Flying with a little one made easy… or should I say, easier!

The thought of flying with a little one is scary so here are our tips on making it a little easier.

We’ve asked families with kids of varying ages for their tips and tricks:
* Georgia took her first flight at 3 weeks old and has been to South Africa, Turks & Caicos, Spain and France a couple of times.
* Martha’s parents have definitely not let having a baby stop her travelling, they travelled long haul numerous times in her first year. Bali, West Coast of USA and Malaysia just to name a few.
* Freddie is now 9 and a seasoned flyer having been to both East and West Coast of USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and all over Europe.

For mums (and some dads), the holiday starts long before even getting to the airport. Packing…. What to take, and how to get it all in a suitcase. A few tips on packing. Make sure you are aware of your luggage allowance, some airlines include 20kgs while others 23kgs. Some airlines like Emirates offer a very generous 30kgs. If you know how much you have its easier to be ruthless and only pack what is needed. Do research and find out what you can buy in destination. Do they sell the same brand of nappies / formula etc where you’re going as those are the things that take up a lot of space / weight and if they can be purchased abroad, its one less thing you need to worry about. Dont forget to pack a few for the arrival day (or if you’re delayed) to make things less stressful on arrival.

This may sound silly but start making a list as soon as you think of something and add to it whenever you think of something else. This way when you finally start packing you wont forget anything. Have your kids carry some of their own things. Freddie loved his Skiphop wheelie with his toys in. There are also other great options like Trunki, Bed Box etc, depending on your little ones age.

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For your hand luggage, make sure you have a bag for the overhead storage with toys, change of clothes etc but keep a small carry bag under the seat in front of you with essentials so that you don’t have to keep getting your bag down. We recently reviewed the StorkSak cabin carry-on.  It’s large, on wheels and has a removable organiser that can be hung up and used without unpacking ! Genius.

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Ok, so you’re packed… now its time to get to the airport. The thought of being at the airport with loads of time to spare is daunting as you are just adding time onto your journey. It is recommended to get to the airpot 3 hours prior to departure and in my experience when travelling with a baby, get there 3 hours before. Airport meet and greet parking is definitely helpful as you just drive up, hand your keys over and they park and keep your car for your return. Dont forget to take your car seat out if you’ll be using it on the other end.

You’re now at the airport and have checked in your bags, car seat, buggy etc. Dont forget a luggage protector for your car seat/buggy if you’re checking it in. Whilst we’re on the topic of buggy’s – have you seen the new collapsable strollers that can be taken on board? We reviewed the Babyzen Yoyo and the Mountain Buggy Nano a while back and they are excellent. There are a few different options in the market now ranging between £130 and £350.

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Another great option is a baby carrier / sling. If you want to check your buggy / stroller in, this option is perfect. One of the main benefits of a carrier is you have your hands free. You will still have to remove your baby and sling before going through security.

Getting through security is the bit that will hold you up.  You are allowed to take any amount of baby food/milk needed for the journey which can often be above the 100ml liquid allowance. This means it all needs to be searched and scanned separately.  For older kids this can be  quite a fun time as they enjoy seeing their bag on the x-ray machine and having to walk through the scanner. Some airports will allow you to fast track if you are travelling with a little one, so its always worth asking.

Once you’re through security, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You’re almost there.

Now to find something to keep your little one busy until boarding. Some airports have dedicated Family Facilities which are worth looking into before you travel. Heathrow airport have stay and play areas which are great for tiring your little ones out before boarding. Airport lounges are also a good idea to get out of the busy terminal and relax with a complimentary drink and snack. Giving your little one a good meal before the flight is a great idea, just incase they dont like what they’re serving on board.

Its finally time to board ! Yay, for toddlers and older kids, this is exciting – the time has finally come. If you’re travelling with babies / toddlers you are able to board the plane first to give you time to get settled.

If you are travelling with a baby, you can reserve the bulk head seats which are at the front of the cabin and have a bassinet if your baby is still small and light enough. Each airline has different weight limits so check before booking. This is great as you dont have to keep your little one on your lap for the entire flight. I would recommend reserving these seats at the time of booking as they are subject to availability.

Please remember that during turbulence (or any time the seatbelt sign is illuminated), you have to put your little ones back on your lap and secure the infant seatbelt. This normally happens just as they’ve finally fallen asleep too! If they aren’t using the bassinet you also have extra legroom which is definitely needed.

For older children that have their own seat, there are some great products out there that extend the seat and make flying a bit more comfortable for them. If you’re on a day flight, try and reserve them a window seat so that they have something to distract them, even if its only for 5 minutes. Dont forget to pre order your children a special kids meal. This can be done upto 48 hours prior to departure directly with your airline / travel agent or online.

There is a debate between the mums i’ve asked regaring what they feel is better, a day flight or a night flight. I think it depends on your children, their ages and sleeping patterns. I personally would recomment night flights all the way as Georgia sleeps well on the plane, even when lying on me. A friend who has a 5 and 7 year old swears by day flights. You know your child and what is going to work best for them.

Toys, Activities, Games and Books – the more the merrier! Kids get bored quickly so having a few new toys / activities that you can introduce when they start getting bored is great. Sticker books are a great idea too. We tried out the Keep ’em Quiet travel pack which is excellent. If they are old enough to use headphones a fully loaded tablet with their favourite films on is a winner ! Most airlines have a childrens section but if not, you can buy a case for your tablet with a valcro strap that fits perfectly over the tray table. It also works around the headrest in the car ! I got mine from Amazon.

Take off and landing can be a stressful for parents because we’re worried about our little ones ears. Breast feeding or drinking out of a bottle / sucking on a dummy can help babies whilst sucking on or chewing a sweet can help with older ones. If your little one uses a dummy – definitely get a dummy clip, and pack a spare incase it goes missing. Its amazing how things can just disappear down the side of the seats on a plane.

The best advice I can give you, is to make flying an adventure – the older your children get the more they will love flying and having a baby shouldn’t mean you need to stop travelling. We live in a day and age where there are SO many gadgets out there that make flying and travelling with a little one easy, enjoy it and your little one will too.

Now sit back, relax and remember, once the flight is over, you have this to look forward to….

TOTSEAT – For babies that lunch!

The original, washable, squashable high chair that is recommended for 6 – 30 month olds. It’s lightweight, compact and versatile and anchors your child safely and comfortably in almost any dining chair!

Taking your baby out for the day / overnight and having to worry about a high chair are a thing of the past. We were given a Totseat to review, here’s how we got on.

We have been using the Totseat since Georgia was approx 6 months old and was able to sit up unaided. We’ve used it on may different chairs and haven’t found one that it doest attach to. It comes with a separate strap for extra support (or if the chair has an open back).  totseat4

The Totseat complies with all required international safety standards (as well as a few extras). Georgia, at 18 months old still uses hers when at nana.

As a mum, packing for a holiday or overnight stay is quite a task in itself. The totseat is light and compact making it perfect for travelling. Knowing I have somewhere to feed Georgia whilst out and about makes mealtimes so much less stressful. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to feed your little one without a high chair – its a nightmare and oh so messy!

We recently used it on a trip away to visit the family and it was brilliant, we were able to feed Georgia outside in the sunshine rather than being confined to the kitchen.

They come with a lifetime guarantee and start at £22.00 – you really can’t go wrong! For more info click here.

A bit about Totseat:

They too are a small family business and are committed to complete Corporate Social Responsibility. They source and manufacture responsibility in a factory in China that they visit annually. They reuse what they can, and recycle what they can’t. They ship by rail, road and see and use public transport rather than having corporate cars too! I get the impression they love their team like family and this is definitely the kind of company we love being associated with.

 

 

Festival Fun with your kids …

treesIf you followed our Holiday Tots 12 Days campaign, you will have seen that one of our prizes was a family ticket to Into the Trees festival. The festival takes place on 13-15 September at Pippingford Park, Sussex.
There is nothing better than spending time as a family and enjoying the outdoors. Don’t worry, if camping is not your thing they offer glamping and live in vehicles too.
A weekend camping ticket allows you entry to the stunning grounds of Pippingford Park, in the heart of the Ashdown Forest for two nights of wild family camping.

trees3If you would like to bring a camper van, caravan or other live-in vehicle to Into the Trees, you can book a live-in vehicle pitch. These spaces can also be used if you would like to pitch a normal tent next to your car. If you prefer a little more  comfort, how about one of the already set up bell tents. Each bell tent sleeps up to six people.

Into the Trees is a very intimate little festival, so the boutique camping area will share toilet and shower facilities with the main family campsite. The focus of Into the Trees is not on entertainment but on quality family time, in a stunning natural location.

The perfect opportunity for adults to relax enjoying delicious local food and drink while the kids run free. Rope swings, mountain boarding, bushcraft and tree climbing surround hands-on demonstrations from wildlife experts and skilled Sussex craftspeople

For more information or to book your tickets, click here

If you like the sound of Into The Trees but cant wait until September, check out Elderflower Fields, It takes place at the same venue but its in May (24 – 27 May 2019). It’s an award winning festival, designed especially for families with children. A wild weekend adventure, packed full of music, sports, nature and the arts, all set in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside. Elderflower is one of the leading family festivals in the UK. ef

They have a range of activities for children. From sports and arts camps, wildlife and environmental projects, music, theatre, dance, science – there’s something for everyone. And most importantly, with the exception of a few special activities, it’s all included in your ticket price. Some sessions will require booking in advance, others will be drop in.

trees4Great music, food and even a woodland spa ! They offer bell tent and tipi clamping options too. If this sounds like a bit of you, hurry up and get your tickets as the’ve already sold over 75 % to this years tickets.

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If this happens to be your first festival – don’t worry, they’ve put together a list of what to and what not to pack – check it out here

Hatley – Quality rainwear made to be passed from sibling to sibling!

If any of your saw our #Holidaytots12days campaign over Christmas you will have seen our Festival Bundle included a toddler rainiest from Hatley. We were lucky enough to be sent a similar set to try out with Georgia (2.5 years) and lets just say, we both LOVE it.

The products are on the more expensive side but after seeing and trying them out, I would say, are TOTALLY WORTH IT. We have used the full set (Rain Jacket, Rain Boots and Splash Pants) a handful of times. The Jacket and Boots have been used A LOT.

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You can definitely tell the difference in the boots compared to cheaper pairs you can buy online and in stores.

  • Slip resistant soles
  • Removable insole
  • Always PVC-free
  • Matching Fuzzy Boot Liners

If your little ones like jumping in muddy puddles (THANKS PEPPA ! ) then these boots are for you.

We were sent a matching microfibre rain jacket which is fully lined and waterproof. I also like the fact that the back is slightly longer than the front and that it is elasticated at the waist. It is also Machine washable.

We were also sent a pair of splash pants which are brilliant in the wet weather.  They are fully seam-sealed with an elastic waistband and drawstring. There is a little pocket with velcro on the left side and again, they are machine washable

Their rainwear range is large with matching umbrellas and raincoats. Some of their products even change colours in the rain! How amazing is that ? Their range covers from baby – 12 years old and it is made to last – it’s made to be able to be passed from sibling to sibling. Their rainwear range is currently on sale so why not stock up for next winter while the prices are low.

They don’t only do rain wear, they do all sorts, for mum too! Sleepwear, swimwear and foot wear – they’ve got you covered.

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Melissa & Doug Toys

Melissa & Doug is a well known name when it comes to kids toys.  M&D’s mission is to create quality products that inspire our children to think outside the box and encourage kids to see new possibilities. A lot of their toys are simple concepts that inspire kids to come up with their own twists. They hope that this will encourage creativity, imagination, free play and discovery while learning.

My daughter was given her first set of Melissa & Dog toys early on, It was a set of wooden food that came with a knife and chopping board. She instantly took to it and loved slicing the fruit apart. I love how 2 years later, this toy is still in excellent condition.
She was also given a Farm Cube Puzzle, which we actually played with this morning.

We have had many Melissa & Doug toys in her almost 3 years, her favourite I think has to be the Take-Along Show-Horse Stable play set. She got this as a Christmas present from nana and she loves getting this out whenever were over there. I do feel this is where her love of horses has come from – thanks nana!

Melissa & Doug were kind enough to send us some of their toys to review – lets just say, Georgia was thrilled. We were sent the Latches board, The Take-Along Doorbell dollhouse, Food Groups (consisting of 21 hand painted wooden pieces in crates) and a scratch note cube set.

As a mother, the thing I love most about all Melissa & Doug toys is the quality of the products. They are well made, hard wearing and they last. Melissa & Doug are not just a name, but they are real people, who have been together for 30 years and raised 6 kids of their own. All of their toys are tested in their own homes and comply with all US, EU and other international safety regulations.

Georgia loves playing with her wooden food in her play kitchen, she loves sorting the food into different crates and making meals for her mummy and daddy. She isn’t a fan of trying new foods so I am still hoping that these bright, new and exciting foods will inspire her to try a few new things  – I can dream, can’t I ?

I absolutely love the Latches board, I love how its portable and we often take it in the car with us – it can keep her entertained for ages. She loves showing us how she’s figured out how to open the latch and what is behind the doors – its great with colour recognition too.

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The doorbell doll house has provided hours of entertainment. What is it with kids and pressing buttons? Georgia loves pressing doorbells, anything that makes a noise really. I think she is still a little bit young for working out the keys and how to unlock the doors but it is definitely something she will learn with practise. She loves hiding the dolls behind the doors and I love how she makes stories up about the dolls and the houses. The doors are numbered 1-4 and they each have a key with the same number on which is slightly different.

Last but not least, the scratch magic notes – these are excellent at home or on the go. Perfect for a long car journey, or if you need something to entertain the little one on a flight. The pack includes 125 rainbow mini notes and a wooden stylus. We tried these out recently at our local coffee shop, and for the first time in a long time, I was able to enjoy a hot coffee !

If you like the look of any of the above Melissa & Doug toys, they are available from Amazon, John Lewis and Argos to name a few. They have toys suitable from 0 years to 8 years +, something for everyone.

 

 

Holiday Tots 12 Days – follow us on Facebook and Instagram to be in with a chance of winning some amazing Family Friendly prizes!

  #HolidayTots12days

25 December – 5 January 
12 prizes worth over £2000 in total!

Prizes include a family holiday to The Valley in Cornwall, family weekend camping tickets for Into The Trees festival, a term of baby swimming lessons and under water photo shoot with Turtle Tots, Sleepyhead Grand and much more for you and your little ones.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to be in with a chance of winning each day!

Good luck!

Love family time? think Holiday Tots!

#HolidayTots12days

 

Family holiday in Cornwall
Win a short break for a family of four at The Valley in Cornwall, a picturesque gated hamlet of luxury self-catering holiday cottages. This prize includes 3 nights (if arriving on a Friday) or 4 nights (if arriving on a Monday) in one of their 5 star gold, 2 bed cottages for a family of 4.
*Excludes Whitsun Half Term and Summer holidays.

Baby swim with Turtle Tots
Turtle Tots Term of baby swimming lessons near you
Starter baby swim pack
Underwater photo shoot (T&C’s apply)

Festival fun
If your family likes a family festival then this prize is for you and it’s worth over £375!
Into The Trees Festival: family set of weekend camp tickets
Tula: toddler pouch
Babymule: backpack
Hatley: toddler rain jacket, trousers and wellies

Local to us in Hertford
This little bundle of fun is perfect for a family living in or near our home town of Hertford in Hertfordshire and is valid at over £175.00
Birthing Calmly: £75 voucher for a private Baby Massage Course or use towards a full price Hypnobirthing Class in Hertford.
Hertford Theatre: 4 tickets to The Astonishing Adventures of Pinocchio on Sunday 30th December, 11am plus a family cinema pass to a film of the winner’s choice in our January-February cinema season.

Flying Fun
A sweet bundle of goodies worth over £150 for your next flight with the littlies
Carddies: pirate and caveman set
Plane Pal: perfect for little legs
I Spy: book for the airport
Keep em Quiet: travel bag
Travel Snug: keeping them snug as a bug
Cozyosko: snuggle blanket
Tidy Tot: disposable bibs for messy eaters.

Books, crafts, toys and fun
This little bundle of fun will keep your bundles of fun entertained for a while
Melissa & Doug Toys: Scratch Notes x 2, Latches Board, Doorbell House
Cardies: family one set
Walker books: collection of books for all ages
Tidy Tot: kit, full bib and 5 packs of disposable bibs

Beach fun with Dock & Bay
Dock and Bay are a fun brand offering cool fast drying towels and beach wear for the whole family, they are eco-friendly too – this is a fab bundle worth over £150
Two XL towels
Large towel
Kids poncho
Pair of men’s swim shorts
Yoga towel
Hair wrap

Pop range with Summer Infant
The Pop range by Summer Infant is perfect for travelling and visiting family and friends and is valid at over £150
Pop ‘N Sit
Pop ‘N Jump
Pop ‘N Play

Splash and Sun Fun
Dreaming of a little sunshine? Get beach ready with our Splash and Fun bundle
Konfidence: baby swim bundle
Solar Buddie: sun cream applicator
Slipfree: soft beach and water shoes for adults and kids
Little Hotdog Watson: Kids sun hat and matching sunglasses

Sleep Tight Silent Night
An amazing bundle worth over £350 with everything you need for a good nights sleep
Sleepyhead: Sleepyhead Grand and Sleepyhead Grand travel bag
Ergopouch: Sleepsuit with legs and the all new Joey Teddy (the world’s first trackable comforter)

Bath time fun with Cuddledry
Over £100 worth of Cuddledry goodies to make bath time even more fun!
Handsfree baby towel
Hooded toddler towel
Alphabet bath toys
Cuddle duck
Baby and Me wash bag

New Parent & Baby bundle
Over £180 worth of goodies to help when travelling with a new baby
Tula: Free to Grow baby pouch
Ergobaby: Backpack and nursing pillow
Green People: Organic baby range

Keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages for more info – #holidaytots12days

Summer Infant’s Baby Pixel Monitor

We were asked to review Summer Infant’s newest baby monitor earlier this month and after a few weeks of use, it is definitely one to consider if you’re in the market for a new baby monitor.
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This monitor is packed with features parents will love:
* Enhanced Colour Night Vision
* Virtual Boundary
* Move the camera by tilting the parent unit
* 5 inch colour touch screen
* Sound activated LED lights
* Voice Activated technology ensures the screen switches on when the baby stirs.
* 3 x digital zoom
* two way talk back
* nursery temperature and clock display on parent unit

….. just to name a few !

When we got the monitor the first thing we did was charge it – it says to charge it for 7 hours before use. We then found a safe place for the camera to sit in our little ones room. It can either sit on a counter / shelf or you can place it on a screw in the wall. Included are clips to help you secure the cord to the wall so that your baby cant grab a hold of it.
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The monitor is touchscreen and of a great size. There Volume buttons on the side and sound activated LED lights across the top alert you to any noise / movement in the nursery. You’re able to move the camera either by pressing the screen or tilting it which is a great feature.
I love the talk back feature, if you need to reassure your little one without actually going into their room.  I would recommend using the power safe mode which prolongs battery life. I would keep the unit plugged in overnight (you can change the brightness of the screen so it doesn’t keep you awake with the glare) and would then use it for approx 2 hours during my daughters nap, i’d then turn it off and use it again for approx 3 hours in the evening without needing to plug it in. The camera has a 240m range and you’re able to add up to 3 extra cameras if you need to keep an eye on multiple children.

 

Another nifty feature is their Sleepzone Virtual Boundary Alert feature which allows you to set a virtual boundary on the parent unit and you’ll be alerted when your little one moves out of the boundary.
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The camera has a night light on it which illuminates red to help the baby fall asleep and can then be changed to blue once the baby is asleep.

You can also use the Moonlite enhanced colour night vision to have a full colour view of your little one.

Retailing at £199.99 this monitor is a higher end monitor but I would recommend it as it does have a lot of features that others out there don’t have. Find out more (or to order yours) click here.