Sunday, 11 September 2016

Top Tips for Travelling with a Baby or a Toddler





Following on from my post on packing I have also put together some of my top tips for flying with your little ones. Although we are far from experts on this Bubs has done quite a few trips already and has a few more planned before the end of the year so anything I can do to make these run smoother for us I try.

Generally Bubs is a good traveler and so far has enjoyed all his plane journeys, taking it all in his stride. The majority of the flights he has done have been long-haul and he is often better behaved than some adults on the planes. Its not easy to take babies or toddlers on long journeys but it is worth doing for the final destination. Obviously all children and adults have good and bad days , so one horrible travelling experience with a baby does not mean they will be like that forever on planes. Try not to be put off and explore the world together.

Tip One
Flight Times - When possible try to book night flights, our first flight together at 9 months flew overnight and he slept for around 10 out of the 12 hours both there and back. As kids get older and can be entertained with toys, films etc this becomes less important; but sticking to some kind of routine with younger babies can help. Putting on their favourite pjs, taking a blanket from home, warm milk in a bottle to help them settle in for the night.

Tip Two
Seating - Again as much as possible try to book the bulk head seats. I am a big fan of British Airways chair option for under 2's, something I am not sure other airlines offer which makes it so much easier as the bassinets are really only suitable for very young babies. The extra legroom is also great with toddlers in these seats giving them more space to explore.

Tip Three 
Toys and Entertainment - Some of the best toys to travel with for babies are teething toys, ones that can be clipped onto you or them so they do not fall down and get lost between the seats. For toddlers - sticker books the 99p shops do great little packs that they can go crazy with.Drawing tools, preferably pencils or crayons so they do not end up with pen marks everywhere, lego, small reading books. Basically anything that can keep their attention for a prolonged period.
We also brought Bubs some kids headphones but on our last flight he was not to interested, will try again this time. Not sure if he would watch a whole film yet but he would be more than happy to watch a million episodes of Peppa Pig.

Tip Four
Snacks -
Lots of them is my key tip here, always be prepared for delays, longer than anticipated transfers and waiting around in queues. If nothing else can entertain them a packet of raisins normally will.
Individually packed items, small ziplock bags I find work best, anything that makes it more interesting to get the snack out to is also great in passing the time. Some of Bubs favorites include raisins, popcorn, rice cakes, breadsticks, oaty bars, fruit chews and crisps. Whatever is their favorite make sure there is plenty of it.
It also really helps during take off and landing to feed, either breastfeeding, a bottle of milk, beaker or  sports cap bottle as the swallowing helps to release some of the air pressure on little ones ears. We also give Bubs a dummy for take off and landing now that he is older and does not drink milk as often.

Tip Five
Surprise -
Try and keep one weapon of combat a surprise, great in emergency breakdown situations or as a treat for being extra good on the journey. A new small tool, a new book, a mini packet of sweets anything you think will work on your child.

Tip Six
Preparation -
Be extra prepared, always carry more clothes, snacks and milk than you need. Not only is this reassuring to you in case anything unexpected occurs but it also means you can handle most situations travelling may throw at you - literally in some cases.

Tip Seven
Time Zones -
When doing long haul, pack meals, feeds and change of clothes according to your babies normal schedule, helps you with a guide on what to take and helps the baby to keep to the routine you are used to hopefully making the journey easier. Can then begin to adjust them to the time zone once you are arrive at the location. So far we have mainly traveled east with Bubs meaning he is going ahead in time so we have tried to be flexible with naps and let him sleep later meaning he has not found the readjustment on return so bad. However travelling west this would be the opposite and harder to get them in and out of routine so maybe a little harder with younger children.

Tip Eight
Hiring -
When it comes to baby 'stuff ' try to hire as much as you can on the other side to avoid packing and taking this along when travelling. A lot of companies now offer this service such as Tots Too, whose properties have a lot of equipment included as standard. Otherwise ask your hotel concierge to help source some of these items locally. If staying in a hotel instead of a larger apartment we also normally rearrange the furniture to make it more baby friendly, i.e move coffee tables near the walls to give them more space, move wires out of the way and cover up plug sockets.

Tip Nine
Flexible -
Before when we would go away as a couple we would try to do as much as we could in the days we had in a country. For example our first day in New York after landing early afternoon at JFK we went to Times Square, Ground Zero, Wall Street, Staten Island Ferries and watched a show on Broadway. Now we will plan a rough itinerary of what we want to do and see how things go on the day, always leaving extra time and being flexible in moving plans around.

Tip Ten
Enjoy the moment -
Holidays are just the best for quality family time away from the mundane day-to -day activities and a perfect chance to give your full attention to each other.
We find each time we go away. even the first time when he was a lot younger Bubs learns and develops so much in such a short space of time. I did read something once on some of the studies conducted and how being in a holiday environment really benefits babies, toddlers and children but just from my own trips each time we see such huge changes.
So once you are over the stress of packing, travelling, checking in, making sure you have everything you need under the sun make sure you take a few minutes to just appreciate. Take in the beauty of a new location, taste new foods and do things out of your comfort zone.

Create memories you will all remember forever and capture all these moments because before you know it the sun will set and it will be another day and your little one will be one day older, wiser and richer with worldly experiences.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Our Majorcan Food Adventure

Aerial View of the Hotel


Around ten days after returning from our epic Kenyan adventure, I turned the big three O and although the we were originally planning to stay at home for this birthday a quick check of the weather forecast soon changed that.

I much prefer to spend my birthday in the sunshine, eating delicious food so for my 30th Birthday we booked a last minute getaway to the island of Majorca through teletext holidays.

Day 1

A short flight from Luton to Palma to spend a few days in a kid- friendly all inclusive resort to recharge and share quality time together was a great present for us to all enjoy.

A quick side note on Luton airport which we flew out off, I really did not like this airport and would never fly from here again if I can help it.

Firstly you are charged to be dropped off and picked up from the terminal, it's only £2.50 but I still found this really strange. There is a free drop off but quite a walk away which is not going to work for an early morning flight with a toddler. Even when arriving early the airport was already very busy and going through airport security checks took a lot longer than others, once we got to the front I understood why this was. They checked each of bubs milk cartoons individually. This was one of the shortest flights we had done with him so luckily I only had a few but all other times we have flown only a random selection is checked. Also you need to pay for your clear bag for toiletries so I would recommend bringing your own, ours were still in the same bags from our recent flights out of Heathrow.

We decided to use the lounge access this time, breakfast was ok but what I really liked was the fact there was some space to sit and relax. The rest of the terminal is crazy, not enough seating and not enough to food outlets so the few they do have have huge queues. If you are travelling with children I would defo make use of the lounge to get some food you can enjoy whilst sitting down.

We flew on Monarch and both the flight and the plane was good, one thing I really liked was the iPad or iPhone holder in the back of be seat, a great idea for entertainment on a low- cost airline.

So back to the actual holiday, after a short pre- arrange private transfer we arrived at Viva Zafiro Alcudia. A smooth fast check in where we were served a cold glass of sparkling rose cava. As our room was not yet ready we went to have lunch by the poolside first. Both the food and service was good although we quickly realised the portion sizes here were very big so we did not need to order so much next time.


Poolside Bar and Restaurant


After lunch we were shown our room, which was lovely, large and modern. We went straight to enjoy the pools for the rest of the afternoon before our dinner reservations.





Also included in the all inclusive is poolside snacks which were great for bubs after he spent the afternoon splashing.
The property had several pools including one inclusive adults only. We spent most of our time around the kids pool, which was great with lots of slides and some small enough ones for toddlers too and a giant pirate ship which provides entertainment for all the kids to join in with throughout the day.


Kids pool


For our first dinner we headed to the sushi restaurant. Bubs enjoyed his fav dish of chicken noodles and we really enjoyed our Japanese dinner, very authentic, fresh and full of flavour. I just wished my stomach was larger to enjoy more and he joys of all inclusive.



Day 2

The actual day of my birthday :). I started with a delicious breakfast including one of my all time favourites churros and chocolate sauce. There was a great selection of fruit, yoghurts and hot food with lots of live station cooking also at breakfast, in particular I really liked the large tea collection. The hotel were also kind enough to give me a box to pack up some fruits and snacks for bubs later that morning.

Breakfast and Buffet Restaurant


To burn off our breakfast, we went for a short walk into Alcudia town and to check out the Sunday markets that were on. A very lively bustling market selling lots of fresh produce in addition to clothing, crafts and tourist nik naks. A great place to pick up a keyring for Bubs and mug for Mr S as they collect these from all over the world.

For lunch this day we tried the buffet for the first time and similar to breakfast a huge selection, all of which was very tasty but as Mr S is not keen on buffets we didnt return and had the rest of our lunch or dinners at the ala carte restaurants instead.

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the pools with lots of fun to be had on the froggy slide in particular. For my birthday the hotel delivered chocolates, sparkling cava and flowers to the room a lovely gesture to mark the occasion.

For dinner that evening we had Italian, again delicious food and wine for the evening. It was just my idea of the perfect way to spend my birthday with lots of food, sunshine and lots of quality time relaxing.

Day 3

Another relaxing day involving minimal thinking ahead, today we visited the local beach just a short walk away. In Alcudia in the north of the island the beach was perfect for toddlers the water was very shallow and he could walk out for around 20 meters without it even coming up to his waist.

For lunch I had a goats cheese and beetroot salad at the hotels poolside restaurant, a much more manageable lunch option than the burgers and pizzas.




Mr S gave me the afternoon to myself this day so I enjoyed sunbathing and finishing off my holiday read The Girl on the Train in the adults only section of the hotel.

Adults only Pool and Sunbeams area


For our final dinner we visited the hotels Majorcan restaurant, which was my favourite out all of them.
For out pre -drinks nibbles we shared deep - fried olives, very unique and moorish.
For starters Mr S had a watermelon salad and I had a prawn and egg dish, both delicious. Mains we went for slow cooked beef, which just melted in your mouth and desert was some traditional pistachio and almond cakes.







I have to say the all inclusive packages at this hotel was excellent, it including several ala carte options, since it is not an exclusive all inclusive hotel there are several guests staying on B&B or HB options which I think actually improves the quality and quantity of the all inclusive food available.

Also discovered on the last day a microwave in the room just above the mini bar which would be very useful if still sterilising bottles for younger babies.

Overall Majorca from the small part we saw is a stunning island with gorgeous landscapes. Viva Zafiro is the perfect kid-friendly resort, they even hire out strollers to use whilst there. All the food and drinks were superb and we really enjoyed our mini break away as a family.

WANDERLUST KIDS

Sunday, 4 September 2016

My Holiday Essentials Packing List - Baby, Toddler and Family Items for Carry on and Check in Luggage.

One of my lovely sister-in-laws sent me a great checklist before our first holiday with Bubs and I still use this as a base to tick items off when packing.

Some things have now changed that Bubs is a toddler rather than a baby but I have included 3 lists below along with a printable link. Everyone loves to tick off a to do list. I have split the toddler packing into two age groups as I find now that Bubs is potty trained and no longer drinking milk from a bottle or beaker the lists have changed.

Hope you all find this useful and makes the hardest task of going away a bit easier.


Baby Packing Checklist Carry On
  • Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Nappy Bags 
  • Change Mat
  • Nappy Cream
  • Tissues
  • Flannel
  • Muslins
  • Pjs and spare set of pjs
  • Change of clothes - full set and spare
  • Hat
  • Blanket
  • Bibs
  • Milk - either pre made or powder plus a flask for hot water
  • Bottles
  • Dummies and spares
  • Water Beaker
  • Food pouches
  • Snacks 
  • Toys and Teddies
  • Teething Toys
  • Baby Carrier
  • Spare clothes for Mum and Dad
  • Medicine Kit - Calpol, Neurofen, Olbas Oil, Snuffle Baby, Plasters, Antiseptic cream, Teething powder/gels, Oral rehydration sachets, travel first aid kit. I use this one Wallaboo Baby First Aid Kit Travel and Go .
Baby Packing Checklist Checked In Luggage
  • Nappies
  • Swim Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Nappy Bags
  • Disposable changing mats
  • Waterproof Mat
  • Swimming Towel
  • Muslin
  • Snacks
  • Milk
  • Bottles
  • Plastic plates, spoons, forks
  • Food, porridege and pouches if fresh is not available
  • Disposable Bibs
  • Water Beakers
  • Outfits x2 a day
  • Shoes
  • Swimsuits
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Accessories
  • Bath wash, bath thermometer and plastic cup
  • Bath toys
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Creams
  • Nappy cream
  • Suntan
  • Extra medicine - chamoline, insect repellent,insect bite relief, extra teething relief, calpol,
  • Nail clippers
  • Washing up liquid, sponge, bottle brush, kitchen paper
  • Milton steriliser and sterilising tablets
  • Toys and pool toys
  • Bouncer (if this folds flat can be handy for small babies)
  • Large Muslin to cover pushchair/Blackout shade for pushchair
  • Mosquito net for pushchair 
  • Car sunshades 


Baby Packing CheckList



Young Toddler Packing Checklist Carry On
  • Nappies
  • Pull up Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Nappy Bags 
  • Change Mat
  • Nappy Cream
  • Tissues
  • Flannel
  • Pjs and spare set of pjs
  • Change of clothes - full set and spare
  • Spare shoes/sandals
  • Hat
  • Blanket
  • Travel Pillow
  • Milk - either pre made or powder plus a flask for hot water
  • Bottles
  • Dummies and spares
  • Water Beaker
  • Food for plane, pouches
  • Snacks - lots of these - raisins, crisps, popcorn, fruit bars, especially favourites
  • Toys - stickers, small books, drawing tools, any favourites
  • Ipad with favourite tv shows
  • Kids headphones
  • Spare clothes for Mum and Dad
  • Medicine Kit - Calpol, Neurofen, Olbas Oil, Snuffle Baby, Plasters, Antiseptic cream, Teething powder/gels, Oral rehydration sachets, travel first aid kit. I use this one Wallaboo Baby First Aid Kit Travel and Go .
Young Toddler Packing Checklist Checked In Luggage
  • Nappies
  • Pull - up Nappies
  • Swim Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Nappy Bags
  • Waterproof Mat
  • Swimming Towel
  • Snacks
  • Milk - if you are not able to get fresh milk 
  • Bottles/Beakers
  • Straws (turn any water bottle into toddler friendly one)
  • Outfits x2 a day
  • Shoes
  • Swimsuits
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Accessories
  • Bath wash and plastic cup
  • Bath toys
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Cream
  • Nappy cream
  • Suntan
  • Extra medicine - chamoline, insect replectant, insect bite relief, extra teething relief, calpol,
  • Nail clippers
  • Washing up liquid, sponge,bottle brush, kitchen paper
  • Toys and pool toys
  • Large Muslin to cover pushchair/Blackout shade for pushchair
  • Mosquito net for pushchair
  • Car sunshades 


Young Toddler Packing Check List



Older Toddler Packing Checklist Carry On
  • Toilet Seat - collapsible
  • Pull up Nappies
  • Nappy Bags
  • Change Mat
  • Nappy Cream
  • Tissues
  • Flannel
  • Pjs
  • Outfit
  • Spare Outfit and Phs
  • Spare shoes/sandals
  • Blanket
  • Travel Pillow
  • Water Beaker
  • Snacks - raisins, crackers, popcorn,fruit bars, biscuits, fruits, crisps etc
  • Toys- stickers, small books, drawing tools, water colouring in pads, toy cars, small cuddly toys
  • Ipad - loaded with their favourite shows and games
  • Kids Headphones
  • Spare clothes for Mum and Dad
  • Medicine Kit - Calpol, Snuffle Baby, Antiseptic cream, Plasters, Oral rehydration sachets
  • Hygiene Kit - Face cream, comb, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • First Aid Kit  I use this one Wallaboo Baby First Aid Kit Travel and Go .
Older Toddler Packing Checklist Checked In Luggage
  • Pull up Nappies
  • Swim Nappies
  • Toddler training toilet seat/potty
  • Wipes
  • Nappy Bags
  • Waterproof Mat
  • Swimming Towel
  • Snacks
  • Straws
  • Day outfits
  • Evening outfits
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Shoes
  • Swim shoes/flip flops
  • Swimsuits
  • Swim hats
  • Accessories - hats, sunglasses, hair bands, clips, bows, belts etc
  • Bath Wash
  • Bath Toys
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Creams - face, body, nappy and suntan
  • Hair Gel/Products
  • Extra Medicine - Calpol, Nuerofen, Chamoline, insect repellent, insect bite relief
  • Travel Wash
  • Nail Clippers
  • Toys - books, cars, dolls, colouring in pens, magazines, bubbles
  • Pool and Beach toys - armbands, life vests, rings, buckets, spades etc
  • Mosquito Net/Blackout shade for pushchair
  • Car sunshades
  • Rucksack
  • Portable beach chair


Older Toddler Packing Check List


Family Key Items

  • Headphone splitter
  • Keep travel documents close to hand - I find a cross body bag the best option
  • Lots of wipes and tissue in travel size bags
  • Rucksack to carry everything rather than a baby bag especially when they are older and no longer in a baby carrier 
  • Lots of ziplock bags to carry snacks, dirty cutlery, bottles, outfit changes etc
  • Collapsible pushchair rather than one in two parts makes getting on the plane so much faster
  • Lots of patience 
  • Sense of humour (Bubs projectile vomited all over me at the beginning of a 26 hour journey home last time)

Packing Tips
  • Carry on nappies - one great tip I read somewhere I cannot remember is to make up little packs in your carry on. In an individual nappy bags place one nappy, packet of travel wipes, cotton wool etc. I always make up 4/5 of these bags and place them at the top of my hand luggage so when you need to change baby on the plane take one bag and the changing mat instead of everything. Then you can just move the wipes, nappy cream etc onto the next premade bag for next time. 
  • Another alternative my sister in law sent me is a changing mat with a pouch attached to store a few nappies, wipes, creams and nappy bags that folds up into a neat little carry case. Similar to this Travel Changing Mat .
  • Pre plan outfits - I always do this now and try to pack them into the suitcase in the day they should be worn for all the family.
  • Keep pyjamas and swimwear at the top, so when you arrive you can either head straight to bed or straight to the pool.
  • Large plastic bags - I get this giant roll of large plastic bags great for packing shoes, seperating underwear,swimwear from the rest of the clothes and making sure your suitcase is organised.
  • Roll rather than fold clothes, for the little ones - I roll up the entire outfit in one so its easy to locate, vest, socks, shorts, t-shirts etc in one roll up. Less creases and saves time finding the entire outfit.
  • Seperate clothes out across suitcases, when we travel as a family I always spread our clothes out just in case one suitcase goes missing.
  • I always seal all liquid toiletries with sellotape to try and prevent any leaks whilst travelling.

You Baby Me Mummy

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Our Kenyan Food Adventure Part 4: The Relaxation: Nairobi - Msambweni Beach


Day Nine: Nairobi - Msambweni 

We all departed Nairobi today with some of us flying to Diani, others to Zanzibar and the rest back home to England. 

A short flight brought us into Diani airport, where we had a 40 minute transfer to the Msambweni Beach House (MBH). Although the holiday so far had been really amazing it was still pretty hectic with a lot to fit into a short amount of time, so arriving at the serenity of MBH was very much needed. 

We were greeted by the staff holding cold towels and beautiful cooling drinks before all being shown to our individual villas and rooms. 

This resort is utter bliss, very private and secluded. It consists of 3 private villas with their own pools and a main house. These were all ours (10 of us) for the next few days, a perfect hideaway retreat.
We were based in Villa 1 which featured a large downstairs bedroom, a patio, pool and a second upstairs open bedroom. 



Villa 1

After a super speedy check in and a tour of our individual villas, we all met up in Villa 3 ( the largest) for afternoon tea and to decide with the concierge the menu for dinner that evening.

Villa 3 outdoor area

Everything here is tailored to your needs, so what, where and when you would like to eat. They were also great in accommodating Bubs with a cot, highchair and cooking his favourite foods along with snack time milkshakes to keep cool. I think the service was one of the main elements that stood out, along with the stunning views of the beach on your doorstep.

Villa 1 Bedroom

Villa 1

After a lazy afternoon settling in we all enjoyed a candlelit dinner in Villa 3, Tuna Salad, Steak and Chocolate Tart for desert. Everyone enjoyed the meal including Bubs who enjoyed chips, chicken and sweetcorn for his.

I had an early night with Bubs and fell asleep hearing the ocean under the largest mosquito nets I have even seen in my life, whilst the rest continued the party into the evening. 

Starter Salad
Details of Villa 1 below



Outdoor Patio

Bedroom Area - Floor to Ceiling Nets
Bathroom
Bathtub



Bubs Cot


Day 10 - Msambweni

I love relaxing, who doesn't - but this was one great place to relax in. After pre-ordering our breakfast the night before we awoke to a gorgeously set table by our pool to enjoy our breakfast with an outstanding view.






Table for three
Bub enjoying his morning coffee
Breakfast views
We all spent the morning trying out the various pools across the property before enjoying a pizza lunch and our beach side hut massages in the afternoon. One of the best I have had, it was so good I immediately booked another for the following day.




Similar to the pizzas we had on our first lunch in Narok there were individually topped bases that were then cooked in a wood fired oven in this case, my favourite pizza was chorizo, mushroom and all three cheeses. 









Villa 3 pool


Ocean Suite

Ocean Suite
For dinner that evening we planned a beach BBQ, before hand we all met in Villa 3 for pre-drinks. It was a fabulous evening spent under the stars whilst eating dinner barefoot on the white sands.
MBH also set up large bonfires for us to continue with the chilling after dinner still on the beach.

Pre - drinks at Villa 3

Stroll by starlight for dinner on the beach


Bub fell asleep in his pushchair, for which the mosquito cover came in handy for whilst the rest of us admired the starlit sky above whilst digesting our food. It was one of those moments that could not be captured in a photo or video, the peace, darkness and beauty.


Day 11: Msambweni 

Our last full day on holiday so went spent it soaking up as much sun as we could, going for one extra massage and eating as much as we could fit in. Bubs even joined in by making his own special room service menu for one of the famous milkshakes he so enjoyed whilst there - yummy. I took my own long life milk which the kitchen kept refrigerated for Bubs and mixed with any of the fruits of the day.

Ordering room service - making the most of it
Kenyan Beer - delicious with a slice of lime
Main House Entrance

Main House - Pool



We had lunch on the beach again and spent most of the last afternoon chilling on the sand listening to music and building tap tap sand castles.








Our final dinner was a lobster one setup in Villa 1, followed by a chocolate passion desert completely with theatrical melting chocolate, an ideal bitter sweet end to the holiday.

Day Twelve: Msambeweni- Nairobi - Dubai - London 

We had an mammoth day of travelling ahead of us, twenty-six hours door to door so we made sure we had a good early breakfast before having to leave Msambweni. A truly magnificent resort that would make any trip to Kenya even more perfect. 
Last Breakfast at Villa 1


Unfortunately Bubs had a bit too much milk that morning and combined with the slightly crazy driving on our transfer to Diani, he projectile vomited all over me only half an hour into our journey home. This was just one of his many outfit changes this day.

We flew from Diani back to Nairobi, had a quick pit stop at FEIL for lunch of masala fish, chips and tomato chutney. From Nairobi we flew into Dubai for another pit stop at Shake Shack before flying back into London Heathrow for breakfast.

This was a superb family holiday, we tasted lots of delicious food, created great memories and truly pushed the boundaries on travelling with a toddler.


Part 3 - Masai Mara and Nairobi

Part 2 - Narok and the Big Party

Part 1 - The Journey - London - Nairobi


Wanderlust Kids