We’re lucky enough to be going on holiday again and I was sensible enough at the end of our last getaway to scrawl down some lifesavers so I couldn’t forget them next time. None of them are rocket science but hopefully they’ll be of some use to you too.
- Crayons & Stickers
We all know that an Ipad loaded with Peppa Pig and Hey Duggee (and read my next point for a lesser known marvel!) is like catnip to toddlers but there are times when even this leaves them squirming. Crayons and stickers is what got us through our 4.5 hour flight to Cyprus and home again. Ok, none of the stickers made it into their rightful spaces in the books but, hey, when you’ve stuck them on daddy’s nose and covered mummy’s arm who cares; you’re practically a little tattoo artist. With crayons it’s less about actually putting them to paper artfully and more about a quick cursory scribble before reaching for the next colour as they fall on the floor and under the plane seat for the umpteenth time. But whatever prevents moaning, squirming and stops it being the flight from hell is fine by me!
What can I say? This has been the best discovery EVER. Download some episodes from Netflix or discover the best new ‘mixes’ on YouTube. From traditional nursery rhymes to new, theme-based catchy ditties (or parent propaganda!) about sharing, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and tidying up, these highly colourful, disturbingly catchy US/British hybrids must have been designed by Nobel Peace Prize phsychologists. Nothing enthrals Harriet more. I am forever in your debt Little Baby Bum… even if at 2am I could kill you as the tunes go around and around my head!
- Mini cool bag
You won’t be able to get the iceblocks through airport security and they’ll be useless anyway if you’re staying in a hotel room rather than an apartment, but ask the bar for some ice, stick it a sealable baby bowl and, voila, you can sneak food out of breakfast for your little one’s lunch. My mum always did this like a stealth operation when we were younger and ‘like mother like daugter’ it seems. This will save you ££££.
I’ve mentioned this one before (see my blog post ‘7 baby buys to help save your sanity’) but a year on and our SnoozShade is just as useful. You might be lucky getting a room with blackout curtains, but this also means you don’t have to sneak around the room with the light off. Once your little one can stand, just be prepared to laugh in the mornings as you see their cute little bed heads peek through the hole in the top.
- Sun lounger towel pegs
We’ve all seen these on holiday, thought what a great idea they are and never get around to buying them. While actually using them for the purpose they were invented for (keeping your towel nice and neat and in place while you chill, reading a book and sipping cocktails) remains a distant dream when you’re a toddler parent, they’re great for keeping a make shift muslin sunshade in place over the buggy hood. (Note: I’m not advocating towels/blankets or anything else that would actually make your little one swelter; know the risks!) Keep it a good distance away and ensure air can still come in underneath and at the sides. Use your common sense!
Remember when you were 18 and couldn’t wait to go on holiday without your parents? Well, things come full circle! My parents- in- law came with us on our last holiday, primarily to look after Harriet while we were at a wedding. Despite the horror stories and tongue-in-cheek mother-in-law-type jokes you hear from other parents who dared to do the same thing, we found that they were nothing less than a godsend in so many ways- on the plane, taking her overnight a couple of nights and the odd hour here and there during the day. It was down to this that Imanaged to read half a book- for a former bookworm, the most I’ve read since Harriet came along. Obviously it was nice for us all to just spend some quality time with them too and for Harriet grandma and grandpa are fun personified. I don’t know how we’ll do it without them this time… stickers, crayons and Little Baby Bum!
- Spare travel clothes
After my dear friend was sicked on by her little one early on a flight to Canada she offered very sensible advice- don’t just take spare clothes for the baby in your cabin bag, but ones for yourself too.
Right… on with the packing for me. Joy, oh joy… I’d love to hear your holiday must haves.