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Travel Sleep Essentials 

the best way to travel through the airport

We all know that babies come with a lot of stuff. From packing the hospital bag with 37 babygros, to filling the daily nappy bag with 16 nappies, 3 outfit changes and 12 spare feeds (that might just be me!) baby G, well toddler G now, comes with a plethora of crap to be heaved around. I try and cut it down, but usually this just involves forgetting something actually important.
So how do you decide what to take on holiday!? I mean abroad, where you’ll be staying in a strange place. How do you make it safe and homely?

 

These are some basic essentials we took for a good night’s sleep on our recent holiday.

 
 

guess he’s into Thomas?!
  

Bedding: the villa came with a travel cot, but I thought it might be nice for G to have something familiar to help settle. Also I didn’t know what would be supplied, so I didn’t want him sleeping on a bare mattress. A fitted sheet, pillowcase (Thomas the tank FYI) and a thin knitted blanket. I knew he wouldn’t need a duvet or thick blanket but his grey knitted blanket was good for a light covering or a comforting cwtch.

Baby monitor: ok so it turns out we didn’t need it this year, the rooms in the villa were closer together so it wasn’t really needed so much, but as we still rely on it at home to hear him upstairs (valleys houses are surprisingly well insulated against sound!) we thought it may be needed if we were in the living room at night and he was serenading his penguins!
    

nightlight, Gro Egg and monitor
 

Room thermometer: keeping little ones safe, comfy and layered appropriately is tricky to get right, but even more so when abroad in a hot country. If they’re too hot or too cold it could mean a sleepless night for them and you, or you could be risking their health, especially from overheating.

 The lovely people at the Gro Company sent us a Gro Egg to try out, and our holiday was the perfect chance to put it through its paces. Being able to see at a glance if the room is too hot or cold was really handy. The Gro Egg gives off a gentle light (bonus – it’s a night light!) that glows different colours depending on the temperature of the room. Blue is too cold, yellow just right and red too hot. We were able to adjust what G wore to bed and put the air con on for a little while before bedtime to help cool the room down and be safer and more comfortable. 

We used it for the first time whilst on holiday, in more extreme temperatures, so although I would say it’s an essential for going on holiday, I wasn’t sure we’d use it as much at home but we still love it! Turns out the nights are still colder than we thought what with spring approaching, so it’s been easy to see if the room is cooler and adjust his pjs to long sleeved or have a thicker blanket to keep him warm.

 As parents we are loving how much piece of mind the Gro Egg gives us, and as a toddler G is loving how the penguin Gro Egg Shell adds a little of his personality to his room, we both love penguins!
 
 

our Gro Egg – with Shell
 

Waddles travels everywhere with G

Cuddly toy/Favourite blanket etc: ok so it might seem obvious if your little have a favourite friend that they usually take to bed, but we very nearly forgot Waddles the penguin! I dread to think how the week would have been without G’s best friend, so from now on he is always first on the list. We also got him his own ‘reins’ for the plane trip, aka a hair bobble and a lanyard with a clip :D
 
What are your must haves when travelling with a baby or toddler? Have you tried the Gro Egg or other Gro Company products?
 
Mrs H xxx
 

Disclosure: we were sent a Gro Egg and Penguin Gro Egg Shell for the purpose of a review, all opinions are honest and my own.

Traveling Snacks

 
  

 
Food is of course a big priority, for us in general, but especially when travelling. I like to be prepared if possible, and have healthy (or at least be in control of the unhealthy) snacks to graze on along the way. Even more so for longer trips and flights, because your schedule gets all thrown out of whack.

We have ordered G a breakfast on the flight, but in case of any delays or dislike of plane food (to be honest this is unlikely, but if I don’t plan for it you can bet it’ll happen!) I’ll be packing a few snacks to offer. Also you never can tell what time you’ll be able to stop the other side. Between securities, baggage claim, travelling to the villa and so on it’s easier to have things to hand to ward off a hangry toddler. I can’t complain, he gets his angry hunger tendencies from his mother!

At least this year I won’t have to be taking readymade porridge. It’s also going to be a lot easier to grab something suitable in the airport, but to avoid having to pay a ridiculous price for a little bag of crisps I’ll be packing a few key items.
   

  • Organix cheese and herb puffs. Definitely G’s favourite crisps.
  • Babybell cheese. Individually wrapped and not essential to keep in the fridge, they are guaranteed to tempt G whatever time it is. I think it’s safe to say cheese is in his top 3 fave foods.
  • Cheerio trail mix. This is just a fancy way of saying cheerio’s, dried fruit and treats chucked in a bag. The ingredients vary but are combos of cheerio’s, raisins, plain popcorn, smarties, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, dried apricots, pretzels, craisins. I never include any kind of nuts or seeds in a trail mix that G will be eating. And I’d certainly avoid including them for the flight, on the rare occasion that someone with a nut allergy would be flying too I’d have to bin the lot so not worth including them.
  • I haven’t decided if it’s worth packing our NomNom Pouches ready filled with yogurt (technically its food not liquid but having to faff around getting it tested is a draw back) Most likely I’ll take the empty pouches and pick up a yogurt if he really wants one when we’re passed security. It’s definitely worth taking the pouch because it means if you’ve got to move along quickly or he doesn’t want to eat it all in one go, it can be easily carried or packed away for later. They’ve also just started doing the pouches in a bigger size which is even better for toddler appetites.
  • Flapjacks, either homemade (working the two days before we leave means I’m not likely to for this trip) or Organix do a great range in a few different flavours.
  • A bonus treat, if slightly unusual, is something we discovered by accident on last year’s holiday. Soreen loaf. You know, the chewy, fruit cake/malt loaf that takes you about 10minutes to chew one mouthful. Well we were planning/hoping that G would want to have a drink on takeoff/landing, but he wasn’t interested, at least not for long enough. So after a quick panic and a fleeting thought to whether 11 month olds could have chewing gum (I’m joking. Honest I am) an individually wrapped portion of Soreen loaf from my mum saved the day! Although not exactly healthy, it’s plenty chewy enough to keep him busy and reduce the risk of his little ears popping.

  

 
What are your favourite toddler snacks to take on a trip? Do you have any tips to help stop ear popping?
 
Mrs H xxx

A Toddler’s Carry on Luggage 

   

We’re so excited to be going on our first family holiday of 2016 soon! And as usual I’ve been gathering a lists of stuff to take, pack, wear, eat etc. The carry on was a new challenge this year. Last year it was all about clean bottles, getting milk and extra liquid through security, and making sure Baby G got his breakfast. 

This year it’s more about entertainment! The flight is only going to be about 4 hours long, but that’s 2 hours longer than our first holiday abroad last year. And with G being much more active and inquisitive this year we’re really trying to pack stuff that’s going to entertain him for as long as possible, the flight and longer, factoring possible delays and waiting times. 

When we went on holiday last year it was a few weeks before he started walking, so at least this year we’ll at least be able to stretch our legs with him up and down the aisle, but of course we don’t want him practising his 50 meter sprints for the entire 4 hours. 

Not sure one of those little bags of sweets and a note apologising to other passengers would cut it for our little tornado.

I know the whole ipad/television for toddlers’ thing is hotly debated and I’m not looking to start a discussion on pros and cons. We’re ok with G watching television, mostly CBeebies, and having access to our ipad with supervision. Although we’re going to be taking other activities I’m not ashamed to say that the ipad is number one on the toddler’s carry on list. We’ve got a kids case to make it easier for him to hold onto and special kids headphones with volume control. The CBeebies app has got lots of educational games, and having a few episodes of Thomas and Friends or Frozen on standby is no bad thing. 
  
Recently we were offered access to Kidlo Land Nursery Rhymes app. It’s a fab free app that has the option to purchase extra packages for it. It has a TON of songs and rhymes! Both G and his cousin have had an absolute blast exploring all of them. There are so many categories, alphabet, numbers, animals, shapes and loads more. The songs alone keep them entertained, but there’s little things in each song that if pressed will say something or make a noise. Both boys have really enjoyed trying to find them all in every song. Hence the headphones for the plane…!
With all the different categories to choose from it’s also a really good resource to help teach your child about lots of different things, talk through colours and shapes for example. It would be really great paired with some craft activities or other learning activities, sorting shapes, counting, painting by numbers. It’s also really great for parents who could do with a refresher course in nursery rhymes! I know I’ve been perplexed trying to remember old songs and rhymes when a relative has been trying to explain them after school or nursery.
As well as the ipad we will be taking other activities to keep G busy. A colouring book and crayons, stickers, possibly a train or two. The only problem with crayons is that they tend to roll, so I’m on the lookout for triangle shaped ‘anti roll’ crayons, or possibly melting some of the crayons we have, and remoulding them in a fun shaped ice cube tray. “New” crayons that wont roll off the little fold down table. The only challenge will be stopping him accidentally colouring in the actual table! Colouring isn’t easy to understand when your almost 2. Who needs paper when the whole world can be crayoned!
 

Do you have any tips or activities for keeping a toddler entertained on a flight?
 
Mrs H xxx

#ShoesieTuesday with Hotter 

   
 
A few months ago Hotter shoes held an event in their Cardiff store, and a group of South Wales bloggers were invited along to check out their various shoes and boots.

  
Before being invited along I had heard of Hotter, but was under the impression that the shoes made for comfort that weren’t very stylish, and mostly aimed towards the elder generations or those who spend a lot of time on their feet. I was so wrong!
They are first of all incredibly comfortable, which I was sort of expecting, but they exceed those expectations! There’s a rumour going around the Hotter stores, that when you try on your first pair of Hotter shoes that you’ll have a little “shoegasm” also known as your Hotter moment. I can tell you, it’s an actual thing! You could hear gasps and moans of pleasure from all around the shop as us ladies tried on various styles of shoes and boots. Seriously, shoes/boots on, stand up, realise how comfy they are, and you can’t stop yourself “*gasp*oooh!! Oh they are SO comfy!! OOH they are NICE!” etc etc!

  
I’d eyed up a pair of brown boots beforehand and instantly set about trying to find them. One they were on my feet it was a real battle to get them back off me again! I must have worn them for almost an hour, testing them out around the shop, seeing how they felt whilst stood for a while chatting away. It was like standing in slippers! I was almost afraid to try on other shoes because knowing I cannot make a decision to save my life, it would have been too tempting to choose between them all.
As for not being stylish, I was completely wrong with that assumption. Admittedly the heels are never more than a couple of inches high, but any higher and it wouldn’t be so comfortable. They are fairly sensible looking shoes, but this doesn’t mean they can’t still be stylish. There are shoes for all occasions, from work shoes to night out shoes, and you could dance the night away all night without worrying about blisters and sore feet!

  
After having a good look around, and much umming and ahhing, I let my heart choose the beautiful brown boots that had caught my eye to begin with. I almost couldn’t take them off to box up!
My boots have rarely left my feet in the last few months! They are honestly suitable for every occasion and adventure. Long day Christmas shopping? No problem! Cross country exploration chasing a toddler? Easy! A day sat in the office? Sorted! Having fallen and injured my leg just before Christmas, it’s been a slow recovery in a splint boot. My ‘good’ leg needed decent support too as I was holding most of my weight on that leg, it could become achy pretty quickly. My Hotter boot did the job incredibly well! And now that I’m out of the splint boot, I still need a bit of support for my dodgy leg, as I limp around. I’m so glad I chose the boots; I honestly don’t know what I’d have done without them! My only concern is that I’ve worn the left foot down more than the right and they’ll wear unevenly. But obviously that’s an “operator error” hahaha!

  
I’m looking forward to the spring range of Hotter shoes, including their new lightweight range. They’ll be perfect for travelling and flying for our holiday at the end of the month. There are lots of pretty pastels and floral prints on the way too, great for spring and summer. It’s going to take me ages to choose a pair of summer shoes!

  
 
Have you tried Hotter shoes before?
 
Mrs H xxx

*Disclaimer: I was gifted a pair of shoes or boots of my choice as part of the event and in return of an honest review. All opinions are my own

How to Tire Out a Toddler…We Hope! 

Trying to find activities to keep an energetic toddler busy we decided to look into all sorts of classes that could help tire him out…I mean learn new stuff!

Amongst the many different activities out there, we were particularly drawn to swimming lessons. We’ve been swimming quite a few times, a local leisure centre offers a fantastic deal “free swim Friday’s” which have been fab whilst he was too little to spend much time in the water, meaning we didn’t have to fork out too much for 15 minutes in the pool. He’s always enjoyed the trips we have made, but always wants to be let go and have more freedom, which obviously is near impossible especially since he started to reject the swim float. He was also less than keen to have water in his face, not just swimming but when hair washing too. Making big huge splashes and soaking me and the entire bathroom is clearly different to when having your hair washed by the way.

So in order to build his confidence around water, and to give him the skills to help him on his way to be more independent whilst in the water, as well as burn off some energy and have lots of fun, swimming lessons were clearly first on our new activity schedule. 

After having a look at all the local classes, we got in touch with Waterbabies to see if their classes might be suitable. Talking with them they suggested a trial few weeks, as many of the children who attend have been going to classes since they were much smaller, some as young as a few weeks, so we’re going to try the classes first to check if G will fit into the lessons. 

I can’t wait to get him started. I get the feeling that his activity schedule and social life is soon going to overtake mine! 

What activities do your littles do? 

Mrs H xxx