31 Results

green tea


In exciting news for both children and the environment, VTech Electronics worldwide leader in learning toys have progressed their commitment to a better world by introducing eco-friendly products using reclaimed and plant-based plastics.  

Making it their mission to design and manufacture innovative, high-quality products in a manner that minimises impact on the environment, while creating sustainable value for customers and communities – the pair are launching the first drop of these new green electronic learning toys, just in time for Christmas!

The introduction of sustainable product packaging for VTech and LeapFrog toys is also well underway. Currently 94% of the packaging materials is recyclable, while 90% of the cardboard used is from recycled material. VTech has also committed to eliminating fossil-based blister packaging and replacing it with a plant-based alternative in 99% of the electronic learning products by 2025.

VTech Electronics is a member of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, committed to reducing the environmental impact of its packaging.

Each new toy is a first and very important step in both VTech and LeapFrog’s commitment to replacing fossil-based plastics with sustainability alternatives by 2030.

Meet our new eco-friendly toys, environmentally friendly and the perfect gift for Christmas!

VTech Ride & Go Recycling Truck, RRP $59.95
When you get the Ride & Go Recycling Truck, you’re already doing your part to help the earth! 

This recycling truck is made from plastic that is 90% reclaimed, which means less waste goes into landfills. Beginner recyclers will love hopping on this lean, green recycling machine and pushing it round while learning about recycling and reusing everyday objects. 

Ride & Go Recycling Truck is suitable for 18 to 36 months, and available from Big W, Target, Myer, good toy stores and online retailers.

VTech Toot-Toot Drivers Bio-plastic Special Edition Vehicles, RRP $14.95
Grow your imagination while you reduce, reuse and recycle with these earth-friendly vehicles that are perfectly sized for little hands. Each Toot-Toot Drivers vehicle features a light-up face and three sing-along songs and six melodies. But these little vehicles are mighty kind to the environment because the plastic used to make them is 85% plant based and comes from renewable sources.
Toot-Toot Drivers Bio-plastic Special Edition Vehicles are suitable for toddlers 1-5 years and available at good toy stores and online retailers.


 LeapFrog Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot, RRP $39.95
The Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot is a recipe for learning fun! And with all the vegetables made from 85% plant-based plastic, it’s also a recipe that’s more sustainable for the environment.  

Children love to pretend to cook. Prepare broccoli, sweetcorn, a tomato and a carrot with snap-apart vegetables, a play knife and cutting board. Hear the pot respond with encouraging phrases as kids add veggies to the pot.

Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot is suitable for children over 12 months, and available now from Target, good toy stores and online retailers.

 LeapFrog Interactive Wooden Animal Puzzle, RRP $29.95

Perfect for playtime! With four interactive play modes, this puzzle is full of delightful surprises.
Match animal puzzle pieces by shape and colour. Animal names and sounds, colours and fun facts are featured in Animals mode and in Numbers mode, count the objects hidden under the animals. Questions about animals, colours and numbers help reinforce the learning. This product is made with 100% FSC® Certified wood and the plastic in this product is 90% reclaimed.

For pre-schoolers from 2 years, the Interactive Wooden Animal Puzzle is available at Target, good toy stores and online retailers. 

LeapFrog Touch & Learn Nature ABC Board, RRP $39.95

Bring a love of nature into the world of learning with the Touch & Learn Nature ABC Board.
With a touch-sensitive wooden board and an animated light-up LED screen, this toy tablet teaches letters, letter sounds and counting. Explore 26 animal/letter buttons, a music button and more. Touch the animals one by one to count to 10! This product is made with 100% FSC® Certified wood and the plastic in this product is 90% reclaimed.

For Pre-schoolers from 2 years, the Touch & Learn Nature ABC Board is available now at Target and Myer, good toy stores and online retailers.  

VTech Electronics will continue to develop eco-friendly products and packaging, with a great range of new sustainable VTech and LeapFrog toys coming soon in 2022 and beyond.

To learn more about VTech products please visit www.vtech.com.au and for LeapFrog products please visit www.leapfrog.com.au. 

With researchers widely reporting the benefits of tea for reducing the risk of developing cancer, high blood pressure and even the common cold, tea can a great addition to a healthy life. But the endless options on the market can make choosing the right one an intimidating process.

Tea is not just a soothing drink to drown out a stressful day’s work, but it also has powerful antioxidants which target free radicals in the body – these are major contributors to the development of disease – and studies show this may play a role not only in reducing the risk of various ailments, but may also slow down the ageing process.

Lifestyle, environmental and diet choices, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol or skimping on regular exercise, are some of the main causes of oxidative stress; a state in which there is an imbalance of free radicals in the body. This imbalance can damage our DNA and could eventually lead to a number of health conditions, including:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Diabetes
  3. Inflammation
  4. Heart disease
  5. Cancer

Research on green tea consumption found that regularly drinking the beverage has a proven reduction in cellular damage and it proved that the antioxidants, specifically polyphenols, in the tea trapped the free radicals, leading to a decrease in oxidative stress.

tea health
Photo Credit: Matthew Henry on Unsplash

It is clear that tea is a powerful aid to maintaining good health and, although tea may not cure illnesses, it can offer some relief and lessen the burden of some symptoms. Below is a list of some beneficial teas and what they can do – find out which one is right for you.

Camomile Tea

Best for

  • Managing blood sugar levels
  • Aiding sleep regulation
  • Reducing inflammation

Camomile has a long history of uses dating back to ancient times when it was highly esteemed throughout Europe and Asia for its many healing properties. Today, this tea is most popularly known as a calming drink, often recommended to those with jittery nerves. However, it has also been found to reduce inflammation – which is a major contributor to the development of conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis or even skin ailments like eczema. Some studies have also found that this tea can help manage blood sugar levels.

chamomile tea
Photo Credit: Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

Peppermint Tea

Best for

  • Indigestion
  • Bloating

The cooling and refreshing flavour and smell of this tea prove that it’s for good reason that so many products, including toothpaste, sweets and gum, use mint as a main ingredient. But the taste alone is not where peppermint tea’s best qualities lie.

Recognised for its benefits in reducing the pain of indigestion and bloating, this tea can be a great option for those with digestive issues. However, studies show that if one’s symptoms stem from GERD, this tea could further irritate the condition, but those suffering from IBS symptoms may find relief with peppermint, according to previous research.

Peppermint tea
Photo Credit: Anton Darius on Unsplash

Liquorice Root Tea

Best for

  • Supporting kidney and liver function
  • Reducing symptoms of respiratory illnesses

Liquorice root is in fact the same plant that the beloved confectionary liquorice is derived from, and unsurprisingly, the tea has a natural sweetness to it. Studies have found that the oleanolic and asiatic acids in this tea make powerful antioxidants, which in turn can fight the symptoms of some respiratory conditions including colds and bronchitis, by protecting the cells in the lungs.

This study also shows that liquorice root tea contains antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Though there is limited evidence, some believe this tea may reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.

licorice tea
Liquorice root tea is known for its healing qualities.

Ginger Tea

Best for

  • Aiding digestion
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing congestion

This antiviral tea can aid in pain relief for menstrual cramps, indigestion and bloating and is a popular choice for reducing cold symptoms, including congestion. Ginger also has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, with one study reporting 5% less oxidative stress-related kidney damage in the subjects that consumed ginger than those that didn’t.

Ginger tea
Photo Credit: Julia Topp on Unsplash

Green Tea

Best for

  • Skin health
  • Antioxidants

This aromatic beverage is a powerful option and its health benefits are a force to be reckoned with, ranging from aiding digestion, boosting brain function and supporting skin health. The antioxidants found in green tea are a driving force for preventing cancer and inflammation. This tea may also fight halitosis – studies have found green tea reduced the severity of bad breath by inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

green tea
Green tea is packed with antioxidants.

Nettle Tea

Best for

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Bone health

This tea, sourced from the stinging nettle plant, is a nutritional powerhouse, providing doses of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and it also contains all the nine essential amino acids. Like the other teas on this list, nettle tea provides free radical-fighting antioxidants which are vital for maintaining healthy cells and preventing the development of many illnesses.

Nettle tea
Photo Credit: Debby Hudson on Unsplash

While these choices all provide a range of health benefits, it is important to remember not all teas are safe for everyone and some teas may interact with one’s medication and, as such, it’s always best to check with your physician before making any dietary changes.



The top five teas you should be drinking this spring.

Tea. It’s been around for centuries. It’s been used for medicinal purposes, beauty products and has even become a euphemism for gossip, but what is all the rage?

Tea has been essential to so many cultures around the world. There have been proven health benefits between the properties of tea and their effect on our immune systems, mood and health that have been around for centuries.

“When we sip tea, we are on our way to serenity,” says lifestyle philosopher, Alexandra Stoddard.

Green Tea

Research has shown that green tea is one of the healthiest drinks going around.

Green tea is made with unoxidized tea leaves which contain flavonoids – a group of plant-based chemicals that have been shown to reduce coronary inflammation.

Here are some of the major health benefits associated with daily consumption of green tea:

  • Contains healthy bioactive compounds – The nutrients found in green tea have been linked to treating various disease including some cancers, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and may help prevent type two diabetes.
  • Boosts metabolic rate which increases fat burn.
  • May improve brain function – Green tea contains caffeine which is a stimulant that increases brain activity including mood, memory, vigilance and reaction time.

In a season where immunity is still compromised, the antiviral properties of green tea are a natural way to help fight off colds this spring.

Peppermint Tea

With its minty properties, peppermint tea has been used for its taste and medicinal properties for hundreds of years.

Some reasons to incorporate peppermint tea this spring are:

  • Can reduce headaches – A 2016 study into peppermint oil found that there was a link between the cooling nature of the substance and the easing of migraines.
  • Breathing in the vapours of hot, peppermint tea can reduce nasal congestion. This is particularly useful in combatting winter colds.
  • Peppermint tea can aid in digestion relief for those suffering with upset bowels.
  • Peppermint capsules may help fight bacterial infections while tea several types of mouth bacteria.

Chamomile Tea

This flowery tea has a relaxing essence that soothes the senses. Chilly nights can be warmed with this fragrant tea that the whole family will enjoy.

People incorporate this tea into their diet for a variety of health benefits as seen below:

  • Proven to help irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and can be a fantastic preventative measure for harmful bacteria.
  • Can help with sleeping as it relaxes the nerves, according to Dietician Anshul Jaibharat.
  • In a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Chemistry, it found that chamomile can help reduce muscle spasms and period pain by decreasing the production of prostaglandins.

Ginger Tea

Despite its infamous, polarising reputation, ginger tea is one of the best teas to help with unsettled stomachs. Its light spice soothes and relaxes stomachs.

  • Can reduce nausea and morning sickness in expectant mothers through acceleration of the gastric processes.
  • Ginger tea can help alleviate issues surrounding the heart all the way from relieving heartburn to helping to protect against heart disease.
  • May help to alleviate pain from inflammation and sore muscles. 

Lavender Tea

The refreshing scent of lavender perfectly transitions to the calming brew of lavender tea. Here are the main reasons lavender tea is a winner:

  • May help boost sleep – enjoying a cup before bed can help you to unwind.
  • Can help improve skin health.

Modern mothers are the ultimate jugglers. With all those balls in the air it is easy to feel overwhelmed, fatigued, and depleted. Supplements can be an effective way to help balance your energy, mood, focus and wellbeing so you can balance your family’s busy schedule (and your own) with ease.

SUPPS R US receives regular requests from women looking for support of:

  • Workouts and weight loss
  • Sleep
  • Beauty – hair, skin and nails
  • Mood, energy and mental clarity

 Workout and weight loss

There’s a range of supplements available to help support your workout and weight loss regime.

Pre Workout:

Oxyshred has mood enhancing and energy-boosting benefits to help women achieve more productive and sustained training sessions, resulting in better performance and increased weight loss.

C4 is another popular performance pre-workout supplement to assist with improving performance. Women often consume BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) or EAA’s (essential amino acids) in the gym to naturally help support muscular endurance. Look for electrolytes in supplements to maximise hydration.

Post Workout:

As a general rule, if you train more than 90 minutes per session, then you should consume carbohydrates post-training. If your goal is hypertrophy, then a 2:1 ratio of carbs to fast-digesting whey protein isolate within 30 mins of your workout is advised. Protein powders help to improve recovery and support lean muscle.

Whey protein isolate or hydrolysed whey isolate are great choices for women, thanks to their fast digesting nature. They are rapidly absorbed and contain fewer fats and carbs than blends and concentrates. SUPPS R US recommend this one, with added collagen for a welcome beauty boost.

If weight loss, in particular, is your primary goal, SUPPS R US has a range of products to help increase metabolism, gain lean muscle and burn fat. Try Ghost – Burn v2 & Amino v2 Combo and X50 – Green Tea 30 Serves | Twin Pack as starting points.


Scientists have proved that sleep is an essential ingredient for health and wellbeing. Without sufficient quality sleep, our executive function, coordination, mood, stress tolerance, immunity, focus, endurance, and so much more become dangerously compromised.

A good night’s sleep, especially for breastfeeding mothers and mothers of young children, can be hard to come by. Poor sleep cycles can result in a cycle of insomnia and sometimes lead to bouts of anxiety and depression too.

SUPPS R US recommends adding products like EHP Labs OxySleep, Force Element Performance NIGHT OPS, Body Science HydroxyBurn Sleep Rx, and ATP Science Adrenal RX to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and achieve quality sleep. Wake feeling rested, refreshed and ready to tackle anything that’s thrown your way.

Energy, Vitality and Focus

Often, when women experience burnout and suffer symptoms of brain fog, stress, fatigue, heavy limbs, malaise and restlessness, their adrenal systems need support. B Vitamins are powerful in supporting the adrenal system and renewing energy and vitality. Containing proven ingredients including Rhodiola, as well as Vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6, Macro Mike Macro Adrenal sachets help support stress management, energy, stamina, immunity and general wellbeing. For a natural, caffeine-free boost, incorporate a cuppa of Before You Speak Adrenal Reset Coffee into your morning routine.

Boost your overall vitality and wellbeing with the addition of super greens. Look for clean ingredients, natural sweeteners and dense nutritional ingredient lists. The highly recommended Vitality Switch super greens powder is densely packed with goodness, including collagen, probiotics, mushrooms, organic super greens and Himalayan Shilajit to help support brain function, digestion and gut health, energy and nutrient absorption.


Collagen is vital for plump, glowing skin, strong connective tissue, healthy nails and hair. As you age, your ability to produce collagen reduces, causing the skin to sag and wrinkle.

Look for clean, quality collagen products. R1 Collagen is 100% superior grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hide collagen peptides that support hair, skin, nails and joints. Add the powder to smoothies (or another beverage of choice, like your morning coffee or tea), make collagen gummy treats, or incorporate it into your breakfast oats. Collagen is extremely versatile and can easily boost many meals.

SUPPS R US is your one-stop-shop for better health. Optimise your workouts, restore your energy and gain back your sense of vitality – even as you juggle the never-ending demands of motherhood.





Balancing your hormones is the key to health and wellness you didn’t know you were missing.

When we feel tired, sleep poorly, struggle with weight gain, or have mood swings, it can be hard to identify why. It might be simply that you need to get back to basics and balance your hormones.

The key to happy hormones and a healthy body is about adopting a healthy lifestyle. Below we have six easy adjustments you can make to assist with healthy hormone production.

Hormones are chemical pathways in our bodies responsible for sending messages through our bodies about what we need. If hormones are out of whack, it can lead to dry skin, hair loss, sugar cravings, bloating and lethargy.

Hormonal health is essential for women, as it can affect your menstrual cycle and lead to period pain, blood clotting, and a decrease in libido.

1. Drink green tea

Green tea has a multitude of health benefits and is packed with antioxidants and is all-around delicious. Green tea also has caffeine, which helps to boost your metabolism and provides energy. In addition, the antioxidants in green tea are thought to stop your insulin from spiking, so drink up.

2. Exercise

Exercise such as aerobics and weight training are effective in decreasing insulin levels and boosting your metabolism. However, if you are struggling to get into a fitness regime, grab your headphones and go for a nice long walk. Or maybe 20 minutes of yoga is more your style. Any exercise is better than no exercise.

3. Eat Fatty Fish 

Start adding salmon, sardines and mackerel to your dinner and lunch rotation. These sources of omega-3 fatty acids are powerhouses for hormonal health, as research suggests that they lower cortisol and adrenaline.

4. Avoid refined sugars 

This one might seem obvious, but refined sugars can have negative consequences for hormonal health. Refined sugars in beverages especially should be avoided, as they spike insulin and encourage your body to store belly fat.

5. Sleep 

It is essential to get enough sleep in the evening. Sleep is your body’s way of resetting, and the more quality sleep you get, the better. Avoid harsh lighting and looking at your phone before bed. Instead, try switching to a book, magazine, or podcast at least an hour before bed.

6. Manage Stress

This one is easier said than done but learning to manage stress is beneficial for your hormonal and overall health. The stress hormone cortisol can cause hormonal imbalance, weight gain, mood swings, and even cardiovascular disease if experienced long term.

Feeling like you are struggling with your health can seem overwhelming or be concerning. However, it is possible to address some of these things with small, incremental changes.

Try incorporating a few of these into your daily life and work your way up to as many as possible.




The Hilton Kuala Lumpur was an exclusive experience, especially leading up to the Christmas season with beautiful decorations adorning the hotel.

There was an impressive Christmas set-up in the lobby, featuring a large Christmas tree, a Santa sleigh, and a gingerbread house.

My two children and I met with delightful staff who escorted us to our suite where we discovered desserts, fresh fruits, and a box each filled with treats for my children, with their names created on chocolate plaques.

A generous welcome at Hilton KL with treats, fruits & gifts

The staff presented us with delicious Hilton Kuala Lumpur signature cocktail and mocktails, as well as a personalised Welcome greeting on the king-size bed, made of palm fronds, fresh flowers, and animal towel creations.

We stayed in a Grand Executive Suite which was ideal for a family! It was large (89 sqm) and spacious with a separate living/dining room, an interconnecting king-sized bedroom, a private dressing room, a study nook, and a luxurious marble-finished bathroom that included a separate bathtub and shower, where we were pleased to discover luxurious Crabtree & Evelyn bath amenities.

The suite also offered remarkable floor-to-ceiling views over the urban metropolis.

We arrived back to our room to find the bath had been run with rose petals and a bath bomb – a perfect gesture to help us relax before heading out to a spectacular dining experience at the Banquet of Hoshena at Hilton Graze restaurant, where we had the entire restaurant to ourselves.

The evening at Graze restaurant was a mystical experience in a virtual reality fairyland where gastronomy was elegantly paired with the storyline. It is the first of its kind dining experience in the Asia-Pacific. My kids and I have never experienced anything so enchanting – we were transported to a magical fairyland!

It was a fairytale brought to life where kings, queens, fairies, and volcanoes came alive with images, lighting, sound, and music creating a 3D virtual magical experience. Projectors from above displayed faces and nature to our table, plates, and props, creating a surreal encounter.

The tale was inspired by the story of Hoshena, a brave and bold woman who led her people on a captivating journey, symbolising the emotions and flavours of the dishes served through a fascinating narrative. It was so exciting, wondering what was coming next over the intriguing storyline and sumptuous eight course meal.

We enjoyed a menu of cured watermelon with spiced feta cheese; ox cheek arborio arancini, gruyere and pickled cucumber; Tiger prawn citrus sphere; cauliflower & leek soup; Australian Black Angus medallion with carrots and mash potato; pan-seared Cod with highland heirloom vegetables and calamansi broth; and Espresso, mascarpone and Savioradi to finish off a fine evening.

As a Hilton KL Executive Suite Guest, we were granted access to the Executive Lounge which provided amazing views of the city and complimentary afternoon tea with tea, coffee, and soft drinks. We ventured back there for the cocktail session where delicious complimentary canapes, soft drinks, wine, and cocktails were offered by helpful waitstaff.

Complimentary afternoon tea, canapes & cocktails in the Executive Lounge

The Hilton KL’s swimming pool was under refurbishment (but is newly opened again now) but we were able to swim in their sister hotel’s pool, Le Meridian, which was open air and overlooked the bustling KL city life and had a pool-side bar. It was accessible from the Hilton hotel via an interesting rock and water feature-lined path. The pool was large, windy and interesting, with waterfalls we could swim under and a water slide, contributing to the tropical zest.

The hotel has first-class facilities including nine restaurants, a full-service spa with a sauna and a steam room, a gym, conference rooms, and wedding venues.

The staff at Hilton KL were fantastic. They arranged a wake-up call and delicious breakfast prepared for our early departure comprising a Western breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, freshly squeezed orange juice, pastries and hot coffee. We enjoyed these on the plane ride home, easily favoured over the airline food.

Beautiful Hilton KL staff

I had a problem with the Grab app hailing service as I was frantically trying to book a service for our dawn flight back home to Australia, and a kind staff member came to the rescue, using his personal account to book the ride for me (for which I will be forever grateful); such was the personalised service at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur.

Hilton KL is exceptionally located in the heart of the business district and within walking distance to the monorail and shopping regions.

Mid Valley Megamall, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Central Market, Petronas Twin Tower, KL Tower, KL Bird Park, and Chinatown are about a 10-minute drive.

The Hilton Kuala Lumpur offered impeccable service, class and facilities and I recommend them for any family visiting Malaysia.

Azerai Ke Ga Bay, Vietnam, is an oceanside sanctuary of peace and luxury, with a private beach and expansive ocean views. Salt air and a cool coastal breeze permeate the warm, lush tropical setting of the complex. Set on 4.5 hectares, this white stone resort has clean air, open space, and serenity.

We recently attended the resort’s grand opening, where we enjoyed a weekend of exquisite traditional Vietnamese cuisine, delectable canapes, a barbecue that ensued around 14 courses and live entertainment.

This exclusive resort is a peaceful getaway from the hubbub of popular Vietnamese tourist areas; it is largely undeveloped, not yet a fledging hub of commercialism.

A 2.5 hour drive along a newly-built road from Ho Chi Minh City, this is the third Azerai hotel in Vietnam, developed by renowned hotelier, Adrian Zecha. Sister hotels include Azerai La Residence in Hue and Azerai Can Tho, which is set on a private island on the Hau River and in the Mekong Delta.

Ke Ga Bay is an undeveloped, peaceful region

The hotel design is contemporary, spacious, and open. The original establishment has been redeveloped to create a seamless merging of the natural coastal surrounds with modern living. The Ke Ga Bay region feels untouched, and this resort nestles effortlessly within the unspoiled natural landscape.

It creates an ambiance of purity that feels in resonance with the local coastal natural elements. The building structures and furnishings have been sourced locally from native timber and stone.

The estate is expansive. Tropical leafy grounds line winding walkways, creating a maze through the tropical grounds. The tranquillity and quiet are perceptible.

It is a good walk from the spacious, open lobby, along the serene walkways which weave through verdant gardens, past several swimming pools, and into the capacious restaurant and bar area, which formed a backdrop for the two expansive swimming pools that overlook the ocean. This was framed by a five-kilometre stretch of white sandy beach.

The entrance to the restaurant structure is grand, lined with majestic, white alabaster pillars. It is spacious and open with modern, minimalistic furniture made of natural materials.

All of the 46 residential rooms and pool suites are secluded with private entrances and decks. They are light, bright, and airy; the décor is neutral in tone.

The bathroom was impressive with a large standalone bath, a shower, a separate vanity and dressing area with double sinks, and a separate toilet. The large wardrobe included luxury bath robes and slippers, and the towels were thick and fluffy.

Our private porch included a large white sofa from which to lounge and soak in the tranquillity of the green leafy surrounds.

We enjoyed a cocktail evening by the Ginger Pool, set among tropical gardens. Two frangipani pools provided another comfortable area to spend time basking in the sun, surrounded by leafy foliage.

The Oceanside pool offers uninterrupted views of the ocean, from which to take in the magenta, sapphire, and soft rose skies at dusk, which are reflected upon the infinity pool as the moon begins to rise.

The occasional Vietnamese wooden fishing boat can be spotted, as is Vietnam’s oldest lighthouse, situated on nearby Hon Ba Island, which can be visited by the hotel’s private boat tours.

Sunbeds, afternoon tea, and a la carte dining were offered poolside.

We sampled a variety of the menu which was extensive and delicious, including a barbecue of lobster, lamb, prawns, and steak; fresh, tasty salads; and traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

The breakfast buffet featured delicate pastries, fresh, juicy fruit, cheeses, cured meats, yogurts, and an a la carte menu that included perfect eggs benedict and a classic Western-cooked breakfast.

I experienced a delightful full-body massage at the resort’s Wellness Spa, which was rejuvenating – I came out feeling lighter and refreshed. Dawn yoga was also offered.


Situated on the Saigon riverbank, Mia Saigon is a majestic boutique resort my two children and I recently had the opportunity to explore while visiting Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. This stunning hotel is a standout – a favourite of which I’ve had the privilege to be a guest, internationally. It offers an unsurpassed experience of luxury and refinement.

It is an elegant hotel, oozing luxury, and timeless class. Embodying early 20th Century Art Deco, the quintessential French Indochine architecture, fine décor and ambiance is a step back in time to colonial opulence, while also providing modern commodities.

Mia Saigon Ho Chi Minh City

We were escorted by the hotel’s private speedboat down the Saigon River where we embarked on Mia’s private jetty and into the luxurious estate of leafy green tropical foliage, two sparkling swimming pools, and stately alabaster façade overlooking the river.

The real treat was spending two nights in the magnificent Presidential Suite. This was an unequivocal luxury.

Entering the 5-Star suite, we were greeted with delectable high tea treats, fruits, and fresh flowers, and in the kitchen, we were presented with an array of complimentary savoury and sweet snacks and soft drinks, and top-shelf alcoholic beverages available for purchase. There was also a Nespresso coffee machine and milk frother.

Our Presidential Suite was expansive – 138 square metres, which encompassed a fully-serviced kitchen with a large eight-seating dining area, a refined lounge area with luxuriant sofas and a stylish bathroom, and a separate toilet.

There was a Bose Bluetooth speaker system and two 55” widescreen LCD TVs with cable TV as well as a 32” TV in the bathroom for relaxing viewing from the claw-footed bath.

The bedroom was decadent, including a writing bureau, King Sized bed, and river views.

It led to a dressing area, with robe and lavish bathrobes, and into the huge, stately marble bathroom, complete with a bath, separate shower, double sinks, a separate toilet, and Molton Brown bathroom amenities.

Our eighth-story residence had a huge private balcony that offered ample space for relaxation with a sofa, chairs, tables, and ambient lighting, from which to absorb the magical sunset views of the Saigon River and the hotel’s sparkling swimming pools and lush grounds.

The hotel’s restaurant, Kitchen by the River, set on the water’s edge, offered an open kitchen experience mixed with romantic outdoor dining. It serves an eclectic menu of fresh Western and Vietnamese a la carte cuisine, and a fresh, delicious breakfast buffet.

The rooftop Muse Bar is an exquisite setting of extensive river and city views over specialised cocktails and tapas.

The Mia Saigon offers a very serene and exclusive experience yet is situated in the trendy Thu Duc city region flowing with arts, culture, and swanky restaurants and bars. By taxi or boat, it is also a short distance to the bustling downtown highlights of Ho Chi Minh City to visit markets and historical landmarks such as the Palace, War Museum, and Cathedral.

I recently explored Singapore with my children for the first time and found it to be such an easy, accessible and enjoyable place for families.

A five-hour direct flight from Perth, in the same time zone, and predominantly English speaking, makes it very convenient for a quick and stress-free getaway.

We flew with Scoot, Singapore Airlines’ budget carrier and, despite reading incriminating reviews, the experience was pleasant. Although our flight was delayed several times, they offered us a meal voucher for $30/head. The flight was comfortable and professional with lovely staff.

We spent five days in Singapore which was adequate to explore the city’s sights and tourist peaks. We didn’t shop as were on-route to Vietnam and only had carry-on luggage. Although, the quality and range of fine-quality clothing were plentiful, but not cheap and on par with Australian prices.

I loved the warm, tropical climate of Singapore, and was surprised by the omnipresence of green, lush vegetation in a bustling international city. It was extremely clean and pleasant to walk through.

The city is so easy to get around. Communication was stress-free, English speaking and services top-notch – from the taxi drivers, or Grab (the Asian Uber equivalent car service), to retail staff and in the hotels.

The Singaporeans and overall energy of the city were relaxed and welcoming; which was surprising given its high density and large population of 5.45 million over a mere 758 km2, compared with Perth’s 2 million people over 6.4 square kilometres.

It was apparent why Singapore Airport was voted the world’s best. It has several tropical gardens, including a butterfly garden, as well as a robotic train that commutes between terminals, and check-in was seamless. High-end shopping was plentiful and food options ranged from Burger King to Singaporean street food.

Pan Pacific Singapore
Pan Pacific Singapore

We stayed three nights at the Pan Pacific Singapore which was a very modern 5-star resort with excellent amenities, including multiple dining options, and a warm, large swimming pool. The hotel’s breakfast and dinner buffets at Edge offered variety and flavours beyond what I had experienced. The Pan Pacific has a fantastic location – within walking distance of the Esplanade and popular Marina Wharf. And the staff service was exceptional.

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

On our first day, we walked from the Pan Pacific hotel to the Gardens by the Bay, which was a lush sanctuary of 101 hectares in the heart of the city. Set on the banks of Marina Bay, there were many aspects to explore in among the diverse flora, including winding pathways, majestic tall trees, a children’s playground and a community vegetable patch. My kids enjoyed tinkering on the top-nick piano. I was surprised to see no vandalism or abuse of these free available services.

Gardens by the Bay Singapore
Gardens by the Bay

Adjacent to the Gardens by the Bay, was the exclusive and massive The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands – a mall of luxury brands such as Gucci, Versace, Tiffanys, Chanel and Prada. It featured a waterway, with boats traversing a seemingly endless array of shops. The futuristic architecture along the Esplanade was impressive, including standalone buildings for Apple and Louis Vuitton.

Shangri-La Singapore
Shangri-La Singapore

We spent two delightful nights in the opulent Shangri-La Singapore’s Valley Wing, which, set close to the shopping and dining hub of Orchard Road, was a luxurious treat. Built in 1971, this was the world’s original Shangri-La, and maintained its olde-worlde charm and glamour. The personalised service created a very welcoming feeling. The décor, ambiance and sparkling feel of the exclusive wing was a special experience away from the hubbub of the city. This hotel is in the top five places I’ve stayed worldwide.

Siberian tiger
White Bengal tiger in Singapore Zoo

Red panda
Golden-headed lion tamarin in River Wonders

We visited the famous Singapore Zoo. Set in a rainforest environment, the main zoo featured 4200 animals over 1 zones including Australasia, Africa, China and a Fragile Forest housing lemurs and sloths. We meandered along the flourishing trails admiring the vegetation as much as the animals. The kids were excited to see a Siberian tiger, a red panda, a chameleon and naked mole rats. The zoo also provided complimentary tram rides. Feeding sessions are on offer with animals such as giraffes and zebras, as well as animal shows with elephants in the presentation of Elephants of Asia and sea lions in the Splash Safari. There was also an Amazon River Quest boat ride featuring leopards in River Wonders.

The zoo had two additional parks – a SEA Aquarium showcasing 100,000 animals including sharks, manatees (Sea Cows) and giant otters, and the Night Safari featured nocturnal animals such as the Big Cats, owls and porcupines.

I was hospitalised in Singapore as a result of an unfortunate accident, so can attest to the exceptional medical standards. Communication was effortless, treatment immediate and hotel staff accompanied me to the medical centres to provide personal support, which was unnecessary as the medical teams were extraordinarily diligent.

Throughout Singapore, I only experienced respect, cleanliness, and a free flow of traffic and order.




Family relocation is difficult. It’s not just pulling the children away from their school and friends, but it’s figuring out a way to support them in a new environment with potentially a new career. But, Australians have it good – immigration is somewhat easier for us than most of the world, so it’s definitely possible.


Inspired by the advice given on immigration2australia.com, these are the top 7 relocation tips to make moving from Australia with family that little bit easier.


Seek professional advice and start the paperwork early

Immigrating from Australia can be a very lengthy and difficult process. It’s best to begin this process much earlier than you feel you need, to give time in case anything goes wrong. Quite often there will be last-minute surprises.


But, it’s also tricky because of all the legislation and bureaucracy. Passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and many other documents may be required. This is where seeking professional advice may be worthwhile, like consulting an immigration lawyer to help decide which visa you need.


A good start is to use immigration-focused websites which give advice to that specific country. In fact, it can be worth reflecting on the process of moving to Australia purely to appreciate its difficulties and considerations – much of the process will be similar elsewhere, yet the local terminology will be more familiar.

Take a vacation there before moving

Reading up on a location can only do so much. When relocating with children, there’s a lot to think about, so it’s best not to add to the worries by pondering what life will be like in your new home. A vacation before moving can help put the children’s minds at rest too, particularly if you show them all the things they can do there that they enjoy back home.


If you’re still weighing up a destination, then head there during winter or off-season. Visiting Belgium or Germany, for example, is a very different experience from summer to winter. Despite being a familiar 30 degrees frequently in the summer, there are many gloomy or snowy weeks in winter. It’s best to see the place at its ‘worst’, whatever that worst is for you. So, if heading to a middle eastern country, perhaps go during the hottest month.


It’s worth using this trip as a test for how life will start out. Don’t only do vacation things – use it as a time to speak to locals, test out the new language, visit local communities, and even take a tour around the local school.


After you have gauged the local prices from your trip (prices described on the internet can often be way off, especially in high-inflation countries like Turkey), now is the time to dig deep into the cost of living. Beyond local property prices, it’s wise to calculate some of the basic costs. Here are things to consider:


  • Car insurance
  • Health and dental insurance/costs
  • Utility bills
  • Grocery prices
  • Phone and internet costs


This gives a good basis to compare to your current cost of living. Of course, online subscriptions will likely remain the same.


Then, consider the local wage for your current position. In fact, expect to drop down a position or two if you don’t know the language perfectly, as you may need to gain experience in a role that you’re overqualified for. But, if you’re taking your job with you, simply read up about the tax situation.


Learn the language 

Learning the language of the country you’re moving to is essential for integration. Most studies show this to be central to integration, even if it’s not perfect. One mistake many people make is assuming that because a society speaks English well as a second language, such as the Netherlands, learning the language isn’t needed. 


Whilst it’s true that you can easily get by, local friendship groups will want to speak their native tongue – you don’t want to be the reason everybody is speaking their second language all the time. Additionally, entering the local labor market will be much easier if you have a basic grasp of the language, as well as children starting in a new school.


Learning the basics should be done way in advance. This will give you an advantage, where you will impress the locals with existing knowledge so they will be more likely to help you out. If you turn up with nothing, the image of not caring will make locals less likely to teach you.


To learn the basics, search a mixture of Duolingo, Youtube, podcasts, and internet dictionaries. One of the most effective ways of learning a language is through stories. By reading and examining foreign stories, your brain becomes more engaged with the material and vocabulary. Plus, children can read stories they already know in a foreign language to get a head start.

Connect with the local community before you move

Feeling like an alien, disconnected from everybody else, is not a nice feeling. But, integrating into a new community is tricky and overwhelming. For this reason, it’s wise to begin expanding your social circle before you make the move. This is important for both children and parents.


One of the most popular ways to do this is through Facebook groups. Most towns will have many different groups that you can join. For example, a local running club, meet-up groups, or school pages. In a matter of seconds, you can post asking to join in on some community get-togethers, or simply introduce yourself and ask for tips.


There may be an existing expat or digital nomad community. This is a tricky one, because whilst it’s great to have friends that are going through a similar process, you don’t want to only hang around in such circles.


Prepare to embrace cultural differences

It’s quite possible that you go through a culture shock – or a value shock – and there’s not a lot you can do to prepare for that. Certainly, it’s important to read up on some obvious differences, but many will just arise out of the blue. The key here is to be open. Seeing as you are the guest (at first), the burden is on you to adjust, not the world around you. 


Moving from Australia with children, they will certainly have ideas about what’s normal and abnormal (and often won’t be afraid of saying it in public). Of course, this is something you need to warn your children about. But, do not fret, as the kids will likely adapt far quicker than you, simply because children are more open-minded with current values less ingrained.


Perhaps the worst situation to be in is to be close-minded about changing your own values or adapting to a new way of life – you will never feel at home. So, whilst it’s good to have an expat community or find foreign restaurants that your hometown has, the quickest way to learn is to learn the language and indulge in local culture. Head to the cafes that the local tradesmen drink at over Starbucks, for example. 


Give it time

It’s common to instantly feel homesick and like your decision was regretful. But, this is normal and, very often, will pass. Whilst it’s no guarantee that you were right in thinking the grass was greener, you need to give it your best shot before turning back. This is particularly important to remind the children of, but it can be hard work finding them new activities, friends, and a routine. Don’t let this put you off though. Even if things don’t work out, you will have gained invaluable experiences, broadened your own perspective, and may even have a new appreciation for Australia upon returning back.