.

Most of the time the pea soup is made from yellow peas and includes pieces of pork and ham. At some restaurants and even the grocery store, you can get vegetarian pea soup. If you get it at the grocery store, it will come in a tube shape like many other food items in the grocery store.

I’m not really a fan of the pea soup but I do enjoy the pancakes! Just a dollop of whip cream and some raspberry jam and you have yourself a tasty treat 🙂
20170216_123836Pancakes and coffee make a great combination!

Dagenslunch or ‘Today’s lunch’ usually has 3 options, a meat, a fish dish and a vegetarian dish. Lunch at most places in Sweden, includes salad and coffee and cookies (dessert). When it’s Thursday, the dessert is replaced by pancakes!

Note: Swedish or European style pancakes are thin like a crepe but doughy unlike the thick American kind.

Instead of topping with butter and maple syrup, these pancakes are topped with whip cream and some kind of jam. Strawberry and Raspberry are popular choices.

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When it comes to All-U-Can-Eat, ‘serve yourself’ pancakes, it’s not unusual for people to skip right to dessert!

20170126_125633Happy Thursday and enjoy your pea soup and pancakes today!

Fettisdagen!

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Fettisdagen or Fat Tuesday is here! It’s the day before the Ash Wednesday fast and in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, it’s the day Swedes enjoy Semlor or Whip cream buns. Those little (or big treats) can be found at cafes all over the city. Similar to a Hamburger but instead of a beef patty, it’s a bunch of whip cream and almond paste in the centre of a cardamom bun. This treat can be quite filling.

20170126_133714There are different ways to eat this bun. You can take the top off and use it to scoop up the whip cream then bite it. I’ve also heard that you can soak it in milk before eating it.

Fork and knifing it or just pick it up to eat like a burger although I haven’t seen this one as the majority of Swedes I’ve seen still fork and knife their hamburgares (hamburger in Swedish)

There are few different Semlor or semla singular that I’ve noticed this year:

The Muffin Semla

20170204_114802The Muffin semlor are on the second to last level of the desserts above

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More muffin semlor with different flavors – instead of whip cream it’s cream cheese.

Semlor with colored buns

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7-Eleven in Sweden has an impressive baked goods selection compared with the 7-Elevens back home! With brownies, swedish cinnamon buns or Kanelbullor and even different chocolate cookies. They also offer a new Nuts semla.

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But the Traditional semla of course is a soft cardamom bun dusted with a little powdered sugar.

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Mini semlor are also available!

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You can even get them at a grocery store! Dahl’s is a bakery that sells their semlor in various Hemköps around the city.

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Happy eating and enjoy your semla or whatever huge meal or dessert you will eat on Fat Tuesday!

I cannot believe it’s our 4th year in Sweden. Here’s a look back at a previous Fat Tuesday blog