My Holiday Essentials

Once we’d booked our first holiday with Indy last year, I started looking into the main pieces we would need to take to keep luggage minimal and packing efficient.  I didn’t want to take our Bugaboo, mainly because I didn’t want it to get damaged in the hold, so I started looking into a travel pram, and then a cot etc. The pieces I bought did cost a bit of money on top of the holiday, but these will be our travel kit for years to come for trips in the UK and abroad, so I consider them an investment!  These are the essentials I would highly recommend for travelling with a baby, and now a toddler!

Travel Pram

This was our travel pram of choice, although we have the plain black version.  I love the sporty look, and it really is super light to carry and easy to pack away and put up.  I even use it here in the winter months for dog walks to stop our Bugaboo getting really dirty! It has a big basket underneath for the essentials, plus a big pocket at the back of the seat where I usually keep valuables that are in easy reach when pushing!  The back seat cover can lift up to reveal a mesh panel, which enables good air flow throughout the pram which is great for those afternoon naps on the beach! It’s easy to push on sand, and is also folds up neatly to fit in the smallest of travel car boots! We started using this when Indy was 3 months old, so we’ll definitely get lots of use out of it.  

Pram bag

I really can’t recommend getting a pram bag enough.  This one is technically a car seat bag, but it’s huge, and our pram fits perfectly in it, plus room for nappies, swim nappies, and toys.  We check this in with all the other luggage, and away we go.

Travel Cot

We thought this was just going to be a cheap and cheerful travel cot we could take to friends houses, but we’ve ended up using it for holidays as it’s fairly light and packs up really neatly. I can also pack sheets, sleeping bags and blankets inside, which is an extra space saver.  The only downfall, is that I found the mattress is too thin and hard for Indy – I tried padding it out with towels, but because he’s such a wriggler, these just end up coming off. I bought a separate travel cot mattress from Mothercare, which still folds up, but I pack this in with the pram in the pram bag.  

Microwave Steriliser

I decided to go with microwave sterilising abroad as opposed to using cold water tablets, as i felt it was cheaper, and less luggage.  Our accommodation always had microwaves too, whereas I know hotel rooms often don’t have them. This one is fairly small so easily fits in a hand luggage suitcase, and one bottle fits inside, so will again save you space! This steriliser is nowhere near as convenient as the one you will use at home, as it takes around 15 minutes to sterilise one bottle, so you will just need to plan in your sterilising time around having a cocktail around the pool 😉

Packaway Pocket High Chair

We were given this as a gift, and didn’t appreciate it until we went away.  All restaurants we went to had high chairs, but this was so useful to have when eating in or apartment or villa where there wasn’t one.  Its fabric so folds neatly into the baby bag so you can take everywhere with you, and Indy was very secure when it was tied to the chair.  He is used to eating straight off the table surface, but as this was tied to the chair he was quite low, so we just layered up some cushions which made him the right height.  Again, this is an inexpensive item that will last you a good few years.

Boots Soltan Baby Sun Cream SPF50+

As much as I hate using a cream sun protect as I find them too thick and sticky, I loved this one for Indy on his first holidays and his first time in hot sunshine.  I could see where i’d missed bits, and I was always confident i’d applied enough. Even when he was in and out of the pool, I found the cream really lasted and didn’t always need reapplying.  When he gets a bit older, i’m sure i’ll move to high factor sprays and aerosols as we would use, but in his first year and his skin not being used to the sun, I found this was perfect.

I hope you’ve found these useful, and if you have any questions on any of these recommendations, please let me know in the comments below 🙂

 

Baby Holiday Packing List

When it comes to packing for a holiday with a baby, there is the danger of packing everything including the kitchen sink!  Preparing a list beforehand was an absolute God send for me – it meant I was organised with packing, and had a clear shopping list so there was no last minute rush or panic on the lead up to the holiday!

This list is for your standard holiday in the sun, and this was the list I followed when taking Indy when he was 8 months old – we were weaning and still giving him formula feeds so both areas are covered in the list!  We always prefer to stay in apartments / villas rather than hotels, so this list is catered to that too.

Item Comments
Transport
Travel pram I always pack the pram in a pram bag and check this in rather than taking to the gate. It gives the pram more protection and means we can pack a few extras!
Baby carrier This is handy for beach walks, as well as carrying the baby through the airport.
Sleeping
Travel cot This is always our 2nd piece of baby luggage for the flight.
Travel cot mattress
Travel cot sheets x 2 I pack these inside the travel cot when it’s folded up to save space in the case.
Sleeping bag I also pack this in the travel cot bag!
Sleepwear – baby grows / long sleeve bodysuits / short sleeve bodysuits If we are staying somewhere new, I always take options for Indy to sleep in as I don’t know the temperature or air-flow in the room.
Feeding
Pack away pocket high chair We were given this as a gift and it’s amazing. So small and lightweight, and attaches to any chair!
Microwave steriliser As we always stay in self-catered accommodation, I always check there’s a microwave beforehand.
Bottle brush
Travel kettle Again, I check if there’s a kettle before travelling.
Thermal bottle case x 2
Formula I always take a full box to start us off with – and this goes in the pram bag!
Formula dispenser The full dispenser is always kept in hand luggage… just in case 😉
Bottles
Dummies
Bowl / plate
Spoons
Bibs
Water beaker
Breadsticks / fruit bars / rice cakes Enough for the flights there and back, and a few extras for emergencies!
Beach / Swimming pool
UV protective sun umbrella We bought ours when we were already on holiday, but it was amazing for indy on the beach, as it kept him shaded, and really cool. Ours is a really great size so fits in the pram bag, so we bought it back with us!
Sit in water float Again, we bought ours when we were already on holiday, but it rolls up so small that we will take it every time.
Swim nappies I take a full pack to start us off for the holiday.
All in one swimsuit
Sun hat x 2 Indy has a habit of taking these off and throwing them out the pram before we notice. So I always have a back up!
Beach blanket I prefer a cotton beach blanket to towels, as they stay cooler and are much bigger, so loads of space for all our supplies and for us all to lie down together. This one fits perfectly in our travel cot bag too!
Large swaddling muslins x 2 These were great for draping over the pram at nap time and in the evening, as they provided shade and cover, but kept the pram itself airy. You can also use them as blankets and playmats if needed.
Toiletries
Nappies I try and estimate how many I will need a day, but usually end up taking one full pack.
Wipes I take 2 full packs.
Nappy sacks
Baby sun cream
Baby bath wash – travel size
Sponge
Sudocrem
Calpol / Nurofen
Teething gel / teething granules
Toothbrush / toothpaste
Hand sanitiser gel
Extras
Books I always buy a couple of new books to take with us, as well as taking a couple of his favourites.
Toys Again I take a mixture of toys – I take the smaller ones on the plane and larger ones in the luggage, and have a mixture of some of his favourites as well as a few new ones to keep him interested!

I haven’t included clothes in my list as obviously these are a given, but have to be packed according to the weather.  I always take a variety of options for the baby however, and take more layering pieces, but if we have a washing machine in our accommodation, I will always take advantage of this and pack fewer clothes in the case!  

Over the next few weeks i’ll be blogging about my travel essentials, efficient hand luggage packing, and tips on flying with a baby, to get you prepared for the holiday season!  

 

Breakfast – Porridge Bites

Indy has loved porridge since he was 6 months old – it was the first breakfast I gave him once we had moved on from fruit and veg, and for some reason he only likes it with banana!  It’s one of the only meals I still had to spoon feed him, which is why I started making porridge bites a couple of months ago. They are still porridge in principle, but are the perfect solid size for him to pick up.  You can also be as creative as you want for toppings to make them a bit more exciting! The recipe is really simple, and is super quick to make, so easy to do in the morning.

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup whole milk

¼ cup raisins

Mix the oats and milk in a bowl and add the raisins

Spoon into silicon cake moulds or a muffin tray and lightly flatten down

Microwave for 2-3 minutes – I judge this by eye really.  I like them to firm up so they hold their shape when out of the mould, but not really hard  

Cool in the moulds and serve

Any spares can be kept in a Tupperware or tin

The recipe makes about 9 bites, and I give 3 to Indy for each meal.  I find changing the toppings mean he doesnt get bored if he has them a few consecutive days, and they always consist of things we already have in the fridge or the cupboard!  Some of our regular ones are:

Yoghurt and blueberries (or any kind of berry!)

Peanut butter and banana

Peanut butter and apple

Strawberry jam

Frozen berries heated and reduced down into a compote

Comment below if you have any other good toppings we can try!

 

Lunch / Dinner – Pea, Spinach and Parmesan Pancakes

This was a recipe to include green vegetables as a side dish for a main meal.  They can be served with meats or fish, and a yoghurt or hummus dip. As all my favourite recipes, they can be frozen once cooked, and popped in the toaster to quickly heat through before serving.

1 egg

½ cup of frozen peas (thawed)

½ cup spinach

½ cup whole milk

2 tsp olive oil

40g parmesan

1 cup plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Place spinach, peas, egg, milk and oil in a blender and blend until smooth.

Add flour, parmesan and baking powder and blend again into a batter.

Heat some oil in a pan and spoon a tablespoon of mixture into the pan for each pancake.  

Cook on both sides until golden.

 

Baby Led Meals and Snacks on the Go

This has always been the trickiest part of weaning for me – being able to take food out for Indy without having the luxury of a microwave or an oven to reheat.  Unless we go for lunch or dinner where he can have part of our meal, he’s still not at the stage where there is any point ordering his own meal.

I’d strongly recommend getting a small cool bag, to keep any drinks and snacks in – I found this easier rather than keeping them in the baby bag where a banana could easily get crushed! Small snack pots are also really helpful to keep the right size portion of food in, so you don’t have to take huge tupperwares out.  

As opposed to having specific recipes for meals and snacks to take out with us, I have a selection of go-to foods that I can easily prepare and quickly grab.  All are fuss-free and I know Indy will definitely eat them which makes for much less stress. I also avoid giving them these things when he eats at home, as I find he isn’t bored of them when he gets given them when we are out.   

Tuna and sweetcorn pasta salad with yoghurt

I can quickly cook up a pasta salad and this can be eaten cold.  I just add some tinned tuna, and sweetcorn and/or peas, and a some yoghurt for a dressing.

Cheese spread sandwich on milk roll

This is a fail-safe, as my child LOVES bread!  I still give him milk roll for sandwiches, as it has the most calcium and lowest salt content, and use cheese triangles as the filling.

Wholemeal mini pitta breads with hummus

I either fill the pitta with hummus, or if using a pot of frozen hummus, just chop the pitta into fingers and dip.  Using the pots of hummus is really easy, just take out in the morning and they will defrost while you are out and about for lunch time, and it means must less mess if eating on the go.

Cheddar cheese sticks / Babybel

This is a really easy one – chop up some cheese into fingers, or just take a Babybel!

Cooked chicken pieces

Again, I can quickly cook some chicken before I leave, and this can also be eaten cold.

Roasted chantenay carrots

This is a bit of a strange one to have cold, but Indy loves them.  They are the perfect size to quickly cook and to take out with us in a small tub. I’ve also tried roasted peppers and sweet potato, and he also loved these cold.  

Mini bread sticks

I buy these in a big box and just take a few out with us – I find these are good to tide Indy over as they take a while to chew.

Broccoli and cheese scones

These are from my recipe for baby-led snacks – I just take one out of the freezer, and it defrosts while we are out and about.

Kale and tomato pizza muffins

These are also from my recipe for baby-led snacks, and just take out of the freezer to defrost before we leave.  They are easy for Indy to eat and he still enjoys them when cold.

Bananas / Oranges

These are the easiest thing to take out with you as they dont need preparing and they come in their own packaging! You can literally eat bananas and oranges anywhere, so i always make sure I have them in the house to grab in emergencies.

Fruit

Other fruits that i find easy to take out are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and grapes (cut into quarters).  All are a good dessert after lunch or dinner, or as an accompaniment to a snack.

 

Gifts for a 1 Year Old

It was a bit of minefield trying to find presents for Indy’s first birthday and first proper Christmas.  Whilst I don’t want to spoil him and splurge on loads of toys, I do want to buy him that one special gift for each, and only things that will aid his development and help him learn.  I’m also getting more conscious of buying more wooden toys where possible…

As Indy’s birthday is only 11 days before Christmas Day, I’ve joined all of his gifts together in one post.  These are also including gifts that his grandparents are getting him, and ideas friends and family have asked us for

Teepee

I’ve been looking for a teepee for a while, and this Aldi one was a bargain!  I’ve wanted one for Indy’s bedroom so I can make a cosy space for story time and some learning play.  I just need to buy a fluffy rug and a couple of cushions to go inside it.

Wooden Play Kitchen

I’ve been debating a kitchen, as most say 3 years+, but over the past month or so Indys really getting inquisitive of our own kitchen, trying to get into the cupboards and washing machine.  This one from John Lewis is a nice size for a 1 year old, as he will be able to stand comfortably against it and use the cupboards. It also doesn’t take up much space!

Wooden Play Pots and Pans

These will go with the kitchen – I decided against metal ones as Indy sometimes gets surprised by loud sudden noises, but these will be good for imaginative play.  

Wooden Play Vegetables / Fruit

These will start to teach Indy about fruit and vegetables so he can learn what he is eating, and they will be great for play as can be cut and matched back together with the velcro pieces.  I just need to find a little basket to fit them in to go inside his kitchen cupboard!

Trike / Ride On

Again, I’ve searched for a while for a trike, and loved this one for the zebra design.  It’s also really sturdy so he can use it now before he’s walking.

Inflatable Bouncer

Indy loves playing on these at soft play, where they are dinosaurs and dragons.  His favourite ‘teddy’ at the moment is his big lion, so knew he would love this lion bouncer!  It will also be great to use outside in the summer.

Aquadoodle

I’ve never really done any creative play with Indy yet, so this will be fun way to start, and no mess!

Orchard Flashcards

We use picture cards at baby sensory, and so I wanted to get some for home.  Repetition is a good way of learning and recognising things, so we can start doing this together at home.

Xylophone

Indy loves shaking his tambourine and banging his drums, so he will love this xylophone!  And I love the colours and that it will be personalised!

Pull Along (Pooh bear)

My mum and I found this in a garden centre – its wooden and is such a lovely toy.  Indy doesn’t have a pull along, and is just starting to recognise Winnie the Pooh, so should love this.

Play Tunnel

Indy is always the first one to crawl through the tunnel at play groups, so this will be a great addition to home where we can use it in the house and the garden.

Push and Go Truck

This is a fun toy that will help with motor skills and teaching cause and effect.

Cosy Coupe

This will be more for summer where he will be able to cruise around the garden in his car, but for now, we can push him around in it, or he could even push it himself!

Puzzles

I’ve been picking up wooden puzzles for the last few months from the supermarkets – they seem to be really good value there and are good quality.  I’ve got ones for numbers, shapes, farm animals and jungle animals, which I will split between his birthday and his Christmas stocking.

Sensory Toys

Our baby sensory class offered the chance to buy some of the things we use the sessions, and as Indy and I are finishing classes soon, I thought these would be great stocking fillers. I’ve bought a shaker, jingle bells, mirrors and a light up coloured wand that will enable us to keep going with all of the sensory activities we have learned.

The only things not included in this list are books… I buy these quite regularly anyway to keep him interested in story time, and we are getting a library card this week, so will be getting a new batch of books to read most weeks!

If you have any other good gift ideas to add to the list, comment below!  x

Lunch / Dinner – Broccoli and Quinoa Bites

Indy is going through a ‘fussy’ stage of eating vegetables at the moment, so this was another way I wanted to sneakily give him lots of greenery!  The recipe is from the Holly Willoughby ‘Truly Scrumptious Baby’ weaning book, and was a huge success. I gave him two ‘bites’ for lunch, with a boiled egg, and again for dinner with some steamed cod and roasted peppers.  This will definitely be one of my regulars!

 

25g quinoa

150g broccoli florets

50g cheddar cheese, grated

1 egg, beaten

Cove the quinoa with water in a pan and bring to the boil – cook until tender, then drain and leave to cool.

Blitz the broccoli in a food processor / Nutribullet until finely chopped, and scrape into a large bowl.  

Add the cooled quinoa, cheese and egg and mix well.

Form the mixture into sausage shaped patties – it is quite a wet mixture, but I tried to squeeze a bit out when making the patties!  I made 8 in total.

Place on baking paper in a baking tray, and cook in the oven until firmed and golden

 

Lunch / Dinner – Kale and Tomato Egg Muffins

This is a good recipe when I don’t have time to cook a meal from scratch – these can be pre-made and just heated through in the microwave.  They’re also a great way to introduce eggs so are full of protein, as well as also sneaking in some green veggies! I’ve always struggled to give Indy tomatoes too, but he loves them in this!

15g butter cut into small pieces

4 eggs

20g cheddar cheese

4 tablespoons whole milk

20g kale

2 tomatoes deseeded and finely chopped

Beat the eggs and add the cheese, milk tomatoes and kale.

Grease 4 ramekin dishes, and pour the egg mixture into each.

Place the ramekins in a roasting tin and add boiled water halfway up the dishes which helps the eggs to cook evenly.  

Dot in the cubes of butter and place in the oven for around 20 minutes.

 

Breakfast – ‘Eggy Bread’

This is more of a weekend breakfast, or a midweek quick lunch, and has been a great way for me to introduce some eggs into Indys diet.  I cut into fingers and serve with some chopped avocado.

One egg

2 slices of bread (I use Milk Roll)

Beat the egg and pour onto a plate.

Place one slice of bread into the egg on the plate until it is covered on both sides.  

Add butter to a frying plan, and place in the bread to cook the egg on both sides.

 

Breakfast – Wholegrain ‘Shreddies’

This isn’t so much a recipe, just more of a concoction, but really helped to develop Indys pincer movement and was also a refreshing change to porridge and Wheatabix when I was spoon feeding him.  I buy the Sainsburys Wholegrain Mini Wheats as these are low in salt and sugar, add a handful to a bowl along with whole milk to soften, and add some blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. It’s very messy and the milk goes everywhere, but he loves it!