Remember the days when your summer holiday meant a neatly packed suitcase containing brand new bikinis you’d been lusting after for weeks? Carefully coordinated outfits that Olivia Palermo would be proud of? And enough toiletries to stock a small Boots store for at least a month? Well forget it, those days are gone. Soz.
Instead your suitcase has been taken over by your mini-me. Formula, nappies, wipes, tiny clothes which seem to take up more space than your pre-pregnancy asos orders, plus muslins, toiletries, towels. And the other fifty thousand things the smallest but most important person in your life requires.
We’ve recently returned from our first holiday in the sun, after having the best time. Sure it was hard at times – the change in water, abandoning the perfect prep machine for two whole weeks and dealing with poos in double figures – our holiday totes coincided with teething times – but Harley loved spending two whole weeks with his daddy uninterrupted, taking a dip in the swimming pool whenever he felt a bit too warm and showing off his new holiday wardrobe*. * I added that last bit, don’t think he was the slightest bit bothered to be honest.
Holiday reading used to be Glamour or a trashy chic-lit!
Having prepared enough lists to put Monica Bing nee Gellar to shame, I set about doing some research for holidays with little ones and thought I’d share some of my top tips. You might find them useful if you’re heading away.
1. Take everything.
Seriously take as much as you can, all the essentials. It might sound silly but if you’re abroad the likelihood is that you aren’t going to be able to get hold of the brands you’ve become reliant on so make sure you’ve got that nappy cream, teething gel etc. With most airlines you get an extra baggage allowance for your little one so make the most of it. Also opt for a carry-on that gives as much space as possible but make sure you’ve already put all your liquids in a clear bag to save time faffing. You’ll feel super smug too.
2. Boots airside is your friend.
Did you know you can preorder any items you require and collect at Boots in the departure lounge? I think most airports have a Boots airside, which allow you to place an order ahead of your trip to collect once you’ve made it through security. We ordered our nappies and formula, which freed up some space in our luggage and offered us some additional much-needed weight. Extremely important tip: make sure you get there early. Inevitably Boots at the airport is always busy and the cashier that serves you will need to go collect your items which aren’t always located nearby. Also make sure you order in plenty of time, I placed my order three weeks before and booked collection for two days prior to my trip just to be on the safe side. The lovely people at Boots will keep your items for 14 days.
3. Ultimate cooling machine.
I never believed I could feel as much love for an inanimate item until I met the DreamBaby fan. It made my holiday. Such a simple invention yet something I would never thought of. Shout out to my friend, Rachel, who recommended it to me. If you do buy one make sure you have enough batteries, we went through four a day.
4. Life without the Perfect Prep.
Now if you’re like me and have relied upon the Perfect Prep machine since the birth of your beautiful baby then any impending period of time without the best invention known to parents is scarier than the prospect of giving birth again. Thankfully my sister and mum to my gorgeous niece (only three months older than Harley) came up with an ingenious idea – two kettles. We used one kettle to provide the shot of boiling hot water to add formula to, and another of cooled boiled water. Our very own homemade Perfect Prep. Tip: before you leave behind the Perfect Prep be sure to make a note of how much hot water it adds. Harley’s on 9oz bottles, which is roughly 2oz of boiling water.
5. If at first you don’t succeed.
Harley’s not into water. He’ll sip it for 0.2 seconds and realise that I’m trying to trick him before refusing to take anymore. But if you’re in the heat, which we were – Spain during August! – you’ll need to keep trying. Eventually they’ll start to take it, even just a few sips is better than nothing.
So we decided to leave Harley’s (and mine) pride and joy, our gorgeous Surf 2 pushchair, to try out the Silver Cross Pop Stroller. I must admit the night before we left I had a major wobble. I was worried that Harley would be uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the new stroller, which didn’t feel anywhere near as sturdy as the travel system but thankfully after a few tears (I was feeling v.tired) my family convinced me it was the best thing to do. I’d read horror stories on pregnancy/mum and baby forums about ladies who had taken their travel systems away only to be broken on the flight, so my love for our pushchair was the only thing that prevented me from taking it. I have to say the Pop is amazing, it’s perfect for a sunny holiday as it has a really big UV sun hood and the basket is a really decent size too.
I’d definitely recommend taking a stroller rather than your travel system if you have one. There’s the traveling issue for one but also it’s much easier to manoeuvre due to the size (great for squeezing into those tiny restaurants), lightweight for taking up and down those unchild-friendly stairs and fold much smaller than a travel system. We brought a buggie liner for ours to prevent Harley from getting sweaty on the buggie material, which worked a treat.
You’re not on holiday everyday and even though it’ll be different to every other holiday you’ve had before, it’ll be the best you have. So get the stressing out the way before you go and then relax and unwind with a cheeky cocktail on arrival.
If you’re heading away or have already been and have any tips share them by commenting below.