Top tips for travelling with baby

Before we thought about having babies, travel was ‘our thing’ we liked to do. We were always plotting our next adventure, usually something including a trek off the beaten track or somewhere you wouldn’t normally think of going. We’ve been to some amazing places. So, with the arrival of baby Violet our travel plans have screeched to a sudden holt. We knew this would happen and it’s fine, she is worth it! But now it’s now time to come out of our comfort zone and take her on her first trip. This time we’ve planned something super easy for first-timers and will be visiting family in France, making some stops along the way to break up the long drive.

As this is our first trip away with a baby I’m suddenly finding it incredibly daunting! I mean, a couple of the many questions in my mind have been – How do we survive the hot weather? How do we sterilise bottles on the go (and make formula!)  and how do we keep Violet busy in her car seat for the long drives? There is SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT. Luckily our travel plans will be super easy though, so that’s all taken care of (Thanks Clickstay!) – Now all I need to do is organise the challenging task of packing for our journey.

So, following the success of my previous post about babyproofing, I turned to my same expert team of Mummy bloggers to share their top tips for travelling with little ones, as they’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt when it comes to travelling with little ones. They have shared amazingly helpful tips, not just on travelling by car but by air too, so if you are planning a trip with a baby this summer, I hope you’ll find this helpful. Here is what they had to say:

Use your hand-luggage wisely, leave any unnecessary bits for adults in the suitcases and prioritise things for your little one in hand-luggage. Make sure you have a ‘just in case’ bag of medicines and teething essentials, in the case of any unexpected illnesses on the flight. Distractions are key! Books, colouring books and crayons, magazine, small toys and even downloading your little ones favourite TV show to play on aeroplane mode will all help make the flight shorter for them. Tattooed Tealady

Snacks!! Lots of snacks. Both for the plane and the hotel. Also, spare change of clothes in the hand luggage for baby if you are going somewhere hot as you can change them straight away then so they aren’t irritable with the heat. If they’re weaned the pre-book meals for them, as a lot of airlines don’t assume you want them and wait for you to book them. Usually they need a few days notice too Then There Were Three

Pack extra nappies/spare clothes as the pressure in the cabin is likely to lead to explosions! Scandi Mummy

Pack plenty of nappies in your hand luggage just in case of delays, plus a spare outfit or two incase of accidents! My sister in laws baby had a poo explosion at the airport and had no spare clothes! Lylia Rose

Calpol an hour or so before you fly to pre-empt any discomfort from take off. I also made sure I gave them a bottle/dummy etc to suck on too.  Suburban Mum

Definitely spare clothing…. sitting in the car for long times can cause ‘leakage’. My son always timed accidents to the “perfect” moment, normally in public, miles away from a toilet..!  Planes, Trains and Meltdowns

Our little girl gets travel sick and GP recommended taking Piriton to relieve travel sickness. If you are hiring a car take a car seat with you, they are stupidly expensive to hire and you can check them in. For baby essentials I find it easier to find a local super market and stock up when we get there. I take enough stuff for a day or two. Part of the fun of exploring a new place is finding out what pampers are called in their country. 😜 The Tantrum Times

Pack a spare change of clothes (sleep suit etc) to get baby changed into for a comfortable sleep. Katy Kicker

If using bottles, a plastic tub and cold water steriliser tablets are really handy! The ready made cartons are also SO handy for travelling, as there’s no fear of powdery mess everywhere! Emily and Indiana

Ziplock bags – for packing changes of clothes for baby ( easy to grab one and know everything is all in there), also for ice cubes to keep milk/food cold ( refill after security and on plane) Spare change of clothes for YOU too ( or at least a top) Small Calpol sachets 5ml, Plenty of snacks and food if weaning/ post weaning ( most major airlines have baby purée in jars which you can pre request as a BBML. Something with a familiar smell or scent, CoziGo bassinet cover ( also great for prams too plus UV 50 and breathable) if your flight has a bassinet. A GALT ring is handy if you have a non mover- easy to pack, lightweight and very useful for a villa, or hotel room to keep baby in a safe spot or even by the pool. UV play tent – again very handy for the pool or beach. Flying with a baby

A baby carrier – far easier for dealing with airports and security (especially if it’s metal free as then you can wear your child THROUGH the scanners).
A handful of new toys to get out along the route when you need to provide some new entertainment. Just small things; a toy car, a small maraca (that type of thing. Devon Mama

We found our Snoozeshade invaluable – whether it’s sunny or not, it’s so helpful for even trying to get them to grab a quick nap in the pram. Life with Boys

Super helpful tips! Thank you so much to everyone that contributed – so basically I need a lot of spare changes of clothes, nappies and distractions! Luckily Violet isn’t weaning yet, so at least we only have one form of ‘food’ to worry about for her too.  These tips have really given me a good place to start with our packing so hopefully you’ll find them helpful too. We’ll be blogging about our trip as we go, so watch out for those updates too!

 

Post written in collaboration with Clickstay 

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A Springtime adventure in London #ad

I love nothing more than a spontaneous day out. Before Violet was born, we’d always be hopping on and off the train to London, going for days out to explore the museums, catching a West End show or the odd cheeky shopping spree. However, since Violet arrived, life is a little different and it’s not quite that easy – I mean it took me 5 weeks to pluck up the courage to get out of the door on my own, so the thought of a family day out further than our sweet safe zone of Brighton seemed like a big step… but a tempting one.

So, this weekend we decided to bite the bullet and give it a go. I’ve always said that when I had a family, I wanted to be the kind of person who gets on with life as it was before, doing all the things we would have done, just this time taking the baby along for the ride too. This seemed the perfect opportunity to start our days of fun days out for all the family.

Looking at the weather forecast, it wasn’t looking great but we were determined to keep going regardless – Good old British springtime weather! We decided the best plan was to opt for a sightseeing trip to The Tower of London – I haven’t been since I went on a school trip so I couldn’t wait to see it again and view everything through adult eyes (I think as a child you just remember the grizzly bits, like where they cut people’s heads off – right?). That way we could enjoy the things outside, but there would be somewhere to run for cover – should the weather turn on us.

So we got up nice and early and headed down to Brighton train station to board our train.

Now, after all my apprehension around travelling with the baby, honestly – this has been the easiest journey to London I’ve ever done. We hopped on the Thameslink service from Brighton – this goes straight into London Bridge which is right in the heart of London and the perfect place for getting to so many of the sights, without having to use the underground. As I went to buy our tickets I was also surprised as it’s such great value for money too – with the Super Off-Peak tickets at the weekend, we only paid £10.80 return too and little one went free (although they also do a Kids travel for £2 offer for bigger children too). Plus, can you believe it, our carriage was totally empty! A few more people joined us on the way to London, but everyone had a seat and there was plenty of room for the pushchair and I saw lots of people with luggage as the train stops at Gatwick airport too.

As we whizzed through the beautiful Sussex countryside, Violet was absolutely mesmerised looking out of the windows, all the flashes of sunlight, the colours and the scenery left her wide-eyed as she took it all in. She actually stayed awake most of the journey (I thought the movement would send her to sleep) as I think it was all pretty new and exciting for her, she wanted to just take everything in.

We arrived into London Bridge around mid-morning – this was the perfect base for us as there are so many sights you can visit from London Bridge without having to catch the tube and worrying about whether there would be lift access for the pushchair. From London Bridge some fab places to visit within walking distance are: HMS Belfast, River Cruises, Borough Market, Tower Bridge, The Shard, Tate Modern, the Jack the Ripper Tour – and of course The Tower of London, that just to name a few, there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to enjoy as well.

Checking the time – it took us just over an hour to get from Brighton to London, not bad at all! (Watch – Ice Lo)

We then headed to our destination for the day – The Tower of London. One of England’s most historical sights, the Tower of London dates back as far 1066, when it was founded as part of the Norman Conquest of England. From then, it’s been in the hands of many different monarchs, used as an armoury, the royal mint, a prison to Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh and also a place of torture and death – as Ann Boleyn and many others were beheaded within the grounds. The White Tower is said to be haunted by Henry VI, Lady Jane Grey and Ann Boleyn has been spotted walking along the corridors with her head under her arm. Nowadays, thankfully – it’s a tourist destination and the home to the Crown Jewels. With so much to see and do, you can easily spend a full day taking in everything the Tower has to offer.

We bought our tickets, which were 2-4-1 when you travel on the train and of course I had to buy a guide book too!

Two buildings, centuries apart.

We spent a good couple of hours at least exploring everything the Tower has to offer. The weather was so changeable, one minute it would be sunny, the next raining! I’m sure we spent more time putting Violet’s rain hood over the pushchair and taking it off than doing anything anything else. We found the Tower relatively easy to get about with the pushchair, although it took a bit of planning as most areas are accessed by steps but the guide book helped to point us in the direction of the step-free access points. Highlight of our trip to the Tower has got to be seeing the Crown Jewels – we queued for so long (luckily in the sunshine!) and once it was our turn, we boarded the travelator that goes past the main exhibit and lifted Violet up to see the Crown Jewels too. The Beefeater guarding the room laughed at us as she’s so little, but I think she was interested in the jewels for sure! Maybe it was the colours or the sparkles (she is my daughter after all), but one day we’ll tell her about her adventure to see the Crown Jewels and I’m sure she’ll be pleased we included her.

After a good look around the grounds at The Ravens, the guardsmen, the beefeaters and the Bloody Tower it all became a bit much for Violet and she got a bit overtired, so we retreated to the cafe for a well earned cream tea and a bottle of milk (for Violet, not us!). Feeling refreshed after a spot of calm, we continued with our day…

As we left the Tower, the weather turned and it was so stormy overhead – kind of made the Tower even more spooky and atmospheric with those looming grey clouds. It was time to make our escape!

We decided to carry on our day with a little ‘walking tour’ of London along the River Thames. I say a little tour as we didn’t join an official one we just plodded along, taking in the sights and snapping away as we went. Shame the weather wasn’t great as we did get caught in a torrential downpour at this point, but luckily it passed pretty quickly and we carried on, Violet asleep in her pram was none the wiser, so thats all that mattered!

For us, no trip to London would be complete without a trip to Wahaca to round the day off with tacos and mojitos! I was so excited to have my first mojito since before I was pregnant (well, and before I did IVF so maybe 18 months ago now!) and it was worth every sip! They are SO GOOD. Exhausted from our day of adventure around London we finally rested up and and enjoyed a Mexican feast, we even had a few friends who live in London turn up to join us, which was a lovely surprise!

After our meal we headed back to London Bridge Station on foot again, stopping as we passed a Nespresso Cafe which has a robot that collects your order of Nespresso pods and delivers them through a little hatch for you – honestly, I kid you not, a robot! I was well impressed. We also did a final bit of sightseeing, taking the scenic path through St Paul’s Cathedral gardens and we even walked by the First Dates Restaurant which was a fun little spot, I love that TV show.

All in all, we had a fabulous first family day out with Violet – she was good as gold and loved just taking in the scenery, the sights, sounds and movements kept her interested all day. When we needed places to sit and feed or change her, it was so easy – there are places everywhere! The train journey was quick and easy and much cheaper than I expected – plus we got a discount on our tickets for the The Tower of London which made it much more affordable too. I’m glad we decided to have a spontaneous adventure out and no doubt we’ll be planning the next one too.

Lastly, just for a bit of added fun, I vlogged our day out in London so here is a little video of us all as well – enjoy!

 

Post written in collaboration with Thameslink Rail, all words opinions and photography is my own.

 

5 things to do in New York

A bit of a different post from me today – It’s been a while since I wrote a travel post hasn’t it? We used to go on so many holidays but they feel like a distant memory at the moment! But life is different now so thats okay with me, I’ll travel again one day. However, this doesn’t stop me planning little trips in my mind though, maybe things we can do when Violet is a little bit older and will start to appreciate it a little more. One of the places I have always wanted to visit but have never been is New York – The city that never sleeps! Do you know in just one New York minute, there are 222 airport passengers, 416 taxi rides, 2986 rides on the subway – not to mention the 150 pizza’s eaten, 7296 cups of coffee drank, plus 187 tweets and 83 Instagrams shared. PHEW – that’s a lot, right? And thats only scratching the surface!  So I thought I’d write a post about the top things I’d love to do on my first trip to New York as a mini-wanderlust session and maybe if you are planning a trip, you’ll find this helpful too?

Times Square

Of course, this has got to be one of the most iconic sights in New York, right? I would love to stand watching all those flashing neon lights as yellow cabs fly by. I’ve seen it so many times in the movies, it would just feel so surreal to finally be there! The perfect place to start our trip with some food and shopping.

Top of the Rock

Everyone wants to go to the top of the Empire Estate building as that is the most famous building in New York, however for the best and most iconic skyline view of New York the top of the Rockerfeller Center is actually the place to go, I mean you can’t see the Empire Estate building when you are in it, right? It’s not the tallest building, or the best looking -but for the best panoramic views over the city, central park and beyond – a trip to the Top of the Rock is essential!

Central Park

That brings us nicely onto Central Park. How beautiful does it look? Is it only me that finds the fact it’s perfectly rectangular so pleasing? It’s amazing to have such a peaceful, tranquil green space in such a busy, bustling city. Gliding across the water in a rowing boat, visiting the Alice in Wonderland Statue and a picnic in the sunshine would be high on my list of things to do. I didn’t actually realise until I started doing some research but the park is absolutely huge, you can easily spend a day exploring so make sure you put some time aside!

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge has got to be on my list of places to visit – is always reminds me of that moment in Sex and the City where Miranda and Steve get back together, meeting in the middle of the bridge! Being the old romantic I am, I’d love to visit the bridge I’ve seen in so many TV shows and movies and maybe even recreate a scene myself (ha! not really).

Eat all the food!

I’m not sure if you’ll remember but a little while ago I shared The Foodies Guide to New York on my blog, which was a post all about eating ALL THE FOOD, with a handy map to ensure you are visiting all the best places. If I visited New York, I would literally eat and drink my way around the city from beginning to end – from huge stacks of American Pancakes with lashings of maple syrup to giant pizzas oozing with stringy cheese, I would have to try it all! (And then have to buy two plane seats to get me home again 🙂 )

These are my top picks for a trip to New York – if you’ve been, where would you recommend? 

Post written in collaboration with Netflights – all words and opinions are my own.

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Travel: Snippets of Paris (+ Vlog!)

So this week we FINALLY went back to Paris and I couldn’t be more excited than to tell you all about it. After our disaster trip last year for my 30th birthday – this year, on my 31st we decided to head back to Paris for a second go, to do everything we missed out on the first time!

As we only had 3 days I decided I didn’t want to stress about getting the perfect blog photos or Instagram shots –  and we just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. It was a bit drizzly and my hair was frizzy but I was ok with that. I was just pleased to be there! I also found walking around a huge city with a giant pregnancy bump pretty hard, on a couple of the days where we walked a lot I had a lot of Braxton Hicks – I’m sure the local’s were wondering what I was doing as I was leaning on walls and lamp posts in the street to try and get them to go away, my pregnant body wasn’t a fan of Paris, sadly. But, I was determined not to let this get in the way!

So, of course even though I said I wasn’t going to blog – in an amazing city like Paris I still had my camera to hand and have taken a few shots and video clips of our weekend in Paris, which I’ve cobbled into a low-key post and vlog…. I can’t help myself.

Sightseeing: We spent a busy day seeing the main sights of Paris. Of course, we had to visit the Louvre Museum, although it was so huge I feel I have only just scratched the surface! I saw the highlights though, such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus De Milo, plus I loved the Egyptian section too. One day I need to spend a whole day there and see everything from top to bottom.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is take a trip up the Eiffel Tower! Even though Vee is scared of heights she said she’d come with me, although I had to do the top bit on my own and leave her on the second level. It was amazing and so worthwhile, you can see for miles from the top! It was a bit of a cloudy day but it didn’t spoil the views at all, it was a dream come true to finally all the way to top!

Food:  One of my favourite things about France is the amazing food – mainly, all the sweet treats! On our first day we went for afternoon tea at my very favourite tearoom, Angelina. I ordered exactly the same as last year (and quite possibly my favourite combination in the world) – Tarte Au Citron with the famous rich Angelina Hot Chocolate. I then made it my mission to find the best Tarte Au Citron in Paris, and ate quite a few over the 3 days. Nothing beats Angelina though!

Going Out: On our last night we got all dressed up for a night at the Moulin Rouge. Even though I love being pregnant and having a bump, I haven’t felt glamorous or stylish at all in months. I find maternity clothes so frumpy! So, I when when Tiffany Rose got in touch and sent me their beautiful Willow Gown in Eclipse Blue to wear for my birthday celebration I couldn’t have been more excited. I spent ages on my hair and makeup and honestly felt like a million dollars for the first time so long. It’s the most flattering dress I’ve ever worn, plus it was super comfortable too.

Our evening at the Moulin Rouge was fabulous! The show wasn’t quite what I was expecting, I was picturing burlesque, but I’d say it’s more of a cabaret, crossed with Cirque du Soleil – but it was crazy, colourful and fun nonetheless and a real experience. The only slight dampener of the evening was that they used live animals in the show (who didn’t look very happy to be there) – this made me feel a bit awkward and sorry for them, which is a  real shame.

We also enjoyed eating out in our favourite district of Paris, Montmartre. Snuggling in blankets we sat outside and watched the world go by over French Onion Soup and a (very small) glass of wine.

 

Lastly, here is a little video I made of the best bits to capture the moment too ….

 


Collaborative post with Tiffany Rose & Eiffel Tower, all words opinions are my own