Mama Chats: Escaping Winter In Bali With Abby Lee + Cas

Mama's meet Abby Lee - she is a a sun loving Mama, who loves to move her body on the daily, eat nourishing food, always dancing/singling and having all round good health and happy time! She has been escaping nz winter with her family since her little babe was 8 months old to live the slow island life in Bali. She is also the owner of H+H Lifestyle a wellness blog.

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In a few sentences what is H+H all about?

H + H LIESTYLE is about living a life full of health and happiness and celebrating that this is going to look a little different for each of us depending on our beliefs and values!  I teach yoga, host wellness retreats both in New Zealand and here in Bali and I’m passionate about creating a women’s health and happiness hub of inspiration and information to live a fulfilling life you love via the blog and community platforms!

You've been in Bali beating the New Zealand winter - what made you decide Bali of all places?

I don’t actually know when we did our first winter escape in 2015 I had never been to Bali but I’d always wanted to come for an extended time so my boyfriend quite his job and we pack up our eight month old baby and moved to Bali for three and a half months! We’ve been doing it ever since! It just felt right!

Alright Mama, Tell Us Your Top 3 Things to Do As A Family In Bali:

Mrs Sippy

I love it here.  With lots of white concrete, light wood and a beautiful blue lagoon - It looks fab! Plus practicality is high, there's a slow decline into the deep parts of the pool so there's lots of space for kids to play.  Under 18 are allowed in the water until 12pm as I think there intention is that it turns into a party atmosphere after then.  We usually go in from 9-11.30 before heading to get some lunch then Cas has his nap.  FYI, a lounge is Rp. 50,000 a day bed is Rp.600,000 or you can park up on a deck chair which is free.

Nanny

Ok, so this isn’t actually a thing to "do as a family” as such but it's super important for us as a family that Vinny and I to have time together, we don’t get that much in New Zealand, and the Nanny’s here in Bali are AMAZING!!  Cas is in love with his Ayu, our nanny! She is out of this world incredible! I actually met her one day down the beach when she was looking after another child and got her number because I was so impressed with how carling she was.

Sunday Sunset at Canggu Beach

I love Sunday afternoons down Canggu beach, it’s the locals day off so you’ll find lots of families playing down by the ocean and in the rock pools at low tide.  It’s also kite season over here in at the moment so they’ll be out flying the kites they have built, some of them are several metres wide and sooo long - It’s amazing watching them get them up in the sky!  FYI, The Lawn Canggu, is right on the water front is also awesome, the pool has a shallow ledge around two sides of the pools so is fab for kids to swim around! I personally like to get takeaways from The Shady Shack or Betelnut and head down the beach with buckets and spades, Cas and I can be there till the sun it down, it’s lovely.

How do you survive air plane travel with Cas to Bali? 

Oh it was actually ok, I packed some of his fave little toys, some colouring pens and lots of snacks.  I also purchased him some bluetooth headphones so he could watch movies without the cord getting in his way. We did lots of playing, watched a bit, also spent lots of time (literally) running up and down the isles into business/first class, less that ideal but we got though it!  He also had a good hour nap which I was sooo grateful for.

Besides Bali, what's your favourite place for family travel? 

Bali is actually the only international location we’ve come as a family! I have France on my list to take my boys, I spent three months there four or so years ago and that was wonderful. In New Zealand heading down to Taranaki is our favourite as this is where I’m from so we have lots of fun adventuring around and making ourselves at home down there.

Life is all about lessons, so what has been the biggest one for you since living in Bali?

The main reason for coming to Bali, aside from escaping winter, has been to live a very slow and simple life.  Practicing relaxing and not doing a lot.  Spending my downtime at the gym, reading or at the beach rather than being so goal focused and driven.  So really focusing on bringing the slow life back to the Auckland hustle is my number one! I really want to create a healthy and happy life for myself, my family and my business. I no longer want to be the stressed out Babe who’s feeling under the pump.

Another lesson for me is that I freakin’ love my man and five and a half weeks without him is about three weeks too long, next year I don’t think we’ll spend so much time apart.

What's the best thing about spending 3 months of the year in Bali?

Living a slow and simple life in the sunshine is a fabulous way to put things into perspective.

What does a typical family day in Bali look like? 

Normally we wake and have breakfast at home, eating out for all meals can be a little stressful when you’re trying to eat and ensure the baby isn’t causing too much havoc.  I’ve just started walking Cas to school which is a really lovely way to start the day, strolling along the rice paddies.. After I’ve dropped him off I’ll head back home and jump on the scooter to the gym, barre or yoga for my daily body movement session. If I’m at the gym I’ll follow training up with a sauna/cold plunge session, I love this. Then it’s off for a protein smoothie from Kynd or an omelette from Betelnut.  I’ll run some errands or just have some time to relax/message the financé before picking up Cas.  We’ll head home and the babes will have a nap.  This is my “work” time, this is when I’ll squeeze in a social media post and check my emails but you’ll quite often find my lounging by the pool, I'll read or listen to a podcast or my main man Tony Robbins - I totally consider this “work”. All about slowing down.  When the babes wakes we normally head to the beach to play before heading out to dinner. Sometimes we’ll do sunset down the beach or sitting on the side of the road by the rice fields by our house.  Next thing ya know it’s bath and bed.  I quite often go to sleep with the babes around 7pm, it’s such a luxury!  I have a ritual here in Bai to rise by the sun and rest by the moon.  A very simple, laid back life, limiting stress and placing priority on presence.

Top 3 places to eat that are toddler friendly? 

Oh this is hard because my fav places to eat aren’t actually the ones with the playgrounds, buuuuut.  

1) Cas loves ‘Oodles of Noodles’ at Green Ginger Noodlehouse, this is hands down one of my fave dinner places!  While they don’t have a playground they do have dinosaurs for the kids to play with!

2) Peloton, again sorry there isn’t a playground here or lots of space for them to run around but they will do most of the meals half size for kids, they also have a children’s menu and if you ask for it they have colouring in pens and paper for the kids too.  They also have high chairs!

3) Milk and Madu Pizza Nights, I gotta admit this is not my fav place to eat, lots of people love it but personally I feel like it’s any cafe you’d find in Auckland, where there are amazing cafes here in Bali that are super special.  What they do do though is Kids Dine for FREE Pizza nights.  After 4pm with a dining adult kids get their own pizza free.  They have lots of space for the kids to run around which is awesome and a toy box.  On Saturday and Sunday mornings they often have music and a woman who makes arts and crafts with the kids which is super cute too, but like I say I don’t rave home about their breakfast menu but they do a good pizza!

Other places in Canggu to check out that are good for kids, Cinta Cafe, they have an outdoor little playground and The Joglo, they have a pretty big playground but not on my personal faves as the food isn’t so fab but are lots of fun for the kids.