WILD ADVENTURE MUM

When I first arrived in Bali I had to figure everything out all by my onesies but I’m gonna save you the work and tell you where you can find everything you’ll need for babies, toddlers and little kids – cribs, car seats, toddler beds, toys, those “more expensive than gold” organic baby snacks that taste like cardboard…yeh, it’s all below. I’ve given you options:

Liz & Co

…in Renon is a great little one stop shop for most things baby related. It was my first find before any of the others and I got most of what I needed here when we just started out and Eia was a tiny baby. 

Address: Jl. Raya Puputan No.172A, Renon, Kec. Denpasar Tim., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80239

IG @liznco.babystore

Mothercare

…in Beachwalk Mall, Kuta. It’s a UK brand so expect most of what you can find in Europe, just maybe not quite as much choice (though they can order stuff in from Jakarta if you ask) and it’s on the pricey side but they do have super cute toddler and baby clothes and it’s the only place I’ve managed to buy a swimming nappy. It’s also where we got Eia’s cot bed!

Address: Beachwalk Shopping Centre, Jl. Pantai Kuta, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361

IG @mothercareindo

Pertokoan Udayana

…in Denpasar. It’s sort of an outside shopping centre I guess? They have lots of baby shops, all super cheap, lots of Indonesian/Asian brands of toys, high chairs, strollers and clothes, though not all my taste if I’m being brutally honest 😐

Address: Jl. Pertokoan Udayana, Dangin Puri, Kec. Denpasar Bar., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80112

Balonku

…on Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai, Sanur. This just opened recently really close to our house. Gutted neither of my kids are babies anymore to really get the benefit of it! It’s massive! And they sell everything you need for babies and toddlers, lots of well known brands, some (but not all) at western prices (that’s local speak for “pricier than Indonesian prices”). But we bought Eia’s car seat here and shower head filters – though that wasn’t for the kids, that was to stop my hair going green AGAIN but that’s a whole other blog post! No, really, I wrote a blog post about it. It’s filed under “Bali Life” just fyi. Its more interesting than it sounds by the way, just go with me on that 🙂

Address:  Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai No.373-375, Sanur Kauh, Denpasar Selatan, Kota Denpasar, Bali 80237

IG @balonkubabyshop

You can also get a lot of stuff online from Tokopedia. Amazon isn’t a thing here. Yes, you can grieve. And don’t forget you’ve got the gojek app too! If you run out of nappies or formula at 1pm, you can goShop whatever you need from the shop you want it from during opening hours and a gojek driver will collect it and bring it to you so you don’t have to bundle baby into the car for a diaper run! Aaaaand there are several Facebook buy and sell baby groups where I just bagged myself a kickass toddler hiking carrier for 500k! I should clarify they’re not buying and selling babies btw. Just stuff for babies. Obviously…

Nobody:
Me: “let me tell you what lives in my bottomless, Poppins style beach bag….

You don’t raise kids on a tropical island and not pick up a thing or five about beach life hacks to make your mum life easier. These are my must packs, all living full time in my mum backpack:

1. TALCUM POWDER: I never go to the beach without the stuff. Brush it on churro children to clean them up before wrangling them back into shorts. You’re welcome!

2. ZINC: I use it on for surfing but I also spread it on tiny noses, cheeks and foreheads for a solid waterproof sun block. It lasts for hours, doesn’t run into little eyes like salt water diluted sun cream and when it starts to smudge after hours of goggles on/goggles off face touching action, you can easily see which areas need a touch up. Boom! I use Sun Time by @balisoapindonesia because it’s mineral based and reef safe 🤙🏽 and the tan skin colour makes me look like Amy Childs from TOWIE. IFYKYK!

3. RASH VEST: Slathering sun cream onto your kid’s torso is sooooooo 1990. Get them an SPF rashie to protect shoulders and arms in the hottest part of the day. Plus it’s one less sand caked body part to deal with at home time. Saving time and talcum powder! Nowadays, large department stores and shops like Marks and Spencer and H&M sell their own brand SPF50 rash vests and long sleeved swimsuits but since we live in a surfers paradise, its easier – and lets be honest, way cooler 😉 – to pick up mini surf rashies for the kids.

Eia has a super cute Roxy rashie and long sleeved swimsuit and Quicksilver do a whole bunch of toddler sized rash vests for little surfer dudes! Our local Ripcurl store in Sanur on Bypass Ngurah Rai also has a super cool toddler range of rashies, shorts and t-shirts. They teamed up with a well known kids cartoon and right now for the life of me I can’t remember the name of it but I DO remember that they were super cute, if that helps!

4. SUNCREAM: For all remaining body parts that haven’t been zinc-ed or protected by a rashie, there’s sun cream. My fave for surfing and the kids is the SPF50 clear zinc sunscreen by @sunzapper. It’s not super cheap (about 500k for 500ml – £27 – from Ripcurl) and it’s thicker than pva glue but when you live a salty life on an island as hot as the sun, you want it in your life, trust me! It lasts for hours in the surf and still lets my skin safely get that island glow without the lobster look!

Thanks for coming to my ted talk 🙂

Our eldest little terrorist turned 2 last week so we threw him a bitchin pool party.  Nothing fancy, just bbq, swimming, cake and booze for the grown ups because I don’t know a parent of any toddler that doesn’t need to indulge in a little daytime drinking to get them through a party with children.

Nowadays, with two kids, I am not the hostess with the mostess so elaborate kids parties are not my thing but with people coming over some effort on my part is required, like buying rice, a cake etc.  You know, the easy things.  However, every day here is an education.  On an almost daily basis life throws me little bastard curve balls that I choose to see as opportunities to learn and grow as a mother and person in this crazy place as opposed to what they really are – contributing factors to the nervous breakdown that will one day soon see me institutionalised.  This last week has been no different.  Let me share with you some of the little #BaliLife lessons I’ve picked up recently.

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Our local market – the smell is something else.  Or something dead.

Lesson number 1.  Rice in Indonesian is nasi.  Or so I thought.  It turns out that ‘cooked’ rice in Indonesian is nasi, uncooked rice is beras.  And while we’re on the subject, rice that’s still growing in the ground is padi as in ‘padi field’ but in Indonesian its actually called a sawa.  Still with me?  So going to the market and asking for nasi is like walking in to Tesco and asking for toast.  My exchange with the shop keeper went like this.  Sidebar – I’ve translated my simple yet poor Indonesian into English to avoid further confusion.

Me: Hello sir, do you have nasi?

Him: Nasi?

Me: Yes, nasi.

Him: *silence*

Me: Nasi.  To eat.  I’m now ignorantly making the action for eating rice with my hands.

Him: Ah, you want beras?

Me: No, not brass.  Nasi.  Internal dialogue – whats wrong with this guy.  You’re one of the biggest rice eating/exporting countries in the world, how can you not know what I mean?!

Him: *more silence but now he’s looking at me as if I’m a moron*

He walks away.  Am I supposed to follow?  I do.

Him: Here *points to huge sacks of rice*  Beras.

Ah! The penny drops.  How could I be with an Indonesian for almost 15 years and not know this!!!! I say terimah kasi pak (thank you sir!) but its to his back, he’s already lost interest in this stupid bule (foreigner). Fair enough.

Lesson number 2.  Last year, I made Arlo, from scratch, a two tier blue and green fondant icing covered sponge cake complete with handmade fondant icing jungle figures.  In hindsight it was probably a wasted effort for his first birthday but I instagrammed the shit outta that cake and the shower of compliments I received made me feel like a rockstar mum so screw it, I’m still proud of that masterpiece.  Thats 21st century parenting for ya eh!  However, this year, I have neither oven nor fondant and f**k knows what ‘flour’ is in Indonesian, probably ‘bread’, so this year its shop bought. But in Bali, childrens novelty cakes are not available in bakery’s at short notice or in supermarkets period.  You must order in advance.  Hmm, that’s a problem since I’m now standing in the bakery on the day of his ‘party’ with my visions of a car themed cake going up in clouds of icing sugar.  They don’t have much and they don’t have anything for kids.  So its a ‘manly’ brown Oreo cheesecake or a ‘girly’, maraschino cherry decorated pink red velvet cake.  Mummy likes red velvet cake so red velvet cake it is!  I did manage to get them to write a little chocolate sign for the cake – Happy 2nd birthday Arlo – but I’m not sure the lady understood Arlo was a boy so that too is pink but f**k it, gender neutrality is all the rage nowadays and cake is cake at the end of the day.  Before all the hippies give me a hard time about the gender neutrality issue I’ve made here, I should point out that my problem wasn’t entirely with a pink cake (we’re all for not gender stereotyping in our house!) but more that I wanted to get him a cake with characters I knew he’d love and it just so happens that currently he loves cars, trucks and any type of moving vehicle.  So I stuck one of his Hot Wheels in the cream cheese icing and called it a job well done! Happy birthday baby!

Lesson number 3.  Pants are not a suitable substitute for swimming nappies.  It’s a pool party so kids in the pool is a give in, right.  Problem is, we’re all out of swimming nappies.  The few we brought with us from the UK I’ve already used at the beach club playdates where a requirement of using the pool is that you bring your own swimming nappies.  They might as well ask you to bring your own unicorn because the blasted things are impossible to find here!  So I’ve been sticking pants on him under his shorts and playing ‘swimming poo-l (see what I did there?) roulette’ for the past 2 months.  My luck was bound to run out.  At least it ran out in our pool and not someone else’s!  I caught it quickly (thank god because I think he had a dose of the runs!) and thankfully most of it was still contained in his pants.  Still, I’ve never seen a swimming pool empty so fast on such a hot day.  My bad.

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Saving the baby from ‘poo-l gate’

Lesson number 4.  Don’t let your kid eat tempe at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It’ll give them the runs.  See lesson number 3 above.

Lesson number 5.  If you spill anything, food or liquid, clean it up.  Immediately.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect 200,000 rupiah.  Do not wait.  In the tropics, you are under constant stealth assault from ants.  Even when it appears like you are alone, you are not. They come from everywhere at the drop of a crumb so we’ve practically laid out a buffet for them following a party of little mess makers whose ringleader, my son, has smeared cream cheese icing on pretty much every surface on the terrace,  the dog and my breast pump.  Argh, I don’t even….Nevermind, I don’t wanna know!

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While we’re on ants, something else I’ve learned.  Lesson number 5a.  If you have an itch, its probably an ant.  The teeny tiny ones are blown in the breeze onto you’re sticky sweaty skin.  Thats fun!  And when you stand in one place too long the big ones will crawl up your legs, yay!  They are mostly harmless, except when they bite (oh yeh, they bite here!) and they are super useful.  We’d be drowning in a sea of dead leaves and spent frangipane flowers if it wasn’t for the little f**kers so they’re not all bad.  Except when it rains and they grow wings and fly.  Then its very very bad.

Lesson number 6.  Spray your room before bed time.  Every. Single. Night.  It keeps the mozzies away but more importantly in my house, it seems to deter our bastard resident tokeh, Allan, from crapping on our bed.  As if its not bad enough that I have to fish my kids crap outta the pool, I regularly have to clean lizard poo off the bed and/or floor.  The other night I forgot to spray the room and the baby woke.  I ran upstairs and the instant I opened the door I could smell Allan’s distinctive toilet odour.  Its bizarrely chemical, not what you’d expect for a number 2.  My brain registered it as being particularly strong, and therefore close by, at almost the exact same moment that I realised I’d stepped in it, in my sodding bare feet, upon entering the room – the little beastie had gone right beside the door frame!  If he wasn’t so bloody fast, he’d already be a purse!

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Allan – its a love/hate relationship

Mostly what I’ve learned so far is to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in this magical land – the heat, the humidity, the creepy crawlies, my embarrassment over my failures at communicating in Indonesian to name a few.  Note to self.  Kotor means dirty.  Kontol means d**k.  So shouting at your kid ‘don’t touch that sweetheart, its kontol‘ does not go down well with the locals!  Or my mortified husband for that matter.